Monday, March 2, 2009

Sox Left to Marinate: Spring Training Against the Mariners

Today’s game was another day of observation. After noting Viciedo’s stature yesterday and nixing (no pun intended) Betemit from the list of potential second basemen, it was time to move along in the rotation.

It was Fields day on the field. He tried to butter me up by blasting a double (Ground rule, I think. The quality of the game online was beyond dismal in every way- especially the handful of inning I couldn’t see.) only to get caught in a rundown after either overrunning third base or trying to steal home on a wild pitch. Only one word can describe the situation: [FACEPALM].

Pierzynski and Konerko are still performing very well, and Jim Thome is still the slugger we know, almost going deep twice. It is good to know the veterans can still be counted on. On a more disappointing note, Getz and Anderson are still producing a whole lot of nothing at home plate. I can’t say much for Getz. 6 at-bats aren’t much, but Brian’s had the most of the whole team, and it is frustrating to watching him take first strike fast ball right down the middle and swinging through curve balls, or staring at them dumbstruck. And what frustrates me isn’t BA himself, just the fact that he is Nick Swisher at the end of last season. Something has to change, or he’ll be on the bench for another year.

Owens and [The Rock] haven’t played much the past couple of days, and the authority on baseball, Hawk Harrelson, says he prefers BA. It kind of seems Getz and BA have everyone rooting for them. I would, too, if they gave me a reason. Any reason. Maybe a fun beard.

Richard pitched again today. He was not doing so well this time around and got stuck with four of the day’s 5 runs. No major disasters otherwise, at least, not from what I could see through from the broadcast. Plus, it’s only spring training. If we went off what we saw so far… Dye wouldn’t even make the team.

That’s about it for notes of the game. Remember that (if you have the patience) you can catch these games free online.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Home on the Camelback Ranch: Sox - Dogers Spring Training Game

I’ve been holding off writing anything about spring training games. Unless you’re there, you’re looking at a box score. It’s not just hits and pitching, you have to check out what’s happening on the field, who’s playing defense, how the ball’s being thrown… there’s always a story. The only thing I could take as fact was that the P.R. people working for the Sox don’t mind embarrassing pictures and using them to embarrass the organization’s players. What I have seen is that Chris Getz isn’t making much noise. And, from what I read before watching the game today, I was disappointed to find out that Viciedo hasn’t shown to be much of a third baseman. Let the cringe-worthy era (or ERA) of Josh Fields begin, I suppose. But, if you want to be impressed, look at Jayson Nix or Paul Konerko’s numbers so far. Pierzynski and Thome have also been doing quite well. What I was looking forward to seeing was, of course Viciedo and Fields battling it out. Perhaps Nix and Getz, Owens and Anderson. The game finally started and I felt strange watching baseball again. Sure, the game seems to have a different pace than a real game, but it is nevertheless exciting. Even the new promo campaign is exciting. I wish they included some players, but they were certainly fun.

Right away, I realized Viciedo is really something to watch on the field. The pictures don’t do him justice. He is what the tall, large-rear-wielding son of Dotel and Thornton would be. But Cuban. He hasn’t made much of a splash offensively, and either has Getz (Whose mannerisms are so close to Crede’s at times, that it almost puts me at ease), which leads me to believe they may not get starting roles. Unless Viciedo really performs, Josh Fields is guaranteed the job. As for Getz, he seems to be the favorite, but hasn’t made much of a splash yet. Then, there was the big name being thrown around as THE future of baseball: Gordon Beckham. He hit a home run in his only at-bat today and has been showing that he was worth his signing bonus. As for the unknowns that I am finally getting a chance to put a face to, the first one I noticed today was Nix. He looks good out there. Not bad on the field, and swinging a hot bat early on. Betemit on the other hand failed to impress. If the rest of spring training goes off the way today went, he will certainly be out of the running at second base. There’s also Corky Miller, who seems to be an improvement over Toby Hall. In many ways, they’re the same (including their number), but Corky impressed me by throwing out a runner.

Moving on to the outfield, there were Jerry Owens and BA. BA didn’t manage to get on base, and his approach fluctuated in what I can only describe as a Swisher-like manner. First, he took every first pitch. Usually a strike. He missed every curveball. Then swung at everything in his last at-bat. Jerry Owens walked twice, but failed to put the bat on the ball. Or steal a base. He was caught stealing in his only attempt.

More important was the pitching. Buehrle was, of course, fine. But there was Jack Egbert. “Who’s this guy?” I asked myself. His name hasn’t crossed paths with mine, but he seems like a calmer Clayton Richard. There was DJ Carrasco, who is still alive and kicking. Lance Broadway only pitched one inning, but it was scoreless and he seemed to fit right in with the Buerhle-Danks crowd. Finally, there was Harrell, who is only in AA, but who seemed to pitch very well.