Delcarmen makes progress

Bowden offers no excuses

September 28, 2009, 11:22 PM

By: Pedro Gomez

BOSTON -- In a game that probably had Red Sox fans as excited as when they clean out their garages, there was very little to extract from Monday night's 11-5 rain-shortened loss to Toronto.

Sure, Kevin Youkilis pounded a pair of long home runs over the Green Monster in his first two at-bats, but neither managed to put much of a dent into the Blue Jays lead at the time. The biggest news of the night was ace Josh Beckett being scratched because of upper back spasms. It's probable that Beckett won't pitch again until his next scheduled start on Saturday night, manager Terry Francona said.

As far as the action on the field, at least before the torrential rains put a screeching stop to the game, the most notable part of them game very well could have been the top of the seventh inning when Manny Delcarmen entered.

Delcarmen was one of the Red Sox's most reliable setup relievers the past two regular seasons and into this year. But the 27-year-old right-hander has had a tough time the past three months and it's possible he could be pitching for a spot on the postseason roster during this last week of the season. Even he knows it's out there.

"I know there's some talk about the postseason roster but I'm trying to block all that out,'' he said. "My confidence level is much better. Just to be able to get a 1-2-3 inning is great.''

Delcarmen had a 2.03 ERA during April, May and June but has had a 7.09 ERA since July 1st before Monday night's appearance. The past month has been especially difficult for Delcarmen, who had allowed runs in five of his eight appearances before Monday night. Delcarmen, who needed just 10 pitches to get through the seventh, was told he was going to pitch the eighth as well. But the deluge stopped those plans.

"I definitely wanted to go back out,'' Delcarmen said. "I feel like I'm getting back to where I was. I maybe had some control issues and that's not always something you can get away with against major league hitters.''

Delcarmen faced three batters Monday night and even though Travis Snider ripped a line drive that left fielder Joey Gathright snared, Delcarmen did manage to get the next two batters relatively easily and, in turn, possibly bolstering his case for a spot in Boston's playoff bullpen.

"Every opportunity he's gotten of late he's not only in trying to accomplish something from a team situation but also from a personal situation,'' pitching coach John Farrell said. "There's been no final discussion on possible playoff rosters relative to where he or anyone else stacks up. There's plenty of time for everyone to make a case for themselves.''

SPOT STARTER: Michael Bowden may have been placed in a tough spot, getting a late call to replace Josh Beckett for Monday night's starting assignment, but he never offered that up as an excuse for his poor performance, one that included him allowing seven runs on seven hits in just three innings. Bowden also allowed a pair of home runs.

"It's always tough but it's inexcusable,'' Bowden said. "They could have told me at 7:05 and I should have been able to put forth a better effort than I did. It's just a terrible feeling, going out there and letting the team down and giving up that many runs so early in the game.''

NOTES: For the ninth time in his career, Kevin Youkilis hit two home runs in the same game. ... Left-handed reliever Dustin Richardson, whose contract was purchased earlier in the day, made his major league debut in the fifth inning. He entered with runners at first and second and two outs and the Sox trailing 11-3 at the time. Richardson pitched 1-1/3 innings, allowing a pair of singles but no runs


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