Despite all that, I'm not too heartbroken. This is the team that lost ten straight spring training games. They set me up with low expectations right from the start, so no, I'm not surprised that they got swept in Texas. I love Jon Lester with so much of my heart, but I don't know if he's EVER had a good April game. I want to say he's had maybe one. That could be a stretch. The fact that he pitched poorly in April is not surprising. Really, he kept it kind of close. I'm not justifying his bad pitching, but he left the game with only a one-run deficit. The thing that concerned me was the lack of strikeouts and the home runs, but fine. I'll forgive that. Daniel Bard was the goat in this one. I love Daniel. I think he's got insane talent. He had a bad game. The odds of Jon and Daniel both having a bad game on the same night again are slim. No concerns there.
I don't like John Lackey. I make no secret about that. I have no confidence in the guy. I don't even enjoy watching games that he pitches. That being said, I didn't expect a win anyway, so how could I be disappointed with the results when I expected the results? Do I think he'll get better? No, but it doesn't make a difference. What does make a difference? Allowing a F***ING GRAND SLAM to BELTRE. That, dear friends, is not ok. That is what I'm going to be bitter about until I get more baseball tomorrow.
Dahmer... well, I guess I'll write this off as he's young, and there's a bit of regression to be expected from his great season last year. He pitched better than Jon or John. He went deeper into the game, which was good because our bullpen is going to be exhausted by the end of the month if our starters can't count to seven. Dahmer gave up a few too many home runs, but by that point, who on our staff hadn't? I am not worried about Clay. Not in the slightest. Papelbon, sure. I worry, but I'm not going to agonize over it.
Take some positives away from this series: 1) Papi is hitting 2) Adrian is hitting 3) CRW is getting on base, and stealing bases 4) Crawford got his first hit out of the way 5) Varitek is still on the bench, so if Salty decides to never get a hit, at least we've got that option.
I saw a lot I liked out of the team in these three games. Sure, the results weren't what we wanted, but I felt good about it. For the pitchers, their location just wasn't there, but there were moments that we can walk away happy with. Now, before this post starts to sound TOO much like a Beckett post-game conference, I'm just going to wrap it up.
And I'll be laughing tomorrow when Beckett goes 8 innings and gives up no runs. Hey, it's called optimism! Beckett vs. Tomlin, 7:05 tomorrow.