Congratulations, Lester, for the nod and for the fantastic season.
From last year, taking the Red Sox to its final win for the World Series, to a no-hitter, and one of the most solid performances of any Red Sox starter this year, to being the one to kick off the post season, game one.
Hell of a life, kid. Live it, love it, enjoy it.
I leave and the team goes through a five game losing streak? Where’s the Red Sox?
It’s nice to come back to a game where Lester shows his stuff. A 9 inning shut-out. Good going, kid.
On other news.. I’m slowly settling into my new home in Thailand. Upon my first week here, I met a coworker who is a self-proclaimed Red Sox fan. He has the Bahstan accent so perhaps he really is fan enough to match me.
But my belongings are still en route, leaving me to live out of my suitcase for a while longer. *sigh* And we didn’t have success setting up Slingbox before I left. We’ll have to wait until my brother goes home to set it up. As soon as he does, Red Sox watching parties, it’s totally on! At least on the weekends.
I am wholy impressed by how the Red Sox had picked out some superb young players. And how those players are being to show their raw talent.
Sure, we’ve got Dice-K with his 7-0 streak. We’ve got Beckett who is still considered one of the strongest pitchers in major league. But the starts this week are the new kids. The guys who broadcasters still call “the next generation of pitchers” as if they haven’t been considered full pitchers yet.
Masterson is one of the newest examples. I remember watching him at Fort Myers during spring training. He didn’t really do well down there. But time and warming up into the minors have treated him well. He gave the Red Sox two impressive starts, rendering his first to a no-decision which was not his fault.
What awes me about Masterson is his sheer physical pressence. Even in a sport of big guys, at 6’6″ he is on the taller end. It’s not the height though. As a rower I am constantly surrounded by guys that tall and sometimes a few even taller. But with gangly limbs like that, the kid is only going to get stronger. I would hate to be on the otherside of his pitch.
Indeed, the Sox has invested in the next generation of players. But I bet even some of them are surprised by how quickly the investments are paying off.
It’s been over 24 hours. But how can you not like a kid that talks like this?
Time for RedSox.com and Boston.com to update their sites from those features of the Sept 1 no-hitter to include today’s amazing feat. Lester. What a kid.
May 19, 2008. Another date to remember.
After last year’s game, Buchholz turned into Red Sox Nation’s sweetheart, having many fans root hard for his being brought onto the starting line-up.
But, Lester had always held a soft spot in my heart. As a cancer survivor, he demonstrated poise, perseverence, and amazing strength to defeat the disease and come back to professional baseball. His clinching the final World Series game last year was so fitting. What is so goose-bump inducing is that he will only continue maturing and getting better.
The front office is definitely seeing payoff in their investments in the younger players.
Probably the biggest star by the long run would be Varitek. The team owes him much for leading two young pitchers into exciting milestones. This brings his record of caught no-nos to an impressive 4.
What amused me is the rather neutral and bland post-game email Red Sox sent out:
.. watching the Red Sox on HD. And, traitorously wondering if I could pull off sneaking a peak to watch my usual Friday evening show of Num3ers.
– Really really rooting for a demotion of Lugo
– Lester doesn’t seem to be varying his pitches.
– Youkilis doesn’t look natural stealing, but good for him!
Final thoughts before I hit the sack.
The Red Sox has four games to play in Japan. Two exhibition games against Japanese teams and two against the A’s as the season opener.
A lot of the focus has been on Beckett and his back problems and how he might not be pitching in the opener against the A’s. There there’s the speculation on who fills in the “ace” slot and well as who gets the honour of taking the first game.
All this comes down to symbolism, really. The concept of an “ace” is identifying one individual who is deem the “best” and the one to get the team started on the right foot. It’s no guarantee that he will get the team a win. It’s no guarantee that there is one clear ace in a team.
For the Red Sox, there was. Beckett had the only 20 wins in the majors last year (it pleases me to still see his stat sitting on the mlb.com page with the gigantic number 20). He was the pitcher that gave the team their few wins in the end of the month when the team went through a slump of sorts, dropping the 10+ win lead over the Yankees down to periously close to 0. His second game led to the pivotal turn-around on a losing streak against the Indians for the ALCS. There’s something about the way he pitches and the way he works that encourages the team and makes them think they can win. It is Beckett that made me understand the term and the meaning of an “ace.”
Part of it, I suspect, is psychological. Yes, he pitches well. But even the games when his pitching was not as clean as it could be, the team’s offense would be more aggressive and the run support would start coming in. There’s something about the assurance of having one of your strongest teammates playing side-by-side with you.
So, back to the opener. No one has mentioned who would pitch in the exhibition games. Well, technically, they don’t count towards the season, yes, but those are more of outreach or ambassadorial functions, aren’t they?
Dice-K: By default would probably have had to pitched at one of the two games against the A’s, partly because he’s in Japan, and mostly because he still remains a Japanese symbol and MLB wants to convey the gesture of appreciation and friendship by giving the Japanese another chance to watch their greatest star play one more time. But all that is trumped by his expecting his second child. As a woman, I say, good for you to get your priorities straight.
I have to ask: is he *that* good? I have watched him pitch only a couple of times, even on tv. I had not been impressed. He’s not bad. But I find that he’s not all that awe-inspiring, to be honest. I am more impressed by his compatriot Okajima.
Lester: I’m glad he is given the consideration. He truly is one special kid. And inspiring. Looking beyond all that emotional stuff, though, he has provided very solid outings lately in the spring training games. He’s delivering and he’s delivering as a starting pitcher. He already showed that he could by finishing off the World Series for the Sox. It would be oddly nice to have him pitching the next official game, the opener, wouldn’t it?
Wakefield: Is, to me, the true star of the spring training season. I was lucky to watch his start last week. Crisp, solid, clean, confident are words that come to mind to describe his performance. So far, two appearances, five innings, 0.00 ERA and 2 hits. The best of the batch. Remember the heart-breaking news last fall that he would not be playing in the World Series? Remember how his shoulder injury was gut-wrenching news to the Red Sox fans? Especially after an impressive 17-win season, at age of 41. Few fans know the Red Sox long enough to remember a team without Wakefield. He first joined the Sox in 1995. He has been on the team the longest- now, in a world of trades and free agency, *that* makes his a true Red Sox player both in heart and in uniform. And he intends to stay to hold the record as the most games won, pitching for the Red Sox. He currently ranks second with 154, trailing to Cy Young and Clemens’ 192. If I haven’t made my case on how he is a Red Sox lifer- he just did for himself. He probably wants to shoot for 200 and he wants to stay long enough to do that.
So, with all that, if it can’t be Beckett, Wakefield deserves the honour to start the opener. Ace or not, Wakefield has poured his heart and soul for the Sox longer and more sincerely than anyone else. And I would love to see him given the nod.
Red Sox wins Game 4 and the World Series!!!!
C’mon, Jon!!! I’m not going to bed until I see RiverDance III. Don’t make me stay up all night. Unlike you, my workweek is just starting.
Because his intensity so well expresses the team and the fans:
Congratulations, Lowell on WS 2007 MVP. You were truly underheralded, until now. I can’t believe the broadcasters are talking nonsense about replacing you with A-Rod. The Red Sox needs you. Stay.
Congratulations, Francona. For excellent leadership and extreme patience.
Congratulations, Rockies. For being such a great class act. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished. You’ve got much coming ahead of you.
Scary game. Geez. Was I ever nervous. What a nice ending, tense, suspenseful, and oh-so-close. None of the 5+ point lead with absolutely no question of the win. Which makes this win all the sweeter.
Thank you, Red Sox. For an amazing season. For an amazing run in the postseason. For reminding the fans what it means to be faithful. For showing us what winners are made of. For a sweeping finish. For backing your teammates all the way from the pitching all the way down to the pinch hitting. For giving Lester the win. Now, go home and celebrate with your family and the fans.
Thank goodness. No more late nights. No more fidgeting over the small stuff (baseball). No more sleepless nights. No more of my friends calling me crazy. No more- Oh.
No more baseball.