Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Back in the Fens

Of the 15 years I lived in Boston, three were in the shadow of Fenway Park. I could hear the crowds from my apartment.

I lived there during the team's dark days of the early 1990's. The Billy Hatcher years.

I was a solid four blocks from the stadium and could still hear the crowds in spite of the fact the Sox were fielding sub-standard teams.

Today the World Champion Red Sox started their opening homestand against the Tigers with a 3-4 record - good enough for last place and 2.5 games behind the AL East leading Blue Jays. The Tigers themselves, expected to take the Central by most pundits, have started the season off with a big, fat Oh-fer. After six games the Tigers entered the Fenway opening with a big Donut in the win column.

By the end of the game the Sox had worked their way back to .500 while Detroit remained a big Oh-fer in the win column. Considering that only two teams in the history of baseball have even made the post-season after starting the season 0-6, and none have made a dent in the World Series, Detroit fans should be gearing up for a season of disappointment.

For Sox fans the first eight games has been a mixed bag.

The first four against the Athletics were filled with promise as the team went 3-1. When they got smoked in the next three by a Blue Jays team that was significantly better than the Athletics, the hope was that the team was just jet lagged from their trip to Japan. With the Dice-man on the mound the Sox bounced back to win 5-0.

While Matsuzaka's pitching performance was encouraging as he shut down what should be a potent Detroit line-up for six and two-thirds, there were other places that were either cause for concern, or that presented questions that won't be answered for sometime.

For the first eight games Big Papi has been David Outiz. Is something wrong with the hitter who for a two season stretch was the best clutch hitter in the game? Or has he just been affected more by the travel than the other players on the team? Right now the Sox clean-up hitter is batting an anemic .103. Currently Ortiz is batting 147 points lower than Coco Crisp.

The Sox leading hitter is JD Drew, currently batting .368.

Scott Boras would have Sox fans believe that this is Drew and what we saw last season was the aberration, that the guy who knocked in 100 for the Dodgers just before joining the Sox is the real Drew.

The real Drew is what we saw last season. He batted .270, only 15 points below his career average, but was right in the wheelhouse with run production, batting in 64 (career average of 57), and scoring 84 runs against his career average of 69. Expect a drop off.

The question now becomes, which team should we expect today? The one that shut down the Tigers, or the one shut down by the Jays?


Suldog said...

Hey, the best thing out of yesterday was that Billy Buck threw out the first pitch. All the rest pales in comparison.

Kevin Smith said...

It was great to see him back. I always felt he got shafted by both fans and the press.

I don't think he makes the put out even if he comes up with the ball in 86. If you watch the tapes, the pitcher never makes it into the picture, and Mookie Wilson is closer to first than Buckner.

Schiraldi deserves more shit than Buckner for blowing the lead in the first place, or the team as a whole (with the exceptions of Gedman and Evans) for its no show in game seven