Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More Quick Thoughts

Gotta get a few things off my chest...

1) Why must the national announcers reference the Celtics famed Europe trip during every single game? I think everybody get's it by now. I'd say it has a chance to potentially pass the, "Hey did you know Kenny Lofton was the starting point guard for Arizona's Final Four Team in 1990?!" as the most stock tidbit which announcers feel obliged to throw in during every telecast, but the Europe trip should just be a one year story. The Lofton bit however was brought up every single year it seemed during Cleveland's playoff runs druing the mid and late 1990's. Between you and I though, I really don't think the Lofton story can be caught.

2) Am I crazy or at times does Rajon Rondo look like the best player on the court? Sure he can't shoot like Allen, score like Pierce, or rebound like KG but when he is playing well it seems like he can't be stopped. He can attack the basket at will, wreak havoc on the defensive end, grab rebounds, run the fast break, run the intermediate break, and even hit a jump shot or two. I know it's tough to swallow, but look at his game one line. He scored 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting, grabbed 6 boards, had 9 assists, 2 steals, and 0 turnovers in only about 28 minutes. Seriously, what more could you ask? I don't want to get my hopes up too high but I can't shake the feeling that this guy is a budding superstar.

3) Look, I know it is asinine, obnoxious, and arrogant to complain about the Red Sox as they are in the midst of a streak where they have won 9 of 10. With that being said, I'll start with the good before getting to the bad and potentially scary.

A) Manny is completely dialed in. It seems to me that all that stands in the way of him and a 40/140 season is an injury. Could he be looking at his first regular season MVP? Sure looks like it now.

B) It is absolutely impossible not to love what Pedroia and Ellsbury have been doing at the top of the order. I cannot remember in my lifetime, ever seeing a more dynamic and exciting duo than those two. It's going to be fun...

C) Papi is slowly starting to round into form and Julio Lugo apparently received his Jed Lowrie wake up call and is now playing pretty well. Both encouraging signs.

D) When he has pitched, Beckett has looked great, Manny Delcarmen looks like he is finally ready to contribute consistently, and Clay Bucholz seems like he should put it together completely by July or so and become a great number two starter behind Beckett.

And now the bad...

A) Year three of the Jon Lester Era has looked suspiciously like years one and two. Maybe I could get excited about him if he ever pitched a "wow!" game every now and again to give me a glimpse towards the potential that we always hear about, but I am yet to see that in three seasons. Even when he wins, his wins seem to come against sub-standard competition and whenever I watch him I always wait for the wheels to come off. I know I'm cynical with this guy, but at some point shouldn't improvement start to be expected? He's the same guy he was two years ago.

B) Craig Hansen's back in town! Uh-oh! Seriously, this must be an audition for him right? Why don't they just let him juice his numbers against the worst teams they play and then trade him as fast as humanly possible? That would be my move anyway.

C) As exhilirating as all of these come from behind wins have been lately, you cannot be too happy about the fact that they have consistently fallen behind and need to claw their way back every night. Right now, the Sox have the 4th worst team ERA in baseball, are 21st in WHIP, and have allowed the third most walks. Those are horrible numbers. What's worse, their starters have not been going deep into games and at some point needing four innings from your bullpen almost every night is going to bight you in the ass. Just look at the Mets last year. The only silver lining in all this is that their pitchers are second in K's which leads you to believe that there is some room for improvement. Let's hope so.

D) Even if the pitching save for Beckett has been uniformly bad, there is something about this team and the way they battle - I think it has a ton to do with Ellsbury, Pedroia, Youklis, and a happy Manny - that I really like. Last year's team seemed like a bunch of robots and I never really "liked" the team a ton. I honestly think that all of the hatred that everybody was directing towards Drew and Lugo put some sort of haze over the team from June through late September. This year the vibe is different and I love it.

That's it for now.

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