Thursday, April 23, 2009


As easy as it was to criticize the Red Sox at the beginning of the season, it is just as easy now to sing their praises. The dark skies have been replaced by sunshine. The wails of lamentation have given way to a Hallelujah chorus. And I am pretty sure I've seen those animated bluebirds flying around my head once or twice.

Seven wins in a row, including a doubleheader sweep against the Twins yesterday. Ortiz is finally starting to find his swing. Youkilis is destroying the ball and has an OBP of .522, which is just ridiculous. The bullpen has surrendered just 13 runs in 15 games over a collective 47 innings of work, which works out to about a 2.49 ERA. Reclamation project Brad Penny is 2-0 and Tim Wakefield, the only Boston player who remembers the city in the mid-90s, is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA.

Yes, life is good in Boston right now.

Boston stands at 9-6, just 1.5 games off the pace set by Toronto (??) and tied with the Yankees for second. That is just one win off from where Boston stood at this point in 2007 (10-5). So for all the angst and worry caused by Boston's poor start, they are pretty much where we want them to be at this point in the season. And while I would have enjoyed a couple of more wins for the Sox, I definitely will not complain.

It was a joy to watch them take out the Twins yesterday. Neither game was ever in any doubt. They handled supposed ace Francisco Liriano with ease in the nightcap while Penny gave them six solid innings. I can't imagine there are too many pitchers who are 2-0 with a 7.80 ERA. But I'll take it.

And just to twist the knife with Aviv a touch, it would be remiss of me not to mention the play of Nick Green. The one-time Yankee, playing for just $500,000 this year, has been a great sub for the Sox thus far in 2009. He's batting .313 with a .934 OPS in 11 games. And while his glove hasn't been the best (a mild understatement, with three errors last night), his errors have tended not to cost Boston any runs while his bat has definitely given the Sox some pop at important times. He's definitely no Cody Ransom, that's for sure.

Today is an off-day, a well-deserved rest for the Sox. And we'll need it since tomorrow renews the greatest rivalry in baseball as the Yankees come to town. The pitching matchups are intriguing across the board. You have the young guns Friday in Lester and Joba. Saturday gives you the injury-prone aces Beckett and Burnett. And Sunday is a youth/experience clash between Masterson and Pettitte. Those three matchups could go either way and it wouldn't be a surprise.

That said, I am expecting the Sox to take at least two of three. Don't let me down, boys.


Aviv said...

Nick Green is what he is: a useful utility player. He's certainly capable of putting up some nice offensive games, but I'm sure the Sox won't want to ride him too long. His warts would really start to show.

Dave said...

Oh, there's that green-eyed monster again...

You're right of course, in that he's not a full-time starter. But I don't doubt that the Yankees wouldn't mind having him on the bench right about now. Beats the hell out of Ransom at third.

Aviv said...

THAT might be the understatement of the year!