1. Game of Inches. I used to play in an adult baseball league, but one reason I walked away was the danger to a pitcher from aluminum bats. Last night, Josh Beckett narrowly avoided serious injury when a line drive ticked off his occiput. We've seen the worst of head injuries (Bryce Florie) and recall others like Mike Mussina taking one point blank.
2. OPS Makes News. Sox fans have lamented the lack of power from the offense, but last night's oversized effort (five homers) corrects the statistical imbalance. Jason Varitek had a pair of taters from the left side, and Youkilis, Pedroia, and Hermida also went yard. Obviously, the sample size is going to be small, so too much emphasis on the stats this early gets reduced.
3. Hurt locker. Could there be an advantage to a lineup laden with experienced (old) players? Well, sometimes the aches and pains catch up to you. J.D. Drew is no stranger to the DL, but comes up with a stiff neck today, meaning that Jeremy Hermida gets the start in right field. Hermida got his first Red Sox homer last night, and at twenty-six, the former first round draft choice should be coming into his prime. Time will tell where he fits.
4. Welcome to the neighborhood. Javier Vasquez had a great season for the Braves last year, but the Yankees number four starter got a rude welcome back to the American League the other day, as the Tampa Bays dismayed JV with a 12.71 ERA. According to Nick Cafardo, the Orioles are in the hunt for Adrian Gonzalez, thinking they're in the hunt. That makes no sense to me, because they're not...in the hunt. However, one team that nobody thought would be hanging around, the Toronto Blue Jays, lead the AL East at 4-1...it's only the first week of the season.
5. Target practice. The Red Sox help open up Target Field this week, with a rather mediocre but not average 17-15 record against the Twins the past five seasons.
The Twins always play good fundamental baseball and as a pitching staff they tend not to put many men on base via the base on balls. They made a heroic run to get into the playoffs last season, and are 5-1 out of the chute this season, even with the Joe Nathan elbow injury.