Tagged: Daisuke Matsuzaka

Busy Busy Busy

With only 14 games left to the 2011 baseball season, the Boston Red Sox have to hold onto their slight lead for the Wild Card spot with a death grip. I sat in my seat at Fenway Park, facing the American League East Standings for the entire game.....the Yanks have won 90 games so far, and well, we have not. David Ortiz had a back brace on Wednesday, and it was announced that he is one of the nominees for the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award, given at the World Series by Chevrolet and the MLB. Ortiz also made an apprearance on the Good Morning America show (ABCtv) today. Slugger Kevin Youkilis has a sports hernia, among other health issues and Adrian Gonzalez was taken out of Wednesday's game for a health issue also. Josh Beckett is scheduled to start on Friday night's game against the Ray's "Big Game" Shields, so he needs to pitch, well.....like JOSH BECKETT. The Sox are still missing JD Drew and Clay Buchholz, in addition to some bullpen pitching (Bobby Jenks) and oh yes........Daisuke Matsuzaka. Health and injuries were the team's downfall in 2010, we can only hope that it will not be so for the tail end of the 2011. The postseason is in reach, so take out your lucky charms & cross those fingers Red Sox Nation. The 2012 regular season baseball schedule has been released, and I will highlight a few noteable games:

 

Game One:    Red Sox @ Detroit April 5th

Home Opener:     Tampa Rays @ Boston   April 13th

CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION GAME:     NY Yankees @ Boston April 20th

* * Some Interleague Play:     Phillies (road) May 18-20

Nationals (home)  June 8-10

Marlins  (home)   June 19-21   (now Miami Marlins)**

Braves  (home)  June 22-24

 

– fenway fruitgirl 2011 “BEHIND THE NET”

BACK ON TRACK

 

 

Opening Day 134.jpgMaybe it was a “Pep Talk” given by Francona in the privacy of the clubhouse, or Curt Young’s finally bonding with his pitching starters…or maybe the guys just finally CLICKED together, not sure which…..but glad it happened !! The bats are waking-up too, so the little voice in my brain is shouting: LOOK-OUT MLB (the Sox are armed and dangerous)

The boys are back on the east coast for the last leg of their 2nd roadtrip of the season. The Red Sox will take on a stronger-than usual Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday for a 3-games series with Clay Buchholz starting-off on Tuesday, then Josh Beckett on Wednesday, and Jon Lester on Thursday night before returning to Boston.
Both John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka have had great and extremely timely shutout wins this weekend against the Los Angeles Angels. The Red Sox are now in 3rd place in the vicious American League East. After a historically rough start, and the loss of the excessive dead weight of the thousands of bandwagon fans jumping ship for other sports…baseball in Beantown will heat-up and get competitive for the season.
 
With only 7 errors for the 21-game season so far, the Boston Red Sox top the Major Leagues, for the BEST RECORD with the fewest – tied with the Milwaukee Brewers. Whilest some bats still need to wake-up (and you know who you are), the potential for a monster season seems more realistic now, than it did at the beginning series of the month. (Cudos to the guys, and very glad to see it.)
 
 
Yankees 158.jpgJonathan Papelbon is now tied for 3rd in the American League with 5 saves so far this season. And super-hitter Jed Lowrie is 2nd in the AL East (behind Nick Swisher – NYY) against lefties. Jed has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 contests. Jackrabbit Jacoby Ellsbury now has 141 STOLEN BASES tied with Heinie Wagner for  4th  on Red Sox All-Time list. Yaz is 3rd on that list at 168.*
141 games are left in the 2011 regular season, so BUCKLE-UP, it’s going to be a Wild Ride !!
– fenway fruitgirl 2011  “BEHIND THE NET”
R.I.P. Terry White (miss you)

“Most Feared” Status

The cowboys, the dirt dogs, the idiots…….are now “Big Brother”.

Toss Across.jpg Who would’ve thought that letting two outstanding All-Star players go would lead us not to the bottom of the AL East, but to “Most Feared” status in the MLB. Losing Beltre and Martinez sent Red Sox Nation into a screaming tailspin this offseason, and the front office brought us Crawford and soon-to-be-signed Gonzalez, making us the favorite to finish in the top spot in October baseball. The prospect of that has temporarily silenced a nation of New England sports fans.

Francona has uttered numerous times that he prefers to keep his boys “under the radar”…but that will be near-impossible this season. All eyes seem to be focused on the Boston Red Sox.
Will they, or won’t they? This time last year, there was tremendous optimism in the national sports media for the Boston Red Sox to give the reigning champs (NY) a real run for their money. One injury after another in the disasterous 2010 season nixed that plan, and the boys were left out of the postseason. This season brings increased media attention and fan expectations to the doorstep of the 99 year old clubhouse.
New Red Sox boy wonder Adrian Gonzalez (set to be signed in early April) has just begun hitting after major surgery, and our jack rabbit in centerfield has not played much yet in this preseason. It is likely that veteran pitcher Tim Wakefield will stay on in 2011 and reach his desired milestones to make his esteemed mark in Red Sox history, and that “Smiling” Mike Cameron will be the Go-To outfielder for Left and Center – even though there are numerous reports of scouts circling the BP’s like hawks. (Lots of whispering about Daisuke being shipped-off too.)
BP March 20.jpgI am unashamed to say that my thrill meter is set to high for this season to begin. I will be there from day one to the last Fenway game to bear witness to the action.
Stay Tuned.
– fenway fruitgirl 2011  “BEHIND THE NET”
 
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Deep Breath, Another Season’s About To Begin

 

city-of-palms-entrance.jpgAwoke this morning, a bit earlier than the last, and with a springier step than the previous day. Small changes that mean nothing, when melded-together….mean everything. Spring is on our doorstep, we can almost touch it.

The boys have been down in Florida preparing for the grind of daily games in the most intense media spotlight ever seen in these parts. The 2009 season ended abruptly, and not the way it should have….so the team and their fans have a chip the size of Oregon on their shoulder after watching rival team, the zillion-dollar New York Yankees take home the World Series trophy last fall. Closer and obvious fall guy Jonathan Papelbon re-signed with the Red Sox in the offseason, and returns a humbler, more mature and focused competitor. We have a new starting shortstop Marco Scutaro, who I believe will only help the lineup, and should be a great fielder, with young Jed Lowrie still available for play time also. Ortiz showed-up to the Fort Myers Training Facility early, as did Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, and 2008 AL MVP Dustin Pedroia. They showed-up early to show eachother that they mean business, they want to win (not place or show) in 2010.

 

baseball.jpgVictor Martinez will get the bulk of the time behind Home Plate as lead catcher in 2010, but will rely heavily on direction from team mate Jason Varitek and coach Gary Tuck. Victor is an exceptional bat for the middle of our lineup, but does not throw too many base-stealers out, and does not call a game anywhere near what our Captain is capable of. You can check your stats on that one. But with Varitek only catching 2 of every 5 or 6 games, his strength will be preserved more effectively for the long season ahead. I watched the man play game after game, with hardly a break or day off because Kottaras’ bat was so weak, until he could no longer be effective in his at-bats in August/September of 2009. The man who was hitting home runs like crazy in Spring Training, into April/May/June (including a Grand Slam in late April at Fenway against the Yankees) was not the same man at summer’s end.

The addition of what some consider to be a third Ace in John Lackey, was one of the biggest offseason stories. Lackey has power, and came to Boston to win a championship….and will hopefully be just the addition needed to get us over the large hump and into the final stretch of the post season. You can never have too much pitching. Just ask Theo, he’ll tell you. I am sure that Clay Buchholz was not pleased at the addition of Lackey to the pitching staff, because he felt that he put his time in, and deserved to be lit-up at last. Let’s not forget our very expensive import, Japan’s MVP of the WBC….Mr. Daisuke Matsuzaka….who also needs a spot in the rotation. And oddly enough (and surprising to me) the front office decided to offer a pitching spot to returning veteran Tim Wakefield.

There is lots of talk of young Casey Kelly, the addition of Boof Bonser to the pen and another Ramon Ramirez !! Can’t wait to watch the guys throw for myself. Reliable lefty Hideki Okajima also returned to the team with a contract this offseason. Wagner and Saito are gone, both to the Atlanta Braves. Just hope there’s enough pitching in that pen to last us through a whole season. Any way we can buy-back Justin Masterson ? Young Daniel Bard should be quite effective as a setup guy in the 8th, or as an alternate closer when Papelbon has a night off.

Young Jacoby Ellsbury will become our LF guy, as Mike Siverman predicted in his Boston Herald article way back in late November/early December of 2009. Jason Bay left us for more money from the NY Mets, so we are left with a need that Jack-Rabbit Jacoby will fill at LF, and his previous position of CF will be played by veteran newcomer Mike Cameron. I am not sure if I agree with that move, because Ellsbury was so quick and limber, and jumped and stretched and caught almost everything that was thrown near him in that huge outfield in 2009. How will an aging Cameron do ?  J.D. Drew will return in RF, and be a reliable bat in our lineup once again. I welcome young Jeremy Hermida as a utility outfielder, and effective bat.

2009 3B Mike Lowell is being replaced on an everyday basis by Adrian Beltre. Not a popular move on Theo’s part, but we have to remain competitive, and Mike Lowell’s injuries keep him from playing everyday, whether he wants to admit it or not. Don’t get me wrong, Mikey has a great feel for the game, he is a great 3rd baseman, and an exceptional hitter who knows how to send a ball over the Monster….but he is no longer an everyday player of the caliber that we need to compete for a World Championship title in 2010. The poor guy can barely walk without limping (and he’s not the only one). Sadly, this will be the last full playing year for several of our favorite heroes in the Red Sox uniform.

They will bond as a team this month, and return to us at Fenway Park on Sunday April 4th eager, and powerful, and hungry for another great year. We will cheer, and pray for warmth, and chant as we watch them from our Blackberries, our slingboxes, our expensive HDTV hookups, Direct TV dishes, even 3D televisions !! We will collectively gather on Easter night and each night after in our dens, recreation rooms, corner bars, fancy living rooms, computer screens, backyard radios, social clubs, and everywhere people gather to be amazed and entertained by these amazing and entertaining men….who happen to be in a Red Sox uniform.

 

Panorama.jpgI will make my pilgrimages down to Boston to watch them play, from my little perch behind the net as often as I am able…..because I am a Red Sox fan….and can think of no better way to spend my precious time than to watch them play ball right at my toes, as I scream at the umpire and opposing players….please stop-by and say hello to me whenever you can, you will be greeted with a big smile.

– Fenway Fruitgirl  “Behind The Net” 2010