After my first day off in a while yesterday — you’ll be glad to know I spent a couple hours of it on Sanibel Island with a sunburn on my back to prove it  — I’m back in action today, live here from Lakeland.

There was an extremely lame bench-clearing incident in the top of the fifth. Todd Jones threw a pitch behind J.D. Drew’s back. Then Tigers manager Jim Leyland and Sox third base coach Demarlo Hale started jawing at each other, so everyone trotted on to the field and nothing happened.

Beckett did hit Sheffield in the first inning, and then got Magglio Ordonez on the helmet in the third with a breaking ball, but I’m not sure why Jones felt the need to retaliate.Oh well. The incident was over before it began.

In other news, Terry Francona is extremely high on the Gary Sheffield addition to the Tigers. he thinks it makes Detroit the team to beat this year. With all that pitching the Tigers have, you might be hard pressed to disagree.

A couple of hard throwers take the hill today — Beckett and Verlander. As Tito said, there won’t be a lot of changeups.

Coco, Varitek and Drew are the three position players who made the trip. There’s a lot of Japanese media here to see Okajima, or as I like to call him, "the hero in the dark".

The Timlin thing seems like it might drag into early in the season. I suppose it’s better for him to be hurt now, then for him to pitch through it and never be healthy, as was the case last year. But with the bullpen in a state of flux, they can’t afford to be without Timlin for very long once the games start counting.

T-minus 24 hours until the next Matsuzaka moment. T-minus 48 hours until the Yankees hit the Fort, and, yes, Hideki Matsui is making the trip. I’m sure cameras will be clicking with crazy when he greets Matsuzaka.  T-minus 72 hours until i fly back to Boston for six days to catch up with my family. My three young boys are excited.

Talk to you later,



Who’s our starter for the Yankee game ? Papelbon ?

Looking forward to it. Let’s hope some big names -on both teams- will be playing.

I don’t know who is SUPPOSED to start. I would think that the Red Sox might consider throwing a Gabbard or a Snyder or such at them in order to keep their starters hidden from AL East rivals.

Meanwhile, Sox are off to a good start against the Tigers. Hinske got a grand slam. With 3 hits and 3 walks, we are leading 5-0 going into the bottom of the first.

sox are starting wake against the yankees. pap pitching a sim. game earlier in the day.

Here’s a dreamy thought :

Theo should try to get Zumaya out of Detroit and make him our closer.

I mean, the guy throws 99 mph lasers and the Tigers use him as a setup man.

If Todd Jones is clearly their man, is that make Zumaya at all available ?

And then i woke up …..

Did you get to the Ding Darling Refuge? Great place to see roseate spoonbills.

Beckett’s a little shaky today? Go Hinske!! I doubt the Yanks and Sox have many secrets. They know each other all too well.

Hey, Ian!

Did you notice you got a shoutout today on Curt Schilling’s blog as one of the good guys in the media?

Well, we already knew.

Hey, Ian!

Did you notice you got a shoutout today on Curt Schilling’s blog as one of the good guys in the media?

Well, we already knew.

Ian, somebody, anybody, please give some educated guesses as who the heck will be our closer come opening day!🙂

Honestly, I’m banking on Timlin or Donnelly to get the job (although at this point I sort of doubt Donnelly’s getting it).

For what it’s worth, here’s my guesses (not sure about the “educated“ part, though) :

My guess : Donnelly

My favorite : Pineiro

Dark horse : Timlin (temporarely out of the race)

Please not him : Tavarez

And if you say ALL OF THE ABOVE, you might be closer than you think. Sorry, pacol, i did my best !

We’re worried about the closer, but the Sox management isn’t. Are they living in a fantasy world, thinking they don’t need a good closer? Or are we just fretting over nothing? Hmmm.. I think with the lineups the Sox will face this year, they need a lights out closer, not someone who just happens to be the best of a marginal group.

IN half an inning, I swear the Orioles announcers said the wold ‘gyroball’ over a dozen times. Next game Diasuke pitches, I’m gonna keep count on exactly how many times.

He struck out two though and threw almost all strikes. Very nice.

On sportscenter, Peter Gammons said the likely closer on opening day would be Tavarez… I sure hope not

Tavarez? Thats insane talk

And Matsuzaka just gave up his first run on a long ball. Well, no ones perfect.

Hes still making people look silly tho… Mora jumped away from a fastball right down the middle

As far as the closer, here are my thoughts at the moment:

1) If Peter Gammons says Julian Tavarez is the most likely to be the Red Sox closer this year, I would put money on it. It’s absolutely stupid how much that guy knows about baseball in general and the Red Sox in particular.

2) There are still almost three weeks left until opening day. There is no need to name a closer RIGHT NOW. I realize it’s something fans really want to know, but there is no upside in making the choice before they’ve had a chance to look all of the candidates over thoroughly.

3) It won’t be me on the mound in the ninth inning of any Red Sox game this season. On that you can bet the bank, if you can find anyone who will bet that it actually will be me.

Oh, and

4) The Sox could still deal for a closer.

No offense, rob, but here are my thoughts on yours :

1) I don’t mind if Peter Gammons is the Einstein of baseball. If Francona and the Sox beat writers don’t know who’s gonna be the closer, then Gammons doesn’t know either.

2) I know they don’t HAVE to name one right now, but if you’re going for the AL East title and you don’t know, by mid-march, who’s gonna be closing for you this year, you gotta admit : that’s freakin scary !!

3) It won’t be me either. I don’t believe a 70 mph fastball will do, at any level !!

4) Now you’re talking. A deal for a reliable closer.

Again, no offense man, it’s just fun.

rsox 34:

No offense taken. We’ve all got a right to our opinions.

I’m not saying Gammons’ saying it makes Tavarez a lock to be the closer. I’m just saying it’s better than even money that he knows something a lot of others might not.

However, I won’t admit that it’s scary not to have a closer named by now. At least it doesn’t scare me. Others may be worried about it, and maybe they know more about baseball than I do and are right to be worried. The way I look at it is this: If you’re not sure which of the candidates is best suited for the job, and/or you actually might deal for someone else to fill the role, what’s the advantage of naming someone with this much time left before the season starts? If you name a closer and then they get hurt, that’s a psychological blow to the rest of the team (Oh, man! Our closer is out for X weeks! What are we going to do?) If you name a closer and then someone else proves to be better suited and you change your mind, then you’re accused of being indecisive.

In my less than expert opinion, I think it’s better for Francona to wait to name a closer until he’s 100% sure of who he wants in that role.

Given the players he has to choose from, you’re right: he must wait.

And that’s exactly my point: he must wait because no one on the roster (except for Pap) is good enough to claim the spot and be a lock – barring an injury – to save 35. That’s the part that scares me … a little.

That being said, i’m not an expert either, so let’s wait and see how it goes. Theo and Tito will figure something out.


We’ll be discussing the game tonight at Sox and Pinstripes, so feel free to visit and post your comments. As for the closer’s situation, no need to be concerned. The Sox have an assortment of decent arms. Someone will emerge. I like Donnelly, but I think Timlin can get the job done. I don’t think it will be Tavarez. These things have a way of wrking themselves out. It’s much easier to find a closer – especially one for just a season (since the Sox have Bryce Cox or Craig Hansen waiting in the wings for 2008 and beyond) – than to find a dependable starting rotation, which the Sox have.


Sox and Pinstripes


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