Saturday, June 19, 2004

Base running Blues, First Inning Frustrations. An annoying subplot has developed in this up and down BoSox season. In addition to sporadic hitting woes and regular defensive blunders, the Sox allow runs in the first inning at a maddening pace and run themselves into big outs and out of big innings. So today, as the Yankees beat the Dodgers, Pedro allowed four in the first, Varitek was held at third when he should have scored and David Ortiz ran into an out in the bottom of the ninth with Manny on deck. Yuck.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

The view from far, far away. I moved to South Carolina on Tuesday and perhaps as I compliment to Daryl's Singapore Sox Fan I'll call myself South Carolina Sox Fan. Or more accurately Spartanburg Sox Fan. All I know is that being away from my television and seeing nothing more of the games than the final scores from Denver is making me nervous. Schilling's bad outing. Back to back losses in Colorado. Five and a half games out of first. It's all taking a toll and I wonder if I'm contributing to the slide by not watching the games or paying enough attention. Enough already boys, let’s win some games.

Monday, June 14, 2004

The truth about Pokey. If you ever need to cite an example of why pitching and defense win baseball games, point to last night’s 4-1 Red Sox win over the Dodgers as empirical evidence. Pedro Martinez gave the Sox seven solid innings and Mike Timlin and Keith Foulke slammed the door. It was a defensive play Pokey Reese, however, that was game’s most exciting and important moment. You can view the acrobatic, run saving play on the game highlights at MLB.com. I've still never seen a player take a curtain call after a defensive play but last night Pokey earned the right to take one if he so chose. He is simply a spectacular defensive player. I suppose there are rules prohibiting players from winning Gold Gloves at two positions in one season, but who has been better at shortstop and there is little reason to expect him to be any less brilliant at second base.

Who's on second in the long run? I have no statistical analysis to add to the ongoing Pokey-Bellhorn debate. Bellhorn's offensive contributions are significant, but Pokey plays the game with a flair and an energy that pick up his teammates in a valuable way. To me, last night's arrangement – with Bellhorn at third, Pokey at second, Nomar at short – is a good solution. Next: what to do with Youkilis? And what if Mueller comes back? Francona has some good problems to solve in the next month or so.

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