1:30: It's time for some Thursday afternoon baseball! The Angels and Red Sox played until about 2:30 in the morning, so we're back after about 11 hours of rest. We found out that the Red Sox have placed Dan Wheeler and Bobby Jenks on the disabled list with various maladies. Of course, it's not at all suspicious that the two pitchers who have been the worst performers on the team so fart this year are placed on the DL on a day where the Red Sox need bullpen reinforcements.
1:35: Looks like Dustin Pedroia is getting his first off day of the year. Pedroia has been slumping a bit recently - since April 17th he is 11 for 66 without an extra base hit, capped by a round 0 for 6 last night. This adds to why I believe that, despite rumors, Marco Scutaro will not be traded. The Red Sox love the flexibility of being able to give any of their infielders a day off, and, because of the flexibility of Lowrie and Youkilis, still field a very good lineup. Throw in Lowrie's injury history, and keeping Scutaro on the payroll seems very sensible.
1:40: Nice single by Howie Kendrick up the middle on a pretty good curveball low and away. After years of hearing about how Kendrick was a "future batting champion," he's off to a very good .296/.371/.520 start. The increase in his walk rate from barely over 3% for his career to 9% this year is playing a big part.
1:48: The Red Sox do a lot of things right, especially in regards to their statistical analysis. However, over they years, they seem to have insisted on a "fast guy bats leadoff" strategy. Ellsbury, Lugo, Crisp, even going back to Johnny Damon. JD Drew has the skills that any stathead would want in a leadoff man. He works deep counts, gets on base, and presents enough extra base power to be dangerous, but doesn't hit so many homers that you would feel that they're "wasted" with nobody on base. At age 27, Ellsbury has a .343 career OBP. This is the player he is - he's a useful player to have on your team, but it's not a good enough number for your leadoff hitter, and Ellsbury is to the point where it's time to stop talking about potential.
1:59: Mark Trumbo leads AL rookies with 5 homers, but that ratio of 2 walks to 25 HRs is going to make it tough for him to see good pitches. Trumbo went .301/.368/.577 at AAA Salt Lake last year, with 58 walks, so he does seem to have some selectivity. No reason to count him out because of a low early season OBP, but he needs to make an adjustment. He also has a really awesome birthday going for him.
2:10: The Sox 2005 draft produced a fascinating class. Originally, Craig Hansen was the hot prospect, and flamed out. Clay Buchholz pitched the no-hitter and Jacoby Ellsbury was the spark plug in late 2007. In 2008, Buchholz and Ellsbury struggled, and Lowrie came on strong in the second half. In '09, Ellsbury was very good, Lowrie got hurt, and Buchholz was inconsistent. In '10, Ellsbury got hurt early, Buchholz was excellent, and Lowrie had a very good last two months. So far in 2011, Lowrie's been great, while Buchholz and Ellsbury have battled inconsistency. My rambling, incoherent point? The've gotten good play out of all three, but never at the same time.
2:22: Should a guy with a career line of .295/.400/.486 over 16 years with close to 400 career SB get some Hall of Fame consideration? Sounds like it, but I'm not ready to make that case for Bobby Abreu, when we can't even get Tim Raines into the Hall.
2:40: Mark Trumbo with the walk, which is good. Then he got caught stealing, which is not good. When you're having trouble getting on base, getting thrown out when you DO get on base is a poor strategy.
2:46: Don't let the stutter he's developed fool you - Peter Gammons is as awesome as ever. How many other guys would give in game commentary featuring a statistical comparison of Bobby Abreu and Johnny Damon, and then later a discussion of the future of the Angels outfield situation when Mike Trout arrives. Don't get me wrong, Jerry Remy is fantastic, and Dennis Eckersley is fun, but nobody gives the type of analysis that Gammons does. We Red Sox fans are spoiled.
2:48: Great example there of Ellsbury not being a good defensive CF. Mike Cameron gets to that ball, and the Red Sox are out of the inning. Instead, Ellsbury started back on a 140 foot pop up. His speed makes up for some of his terrible reads, but way too many of those flares into short center field turn into hits against the Red Sox.
2:51: Two singles later, and Ellsbury not getting to that ball really stand out. The commentary will be about Lackey, and he hasn't been sharp, but anyone who pitches to contact needs help behind him.
2:54: Atchison has started to warm up in the bullpen, but Francona may just need to leave Lackey in to take his lumps. Sometimes it's not your day, and there just aren't enough arms in the bullpen.
3:08: A two run homer from Trumbo runs Lackey from the game. After three straight very good starts, Lackey was not at all sharp today. The bullpen will need to get 15 outs. Not what the Sox were looking for after the 13 inning game last night.
3:15: This is turning into a little league game. The Red Sox should be a little bit embarrassed. How in the world is that a hit for Aybar? I can see crediting him with the RBI, but he hit a routine grounder to Gonzalez.
3:17: Rip to rightfield by Kendrick. Atchison may have to go the rest of this one, even if the Angels score another 15 runs.
3:23: Things go from bad to worse. Ortiz hits a fly ball off the monster... and Abreu throws him out at second base.
3:26: Let's check out the games around the league, shall we? David Price has a 4 hit, 10 strikeout game through 8 innings against Toronto, Rays are leading 3-0. Tigers just scored 4 runs in the bottom of the 7th to take a 5-2 lead against the Yankees. Homer Bailey had an effective season debut, while the Reds teed off on Brett Myers, Reds are leading 10-4.
3:30: Third double play the Red Sox have grounded into in 5 innings.
3:33: Callaspo with another double. Scott Atchison should be captain of the "guys who look older than they are" team. Otis Nixon and Brian Daubach are also lifetime members.
3:38: Update from Tampa. After 8 and two thirds, one unearned run in, and bases empty, Maddon takes Price out of the game to put in Kyle Farnsworth. Overmanaging much?
4:12: With a 11-0 lead, Rich Thompson should probably throw strikes. Walking two straight guys is not going to inspire the confidence of Mike Scioscia.