Results tagged ‘ Takashi Saito ’

Leftovers from a wild night at Fenway

Wow, was there ever a lot going on at Fenway last night! It was hard to include it all in the game coverage, so here are some leftovers.

Takashi Saito has pitched in a lot of non-pressure situations this season, not as a reflection of him, but because of how dominant the rest of the bullpen has been. Saito’s inning and a third of shutout relief wound up being crucial on Thursday, given Boston’s comeback win. It was Saito’s 100th career win when you combine his work in Japanese pro baseball, and his first with the Red Sox.

“There are many pitchers out there with better numbers than I have, but to put it very simply I am very happy today, more than anything I’m happy that I was able to get my first win as a member of the Red Sox,” said Saito.

As for Saito’s former teammate with the Dodgers and current teammate Brad Penny, he was stunningly electric last night. I would say Penny’s shoulder has come all the way back from the right shoulder woes of a year ago. His fastball was exploding into the upper 90s, as he fired six shutout innings against the Yankees.

“I would say my mechanics are getting a little better,” Penny said. “I’m staying behind the ball and driving off my back foot.”

Then there is Big Papi. The big man with the big swing and the even bigger slump is finally getting hot. He crushed that homer against Sabathia, staying on the ball perfectly and belting it like the Papi of Old instead of an Old Papi.

“When I hit the ball oppo like that, it’s a sign that I’m waiting for the ball good. I’m trying to stay through the ball. I’ve been feeling a lot better at the plate,” Ortiz said.

“That was a good swing,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “He’s getting better and better every day and that’s a huge sign for us.”

Then there is Nick Green, who has started the last five games and turned Julio Lugo invisible. The play he made in the ninth might have been a game-saver.

“Not too many shortstops make that play,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

Papelbon actually told Green the play won them the game, though a lot of others think it was Pedroia’s 10-pitch walk.

Either way, the Red Sox seem to be rounding into form at just the right time, heading into a weekend series with the defending World Series champions.

“It’s not just that we’re getting momentum by winning games,” Papelbon said. “I think we’re gaining  momentum with our players .David is starting to feel it, Josh is starting to feel it, our bullpen is starting to feel it. We just have to stay on this wave and ride it out.”

Now it is really Opening Day

A nice Tuesday at Fenway Park, as we finally get to see some baseball today.

Kudos — Monster Kudos — to the Red Sox for calling yesterday’s game as early as they did. It would have been a disaster having people sit through that monsoon just to cancel it.

With the first pitch scheduled ceremoniously for 4:06 p.m. ET — some left fielder hit .406 back in 1941 — another great Red Sox celebrates his 91st birthday today. Of course, he is also one of the greatest second basemen of all-time. Of course, I am speaking of Bobby Doerr. I hope he catches himself a giant fish today in the Pacific Northwest and catches some of the game. What a tremendous person. Total class act.

Now that the Red Sox have nine straight games without an off-day, manager Terry Francona doesn’t seem all that concerned about how it will affect usage. He said that the one guy he is hesitant to go back-to-back with right now is Takashi Saito. Saito is the one guy who didn’t go back to back agt all during Spring Training.

Look for Rocco Baldelli to make his first start in a Sox uniform on Wednesday night against Scott Kazmir.

Stockpiling arms

Another day, another Red Sox signing. Since Christmas, Theo Epstein has added Josh Bard, Brad Penny, Rocco Baldelli, John Smoltz, Mark Kotsay and Takashi Saito.

Saito is an interesting one, considering the dominant numbers he has put up during his three years in the Majors. Obviously health was a concern in 2008, which is why the Dodgers non-tendered him.

But the Red Sox now have a ton of options in the bullpen. Jonathan Papelbon, Saito, Okajima, Masterson, Manny Delcarmen, Ramon Ramirez, Javier Lopez. All of those arms are of the quality variety.

This begs the question:  Will there be a trade in the works in which Theo can move one of these relievers to help fill another need on the club? It certainly appears that way. Don’t be surprised if one of these setup men is part of a package in a trade for a catcher. The Red Sox certainly have depth, that has become abundantly clear.

Saito will be 39 in February, which of course raises questions about his future durability. But in the context of this year, if he can stay healthy, it gives the Sox great insurance should Jonathan Papelbon need some rest during the season.

By the end of the ALCS, Papelbon admitted that he was just about spent. With the addition of Saito, and the continued emergence of Masterson, perhaps they can be even more conservative with him then they’ve been since the arm scare of 2006.

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