Friday, July 18, 2008

Sight for Sore Eyes

I think it's fair to say that I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say how awesome it was to open today's Globe sports page and see a large color picture of David Ortiz in full extension, watching his fourth-inning home run leave the park in his first rehab game at Triple-A Pawtucket. Ortiz will be playing a few games there, and then will head north up Route 95 to play for Double-A Portland because Pawtucket goes on the road. The plan calls for Papi to be in the starting lineup on Friday, July 25, when the Sox play the Yankees at Fenway. Friday night games are always the best, but throw in the Yankees and Big Papi's return and you've got yourself a certified EVENT. Can't wait.

Was out with a few buddies last night and everyone to a man agreed that as the Sox start the second half of the season, things are looking good. When you think about all the adversity this team has been through - starting with the loss of Curt Schilling and obviously Big Papi, and the bullpen implosions - the fact that we're up a 1/2 game on the Rays is a bit of a miracle. With Papi on the cusp of returning, it changes the entire dynamic of the lineup. And hopefully, the Sox can patch up the 'pen organically, like they're doing by having Justin Masterson back in Triple-A to work on becoming a reliever. If all goes according to plan, Masterson could be using his nasty sinker to quell some potential big innings late in the season.

To be sure, there are other things to think about before we even ponder this team's chances for a repeat trip to the Fall Classic. Will Jason Varitek start hitting, at least a little bit? Will Jed Lowrie/Alex Cora rise to the occasion and fill in ably for Julio Lugo (can't imagine a downgrade)? Will Jonathan Papelbon go back to his lights-out 1-2-3 inning self? Will Josh Beckett regain his 2007 form just in time? How will Clay Buchholz do? And last but not least, will Manny Ramirez be distracted by his contract status or will he just play ball and leave 65-year old traveling secretaries alone?

Lots of questions, and we'll start getting some answers tonight when the Sox play the Angels in Anaheim. Buchholz vs. John Lackey at 10.

A note from your internal IT Dept: please don't post on company time. We'll keep this between us girls - for now.
pawsox rule!!
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