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Closing Time: Red Sox get swept away by White Sox

06.01.11 at 4:27 pm ET
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Paul Konerko’s RBI single in the seventh inning put the White Sox in the lead for good as Chicago went on to a 7-4 win over the Red Sox, Wednesday afternoon. It completed the three-game sweep of the hosts, and gave the White Sox seven straight victories over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Konerko added a two-run homer against Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning to add insurance runs for the White Sox, cementing Boston’s fourth straight loss.

Here is what went wrong (and right)


– The fifth inning was a rough one for Dustin Pedroia. First, the second baseman dropped a pop up from Gordon Beckham down the right field line (which was ruled a hit), and then second base umpire Marty Foster said that Pedroia failed to tag Juan Pierre after the White Sox baserunner was caught in a rundown. All of it contributed to a two-run frame for Chicago.

– Wakefield allowed his sixth home run of the season, a first-pitch bomb by Brent Lillibridge that sailed well over the ‘€˜Triple A’€™ billboard atop the left field wall. It gave the White Sox a 4-3 lead.

Matt Albers ran into a tough outing, allowing the White Sox to reclaim the lead in the seventh inning thanks to three singles, the last being an RBI hit from Konerko. According to WEEI.com stat man Gary Marbry, opponents were 5-for-26 on grounders coming into the game (.192) after totaling a .248 clip last season.

Rich Hill, who was off to a superb start in a Red Sox uniform, not having allowed a run in any of his previous 14 appearances, grabbed his elbow after a 3-2 pitch to Adam Dunn. Hill was immediately removed from the game. All seven pitches to Dunn were curveballs. The team classified the injury as a left forearm ailment.

– The homer by Konerko came off a 95 fastball from Papelbon, who had allowed just one homer this season coming into what was his 23rd appearance.


Jed Lowrie notched his seventh extra-base hit hitting from the left side (where came in with a .240 batting average), launching a ground-rule double to right field. The hit scored David Ortiz, who had doubled, with the game’€™s first run, in the second inning.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia continued to display a solid stroke from the left side, picking up his 11th and 12th RBIs with a two-run single up the middle in the Sox’€™ three-run second. The catcher came into the game hitting .233 from the left side, and .189 from the right.
Jacoby Ellsbury saved a run with two outs in the sixth inning, making a head-first, diving catch of a sinking liner off the bat of Chicago’€™s Gordon Beckham.

– David Ortiz stayed red-hot, hitting his 13th homer of the season to tie the game up at 4-4. The solo blast, which reached the left field seats, was his second in as many games. The DH now has as many home runs as Albert Pujols since May 1, 2010.

– Wakefield pitched well enough to win, giving up four runs on seven hits over six innings, with a two-run fifth inning by the White Sox serving as the pitcher’€™s really only big hiccup. The 44-year-old’€™s ERA stands at 4.40.

Daniel Bard pitched a perfect 1 2/3 innings, striking out three. He got the Red Sox out of a major jam following Hill’s injury in the seventh, preventing the White Sox from scoring with one out and the bases loaded thanks to a strikeout of Lillibridge and ground out by Omar Vizquel.

Red Sox notes: Terry Francona still has faith that J.D. Drew will heat up

06.01.11 at 2:11 pm ET
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The first two months of 2011 haven’t been the best for J.D. Drew, which is why Red Sox manager Terry Francona decided to give his right fielder the day off on Wednesday.

“He’s just been kind of scuffling a little bit,” Francona said before Wednesday’s matinee.

Josh Reddick started in place of Drew, who entered Wednesday batting just .228 with three homers and 10 RBIs in the final year of his five-year, $70 million contract.

“Maybe Red will give us a little, sometimes day game after a night game you’re looking for some energy, maybe Red will bump into one,” Francona said of Reddick. “He’s been playing pretty well, maybe just will give us a little boost.”

As for Drew, he is just 3-for-19 in his last nine games, giving Francona a reason to sit his starting right fielder.

“I think we keep waiting for that,” Francona said, referring to Drew’s usual mid-season hot streak. “J.D. has kind of a track record of grabbing on to that one month and really kind of almost put us on his back, and certainly you always wait for that, and he hasn’t gotten to that point yet. no he’s taken good swings for sure at times, but he hasn’t strung em together like he’s capable of.”

When the Red Sox do see the Drew they’re accustomed to, he’ll be spraying the ball all over the field. Right now, not so much for the 35-year-old veteran.

“You’ve seen him probably a lot lately taking that cutter, slider away and kind of rolling over to second and first probably more than we’re used to,” Francona said. “He’s trying to, he’s trying to stay back and drive it, he’s just getting out ahead of it and the bat head’s coming with it with his hands he’s getting that weak groundball with a popup.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: bobby jenks, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Dustin Pedroia

Live Blog: Red Sox close out series with White Sox at Fenway Park

06.01.11 at 1:34 pm ET
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Red Sox/White Sox Live Blog

David Ortiz on Bruins-Canucks: ‘I hope they kick their ass’

06.01.11 at 12:21 pm ET
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Like many Boston sports fans, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has been closely following the Bruins in their run towards a Stanley Cup. He is hoping for a Bruins victory.

‘€œI hope they are going to kick their ass,” Ortiz said before Wednesday’s game. “They need to win it.’€

‘€œThey’€™ve gone this far, I know Vancouver has a great team but we’€™re cheering for them.’€

The Red Sox have been traveling for a good amount of the postseason, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been keeping up with the team. ‘€œWe’€™re pulling for them, we’€™re watching their games all the time,” he said.

Ortiz has not made it to the TD Garden this postseason, but he wishes he could have. He has developed relationships with a few of the Bruins, including Shawn Thornton and Milan Lucic. Ortiz helped Lucic with his baseball swing before his celebrity softball game last summer.

‘€œI haven’€™t talked to any of the guys, but I am going to send a message to my ‘boy’ Thornton later,’€ he said

Read More: David Ortiz, Milan Lucic, Shawn Thornton,

Still no surgery seen for Daisuke Matsuzaka

06.01.11 at 11:44 am ET
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Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Wednesday that the team does not expect Daisuke Matsuzaka to undergo surgery after getting a second opinion on his injured right elbow in Japan.

“Diagnostically, everything is kind of the same,” Francona said before Wednesday’s matinee with the White Sox at Fenway Park. “We have to figure how to best go about this. The player or pitcher has to have some opinion, too. But I think you’re always going to go about it non-operatively, first. That just seems like it makes sense to me.”

Matsuzaka is expected back in Boston Wednesday night after getting recent consultation in his homeland of Japan. Matsuzaka is expected to sit down with Red Sox team officials after team doctor Tom Gill and renowned orthopedic specialist Lewis Yocum confer.

“We’re going to meet with him, again we got the day off [Thursday],” Francona said. “I don’t know what our timetable is. Theo and those guys got all those meetings going on. We will certainly meet with him the next couple days. We want to sit down kind of put our heads together, see how he feels, we’ll let Dr. Gill have their talk with Dr. Yocum and then try to plan out how we go about this the next couple weeks.”

Asked if the plan was still to have Matsuzaka rest the arm and not throw, Francona joked that the plan is still the same.

“Well he’s not going to throw on the plane, yeah,” Francona said with a laugh.

The righthander went on the disabled list on May 17 with a strained right elbow after posting a 3-3 record with a 5.30 ERA in eight appearances for the Red Sox this season.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Daisuke Matsuzaka, japan, MLB

Nuggetpalooza: Catching Up

06.01.11 at 10:53 am ET
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Emptying out the Red Sox notebook from the last few days, starting with last night’s game:


* – The White Sox put 10 runs on the board on Tuesday, the fourth time this season that the Red Sox have allowed 10 or more runs. Minnesota has allowed double figures eight times already this season, while eight teams (including Tampa Bay and Toronto) have allowed 10 or more just once in 2011.


* – Boston had won 17 straight when scoring seven or more runs prior to last night.


* – The Red Sox are now 5-3 in 2011 when they out-homer their opponent by two or more. Over the previous two seasons, they went 54-8 in those games.


* – The White Sox had lost the last 20 times that they’ve been out-homered by two or more, dating back to August 27, 2009, a 9-5 win over… Boston. That’s the game that started the White Sox on this current stretch of domination against the Red Sox as they have now won 12 of the last 14 games between the two teams.


 – Alexi Ramirez rapped out four hits last night against the Red Sox. It’s the seventh time in 2011 that a White Sox player has collected four (or more) hits in a game, the most in the majors (Cubs and Cardinals have six). Ramirez is the 15th player this season to have multiple games with four hits. Only the Cubs Starlin Castro has had three such games this season. It’s the fifth time that the Red Sox opponent has had a four hit game this year. Royals opponents have had eight.


* – The ninth spot in the Red Sox lineup (Jason Varitek last night) collected 6 total bases for the first time since last July 28, snapping a streak of 114 games with fewer than six. It was the second longest active streak in the AL. The longest streak currently stands at a whopping 423 games by the Tigers. The last time the last spot in the Tigers order had six or more total bases was August 11, 2008.


Here are a couple of items I noticed from Monday night:


* – Dan Wheeler has now inherited seven runners this season and five have scored (71 percent). Over the previous three seasons, Wheeler had allowed only 23-of-96 to score (24 percent), 8th best in the AL in that span (min. 75 inherited runners).


JD Drew has now put the first pitch in play 16 times this season without an extra base hit. Only two AL players have put  the initial offering in play more often with no EBH this season: The Royals’ Melky Cabrera (23) and Minnesota’s Michael Cuddyer (21).


Finally, a couple of nuggets on double-headers:


* – The A’s have lost 9 straight DH games. Last win in a DH came on May 26, 2001, in the first game against the Twins.


* – Since 2003, Boston has played 25 double-headers, 2nd most in the majors. Only the Mets (27) have played more in that span. The Red Sox are 30-20 in those double-header games, a .600 winning percentage. Here are the best and worst double-header winning percentages since 2003 (min. 10 DHs played):

Highest Winning Percentage:

.733 – Rangers (22-8)
.714 – Indians (20-8)
.700 – Yankees (28-12)

Lowest Winning Percentage:

.292 – Rays (7-17)
.354 – Tigers (17-31)
.361 – Royals (13-23)

Wednesday’s Red Sox-White Sox matchups: Tim Wakefield vs. Gavin Floyd

06.01.11 at 9:51 am ET
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With continued injuries at the back of the Red Sox rotation, Terry Francona will look to veteran Tim Wakefield to make his third start of the season Wednesday afternoon (1:35). The White Sox will counter with Gavin Floyd, whose start was pushed back a day to pitch the series finale at Fenway Park.

Wakefield (2-1, 4.14 ERA) has performed admirably in his only two starts this season, both of which have been in the last 10 days. He got the win last Friday against the Tigers after allowing just two runs on five hits through seven innings. On May 22 against the Cubs, Wakefield surrendered one run over 6 2/3 innings, earning a 5-1 victory. The 44-year-old came out of the bullpen for his first 11 appearances of the season but struggled with a 5.40 ERA. As a starter in 2011, Wakefield’s ERA is 2.04.

The knuckleballer has seen plenty of the White Sox in his 18-year career, and four Chicago hitters have faced Wakefield over 30 times. Veteran Omar Vizquel has fared quite well in 63 plate appearances against the Red Sox starter, hitting .328 with four doubles and seven RBI. Alex Rios and Paul Konerko have good power numbers vs. Wakefield, with three home runs apiece. Konerko has knocked in 10 runs, while Rios has driven in five.

A.J. Pierzynski is the fourth Chicago regular with 30-plus plate appearances against the righty, hitting .290 with a homer and four RBI.

Floyd (5-5, 3.69 ERA) has plenty of major league experience as well, as this will be the 134th start of his seven-year career. Floyd has yet to lose a game against the Red Sox, going 4-0 with a 3.53 ERA. He has given up 14 runs in 35 2/3 innings and has allowed six home runs against Boston. The Red Sox are hitting just .190 against the right-hander.

Floyd started the season with three wins in his first four starts but has struggled with his consistency as of late. In his last appearance, Floyd pitched out of the bullpen in the 14th inning vs. the Blue Jays and got the loss as he gave up a walk-off home run to Corey Patterson. He pitched well in his last start, allowing just one earned run against the Rangers through seven strong innings. However, a lack of run support forced him to take the 2-1 loss.

Right fielder J.D. Drew has had the most plate appearances of any Red Sox hitter against Floyd, but he has not had a great deal of success. Drew has just two hits in 18 plate appearances, and has struck out seven times.

David Ortiz has had the best track record against Floyd, going 5-for-17 with two solo home runs. Still, Ortiz has struck out a team-high eight times against the White Sox starter. Carl Crawford has only two hits in 12 plate appearances vs. Floyd, but both hits have been homers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Gavin Floyd, Red Sox, Tim Wakefield, White Sox

Kevin Millwood: ‘Good opportunity for me’ in Red Sox system

05.31.11 at 11:33 pm ET
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PAWTUCKET, R.I. ‘€“ As he rehabbed from his elbow strain with a start for Triple-A Pawtucket Tuesday night, John Lackey certainly grabbed his fair share of headlines. But it may be a similarly veteran right-hander who will head the PawSox pitching staff for the longer haul.

Kevin Millwood, who appeared at Pawtucket’€™s McCoy Stadium for the first time in uniform Tuesday night, was signed by the Red Sox to provide the team with organizational depth at the starting pitcher position after Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka had already gone down with injuries. The 36-year-old, who had opted out of a contract with the Yankees on May 1 after failing to make the big club, said that when his agent told him Boston was on the line, he knew he had to listen.

‘€œWhen they called, it was a good opportunity for me,’€ Millwood said. ‘€œI was more than willing to stay at home and relax for the summer. When you get a team of this caliber that has some interest and will give me a chance, you’€™re in a better situation.’€

Millwood had made three starts in the Yankees organization (16 innings pitched, eight earned runs in those starts) before breaking ties with the club and signing with its rival on May 19. Since that day, he had been in Fort Meyers for extended spring training where he topped out at a 60-pitch throwing session before getting the call up to Triple-A, where he is expected to start Wednesday night.

That kind of experience brought a little ease to PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler.

‘€œHe’€™s been pitching over in [Yankees Triple-A affiliate] Scranton I know that,’€ said Beyeler. ‘€œSo he should be wound up, ready to go. He’€™ll throw five innings, 75-80 pitches and see how he does.’€

Millwood said on Tuesday that his best-case scenarios over the short term are relatively low while his goals for the 2011 season are quite a bit higher.

‘€œTomorrow just go out, throw the ball well and compete,’€ he said. ‘€œObviously in the long haul, it’€™d be end up in Boston and pitching well. Every outing I have here is going to help me in my way back.’€

As for exactly how he plans on reaching those scenarios rests solely on how he can perform for Pawtucket, beginning with that first fateful outing on Wednesday.

‘€œIt all depends on how I pitch here. Whatever happens, happens.’€

Read More: kevin millwood, Pawtucket Red Sox,

John Lackey: ‘Encouraged for sure’ by quality rehab outing

05.31.11 at 10:07 pm ET
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PAWTUCKET, R.I. — The last time John Lackey pitched in a Red Sox uniform, it was May 11 and he had allowed nine earned runs over 6 2/3 innings to raise his season ERA to 8.01. That poor performance coupled with a series of struggles in the season’€™s early going and perhaps some off-the-field issues as well caused the pitcher to exclaim, ‘€œEverything in my life sucks right now.’€

But the 32-year-old’€™s well-pitched rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket Wednesday, along with his reaction afterwards, told a different story. Over 5 2/3 innings of work, Lackey allowed just one earned run on three hits while striking out four and not surrendering a single walk.

‘€œI felt pretty good,’€ Lackey said. ‘€œI felt like I had pretty good command considering it’€™s been a while since I faced some hitters. I was encouraged by it for sure. The elbow felt a lot better than it had been feeling.’€

The righty, who received a cortisone shot to help ease the pain on the elbow on May 16, even got a little jovial later when asked again about the health of his right elbow, which had been heavily wrapped in ice and bandages moments earlier.

‘€œMy elbow feels a lot better,’€ he said. ‘€œCortisone’€™s a beautiful thing, I guess.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: john lackey, Pawtucket Red Sox,

Closing Time: White Sox get better of Alfredo Aceves, Red Sox

05.31.11 at 10:01 pm ET
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Alfredo Aceves‘ success story was derailed for the time being by the White Sox Tuesday night.

Aceves allowed six runs over the first four innings, leading to what turned out to be a 10-7 victory for Chicago over the Red Sox, who are now riding a theree-game losing streak. The righty came into the game carrying a 2.22 ERA in 13 appearances, including two solid starts. While the visitors didn’t come away with any home runs, they did produce 15 hits.

The Red Sox did mount somewhat of a rally with six runs in the final two innings, but Chicago reliever Chris Sale fanned Adrian Gonzalez with Drew Sutton on second to close out the game. It was the White Sox’ sixth straight win over the Red Sox at Fenway.

Here is more of what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox …


– Aceves, who had only lost once in his 17 major league decisions, didn’€™t have much of anything going for him against the White Sox. The starter allowed four runs in the second inning, and then one each in the second and third, respectively. When it was all said and done, the righty allowed eight runs over five innings, boosting his ERA to 3.51.

Jed Lowrie, who was back in the lineup after being sidelined with a sore left shoulder, struggled on a back-hand play in the hole between shortstop and third base in the second inning via Brent Morel’€™s grounder. It was Lowrie’€™s eighth error of the season.

– The Red Sox offense got little going against Chicago starter Phil Humber. The righy gave up rour runs on nine hits, striking out five and walking one over his 7 2/3’€“inning outing.  (Two of the runs came in the eighth inning, with three being charged after a David Ortiz homer against reliever Will Ohman.)


– Ortiz continued his excellence against left-handed pitching, taking Ohman over the left field wall in the eighth for his 12th homer of the season. The Sox DH came into the game with an .835 OPS against lefties, carrying a .278 batting average.

Jason Varitek was one of the few Red Sox to make a dent against Humber, putting the Red Sox on the board with a solo homer  into the Sox’ bullpen in the third inning. He finished with three hits, boosting his average to .235.

– J.D. Drew prevented what bad nightmare second inning for the Red Sox from being worse with a nifty sliding catch of Alexis Rios’€™ flare down the right field line.

Bobby Jenks got some rust off without allowing a run in returning to major league action since being taken off the 15-day disabled list, stranding two runners in his only inning of work.

Josh Reddick continued to impress since his promotion, launching a double off the left field wall in his first at-bat. The outfielder followed up the double with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, finishing the night with a .556 batting average.

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