This has been already been an historic April for Red Sox rookie closer Jonathan Papelbon. On the last day of the month, Boston’s veteran ace looks to make some history himself.
With a victory, Schilling can join Babe Ruth (1917) and Pedro Martinez (2000) as the only Red Sox pitchers with five April wins in a season.
Schilling’s stamina could be watched closely after he threw 133 pitches— his most in six years and the highest total in baseball this season—in his start Tuesday at Cleveland.
The 39-year-old right-hander came out for the seventh inning with a 6-5 lead, but allowed a game-tying run before being relieved. He yielded five runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings of a game Boston eventually won 8-6.
“The only disappointment is from my end,” Schilling said. “People will bash the manager for leaving me in there, but it came down to me not making pitches. It was personally disappointing, but a great team win.”
Schilling (4-0, 2.60 ERA) defeated the Devil Rays (10-14) April 19 at Fenway Park, limiting Tampa Bay to one run in six innings in Boston’s 9-1 win to improve to 4-0. He is 8-4 with a 3.84 lifetime ERA versus the Devil Rays.
Papelbon set a new April rookie record with his 10th save in Saturday’s 9-6 victory. Papelbon struck out the side in the ninth inning to break the old mark of nine, set by Kansas City’s Mike MacDougal in 2003.
“He’s a special young man,” Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek said after Papelbon ran his personal scoreless streak to 20 1-3 innings dating to last season. “He does a lot of little things that help him. Pretty good split, pretty good slider. He has a lot of things to work with.”
April has also been a special month for the Red Sox as a team in recent years. Boston will finish April with a record of .500 or better for the 10th consecutive year.
Varitek provided the tiebreaking RBI single in a four-run ninth-inning rally Saturday as the Red Sox (14-10) snapped a three-game losing skid. Manny Ramirez went 2-for-5 with a homer and a triple.
Ramirez leads all visiting players with 21 homers and 57 RBIs in 57 career games played at Tropicana Field.
The Devil Rays send left-hander Scott Kazmir (2-2, 4.30) to the hill to try and continue his success against the Red Sox. Kazmir earned the win in Tampa Bay’s 5-1 victory at Fenway Park on April 20, limiting Boston to one run and four hits in 5 2-3 innings before leaving with muscle cramps in his left thumb.
Kazmir is 3-1 with a 2.64 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 44 1-3 innings over eight career starts versus the Red Sox.
Jonny Gomes went 4-for-4 with a home run and a double Saturday. His 11th homer set a Tampa Bay club record for the most in the month of April.
Gomes has reached base safely in 23 of 24 games this season.