Friday June 08, 2012 | 06:41 AM

Occasionally you get a game like Wednesday's where the pitcher dominates (in this case, Josh Beckett) and the offense does not back him up.

But usually, starting pitching sets the tone for victory, as in Thursday night, when Clay Buchholz pitched a complete-game shutout (4 H, 1 BB, 6 K). Buchholz, whose ERA was 9.09 after four starts, is 6-2 with a 5.77 ERA.

Pitching will be in the spotlight tonight when the Red Sox and Felix Doubront (6-2, 3.75) play host to the Nationals and phenom Stephen Strasburg (6-1, 2.35).

The Red Sox bullpen gave up one the other day, but it is still strong. So strong that guys in Pawtucket like Mark Melancon (0.83 ERA) and Clayton Mortensen (1.54) have no where to go. They combined for three shutout innings (1 hit) on Thursday).

The Sea Dogs current rotation is comprised of five guys who all could be in the Boston someday - Anthony Ranaudo, Drake Britton, Stolmy Pimentel, Chris Hernandez and Chris Balcom-Miller.

Balcom-Miller and his sinker may eventually play out in the bullpen. He looked solid for four innings Thursday before the wheels came off. See the story.

Tonight, Ranaudo gets his fifth Double-A start at Hadlock Field.


About this Blog

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.

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