fb-pixel

OAKLAND, Calif. — Picked-up pieces from 10 days out west with the Red Sox . . .

■  While the Sox struggle out of the gate (2-5, in last in the AL East after Wednesday’s 6-3 comeback victory), several key Yankees are returning from injuries or have gone down since the season started: Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar, Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dellin Betances, CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, and Troy Tulowitzki. This has not gone unnoticed in the Boston clubhouse. The West Coast time zone allows the Sox to monitor their rivals back east. Almost daily, while the Sox are playing cards, listening to music, and getting ready to take batting practice, their clubhouse TVs are tuned into Yankee games vs. Baltimore or Detroit. Playing against the tanking Orioles and Tigers, the Yankees lost four of their first six.

Advertisement



■  New York’s injury bug makes it a good year for the Sox to start slow, but that doesn’t diminish the overreaction back home. A Globe reader e-mailed me and asked if the 2019 Red Sox might be the first team eliminated from contention before they have a chance to raise their championship banner. This is why we love the Boston baseball market.

■  The Red Sox can spin it any way they want, but there’s got to be something wrong with Chris Sale. Two starts, 49 fastballs, zero swings and misses.

■  Just wondering, but did the 1950s and ’60s Yankees shut down Whitey Ford every spring training back in the days when Ford pitched in the World Series every year? Or are the Red Sox the first to invent the reduced spring workload plan that’s worked so well in the first week of the 2019 season?

■  The Kremlinesque erasure of Larry Lucchino from Red Sox history continues. Accompanied by a photo of John Henry and Tom Werner, the Red Sox press guide officially cites the duo’s “18th season as stewards of the Red Sox franchise,’’ even though Lucchino was running the team for the first three championships of Henry’s ownership. Theo Epstein, who got his start in baseball with tremendous help from Lucchino, became the latest “Larry Who?’’ revisionist when he told the Globe’s Peter Abraham, “It’s fun to see the organization have success and what John, Tom, and Sam [Kennedy] have accomplished.’’

Advertisement



■  QUIZ: Name the two active big league pitchers who have won both the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards? (answer below)

■  Love the Oakland Coliseum, but it is indeed a dump. It’s now the fifth-oldest ballpark in baseball (trailing Fenway, Wrigley, Dodger Stadium, and Angel Stadium, though the last was significantly renovated). Revisiting the place this week reminded me of an Earl Weaver dustup with umpire Rich Garcia in 1979. Weaver was tossed early in the game but never left the dugout, opting to manage from the dugout bathroom. Garcia went looking for Weaver and pounded on the bathroom door, only to hear Earl say, “There’s no one in here.’’ When Garcia said, “I know you’re in there, Earl,’’ Weaver hollered, “Yeah, your umpiring was so bad it made me throw up, so I came in here.’’

Oakland Athletics owner Charles Finley (right) walks off the diamond at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum — opened for baseball just a month earlier — with Catfish Hunter on May 11, 1968.
Oakland Athletics owner Charles Finley (right) walks off the diamond at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum — opened for baseball just a month earlier — with Catfish Hunter on May 11, 1968.(Robert W. Klein/Associated Press)

■  More Coliseum: The joint opened for baseball on April 17, 1968, when the Orioles defeated the A’s, 4-1, on a Dave McNally two-hitter. Oakland’s second hit was a ninth-inning pinch single by little-known middle infielder Tony La Russa. It was LaRussa’s only big league hit that season. He retired with 35. “Shows you what a horse [expletive] player I was,’’ says La Russa. “My claim to fame is that I got the first pinch hit in the history of this stadium.’’ La Russa went on to Cooperstown as the third-winningest manager in baseball history.

Advertisement



■  I was saddened to hear that the Red Sox manager’s office at Fenway has been relocated to a space safely distanced from the prying eyes of the media. Through the decades, it’s been informing to see who was going in and out of the manager’s office. That is all gone now as the space has been allocated to team video coordinator Billy Broadbent. When I texted Terry Francona with news of the death of his old office, the Tribe manager fired back with, “Lots of good [expletive] buried in there.’’

■  One of the problems with baseball’s pace of play is the fact that most players do not think there is a problem. Here’s Bryce Harper in ESPN The Magazine: “Pitch clocks and all that? If you don’t want to come to a baseball game, don’t come. We’re not a timed sport.’’ Swell. But who’s going to pay your salary if bored fans heed your advice?

■  Book list: Make sure you pick up “K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches” by Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. Kepner, a former Globe intern, is the best baseball read in American newspapers today. While you’re at it, find “One Base at a Time: How I Survived PTSD and Found My Field of Dreams,’’ by Red Sox groundskeeping czar David Mellor.

Advertisement



■  Remember when “Who’s going to be the closer?” was the big question around the Red Sox?

■  The Sox would like to have Dustin Pedroia at second base for the home opener on Tuesday.

■  How did I go this long without knowing that Alex Cora’s dad was a sportswriter? Jose Manuel Cora covered Criollos de Caguas in winter ball for the San Juan Star.

■  My Opening Day in Seattle started with an e-mail from 80-year-old southpaw Jim Kaat, a guy who won 283 big league games in 25 seasons and still works as a baseball television analyst. Kaat’s playing career put him up against Ted Williams (who was a rookie in 1939) and Julio Franco (who played until 2007). It’s the baseball life’s equal of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who met both Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

“Baseball’s opening day is so much more significant than the opening days of other sports,’’ wrote Kaat. “This is my 60th MLB opener. I remember my first like it was yesterday. Ike threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Teddy Ballgame drove a Camilo Pascual fastball through the winds over the center-field wall, 421 feet. Camilo struck out 15. Still an opening day record. Game was played in 2:20.’’

Naturally, everything checked out when I went to Baseball Reference’s website. On April 18, 1960, the Washington Senators defeated the Red Sox, 10-1, in front of 28,327 at Griffith Stadium. Cuban curveballer Pascual fanned 15 in his complete-game win. President Dwight Eisenhower threw out the first pitch and Ted Williams hit a long homer to center in the second inning for the Sox' only run.

Advertisement



■  QUIZ ANSWER: Justin Verlander and Jacob deGrom.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dan_Shaughnessy