Monday, February 25, 2013

Thoughts From Spring Training: Day 1

The jerk sitting all by himself...
The Boston Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 4-2 today in John Farrell's return to Toronto, or Dunedin I guess. I was at the game today, my first of three this spring training, and, as expected, it was awesome. My seats are 4 or 5 rows up right behind home plate, so I'm able to see the strike zone beautifully. Some thoughts and pictures from today's game...

 On R.A Dickey...
Dickey, JPA, and Pete Walker before the game.
Dickey was pretty obviously just getting a feel for his knuckler today, sitting at 73-74 MPH on it, and maxing out at 75 MPH. Those readings are from the stadium radar gun, so they might be a couple ticks off. It didn't have as much movement as it will have during the regular season, which was the primary reason he got hit hard a few times today. The knuckeball was left up a couple times, and Red Sox batters took advantage. Towards the end of his outing, he threw one pitch around 58 MPH if I remember correctly, and got the batter(Pedro Ciraco) to roll over it into a double play. That particular pitch had a ton of movement on it, and it was great to see. The results might not have been great, but for his first spring outing, Dickey showed great signs today.

On JPA...
He looked pretty solid behind the plate catching Dickey. Only had one passed ball in his 2 innings, so not so bad. He won't be catching Dickey once the regular season comes, but practice can't hurt him. Of course today's knuckle ball is easier to catch than the ones that should be coming in Dickey's upcoming starts because it didn't move so much.

On the Dominican Four...
Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion represent the best top 4 hitters in baseball, and boy did they look good today.

        Reyes looked comfortable at the plate, hitting a hard ground ball that got through the hole between short and third, and before that, hustling and scoring from first on Melky's third inning double. His base running was phenomenal, something we didn't see a whole lot of last year thanks to Mr. Farrell.

Bautista's super high leg kick.
        Melky had two solid hits, both of them doubles, and even more important than that, he seemed to wait for the pitches he wanted. Other's were chasing pitches, but he was able to wait for his pitch, and drive it...Twice. His defense was also solid, as he made a great throw to hold a runner at second.

         Joey Bats almost hit another home run today, smoking a ball to straight away centre field, before it was run down at around the 390 mark. Those line drives are great to see from him. His eye was also in mid-season form, something we can always count on from Jose.

         Edwin did hit one out of the park today, like really far out of the park. As soon as it hit the bat the entire stadium knew it was gone, and everybody erupted into applause. EE was chasing a bit early on, but was able to stay back on some pitches, which led to his monster shot to left field.

On Josh Johnson....

JJ looked really good today, changing speeds and keeping hitters off balance. There was a moment where he started a hitter of with a 92 MPH fastball(likely a bit more because of the radar guns), then dropped a 75 MPH curve on him(which he is said to be working on), and then followed that up with some more heat. The hitter was absolutely fooled, and if JJ can keep on changing speeds and locations like he did today, he is going to end up being the best pitcher on this staff by years end. He was awesome today.

On Sean Nolin and John Stilson...

Nolin about to release one of his many
impressive pitches on the day.
Nolin was the guy who impressed me the most today, even though his stat line doesn't show it. He was painting corners with ease, and aside from a few mistakes which will happen in spring training, he looked great, It's no wonder AA loves him so much. I wouldn't be surprised if he hopped right over J.A Happ on the depth chart by the All-Star break. He's got great stuff. Mid-rotation guy for sure.

Stilson looked good, not great, just good. He had semi-good command of his stuff, but that lack of a true third pitch is going to put him in the bullpen in the near future. Could make for a great late inning guy. He definitely has the confidence and cockiness for a big leaguer :)

On Mark DeRosa...
Okay. I know I sort of love DeRosa because I predicted his signing and all, but once again today, he hit lefties, without his bones breaking. Gibbons will take notice to this. He'll end up being Lind's platoon partner if he doesn't get injured. He has always been a good lefty hitter, and it'll be nice for him to make a solid contribution to this team.

And some more pictures...
Former Jay Lyle Overbay in the Boston on-deck circle.

Reyes stretching before the game.
Lawrie about to swing and miss.
I hope you enjoyed. Probably won't be posting again tomorrow night, but I'll try.

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