September stretch run discussion
posted at 9/16/2007 12:52 AM EDT
Things to look for the rest of the season going into the playoffs for the Red Sox.
1. Can they right thier starting pitching woes outside of Beckett before the end of the season. Matsuzaka (last start was much better but still a lot of pitches) and Wakefield have struggled over the past month plus.
2. J.D. Drew has hit in seven straight games and have shown some signs of life to come out of his season long funk. Can the Red Sox keep his mindset and his recent successes at the plate going for the rest of the season going into the playoffs? \
3. Team has looked worn out at times in the past 3 weeks. How much rest can be afforded to the Youkilis's, Lowell's, Veritek's and Lugo's of the Sox while still keeping them productive going into the playoffs?
4. Eric Gagne - Can he come around enough to be a factor for this team in the playoffs or do they bite the bullet and leave him off the roster come the playoffs if he is still ineffective and non-dominant without clean innings pitched?
5. Ellsbury, Lugo one and two in the batting order experiment for a couple games to utilize the speed of them on the basepaths. They do attract a lot of attention when on and could be a factor for Ortiz, Manny (when and if he returns), and Lowell to see many more fastballs due to thier speed on the basepaths. Plus, Ellsbury is one of thier hottest hitters and Lugo has batted around .300 since the All-Star break......saving his season somewhat and still being productive.
6. To rest or not rest Ortiz a lot over the final couple weeks knowing that he is really hurting. Ortiz says he wants to play everyday and that giving him a lot of rest will throw off his timing. However, the knees and the shoulder is really affecting him and his power when they are intensely sore. What to do if your Francona especially if Manny comes back and the best fit for him is DH with Ellsbury playing so well in his place?
7. Will Francona resort to playing much more smallball the final couple weeks of the season with the youngsters filling in for the veterans?
Oh well, just random thoughts!!!