Comeback With Clay And Papelbon
Tim Wakefield did not have it last night in Baltimore, giving up 6 runs on 9 hits in just 3 2/3 innings. I wondered if anything was wrong with him physically. It was either that or something else. It was something else. He said this......
"I felt fine physically," Wakefield said. "I'm not making excuses, I just didn't make the right pitches when I needed to."
Peter here, and I was happy to read that. The Boston Red Sox, down 6-5 after 4, tied the game in the 5th on the strength of a Big Papi solo shot. It was 6-6 after 5 with young Clay Buchholz coming in to make the first relief appearance of his young career. The first three batters reached base. WITH NONE OUT. But he settled down and induced a double play grounder by Miggy Tejada and then proceeded to strike out Kevin Millar, making him look a little foolish. Two perfect innings followed, and his day was done. Said catcher Cash....
“Not many 23-year-olds can do what he’s doing. Forget the no-hitter,” said Cash, who caught Buchholz. “He will throw a 3-2 changeup, if he needs to.”
Buchholz will throw his pitches with “conviction,” as a starter or out of the bullpen, this month or in October. The Red Sox are finding that they will take Buchholz any time and any place."
And then, and this sounds like a fairy tale, but it's true, it was time for the captain to step up, and he did. After a Coco Crisp single, his third hit of the game, and a stolen base, 'Tek smashed an RBI single. And then it was Paps time. 11 pitches and 2 strikeouts later, it was GAME OVAH! The lead is up to 6 1/2 games and the magic number has dwindled to 16. And with three more games to go in Baltimore, well, you draw your own conclusions. If the Sox get to their bullpen they win the game! At the same time, the Yankees play 3 in KC, and then face Toronto, which will be a much tougher series for them.
Clay will prove to be an invaluable presence in the Red Sox bullpen for the balance of 2007. He could pitch the 8th as a bridge to Papelbon, giving Okajima some needed rest between appearances, or he could go long relief, such as his 60 pitch outing yesterday. Next year, there's one thing for sure....look for him in the rotation, a rotation that probably will NOT include Curt Schilling.
Click on the title of this post for The Globe's Red Sox Notebook, which includes Baltimore Hall of Fame Pitcher Jim Palmer's thoughts on the young righthander. Enjoy the weekend as the Sox try to win every time in Baltimore. GO SOX. Forever.