April 8, 2007
LET THE MAN ROLL THROUGH:
Papelbon, Sox overpower the Rangers (Amalie Benjamin, April 9, 2007, Boston Globe)
"We had a little bit more of an idea what to expect this time around," manager Terry Francona said after Papelbon finished off the 3-2 sweep-averting win. "But he was devastating. And we needed every bit of that, or we're either still playing, or we lose."
Papelbon was back, not as the starter he had attempted to be in spring training, but the closer, the dominant one with the 0.92 ERA last season, the one whose stare underneath the slightly curved brim of his hat was followed immediately by strikeouts and saves. In this case, against Young, it was followed by a 94-mile-per-hour fastball for a swing-and-miss, one just out of the strike zone, and a 96-m.p.h. fastball for a swing-and-miss.
Oh, and then a 97-m.p.h. fastball taken for a strike that found catcher Jason Varitek's glove, leaving Young motionless.
That just made the popup to third base by Mark Teixeira all the more inevitable, getting the Sox out of the inning in front of 28,347 at Rangers Ballpark. Then Papelbon completed the five-out appearance with a dominating ninth inning that featured strikeouts of Hank Blalock and Brad Wilkerson. And that was all before he said the words that should continue to inspire fear in opposing batters: "Every year, every pitch, every inning I get more and more confident."
"You just can't understand how unbelievable that is," Schilling said. "You just can't. Until you're on the mound, you cannot understand that there aren't very many guys in the history of the game that can do that."
A game that requires this. Posted by Orrin Judd at April 8, 2007 10:01 PM