With the Red Sox off today, NESN is showing the Portland Sea Dogs take on the New Britain Rock Cats. They even have a Neil Diamond impersonator performing "Sweet Caroline" during the game, so if you're half paying attention, you may not even notice that this isn't the Red Sox.
Junichi Tazawa takes the hill for Portland tonight, returning to the team where he made his professional debut back in 2009. The 25-year-old right-hander has spent his 19-1/3 innings pitched with the High-A Salem Red Sox in the Carolina League, and while he hasn't pitched well overall, he has allowed just one run over his last 12 frames, bringing his ERA down to 6.05.
His opponent tonight will be Steve Hirschfeld, who is the same age as Tazawa, but without the former prospect label. Hirschfeld was a ninth round selection by the Twins in the 2007 draft, and while he made a brief appearance at Triple-A in 2010, he started 2011 back in New Britain. He is having himself a decent enough season, though, nothing to put him back on the radar.
This also gives you a chance to see Will Middlebrooks and Chi-Hsien Chiang, who were both selected for the All-Stars Futures Game, live. Hopefully we get to see the former show off that glove of his.
Go Sea Dogs!