Let the Games Begin

The Red Sox are coming off a 2-1 series win in Toronto. The New York Yankees are coming off a series sweep of Cleveland.

 

All the makings of a great weekend series at Fenway.

 

For the Yankees, they have pounded the ball led by Alex Rodriguez and his MLB leading 10 home runs. The rest of the line-up is doing well too. And despite their rotation featuring several minor-leaguers, they have a 3.57 team ERA through Thursday.

 

The Red Sox have featured an inconsistant offense, but steady pitching (2.55 ERA through Thursday).

 

Boston has managed to line up their top 3 starters in Schilling, Beckett and Matsuzaka. Those 3 face Andy Pettitte, Jeff Karstens and Chase Wright. That’s a vet and 2 rookies…yes rookies. With all due respect for the Yankees offense, if the Red Sox let 2 rookies in games 2 and 3 shut down their offense, Boston probably doesn’t have as good an offense as we thought.

 

As a Red Sox fan, my biggest concern is that the offense fails to provide run support for Daisuke Matsuzaka. It’d be a shame for him to pitch well in 2007 and not get run support. It is only 3 games into the season, but Matsuzaka could very well be 3-0 rather than 1-2.

 

The offensive struggles continue for Jason Varitek. He went 0-4 Thursday and now has a .189 average and a sub-.300 obp. Things just aren’t right for JV. He is facing an uphill battle with age. I hope he can turn it around and be at worst an average hitter.

 

Coco Crisp had a good game Thursday getting on base twice and driving in a run via a sac fly. Crisp was creative Thursday and figured out ways on base. He has proven in the past he can hit. It just seems he is putting a ton of pressure on himself to perform. I’m happy Francona has shown some confidence in him putting him lead-off Thursday and 2nd on Monday. I think this kid is a good player, but just has his head off kilter.

 

But no matter how you paint it, the Red Sox are struggling with the bottom 3rd of the line-up. Varitek, Crisp and Pedroia aren’t hitting. Pedroia is getting on base, so he isn’t too big a worry, but Crisp and Varitek need to fight their way on base. Bunt, lean into inside pitches (yes, take an HBP), do whatever you can to get on base. I am confident they will collectively do better than they have so far, but I fear their ceiling might be must lower than we hoped.

 

Anyway, get set for a Friday 7:05 pm start (NESN), a Saturday 3:55 pm start (Fox) and a Sunday 8:05 pm start (ESPN game of the week). That’s 2 of 3 televised nationally. Wow, this match-up has taken on a new level of interest.