The Red Sox exited the house of horrors in Seattle, taking two of three and narrowly escaping a freak injury when the Mariner Moose’s ATV almost flattened Coco Crisp. As of this writing, the game between the Angels and Red Sox is still going on (don’t you love these really late games? Nope, not me) and Curt Schilling made his return from the disabled list, sending Javier Lopez back to Pawtucket.
Lopez placed second in the poll asking who should go for Curt Schilling, which I personally found a big surprise. The results:
Who should go to make room for Curt Schilling?
* Wily Mo Pena
27% of all votes
* Javier Lopez
24% of all votes
* Kyle Snyder
19% of all votes
* Julian Tavarez
17% of all votes
10% of all votes
* Eric Hinske
4% of all votes
I find it surprising that the majority wanted to go to 13 pitchers and dump Wily Mo Pena.
By the way, I wanted to speak about the guest column so graciously presented by Jim Johnson yesterday. First of all, I understand that there will always be an animosity between fans of the Red Sox and Yankees, but I don’t think it gives anyone just cause to insult a writer who came on by my invitation to provide a Yankees perspective, and who, I think, did a good job. The Yankees are coming up at the end of the month, and it’s important to brush up on what’s been going on.
We as a community raised some pretty good points, one being that Andy Phillips is playing way over his head. This is correct, and I don’t think anyone can refute that, even Yankee fans. After all, it’s not like Phillips is a spring chicken. That being said, it would be foolish to assume he regresses until it happens. Until it happens, like it or not, Phillips is a .300 hitter and we will have to prepare as such.
Their bullpen is also flat-out awful.
I also really enjoyed his view of the Red Sox from the Yankees side … because it shows that they’re still deluding themselves into thinking they have a shot at the division (those are the commenters’ views, Jim Johnson provides no such delusion on his part).
Anyways, I wanted to speak for a second on the new poll to the right that asks who our leadoff hitter should be. I selected Coco Crisp, because Crisp has proven he can finally hit, he has speed on the basepaths and is a dead fastball hitter. I would have Pedroia follow Crisp because he rarely strikes out; he makes frequent contact which means the ball will be put into play and Crisp can put his wheels to good use. He’s also a good singles hitter, which could put runners at the corners with no out on a good day for Big Papi. I’d follow those two with Ortiz, Ramirez, Drew, Youkilis, Lowell, Varitek and Lugo. Drew is a good complement in the five spot: he extends the lineup, works the pitchers even more after they’ve gotten through the patient Pedroia, Ortiz and Ramirez. He’s been historically known to drive the ball too, I’ve heard. After that, there’s yet another patient hitter who works the count and gets on base, and drives the ball. Then, an exhausted pitcher is slim pickings for RBI machine Mike Lowell, and Varitek and Lugo finish off the lineup.
I interviewed a Red Sox draft pick a couple of weeks ago in Will Middlebrooks, who has yet to sign with the team. I had the opportunity to speak with another draft pick in David Mailman. With the talent evident in Middlebrooks and Mailman, let’s root for the two to ink contracts with the Sox!
David Mailman, 18, was drafted in the seventh round out of Providence Senior High School, based in North Carolina. Mailman, the centerfielder for the club his senior season, lit up league pitching to the tune of a .541/.705/1.361 line, with 14 homeruns in 61 at-bats. Mailman, a modest person who calls himself an “18-year old who just likes to hang out with friends,” attributes his success in high school to playing for a team called the Dirtbags in the summer and fall. This team plays the best competition around the country. Thus, by the time the school year rolls around, Mailman is primed to face local high-school pitching, having experienced playing at a much higher level.
Mailman said that the Red Sox, among several other teams, had expressed interest in him, so it did not come as a surprise when Mailman was plucked in the draft. Mailman says that it was tremendously exciting to have the Sox pick him, as both his parents hail from Massachusetts and Maine and are devout Red Sox fans. Mailman himself also personally follows the Red Sox, saying “my parents wouldn’t have it any other way!”
This represents a trend the Red Sox have utilized the last few years: while they don’t pigeonhole themselves into drafting just players with Red Sox ties, a large number of players have been picked that have some sort of connection to the Red Sox, whether it be a rooting interest or familial interest. Will Middlebrooks, interviewed earlier in this space, also expresses an interest in the Red Sox.
Mailman is continuing to play baseball in the summer, as the Red Sox have encouraged him to do so. The reasoning for this is for Mailman not to “have missed a beat from not playing this summer,” he says.
One big adjustment that players have to go through in their conversion from high-school and college ball to the professionals is the switch from an aluminum bat to a wooden bat, which makes it much harder to hit for power. Mailman doesn’t forsee much of an issue during the switch, as he uses a wooden bat while playing for the Dirtbags and breaks it out during batting practice during the high-school season when scouts would come to review the players.
Mailman’s most comfortable place to play is in the outfield, despite having spent two years at first base his sophomore and junior year. He played first to protect his arm because he used to pitch often. Despite gaining experience on the mound, he says he greatly prefers hitting, as “there is no better feeling than hitting a homerun!” It certainly is much easier than having a homerun hit off you as a pitcher, which he admits is not a good feeling, even when the enjoyment of striking a batter out is factored in.
Mailman hasn’t decided what his future holds; becoming a professional baseball player for the Boston Red Sox or heading to Wake Forest to hone his skills. “We’re still talking a lot to both Wake and the Red Sox,” says Mailman. However, he expects a resolution to the talks sometime this upcoming week or next. He says that he wants to end up playing for the Red Sox, but “things just have to be right” to turn down a chance to go to Wake Forest, a school with great academics and a baseball program.
Mailman cites a strong benefit of getting more physically strong as an impetus to head to Wake Forest, but quickly clarifies he feels he could do that with the Red Sox as well. Being physically strong is important to Mailman, and he feels he needs to focus on maturing physically to reach the major league, but cautions that he also needs to work hard on maintaining his speed while adding weight.
If he makes the majors, he would love to have his first at-bat be against anybody from the Yankees. He says he would “love to get my first hit against them whether it be at Fenway and get cheered or at Yankee Stadium and hear all the boos.” Spoken like a true Red Sox fan and player!