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April 9, 2007
Three Durham pitchers one-hit PawSox
Pawtucket usually has more success in Durham.
Maybe the big blue wall in left -- a blatant copy of the Green Monster in Fenway -- has made the Red Sox top farm team feel at home at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. In the nine years since Durham joined the International League, Pawtucket is the only visiting team to post a winning record on the Bulls’ home field.
But the Pawsox saw their all-time record in Durham fall to 23-15 after Monday night’s 5-0 loss to the Bulls. The visiting hitters were limited to a single, ground-ball single by three Durham pitchers and that familiar “Blue Monster” in left helped sabotage Pawtucket starter Abe Alvarez (0-1).
“You take away one pitch in the ballgame and it’s a fairly interesting game,” Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson said.
That one pitch came with two outs in the second inning when Durham’s Joel Guzman blooped a fly ball double off the short wall in left. Alvarez loaded the bases with a pair of walks, but he almost pitched himself out of trouble. The lanky lefthander struck out Jorge Velandia, then retired Raul Casanova on a short pop-up.
However, right-fielder Jeremy Owens -- the No. 9 hitter for the Bulls -- lifted a 1-1 pitch over the short left-field wall for a grand slam home run that put the Pawsox in a four-run hole.
“He got the bases loaded,” Johnson said. “He battled back. He got two outs. He tried to lock up Owens on the inner half -- off the plate in. He left it out over the plate … that’s what happens.”
Alvarez gave up a solo home run to Dustin Mohr leading off the third, but he finished his five innings of work allowing just four hits and no more runs.
“I was really pleased with [Alvarez],” Johnson said. “He went back out there and started to command all his stuff in the strike zone. I thought he finished up very, very strong.”
But his mistake in the second too much to overcome on a night when the Pawsox couldn’t touch Durham starter Mitch Talbot (1-0). The 23-year-old righthander allowed no hits and just two walks in his six innings of work.
“I thought he did a great job,” Johnson said. “That kid changed speeds. He hit locations. He kept our guys off balance. It was all in his favor tonight.”
He became the second Bulls starter to leave the game with a no-hitter this season. Opening night pitch Jason Hammel, who will work the second game of the four-game series tonight, threw five no-hit innings against Syracuse before he was pulled.
“I knew he was throwing a no-hitter,” Durham manager Charlie Montoyo said. “I thought, ‘Oh no, the fans will get on me when I take him out.’ But we’ve got that pitch count.”
Talbot didn’t blame his manager for pulling him.
“Yeah, obviously it’s frustrating,” he said. “But this early in the season and being this cold, it was the right decision.”
When Montoyo pulled Hammel in the opener, the Chiefs rallied against the Bulls’ bullpen. The Pawsox weren’t so lucky. Chad Spann finally did break up the no-hitter when the third baseman slipped a ground ball through the Durham infield for a two-out single in the top of the eighth.
But he was the only base runner the Pawsox managed in the final three innings off Durham relievers Steve Andrade and Chad Orvella.
NOTES -- Lefthander Kason Gabbard (1-0, 3.60 ERA) is slated to be on the mound for Pawtucket tonight at 7 for the second game of the four-game series in Durham between the Red Sox and Bulls. The temperature in Durham was 71 degrees at the first pitch, but had dipped into the 40s before the final out.
--AL FEATHERSTON (Special to the Journal)
Posted by Corey Bourassa at 10:07 PM | Permalink
Sox claim J.D. Durbin on waivers
The Red Sox today claimed right-handed reliever J.D. Durbin on waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Durbin, 25, had spent his entire seven-year pro career with the Minnesota organization, going 0-1, 7.36 in four games/one start with the Twins in 2004.
Posted by Art Martone at 4:14 PM | Permalink
Send us your Opening Day photos
We'll have a lot of photos from tomorrow's Fenway home opener, and we want to see yours, too. If you're going to tomorrow's game at Fenway Park, be sure to upload your photos this week on projo.com. You can post them at this address:
Posted by Mike McDermott at 2:17 PM | Permalink
Mannybeingmanny: .217 all around
Manny Ramirez made some good contact in this weekend's series against the Texas Rangers, but he didn't have much to show for it, going 2-for-12 in the series and seeing his batting average drop to .217. In fact, the two, three and four hitters in the Red Sox lineup (Youkilis, Ortiz, Ramirez) are all hitting .217, which goes a good way toward explaining Boston's early-season hitting woes. Ramirez is still looking for his first home run of the season, but this is hardly unprecedented -- it took Ramirez until the 17th game of the season to hit a homer last year, when he clubbed two at Toronto.
In case you missed this, Deadspin had a funny season preview that compared individual members of the '07 Sox with the crew from Major League II. It's Manny as Pedro Cerrano.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 1:34 PM to Projo Mannybeingmanny
Projo SoxTalk with Art Martone
Sean McAdam is unable to join us today because of travel delays, but Joe McDonald steps in to preview Opening Day festivities at Fenway, and to talk about the PawSox' successful opening series in Charlotte. Click here to listen to the audio.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 11:59 AM to Martone
Baseball Today: Monday, April 9
A spin around the baseball world . . .
NOW THAT'S PITCHING: The phrases "Bill James" and "bullpen by committee" were welded together in certain circles in 2003, and even today I have a tough time understanding how such a simple concept could be so misinterpreted by so many. What the Sox tried in the beginning of '03 -- a mix-and-match concept based on the lack of a dominant, end-of-the-game arm -- had nothing to do with Bill James. All James ever said about relief pitching was this: It's far more effective to bring your best relief pitcher into the game when the game is actually on the line -- even if it's the eighth, even if it's the seventh -- instead of keeping him in mothballs for a "save situation" in the ninth.
And that's exactly what the Red Sox did last night. (projo.com)
Old friend David Pinto applauded the strategy (baseballmusings.com, skip down a few posts), as did Sox blogger extrodinaire Allan Wood. (''I don't know about you,'' Wood commented, "but those last two innings sure didn't feel like an April 8 game.)'' (joyofsox.blogspot.com) It seemed to fly in the face of the all the cautionary talk the Sox did when they switched Jonathan Papelbon back to the bullpen, talk of protecting him and not asking him for four- and five-out saves. But Ian Browne noted last week that Terry Francona indicated there'd be times he'd call on Papelbon in the eighth inning. (mlb.com) There was no better time for it than last night, and, boy, did Papelbon deliver.
THANKS, BUDDY: Curt Schilling was the beneficiary of Papelbon's brilliance -- or at least he got a win out of it -- and he was suitably grateful/impressed. (38pitches.com) As for his own performance, which seemed plenty good to the untrained eye, about as far as he was willing to go is that it was better than Opening Day in Kansas City.
AND SPEAKING OF PITCHING . . . Yankee starters were unspeakably bad the first time through the rotation (New York Daily News). The good news (for the Yanks) is Chien-Ming Wang has started throwing again. (New York Post)
SLOW AWAKENINGS: Even NYYFans.com has seen the light on Derek Jeter's defense. Will Gold Glove voters be next?
GO GET 'EM: Met fans have their marching orders, courtesy of John Maine. (Newsday)
LEMME OUT OF HERE: Cal Ripken isn't getting involved in the latest Don Imus controversy. (Washington Times)
LOCAL BOYS: Hamstring? Rocco Baldelli ain't worried about no stinkin' hamstring. (Tampa Bay Tribune)
OLD FRIENDS: Hamley Ramirez pulled up lame in the Marlins' win over the Phillies yesterday. (Miami Herald) . . . Kevin Millar finally broke out of his early season funk with a home run against the Yankees (Baltimore Sun) . . .
A STAT FOR EVERYTHING: M Phillip Baudrand introduces the PLP, or Player Likeability Percentage. (knuckling.blogspot.com) Don't ask.
BUH-BYE: Some Red Sox fans are just now realizing the Sox made a change to their radio broadcast team this year. Some of them miss Jerry Trupiano. Chad Finn isn't one of them. (touchingallthebases.blogspot.com)
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 7:03 AM | Permalink