April 30, 2006

G23-24-25: Red Sox at Devil Rays

0430, 2:00 PM -- By striking out the side in the ninth inning on Saturday for his 10th save (in 10 chances), Jonathan Papelbon became the first pitcher in history to get 10 saves in April after beginning the season without any career saves. He has also pitched 20.1 consecutive scoreless innings, dating back to last season.

As Yaz-Tex notes in comments, how long can Francona "trot a tomato can out to the bump every fifth day" before moving Pap and his now-shaved head into the rotation? In a related note, reliever Craig Hansen -- just promoted from Portland -- pitched 2.1 hitless innings in his AAA debut on Friday.

A new x-ray shows that Coco Crisp´s fractured left index finger has improved significantly and Terry Francona reports that a mid-May return to the lineup is possible.

0429 7:10 PM -- Hello from Aguas Calientes, a small village down the road from Machu Picchu. We spent about 6 hours at the ancient Inca site today -- it is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen -- and we are going back at 6 AM tomorrow morning.

Clearly, I am not missing much Sox fun while on vacation (although I would like it if you guys left more comments about the games/team that I may not see when I skim the papers).

Noodle Bats: Last night's loss to Tampa Bay was the 10th time this season that the Red Sox scored three or fewer runs. ... Over the last 13 games, the Red Sox are hitting .243. ... In the first seven games of the current road trip, the hitters are 12-for-75 (.160) with runners in scoring position and the starting pitchers have a 8.36 ERA.

Other things I read this evening: If Lenny DiNardo is replaced in the rotation, it will likely be with righty Matt Ginter. ... Josh Bard will catch Tim Wakefield on Monday against New York. ... Coco Crisp is looking at a mid-May return.

Back in 2004, Dodger Alex Cora had an 18-pitch at-bat against Cub Matt Clement. He ended the 13:56 AB with a two-run home run. On Thursday night, Cora worked a 15-pitch walk against Paul Byrd: called strike, ball, called strike, ball, foul, ball, foul, foul, foul, foul, foul, foul, foul, foul, ball.

Arrggh: The Yankees scored in every inning (8) -- one of my favourite things in baseball -- beating Toronto 17-5 this afternoon. 412 231 31x. Bastards. At least they didn't score in all nine. (The Tigers missed it by one inning, as many teams do: 324 204 21x)

Probables:
Friday, April 28:   Devil Rays 5, Red Sox 2
Saturday, April 29: Red Sox 9, Devil Rays 6
Sunday, April 30:   Schilling / Kazmir

8 comments:

Zenslinger said...

There's always this point at which the season curdles a bit and last night was it. 0 for their first 12 with runners in scoring position? 29 team LOB rivalling the Yanks of a couple nights ago?

When Varitek leads off with a triple and you can't score him, you don't deserve to win games. Even with a pitcher pitching well, you have to be able to do that.

suzy lux said...

and that triple was a gift triple as well. that was the high point of the game..seeing jonny gomes just standing there, looking up into the rafters like 'wtf, where is the ball?'

haha. the reason we didn't win last night was clearly because that dude who always yells wasn't yelling.
and uh, cause we suck right now. ALL SYSTEMS FAILING!@

lol. at least it's only april. lots of time to sort things out.

Jack Marshall said...

The nice thing about a ridiculously low average with men in scoring position is that you know it's a short term fluke. The Sox are getting men on base, and the offense will round into form.

Redsock's wish is my command...

-Manny had a moment yesterday when he stood and admired his triple for a second or so. It didn't look good and the Devel Ray announcers made a big deal out of it, saying it cost an inside-the-park homer. Obviously you hate to see a batter do that stuff, but there is no way Manny is trying an inside-the-park in the 8th, a run down, no outs, with the Ray outfield arms.

-Papelbon and Foulke both looked good...Papelbon looked GREAT, in fact. I thought Shaunessey's comparisons to Radatz were premature, but not after last night.

-DiNardo, however, just looks like a failed starter of the meatball variety...he's beginning to remind me of Brian Rose and Bobby Sprowl [Note to younger fans: he was the left-handed rookie who got the start in Game 4 of 1978's "Boston Massacre" at the hands of the Yankees because Don Zimmer hated Bill Lee more than he wanted to win the pennant].

-Lowell is right on the ball these days at the plate, and sure doesn't look like last year's .230 hitter. His sac flay in the 9th was a shot.

-Wily Mo's single was the clutch hit of the inning. He has also done the job in center, though all of the plays have been routine.

-Ortiz appears to be very frustrated by the shift, and that is a worry. Maybe he can borrow Ted Williams' head for a heart-to-heart (no, that wouldn't work, would it?)

-Alex Gonzalez hitting right now is worse than anyone could have predicted...horrible. It is a real anchor on the offense, and no defense will offset this kind of futility. As always, Tito is too hesitant to pinch-hit. I'd use Harris, Cora and Gonzalez in every game and pinch hit for the SS two times a game until the problem is solved. It's especially galling with both Hanley and Renteria tearing up the NL.

-Youk, on the other hand, is a marvel at the plate. What a fun player!!

Yaz-Tex said...

With the team coming into last night's game with a jaunty 2-19 with RISP on the road trip, could there have been a bigger AB than Youk's slicing 2B in the 6th? Second only to Loretta's walk-off against Seatlle on Patriot's Day, it may have been the biggest clutch hit of the season, knotting the game at 4-4 and getting DiNardo off the hook before he catches a well-deserved Greyhound to Pawtucket.

Youk is, indeed, a gamer, and shows no signs of relinquishing his hold on a spot in the starting line-up that he has worked diligently and patiently to earn. As there have no doubt been countless trade discussions over the past couple of years involving Youk as collateral, it's great to be able to witness his emergence in a Sox uniform (see Bagwell for Andersen).

It's agonizingly clear that Coco can't return too soon, begging the question where to put Youk in the order when we're back at full strength. With Loretta scuffling and Youk tearing the cover off the ball, you could see Tito putting him in the 2-hole to get him an extra AB in front of Papi, dropping Loretta down to 6th or even 7th in the order.

As for DiNardo, let's hope last night's outing was proof positive for the Sox brain trust that it's time to bring this particular experiment with the #5 hole in the rotation to swift and merciful conclusion.

Though it would be great to see Papelbon continue to be a lead pipe cinch in the closer's role, how much longer can Tito afford to trot a tomato can out to the bump every fifth day? Here are the facts as I see them:

- Until the prodigal son announces his return to Boston, the answers to the fifth spot lie within the organization.
- Our favorite Lard Ass LHP is closer to the scrap head than the hill, so scratch him off.
- Down on the farm, if Alvarez was deemed to be the answer he'd be here by now, while the consensus seems to be that Lester requires more seasoning before he's ready for the crucible.
- Hansen's recent promotion to Pawtucket and strong early showing with his breaking stuff suggest he's on a pre-All Star break timetable to be in Boston, which will provide greater depth (and giddy-up) from the pen.
- As Foulke continues his slow but steady climb back, he may very well win his old job back by virtue of the need for a fifth starter.

By default, Papelbon may become the only closer in the history of the game to be pulled out of his job with a perfect save record and 0.00 ERA. While there's no disputing his emergence as a closer, it may become the greater of two needs to get his stuff, his guile, and his cojones in the starting rotation every fifth day.

Time will tell. One thing's for sure, Tavarez coming into a game scares the shit out of me almost as much as Brandon Lyon.

Yaz-Tex said...

With the team coming into last night's game with a jaunty 2-19 with RISP on the road trip, could there have been a bigger AB than Youk's slicing 2B in the 6th? Second only to Loretta's walk-off against Seatlle on Patriot's Day, it may have been the biggest clutch hit of the season, knotting the game at 4-4 and getting DiNardo off the hook before he catches a well-deserved Greyhound to Pawtucket.

Youk is, indeed, a gamer, and shows no signs of relinquishing his hold on a spot in the starting line-up that he has worked diligently and patiently to earn. As there have no doubt been countless trade discussions over the past couple of years involving Youk as collateral, it's great to be able to witness his emergence in a Sox uniform (see Bagwell for Andersen).

It's agonizingly clear that Coco can't return too soon, begging the question where to put Youk in the order when we're back at full strength. With Loretta scuffling and Youk tearing the cover off the ball, you could see Tito putting him in the 2-hole to get him an extra AB in front of Papi, dropping Loretta down to 6th or even 7th in the order.

As for DiNardo, let's hope last night's outing was proof positive for the Sox brain trust that it's time to bring this particular experiment with the #5 hole in the rotation to swift and merciful conclusion.

Though it would be great to see Papelbon continue to be a lead pipe cinch in the closer's role, how much longer can Tito afford to trot a tomato can out to the bump every fifth day? Here are the facts as I see them:

- Until the prodigal son announces his return to Boston, the answers to the fifth spot lie within the organization.
- Our favorite Lard Ass LHP is closer to the scrap head than the hill, so scratch him off.
- Down on the farm, if Alvarez was deemed to be the answer he'd be here by now, while the consensus seems to be that Lester requires more seasoning before he's ready for the crucible.
- Hansen's recent promotion to Pawtucket and strong early showing with his breaking stuff suggest he's on a pre-All Star break timetable to be in Boston, which will provide greater depth (and giddy-up) from the pen.
- As Foulke continues his slow but steady climb back, he may very well win his old job back by virtue of the need for a fifth starter.

By default, Papelbon may become the only closer in the history of the game to be pulled out of his job with a perfect save record and 0.00 ERA. While there's no disputing his emergence as a closer, it may become the greater of two needs to get his stuff, his guile, and his cojones in the starting rotation every fifth day.

Time will tell. One thing's for sure, Tavarez coming into a game scares the shit out of me almost as much as Brandon Lyon.

redsock said...

Thanks a lot, Jack and Y-T. Good stuff. Nice to hear Pena has been okay in CF.

Not surprised about the Rays announcers ragging on Manny. I recall the Oakland guys bringing up his 2003 ALDS HR pointing in 2005, for christs sake.

brian said...

Seanez sucks. DFA him ASAP.

14-11 for April. Not bad, but certainly could be better.

Jack Marshall said...

Seanez indeed looks like last season was the fluke, not this one. Today he looked like the proverbial fire-starter. I think Taveras and Timlin need to pitch more to be effective, and dumping Rudy would help.

The team just can't hit Kazmir, period. Schilling was solid, but made a couple of mistakes. Unless Kazmir walks the park, he's murder, and he had his control today. How could the Mets trade this guy?

Here are some other starting options, though you all know I've been on the START PAPELBON bandwagon for quite a while:

> Taveras. He's done well in the past as a spot starter, and he's not pitching enough to keep sharp as it is.
> Foulke! He always says he wants to be a starter, not a closer. Well, why not give him his chance?
> Alex Cora. Okay, maybe not...

I wouldn't send Lenny to Pawtucket, just put him in the pen, where he's done pretty well.

By the way, I really think the Rays' shift has DO in a funk. He better get over it, because he'll be seeing nothing but shifts from now on.