Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Injuries + Losing = Bad Day

The girl's face just above J.D. Drew says it all. Uh-oh.

Losing the game isn't a surprise. Justin Verlander is an excellent pitcher and judging by his stats he threw one of his best games all season. Its not often you are going to beat a pitcher like Verlander when he is on his game.

Conversely, Tim Wakefield threw his worst game of the year, and that was bound to happen. After Wakefield's excellent outing last time out, his ERA was a Paris Hilton thin 1.79, and as great as Wakefield is, he isn't THAT good. All in all, just one of the 50 guaranteed loses on the season. Not a big deal...

What is a big deal however is the injury bug that seems to be nipping at the heals of the Red Sox. Josh Beckett's finger injury is almost guaranteed to force him to miss his start against the Braves this weekend, and now J.D. Drew is hurt as well. Drew hurt his back while colliding with the Fenway Park wall trying to catch a fly ball. The wall is high enough to reach the lower back and when Drew hit the wall his lower body stopped abruptly, while his upper body kept going at a high rate of speed. Lower Body Stop + Upper Body Not Stop = Owwy.

Fortunately, today on WEEI, Terry Francona said that Drew is feeling better and could even be available to pinch hit today, although Francona also said he would play it safe and start Wily Mo Pena tonight. Hopefully we don't see Drew tonight in any capacity other than sitting his butt on the bench. We need Drew to be healthy, and that means taking care of him a bit. Hopefully this won't be some reoccurring injury for J.D. who has had an unfortunate run with injuries over the course of his career.

With Beckett and Drew now suffering from minor injuries, the Red Sox will have to make due by utilizing their depth. The Sox do have some deep reserves this season, as I wrote about yesterday, so minor injuries to starters shouldn't deep-six the team in the standings.

Wily Mo Pena can handle right field while Drew is out, as long as Drew isn't out a month. As for filling in for Beckett, it seems that the Red Sox will likely call up lefty Kason Gabbard from AAA Pawtucket to take Beckett's start. Gabbard was held to 65 pitches in his latest start at AAA, indicating the Sox may have some plans for him.

Gabbard has been effective this season for Pawtucket. He's thrown 39.1 innings, while giving up 12 runs, 12 walks and striking out 35, for a 2.75 ERA. He has also been up to Boston before, so he won't have the same stage fright that a Bucholtz might experience. Last season during the great injury explosion of '06, Gabbard came up from AA Portland and did a good job, throw ing 25.2 innings for the big club while maintaining a 3.51 ERA.

AL East: The Yankees and White Sox were rained out in Chicago yesterday. They'll play a double-header today to make up the game. Toronto beat Baltimore and Tampa beat Texas, leaving the Red Sox lead over the division at an even 8.0 games. The Yankees are 8.0 games back, Baltimore is 9.0, Toronto is 9.5, and Tampa is 10.0.

Today (Wednesday): The Red Sox play game three of their four game series against Detroit. One of the games worst starters in His Craziness, Julian Tavarez (1-4, 6.60), takes the mound for Boston. He'll be opposed by Mediocre Mike Maroth (3-0, 4.69) for the Tigers. Game time 7:05 PM EST.

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