POST NUMBER 1000-----Francona Talks Bullpen
This is my post number 1000! I'll try to make it as good as the first 999. Time flies! Boy, doesn't it?
Tito Francona has been asked about his bullpen countless times. And there will be plenty more questions to come until these games become real in just a few short days. Here's how the skipper put it, taken from the snow-covered Hartford Courant. The entire article is available by title clicking, and I'll be back with a comment.....
"It's just not the closer," Francona said this week as the team reached the midway point of the exhibition season. "We need to set up our bullpen. We need to put that staff together where we can win all the time, not just when we have a lead in the ninth."
Julian Tavarez and Mike Timlin are the only holdovers from last season assured of slots, and Timlin, usually the choice in the eighth inning, hasn't pitched yet because of an oblique strain that might have him on the disabled list to start the season.
The four other late inning candidates, righthanders Joel Pineiro and Brendan Donnelly and lefthanders Hideki Okajima and J.C. Romero, are all in their first season with the Red Sox.
"It's more of a puzzle than it's been," Francona said. "With Timlin not throwing right now, it makes that puzzle a little bit harder to figure out. We have some questions we still have to answer. We do think we have the people to do it, but consistency is a huge word in that bullpen. When you get into the season, where are these guys?"
Peter here, and Tito, it's up to you to "read the tea leaves" and be able to set up the bullpen so it can perform to its fullest potential. What guy pitches what inning, just who will be the "man" for the ninth, who goes where and when and for how long........you have to fill in all those blanks. And you have to do it from the roster of guys who you have on hand right now. Unless, well, something is missing and Theo feels strongly enough to make a deal with another team of one kind or another. 16 days and counting. As the countdown nears 10, I have to hope the answers will become clearer and more defined. For right now, to me, I don't have a clue.
And as for the Sox Dodger game, with Daisuke starting for the Boston club.....
"Yesterday, most of Matsuzaka’s work consisted of a side session in a batting cage. He pitched two innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers before a mini hurricane flooded the park and canceled the game.
The right-hander had thrown two innings at that point, allowing three hits and a run in the first before settling down and retiring the final five batters he faced."
Peter here, and Daisuke got his work in and looked just fine. And that was it for the Red Sox on Friday.....so everyone, enjoy this white St. Patty's Day....be safe, be well, and I shall be back. Title click for the entire article.
And that's a wrap for post number 1,000. I hope I'll be here for 2,000.