56-36: Gabbard tosses a complete game shutout

The Red Sox look like they might be facing a glut of starting pitching next season. That’s a great problem to have, believe me. Unheralded rookie Kason Gabbard (3-0) tossed a 3-hit shutout against the Royals tonight at Fenway, as the Sox rolled, 4-0. On the biggest stage, he came up aces, needing only 107 pitches to dispatch the struggling Kansas City Royals. He ended the game by striking out the final two batters. Gabbard walked just one and struck out eight total, showing the poise and maturity he is known for. He worked out of a bases loaded jam in the fifth and induced 15 ground balls, pitching efficiently. Some have compared the soft-tossing lefty’s style to that of Mark Buehrle, and you could certainly see the resemblance tonight.

Overall, Gabbard has impressed while filling in for the injured Curt Schilling, and definitely shown that he can pitch at this level. However, the Red Sox rotation will be rather crowded with Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield around next year. The Sox are also committed to Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, and Schilling is still on the table for 2008, so it’s hard to see where guys like Kason and Devern Hansack might fit into the rotation here. Ironically, Gabbard’s quality performances may be sealing his fate to pitch in a different uniform next year.

The Sox offense scored four runs off of rookie Brian Bannister (5-6) in six innings. All four runs scored on home runs by Dustin Pedroia, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. The offense didn’t need to do much else on the night, and while we gathered seven hits, no one walked all night. At least we left only nine men on base tonight.

Julio Lugo hit safely in his sixth straight game, his longest hit streak this year since early May. He is 10 for 19 over that span (.526).

The Royals are definitely at least a couple of years from contending, and will be looking to unload some veterans for young players by the deadline. It’ll be interesting to see some of them in this series. Among the names bandied about, Reggie Sanders has come up, as well as reliever Octavio Dotel, who the Sox tried to sign before this season. Veteran Mike Sweeney also no longer has much of a role on the Royals, and could be dealt. David Riske (yes, that David Riske) and Odalis Perez are also most likely available, though less desirable.

As far as the Red Sox go, I don’t see them being really interested in anyone but Dotel. He could come in as a setup man in the bullpen. He’s a good strikeout pitcher, and seems to be fully recovered. He’s greatly improved his ground ball/fly ball ratio this year, which would be a bonus. Sanders is a possibility as a right-handed veteran outfielder, but he hasn’t hit lefties well in recent years, which is the primary need. He is a lifetime .288/.372/.539 hitter against southpaws, however. Wily Mo Pena could be a fit in Kansas City, or one of our pitching prospects.


One Response to 56-36: Gabbard tosses a complete game shutout

  1. Pingback: Schilling eyes August return « Red Sox Talk

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