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Posts Tagged ‘Papelbon’


In the midst of juggling my 3 jobs, I’ve decided to come up for air and talk some Boston Red Sox.  Many commentators are focusing on their offense, as if it won’t get it done.

Let’s look back at last season.  We had a less than healthy Papi, a nearly crippled Mike Lowell, an injured Josh Beckett and an absent Wakefield.  Turns out our starting shortstop had a fracture in his wrist too.  Both our hitting and pitching were in trouble.  And we were one win away from the World Series.

This was because Dustin Pedroia continued to improve, and Youk had a career year.  Jon Lester discovered how to pitch deep, and strong.  Dice-K was one lucky guy with a big WHIP and low ERA to garner a good win total.

I’m not as pessimistic about this season as some people.  Yeah, no Money-Ramirez.  That also means far less drama. Jason Bay, while not the one man wrecking crew that an interested Man-Ram can be, is a very good hitter and a better defender who will give you a good effort night after night.  Papi no longer has to worry about his wrist, and Lowell will be healthy.  I don’t expect the 2007 Lowell, since he’s 2 years older, but he should still put up respectable offensive numbers for a 3rd baseman.

What excites me about the 2009 Red Sox is the pitching staff.  We seem to be witnessing a return of Beckett 2007, which means he could be a dominating pitcher now that he’s healthy again.  He has been that guy in Spring Training (yeah, it’s only Spring Training), which he wasn’t last year. 

Although we aren’t sure what we are going to get from Penny and Smoltz, if they flounder we could have Buchholz 2007 to step in.  He seems to have regained a good arm slot, and his confidence.  He’s not the tentative pitcher who was giving up runs like a 2-for-1 special was going on.  Lester has offered us no reason to doubt he’ll continue his domination of hitters.  He’s confident and strong.  With Penny and Smoltz, the Red Sox can occasionally rest Lester, Beckett, and especially Wakefield.

The bull pen should be better (though bull pens are tempermental things).  Masterson was the key to making it steady last year.  If Delcarmen can be consistent (which he seemed to be after Masterson joined the pen), and Saito can set-up and occasionally close, we can have a healthy, aggressive Papelbon for the playoffs.

Pitching wins championships, and the Red Sox have a championship caliber pitching staff.  While their offense will not reach the heights of the 2003-4 Red Sox, it should be more than sufficient to provide the runs this staff needs to be very successful.

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The vaunted Celtics’ defense showed up last night.  And they once again put a major league hurtin’ on the Hawks.  Whenever the Hawks made a good run the Celtics amped up the intensity and extended the lead.

The series is getting pretty chippy.  Most of that chippiness seems to involve Horford.  He could be the next Tree Rollins (who bit Danny Ainge, not the other way around as people erroneously recall it) or Bill Lambeir.  That he didn’t understand the Flagrant Foul rule is amazing to me.  He didn’t go for the ball, but a takedown.  Don’t get angry about it.  And there were plenty of angry Hawks near the end of that game.  This could get ugly soon.

The person who should have been angry was Paul Pierce.  Kudos to Paul for maintaining composure despite a series of bad calls and non-calls.  He couldn’t catch a break from the officials who seem determined to send the Hawks to the line 3-4 times as often as the Celtics.  I’m not buying the line the Czar (btw- could they forcibly retire him?) is selling.  “The Celtics are a jump shot team.”  Okay, during the Chris Ford era that was true.  But did you see how many times Pierce and Rondo penetrated?  Did you see how many times KG, Powe and Perkins took shots in the paint (drawing contact)?  There was no logical, sensible reason for the FT disparity.

In light of all that- what was KG doing on the floor with 3 minutes to go????  Is Rivers trying to get him hurt?  With that kind of lead the bench should have played the last 8-10 minutes.

Pitching.  I am amazed at this string of pitching performances by Buchholz, Beckett, Lester and Dice-K.  The Red Sox offense has been on vacation, and squandered Clay and Josh’s stellar performances.  Thankfully they provided just enough for Papelbon to get the wins with walk-off hits.  Suddenly the Sox pitchers are going deep and holding teams to almost nothing.  5 runs in 4 games I think.  This is the staff we expected heading into the season.  Is this just a fluke, or the real deal?  The latter I hope.

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