Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bagels with Sox

With the Varitek Flu raging through the Red Sox clubhouse (fortunately this means they are ill, not striking out repeatedly with runners on base), the Sox have had to mix and match their rotation in order to get through the next few days. Josh Beckett was wiped out by a stiff neck, and David Paule, while ineffectual, at least ate a few innings until the offense picked up the pace. In fact, the lineup has finally started clicking, especially the top of the order. Be it Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, or Jacoby Ellsbury, the top of the lineup has carried this team along with contributions from J.D. Drew and Julio Lugo (as in, oh yeah, that is what we were expecting from them LAST year!).

While the bullpen as a whole has been iffy (Brian Corey? Julian Tavarez? Kyle Snyder? at least two of the three have been bumped out of the mix), at least Jonathan Papelbon, Oki-Doki, and Manny Delcarmen (when not facing the recently released Frank "Big Hurt" Thomas) have been decent. Since Mike Timlin retired last year after the World Series, I guess three is no need to mention him. Wait, he is still there? Seriously? 14.54 ERA?

The rotation has been inconsistent. I have no doubt that Josh Beckett will be fine in no time and that the innings saved in March and April will benefit in September and October. Daisuke will win 15 to 20 this season as well. Jon Lester seems to be figuring things out. While I am not sure that Clay Buchholz does not need additional seasoning, at least his six shutout innings and win the other day puts him ahead of the Yankees dynamic duo of youngsters now 0-5. Shaky Wakey is simply Shaky Wakey. Same old, same old there.

Considering the travel to Japan, the West Coast, Canada, and then the Yankees, the Sox are in pretty good shape all in all at the 1/10th point of the season. No, they did not start 15-2, but they are certainly better off than anyone should have hoped for at this point of the season.

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