Think the games in this series might go fast? The highest ERA of any of the six starters in the Red Sox-Padres set that opens tonight is 4.18 — posted by Tim Wakefield and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
In each game of the series, the Sox appear to be putting up the lesser pitcher, something to which this club is certainly unaccustomed. Tonight, Matsuzaka (two runs of support in three June starts, with both Lowell and Drew sitting tonight) faces Maddux. Young v. Old. Rookie v. Veteran. Japan v. Texas. (Have I mentioned Maddux was born in the same city where I’m typing this entry? Oh, I have? Never mind). Though Maddux comes in with the better ERA, Matsuzaka has the slightly better ERA+. This could be a fantastic pitchers’ duel.
I’m loath to bring up the postseason when we haven’t even hit the All-Star break, but pay attention to these matchups. If Game 3’s Peavy v. Beckett showdown isn’t just crying out for an October rerun, I don’t know what is. Both these teams have pitching staffs designed to go deep into the playoffs. The Sox have the better offense, and they’ll need every one of those bats this weekend against probably the best three starters any one team has to offer.
In other news, David Murphy is up for this series, and deservedly so. I’d feel far more comfortable with him at the plate in a key situation than with Wily Mo. I don’t suppose there’s a way to package Pena, Kottaras and a pitching prospect for Saltalamacchia and an Atlanta reliever is there? Wishful thinking. Also, Kason Gabbard — not Jon Lester — will make his second start of the season on Tuesday in place of Schilling.
- Coco Crisp, CF
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B
- David Ortiz, 1B — 1 for 3, solo HR vs. Maddux
- Manny Ramierz, LF — 0 for 8, 1 BB
- Kevin Youkilis, 3B — 0 for 1, 1 K
- Jason Varitek, C — .286/.333/.571, 2 2B, 1 3B
- Wily Mo Pena, RF — .357/.357/1.143, 3 HR, 5 RBI
- Julio Lugo, SS — 1 for 8, 3 Ks, 1 RBI
- Daisuke Matsuzaka, P
- Marcus Giles, 2B
- Jose Cruz, RF
- Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
- Mike Cameron, CF
- Michael Barrett, C
- Khalil Greene, SS
- Russell Branyan, LF
- Kevin Kouzamanoff, 3B
- Greg Maddux, P