Thursday, July 26, 2007

Game 102: The Very Charmed Life of Julian Tavarez

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 14, Cleveland Indians 9

Everyone who picked up Kason Gabbard for their fantasy teams after the magic of his last four starts is probably feeling pretty foolish right now. Gabbard, who as we all know is now in competition with Jon Lester for the fifth spot in the rotation /pitching well enough so Schilling's return doesn't demote him back to Triple A did his best not to impress this evening, suffering a four run fifth inning freak out that had Francona worried enough - despite the 9 to 5 lead (go Manny!) - to pull the young southpaw an out before Gabbo could qualify for his fifth win. Was it bad? You betcha; the two run double and a one run single Gabbo surrendered after claiming his second out looked better than the final three batters of the night: walk, walk, hit by pitch. Control much?

Once upon a time, you'd call Kyle Snyder in to clean up these situations and eat up some innings until
either the offense scored enough runs to make putting a 12 year old with a broken arm on the mound a viable option, or the game moved into the late innings and bringing in short relief made more sense. Time was, but that time seems to be no more; it's been almost ten days since we've seen hide or hair of young Frankenbronson.

Instead, we have our old pal Julian "JT Killer" Tavarez, who recently his inevitable return to the bullpen to make rotation space for the feel-good case of the year, Jon Lester. I can almost imagine JT Killer holding a bloodletting in the visitor's clubhouse of The Jake, scene of so much ritual magic, praying to the dark gods who gave him the 10 and 2 year for the Indians 12 years ago to let him have another shot at making a difference. The man's dedication to his team is truly inspirational and he repaid that trust with two and a third innings of best and the worst he has to offer. Did Ryan Garko fly out to end the fifth, killing the bases loaded threat? He did - and Tavarez made him do it. Julian also magicked up a one-two-three sixth, pitched around a throwing error by Lugo to pick up the first two outs of the seventh, entered the home stretch, you can make it, can give up those four runs first, if you want to. No, really, it's ok: Wily Mo brought his good game for once and hit a line drive home run in the top of the inning.

So congratulations, Julian: you didn't pitch great and your offense totally bailed you out, but you pitched (literally) when it counted and you got another win. Don't let anyone say the Man keeps you down.