Monday, March 10, 2008


Now I know that not many people care about hockey, and even fewer people care about college hockey. But it's my blog, and I like college hockey; the OTHER March Madness.

Here's a bracket for the Hockey East Tournament. For the first round, it's a best of 3 series played at the home ice of the better seed. The semi-finals and final are played at TD BankNorth Garden. #1 UNH hosts #8 UMass at the Whittemore Center in Durham. #2 BU hosts #7 UMass-Lowell at Agganis Arena. #3 Vermont hosts #6 Northeastern. And #4 Boston College hosts #5 Providence College at the Conte Forum.

I'll be at the BC/PC games, working as an usher.

Hockey East


The Red Sox travelled to the Atlantic coast once again, this time to take on the Mets. Luckily for the Sox who made the trip (only 3 starting position players did), the team is willing to charter flights for the 150+ mile trip, as opposed to taking the bus.

Jon Lester got the start against Johan Santana. But both pitchers had surprisingly similar pitching lines. Lester went 4 innings, allowed 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, and struck out 5. Santana also went 4, also allowed 2 hits, also allowed 0 runs, didn't walk any, and struck out 4.

Ellsbury, one of the few regulars to make the trip, went 2 for 4 with a pair of singles. Jed Lowrie continued to struggle, going 0 for 4 with a strikeout and 4 men left on base. He was also picked off of 1st base. Julio Lugo can relax a bit as his potential replacement is currently hitting .107 in grapefruit League play.

Jason Varitek went 0 for 3, but backup George Kotteras went 1 for 1 with a double. Kotteras is hitting .625 this spring, and is making a good case for himself to be the #3 catcher on the depth chart.

Hideki Okajima pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing only 1 hit and striking 1 man out.

Brandon Moss had the only RBI for the Sox with a sac-fly in the 9th. Craig Hansen continued to struggle, allowing the only Met run to score in the 8th. The game ended a 1-1 tie after 10 innings.

The teams also set an attendance record for Tradition Stadium at 7,353. But according to Hank Steinbrenner, nobody cares about the Red Sox.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/James A. Finley


Maybe it was the weight of the team resting on his shoulders that caused them. Perhaps it was the World Series hopes and dreams of Red Sox fans riding on the one reliable arm in the rotation that caused them.

Beckett left Saturday's spring training game against the Marlins with back spasms. The spasms occurred 6 pitches into his warm-ups, before the game had even started.

On Sunday, before the Sox played the Dodgers, Terry Francona said that Beckett "looked way better than we expected." What does that really mean? I have no clue. It could mean his back looked better, or that he looked better even though his back didn't. My theory is that Tito was giving one of his token answers to the media. It sounds like he says a lot to the press, but when you really think about it, he doesn't give them much.

The word of the day on Beckett seems to be "iffy." Both the Globe and the Herald use that adjective in their headlines on the Sox Ace.

The problem appears to be muscular in nature, which is a good thing. If it were a problem with a disk, then that would require more time to heal.

But there is a problem compounding this injury: the Red Sox leave for Japan on March 19th, only 9 days away. It's a 14 hour flight to Tokyo, which would be uncomfortable for anyone, let alone someone with back spasms. I would be surprised if Beckett made the trip to Japan. It's just too soon, too much of a hassle, and there's no way he'll have enough time to build his innings up to start a Major League game.

So that means that Matsuzaka might not go to Japan because his wife is expecting a baby soon. Beckett would stay home with back problems. Schilling is still hurt. Bartolo Colon has yet to do anything but throw bullpen sessions. So who are the two starting pitchers the Red Sox will send across the Pacific? It looks like it will be Wakefield and whoever the #5 starter will be. Yikes.

For the record, Johan Santana has thrown all of his spring training warm-up pitches without incident.

Extra Bases
Boston Herald

Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Charles Krupa