Thursday, May 10, 2007

Five Good Questions with . . . Rob Bradford & Ed Price about the Red Sox & Yankees

Today we have a classic doubleheader - Red Sox -’s "Five Good Questions" is with Rob Bradford of The Boston Herald and Ed Price of The Newark Star-Ledger.....Rob covers the Boston Red Sox while Ed covers the New York Yankees.....first up is Rob about the Sox....

Q1. Just over a month into the season, how would rate the Red Sox performance so far?
There are few things which you can pinpoint as disappointments for this team thus far (other than the loss of Roger Clemens). The biggest concern through spring training, the bullpen, has been both protected by the starters' workload, but has come through when counted upon. The bottom the order is starting to hit thanks to the recent hot stretch by Coco Crisp, and most recently, Dustin Pedroia. Perhaps Daisuke Matsuzaka's struggles have come somewhat of a surprise, but he has also shown enough to believe that production isn't far away. It is one month, but you can only go by what you see so far.

Q2. With a lot of the leaders, such as Trot Nixon, Kevin Millar, Johnny Damon, etc, from the 2004 team gone, who is now the clubhouse leader?
Obviously you have Jason Varitek serving the role as the captain, but I think a couple of steady influences have been Mike Lowell and Alex Cora. Both are very professional and seem to set somewhat of a tone. David Ortiz also supplies a pretty big presence in the clubhouse.

Q3. Dice-K has not looked that spectacular so far. Is he just another over-priced pitcher?
Again, I don't think after what he has shown in spring training and early in the season that you can classify Matsuzaka as a bust. Put it this way, if the season ended today and he became a free agent how much money do you think he would command? The answer is a lot ... top of the rotation kind of coin. He just needs to figure out a few things in terms of pitching from the stretch, which is where his problems have popped up. But it certainly seems like a fixable problem.

Q4. What areas do the Sox have to improve upon?
Julio Lugo has to show a bit more offensively at the top of the order, and Hideki Okajima has to prove he can be an 8th inning guy over an extended period of time. I think that the emergence of Alex Cora has really allowed the Red Sox some flexibility with Pedroia's progression and Lugo's effectiveness.

Q5. Last question, the Sox have taken 5 of 6 from the Yankees. Are the Sox that much better than New York or did Boston just catch the Yanks in a slump?
The true test against the Yankees won't come until both rotations are at full strength and matched up against one another. That moment may come in early June at Fenway Park. When healthy, you have two pretty evenly matched teams. The problem for New York is that while it was riding out this rash of injuries to its starters the bullpen has been drastically over-used. The return of Clemens makes it a lot more fun, doesn't it?

Now Ed Price about the Yankees....

Q1. First off, with the sweep of Texas and wins on Saturday and Sunday, has the pressure cooled a bit on Joe Torre about losing his job?
I think the Clemens announcement and the team's recent play has everyone on the Yankees optimistic, so Torre seems to be safe.

Q2. What do you expect from Roger Clemens this season?
He is in his mid-40s? He is 45. But he shows few signs of slowing. I expect him to be able to give 6 innings of 3-run ball most of the time -- good enough to win with the Yankees lineup.

Q3. Have the New York fans finally relented and accepted A-Rod?
A-Rod will be accepted wholeheartedly if he helps the Yankees win a World Series, like Scott Brosius or Tino Martinez.

Q4. What is the status of Mariano Rivera?
I think Rivera will be OK, but one of these years he has to drop off -- I think.

Q5. After a terrible April, have the Yankees begun to steady the ship and get back on course for the rest of the season?
I think there are still pitching questions, so it will be an uphill battle.....

I want to thank Rob and Ed for their time....

No comments: