Some quick thoughts on the opening series of the season:
- First and foremost, the weather in Cleveland sucks. I know that’s not exactly news, but it was so apparent this week with games two of the four days being cancelled, and with the weather being both cold and exceptionally windy on the days when the Sox actually played. Obviously this isn’t a realistic option, but I wish there was a way that every team that plays outdoors north of the Mason-Dixon Line could play road games against warm-weather teams for the first two weeks of the season. Baseball and snow/sub-freezing temperatures are two things that shouldn’t ever mix.
- Travis Shaw and Brock Holt, two guys who earned their starting spots in the lineup during Spring Training, are a combined 7-15 (.467 batting average) so far. Any statistic through two games is a SMALL SAMPLE SIZE ALERT, but nonetheless it’s at least encouraging to see Shaw and Holt look ready to go.
- The wind and rain in Cleveland was wreaking havoc on the outfielders of both teams in both games. You know things are bad when Jackie Bradley Jr. is getting turned around on fairly pedestrian fly balls and peeling out trying to chase down grounders in the quasi-gap. The wind on Wednesday night didn’t stop him from making this awesome catch though.
- One thing that wasn’t affected by the wind: balls off of David Ortiz‘ bat. Big Papi struggled big time this spring, but he launched a couple towering shots in both games of the abbreviated series:
- He also hit this one the next night. If he’s going to hit 50 bombs this year, I won’t hate it.
- Speaking of sluggers, Hanley Ramirez crushed one to the opposite field in Game #2. Jerry Remy did a good job of breaking down the changes in Hanley’s swing from last year to this year (namely a shortened stride) on the TV broadcast:
A great explanation from Jerry Remy on the differences in Hanley Ramirez’s swing versus last season. pic.twitter.com/6WGRForpqn
— Joon Lee (@iamjoonlee) April 7, 2016
- This isn’t really news, since Ramirez had the exact same problem back in Los Angeles, and when the coaching staff corrected it he immediately started raking like he was back in Miami. Part of me is glad that it seems like he’s made the necessary adjustments, but the other part of me is really annoyed that either A) he refused to listen to the Sox coaches last season or B) the Sox coaches didn’t actually watch any tape and realize that Hanley + High Leg Kick = Disaster. I guess we’ll never know for sure.
- Xander Bogaerts went 0-9 and had some really ugly at-bats. That didn’t do much to alter my torrid love affair with Francisco Lindor.
- Last thing: David Price was awesome in his Red Sox debut: 10 Ks in 6 innings, really only one poor frame, the whole thing was excellent. Clay Buchholz was the exact opposite and served as a not so friendly reminder of the soft underbelly that is the non-Price rotation.
Up next is the reigning AL East champion Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Center (Centre? Canada is weird.). I know it’s early, but this weekend series will be a nice measuring stick for where the Sox stand for the rest of the year.