Posts Tagged ‘Carl Pavano’

I just stunk. Didn’t make pitches, and I really don’t know what else to say.

Who am I to disagree? The man said it himself, didn’t he? Four runs on nine hits with three walks over five innings.  107 pitches.  Bad bounces every which way.  His cut fastball was all over the place.  No control whatsoever.  Looking at Pitch FX graphs will show you that his release point was concise, but his movement and strike zone were a mess.  He loaded the bases in the first inning! His first decision is a loss.  His ERA is now 7.20, and his WHIP is 2.00.  And the bad April continues.  All we have to do is make it through this month with him, and then we’re set.

Kubel hit a home run off Atchison in the seventh just to make sure we got the message.  I don’t think that was necessary.  We got the message from the first batter up.

The offense was nonexistent.  Papi doubled in Youk in the fourth and continues to slowly but surely but naysayers in their places.  In the eight, Pedroia sacrificed Hermida home, so at least he continues his production.  Youk hit a double of his own.  Scutaro went two for four but I’m officially banning him from stealing.

If only that massive foul by Cameron had gone out.  That ball was hit at least four hundred feet.  And don’t deny it: you were picturing Mauer in a Red Sox uniform one last time, weren’t you.  Especially after that incredibly odd bounce of the ball off second base and then off Scutaro’s glove.  That was scored an RBI hit, by the way.

And in the final blow, Pavano took home the win.  Yes, Carl Pavano.  I know; I’m shocked too.  Shocked and, to be honest, a little humiliated.  Pavano wins over Lester? I didn’t even know that was possible.

And finally, the obligatory commentary on the field.  Target Field is nice.  It’s very fan-friendly.  Very polished.  Very new.  Not something I can relate to being a Red Sox fan who’s used to America’s oldest ballpark, with its original seats and close quarters and sections wherever the ownership group can put them while maintaining the soundness of the structure and Green Monster and history in every sod patch.  But if you’re into that sort of stadium, Target Field is a good one.  They did well.  But there is a very good reason why Red Sox Nation can love Target Field: it isn’t the Metrodome.  That alone makes it one of the most beautiful parks in the Major Leagues.

Ellsbury will probably be back in the lineup tomorrow, and Lackey will be on the mound.  I think tonight will go a little differently.  Tomorrow, if Lackey dominates, we’ll be able to show what run prevention means.  It doesn’t mean you don’t score runs.  It means you don’t need as many runs to win.  But we’ll score runs anyway because we feel like it.  I want to leave Target Field with some wins in our belt.

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And take the series we did! We’ve got eight runs and a stellar starting performance to revel in.  This was a good series for us.  Nothing like a beat-down of a bad team to get your confidence up and your footing under you.  It’s a great way to start a road trip.

The final score was 8-6, but Buchholz was excellent.  Two earned runs on seven hits with two walks and a strikeout over five.  (Hall played short yesterday; Podsednik scored on Hall’s fielding error when he should’ve ended the inning by firing to first to get Callaspo out.  Way to make a first defensive impression…not.) Gave up a homer and an RBI single.  He threw ninety-five pitches; forty-six fastballs, about an equal number of sliders and changeups, and a few curveballs thrown in.  His movement was fantastic.  All of his trajectories were very precise; his sliders were sliding, his cuts were cutting deep.  In short, if Buchholz pitches like this for the rest of the season, it’s alright by me, with the exception of the seven hits over five innings.  If he’d allowed less hits, his pitch count would’ve been lower, and he would’ve gone deeper, which would’ve preserved the bullpen, not to mention given the Royals less opportunities to score.  (The fact that they didn’t score in retrospect isn’t the point.) But considering his age and past, I’ll chalk this one up to jitters.  I’m just relieved his first start went well because what we absolutely don’t want and quite frankly can’t afford is a repeat of 2008.  But I think that’s long gone.  I think the consistently good Buchholz is here to stay, finally.

The other three runs were given up by Ramon Ramirez.  Ramon Ramirez! The supposed rock of the bullpen! What happened to him? He struggled at the end of last season and never came around, I guess.  But whatever’s wrong with him needs to be fixed immediately.  This is something we can’t have.  We won because we scored eight runs and there was no way the Royals were going to score more than that, but what happens when we don’t have eight runs behind us? Badness, apparently.  So he has work to do.  He allowed three hits, the last of which was a three-run homer that made good on the other two.  Then he left without retiring a batter.  Awful.

On the bright side, before he came on, Delcarmen pitched two almost-perfect innings, and when I say almost perfect, I literally mean almost perfect: he gave up one walk, and that was it.  No hits, no runs.  One walk.  Multiply those two innings by 4.5 and remove the walk and you have yourself a perfect game.  Clearly, working on his extension paid off.  When he struggled, he was cutting it short because it bothered his shoulder to go long, but now that his shoulder is back to normal, he’s working out of that habit.  And it seems to be working!

Bard and Papelbon pitched the eighth for a hold and ninth for a save, respectively.  Both innings were perfect. Finally.

The top of the first featured two RBI singles and an RBI double.  The top of the second featured another RBI single and a very convenient Royals fielding error.  And the top of the fourth featured a home run and a two-RBI double.  All that makes Ellsbury two for five, V-Mart two for four, Beltre three for five, and a certain second baseman four for five.  You read right.  Four for five, and I’ll give you one guess who hit that ball out of the park.  That was his second dinger in two days! All I can say is this barrage of offense from Pedroia is spectacular.  I mean, this is exactly how he won MVP in 2008.  I know it’s early and all, but I’m just saying that if he continues on this pace, the sky is the limit.  (I mean that literally, because if you think about it, a home run can only travel so high.) He’s doing all the right things at the plate and in the field, and he’s galvanizing the team, which is equally crucial.  Every season, we speculate who the early breakout man is going to be.  Pedroia was on everyone’s list but probably not to this extent.  I mean, this is huge.  And how about Beltre? I knew he’d work out.  Ellsbury is officially a leadoff man; V-Mart is the man, period; and Hermida even got in on the action with a double of his own.  (Drew was out of the lineup with a stiff neck.  If Hermida keeps on hitting the way he has been over the past couple of days, Drew can take his time as far as I’m concerned.)

Point being, we have officially established that this lineup is very offensively capable.  Oh, right; Ellsbury and Youk each stole a base.  More importantly, Ellsbury is day-to-day rather than out for at least a few weeks.  He left with one out in the ninth after that nasty  collision with Beltre over a foul ball.  Neither caught the ball, but Beltre’s knee caught Ellsbury’s left ribs.  He’s okay, though; nothing was broken, so it’s just a contusion.

Buchholz was the last in the rotation to go.  (Because ESPN nabbed Opening Day, we had Monday off in addition to our travel day on Thursday, so Beckett was able to pitch yesterday on regular rest.) We have now officially completed one pass through the starting rotation.  We have two decisions to show for it, as unlikely as that sounds; we have losses by the bullpen, as unlikely as that sounds; and we have revealed that the extent of our offensive prowess is large, as unlikely as that may sound to some.  Next stop: Target Field for the Twins’ home opener.  Things to be positive about: the Twins have absolutely no home field advantage aside from the fans because the field is brand-new and they haven’t played there either, and perhaps just as importantly, Target Field isn’t the Metrodome, because as we all know, almost any park would be better than the Metrodome.  Lester starts opposite Pavano and hopefully wins.

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We lost majorly, by a score of 9-2.  If all I knew about last night’s game was that final score, you would’ve been hard-pressed to convince me that Masterson was the starter.  Masterson is brilliant.  He’s masterful, as his name would imply.  He’s not someone who gives up six runs on eight hits in just over six innings.  Six strikeouts, sure, but add to that three walks and you’ve got yourself just another mediocre pitcher up from the minors.  But that’s not who Masterson is.  Masterson is better than that.  But in his last two starts he hasn’t shown it.  Last night was his first loss at Fenway Park, and trust me, it unfortunately was most definitely a loss.

And the relief corps didn’t help either.  Jones and Lopez combined to give up three runs on five hits with two walks and a K in 2.2 innings.  Those runs were exclusively procured by the use of the long ball.  So Masterson takes the loss and his record becomes two and two.  Great.  He was supposed to be sure-fire.  And against Carl Pavano! You don’t get much more sure-fire than that! But as is often the case in baseball, it is what it is, you win some and lose some and dress for all of them.  But that doesn’t mean it’s okay, and that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it.

An RBI for Van Every, and Bay also scored.  Van Every went two for three, and Tek was perfect at the plate.  No home runs, no steals, no errors.  That’s it for the run spread.  Seriously.  I know; I can’t believe it either.

Dice-K has one more minor league start left in his rehab, and then he’s back.  I think he’ll be the better for that break in Pawtucket.  He’ll come back healthy, well-rested, and ready to go.  And he’ll be relieving Masterson in the rotation at what seems like just the right time.  Speaking of Pawtucket, Michael Bowden had a no-no going through 6.2 innings but then lost everything, the no-hitter, the shut-out, and even the decision.  Bowden threw ninety-three pitches, fifty-three of them strikes, and lowered his ERA to 1.01.  He walked four.  I say we have him replace Javy Lopez in the bullpen.

We need to play better.  That’s the only thing you can say after a loss like that.  And if we have to lose, we shouldn’t be losing by inordinate amounts of runs.  We need to play better.  We need to pitch better and hit better.  The fielding was good, so there’s nothing to complain about there from last night.  But we need to improve.  We’re a deep, solid, and dominating team and it’s time we act like it consistently.  We’re two games out of first now with Toronto ahead of us.  It’s time to finally overtake them in the standings and reach our rightful place in first.  Just sayin’.

And last but certainly not least, Jerry Remy.  Remdawg quit smoking just this year and had a small cancerous area removed from his lung in November but then developed an infection coupled with pneumonia right before he left for Spring Training.  He went down to Fort Myers anyway and it became worse.  He continued work in the booth and it became even worse.  So he’s been under the weather for the last few games and is now taking a leave of absence for an indefinite period so that he can fully recover.  On behalf of every citizen of Red Sox Nation, I’d like to wish Remdawg good luck and a speedy recovery.  We’re all rooting for you and we want you healthy and back in the booth as soon as possible.  And if anyone can beat this, we’re pretty sure you can.

In other news, the Bruins lost Game Three of Round Two to Carolina in sudden death overtime by a score of 3-2.  It was brutal.  We need to do better on the power play; last night we allowed our first power play goal in seven playoff games.  I will say that the whole series so far has been very well-played, but we clearly dominated that third period and most of the overtime.  And now the Hurricanes lead the series, 2-1.  But this was a bigger win for them than it was a loss for us.  We can come back from this.  Carolina wouldn’t have been able to come back from a loss.  So a win would’ve been very nice for us, but it wasn’t completely necessary.  Game Four is Friday at 7:30PM.  We got this one.

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And another sweep it is! Ladies and gentlemen, we remain undefeated against the New York Yankees! 5-0.  Wow.  That’s something.  That’s awesome, is what it is.  Let’s keep that up, because we sure could use the wins, and we don’t like the Yankees, so why not? I’ll tell you, when I watch us get win after win after win against the Yankees it feels great.  It feels just, and it feels right.  And there’s also some relief mixed in, knowing you can get it done even if some injuries come to pass. Youk was out last night with side tenderness, Ellsbury left after the third with a tight hamstring, and Paps was unavailable because of his thirty-two-pitch save on Monday.  And we still won.  And it wasn’t that close of a final score, either.  7-3.  I like it.

Okay.  Beckett.  I was hoping this would finally be a properly Beckett-esque outing.  It ended up being about half a Beckett-esque outing.  Really, when you think about it, the only start during which Beckett’s been himself was Opening Day.  On Opening Day he was bringing.  Now he’s struggling in start after start.  But last night did provide some hope.  Six innings, three runs on ten hits, a walk, and five K’s.  I should say the three runs came on a Damon homer in the third.  So Damon had back-to-back nights, courtesy of a 93 mile-per-hour mistake.  As I said, last year the problem for Beckett was home runs.  I’m noticing that this year he’s having a bit of an issue with that but also with walks.  Last year he didn’t walk anybody.  So ultimately which is better? The obvious answer is the Beckett of ’07, who allowed neither.  Beckett’s most recent victory before last night was April 18 against the Orioles when he gave up four runs, three of them earned, so that wasn’t Beckett being Beckett either.  And one more word about this new park the Yankees have.  They’ve hit at least one home run in every home game they’ve had this year.  That has to stop.

Anyway, that was it for the Yankees.  After that home run it was close; the score was 4-3 for a while, but Okajima, who got a hold, and Saito held the fort.

As far as our offense, it was all Pedroia, Ortiz, and Bay.  Pedroia went three for four with a walk and two runs.  So he was perfect at the plate and scored twice.  It’s the beginning of May, I know, but this is the 2009 American League Most Valuable Player right here.  I mean just look at the kid.  He’s ridiculous.  Not to mention the fact that his fielding is top-notch; he has a .991 fielding percentage.  He’s got AL MVP written all over him.  Again.  Ortiz walked with the bases loaded (I love Yankees pitching, I really do), and Bay clobbered a three-run moonshot into the left field stands in the first inning.  I mean that ball was smoked.  Joba Chamberlain had no chance.  And that was a horrible inning for him, too.  Bailey, our seventh batter, was the first he managed to get ahead of in the count.  Lowell’s bat was pretty quiet last night, but his glove wasn’t; a very nice catch over his shoulder in the third.  Surgery? What surgery?

And I have to talk about the eighth inning, because that was just a great example of why we’re so good.  An error by Ramiro Pena allowed Bay to reach base, and then he stole second.  Then the Yanks intentionally walked Drew to get to Bailey, who reached base on a hit-by-pitch.  So we loaded the bases without a hit.  That’s the way you do it.  That’s the way you capitalize and make another team pay for their mistakes.  We ended up sending seven batters to the plate, and two runs later Okajima was back from a nice, long rest.  Incidentally, Ellsbury and Green also stole second last night.

Bailey got an error in the fourth at first.  He was charging a ball and it skipped off his glove.  That’s our eighteenth error of the season.  We are currently twenty-first in the Major Leagues with a fielding percentage of .982.  That has to improve.  One way to do that is to keep Julio Lugo out of the lineup, but aside from that it has to improve.

A word about Joba Chamberlain.  Joba Chamberlain is neither a good pitcher nor a good man.  He hit Bay in the upper back with a pretty hard pitch in the fifth inning.  This after having pitched up and in to Youkilis twice in a row last year.  That’s not good.  I mean you just don’t do that.  You pitch cleanly, or you don’t pitch at all.  But pitching into a guy’s numbers is not a good idea.  That’s low.  That’s beyond Red Sox-Yankees, because you just don’t do that, period.  Bay gave him a look on his way to first, and rightly so.  I mean it was a stupid move; the Red Sox dugout is already not on speaking terms with Chamberlain, so to speak.  David Ortiz even warned him before the last series not to take shots at anyone.  So that’s not mature at all.  I don’t know what the kid’s problem is, but he needs to handle it.  And let’s not even talk about his DUI conviction.

But it’s all good.  We’re out of New York and done with them for a while, and we left on a high note.  Starting the season series undefeated makes the message pretty clear.  Anyway, on to bigger and better things, like Cleveland.  Pavano at Masterson tonight, followed by Laffey at Wakefield tomorrow, and then we’ve got another series with the Rays.  As far as the standings are concerned, the Yankees are soundly in third, and we’re still a game out.  Let’s change that tonight.

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