Most of you know what happened yesterday. If not, I bring you the recap written by The Catbird. In short, it was a game of ‘almosts’. I followed the game on CBS Sportsline (by far the best website I have found to follow the game) and to me, it looked as if Clement was doing fine. The pitch counts were being racked up, but he wasn’t being blown away. Save for a couple screwups by the defense, and Clement goes five, six scoreless innings. Instead, he pitched 91 balls for 4.1 IP, five hits, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. Pavano ended up at 6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Clement actually through 4.1 IP had give up less hits than Pavano.
If it wasn’t for Edgar Renteria … not off to a great start, are we? Hopefully Edgar pulls it together in the next four games (@ NYY, then three @ TOR) or he’s being booed at the home opener. (Not by me, but the masses. I’m not a booer.) Anyways, so the Red Sox scraped together two runs to go into the ninth down a run. Edgar Renteria strikes out (he could be pressing much like Orlando Cabrera did when OC first arrived … but OC did rifle a HR in his first game) and I was pretty upset. I called for Jason Varitek to teach Edgar what it’s all about to be a Red Sox, and he did – rifling a shot into the bleachers. Johnny Damon almost essentially ended the game for the Red Sox, bashing a long home-run, going, going, going … into Gary Sheffield’s glove. Rrrrrrrrrrrgh.
Then Derek Jeter takes three balls, then one down the pipe that he expects to be a ball. No, it’s a strike. Another one down the pipe, and this time Jeter pulls out the most annoying thing EVER – bending down, virtually eyeballing the ball into the mitt. I HATE that – it’s like he’s trying to wrangle a walk when he does that. Then he fouls a ball that is one row away from being caught by Millar … then shoots a little line-drive with his inside-out swing (which I have to admit is among the best in the game) into the bleachers. Game over.
Oh well. Two games a season does not make. We were down 0-2 in the ALCS as well, yes?
With the exception of Renteria we looked a lot more smoother than in game 1, and I’m pretty confident that we’ll start clicking soon.
Tomorrow, Tim Wakefield takes the hill to face off against the blasted Mike Mussina who puts up mediocre numbers against any other team not hailing from Boston. Winning this game is not utterly important (we took six of seven in April last year from the Yankees, and they still won the East, no?) but it sure would assuage a lot of Red Sox fans.
It’d assuage me, that’s for sure.
Off on a tangent – the bullpen. I’ve been pretty impressed with the bullpen so far.
Boston IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Myers 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 Neal 0.1 1 2 1 1 0 0 27.00 Embree 0.2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.00 Timlin 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 Mantei 0.2 1 3 2 3 1 1 27.00 Halama 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 Halama 1.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 Mantei 0.2 0 0 0 1 0 0 13.50 Myers 0.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 Embree 0.2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 Foulke 1.0 1 1 1 0 1 1 9.00
With the exception of Matt Mantei’s first relief appearance (and to an extent, Blaine Neal) this bullpen is not looking bad at all. It could actually end up being a strength, which would be very nice, indeed.
Our problem is not the pitching right now. We do need better production from our starting rotation, but the bullpen has picked the slack up. It’s the offense. Scored twice in the first game, thrice now. The offense needs to get clicking, and to do that, Trot Nixon, Manny Ramirez, and Edgar Renteria need to step up. Trot Nixon left five men on base yesterday, and both Manny and Renteria have contributed NOTHING. I like the idea of batting Nixon second, but we NEED him to produce to get a bridge to Manny and Ortiz, the power couple. With Manny striking out, the power couple is reduced to one. Also, Renteria is supposed to provide a great bridge to Varitek and Mueller which could combine to be a dangerous combo should Renteria come around. I’m still not hot on the idea of Bellhorn batting second, but if he continues to hit and Nixon and Renteria continue to be cold, Nixon should drop to six, Renteria to nine, and Bellhorn to second.