May 28, 2004

The Glass Is Half-Full.
Michael Silverman is right: "The Red Sox are in first place, they had the best record in baseball at first pitch last night, their pitching staff is ranked at the top or in the top three of nearly every significant pitching category, and the offense can boast being one of the five best around. ... [S]omeone should state the obvious. Things are good right now. Stop and smell the flowers." ... The lineup is missing these two important pieces:
2003     AVG  #AL   OBP #AL   SLG  #AL

Nixon .306 13th .396 7th .578 5th
Nomar .301 16th .524 16th
In addition to winning the batting title last season, Bill Mueller (who is having knee surgery today) was 6th in OBP (.398) and 11th in SLG (.540). Kevin Millar is still slumping and Ellis Burks is out of action. But the team is currently 5th in runs scored, 2nd in on-base percentage (.001 behind Cleveland), 5th in slugging and 8th in batting average.

On the mound, Derek Lowe has a 6.22 ERA, Scott Williamson has been hurt, Pedro Martinez and Bronson Arroyo have been inconsistent and Byung-Hyun Kim (6.17) is on the DL and back in Korea. And yet, thanks to Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield and a superb bullpen, the Red Sox are 1st in team ERA, 1st in fewest walks+hits per inning, 1st in opponents batting average (.241, .014 lower than Tampa Bay), 1st in opponent on-base (.313) and 1st in opponents slugging (.376).

The Red Sox are tied with Anaheim for the best record in baseball (29-18) -- and they have a ½-game lead on the Yankees, who are in Tampa Bay.

Martinez, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez are assisting the relief effort in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where flooding has killed more than 800 people. ... The Red Sox are 7-for-7 when they swing at 3-and-0 pitches. Ortiz has been the most successful (3-3, with a double and home run); Ramirez, Brian Daubach, Jason Varitek and Doug Mirabelli are all 1-1.

Korea Times, quoting Byung-Hyun Kim: "I feel my shoulders, ankles and hips are not working properly, but not too seriously either. I will be here until I'm fully recovered." ... The Herald reports that "all signs point to [Nomar Garciaparra] beginning his 7-10 day rehab with Triple-A Pawtucket at Toledo sometime between June 3-6." ... A report on Trot Nixon from the Naples Daily News.

Weekend match-ups:

Tonight: Pedro Martinez (4-3, 3.68) -- Joel Pineiro (1-5, 5.43)
Saturday: Tim Wakefield (4-2, 3.21) -- Freddy Garcia (2-3, 2.71)
Sunday: Curt Schilling (6-3, 2.82) -- Ryan Franklin (2-4, 4.75)

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