Two huge holes remain in Boston’s lineup with David Ortiz listed as doubtful and Kevin Youkilis still on the DL with a sore back. None the less, the Red Sox continue to lead the Majors in hitting with a .278 team batting average and scoring with an average of 5.32 runs a game.
Today’s observations are partly rather personal and partly just watching the scene around me. As usual I was on the left field berm under the scoreboard (under the clock, to be specific). I saw many friends I haven’t seen since last year at Spring Training, so it was great to see them again. Some of these friends are from the Phoenix area, some from Iowa and some even from Connecticut, to name a few. I also saw a few friends from the bleachers at Wrigley. Condolences were conveyed to me by my Chicago friends who, knew about my father’s passing the morning after the second playoff game loss in October.
Really, though, whatever quibbles I have with this lineup construction are very, very minor. It’s at least close to optimal, and that is certainly a good thing for future run production.
In addition to losing Crain, the Twins lost Matt Guerrier to the Dodgers, Brian Fuentes to the Athletics, and Jon Rauch to the blue Jays. Additionally, their former all star closer Joe Nathan is coming back after missing all of last season following Tommy John surgery. Also, a week into spring training Twins all star first baseman Justin Morneau had yet to play and there was no time table for his return as he continues to deal with a concussion he suffered mid way through last season. With the subtractions and uncertainty of key Twins, it seems that the Sox have overtaken Minnesota as they, along with the Detroit Tigers, battle for the division.
Chicago was haunted by one of its old pitchers Daniel Hudson in Friday’s Game 1 when he pitched the Diamondbacks to a 4-1 decision over the 121 road underdogs. The loss was the White Sox’s third in-a-row leaving them 5.5 games in back of Cleveland and Detroit in the AL Central with an overall record of 33-38. They are 16-17 at home and 17-21 on the road.
Last season was also the first for #Robin Ventura as manager. Ventura, a former player got all he could ask for out of his club in year one. He saw a rising star in sale jerseys have a strong season and a somewhat comeback year from Alex Rios. Ventura also received several votes for American League Manager of the Year, and arguably should have won the award.
Two encouraging offensive showings immediately carried over to Monday’s game. Gordon Beckham got going early with a two-run line drive homer, his third of the season, to left in the second inning off Angels starter Ervin Santana. Carlos Quentin continued the barrage with his second double of the night and fifteenth of the season in the fifth. This one would score Alexei Ramirez and make the score 4-0. Manager Mike Scioscia left Santana in for one too many batters as Ramirez would strike again planting one in the seats on a first pitch fastball making the score 5-0 in the seventh. The Angels call to the pen would only benefit the Sox as Quentin hit a three-run homer to dead center on a hanging breaker making the score 8-0, which is where it would stay.