Red Sox at White Sox Match-Ups, 9/4
|09.04.09 at 3:25 pm ET|
A month ago, the odds sprawled across the boards of the crowded Vegas casinos most likely would have favored potential Cy Young candidate Roy Halladay to earn his 14th win of the season over 38-year-old righty Paul Byrd. In fact, a month ago, Byrd was still pitching to 13 year-old little leaguers before receiving an unexpected call from the Red Sox inquiring whether or not he would like to sign with the team and take the mound a few weeks later.
Byrd did not hesitate and immediately inked a minor league deal. He made a pair of starts in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League, moved on to an assignment with Triple A Pawtucket where he made two rehab starts before facing off against Halladay on August 30. Remarkably, Byrd picked up the win, going six shutout innings, surrendering six hits and three walks while striking one.
Now, with the Red Sox riding on a hot streak winning 12 of their last 16 games, Byrd looks to continue the sizzling run as the Kelsey Grammar double opposes Freddy Garcia and the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field at 8:11pm tonight to open a four-game series.
The White Sox have fallen out of the playoff race this week after losing eight of their last eleven on the road and trading away slugger Jim Thome to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Garcia still is searching for his first win of the 2009 season.
Released by the New York Mets in early April after failing to secure a spot in the rotation, Garcia signed a minor-league contract with his former Windy City team in June. Since then, Garcia has struggled in his three major league starts with the White Sox, going 0-2 with a 5.94 ERA. One of those starts included an impressive performance against the Sox in a no-decision, as Garcia went 6 1/3 inning, while allowing three earned runs at Fenway on August 25.
In his career, Garcia has seen some success against Boston, as he owns a 6-2 record with a 4.74 earned run average in 14 starts.
Byrd, who spent time with the Cleveland Indians before arriving in Boston last season, also has had his share of success against Chicago. In 18 career starts, Byrd owns an 8-3 record with a 4.43 ERA including two complete games and one shutout.
Although he sports a winning record, several White Sox players have hit Byrd well in the past. In 38 at-bats, first-baseman Paul Konerko has batted .316 with one home run against the pitcher with the old-school wind-up, while former Red Sox Mark Kotsay posts a .464 average with a stellar .531 OBP in 28 at-bats versus the soft-spoken Byrd.
Since knuckleballer Tim Wakefield’s status for tomorrow’s scheduled start is still dependent on how he feels today, the Red Sox hope that Byrd can reproduce the efficient start he compiled against the Toronto Blue Jays last week. With only a few weeks left in the regular season and the uncertainty surrounding Daisuke Matsuzaka’s return and Josh Beckett’s recent woes, Byrd has the chance to step up and contribute to the Red Sox’ playoff run.
White Sox vs. Paul Bryd:
Paul Konerko (39 career plate appearances against Byrd) .316 average/ .333 OBP/ .447 SLG, one home run, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
A.J. Pierzynski (37) .212/ .278/. 242, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Mark Kotsay (33) .464/.531/.750, 2 homers, 4 walks, 1 strikeout
Jermaine Dye (30) .179/.233/.571, 3 homers, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
Alex Rios (24) .167/.167/.542, 2 homers, 2 strikeouts
Scott Podsednik (16) .357/.438/.357 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
Josh Fields (7) .000/.143/.000 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Carlos Quentin (6) .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout
Alexei Ramirez (5) 1-for-5
Red Sox vs. Freddy Garcia
Jason Varitek (31 career plate appearances against Garcia) .300 AVG./.323 OBP/.500 SLG, 1 homer, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Victor Martinez (30) .217/.400/.478 2 homers, 6 walks, 1 strikeout
David Ortiz (25) .174/.240/.391, 1 home run, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Rocco Baldelli (10) .222/.300/.222, 2 strikeouts
Joey Gathright (10) 0-for 9, 1 sacrifice fly, 4 strikeouts
Kevin Youkilis (9) .111/.111/.111, 2 strikeouts
J.D. Drew (7) .333/.429/.500, 1 walk
Jason Bay (6) 0-for-5, walk, 2 strikeouts
Nick Green (6) 1-for-6, 2 strikeouts
Mike Lowell (6) 2-for-6
Casey Kotchman (5) 0-for-4, 1 walk
Alex Gonzalez (4) 0-for-4, 2 strikeouts
Jacoby Ellsbury (3) 1-for-3, 1 strikeout
Dustin Pedroia (3) 0-for-3
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