There is much on our Friday plate on this cold, still dark morning. I'll start with game two of the World Series. Tampa Bay, behind "Big Game" James Shields, defeated the visiting Philadelphia Phillies by a score of 4-2. They ran, they hit and run and scratched out just what that they needed. The game was littered with Philadelphia lost chances and squandered opportunities, and I'm sure that team from Pennsylvania wants to forget game two and move on, at home, on Saturday. But the weather forecast might have the last word on that one. There is a good chance of heavy rain developing early Saturday down there, but it might not rain all night. The game is again scheduled for an 8:35pm EDT first pitch and I'll know more about the specific chances for wetness and I'll pass it on to you tomorrow. My original prediction came exactly true -- Philadelphia won game one behind their lefty wunderkind Hamels and Shields made it 1-1 with a gutsy performance in game two. It'll be Matt Garza and Jamie Moyer Saturday night, weather permitting, and the Rays will win with that matchup. I'm 100% sure of that one...I'm about 63% sure of the weather, though. Maybe a little less.
IN RED SOX NEWS, the Boston Globe recently reported that Boston does have a genuine interest in acquiring the services of free agent Mark Teixeira. Hey, I know how to spell his last name...maybe that means he'll be wearing a Boston uniform a few months from now. The Sox are said to be interested in letting Mikey Lowell play elsewhere if that happens, with Youkilis moving over to third, where he will and does thrive, and shuffle Big Papi David Ortiz down in the order, although with Ellsbury (or Crisp), Pedey, Ortiz, Teixeira, Youk, JD Drew and Bay as the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 batters, well, I could live with that. Happily ever after. We'll see, won't we?
That brings me to yesterday's post and the questions posed by the Globe's Tony Massarotti. Here they are with my opinions/suggestions/answers in brackets after each question. Thanks to Rooster of THE RATIONAL SOX BLOG (on my link list, near the top) for his illuminating and informative Red Sox savvy comments on my last post regarding these queries...
1) What do the Sox do with Ellsbury and/or Coco? Should Jacoby continue to lead off, or should it be Crisp, who was white hot in the postseason...should they trade Crisp while his value is so high? (Coco finished the year and the post season on a high note at the plate. But he has been afflicted with nagging and persistant injuries, so I would keep both. Each player can field the ball while running full tilt, but right now, offensively, you have to give the edge to Coco. KEEP BOTH.)
2) The shortstop question. Will it be Lugo or Lowrie in '09? Should they jettison Lugo? (Lowrie is our future shortstop...now. If the Sox can include Lugo and the $18 million owed to him over the next 2 years in the possible Lowell trade, great! We have a super infield sub who goes by the name of Alex Cora. He WILL be back...that's guaranteed.)
3) What do the Sox do with Justin Masterson...'pen or rotation? (As Rooster said, ask the guy. I think the Sox will go after two starters sometime this fall, and Masterson proved he can be a valuable bullpen asset, so I hope he stays there. When a ground ball is needed with a man or two on base, he's the guy, other than Paps, that you'd want in there.)
4) Do they resign Jason Varitek? Do they let him leave, something he does not want to do, or do they get someone who can help him with the load? ('Tek had an absolute and stunning dropoff at the plate in '08, but when it comes to knowing the opposing hitters and preparing his pitcher for those hitters, there is no one better. Keep him and sign some help, someone who can lessen the "every four games of five" grind off of his shoulders. Even if he's not playing, he'd be in the clubhouse and dugout counseling that day's pitcher. That's priceless.)
5) Does Boston need another power hitter? If so, should they go after free agent Mark Teixeira, the potent first baseman from the Angels who will be a free agent this winter? (I answered this earlier in this post.)
That's it for the day! Have a wonderful weekend and I'll be back, bright and shining (well, maybe not shining but glowing, just a little), tomorrow morning. I'd love to read and respond to your comments on those five questions, if you can. As always and forever, BE WELL. Click on the link for the latest Red Sox news...thanks.