April 12, 2004

First Yankees Series -- No Pedro. Terry Francona will not use today's off-day to give Pedro Martinez an extra day of rest. Which means Martinez will not pitch against the Yankees this weekend. Instead, the Sox will skip Bronson Arroyo's spot and Pedro will pitch against Baltimore on Thursday. ... Francona: "It doesn't mean the season's over. ... We're not skipping him. We're just pitching them in order."

Does anyone else think there will at least one New York media yahoo who will claim Martinez is ducking the Yankees after last fall's ALCS? Hell, we'll probably hear it on Fox this Friday night. Will this/these mediots realize that if Martinez faced the Yankees this Friday, he would miss the series the following week at Yankee Stadium? Will they realize that by setting up his rotation this way, Francona is pitching Martinez in the Bronx -- on April 25 in the series finale -- and not in Fenway? I have my doubts, but we'll see.

The match-ups (once we get through playing the Orioles again):

Friday: Schilling/Contreras
Saturday: Arroyo (7 days rest)/Mussina
Sunday: Lowe/Brown
Monday: Wakefield/Vazquez

Steven Krasner notes that Ortiz could have been "a spectator by the time his spot in the batting order rolled around in the 12th if Francona had gone by the mythical 'book' used by most managers." In the 8th, with a man on first and one out and the Sox trailing 4-2, LHP Valerio De Los Santos was brought in to face Ortiz. De Los Santos had struck out Ortiz the previous night, but Francona kept Ellis Burks on the bench. Ortiz singled to right, part of the rally that closed the gap to 4-3. ... In the 9th, Ortiz faced LHP Jason Kershner with a runner at second and two outs. He flew out to deep center.

Manny: "I told David before he went to home plate, I said, 'Hey! Finish this, man. We don't get paid overtime.'" ... Ortiz to Millar in the 12th: "Who are they going to bring in to face me now? All their lefties are gone." ... Francona said he and Dave Jauss had talked about Ortiz "against their left-handers. I felt like the lefties they had were not of a style for us to make a move with David. Jauss backed me up." So Ortiz was still in the lineup against Aquilino Lopez in the 12th. ... All of this is good for me to remember because there were several moves yesterday that had me shaking my head. And I'm determined to give Tito some slack, at least until May 1.

Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star says Carlos Tosca (who used 7 pitchers yesterday) is overmanaging his pen: "JP Ricciardi cobbled together an experienced relief corps with success in the big leagues. ... Carlos, forget about head-to-head stats. Some of these dudes can pitch an entire inning without screwing up. They did it elsewhere. They can do it here."

Curt Schilling: "My performance? Disappointing. I was disappointed. Coming off the heels of Pedro's gem (Saturday) night, you like to maintain that momentum. But as disappointed as I was when I came out of the game, it's a wash now. It's gone. I pitched today and we won, so it makes it all good." ... Scott Williamson was held out with a sore elbow and Francona was determined not to use Mike Timlin yesterday. Williamson: "It's just been a little tender since (Thursday night), that's all. You can pitch with it. It's just a precautionary thing." (This explains some of Francona's thinking.)

Mark Bellhorn (5-8 lifetime against Jays starter Miguel Batista) led off Sunday. Despite a .174 batting average, ten walks have boosted his OBP to .424. ... Millar's Diary focuses on Manny, who has either scored or knocked in a run in all seven games. ... Byung-Hyun Kim will pitch a two-inning simulated game today in Fort Myers. ... Tests on Ramiro Mendoza's shoulder revealed no structural problems. ... John Tomase notes that Pedro's seven strikeouts came on pitches clocked at: 89, 76, 75, 78, 90, 89 and 91.

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