The Red Sox entered this week 4-2. They're now 5-4 after an annoying ump-laden series loss to Baltimore, but they're still in first place. Boston's now been in first place for 12 straight days, which is 12 days longer than their longest stretch in first last year. Hooray! Let's recap the week.
Upon their arrival back at Fenway after a rousing opening week against New York and Toronto, Matt Kory and I both looked at what those six games told us. Matt gave us hope, the eternal renewal of spring, and the reassuring signs out of the manager's office. I looked at a few players who'd showed good stuff, and it devolved into an 80-comment argument about whether John Lackey's 2010 was terrible or simply mediocre. I don't say it enough, but you folks are the best. Matt Sullivan went way more in depth than either of us, analyzing how Clay Buchholz uses his breaking stuff to get ahead of hitters early.
Despite the largely good news so far this season, there are a few things that may be cause for concern. Marc wondered if David Ortiz's heel injury might linger a bit longer than expected. Fortunately, Ortiz did well in Pawtucket last night, so signs are good. The Sox lost John Lackey to a biceps injury on Saturday and must fall back on Alfredo Aceves. Aceves did pretty well on Thursday, and his availability is not the worst situation for Boston, as we discussed. Ben looked at the Sox' baserunning under John Farrell, and found it perhaps overly aggressive, although with room for improvement. Lastly, although this isn't really too concerning, Jackie Bradley's hot start in spring training hasn't carried over into the regular season. He hasn't looked totally lost, but clearly he needs some more time in the minors. Given what we've seen of Bradley, my bet is it doesn't hurt his development at all. Honestly, I'm willing to bet it makes him more determined to stay for good next time he comes up.
The minors are an area for optimism, of course, especially in the middle infield. While some might see Boston's glut of shortstop prospects as a roster nightmare waiting to happen, Ben points out that it's really not a problem. On the pessimistic end, the odds that Jose Iglesias, Xander Bogaerts, Jose Vinicio, and Deven Marrero all turn into major-league shortstops are astronomical. On the optimistic end, four major-league shortstops means having all of the trade bait when certain Miami-based sluggers hit arbitration. In other minor-league news, all-time Sox lifer Tim Wakefield has acquired two new titles. He's been named honorary chairman of the Red Sox Foundation, and will also be taking on Steven Wright as his knuckleball padawan.
The Red Sox sold out for ten straight seasons, as you may have heard. Matt Sullivan discussed how impressive this was. I took a thousand or so words to yell at everyone who criticized the Sox for cooking the books a bit on it. Let's just never talk about it again.
We took a brief moment away from analysis, snark and generalized nerdery to wish Jerry Remy well given his recent recurrence of lung cancer. For those who don't get to enjoy Remy on an almost-nightly basis, well, just watch this. He is actually a damn fine color guy, and he brings terrific insight into the little things (especially since a fellow second baseman has become the heart of the team), but his utter goofiness, delight in the game, and textbook-perfect Fall River accent have made him the current standard-bearer for all Sox fans. Hope you're doing great, Jerry.
Sox-Rays in a few hours. Enjoy the weekend, all.