Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Tazawa gets the startPosted by Alex Pedicini
Red Sox prospect Junichi Tazawa will make his first major league start tonight for Boston. Tazawa got the emergency call Friday night when he came out of the pen and took the loss in extra innings against the Yankees. Fellow writer Mike Fast detailed his outing last weekend on this very blog.
Tazawa was signed as an international free agent. The 23-year old had no prior professional experience in his native Japan. He has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the majors in this is first professional season.
Tazawa has had a brief, albeit very successful, tenure in the Red Sox system. He began the year in Portland (Double-A) making 18 starts. He posted a 3.35 FIP and an impressive 3.38 strikeout-to-walk rate. He made just two starts in Triple-A before earning his promotion to the major leagues.
What is interesting is that the Sox are showing more faith in Tazawa than Michael Bowden, a guy who has spent four years in the organization and has been called on before to pitch for Boston. Bowden threw two perfect innings of relief against New York earlier this season and also made one start last year tossing five innings and allowing just two runs.
Bowden was regarded as the number two pitching prospect (behind Buchholz) in the organization prior to the season, yet he has failed to live up to the expectations this year. His walks per nine are at a career high 3.31 and his FIP stands at 4.28. Oddly enough his BABIP is rather low .256 and he has stranded 75.7 percent of base runners neither of which implies that he has been terribly unlucky this season.
Bowden has always been prone to fly balls, but this year he has already given up a career high 11 home runs in 103.1 innings. His fly ball tendencies could be especially harmful playing at Fenway Park.
Tazawa looks like he could be the guy to hold down the fifth rotation spot until Tim Wakefield or Daisuke Matsuzaka return from the disabled-list.
Alex is a student in Boston. He welcomes all questions and comments here