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Monday, April 29, 2013

The Red Sox Have the Best Record in the Majors

The Red Sox currently have an 18-7 record, after sweeping the four-game series against the Astros. They currently have a 5-game winning streak, an off day today, and will start a 3-game series against the Jays tomorrow.

The Yankees are 2.5 games back, and the Orioles 3 games back. The first month of the season is almost over, and the standings seem to be flip-flopped from the way they were projected.

Currently, here are the AL East standings:

1)  Red Sox  18-7
2)  Yankees   15-9   (2.5 GB)
3)  Orioles     15-10 (3 GB)
4)  Rays         12-13 (6 GB)
5)  Jays          9-17   (9.5 GB)

So much good happened with this team this weekend. Middlebrooks was 6 for 15 with 2 doubles, a home run, and 2 RBIs. He raised his batting average to .202; it had stood at .169.

In the 8 games he’s played in this season, Ortiz is hitting .516 (16 for 31) with 5 doubles, 2 home runs, and 11 RBIs.

Doubront had a shaky first inning on Saturday, but he recovered nicely. It took him 31 pitches to get out of the first inning; he gave up a lead off single, hit a batter, walked three, had a wild pitch, and gave up 2 runs. After that, he settled down nicely, and only threw 64 pitches the next 5 2/3 innings and allowed one more run.

David Ross uncorked 2 monster home runs over the Green Monster Friday night. He had a career-high 4 hits that night, and 10 total-bases, also a career-high.

Dempster also notched his first win on Friday night, and not for lack of trying. In five game starts, he’s 1-3 with a 3.30 ERA and a 1.133 WHIP. More importantly, he’s pitched 30.0 innings, struck out 43, and walked 14. He has 12.9 strikeouts per 9 innings average.

Lackey was activated from the disabled list yesterday and made the start. In his second start of the season, he went 6.0 innings (81 pitches), and gave up 5 hits, 1 run, walked 2, and struck out 4. It’s also worth noting that the crowd cheered for him at the start of the game; Lackey was consistently being booed when he pitched two seasons ago.

There were a couple negative things that came out of this weekends’ performances. Victorino sat out all weekend with a tight back, and he may be placed on the disabled list. Daniel Bard, who was called up from Double-A Portland earlier last week, was optioned 18-7 back to Double-A after a shaky performance. In two games, he gave up 1 run on 1 hit with 2 walks and 1 strikeout.

I’m excited about this team; they’re fun to watch. I think getting John Farrell back made a world of difference for the players, especially the pitching staff. So what comes first? Having team chemistry or winning games? For this team, it seems to go hand-in-hand.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Random Thoughts

- With a 7-2 win over the Astros last night, the Red Sox are currently 15-7, tied with the Rangers for the best record in the American League. The Orioles are 2 games back, and the Yankees 2.5 games back.

- David Ortiz hit his first home run of the season last night. In 5 games, he is hitting .550 (11 for 20) with 3 doubles and 5 RBIs.

- Clay Buchholz has a 5-0 record with a 1.19 ERA and a 1.009 WHIP. He’s given up 5 earned runs, 1 home run, and 13 walks, while striking out 39.

- Shane Victorino was held out of last night’s game for a tight back, which also plagued him last weekend. The thought is he’s day-to-day, but could this be a problem this season? Victorino is currently hitting .292 with 3 stolen bases. His defense has been just as impressive as his offense.

- Daniel Bard rejoined the Red Sox and appeared in the 9th inning last night. He worked a scoreless inning, gave up a hit, and struck out one.

- Alfredo Aceves was optioned to Triple-A after the game on Wednesday, and catcher, Ryan Lavarnway was called up.

- The thought is Lavarnway will be with the team until Sunday, when Lackey is presumably back. Will the Sox use Lavarnway in a game situation? Currently, Sox catchers are hitting .202 (17 for 84). Lavarnway was hitting .310 in Triple-A with 1 home run, 3 doubles, and 7 RBIs. More impressive, he’s walked and struck out 7 times each.

- Mike Napoli currently leads the Majors with 26 RBIs. Clay Buchholz leads the Majors with 5 wins (his 1.19 ERA is good enough for 3rd). The Red Sox pitching staff leads the Majors with a 10.01 per nine innings strikeout rate.

- My MLB-At-Bat Feed worked during my run (outside!) last night. It was nice to run and listen to the beginning of the game, especially when the Sox scored 4 runs in the first inning.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thankful My MLB Feed Was Not Working at the Gym Last Night

I did not watch the game last night, but it wasn’t by choice. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve gotten into running again, and I’m currently training for a 7-mile road race in July by following a 15K program. Last night was a scheduled 4-mile run. It was cold (39 degrees at 5:00 last night) and rainy (0.40” yesterday), so that run had to be done at the gym.

About a week and a half ago, I listened to a Red Sox game on WEEI while I did a 4-mile run, and I really enjoyed it. That was the plan last night. Unfortunately, or maybe in hindsight fortunately, the radio feed on MLB-At-Bat wasn’t working at the gym. I also couldn’t get the video feed to load. So, I ended up listening to my running playlist while watching the GameDay action.

I wonder if anyone noticed the faces I was making during the top of the 3rd inning of the game because I know I was making some strange faces and gestures. (Lucky for me, I go to Planet Fitness, where judging is not allowed).

Aceves walked the first batter, gave up a single to Crisp, then walked the third batter. Bases loaded. No outs. Then, he walks the next batter, and the score is 1-0. Lowrie strikes out, and I started to think that the Sox could get out of the inning with minimal damage.


Moss singles, scoring two. 3-0. Runners on first and second, and Aceves balks. Next batter, sac fly. 4-0, 2 outs. Reddick hits and RBI single, then advances to 2nd base on a throwing error by Aceves. 5-0. Aceves balks again, and Reddick is now on 3rd.  Middlebrooks has a throwing error on the next play; Reddick scores and runner is on 1st. 6-0. Finally, the third out comes from a ground out by Eric Sogard, who started the inning with a walk.

The fourth inning wasn’t much better.

Crisp grounds out to start the inning. Then, Jaso hits a double and Seth Smith homers. 8-0. Lowrie singles. Finally, Farrell pulls Aceves in favor of Stephen Wright, who forces a double-play ball to end the inning.

The Sox ended up losing 13-0 in 7 innings.

I know the Sox were in a jam when Lackey went on the disabled list so early in the season, and Aceves has seemed like the logical choice the past couple seasons because of his versatility. But, the guy has an attitude problem, and a big one at that. For a team that is focused on “team chemistry,” it’s strange that management hasn’t traded Aceves.

The thing about Aceves is when he’s good, he’s great. He really does have dominant stuff when he’s on. But, when he’s not good, he’s horrendous. But, it never seems to be his fault.

In an article on The Boston Globe website, it stated that Aceves was pretty much blaming everything and everyone besides himself for his issues on the mound last night. To quote, “Aceves blamed the conditions, the mound, the strike zone of umpire Hunter Wendelstedt and, bizarrely, even his teammates for his performance.”

See: Aceves Accepts Little Responsibility for Loss,

Stephen Wright, who came in for Aceves and gave up 5 runs last night, is being optioned back to Triple-A. Daniel Bard, who had pitched so poorly in Spring Training that he was demoted to Double-A, will be in the Red Sox bullpen tonight; the bullpen needs fresh arms. The thought is John Lackey will be starting for the Red Sox on Sunday.

So, what are the Sox going to do with Aceves? I’m guessing he’s traded at some point this season. The Sox need him at the moment, probably more so with Lackey coming back in the line-up, for long-relief. But, I’m guessing he won’t be around much longer.

The Sox are tired of his attitude, as are the fans. The organizations has young pitchers in Triple-A who can make an impact on the Major League team. I have to end this entry by a tweet Pete Abraham, writer for The Boston Globe, posted last week, after Aceves’ last start:

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
“All you clamoring for Aceves to come out of the game: I’d like to see you go out there and tell him he’s done.” -April 17, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Aftermath

One week ago, two separate bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, and Thursday and Friday the chase went on for the perpetrators. It’s been an intense week. The City of Boston and surrounding areas were virtually, completely shut down on Friday, including the postponement of the Red Sox game until a double-header could be played yesterday.

As my last post indicated, it’s hard to talk about anything but what’s happened in the news the past week: the bombings, the chase, the fertilizer plant catastrophe in Texas, and the earthquake and China. Even as I was partaking in a charity Trivia game Friday night, the announcer kept breaking in and giving us details on the capture of Suspect #2.

So, I thought with this post, I’d post some of things that had to do with the Red Sox and this tragedy that I have found truly touching this past week. There are a couple videos (that I hope the links still work by the time you read this, as MLB has a way of denying access to things), some products, and some touching words and images.
The Red Sox have not worn home jerseys with “BOSTON” written across the front since 1911.

Here’s the link to the National Anthem from Saturday’s Red Sox game:

Neil Diamond made a surprise appearance to sing “Sweet Caroline” during Saturday’s Red Sox game:

The Yawkey Way Store is selling ’47 Brand “B Strong” hats for $20.00 on their website.  All proceeds will go to the One Fund Boston.

Jonny Gomes’ bat from this weekend, embedded with the words “Boston Strong” and the names of the victims who died this past week: Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi, and Sean Collier.

And lastly, here’s the video that’s probably gotten the most attention this weekend- David Ortiz’s speech:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Patriots Day 2013

I was originally going to recap the annual Patriots Day Red Sox game in this post, had the heading ready to go and everything. There’s no point after yesterday’s tragedy.

In this post, I will not go into politics or act like I know what exactly the people of Boston are feeling. I will not act like I know the motive. I will not talk about terrorism or war. I will not talk about the unthinkable tragedies that have plagued this country. I will not be posting any of the horrific photos or videos that have been splayed across our televisions, Facebook pages, newspapers, Twitter-feeds, etc. And, I will not act like I have all the answers. The truth is, I don’t.

I never lived in Boston; I’ve only visited there twice. It’s my favorite city though. Both times I went there, I felt something. I felt like this was the type of place where I had always wanted to live. It’s a major city, yet it felt smaller, probably because you could walk anywhere in the city.

My mom was the one who notified me about the explosions, through a text. I immediately texted my boyfriend, who is from north of Boston. I went on The Boston Globe website to find that it was down. I went on Twitter and scoured the people I was following, about 80% of which are athletes and writers from Boston.

I went on Facebook and started reading posts from my friends and family offering condolences to the victims and their family and friends. I almost posted my own as well, but I couldn’t. Something stopped me. A friend of mine had posted that he hoped his friends running the marathon were safe. I didn’t know what I could possibly say.

The first photo I saw was from when the second explosion happened. I saw the police trying to help up the runner who had been knocked to his feet in the first blast. I saw the hotel, The Lenox, in the background; it was the hotel I stayed at the last time I was in Boston. I knew exactly where the explosions had taken place.

I’m not going to get into my emotions about this tragedy, but I was upset and in shock. I followed The Boston Globe’s Twitter feed all afternoon, but I couldn’t say anything myself. I didn’t know what I could say. I didn’t know what I could do to make any sort of difference.

Sunday, my boyfriend and I were watching the Red Sox-Rays game after going for a run. He is training for a half-marathon taking place next month and plans on doing our local marathon in September. He had been talking about his aspirations of qualifying and competing in the Boston Marathon in the future.

Yesterday, my boyfriend and I had a conversation about the attacks. He expressed how it was affecting him because it was Boston, and it was his sport, running. I had a similar thought earlier in the day.

Most of the runners coming in at the time of the attacks were running for charity, not competing for any type of prize, according to news outlets. Their friends and families were at the finish line to cheer and support them. This was supposed to be a happy and proud time. It was ruined, but I think it’s incredible the number of runners who have already come out and said they plan on doing the marathon again next year.

I still don’t know what to say in the wake of this tragedy, but I offer my condolences to the victims. I pray for the victims, their friends and families, and the citizens of Boston, my favorite city. I will keep Boston in my heart.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Does Wade Boggs' No. 26 Deserve to be Retired by the Red Sox?

That question has been circulating the internet and conversation between Red Sox questions today.  The Boston Globe has an article about it here:

My boyfriend, who is in Phoenix this week, even started our morning conversation with a link to an article on NESN followed by the text message: Morning!  What do you think?  Of course, I knew my answer right away.

Basically, the Red Sox have two "official" criteria for having a player's number retired by the organization: 1) Be inducted in the Hall of Fame wearing a Red Sox hat, and 2) Played for the Red Sox for at least 10 years.  Those are the two rules listed on the Official Red Sox website (see here:  According to those rules, Boggs' number should be retired, since Boggs is wearing a Red Sox hat in the Hall and played with the Red Sox from 1983-1992.

However, in The Boston Globe article, the Sox organization is saying a player must retire as a member of the Red Sox.  Boggs retired with the Rays in 1999.

Wade Boggs was a career .328 hitter, and had 3,010 hits.  His 3,000th hit was a home run as a member of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  There are newspaper reports that Boggs said he would go into the Hall of Fame as a member of the Devil Rays, but the Hall stepped in and used its authority and didn't let that happen (Boggs played from 1998-1999 with the Rays).  Despite that, the Rays still have Boggs' #12 retired.

I understand the Red Sox organization are a little stingy when it comes to retiring numbers.  Players that many fans consider "great" like Jason Varitek, Nomar Garciaparra, Tim Wakefield, and probably even David Ortiz will most likely not have their numbers retired by the organization.  Johnny Pesky even had his number retired by the Red Sox despite not being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

So, why won't the Sox retire Boggs' number?  I think it deserves to be retired.  Like I pointed out, it meets the Red Sox criteria on their own website.  I do think that after the publicity this story has been getting, the Red Sox will come around and retire No. 26, anywhere from mid-this-season to about a year-and-a-half.  It will happen, and sooner rather than later.

While we're on the Wade Boggs subject, I want to point out two things.  One, Wade Boggs is in the group who recently purchased the Field of Dreams (in Iowa!).  Two, I mentioned before how my boyfriend and I wore "Drink Like Wade" shirts for St. Patrick's Day.  Here's a photo:

A Few Observations So Far

- The Red Sox are currently in first place in the American League East. Granted, it’s only 7 games in, but that’s reassuring for a team that many predicted to be in 4th or 5th place. Plus, the Sox have played the Yankees (3 games), the Blue Jays (3 games), and the Orioles (1 game). The play the Orioles and Rays this week, so it should be interesting to see where everyone ends up by Sunday. The standings so far:

Red Sox     5-2
Orioles      3-4
Yankees    3-4
Rays          3-4
Blue Jays  2-4

- Middlebrooks’ 3 Home Run game on Sunday versus the Blue Jays was a lot of fun to watch. For one, this is a guy who hit 15 home runs in 75 games last year before getting hurt. Who knows what he’ll do in a complete season. He also showed great defensive ability on the field. As great as all that is, I had an uneasy feeling in the back of my mind because of what happened to the last Red Sox to hit 3 home runs in 1 game. That was Dustin Pedroia in 2010. The next day, Pedroia was injured and out pretty much the rest of the season.

- How great have Buchholz and Lester been so far? Buchholz is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in 14.0 innings, giving up 9 hits, 1 run, 6 walks, and striking out 12. Lester is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in 12.00 innings, giving up 10 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, and striking out 13.

- I unfortunately didn’t watch Lackey’s start the other day, but I did see the replay when he injured his arm. Hopefully, it’s minor. The guy worked hard to return, and everyone likes a comeback story. However, if Lackey does go on the DL, who do the Sox get to start? Aceves is one name that’s floating around, but I’m hoping they pull someone up from Triple-A. Aceves has already given up 5 runs in 4.1 innings, including 2 home runs.

- The Sox team ERA is 2.95. That’s good enough for 3rd best in the American League.

- How about Daniel Nava? Most people think of Daniel Nava as that rare player who makes a huge impact once (Nava’s first-pitch Grand Slam from 2010). Yesterday, Nava, in place of JBJ in left field, hit a MONSTER game-winning 3-run home run. Farrell had said he felt Nava, a switch-hitter, was seeing the ball well. His instincts paid off.

- Shane Victorino, the “Flyin Hawaiian,” has safely made it on base every game so far this season. He’s hitting .345 for the season with 1 double, 4 RBIs, and 2 stolen bases (he’s also been caught stealing twice).

- Speaking of stolen bases, the Sox currently have stolen 8 bases total while being caught twice (again, Victorino). Ellsbury leads the team with 4, then Victorino with 2, and  Ciriaco and JBJ both have 1. By comparison, Ellsbury had 14 stolen bases in 74 games last year. If my math works correctly (may be a big IF) and the Sox keep stealing bases at this clip, they could have approximately 185 stolen bases by the end of the season. They had 97 last year. (My math: 8 stolen bases/ 7 games multiplied by X stolen bases/ 162 games).

Well, that’s about it for me today.  I originally tried posting this last night without much success, so hopefully it works now.  I hope everyone is enjoying this season so far. I know I am!

Friday, April 5, 2013

What to do with Iglesias and Bradley Junior?

The Red Sox are a series into the 2013 season and hold a 2-1 record, tied with the Orioles for first place in the division. Jose Iglesias is 7 for 12 at the plate with 1 double and 1 RBI while showing excellent defense at shortstop. Jackie Bradley Junior 2 for 10 at the plate with 1 double, 3 RBIs, 3 walks, and 4 runs.

Of course, this is a small sample-size of the season; three games is really nothing. But, it does raise the question of what will transpire throughout the year in regards to Jose Iglesias and Jackie Bradley Junior. The thought is Iglesias will be sent to Pawtucket when Drew comes off the disabled list, probably next week sometime. JBJ will be sent down when Ortiz comes back, which is anywhere from 3-5 weeks, depending on the source (for his part, Ortiz is saying he’ll be back in about 3 weeks).

I understand the mentality of sending these player down to Triple-A; it gives them a chance to play everyday. But, will this make the Red Sox a better team? Here are my thoughts.

I’ve already predicted that Drew will be traded at some point during the season. I’m not knocking Drew and his talents because I think he is an average to slightly-above-average shortstop, something the Sox need. But, I think Iglesias’ glove is too good to keep in  Triple-A for the entire season. Plus, the Sox may be able to get a piece they can utilize better with a Drew trade (prospects, starting pitching depth).

Iglesias, for his part, has really made an impact with his bat these past couple games. In the past two seasons, Iglesias was 10 of 74 (.135 average), so it wasn’t a huge question why the Red Sox signed Drew. However, Iglesias has said he had really been working on his hitting this offseason. If these past few games are any indicator, it’s showing.

Jackie Bradley Junior is a little different case, in my opinion. Essentially, JBJ is taking Ortiz’s spot in the roster. While Ortiz is out, the Sox have the option of a rotating DH, where they can match up hitters with pitchers and give players a rest when they need it. But, Ortiz, when healthy, is one of the best hitters in the game. When he comes back to the team, a roster move needs to be made.

Unfortunately, I think that means sending JBJ to Triple-A, where he can play everyday. It’ll also give the Red Sox the luxury have JBJ play twenty consecutive games in the minors, which will allow the team to have him under control through 2019 (instead of 2018, if the Sox were to keep him in the Majors). Should the Red Sox really be thinking about 2018 and 2019 when their team has been sinking the past two seasons?

In the case of JBJ, I think you have to send him to Triple-A. Really, the only other option would be to send Nava to Triple-A after Ortiz comes off the disabled list, and Nava provides depth in both the outfield and first base. JBJ is an outfielder only.

Honestly, I think the team is best when Iglesias is on the field; he should be on the Major League team for his bat alone. JBJ, while exciting and provides some speed, could use some time in Triple-A, especially since he has never played at Triple-A (he was in Single and Double A last season). Ortiz is our “monster hitter;” and hopefully when healthy again, he’ll be mashing the ball.

It’s been exciting to watch these two players so far this season; it’s giving the fans a glimpse into the future when the roster will consist of Iglesias, JBJ, Middlebrooks, and Lavarnway. These are the players that will draw the fans back to Fenway, even if it isn’t until later this season or next season.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Francona: The Red Sox Years

Let me preface this by saying it took me a little less than a month to finish Terry Francona’s memoir, which was co-authored by Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe. It wasn’t because the book wasn’t interesting or I wasn’t excited to read it (far from it). Basically, I didn’t have my typical reading schedule that I’ve become accustomed to (reading for at least an hour a week at Starbucks while sipping on my Venti, unsweetened, iced green tea or reading for about a half hour before bed). I had been training for my first 5k, which took place on St. Patrick’s Day (second 5k is this weekend), and my body was exhausted. Instead of reading before I went to sleep, I’d fall asleep reading.

But, enough excuses.

I really did enjoy Francona’s book, and not for the reasons that I thought I’d enjoy it. Francona: The Red Sox Years gave the reader more of a behind-the-scenes look than I thought it would give. There seemed to be more about interactions between Francona, Epstein, Henry, Lucchino, and Werner than Francona and his players. Whether this was to stick it to the ownership or not is debatable.

I promise not to go into too much detail and ruin the memoir for any of you who want to read it. I can’t stand it when people do that to me, giving away more of the book than I’d like them to. So, I won’t do that to any of you.

Whether by design or not, Epstein and Francona’s relationship seemed to take center stage throughout the book. Epstein and Francona weathered the Red Sox storm together, and they described their relationship, which bordered the lines between a working relationship and a friendship, in ways that the reader could really identify with. There were serious talks between them, practical jokes, the occasional late night, and a mutual respect between the GM and manager.

Francona’s relationship with ownership was vastly different. In 2004, as Red Sox fans, I’m sure all of us would agree that the Red Sox ownership was the best in the Major League. As the years went on, I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks differently about the ownership. Do I think they’re horrible? No. Do I think there are some issues? Yes. And without giving away too much, that’s basically what Francona was saying throughout his memoir about the ownership.

I’ve read many Red Sox player memoirs over the years, including Big Papi: My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits (Ortiz), Born to Play: My Life in the Game (Pedroia), Deep Drive: A Long Journey to Finding the Champion Within (Lowell), and Idiot: Beating “The Curse” and Enjoying the Game of Life (Damon). Throughout much of those memoirs, the writer’s personal life played a huge part in the book. In Francona’s book, his personal life isn’t the focus; it’s much more about his life as the manager of the Red Sox. Yes, his personal life is talked about (especially the chapter on 2011), but it’s not the focus. I think that’s important to mention, as no one really talked about Fancona’s personal life until after the 2011 season.

Overall, if you’re a Red Sox fan, I think you need to read this book. Terry Francona is arguably the best manager to ever manage the Red Sox. He’s a respected leader and well liked by many (players, GMs, other managers, public, media, etc.). While I’ll always want the Red Sox to beat the Indians (just like I’d want them to beat any other team), I do want Terry Francona to find success as the manager of the Cleveland Indians. He deserves it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Opening Day 2013

Final Score:
8-2 Red Sox over Yankees

Lester (W): 5.0 IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 7SO
Bullpen: 4.0 IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 3SO

Ellsbury: 3 for 6, Triple, 1 Run, 2 RBIs, 0 BB, 0 SO, 5 LOB
Victorino: 2 for 6, 0 Runs, 3 RBIs, 0 BB, 1 SO, 3 LOB
Pedroia: 2 for 6, 0 Runs, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 0 SO, 5 LOB
Napoli: 0 for 5, 0 Runs, 0 RBIs, 0 BB, 2 SO, 4 LOB
Middlebrooks: 0 for 4, 1 Run, 0 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0 LOB
Saltalamacchia: 1 for 2, 1 Double, 2 Runs, 0 RBIs, 3 BBs, 1 SO, 0 LOB
Gomes: 2 for 4, 1 Run, 0 RBI, 1 BB, 0 SO, 2 LOB
Bradley Jr: 0 for 2, 2 Runs, 1 RBI, 3 BBs, 1 SO, 1 LOB
Iglesias: 3 for 5, 1 RBI, 1 Run, 0 BB, 1 SO, 6 LOB

I thought the game went well for the Red Sox, especially considering how bad last year was. The Sox showed a lot of life, particularly their younger players, like Bradley and Iglesias. Lester pitched respectively, giving up 2 runs in 5 innings, which is pretty good for his first outing. The bullpen was pretty much lights out, after a few shaky pitches by Miller.

I think Bradley Jr. showed remarkable patience at the plate, especially going against CC Sabathia, for his first major-league showing and drew 3 walks. Most young players I’ve seen have wanted to get that first hit out of the way so quickly that they end up getting out somehow (strike out, fly out, ground out, etc.). Bradley Jr. also made a great running catch in the outfield.

I think the surprise was Iglesias, who is notorious for having a tremendous club with a very sub-average bat. He hit 3 infield singles, showing speed on the bases. He also had a few nice plays at short. I say “nice” because Iglesias is such a remarkable shortstop defensively that he makes hard plays look routine. He currently leads the team with a .600 batting average.

Jonny Gomes also showed some speed on the bases when he ran home from second base on an infield single in the 9th inning. Gomes isn’t exactly known for his speed, and he didn’t stop let up rounding third to see where the ball was in play.

This is a team that looks completely different from how it did last year. Here’s the comparison:

2012 Lineup:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Ryan Sweeney, RF
Cody Ross, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Mike Aviles, SS
Starting Pitcher: Jon Lester

2013 Lineup:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Jonny Gomes, DH
Jackie Bradley Jr., LF
Jose Iglesias, SS
Starting Pitcher: Jon Lester

Was this the best the team will look this season? By no means, but I think they have a lot more potential than they have in the past. They have prospects in Triple-A that could come into play this year. They have some great pitching in the bullpen (my personal opinion), and I think this team will be the surprise of the season.