It is certainly a very exciting and very important week for the Red Sox. With a pair of games in Tampa and a four-game set in the Bronx, the next six days could play pivotal roles in how the East will be won this season.
After Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, the Red Sox’ rotation is a bit a of question mark. Do you think their decision to not add another starting pitcher at the trade deadline will come back to bite them?
–Tony, Fall River, Mass.
It might, but they tried. I think the Felix Hernandez talk was very interesting. He was not mentioned in any rumors until the 11th hour and apparently, if the reports are accurate, the Red Sox made an elaborate offer with many of the farm system prospects offered to Seattle. I think the amount that the Blue Jays were asking for Roy Halladay may have been even more than I anticipated initially. I think the rotation will be better moving forward. They just have to get to the postseason and then I like my chances with Beckett, Lester and the Red Sox bullpen in a series.
How will David Ortiz's legacy be affected by the news of his positive test in 2003?
–Karen, Laconia, N.H.
It depends how he handles it. I think all the players named will have that cloud over them during their careers and certainly come Hall of Fame voting time. I think the players who step up and admit they did see the problems go away much faster. Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte come to mind. Papi's major hurdle will be explaining his comments from spring training in which he stated any cheater should be banished for a year. His story has to be true because the next step by writers and media types will be to check out the story in depth. He can leave no holes. Truth, all truth. It will go a long way as to how he is perceived moving forward. Ask Mark McGwire.
Adding Victor Martinez was a nice pickup for the Red Sox, but he makes the lineup even slower. Should this be a concern?
–Gerald, Tucson, Ariz.
I am not worried about speed for the Red Sox. I think they have that element from Jacoby Ellsbury and need power and the ability to extend their lineup. On Sunday, we saw with Jason Bay and J.D. Drew out of the lineup, the offense is stretched out so far that there are fewer guys to pitch around. I think if they were not going to get Halladay, this was the right move. They now have another great hitter with pop and did not have to sell the entire farm to get him.
Which Red Sox rookies will make an impact down the stretch?
–Ron, Fremont, Calif.
Daniel Bard will, in my estimation. I think he already has. When we saw him break onto the scene during spring training, it was clear that it was going to be something special His fastball alone is eye-opening but his breaking ball makes him great. At times, he totally overmatches hitters. It has been clear with his continued dominance that Terry Francona has now used him in far more important roles than in the past. We are now seeing work in the eighth with a lead. There is just something about having a guy who comes in and strikes people out. He is a second closer.
What is your favorite Red Sox-Yankees memory?
–Susan, Belmont, Mass.
Without question, it was Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS. To have to come all the way back from down 3-0 and to win on their field was the greatest. After the game, we were on the field doing postgame interviews and I was interviewing Tim Wakefield, who was standing on the very mound in which he had given up Aaron Boone’s home run the year before. Despite the fact that my partner, Dave Roberts, took me to dinner Monday night here in St. Petersburg, I am giving him a close second. He will be upset with me that his steal of second base in Game 4 only gets an honorable mention. He will also remind me that without his stolen base, there is no Game 7.