Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Masterson Masterful in First Big League Win

Justin Masterson has made two major league appearances. His first was a terrific debut on April 24 against the Angels, in which he went 6 innings only allowing 1 run and left the game with a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately, the Red Sox bullpen combo of Javier Lopez and Manny Delcarmen could not hold the lead, and the Red Sox lost that game 7-5. Masterson looked incredibly solid, and made Sox fans pay attention and wonder if this kid was for real.

Justin MastersonLast night Masterson added to the sentiment that he is indeed for real. He pitched a very similar game as his first outing, going 6 1/3 innings only allowing 3 hits and 3 walks to go with 5 strike outs. When he walked off the mound in the 6th inning he had a 2-0 lead, with one out, and a runner on second base. The next two pitchers in line from the bullpen? Javier Lopez and Manny Delcarmen! Was history going to repeat itself? Not last last! Lopez did his job, striking out the left-handed Ross Gload. Then Delcarmen came in and his first pitch, a curveball to John Buck, stayed too high in the zone and Buck sent it up the middle for a single, scoring the run from second. The score was now 2-1. But, Manny settled down and was able to strike out the next batter to end the inning, preserving the slim lead.

Hideki Okajima, pitching for the first time in 6 days while nursing a sore wrist, did not look as sharp as usual, giving up a leadoff double to David DeJesus. The inning was not smooth. He did induce a groundout and a strikeout, but also walked two batters to load the bases. With the game on the line, Terry Francona handed the ball to Jonathan Papelbon. You know the rest of the story. Four Royals batter later, the game was over, and the Sox had won their 5th game in a row, this one by the narrow score of 2-1.
Jonathan Papelbon
The Red Sox pitching depth has been impressive so far this season. Clay Buchholz and John Lester have been fine additions to the rotation, and when needed, the Sox have confidence in spot starts from guys like Masterson, David Pauley, and Devern Hansack. Yesterday's announcement that Julian Tavares has agreed to an assignment in Pawtucket give the Sox some additional depth for middle relief. But, what about experienced pitching depth? How about Curt Schilling, who is still making progress in his recovery from shoulder problems, and has increased his throwing distance to 100 feet. He'd be a nice last season addition for a playoff run!

Want more veteran help? How about former Cy Young award winner, Bartolo Colon, making his season debut tonight against the Royals? Colon has been getting progressively better in his recovery from elbow troubles suffered last season. He has shown his strength is returning as his fastball has been clocked in the low 90's. Tonight, he'll most likely be limited to 80-90 pitches. The hope would be that he can get the Sox into the 6th inning on that pitch count, and be able to go deeper with each successive outing. If Colon is effective, what an incredible addition to the rotation! It could push the Sox over the top, so keep those fingers crossed that he stays healthy, and still has the stuff to get big league batters out.

Derek JeterMeanwhile, things are looking bleak in Gotham City. Alex Rodriguez returned from the DL and contributed to last night's game with a 2 run home run. But it was, once again, too little too late for A-Rod as the Yankees lost their 4th in a row getting spanked by the Orioles 12-2. This was one night after being spanked by the Mets 11-2! In the game, Derek Jeter was hit on the hand by a pitch. X-rays were negative, but he may be out for a couple of days now. The Yankees are looking up from the basement of the AL East today, 7 1/2 games behind the Red Sox. But, if there is any consolation for Yankee fans, it is this. Last year, through 45 games, the Yankees were 21-24, ten games behind the Red Sox, and they ended the season 94-68, only two games back. This year they are 20-25, and only 7 1/2 behind the Red Sox. So, if this season plays out like last season, they are within striking distance.

So, let's hope the Red Sox good fortunes continue, in the form of a healthy Colon, and we can keep the Evil Empire in the rear view mirror.

(Photos Courtesy of Yahoo Sports)

9 comments:

Peter N said...

Gotham City needs THE COMMISIONER! And I mean Batman's Commisioner...and then, then, more!

Caroline said...

YES, to continued Red Sox good fortunes & EE in the rearview :D

And Schilling 100 feet?- Allright! Looking forward to him being able to come into play (even if only for the playoffs) and also Bartolo tonight!

Rooster said...

A Batman theme might be something fun to use in a future Yankee post - hmm.

Schilling is slightly ahead of schedule and feeling good! Keep him coming for September - let's see what Colon has now!

Fenway West said...

This is such a strange season for the Sox they go on streaks where they are untouchable and then they look lost. All of this starting pitching and roster moves is really making Theo earn his money.

Rooster said...

FW - Good points. There indeed have been more roster moves than usual - and very frequent too. They must havce daily meetings to talk about who is healthy, who is mending, and who the backups are, just in case. They certainly can't sit back with a set lineup, can they?

redsox.njdevils said...

Peter & Rooster, grab a copy of this week's Sports Illustrated. You'll see a comic strip scene of Jeter getting punched by a Ray's player with Superman looking on. It's a pretty weird coincidence that you guys were talking about superheroes here a few hours before I received SI in the mail!

In fact, here's a picture. There's even a Batman logo on the outfield wall!

Rooster said...

Brittany,

That is pretty cool - you think Tom Verducci is checking out our blogs to come up with ideas?

I love the cover - pretty awesome! Poor Derek Jeter - lol.

Superman has a backwards "S" and metallic skin - probably copywrite issues?

Caroline said...

Now we all know that Dustin Pedroia is the real Superman!

Suldog said...

I'm truly enjoying seeing the Yankees sink into Hector-Lopez-years-like depths.