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Playing catch-up

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  July 24, 2009 05:32 PM

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6. Well, so much for my longtime daydream that J.D. Drew would thrive in the leadoff spot. He batted .190 with a Tony Pena-esque .299 on-base percentage, and he apparently enjoyed his stint at the top of the lineup as much as we did. I suppose it makes sense to put Jacoby Ellsbury, who thrived at the bottom of the order, again aiming to prove he can get on base at an adequate clip from the top spot. It's probably the right thing to do but I wish it had worked out with Drew, whose on-base skills seemed ideal for the assignment.

7. John Smoltz seems to have that annoying habit of saying "I made one bad pitch" after getting pounded, leaving you to wonder which of the half-dozen meatballs he threw he is talking about. (Tim Wakefield did the same thing for years.) But I'm not ready to abandon this experiment after five so-so starts and a 6.31 ERA. He's looked very good at times, and if not for that one bad inning at Texas, we'd have felt very encouraged about his performance and his progress. Okay, that's sort of an excuse, too. But I still believe it's one we'll be glad we made when he's delivering in big moments down the stretch. If there's any pitcher in baseball

8. A sincere congratulations to Jim Ed Rice, the slugging hero of 1978, the summer I first fell for the Sox (and got the whole essence of the experience by Game 163). The would-be baseball analyst in me understands the argument that you were a fringe candidate for Cooperstown. But the sentimental 30-something who remembers watching your feats through 8-year-old eyes could not be happier that you're getting your moment.

9. As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:

Last weekend, Kaat was the 20th-something analyst to fill in for Jerry Remy this season, and I'd put him second behind the Eck in terms of those I've enjoyed listening to. He's what Tim McCarver is supposed to be -- an articulate, sharp and insightful old-timer.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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