Friday, August 17, 2007

The Kids Are Alright

Red Sox Notes/Headline So Obvious It Wrote Itself for the day:

In Game 1 of what would otherwise no doubt be a fairly ordinary doubleheader against the Angels, two of Boston's hottest young prospects, outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and starting pitcher Clay Buchholz, will be seeing action at Fenway Park today.

Today's start will mark Buchholz's much-anticipated MLB debut; he will pitch against The Other Santana Who's Really Not As Good And Should Maybe Consider Changing His Name To Avoid Unflattering Comparisons Like This One. The 23-year-old right hander has struck out 163 Triple-A batters in just 117 innings and boasts a 2.15 (!) ERA with 8 wins over 21 starts. Boston's starting pitching has been remarkably stable this year, but, nevertheless, the thought of introducing some new talent (especially in the wake of letting Kason Gabbard go) is very exciting as October moves closer and closer. It appears that Buchholz will most li
kely be optioned back down to Pawtucket after today's game, but his debut today should certainly be exciting. Interesting factoid: the 2005 compensation draft pick that enabled the Sox to pick up Buchholz was part of the trade package that sent Pedro Martinez packing.

The smolderingly handsome Jacoby Ellsbury, of course, made his debut in memorable fashion against the Texas Rangers on May 30 of this year, becoming the first Major League Baseball player of Navajo descent. In 6 appearances, he posted a batting average of .375. I seriously wish I could find a video of the first single Ellsbury hit the day he made his debut... I've literally never seen anyone that fast out of the batter's box IN MY LIFE. His first at-bat, Ellsbury tipped a ball off a checked swing that dropped onto the ground; catcher Gerald Laird promptly scooped it up and tagged the bewildered 23-year-old out. (Insert stereotypically snarky "Welcome to the majors, kid" from umpire here. Preferably in a Brooklyn-circa-1930 accent.) In his next at-bat, therefore, when Ellsbury blooped a ball up to 2nd that, under normal circumstances, would have been a routine out at 1st, he was apparently determined that this time would be different. He took off for first base so fast he was really just a blur in a batting helmet, the little voice in his head no doubt screaming "NO DAMMIT NOT THIS TIME I'M NOT GETTING OUT AGAIN HELL NO I'M GETTING TO FIRST AND WHAT YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT" all the way down the baseline. And he made it. Not gonna lie: I really like this kid. Here's hoping he'll crack his first major-league home run off the hapless Ervin today.

Go Sox!

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