Saturday, August 23, 2008

Red Sox Give Blue Jays the Byrd

Actually, wasn't it the Indians who gave the "Byrd" to the Red Sox? Well, so far so good. Paul Byrd has pitched reasonably well in his two outings with the Sox, coming away with his first victory last night in Toronto. Byrd was not overpowering, but he was steady and kept the Sox in the game going 6 complete innings and allowing 4 runs. The runs came on two separate two run homers, and other than those two damaging swings, Byrd pretty much kept the Jays in control.

Paul ByrdSo, Byrd only lasted 6 innings. Weren't you scared about turning this one over to the bullpen with the score just a little too close, the Sox leading 6-4? Three long, arduous innings. Not only did we have to worry about the 8th inning, but we had to get through the 7th to even get there.

First up was, thankfully, Justin Masterson, rather than David Aardsma or Manny Delcarmen or Mike Timlin. I love those guys, but lately they have been just too scary. Masterson pitched a scoreless inning, but did surrender back to back walks with two outs. He seemed to be going for the strike out by painting the outside corner to bother batters but just could not find it.

Then, for what feels like the first time since last season, the Sox wrapped up the game in classic form. Hideki Okajima pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning and, even though it was not a save situation, Jonathan Papelbon wrapped up the 9th to preserve the much needed victory.

The win simply allowed the Red Sox to keep pace with the Tampa Bay Rays, who actually helped the Red Sox out in the Wild Card chase by beating the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox and Twins have been playing quite a game of leap frog lately, and today the Twins hold possession of first place, while the White Sox sit a mere 1/2 game behind the Red Sox for the Wild Card. The Yankees also won, but have a ways to go before they are a team to worry about.

Speaking of worry, it appears that JD Drew has a herniated disc in his back. That can be a very delicate situation. He's working through it, but it sure is a rough time of year for all these injury issues.

Mike Lowell - oblique strain
Julio Lugo - quad pull
JD Drew - herniated disc
Tim Wakefield - shoulder stiffness
Josh Beckett - finger numbness

Supposedly, Wake and Beckett may both be back for the upcoming Yankee series, which would be a huge relief. Lugo may not be back at all, which might also be a huge relief. But, these are the issues a team has to fight through, and the Sox have been doing it all season, getting terrific support from their minor league system along the way.

This afternoon, Jon Lester takes the hill against Jesse Litsch. According to what you will read in the pitching match-ups, Litsch showed off his "newly added four seam fastball" in his last outing. What? That can't be right, can it? Doesn't every pitcher throw a four seam fastball? I guess, if you throw it too flat, and with not enough pop (sub-90's), you would have one that you would rarely use. But, that seems like a weird pitch to have "newly added". Most pitchers add a splitter, a forkball or something like that. What Jon Lester is going to add, is another win on his way to a superb 2008 season!

1 comment:

Fenway West said...

Beckett was pushed back again but I think they are just being cautious. Great job by the pen last night.... when are the Rays gonna start losing?