There was quite a bit of roster shake up last night in every level of the organization. Ramon Vazquez has been designated for assignment and has asked to be traded. Abe Alvarez was sent back down after one day with the big league club. To take the place of those two the Red Sox called upon two Paw Sox starters, Lenny Dinardo and Jeremi Gonzalez. Both have seen a little bit of time with the team this year already and both have been impressive in their time in AAA. The Red Sox decided to go with 12 pitchers to help them as they play every day this week before the all-star game. Dinardo and Gonzalez will both be used out of the bullpen. To take their place in the rotation in Pawtucket, Jon Papelbon has advanced another level. After killing AA bats with a 2.48 ERA and 83 K's over 87 IP, the Portland ace is about to take his final step before the majors. Hopefully it's only a matter of time before his partner, Jon Lester is also called up. Anibal Sanchez, one of the most dominant pitchers in A ball this year has been moved up to Portland to take Papelbon's place. Sanchez has a 2.40 ERA and 95/24 k/bb ratio in 78.2 IP so far this year and seems more than ready to make the jump to AA.
It was a busy day for the front office and while I don't agree with a team carrying 12 pitchers, I like the moves. Having all those pitchers on the team allows them give a tryout to a few guys. But now, onto the week that the Pawtucket Red Sox had.
Pawtucket Red Sox - 41-42, 4th place, 9.5 GB - (PAW 7/RIC 3, PAW 4/CHA 3, CHA 5/PAW 4, CHA 6/PAW 5, CHA 7/PAW 5, CHA 5/PAW 2, CHA 5/PAW 4)
The Paw Sox started the week off well enough winning their first two games. They then went on to lose their next five games, all to the Charlotte Knights, the worst team in the International League. All five losses were very close games, most of them blown by a shoddy Pawtucket bullpen, but the fact remains that they were all still losses. Pawtucket is back below .500 now and they have fallen from 2nd to 4th place. To make things a little worse, before the Sox rolled into Charlotte, the Knights were a pretty pathetic 23-56. That's a .291 winning percentage, easily the worst in the league. They're still the worst team, but now they're just a little bit less bad.
Over the last five games Mark Malaska ruined Curt Schilling's 5 inning, 1 run performance by allowing 2 runs to blow the game in the 9th. But that was only after Jack Cressend and Tim Bausher each allowed a run. The bullpen went 3.1 IP allowing 4 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks. They allowed 2 homers while striking out two. Cla Meredith blew a save in the 9th by allowing 2 runs on 4 hits while only managing to get 2 outs. The final tally for the bullpen was 3.2 IP, 3 runs, 8 hits, 2 BB's, and 6 K's. Juan Perez was touched for 4 runs in the 8th inning to blow a game. He went 1.2 IP walking 4 and allowing 1 hit while striking out 2. Bausher, again, was knocked around allowing 2 runs in 2 IP on a walk and 3 hits, one of them a home run. At least he didn't blow that game. Chris Naverson had the game lost before Bausher even took the mound. Meredith blew another game allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk over 1.2 IP. The game went into extra innings and that's when Scott Cassidy took the loss, but at least he was solid going 3 IP before allowing a run for the loss in the 13th. So, if you're keeping track at home that's 4 games out of 5 that the bullpen blew and in the 5th game they just managed to get their team further behind. You thought Boston had issues with their pen??? Imagine how much hair you'd be tearing out if this was how the major league club pitched.
The offensive production wasn't horrible last week, but it wasn't great either. Dustin Pedroia hasn't played since being plunked by a pitch in the first game of the week and that's starting to worry me a little bit. His condition is day to day, but he's been sitting for quite a while.
Roberto Petaine had a little bit of a down week going only 6-23, but he did have a double, 2 HR's, and 6 BB's. He struck out 5 times. I still haven't heard any recent rumors about Petagine and his role with the organization. He's still with the club so obviously he hasn't opted out of his contract yet, but he still has the option. Trade talks have quieted down as the Red Sox apparently couldn't find any buyers for the slugging first baseman.
Adam Stern finally put in a full week of work leading off for the Paw Sox all week long. He went 10-28 with at least one hit in every game he played in. He doubled four times. So far Stern has looked like a decent pick up by the Red Sox, but they still have half a year of trying to keep him on the roster. The Braves would more than likely want the guy back.
David Berg has provided the Paw Sox with a veteran presence all season long. The 35 year old former Marlin and Blue Jay has played a utility role for Pawtucket batting at the top of the order for much of the year. A 7-25 week brought his line to .297/.403/.372. He hasn't shown any power, still homerless in 266 AB's so far this year, but he does have an ability to get on base, walking 47 times compared to only 41 K's. It's possible he could see some time in Boston now that Vazquez has been designated for assignment, but that's probably a bit of a stretch.
Another veteran utility player, 30 year old Luis Figueroa, had another hot week going 10-30 with his 6th homer of the year. He has a little more power than Berg, but doesn't get on base as much with a .292/.335/.417 line in 240 AB's.