As Spring Training ended, and the season began there was quite a bit of debate. Who was the fifth starter? Should Ellsbury lead off? Who’s the best option in the three spot? What about Papi/Lowell? When the questions and answers were sorted out, the line-up and rotation worked out something like this…
Look about right? This is the set of players we all expected to play 150 games this season. As the Sox head into this series against the Rays, this is how that line-up looks…
Ellsbury – Still on the DL, where he’s been for most of the season.
Pedroia – out for a month with a broken toe
Martinez – out for some time with a broken toe
Drew – just returned from hamstring issues
Cameron – after missing most of season, working way back into everyday line-up
Beckett – On DL
Matsuzaka – Just back from DL
Wakefield – would be in ‘pen were it not for Beckett’s injury, replaced by Buchholz…who left his last start with injury
Really? That all happened? Add in the fact that both Ortiz and Pedroia went through EXTENDED periods of being completely unproductive and Lester had a poor April yet again. How has this collection of emergency room patients fared? How far gone is the season? Second place in the division? Huh? Two games back? Huh? Second most wins in the majors? No, really.
How do you explain this success? I have no idea. I’m reminded of a Yankees game I was watching a few years ago. The Yankees had a young group of players in the game like Cano and Cabrera. One inning, the announcers would say how amazing the Yankees are for pulling together with the young guys and still winning. The next inning they’d mention how wonderful the organization was to have such great players to fill in when they needed them. I kept wondering which it was. Were the veterans pulling together to help carry the team despite the stiffs they had to play with? Or was the organization pure genius for having Mays and Mantle in the system waiting to fill in? That’s the question I have with this year’s Sox. Who gets credit? I’m guessing they all do.
Theo gets credit for having capable players in the system that can help in a pinch. They might not all have been household names, but they all can apparently do what they needed to do. The rest of the team also gets credit for pulling more than their weight to get them through. Beltre has been amazing at the plate. (Ok. Maybe Theo gets credit for that too) Ortiz and Pedroia shook off slumps and did what they needed to do. It’s been amazing to watch. And it’s scary to think that eventually, the team will be at full strength. Eventually the line-up will be just like it was supposed to be. Eventually everything will fire on all cylinders. Eventually, the rest of the league had better watch out. The Yankees could only get a 2-game lead with all of Boston on crutches. They’re in trouble once the bandages come off.
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