The important thing is that we are underway. This is real. So what follows is not my belated season projections. I’ve done those for the last ten years and, to be honest, they have been more an expression of hopes and aspirations than detailed statistical analysis. There are guys who can do that sort of thing a great deal better than I can, and their projections are as wrong as often as my dreams.
Watching the first two games here in Europe was exhilarating and, despite the loss, my dream of the play-offs is intact. It may be all about the pitching, but these guys can hit. We out-hit Cleveland in both games and, in each game, scored six runs against good pitching. The Sox are hitting .288 with an .896 OPS. And that’s without any contribution from Xander who is 0 for 9 as I write.
I predict that he will get his first hit tonight, backing up the power sinkers of Joe Kelly who had a great spring training. It’s a midnight start for those of us over here but, if the games against Toronto in Montreal are anything to go by, it will be worth the sleep deficit. One of my favourite non-Sox players, Josh Donaldson, will be back to add a frisson to the occasion and anyway the next two games are scheduled for lunchtime. Which is 6pm in the UK and 7pm in France. I’ll be watching the NESN feed on mlb.tv and despite my total admiration for Don Orsillo, I am beginning to warm to OB, even if he hasn’t yet learned that on television rather than radio, sometimes you don’t have to say anything.
But all this will pale into insignificance next week when I land at Logan, dump my bag at the Parker House and head up to Fenway Park. I’ve schlepped across the Common and down Commonwealth Ave many times, but 'fanatics have their dreams' and arriving at Fenway is still a dream come true for someone isolated in the baseball desert that is Europe.
In my dream, the Sox win their fourth Series this century; Papi has a 30+ HR year (he’s already ahead of schedule!); Price performs consistently like the ace we know he is and is backed up the rest of the rotation; Hanley settles into competence at first and hits for power; Mookie continues to demonstrate that he is potentially one of the greats; Xander comes good; JBJ shows on a daily basis that he is one of the great defensive outfielders in the game today; and the bullpen does its job – don’t think my heart could manage another season like 2015.
As for Sandoval, well - sorry Pablo. I really want to be wrong about you, but you don’t figure in my dream at all right now.
Realistically? I think we will make the play-offs and then who knows?
Not me. I just dream.
Today from the everysmith vaults: Some Merle Haggard, Melancholy Mood from the forthcoming Fallen Angels, but primarily Peter Green and the 1970 manifestation of Fleetwood Mac. Whatever happened to that band? They were good ...