Posts Tagged ‘Mel Parnell’

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.

AP Photo

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That was terrible.  Nobody deserved a twentieth win more than Lester, but not when Lester pitches like that.  Last night’s loss was nobody’s fault but his own.  The final score was 2-8, and one could possibly argue that the offense had something to do with it because the offense should have scored more runs.  Obviously we want the offense to score as many runs as possible, but for a true ace, and certainly for Lester, there have been times when two runs were more than enough.  So I’m discounting that argument.  I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say that we all wanted so badly to see Lester gift-wrap Chicago.  But Lester blew this one himself.  He got rocked.  Hard.

He was nothing short of abysmal.  That’s something you don’t see too often.  He only lasted four innings and in that time managed to give up eight runs on nine hits, including two home runs, one of which was a grand slam, while walking five and striking out five.  He threw ninety-nine pitches over the course of those four innings, only fifty-two of which were strikes.  There have been times where that exact pitch count would get him through entire games.

That grand slam, by the way, was the first he’s allowed in his career.  He left a fastball up.  That’s pretty much what happens when you leave a fastball up.

His command was missing in action.  His pitches were remarkably ineffective; all of his offspeeds, his sinker, slider, changeup, and curveball, were hardly ever thrown for strikes.  His cut fastball was conspicuously missing something.  And he threw a whopping thirty-eight pitches in the fourth.  He threw another eight in the fifth, when he issued a four-pitch walk before he was finally removed.  His release point was fine, but his zone looked barren.  He had good movement, although movement without command is rarely a good thing.

The bullpen, however, was impeccable last night.  They tossed five innings of scoreless, two-hit ball with two walks and two K’s.  Robert Manuel, Robert Coello, Rich Hill, and Michael Bowden.  It was one of those days where the bullpen should have started and the starter shouldn’t even have relieved; he should have just taken the day off and let a pitching machine fill in because it looked like batting practice out there.

Our two runs scored courtesy of V-Mart.  He hit a two-run shot, his twentieth long ball of the season and twelfth from the right, deep to left.  At the time, that shot gave us a 2-1 lead.  Six of Lester’s eight runs were allowed in only two innings: four in the fourth and two in the fifth before he left.  He unraveled in a hurry.

The only other highlight was the serious leather-flashing we had going on.  Anderson’s leaping grab of a line drive in the fourth, Kalish’s catch of a fly literally at the wall in the sixth, and McDonald’s diving catch in the eighth were all defensive gems.

I should mention that the game was delayed in the bottom of the sixth because the neighborhood around US Cellular Field lost power.  I’ve seen some game delays, but I’ve never seen one like that before.  It was both annoying and interesting.

That’s basically all there is to it.  Lester had the chance to become the first twenty-game-winning southpaw since Mel Parnell in 1953, and he blew it.  Nevertheless, nobody will argue the fact that his season was basically the opposite of Beckett’s.  His season was spectacular.  He had his usual rough April, but after that he basically cruised.  He finishes nineteen and nine with a 3.25 ERA and 225 K’s over 208 innings.  And we can only expect even more greatness from him next year.

Today is the first day of October, and tonight we’re starting the final series of the season at home against New York.  Wow.  What an agonizing thing to say.  Either way, the weather isn’t great, so just remember: revenge is a dish best served cold.  Let’s do this.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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