3 more weeks
The third to last week of the season starts tonight at Fenway with the first of three against the Rays and there’s a good matchup on tap. Schilling vs. Kazmir. The magic number is 14. But beyond the numbers, there are some issues that bear watching down the stretch:
Will Dice-K get his groove back? For whatever reason, he has gotten way too fastball-happy of late. What happened to that nasty changeup we saw earlier in the season?
Has Papelbon ever been better? I don’t think so. I know he had a season for the ages last year. But it seems like it’s a challenge for a hitter to even make contact against him right now.
Beckett can taste the Cy Young Award: I know, he won’t talk about it. But he has three starts to go and right now is a slight favorite over other worthy candidates like Sabathia and Wang.
What is right about right? We’ve gone over this one over and over. What to do in right field when Manny comes back? I think J.D. Drew will be given as long a leash as possible. But ultimately, Ellsbury will be the guy out there if Drew is a liability with his bat.
Buchholz and the innings. We’re at 143 1/3 and counting. About 17 left to go. Will they take the reins off a little and let him be a factor throughout the playoffs? This is perhaps the most interesting story left in the season.
See you at Fenway a bit later.