Tuesday, April 7, 2015

After day one, everything's just peachy

I can't stress how happy I was to hear Joe Castiglione back on my radio and Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy back on my television yesterday. I was a bit disappointed that Dave O'Brien was away from the radio booth, but I was happy that the powers that be at WEEI put Lou Merloni on the broadcast with Joe instead of Rob Bradford. Bradford makes me want to turn the radio off. But that's a whole other story.
Here are a few observations from what is one of my favorite days of the year.
Hanley Ramirez will be the American League MVP. After that performance, nothing will go wrong for the rest of the year and he'll finish with 83 homers and 210 RBIs. He won't drop a single ball in left field and will learn to play the wall better than anyone since Yaz.
Dustin Pedroia will finish second in the AL MVP voting, falling short of his teammate by three votes. He will finish with only 78 homers and 190 RBIs and will beat himself up throughout the offseason for slacking off.
Clay Buchholz will win the American League Cy Young Award after going 34-1 and finishing with an ERA of 1.03. His one loss will come in a 1-0 defeat to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sept. 9 when John Farrell elects to sit Ramirez, David Ortiz and Pedroia in the series finale to get playing time for Daniel Nava, Brock Holt and Allen Craig, none of whom had been on the field since the end of April.
Pablo Sandoval will go through the entire month of April without a hit before coming alive in May and only striking out once in the entire month. However, he will be deemed expendable thanks to the impressive Garin Cecchini parade in AAA and will be traded right before the deadline for Jon Lester. Lester will take over the closer job for Koji Uehara, who admits that he's really 55 years old when his arm literally falls off his body in June. Koji vows to be back by the playoffs. Cecchini will take over at third base and never relinquish his hold, winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award.
Shane Victorino won't have a single hit for the entire season, but will be on base three times in every single game before himself being traded to the Phillies for Cole Hamels at the beginning of May. Hamels will come to Boston with his wife, Survivor Amazon contestant Heidi (Strobel) Hamels and become an immediate fan favorite when he drills Alex Rodriguez in the butt with a pitch in his first start for the Red Sox. Victorino's trade makes room for Rusney Castillo to enter the lineup and he becomes the second coming of Dwight Evans in right field. However, he ends up suffering an injury diving into the stands to rob Mike Trout of a game-winning homer in the first game after the All-Star break, opening the door for Jackie Bradley Jr., who goes on to win the Gold Glove in right field despite only playing half a season at the Major League level.
David Ortiz will not step out of the batter's box between pitches once the entire season, and thus the longest game of the season for the Red Sox clocks in at two hours and 23 minutes, against the Yankees on Sunday, May 3.
Ryan Hanigan will make people forget that Blake Swihart is in AAA, hitting an even .350 for the season and will allow only one passed ball. However, he will only have 12 RBIs for the season because the bases are almost never occupied when he comes up.
Mookie Betts will demolish Joe Dimaggio's hit streak record of 56 games by hitting safely in the first 160 games of the season. His streak will be stopped on the second to last day of the season when Cleveland's Michael Bourn tracks down a surefire double into the right-center field gap. The end of the streak will send him into a funk throughout the playoffs, as he only registers one hit in the entire postseason. However, that hit will be a 12th inning walk-off homer against the Cincinnati Reds in game six of the World Series. The ball will soar into the October night and carom off the Carlton Fisk foul pole as Betts waves it fair while dancing down the first base line, leading Peter Gammons to break out his famous, "Then all of a sudden the ball was suspended out there in the black of the morning like the Mystic River Bridge," line in a special piece for the Boston Globe celebrating the Red Sox World Series win.
And finally, hitting coach Chili Davis will come out of retirement for one day and rip a grand slam homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to lead the Red Sox past the Rays on Sept. 21. He will promptly retire the next day and go back to coaching hitting, saying he just wanted to show Pedroia that  anyone can hit homers.

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