Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

April 13, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with ESPNBoston's Gordon Edes

Gordon Edes
  (12:00 PM)

hey, everyone, thanks for joining me this afternoon. hope you've been enjoying this run of day baseball we're having. Four day games in a row by the time this week ends--i trust you're getting a little more sleep than usual. Anyway, on with the questions.

Tom (Boston)

Gordon,I read today about Ortiz still trying to work on his mechanics. Isn't that what spring training is for? If he isn't injured, shouldn't he have sorted out those issues already?

Gordon Edes
  (12:04 PM)

Tom, I was just talking with my boss about that this a.m., that it's revealing that the Sox and David felt the need to make some significant adjustments this spring. that underscores the fact that he just can't catch up to some pitches anymore. But it should not be a surprise that it remains a work in progress. There isn't a time in the course of a season when a player, be it a hitter or pitcher, isn't working on hiz mechanics in some fashion. Some players are constantly tinkering with their stance, etc; others just work on making the repetition natural, and it's clear from Dave Magadan's comments that the changes aren't yet coming naturally to David.

Sam (Norton)

Do you believe Lowell when he says he seriously thinking of retiring at the end of this year or is he just frustrated because he is not playing regularly?

Gordon Edes
  (12:06 PM)

no, Sam, I think Mike is talking out of more than frustration. The hip isn't going to get any better, he's been in pro ball now 15 years, there's little chance he'll make the kind of money he's making now, his kids are getting older, and as much as Mike loves the baseball life and the camaraderie of the clubhouse, i think he's at peace with the idea of making that break.

Kevin (CAL)

Mr. Edes, why is that in the first week of the season when a team struggles out of the gate people start panicing. Isn't thier anybody out there understand there's 162 games in a season. Some TEAMS will struggle, So what. Wait til july before we stop writing a team off. Question #1 Do you think that big papi will come out of is slump, Thats my only concern at this time. If he does not turn it around do you think theo will look for another bat or put lowell or hermedia in the DH spot. Thank you.

Gordon Edes
  (12:09 PM)

Kevin, I guess it comes with the territory, especially in a place like New England, where baseball is so much a part of the daily fabric of life and it's probably more fun to fret about Papi than worrying about life's real problems, like keeping a job, paying the mortgage and the college bills, etc. We in the media do our part in jacking up the anxiety levels. Even if I may write that it's way too early to be making judgments on Papi after seven at-bats, the fact that he was so sensitive to being questioned about it would seem to indicate that he's worried about it, too.

Mike (Bradenton, Florida)

How long are the Sox going to wait until they platoon Hermida and Lowell at DH? And if AGon isn't happening are there options they could pursue such as Carlos Lee? Or possibly take a shot at Jermaine Dye?

ESPNBoston.com
  (12:17 PM)

Technical difficulties, please stay tuned

Gordon Edes
  (12:21 PM)

test test test

Gordon Edes
  (12:23 PM)

Mike, sorry, you must have thought you stumped the band with your question about platooning Lowell/Hermida, but it was just technical difficulties, possibly pilot error. Anyway, your question is one they're asking from Bangor to Bradenton right now, and I believe the Sox are going to go with Ortiz for a while longer, hoping he gets out of this early funk. But it's revealing that Terry Francona thought about sitting David yesterday after his 4-K day in KC.

Nate (Ft. Lauderdale)

Gordo...Great to see you back covering the Sox! My question is are you suprised at how well Adrian Beltre is hitting in the early going? And do you think he came keep up this despite his early count swings?

Gordon Edes
  (12:26 PM)

Thanks, Nate, and I know both the Sox and Beltre are encouraged by his good start. For me, the question then becomes, will the power return. last season, Beltre went his first 30 games without hitting a home run, before connecting here in Minnesota off Matt Guerrier. Remember, he was coming off shoulder surgery, and then required a later surgery in June last season. So you have to wonder how much that has impacted his swing. But there's no question he's squared up a lot of pitches early this season.

Steve (Central Mass)

I understand Terry's take on sticking with a guy, and all that, but why wouldn't he at least have put Lowell in the DH spot against Pettit. Lowell has a proven track record against him and righty batting, lefty pitching, no brain-er.

Gordon Edes
  (12:27 PM)

Steve, what was that, third game of the season. What message would that have sent to Ortiz if they're already lifting him? Making the case easier to keep him in there was that he also had good career numbers against Pettitte.

Ed (Needham)

Hi Gordon. Managers always get blamed for either leaving in a pitcher too long or taking him out too soon. How do you feel Francona does in managing his starters?

Gordon Edes
  (12:31 PM)

Ed, I think Tito relies heavily on his pitching coach, John Farrell, but in general I have no issue with the way he handles his starters. In fact, I thought they were pretty creative in making sure both Wakefield and Buchholz didn't have to wait too long to make their starts. Bullpen management is a bigger issue, I think, in evaluating a manager, and right now I think Tito is a bit handicapped because of the early ineffectiveness of Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez. But overall, I think he's very good in bullpen management, in terms of managing their innings and making sure that if guys warm up, they're usually getting in the game.

Chuck (Belmont)

Looking back at 2004 and 2007, is this team as good as those championship teams?

Gordon Edes
  (12:33 PM)

Chuck, if you're asking whether I think they're good enough to win a championship, my answer is that if their starting pitching remains healthy, they will be playing in October. The Manny/Ortiz combo in the middle of the lineup was one of the most prolific in history, so this team obviously doesn't have that. But this team has enough pitching, defense and offensive balance to go a long way.

Edith Bunker (Natick)

Do you buy this run prevention philosophy by Theo, or do you believe that in the end the lower part of the Red Sox lineup will have to produce if they want to win a World Championship?

Gordon Edes
  (12:36 PM)

Yeah, I was a sucker for the login, Edith. Theo isn't re-inventing the wheel here, a point I think he has repeatedly tried to make this spring. Pitching and defense have been the hallmark of most championship teams; as loaded as the Yankees are, they don't win it all without CC and Burnett at the top of their rotation. Tito went into last winter not asking Theo for another bat, but another arm, and he got it in Lackey.

DavidBigPapiOrtiz (Boston)

Gordon, 1st of all thank you for your great coverage of the Sox. Without David Ortiz we wouldn't have 2 world championship banners flying at Fenway. Red Sox fans put him on a pedestal and now they want to run him out of town. Fans are fickle. Do you believe he should be give a couple of months before management decides to bench or platoon him?

Gordon Edes
  (12:39 PM)

You know, I was thinking about what the Sox would do with Ortiz if this slump became permanent. He would do them no good on the bench, so what are their options? Releasing him? Wouldn't that be a sorry end to such a great run here. I reminded people this spring and will remind them again;l despite David's awful start, this team was still in first place in July. They can afford some patience, especially since this team has better pitching.

Jason (NJ)

2 Starts is a very small sample size... but should there be concern over Lester's start to the season?

Gordon Edes
  (12:40 PM)

In a word, Jason, no. Lester is one of the best pitchers in the AL and he will continue to be this season. I picked him to win the Cy Young, and I'm not backing off that prediction yet. He has great stuff, he's healthy, he's committed, and he'll put it together very soon. Guaranteed.

Dave (Denver, CO)

Hey Gordo, although the sox aren't 6-1 right now, i'm not worried. the offense and ortiz (as bad as he's looked) will come around, so will the starting pitching. I am however concerned with the bullpen, aside from bard and papelbon i don't have much confidence. what's your take on the boston relievers?

Gordon Edes
  (12:43 PM)

Dave, I think that's a legitimate concern to raise, 1, because historically middle relief seems to show the greatest variance from year to year, and 2, because Manny Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez have so far been anything but reliable. I expect Boof Bonser to be added to the mix soon, and possibly Alan Embree. But yes, it's definitely worth monitoring.

Tom (Richmond)

Any word on Dice-K coming back up to the big club?

Gordon Edes
  (12:45 PM)

Tom, my read on Daisuke is that the Red Sox are in no hurry to promote him. They were not impressed with the way he threw this spring and want to see more evidence that he's making significant progress before bringing him back. All bets are off, of course, if one of the other starters gets hurt, but I think the Sox are wondering if all that pitching Daisuke did early in his career in Japan has caught up with him.

Seth (Orlando)

Gordon, while a lot of people are hanging the problems on Ortiz, the issue with the offense is still inconsistency in my opinion. Too many games of 8 run explosions follwed by a 1 or 2 run performance. Is there a reason that this continues to plague this team?

Gordon Edes
  (12:48 PM)

Way too early, Seth, to make judgments about the offense collectively. Look at track records instead of first-week results: The Sox have plenty of productive hitters in the lineup. What makes Ortiz's case different is that people ARE looking at track record: His start last season, and the fact he hasn't hit lefties for two years. But lest we forget, last season people wrote off Ortiz, and he responded by hitting 28 home runs the last four months.

jason (Sanford, NC)

ortiz isnt a rookie anymore n he has done this dance b4 for a long time now. what do u think ortiz problem is? why cant the hitting coach fix whats wrong? if there is something wrong with him

Gordon Edes
  (12:52 PM)

Jason, Hitting coaches aren't miracle men. Like Mike Lowell was saying the other day, you have to be a confident hitter to be a successful one, but it takes success to breed confidence, so when you're in a funk the mental game becomes a huge challenge. Magadan and Ortiz have spent countless hours working in the cage, studying video, and have formulated an approach that they believe includes the necessary adjustments. but those adjustments have to feel natural, and right now Ortiz is probably thinking too much about his mechanics, as well as feeling real insecure right about now.

Tim (Rochester)

Scary stuff about Ortiz on ESPN earlier today: ESPN researcher Jason McCallum offers some numbers that underscore Ortiz?s early-season issues. Ortiz has missed 44 percent of his swings this season, more than double the league average (20 percent), while his take percentage -- the percentage of pitches taken in the strike zone -- is also well above the league average (46 percent to 33 percent). With two strikes, Ortiz has taken a quarter of the strikes thrown to him, compared to the major-league average of 11 percent. Conclusion: He?s missing pitches he should be hitting, and taking pitches he should be hitting.

Gordon Edes
  (12:53 PM)

Yeah, we blogged that stuff on ESPNBoston last night, too, Tim. We have an unbelievable research staff, and Jason's numbers do a great job of illustrating Ortiz's issues to date.

Jeff (Boston)

Hi Gordon... is there something about Alex Gonzalez that we don't know? I can't understand why a gold glove caliber defender, who hits statistically below average (but with the Sox hit well) could never be loved here by Theo. It's way too early, but he is doing remarkably better than Marco in Toronto. Why did Theo not like him in our SS hole?

Gordon Edes
  (12:57 PM)

Jeff, I had to take a peek at what Gonzalez is doing so far, and you're right: 4 doubles, 4 HRs already, very impressive. All I can tell you is that Sox loved Gonzalez's glove, but just didn't think he'd get on base enough, which is supported by his career numbers. Scutaro hasn't put up those kinds of numbers this season, ahd he won't be hitting with power, but I think the Sox are happy with the player they hace: steady defender, high on-base guy, one who has yet to swing and miss this season.

Matt (Washington DC)

Gordo, will the Sox let VMart walk? Not many catchers out there. Is his arm a bigger issue than his bat?

Gordon Edes
  (12:58 PM)

That will be a question all summer, Matt, one dependent on a number of factors: how will the pitching staff respond with Martinez behind the plate every day; will teams continue to run at will on the Sox; what alternatives for a bat will be out there for the Sox, either at the trading deadline or after the season. it is clear that the Sox are waiting to see how this stuff plays out.

Eric (OK)

What are your thoughts on the Twins new stadium?

Gordon Edes
  (12:59 PM)

Absolutely beautiful, with the Mankato limestone and the Kentucky bluegrass and the RF porch, and on and on. Best of all, you look up, and there's the sun and the moon and not dirty gray Teflon.

Gordon Edes
  (1:00 PM)

Hey thanks everyone for showing up, I apologize for the glitch, and let's do this again soon. ge

Gordon Edes
  (1:02 PM)

hey, and we'll be doing a live in-game chat tomorrow, so come on back.