Snyder Solid, But Sox Fall

Kyle Snyder's chances of winning the fifth spot in the Red Sox rotation may be slim, but he continued to make a case for a more pivotal role in the bullpen Sunday, when he allowed just one hit in three scoreless innings as the Sox fell to the Pirates, 6-3, in a Grapefruit League game in Bradenton, FL.

Snyder, who walked one and struck out two, has a 4.09 ERA in four games (two starts). Clay Buchholz is likely to win the fifth starter's job and Bartolo Colon looms as a potential addition to the rotation, but Snyder—who registered a 3.81 ERA in 46 appearances as the Sox' long reliever last year—could move up in the pecking order.

Hideki Okajima followed Snyder and continued his impressive spring by tossing two shutout innings in which he allowed two hits and one walk while striking out one. Okajima has now thrown nine shutout innings over seven appearances and has surrendered just six hits and one walk while whiffing three.

The Sox' lead—they scored single runs in the first and sixth—evaporated in the hands of Mike Timlin and Craig Breslow. Timlin squandered the two-run advantage in the sixth, when he gave up two runs on three hits while striking out one. Breslow was saddled with the loss after he surrendered four runs—three earned—on four hits in the seventh. He'd allowed only one run in 4 1/3 innings entering Sunday, but the hiccup was still something Breslow could ill afford as he attempts to outlast the likes of Bryan Corey and David Aardsma in the race to fill the final spot in the Sox' bullpen.

Jonathan Papelbon finished up for the Sox with a perfect eighth inning. He's surrendered only two runs on four hits and no walks while striking out six in eight innings this spring.

Dustin Pedroia and non-roster invitee Joe Thurston sparked the Sox offensively with solo homers. Pedroia's blast led off the game against Pirates starter Tom Gorzelanny. Chris Carter added a sacrifice fly for the Sox while Julio Lugo and Alex Cora had two hits apiece. Cora, who also stole a base, has collected at least one hit in eight of his last nine games and is hitting a robust .481 (13-for-27) in that span.

Kevin Youkilis, Bobby Kielty, Sean Danielson and Jed Lowrie each had a hit for the Sox. Kielty's hit was his first of the spring and snapped an 0-for-14 skid. Lowrie's hit was only his fourth of the Grapefruit League season in a team high 38 at-bats.

The Sox fell to 7-9-2 with the defeat and will need to win Monday and Wednesday in order to head to Japan with a .500 record in Grapefruit League play. The Sox travel to Tampa, FL Monday for a 1:05 game against the Yankees—their only exhibition game this year against their archrivals. Colon is scheduled to start for the Sox and is expected to go three innings. Andy Pettitte gets the starting assignment for the Yankees.


Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at diehardmag@yahoo.com. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.

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