The Red Sox haven't had a complete game shutout from a rookie for a long, long time. The last one? Paul Quantrill July 4, 1993 at Seattle. Put that calculator down! That's fourteen years ago. Last night against the hardly regal Royals, Red Sox rookie Kason Gabbard threw an economic three hit shutout in just under 2 hours 20 minutes. Now that's nifty.
So the big question of course is, who in blazes is Kason Gabbard? I must admit when Schilling went on the disabled list I immediately thought it would be cool if the Sox brought Jon Lester up to take his place. Dave from 'The coffin corner' suggested, correctly, that Gabbard not only deserved the call up, but was the best fit. How right he was with last nights win running Kason's record to a fancy 3-0.
So what is Gabbard all about? A 29th-round draft pick in 2000 (that's not early), Gabbard started the 2006 season with Double-A Portland and posted an excellent 9-2 record with a spiffy 2.57 ERA in 13 starts. Promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket on June 23, he went a more pedestrian 1-3 with a 4.97 ERA in five starts. Nevertheless the Sox brought him up on July 21 to replace Tim Wakefield, who was on the disabled list. In his Major League debut on July 22, he allowed two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings to the Seattle Mariners and was charged with what can be described as a hard-luck loss. Gabbard's first major league win was on September 5th against the Chicago White Sox. Gabbard was superb, going 7 shutout innings, surrendering three hits and striking out six in a 1-0 Red Sox win.
For 2007, Gabbard was called up from Triple A Pawtucket to pitch on May 20 against Atlanta in place of Josh Beckett. He had pitched well allowing only 2 runs on 6 hits over 5 innings and got the win. He was however then immediately optioned back to Pawtucket after the game.
Gabbard's current stint with the big league club started on June 26, 2007 against Seattle in place of Curt Schilling. Gabbard isn't overpowering in the traditional sense, but his offspeed stuff is excellent, and he seems to pick the right spots to use it.
Let's face it, when Schilling comes back, unless Tavarez implodes, Gabbard will be back to Pawtucket, but he has definitely made the Sox think twice. More importantly, with Lester, Gabbard and Bucholz in Rhode Island, that gives the Red Sox some serious fall back options should anything go wrong in the second half.
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