We lost our Spring Training opener with the Twins, 8-4. And this is the part where everyone collectively remembers how insignificant the outcomes of Spring Training games actually are. They’re good workouts and warmups for the teams, and they’re essential for roster spot contests, but it really puts it in perspective for you when you see all the starters being unconditionally pulled by the fifth inning. However, there are still observations to be made. Beckett started and pitched two innings, allowing one run on two hits. Buchholz followed with two scoreless frames. Okajima followed with a truly uninspired performance, and Wheeler gave up a home run.
We beat the Twins on Monday, 7-6. Dice-K started and allowed a hit in the first inning, but that was it for his two innings. He threw twenty-five pitches, fourteen of which were strikes. All in all, not too shabby. Wake gave up three unearned runs, and Bard was terrible. Papi went two for two with a home run. In his debut, Crawford went 0 for 3. More importantly, Beckett was hit in the head by a ball during batting practice in left field. He’s been diagnosed with mild concussion symptoms, with an emphasis on the “mild.” He didn’t have to go to the hospital and was treated right at the park and was sent home to get some rest. He was back at the park the next day feeling good, and although he missed his next start on Thursday, he simulated an outing on Friday. It went well; he threw forty pitches over three innings to minor leaguers, and he’ll pitch again on Tuesday. Twins fans will tell you after Morneau’s bought with his concussion last season that it’s the most frustrating injury a player could possibly have due to its unpredictability; it could be mild one day and severe the next, and you might think that a sting on the fifteen-day DL is enough but you end up on the sixty. All I’m saying is that I’d rather he stay on the DL than be terrible and lose a whole bunch of games. I’m also glad his back is still fine, because Beckett on the DL with a concussion is better than Beckett not on the DL with a bad back. Recall all of last season. But we should focus on the positive: it doesn’t look too serious, and it’ll affect his Spring Training, but perhaps by the time the regular season rolls around, he’ll be good to go.
We beat the Twins again on Tuesday, 5-0. Lester cruised through his two innings, yielding one hit, one walk, and one K. Paps pitched a one-two-three fifth. Reddick and Lowrie each recorded an RBI, and Salty walked on eight pitches.
We lost to the Braves on Wednesday, 6-1. Lackey gave up a run, a solo homer, on four hits during his two innings; he threw forty-one pitches, twenty-five for strikes. He threw one two-seam, and the rest were all four-seams. We saw this from him last spring as well; he pitches to contact so he’ll be healthy by the time Opening Day rolls around. But he needs to find a balance between pitching to contact for that purpose and maintaining arm strength. Ellsbury hit, Pedroia walked on a full count, and Papi had three hits and a stand-up stolen base. Okajima struck out two in a perfect inning of work.
We were shut out by the Phillies on Thursday, 2-0. Stolmy Pimentel filled in for Beckett. Jenks debuted with a scoreless inning, and Wheeler allowed two hits. Oh, and Ruben Amaro, Jr., the Phillies’ general manager, said that we’re the best team in the Majors. Us. Not them. Us. Keeping in mind of course that this is Spring Training, not a preview of October, so that doesn’t count for much. Although I’m rather inclined to think that it does at least count for something. At the very least, it’s someone recognizing what Red Sox Nation already knows.
On Friday, we beat the Yankees. 5-3. I don’t care if it’s Spring Training, the regular season, or the postseason; I love beating the Yankees anytime, anywhere. Buchholz pitched three scoreless innings. Adrian Gonzalez took his first batting practice. He took eighty swings, five more than his scheduled amount. Everything looked good
On Saturday, the Marlins crushed us, 11-2. Dice-K allowed seven runs, five earned on six hits. It wasn’t pretty. Wake gave up two runs on five hits in two and two-thirds innings of work. Salty caught him for the first time and, given the fact that he’d hardly had any experience with knuckleballs in his career, he actually fared quite well. Paps turned in a scoreless inning, and Jenks was impressive. Meanwhile, Ellsbury and Crawford played into the seventh, with Crawford posting his first hit, against the Orioles. He went two for three with a walk.
Lester was supposed to start today but he’s got the flu, so Michael Bowden will fill in.
One other thing. Yes, the Cardinals failed to iron out a deal with Albert Pujols, despite the fact that he made it perfectly clear that he’s not interested in negotiating during the season. Why they didn’t just fork over the cash, I have no idea. It’s not like they could possibly spend it on anyone better. Whether the Cards will actually allow Pujols of all people to reach free agency is unclear. What is clear is that he is not coming to Boston. No matter how great of a player he might be, it makes absolutely no sense to bring him here. We just traded substantially for an awesome first baseman; we didn’t do that to purposefully not work out a deal with him, let him walk during free agency, and sign away all our financial resources for the next decade for one guy. So, provided we keep Gonzalez, which is basically the whole point of that entire move, what would we do with Pujols? We could make him a DH, I guess. But he’s thirty-one years old and headed for the Hall of Fame. He’s not a DH. He’s a first baseman. And he is not coming to Boston. But that’s fine. We don’t need him. What we do need is to work out a deal with Gonzalez before Pujols hits free agency so that Pujols in no way affects Gonzalez’s contract. Gonzalez is awesome, like I said, but if we’re not going to sign away all our financial resources for the next decade to Pujols, we’re not going to sign away half our financial resources for the next decade on Gonzalez just because he’s the next best thing. Will not happen. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if the deal is already done but they’re keeping it quiet until after the season starts to minimize luxury tax ramifications. The point is that we’re going to keep it reasonable and responsible. That’s just how we roll.
In other news, the Bruins beat the Oilers and shut out the Sens, and beat the Lightning. We lost to the Pens in overtime, but at least we got a point. So we crushed this week. By the way, we’re second in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the Flyers, but we’ll close that gap. Yup. This could be the year.
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