Kid Gloves

Terry Francona, or team doctors, opted not to let Jonathan Papelbon close Thursday’s game. With the Red Sox up 8-7 in the top of the 9th, Francona instead used Brendan Donnelly (walk), then J.C. Romero (induced double play, ground out to 3rd).

 

What concerns me is that Francona gave Papelbon 2 nights off after having thrown 35 pitches Tuesday night. This sets interesting precedent as if 1 night off isn’t enough, surely Francona can’t change that philosophy with Papelbon as the season progresses. After all, wasn’t the theory as to why Papelbon had the slight shoulder dislocation last year the result of over-use? If the Red Sox are worried about that happening again, certainly they can’t think increasing his workload as the season progresses is a good thing.

 

I guess we’ll have to live with the idea of Papelbon not being available for 2 nights after a high-pitch outing.

 

In addition, I would not have allowed Romero to pitch to Richie Sexson. Coming into the game, Romero had allowed righties to hit .471 against him! 8 hits in 3 innings. Righties hit .382 against him in 2006. Seriously Terry!

 

Lastly, Daisuke Matsuzaka did not have his A, B or C game tonight. He was terrible in fact, allowing 5 hits and 5 walks, 7 earned runs while only striking out 1 in 5 innings. Matsuzaka’s ERA now stands at 5.45. Seattle isn’t generally considered a good hitting team, so this was not a good night for Matsuzaka, but somehow, he did keep the Red Sox in the game, mostly thanks to the opposition.

 

His command of his breaking/offspeed stuff was abysmal and his velocity on his fastball, his best pitch Thursday, was in the low 90’s. I’m not too concerned as all pitchers are allowed an off-night, but it wasn’t a good outing. His home/road splits are night and day, so perhaps a few road games will be good for Matsuzaka.

 

Oh, did I mention the Red Sox won? Jim Rice said it best in the NESN post-game show when he said "the Red Sox stole this game." There was lousy defense (Lugo x 2) and lousy starting pitching, generally not a good combo.

 

Francona in his post-game press conference said he overrode Papelbon’s desire to pitch Thursday night and said it was because it is such a long season he wanted to be cautious. Fair enough Terry, fair enough.

 

Notes: Mike Timlin is down and out with shoulder tendonitis and Devern Hansack is back with Boston. Hansack has pitched well at Pawtucket: 28.2 IP, 30 H, 6 BB, 34 K, 3.77 ERA. You know the Red Sox brass is fired up with his K/9 and thus he is now with Boston.

 

Timlin has been a great player, but clearly hasn’t brought much to the table since mid-season 2006. I don’t know if he is done, but he isn’t helping right now.

 

Boston flies to Minnesota tonight to face the Twins over the weekend.

 

Fri, May 4 8:10 pm Wakefield (2-3, 2.59) vs. C. Silva (2-1, 3.10)
Sat, May 5 7:10 pm Tavárez (1-2, 7.58) vs. J. Santana (3-2, 3.60)
Sun, May 6 2:10 pm Schilling (3-1, 3.15) vs. S. Ponson (2-3, 6.67)