September 2008

Crowd in the outfield

Now that J.D. Drew is “available”, the Red Sox have themselves a certified logjam in the outfield.

I think it will be interesting what Terry Francona will do. My guess is that he will mix and match. But in the playoffs, I’d think they’d want a fairly steady lineup.

Obviously Bay is going to play left every day. But where to go after that? Should Coco Crisp be the primary center fielder based on how he has swung the bat of late? Could he do the opposite of what Jacoby Ellsbury did to him last year?

Ellsbury has played wonderful defense all season and is a true spark when he is getting on base, but that just hasn’t happened with any regularity. After two at-bats tonight, he has four hits in his last 24 at-bats.

Meanwhile, Coco is in the midst of what is easily his best hot streak — with the exception of Spring Training 2006 — since joining the team. He has an 11-game hitting streak, during which he’s hit .512. I his last 17 games, he’s hitting .483.

In right field, things also will be interesting. Sure, Drew is the better player. But exactly how healthy is he? Mark Kotsay has been an intense performer who has fit right into the situation here.

I think the outfield will be among the top stories to watch for this team down the stretch.

I’d like to hear everyone’s thoughts on how the playing time should be divvied up and what you guys and gals would do if you were the manager?

The Race is On

First of all, the Patriots will compete without the great Tom Brady. Will they win the Super Bowl? Most likely not. But this team has won three Super Bowls already in the 21st century and a lot of football teams have never won a single Super Bowl.

What do I know about Matt Cassel? First of all, I’m not even positive my spelling on  his last name is right. OK, I’ve just confirmed that it is. Second of all, I know about as much about him as I knew about Tom Brady the day Drew Bledsoe got hurt, which is — not much.

As Richard Seymour said on the radio this morning in that deep voice of his, “Defense wins championships.”

Now, I’ll stop digressing. There is a buzz in the air at Fenway with the Rays in town. You have to think the Red Sox will win the Division at this point. They are finally healthy. Look for J.D. Drew to be back in the lineup  either Tuesday or Wednesday. With Kazmir going tomorrow, I could see them waiting until Wednesday.

The Sox also announced that top prospect Michael Bowden won’t throw another pitch this season. They are happy with the year he’s had, but have decided it’s best to let him rest up.

Kotsay will lead off tonight and play right. Ellsbury is getting a night off.

MVP … MVP … MVP

Those have been the chants around Fenway Park of late, and rightfully so. Dustin Pedroia has had a Tour De Force homestand, ripping the cover off the ball. He’s 13-for-22 for those of you keeping score at home.

At the same time, manager Terry Francona was slightly taken aback by the MVP questions at his news conference this morning if only because everyone was asking him the exact same questions about Kevin Youkilis two weeks ago.

The thing Pedroia has going for him is his infectious nature, and the way everyone in the clubhouse seems to feed off him. That, and the fact he obliterates the baseball.

At any rate, it’s not all about the numbers, but here they are as of Sept. 3:

Youk: .315 average, 82 runs, 149 hits, 36 doubles, four triples, 24 homers, 94 RBIs, .387 OBP, .560 slugging percentage, .947 OPS.

Pedroia: .330 batting average, 108 runs, 188 hits, 43 doubles, two triples, 16 homers, 75 RBIs, .376 OBP, .872 OPS.

Great numbers all-around. If the voting took place at this very second, I would rank Pedroia slightly ahead of Youk.

But there’s still three weeks and change left.

It should make for a great debate. And there are some other fine candidates around the league, including Carlos Quentin and Justin Morneau just to name two.

Not hard to top last night

Is it me, or was last night one of the most non-descript home wins of the season? There was just no flow to that game at all. Nobody stood out, other than Dustin Pedroia, who can seemingly get two hits in his sleep.

The Orioles define mediocrity.

Hopefully we can see some better action tonight.

Jason Bay is out of the lineup, getting his first day off since coming to Boston.

Kevin Youkilis was scratched just moments before game-time with lower back spasms. I guess I shouldn’t have filled out my scorebook in ink. Rookie mistake!

Chris Smith is back on the roster for the fifth time this season. I’m glad September is here. It is one of my top two or three favorite months of the year and probably my favorite weather-wise.

Recovery for Youk and Coco

A much more standard lineup for the Red Sox tonight has Dustin Pedroia back in the No. 2 spot, with Youkilis batting cleanup and playing third base. Coco is also back, batting ninth. Jeff Bailey is starting at first.

Sept. 1 means no September callups for the Red Sox, at least today. Let’s face it, David Pauley and David Ross basically are September callups, they just hapened to be promoted earlier.

Once Portland and Pawtucket are through, the Red Sox could have some additional moves.

Terry Francona was non-committal when asked about Clay Buchholz today and whether he will resurface this year.

Speaking of Buchholz, tonight marks the one-year anniversary of his no-no — against these very O’s.

Other than that, a very slow Labor Day.

I went fishing this morning with my son Ryan. We both reeled in some nice sun fish and threw them back where they came from. It was a lot of fun. All the usual fishing stuff, rods getting tangled, catching big piles of seaweed, etc. It was a perfect day for it though.

Ian.

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