Sorry for the layoff! Work demands, buying my father's house (closing in 7 weeks), selling or renting mine, packing my house up, packing my father's house up, dealing with lawyers and real estate agents...I'd rather be blogging, believe me. So I apologize to the readers of this blog; I realize now that I left for over a month without explanation. So...my bad.
Having said that, a few quick things:
--The Cameron signing confused me to begin with, as Cameron has made a long career of a talented could-have-been. Four homers in a game; Gold Gloves; All-Star appearances...and yet his career has to be called a disappointment. Long regarded as one of the classiest guys in the game, you have to guess that it's this reputation and personable ability (plus the obvious potential) that has kept him in the game. He was not a Sox type of player: never walked much; didn't work the count; didn't hit for average or have a high on-base percentage. Homers and defense, and some speed when healthy. That's it, and that's all he's ever been. His defense must have been spectacular to make up for what he couldn't do offensively. But the Sox signed him to be the starting center fielder and gave up on others, which never made sense to me. Maybe I'd be taking it easier on him if he hadn't been so consistently injury-prone for his whole career, but that's a combination--always injured; low batting average and on-base percentage; doesn't work the count--that I wouldn't want in a player. I wouldn't have signed him, and I don't have any clue as to why Theo did. Theo admitted his mistake in recent interviews, basically saying that he hoped the injuries would be over. But they weren't, and then Cameron lost his abilities as well, which was due to happen to a 38 year-old player who's always injured. I wish him well, as he's apparently a helluva guy, and it's true that he never complained when his role was reduced in Boston.
--Michael Ryder is gone, which means the honeymoon's over and the business has reared its head.
--Ortiz needs to play in NL games. The offense isn't the same without him. He's hitting over .340 against lefties, too, which has to be at least 100 points higher than the last few years. I'm happy about his resurrection, but I worry about the cause.
--Their performance against the Phils doesn't bode well for a possible World Series, though chances are the Sox wouldn't throw the pitchers at them that they did.
--Losing 2 of 3 against the Phils is understandable. Doing the same against Pittsburgh? Not so much.
--Pujols is batting .275 and looking respectably average. Is he playing injured?
--The Brewers are crazy if they don't resign Fielder. They sell out almost every game; they're the only team, good or bad, in their area, and fans come from three or four states to see them. And their park looks great. Losing Fielder is the first step in losing all that. If I'm the Brew Crew, I let him fill in the amount.
--Losing football would be unfortunate. But I can do without basketball, a sport where only the last minute in both halves actually matter.
--Laz Diaz, homeplate umpire tonight, not only hasn't seen many strikes that broke the plane (mostly for the Astros), but he also didn't see Pedroia blatantly screaming at him as he ran down the first base line after a hit in the 7th. How do you miss that?
--The cameras didn't miss it, and it got shown many times. If he gets fined by the league, he can thank NESN's cameras and directors.
--The American League needs to win the All-Star Game. (See above Sox/Phils comments.)
--The above comment shows the travesty of the All-Star Game, by the way. Thanks, Fox.
--Speaking of Fox, where else could you find an analyst who calls the President a d--- on camera? I hope that starts a wave of disapproval of all "analysts" and "reporters" who opine and don't report. Everything goes in waves; this is a good place to start the ejection of all "news" that isn't.
--I'll say it again. I'd rather see Lowrie and the AAA phenom at short, too, but enough of the hate towards Scutaro. He's a .280 singles and doubles hitter who plays average (with slight dips and spikes) defense, who right now is hitting .279 and playing average defense. He is what he always was. I don't love it, either, but expecting him to be anything else besides what he has always been is foolish.
--Adrian Gonzalez has shown that the Sox are better off with him at first and Youk at third then they were with Youk at first and Beltre at third, or with Victor Martinez at DH (instead of Ortiz, who they had the vision to resign) and Youk and Beltre in the infield. Martinez is a bad defensive catcher and a below-average game caller, and only adequate at first, while Gonzalez and Youk are lights out. Beltre, after a stellar start, has fizzled lately, though his RBI totals are still good--but you'd expect that, with him batting where he is in the Rangers order. In other words, Theo was right again, and I admit that I was slow to appreciate his decisions with these guys. You can't play--or pay--ALL of these guys.
--Salty and Tek are hitting decently enough, after all. Their platoon is a better hitting situation than are most teams' catchers. A quick look at the All-Star eligible catchers show that only McCann can hit well at all on his own. No more Pudges or Piazzas out there otherwise right now. A good hitting catcher with average defensive abilities has a chance to stick around a long time with an MLB team.
--Between the Sox, Yanks and Rays, one will win the division and one the wild card. One will go home, but still be the third-best team in the American League. It's a tough division.
--The Yanks and Rays are overachieving right now. Look for the Rays, who can pitch but not hit, or the Yanks, who can hit but not pitch, to fall away.