Cokin’s Corner, Friday 4/1/16
It’s official, at least for the time being. The Boston Red Sox are now employing baseball’s most expensive benchwarmer.
Pablo Sandoval, who was a massive bust throughout 2015, will be opening 2016 as a reserve, having lost his starting 3B job to Travis Shaw.
Props to Dave Dombrowski, the new man in charge of the Red Sox operations. He told manager John Farrell to put his best players on the field, regardless of salaries, and Farrell has done exactly that by bumping Sandoval to second-string status.
The question now is what, if anything, can be done by the franchise to rid itself of a player who has fallen this far out of favor. Perhaps Pablo can get himself in shape and enjoy some kind of renaissance. After all, he did so once before while still a member of the San Francisco Giants.
But the circumstances are different now. Sandoval was younger then, and let’s face it, he was in a more tolerant setting. I don’t think anyone will argue with the assessment that the glare from fans and media alike is far more harsh in New England than it is by the bay in San Francisco.
There were some rumors swirling that a trade might be in the works with the Padres, with James Shields and Sandoval switching uniforms, along with some Boston money and perhaps a prospect heading to San Diego. But any interest on the part of the Padres seems to have disappeared, and it’s entirely possible it never existed in the first place.
As for the Panda, he’s playing the role of good teammate, saying he’s happy for Shaw. Personally, I’d rather have gotten an angry reaction with a promise to try and get in better shape and win back the job. But when you’re making close to $20 million annually, maybe that motivation just doesn’t exist. At least not for Pablo Sandoval.
Just one play here on Thursday, but it was a winner as the Trailblazers got past the Celtics in an exciting NBA game. Probably more slim pickings today. There’s no reason to force anything, particularly with the baseball season set to get underway.
As for the baseball, my April special officially starts today. You can sign up at any time during the month for the $500 rate, and the +10 guarantee will be good for the entire 30 days. So, for instance, if you were to subscribe on April 10th, the service would run through May 9th and the guarantee would be for that time period. Get locked in by using the dropdown menu on this page, or if you’d like more detailed information on how everything works, simply email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Portland came through as the Thursday free play, and I’ll try to get another good result with tonight’s CBI Tournament final that takes place in Reno.
521 MOREHEAD STATE at 522 NEVADA
Take: 522 NEVADA -4
Morehead State and Nevada play the rubber match of their CBI Championship series tonight. The locals turned out in big numbers on Wednesday and made their presence felt throughout the game. So it’s safe to expect more of the same tonight.
Morehead State just couldn’t hit a thing from outside in Game Two. The Eagles were a ghastly 1/16 on their threes, and in fact they’re only 5/32 from beyond the arc in the first two games. I don’t think they have much of a chance if that lack of accuracy from outside rears its head again tonight.
The Wolf Pack survived that second game on Wednesday in spite of some awful ball security. Nevada had a whopping 21 turnovers in that game. Teams don’t usually win when they have a stat like that, and if the same thing happens again this evening, Nevada will probably lose.
I can see a case being made for either side here. But there are a couple of intangibles that have me favoring Nevada. First off, while I cannot guarantee that it’s the case, Reno can be a distraction for visiting teams, especially if it’s more than an overnight stay as is the case here for Morehead State.
I also like Eric Musselman to come up with some adjustments to cut down on the turnovers and I expect him to try and defend the paint better as well. The more the Wolf Pack can force the Eagles to shoot jumpers, the better their chances. Morehead is very predictable in that they are extremely diligent about getting the ball as close to the rim as possible, and that formula has served them well. But when that gets effectively denied, the Eagles struggle.
This should be a good game, and I would be very surprised if either side were to turn it into a lopsided affair. But the home court edge appears significant, and the extended stay in altitude is not a great thing for the road team. I see the home team having more of the advantages tonight, so I’ll try and cash one more ticket on Nevada minus the points.