Friday, May 05, 2006
Jonathan Papelbon was named AL Rookie of the Month for April and also won the DHL Delivery Man of the Month award. Although he gave up his first earned run in Wednesday's 7-6 loss against Toronto, he is showing no signs of being affected by it.
One of the keys to being a good closer is the ability to shake off bad outings. We've seen guys like BH Kim unable to do this and it has seriously affected their careers. It is inevitable that a closer will have blown saves and losses. They need to be able to leave all that frustration and baggage on the mound on the day they screw up, come back the next day, and be capable of once again pitching brilliantly. Papelbon has done that.
The Red Sox bats finally came together for some offense. This was a team effort at the plate with every man in the lineup getting on base once, 6 players getting hits, 6 scoring runs, and 5 getting RBI.
The offense started in the 1st inning scoring 5 runs. Giving an early lead like that to your starter helps them to relax and find a groove more easily.
Loretta doubled, Ortiz got walked intentionally (I don't think walking anyone to get to Manny Ramirez is a wise move), Manny walked, Nixon hit an RBI fielder's choice, Varitek had an RBI double, Lowell had a 2 RBI double, and Pena had an RBI single. The key to this inning was 2 out hitting. Four of the five RBI in the inning came with 2 outs.
Clement only allowed 2 hits, and yielded a sole run in the 6th inning. The Red Sox answered when Youkilis hit a 2 run shot, his 2nd of the season.
Foulke pitched a scoreless 7th, then our mediocre middle-relief was given the ball. Seanez allowed a 2 run homer to Glaus that made the score 7-3. In the 9th, Tavarez was given the ball and allowed Eric Hinske to homer. This forced Francona to go to Papelbon with a runner already on 1st base. Papelbon struck out his first man, then allowed a single, then induced a weak groundball that ended the game.
Hopefully Mark Loretta's 2 for 4 day signifies a breaking out from his extended slump. And how about Mike Lowell? I think you could make an argument for him being our 2nd best offensive player of the season thus far behind Ortiz. Willy Mo Pena is also showing that he isn't just a strikeout/homerun machine with his 2 for 4 evening with a double and a single.
The Man of the Game is Mike Lowell who went 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles, one with 2 outs, one to lead off an inning. Lowell eventually scored both times. His double in the 1st knocked in 2 runs and continued a 2 out rally. His double in the 6th led off an inning and when Youk came up with 2 outs, he sent Lowell home with the long ball.