The Red Sox are in Washington, DC to begin a series vs. the Montreal Expo...oops, I mean the Washington Nationals tonight. The Nationals are an atrocious team, architected by former GM Jim Bowden, who during his tenure as GM made a complete mess of them. Don't forget Bowden was one of the names Larry Lucchino was considering to be come Red Sox GM when Theo Epstein was on his sabbatical. How badly would've that turned out?
Looks like the naysayers like myself were wrong. David Ortiz has finally snapped out of his slump and is showing power and better bat speed. Papi really looked hopeless the first two months of the season. So far in the month of June, Ortiz is hitting .308 with 5 HR and 12 RBI with a .400 OBP. Phew! Without Ortiz being the thunder in the order, the Red Sox are destined to another ALCS elimination.
Going in the opposite direction is Jason Varitek, whose average has fallen into the .220's. I am not particularly surprised, considering it was June when his average started falling last year. Terry Francona needs to give him more days off. George Kottaras has done a nice job with the bat of late when he's been in the lineup. Kottaras has a nice swing and has shown in his two months at the major league level to be a good receiver behind the plate.
Nick Green is one of those David Eckstein kind of guys. A scrapper and hustler who everyone underestimates. While he made some errors earlier in the year, he's been steadier in the field and he's been consistent with the bat all year. When Jed Lowrie comes back, Lowrie's going to have to earn his starting job back. Even if Lowrie becomes the starter again, Green is certainly an improvement off the bench over Alex Cora, the utility man the last few years.
No Dice-K, no problem. John Smoltz will fill his spot in the rotation and if Smoltz has difficulty getting it going after offseason surgery, Clay Buchholz is in Pawtucket and he's more than ready for the big leagues. Buchholz is beyond the point of needing any more seasoning. While he's obviously frustrated that he's still in Pawtucket, if Clay hadn't pitched so awful in Boston last year, he'd be in the rotation now.