After splitting the opening leg of the 8-game road trip in Atlanta the Royals travel to historic Fenway Park to take on the Boston Red Sox. We chatted with Steve Peterson who’s the editor over at BoSox Injection about the emotional series that’s sure to take place in Boston.
Kings of Kauffman – How surprised are Red Sox fans at the early season success?
BoSox Injection – I would characterize it as more than mildly, very pleasantly and cautiously surprised. After all we’re talking New Englanders here with a long history of getting their spirit crushed. Yeah, we won it all in 2004 and again in 2007 but the bitter divisiveness that resulted in Boston’s worst record since 1965 made Red Sox Nation feel like angry losers again. With all the offseason moves there was a potential for either a solid gelling of the new lineup and coaching staff – great clubhouse guys like Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes – or the same old flat as a turd start that marked both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Right now the fans and the team are riding the crest of a winning wave and it shows.
KOK – John Farrell‘s impact on the pitching staff is one of the major reasons Boston wanted him back, right?
BI – Certainly the magic that Farrell was able to create during his pivotal years as pitching coach in Boston have been key foundational elements to stabilizing Boston’s talented but sometimes fussy group of starters. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz need managers and coaches that understand them. Farrell’s return set the tone from the get go. Juan Nieves, Boston’s new pitching coach, has likewise been a smart and steady influence who treats the pitchers like professionals and gets his points across through subtle teaching exercises. The group is happy, the bullpen has been very solid. As for the closer? Hmmm….
KOK – Individual to watch this weekend?
BI – It’s hard not imagine Dustin Pedroia as the Red Sox man to watch. He is the heart and soul of the team. He’s currently batting .306 and doing what he does so well in the field. He’s tough as nails. Any team would kill to have a second baseman like Pedey. From a pitching perspective, Clay Buchholz is the Red Sox man to watch. He took a no-no into the eighth inning in his last outing and his ERA of 0.41 is third best in the majors.
KOK – How emotional do you think Fenway Park will be Friday night given the tragedy on Monday in Boston?
BI – In a word, Fenway Park will be at fever pitch. It will have been five days since the bombings and will be the first Friday night after a brutal week of heartache. Fans will be ready to cut loose, especially if the Sox remain hot and take the Cleveland series, which as of this writing looks probable.
Here is the other side of the Q&A at BoSox Injection
Pitching Match-ups and game times –
Friday: James Shields (1-2, 3.43) v. C. Buchholz (3-0, 0.41), 6:10 pm
Saturday: Ervin Santana (1-1, 2.45) v. R. Dempster (0-1, 2.65), 12:10 pm
Sunday: Jeremy Guthrie (2-0, 3.20) v. F. Doubront (1-0, 4.50), 12:35 pm