Second baseman Gordon Beckham is expected to improve on his rookie year and second year numbers. Catcher A. J. Pierzynski handles the pitching staff well with veteran leadership but also is consistent at the plate, often coming through in the clutch. Young catcher Tyler Flowers may start to press Pierzynski for playing time this season.
Really, though, whatever quibbles I have with this lineup construction are very, very minor. It’s at least close to optimal, and that is certainly a good thing for future run production.
Owens never was the answer in center field, though. At best, Owens projected out to be a player like Luis Castillo-a player who did not get a ton of extra base hits, but was always on the basepaths and creating havoc. Castillo never has had a season in the majors with a slugging percentage over .400, but with the exception of 2001, Castillo has never had a season in which he has had over 400 at-bats and an OPS below .700. In his heyday, Castillo simply got on base enough to make up for his lack of power.
So, in other words, maybe we’ll see Matt Thornton used in high-leverage situations in the seventh or eighth inning, allowing Sergio Santos, sale jerseys or Jesse Crain to close out lower-leverage situations in the ninth. Whether that actually happens or not remains to be seen-Williams isn’t the manager, after all-but if the Sox do employ this leverage-based strategy, it’ll go a long way toward maximizing bullpen success.
After Brett Gardner was called out on strikes to start the inning, The Yankees rattled off five straight hits, including a double by Robinson Cano and RBI singles by Alfonso Soriano and Curtis Granderson that tied the game at four. Two batters later, Nunez cleared the bases with a shot down the left field line, bringing Granderson and Alex Rodriguez home and giving the Yankees a 6-4 victory.
Between 2006 and 2009, he played with the Tigers and A’s before spending two seasons in Japan. He posted records of 15-8 and 11-9 with Hiroshima of the Japan Central League.
Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles finished strong and really aren’t that far from being back in postseason play, but they need to make several tweaks in the offseason.