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Posts Tagged ‘Brad Wilkerson’

I had to laugh at that headline.  Can you really say a pitcher gave a vintage performance if that pitcher’s only twenty-five years old? Apparently.  Jon Lester’s first two starts were nothing like his third.  If it’s possible to describe a young pitcher’s performance as vintage, now would certainly be the time and yesterday would certainly be the performance.  In his first two starts, Lester had a total of five strikeouts.  Yesterday, he had nine, one shy of his career high.  The cut fastball was on.  Seven innings, two walks, no runs.  He gave up two hits to Robert Andino and two to Ty Wigginton, and that was it.  He continues to be undefeated against Baltimore.  And he even showed off his pickoff move, catching Wigginton at first in the third inning for his third of the year.

I have to say George Kottaras did a great job yesterday.  He started to give Tek the day off, one of quite a few this year as Tito’s strategy will be to rest the captain a little more often.  Kottaras caught Lester once before in Spring Training, which isn’t much preparation, so hats off to the new guy.

Heading into yesterday’s contest, our bullpen gave up only one earned run in nineteen and two-thirds innings and posted an ERA of 0.46 in its last three games.  And the corps did not disappoint.  Ramon Ramirez was spot-on as usual in the eighth.  Needless to say, I’m enjoying the benefits of that trade, and I think Coco Crisp is too, because he’s a starter by trade and starters need to play regularly.  True, Jacoby’s in the middle of a slump right now, but he’s already started to come around, and he’s certainly having no trouble at all in the field.  No errors in 149 games; can we say Gold Glove? Takashi Saito, on the other hand, gave up a run in the ninth, so while Ramirez is still maintaining his 0.00 ERA, Saito’s pushing 6.23.  Paps worked the previous two games, and pitching him three days in a row is pretty much out of the question, so Saito, having been a closer, was the logical choice.  In his career he’s converted 82 of 92 save opportunities, so we know he has it in him somewhere.  I just hope he gets the kinks out so I don’t have to hold my breath every time he steps out there.

The offense was quiet but got the job done anyway.  One RBI for Mikey Lowell and one for Pedroia for a final score of 2-1.  Ellsbury went two for four, the only multi-hit performance, so slowly but steadily he’s getting there.  Drew went hitless, ending his hitting streak at six games.  Papi went hitless, which unfortunately is something we’re coming to expect.  He’s only had one extra-base hit all year.  We know he’ll snap out of it, but when? I think before the series with New York would be as good a time as any.

Beckett’s suspension was reduced from six to five games, so with some creative finagling he won’t have to miss a start.  Honestly, he shouldn’t even have been suspended at all.  Just sayin’.  Brad Wilkerson has decided to retire after an eight-year Major League career.  And David Wells will be getting in the booth for TBS in the next few weeks.  Wells broadcasting baseball? This should be interesting.  I think it’s safe to say Bud Selig will be listening.

So we’re officially on a winning streak! Four games! And we’re tied with Baltimore for third, only three games out of first.  Toronto’s still up there with New York in second and Tampa Bay in last.  It’s only a matter of time before the AL East and the universe at large are made right again with Boston on top.  Today it’s morning ball; the Patriots Day game will start at 11:00AM.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a morning game.  Anyway, Masterson will be starting in lieu of Dice-K, and if we win today we sweep all four against the Orioles.  Nice.

Game 3 of Bruins-Habs tonight in Montreal.  We’ll get it done.  Even if Milan Lucic was suspended for tonight because it wasn’t clear whether it was his stick or his glove that hit Maxim Lapierre’s helmet.  I personally thought I saw his glove.  But the point is we’re good enough to weather it for a game and come out on top.  And there’s nothing quite like showing your arch-rivals who’s boss in their house.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis
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For Red Sox Nation, February means only one thing: pitchers and catchers! Truck Day, baby! On Friday the moving fans started the drive to Fort Myers.  Shipping out of Boston, as it were.  I’m telling you, I can feel spring already.  One month until Spring Training, and then it’s go time.  Anyway, Truck Day was as awesome as usual.  Johnny Pesky started the engines, the eighteen-wheeler left from the players’ entrance at Fenway, Wally the Green Monster was there of course, and new for this year: the equipment trucks will have in their inventory a box of well-wishing emails from the Nation.  Good luck for 2009.  The point is, it’s almost here.  I can feel it.  February’s cold, but Truck Day just puts that extra spring in your step (pun intended).  Baseball season’s right around the corner.  And we’re going to own it.  Wow, I love this time of year.

And we got to kick off our celebrations early, because Hank Aaron celebrated his 75th birthday on Thursday.  Always good to celebrate a baseball legend.

Some interesting developments to report.  Mark Kotsay’s having back surgery, which could actually make things very complicated.  Here’s why.  Mikey Lowell’s rehab is ahead of schedule, so that’s good, but we need insurance just in case.  In case of an emergency, the plan was to move Youk to third and have Kotsay cover first.  But now that Kotsay is having surgery, we’ll need someone to fill his role.  Enter Brad Wilkerson.  We signed him to a one-year minor league contract worth the Major League minimum of $400,000 with incentives: $2.1 million in roster and performance bonuses.  But it’s unlikely things will go that far; Kotsay is only expected to miss a month at most, depending on his rehab.  So we should be good.

Lastly on the baseball front, there’ve been some intriguing discoveries lately involving one A-Rod.  Or should I say A-Fraud.  Or perhaps more appropriately A-Roid.  Turns out he tested positive for two anabolic steroids in 2003, the same year he won the AL home run title and MVP.  Apparently this is how it all went down.  Major League Baseball has prohibited the use of steroids without a prescription since 1991, but there were no consequences for use in 2003.  But A-Rod tested positive at the time, and his information was found by federal agents with search warrants who seized all of the 0303 results in 2004 as part of a government investigation into ten Major League guys tied to BALCO, although A-Rod himself reportedly isn’t.  He’d been taking testosterone and Primobolan (scientific name: methonolone).  Apparently, Primobolan has few side effects and boosts strength with little bulk development.  It’s also pretty expensive.  Its use among players increased in 2003 because it’s detection period is short.  According to the FDA, Primobolan is not and was never an approved prescription drug in the United States.

Wow.  That’s all I can say.  Not that I’m surprised.  But yeah.  Wow.  I think I’ll let this one speak for itself.

On the hockey front, the Bruins are faring very well.  Recent conquests include the Rangers, the Habs, the Flyers, and the Senators.  Even when we lost to the Flyers yesterday, it was in overtime, so we still get a point.  We have 85 points right now.  That’s six more than the Sharks, probably the biggest disparity we’ve enjoyed all season.  We could be in line for the Presidents’ Trophy.  Even this late in the season, I still can’t get over how completely dominant we are.  It’s unbelievable.  Two years ago we were at the bottom of the pile.  Last year we lost the season series to the Habs and barely held out to the final game of our last playoff round.  This year nobody can touch us.  It’s fantastic.  I love it.

Boston.com/Steve Silva

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