When I go back and assess whether a baseball season is truly enjoyable, I look for two things: success and “moments.” Success is pretty easy to define for a Sox fan and it generally means a playoff appearance and some post-season success. And as far as “moments” go, well, I like my season to have a half-dozen walkoffs, some nice comebacks, a couple big wins over the Yankees, hopefully a shot off Mariano, and a no-hitter is always nice. Last season, the Sox had some success, but they had very few moments and as a result, I don’t remember the season too fondly.
Fast forward to 2010, and this crappy team has had two ”moments” in the last two nights, the first being the RS debut and walkoff from Darnell McDonald and the second being a walkoff to end one of the better bullpen duels you will ever see. I am not so sure this Sox team will give me anything on the success front this season, but they are off to a decent start in the “moments” category. For the record, I have McDoanld’s debut ranked as a “Tier I” moment and, as such, I think it will find a place on my year-end top-10 list. Meanwhile, I am throwing the Youkilis walkoff into the Tier II bin. A nice moment but hardly one that will stand the test of time.
* The Sox finally had something to build upon and what does Josh Beckett do with Tuesday night’s spoils? He comes out wild, walks four guys over the first two frames and stakes the Rangers to a four-run lead. That is more ass than ace. And it wasn’t as if Beckett was getting squeezed. Nope, he was simply pulling his fastball to the left. And on those occasions where he was around the plate, he got smacked around. Now Beckett improved, but when the Sox rallied and handed him a three run lead, he gave it back with a three-run bomb in the seventh. All in all, it was about a C minus performance on a night when the Sox really needed a B plus. And another night where this vaunted set of starters got knocked around.
* Much has already been said and written about the woeful Sox starters but lost in the shuffle is the excellent job that the bullpen has done of late. In his last two appearances, Bard has been DOMINATING, and even MDC looks like he found the fountain of competence. Last night, the pen through five innings, gave up one hit and racked up six Ks. Even more telling, they threw 58 pitches and 44 were strikes. (As good as Bard has been, I would trade him in a minute for Ranger Neftali Perez. HOLY CRAP!)
* Tonight’s lineup card will be telling. With Mike Lowell swinging a good bat and with the Rangers throwing a good lefty, I suspect that Lowell will be in the lineup and Terry Francona will confirm the fact that the Sox now have a platoon at DH. But the situation appears to be even worse than that for David Ortiz. When Lowell was kept in last night to hit against a tough tough RIGHTY, it spoke volumes about how much confidence Terry Francona has in David Ortiz right now. Let’s see here …..Ortiz now sits against lefties and tough righties, meaning he is basically in there against soft-throwing right-handers. If that is the case, Papi’s days on the 25-man roster seem pretty numbered.
* It can’t last too much longer but what a spark Darnell McDonald has been. Remember folks, he was on fire at Pawtucket so he brought a hot bat to Boston but this is ridiculous. At this point, it would be insane to sit him until he takes a couple o’fers. Surely, he will be in there to face CJ Wilson tonight.
* That is the Jason Varitek I know and hate. Can’t swing, can’t throw, and can’t coax anything more out of Beckett. The captain had a nice start but that just means that the inevitable reversion will be oh so painful to watch because Vartiek’s mean is about the worst in all of baseball.
* The stolen base watch: Three more last night brings the total on the year to 34. And Tek is now 0-11.