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Friday Nuggetpalooza!

06.10.11 at 1:24 pm ET
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Enjoy your Friday Nuggetpalooza, folks!


* – The Red Sox have scored four or more runs in their last 12 consecutive games against the Yankees, tying the longest by a Red Sox team against the Bombers set in 1922 and tying the longest by any team against New York since 1970 (Orioles).


* – During the three-game sweep of the Yankees, the Red Sox went 4-for-7 (two doubles and a HR) with five walks on 3-and-2 counts, a ridiculous OPS of 2.035! For the season, the Yankees staff has allowed a major-league worst .952 OPS on full counts, including 98 walks vs. just 46 strikeouts (0.47 ratio, worst in the majors).


* – Adrian Gonzalez leads the majors in two-out RBI with 26, same as he had during all of last season and just 11 shy of his career high from 2008:

26 – Adrian Gonzalez, BOS
23 – Neil Walker, PIT
21 – Gaby Sanchez, FLA

In his last seven trips to the plate with two outs (dating back to Sunday), there have been a total of 14 runners on base, including 10 in scoring position, and he’s has four RBI (including himself once on a HR).

Another way of measuring two-out RBI is by percentage of runners on base driven in. With two outs this season, Gonzalez has batted with 84 runners on and knocked in 21 of them (not counting the five times he’s driven himself in on two-out homers) the highest percentage in the AL (min. 50 runners on base):

25.0% – Adrian Gonzalez, BOS
22.4% – Matt Weiters, BAL
22.2% – Matt Joyce, TB
22.0% – Robinson Cano, NYY

I’ll bet you didn’t expect THIS, however: Gonzalez has actually tailed off some in this regard…

April – 26.7% (8-of-30)
May – 27.0% (10-of-37)
June – 17.6% (3-of-17)

One other note: Gonzalez has gotten two strikes on him with RISP and two outs five times in the past two weeks… and has struck out all five times.


* – Boston pitchers lead the majors in hit batsmen both at home (18) and on the road (22). Since 1950, they’ve never led the league both at home and on the road in the same season. While they’ve hit the most batters on the road three times since 2000, they haven’t hit the most at home in any season since 1952.

Did you know that the World Champion 1983 Orioles hit only 10 batters that entire season? That’s just considered a good WEEKEND in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.


* – Since May 19, David Ortiz has gone 32-for-78 (.410), the highest average in the majors in that span (min. 60 PA). Here are the AL leaders since May 19:

.410 – David Ortiz, BOS
.365 – Adrian Gonzalez, BOS
.364 – Alexi Ramirez, CHW

Ortiz’ OPS (1.311) in that span also leads the majors.

—————————————————————————————————————————– Read the rest of this entry »

Red Sox prospect Weiland’s career takes a right turn against lefties

06.10.11 at 1:11 pm ET
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Daisuke Matsuzaka is scheduled to go under the knife today, undergoing Tommy John surgery that will sideline him well into the 2012 season — perhaps even for all of that. That, in turn, affects the depth of the Sox’ rotation.

At the major league level, with Tim Wakefield now in the rotation, Alfredo Aceves serves as an insurance policy. In Pawtucket, Felix Doubront — who impressed the Sox as both a starter and reliever last year in his big league debut — continues to build back up after spending time on the sidelines with a groin injury. He has a 2.33 ERA in seven starts, most recently having allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings on Thursday.

Yet other options are starting to emerge in Triple-A. Most notably, right-hander Kyle Weiland is positioning himself as a potential starting option down the road.

Weiland commands four pitches: the curveball, the two-seam fastball, the change up, and now a cutter. PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur says that arsenal should translate into major league success for Weiland.

‘€œIt’€™s the command that is impressive,’€ Sauveur said recently.

That command has translated into a .217 opponent’s batting average this season, a 3.00 ERA in 63 innings over 12 starts, and 69 strikeouts — more than one per inning.

Sauveur says it’€™s not just Weiland’€™s command that he likes, but also his maturity.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Daisuke Matsuzaka, kyle weiland, Pawtucket Red Sox, Rich Sauveur

Kevin Millar on M&M: David Ortiz ‘has changed this city forever’

06.10.11 at 12:47 pm ET
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Former Red Sox and current MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar made his weekly appearance on the Mut & Merloni show Friday morning. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Millar said that CC Sabathia beaning David Ortiz in the fourth inning of Thursday’€™s 8-3 Red Sox victory in New York was not surprising.

‘€œYou knew it was going to come,’€ Millar said. ‘€œThis isn’€™t about, let’€™s go out and drill Ortiz. ‘€¦ Do they need to hit Ortiz? No. The Yankees need to find a way to win, find a way to win the game at home. You can hit Ortiz all you want. Great. It’€™s not going to hurt Ortiz. The point being is that you’€™ve got execute your pitches.’€

Millar added that Sabathia is not a headhunter or dirty player.

‘€œThat’€™s baseball,’€ Millar said. ‘€œIt’€™s OK to throw inside, it’€™s OK to move guys’€™ feet. ‘€¦ When you’€™re on the mound as a pitcher, brush him off. Fine, that’€™s OK. That’€™s baseball. It doesn’€™t mean that no one doesn’€™t like anybody.’€

Millar said that Ortiz’€™s bat flip Tuesday was a sign of the return of the swagger that was once such a central part of Ortiz’€™s game, and that the Red Sox should bring back Ortiz back next year.

‘€œDavid Ortiz is a mainstay in that DH spot for the Boston Red Sox for the rest of his life, in my opinion,’€ Millar said. ‘€œHe has turned this city around, he has changed this city forever. He has won championships, he has put us on his back when we’€™ve played. Listen, this guy can hit. Period.’€

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adrian gonzalez, bartolo colon, C.C. Sabathia, David Ortiz

Exam leads to good news for Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

06.10.11 at 9:03 am ET
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NEW YORK — The Red Sox announced that after being examined by team medical director Dr. Thomas Gill, Dustin Pedroia has been diagnosed with having a bone bruise on his right knee cap. The second baseman will rejoin the team in Toronto Friday.

“Hopefully, he might even play tomorrow,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “We’ll see. We’ll see how he shows up tomorrow, see if he’s sore and things like that. He’ll be able to play as tolerated, and maybe once in a while, we’ll give him a day off. Structurally, he’s in really good shape. He was excited. We were relieved.”

Pedroia, who had been complaining about the knee recently after initially hurting when falling to the ground May 16 in the Red Sox’ game with the Orioles at Fenway Park, was sent to Boston for further examination Thursday. The trip was meant to ensure that the infielder could continue playing without further damaging any of the cartilage that had given him problems last season.

“Really good update,” Francona said. “The cartilage part they were examining was actually a little smaller than they anticipated. No flap or anything like that. I think the biggest thing he’s dealing with is kind of a bruise underneath his kneecap because he’s been pounding on it so much.”

Prior to the series finale at Yankee Stasdium, Francona explained what led to the examination.

“That knee has actually been kind of sore, it was sore last year. When he broke his foot it kind of became a non-issue and got better because he rested it so much. It’s been nagging at him a lot of this year,” Francona said. “What we’re trying to do today is Dr. Gill is going to look inside his knee with a very minimally invasive technique just to reassure us and Pedey that he can play and isn’t going to hurt himself. I think we owe it to him.

“There’s a difference between having your knee ache and hurt as opposed to maybe putting yourself in a place you don’t want to. We just want to make sure. I fully expect he will be hitting second tomorrow. I think we needed to do it. He didn’t even want to go back and do this. We kind of made him. Because the way he plays and everything, he keeps landing on that thing, so we just want to make sure he’s OK.”

Pedroia originally injured his knee last season when sliding into home during a May 15 game in Detroit. The injury was then looked at by Gill, who determined that the second baseman could play through the ailment. After receiving a cortisone shot in early June, Pedroia hit .491 in the next 14 games before being sidelined with a broken foot.

“I don’t think he’s going to miss any time,” Francona said. “I think he’s going to play tomorrow. I really don’t. I’d be surprised if it was something different.”

In 59 games, Pedroia is hitting .249 this season, although he has swung the bat better of late, totaling a .304 batting average (7-for-23) for June. The current examination was scheduled for Thursday, according to Francona, because Pedroia complained about the knee being sore.

“It got to the point the other night where it kind of grabbed at him a little bit, and the more we talked we didn’t want to put it off,” Francona said.

“When guys are hurt or limping, it’s not like something just happens. We know what’s going on all the time and talk to the medical people and try and keep track of things. This is something to ensure he’s OK.”

For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Jo-Jo Reyes

06.10.11 at 8:00 am ET
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It’€™s not exactly a start against the Yankees under the bright lights in the Bronx, but it’€™s certainly better than a trip to the disabled list.

Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz will take the hill Friday night after missing his regularly scheduled start in Wednesday’€™s 11-6 win over the Yankees because he had been pushed back two days for precautionary reasons due to some back discomfort he had experienced in his last start on Saturday. The righty will be coming off a season-high six days of rest as he takes on Blue Jays starter Jo-Jo Reyes to start a three-game set up in Toronto.

The numbers suggest that had his back not acted up, Buchholz (4-3, 3.82 ERA) would have much preferred to take his start on Wednesday. In five starts when coming off the normal four days of rest, the 26-year-old is 2-0 with a low 2.45 ERA. But in the six starts where he has received five days of rest, his ERA nearly doubles to 4.63 while his record drops to 2-2. It might be a welcome sight for him to see the Rogers Centre though, where he is 4-2 with a 1.69 in six starts.

The current set of Blue Jays have so-so numbers against Buchholz over his four-year career. First baseman Adam Lind has had the most success against the righty with a .346 average and .986 OPS over 27 career plate appearances. To answer your questions about slugger Jose Bautista, who leads the American League in average (.351) and home runs (20), the rightfielder is hitting just .263 when facing Buchholz with only home run over 22 plate appearances.

As for Reyes (2-4, 4.16), he is just beginning to enjoy some success after failing to do so for three consecutive years. The lefty had tied the major-league record for longest starts streak without a win at 28 until he grabbed his first W since 2008 in a complete-game performance against the Indians on May 30. He followed that up with another victory over Baltimore last Sunday to give him back-to-back wins for the first time in his career. In fact, Reyes’€™ success on the mound hasn’€™t been all that new; since the start of May, he has allowed three runs or fewer in five of his seven starts.

With no player having faced Reyes more than 10 times, the Red Sox roster has had limited experience against him, but there is some success there. Mike Cameron (3-for-8, 2 HR, 5 RBI) and Jed Lowrie (2-for-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI) have had the best at-bats against Reyes, and  it wouldn’t be a stretch to expect the pair to get starts Friday night for the second night in a row. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Jo-Jo Reyes,

Closing Time: Red Sox score seven in seventh to sweep Yankees

06.10.11 at 1:43 am ET
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It looked like CC Sabathia would finally take Round 3 of his 2011 heavyweight bout with Josh Beckett. The hefty lefty cruised into the seventh inning of a 2-0 contest having allowed no runs on just two hits and two walks.

Then, the Red Sox offense kicked in.

Following a David Ortiz single, Jed Lowrie drove in Boston’€™s first run with a triple that was aided by a slipup in rightfield by Nick Swisher. Carl Crawford then grounded out, but Mike Cameron (double), Jason Varitek (single) and Jacoby Ellsbury (single) got on base in consecutive at-bats to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead. Adrian GonzalezKevin Youkilis and Ortiz added RBI hits, with the DH’€™s being a two-RBI double to give him six RBI in the series, later in the frame that supplied Boston with a comfortable five-run lead in what would be an eventual 8-3 victory.

Sabathia finished with 6 2/3 innings pitched while allowing a season-high six earned runs on eight hits.

Beckett, who looked like he would be on the losing end for most of the game, gladly welcomed the run support to earn just his fifth win in 13 starts despite his outstanding start to the season. In the victory, the righty lasted seven innings and allowed just the two runs, both of which came on a two-run home run by Curtis Granderson in the Yankees‘€™ second at-bat of the game. The Red Sox ace now has a 3-0 record against New York in three starts this season, all against Sabathia,  with an extremely low ERA of 0.83.

The win gives the Sox their second sweep at Yankee Stadium in 2011 and gives Boston a two-game cushion over New York in the AL East standings. The game’€™s start was delayed three hours and 27 minutes by rainstorms in the Bronx area. Because the game wasn’€™t allowed to begin on time, both starters were allowed to take the mound without issue.

Here’€™s more on what went right and went wrong in the Red Sox win.


–Thanks to the rally in the seventh and Marco Scutaro‘€™s single in the ninth inning, every Red Sox hitter gathered a hit in the win, a feat the team had “failed” to accomplish in its 11-6 thrashing of the Yankees the night before. Although it wasn’€™t on a home run this time, Ortiz did extend his hitting streak to nine games with his single in the seventh while Ellsbury extended his own streak to seven contests. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adrian gonzalez, C.C. Sabathia, David Ortiz, Jed Lowrie

Live Blog: Red Sox looking for the sweep at Yankee Stadium

06.09.11 at 7:29 pm ET
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Red Sox/Yankees Live Blog

John Kruk on M&M: Why would David Ortiz flip the bat?

06.09.11 at 2:04 pm ET
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ESPN baseball analyst John Kruk, in a call-in interview with the Mut & Merloni show Thursday afternoon, questioned David Ortiz‘€™s now-famous bat flip in Tuesday night’€™s 6-2 win over the Yankees. After the designated hitter slammed a two-run homer to right field off New York rookie Hector Noesi, Ortiz spun around quickly and flung his bat toward the Boston bench in celebration of the blast. Earlier in the game, Jon Lester had already plunked Mark Teixeira and Russell Martin in the first inning ‘€“ the former left the game with a right knee contusion because of the hit – and it was those prior events that led to Kruk’€™s questioning.

‘€œIf you know you’€™re in a game where there’€™s some bad blood being brought up because they had a guy get hit and had to leave the game, why would you do that?’€ Kruk said. ‘€œI would love to ask him that. ‘€˜Why would you do that at that time? Why would you take that opportunity in a game where there’€™s a chance of retaliation against your team, why would add fuel to that fire by flipping your bat toward your dugout and admiring a home run?’€™’€

The common thinking was that Ortiz would be hit with a pitch of his own either later in the game Tuesday or in Wednesday night’€™s contest (an 11-6 Red Sox win) against the hard-throwing A.J. Burnett. Neither event transpired, however, and Kruk believed that was mostly because of the New York game plan.

‘€œThat’€™s just the way the Yankees are,’€ Kruk said. ‘€œUnder Joe Torre, they would never retaliate. I always questioned that about them. Why wouldn’€™t they protect their hitters more? That’€™s the thing I don’€™t understand.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: David Ortiz, John Kruk,

Remembering Anthony Rizzo’s Red Sox origins

06.09.11 at 1:43 pm ET
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The opportunity to acquire Adrian Gonzalez was almost too good for the Red Sox to pass up, and the reason for the club’s longstanding crush on the first baseman is now entirely evident. Gonzalez is a classic middle-of-the-order run producer. He’s a player with power and plate discipline who seems destined to put up huge numbers for several years as a member of the Red Sox.

Even so, the Sox were never under any illusions that they’d pulled a fast one on the Padres in sending four players to San Diego to acquire the superstar. The Sox sent three of their top prospects (pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and outfielder Reymond Fuentes) along with utility man Eric Patterson to complete the deal, well aware that San Diego might be acquiring three players who can serve as key future contributors.

That future return starts now for the Padres. Rizzo, who slammed a remarkable 25 homers at two levels for the Sox last year, was off to an outrageous start in the Padres system, hitting .365 with a .444 OBP, .715 slugging mark, 1.159 OPS and 16 homers in 52 games for Triple-A Tucson. He has emerged as one of the best power-hitting prospects in the game and the Padres have summoned him to the majors for his big league debut. Rizzo will be unveiled against the Washington Nationals.

The timing comes as a slight surprise. One member of the Sox organization recently hypothesized that the Padres might wait until after they visit Fenway Park later this month before calling up Rizzo so that he would not have to be subjected to the compare-and-contrast game with Gonzalez (an exercise that would not have been unflattering to either — especially given that Rizzo’s performance in Double-A as a 20-year-old bore striking similarity to Gonzalez’ when he was in Portland as a Marlins minor leaguer at the same age).

Even so, that Rizzo is about to make his debut — even in another uniform — offers grounds for tremendous excitement among several members of the Sox organization on multiple levels. First and foremost, the personal relationship between Rizzo and the team that drafted him runs deep — not only with his teammates, but also with the many coaches, instructors, front-office members and scouts who became close to him when he was being treated in 2008 for Hodgkins’ lymphoma.

Yet while the team’s ties to the prospect deepened as he recovered from his illness — in the process, becoming an inspiring picture of strength — the connection with Rizzo started earlier, and helps to explain how it was that the Sox drafted a player who is now one of the top prospects in the game in the sixth round of the 2007 draft, after 203 other players had been selected.

The discovery of Rizzo, in fact, was somewhat accidental. Area scout Laz Gutierrez, like most scouts, had been more interested in Daniel Elorriaga-Matra at Douglas High School, which produced a somewhat incredible three draftees in 2007. Matra would end up being taken in the 26th round by the Braves.

Gutierrez saw both in the summer after their junior years and again in the fall. Rizzo did not jump out as a prospect. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adrian gonzalez, Anthony Rizzo, laz gutierrez, mlb draft

Thursday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Josh Beckett vs. C.C. Sabathia

06.09.11 at 8:12 am ET
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In a Thursday night matchup in The Bronx, the Red Sox and Yankees will look to their best arms to take the series finale as Josh Beckett faces C.C. Sabathia at 7:05 p.m. The Red Sox have had the upper hand against their rivals so far this season, and it has primarily stemmed from starting pitching. Sabathia is undoubtedly the Yankees‘ ace, but even he’s been overshadowed by Boston’s rotation.

Sabathia and Beckett have already squared off twice this season, with Boston’s ace considerably out-pitching New York’s on both occasions. On May 14 in New York, Boston scored six runs on seven hits through 6 2/3 innings, marking Sabathia’s worst outing of the season. Beckett, on the other hand, struck out nine over six shutout innings to lead the Sox to a 6-0 win. Back on April 10 at Fenway Park, Beckett threw a two-hit shutout over eight innings before handing the ball over to Jonathan Papelbon for the save. Sabathia only gave up one run, but he walked four and surrendered nine hits in just 5 2/3 innings. The Red Sox won, 4-0, for their second win of the season.

Aside from his struggles against Boston, Sabathia (7-3, 2.80 ERA) has been the steadiest Yankee starter by far, leading the team in wins, ERA, and strikeouts (70). The 290-pound lefty has won five of his last six starts, including an impressive outing against the Angels last Saturday. Sabathia got 26 of 27 outs before Mariano Rivera came in to close out the 3-2 win, and nearly recorded his second complete game in three starts.

While the Yankees starter has the ability to go deep in games, he’s had trouble limiting his pitch count and handling some of Boston’s premier hitters. For instance, Kevin Youkilis has dominated Sabathia, hitting .394 with two triples, two doubles, two homers and five RBI in 40 career plate appearances. David Ortiz has launched two home runs as well, although he’s hitting just .250 with 11 strikeouts against the left-hander.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: C.C. Sabathia, Josh Beckett, Red Sox, Yankees
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