|Magadan identifies part of the problem||04.15.09 at 12:55 am ET|
The Red Sox came into Tuesday night’s game second to last in the American League in runs scored, totaling 24, while not having scored more than five in any one game. The problem? Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan gives his take:
“I don’t know if we’re pressing. I think we’re getting outside of what our strength is as a team. We were talking about it today. We’re swinging at a lot of pitcher’s pitches early in the count. They might be strikes, but they’re not really pitches we can drive. I think we went a period of time where we hit some balls hard with runners in scoring position and had nothing to show for it. But that transformed into kind of getting outside our strength which is being patient. I don’t mind getting a swing early in the count as long as it’s a pitch we can drive. But we’re getting a lot of weak outs on the first and second pitch. That’s been what we have been getting away from.
“You’re down 1-0 or 2-0 and guys are trying to make it up in one swing of the bat. There’s a fine line between being aggressive and helping the pitcher out. That’s kind of what we’re doing now. We’re facing guys who really aren’t strikeout pitchers and it’s almost like we’re swinging at pitches where we don’t want to get behind in the count.
“We’ve fallen out of this before over the last two years. We did it last year. Actually both years we came out of the gate pretty similarly. We were in Oakland last year getting outside our strength. I think a lot of times you can give guys too much credit, opposing pitchers. Granted (Dallas) Braden threw a lot balls for strike one. But for me, you have to make him throw three of those. We’re not doing that. We’re letting him throw one quality pitch and getting outs.”
Perhaps the biggest culprit in the Red Sox’ lineup when it came to the early-season impatience had been J.D. Drew. Drew finished last season with a career-high 4.16 pitches per plate appearance. This year he was seeing only 2.95. David Ortiz is seeing a gaudy 4.73 pitches per plate appearance, but much of that can be chalked up to a bevy of off-speed pitch foul balls.
|How Josh Beckett’s appeal will work||04.15.09 at 12:00 am ET|
In case you were wondering, this is how the process will work in regards to Josh Beckett’s appeal of his six-game suspension:
Beckett appeals the suspension through the player’s union. Major League Baseball and the union schedule a hearing. The union and player present their side, followed by MLB (Bob Watson and others) present their side. MLB Executive Vice President John McHale acts as the arbitrator and decides whether to uphold, reduce, or eliminate the suspension. Beckett can drop the appeal anytime before the hearing and begin serving the suspension.
|Something wrong with Daisuke?||04.14.09 at 11:21 pm ET|
Daisuke Matsuzka was pulled after throwing 43 pitches in the first inning, giving up five runs on five hits while walking two and not striking a batter. Of some concern was his velocity, which hasn’t been up to his previous standings. Of Matsuzaka’s 43 pitches, he hit 90 mph four times and 91 mph once. For reference sake, Daisuke topped out at 96 mph in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, while sitting in the mid 90′s for most of the game. Justin Masterson entered the fray for the second with the Red Sox trailing 5-3.
Here comes some good World Baseball Classic analysis …
|Penny: It doesn’t make sense||04.14.09 at 8:17 pm ET|
Brad Penny, who played with Josh Beckett for five seasons with the Florida Marlins, said he has never seen the pitcher throw at a hitter’s head with intent, as was insinuated by Bob Watson, Major League Baseball’s vice president of on-field operations, when he slapped Beckett with a six-game suspension.
“He told me he honestly didn’t mean to hit him, and, believe me, if anything like that was going on he would have told me,” Penny said. “I don’t how you can get suspended for doing that. He didn’t hit anybody. He didn’t say anything. Someone said something to him first. He was pretty calm. I was out there with him the whole time. How do you get fined or suspended when you weren’t even ejected? It doesn’t make sense to me. I know a couple of the umpires he didn’t do anything wrong.”
Beckett, who is appealing the suspension, said he has never been suspended, just fined. The last known incident in which Watson acted in regarded to Beckett came after the pitcher had a shouting match with Cleveland hitter Kenny Lofton in Game 5 of the 2007 American League Championship Series. Watson fined Beckett $1,000.
|Josh Beckett clarifies decision to appeal suspension||04.14.09 at 6:51 pm ET|
OAKLAND – Josh Beckett just spoke about the six-game suspension that he received from Major League Baseball for his part in the bench-clearing incident that took place between the Red Sox and Angels on Monday. The pitcher confirmed that he is appealing the suspension.
When he heard around the punishment around 9 a.m., Beckett said that he was “shocked. The Sox ace said that two of the umpires on the crew on Sunday — home plate umpire Paul Schrieber and second-base umpire (and crew chief) Joe West — told him that he did the right thing in continuing with his delivery and throwing a pitch (which sailed over the head of Angels outfielder Bobby Abreu) after time was called. Schrieber, the home plate umpire who granted time to Abreu, repeated that message twice, according to the pitcher.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia suggested that Beckett’s reaction – when the pitcher approach home plate while yelling at Bobby Abreu, part of the “aggressive” behavior that MLB cited in the six-game suspension – was the source of the manager’s gripe with the umpires that ultimately led to his ejection on Sunday.
In response to that contention, Beckett responded, “I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. Am I supposed to give (Abreu) a hug? I wasn’t really in a hugging mood.”
–Shortstop Jed Lowrie was examined by three different doctors in Boston today. He will fly tomorrow to Baltimore to see Dr. Thomas Graham of the Curtis National Hand Center in hopes of determining precisely the cause of and solution to the recurrence of discomfort in his left wrist.
–Left fielder Jason Bay said his left wrist is fine after he rolled awkwardly on it while trying to make a catch on Monday. He’s back in the lineup in his customary sixth spot in the batting order.
–Shortstop Julio Lugo, in the Red Sox’ extended spring training camp in Fort Myers, will serve as designated hitter in an extended spring game on Wednesday, take Thursday off from games, then split his time as a designated hitter and shortstop from Friday through Sunday. He will then fly up to Boston on Sunday to work out with Sox on Monday. If all goes well, Lugo will start a rehab assignment in Triple-A Pawtucket after that. Lugo underwent surgery on the torn meniscus in his right knee on March 17.
–Pitcher John Smoltz and outfielder Kotsay will be leaving the team on Wednesday to go to Fort Myers. Smoltz will face opposing hitters in a live batting practice session on Saturday, commencing a schedule in which he will continue to throw live B.P. every five days. Kotsay will serve as D.H. in an extended spring training game on Friday.
|Josh Beckett to appeal suspension||04.14.09 at 2:53 pm ET|
WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford has learned that Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett will appeal a six-game suspension that was handed down by Major League Baseball on Tuesday. MLB’s punishment came in response to a pitch thrown in the direction of Angels outfielder Bobby Abreu’s head during a game stoppage on Sunday.
Abreu had asked for time while Beckett repeatedly checked the runner (Chone Figgins) on second base. The pitcher was unaware that the umpire had granted Abreu’s request, and so was in mid-delivery when he realized it. Beckett completed his delivery, his pitch sailing over Abreu’s head and towards the backstop. Abreu shouted at the pitcher, and Beckett yelled back while moving towards the plate. The two were separated as the benches and bullpens emptied.
Beckett said afterwards that had no intention of hitting Abreu in the head, and that he simply wanted to complete his delivery. Major League Baseball chief of discipline Bob Watson interpreted the matter differently, resulting in the suspension. Here is the text of the press release from MLB:
Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett has been suspended for six games and fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally throwing a pitch in the head area of the Angels’ Bobby Abreu and for his aggressive actions after the pitch that incited the bench-clearing incident. Beckett’s six-game suspension is scheduled to begin tonight, when Boston continues its series at Oakland; if he chooses to appeal, then his suspension will be held in abeyance until the process is complete.
Angels’ hitting coach Mickey Hatcher has been suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount for his aggressive actions during the incident. Hatcher’s suspension is scheduled to be served tonight, when the Angels play at Seattle.
In addition, undisclosed fines have been issued to Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia and players Torii Hunter and Justin Speier for their actions during the incident.
Had Beckett accepted the suspension, he would have been eligible to return on Tuesday, April 21, against the Twins. Because of Thursday’s off-day, all of the Sox starters except for Beckett could have stayed on a normal schedule of four days’ rest for their next turn. But with the decision to appeal, that is now moot.
Beckett is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 13 innings in his two starts this year.
Post-game reaction from Beckett and Abreu on Sunday – Full Count
Five Things We Learned: The Beckett List – Rob Bradford
Curt in a Car calls into the Big Show to offer his thoughts on the incident: ‘The ball went exactly where he wanted it to go’
|The low-down on Lowrie and other stuff||04.13.09 at 10:17 pm ET|
OAKLAND — While we should hear more Tuesday regarding the particulars of Jed Lowrie’s wrist injury (which has placed him on the 15-day disabled list), this is what we know …
Per Red Sox manager Terry Francona from his pre-game media briefing:
“The only thing we have right now is that he was sent back for a bunch of tests so we can be a little more conclusive on what is going on.
“They just want to get all the facts before they start telling us what’s going on.
“He showed up yesterday and said it was bothering him. I think the more we started talking to him and pushing a little bit, we realized we need to get this thing checked out. He had such a good spring. Then when you kind of push him and prod him a little bit he said it had started to bother him the last couple of weeks but didn’t say anything to him. On one hand we told, ‘Hey, you need to let us know.’ On the other hand that’s how players are and you kind of respect that.”
“Same area? Yeah. They’re getting a lot of good opinions. Their not sure, that’s why we sent him back.”
As for Lowrie’s replacement, Nick Green, it should be noted that he made an early impression with his throwing arm.
“Nick’s a solid baseball player,” said Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia of his new double-play partner. “He does a lot of things really well. He brings energy. He’s got an absolute cannon for an arm. Nick’s a good player. It’s huge for us when our two shortstops go down and these guys are ready to step in and do a good job. I played catch with him one time and he just about bruised my palm. I’m like, ‘I’m going to stop playing catch with him for a while.’”
Gil Velazquez, who, like Green, hits from the right side, found out that he was going to be catching a 6 a.m. flight upon arriving in Rochester with the Pawtucket Red Sox after playing all 15 innings of the PawSox’ Sunday tilt in Buffalo. The 6-foot-2 shortstop, who has been widely praised for his defensive abilities, was 4 for 18 with the PawSox.
In other notes:
- Dustin Pedroia, who has come under major scrutiny in the Oakland area because of comments made in a Boston Magazine article in which he calls his hometown of Woodland a “dump”, received a smattering of boos in his first at-bat.
- Casey Kelly, the Red Sox’ first selection (30th overall) in the 2008 draft made his professional pitching debut for Single A Greenville Sunday, allowing four hits with four strikeouts in five scoreless innings.
- Francona spoke fondly of Harry Kalas, the Philadelphia Phillies announcer who passed away suddenly Monday, remembering one of the lighter moments when Kalas served as the announcer for the Phillies’ fantasy football draft. “He did our first fantasy football draft,” Francona remembered. “That was incredible. We didn’t do a lot of good things there, but we did that good.”
- Monday marked the 12-year-0ld birthday of Wally the Green Monster.
- Chris Carter, who hails from nearby Fremont, is leaving 50 tickets for friends and family Tuesday.
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