Or: "Tidbits from Extra Bases the past couple days"
Caught this "courtesy" of Tony Mazz:
Terry Francona remains reluctant to announce his intentions for the batting order, but the manager indicated this morning that J.D. Drew will likely be his No. 5 hitter to start the season.
Tito apparently went on into a long-winded diatribe about how OBP is overrated and that he just might call the Dodgers about acquiring Juan Pierre himself. Or I'm a little upset and made that up.
Yeah, lineup construction isn't THAT important in the long run, and Ells' long-term place is atop the lineup if anywhere, especially after it was decided that Youks was never going back there again. However, I really wouldn't have minded him earning the spot for a month or so, and Drewlicious is as good a potential leadoff hitter on this team as anyone. Tito also apparently intends to speak with both Jason Bay and Mike Lowell about who will hit in the 6th slot in the order. Ludicrous, as again, the importance is minimal, but Bay is in his prime and Lowell is still good, but a bottom third hitter in this lineup. But that's small potatoes.
What it indicates, however, is continued preferential treatment for veterans and people who have been with the club longer. Which is exactly why 'Tek will probably not be banished to the 9 spot in an effort to give Lowrie slightly more PAs and more RBI opportunities. So, assuming health and that the Sox don't face a particularly tough LHP on opening day (could be, it will be vs. the Rays), the lineup probably will shake out thusly:
Ells, DP, Papi, Youks, Drewlicious, Bay, Lowell, '[Empty], Lowrie
I'm not against that lineup, but my brain just keeps trying to tell me that Ellsbury isn't quite ready for prime time in the leadoff spot yet. I'm prepared to take some of the blame for all of this, as I rarely posted anything (at all here, actually) on this topic recently.
Tony Mazz, again:
"Seventy-five pitches through five innings is ideally what we were hoping to get through today," said pitching coach John Farrell after the Sox' 4-3 loss in 10 innings to the Atlanta Braves.
And so they did. Matsuzaka allowed two runs (one earned) on three walks and just one hit while striking out two.
"I surprised myself," Matsuzaka said with a mischievous grin, suggesting he is growing tired of the constant questions about his pitch efficiency.
One of the things that I think most often causes our very stat-friendly GM to bang his head on a no-doubt very nice desk at Fenway Park is Daisuke's continuing issues with efficiency. I've been outspoken in the past about how I'd like to see him get his walk rate down, and hopefully he's getting a little more into the whole 'pitch to contact' thing. It's not that it isn't exciting to watch him get out of 3 on, none or one out jams of his own making; it's that I'd be a lot more excited if those jams were a lot less frequent, cause Houdini himself would have a hard time getting out of so many self-made traps.
That's all from me for today. Go Sox. Don't trade MDC for Montero.