Pitchers & Catchers Report to Ft. Myers

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Hero's Welcome For Tito. What Else Did You Expect?

Did I actually read someplace that someone (I can't think of who it was) was wondering what kind of reception Terry Francona would get on his return to Fenway Park as an opposition manager this weekend?

I love these types who think the Red Sox fans would actually boo the Greatest Red Sox Manager In My Lifetime. Did they really think this was the return of Johnny Damon? I remember when Pedro Martinez came back with the Mets I was reading the same thing. (I'm honestly glad I cant remember these knuckleheads' names.)

Anyway, the Red Sox played a short video clip after the 1st inning on Thursday night of Tito's Boston time, and he got a thunderous ovation from the fans, as I expected. (Classy move by the Sox including all the current ex-Red Sox players on the Indians in it as well.) It would have been nice if NESN could have shown it live, as all we got was a few seconds of it during the second inning. Tito acknowledged it by tapping his heart and saluting the crowd.

So far this weekend, it's been a mixed bag for the Red Sox on Tito's return. Ryan Dempster looked flat again, and seemed to be going to full counts on everyone. (You have to wonder if he's pitching hurt.) The Indians scored early and often, and before you knew it, it was a 12-3 blowout. The Indians have a potent offense, and look like they will be around this summer in the AL east. I'm sure the mere presence of Francona has boosted the Indians chances. I still don't see them as a playoff team, but they are sure headed in the right direction.

It was a tough day to begin Friday as both Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks were placed on the 15-day DL, with Jose Iglesias and Alfredo Aceves recalled from Pawtucket. David Ross was also activated from the 7-day concussion list and Ryan Larvarnway was sent back down. Iglesias figures to see a good part of the time back at third base, a position he has only played in one game previously in his pro career.

John Lackey pitched another splendid game last night, pitching seven innings without allowing an earned run in the 8-1 win. While it's too early to make any pronouncements that Lackey is back, he avoided the one bad inning that's followed him in many of his starts this season. he was attacking the strike zone and getting lost of grounders last night. A very good sign. And Mike Carp's three-run blast off old Friend Justin Masterson was all he needed for his third win.

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