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Beltre tweets take over the ‘net

08.12.10 at 6:03 pm ET
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Early in Thursday afternoon’s game, a wave of “Adrian Beltre Facts” ‘€” modeled after the phenomenon of the “Chuck Norris Facts” and their various offshoots ‘€” took off on Twitter. Below are a few of the best tweets assorted Red Sox writers and fans had to offer:

  • Adrian Beltre has never hit into a fielder’s choice. The choice is up to him.
  • Adrian Beltre hasn’t made 15 errors. The official scorers have.
  • The reason Adrian Beltre throws flat-footed is to slow down the rotation of the earth.
  • NASA solved its early problems by having Adrian Beltre throw the capsules into space.
  • With the roof open at Rogers Centre, the sun isn’t beating down on Adrian Beltre. Adrian Beltre is beating down on the sun.
  • Carl Everett thinks that Adrian Beltre is made up, just like the dinosaurs and outer space.
  • Adrian Beltre doesn’t use a cup — to drink hot coffee.
  • The ball that hit Adrian Beltre in the groin last season was put in protective custody, just in case.
  • Adrian Beltre doesn’t like anybody touching his head because he’s afraid he’ll break their hands.
  • Even Chuck Norris is afraid to touch Adrian Beltre’s head.
  • Even Adrian Beltre’s helmet is afraid to touch his head.
  • The Big Bang was a result of God touching Adrian Beltre’s head.
  • Adrian Beltre developed a new diagnostic tool for the medical staff: the collide-a-scope.
  • Adrian Beltre once collided with himself. It was before Game 3 of the 1989 World Series.
  • Adrian Beltre is the reason McDonald’s discontinued the McRibs.
  • Adrian Beltre once watched “Delta Force” on TV. Chuck Norris woke up the next day with three broken ribs.
  • Adrian Beltre thinks it’s called a “pillow contract” because you can use it to suffocate sleeping enemies.
  • Adrian Beltre is the reason baseballs need stitches.
  • The reason you kneel when you pray is because Adrian Beltre kneels when he swings.
  • When the Blue Jays wanted to open the roof, they asked Adrian Beltre to hit a pop-up in batting practice.
  • It took Adrian Beltre only four swings to demolish the old Yankee Stadium.
  • Adrian Beltre pulled a ball to the opposite field.
  • Adrian Beltre only appeals to umpires on checked swings so they can feel important.
  • Adrian Beltre didn’t just understand the “Sopranos” finale. He lived it.
  • Scott Boras is actually an Adrian Beltre client.
  • Customs officials will have to show Adrian Beltre their passports at the airport tonight.
  • Adrian Beltre won Connect Four in three moves.
  • When Adrian Beltre does a postgame interview, he asks the questions.
  • Adrian Beltre doesn’t wear spikes. The ground knows the only way to survive is not to let go.

(Thanks to Red Sox beat writers Brian MacPherson, Scott Lauber, Sean McAdam, Gordon Edes, Pete Abraham and everyone else who participated.)

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A first Papelbon will want to forget

08.12.10 at 4:49 pm ET
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TORONTO — For the first time in his major league career, Jonathan Papelbon was taken out in the ninth inning in a tie game as a reliever (due to factors not involving an injury), Thursday. After the Red Sox‘ 6-5 loss to the Blue Jays — in which Papelbon surrendered three runs in the ninth for the third time this season — the Sox’ closer said he understood why Sox manager Terry Francona made the move to go to Daniel Bard with one out, the Sox up by a run and the bases loaded. (Click here to see ‘Closing Time’ for a recap.)

“You want to finish games, that’s my job. I want to finish games,” Papelbon explained. “But I think the fact of the matter is that I didn’t execute my job and you pass it on to somebody else.”

Despite showing some of the best velocity he has possessed all season (hitting 99 mph on one occasion), Papelbon said that when it came to life on his fastball it wasn’t one of his better days.

“I didn’t have much power or energy in my delivery today,” he explained. When asked if he felt like that warming up in the bullpen, Papelbon responded, “Just most of the day. Just kind of a groggy day for me.”

Papelbon’s struggles began after replacing John Lackey after the Red Sox’ starter surrendered a leadoff homer to Jose Bautista in the ninth inning. With the Sox holding a two-run lead, the reliever came on and immediately allowed three straight hits — a double to Vernon Wells, Adam Lind’s single up the middle, and a single by Aaron Hill that rifled off the closer’s foot.

Papelbon did come back to strike out Travis Snider with pinch-runner DeWayne Wise at third representing the tying run. But Edwin Encarnacion managed to jump all over a slider for a game-tying double down the left field line, leading Papelbon to intentionally walk Lyle Overbay and subsequently leave the game in favor of Bard.

“Leaving the ball up in the zone,” he said when asked what went wrong. “It just seemed every one of my pitches today was up in the zone in a pressure situation and obviously that can’t happen.”

Bard couldn’t duplicate the same magic he performed Monday afternoon in New York when he came on with the bases loaded and nobody out in the seventh inning and got out of it unscathed. This time Toronto’s Fred Lewis’ managed to elevate a fly ball to center field just deep enough to score Hill with the game-winner.

“I think he grounds it out half the time. It’€™s definitely where I wanted it,” said Bard of the pitch. “It’€™s almost impossible, but I got out of it the other day. It wasn’€™t the ninth so that’€™s the difference. There’€™s no room for error there, at all. Just some tough luck and some tough hops.”

Asked what his strategy coming into the situation was, Bard explained that a strikeout wasn’t on his mind.

“I’€™m trying to get a double play. That’€™s our best shot of getting out of it,” he said. “If I try to go punch-out that increases my chances of walking him and throwing balls out of the zone. I have to pitch with my best stuff in the zone in that situation, try to get a ground ball or an infield pop up. Something soft.”

Asked about taking out Papelbon for the first time in the middle of the ninth, Francona cited what the situation called for.

“Sometimes the games dictate … it’s not an ego thing,” the Sox’ manager said. “Just trying to win the game. More of a … at that point, we’re trying to keep the ball out of the air. Pap was up. It’s probably not the best way. Just trying to keep that game going.”

Closing Time: Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 5

08.12.10 at 3:35 pm ET
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TORONTO — The Red Sox were on the verge of walking away from their three-game series with the Blue Jays with a sweep, and a healthy dose of momentum heading into the teeth of the pennant race. But then came the ninth inning.

The Sox entered the final frame up, 5-2, but John Lackey stumbled and Jonathan Papelbon could not preserve a two-run lead. The result was a 6-5 win for the Jays and one of the more disappointing losses of the season for the Sox.

After Lackey had held the Jays to just two runs over eight frames, things started going astray for the Sox. First, Lackey — shooting for his first complete game of the year — gave up a leadoff homer to Jose Bautista to cut the Sox’ lead to two runs. And then Papelbon came on and allowed the first three Jays’ hitters he saw to reach via hits. The closer proceeded to strikeout Travis Snider, but then allowed a game-tying double to Edwin Encarnacion. That drove Papelbon from the game, paving the way for an entrance by Daniel Bard.

Fred Lewis greeted Bard with a fly ball to center field, just deep enough to score Hill from third with the game-winning run without a play at the plate, dropping the Sox four games behind the Rays in the wild card race.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

Jonathan Papelbon had some struggles, giving up two hits on his first two pitches. The first was a double by Vernon Wells, who was immediately brought in via Adam Lind‘s single up the middle to close the gap to a single run. Aaron Hill then singled off Papelbon’s foot to put runners on first and third with nobody out. After striking out Snider on a 98 mph fastball, Encarnacion would drive the closer from the game in favor of Bard. It was the fifth time Papelbon had given up three runs in an outing during his career as a reliever, and third time this season. With six blown saves this year, he has matched a career high.

– The man of the hour Wednesday night, Bill Hall, had a rough game, joining Adrian Beltre as the only two members of the Red Sox’ starting lineup not to claim a hit. Hall, who was coming off a game in which he hit two homers, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

– After two subpar outings, Lackey turned in a very effective outing. The righty kept the ball on the ground — especially in some key situations (as was evidenced by two inning-ending double plays) — and he managed to limit the Jays to just one hit with runners in scoring position. Lackey fell just short of his first complete game as a member of the Red Sox after totaling one last season, having had 14 for his career, having to leave after Bautista led off the ninth with a homer to left.

Jed Lowrie continues to impress, this time doing so while subbing in at shortstop for Marco Scutaro. Two games after hitting a rocket off the center field wall while batting left-handed, Lowrie turned around and walloped his first home run of the season, and fifth for his career, slightly to the right of straightaway center. He is now hitting .313 since returning from the disabled list.

– Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia made quite an impression in his first start as a member of the Red Sox. He first gunned down Toronto’s Aaron Hill trying to steal second, and then came through with the bat, finishing with a pair of doubles. The last time the 25-year-old caught in the majors on a regular basis (with Texas in 2009) he threw out 19 of 61 baserunners attempting to steal (24 percent).

– Besides Saltalamacchia, three other members of the Red Sox lineup notched a pair of hits, with David Ortiz, Victor Martinez and Darnell McDonald all accomplishing the feat. One of Ortiz’ hits happened to be his 25th homer of the season, allowing him to join Ted Williams and Jim Rice as the only Red Sox players to have more than six seasons of 25 or more homers. Williams finished with 14, while Rice had seven.

Read More: Blue Jays, john lackey, Jonathan Papelbon,

In-Game Red Sox Chat with Lou Merloni

08.12.10 at 11:47 am ET
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Join Lou Merloni at 12:30 p.m. to talk all things Red Sox during the Sox-Blue Jays game!

Lou is fresh off of being immortalized by the Lowell Spinners with his own bobblehead. They don’t just give those to anyone! Join Lou for the first pitch of the game to break down the state of this year’s team, which has now crept within 3 1/2 games of the Rays in the wild card.

Red Sox In-Game Chat with Lou Merloni

Red Sox vs. Blue Jays matchups, 8/12

08.12.10 at 11:24 am ET
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With a three-game winning streak in their back pockets and their first sweep in weeks on their minds, John Lackey and the Red Sox look to take the final game of their series with the Blue Jays Thursday afternoon at the Rogers Centre. Five games out in the AL East and 3½ back in the wild card, the Red Sox could use the sweep, knowing that the Yankees start a four-game series against the last-place team in the AL Central, the Royals, and the Rays go from playing the mediocre Tigers to playing the cellar-dwelling Orioles.

The Sox will hand the ball to Lackey, who has not been as sharp lately as he was in the middle of the season. Lackey (10-7, 4.60 ERA) has won only one game since the beginning of July while losing four decisions. In his last game, Lackey faced the Yankees and gave up five runs on eight hits through six innings. He picked up the loss in that game because the Sox were only able to pick up two runs off of CC Sabathia, who went eight innings before handing it over to Mariano Rivera.

Lackey has faced the Blue Jays twice already this season. In the first game on May 10, he just barely got by as he gave up six runs in six innings, but the Sox got just one more run and gave Lackey the 7-6 win. The second game didn’€™t go as hot as the game came during Lackey’€™s miserable month on July 10. Lackey only went 4 2/3, allowing seven runs on eight hits with six walks. The Sox lost that game at Rogers Centre, 9-5.

For the Blue Jays, Brad Mills will make the start, one day ahead of his scheduled start as Brett Cecil was scratched from the matinee game with a mild knee strain. Mills (1-0, 4.09 ERA) has his work cut out for him; he was thrown into the rotation just before his July 28 start against the Orioles (7 IP, 0 R, 2 H), and he already knows going into the game against the Red Sox that he’€™s going to get optioned down to Triple-A Las Vegas following the game.

Keep an eye on the top and the middle of the Blue Jays lineup. Leading off, Jays center fielder Fred Lewis is 5-for-8 against Lackey with two doubles and three RBI, Meanwhile, in the heart of the lineup lies Jays DH Adam Lind, who is 6-for-12 with two doubles and two RBI.

Serving the purpose of stopgap, Mills has been up and down in the Blue Jays’€™ organization, with his major league debut coming in 2009. Because of this, he has yet to face the Red Sox in his career.

Following Thursday’€™s game, the Sox will travel south to play the AL West-leading Rangers for a weekend series before heading home to take on the Angels ‘€” most likely with the addition of a pint-sized former AL MVP.

Red Sox vs. Brad Mills

None of the current Red Sox batters have faced the Toronto starter.

Blue Jays vs. John Lackey

Vernon Wells (28 current plate appearances against Lackey): .192 BA/.250 OBP/.308 SLG, 1 home run, 2 RBI, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Lyle Overbay (21): .222/.333/.333, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts

Aaron Hill (20): .111/.200/.167, 1 double, 2 RBI, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

John McDonald (20): .167/.167/.333, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts

Adam Lind (12): .500/.500/.667, 2 doubles, 2 RBI

Fred Lewis (10): .625/.700/.875, 2 doubles, 3 RBI, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

José Bautista (9): .167/.444/.667, 1 home run, 2 RBI, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

John Buck (8): .429/.429/1.000, 1 home run, 1 double, 3 RBI, 3 strikeouts

Edwin Encarnación (6): .200/.333/.200, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Travis Snider (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 RBI

José Molina is 0-for-4 with a strikeout and Dewayne Wise is 0-for-3 with a strikeout against Lackey. J.P. Arencibia, Yunel Escobar, Nick Green and Mike McCoy have yet to face the Boston starter.

Read More: Blue Jays, Brad Mills, john lackey, Red Sox

Video: The Full Count

08.12.10 at 10:57 am ET
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Alex Speier delivers the stat of the week, looks at what type of miracles could lead to the Sox making the playoffs, and highlights Jeremy Hazelbaker.

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Closing Time: Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 1

08.11.10 at 10:08 pm ET
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TORONTO — Things are looking up for the Red Sox.

With their 10-1 win over the Blue Jays Wednesday night at Rogers Centre, the Sox are now suddenly 3 1/2 games in back of Tampa Bay in the race for the American League Wild Card. But not only are the Sox gaining ground, they appear to be putting their pieces together, having now won three straight. (Click here for a recap.)

This win was a collective effort between starting pitcher Clay Buchholz and pretty much the entire Sox offense, although it should be noted that Bill Hall supplied much of the momentum for the attack, coming away with his first two-homer game in more than two years. It gave Hall 15 home runs for the season, which, in case you were counting and comparing, is as many as Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria.

Here is a lot that went right for the Red Sox, and the little that went wrong:

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

– It has to begin with Hall, who first gave the Sox the lead for good with a solo homer in the second inning, and then went deep again with a two-run blast in his next at-bat in the fourth inning. Adding to Hall’s memorable night was an RBI single in the fifth. The second baseman now has seven homers in his last 14 games with an at-bat. Hall also did his part in the field, turning a nice 4-3 double play in the fourth inning, tagging Yunel Escobar and then proceeding to throw out Vernon Wells at first.

– Lost somewhat in the offensive barrage by the Sox was the performance of Buchholz. After allowing a sacrifice fly to Jose Bautista in the first inning, the Red Sox starter settled down, facing just 17 batters over the next five innings. Buchholz has now allowed three runs or fewer while going at least seven innings in each of his last four starts. He finished the night having allowed just one unearned run in eight innings, in the process taking over the league lead for ERA with a 2.49 mark.

– Virtually the entire lineup got in the act, totaling their most runs since scoring 14 on July 9 at Rogers Centre. Besides Hall, J.D. Drew and Adrian Beltre also chipped in with homers, while Mike Lowell equaled Hall’s three-hit night. Most of the damage was done in the fifth inning, when the Red Sox scored five — four before an out was recorded — while driving Toronto starter Shaun Marcum from the game (4 IP, 8 R).

– A definitive plan for the return of Dustin Pedroia was presented by Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who said that Pedroia would be playing second base for Triple-A Pawtucket Saturday and then serve as the PawSox’ DH Sunday.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

Marco Scutaro continued to struggle, going 0-for-4 to make him 3-for-38 in his last nine games. The only other Red Sox starter not to contribute to the team’s 14-hit attack was Jacoby Ellsbury (0-for-4). Scutaro did make a stellar play, diving and robbing Bautista of a hit to end the eighth inning.

Read More: Adrian Beltre, bill Hall, Clay Buchholz, J.D Drew

Francona on D&H: Doubront ‘showed what he’s made of’

08.11.10 at 6:07 pm ET
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Red Sox manager Terry Francona joined the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about his team as it enters the final stretch, and he confirmed Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s immediate move from Pawtucket to the big club as well as Kevin Cash‘s trip to the disabled list due to hamstring issues.

“I don’t think we’re real comfortable with the position we’re in, having just one catcher,” Francona said. “So we talked to Cash this morning, and Saltalamacchia’s on his way [to Toronto]. He’ll probably get in here pretty soon.”

Francona also talked about Felix Doubront, who entered Tuesday’s game in a pickle but was able to perform admirably given the circumstances, and his quick transition from a starter to a reliever. Francona noted that he wanted to ease the young pitcher into his new role rather than throw him to the wolves so early.

“That’s kind of what we’re trying to not to do,” Francona said. “I’ll tell you what though, it ended up working really well, and it’ll end up helping in the long run. But you always run the risk of something unravels. I’d certainly have to take responsibility for that. But he also showed what he’s made of. … That was really gratifying. All of a sudden, you’ve got a young kid that we look like we can go to, and we’re going to go to him. That’s exciting.”

Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

What did you think about Jacoby Ellsbury’s performance the last couple of days, since being moved down the lineup?

I thought to myself when we first brought him back to not hit him [leadoff]. But we had a lot of things going on. I thought if he can get on and run a little bit, we can hit [Marco Scutaro] second and use his bat control. Obviously, that didn’t pan out the way we wanted to ‘€” “J” didn’t even get on base. We knocked him down a little bit just to kind off take a little bit of the heat off, let him see some pitches, not have that first at-bat be “right now.” I hope it helps. He got on in New York and stole a bunch of bases. He did swing the bat a lot better last night. In New York he had a base hit and he fought it off. Last night off a left-hander he lined a ball up the middle. He had much better at-bats last night.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: felix doubront, Jacoby Ellsbury, mike lowell, Terry Francona

Red Sox vs. Blue Jays matchups, 8/11

08.11.10 at 12:55 pm ET
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When the Red Sox go for their third straight win Wednesday night during their pursuit of both the wild card and division titles, there will something very similar about their matchup with the Blue Jays. It will appear that way because Wednesday’€™s starting pitchers (Clay Buchholz for the Red Sox, Shaun Marcum for the Blue Jays) has already happened this season on April 27, and Boston’€™s 2-1 win on that day should provide hope to Sox fans everywhere. Both starters allowed just one run with Buchholz going eight innings while his Toronto counterpart went seven. Unfortunately for Marcum and the Jays, reliever Scott Downs walked in the game-winning run in the eighth to give the Sox the one-run victory on the road.

There’€™s a very solid chance that Buchholz (12-5, 2.66 ERA) could repeat his stellar performance from that game as he’€™s continued to be his team’€™s most consistent starter this season. His ERA is best among Boston starters and is third-best in the American League behind Cliff Lee (2.44) and Trevor Cahill (2.56). In case anyone needed any more convincing, Buchholz is 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA and .193 batting average-against in his last three starts. Some of that success has stemmed from his ability to keep the baseball in the ballpark. Buchholz is fourth in the AL with 0.5 home runs allowed per nine innings. He’€™s allowed four bombs in four games since returning from the disabled list, but before that, he went through a stretch of six games where he hadn’€™t allowed a home run. He’€™ll have to do his best to keep to return to that form as he takes on the Blue Jays who lead the majors in home runs with 178 (Boston is second with 149).

The Blue Jays may need just one or two home runs to get the job done Wednesday as they send their best starting pitcher to the mound in Marcum (10-5, 3.44 ERA). He’€™s also been one of their most consistent and reliable hurlers for some time now as his stats this season are very similar to last season, when he went 9-7 with a 3.39 ERA. Lately, he’€™s sandwiched two five-run performances with a three-game set where he went 3-0 with a 2.04 ERA. The Jays will need him to return to that form if they have a chance against Buchholz and the Boston offense that is second in the majors with 580 runs. He would also be well-served to the strikeout machine that he’€™s been in spurts this season. Marcum has struck out more than seven batters on five different occasions this season, including a 10-K performance against the Indians on July 30. Against the Red Sox this season, Marcum has had additional success other than the game in April. He also threw a seven-inning performance shutout against the Sox while striking out six and walking just one in a 3-2 Jays win on May 12. Read the rest of this entry »

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Saltalamacchia promoted by Red Sox, Cash to DL

08.11.10 at 11:06 am ET
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TORONTO — According to a source familiar with the situation, the Red Sox have promoted catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia for Wednesday night’s game at Rogers Centre. To make room for the 25-year-old the Red Sox will place Kevin Cash on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring injury. Since being acquired at the non-waiver trade deadline, Saltalamacchia was hitting .238 in five games with the Triple A Pawtucket Red Sox. He hasn’t played in the major leagues since April 7, after which the Texas Rangers sent him to Triple A to work on his throwing problems. The Boston Globe was first to report the promotion. For more Red Sox coverage see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

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