Nothing long winded today, I just wanted to express a couple feelings about the last week or so:
- If you were unsure before, let last night's 3 for 3 performance make it clear that Jacoby Ellsbury is the real deal. Not only that, but he's ready now. Ellsbury looked fantastic last night and looks like he could be a huge asset come playoff time. I would hate to see Ellsbury not on the post-season roster.
- We don't call Dustin Pedroia "Scrappy Doo" for nothing. He battles all game long. The score could be 1-0 or 10-0 and he's going to put the bat on the ball. Defensively, it's the same way. He'll get dirty and sacrifice the body for a measly out in the 5th inning of a 8-0 game. You hear coaches call players "warriors" all the time; I think Pedroia is a perfect example. I love to watch him play.
- How ridiculously beautiful is the outfield, defensively, of Ellsbury, Coco Crisp and JD Drew? That's an outfield the Sox have dreamed about for years. Not those particular people, I'm sure, but an outfield that can track down anything.
- Speaking of the outfield, here are some things that have to happen next year: Ellsbury has to be a starter from day one. Ellsbury has to be the leadoff man from day one. But what are the Sox going to do? I don't want the Sox to give up Crisp because I think he's finally settled into being a Red Sox. He's had his tough times and bad moments, but barring anything catastrophic, I think Crisp will have a career year next season. That leaves Manny Ramirez or Drew. Any takers on Drew?
- We'll be talking about Clay Buchholz's no-hitter for years. We'll remember it forever. But don't be fooled if you think Buchholz is going to produce like that, or anything really close to that, from here on out. I'm not taking anything away from Buchholz at all, but I just don't want people to get on his back if he struggles. A lot of young, highly-touted pitchers come up to the majors and dominate right off the bat but then hitters learn them and exploit their weaknesses. A great example is Jon Lester. Lester will be back in top form next year, but last year he was really good when he started. Then as the starts went on, he struggled. Ditto for this year. Another example is Jered Weaver. His ERA is up 1.20 from last season. Still not bad numbers, but obviously hitters are starting to learn his stuff. He had a 1.92 ERA in his first 13 games started last year. He had a 3.96 ERA in his last six games started. Prepare for a somewhat bumpy road, but then relax and take a ride on a very nice, long highway. I think that's how Buchholz will work.
- Remember a former Sox by the name of Wily Mo Pena or something like that? Yeah, he has 5 home runs in 53 at-bats with the Nationals. He had 5 in 156 at-bats with the Sox this year. I guess regular playing time would benefit Mr. Pena. His average, you ask? Just .245.
- 7 games, ladies and gents. If the playoffs started tomorrow, the Red Sox, Indians, Angels and Yankees would be in the post-season. The Indians are surging right now: they're 9-1 in their last 10 games. There are two things to root for, Sox fans: The Sox, duh, and the Mariners. Keep your eye on the Wild Card chase.
- Jeff Passan from Yahoo! Sports Brian Bannister should be the American League Rookie of the Year. Send him hate mail, please. He obviously hasn't been watching his share of Red Sox games because if he was he could see that Pedroia is the sparkplug that makes the best team in baseball go. Bannister? Yeah, he's the best pitcher for the 62-76 Royals. Woo. Go Royals. Out of the basement. Woo. Pedroia, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima rate two, three and four, respectively, on the list.
- Josh Beckett going eight innings last night was a head scratcher, but it worked out for Beckett and Terry Francona. While we're talking about awards, can anyone say "Cy Young"? I've hatched this discussion before, but Beckett will be earning a lot of votes come November. I don't think he'll get enough unless he finishes September with a spectacular month. I think Erik Bedard or Johan Santana could take home the gold. Speaking of Santana, he has given up 30 home runs this season, tops in the AL. His ERA, however, is 3.15, third in the league. Imagine if he had 15 home runs instead? We wouldn't even have to discuss Cy Young candidates.
That's enough for me. I feel a lot better now...