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Papelbon, Lowell, Pena

Jonathan Papelbon couldn't go forever - unfortunately. The day would come when Papelbon gave up a run or some type of blemish, and that day was last night versus the scary Toronto Blue Jays lineup.

Papelbon came into the ninth inning of a 6-6 ballgame, and his stuff just wasn't where it's been at. His fastball wasn't hitting the corners and his splitter was darting towards the dirt like we're used to seeing. The Jays took advantage and were able to knock in the go-ahead run, giving Papelbon two things: an ERA and a loss.

It was a good run, Paps, but it had to end sometime, and this is the best time.

Now that 0.00 earned run average has been lifted on his shoulders and I think will be pitching better. He's still a rookie - we've got to remember that - and he still has nerves, so I'm sure that 0.00 was always in the back of his mind. Now that's been tarnished, so maybe we'll see him just come out and chuck that ball towards the plate. It didn't seem like he was doing it last night - maybe in fear of the ERA - but I think this may change his approach on the mound.

Changing focus now, Mike Lowell went 3-for-4 with two RBI last night to boost his batting average to a cool - excuse me, nifty -- .326. Are there still doubters out there in Red Sox Land?

I'm not saying Lowell will continue to hit .326, but this isn't the .200 average people were thinking Lowell would have this season. His power isn't necessarily back, but he's hitting doubles with regularity. Actually, he's projected to hit 70 doubles, according to ESPN.com.

And his defense has been stellar. Last night he made a diving snag of a grounder to end the scoring threat and get the Sox out of the inning. It's been like that all season, and except for a couple of throwing errors, he's been near perfect at the hot corner.

How's everyone feeling with Lowell at third base and Kevin Youkilis at first base? Personally, with how things worked out, it couldn't get much better for us. Youk is hitting .297 and playing a spotless first base, while I just listed off Lowell's season accomplishments so far. I think both have been better than expected, and both are really gluing this offense together with uncertainties at other spots in the lineup.

What else can we talk about? How about Wily Mo Pena?

After an awesome catch by Dustan Mohr in right field in the 9th inning, Jerry Remy made an interesting comment saying that a couple weeks ago Pena would have been there and Mohr in center field. Pena probably wouldn't have made that catch - if you didn't see it, it was just a great catch that probably wouldn't be made by too many people - but he's actually playing a decent center field. He may not be the fastest, nor have the best step, but he's showing hustle, and hustle leads to good things in the outfield.

I think Red Sox Nation needs to start `opening their heart' to Pena. He's getting crap around New England because he was traded for "Mr. Lovable" Bronson Arroyo, but the guy deserves some credit. He's hitting, he's walking (for the most part), and he's been a decent outfielder. Forget about Arroyo already.