|06.07.10 at 8:47 pm ET|
–With the 12th overall pick, the Reds snagged Yasmani Grandal. Grandal was considered the best all-around catcher in the draft. The Red Sox drafted the catcher out of high school in 2007, grabbing him in the 27th round. But Grandal instead elected to fulfill his commitment to the University of Miami, and the decision apparently will pay off handsomely for the Boras client.
—Chris Sale went with the 13th overall pick to the White Sox. The left-hander is a product of Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, a school that just a few years ago had little significance in the draft landscape, but that has now become something of a factory for baseball talent. Because the Red Sox’ spring training facility is based in Fort Myers, the organization had plenty of opportunities to see Sale.
–A lot of prominent prospects remain on the board for the Sox at No. 20. The Sox will be able to pick from a number of players considered to have a high ceiling, among them LSU right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (more on him here), Arkansas third baseman Zack Cox and Ball State second baseman/centerfielder Kolbrin Vitek.
|06.07.10 at 8:08 pm ET|
–It came as no surprise that Bryce Harper was taken with the first pick, but it was unexpected that the 17-year-old phenom was announced as an outfielder rather than a catcher.
–The first New England product selected was Matt Harvey, who went with the seventh overall pick to the Mets. Harvey attended Fitch High School in Groton, Conn., before enrolling at the University of North Carolina. The right-hander, who is represented by Scott Boras, was considered a possibility to fall in the draft due to signability concerns. Some thought that he could be a candidate to fall to the Sox at No. 20, in the same way that another UNC product, right-hander Daniel Bard, was left on the board at pick No. 28 for the Sox in 2006. But the Mets moved quickly on Harvey, making him the second college pitcher taken in the draft.
–Former Red Sox second baseman Mark Loretta was at the draft as the representative of the San Diego Padres, one of many connections between the Padres and Sox. It is worth noting that the Sox turned down Loretta’s offer to re-sign with them for the 2007 season for $1 million because the team wanted to make sure that there was no temptation to take playing time from Dustin Pedroia in his rookie season.
Of perhaps greater significance to the Sox was the fact that the Padres (whose Assistant GM, Jason McLeod, used to be the amateur scouting director of the Sox) selected high school right-hander Karsten Whitson. The Padres were considered likely to draft Kolbrin Vitek, a second baseman and center fielder at Ball State University. The Sox have legitimate interest in Vitek, as evidenced by the fact that GM Theo Epstein reportedly scouted him at the MAC tournament.
As an aside to the Sox’ possible interest in Vitek: Vitek could become the second straight toolsy Ball State second baseman/outfielder selected by the Sox, following Jeremy Hazelbaker, a Sox fourth rounder in 2009. Hazelbaker was named the top position player for the Sox in the Fall Instructional League, and while his offensive numbers this year at Greenville are modest (.240/.339/.413), he has swiped 26 bases at this young stage of the season.
|06.07.10 at 5:27 pm ET|
Just about everyone and his or her mother has, at some point, suggested that the Red Sox are one of the most likely destinations for LSU right-handed pitcher Anthony Ranaudo. The 6-foot-7 hurler was the consensus best college pitcher in the draft entering the year, following a sophomore campaign in which he went 12-3 with a 3.04 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning against some of the top college competition. He was the pitcher of record in the championship game when the Tigers won the College World Series, and his mid-90s fastball, and he also graded as having an above-average curveball and a usable slider.
But in his junior year, he suffered a stress reaction in his right elbow (a precursor to a stress fracture) early in the season and was sidelined for a month. His mechanics fell out of whack when he returned, resulting in inconsistent performances. This year, he is 5-3 with a 7.32 ERA and while his strikeout totals remained high (54 in 51.2 innings), his walks totals also spiked (27).
He has been impressive in recent outings, but because of medical concerns, his performance inconsistency and the fact that his advisor is Scott Boras, who will expect his client to receive a bonus commensurate with his skills when healthy, Ranaudo will likely drop in the draft. The Sox, according to multiple sources and several industry publications, are extremely high on the pitcher’s potential. The team likes to shoot for the players who can make the biggest impact in the farm system, and certainly, prior to this year’s struggles, Ranaudo seemed like just such a pitcher.
But would the Sox pull the trigger on a pitcher who comes with medical risks attached?
Certainly, the Sox attach tremendous value to gathering medical information about every player whom they scout. As Sox GM Theo Epstein said last week, “the currency of the draft is information,” and medical information is one of the crucial components that the Sox have worked to refine over the past few years.
“We have a good process that we work on with our medical staff here. They’ve refined the process. We all refine the process every year,” said Sox director of amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye. “Four years ago I couldn’t sit here and say we’re as comfortable with the process as we are today.”
But in practical terms, what has that meant? How have the Sox approached prominent draftees who were either medical or performance risks in recent years?
–The closest comparable player to Ranaudo to come out in the draft in recent years was Kyle Gibson, a right-hander out of Missouri who was viewed as a top five or top 10 pick in the 2009 draft before a stress fracture in his right forearm. His velocity dropped during his junior year as a result of the injury, and so, too, did his draft stock.
He remained on the board until the Twins selected him at No. 22 overall, six picks before the Sox made Reymond Fuentes their first-round draft choice.
According to sources familiar with the Sox’ thinking last year, the team did not expect Gibson to fall to them at No. 28. (Indeed, it was a draft day surprise that he was still on the board at 22.) But the Sox were comfortable enough with the pitcher’s medicals to be prepared to consider the talented right-hander had he gotten to their pick.
That would not have been a guarantee that the team would have taken Gibson over Fuentes — a player whom the Sox loved, and who is currently enjoying a terrific first year of pro ball for Single-A Greenville, hitting .275/.321/.401/.723 with three homers and 19 steals (without a single caught stealing). Still, the Sox’ willingness to consider Gibson (who is enjoying a spectacular pro debut, with a 7-2 record and 2.27 ERA in Hi-A and Double-A for the Twins this year) offered some indication that the team was not averse to taking a player who was deemed a medical risk by some clubs if his talent justified an early selection.
–The Sox did take another player who fell from the top of the 2009 draft. Right-hander Kendal Volz was considered one of the top college pitchers entering the 2009 season thanks to a strong performance for Team USA, but his velocity slipped as a junior, and his mechanics got worse over the year. He went 3-7 with a 4.50 ERA, and both his strikeout and strikeout-to-walk numbers took a hit. The Sox took him in the ninth round and signed him for $550,000. This year, he’s 4-2 with a 3.33 ERA for Greenville.
–In 2008, the Sox were very interested in taking right-hander Alex Wilson, even though he’d missed the entire season due to Tommy John surgery. The Cubs ended up taking the pitcher in the 10th round, but he didn’t sign and re-entered the draft in 2009. Then, the Sox took him in the second round and signed him for the slot bonus of $470,000. In High-A Salem this year, Wilson is 2-1 with a 3.40 ERA and an excellent 50:15 strikeout:walk rate in 55 innings.
–In 2006, the Sox drafted left-hander Kris Johnson one year after he’d undergone Tommy John surgery. He’d pitched in the 2006 season for Wichita State, forging a 4.86 ERA in his recovery year. The Sox were hopeful that they’d get an undervalued pitcher once his stuff played back up to its pre-surgery form, but his curveball — a potentially above-average swing-and-miss offering before the procedure — has never returned with the same bite. In some respects, though Johnson (who is having a decent season this year in Triple-A Pawtucket, with a 4.32 ERA that represents significant improvement on his 6.35 mark of 2009) may reach the majors, it seems unlikely that he will give the Sox the return for which they hoped when they drafted him as a first-round sandwich pick (40th overall).
|06.07.10 at 4:42 pm ET|
The Red Sox on Monday activated LHP Boof Bonser from Pawtucket and placed Jonathan Papelbon on the bereavement list. Bonser had a 6.34 ERA in nine rehab games with Triple-A Pawtucket this year, but he allowed just one run in his final three appearances, a span of 14 innings. The team did not disclose a reason for Papelbon being placed on the bereavement list. A player put on the bereavement list must miss a minimum of three games.
|06.07.10 at 2:16 pm ET|
* – LEADING OFF INNINGS – The .408 average and .463 OBP by the Red Sox are both weekly highs this season. Boston’s .232 leadoff OBP allowed was also their best week. The Yankees allowed 6 leadoff homers last week.
This week’s opponent, Cleveland, has a .215 leadoff average this season, last in the majors. They’ve allowed a .381 leadoff OBP, which is also last.
* – AFTER 0-1 COUNTS – The Sox put up a .281 average after falling behind last week, their best week of the season. The 16 extra base hits was also their best week. YTD, Boston has a .420 slugging percentage following 0-1 counts, the highest in MLB:
Boston’s pitchers have allowed just a .196 average following 0-1 counts. They join the Blue Jays (.194) and Rays (.196) as the only teams in MLB allowing a sub-.200 average after getting ahead 0-1.
* – AFTER 1-0 COUNTS – The good: Boston’s offense hit .367, walked 28 times, and generated a, OPS of 1.132 last week after getting ahead. All were the best single week of the season for the Red Sox. Also, the pitchers fell behind just 36.8% of the time last week, the 2nd best percentage in the AL:
The bad: The .342 average allowed was the 2nd highest week by the Sox and their 68 doubles allowed after 1-0 counts is the most in the majors.
Clip & Save: The Indians allowed a .429 average and 1.248 OPS last week after falling behind 1-0.
* – AFTER 0-2 COUNTS – The .304 average by the Red Sox offense after getting in an 0-2 hole was by far the best in the majors as no one else topped even .270. I found it interesting that despite the huge difference in offensive firepower between the two clubs, the Indians have 6 HR after 0-2 counts, while the Red Sox have just 5.
* – FULL COUNTS – For the 7th straight week, Red Sox hitters walked at least as many times as they struck out on 3-2 counts.
Cleveland has an .871 full count OPS, 72 points higher than Boston’s, thanks to 121 full count walks (2nd in MLB). Boston has 92 walks on 3-2.
Boston pitchers have walked 119 batters on 3-2 counts, the most in the majors. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s beleaguered staff has posted a .555 OPS-against on 3-2 counts this season, the best in the majors.
* – GROUNDBALLS – We know that a groundball that gets through with 2 outs and RISP generally means a run will score. Well, since May 10, the Red Sox have been pretty ridiculous at preventing those hits, leading the AL by allowing just an .088 average:
And who trails the AL in that same span?:
Also, among players with at least 25 line drives this year, Jeremy Hermida sports the 3rd lowest average in the majors:
.500 – Casey Kotchman, SEA (16-32)
.526 – Alcides Escobar, MIL (20-36)
.536 – Jeremy Hermida, BOS (15-28)
Hermida has just 1 hit over his last 6 line drives since May 27.
* RUNNERS IN SCORING POSITION – The Sox had 24 hits with RISP last week and their .277 average on the year leads the AL. Sure makes that 4 for 42 in Week 2 seem a long way off, doesn’t it?
Boston’s pitchers have allowed a .137 average with 2 outs and RISP this season in the 8th inning or later, 2nd lowest in the majors:
.128 – Detroit Tigers
.137 – Boston Red Sox
.160 – Philadelphia Phillies
It was .190 last season, best in the AL and 4th best in the majors.
This won’t surprise you much: With 2 outs and RISP, the Red Sox have hit .159 (14-88) in games they’ve lost this year and .357 (55-154) in games they’ve won.
Finally, I thought this was worth a mention:
* – The Red Sox bullpen has been very good at stranding inherited runners lately. Since May 20, Sox relievers have inherited 17 runners and none have scored. They’re the only bullpen in the majors that has not allowed at least 4 inherited runners to score in that span. Here are the AL leaders:
0% – Boston Red Sox (0-17)
21% – Chicago White Sox (6-28)
25% – Minnesota Twins (4-16)
27% – New York Yankees (4-15)
The Red Sox 17-game streak without allowing an IR-S is their longest since at least 2007. They’ve got a ways to go to match the longest such streaks in the majors in that time:
30 – Chicago White Sox (ended 6/29/08)
30 – San Diego Padres (ended 5/23/07)
27 – Philadelphia Phillies (ended 9/9/09)
25 – New York Yankees (ended 7/25/08)
Prior to May 20, the Red Sox allowed 24 of 66 (36%) to score. In the AL, only the Angels (50%) were worse in that span.
Here’s a clip and save for this week’s series against the Indians: Cleveland’s bullpen was great at stranding IR’s early in the season (through May 20), allowing just 10 of 75 (13%) to score. Since then, they’ve allowed 11 of 25 (44%) to score.
|06.07.10 at 12:18 pm ET|
Sunday afternoon, the Red Sox were primed to sweep the Orioles, the last-place team in the AL East. They were able to come back from a one-run deficit in the top of the ninth to send the game into extra innings, but a walk-off RBI single by Nick Markakis allowed Baltimore to grab a 4-3 win in 11. One day after the tough-luck loss, Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Sox will face the tough luck-loser of a near perfect game, Fausto Carmona and the Indians, the last-place team in the AL Central.
Carmona (4-4, 3.53 ERA) has been the Indians’ workhorse, lasting at least six innings in all but one of his starts (he pitched five innings in a 4-0 win against the Royals on May 12). The 26-year-old right-hander had a fantastic start to his season, winning three of his first four starts while posting a 2.96 ERA, but lately things haven’t been going his way. Carmona has lost his last three starts, with the most recent one a 3-0 loss to the Tigers, the game in which Armando Galarraga nearly pitched the third major league perfect game in a month if it weren’t for umpire Jim Joyce‘s blown call at first base. Galarraga shut down the Indians offense and overshadowed Carmona’s excellent performance. In his first complete game in two years, Carmona gave up two earned runs on nine hits and walked none on only 96 pitches.
If Carmona’s statistics show a sharp divide between a good and a bad season, Matsuzaka’s statistics show a sharp divide between good and bad starts. Since the beginning of his season a month ago, Matsuzaka (4-2, 5.49 ERA) has wavered between every start:
‘¢ May 1 (Orioles, L) ‘ 4 2/3 innings, 7 runs (6 earned), 7 hits, 3 walks
‘¢ May 6 (Angels, W) ‘ 5 1/3 innings, 5 runs, 5 hits, 3 walks
‘¢ May 11 (Blue Jays, W) ‘ 7 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 0 walks
‘¢ May 17 (Yankees, ND) ‘ 4 2/3 innings, 7 runs, 9 hits, 3 walks
‘¢ May 22 (Phillies, W) ‘ 8 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 4 walks
‘¢ May 27 (Royals, L) ‘ 4 2/3 innings, 3 runs, 2 hits, 8 walks
‘¢ June 2 (A’s, W) ‘ 6 2/3 innings, 3 runs, 10 hits, 0 walks
The Red Sox hope that Matsuzaka can buck the trend and pick up another win. He has done well against the Indians, pulling a 2-1 career record against them. Of the eight current Indians who have ever faced the Japanese pitcher, none have gone beyond second base and five have yet to get a hit off him. Travis Hafner has had the most success, getting two doubles, but pay special attention to Jhonny Peralta ‘ he has yet to get on base in nine plate appearances against the 29-year-old righty.
For the Red Sox, their experienced hitters have had the most success off Carmona. Expect to see David Ortiz continue his recent offensive explosion as he has a .500 average against his fellow Dominican, with a home run, a double and four RBI. Jason Varitek also stands to continue strong against Carmona; he has a .500 average of his own with a double and two RBI.
This will be the first game of a four-game road series for the Sox against the Indians before they return to interleague play, starting with a nine-game homestand.
Red Sox vs. Fausto Carmona
Marco Scutaro (18 career plate appearances against Carmona): .389 BA/.389 OBP/.389 SLG, 2 strikeouts
Adrian BeltrÃ© (8): .250/.625/.250, 3 walks
David Ortiz (8): .500/.500/1.000, 1 HR, 1 double, 4 RBI, 2 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia (8): .167/.375/.333, 1 double, 1 walk
Jason Varitek (7): .500/.571/.667, 1 double, 2 RBI, 1 walk
Kevin Youkilis (6): .000/.500/.000, 3 walks, 1 strikeout
Mike Lowell (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 1 RBI
Indians vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka
Travis Hafner (9 career plate appearances against Matsuzaka): .375 BA/.444 OBP/.625 SLG, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 1 walk
Jhonny Peralta (9): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts
Mark Grudzielanek (4): .000/.250/.000, 1 walk
Luis Valbuena (3): .667/.667/.667, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Trevor Crowe (2): .500/.500/.500, 1 RBI
Matt LaPorta is 0-for-3 with a strikeout while Russell Branyan and Shin-Soo Choo are 0-for-3 with 2 strikeouts against Matsuzaka. Jason Donald, Shelley Duncan, Austin Kearns, Lou Marson and Mike Redmond have never faced the Boston starter.
|06.07.10 at 12:58 am ET|
During the winter, the Red Sox signed the biggest free agent pitcher on the market in John Lackey for five years and $82.5 million. We heard whispers of possible deals for Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez, but both deals would have meant that the Sox would have had to part with many of their prized possessions in the minor leagues. If they decided to make the deals, the Sox would then have to sign both to long-term deals. It was a move that the Sox were obviously not comfortable with.
Simply put, moving forward, signing Lackey was the healthiest thing to do for this organization.
But who is John Lackey? Is he the guy that shut down the Sox last year in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, or is more like the John Lackey that we have seen so far this year this year?
Lackey is currently 6-3 with a 4.72 ERA on the year, but over his last six starts he’s 3-2 with a 5.50 ERA. Keep in mind, other than Sunday’s start against Baltimore, he has gone up against teams that have been playing good baseball (Toronto, Detroit, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and Oakland). But Red Sox Nation, as they often do, look at the money the Sox payed and expect him to be better. I think that its safe to say that we haven’t seen the best of John Lackey. In looking at his previous three years in Anaheim compared to this year, there are a few glaring differences …
BB/9 H/9 WHIP K/9
2007 2.1 8.8 1.210 7.2
2008 2.2 8.9 1.231 7.2
2009 2.4 9.0 1.270 7.1
2010 4.3 10.7 1.663 5.2
You can come to your own conclusions but keep in mind that the AL West is not the AL East, especially this year. The Yankees, Rays and Blue Jays are in the top four in all of baseball in runs scored. But is that the only difference?
After Lackey’s start against Oakland, I talked to A’s second baseman Mark Ellis, who has 66 career plate appearances against he big righty. “He didn’t have that explosive fastball. The curveball also wasn’t as tight as I had seen it in the past. He always had that 95 mph, four-seemer in the tank when he needed it and today I didn’t see it, he pitched at 90-91,” Ellis said.
So what does Ellis think is wrong? “Nothing, I’ve seen this before. If I faced him five times a year, he’d have his good stuff for three of them and then the other two would be like what I saw from him last night. But even though he doesn’t have his best stuff, he grinds it out and gives his team a chance. He battles.”
Thats the John Lackey we’ve seen thus far. Nothing has come easy. He’s “battled” his way through the first two months of the season.
But John Lackey will continue to compete because all he wants to do is win, at any cost. Sometimes those emotions get in his way. As we’ve all seen this year, Lackey can be very emotional on the mound whether its reacting to a call he didn’t like or showing displeasure when one of his teammates make an error behind him. The first one happens, then second one shouldn’t. I talked to Lack about that and he swears that he’s not trying to show anybody up, but lets just say this, it doesn’t look good. Showing up Darnell McDonald is one thing, but when you slam your glove to the ground after a Dustin Pedroia error … not good.
I understand that fans are trying to put their finger on exactly what they have in John Lackey. I can tell you this from my own experience, you haven’t seen his best yet. I loved the signing back in the winter, and even though so far this season he has underachieved in some fans’ minds, when it is all said and done, you will love the signing too. Just give it some time.
|06.06.10 at 7:23 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — The Red Sox suffered a 4-3 loss in 11 innings to the Orioles on Sunday, dropping the team’s record in extra-inning contests to 1-7 on the season. Nonetheless, the general tenor of the postgame clubhouse was upbeat following a series win.
“Somebody plays the game like [the Orioles] played the game today, you’ve got to tip your hat,” said David Ortiz. “Come back and play the game tomorrow.”
“We’re doing fine,” said John Lackey. “It’s always disappointing to lose a game, but we’ve been playing good baseball and we played good baseball today.”
A few postgame subjects of note:
MIKE CAMERON’S RETURN
Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron had suggested before Sunday’s game that he wanted to bring “sexiness” to his club, and, in a sense, he did.
With two outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the ninth inning, Cameron made a striking over-the-shoulder catch on the warning track on a Lou Montanez drive to preserve a 3-3 and send the game into extra innings. That Cameron was able to track the ball down suggested that he can offer athleticism and defensive skill to the Sox so long as he is on the field, even at less than 100 percent.
“Just had to try to make a play on it,” said Cameron. “I knew I was getting close to the wall, but the ball was high enough where I had time to kind of make a decision on what I was going to do. I guess I shouldn’t say that, because it’s all just reaction when you’re out there playing.
Off the bat, Dustin Pedroia didn’t think that Cameron had a chance at the play.
“He kind of turned on the burners. … That was a pretty special play,” said Pedroia. “He made some great plays out there. With the thump in his bat, it’s going to be nice when he’s healthy and out there everyday for us.”
“Great catch,” added Sox manager Terry Francona. “He looked really healthy.”
Cameron also went 1-for-3 with a pair of walks, and scored the game-tying run in a ninth-inning rally. He was unsure whether he would be available to play on Monday in Cleveland.
MANNY DELCARMEN’S BACK
Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen left in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game due to a stiff lower back.
“I’ve got old man back,” he suggested afterwards.
Delcarmen was able to generate velocity, hitting 95 mph on the radar gun, but he was unable to follow through on his pitches, resulting in an inability to work down in the strike zone. He said he felt it most acutely on the last five pitches he threw: a run-scoring double by Scott Moore, and a four-pitch walk to Craig Tatum.
Delcarmen pitched 1/3 of an inning and allowed a run, throwing just three of 13 pitches for strikes. Following the game, he said that he was feeling much better after a massage treatment.
“I’m fine right now,” he said.
Delcarmen said that the issue was one that he has been dealing with on and off for the past three weeks, but that he felt fine while warming up on Sunday. He was hoping that he would be available to pitch in Cleveland on Monday.
DAVID ORTIZ’ HAND
David Ortiz was hit on the back of the left hand by a pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning, and was attended on the field by a Red Sox trainer. The incident had echoes of his partially torn tendon sheath in his wrist in Baltimore almost exactly two years earlier (May 31, 2008). But in this instance, Ortiz was able to stay in the game, and had one more at-bat, lining out in the ninth inning. He proclaimed the injury insignificant.
“Sore. A little sore,” said Ortiz. “I’ll be fine. It’s a big boy thing.”
|06.06.10 at 7:19 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — The results have been inconsistent for John Lackey, but there have been two common denominators to his outings. First, he is a fiery competitor who wears his emotions on his sleeve. Secondly, whether he is operating with his best stuff or something short of that, he has worked deep into games, preventing his bullpen from being overly taxed and, more often than not, giving his team a chance to win.
On Sunday against the Orioles, Lackey allowed two runs in seven innings in a no-decision, leaving the game in a 2-2 tie. Though Baltimore eventually won the contest, 4-3, in extra innings, the big right-hander had done all that his team could have hoped for on a muggy day in Charm City.
It marked the 10th time in his 12 starts that he has gone at least six innings, the most starts of that length by any Sox pitcher this year. He takes pride in that consistent workload, viewing it as a key component of his job description.
“I think that’s one of the reasons I’m here. It’s something that I’ve taken pride in my whole career. I’ve been a guy that pretty regularly gets deep into games. You keep your bullpen in line. It helps a lot of things,” said Lackey. “I can’t guarantee a lot of things, but I can guarantee that I’ll get after it,” said Lackey.
Lackey also threw 124 pitches, marking the third time this year that he has gone 120 or more pitches into a game.
“You want to stay out there as long as you can, for sure,” said Lackey. “I don’t put a lot of stock in pitch count I guess. I felt like I was still strong.”
His teammates were impressed.
“Obviously he takes pride in [working deep into games],” said Jon Lester. “That’s what he’s made a living on, pitching a lot of innings. He’s a big believer that outlasting the other guy will get you a lot of W’s. He did that today, and he deserved a ‘W.'”
“He’s a horse,” said second baseman Dustin Pedroia. “He’s out there eating up innings and giving us a chance to win. That’s all we can ask for. … We’re glad he’s over here now. He gives it everything he has, every start. It’s pretty awesome.”
|06.06.10 at 5:58 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — The Red Sox suffered an anticlimactic conclusion to their three-game series in Baltimore. After hammering the Orioles by counts of 11-0 and 8-2 in the first two contests, the Sox could not capitalize on a strong start by John Lackey. After he left a 2-2 contest, his efforts (7 innings, 2 runs) were squandered in a 4-3 defeat..
Manny Delcarmen allowed an eight-inning run and then, after the Sox rallied to tie the game in the top of the ninth, Hideki Okajima continued his year-long struggles. Okajima pitched a strong 10th inning but quickly let the game slip away in the 11th. He walked leadoff hitter Cesar Izturis, allowed a sacrifice bunt by Julio Lugo and then, with one out and a runner on second, after an intentional walk to Miguel Tejada, Nick Markakis lined a single to left-center for the winning run.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
—Manny Delcarmen had little feel for his pitches. He entered a 2-2 game in the bottom of the eighth, and promptly issued a leadoff walk and then, after an unsuccessful sac bunt, a run-scoring double by Scott Moore. He walked the next batter (Craig Tatum) on four pitches, resulting in a visit from both Sox pitching coach John Farrell and a team trainer. He was pulled from the game after throwing just three of 13 pitches for strikes.
It marked the second straight struggle for Delcarmen, who gave up back-to-back homers in 2/3 of an inning against the Athletics on Thursday.
—David Ortiz was hit on the left hand by a pitch from reliever Mark Hendrickson. The moment was somewhat jarring, since it took place in the same ballpark where Ortiz suffered a partially torn tendon sheath in his left wrist in 2008. Ortiz, however, was able to stay in the game.
Even so, it was not a good trip for Ortiz to Baltimore. He went 0-for-12 in the series, with a ninth-inning lineout with a runner on second in a tie game. Still, that brief slump was certainly of less consequence than the fact that he avoided significant injury.
—Bill Hall had a rough day, going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts and stranding four runners.
–The Sox left 11 runners on base and went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
—Mike Cameron, in his first game in a week, delivered on his pre-game promise to bring a certain “sexiness” to the field. He made a game-saving catch for the Sox, racing back to haul in an over-the-shoulder drive to the warning track off the bat of Lou Montanez with two outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the ninth inning, preserving a 3-3 tie.
Cameron also played a key role in a game-tying ninth-inning rally. He singled to lead off the frame, and eventually came around to score the tying run. ON the day, he went 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and two strikeouts.
—John Lackey continued to assume a huge workload, throwing 124 pitches in which he allowed seven hits and two runs against the Orioles. He proved effective, working down in the strike zone with his fastball (resulting in 12 groundball outs, compared to seven flyouts), and though he only struck out a pair of batters, he showed good life on his slider and curveball.
The outing marked the 10th time (in 12 starts) that Lackey has pitched at least six innings, the most by any Sox starter. He has also thrown 120 or more pitches three times this year. Only one other Sox starter (Jon Lester) has done it even once.
In his last three starts, Lackey has a 3.72 ERA.
—Victor Martinez continued to pulverize left-handed pitching, delivering the Sox’ only offense of the day against Orioles starter Brian Matusz. The switch-hitter fouled off a tough 2-2 changeup and then demolished a 90 mph fastball, driving it into the seats in left field for his eighth homer of the year.
Martinez’ numbers batting right-handed against left-handed pitchers are outrageous. After going 1-for-2 with a walk against Matusz, he is hitting .483 with a .516 OBP, .897 slugging mark and 1.413 OPS.
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