Lester is officially our Opening Day starter. In a very sportsmanlike gesture, Beckett told Bobby V. in January that Lester was the man for the job even though Beckett’s season last year was better. It’s all good, though, because Beckett will be starting our home opener. Speaking of pitchers, Vicente Padilla and Andrew Miller are out of the running for the rotation, and we’ve only got a short time left until decisions are made and the season gets underway!
We’ve got two rotation spots to fill, and Bard, Aceves, Doubront, and Cook will be fighting for them. Here are some Spring Training numbers to date. Bard is one and two with a 7.11 ERA. He has pitched twelve and two-thirds innings; he has given up ten runs on eleven hits while walking ten and striking out six. Aceves’s only decision has been a loss, and he has posted a 7.50 ERA. In four appearances, he has walked one and struck out eleven. Doubront’s only decision has been a win, and he has posted a 2.70 ERA. He has pitched sixteen and two-thirds innings; he has walked six and struck out ten, and his average-against is .290. Finally, Cook has posted a 1.93 ERA. He pitched nine and one-third innings; he has given up two runs on five hits while walking three and striking out six.
We beat the Rays on Sunday, 8-4. Buchholz allowed one run on four hits, no walks, and four strikeouts in five innings of work during which he threw plenty of curveballs and felt fine doing it. That run came on a solo shot, Evan Longoria’s first of Spring Training. Ross hit a home run.
The Twins beat us on Monday, 8-4. Doubront made the start and pitched four and two-thirds innings. He gave up two runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out three. Forty-nine of his seventy-four pitches were strikes. Ellsbury had two hits.
The Jays beat us on Tuesday, 9-2. Bard pitched five innings, four of which were decent. In total, he gave up three runs on three hits, walked three, and struck out two. He threw eighty-three pitches. All three of those runs occurred in the second inning. Shoppach hit a two-run home run in the second. Meanwhile, Red Sox Nation sends their condolences to the family of Mel Parnell, who passed away. He is the winningest southpaw in club history. He spent his entire career here and pitched a no-hitter against the Other Sox in 1956, his last season. According to Johnny Pesky, it was Parnell who coined the name “Pesky’s Pole” for Fenway’s right-field foul pole. Mel Parnell was indeed a character who will be missed, and as I send, we send our condolences to his family and friends.
We lost to the Pirates on Wednesday, 6-5. Lester pitched three innings and gave up four runs on eight hits. He walked two, struck out one, and didn’t exactly inspire much confidence in his presumed ability to hit the ground running next month. Salty hit a two-run home run and a double, and Gonzalez hit an RBI double.
We tied the Yankees at four on Thursday. In four innings, Cook gave up two runs on four hits while walking none, striking out two, and picking off two. Pedro Ciriaco and Lars Anderson both doubled, and Sweeney scored the tying run. Interestingly enough, or perhaps the better phrase for it would be “conveniently enough,” Joe Girardi announced that the Yanks had a bus to catch just as Clay Mortensen was getting ready to pitch the tenth. Girardi claimed that his team wouldn’t be pitching extra innings because they didn’t have enough arms, which the travel list indicated was false. Mortensen warmed up for no reason in that case, and Bobby V. was not amused. Honestly, in that situation, who would be? Adding to that drama, Tito returned, this time to broadcast the game for ESPN. He’ll be in the both for Opening Day and for the April 22 Yankee game. But you could totally tell that this meeting brought up a lot of raw memories. Meanwhile, Beckett started a minor league game opposite the Orioles. He faced twenty-two batters in six innings, giving up two runs on six hits while walking none and striking out six. He threw eighty pitches, all called by Salty.
Friday began with a most unpleasant surprise: Jenks was arrested in Florida for driving under the influence and fleeing a crash. I must say, I am extremely disappointed; if he doesn’t want to act like a stand-up citizen because that’s the kind of conduct that we as Red Sox Nation expect from our team in Boston, then he should act like a stand-up citizen because he should recognize his position as a role model and public figure. He apologized for it today, but still. Friday ended with a 6-5 loss to the Orioles in which Buchholz pitched five innings, during which he gave up five runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out three. A strange sight: Nick Markakis hit what everyone thought was a flyout but what turned out to be a home run, thanks to the wind. He even threw his bat down and everything. McDonald went three for three.
We played two split-squad games on Saturday. First, we beat the Marlins, 4-1. Doubront threw seventy-eight pitches over six innings, giving up one run on five hits while striking out two. Lavarnway went two for three with an RBI. Ross, Sweeney, and Ciriaco also batted in a run each. Then, the Phillies beat us, 10-5. Aceves did not have a good outing at all; he only lasted three innings and gave up nine runs on ten hits while walking one and striking out three. Bowden pitched two innings and gave up a run on three hits. Padilla pitched a scoreless inning. Bailey pitched a scoreless inning while walking one and striking out one. Ellsbury tripled in two runs. Aviles had two hits.
In other news, the B’s decimated the Leafs, eight-zip. Then we lost to the Sharks, 2-1, and beat the Kings, 4-2.