Keeping a weather eye
The Red Sox have juggled their starting rotation through the weekend in the wake of yesterday's rain out. Julian Tavarez, scheduled to go tonight, will wait until Monday morning to pitch on Patriot's Day against the Angels.
Tim Wakefield moves to tonight, while Curt Schilling (tomorrow) and Josh Beckett (Sunday) will pitch on normal rest. Daisuke Matsuzaka will get to pitch indoors for the first time this season, assuming the roof is closed in Toronto next Tuesday.
Of course, Tavarez could wind up being moved again. Right now, there is a forecast of rain and/or snow for Sunday afternoon/evening into Monday. It's reportedly a classic Nor'Easter coming through, and it could wreak havoc with the earliest scheduled start in Fenway history (10 a.m. because of the new, earlier, Boston Marathon start time.)
Being the fifth starter in a rotation comes with little security, and no one knows that more than Tavarez right now. Not only is he being bumped in the pitching order, but he's being pushed by Jon Lester (rehabbing in Greenville, SC) and Devern Hansack (blowing people away in Triple A.) After a rough outing Saturday night in Texas, Tavarez needs to prove he can be effective in the rotation.
Of course, he needs to pitch to do that. Right now, he won't pitch until Monday at the earliest, taking the mound after eight days' rest. There is obviously a chance you'll see Tavarez make a relief appearance in the next couple of days, just to stay sharp. But all eyes will be on him Monday morning.
Weather can wreak havoc on a team. Just ask the Seattle Mariners (they've played five games and have had five more cancelled.) Or Wily Mo Pena, who called yesterday's game "my opening day" since he was finally going to start against a lefty. Instead, J.D. Drew will be back in the lineup against John Lackey, and Pena will be back to the waiting game.
These things work themselves out over the course of a sesaon, but for now guys like Pena and Tavarez want to prove they can help this team. They'll have to wait their turn... whenever that might be.
Let's go to the e-mailbag...
Great to have the regular season back, and the great pregame show. I love having Eck around for pre-and post-game because he never minces words and always has some amusing terms to teach us (cookies, meatballs, hair). What I would love to see is some kind of bit about batting stances. Everyone seems to have one that works for them from Coco's open stance to Youk's butt wiggle. It would be interesting to have someone like maybe Jim Rice discuss the plusses and minuses of different stances. Maybe you could run that past the producers/directors.
A: It's a great idea (although I'm a little concerned you're overly obsessed with Youk's butt wiggle). It would be a fun feature to put together, using Jim's commentary and getting players to talk about their stances -- or, even better, their teammates' stances.
In the meantime, be sure to keep an "Eck-to-English" dictionary handy during our broadcasts.
What can the Red Sox do to improve their middle relief pitching?? We are in desperate need of help here!
Wayde Marshall, Hopkinton
A: I think you need to give things a little time to shake out. Right now Terry Francona is still feeling out how Joel Pineiro, Brendan Donnelly, J.C. Romero, and Hideki Okajima can best help this team. And remember Mike Timlin is still shaking off the rust from starting on the DL.
I'm not convinced middle-relief will be a strength, I'm just not ready to say the team is in "desperate need" of help.
Ultimately, Julian Tavarez will be part of that middle-relief corps, too. Whether it's Jon Lester (so far, so good in Single A), Devern Hansack (lights out in two Pawtucket starts), or Roger Clemens (we can dream, can't we?) someone will take that fifth spot in the rotation and bring Tavarez back to the bullpen, where he belongs.
I've heard of so many people that are able to watch Red Sox baseball on their computers, how is that done?
Ken, Merrimack, NH
A: It's through an MLB.com subscription package. Go to the website and check out the MLB.com TV information.
I am traveling to Boston in July, I get into the airport about 5 p.m. and the game starts at 7. I am renting a car and was wondering where I can find a place to park? I dont mind a walk, but it is my first trip and am not sure where to go. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Frank Rizzo, Indianapolis
A: Not sure where you're staying, but your best bet might be to catch a cab at Logan and have them drop you off at the airport. Go back and rent the car the next day (the cab will cost less than parking.)
Another good idea (again, depending where you're staying) is to drive over to one of the big garages near Fanueil Hall and take the green line to Kenmore Square. Fenway's a very short walk from the T station.
Enjoy the visit, and good luck!
In response to Tom from Burlington, the Dropkick Murphys' version of "Nutty" is on the "Tessie" CD. No idea on the Ventures' version, though.
Also, I'ev wondered this for years: what are the two circles in the grass along the baselines just outside the home plate area at Fenway? They're far too close to the action to be on deck circles.
Mark, Portland, Maine
A: Those circles are where the coaches stand to hit fungoes, fly balls, ground balls, and other practice balls before and during batting practice.
That's it for this weekend. See you all at the ballpark.