*Last week in this column, I incorrectly stated that the Sox record was 14-14, when it was 11-11. So, I must take blame for the sweep at the hands of the Orioles. The baseball gods wanted the home fans to see a three-game winning streak against the Angels, so they had to find three losses somewhere. My fault!
*Jacoby Ellsbury took a very good round of batting practice last night before the game (obviously) and he should be ready soon.
*Folks, we have a problem. I attended a high school baseball game last week that ended in a 3-2 score in seven innings. The problem? The game took over three hours. Each batter stepped out between pitches for 30 seconds to take the sign, adjust his pants, etc. It is just getting brutal. I love the game of baseball, but the slow play is getting out of control.
*I have mixed emotions about shutting myself off from all other media regarding the Sox. The games are actually enjoyable to watch with no sound, even though I miss Don and Jerry. Strangely, I miss the general sports radio banter about the Sox. I also have no doubt that I let the banter shape my opinions about the team. It is fun, though, observing the team in a bit of a vacuum.
*David Ortiz has hit three home runs this week, but when not homering, he has looked feeble. I still believe that he has enough in the tank physically and emotionally to have one more productive season, but I would be lying if I said that I were not extremely concerned about how we will handle the next several weeks.
*As encouraging as the past three games have been, tonight's start for Dice-K could be a big moment in the season. If he pitches well and the Sox get a win, Boston will be a game over .500 for the first time in a while, having swept a four-game series from the Angels.
*Count me among the group of people a little confused by the re-launching of Nomar Garciaparra into the Red Sox organization. First there was the signing of a one-day contract so that he could retire as a member of the Red Sox. I get that, I guess. But then a random "Nomar Night?" I am just not sure that I understand this. Nomar wanted out of Boston. I wanted him out of Boston. Have we revised history to the point that we erased the last few years of the Nomar sulkfest?
I guess I should prepare myself to a big celebration if Manny ever decides to show up to Fenway on a night he actually wants to be there. Bizarre. Maybe the next item is the reason. Is he suddenly a great motivator?
*This exchange is courtesy of The Sports Exchange:
DH David Ortiz walked off the field after batting practice and into the waiting arms of former Red Sox SS Nomar Garciaparra, who gave the slumping slugger a bear hug. Asked if he had any advice for Ortiz, Garciaparra said, "I would say, 'David, you're all right. Just keep being who you are. Don't change who you are. Everyone still loves you. Keep smiling.'" Sure enough, Ortiz singled in the second inning, belted a solo home run into the seats above the Green Monster in the fourth and walked in the sixth Wednesday night.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said he considered benching Ortiz, even though the Angels were starting a right-handed pitcher. Ultimately, though, Francona stayed with Ortiz, citing his .391 career average against Joel Pineiro.
"I understand David is having a tough time," Francona said. "We're trying not to get caught up in, you know, all the whatever the word is. I'm trying to put players in a position they can succeed, trying to put the team in a position that they can succeed, and trying to do it at the same time. Sometimes that's why I get here earlier. We're all trying to do the best we can."
*Finally this week, congrats to local baseball prospect Jake DeDoming, a 13-year-old from Barnstable. Jake had an injury situation that doctors initially believed would sideline him indefinitely, but he will be able to compete without restrictions this spring. This is a victory for baseball because the young man is incredibly passionate about the game.