Eric Gagne checked into the Red Sox bullpen last night, but got time to adjust to his new circumstances. Meanwhile, Jonathan Papelbon looked the best he's looked in some time, hitting his spots on the 'natural corner' and touching 97 on the gun. Pap smeared the O's controlling both corners and got away with a splitter up on the leadoff hitter, and finished off the uber-talent Brian Roberts with splitters down.
For those who say that Papelbon should be a starter, he'd really benefit from a third pitch if that were the case, and I doubt that he trusts his slider enough to use it regularly. Developing a cutter to righthanders or another offspeed pitch to lefthanders (e.g. Circle change) would be a must. Maybe having Gagne around will help in that regard.
Meanwhile, for AAA Pawtucket, Clay Buchholz pitched over six innings of two run ball, fanning nine and walking none. Buchholz, in three AAA starts has an E.R.A. of 3.93, with 30 strikeouts and 6 walks. When you consider the prospect of Buchholz moving into the rotation next year with his Blylevenesque deuce (or maybe Camilo Pascual), it must bring smiles to the development team's collective faces. Anybody checked out Justin Masterson's stats, he who some have compared to Kevin Brown.
Last night Carleton Fisk got kudos for his presence in the 'Legends' box at Fenway. What earns you Legends status? Obviously, Cooperstown entries get a free pass, but what about the guys who haven't got their ticket punched, and may never?
Front Row: (includes active players not on the Sox)
Yaz, Fisk, Pesky, Doerr, Eckersley, Boggs, Clemens
Gotta Be There:
Tiant, Rice, Lynn, Reggie Smith, Evans (one of the best rightfielders never to make it to Cooperstown), Lonborg, Hurst, Remy (as broadcaster), Petrocelli, Bill Lee
George (The Boomer) Scott, Bob Stanley
Looking in the Keyhole:
Red Sox killers. Who are some of the great and not so great players to torment the Red Sox through the years. Off the top of my head, the current antagonist du jour is Frank Catalanotto. Scott Kazmir is getting there. Who are your 'least' favorites? I can think of Tom Tresh (Yankees), Gates Brown (Detroit), Jim Palmer (Orioles), Boog Powell (Orioles), Harmon Killebrew (Twins), Mickey Rivers (Yankees), Dave Stieb (Blue Jays), and so on. I'm hoping that I don't have to add J.D. Drew to the list...
Journalists. The current crop of Sox writers has really gotten it done. Gordon Edes is always dialed in, and Nick Cafardo lends valuable perspective, although if he writes "if I was" (instead of if I were) another time, I may have to ship him a copy of Strunk and White. Dan Shaughnessy lends his curmudgeonly pen to the scene now and then, but the Rookie of the Year is Amalie Benjamin.
You'll find some misspellings here, and surely some split infinitives (not many I hope), but I'm an Internet hack, not a paid journalist.