Thursday, April 29, 2010

About last night, baby: A glimpse of what’s to come?

Last nights stifling 2-0 Red Sox win over Toronto possibly gave a glimpse into the summer ahead for Sox fans. Half of us are going to love the pitching heavy ethos, while the other half are going to spend the summer yearning for the big boppers of old, Ortiz, Manny, Vaughn, Dante Bichette (cheeky chuckle on the latter!).

Watching Lester, Bard and Papelbon literally choke the life out of a potent Blue Jays lineup you had to imagine Theo Epstein sitting in his seat thinking to himself, ‘this is exactly how I envisioned it.’

Lester was superb. He was efficient, threw strikes and kept mixing his pitches up to confound the flailing Blue Jay batters. He struck out 11, and it ‘looked’ like an easy 11. At no stage did the Jays look like they had a clue what was coming. Lester has now not allowed a run in almost 13 innings straight and only gave up the one hit last night. He looks like an entirely different pitcher when he attacks the strike zone, pounding strike after strike through the medium of 95mph fastballs, cutters and sweeping curve balls. This was Lester at his finest, and the future looks so bright when you see outings as such.

Only one question on Lester’s night really, where are all the pessimistic goofballs this morning? Where are the nincompoops, yes, I went there, where are the nincompoops who actually wrote that Lester could do with a stint at Triple A? Good God almighty.

Thankfully order appears to have been restored on the court.

While Lester set the tone, Bard and Papelbon aggressively slammed the door shut. Both were overpowering. Bard continues to impress with his maturity (that 100mp fastball doesn’t hurt either) while Papelbon’s slider/splitter was literally explosive last night. He threw it a couple of times and the Jays who had to see it probably felt abused afterwards. It was a cartoon pitch, diving out of the strike zone with the Blue Jays batters swinging and missing at it like lost five year olds.

Just a completely dominating pitching performance stretched out nine innings long.

First Bucholz with his dominant start, now Lester, Bard and Papelbon. Whatever about the ramifications for the 2010 season, you couldn’t help but think ahead, the next couple of seasons down the line. Those Four are all home grown Red Sox prospects, they have come through the ranks and are now, it is fair to say, dominating at the Major League level. There are plenty of people who like to take shots at Boston for belonging to the ‘spend first’ crew like the Yankees and Mets. However they are being shortsighted to the fact that Boston has done an amazing job ‘growing its own’ as it were, and supplementing them with free agents that fit into the puzzle.

Put it this way, in two years time, what will the Yankee pitching situation look like? Maybe Phil Hughes will be there or there abouts, however the Yankees will probably be signing more $150 million dollar free agents in the near future, while Boston will be benefiting from teaching and growing the talents like Bucholz, Lester, Bard and Papelbon.

On a somewhat related note, it’s hard not to like what Tito Francona has done with the catching situation. Getting both Varitek and Victor Martinez in the lineup looks like a very aggressive and clever move right now. The pitchers looked really comfortable with Varitek behind the plate last night and Martinez was allowed swing the bat in the DH role without worrying about icing his knees later.

To add to this, Lester actually went out of his way to praise Varitek, in an interesting quote that may or may not mean a good deal;
“[Jason Varitek] did a great job with that, of kind of picking different spots to go after guys with different pitches.’’

Interesting comment to say the least.

Great night, great win, and all of a sudden it ‘feels’ like a baseball season just started.

Now if only we can get Beckett kick started…

100 mph worth of reasons to be hopeful
Picture credit belongs to katken.

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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports


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