Stretch run mailbag
Do you think Youk said something to A-Rod when he got called out on the base line? Maybe that's why Joba threw at him ?
Gary J Wescott, Sparks Nev.
A: I have not heard that one. I think Kevin Youkilis plays the game hard with a competitive fire that probably does get under opponents' skin from time to time. That's no excuse to throw at someone's head, however... and if Joba Chamberlain did that intentionally he's got a long way to go before he's a legitimate big league pitcher. It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out when the two teams meet again this Friday.
TC- A year ago Craig Hansen was the Sox's No. 1 minor league pitcher. Where is he now? What is his record? Where is he now rated? Was his future ruined by bringing him up too soon? What is his future predicted to be? Thanks!
Delabate, So Berwick, Maine
A: Craig Hansen certainly seems to have slipped off the team's radar screen. He spent the entire season with Pawtucket this season, with an ERA of 3.86 in 51 1/3 innings pitched. It was the first time in his three professional seasons that Hansen was not called up to the big club. Could the early call-ups have had an adverse effect on him? Hard to say. Bottom line is he's still only 23 years old and still has plenty of baseball in him. If it's not with the Red Sox, it'll be with someone else.
Do you think that the Red Sox have no passion? It seems to me like either they think they’re the best and they got this in the bag or they got no passion, they go to the ball park play when the are forced (and I say this seriously) it’s just business and they are there to make there millions and championship is second if they make playoffs.
Kenny Robinson, Taunton
A: No, I don't. I think this is a professional team filled veterans who know how to keep their emotions in check. That's why the emotion of the group of rookies called up this month has been so contagious. It's an exciting bunch of young players, and they've made an immediate impact.
That said, they are still young players, and you can't expect them to play every day in a post-season series. Jacoby Ellsbury has been exciting, but he reminded us that rookies make mistakes. His first pitch swing into a fielder's choice after Varitek drew a lead-off walk hurt the team's chances to get an inning going.
With the impressive outings from Clay Buchholz, do you think there may be a chance that he takes over for Lester in the No. 5 spot in the rotation?
A: No. He's an unbelievable young talent, and the no-hitter was the exclamation mark on the team's late-season run, but he's getting very close to the hard cap on the number of innings he'll be able to pitch. He'll throw out of the bullpen a little more this month, but as good as he's been I'm not even sure if he makes the post-season roster.
Lester is starting to show us that his strength is returning, and his last two starts have been impressive. Both came against Baltimore, and now he's got to do it against someone else.
If the Sox win the AL East, is there a chance they could end up playing the LA Angels in the first round of the playoffs? What would have to happen for this to take place? Thanks, Go Sox.
Kathy Dirosario, Las Vegas
A: The division winner with the best record plays the wild card winner, unless those two teams are from the same division. Then, the division winner with the best record would play the division winner with the worst record. If you went by the current standings, the Sox would play the Indians in the first round, while the Angels (better record than Cleveland) would play the Yankees.
Under that scenario, the Sox and Angels would need to win their first-round series to face one another in the ALCS.