Finding Meaning in Springtime

Today's spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays may be the first important game of the year. Kind of. Why?

The Red Sox are playing for the first time their likely Opening Day lineup in its entirety, and they're facing nemesis Andy Sonnanstine. You might remember him. He had a 102 OPS+ yet did not allow a single earned run all season long against the Red Sox. Thirteen innings. Seven hits. Zero earned runs.

If the Sox are to overtake the Rays and win the East this season, beating up on league-average pitchers should be a top priority. It's never too soon to start.

Also, the Globe reports the Sox are leaning toward giving Chris Carter the 25th spot on the roster. If Carter makes something of his time in the bigs, that Bronson Arroyo trade may yet turn out to be worthwhile.

15 comments… add one
  • I am very excited … no, make that somewhat excited, about the Chris Carter decision. If he can learn to field, this guy could be a real find. He’s proven he can hit Triple-A pitching and ML pitching in spring training. And he gave us a small but respectable sample last year that he can hit ML pitching.
    I love his swing.

    I'mBillMcNeal March 31, 2009, 12:37 pm
  • I’m most excited about seeing Buchholz’ last start of Spring Training before the year starts. If he’s looking great today, as he has all spring, then it would be tough to give the 5th slot to Penny.

    Atheose March 31, 2009, 12:57 pm
  • So much of Tampa’s success last year was luck. Even good pitchers rarely shutout the Sox over 2 or 3 starts.
    On top of that they nearly had no injuries to their rotation last year.

    Bronx Baseball Daily March 31, 2009, 1:18 pm
  • Wow, and to think how much better that lineup would be with Mark Teixeira!
    If he’s looking great today
    Yeah, not so much. Brad Penny. Heh.

    Rob March 31, 2009, 3:31 pm
  • Bucky got knocked around a bit, which will make it easier to send him to Triple-A to start the season.

    I found myself getting surprisingly worked up about this game today. Nick Green w/a 2-run, 2-out triple off Balfour to tie it, 7-7, in the 8th; Angel Chavez drives in Green for an 8-7 lead; this after “Tek’s 3-run bomb off Sonnanstine in the 7th made the score 7-5. (This TB announcer blows.) Balfour can’t get through the 8th.

    Lighten up, Rob.

    I'mBillMcNeal March 31, 2009, 3:36 pm
  • If he can learn to field
    Yeah, not going to happen. But he will hit enough for his positions. I wonder if they’re willing to let Bay walk…

    Rob March 31, 2009, 3:43 pm
  • After Rob’s dig, I feel we should have at least 50 posts decrying how unfairly Red Sox fans are treated.
    Nothing bad can happen from Buchholz being required to pitch every fifth day in AAA. If he’s down there a long time, it means Penny and Smoltz are doing well in Boston. Nice win though, with players we might actually see this year (well, some of them anyway) making big cotnributions.
    Suck it, Tampa!

    Paul SF March 31, 2009, 3:59 pm
  • Awww, Paul’s feelings are still hurt. Come here you big doofus. We can learn to love to again. We have been on opposite sides of Teixeira for while. Let’s let it go now. Please.
    But I also said that signing Penny was a mistake. I stand by that. Buchholz has upside and a future. Penny has neither.

    Rob March 31, 2009, 4:12 pm
  • I take solace in the fact that Buchholz has exactly one more no-hitter than Hughes has wins thus far in both of their shaky careers, so yeah, color me amused by the dig. He also, as Rob stated, has more upside than anyone other than Lester, but he’s yet to prove it, so as unimportant as the 5th starters inning are, and easily as most of them are swapped out, I don’t worry about letting Buchholz continue to grow in the minors until he is needed.
    Penny was nice, and cheap (imagine signing a player for less than 80M)insurance. How do you know that he doesn’t have a bounceback year, Rob? You were so enthused about speculation before, when essentially, you took a few digs today based almost entirely on speculation, right?

    Brad March 31, 2009, 4:45 pm
  • i know it means very little, but buchholz has picked off 4 runners at first this spring. he also has thrown the ball away on pickoff moves a few times as well.

    sf rod March 31, 2009, 4:51 pm
  • Rob, I’m obviously busting stones, man.

    Brad March 31, 2009, 4:56 pm
  • Rod, not every fifth starter gets the free balk every throw to first.:)

    Brad March 31, 2009, 4:57 pm
  • How do you know that he doesn’t have a bounceback year, Rob?
    2005 – 2.98
    2006 – 2.74
    2007 – 1.85
    2008 – 1.21
    Career – 2.17
    He’s going to get killed in the AL East.
    The only experience for pitching in the major leagues is pitching in the major leagues. Signing a guy like Penny, when you have multiple internal options is a mistake, IMHO. I’d feel exactly the same if the Yanks had done the same with Hughes stuck behind a guy with no future in the organization.

    Rob March 31, 2009, 4:58 pm
  • “Yeah, not going to happen. But he will hit enough for his positions.”
    If Wade Boggs can learn to field …

    I'mBillMcNeal March 31, 2009, 9:55 pm
  • Penny was an insurance policy. Nothing more. He is this year’s Bartolo Colon with a slightly higher price. He is there to bridge them to Smoltz, and to help make sure that Buccholz’ psyche doesn’t fall into Ian Kennedy-like depths.
    If Penny can give the Red Sox 60 IP with an ERA belore 4.0 before Smoltz is ready, color me tickled plaid.

    I'mBillMcNeal March 31, 2009, 10:01 pm

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