The land of the Homer Hanky and bad ceiling lighting hasn't always treated visitors well. Tonight Daisuke Matsuzaka took his show on the road, and got by with a modicum of walks and seemed to be attacking the hitters more. His seven innings of two run pitching keeps his ERA at a very respectable 2.45.
But it was Doctor Longball tonight, not the stolen base (the Sox came in second in the AL in steals) that juiced the Sox attack, with homers off the bats of Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell, and back to back jacks by Coco Crisp and Jed Lowrie...probably won't be saying that much.
With Sean Casey and Alex Cora completing rehab at Pawtucket, the Sox have some decisions to make. Presumably Lowrie gets replaced by Cora, but who goes from the bullpen?
The 'chalk' is sending down Hansen, who has options. Hansen has looked a lot better with his command and his slider. The 'choice' is an objective analysis of the tail end of the bullpen...
1) Julian Tavarez...he is the 'middle guy' but sees less time than the Maytag guy
2) Javier Lopez...LOOGY (lefty out of the pen guy)
3) Mike Timlin...old soldier, historically a strikeout pitcher...not getting that part of his game working so far
4) wild card...Julio Lugo complained of headaches after being kneed in the head...if there is a question of the DL for him then that could change the picture.
Good news. Mike Lowell had his average up to .280 intra-game and Lowrie goes back to Pawtucket hitting .310 at the major league level. I'd love to see him develop more range, but he's definitely a major league player. It's great to see the Sox' developing via draft and coaching serious talent. Not to mention Hanley Ramirez who's going to get 70 mill for 6 years.
Bad news. Jonathan Papelbon scuffled a bit recently, but opponents haven't exactly been hitting shots off him either. Tonight he's on in the 9th with a chance at redemption.