Jon Papelbon makes his AAA debut in a start against the light hitting Ottawa Lynx on Thursday. I just received a newsletter from the Paw Sox and tickets to that game are still available. Patucket desparately needs Papelbon to go out and do something special as the team has lost seven in a row.
With a 5-3 week the Sea Dogs moved back into first place. They started the week with an exciting, back and forth 12 inning game that they ended up winning. The next day they were shut down by Altoona, managing only 3 hits. They took 3 out of 4 from Norwich before ending the week by starting their series against Trenton with a split of the two games. The team seemed to settle on their top of their line up going with a quartet of All-Stars to start things off. It wasn't an incredibly potent combination, but the team was winning. Hanley Ramirez has been leading off followed by Kenny Perez, Brandon Moss, and then Jared Sandberg cleaning up. Ramirez took pretty well to leading off going 10-32 on the week with 2 home runs. His power has been seriously lacking this year and 2 home runs in a week were good enough to double his season total to 4. He walked five times and struck out only once. Perez, a surprise pick for the All-Star team went 8-32 on the week, walking 6 times and striking out 6 times. He only hit 1 extra base hit, doubling. He hasn't displayed much of an ability to get on base with a .339 OBP for the year or much of an ability to hit for extra bases with only a .376 SLG. But somehow he found himself on the All-Star team. Moss struggled a little bit last week going 6-32, striking out 10 more times. He did walk 7 times, the only real highlight of his week. Sandberg also struggled, managing only 3 hits in 23 AB's. He did manage to walk 9 times, at least, and he did hit his 16th home run.
Chris Durbin was starting to put together a very productive season, but the 24 year old found himself on the DL again after injuring his back early on in the week. He started off red hot going 6-8 with 2 HR's, but had to be lifted for a pinch runner in the second game of the week and is now sidelined with a strained back. His former Baylor teammate, David Murphy, the 23 year old 1st round pick from 2003, had a pretty impressive week and is finally starting to heat up after a sub par 2 and a half years as a pro. He went 15-33 last week brining his performance to a still unimpressive .258/.310/.373. He doubled 5 times to go with 5 walks and 3 K's. So far Murphy has been a big disappointment, but he still has a little bit of time to turn things around before he can officially be called a bust.
Jon Papelbon pitched brilliantly in his final start in AA. He went 6 hitless innings, striking out 10 and walking only 1. In a post game interview he said he would've gladly gone out to attempt to finish the no-hitter, but he was on a strict pitch limit because of a hip injury. The hip didn't seem to bother him, however, and he was absolutely untouchable. Not to be outdone, Jon Lester tossed a gem of his own. Lester started the week off getting hit pretty hard lasting only 2 innings for a loss when he let up 3 runs on 4 walks and 3 hits. He did quite a bit better his next time around going 7 scoreless innings without walking a batter. He only allowed 5 hits and he struck out 12. Lester is more than capable of being the ace of the staff now that Papelbon has been promoted to Pawtucket. His poor first outing was a small speed bump on what has been a terrific year for him.
Chris Smith is back on the DL with a slight groin pull. He was hit around a bit in his final outing for 8 hits and 2 walks that ended up resulting in 3 runs in 5 innings. He has a 5.32 ERA in 47.1 IP over 9 starts so far this year.