Monday, April 18, 2011

Win Streak: We Have A Win Streak!

Right now it's at two, this little win streak of ours, thanks to Jon Lester and his magical cutter of doom. It's games like this that make me wish I had a fantastic and unique nickname for Jon Lester because he deserves it, but I just don't. He's "Binky" to me, but I never actually call him that. It's just what he is. I think I've called him that once, maybe twice, but it's usually just Jonny or 'darling' (which, in all fairness, is what I call any player that I enjoy watching). Every time I think I've come up with a nickname I like for him, it fails. As you know, you can't force a nickname, it just has to happen and it's not happening for Jon. Not from me, anyway. But he doesn't need a nickname to go out and pitch six strong innings, allowing one run on six hits and three walks while gathering 5 strikeouts. I think if I were to ask for seven strikeouts, a nickname would be required, so I will happily settle for five. Unfortunately, Jon's bid was just a little tiny bit short from taking his ace card back from Joshua Patrick. Luckily for him, he's got the rest of the season to try again! I really like this whole "Josh and Jon pitching well in April" thing. It's refreshing.

As for the offense, we got some mighty Munchkin magic out of Pedroia yet again. What's that? You said Munchkin went 0-4? Technically that's true. You remember when "Ellsbury" hit that 3-run home run? Yeah, that was Pedroia. Or when Salty hit that 6th inning 2-run double? Also Pedroia. I was watching this episode of NCIS last week (bear with me, this is relevant, I promise!) where the bad guy actually had a life-life silicone mask made out of a vicitm's face so he could parade around pretending to be him. The mask was so realistic that the only way you could tell it was not the real person was by the voice. Did anyone TALK to CRW after that home run? If you had, I guarantee it would be Pedey's voice replying to you. Same deal with Salty. I think that Pedroia is just doing so damn much to keep positive vibes going all throughout the clubhouse that he's taken to drastic measures in order to ensure his team mates get as much love as he's getting. Don't be surprised if David Ortiz shrinks by a foot and a half if he happens to struggle this season. Just saying.

Monday morning conspiracy theories brought to you by my sleep deprived mind. You're welcome.

The boys learned their lesson from the night before when they left 23 men on base, this time only leaving 9. Nine is a number I can deal with. Aside from it being my favorite number (true story), it's only one runner left on base per inning if they're on the road or losing at home and 1.125 base runners per inning when winning at home. Nine is managable, so thanks for that, boys. Also, the team batting average as of right now is .230! That may not seem like something to celebrate, but when it was .190 a week ago, it's worth mentioning. Progress. We like it.

Now.... Crawford. Another 0-4 game yesterday and his batting average seems intent on visiting the .100 line. I know it's not my job to figure this all out for him, but I honestly feel so bad that I wish there was something I COULD do. I don't want to see him struggle, and I know no one else does either. I guess opposing teams such as the Rays probably want to see him struggle, but the rest of us don't. I can't even imagine what kind of a toll this is taking on his confidence. You can see he's trying too hard, and his pressing is making him impatient. How do we fix this, hitting coach Dave Madagan? What can we do to make him the Crawford of old? Someone needs to relocate his locker right next to Pedroia's. Pedey's a pretty inspirational little guy... then again, he's pretty big on the trash talking. That might not be the best thing for Carl right now. So what can we do to fix Crawford before he does irreversible damage to his own psyche? Here's my list of options!
1) Teach him to lean into pitches. Getting on base is a start! A good start! Make sure he wears extra padding.
2) Have David Ortiz hug him and say, "You're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggonit, people like you," before every Crawford at-bat.
3) Batting practice off Tim Wakefield. Sorry Tim, you know I love you.... so just lob those fastballs in there slowly and let him get a few hits off of you.
4) Have him wear a Rays t-shirt under his jersey. Maybe it'll trick him into thinking it's last year.
5) Make Pedroia a Crawford mask and have him bat as Carl for the week. That way, if Carl can actually SEE himself hitting in a Red Sox uniform, he'll be able to do it. Visualization works!

I doubt any of these options are realistic, so it seems like we're just going to have to wait him out. Keep showering him with love, guys. We want him to do well, and the only way that's going to happen is if he doesn't feel the weight of Red Sox Nation bearing down on him with each at bat. It's all about positive reinforcement. Speaking of which, I'm sure you're all with me in saying, "You can do it, Dice-K! We believe in you!" Even if you don't believe in him, just pretend you do. He's another one of those guys who could use all the confidence he can get. Win number 3 of the streak won't be easy to come by, but it's not impossible. 11:05, first pitch.

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