April 7, 2006

It's All Right Now ...

... in fact, it's a gas!

95 mph fastball gas, that is. Even after the day off, I'm still a bit giddy about watching Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon on Wednesday night.

Against the Rangers, once Beckett stopped shaking off Varitek, he started throwing much, much better. Whether that was the young pitcher agreeing with Varitek's pitch selection or some compromise they worked out on the bench, I don't know. But everything about his game improved as a result.

Beckett turns 26 in May and because of blister problems, he has thrown 107, 142, 156 and 178 innings. If he can overcome the blisters, that lighter workload in his early 20s should work in his favour years from now. ... Beckett will pitch the Fenway home opener on Tuesday afternoon.

And Papelbon took the mound in the bottom of the ninth like he owned the place. He wasted no time in dispatching three Texas hitters with ease. It's not clear when he'll make the move into the rotation, but until then, we should have absolutely no worries about the "closer" spot.

And if/when Keith Foulke returns to his 2004 form, then we'll have one more good arm in the pen. Nothing wrong with that.

Crisp is everything we thought/knew he'd be, Loretta has been impressive at the plate, Lowell's bat looks quick, Gonzalez is showing some serious range at short, Schilling seems strong (more gas (and hot air!)) ... only three games in and I'm very excited about this season.

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