Tonight's match-up is a special one for the Red Sox as lefty Lenny DiNardo makes his first major league start against the Baltimore Orioles.
DiNardo was essentially the ace of the Pawtucket pitching staff this season, amassing a 3.15 ERA in 23 games, 22 of those games being starts. DiNardo went 6-3 in Pawtucket, an average record, but in my opinion a record doesn't hold much weight. Wins and losses are more dependent on the offense instead of the pitcher.
Not many people give DiNardo the credit that he deserves. Last year he pitched very well as a Rule-V draft pick for Boston, earning himself a 4.23 ERA in 28 innings. Wouldn't you like to have that in the bullpen now? DiNardo may not be 21 with a 97-MPH fastball, but he's a deceptive lefty that can make you swing and miss.
I don't expect to see DiNardo go very long tonight. If he pitches well, then probably five innings at the minimum, because Terry Francona likes to get guys five innings, even if they aren't prepared for it. At the most would probably be seven innings, but that's only if he hasn't allowed many base runners in the game.
DiNardo has some life on his fastball, but his changeup is probably his best pitch, and he throws it very well against right-handed batters. He also throws a curveball that I've seen bend some knees. He comes from the side of the mound - very Mike Myers-like - so I think it adds to his pitches.
I really hope DiNardo is used properly now that he's in Boston to stay. DiNardo deserves a shot to just show what he has. He hasn't been used well by Francona by my judgment, so I'm looking to see if Francona will use him properly now that he knows he's staying. DiNardo can be a great arm out of the bullpen - or a starter - so I wouldn't mind using him in semi-crucial situations.
It's a 7:05 start for DiNardo and the Sox as they start a series against the Baltimore Orioles and John Maine.