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Red Sox vs. Blue Jays matchups, 4/27

04.27.10 at 5:25 pm ET
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The Red Sox emerged victorious in a 13-12 slugfest Monday night. Might we see a pitcher’s duel in Toronto on Tuesday?

Boston’s starter, Clay Buchholz, has the track record against the Blue Jays do pull it off. Toronto was the team that Buchholz saw the most last season, and he performed well against the AL East foe, going 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA in his four starts with 20 strikeouts. In fact, Buchholz let up just one earned run in each of his three victories over Toronto last season.

But the one loss came in one of his worst performances of the year on Sept. 29, when he allowed seven earned runs in five innings on work. More troublesome than that, however, was the five home runs that the Jays smacked off of the right-hander, including two from Adam Lind.

Despite his 1-2 record in his three starts, Buchholz has probably been Boston’s best starter ‘€” he has a 2.70 ERA and 18 strikeouts ‘€” and the Sox could use a solid performance from him after taxing the bullpen on Monday.

The Jays will counter with Shaun Marcum, who is 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA in his first four starts of the 2010 season. Toronto’s Opening Day starter missed all of the 2009 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, but he has appeared in 11 games against Boston as both a starter and a reliever, six of those as a starter.

Marcum made three starts against Boston in 2008, going 2-1 with a 5.17 ERA. That stat was inflated by his last outing against the Sox, when he lasted just 3-2/3 innings and gave up five earned runs. The week before that game he let up just one run on five hits in five innings in a start at Fenway, and also pitched well in his first start of the year against the Sox, going seven innings and striking out eight while allowing three runs.

Red Sox vs. Shaun Marcum

David Ortiz (19 career at bats against Marcum): .143 average/.368 OBP/.143 slugging, 5 walks, 5 strikeouts

Kevin Youkilis (17): .235/.235/.529, 1 home run, 7 strikeouts

Adrian Beltre (15): .462/.533/1.077, 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Dustin Pedroia (14): .077/.071/.308, 1 home run, 1 strikeout

Mike Lowell (13): .385/.385/.615, 1 triple, 1 strikeout

Jason Varitek (13): .400/.538/.400, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts

Victor Martinez (12): .500/.583/1.250, 3 doubles, 1 home run, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

J.D. Drew (11): .222/.364/.667, 1 home run, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Marco Scutaro is 2-2 vs. Marcum in his career, while Bill Hall, Jeremy Hermida  and Darnell McDonald have never seen the Jays starter.

Blue Jays vs. Clay Buchholz

Aaron Hill (17 career at bats against Buchholz): .235 average/.235 OBP/.412 slugging, 1 home run, 3 strikeouts

Lyle Overbay (16): .429/.500/.500, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Vernon Wells (15): .167/.333/.167, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

Adam Lind (14): .357/.357/.857, 2 home runs, 2 strikeouts

Jose Bautista (9): .250/.333/.625, 1 home run, 1 walk, 2 srikeouts

Travis Snider (7): .143/.143/.143, 5 strikeouts

John McDonald (6): .167/.167/.333, 1 double, 2 strikeouts

Jose Molina (5): .333/.400/.667, 1 double, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Buchholz has faced John Buck, Edwin Encarnacion and Randy Ruiz three times. Ruiz is the only one to have a hit, while Buck was hit by a pitch in one at bat. Alex Gonzalez and Mike McCoy have never faced the Boston starter.

Pedroia officially not the shortest anymore

04.27.10 at 4:40 pm ET
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TORONTO — Of the news and notes from pregame at the Rogers Centre, there was nothing more interesting than watching Marco Scutaro get Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox‘ newest reliever, Fabio Castro, to stand back to back to see who is taller. The winner … Pedroia.

Pedroia is listed at 5-foot-9, while Castro’s height on the team’s site is 5-foot-7, but the second baseman admitted that it might be closer than some think. He requested that next season he be listed at what he deems is his official height: 5-foot-8.

Also of note:

Terry Francona said that Friday would most likely be the day in which Tim Wakefield is first available for bullpen duty. He also noted that pairing up Jason Varitek with Wakefield when the knuckleballer comes on in relief will be unavoidable and is on the radar of the team.

– Francona also noted that he will most likely try and stay away from using Daniel Bard, Hideki Okajima, and Jonathan Papelbon Tuesday night.

Lineups: Ortiz back in, Martinez catching

04.27.10 at 2:15 pm ET
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TORONTO — David Ortiz makes his return to the Red Sox‘ lineup Tuesday night at the Rogers Centre, hitting sixth against Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum. Victor Martinez will also be behind the plate with Clay Buchholz getting the start for the Sox. The Red Sox lineups is as follows: Scutaro SS, Pedroia 2B, Martinez C, Youkilis 1B, Drew RF, Ortiz DH, Beltre 3B, Hermida LF, McDonald CF, Buchholz P.

Of the players in the Sox’ lineup, Beltre and Martinez have had the most success against Marcum, with Beltre going 6-for-13 with two home runs and Martinez having gone 4-for-8.

Mike Lowell, who did start at designated hitter in the teams’ series opener, is 5-for-13 against the Jays’ starter, while Ortiz is just 2-for-14. Here is how the rest of the Red Sox’ lineup has fared vs. Marcum: Scutaro 2-for-2, Pedroia 1-for-13, Martinez 4-for-8, Youkilis 4-for017, Drew 2-for-9, Ortiz 2-for-14, Beltre 6-for-13. Hermida and McDonald has never faced the righty.

Schilling on D&C: Blame Sox’ struggles on pitching

04.27.10 at 1:34 pm ET
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Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning and talked about the Red Sox’ slow start, Tim Wakefield’s move to the bullpen, and the downfall of Ben Roethlisberger.

I know you’€™re a moral man. You must be ashamed of Ben Roethlisberger.

No, I’€™m embarrassed for him and disappointed in him ‘€” incredibly disappointed in him. I don’€™t know him, I’€™ve met him and gotten to know him a little bit, but he’€™s made just ridiculously stupid choices and decisions in his life. And at some point, you hope before this, that athletes understand that they don’€™t live their lives in a vacuum. And you can have the bitchers and moaners and gripers that say, it’€™s not fair ‘€” but it is what it is. If you want to take home the fruits of being a professional athlete, there’€™s a price to pay and I’€™ve always argued it’€™s a small price for a time you’€™re in that window of opportunity.

Do most guys get scared straight after the first time or not?

Well, because you spent your whole life being enabled, right? Everyone that we generally surround ourselves with has been telling us our whole lives how great we are. And there’€™s a level of empowerment ‘€” it’€™s like you’€™re immune. Thankfully I married Shonda, so that went out the window when I got married. And here’€™s one of the other issues: Ben is still single. So I’€™m not really sure there’€™s any motivation to change ‘€” unless he has personal motivation to change his life, and that worries me. And he obviously surrounds himself with a bunch of guys who just are idiots, because they’€™re not looking out for his best interests wither.

When there are websites attesting to exactly what your penis looks like ‘€¦ that to me would be rock bottom.

Well, my bigger fear was the fact that, starting to come out of the woodwork are stories that we haven’€™t heard about, that he’€™s done this before in other places. And those are the kind of things, because that leads you to believe that ‘€“ because I’€™ve always been, well, you know what, he made a bad choice. But when you’€™re talking about the third, fourth or fifth time, that’€™s not bad choice, that’€™s bad people.

Will you ever wear the Roethlisberger jersey again?

Probably not. It’€™s not something I think I can wear around my house and honestly address my kids. Because I’€™ve had to talk to some of my boys about it and it’€™s a painful conversation. Because you guys know me well enough, we’€™ve talked about this in the past; these aren’€™t my kid’€™s heroes. That’€™s the mistake I think a lot people make. The god given ability doesn’€™t make someone a hero to me. It’€™s the make of the man, the things that I can’€™t see. What is he doing when people aren’€™t watching? And those are the things that I concern myself with when it comes to a lot of these people, It speaks to a lot of different issues, and unfortunately he’€™s a guy that has made some incredibly poor choices in life.

What is the strength of this Red Sox team through 20 games?

They’€™ve got a great manager. Yeah. They’€™re struggling. The only statistic that gives me pause is in the first decade of this millennium, they were the best April team in major league baseball. The three years that they left April with the best record in the major leagues, two of those years were ‘€™04 and ‘€™07. Generally it’€™s hard to not play inspired baseball coming out of spring training, because you walk out into this, literally, playoff atmosphere. We’€™re opening up with the Yankees here, and you get jump-started ‘€” which I’€™ve always viewed as an advantage here. They’€™re not pitching. That’€™s the bottom line, is they’€™re not pitching. Josh Beckett will not end up with a 7.2 ERA at the end of the year. But they’€™re going to have to consistently throw the ball better than they’€™re throwing it and get deeper into games, because these are innings that you’€™re taxing your bullpen that you won’€™t have available in August and September. Read the rest of this entry »

A box score breakdown from Monday night

04.27.10 at 11:49 am ET
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Some things you might not have noticed from last night’s never-ending slugfest north of the border:

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* – Marco Scutaro scored 4 runs from the leadoff spot last night. It was the first time in his career that he has scored 4 times in a game. He had scored 3 runs in 10 different games. The Red Sox had a player scored 4 runs in a game 5 times in 2009, the last by Dustin Pedroia on August 22. Boston is now 87-0 since 1952 when they have a player score 4+ runs in a game.

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* – Boston had five different players with 3 hits last night for the first time since May 28, 2005 (a 17-1 rout of the Yankees) and just the 4th time since 2000. That was also the last time that they did it in a road game.

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* – Toronto had two players with 4 RBI each. It’s the first time that the Red Sox have won despite multiple opposing players with 4+ RBI since the famous 19-17 win over Texas at Fenway on August 12, 2008. It appears that they had NEVER won such a road game before.

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* – Among Red Sox pitchers with at least 15 career starts in March/April, Josh Beckett now has the 2nd highest ERA ever (and 2nd highest on this team):

5.12 – Jon Lester
5.04 – Josh Beckett
4.95 – Dennis Eckersley
4.87 – Mike Torrez

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* – Boston’s team ERA of 5.06 threatens to be their worst before May 1 in any season since 1996 (5.66) and their 3rd worst ever.

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* – The Red Sox scored 13 runs and struck out 11 times last night. It was just the 3rd non-extra innings game since 1952 in which they have scored 13+ runs and fanned 11+ times. Both other times came against Kansas City. Once last July and once in 1977.

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* – The Red Sox bullpen has allowed 3+ earned runs in each of the last 4 games. It’s the first time that a Boston pen has done that since August 18(DH)-19-20 of 2006. I’ve gone back as far as 2001 and haven’t found a stretch of FIVE consecutive such games, so let’s just assume that it won’t happen again tonight.

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* – Between the two teams, 8 of 10 inherited runners scored last night. There were only 5 games in the majors last season in which 8+ inherited runners scored (and none so far this season). Red Sox relievers allowed 4 inherited runners to score for the second straight game. It’s the first time that they’ve allowed multiple inherited runners home in consecutive games since August 12-13, 2008. It’s the first time since at least 1974 that the Red Sox have allowed 4+ inherited runners to score in consecutive games and just the 36th time it’s been done in the majors since then (Colorado’s done it three times since 2000).

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* – The two teams combined to throw 399 pitches in last night’s game. It’s the highest total in a non-extra innings game in 2010 and only three games last season topped that total. The most was 424 in an 11-10 Indians win over the Rays last May 25. the second most was 410, in a 9-8 Tribe victory over Boston last April 28.

Westmoreland released from the hospital

04.27.10 at 11:42 am ET
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The Red Sox have announced that minor league outfielder Ryan Westmoreland was released from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Westmoreland — whose 20th birthday is Tuesday — recently had surgery to remove a cavernous malformation from his brain stem. He will continue to undergo physical and occupational therapy as an outpatient at Spaulding. The Red Sox’ release states that the outfielder “has been making steady progress and is in great spirits.”

Atchison to be sent down, Castro to be called up

04.27.10 at 12:11 am ET
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TORONTO — According to team sources, the Red Sox will send reliever Scott Atchison to Triple A Pawtucket to make room for relief pitcher Fabio Castro, who is scheduled to join the major league team for its game against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre Tuesday night.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona insinuated after his team’s 13-12 win over the Blue Jays Monday night that the Sox might need help in the bullpen after their relievers totaled six innings of work. The Red Sox’ relievers have worked 9 1/3 innings over the past two games.

Castro has been starting for the PawSox, having compiled an 8.10 ERA in three appearances. His last outing came April 22 when the lefty allowed six runs in three innings to Lehigh Valley. The 25-year-old last pitched in the majors with Philadelphia in 2007, having also appeared in four of his 30 big leagues games with Texas in ’06.

Atchison threw 1 2/3 innings for the Red Sox Monday coming on for Josh Beckett after the starter walked the first two batters in the fourth inning. The 34-year-old reliever, who made the team after spending the previous two seasons in Japan, had allowed runs in all but two of his seven appearances with the Sox.

Closing Time: Red Sox 13, Blue Jays 12

04.26.10 at 11:15 pm ET
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TORONTO — The good news for the Red Sox in their series opener at Rogers Centre Monday night was that the offense pounded out 18 hits. The bad news for the Sox was that their pitchers allowed 16. Still, in the end it was the visitors who came out on top in a wild affair with the Red Sox claiming a 13-12 win over the Blue Jays. (Click here for a recap.)

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX (HINT: ALL HITTING)

Jason Varitek is on fire: The Sox captain notched his first three-hit game since last July 30, and just his third since the beginning of the 2008 season. What also was impressive was that two of the three hits came from the left side of the plate. Varitek is now 7-for-20 against right-handed pitchers (.350). The catcher also had four RBI and two runs against the Jays.

– The entire offense was clutch: As our stat man Gary Marbry pointed out, the Red Sox spent last week altering their trend with runners in scoring position, hitting .347 in such situations with an MLB-high 1.202 OPS. The wave of timely hitting continued against the Jays, with the Sox going 11-for-20 with runners in scoring position. Four Sox hitters — Darnell McDonald, Bill Hall, Mike Lowell, and Varitek — came through with runners in scoring position and two outs.

– The top of the order worked well: Dustin Pedroia had lamented that the Red Sox hitter had better start concentrating on producing runs, and by producing runs he explained “touching home plate with our feet instead of our bat.” So the lineup’s top three hitters — Marco Scutaro, Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis — took it upon themselves to do just that, produce runs. All three came away with three-hit games while scoring a combined nine runs and knocking in a collective four RBI.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX (HINT: ALL PITCHING)

– The Josh Beckett Mystery continues: Beckett suffered through his shortest outing since Aug. 17, 2008 (2.1 innings vs. the Jays), giving up eight runs on nine hits over three innings. Beckett walked three, struck out three, and was victimized by a six-run third inning by Toronto. Beckett’s ERA now stands at 7.22, and he has allowed five or more runs in three of his five starts. If you’re looking for one pitch that failed the Sox’ starter it might have been his fastball, which six of the hits against Beckett came off of. The Jays also notched a pair of hits against the righty’s curveball, and one Lyle Overbay double came on a changeup.

– Scott Atchison’s time with the Sox might be dwindling: Atchison came on for Beckett after the starter walked the first two batters of the fourth inning and ultimately lasted 1 2/3 frames, giving up a run on two hits while walking a batter. He has allowed at least one run in five of his seven appearances, and with the Red Sox slated to bring back Daisuke Matsuzaka for a start Saturday Atchison (who has an option left) is the odds-on favorite to make the trip to Triple A Pawtucket.

– Schoeneweis might also be in a tenuous position: The lefty followed up Atchison by succumbing to one run on two hits over just one-third of an inning. The game marked the third straight outing for the lefty in which he surrendered two hits and didn’t last a full inning. Meanwhile, down at Triple A Pawtucket, another lefty, Alan Embree draws closer to his opt-out date of April 30. If the 40-year-old isn’t on the 25-man roster by Friday he has said he will look for employment in another organization. Embree hasn’t allowed a hit in his last five relief appearances with the PawSox, having given up just two in his 7 1/3 innings of work. He also has yet to allow a hit to any of the 15 left-handed hitters he has faced.

A bad day for Beckett

04.26.10 at 9:34 pm ET
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TORONTO — Josh Beckett’s final line against the Blue Jays Monday night at Rogers Centre: 3 IP, 8 R, 9 H, 3 K, 3 BB, 83 pitches (48 strikes). He allowed six runs in the third inning, the first time the pitcher has given up that many in a single frame since Aug. 17, 2008 against these same Blue Jays. That was also the last game Beckett lasted such a short amount of time, going just 2 1/3 innings after giving up eight runs.

The last time a Red Sox pitcher had given up as many as six runs in an inning was Aug. 6, 2009 when John Smoltz surrendered seven vs. the Yankees.

In case you were curious, six the hits against Beckett allowed came on fastballs, two on curves, and Lyle Overbay rifled a double into the right-center field gap on a changeup.

Matsuzaka wants to ‘repay’ Red Sox

04.26.10 at 6:44 pm ET
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TORONTO — Speaking after throwing a 69-pitch simulated game at Rogers Centre, Daisuke Matsuzaka explained that he understands the awkward position his conditioning and injuries have put the Red Sox in the past and is looking forward to using his return to the majors as a stepping stone to re-establishing his value.

“I’ll be really nervous when I first get back out there,” Matsuzaka said. “Looking back at this past month I’ve been such a burden on this team, I think as I get through more and more starts I hope I can repay at them a little bit and do that throughout the season.”

The pitcher, who made three rehab appearances with Triple A Pawtucket, allowing three earned runs in 16 2/3 innings, striking out 13 and walking one, is slated to make his first big league start of the season Saturday in Baltimore against the Orioles.

In the simulated game Matsuzaka faced left-handed hitters Jonathan Van Every and Jeremy Hermida, as well as batting practice pitcher Ino Guerrero, who served as a bat from the right side.

“The one thing that is becoming more evident is the action to his secondary pitches.,” said Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell. “His cutter and his slider have become more tight, which is an indication of increased arm strength.”

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