Buchholz made his debut on Sunday, when we barely eked own a win against Baltimore. After two out in the first, Buchholz followed a home run with two outs before finally ending it. It wasn’t pretty, and the ugliness proceeded until the end of the game. It’s the kid’s first start of Spring Training; there’s no cause for concern. Lester wasn’t so hot during his first start, either.
On Monday, Beckett pitched three perfect frames and struck out three. His off-speeds were fantastic, so he’s meeting his goal of improving those. By the way, contract negotiations with Beckett are already underway and seem to be progressing in a good direction. Score one for not having a repeat of the Jason Bay situation. Look for the Red Sox to offer around three years. Paps and Okajima threw hitless frames of their own after that. In fact, we almost had ourselves a no-no; the Cardinals didn’t pick up their first hit until the seventh.
On Tuesday, Wakefield blanked the Marlins for three innings. Two hits, one strikeout, thirty pitches, twenty-two of which were strikes. It was beautiful.
On Wednesday, Daniel Bard broke one hundred miles per hour. He’s so good, sometimes he scares me. Pedroia and Scutaro worked on double play drills, and they look like they’ve been turning two together for years. It’s great to watch, and it bodes really well for the regular season. If your double-play combo doesn’t mesh, you’re in deep trouble, but it seems like we’re good to go. Speaking of Pedroia, I would just like to mention that he has more doubles than strikeouts. How ‘bout that. Mike Cameron is amazed at how much cocky trash-talk comes out of Pedroia’s mouth, but to most of us that’s old news. I’ll say this, though, especially in light of that statistic: there are those who talk trash, and then there are those who talk trash and back it up. Dustin Pedroia talks trash only when he can back it up. And believe me, he always backs it up.
On Thursday, Lackey and V-Mart allayed any concerns about battery chemistry. I mean, from V-Mart’s standpoint, it’s hard not to have a feel for a guy you hit at a .476 average. That, and we had our first encounter with Jason Bay in a Mets uniform. That was pretty unpleasant. V-Mart, by the way, needs to work on throwing people out. In thirty-one games behind the plate for us last year, he threw out eleven percent of attempting stealers. That’s low and needs to increase.
Dice-K looked good during his bullpen session on Sunday and could be pitching in a game next week; let’s hope for the best.
And now to refute the weekly round of we-don’t-have-any-offense rumors that are as false this week as they were last week, and the week before, and the week before. We have four infielders who’ve scored at least one hundred runs at least once in their careers. And this is our first infield since 1951 that’s scored at least one hundred runs in a season.
Last but definitely not least, Nomar Garciaparra has officially called it a career. Five and a half years after he wrote his one-way ticket out of town, he returned wearing a “B” on his hat and a Five on his back. On Wednesday, he signed a one-day contract with the Red Sox and immediately announced his retirement:
The dream to play baseball in the big leagues started here. I really wanted to have that be the last uniform I ever put on.
You have to hand it to him for loving the organization so much that he wanted to be remembered as part of it, even though, five and a half years ago, he had a really strange way of showing it. Nevertheless, this was a great idea, one he suggested and one that the brass supported completely. That’s what I call closure to a career that started and ended here, in this city, in this park, and before this Nation. Of course, there’s no denying the badness, but we’ll always have the goodness, too. I mean, he’s Nomah. So, hats off to you; we’ve seen you through your best and worst; we watched you develop into what looked like the beginnings of an all-time great, we watched you leave, and we’ve seen you return. And through all the good and the bad, it’s been a great ride. And now, we’re going to watch him become a baseball analyst for ESPN, and if the commentary we heard from him a few months ago was any indication of what’s to come, we wish him good luck. Because between you and me, he’ll need it by the truckload. And that’s the end, I guess.
So not a bad week, all in all. Wake is fighting for all he’s worth for that fifth spot in the rotation, and it looks like Buchholz will have to step it up if he wants in on that, too. I’m just happy that Dice-K seems to be making good progress. We’ll see what next week has in store.
Not only did we lose to the Pens on Sunday, but Marc Savard is now on the injured reserve due to a head injury. Matt Cooke’s left arm and shoulder hit him in the head from behind. No, wait, it gets better. Cooke wasn’t penalized for the hit. Can you believe that? Savard was momentarily unconscious due to a blind-side hit and Cooke got off the hook. I mean, what? There should definitely be a rule on the books next season banning those officially. Meanwhile, just don’t do it. It’s dirty and dishonorable. And speaking of the Penguins, I don’t even want to comment on Sidney Crosby’s winning goal in the Olympics. But I congratulate Canada and the United States on gold and silver, respectively. It was a great game, and the medals were well-deserved. Anyway, we spent the rest of the week losing to the Leafs in overtime and thrashing the Flyers. We play the Habs tonight, and this is important because we’re barely hanging on to the eighth seed in the conference. By the way, the Caps have already clinched their division with ninety-nine points. Talk about dominant.
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