Bowden receives high praise from Valentine

698320.jpg

Bowden receives high praise from Valentine

FORT MYERS, Fla. In two Grapefruit League outings, spanning 2 23 innings and eight batters, right-hander Michael Bowden has yet to give up a hit, a walk, or a run. He earned a save in his first outing, against the Orioles Tuesday. His performance led Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine to say this after Bowdens perfect inning of work against the Pirates in the eighth inning Friday night:

I really liked Michael Bowden. His fastball was down in the zone, Im not sure of the speed because we dont have guns here but it looked like it was 91, 92. He had a good split working off of it. His split I saw it, from the side, but I had a pretty good perspective of things I think. Looked like it was a pitch that was very hard to recognize. I liked what I saw. Hes going to get more quality innings, move up in the game a little.

That kind of praise from a manger is what every player wants to hear. Especially a player, who made his big league debut in 2008 but is still trying to establish himself at the big league level.

It makes me feel great, Bowden said. Im glad that the person that matters, my manager, likes what he sees and wants me to get out there and continue throwing and show him what I can do.

Bowden has appeared in 37 big league games over the last four seasons, posting a record of 2-2 with a 5.75 ERA. After converting to the bullpen full-time in the second half of 2010, Bowden earned 16 saves for Triple-A Pawtucket last season, with a record of 3-3 (2.73) in 41 appearances.

Bowden was a first-round (47th overall) pick of the Sox in 2005. This is the first year he is out of options. Bowden is trying to keep his focus on the field.

I prepared for this spring training the exact same way as the last four spring training, he said. Coming in here, and for myself I believe Ive been competing for a job, even though that wasnt the case. But I think this year I really do have a chance and all I have to do is continue to prove that I can get outs and make quality pitches and do it consistently. Just do everything I can.

Im just worrying about what I can do. Just stay healthy, get better, work on what I need to work on so I can do my job every time out. If I worry about the stuff I cant control, thats just going to take me off my mindset. So I try not to worry about stuff like that. But theres a lot of spring left, a lot of stuff can happen. I know theres spots in the rotation for guys and if theyre not in the rotation, theyll be in the bullpen. So all I can worry about right now is just when I go out there every time I get the ball just do the best I can.

First impressions from Red Sox' 8-3 win over Rockies

red_sox_ortiz_betts_052416.jpg

First impressions from Red Sox' 8-3 win over Rockies

First impressions from the Red Sox' 8-3 win over the Colorado Rockies:

 

The Red Sox continue to use Fenway as their own little offensive playground.

Since April 20, the Red Sox are averaging exactly eight runs per game at home. That's just over a month of the covering 18 games.

They've also collected 10 or more hits in 16 of those 18 games, utilizing every bit of the field.

For the last two seasons, Fenway stopped being a tough place to play for opponents. But at home this year, the Sox have outscored opponents by 67 runs.

 

All of a sudden, the Red Sox are a triples team and Fenway is a triples haven.

A triple by Christian Vazquez - of all people -- gave the Red Sox a league-high 13 triples this season.

Fenway has a reputation for being a doubles park, but the ballpark has been home to 12 triples in 26 games - five by visiting teams and seven by the Red Sox. That translates into almost one every two games.

 

David Price was solid, but not spectacular.

The positives: Price got through the seventh inning for the fifth time this season. He walked just one and fanned six in seven innings.

He was hit hard a few times, with a homer into the visitor's bullpen allowed to Charlie Blackmon and a triple to the triangle for Carlos Gonzalez.

Consider it another step forward for Price, but it fell far short of dominant.

 

Koji Uehara's deception is heightened against teams that don't see him much.

Uehara allowed a leadoff single to D.J. LeMahieu, but then fanned three in a row, finishing each hitter off with his trademark split-finger fastball.

That pitch can be tough to recognize for hitters who see it a few times per season. For those in the National League who are largely unfamiliar with Uehara's splitter, it's apparently some sort of Kryptonite.