Thursday, October 11, 2007

Yawkey League Product - Delcarmen - Enjoys Post Season

Red Sox Relief Artist had his start in the Boston Public Schools and the Yawkey League

By Tony Massarotti Thursday, October 11, 2007 - Updated 11h ago
+ Recent Articles + Recent Boston Herald Sports ColumnistSports columnist Tony Massarotti has been a must-read for years in the pages of the Boston Herald.

Think of it this way: When the Red Sox [team stats] last won a division championship, Manny Delcarmen was 13.

Just the same, though he grew up in Boston, Delcarmen never attended a playoff game at Fenway Park [map] until Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Los Angeles Angels.

The second game he attended (Game 2), he got to pitch. The young right-hander promptly gave the Red Sox 1 scoreless innings in the wake of a relatively poor start by Daisuke Matsuzaka, allowing manager Terry Francona to properly align his bullpen in the later innings.
As has been the case this season, Delcarmen ended up with neither a win nor a loss, though it was a job well done.

“I always get the jitters coming into any game,” Delcarmen said yesterday as the Sox continued preparations for Friday’s AL Championship Series opener against the Cleveland Indians. “I tried to go out there and just treat it like any other game, which I think I did a pretty good job of.”
The numbers certainly support that.

In his 1 innings, Delcarmen faced just five hitters, retiring all but one while recording one strikeout. The only Angel to reach base was Vladimir Guerrero, whom Delcarmen drilled in the back with a fastball that forced Guerrero from the game.

Still, Delcarmen’s outing effectively allowed the Sox to make up for Matsuzaka’s poor outing and allowed the manager to better utilize his bullpen.

“We got to our bullpen a little earlier than we would have liked, but because of the way Delcarmen pitched, it allowed us to catch up a bit,” Francona said. “We were able to somewhat match up.”

Given the late-season struggles of both Eric Gagne and Hideki Okajima [stats], Delcarmen’s emergence as a reliable reliever has been an enormous development for the bullpen. Since June 29, Delcarmen has a 1.79 ERA over 40 innings, including last week against the Angels.

In that game, Delcarmen again demonstrated an effective changeup to go with his curveball and overpowering fastball. Delcarmen has been able to use the changeup against both left-handed and right-handed batters, the latter of whom see relatively few changeups from right-handed pitchers.

If and when Delcarmen faces the Indians this weekend, he can at least say that he has been to a playoff game at Fenway Park before.

“This is my first experience, and being able to be in uniform playing is pretty cool,” he said

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