Sunday Morning Letter Time.......
I came across this letter that was submitted to SI and "John Donovan's Baseball Mailbag." Obviously the writer is not a Red Sox fan, but I do want to print his letter. Your comments are, as always, welcome...and I'll be back with a word too. Here you go....
Question---"Red Sox rotation formidable?!? Matsuzaka (unknown quality at this point); Curt chilling (old and creaky); Josh Beckett (wildly inconsistent); Tim Wakefield (enough said); Jon Papelbon (young, has yet to start a big league game). That's not formidable. That's hoping to catch lightning in a bottle at best, combustible at worst."
-- Matt Peake, Oakland, Calif.
John Donovan's answer--- "You're right. A lot of ifs in that rotation. But you have to admit the possibilities are there, which is a lot more than you can say about a lot of staffs."
Peter here...who else did you expect? Just kidding. OK, OK, Curt Schilling....old and creaky? He is an elder in baseball's warped sense of aging, but this is his last year as a major league pitcher, and I guarantee that every fifth day, when it's his turn to make that walk to the mound, there will be fire in his eyes as the years melt away, if only for three hours. Matt Peake (the writer of the original question) , don't worry or wonder about our number one starter. Whatever team is your team would love to have him out there for 35 starts. Daisuke.....we'll see. But based on his past performance numbers, I'm not worried. In fact, the hitters should be worried! Josh "Baseball" Beckett? Last year was a transition year from his NL roots to the AL "hitting machine" lineups. Expect him to learn and adapt. He's a tremendous number three starter, although some will consider him a number two. They're just numbers, "before the season starts" numbers, not stats. Number four, Timmy Wakefield. When he's "on," HE IS ON.....every hitter"s (and catcher's) worst nightmare. Flutter away in 2007, Tim. And last but far from least, Jonathon "lights out last year" Papelbon. This year, his first as a full-time starter, he will learn to pace himself and not rear back and blow away three or four or five batters, as he did without peer last year. The best number five starter in the major leagues, in my opinion.
Hey, these are all my opinions. Not a pitch has been thrown, not a ball has been fielded, not a fan has entered our Fenway Park. But yes, our starting rotation, as SI's John Donovan said, has all the possibilities of a championship fivesome. Now if only one person can emerge as a dominant "Papelbon-like" closer. The arms are out there in the bullpen. We have to wait for someone to make a statement and adapt to the huge role that is, right now, empty and waiting to be filled. A 2007 Red Sox closer supreme. Name to be announced. And that's where all the fun will be for us...the watching, the analyzing, the agony and ecstacy of games won or lost. Boston Red Sox '07........I can't wait.
Enjoy your Sunday. If you like football, go Pats! If you don't enjoy the pigskin madness, well, go Pats! And for the rest of you? GO PATS!!! And thanks for reading. As always, click on the title for the original SI article.