Wednesday, May 4, 2016

These 8:10 Starts are the Worst

And, not just because it means I have to wait another hour before Red Sox baseball.

When it comes to the Sox, I have a bit of a schedule. The regular 7:05 starts it into it nicely. I've finished most everything I need to have accomplished by then. It also means that the game will be over early enough that I won't regret it too much in the morning. It's almost like the baseball gods checked with me before scheduling it.

The west coast games, are the opposite. 10:05? What kind of a start time is that? You expect me to hang around for three extra hours waiting for the game to begin? No thank you. And, I know going in that there's no chance to catch the whole game. I'll be lucky if I could make it an inning before really hating myself the next day. So, I don't usually even bother. Just hit the sack at a regular time, and check the results in the morning. Thankfully there aren't a ton of those games...especially ones that end up during the week.

Then there are the 8:10 games. I have to wait a little longer for them, but it's not like it'll kill me. It's really the end time. With the 8:10 start, I can listen to the beginning, again with no regrets. I can get a good six or seven innings in. Last night, it was just a bit more. But, here's the problem. By then I'm into the game. No way am I turning it off with just a couple innings to go. I need to finish it out at that point. So I do. And I regret it the next day. Then I need to do it again. So, those are the killers. Too late to catch it all, but too early to ignore. It's torture.

How about you?

When is your perfect game start time?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Do You All Owe Panda an Apology?

Is this John Lackey all over again?

You remember. Everyone killed Lackey in 2011. He was terrible. The worst pitcher in baseball history. Then it was revealed that he was forcing himself to play through a pretty significant injury. That’s why he was terrible. He was sacrificing himself to try and help the team. He should have been celebrated like Schilling was, not buried.

Then we come to Panda.

He’s lousy. He’s so fat! The guy’s so fat he can’t even throw! He can’t even bend over far enough to field a grounder! He’s not even as good as a mediocre minor leaguer at third base! What? His shoulder is strained? He’s so fat he hurt himself on the bench! Did he strain his shoulder because his fork was too heavy?

But, reports are that his shoulder is actually a mess. We’re not quite sure when this happened. But, since we can’t pinpoint a time, wouldn’t that suggest it’s been a while? At least all season? After all, he’s played so little this year that if he hurt himself, we would have noticed. At least while he was struggling through his fielding in Spring? At least while he, for some reason, needed to play for his job?

Maybe it’s been bothering him for a while? Maybe that’s why he had a sudden drop in production last year? Maybe he’s been pulling a Pedroia. Acting tough while trying to play through an injury when you’re actually hurting the team. Pedroia gets applauded for that. Panda, apparently, gets scolded.

And that’s too bad. What if Panda has been doing exactly what he thought that everyone wants him to do? He didn’t whine. He didn’t blame his injury. (People hate it when you do that, for some reason.) He suffered through it quietly. Yeah, it’s stupid to do that. But, the rest of Red Sox nation thinks it’s the thing to do. 

Maybe it’s time fans stop doing that. Maybe if you’re injured, you should just tell everyone. Maybe you should rest so it gets better. Maybe if Panda had done that, his performance wouldn’t have suffered. 

Maybe people would call him lazy. 

But, apparently they’ll do that either way.

Monday, May 2, 2016

How’s That for a Weekend?

Sweeping New Yorkers can never ever be a bad thing. So, all of Red Sox Nation has reason to be having a very good Monday.

Of course, people are asking a logical question.

What does this all mean?

That question comes from a couple places. The first is the standard group of annoying pessimists. You know the ones. They’re still leftover thinking that the Sox only do well in April to kill your soul in July. Those people will never be happy, and there’s really nothing more I can say to or about them.

There is a more legitimate angle to question the success, though. Actually, a couple of them.

Have they just been playing really bad teams? Are they just hot right now? Are they just lucky that they’ve been able to cover for the fact that David Price has been terrible?

Three actual questions, with varying degrees of legitimacy. Let’s address them, back to front.

Have they been lucky? Maybe. Usually when your ace is the worst pitcher on your staff, you don’t win a lot of games. But, the Sox have been able to cover for him. Not sure that’s lucky as much as a byproduct of having a really good offense. After all, the Sox have had some bad luck as well. Kimbrel and Koji have both already blown up. Their third baseman got hurt. So, it’s not like 2013 where everything has just gone their way. They’ve had breaks both good and bad. Just like you’d expect over a full season.

Are they just hot? Maybe. But, as we just discussed, it’s not like they’re just firing on all cylinders. They’re not at a point where everything is going their way. Hanley Ramirez hasn’t shown his power yet. Neither has Xander. Nobody in the rotation is pitching out of their minds. So, if some people fall off their pace, there’s an expectation that others will be there to take their place. I don’t see a team on fire. I see a good team.

Have they just been playing bad teams? Maybe. They’ve played a lot of them. After all, almost half of their games have been against the Braves, Astros, and Yankees. But, they’ve played Baltimore too. And around sixty percent of their games have been against division foes. So, if they’ve been playing bad teams, they’re going to keep playing those teams. A lot. All season. If the Sox started the season by going 3-1 against Atlanta, that wouldn’t be a good sample. But, they’ve played a good cross section of the teams they’ll be playing a lot of as the season progresses. I’d say that’s a pretty good start.

Does this mean that the moth of April is completely representative? No. Do I assume the Sox are going to keep playing .600 ball? Probably not.

But, have they been showing things that, as a whole, I can’t imagine will continue? No. Sure, Shaw will remember that he’s a .260 hitter at some point. But, it would make sense that Hanley would remember that he is a power hitter. Porcello may regress a touch. But, Price should improve. So, they should continue, even if the other half of the team is hot while the other is cold. It's the way it should work towards a pretty good season.

It's sure started off that way.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

I Did It!

If you've been paying attention, you'll notice that I just finished my personal challenge of posting something every day in April!

I know. I expect the Presidential Proclamation any day now congratulating me.

As much as it was a challenge, though, it was an experiment. Could i do it? Could I do it without tossing out fluff? Could I do it without driving myself crazy? Could I use it to improve the future of the blog?

I hope the answers to the last two are "yes." One of the things I discovered while trying to keep to the schedule is that there are more times in my day that are available for blogging. I had been trying to keep a fairly rigid schedule of posting in the mid afternoon. I'm not really sure why. Most of it had to do with Facebook posts, actually. But, a couple days I missed that goal for one reason or another. That's when I found out that posting later in the day doesn't doom the blog. (I'm sure I already knew that. But, it was just amplified) So, going forward I'll be a little easier on myself if I can't meet my own schedule of events.

I also found myself trying to look for different angles to write about. That was a good mental exercise for future posts. It's a way to think beyond the "The Red Sox played. Hanley is great at first base" monotony that might otherwise creep in. I suppose it's up to all of you to decide if that was a good thing, or not.

Going forward? I won't be posting every day. I actually almost purposely skipped today as a way to illustrate that point. But, I can certainly see myself posting a lot more than I used to. Hopefully that makes all of you pretty excited. Because that was the biggest takeaway for me.

I can write lots of post, and still write good ones.

I hope you agree.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Well, There You Go

Just when things were looking bad, David Ortiz produced another Papi Moment.

But, we certainly wouldn't want to forget the moment that happened before that. We've come to expect these heroics for Ortiz over the years. But, Jackie Bradley Jr has not been known for his bat. So, it's ironic that in the same game where he actually misplays a ball he also ties the game with a clutch hit. It was the exact situation that buries bad teams. You're facing a starter that had given you fits all night. Get a couple guys on, and your number nine hitter strikes out. But that's not what happened. Bradley came through in that situation, tying the game, and chasing the starter. It was wonderful.

It was also a reminder that Bradley has been doing that a lot lately. A game winning RBI the other night. A home run to provide a 1-0 victory another night. A game tying double late in last night's game.   Frankly, if Bradley does nothing else at the plate, he's already added enough to his otherworldly defense to make it a productive season. But, I don't imagine he's done wowing us at the plate.

And neither is Ortiz. He never seems to care how good the Yankees bullpen is supposed to be. He didn't even wait around last night. He guessed correctly on the first pitch, and took advantage. Just like he always does.

So, if your goal is to win every series at home, the Sox are off to a great start in this series. Parcel and Price are the next two starters, so you have to like the chances of taking at least one of those. Last night's game was the wild card. And it came up Sox.

Can't wait to see what happens next!

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