Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
On the heels of Franklin Morales’ seven scoreless innings Thursday night, the veteran sinkerballer tossed a two-hit shutout against a Mariners offense that has been blanked 10 times this season and four times this month.
And here’s the kicker: Cook did it in only 81 pitches.
“I’ve got a short attention span,” Cook said with a smile, “so I try to work quick.”
Said Saltalamacchia, “I felt like I caught five innings. I looked up at the board, it was the seventh inning, and it was like, ‘Really? All right.’ It was fun.”
For him to pitch so well — Cook gave up only an infield single to Ichiro Suzuki in the fourth inning and a leadoff single to John Jaso in the eighth — leaves the Red Sox [team stats] feeling far better about the depth of their rotation, especially with lefty Felix Doubront already approaching his innings total from last season.
The Aaron Cook story has been a fun one. Signed to a minor league deal by the Sox, he had been pretty much lights out through a handful of starts with Pawtucket. He had an opt-out clause built into his contract, allowing him to become a free agent if the Sox didn't call him up at the beginning of May.
He gets the call and starts his first game of the season against the Orioles on May 5th. He was cruising very early in the game, when Salty let a low pitch get past him. Cook covered home and took a Chris Davis spike to the leg, giving him a pretty nasty wound. Cook left that game after only 2.2 innings and went onto the DL. Back up with the Sox again, Cook pitched a solid game against the Braves earlier in the week and followed that up with his 2 hit gem against the Mariners.
Sox pitchers keep going down due to injury (Beckett), sickness (Buchholz) or being awful at throwing a baseball (Bard) but there's seemingly always someone ready to step in and pitch well. Soon we'll have to play another round of 'Who stays, Who goes?' and it won't be easy.
Doubront has struggled as of late. It's quite possible, as Scott suggested, that, with a few starts under his belt, the league has finally caught up to Felix. If this is the case, Felix is going to have to make some adjustments and deliver. He had been a revelation early on, but he's anything but lately. Morales, like Doubront, is having some wild early starter success. No one saw this coming. Nobody. You never want to sit down a hot hand, but in 3 or 4 starts he might be running into the same struggles that Doubront is. Someone may just figure him out.
And then there's Cook. A guy who's been around the league for a while. Plenty of tape on him for teams to digest. And, for whatever reason, when he has been given the ball this season (whether it be in AAA or the Majors) he's been extremely effective.
Beckett is coming back today, so someone is getting shuffled. But which pitcher that is won't be an easy decision.
Rest of the links:
Herald - Josh Beckett to the rescue | Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford back in action | Globe -Cook makes quick work of Mariners | Tim Wakefield joins NESN | WEEI -No regrets: With Cody Ross flourishing, Red Sox getting better end of trading Marco Scutaro | Brutal outing for Bard in Pawtucket | CSNNE - Who exits rotation when Buchholz returns? | Cook finds rhythm, consistency a winning recipe | Cook dazzles, hurling two-hitter