The Boston Red Sox square off one more time this week with the New York Yankees, with Tim Wakefield knuckling against the Yankees own reclamation project, Shawn Chacon, fresh off a number of disastrous years in the thin air of Denver, Colorado. The Sox and Yanks split the first two games of the series at the House that Ruth Built after the Red Sox swept a one-game set (due to a rain-out) at Friendly Fenway.
While it is far too early to attach any significance to early season results, it is apparent that a number of points have been raised:
1. Just how close is Curt Schilling to becoming the Curt Schilling of 2002-3? Or is that Curt Schilling gone forever? His performance against the Yankees was classic Schilling save for the three meatballs he left over the middle of the plate to Jason Giambi (who looks suspiciously like the pre-2005 Jason Giambi again), Horsehead Posada, and A-Rod (who may be as detested as Jeter in these parts, but at least his stats back-up the hype. A-Rod, love him or hate him, will likely be the first major leaguer to hit 800, 900 or 1,000 home runs). Schilling has not pitched too well as of late, which makes me wonder if everything is as hunky-dory with the ankle as he claims. Or, maybe it is just the typical May Malaise that hits starting pitchers as they finally get their arms stretched out and then have adapt again to how they are throwing now that there is no more tightness in the shoulder and arm.
2. Josh Beckett is, and will be, the Man. I do not care if Henley Ramirez hits .333 with 30 HRs and 125 RBIs for the next ten years, it was a great deal. Beckett is a legitimate number one starter for the foreseeable future and is only (almost) 26. There will be more shortstops like Ramirez coming out of the Dominican Republic, but there are very few right-handed starters with the ninety-five plus MPH fastball, great curve and slider, aggressiveness, and the persona of Josh Beckett.
3. Mike Lowell is exactly what those in the know said he would be: a doubles machine who is going to tattoo the Green Monster so much that Wally will be filing a restraining order and calling DSS. Lowell is spectacular in the field, along with former Florida teammate Alex Gonzalez, and both will end up hitting better than anyone thought in March or April.
4. What the Red Sox need more than anything is that spark that Coco Crisp brought to the team in early April. Mark Loretta is a better hitter when he can hit and run (warning: hit and run at your own risk with Kevin Youkilis at first base), and create opportunities for Big Papi to see some strikes with men on base.
5. Big Papi and Manny are still better than everyone save for Albert Pujols and whoever the hell else St. Louis throws up there to hit behind him. Not to get off the subject of Manny & Ortiz, but how stupid do you have to be to throw Albert Pujols a strike with Jim Freaking Edmonds hobbling to the on-deck circle with his .243 batting average? And no, I would gladly pitch to Scott Rolen rather than Prince Albert if they put him in the four hole. Ditto for Florida with Miguel Cabrera. Can anyone name who hits behind him in the batting order? Well, I can say Mike Jacobs since he is sitting on my bench in fantasy baseball in case Carlos Delgado gets shot by right-wing nut when keeps stirring up controversy for some of his anti-US statements. Hey, I have no love for the Dumb Monkey from Texas, but respect the country that allows you to earn hundreds of millions of dollars playing a game the rest of play simply because we love it.
6. OK, now Jerry Remy is providing special favors for Derek Jeter? What the #$&@? I almost punched the TV when I heard the Rem-Dawg lecturing the NESN viewers about how great Jack Wilson if he played in Pittsburgh, I mean, Jeter is and how we should appreciate the way he plays the game. I appreciate the way his average has dropped 70 points in the last two weeks and he blew the first game against the Sox by dropping a pop-up and running the bases like Manny.
7. Robinson Cano is the best player in the Yankees infield East of A-Rod. Cano has a beautiful swing, plays hard, runs well, and is content to keep his mouth shut and hit seventh in the order when anyone with half a brain knows he belongs in the 2 or 5 hole. I hate the Yankees, but I love Cano. Why he is overshadowed by the blowhards, big egos, cavemen, (possibly) steroid abusers, and bozos in New York is beyond me. I would give up anyone not named Papelbon or Beckett for the kid if the Yankees were dumb enough to give up on him as they did with Alfonso Soriano.
8. Bernie Williams should be suspended a minimum of 30 games for tossing his helmet at the umpire on Tuesday night. What the #$&@? Someone tell me that what he did was not worse than Delmon Young tossing his bat at an umpire in Pawtucket last month? The elder statesman of the distinguished Yankees is a black mark on the game right now if you ask me. MLB needs to suspend Bernie IMMEDIATELY! Carl Everett would be banned for the season if he did anything so stupid. Someone wake up Sandy Alderson, Bud Seelig, and the rest of the non-existent leadership of the game.
9. Big Unit & The Big Schill: Instead we got the big washouts. Both ended up being checked out by Doctors after they both got bombed. I still say they should have faced each other.
Of course, outside of the Northeast, the Red Sox versus the Yankees are not the big deal, but who cares what the rest of the country thinks. Boston and New York never did, and never will.
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