Monday, April 21, 2014
Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Celtics and Maine Red Claws on Holding Court
Subscribe to the
Holding Court RSS
Too bad the Portland Sea Dogs had a third straight game postponed (this time in New Britain), because the way the Red Sox organization starters were going, Keith Couch would likely have pitched a gem (he goes tonight, as part of a doubleheader).
Boston beat the White Sox 3-1. Jon Lester was perfect through 16 batters and lasted eight innings (Koji Uehara returned from a shoulder scare to finish off the ninth). The story.
Pawtucket split a doubleheader, winning the first game in 11 innings. Ruddy De La Rosa (1.08 ERA) pitched six innings: 4 H 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K ... Garin Cecchini (.340) went 3-for-5 ... Heiker Meneses singled in the winning run with two outs in the 11th,
Pawtucket lost the second game 2-0 as left-hander Chris Hernandez (2.70) also went six innings: 9 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K.
Jackie Bradley Jr. got the game-winning hit Wednesday night/Thursday morning in Chicago. Yes, the 2-run double came against a White Sox infielder, the White Sox having run out of pitchers (a staff that allowed 15 walks on Wednesday).
And, yes, Bradley was only 1-for-6 and is batting only .244. But his defense is unmatched. So when Shane Victorino comes back off the disabled list, maybe Bradley stays with the Red Sox after all (which means either Mike Carp is designated for assignment - not an easy move - or Daniel Nava goes to Pawtucket to re-discover his stroke).
While Grady Sizemore beat out Bradley for the center field job out of spring training, Sizemore may be better suited for left (especially with Nava slumping) and Sizemore can be readily subbed out for Jonny Gomes when he needs a day off.
The Red Sox bullpen came through Wednesday/Thursday, but there has to be concern about Edward Mujica (10.38 ERA), who blew the save in the 11th. Chris Capuano (0.00), meanwhile, was a sterling pick-up by GM Ben Cherington.
The Red Sox are in Chicago tonight to face the White Sox. It snowed there last night and game-time temperature is supposed to be 36 degrees.
The good news is that both Dustin Pedroia (wrist) and Koji Uehara (shoulder) appeared to have checked out OK and will not have to go on the disabled list.
Outfielder Shane Victorino, who is on the DL (strained hamstring), is expected to start a rehab assignment sometime this week. The Sea Dogs are home today and Wednesday, before heading to New Britain, Conn.
A few Pawtucket hitters are hoping to get hot after slow starts. Bryce Brentz (.195) had three hits, including his second home run ... Ryan Lavarnway (.209) also had three hits ... Alex Hassan (.256) went 2-for-4.
The Boston Red Sox rebounded before, going from worst (2012) to first (2013).
This time, the climb won't be so dramatic. After Boston's 3-2 loss to the Yankees, the Red Sox are 5-8 and in last place in the AL East ... only two games out of first (held by NY, Tampa Bay and Toronto).
A few key players can make a difference. The Yankees won on Saturday on a combined five RBI and four runs from Carlos Beltran and Brian McGann. On Sunday, Beltran hit a two-run homer and McGann later scored the eventual winning run.
Boston is missing a few keys, namely Will Middlebrooks (strained calf), Shane Victorino (strained hamstring) and Dustin Pedroia (wrist). Pedroia is getting his wrist looked at in Boston, as Red Sox fans hold their breath.
Before the season began, the focus on Pawtucket's pitching was Allen Webster's chance to get back to the big leagues, and the development of Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Barnes.
Rubby De La Rosa was thought by some to be headed to the bullpen. But De La Rosa is looking good in the PawSox rotation so far. We went 5 2.3 innings Thursday (2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. His ERA sits at 0.84).
Bryce Brentz (.192) hit his first home run of the year ... Garin Cecchini (.320) had two RBI ... Alex Hassan (.240) had two hits ... Drake Britton (1.69) pitched a one-hit ninth for his first save.
In Portland, the spotlight on the mound is focused on Henry Owens. But the No. 2 starter, Keith Couch, is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA after Thursday's 5 2/3-inning effort: 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K ... Mookie Betts (.464) was 2-for-4 with a triple ... Sean Coyle (.304) was also 2-for-4. See the story.