Saturday, September 27, 2008

Second String Pitchers Doom Red Sox, Who Are Officially The AL Wild Card Team...Mike Lowell Lost

Well, it had to happen sooner or later, but it happened Friday night at Fenway Park. The New York Yankees demolished the Boston Red Sox by a score of 19-8. David Pauley, starting in place of Daisuke Matsuzaka because of a pesky rain delay, was ineffective, and the bullpen, summoned in the third inning, continued his bumbling and stumbling. The less said about this one, the better. Because of that rain, though, Daisuke Matsuzaka will start in this afternoon's contest in place of Josh Beckett, who will make an abbreviated go at it on Sunday. But there was real bad news that was much worse than a lopsided meaningless game against the out-of-it Yankees. Mike Lowell reagravated his hip injury with a third inning swing and is a definite maybe from here on out. Here's what he and his manager had to say...

"I would defer to we'll see what time says," Lowell said. "By no means do I think I'm owed a roster spot just because I've played here. If I'm not going to do anything that can help the team win . . . but in the short series it's a little different. You don't have to carry as many pitchers. Maybe pinch hitting is an op tion. We'll see. I'm not ruling out anything yet, but obviously I was disappointed today."

"That was certainly discouraging tonight from our side of it," said manager Terry Francona. "He's certainly not ready to pull the plug or quit trying to play. So, we're kind of on board with him trying. The plan was to play him at third base tomorrow. I don't think that's going to happen. We'll work our way, the next two days here and then Monday, Tuesday. We'll see how it goes. It was certainly discouraging tonight."

Peter here, and Boston has overcome serious disasters like this before. But now that the Tampa Bay Rays have clinched the AL East division (congrats to them!), the Angels have decided to start their (and our) postseason with games on Wednesday and Friday. The day off between games one and two will negate the need for a Boston fourth starter, so the rotation will be, in this order, Lester, Beckett and Matsuzaka. Josh will probably go four innings or so on Sunday, but even with a shortened outing there is no way he'll be ready to take the mound on Wednesday. But so what? Jon Lester has been our most effective, reliable and consistant pitcher this year, bar none. The trio of Jon, Josh and Daisuke is as good as any in baseball, so if the Sox can get over the loss of Mikey Lowell and continue to produce a handful of runs (that's 5 or more) every game, they'll be just fine, even against the best team (on paper and in the standings) in the AL.

Today's game starts shortly before 4pm EDT, weather permitting. Enjoy it. There will be on and off showers and bands of heavier rain throughout the day here in the northeast, but there won't be anything game-stoppingly heavy. At least I don't think so. Nothing is on the radar, but it's early, with 10 hours to go before the first pitch. I thought there was NO chance of play last night, but the umpires waited it out and the game began. In retrospect, I wish the rains had continued, Noah style. Mike Lowell would have been much healthier if that had happened. He probably would have tweaked his hip sooner or later, anyways. It was inevitable. So Youk will be camped out at third for much of the postseason...at least that's what it looks like right now.

Click on the title of this post for more on everything Red Sox, enjoy your Saturday and your weekend, soggy or not, and as always, BE SAFE. All of your comments will be read and answered to the best of my ability.

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