I think i may have shaved 2-8 months off of my life watching that last half-inning. Where was the crazy closer we know and love? Was he trying to pull a Matsuzaka? I know he's often said he wants to be the best in all pitching categories, but if it's all the same, I'd rather he didn't try to top Daisuke's .000 batting average against with the bases loaded. Please Papelbon, for the sake of the collective heart health of Red Sox Nation, find your command, and hold onto it.
On a lighter note, Jason Varitek celebrated his 37th birthday today with a single and a double, his first right handed hits of the season. The Captain is currently hitting .267... hopefully he can keep up some semblance of this production over the next 158 games.
The reigning American League MVP is doing his best to prove that he inevitably will start off slowly every spring, regardless of level of preparation. Pedroia is hitting .167, including an 0-for-4 performance this afternoon. The Fox cameras didn't zoom in on him at the plate today, but I imagine that he would have provided us with some colorful language if they had. Pedroia's partner in crime, Kevin Youkilis, went hitless today, although he got on base via a walk.
The biggest moments of the day went to Mike Lowell and Jason Bay[X2], as both men went yard during the course of the game. Lowell's came in the fifth inning and tied the score 2-2. Bay hit his pair in the seventh and the ninth, collecting a total of three RBIs.
Ellsbury's day wasn't nearly so productive, and the more I watch him, the more skeptical I become about his potential to be a leadoff hitter in the major leagues. He had one good at bat today, in the first inning: he didn't swing at the first pitch, and got on base [single]. His next at bats saw him flailing at the first offering like a 4-year-old at a pinata, and he didn't manage to get to first base again. It's getting to the point where I literally cringe when he comes up to bat.
Maybe I'm too hard on Ellsbury because I feel that he gets easy fan adoration for being the resident pretty-boy. My favorite players have always been those who work as hard as they can every day to make up for some shortcoming: bad body, limited agility, wrong stature, etc. I love that Youk has matured from the Greek God of Walks into the premier hitter in the AL; I can't wait for Chris Carter to get some playing time; and don't get me started on Pedroia [I'll wax poetic for days - just ask my friends]. Ellsbury's been that presumptive professional athlete all his life, and as excited as everyone is about him, I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon until he proves that October 2007 was more than a fluke. I also refuse to buy an Ellsbury jersey on principal, as every obnoxiously drunk female fan I've run into at Fenway in recent years has been sporting one [I know not every girl in a #46 shirt is obnoxious, but I can't be lumped in with those who do fit that stereotype].
So that post turned from a game reaction into a mini-Ellsbury rant... my bad. I'll try to be more organized in the future, but I just had to get this one out.