Tuesday, March 17, 2009

SMOLTZ Almost Ready...Boston 6 Toronto 4

Boston Red Sox pitcher John Smoltz will reach a milestone in roughly nine days. On March 25th, he will throw his first side session in a Boston Red Sox uniform. His manager, Terry "Tito" Francona, had these encouraging words...

"He's doing well," Francona said. "He's ready to go. He's chomping at the bit, and I actually think he's ready."

That's good news for all of Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International. Brad Penny, Clay Buchholz and Justin Masterson will also vie for a slot in the strong rotation, although Masterson will be in the bullpen, a part of the bridge to Papelbon, unless unforseen and shocking circumstances come to pass. Speaking of Masterson, he pitched well again yesterday in three plus innings, although not as well as his prior exhibition starts. The promising Sox reliever Daniel Bard preserved his spring 0.00 ERA with two innings of sparkling relief. The Boston bullpen is deep AND talented, a sure sign of great things to come. As for the starting rotation, Beckett, Lester and Matsuzaka are givens. Tim Wakefield will be slotted number four (at least until Smoltz is ready) and the number five spot will go to Brad Penny, if healthy, Clay Buchholz or Justin Masterson, whose true value, as I said before, is in the bullpen for a late inning or two. MY ideal rotation would be Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz or Brad Penny and John Smoltz. Yes, you did not see Wakefield there. He'll be in the rotation for April and most of May, but when Smoltz is ready, he should take a polite bow and walk off the field while the Fenway Faithful show their gratitude...LOUDLY. It's time, Tim. But that all depends on the health of Penny and the recovery time for Smoltz. You know the saying...a team can never have TOO much pitching...the Sox have plenty, starters AND relievers. I like it! Here are the pitching lines for Masterson and Bard...remember that name, Daniel Bard. We'll be hearing a lot of it because never has the bridge to Papelbon been so deep and talented. Never.

Justin Masterson 3.0 6 3 3 0 3 2.25
Daniel Bard 2.0 2 0 0 1 2 0.00 ***

That's a wrap for today, Tuesday, St. Patrick's Day 2009. Don't drink too much green beer, but enjoy yourselves while being safe and sound. You can click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox and as always, BE WELL. Cheers of green to every one of you. See ya.

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