Since I live around D.C. (and am too stingy to put up the money to get mlbTV), it's rare that I get to see a Sox game. However, with the Orioles in Boston, I managed to catch the last two games on cable. There's couple of things that I observed:
- Manny's always been a terrible fielder, but he's looked gawd-awful lately. For two games in a row, on a ball that was hit to the warning track in front of the Green Monster, Manny took a step or two forward, then realized he misread the ball completely, backpedaled, and missed the ball. On Tuesday it cost the Sox 2 runs, last night it costed them 1. Manny wasn't charged with an error on either ball, but should've caught both. Corey Patterson also went from 1st to 3rd on a single hit to left field. Patterson is speedy, and was actually stealing on the play, but he completely stopped at 2nd base before going over to 3rd. If Manny's hitting the ball well, I don't mind his fielding, but he's been hitless in the past 2 games.
- The bullpen's looking pretty solid. Okajima hung a curveball to Tejada and it got belted, but Snyder and Lopez pitched well last night. Papelbon got two strikeouts last night, and looked dominant. I'm not sure if Gagne's needed (he was warming out while Paps was pitching the 9th, in case he blew the one run lead), but it'll be good to give Paps some rest, given his injury history.
- The offense is drawing plenty of walks, but rarely seem able to get the big hit. Before Ortiz's double last night, the Sox were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position. That simply won't cut it.
- Willy Mo's looked terrible the last few nights. He's easily the least patient of all Red Sox hitters (swung at the first pitch in each of his ABs), and left quite a few runners on base. With a 5-3 lead in the 7th, Pena came up with one out and the bases loaded. He popped out to shallow right. Originally, I thought the Sox didn't need Dye, because they had enough hitting in our lineup. However, there definitely are problems over in right field, Drew and Willy Mo haven't performed well this year.
- Beckett gave up 5 earned runs, but did better than the stats would suggest. He had one bad inning, and grooved the first pitch of the game to Roberts but was actually fairly good. He needs to work on getting batters out when there's 2 outs. According to the O's commentators, batters hit around .200 with none out or one out, but close to .300 off Beckett with 2 outs. Yikes.
Based on what I've seen, the Sox are still looking pretty good but there's still a lot of room for improvement.