Thursday, June 01, 2006

Their Stocks On The Rise

Last night had disaster written all over it. The Red Sox were forced to bring David Pauley up from AA Portland as an emergency starter for the injured David Wells. Red Sox killer Ted Lilly was going for Toronto, and he was 5-0 in his last five starts against the Sox. A sweep by the Blue Jays looked like a distinct possibility.

David Ortiz hit a homer in the first to give the Red Sox a quick lead. Pauley looked like he'd give that right back, but after putting two on he got Troy Glaus to hit into a double play to escape damage. In the second, he walked in a run, but got Frank Cattalonotto to hit into another DP, which was beautifully turned at second by the amazing Alex Gonzalez.

After Mark Loretta's two run homer in the third (he's now hit in 15 straight games), Pauley got into yet more trouble, and after giving up a run he got another DP. The Red Sox added four more runs in the fifth, which included a Manny Ramirez home run, to make it 7-2. But Pauley couldn't make it out of the fifth, giving up four runs and leaving a man on third. He pitched a gutsy game. He got into trouble most innings, but found a way to get out of serious damage up until the fifth. It's not known if he'll get another start yet, as his next turn would be against the Yankees in the Bronx next Tuesday. (I wouldn't bet on it.)

Then the stars of the night took over. Jermaine Van Buren (pictured above left) got two critical outs to end the Toronto threat. Trot Nixon hit the fourth Red Sox home run to make it 8-6. Manny Delcarmen (pictured above right) came on in the sixth with a man on to end the inning and pitched a perfect seventh. He was hitting 94-95 on the radar gun. Keith Foulke and Jonathan Papelbon closed it out (his 19th save) to give the Sox the win and avoid the sweep. They stay tied for first as the Yankees won in Detroit.

More and more it looks like Terry Francona will be turning to Van Buren and Delcarmen in tight situations. The bullpen did an amazing job last night, giving up just 2 hits and 1 walk in 4 2/3 innings. The loss of Mike Timlin was really felt in this series, but if Jermaine and Manny can pick up the slack, it will be a great shot in the arm for the Red Sox.

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