Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Pregame notes: Castro available
By Allan Ryan
TORONTO -- After calling down to their bullpen 18 times over the past four games, the Red Sox decided they'd better put a call into Pawtucket.
Summoned, therefore, for Tuesday's second round against the Blue Jays was left-hander Fabio Castro, ready to lend an arm on what was to have been his start-day for the PawSox.
"Hopefully, we won't need him desperately, but we really needed to cover ourselves," said manager Terry Francona. "Again, the major reason [why it was Castro] was that it was his day to start and we needed some length. We've been leaning on some guys pretty heavily."
Francona went on to mention Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima and Daniel Bard as three guys he'd like to stay clear of Tuesday.
"It's not a lot of fun saying that before a game starts," Francona said. "But it's fact."
Clearly unavailable Tuesday was Scott Atchison, who took his 6.10 ERA to Triple-A to make room for the 25-year-old Castro.
Boston went to its bullpen five times in Sunday's 7-6, 10-inning loss to Baltimore, then put in another six calls over the four hours-plus it took to subdue the Blue Jays 13-12 in Monday's opener.
Games like that kind of mess up any team's best-laid plans.
"If you're going to guys more than you're supposed to, having them face more hitters than they're supposed to -- well, that's a tough way to go about it," said Francona. "We've gone to guys, but not too much, and we don't plan to. Once you go too far [with someone's overuse], you can't just say 'I'm sorry.' We're trying to be aware of that and not make mistakes."
Boston's bullpen currently leads the American League in innings pitched, with 70.
"I think, with every [team] right now, you're trying to figure out what you have and how to best use it. The quicker we understand where everybody slots in, the better. But now, when you have games like last night, you have to throw that out and they all know that down there [in the pen].
"It goes hand-in-hand with your starting pitching, too," said Francona. "You see a couple of eight-inning starts, you'll see the bullpen better, too."
Castro has made three starts for Pawtucket this season, going 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA but with 13 strikeouts over 10 innings. In 30 major-league games [one start] with the Phillies and Rangers in 2006-07, he's 0-1 and 3.30 for 43.2 innings.
Atchison had got into seven games for Boston, allowing seven earned over 10.1.
-- Veteran Tim Wakefield, who will lose his spot in the rotation to Daisuke Matsuzaka on Saturday, will be available out of the pen on Friday but Francona hasn't spoken to him about how he might ideally be used. "I think the best way to go about it is let Wake go have his side [throwing] today -- almost like a normal week with his off-day Thursday. That kind of slots him in where it works."
But he hasn't talked to him yet.
"We're going to try and give him a little room to breathe for a couple of days," Francona said. "We'll try to do what's best."
-- According to Elias, Monday's 13-12 win tied a franchise record for most runs scored in a one-run victory in which the Sox never homered. They did this twice before -- both times by 13-12 scores -- against the St. Louis Browns in 1930 and against the Tigers in 1950.
-- Last time the Sox had as many as Monday's 18 hits -- but no homers -- was July 27, 1999, also in Toronto, when they won 11-9, also on 18 hits.
-- Disabled outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury (ribs) and Mike Cameron (abdominal strain) are both on the road trip but still some distance from returning. "With Jacoby, he's just trying to increase his intensity every day," said Francona. "Cam's going to hit off a tee [Tuesday] and should be into some light running by the end of the week."
-- Daniel Bard, who struck out the side in Sunday's ninth, then two of his three hitters in Monday's eighth, has 14 strikeouts on the year (12.2 innings) second among AL relievers to Chicago's Matt Thornton's 16.