Masterson Theatre

Here we go at Fenway, with Justin Masteron getting ready to make his anticipated debut at Fenway.

We’ve had a few of these the last few years. We all remember when Jonathan Papelbon — then known as Jon — made his first start against the Twins on July 31, 2005. He looked electric from the start.

And who could forget the foggy, rainy day when Jon Lester had to sit through about a five-hour delay before pitching his first game against the Rangers in June, 2006.

Of course, last year, we had the Buchholz debut in August against the Angels followed by the  second start no-hitter against the Orioles.

Now, it’s Masteron’s turn. By the way, great note by Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press-Herald about the seven pitchers who have made their first starts with the Red Sox after starting the season at Portland.

Abe Alvarez, July 22, 2004 (loss to Orioles)
Jonathan Papelbon, July 31, 2005 (no decision vs. Twins)
David Pauley, May 31, 2006 (no decision, vs. Blue Jays)
Kason Gabbard, July 22, 2006 (loss to Mariners)
Devern Hansack, Sept. 23, 2006 (loss to Blue Jays)
Clay Buchholz, Aug. 17, 2007 (win over Angels)

And as Kevin notes, only Buchholz got the win. Will Masterson join him today?


Bucholtz did his against the Angels during the day, why not Masterson.

If the Sox get 5 innings out of Masterson, they’ll be very happy. That is about the norm for a Sox starter anyway, lol.

Masterson looked very good. He was very composed. Now Lopez and DelCarmen can’t throw a strike. How typical!

Del Carmen’s numbers look pretty good but he has allowed a ton of inherited runners to score. He was the same way last year.

What a waste of a great effort by Masterson.

Red Sox bullpen showing you what they are made of. Another tough showing, no surprise.

Red Sox bullpen is a black mark on the team. Lopez, Timlin and Tavarez, at least they are consisent, lol. Delcarmen isn’t too realiable this year. As you said gsm, inherited runners score on him, just like last year. Theo can focus on the pen, he will fix it. I have confidence in him.

Completely unacceptable performance by the bullpen. These guys have got to get it together.

I can live with Okajima’s effort. He comes in to a tough situation and gets beat on a couple of good hits and then toughens up to minimize the damage. But I have a tough time with relievers who come in and walk the first batters they see. No chance in getting a hitter out if you can’t get him to put the ball in play. Hell, they can pay me a half a million to go out there and walk people.

I guess what I don’t understand is why Masterson didn’t get sent out for the 7th inning, at least until he allowed a base runner. The Sox had a 2 run lead and he had only thrown 95 pitches. I guess its possible he was on a strict pitch count — 100 pitches or less, and management wasn’t going to fool with that. But he was pitching really well. If the Sox lose today it will be in part because a .183 and a .238 hitter from the bottom of the line-up scored runs after having walked. At least make them put the ball in play! Masterson was doing that. Why not let him go a couple of more hitters? The Sox know their 7th inning bullpen make-up is weak, they had a pitcher who might well have gotten them to the 8th inning, when their bullpen gets incredibly strong.

Where was David Aardsma last inning when the Sox needed to get punch and judy out. I like my birthday buddy’s managing, but today, I must question it some.

Well said.

Oops, maybe I spoke too soon in praise of David Aardsma. At least he’s throwing strikes and making them hit it in play.

Aardsma …… another walk, another run.

Remy mentioned at the beginning of the game that Masterson was throwing between 70-90 pitches per game at Portland and probably wouldn’t go much past that. I suspect Arnie is right and he was on a pitch count. Baseball is becoming a sissy game. Pitch count = BS!

Hey guys,

Just remember Masterson was supposed to go 5 innings and they staff put him out an extra inning because of the bullpen problem. Remember he still hasn’t made it to Pawtuckett yet! Give him a break…and pitch counts are important. You can ruin arms by not counting pitches and this is one guy you want to keep around.

Lopez should not have been put out there. He had done quite a bit of pitching in the last few days and he looked tired out there. Manny didn’t have it together but it was obvious he was still not recovered from the flu.
It’s painful to see Masterson’s effort wasted but in hearing Tito’s comments this morning, he basically said that he was glad not to drain the bullpen dry. He didn’t care if they won or not because…I think:
1) He was exhausted
2) He’s doing all he can do to get bodies on the field.
3) He needs a day off!

One thing I can say is Crisp was on fire out there and that was a pleasant surprise and to be honest it was nice to see Drew get a day off.

Also note they needed yet another seven run game to win it…or is it eight…or many the goal should be 120 runs per game!
Oh well…they are struggling with the flu. I’m giving them some slack.

dave@cgs’s comments lead me to my next question — Shouldn’t Masterson be assigned to Pawtucket? I doubt the Sox will keep him with the big club at this point, although, with he showed vs. the bullpen, I might be tempted (why I’m a fan, not a manager). But why is a talent like this pitching at AA Ball?

Another walk, another run. Four of seven runs were runners who walked to get on base.

Masterson pitched a good six innings which was as much as anyone could have expected. I’m not giving the bullpen any slack though. Too many walks, period.


Don’t worry. From what I’ve read they just want to take their time with him and build him up to the major league level. I’m sure they’ll move him to Pawtuckett but I suspect the keeping him down is because at this point the Sox are in chaos with the bouncing around of players. He certainly is the future but he’s young and will need time to move up. One thing is for sure, his sidearm delivery, while effective, I am told wears your arm down faster than a standard over-the-shoulder delivery. If that’s true it pays to take your time with him.

I still say that todays performance by the bullpen was completely unacceptable. Flu schmu, they can at least throw strikes and make the Angels earn their runs. These last three games the lineup has been in tatters and they’ve scored runs. Today the kid comes in from Portland and gives them a great 6 innings and the bullpen can’t man up and throw strikes!!! Grrrr…

We all know the biggest problem on the team is the bullpen. The first month or so, is kind of a evaluation period. The Red Sox viewpoint is, see what we have and what we don’t have. In this case, what they don’t have out in that bullpen. Timlin is north of 40, never a good thing. Lopez and Tavarez aren’t that good and should be elsewhere. Breslow should have been the lefty out of the pen not Lopez. Theo made a mistake there. Lopez has shown me nothing since he has been with Boston. Timlin’s best years are behind him and chances are will spend time on the D.L. again. Tavarez, we all know the story there. Ship him to the N.L. He’ll do just fine there. Perhaps he could start for someone.

Theo will see what is available out in the trade market or try to fix the problem within. Hansen comes to mind, Masterson could help the team sometime during the season as well. Also who knows what they’ll get for Crisp, bullpen help would be ideal.

Hey guys,

There is no question the bullpen is shaky but there is no question that the starting pitching has been shaky — Lester, Buckholtz (getting better), Dice-K have all had their ‘entertaining’ outings at the cost of this team. The reality is that pitching all around has been terrible. Beckett has only had two starts for instance.
Sometimes I think Papelbon threw 100 out of frustration for a struggling team! Definitely though changes need to be made.
Finally, there is no question that Colon will not be pitching this year and if he is, his arm is not going to make it. Same for Schilling…and I hope I am very wrong about this!
Right now I’d take a healthy Kason Gabbard over the entire Bullpen (minus our two top shutdown artists.)

That was astoundingly poor bullpen management by Tito today. First, he chooses as his first option out of the pen a LOOGY who can’t seem to get out lefthanders. Javier Lopez shouldn’t be anyone’s first choice out of the bullpen – I like the guy, but he doesn’t belong on a major league roster. Then, after he walks his target lefty and gives up a hit to a .180 hitter, he’s replaced by a man who’s recovering from the flu and can’t possibly be at full strength.

Only then does he rush to bring in Hideki Okajima (after an incomplete set of warmup throws), who should have been the guy on the mound to start the 7th in the first place.

Masterson did his job today. Tito Francona didn’t do his.


You nailed it and I have to totally agree. Your points are inescalable and you are right. Francona, for some reason, got squeemish about putting Oki out there. Manny himself, despite his vociferous attitude of no excuses — which seems to be the tag line of the Red Sox lately, eventually admitted that he felt quite sick.
Okajima should have been the 7th and pull two innings to get Papelbon in there. They would have won the game that way. Once again they need a clean sweep of the bullpen removing the dead wood. Okajima and Papelbon stay but the others need to go. Manny, as much as I like him, will never be more than he is right now…but I hope I’m wrong.

As critical as I was about Tito’s “pitching handling” today, I don’t agree with the most recent comments. Clearly, Francona was trying to keep Oki Doki for the 8th, an understandable thing. If you begin to ask Pap or Oki Doki to continually get 5-6 outs, you are going to burn them out for the stretch run, and worse yet, for the play-offs. Let’s not forget the way Oki Doki cooled off the 2nd half of last year.

My thought was, and continues to be that, with the way Masterson was pitching, he could have been asked to get 1 or 2 more outs in the 7th, reducing the number of outs needed from either Pap or Oki Doki. I understand all of the comments made about Masterson’s pitch count, but he was at 95, and may well have been able to achieve those outs with 5 – 10 more pitches, He was, after all, throwing strikes. I seem to remember Buchholz being allowed to throw 115 pitches in securing his no-hitter.

I know, under my theory of him continuing to throw until 1 baserunner got on, the Sox could have wound up in the same position, had the 1st guy up in the 7th inning gotten a hit off him. And I understand the comment made earlier that he has been on a lower pitch count up in Portland. However, we knew of the illness running through the clubhouse. In a tight, low scoring ballgame, as you get toward the end, you have to count your outs. Pap – 3 in the 9th. Oki Doki – 3 in the 8th. You still needed the 3 in the 7th, and didn’t use your optimal plan to get those.

While I also understand protecting the “kid,” as the last few years have demonstrated, every additional win has been necessary when you get to the end of the season. With some aggressive managing, this game might have been chalked up as a win. Having said that, I do acknowledge the Sox remain a game up in their division, and still maintain the best record in the AL. I just think this is one win they could have slipped into their back pocket — flu bug and all.

I love Mike Scioscia’s comment — we were having some better at-bats against Masterson as the game wore on. Other than the solo home run, were you watching the same game I was dude?


Good comments and you are right. Francona did not have a seventh inning pitcher but remember using Masterson was not an option. His arm was cooling off already and he extended his pitch count was beyond what he’s used too. His pitch count was normally 5 – 6 innings and in the 80’s. By pushing him past that and with a hot hitting team, that is asking a lot. Buchholtz, had a lot more innings and was already in AAA. I know you wanted a seventh inning win but I think Francona already pushed him beyond what he was ready for already.

Frankly I think the problem was he had NO seventh inning guy. To go to Lopez who was clearly exhausted and then to Manny who was recovering from the flu said everything. The Sox need another arm, a seventh inning arm that’s reliable and they just don’t have it. That I think is the big problem here. I think their latest aquisition (sp) was supposed to be that arm and sure enough he can’t find the strike zone.
Even if the Sox do a trade, as we know, there is no guarantee he will settle in. Their best players seem to come from within the organization…consider Gagne, Coco, Lugo, Lowe. All have performed below expectations and part of it is going from an organization to the Red Sox where if you don’t win every game there is something wrong with you. That puts a lot of pressure on you. Papelbon seems to thrive on that but he’s the exception. We’ll have to see that Theo can generate.

Kielty is going to be out for 6 weeks. Crisp will be a member of the Red Sox for the unforseeable ( hope I spelled it right ) No reason to deal Crisp now. Unless you got something you just couldn’t refuse, highly unlikely.

Sox hit Tampa and should take 2 of 3 from the Rays. I was reading the other day and the Rays bullpen had the lowest e.ra. in the A.L. Of course it is early but they are alot better out there this year. Season’s past, there pen was a joke!!!


I’ll say one thing. I’m glad I’m a spectator and not a player. The pressure is relentless if you are on a winning team. Baltimore and now NY are pushing up the pressure button.
Had no idea the Rays got better. The Sox could use a couple of easy wins after the last few days of the flu bug!


The Rays are better in 08, no doubt. I think they’ll finish just under .500. 75 to 78 wins. Longoria at 3b is awesome. Why he started the year in A.A.A. is anyone’s guess. Hinkse is hitting very well, he’ll get lots of playing time this weekend against his old mates. I’m sure he would love to stick it to Boston. They have a very good nucleus of young players.

hey guys,

So the Sox need a bullpen and what is their solution — Brian Corey. Granted, I don’t want to degrade anyone. They do things out there that I will never succeed at and Corey is far more talented a player than I will ever be!
However, Tito has gone from winning a pennant to survival and I suppose you have to feel that way considering the month of April.

Hey, the bases are loaded and they are behind. I can almost bet money they won’t score a run…but I could be wrong!



I wish I bet ya, lol.
Garza will not be long for this game. I think he has watched the Sox bullpen, lol.
I think Hansen should be up and not Corey. Corey showed me nothing this year. Corey did pitch well in the last 2 Septembers but has gotten hit hard this season. I hope/wish he can put it all behind him and pitch well. This team needs a reliable arm. When the pen is in, who knows what will happen. Very inconsisent this year.

Leadoff walks will always get you.

Longoria should have tagged up at third, Ellsbury doesn’t have much of an arm.

Wakefield got out of that one.

I doubt Iwamurra saw many if any knuckleballs in Japan. He looks clueless at the plate against Wakefield. He hasn’t gotten good wood in 2 at bats.

Question guys,

Why didn’t we keep Hinske and get rid of J.D. Drew? I don’t understand. Now he’s a star player with a lot of energy. Please explain that one to me!


I’m certainly glad I didn’t make that bet (LOL) Now the Red Sox only need five more runs to ensure a victory…but I could be wrong!

Manny is just hitting singles lately which surprises me…but I’m glad he’s hitting.

Another fine at bat by J.D. Drew to clear the bases. I loved how he followed the pop fly to the glove by starring into the air. He looked incompetent out there!

The announcers are complaining too much about call.
Get over it

On top of that they claim it only happens with the Red Sox! Talk about bias!

Don’t you ever think Lugo can be costly to the Red Sox?
He already has 7 errors tis season. The rest of the team combined has less errors


That was very frustrating. Wakefield is having a tough time tonight and that didn’t help — albeit it did balance out after the bad umpire call. Tampa Bay was clearly safe at third — not that I’m complaining.
The Sox look battered tonight, like a worn out team. Not the same as they were. Manny is doing great though. What is it going to take for the Sox to play like 07′?

Thats why I asked ihe can be costly

If he

Of course I agree Lugo is frustrating. I’m really trying to like him but he and Drew are on my frustration list. At least Lugo is swinging the bat where Drew is examining it (of course now Drew hits and Lugo doesn’t.

Well, we’re tied. Another change for Wakefield to get Tampa Bay back in the game.

Oh no. Corey

Think the Sox can get five runs in the ninth. Please just tell me Corey’s not secretly working for Tampa Bay!

All we need now is Lopez to come out just to seal the deal!

Corey did better than I thought

Sorry, got cut off. He was going to

Ya, when did Corey start pitching like a big leaguer? Maybe the month off gave him some time to regroup!

Incidentally, has anyone noticed how Cash is starting to hit?

Dustin if there was very a time to hit, this was it!

This is really bad. Cash is substituted. Can Varitek catch or are we looking at Pedroia behind the plate — assuming we don’t get out of this inning.

A leadoff walk, not good.

Sox had there chance to win the game in the 8th and couldn’t come up with the big hit. Wheeler did one heck of a job in the 8th.

Good too see Variek back. Dice-K didn’t make the trip to Florida this weekend. He wasn’t scheduled to pitch anyway so they might as well keep him back in Boston.

Corey whiffs Crawford. Rays have some really good young talent.

Great play by Pedroia, nifty glove work. Pedroia is one of the best defensive second baseman’s in the game. He’ll win a gold glove or two in his career. He saves alot of runs out there.

Lopez who has trouble throwing strikes will now pitch with the bases loaded. This could be very interesting.

Corey showed us all why he released and cleared waivers and was in the minors. I have no idea why he is on the roster. Hansen anyone. At least he is younger and can hit 95 on the gun.

Hinkse gets his World Series ring before the game and could be the hero tonight against his old mates.

Hinske put a charge into that one. Nice play by Drew, he got a good jump on that one.

Drew will hit second, perhaps he’ll come up with the big hit.

Do you believe it! Corey and Lopez combined to get 6 outs. If the Sox don’t score in the top of the 10th, who pitches for Boston?

My God.
I couldn’t feel my hands. Thank God that wasn’t a hit


I don’t believe it. Did it really happen?

Lopez to start the 10th if Boston doesn’t score. Papelbon if they do score.

9 outs from the pen, no runs.

A leadoff walk, I like it.

Way to work a walk Youk! I love it when the other team’s pitchers can’t throw strikes!

Of course we have seen our fair share of pitchers that can’t throw strikes.

Drew looking. Get the bat off of your shoulder. This is the 10th inning and a tie game. Swing the bat please.

I guess Timlin could take the hill in the 10th if the Sox do not score.

Tampa Bay definetly has there fair share of stiff relievers. Miller and now Glover is coming in. Overall there pen is much improved though. Tampa Bay gives the Sox fits in the dome. Tampa plays there best when Boston and N.Y. comes into town.

Was Lugo walking down the line or was he running ? I can’t believe he got doubled up on that grounder.

I sure was hoping it would be time for Pap to put out the lights. Two innings in a row — golden opportunities to close this game out — Nothing. The sox aren’t gonna get better chances than they have had in the past two innings. Are their hitting days over?

Lugo is so un-clutch — his defensive error probably cost us the game, his bat probably seals it — I have not a single memory of clutch hit this year, and only one from the entire season last year. How can you not hit it over an infielder’s head all month? I am so not a fan of this guy — sorry.

Is this the Red Sox bullpen out there tonight? Are they in disguise? Timlin, uh oh. He is showing his age so far this season. Alot of games logged over the years.

You gotta like the way Lopez threw strikes tonight. I’m not a big fan of his, but he did what I was begging for yesterday afternoon. Now lets see if Timlin can get us to the 11th.

Lopez did o.k. tonight, it is about time. Bartlett, not much of a hitter.

That should have been an inning ending double play. Slowly turned, not good.

It goes to the 11th. Time to get some runs off of this Rays pen.

4 innings of shutout relief, who are these guys ? Yesterday against the Angels, they didn’t go 4 minutes without given up a run, lol.

You’ve got to applaud the bullpen — 5 innings, no runs. Job well done, and the Sox haven’t used Oki Doki or Pap yet. If there was ever a time to score some runs boys, this is it!!!

Varitek hit by a pitch. Time to take advantage of it. Top of the order, good times for Boston.

Hey bosoxbrian:

So I can’t count — 4 rather than 5 innings of shut out relief. I guess I’m just a little gitty. Let’s see if the Sox can get Tek around the bases.

13 game hitting streak for Pedroia. We need a run here

You are predicting the future there dbenjamin. It will be 5 scoreless, liking the positive outlook, lol. This pen is so inconsisent. When they are bad, they are really bad.

Ortiz couldn’t even get it out of the infield. Wow. Not good.

Damn! Another DP

that’s why I hate sacrifice bunts — I heard stats prove they rarely pay off — never give up an out — elsbury could have stayed out of a double play with his speed — and if he got a base hit — we would be up by one one run now.

The real problem here with the sacrifice is that you advanced a slow runner. Actually, the scenario worked as it should have, a sac bunt followed by a single to the outfield, but you had such a slow runner (Tek) that he couldn’t score on the single. Somehow, his lack of speed didn’t get factored into the thinking.

Gotta get Timlin out of there or the Sox are toast.

I hate it when I’m right like this. Night folks.

SOX sac bunt — lose, Rays don’t sax bunt — win.

It just didn’t seem like the sox were going to win anyway. WAY too many runners left on base. Especially in scoring position. At least the Yankees lost. THey have a real chance to win tommorow anyway. I need to get the announcers voice out of my head. Horrible, horrible announcing

There are a few more people other than Timlin that deserve to have that big “L” tacked on to their stats tonight!!

That’s three in a row. At least we can say the arms held themselves together until Timlin gave it up. The bats are soft, the pitching is soft…this is depressing.
Guys give me some good news out there!

Hey, it want all Timlin at that point.. Where were our bats??? I admit he gave up the hit, but we had the bases loaded earlier… what happened then??

How about if Drew had a better arm and made that throw to homeplate on the mark like Guerrero does??? If that happens we go another inning… Drew doesn’t; so Timlin get the loss and Drew STILL collects his huge payday… and Mikey T is the dog tonight!! Something is REALLY wrong there!

RSF, who were you listening to?? I had Remy and Orsillo, nut by the bottom of 9 they came across like even THEY wanted to be gone… Big party somewhere probably!!

I just found that Timlin pitched with a bad back. He did it because he knew Terry was running out of arms in the pen. Although he did have Papelbon and Tavarez he didn’t use. Still, that says a lot about Timlin. He isn’t in it for the paycheck.

Incidentally, I have made J.D. Drew the frustration point of the Sox. Lugo tries at least and I think it’s obvious he makes more errors because he has more changes at play. Drew just hangs out there most of the time and does nothing — like at the plate.

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