As strange as this may sound, I was probably more excited about the first game of yesterday's doubleheader than about any other game this week. It goes without saying that I was psyched to be able to see 7-and-0 Josh and Dice-K, but since the beginning of the season, I've slowly been developing a soft spot for Julian Tavarez. He's gone out there start after start and given his best effort, despite having starts moved back, postponed and flat out skipped. He's been as solid as you can expect a fifth starter to be, but the way the rotations have worked out have meant that he's pretty much not had a 'fifth-starter' start all season - it's been a steady diet of Halladays, Wangs and Santanas, giving him a tough 1-4 record. Oh, and all of these starts made in the knowledge that he's basically just holding the fort until Jon Lester comes back
Yesterday Julian finally got his just rewards: 7 innings, 1 run on 4 hits. He pitched himself into and out of trouble in the 5th and went deep enough into the game to be able to hand it over to Oki and Papelbon. His exit from the game was pure Tavarez - after striking out Granderson he did a "Just doin' my job" sprint into the dugout, leaving us barely enough time to give him a much-deserved standing ovation.
After that, well, Okajima and Papelbon did their thing: 2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 3 strikeouts, Red Sox win. On a cold Thursday afternoon in Boston, you couldn't ask for much more than that.