The Deadline Nears. Excellent outing for Bronson Arroyo last night. I agreed with the decision to let him pitch the 8th inning. He had sailed through the 6th and 7th, throwing a total of 17 pitches and looking very relaxed. Whether he was actually fatigued, I don't know, but he hit a rough patch, allowing 3 hits to start the 8th before recording his 8th strikeout and being relieved. Boston pitchers did not walk anyone for the second straight game. The last time that happened was August 10-11, 2002 against the Twins.
I really like Arroyo, though one of the reasons for that may be that I seem to remember only his good starts -- like his 100-pitch effort against Toronto on May 15 or his 8 shutout innings against Texas on July 9. All of his bad outings vanish -- poof! -- from my mind as soon as the game is over. It may not be completely illusionary; right now, both Pedro Martinez and Tim Wakefield have higher ERAs than Arroyo. ... I'm having the opposite experience with Derek Lowe this season. All I recall are his meltdowns.
Johnny Damon agrees with me: "The only two that I think should have gotten suspended were Tek and A-Rod." Why was Kenny Lofton fined? Arroyo thinks Lofton may have punched him in the head. "I haven't seen the tape, but somebody punched me, and when I looked around he was the closest one to me." ... Scott Williamson had a rough outing with Pawtucket on Thursday. He retired only one of six batters, walking three, hitting one and allowing a 3-run double. Only nine of his 28 pitches were strikes. He did not have any discomfort, which is fantastic, though he will likely make another appearance with the PawSox before rejoining the big club.
Gabe Kapler's throw to nail Justin Morneau at third base leading off the 7th inning last night was amazing. The ball was hit off the wall and was rolling back toward the infield. Kapler's throw reached Bill Mueller on the fly and he was able to tag Morneau easily. Kapler: "Truthfully? I didn't think it was that good of a throw. I just kind of launched it. It just ended up in the right place." Kapler also had 3 hits and 2 RBI, and is filling in admirably for Nixon.
The latest news is that Randy Johnson is definitely staying in Arizona. The deadline ends at 4:00 pm and from the talk in the morning papers, it looks like both the Red Sox and Yankees are staying pat.