White Hat Sports Headlines

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Line drives

The title really has nothing to do with anything, except I was throwing batting practice to the American Legion team that I am an assistant coach on, and I got drilled in the right ear with a come backer from about 20 feet. Just a rough night's sleep last night for somebody who sleeps generally on their right side.

Here are a few line drives for the week that should be observed:

~The Red Sox enter the week with a 4 game lead, their largest of the season. They hold this with a day off tomorrow and a 3 game series with the Washington Nationals looming. While the Nat's will never be confused with Murder's Row, in fact they have one of the worst records in Major League history at the 50 game mark, they did steal a series at the new Yankee Stadium last week. Though the craziest thing about that series was not that the Yankees dropped two of three to the lowly Nationals, or that A-Rod had to miss two games after the series because he was 'fatigued', it was that in the series finale' that nobody hit a home run. It was the first game played at the new Yankee Funeral Home, that there wasn't at least one home run.

~ The conversations, and my last column (the one with the studly, cover of a country album look to it of Brad Penny) talked about what the Red Sox were going to do with their rotation. With Dice-K now on the DL for at least 15 days (I got the feeling listening to Terry that it was going to be much longer, more like a couple of months perhaps) we are going to get a good look at what John Smotlz can contribute to this team. I subscribe to the theory that you can never have enough pitching and anytime a starting pitcher goes down, it's cause for concern. In this case though, I think the Red Sox are in really good shape. If John Smoltz isn't able to contribute to the rotation, which if that's the case I think he will move into the bullpen, Clay Buchholz will get his chance to make an impact on the major league club for the first time this season. So like Kodak, "Let's see what develops."

(I don't have a clue if Kodak said that or if anybody else said that or if it's just a excruciatingly bad joke made in the photo department of the Augusta Wal-Mart. If anybody knows the origin, let me know. Like I care.)

~After watching the Dodgers tonight against John Lackey, I think they are without a doubt the class of the National League. I had my doubts at first but this is seriously a dangerous offensive team. Last year the Phillies pitching peaked at the right time and they got more out of Cole Hamels than they had in the rest of his career. Unless they get the same or better this year, I don't think they can make a 7-game series with the Dodgers even go 6 games. The Dodgers have a very good offense, though very young and they are getting solid starting pitching. The biggest decision that they have to make is what to do with Juan Pierre when Manny Ramirez returns. It has already been said during this hot streak of Pierre's, that when Ramirez can return Pierre will return to the bench. But if you're the Dodgers wouldn't you use him at trade bait at the deadline? His value is way up there right now and he's pretty much auditioning right now for a starting job with moderate contender. A destination that I could see is the Texas Rangers. They seem to be serious about contending this season and with Josh Hamilton out for an extended period of time, it would be to their benefit to add some speed and another outfielder. Just the first place that came to mind. The only other team that makes any sense would be the Cubs or the Mets. Then again, I think every moderate, free agent or trading chip that will get too much in return will go to the Mets. I'm not sure if Ned Colletti would trade Pierre to another National League contender or not. I guess it all depends on what he could possibly get in return which might not be much.

~ As the run scoring line drive of this inning, I'd like to float this idea out there. Remember last season when there was the possibility and likelihood that the Red Sox could play against Manny at the Dodgers in the World Series? Well right now the only two teams that have eclipsed the 40 win mark are the Red Sox and the Dodgers. When Manny returns, the Dodgers really could run away from the NL West. The Red Sox are in for a battle in the American League East, but it looks like their prospects for the playoffs are once again bright, even though things could change at any time in a division like this. What would happen if the Red Sox did play the Dodgers in the World Series? There would be no lack of stories lines and here are a few off the top of my head.

1.Manny comes back to Fenway to face his former team for the first time and it's for the World Title.

2. Joe Torre against the Boston Red Sox again, the last time he managed a team against the Red Sox in the postseason, they blew a 3-0 series lead for the first time in baseball history.

3. Doug Mientkiewicz is a back up on the Dodgers right now, there's no doubt that Dan Shaughnessy would bring up the "Ballgate" fiasco again.

4. Brad Penny and Takashi Saito * The asterisk is because they might not be on the team come the trading deadline. They have been the targets of other contenders this season. If they are both with the team, especially if Penny were to make a start in Chavez Ravene in October, the comments of Dodger 3rd base coach Larry Bowa about Penny's work ethic would definitely come back into consciousness.

I got way ahead of myself, but come October, look back on this column. If these two teams play in the Fall Classic, all of these story lines will be beaten to death, or the Manny-Red Sox story line will get beaten more than the Washington Generals or the fact that during the Finals "Kobe really wants this!"

Sterling Pingree

No comments: