Red Sox Spring Training Questions Ala Gordon Edes - Part Two
Here we go again on this frigid, still dark Tuesday morning. I'm going back to Gordon Edes' Top Ten Red Sox Spring Training list. The opening of the Florida joy inches closer and closer. The fireworks, good AND bad, will start soon. It's almost mid-February. Where does the time go? As before (see three posts down), my comments will be bracketed...
6) "DAISUKE AND MATSUZAKA: STILL STRANGERS IN A STRANGE LAND OR BROKEN-IN HOMIES? Matsuzaka already has made some noise this winter about doing things more his way, especially in his practice regimen, throwing more on the side than he did last spring. Okajima, meanwhile, showed serious signs of wearing down last season, and the surprise element is gone. But both of them should feel more at ease with their surroundings this season.." (Peter here...I expect BOTH pitchers to be more at ease during the 2008 season, their second in the big leagues. When Daisuke was on, HE WAS ON! But when he wasn't, his control problems led to a surplus of pitches, causing Tito to pull him after six innings or so. As for Hideki Okajima, well, words are hard to come by. He was instrumental in the chase for a world championship, and he is a valued member of the bullpen. Sure, the AL's hitters have already seen his stuff, but that won't phase him.)
7) "WILL STANDING PAT SUIT THE RED SOX? Epstein's principal moves involved maintaining the status quo, re-signing World Series MVP Mike Lowell and the now-injured Curt Schilling for a last hurrah. The changes now are coming from within, the Sox integrating kids like Pedroia, Ellsbury, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz rather than making the splashy free-agent signing or big-name trade." (Yes, it's me again. Peds, Ellsbury, Buchholz and Lester will help the Red Sox, who are the oldest team in the major leagues. I was surprised when I read that, but leave it to Mr. Edes, one of my favorite sportswriters, to bring it to our attention. The Boston Red Sox are young in crucial spots. Number one is the rotation. And you know what they say...good pitching beats good hitting. I find that a combination of the two can produce REAL MAGIC!)
8) "WHERE DOES CLAY BUCHHOLZ FIT IN? Buchholz comes into camp as no better than No. 6 on the depth chart, behind Beckett, Matsuzaka, Schilling, Lester and Tim Wakefield, and would the the logical choice to step into the rotation if Schilling isn't ready by April." (I like this question, because I think Clay Buchholz will surprise us all. Just a couple of the major league teams have seen his stuff. They will be surprised by the movement on virtually every pitch he hurls towards the plate. Keep an eye on him...he will be an important and vital member of the rotation, and we'll all be watching! And I can't wait!)
9. "WHAT DOES A MANNY RAMIREZ SALARY DRIVE LOOK LIKE? That's something unknown in Boston, where Ramirez is now in the last year of the eight-year, $160 million deal he signed with the Sox as a free agent after the 2000 season. There is ample incentive for him to have a monster season in 2008. He spent his offseason working out in Arizona at the Athletic Performance Institute, pledged publicly to show up to camp on time, and showed last October that he is still very capable of being, in his words, "a bad man.'' This could be fun to watch. And don't forget, he needs just 10 home runs for 500 in his career." (I'm looking forward to watching our cleanup guy WASTE the other teams on the way towards another World Series trophy. Waste on, Sir Manny!)
10) "WHAT KIDS WILL BE WORTH WATCHING IN CAMP? Buchholz and Ellsbury are still rookies, but it's almost as if they're known commodities already. Your time will be well spent this spring charting the progress of a couple more promising young pitchers, Justin Masterson and Michael Bowden." (So much talent to watch! And we ALL know, what with the Schill MESS, a team can never have enough pitching.)
11) "WILL THE REAL J.D. DREW PLEASE STAND UP?" (This is the last of the questions, and this will also be the shortest of my answers...YES!!!)
Hey, thank you for reading this...it took me almost an hour with the copying and pasting of the questions, and writing my comments was the easiest part. If you wish, just click on this post's title for the entire top ten list. Gordon Edes of the Globe is the one who deserves our thanks. Boy, can he write! Great job, Gordon. And to every one of you, my Constant Readers, enjoy your Tuesday, and as always, BE SAFE!