It seems like everyone’s focus this spring is on the question of who will be our fifth starter. Obviously that’s a worthy focus because the identity of the fifth starter is important, and I think it says a lot about who’s managing this team that we don’t even have a sliver of a clue as to who it would be. But we should also keep in mind that there are other things to watch for, like making sure that Papi and Youk get on a roll early, that Ellsbury’s season last year was the norm rather than the exception, that the catchers are handling the staff properly, and that the starters whose identities we do know are healthy and effective.
We beat the Orioles on Tuesday, 5-4. Bard made his first start of spring and was awarded a no-decision. He pitched two scoreless innings. Aceves also fired two innings, striking out two and walking none.
Our game against the Jays on Wednesday ended in a tie at three. Lester stayed behind and pitched two and two-thirds innings in a B game against the Twins; he walked two, struck out one, and gave up a hit.
The Cards bested us, 9-3, on Thursday. Beckett pitched three scoreless innings; he walked none, struck out none, and allowed two hits, a single and a double. Jose Iglesias whacked a triple with the bases loaded and looks more like a starter with every passing game.
Buchholz took Friday’s 7-4 loss to the Pirates. He gave up two runs on three hits, struck out one, and walked none. He threw some really beautiful changeups. Papi hit his second homer of spring on a 2-1 count.
We shut out the Rays, five-zip, on Saturday. Bard delivered three scoreless innings; he struck out one, walked two, and gave up two hits. Thirty of his forty-nine pitches were strikes. He relied heavily on his changeup. It was his first three-inning stint in a single game since 2007, then a starting pitcher in the minors. Supposedly, though, it technically hasn’t officially been decided that he’ll be starting; I guess they want to ensure that his stamina and arsenal are sufficient. Aceves also delivered three scoreless innings; he struck out two, walked none, and gave up two hits. Salty coaxed a walk with the bases loaded in the first, BJ Upton’s error on Iglesias’s fly ball brought in another two runs, and Youk smacked an RBI double.
McClure says that Dice-K looks great. I just want to see if he pitches great.
Even after Papelbon is traded, it seems we can’t escape the drama that naturally seems to emanate from his person. He claims that Red Sox Nation is more hysterical, while Phillies fans are more knowledgeable about the game because the Phillies are in the National League. That’s ridiculous. First of all, it’s possible to be hysterical and knowledgeable at the same time; just because we love our guys, a fact from which he was all too happy to benefit when it suited him just fine, doesn’t mean we also don’t know what we’re talking about. We do indeed most definitely know exactly what we’re talking about. And the fact that the Phillies are in the National League means absolutely nothing and is completely irrelevant. I’m just saying.
In other news, the B’s lost to the Caps but beat the Leafs and Sabres. We have eighty-three points so far this season, two above the Sens in our division and tied with the Devils if, as division leaders, we were not automatically seeded second.