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?
LESTER THROWS NO-HITTER AT FENWAY
There was never a question about Jon Lester’s poise or his promising arsenal of pitches. It’s just that he never put it all together quite like Monday night, when he thrilled the Fenway Park faithful — not to mention his teammates — by throwing a no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals.
The Boston lefty was magnificent, walking just two batters while leading the Red Sox to a 7-0 victory over the Royals.
Instead of tiring, Lester only got stronger as the night wore on. Over the final five innings, it seemed the Royals were struggling just to make solid contact.
Not only was this Lester’s first no-hitter, but it was also his first complete game.
And it was the second no-hitter in as many seasons for the Sox. Clay Buchholz, a product of the Red Sox’s farm system just like Lester, did the honors last Sept. 1 against the Orioles.
The Red Sox have had four no-hitters in the 21st century. Hideo Nomo threw one at Baltimore in 2001 and Derek Lowe no-hit the Tampa Bay Rays in ’02. Of those four no-hitters, only Nomo’s took place away from Fenway Park.
Also, been selling my furniture off craigslist and got a buyer tonight. He saw my Red Sox hat thrown aside on a chair and inquired about the game. I responded with a casual “yes, we won, 7-0” then realised he still held his head in a slant as if waiting for more. I added “and it was a no-hitter” and was rewarded a nod and my $30 for the purchase.
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:
With the lack of baseball news to read, I’ve been spending more time browsing other Red Sox blogs both MLB and outside. With the news of Wakefield’s option being exercises, a lot of cheering has been going around. Then there’s what surprises me. A lot of bloggers are counting Clay Buchholz as one of the starting pitchers for next year’s rotation.
Um, hold your horses, people.
Don’t get me wrong. I am just as impressed by Buchholz as any baseball fan on his no-hitter. In fact, that game was one of the few regular season games I was able to watch on tv and it was that game that added a lot of fuel to my already fanatic fanisms this fall.
Let me remind the eager fans: Buchholz was not part of the postseason roster due to shoulder problems. I’m going to assume he’ll be fine. He’s still very young and otherwise healthy, not to mention that the move by the front office was also partially precautionary. But the team has to re-evaluate his status next spring.
Before Buchholz was excluded from the post-season roster, he had only four major league appearances, all very impressive, but adding up to only 22 innings of experience. And after the no-hitter performance, the team chose to send him to the bullpen and phase his appearances gradually.
It’s not to say he can’t be a starting pitcher. He certainly demonstrated his capability. He certainly has the attitude. He certainly has great mentorship from Varitek. In fact, I agree with the predictions that he will ultimately become a starting pitcher.
It is, however, still early. Too early into his major league career for me to envision the club launching him to the forefront as a regular starter on rotation in the beginning of the immediate season. I also suspect that the team is going to use Lester more regularly. There’s sort of an unspoken pecking order here.
The Boston farm system is working extremely well. Buchholz is merely one of many perfect examplars in this year’s successes. But they are all still rookies, and the clubhouse is well aware of the need to preserve these kids’ longer-term careers. There’s too much investment made to not maintain a balance of getting the best out of all these kids in the long run.
I suppose this is as good a start as any…
Why bother? I dunno. I’m so excited for the Red Sox, more so after the no-hitter I watched with my parents, albeit in their family room. It felt good to cheer for the Sox back at home and made me realise how much I miss being surrounded by Red Sox fans. I miss being able to coverse about them in depth and know the other person isn’t nodding just to be polite but because s/he is actually listening and understanding.
I already have a blog though. One in which I detail more of my personal life. But none of my friends and regular readers follow baseball like I do, let alone go nuts cheering for a home squad. So, here I am, looking for a more appropriate venue for my Sox musings and to avoid boring my friends overly.