Step away from the ledge, Red Sox fans. It is April 15. I know the Sox are 2 and 6, and Papi and co. are struggling. But take a deep breath and consider these points:
- Two Aprils ago, people wanted to ship Pedroia back to Pawtucket.
- Two Aprils ago, people thought J.D. Drew was the second-coming of Carl Yastremski.
- Nine Aprils ago it looked like Carl Everett was the next Ken Griffey Jr.
- Nine Aprils ago we thought Wilton Veras was the Sox thirdbaseman of the future. Remember him?
- During their 86-year championship drought, how many April championships did the Red Sox win? Lots.
Sure, all 162 games mean the same. But if the Sox went through this same stretch in June or July, nobody would be too concerned. Every year, fans magnify the importance of what happens in April, and by Memorial Day people don’t even remember what happened in April. This is a good Sox team with a ton of depth. So talk to me come Memorial Day.
Meanwhile, Daisuke’s health woes have to be cause for concern. But this is where the depth of the Sox could play a huge role in their success this season. If he needs to be out for any length of time, the Sox can turn to Clay Bucholz, who looked like a world-beater this Spring. They also have Michael Bowden in the minors, and, if things get bad, their bullpen is so good they could slide Justin Masterson into the rotation without missing a beat.
BTW, the Beckett suspension is bogus.
Reports are the Sox brass are currently in Texas with Scott Boras hammering out the final details of the contract for Mark Teixeira. The announcement that Tex is a member of the Sox could come any moment.
Now what? The Sox have seen this coming for awhile, and likely already have a trading partner for Mike Lowell. Expect him to be dealt almost immediately, as much in fairness to Lowell as anything else. The sooner Lowell knows where he is going, the better for him.
Then it is on to signing another starter. Of course, the Sox could slide Masterson, Bucholz or Bowden into that open rotation spot. But expect them to bring in a veteran to fill that spot to begin the year, with the three young arms being worked in gradually throughout the season, and maybe even locking down a rotation spot or two (Wake’s?) come September.
With so many young arms on the horizon, they likely won’t look for a long term deal, so no Lowe or deal for Peavy. We’re probably looking at a Paul Byrd type for a one-year deal, maybe they can score a Brad Penny for two-years. I still maintain Ben Sheets might be best served grabbing a one-year deal and cashing in next offseason, but he might just be satisfied with a sub-par annual salary but three- to four-year deal now.
Here’s the funny thing about baseball — and you’re going to think I’m crazy (and insanely stupid) for saying this — but I actually think the Red Sox hit Wang rather well tonight.
(Insert laughter here.)
Honestly, I do. Sure, Bobby Abreau snags J.D. Drew’s utterly catchable home run, and Wang is flirting with a no-no. So how can any mildly sane person say the Sox hit him well tonight? My take is this: Wang is overwhelmingly a groundball pitcher. And tonight you saw a lot of flyball outs, including at least a half-a-dozen that were deep, warning track shots, some to the deepest angles of centerfield. And that’s the funny thing about baseball: Three feet over to the left here, a few more feet back there, and it may have been a different game. If you had told me before the game Wang would give up so many flyballs, you could have got me to put down money on the Sox winning.
Problem was, when Wang wasn’t slipping by with deep flyball outs, he was completely dominant, showing off great stuff tonight, including a biting fastball I don’t remember him having. Meanwhile, I was real happy with Clay Bucholz’s showing. And, although people will complain about the bullpen, you know Mike Timlin is coming off an injury and will pitch better. And David Aardsma is beginning to show he has good tools.
It’s a loss to the Yankees. This will happen at least another seven or eight times over the course of the season. But it’s a long, long season.