Welcome to this week’s edition of Read Sox! Building on the momentum from last week, we’ll look at Mookie’s amazing home opener, a new way to evaluate everything that moves on a baseball field, and the injury concerns the team now faces.
Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald takes a look at the first week of the season, and the most notable observation is that the bullpen, just like the rotation, is also a work in progress. It’s not hard to agree. Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara are seemingly the most reliable pitchers there, and while Robbie Ross is the first lefty out of the ‘pen, he’s hard to evaluate since he was a starter and a reliever with the Rangers in 2014, and that resulted in an awful 6.20 ERA and 4.74 FIP. A return to his 3.18 FIP days in 2013 isn’t out of the question, but for now, it’s best to consider Ross and the bullpen just as troubled as the rotation.
Over at FanGraphs, Owen Watson keys in on one of the most exemplary tools Mookie Betts has: his amazingly fast hands. Watson notes that Betts does a lot of damage with anything on the inside half of the strike zone, since pitchers had tried to beat him inside with fastballs early on. Now that the adjustment period is coming, pitchers are going to try to get him out by pitching away, which Betts has admitted he wants to be better at. The best thing to see here is that Betts rarely chases outside that zone, showing some amazing patience and knowledge of the strike zone itself. The Sox might’ve found a keeper here in Mookie.
On Monday, Mookie’s blinding speed was put to the test against Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals. As Tim Britton of The Providence Journal writes, he did not disappoint. A highlight-reel catch to take a homer away from Bryce Harper, two stolen bases, and a home run of his own? All that cumulated in one of the most incredible home openers in recent memory.
It wasn’t publicized too much despite the impact it could have, but MLB finished installing Statcast in all 30 parks this spring. What is Statcast, you ask? Grantland’s Ben Lindbergh believes that what it could tell us with its hundreds of terabytes of spatial data could be groundbreaking.
Injury Scare, Part I: Not only did Xander Bogaerts hurt his knee Monday, Rusney Castillo suffered a shoulder injury down at Pawtucket. Neither seem to be any sort of long-term issue, as Bogaerts is expected to start today, and Castillo should be back within a couple weeks, notes Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.
Injury Scare, Part II: The diagnosis for Brandon Workman, however, looks a little more dire. The right-hander, now pitching at Pawtucket, has gone to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his right elbow strain. It’s not believed to need surgery as of now, but we’ll see what Andrews determines, Justin Toscano of CSNNE.com says.
Three Good Game Stories
NESN’s Sam Galanis goes over the disastrous Sunday night game the Sox played in the Bronx.
Julian Benbow of The Boston Globe gives Rick Porcello some praise for his first start in Fenway on Monday afternoon.
Trying to encapsulate the insanity that was Tuesday’s Red Sox game was a challenge, but WEEI’s Ryan Hannable was more than up to the task, looking at the weirdest three-run rally you’ll ever see.
Photo by Kelly O’Connor, sittingstill.smugmug.com