Monday, July 9, 2007

The Cup is Half Full, folks

Well, here we are, halfway through our 2007 Season. This is the time of year where most baseball enthusiasts take the time to dissect their favorite team, review the last 3 months of performance, and make up their wish list of possible acquisitions and trades to pad the roster for post season play.
I don't know about you, but I really could care less about the All Star game. Well, I do care, to some extent. I want the American League to win it, so that (hopefully the Red Sox) the AL gets home field advantage for this year's World Series. For me, the All Star break is a merely a chance at a few days of regular television, and not a pre-game show, or a game, or a post-game show, or switch the channels from YES to NESN every 10 minutes. So what, you might ask, did I watch?
Of all the opportunities on television tonite, I chose Spongebob. Actually my kids did the choosing. While it's cute that my 3 year old can do an uncanny rendition of Big Papi at the plate, including spitting on his hands and clapping them together, tonite I gave the boys a chance to be just regular kids, not kids living with parents who are fanatical members of Red Sox Nation.
Something is wrong with me. While it played, and the boys giggled, I just sat there, staring, and thinking about what I was going to write in my next blog entry.
It's a sickness, I admit. But I can't help but be obsessive over that which I love.
Heck, I've got my own opinions about this team.
We still have a 10 game lead, despite getting swept in Chicago. Ugh, that was not the way I hoped to end the first half. Our bats once again were quiet, and this time, it was very, very noticeable that Manny and Papi could not come through in clutch situations. I am not feeling comfortable. Still too many games left to be cocky. It would be great to figure out a way to acquire one more decent 3rd or 4th starter. Doesn't look like there is much out there, without giving away Theo's farm. It's my opinion that we keep most of those farm guys, too. We'll need them in '08 and '09.
Hate to say it, but this week we looked like the best team in the worst division. Whoopie. The best of the worst. Get us on the road, and we fell apart. That might get us the AL East, and MAYBE the AL pennant this year, but it sure won't get us another World Series ring.
A few things need to improve:
  • Manny's got to step up.
  • Papi needs to figure out what he's doing wrong at the plate.
  • Drew needs to stay healthy, and earn the $14.4 million dollars he's due this year.
  • Lugo... hmmm... not sure what to say there. Lugo needs to graduate from the Pony League and prove why he is worth $8.25 million to us this year. I read a stat today that, as of Saturday, he was 176th out of 176 for batting average, 174th in on-base percentage, 173rd in slugging and 175th in OPS. Ummm... doesn't that mean he pretty much stinks?
  • Timlin needs to be more consistent
  • Schilling needs to come to grips with being a creative pitcher, not an overpowering, dominant one. He still has the stuff to kick it out there, but it won't be because of his fastball.
There are things that got us here, though. This isn't the DOOM AND GLOOM show, folks!! Here are a few examples of why we are enjoying the laurels of first place:
  • Kevin Youkilis, for his bats and his defense.
  • Coco's defense
  • Dustin Pedroia
  • our Bullpen, especially Okajima and Papelbon
  • Manny Delcarmen
  • Mike Lowell, Mike Lowell and Mike Lowell. Did I mention Mike Lowell?
  • Josh Beckett
  • Dice-K
  • Alex Cora, the best guy to ride the bench in Boston.
So as the first half concludes, I hope you, like me, enjoy looking at the standings out there on the Green Monster. While we haven't always played our A game, we have won some really great games that we should all be proud of. (remember the Mother's Day miracle, for one!!) I think overall, our team is in decent shape. We can always use more pitching, and if there is any way Theo and the boys can figure out a way to get some more depth without sacrificing more than Willie Mo and a couple no name prospects, it just might be enough to put us over the top.
Coming up very soon will be some pictures that were taken last Thursday at our last road trip to Fenway, the big blowout against Tampa Bay. Be looking out for them, enjoy the break!

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