Theo On Jacoby...Colon Ineffective Against The Yankees...Starting Pitchers Announced
Wow, what a full plate today, Tuesday, March 18th. With just about a week to go before the Boston Red Sox head to the Far East, the powers-that-be have announced the early season pitching starters. Daisuke Matsuzaka will make a "home" start in the season opener and Jon Lester will be on the mound for game two. Both games, of course, are against the Oakland A's in Japan. Clay Buchholz and Tim Wakefield will pitch the two exhibition games against Hanshin and Yomiuri Saturday and Sunday. They are also expected to pitch two of the three exhibitions against the Dodgers in Los Angeles March 28-30, with Bartolo Colon working the other. So there you have it, Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International, as well as my Constant Readers. And that's only the beginning.
Yesterday, the New York Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox by a score of 8-3. Colon could not even get out of the first inning, only managing 2/3 of an inning while giving up four runs. Tavarez was almost as bad, pitching the next 3 1/3 innings and also giving up four runs. I'm glad that Buchholz will be our number five guy in the rotation, at least for the start of the season. And no, there has been no specific announcement that would verify that statement, but it's the way it should be, although that's just my opinion. Colon needs more time and Tavy, well, Tavy is Tavy. Case closed, for now. Matsuzaka and Lester are our numbers one and two, at least for the end of March.
Lastly, Theo Epstein had much to say about Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury has had a chance to play this spring because of Coco Crisp and his nagging injuries, but he's only batting .225, although he showed some sparks yesterday in the loss to the Yankees. Heeeeere's Theo with some awesome words, and then I'll be back with a comment...
"He's got a lot of development left," said general manager Theo Epstein. "A couple of things on Jacoby. One is to bring his BP swing into games. If you watch him in BP, he's really developed a classic swing. A natural loft and backspin. The ball jumps off his bat.
"In the game, sometimes he doesn't quite have the same approach. He can be late in the games. He can cut his swing off a little bit. That's the natural evolution of any young hitter - to bring a good BP swing into the game in different parts of the strike zone. Some guys never figure it out. Some guys it takes weeks, years, and we'll see where Jacoby goes.
"He has a combination of athleticism and aptitude. I think it will happen with him. It's a matter of when. I think he can be a good player even before he makes that adjustment. Once he can take that good swing into the game with him, he'll be able to drive the ball consistently and take his game to another level.
"Defensively, he's got some things to work on, too. He's got all the tools to be an excellent defensive center fielder. He still needs to learn to judge the ball off the bat of major league hitters, learning different walls and warning tracks and different things. There is still some development out there for him." He hasn't really done anything yet in the big leagues except for a very nice contribution over a short time last year," Epstein said.
Peter here, and well said, Theo. I realize that Ells is a still-developing young player with a bright future in front of him. And we Sox fans will be lucky enough to watch him develop, to hone his skills to a razor-sharp edge that will cut through any pitcher's arsenal, every step of the way. But if Coco stays healthy, and he IS on a roll (one game!) of healthy starts (just kidding, but only a little), he would be the main guy patrolling centerfield. For now. So may the battle begin, and may the Boston Red Sox, with their thin, just for now, starting pitching rotation and their strong bullpen and lineup start fast and end strong, with no June swoon, or ANY swoon. We'll see, won't we?
Click on this post's title for a Boston Herald article about Dice K and his opening day start in Tokyo. He said he's comfortable pitching there, with his whole country watching and we here in the United States treated to morning drive-time baseball, all on the Red Sox radio network, NESN and the internet. But for now, the starters are not yet ready. THEY WILL BE READY.
Thanks for visiting, I'd love to read and respond to your comments, if any (please?!), and as always, BE WELL.