Random thoughts from Cleveland

Baseball players are not always baseball fans. That may sound strange, but people who play the game for a living don’t necessarily watch games on television for fun.

But the debut of Stephen Strasburg last night was something that captured the attention of all the Red Sox.

The starting pitchers were up in the clubhouse keeping tabs on the game and sending word to the bench. Out in the bullpen, Daniel Bard said, they were watching the scoreboard.

“There was a little bit of buzz in the dugout,” Terry Francona said. “It’s good for baseball.”

Josh Beckett made a memorable debut for the Marlins back in 2001, throwing six scoreless innings and allowing one hit against the Cubs. But he couldn’t imagine striking out 14 without a walk in your first game.


“Trust me,” he said. “That’s not easy. But good for him. It’s fun to see.”

A few other thoughts from Cleveland:

* You know why Bard will be a good closer someday? Because he’s not going to over-think situations. “Pitching is pitching,” he said after getting the save last night. “I’m not going to go anything different because it’s the ninth inning. I’m not sure what I could do.”

Bard is getting a taste of life as the closer with Jonathan Papelbon attending to family matters. But the Sox probably won’t have Bard available tonight. He has appeared in three of the last four games and thrown 52 pitches.

* Victor Martinez Jr., who is 5, was on the field before the game yesterday dressed head to toe in a Sox road uniform, complete with his name on the back. He stayed behind the cage during batting practice, fielding balls hit by his dad.

When Victor had to hit, Dave Magadan and Kevin Youkilis took over. Little Vic can play, he was hustling all over the place and diving for balls. He swings like his pop, too.

* The Mike Lowell situation has gone from uncomfortable to untenable. Obviously he has no real role on this team and his being around keeps the Sox from having a better bench. At this point, it helps the team to release him.


* Lots of fans (and some in the media) thought the Sox were too quick to give up on Casey Kotchman, who was shipped off to Seattle for Bill Hall. Now Kotchman has lost his job with the Mariners, who are using Mike Carp.

* People are asking what relievers the Sox should target via trade. How about Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz of the White Sox? Or old friend Javy Lopez, now abusing lefties as a member of the Pirates.

* How about turning Michael Bowden into a reliever and seeing if that works?

* If the Sox could only get one starter on the All-Star team, should it be Clay Buchholz or Jon Lester?

* The Cleveland visitors clubhouse has two arcade-style video games, Golden Tee and Big Buck Hunter. Marco Scutaro and Adrian Beltre are avid players of Big Buck Hunter. They were wiping out herds of deer after the game last night. But none of the guys who really hunt — Beckett, Lester, J.D. Drew, etc. — were playing.

* Red Sox fans worried that Joe Girardi will stock the All-Star team with Yankees should know that with how the system works now, the manager usually gets very few choices to make on his own.

* It’s sad in Cleveland. A team that in 2007 was a game away from the World Series now is devoid of star players and plays in front of thousands of empty seats.

* A 3-year-old girl was hit in the head by a line drive during batting practice at Dodger Stadium on Monday and needed surgery for a fractured skull. Please, please, please, pay attention when you’re at a game and watch your kids.


* The Bruce Springsteen exhibit is still running at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few blocks from the hotel. I’ll be there when the doors open tomorrow morning.

* Finally, a few reminders …

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