Junichi Tazawa was supposed to start on Saturday for the PawSox at Fenway Park. Instead, he was thrust into the spotlight of the greatest rivalry in all of sports. Tazawa made his Major League debut in Yankee Stadium, and all things considered, it didn’t go that well. Tazawa surrendered a 2 run home run to Alex Rodriguez in the bottom of the fifteenth inning that gave the Yankees a 2-0 win. It wasn’t really fair to Tazawa, but what in life is fair? Taz was scheduled to go for Pawtucket in the Futures at Fenway game against Norfolk. There probably would have been butterflies then. Imagine what the 23 year old righthander must have felt as he pitched the fourteenth and fifteenth against the Evil Empire. Tazawa is a very nice, unassuming young man. It has to be incredibly difficult to be a stranger in a strange land, pitching in front of a 48,000 enemies in the Bronx, and countless millions watching on TV. Tazawa was not afforded the luxury of being eased into the situatiion. With John Smoltz designated for assignment, the Red Sox were forced into calling up Tazawa to bolster their sagging fortunes. You hope that it won’t permanently scar him. It has happened before. The Red Sox have rushed guys like Cla Meredith and Craig Hansen. They took a long time to get over their early failure. I’m not sure Hansen ever overcame the disappointment. The bigger problem is the Red Sox now trail by 4 and a half games in the East. Clay Buchholz pitches Saturday against C.C. Sabathia. Suddenly, Buch has to “man up” and become a Major Leaguer. No more kid gloves- pitch the way he pitchesd at Pawtucket and help Boston get back on track. He is gifted. Tazawa is gifted as well. These guys haul in a pretty good paycheck to produce, and now’s the time.
Fenway Park is the star today as the PawSox face the Tides in the Futures at Fenway. Last night was a good win. Brian Anderson and Jeff Natale homered and Matrk Wagner belted a 2 run double in the 6-2 victory. Kris Johnson didn’t figure in the decision, but turned in his best performance of the year, giving up one run in six innings.