A National League Team in the American League East

Amidst all of the stress that I’m dealing with right now, I figure writing about baseball is the best way to relieve it. Most of you who read my blog seem to be a bit older than me, so let me ask you something: Was May of your junior year the worst time of your life? Or is that just me? 

If it wasn’t for baseball, I don’t know where I would be right now. Not only do I have my two AP exams next week (Psychology and English Language), but the administration decided it would be a good idea to also make quarter testing next week, which further ruins my life. Not to mention the fact that I still have to worry about standardized testing because–like the Red Sox’s overall performance so far this season–my scores are mediocre and not good enough to get me into the schools that I would like to attend. I just can’t wait until the summer. 
On a significantly brighter note, I’m going to be president of my senior class next year. I only share this with you because the entire premise of my speech was baseball. Being a baseball fan gives you some of the qualities that are necessary to hold a position like that: dedication, persistence audacity, loyalty, hope, etc. 
Minor League Roundup: 
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The Pawtucket Red Sox moved Kris Johnson back to the starting rotation, and that has certainly paid off. In his first start of the season, he pitched five innings without allowing a run and struck out three. In his last outing, he went five innings and gave up three runs. I personally think that he is more of a starter, so I would like to see him continue for at least a while in this role. This will help the organization decide whether or not he will be a starter or a long-term relief guy. I think they need to decide his role relatively quickly so that he can continue his development without ambiguity. 
In Pawtucket’s relief department, both Dustin Richardson and Robert Manuel have fared exceptionally well. I have no doubt that Richardson will be called up at some point this season; hopefully sooner rather than later! I don’t hear about Robert Manuel as often even though he has pitched spectacularly. I think that he could also positively impact the Red Sox’s bullpen as well. 
Lars Anderson was recently promoted to Triple-A! He was quite literally destroying Eastern League pitching, so a call-up was inevitable! When he was called up to Portland last year, he struggled with the adjustment, so I was a bit nervous that he would have some problems in Pawtucket. Of course, an adjustment period is necessary with a promotion to any level, but Lars has fared well so far. 
Daniel Nava is someone you should keep your eye on. With a powerful bat, he his hitting .305 on the season with 29 hits, 5 doubles, a triple, and four home runs. I don’t hear as much about him as I do Josh Reddick, but his performance certainly warrants a call up soon! I would really like to see Ryan Khoury with more playing time in Pawtucket. I think he is a great player, but he has only played in nine games so far. The Paw Sox designated Kevin Fransden for assignment, so I hope we see more of Khoury. 
In Double-A, reliever Eamonn Portice has been very impressive. Starter and top prospect Casey Kelly has also been doing well, though he is on a very tight leash because his innings are being limited (since this is his first full year as a starter). 
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Catcher Luis Exposito has been on fire during the past week or so after going through a minor slump. Ryan Kalish has also been very consistent at the plate. 
In Salem (High-A), Will Middlebrooks and Tim Federowicz have had a great week and a half. Anthony Rizzo has been consistent at the plate for the season, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he got promoted soon. 
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Daisuke Matsuzaka is finally back in the Red Sox starting rotation. In his first outing, he pitched fairly well until the fifth inning. In his most recent outing, his first inning was atrocious, but the rest of his outing was virtually flawless. 
While having a couple of solid innings are certainly commendable, it’s tough to say that I feel completely confident in Matsuzaka when he has barely pitched into the sixth, and he still has problems with walking tons of people. First of all, Terry Francona should have been more aware of the situation in Dice-K’s first outing. Typically, Dice-K starts struggling around the fifth or sixth inning, but it was also his first start of the season. That was just an ugly game, and Wakefield’s first appearance out of the bullpen since 2004 did not stop the bleeding. 
Like I’ve said, Francona always waits a batter too long to take his starter’s out. When your starter is around 100 pitches and he puts two men on, it’s a sign to take him out! Is it just me, or is that especially evident this year? 
This is also the first year of Francona’s stint with the Red Sox that he really has to put deep thought into the lineup and the pitching staff. It isn’t obvious where everyone should hit this year, especially with the demise of David Ortiz. The Red Sox look more like a national league team this year. Some of you may take this as a negative connotation, but I actually think it has a positive one! Admittedly, assembling a team like this in the American League East is a bit risky, but I do think it has the potential to work if it is managed in the correct way. 
Just because Jacoby Ellsbury is out of the lineup with an injury, doesn’t mean the Red Sox should stop running. Dustin Pedroia has stolen a couple of bags, and Marco Scutaro and Darnell McDonald certainly have speed as well. And honestly, Big Papi should start bunting more because his presence in the lineup will be much more effective. I would also like to see Jeremy Hermida in the lineup over Bill Hall. Hermida has been pretty effective as the plate and Bill Hall has not. 
Jon Lester has certainly started to turn it around in his past couple of starts by turning out very dominant performances. Buchholz has also been spectacular, which I love to see. I just hope Beckett can find his consistency, because he is an essential part to the starting rotation. 
***
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Lincecum struck out his season high of 13 batters. His slider and changeup are probably the most beautiful pitches I’ve ever seen. He might just be my favorite pitcher in the league. He is also one of the better hitting pitchers I’ve seen. He can lay down a perfect bunt! Maybe the Red Sox should take some lessons. 
I must say, I feel much more complete as a person now that I’ve seen Lincecum pitch in person. His delivery is one of a kind. I have heard that when he was drafted, one of the conditions was that the Giants would not change his delivery or his routine. Retrospectively, maybe the Red Sox should have done this with Dice-K. He was so dominant in Japan, but besides his 2007 season, his others have been subpar. I know that American baseball is different from Japanese baseball, but perhaps Dice-K would have fared better if he was allowed to do it his way. 
The Red Sox dropped the first game of the series to the Yankees last night. Beckett looked fantastic until the sixth inning. His only mistake was the hanging curve to Nick Swisher. Beckett simply lost his command. He should have been out after he hit Francisco Cervelli, not four batter later and five runs too late. I do not understand the rationale behind that! 
I fear that the Yankees might retaliate today, especially because Sabathia seemed to take personal offense when Jeter was hit by a pitch. Beckett clearly wasn’t doing that on purpose, so I hope he realizes that. Nevertheless, it’s all a part of the rivalry, and I’m ready for part two!
One last thing before I go. I would like to share with you all that I have been recruited to be a reporter for KidPitch, a show that airs every week on FSN. I filmed a report from about David Ortiz’s slow start to the season, and it will be debuting this Sunday. All of the other reporters are much younger than I am, but you have to start somewhere, right? If you would like to check it out, you can find your local listing here

9 Comments

Congrats on the TV show and yes – junior year shall pass….good luck.

The Red Sox are a team in turmoil this season. I was at the Red Sox game last night and watching Beckett unravel was alarming. The man had NO control at times – it was painful. The number of times that the team has imploded quickly is troubling. The inconsistency of the team is not good and it is hard to explain. I worry about the direction they are going – something needs to be done to right the ship quickly or it will indeed be a long season.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com

Hope I can find a rerun of that show. Good for you getting into the action! And yes, we have not lived until we’ve seen Lincecum pitch…lol I saw his debut in Philly and have seen him 3 times since…he is amazing.

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

Elizabeth, congrats on being class president next year! I have to say that I don’t remember much from my junior year – I hesitate to say exactly how long ago it was! :-) I imagine at the time everything seemed earth-shattering, so I guess it just goes to show that in the long run it wasn’t really that important. I’m sure everything will work out in the end. Oh, and congrats on the KidPitch show too, that sounds pretty cool!
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

Junior year sounds tough, and I thought my freshman year is hard! But I know you can handle junior year. Congrats on being the president of your class! Like Jenn, hopefully I can see a rerun of KidPitch that you came out on. You are very impressive and I admire everything you do for your future in the baseball industry. It already looks bright and I know you are going to be very sucessful, especially since you are “working” already :) P.S. I like Tim Lincecum, even though he is in the same division with my Padres. I didn’t have a chance to see him pitch yet but I would love to someday. It just has to be not aginst us :)
http://hyunyoung.mlblogs.com

Wow, a TV star. Congrats on being president next year, too. That will be a great way to close out your high school career.
Yeah, May of your Junior year is tough. Lots of things going on, but at least I had varsity baseball to keep me occupied. Once you get to college life is good. It will be the time of your life.
Thanks for the Minor League updates. Next year I’d like to make it out to Portland and Pawtucket for my trip. That would be a memorable time.
–Mike
‘Minoring In Baseball’
http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com

Congratulations Elizabeth on being president of your class and on the Kidspitch! too bad I read this late. Hopefully there will be a repeat. I’d love to watch it!
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com

Just don’t forget about us little people. You have your head on straight! If you didn’t feel stressed right now you’d be on your way to being committed. You are doing just fine. Keep your eye on the prize. We’ll still be here.
mike
http://thebrooklyntrolleyblogger.mlblogs.com

I actually happened to watch kid pitch today and saw your clip! This is the first time I’ve stumbled upon your blog and when I read about Kid Pitch I knew I’d seen you on there. You did a great job, sounded very professional and knowledgeable. I’m glad you got to see Lincecum pitch, it truly is a treat for baseball fans to see the greats in person. I used to watch him pitch in AAA Fresno (I live in Fresno) and was just as dominant. And you’re right, his pitching motion hasn’t changed a bit. Hopefully my Giants can hang on to him for a long time. Great blog!
-Jeff
http://joneill.mlblogs.com/

Congrats, Elizabeth, on KidsPitch, and on being Class President! Your work is starting to pay off, so even if May has been worse than usual, stick with it–looks like it is paying off!!
I remember Felix Doubront from when he played for Greenville. I saw him play against our “home” team here in Asheville (Rockies farm club). Cool that you are getting to meet more of the players!
Keep up the good work! GO SOX!

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