Saturday, April 11, 2009

find a Penny, pick it up.

i've been really intrigued by the starting pitchers the Sox picked up during the off season. i am positively enamored with John Smoltz & the possibilities he could bring to our rotation if he can get healthy. the potential makes me giddy when i see him hanging out in the dugout chatting with JayBay or making room at the dugout rail for Mike Lowell upon his return from a trot around the bags, a congratulatory clap on the back, followed by animated discussion, smiles and laughter. i love that he fits right in here with us.

(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

but it will be Summer before the Sox will even entertain the notion of introducing Smoltz to the field in 2009. today was the debut of the other starting pitcher the Sox scooped up while the snow still fell in Boston: one Brad Penny, coming off an injury-plagued 2008. i love that the Sox have so much depth at pitching that they could pick up some arms that were a gamble on the health front: Penny, Smoltz, reliever Saito.

i hoped for a dazzling first impression, what with the three straight losses and all, but how much can you ask of a Number Five starter from the National League with health concerns? when he gave up two homers to Mike Napoli, i chalked it up as par for the course, a little disappointed, but figuring i should keep my expectations a bit lower, all things considered. and when i noticed that he kept shaking out his throwing arm between pitches, i was a little concerned, wondering if this was just a quirk he'd had all game that i'd missed til then or if maybe some trouble was brewing. but the slumbering Sox bats stirred just a bit and a couple of homers from JayBay and one that just squeaked over the outfield wall for Mike Lowell* later and suddenly Penny was on the winning side of things. he gave us six strong, socks** pulled up high and proud--hooray for Sox socks worn right!--and ended up setting himself up to earn a win for Boston by the time he departed. no thanks to the high-thirty-something-pitch ninth inning that Papelbon*** contributed before finally sealing the deal.

i can't help thinking that if he can pitch like this, if the risk turns to reward and this is the Number Five guy we get to trot out there... just, wow. it's just one start right now but i can't seem to help wondering where this might lead.

closing thought: in other "keeping the expectations low" areas, it did not go unnoticed by me that birthday boy Tek went 2-for-3 with a double today.

this team, with all cylinders clicking in rhythm, has the potential to be a lot of fun to watch in a highly competitive division. if we can just get into that groove, the smattering of teasers i've picked up on so far fills me with so much anticipation. i love this point in the season where the possibilities are endless and the players start to show you glimmers of what could be!

*i ♥ me some Mike Lowell but those flip-up sunglasses he was wearing today only accentuated his

**i spent the game trying to decide if having actual red socks (instead of navy) would help to improve these new road uniforms. i'm not crazy about them--all that navy & grey just reeks of Yankee to me--but i do like them worlds better than that atrocity of a hat they wore last night. it just seems strange to me that the only red you see is from the lone Sox logo on one arm, the B on the cap and maybe a red undershirt here or there. when Bay hit his first one out of the park this afternoon, i felt my stomach sink...until i remembered that the navy & grey was *us*. i missed seeing the red!

***you know how the players have to slowly stretch their endurance at the beginning of the season? well my fan-endurance was not ready yet for a nailbiter from our illustrious closer. i thought that final at-bat was never going to end. i'm just not used to such an un-Papelbonian outing and it's really not fair to make me dizzy from breath-holding as i peer out nervously between my fingers a mere five games into the season. my stamina just isn't built up to mid-May form yet. sheesh.

1 with their own thoughts:

Rocky Lemuel M. Garcia Sunday, April 12, 2009 12:24:00 AM  

It's sad to know that one of the youngest and great pitcher have passed away, it was Nick Adenhart!

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