Saturday, March 8, 2014
Welcome to Maine Day here at Fenway Park.
To celebrate, the Boston Red Sox have called up former Sea Dogs starter Michael Bowden to boost the bullpen (well, maybe the Red Sox had more in mind that Maine Day).
Another former resident of Hadlock Field, catcher Dusty Brown, gets the start today behind the plate. On the mound is former Sea Dogs lefty Jon Lester.
The opposing Texas Rangers are in the Maine mood. They are starting catcher Matt Treanor, who handled the Sea Dogs staff back in 2002, when Portland was a Florida Marlins affiliate. Former Sea Dogs outfielder David Murphy, however, is on the bench, with a lefty on the mound.
While the Red Sox are confident with All-Star Lester (11-3, 2.78), Texas has its own tough left-hander in C.J. Wilson (7-5, 3.35). Wilson has not allowed more than three earned runs since May. His one start against Boston this year was April 22 (6 2/3 shutout innings, allowing four hits).
It is not certain if Bowden will get in today's game. He pitched two innings on Friday night, a worthy appearance for the PawSox. Bowden entered in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and no out. He got a strikeout, then a double-play bouncer back to the mound. He breezed through the ninth with two strikeouts.
Since going into the bullpen in early July, Bowden has made four appearances (six innings), allowing 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 walks; while striking out five.
He relieved briefly for Boston last year but was not prepared for the role. But he learned, and he's back.
"It's only been two weeks (as a reliever in Pawtucket). But the little time I had up here last year, I learned a lot from those guys," Bowden said. "There's a good group of veteran guys in Pawtucket that I continued to learn from.
"The transition has been extremely smooth and I feel very comfortable. I've taken to the role very well. I love it. It's a lot of fun."
The Sox lineup: Scutaro SS; McDonald RF; Ortiz DH; Youkilis 1B; Beltre 3B; Cameron CF; Hall 2B; Nava LF; Brown C (Lester P)
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
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