Keywords: Red Sox Nation, Red Sox roster, American League East, Red Sox preview
The Florida portion of Spring Training rests comfortably in the rearview mirror, with LESS than the usual quota of the good, the too bad, and the ugly. Let's take our hacks.
1. The feel good story of the spring comes from Scott Atchison, from Japan with love. Atchison won a job and along the way, his two-year old daughter with a rare congenital disease gets specialty treatment. Let's hope that every child with an illness has the opportunity to get special treatment.
2. What percentage of baseball excellence does pitching and defense constitute? Well, Yogi Berra might tell us that ninety percent of baseball is half mental. Certainly, Sox fans expect somewhere around fifty wins from the Big Three of Beckett, Lester, and Lackey. Last year they combined (off the top of my head) for forty-three wins, and it doesn't get any easier in the uber-tough AL East.
3. Either the Red Sox or the Yankees will have to settle for the Wild Card, IF they play well enough. The AL East contenders could beat each other up enough to allow a team from the West (Seattle, California) or Central (Chicago, Detroit) to sneak in. If there's anything that's certain, the Yankees and the Red Sox are not both locks for the playoffs.
4. Some players who have outstanding Florida campaigns don't make the Show. Josh Reddick hit .404 with an 1.128 but opens the season in Pawtucket. He'll be back, and be better for it. Joe Nelson had over 10K per nine innings and a K/BB ratio of three but will join Reddick. Nelson got caught in the numbers game, with no opt-out until June. With his "Vulcan" change, let's hope his MLB career lives long and prospers.
5. You don't have to be happy to play good ball, and the word is that Mike Lowell feels disenfranchised. Did he get a fair shot to win 'his' job? To borrow the phrase from the NFL, "you can't make the club from the tub." Lowell's speed is glacial, his range is small, his recovery was delayed by thumb surgery, and then he hurt his knee. For gawd's sake, if you have to be angry (while making more money than Croesus), keep your head up, your angst to yourself, and wait for an opportunity.