Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sox Opening Night

--This is for me and for everyone else: There's 161 more of these, guys.  Let's take it easy.

--The Sox are so good that it seems an outrage when they lose.  But as Bard said, "That's baseball."  (And as Chris Berman said, "That's why they play the games.")

--Speaking of Bard, you can't throw fastballs--even 95-97 mph fastballs--up, and out over the plate, without movement, and expect major league hitters not to hit them.  They will.  Hard.

--I have to admit that I stopped watching the game in the 8th inning and got in the car and did errands.  I did listen to the rest of the game on the radio, but I know that it was a frustrated cop-out.

--Despite the fact that I knew there were 161 more of these, I admit to thinking, "I waited 6 months for this?!?"

--If their starting pitching holds up, the Rangers look to be a complete team.  They should not be underrated.  Last year doesn't seem to be a fluke at this point.

--Hopefully this was a wake-up call for the Sox.  They did seem to have too much early swagger.  Let's walk the walk before we talk the talk right now.

--The Sox are a game out.  Shame on you if you took me seriously right there.

--I waited to hear from Francona before I did something else.  I realized that his and Belichick's schtick serve a valuable purpose: They calm you down for the next game.  Monotony is soothing, as is the party line.

--And the good thing about baseball--unlike football--is that the next game is the next day.  Which couldn't come fast enough after a frustrating Opening Day.  Just ask the Brewers.

--My better half won't stop calling "runs" "points."  This bothers me perhaps more than it should.  She also refers to "uniforms" as "costumes," which they technically are by definition--but I'm still right not to like it.

--Last night could've been worse: It could've been at Fenway.

--Papi has already had a better start this year than the last two.  Here's hoping he keeps it up.

--Ellsbury and Gonzalez look very good.  This year's offense, if everyone stays healthy, should be a juggernaut.

--Of course, you can say the same for the Yankees, the Rangers, etc.  (Sorry.)

--Pedroia looks recovered.

--Part of the reason the fans do not have a love affair with J.D. Drew is because he seems to be, by nature, a steel clad kind of guy.  Yesterday was perhaps an unfair example.  Francona felt he needed to switch his "everyday" lineup--in quotes because a stat- and numbers-driven manager will never have an "everyday" lineup, which Francona certainly doesn't--around to accommodate a tough lefty.  So he sat Drew and played Cameron, which doesn't make sense to me, but whatever.  (He played Ortiz, after all.)  The point here isn't that Drew shouldn't have let him do it; the point is that Drew seemed to be one of the guys Tito referred to this past week when he said that Opening Day was more important to some guys than to others, and he would take that into consideration when making out his lineup.  I'll, maybe unfairly, bet that Drew was one of those guys who don't care either way about Opening Day.  Sox fans will hate that.  They want unbridled passion.  That's why they howled when Nixon left and Drew came in: a kamikaze pilot got replaced by a wall.

--Speaking of which, another good thing about Ortiz's homer was that it was against a lefty.  He didn't have too much success with lefties these past few years.  I'll bet Drew has hit better against lefties the last few years, and therefore could've replaced Ortiz at DH.  But you can't get Big Papi going if you're already platooning him.  Good decision to keep him in, homer or not.  Ortiz needs the vote of confidence; Drew doesn't.

--Drew's gone next year, anyway, and he knows it.  Kalish, et al, are ready.

--I know it was just one (really bad) game, but Crawford looked like he was pressing to me.

--I'm not panicking, but if Bard is next year's closer, he can't have games like yesterday.  I saw too many of these last year.  He needs to show automatic closer's consistency, even if it's in the 8th inning all the time.  Mariano Rivera did that before he became the Sandman.  Bard needs to do it, too.

--To put a little perspective on yesterday, it should be noted that the Orioles beat the Rays last night.  That ain't gonna happen too often.

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