Yesterday, two of the best first-year pitchers were on display at Fenway Park.
But the debate as to who might win Rookie of the Year will rage on, as neither Jered Weaver nor Jonathan Papelbon made any consolation to give the award to the other.
Weaver, the first big-league pitcher to win his first seven starts since Fernando Valenzuela posted eight straight wins in 1981, recorded his first no-decision yesterday. But the 23-year-old righthander with the twisting delivery and fast-moving stuff left in the seventh inning with a 5-3 lead, outperforming Josh Beckett and proving to his opponents that he's no fluke.
``I can see why he has the record he does," said Sox manager Terry Francona. ``He's got good stuff. There's a lot of deception with it, which doesn't help hitters. He's throwing a lot of arms and legs at you. But he throws strikes with a couple different pitches and he locates. He's good. I can see why they like him."
Weaver (7-0, 1.51 ERA) pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing a career-high three runs and seven hits while throwing 98 pitches. But Weaver struck out four batters and had two 1-2-3 innings, spotting his fastball, curveball, and slider and confusing the Sox with his Luis Tiant-like delivery.
``He's good," said Mike Lowell, who was 0 for 2 with a walk against Weaver. ``He's funky. His fastball's got life. He throws at 89-91, then pops one at 94."
While Weaver kept his undefeated record alive, Papelbon threw two perfect innings in relief of Mike Timlin.
In the ninth, as he mixed in his slider to keep the Angels off his fastball and splitter, Papelbon struck out Curtis Pride and Garret Anderson, both on split-finger pitches.
Papelbon threw 25 pitches (18 for strikes), lowering his ERA to 0.51.
``We love Pap to death," Francona said. ``I hope for our sake that he ends up winning every [award] there is. But when you start having these conversations, it's really good for baseball. There are some good young players coming up. That's exciting. If they're all like Pap, that's good for the game."
Reliever Keith Foulke
(elbow), who threw a perfect first inning in a rehab start at Single A Lowell Friday, is scheduled to pitch for Pawtucket today. Foulke will then throw multiple innings and back-to-back games before the Sox consider bringing him back to Boston.
Starter Matt Clement (shoulder) threw yesterday before the game and is scheduled to throw again tomorrow. Clement reported no discomfort in his shoulder, according to Francona.
Tamburro is back
According to Pawtucket Red Sox publicist Bill Wanless
, PawSox president Mike Tamburro
is back at work following recent surgery for a detached retina. Tamburro, who missed several games, is doing well . . . The go-go Angels kept on running yesterday, swiping four bases to give them a league-leading 97. Center fielder Chone Figgins
had two steals. ``Figgy certainly sets the pace for us in that department," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia
. ``We just couldn't build on the lead enough to get a total handle on the game, which you are rarely in when it's the Red Sox with the depth of their lineup." . . . Beckett had trouble spotting his fastball early in the game, walking two in the first inning. Later in the game, Beckett (4.76 ERA, 103 pitches) threw his curveball more often, including a nasty hook on Vladimir Guerrero
in the third that had the DH flailing at a third strike . . . The Stop & Shop ad on the center-field wall, which was moved to the door leading to the outfield batting cage for the most recent day game at Fenway, was in its original location yesterday. It was moved last Thursday because lefthander John Rheinecker
was pitching for Texas and Sox batters had trouble the day before spotting pitches thrown by Kansas City lefty Mark Redman
. . . Johnny Pesky
will be signing autographs all weekend during the Devil Rays-Red Sox series next weekend at Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame Museum at Tropicana Field. The museum will provide Pesky's book and photos which he will sign for a donation to the museum . . . Sharp contrast in glovework, with the Red Sox entering yesterday's game with the best fielding percentage (.990) in baseball and only 36 errors. On the other side, the Angels (.979) had made 81 errors, the AL's worst mark. The bobbles have led to 67 unearned runs, the most in the majors . . . Only 79 home runs have been hit at Fenway this season, the fewest of any big-league park. Francona pointed to the lousy weather early in the year as a factor to the power shortage . . . David Ortiz
, along with Telemundo Boston/Sus Deportes Spanish sports talk radio, will kick off the first-ever Hispanic Heritage Baseball Tournament at the Little League field on Boston Common today. The seven-game tournament, which starts at 9 a.m., will feature more than 200 11- and 12-year-old Boston youths on eight teams. The tournament will run through Sept. 10 . . . First pitch for tonight's series finale will be at 8:09, moved from an afternoon start to accommodate ESPN.
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