With A Little Help From My 'Pen
The familiar combination of Hideki Okajima, also known as the Darkman to some, and Jonathon Papelbon pitched the last 2 2/3 innings of Tuesday night's 8-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Jon Lester labored into the sixth, throwing a whopping 97 pitches. That is way too many. He gave up 5 runs on 4 hits while walking 4. It was clearly not his night. He hasn't had many of those in the first place, to tell you the truth. But he's young, and he'll get better. With his 30th save, Paps accomplished some landmark achievments. From the Courant......
"Papelbon became the first Red Sox pitcher to record 30 saves in multiple seasons.
Papelbon, 26, also is the fourth pitcher in major league history to record 30 saves in his first two full seasons, joining Billy Koch (1999-2002, his first four), Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000-02) and Todd Worrell (1986-88).
"[Starting] seems so far away and seems so boring," said Papelbon, who saved 35 games last season as a rookie before a shoulder injury temporarily sent him back to the rotation. "I was literally dying a slow death in spring training."
Peter here, and Jonathon, you're alive and well, and thriving. You're one of the biggest reasons for the success of the club. Keep it going as August winds down and transforms itself into September and the first cooling breezes of autumn grace and cool Fenway Park and the shores of Red Sox Nation from seas to shining seas.
The offense, with the score tied at two, exploded for five runs in the 4th inning and one in the 7th, and the Sox, with the stellar help from its tremendous bullpen, Gagne included, ran away with their second win in a row in this three game series. Tonight Daisuke Matsuzaka tries to attone for his poor performance last time. He will face the Ray's Jackson, who is 3-12 but has pitched well of late. Coupled with yet another loss by the Yankees to those Angels, the lead is back to 6 games. Mussina was not able to get out of the second inning, and he is clearly in the declining phase of his career.
Enjoy your Wednesday, and click on the title of this post for Gordon Edes' wrap up of last night's win. 26 games over .500.....let's go for 30. Now.