March 2007

That was an experience

Every time you think you’ve seen it all in this job, you see something else. For instance, more than 200 media members on hand to watch Daisuke Matsuzaka face Boston College?

Yes, it was a circus, reminiscent of when A-Rod and the Yankees came to Fort Myers in March of 2004. I thought Matsuzaka handled everything well. He said he wasn’t nervous, but give me a break. At least he had nervous excitement.

After that first pitch was hit for the double, everything he threw looked nasty. Everything he throws has movement. I can’t wait to watch him pitch when it’s for real.

I’m looking forward to getting past the Spring Training hype phase and seeing how this guy really turns it on when the lights are on for real.

So that is the end of Matsuzaka-mania until Tuesday, when he takes the hill against the Marlins. That one should be a far better barometer.

Tomorrow should be a fun day at the yard with both Wake and Paps taking the hill. It’s our first "game" look at Papelbon since he grabbed his shoulder during that last closing stint last September. Let’s see how his stuff translated from a starter’s mentality even though, from a technical standpoint, he’ll be pitching in relief tomorrow. Wake is Wake. Always fun to watch the knuckleball float around.

Well, this has been a long one, so I’m out.



Let's play two

Ernie Banks had it right all those years ago. The sun is shining and it’s a great day to play two. Oh, did you guys know this rookie named Daisuke Matsuzaka was pitching tonight against Boston College? I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but the Red Sox acquired him for a cool posting feel of $51.1 million and then signed him to a six year, $52 million contract.

Oh, sorry, I just wrote that last paragraph for the Tom Hanks character in Castaway. Of course, unless you’ve been living in a proverbial cave, you’ve heard all about the Dice man. It should be fun to watch him pitch. Stop looking for those gyro balls, OK? He doesn’t throw one.

The thing that bears watching tonight is the communication between Matsuzaka and Jason Varitek. Will they find it easy to be on the same page despite the language barrier?

Manny is also taking his first hacks of the spring in the early game. And Okajima will make his first appearance. Got to like the Game 1 lineup. Lugo-Youk-Papi-Manny-Drew-Lowell-Coco filling out the first seven spots. That poor Matsuzaka won’t get any run support in the second one because Varitek and Pedroia will be the only starters playing.

Not much news in Terry Francona’s pre-game chat other than the fact that Craig Hansen (back woes) has been cleared to throw a side session. Mike Timlin is still a few days away.

I’ll be back with more thoughts later in the day.