With Boston’s victory over Baltimore Tuesday night, the Red Sox began a 30-game grind to finish the regular season.
We started watching this Red Sox team way back in February when pitchers and catchers showed up in Fort Myers, Fla. Most of them showed up early, which was a good thing. Now the question is, can they do their job late?
Here are 30 quick hitters I think are needed down the stretch to make the playoffs…
1) Keep lady luck on board and keep missing the other team’s ace pitchers. (they missed Cain, Kerhsaw, and Greinke out West)
2) To John Farrell – don’t be afraid to call for a sacrifice bunt if the situation warrants.
3) David Ross must catch more. Clearly the pitchers like throwing to him.
4) Let’s not focus too much of those three games at Tampa Bay (Sept. 10,11,12). The other games are going to decide who wins the division.
5) If Jonny Gomes is available in any late game key situation – he must bat.
6) No more games off for players. There are four off days in September. I don’t want to hear it.
7) Think long and hard who you want to start the nine game against Baltimore. The O’s hit lots of home runs. Six of the games are at Fenway. Think long and hard who are your fly-ball pitchers and who are not.
8) Jacoby Ellsbury needs to stop looking at his steal percentage and steal the base earlier in counts.
9) Koji. Koji. And more Koji.
10) Ryan Dempster cannot pitch against the Yankees. Period.
11) David Ortiz needs to keep his mouth shut about A-Rod, etc.
12) Drew, Middlebrooks,Bogaerts…Ride the guy with the hot hand until the guy isn’t hot.
13) I count eight games against out-of-contention teams (White Sox, Toronto, Colorado). They need to go at least 6-2 against them.
14) Hate to say it, but…I hope the Pawsox do not make the playoffs. I want to see Jackie Bradley Jr. in the outfield in late innings starting September 1st.
15 )I love Jake Peavy’s emotion but tone it down some Jake. I’ll bet some of that energy better used could get you through that one extra inning.
16) Limit the use of guys like Drake Britton.
17) Do not let it come down to those final three games in Baltimore at the end.
18) No chicken and beer.
19) Keep rooting against Oakland and Cleveland (sorry Tito). We don’t want these guys sneaking into the wildcard race while all focus is is on TB, the Yankees and Baltimore.
20) Clay Buchholz must give them a handful of quality starts in September.
21) Junichi Tazawa needs to get his second (or third) breath-quickly.
22) Tampa Bay plays a game every day in September except September 9th. This should be a good thing for the Sox.
23) Craig Breslow or Matt Thornton. One of you lefties will need to get some big outs. Be ready.
24) It’s OK to play Big Papi at first base once in a while if that is what is needed down the stretch.
25) No more banging into the walls Shane Victorino…you are needed in the lineup every day.
26) Jon Lester – keep pitching like you are pitching for your next contract – because you are.
27) Tampa Bay has a nine game West Coast road trip to make in the September. Let’s not complain about that little two-game swing in Colorado during the last week – even though it is a stupid move by MLB.
28) Keep it up John Lackey.
29) Think Dirt Dogs!
30) Play like you haven’t won in 86 years!
ITEMS FROM THE DUFFEL BAG:
— As the Red Sox/WEEI/NESN focus on the Jimmy Fund this week, I can’t help but think about riding through Bangor with Einar Gustafson (THE Jimmy of the Jimmy Fund) in his tractor trailer rig. New Sweden, Maine turned out a real hero.
— Carl Stotz could not have dreamed what his idea of Little League baseball would become when he came up with it back in 1938.
— If…If the Sox were in a one game/winner- take- all wildcard game October 1st who would you want to start it?
— The Pawtucket Red Sox are in first place. With all of the player transactions this summer, isn’t Gary DiSarcina manager of the year?
— The Boston Bruins play their first preseason NHL game in about three weeks. All together now…”where did the summer go?”
— I’m ready for some fall sports.
— And speaking of fall, the Patriots/NYGiants preseason game and defending national champs Alabama football this week are on Sports Radio 92.9 The Ticket.