A Forgettable Game...Tweaking 'Tek's Swing
Michael Bowden was bombed in his first spring start against the AL champion Tampa Bay Rays, giving up 4 runs and 5 hits in only 1 2/3 innings. The game was essentially over after 3 innings, with Gonzalez contributing to the Rays run total. Here's the Boston pitching summary...that's all I'm going to write about this mismatch. Lowrie, Bay and Youk went a combined 0-7 and Rocco Baldelli contributed his first Red Sox base hit...
IP H R ER BB SO HR
M Bowden (L,0-1) 1.2 5 4 4 2 0 0 **
E Gonzalez 1.1 6 6 5 1 0 1 **
D Hansack 2 0 0 0 0 4 0
C Zink 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 **
S Green 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ugly stuff, huh? The two stars denote the pitchers who gave up runs in the game. On the brighter side, Jason Varitek and the Boston batting instuctors are working on 'Tek's approach and swing when batting lefthanded. He is a true switch hitter, always has and always will, but he's had so much more success when batting from the right side. He's less consistant from the left side of the plate. His routine is not consistant batting lefty. I'll let him tell you...
“My timing tends to get out of whack,” Varitek said. “That’s always been my issue. When you’re under control, it makes it less about timing and more about my ability to get through the hitting zone. I have a tendency to pull off the ball at times, and when you pull off, your hands drag. It’s all connected. It’s just a matter of fine-tuning some things with my fundamentals.”
Hitting coach Dave Magadan had this to say about the tweaking of Varitek's lefthanded batting process...
“Over the years,” said hitting coach Dave Magadan, “he’s tapped his bat, he’s double-tapped, he’s double-strided, he’s triple-strided. It’s too much to think about and too hard to repeat that, over and over and over again over the course of the season and keep it consistent. We’re just trying to get him to a place where it’s a repetitive thing: stride, take his hands back and swing. If he can do that - and I believe he can - the consistency will be there and I think we’ll see improvement.”
We all hope we'll see improvment this year. Behind the plate, controlling a game and his pitchers of the day, there is no one better. But last year's batting average was miserable, to say the least. That the Red Sox coaching staff is trying to fix what ails him bodes well. If Jason can bring his average up to a respectable .275, there will be not one person in Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International who will gripe about his resigning. I hope he can do it. These 2009 Boston Red Sox must be able to pitch and hit, not the power plus hitting that we've become used to but the ability to score 4 runs or so per game. The starters and the solid bullpen will take care of the rest...they will!
I hope your Saturday will be a good one. The UCONN men and women's basketball teams will both be playing today, and I'll be glued to each game. The men are ranked number two but might slide into the number one spot with a Saturday afternoon victory. The women? They are undefeated with two games remaining, one in Hartford at the XL Center this evening against Seton Hall and the season finale at Rutgers early next week. Neither Seton Hall or Rutgers has a chance at beating them, barring a complete UCONN collapse. Believe me, they ain't a collapsing type of team. You can click on the title of this post for more Red Sox news and as always, BE WELL. Be safe, be happy, be you...see ya.