Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lowell might not play in Game 2

Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times says that Mike Lowell's hip is affecting him far more than he let on -- and that it's time for him to step aside and let someone who's 100 percent play in his place.

Terry Francona appears to agree; the Boston Globe is reporting this afternoon that Lowell's injury has made for "a very difficult decision" and that Francona "may have to make some changes." That apparently would mean benching Lowell and playing with a 24-man roster; Kevin Youkilis could play third and Sean Casey probably would play first base.

How much that hurts the Red Sox at the plate mostly depends on how hurt Lowell is; the grizzled veteran went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in Game 1, and you'd think that a healthy Casey at the bat could provide more pop than an injured (though valiant) Lowell.

Francona, from his news conference today in Anaheim: "I spent a lot of time talking to Mike Lowell this morning. It's not just like a little nagging hamstring he's dealing with. I really don't know what we're going to do tomorrow. It's actually a very difficult decision for me. You've got a guy that's the ultimate gamer, who will go out there every day, and we're coming back in two days and going to Fenway and facing a lefty, and it's very important having his bat in the lineup. So, again, there's some decisions we need to still make, and I haven't really actually come to a conclusion yet."

In other news, the Globe also is reporting that Josh Beckett threw 67 pitches in a "pretty aggressive" bullpen session and appears on track to start Game 3 on Sunday.

Other Game 1 and Game 2 notes:

  • Jonathan Papelbon's scoreless ninth inning extended to 15 2/3 his streak of scoreless innings in the postseason. He's third all-time (behind Phil Niekro and Dennis Cook) in career playoff innings without allowing a run.
  • David Ortiz has a hit in 12 straight American League Division Series games, which strikes me as impressive but about as statistically significant as having hits in 12 straight games on Thursdays.
  • Jason Bay became the first Red Sox player to homer in his postseason debut since Todd Walker in 2003 against Oakland.
  • Game 3 is still listed as Time TBA.

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