Buchholz Settles Down And The Sox Bullpen is Flawless As The Red Sox Take Some Rubber Soul...Boston 6 Tampa Bay 3
Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz settled down after giving up 2 first inning runs and another in the fourth as he retired the last nine batters in his six inning stint. Boston beat Tampa Bay 6-3, taking the rubber game of the three game set and ballooning their AL wild card lead over TB to 6 games. They have a 3 game lead over the Rangers in the wild card race, too. In all, Clay gave up 6 runs and 6 hits while walking 3 and whiffing 3. The bullpen followed and was goose-egg perfect. Billy Wagner remained unscored upon in a Red Sox uniform as he struck out another 2 hitters. He's been so very unbelievable and if he could ever get used to being a 7th or 8th inning guy, I'd want him on the team next year. That's a big if, though. Bard and Papelbon followed with an inning each and Boston took the Tropitrouble series.
I didn't know this, but the league has some new rules to speed up the games. A pitcher must throw the first pitch of a half-inning no more than 2 minutes 20 seconds following the final out of the previous inning and pitchers are given 12 seconds to throw a pitch once a hitter is all set in the box. Last night, Jonathon Papelbon was fined for something like the fifth time this season alone for not adhering to the new policy. He said this after the game...
“It’s something I’ve got to get used to,’’ Papelbon said. “When I come in from the bullpen, I’ve got to speed it up. I felt pretty strong,’’ Papelbon said. “I’ve had a pretty heavy workload here lately, but I’ve been feeling good. Still strong. I think this is the time of the year where you know when to push the gas and let off.’
And here's the Boston Red Sox pitching coach, John Farrell...
“Any time you have changes or adjustments, there’s a period in which you have to get comfortable with it,’’ Farrell said. “So, if it’s a quicker tempo, a little bit more of a quicker pace to his overall game, that’s going to take some harnessing. The one thing he has shown repeatedly is that any adjustments that have been presented to him, he’s adapted very quickly and continued to pitch well. He hasn’t lost any power or any command of the strike zone,’’ Farrell said. “His command has improved as the season has gone on. I think he’s maintaining maybe deeper into the season than last year.’’
Farrell, sought after by a myriad of major league clubs looking for a manager, is exactly right. Paps has been improving his control and his statistics prove it. The Boston Red Sox still have the best bullpen in the American league... BY FAR. If (when) they win the wild card race and if Beckett can get back on track (he HAS to), watch out other teams. BEWARE.
Boston starts a four game set with the White Sox tonight at 8:11pm EDT. There's a chance Tim Wakefield will pitch on Saturday. Here are the pitching matchups as we approach the end of the first week of September...
9/4/2009 at CWS 8:11 PM ET NESN Byrd (1-0) vs. Garcia (0-2)
9/5/2009 at CWS 4:10 PM ET FOX Wakefield or Tazawa (2-3) vs. Floyd (10-9)
9/6/2009 at CWS 2:05 PM ET NESN Lester (11-7) vs. Danks (12-8)
9/7/2009 at CWS 2:05 PM ET NESN Beckett (14-5) vs. Buehrle (11-7)
That's it for this Friday, the start of the long labor day weekend. The summer sure flew by, that's for sure. You can click on this post's title for more Sox stuff and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you soon.