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Welcome to the first installment of The Starting Nine. This column will take a look back at the past week for the Red Sox, and I will make nine comments, opinions, observation, etc. that stuck out to me throughout the week.
This past week saw the Sox finish up inter-league play with Atlanta, a three game series in Baltimore, and the start of a three game series in Boston against Seattle. Boston went 3-4 this week and looks like they could use that All-Star break for some rest and repair.
Wake has put up some solid numbers this season thus far and was finally named to his first All-Star squad on Sunday. He is currently in a five way tie for first in the majors with 10 wins. In his last outing against Seattle, Wake was less than impressive, but he still has solid numbers this season. He is not doing it just on run support either as Wake has a 4.30 ERA so far and is also holding batters to a .259 batting average. With Bud Selig adding a 33rd spot to the All Star rosters with another pitcher, Wakefield was a strong hopeful for his first appearance. The question is, now that Wakefield was selected, does George Kottaras have to go with him?
Bay has hit a slight speed bump in his otherwise great first full season with Boston. Bay had a rough week and only managed to have two hits all week, while seeing his average fall to a measly .259. Bay will snap out of this eventually and will still be starting in the outfield in the All-Star game.
I think it is finally safe to say that Ortiz has snapped out of his early season funk. Ortiz just ended another hit streak that lasted six games. His average is up to .221, with nine home runs and 37 runs batted in. Rumor has it that Papi’s father has been in rough shape, which may have added to his slump.
Here’s a guy that no one probably expected to do much upon him making the team after spring training. However, Green has done his job quite well lately in the absence of Jed Lowrie. Green is batting a modest .272, with four home runs, and 28 runs batted in. Green hit a huge two-run double that just barely missed being a home run in the eighth inning against the Mariners on Friday night. Not only is Green doing his job, but he is doing it better than most expected.
It was bound to happen at some point, as Kottaras hit his first major league home run Friday night in the bottom of the 11th inning. Kottaras had always hit for power, not average, while with Pawtucket and now that he has his first one behind his belt, there may be some more to come.
After blowing the save in that pathetic come from behind win for the Orioles on Tuesday, Paps entered the record books in Boston by notching his 133rd career save on Wednesday, passing Bob Stanley for the all-time save record for the Red Sox.
It might be a long time before we see Dice-K pitching with the Red Sox again. Matsuzaka was sent back to Florida for a complete set of Spring Training excercises since he missed the majority of it while participating in the World Baseball Classic. It’s a good thing the Red Sox have so many options for starting pitching since it is questionable whether Dice-K will return to the rotation this year.
The Red Sox used to be the best comeback team in baseball a few years back, but have pretty much lost that title. After suffering the embarrsing 11-10 loss to the Orioles on Tuesday, the Sox made a dramtic comeback in the ninth inning on Wednesday after being down 5-1, to win 6-5. The Red Sox also made a bid about coming back on Friday after being down 4-2 in the eighth but failed to win in the eleventh inning. Perhaps the Red Sox are starting to try and be that comeback team again.
The Red Sox were hopeful to send a few of their finest to the All Star game in St. Louis on July 14. I had projected Jason Bay, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon, Tim Wakefield, and Josh Beckett to make the squad, and I was right. It’s great to see six Red Sox on the squad.
Next week the Sox finish their series with the Mariners, see the return of Nomar Garciaparra to Boston when the A’s come to town, and have a visit from Zack Grienke and the Kansas City Royals.
Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Daisuke Matsuzaka, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, George Kottaras, Jason Bay, Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis, Nick Green, Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, The Starting Nine, Tim Wakefield