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Green walk-off hard to comprehend… For Green

06.21.09 at 6:17 pm ET
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There Nick Green was. Running out of the batter’s box as he watched his fly ball sail down the right field line and curve just inside the Pesky Pole for a game-winning home run to lead the Red Sox over the Braves, 6-5, at Fenway Park.

Funny thing was, he didn’t realize that he had just won the game.

“To be honest with you, I didn’t realize what was going on,” Green said. “I didn’t even comprehend the fact that I swung at the first pitch and it was a walk-off. I just knew that we still had to hit.”

When did it hit home?

“When I hit second base and everybody is standing at home plate and then I realized what was going on,” Green said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Daisuke speaks on D.L. stint

06.21.09 at 3:44 pm ET
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Before Sunday’s game between the Red Sox and Braves, Daisuke Matsuzaka met with the media to discuss the decision by the Sox to place the pitcher on the 15-day disabled list:

“It’€™s the ballclub’s decision, but I also felt I couldn’€™t keep going the way I’€™d been going. I had to make some changes, so overall, I’€™m hoping its’€™ going to be a good thing and will work out.”

“I’€™m not sure at this point whether traveling with the team on next road tirp. Can’€™t say for sure.”

“I had some awareness of this going into the exam. Going in I could tell there was some weakness there.”

(On any regrets about playing in the WBC) “I have no regrets. I knew going in that this season I’€™d have to work hard at the WBC and throughout the regular season as well. That’€™s the mentality I had in offseason as I was ramping up.. Really it was my fault I wasn’t able to do that effectively. Have no intention of placing any blame on the WBC or using it as an excuse.”

(Problem in shoulder before? You bring up to team?) “Think that fatigue is something that happens to everybody. Not a direct cause of wanting to talk to coaching staff. Everyone feels fatigue, but coming out of my last start, I knew I had to talk to the coaches. I came off the mound that night, thought about it all night, wanted to start conversation with them. They wanted to meet with me.”

“Immediately after I can off the mound my thought was, ‘If I keep going like this, it’s just going to be a burden to this team. There was no way I was going to keep going like that. Tim passed, I kept thing about it, and it reached the point where I needed to approach the coaching staff and be prepared to say on my end to be taken out of the rotation. I had reached that point.”

“I’m not content or satisfied with the situation, but at the same time the depth of the staff gives me an opportunity to focus on myself 100 percent and work on what I need to do.”

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Welcome back Dusty Brown

06.21.09 at 1:34 pm ET
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The last time Dusty Brown saw the inside of the Red Sox clubhouse at Fenway, it looked a lot different than it did on Sunday, when the catcher was called up to the majors for the first time in his career, taking the spot temporarily for Daisuke Matsuzaka.

“It’s the first call-up,” the 27-year-old catcher said. “We’ll see what happens. It’s pretty good. The last time I was in here I think was the year I signed, 2001, and it was much smaller. I was expecting less, I guess. I was pretty impressed.”

Brown’s impact at Triple-A Pawtucket has come behind the plate. He has thrown out 28 percent (16-of-58) of attempted base stealers and leads all International League catchers in putouts (329) and total chances (359). Read the rest of this entry »

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Dice on DL

06.21.09 at 12:58 pm ET
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Red Sox manager Terry Francona was about as clear as he could be on Sunday about the near future for Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list prior to Sunday’s game with the Braves.

“It was very obvious that we would have to D.L. him,” Francona said. “This is not going to be a two-week D.L. We have to figure this out. We have a lot of work ahead of us to get him back to being Daisuke.”

Matsuzaka was placed on the D.L. Sunday, with the club calling up catcher Dusty Brown to take his place, for the time being. John Smoltz is expected to take Brown’s spot when Smoltz starts Thursday against Washington. Read the rest of this entry »

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Matsuzaka update: ‘Some weakness,’ but no structural damage

06.20.09 at 10:31 pm ET
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Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was examined on Saturday, and underwent an MRI to evaluate his right shoulder. Boston manager Terry Francona said that while there was no structural damage to the shoulder, the same weakness that has affected the pitcher throughout the season persists. Still, while Francona’s description of Matsuzaka’s condition made it seem likely that a trip to the disabled list will be necessary, the manager said that the team did not have an official move to announce.

“We don’t have anything official to announce because we really need to let this thing settled down,” said Francona. “I will say, I don’t think it’s any surprised, there’s some weakness that we’re going ot ahve to fix. By that, it’s going to have to be addressed, but there is no official announcement tonight.”

Francona met with Matsuzaka, G.M. Theo Epstein, pitching coach John Farrell, team physician Dr. Thomas Gill and trainers over the course of the day. He suggested that the team was unlikely to announce the next move with the pitcher until after Monday’s off-day. That delay reflects in part the fact that it is difficult, according to Francona, to get a good read on a pitcher’s health the day after a start. (Matsuzaka allowed six runs in four innings on Friday.)

That said, the manager painted the portrait of an issue that has been ongoing, and that continues to limit the pitcher’s effectiveness.

“We’ve been fighting this (shoulder weakness) all year. It’s been hard, and I know that I keep coming back to the (World Baseball Classic), and that’s probably not a real popular thing in baseball to say that, but (Matsuzaka) didn’t have a chance to get a foundation (for his arm strength),” said Francona. “You’re ramped up to try to get people out probably before he was ready. Physically it’s happened to pitchers where they’re pitching in earnest before their bodies or arms are ready to do that, and I think we paid the price for that.

“We’ve been playing catch-up,” Francona continued. “We did what we thought was right to shut him down earlier (this year, when he went on the disabled list in April). I think we all see that it’s not really getting strong or better. It’s been a struggle so we’re trying to address that.”

Read More: Daisuke Matsuzaka,

Beckett closes the deal

06.20.09 at 9:24 pm ET
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Jonathan Papelbon was warming in the ninth, but Josh Beckett seemed to have no intention of turning the game over to anyone. He retired the Braves in the ninth on just five pitches to finish a complete-game shutout and 3-0 win in just 94 pitches. It was Beckett’s first shutout as a member of the Red Sox, and the third or his career. It was also Beckett’s first complete-game of the 2009 season.

Beckett keeps posting zeros

06.20.09 at 9:16 pm ET
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Though Josh Beckett’s stuff was not quite as dominating in the eighth inning — following a lengthy bottom of the seventh — as it had been earlier in the game, the Braves remained unable to do anything against him. After retiring 11 straight from the fourth through seventh innings, Beckett gave up a pair of hits in the eighth, and faced a first-and-second situation with one out.

But after falling behind Jeff Francouer, 2-0 and then 3-1, Beckett got Francouer to hit a hard one-hopper back to the mound. Beckett reacted quickly to glove it, then fired to second to start a 1-6-3 double play to keep his shutout intact. With just 89 pitches through eight innings, Beckett will remain on the hill for the ninth.

Lowe Rider Makes His Exit

06.20.09 at 8:57 pm ET
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After Derek Lowe gave up back-to-back hits to Jason Varitek (double off the Wall) and Nick Green (hard single to center) to put runners on the corners with one out in the seventh, Braves manager Bobby Cox removed his starter from the game. Lowe left trailing, 2-0, and so he will not earn a victory tonight in his first career appearance as a visitor in Boston.

But he may have received something far more meaningful: as he walked off the mound, Lowe received a sustained ovation from the crowd at Fenway Park, an act that had less to do with his fine performance tonight than with his eight years of service as a Red Sox. Though he last wore the home whites in Boston five years ago, his time here was clearly not forgotten.

Following Lowe’s exit, Dustin Pedroia hit into a run-scoring fielder’s choice to close the book on Lowe’s night with the following line:

6.1 innings, 3 runs, 7 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts,

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Josh Beckett: ruthlessly good

06.20.09 at 8:52 pm ET
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It would appear safe to suggest that Josh Beckett’s poor outing last Sunday against the Phillies (six innings, seven runs, six earned, 11 hits) was an aberration.

Beckett has needed just 79 pitches to throw seven shutout innings in which he’s given up three hits and struck out seven.He’s featuring easy mid-90s velocity on his four-seam fastball, which he has complemented with a devastating curveball and very good changeup.

Thanks to a double play and a runner who was thrown out trying to advance from first to second on a ball that didn’t quite get far enough away from catcher Jason Varitek, he has faced just 22 batters, one over the minimum. Becket has walked none, going to just two three-ball counts. (Surprisingly, he has thrown first-pitch strikes to just 12 of 22 batters.)

Red Sox add on

06.20.09 at 8:41 pm ET
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Though Derek Lowe stifled the Red Sox into the fifth, he seems to be running out of gas against his former team. After giving up a run in the fifth on a pair of doubles, the Sox plated another when J.D. Drew doubled off the Wall in left-center to lead off the sixth and Kevin Youkilis followed by ripping a run-scoring single to right-center. (After the inning, Lowe seemed to make a point of walking past Youkilis.)

Lowe appeared to be losing the sink on his pitches, as he gave up four fly balls or liners in the sixth inning after having given up three in the fifth. He is at 100 pitches through six innings. Though the Braves had a reliever (Jeff Bennett) warming during the sixth, the bullpen is currently silent.

Lowe and the Braves trail, 2-0. Josh Beckett is locked in.

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