Shaughnessy: Game 2 is a “must-win” for the Red Sox


Here’s Dan Shaughnessy in the Boston Globe today, closing a column headlined “Red Sox were lacking championship intangibles”:

Those were the things they did not do on Monday. Luckily, the Red Sox do not play in a town that’s likely to overreact to a loss on Opening Day.

Wednesday night, however, just became a Must Win for the Olde Town Team.

The beginning of baseball season is awesome in every way except for the part in which people forget how the sport’s beauty lies in the fact that no one game is truly significant. As a result, people actually offer Serious Analysis of single games for a few days before hey remember that too.

This is why our game recap feature is decidedly not Serious. Games just happen. Apart from injuries, no one event in them should get anyone too concerned.

Ryan Zimmerman’s spring training has been . . . weird

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.

While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.

Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.

I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.

On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.