Best of All Worlds

Did they coordinate beforehand? For their first-month, off-day writeups, each of the major Boston-area newspapers discusses a separate part of the team.

The Globe loves the hitting:

Even with Manny Ramírez providing only intermittent assistance, the Red Sox return home tonight to face Oakland with an offense that ranks first in the American League in on-base percentage (.353), first in walks (111), second in runs (125, one behind surprising Tampa Bay), and third in slugging percentage (.426).

The Herald loves the pitching:

… [T]he Sox continue to soar, mainly thanks to the superb work of the Sox pitching staff. The team’s 3.28 ERA is second-best in the AL, and the Sox have a 3.14 ERA in the past 19 games. The Sox have allowed three or fewer runs in 12 of those 19 games.

The Journal is concerned about the bullpen:

Outside of Papelbon and Hideki Okajima, for instance, Francona does not have anyone else he can bring in from the bullpen without having to cross his fingers after making a pitching change.

The Courant notes the Sox’ impressive performance in 13 straight games against the division:

By going 9-4 in that stretch, the Red Sox emerged with the biggest division lead at April’s end in franchise history, 3 1/2 games.

When you’re in first place, everything’s rosy, no matter what time of year.

36 comments… add one
  • As a lifelong Sox fan I have to say, despite the optimism engendered by the 2004 ring, that I already am bracing myself for the crushing collapse following this tremendous early start.
    Expecting the worst is too ingrained a habit, having watched so many post-All-Star-break swoons. Knock on wood that some key hitter or pitcher (I am not naming any names) doesn’t get injured.
    That said, this appears to be one of the more balanced Sox teams in a long time, with a great bench (e.g. Hinske and Cora). It’s also extraordinarily rare to see a BoSox roster as strong or stronger in pitching compared to hitting.
    Of course I’m not saying anything new by noting that the hitting seems it could only improve, and if it does the pitching does not need to get better or even could drop off a bit.
    95 wins seems entirely possible.

    Hudson May 1, 2007, 11:46 am
  • P.S. On my computer, at least, I have been getting a 404 message when trying the Permalink for your Olney story.

    Hudson May 1, 2007, 11:53 am
  • This is gonna be a tough series against Oakland. To make it worse, when we face the Twins the Baseball Gods have AGAIN matched our crappy starter, Tavarez, unless someone else is broguht in against a superace – this time Johan Santana.
    Tavarez vs Halladay
    Tavarez vs Wang (granted Wang was well.. not Wang)
    Tavarez vs Santana
    Poor Julian

    Dionysus May 1, 2007, 12:24 pm
    Donnelly hasn’t given up an ER yet. Therefore he does not yet strike terror into my heart.

    Kazz May 1, 2007, 12:45 pm
  • Wow, yeah, that sucks Dio. Ugh…well, not to crap on Oakland, but…that’s a team we match up pretty well against. Pitching staffs have, to this point, been pretty comparable while their offense is about as potent as a AAA team, in part because of all the injuries. And we don’t have to face Dan Haren.
    Honestly, Boston better win 2 of the 3 home games; it’s Schilling, Beckett, and Matsuzaka against Joe Blanton, Chad Gaudin, and Horacio Ramirez. Two lefties, which Boston seems to suck against…but c’mon, it’s Chad Gaudin and Horacio Ramirez.

    desturbd1 May 1, 2007, 12:48 pm
  • I think the hitting WILL get better (I can’t believe they lead the league in OBP right now) and the pitching WILL drop off…the question is whether the one will be enough to counterbalance the other.

    Devine May 1, 2007, 12:53 pm
  • I hear ya, Hudson. I’m enjoying the ride, and my head says it can continue. But my heart is very, very scared.

    Paul SF May 1, 2007, 1:38 pm
  • Until NY goes and gets a pitcher to help out, I’m not scared of anything.

    Brad May 1, 2007, 1:51 pm
  • I’m not “scared” of much at this point, but the Old Red Sox fan in me simply won’t allow my self to get excited yet.
    I’m with you Brad, if I’m a Yankee fan, I’m scared to hell of my rotation, I mean, they almost have NO rotation to speak of, anything else goes wrong and it’s totally done.
    Rob Bradford brought up an interesting question today, anyone think we should go ahead and sign Paps early? I say wait till the end of the year and see how his shoulder holds up, see if this isn’t a fluke, but if both things remain strong, give him a 4 year contract in the off season.

    LocklandSF May 1, 2007, 1:57 pm
  • I agree with you Lockland on signing Paps. He’s worht it and if he shows no signs of injury this year, continues to put up these numbers, you want him wrapped up nice and tight.
    Also, I wish people would stop dismissing the Yankees. Pride goeth before the fall people. History has taught us the Yankees ALWAYS make a run of it. They are like the killer in slasher flicks. No matter how many blasts from the shotgun you unload point blank into their chest, the very moment you are home on your couch and sigh and say “Its finally over…” there they are standing behind you with a knife.
    So, what I’m saying is… as long as they are playing games, I fear the Yankees.
    Back to Papelbon, its been commented on how power pitchign closers tend to have short lifespans (playing wise), and I was thinking… I wonder what Roger could teach Paps if we sign him? The Rocket has CERTAINLY managed to maintain longevity and perhaps could share some tricks to help Papelbon beat the numbers. Our other young guys too. Frankly, I support signing Clemens JUST because of what he can teach our kids.

    Dionysus May 1, 2007, 2:18 pm
  • “I mean, they almost have NO rotation to speak of, anything else goes wrong and it’s totally done.”
    Let’s not exaggerate.
    I agree the Yanks can ill afford ANY more pitcher injuries, but “totally done”? It’s May 1. There’s a hell of a lot of ball left to play.

    Andrews May 1, 2007, 2:34 pm
  • If you were to sign Clemens, who moves to the pen? Wakefield? Or do they send Lester down? Just curious what you sf’s think…

    Andrews May 1, 2007, 2:36 pm
  • “I wonder what Roger could teach Paps if we sign him?”
    steady diet of stanzanol and HGH?

    Ric May 1, 2007, 2:45 pm
  • I almost want to say Wake. It’d be nice to have a lefty in the rotation, and as a knuckleballer, I’d imagine less warm up time affects him less. Plsu he’s done the releiver thign before.
    That said, I imagine the brass sends Lester to the bullpen.

    Dionysus May 1, 2007, 2:46 pm
  • Ok, I went a little far Andrews, but still, it’s got to weigh on your mind a lot.
    I mean, your not even certain that some of your injured pitchers would be any better if they were healthy.
    If we sign Roger, you send Lester down, that being said, if we sign Roger, I will also eat my hat. I don’t think he’s going to NY or Boston.

    LocklandSF May 1, 2007, 2:54 pm
  • “some of your injured pitchers would be any better if they were healthy.”

    Andrews May 1, 2007, 2:57 pm
  • My point being that we simply haven’t seen enough of Glass Carl or Moose to know if they are as advertised this year, or what these injuries will do to them when they come back.

    LocklandSF May 1, 2007, 3:03 pm
  • You mean IF Pavano comes back. I really just… don’t see that happening. Not for any stretch of time anyway. He’s the Yankee Matt Clement… basically a headcase now.
    Mussina on the other hand WILL return, and we’ll see.. he’ll either be good, or if that 5mph loss on his fastball holds up, he’ll be in trouble.

    Dionysus May 1, 2007, 3:06 pm
  • why do people feel mussina will return to the 06′ version of himself opposed to the 04′ and 05′ version? all reports are that his fastballs down 5 to 7 mph. father times a ticking and if his body is nagging now, what will august hold?
    did anyone else notice they played “enter sandman” over the PA for mo’s mop up duty in friday nites blowout?

    sf rod May 1, 2007, 3:30 pm
  • Re: Clemens & the Sox Rotation:
    If it actually came to pass, I’d gander that Lester’s slot would go to Rocket. There’s no way you send Wakes to the pen (even though he’s been there before) — especially if he is pitching the way he has been (at that 2.59 ERA rate).
    Besides, Dougie likes to drop his bombs on a regular schedule.

    Kluv May 1, 2007, 3:41 pm
  • On April matters:
    By the way, this is actually pretty neat (and definitely not really noticed by anyone):
    Greatest offensive feat that eluded the radar screen: At month’s end, Derek Jeter had gotten a hit in 56 of the last 58 games he’d played in, going back to last season. SABR research whiz Trent McCotter reports that he can find only two other hitters in the last 108 seasons who came that close to a 58-game hitting streak. One, of course, was Joe DiMaggio in 1941. The other was Ed Delahanty, who got a hit in 61 of 63 games from June 5 through Aug. 18, 1899. Pretty cool list.

    Lar May 1, 2007, 3:43 pm
  • sf rod, yeah they play Enter Sandman whenever Rivera goes out there. I wish they wouldn’t. That said, does Paps have a song yet? Maybe it could be something by AC/DC, to oppose Mo’s Metallica. Though I kinda doubt Mo listens to metal at any rate.
    And what ‘reliable sources’ are you Sox fans getting that we Yankee fans can’t? I’ve been looking for days now, and I can’t find any information on Mussina’s velocity. I know he was below his usual 89 mph fastball out of spring training, but that’s always the case with him. There hasn’t really been any reason to think his fastball won’t reach that again aside from the “Oh he’s a year older” argument. He didn’t go on the DL because of his elbow, he went because of his hamstring. I guess we’ll just have to see how he does as the season wears on, but unless he starts having elbow troubles again there’s little reason to doubt his ability. He’s not a borderline HOFer and wasn’t one of the top 10 AL pitchers last year for nothing.

    Andrew May 1, 2007, 4:36 pm
  • No one knows if Mike Mussina will regain the 5-mph on his fastball that’s so far been missing. At 85 mph, “he hasn’t got enough” said one American League scout. Indeed, Mussina’s other pitches, particularly his curveball, are all dramatically compromised unless he’s throwing harder. The Yankees will find out on Wednesday, when Mussina is scheduled to come off the disabled list.
    Bob Klapisch, ESPN, last week.

    SF May 1, 2007, 4:40 pm
  • Thanks SF.

    Andrew May 1, 2007, 4:42 pm
  • Paps’ song is “Wild Thing” ala Rick Vaughn, I beleive.

    Dionysus May 1, 2007, 4:46 pm
  • Although, reading the article dated April 27th, who knows where Klapisch got his information from, aside from a random ‘scout’ in the American League. It certainly didn’t take into account the 60-pitch simulated game he threw that day, or the bullpen session he threw on Monday. For all we know Mussina is working himself back into shape after being sidelined with a hamstring injury. That’s the nature of the beast, and pitchers don’t suddenly lose 5mph on their fastball without some sort of elbow issue, which wasn’t the problem. I’m certainly not counting the guy out, not after his borderline ace-like season last year.

    Andrew May 1, 2007, 4:48 pm
  • andrew- i would love to see paps come into “iron man” by sabbath. my first choice would be “sweetleaf” but the coughing at the begining might send mixed signals.

    sf rod May 1, 2007, 4:49 pm
  • SF May 1, 2007, 4:53 pm
  • Thanks SF, I trust his arm’ll get into shape.
    I guess I need to read more blogs. God help me.

    Anonymous May 1, 2007, 4:57 pm
  • Teh Probable Pitcher for the game against Johan Santana just went from TBA to Julian Tavarez.
    MAN, that stinks. Why do we keep having Julian face these guys? Stupid rain messing everything up. Also, Wakefeild opposes Silva.. who certainyl isn’t godlike, BUT who is 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA in four games against the Sox. Know what that means? No run support for Wakey. Again. GARGH!
    To make it worse, we’re playing in a dome. I have no facts to support this, but I have the feelign that the Sox have stunk in Domes.

    Dionysus May 1, 2007, 4:58 pm
  • I wonder how much his hamstring injury prevents him from really airing it out in order to strengthen his arm. At some point, even though his elbow isn’t his ass (or, in this case, his hammy), there’s some intertwining of injuries. One affects the other, it just has to, if even from the standpoint of psychology.

    SF May 1, 2007, 5:00 pm
  • SF, I think his hamstring has been fine since a week after he hurt it. You don’t throw off a mound with a gimped hamstring. But he got out of his all-important rhythm, and needed to work himself back into shape. Is he in midseason form yet, no, but he’ll get there, and has been getting there. God, I hope he doesn’t bomb on Thursday.

    Anonymous May 1, 2007, 5:06 pm
  • “[The Yanks] are like the killer in slasher flicks. No matter how many blasts from the shotgun you unload point blank into their chest, the very moment you are home on your couch and sigh and say “Its finally over…” there they are standing behind you with a knife.”
    Best analogy ever.

    Tyrel SF May 1, 2007, 5:57 pm
  • I agree…Dionysus almost perfectly represents my feelings about the Yankees vis a vis the Sox’ chances of making the playoffs/winning in the playoffs. They’re not done till they’re mathematically eliminated.

    Devine May 1, 2007, 6:14 pm
  • >>>Until NY goes and gets a pitcher to help out, I’m not scared of anything.<<< How about Toronto? >>>Why do we keep having Julian face these guys?
    You could look at the other way around: the odds of beating a Santana or a Halladay are low to begin with. So it might actually be better to just roll the dice with Tavarez in these occasional low-percentage games, and to win 3 or 4 out of the remainder with our strong pitchers…

    Hudson May 1, 2007, 6:31 pm
  • More good points. Yes, Toronto (at the moment) is the team to watch. If their pitching is decent, they have a nice team there.

    Devine May 1, 2007, 6:41 pm

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