WHY I LIKE MIKE
Pawtucket righthander Michael Bowden turned in another gem on Sunday,working 6 and 2 thirds innings, scattering 5 hits and allowing just 2 runs. Unfortunately for Michael, the slumbering PawSox offense scored ust one run in the 2-1 loss. Despite his “quality start”, Bowden fell to 4-6 for the year. In his 6 losses, the mighty Pawtucket offense has managed a total of just 6 runs. Through it all, the 22 year old has maintained a positive and professional attitude. Manager Ron Johnson has been impressed with Bowden, on and off the mound. “Mike understands. He does a nice job. He threw the ball well enough yesterday to win. Even though he’s a young guy, he’s been around. They understand that’s a quallity start for Michael and that’s what it’s all about. We won 86 games last year and when I went up to Fenway in September, nobody asked what my record was. It’s the same type of thing. They’re looking to see who can help the ballclub win. Michael has got to be frustrated. It would be really nice to have a good won-loss record, but he’s doing exactly what he needs to do.” Even in defeat, Bowden dropped his ERA from 3.23 to 3.20 for the season, sixth best in the International League. With the season virtually over (Bowden figures to get 4 more starts) the young man from Illinois has clearly not packed it in. My guess is that he will be one of the few PawSox players to get a September callup. Monday morning provided a clear picture as to why it’s so well-deserved. As I was getting my morning coffee in the lobby of our hotel, I bumped into strength and conditioning coach Mike Jones. It was about 9:20 a.m. The game time Monday is 2:05 p.m. If it were a night game, the guys head to the gym at 10:30 for a workout. I asked Jones what he was up to. His reply surprised me, but I guess it shouldn’t have. “I just got back from the gym with Bowden. You know him. He insisted we go early so he could get his work in.” There is no “woe is me” attitude with Bowden. While some of his teammates may feel sorry for themselves, Bowden takes charge and makes himself the best he can possibly be. My guess is that RJ would love to have a few more “Bowdens” on his roster.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona took some playful shots at RJ after outfielder Brian Anderson misplayed a ball in the outfield for the Sox. Tito told the press that RJ had nothing but glowing comments for Anderson’s defense. He played a couple of weeks for the PawSox after he was acquired in the Mark Kotsay trade. Tito, paraphrasing, basically told RJ to watch SportsCenter highlights and jokingly referred to him as a “prophet.” RJ took it all in stride- “I can’t repeat what he said on the radio because he’s never sugarcoated it and never will. I told him again, he’s one of the best outfielders I’ve eve seen. I’m sure they’ll see it at the Major League level. Things like that happen. I back him. I’m with him through thick and thin.”