Fine, Major League Baseball, take my stupid 130 bucks. You win. I can’t go around telling the world how I’ll buy the baseball package if the Red Sox get off to a hot start and then not buy the package after they open the season 4-2 on the road. I want to hold onto my money so badly that before I purchased the mlb.tv package this morning, I scoured all the Boston newspapers hoping to find a hint of drama inside the Red Sox clubhouse. A tiny divide between the players. Discord between the team and ownership. Something…
Nothing. Not one ounce of bad energy in there. Everyone just yucking it up over Will Middlebrooks’ three home run outburst on Sunday. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think these guys actually enjoy playing with each other.
On the bright side, they took two of three in New York before winning two more in Toronto. Most experts didn’t have them winning their fourth game until the All-Star break. Among their four wins, they beat Cy Young Winners C.C. Sabathia and R.A. Dickey (but they couldn’t beat J.A. Happ…more importantly, has any team ever faced three guys with initials as first names in the opening week of a season?). Middlebrooks and Mike Napoli seem ready to fulfill their roles as the power threats for the Sox lineup. Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia seem like they’re in midseason form at the top of the order. This team hasn’t made an error in six games and the pitching looks strong…only three years late the “run prevention” team may have finally arrived. And no word of a setback for David Ortiz. All positive stuff. And I almost forgot to mention that this 4-2 start is largely the work of homegrown talent. Nine guys who have been regulars in the first week of the season came up through the Sox’ minor league system. If only Daniel Bard were still alive, he could make it an even 10.
On the not-so-bright side, the Lackey injury sucks. Not that I had high hopes for the guy this year, but you gotta feel bad for him after missing last season and committing to a reverse-steroids regimen in the winter to get his weight down to 89lbs. He was primed for a 12-win, 4.65 ERA in 2013. Hopefully the injury isn’t serious. We may also be saying goodbye to Jackie Bradley Jr. and Jose Iglesias sometime soon. Not because they haven’t been good enough to stay on the major league roster, but because better players are getting healthy. It’s a good problem if the Boston fans are freaking out over these pending demotions. I know John Farrell’s commitment to being aggressive and the Red Sox’ speed should be under the “bright side” paragraph, but what about the fact that this team may set a major league single-season record for most times a runner is gunned down at home plate by the opposition. I think Victorino alone may get thrown out 25 times at the plate this year. It’s definitely a negative for the team, but it’s going to make every inning with base runners exciting.
If the Sox drop 12 of their next 13, I don’t want to hear it from my readers that I jinxed them with my optimism. More likely it would be because this first week of the season was all smoke and mirrors and they really are as bad as we feared. Somebody already bet me that I’ll be regretting my purchase of the baseball package by May 15th.
So here’s to the 2013 Red Sox playing great baseball through May 16th.