Having lost their last four, and six of their last ten, the second best thing possible happened to the Sox tonight, they were rained out.
There is no positive way to spin it, the Sox have been ugly on this trip. The pitching got shelled by the Rangers, and then they got swept by Greinke and the Royals.
Two positives came out of this trip, I think Ozzie and Coop have finally concluded that Contreras is not ready for the rotation. Not exactly a headline you want to print in the media guide, but at least now they can move on and give Richard or one of the kids in Charlotte a run. Marquez has been terrible to start the AAA season, but two kids Wes Whisler (5 GS, 1.95 ERA, 27 innings, 10 W, 17 K) and Carlos Torres (5 GS, 0.96 ERA, 28 innings, 10 W, 28 K) have put together reasonably strong starts (although neither has pitched a substantial number of innings in their starts), so we will see if Kenny Williams gives them a run.
The other troubling thing has been the errors. Guys are booting the ball all over the place, and even when he’s not commiting errors, Fields is making it clear that he cannot go to his left, and please, please don’t get me started on Wilson Betemit. WHAT A HACK!
In the midst of the injuries and the mayhem, Jayson Nix has made a nice showing for himself. Also, Scottie Pods has returned, and while he will remind no one of Rickey Henderson, he has done reasonably well in the place of the injured Anderson and Wise and the waived Jerry Owens. How bad must Jerry Owens feel, the two guys he competed with in the spring go down with injury, but rather than give him a shot to take the spot back, they waive him, and call in a fella sitting at home watching the games on TV with you and me.
As bad as the last ten have been, it is a long season, and we are only 3.5 back, but we need to start putting together wins, or we will be watching the pennant race from the cheap seats in August.
Less than two weeks left until the hostilities begin in earnest.
This is what we know. Anderson will start in center. Fields will start at third. Getz will start at second. Corky Miller will be the backup catcher. Contreras will be ready to fill either the 4th or 5th spot in the rotation.
What we don’t know. Who will fill the other starting spot, either Marquez or Richard at this point, as it appears the Colon will not be ready, and Poreda will likely be sent to Charlotte to work on his “second pitch”
Who will lead-off. Getz is the most likely candidate, but it’s really all up in the air at this point.
The major surprise of the Spring Training; 1 and 1a, the health of Contreras, and just how good Beckham is.
The major disappointment of Spring Training, none of the three candidates for the center position took advantage of the opportunity to make the job theirs. Anderson gets it by default almost because he plays the best defense.
The Sox bats came to life today against the Padres.
Paulie Walnuts went three for four with a homer and three RBI
Fields went three for three, A.J. went two for four, and Wise went two for six with a homer and four RBI in the leadoff slot.
According to reports, Ozzie is giving serious consideration to starting Wise in center and putting him in the leadoff slot. I question his defense, especially in an outfield that also features TCQ (who is adequate in the outfield) and Dye whose skills in the outfield are (lets find a politically correct term) fading.
Personally, I would prefer Anderson in the outfield and at the bottom of the lineup with either Getz, Beckham, or Lillibridge starting at second and at the top of the order, but nobody asked me.
According to Scott Merkin, the centerfield situation will get a little murkier before it gets clearer as Lillibridge will be played in center in coming games.
Thome has been held out of his last start with tightness in the back. Doesn’t sound like anything major, but when you get as old as Jim is, and you start talking about a back injury, that’s cause for concern.
The John Van Benschoten experiment may be ending, as he got touched up again for two runs in an innning, bringing his ST ERA to 9.82. Thanks for playing John, we have some lovely parting gits for you…..