Tagged: Pitching

Oh it hurts.

Ortiz sleeping on his shoulder wrong? It happens. Because I’m suffering from the same thing now. With a strained neck, I can’t tilt up or down and turn left or right without pain shooting across my shoulders and neck. And move only in slooooow motions. I don’t know how he even manages to exercise as it is. And no matter how I sleep, each night seems to get progressively more aggravating. As a restless sleeper, I can’t fall into deep slumber because my motions trigger painful flashes that then wake me up.

On the other hand, Beckett looks like he’s in great shape, taking care of himself in the off season and working his change-up. With Lester already strong in last year’s performance and still growing, Dice-K being, well, Dice-K, Beckett’s good performance only strengthens the returning pitcher core, not to mention the new additions to the team. As Beckett is a favourite of mine, I’m glad. I hope he comes back into this season in a big way.

Welcome back, Colon

It took a bit of run support, but Colon got his first win since last June.

The biggest beneficiary in this venture is Colon himself.

The Red Sox signed him with hopes of bringing a CY Young pitcher back to his glory. Into a minor league contract. How much risk has the front office assumed? Not much, really. Worst case scenario, he’s a bust. There are many minor leagues who spend most of their careers there. Colon would just go down as the man who once was. Best case, he recovers his health and resumes throwing heat. In that case, not only did the Sox gain a pitcher with proven record and experience, but they did so at a bargain price.

The team already had many strong pitchers. And a well-rounded group at that. Varying by age, style, and experience, the pitchers provide a powerful lineup backed by a powerful offense. They were already on a winning streak. They have secured their lead in the eastern division with confidence of maintaining that lead. What’s one game to lose if the gamble on Colon didn’t pay off?

Colon, on the other hand, had everything to gain in this. He could save his career. He could make it back to major leagues as a starting pitcher. He could rebuild his value and bargaining position for the next contract. He, very simply put, could become another great.

So the gambled paid off. And Colon picks up his first win as a Red Sox player. He looked strong. Fortunately, he also had the run support from the offense.

Nicely done, Red Sox.

Featuring: another future pitcher

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.  

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It’s been over 24 hours. But how can you not like a kid that talks like this?

You know baseball is here when…

…. you start fretting about your players.

Beckett and his back. First, exhale a huge breath of relief. It’s not structural. It can and will heal.

A back injury is always scary, for any person. I, too, was experiencing back pain that ignored throughout the fall, willing myself to get through the regatta season before I let myself admit there is a problem. Perhaps because of my procrastination and my denial, it has taken all winter to properly diagnose and treat the source. Xrays, MRI, assortment of medications. And I am not yet 30, dammit.

Compound that by being a professional athlete who depends on his health and strength. I cannot begin to imagine not just the niggling worry but also the frustration he is experiencing.

Muscles heal and adapt. That’s the good news. Now is the matter of when? Of course, having media hound him, and fans poking in (yes, I know, I’m guilty, too), Beckett must feel intense pressure and frustration.

Will he pitch in Japan? Who knows. Maybe, maybe not. While I prefer he gives his back enough time to recover properly and safely, my heart breaks for the possibility of his missing a tremendous opportunity in his career. Not because the team needs him. Not because he’s the ace. Not because he’s the star.

But simply because of who he is and what he has done, for all his hardwork and dedication, for the team, he just deserves the honour.

Get well, Josh. I’m hoping for and sending wishes for your speedy and full recovery.

Bummer

It was all about the numbers. As a Boston fan, I was fixated on a single one: 20.  But apparently the voters looked bigger. Logically, I can say I saw it coming.. With the following numbers, it favored Sabathia. Heck, I even admitted that I was looking forward to the ALCS game 1 because I wanted to watch the pitching duel. Well, that didn’t materialize but the postseason does not affect the award since votes have already been cast.

The big picture:

              Beckett    Sabathia

Wins               20            19
SOs               194           209
ERA              3.27          3.21
ER                  73             86
H                  189           238
IP               200.2        241.0
R                    76             94
BB                   40            37
HR                  17             20

Emotionally, I am bummed about Beckett not getting the nods. He was phenomenal, and his postseason simply nailed that coffin down. I know in baseball that one game alone is not necessarily reflective of the player and the team, but in two face-offs, Beckett dominated so strongly. So, yes, I’m disappointed.

                     

Well, as we always say, there’s always next year. Beckett has a long career ahead of him.

Hold your horses

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.