|09.28.10 at 12:04 am ET|
CHICAGO — Moments after the Red Sox’ 6-1 win over the White Sox Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field, David Ortiz explained that reaching 100 RBI — which he accomplished with two RBI in the victory — shouldn’t be viewed as any different as when he reached 99 in 2009.
“As much as it was last year (when) I got 99,” the Sox’ DH said when asked how much reaching the milestone meant to him. He then pointed out how much perception changes with just that one extra RBI. “One RBI makes a huge difference because everybody was like focused on the first two months that I had last year. But right now, 100, for me, it’s no different. It’s just one number that’s different.”
Ortiz hadn’t reached 100 RBI since 2007, and has now accomplished the feat six times in his career. He got to 100 this time by driving in Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre with a first-inning double.
“Well, like I say, everybody makes a big deal about 100. Nobody makes a big deal about 99. So, I guess you’ve got to look forward to get 100,” he explained. “To me, personally, I don’t think there’s any difference. Seriously. There’s things that happen during the season. Like last year, I hit a double, the guy was on second, he was reading the ball, he went around third and I think he tripped or fell or something, he got caught. I could’ve called that one my 100th. Or I could’ve called someone that I left on base my 100th. It’s the three-digit numbers that people like to see. I don’t care. Turn the page.”
Asked if he thought Red Sox principal owner should view Ortiz’ contract situation differently now that he has 100 RBI, Ortiz said, “I don’t know. That’s a question that you should ask him. I don’t think so.”
Also reaching the 100-RBI milestone for the Red Sox Monday night was Beltre, who had only totaled the number one other time in his career (2004).
“Great to see,” Ortiz said. “He should’ve had 100 a long time ago. This guy’s been banging all year round.”
For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.
|09.27.10 at 10:51 pm ET|
CHICAGO — The Red Sox lived to see at least one more day.
With their 6-1 win over the White Sox Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field — and the Yankees’ loss to the Blue Jays — the Red Sox remained mathematically viable in the Wild Card chase. If the Sox win their six remaining games, and New York loses its next five, the teams would tie. It’s far from likely, but still a mathematical possibility, nonetheless.
Here is how they stayed in the race …
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
- Clay Buchholz claimed his 17th win of the season while dropping his ERA from 2.39 to 2.33. He is still second in the American League, behind only Seattle’s Felix Hernandez (2.31), who pitches Tuesday night. Buchholz finished his win over the White Sox by giving up one run on five hits, striking out five and walking one over eight innings.
- Adrian Beltre led the Red Sox’ attack against Chicago starter Mark Buehrle, notching four hits hits, two RBI and a run in his first three trips to the plate. Beltre had come into the game just 6-for-24 against the White Sox’ lefty, and had been only 2-for-24 in his previous six games. Prior to the game Red Sox manager Terry Francona surmised that the left wrist Beltre had injured earlier in the month might have been effecting him somewhat, but his at-bats had looked better of late. “He looks like it’s sore a little bit. He’s better the last day or so,” Francona said. “He’s not taking his hand off the bat quite as much. He’s hit some balls hard the other way. I don’t ask him much because he’s not going to tell you.”
- David Ortiz got things going for the Red Sox, lining a single down the right field line to score both Victor Martinez and Beltre. Ortiz came into the game with extraordinary success against the White Sox’ lefty, carrying a .346 batting average (18-for-52) with a pair of home runs. It gave the DH 100 RBI for the season, marking the first time since 2007 he had reached a milestone he has now managed six times throughout his career.
-The first five hitters in the Red Sox’ lineup got the job done, with leadoff hitter Marco Scutaro claiming three hits, No. 2 man Darnell McDonald going 1-for-2 with a sacrifice bunt, and Victor Martinez ripping two hits (and two RBI). After cleanup hitter Beltre, Ortiz came through with a pair of hits.
- Although it slowed down the pace of the game, the Red Sox managed a feather in their caps by driving the quick-working Buehrle from the game after six innings. The Sox collected 11 hits and four runs against the lefty, who threw 105 pitches.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
- Ryan Kalish had another baserunning miscue, this time ending the Red Sox’ half of the sixth inning. Kalish lofted a single into right field, allowing Jed Lowrie to sprint to third base. But White Sox’ shortstop Alexei Ramirez cut off the throw from Carlos Quentin, immediately rifling it to first baseman Paul Konerko, who put the tag on an overanxious Kalish.
- Third base coach Tim Bogar’s aggressiveness caught up to him in the first inning, waving Ortiz in with two outs on Mike Lowell’s single. But Quentin’s throw to Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski was in plenty of time to nab the Sox’ DH at the plate, ending the Red Sox’ first threat.
|09.27.10 at 10:18 pm ET|
CHICAGO — In case you were curious, Dustin Pedroia has worked exactly how his offseason should unfold. He first gets his cast off on Oct. 15 — which will be six out from the surgery on the navicular bone in his left foot — and then will be cleared for all activity starting Nov. 26. Realistically, Pedroia won’t be full-out sprinting until around Jan. 1. “That’s when I start building a monster,” he said of the Nov. 26 date.
|09.27.10 at 1:35 pm ET|
Cincinnati Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman made history Friday night when one of his fastballs was clocked at 105 mph, the fastest ever recorded in a major league game. According to Yahoo! Sports, Chapman threw 25 pitches in his 1 1/3 innings and every one was clocked at at least 100 mph. The fastest pitch was a fastball delivered to San Diego’s Tony Gwynn.
“I didn’t see it until the ball was behind me,” Gwynn said. “I was trying not to look at the radar reading because I’d be intimidated. I saw how hard he was throwing and just tried to be slow and work my hands.”
As a reminder, the Red Sox worked out Chapman this past offseason at Fenway Park.
|09.27.10 at 8:32 am ET|
NEW YORK — Mike Lowell has never made any secret of his attachment to the Yankees, the team that drafted him and with whom he made his major league debut in 1998. And so, over the last few days, as the 36-year-old prepares for retirement, it was unsurprising to see him exchange pleasantries with members of the organization of which he was once a part.
Yet as he prepared to leave New York for the last time as a player, Lowell did not feel an abiding sense of nostalgia for playing in the Bronx. He has too little history in the New Yankee Stadium, and in the grand scheme of things, too few games in New York to feel a major emotional tug as he left the ballpark following the Red Sox’ 4-3 loss in extra innings.
“I don’t feel a major attachment here,” said Lowell. “I feel more of an attachment to their organization and the system and I came up in.”
Even so, his final plate appearance in New York was very nearly a momentous one. It was Lowell who stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter in the top of the ninth inning and, with Bill Hall racing from first to third with a pair of one-out steals, worked his way to a full count before driving a Mariano Rivera cutter to deep center for a sacrifice fly that gave the Sox a fleeting 3-2 lead.
That contribution was nearly forgotten shortly thereafter, when the Yankees came back to win the contest. Even so, Lowell will take one last pleasant thought from his final plate appearance in Yankee Stadium.
“I guess it’s a good thing that my last at-bat was an RBI against the best closer in the game,” said Lowell. “I’ll take that.”
|09.27.10 at 1:30 am ET|
NEW YORK — Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, after blowing his eighth save of the season in the ninth-inning of an eventual 10-inning, 4-3 loss to the Yankees, insisted that the work of home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi played a significant role in his inability to secure the lead.
Papelbon after the Sox took a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. The Sox closer promptly returned serve, allowing three hits and a walk that led to the game-tying run. Papelbon felt that he was squeezed on several pitches, including on a two-strike pitch to Alex Rodriguez.
The pitch was called a ball, and Papelbon eventually walked Rodriguez to load the bases prior to Robinson Cano‘s game-tying single. Two pitches in the Rodriguez at-bat proved questionable calls: a 1-1 fastball that was ruled a ball, and a full-count slider that may have also been in the zone. Papelbon bemoaned the way the calls changed the dynamic of the at-bat.
“It was really tough tonight. Considering I’m not only pitching against the hitter, I’m pitching against the umpire. I mean, when you’ve got to do that against this lineup you’ll never be successful. It just won’t happen,” Papelbon said. “Not only with [the Rodriguez] at-bat, but plenty of at-bats I felt like I threw the ball well. I felt like I threw clutch pitches in clutch situations, mixed up my pitches well and in those situations when you’ve got to pitch on the plate and resort to that you’re going to get beat, especially against this lineup in this ballpark. …
“No question about it. When you’ve got to do that you’re in a lose-lose situation,” he continued. “Just call the game. There are 27 outs, call the game. Don’t let the crowd influence you, don’t let the hitter influence you, don’t call the pitch where the catcher catches it; stay focused for 27 outs. Call the game.
“I’m not blaming the umpire. I could have definitely battled a little bit more out of that situation. I’m not one to complain about pitches, no. I’m not one to do that at all, but when you’re pitching against the umpire and that lineup, nobody can win that situation. It’s impossible.”
Sox manager Terry Francona suggested that the strike zone had been tight for both Papelbon and Rivera. Of Papelbon’s 30 pitches, 15 were called strikes, and 15 were balls. Of Rivera’s 29 pitches, 19 were strikes, as the Sox collected a pair of hits and scored a pair of runs against the future Hall of Famer.
“Thought the strike zone was tight, as it should be, to Mariano and Pap,” said Francona. “Made ‘em earn it, for both guys.”
Papelbon’s eight blown saves are the most by an American League reliever. His ERA drifted up to 4.02 with the one-inning, one-run, 30-pitch effort, and on the year, he has an 8.64 ERA against the Yankees, including a 9.00 mark in Yankee Stadium.
|09.27.10 at 12:00 am ET|
NEW YORK — For the second straight year, the Red Sox’ season effectively came to an end under the watch of closer Jonathan Papelbon.
The Sox had pushed across a pair of runs to take the lead in a remarkable rally against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in the top of the ninth inning. That gave Boston a 3-2 lead, with visions of a sweep that would narrow their deficit to 4 1/2 games.
But the Yankees continued a year in which Papelbon has been little short of horrific in the Bronx, plating a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game. The game thus went to extras, where the Sox continued their road misery, falling to 2-8 in bonus baseball away from Fenway Park. Hideki Okajima issued a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 10th inning, as the Yankees enjoyed a 4-3 walkoff.
That, in turn, brought the season to what will almost certainly be an unsatisfying conclusion for the Sox. Boston dropped 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees, and their elimination number dwindled to one. And so, while the Sox have not been eliminated, they almost certainly will see their playoff aspirations come to an end before returning to Fenway Park on Friday for a season-ending three-game set against the Yankees. The Yankees and Rays have both clinched no worse than a tie with the Sox, and a single win by the Yankees or Rays or a single loss by the Sox in the season’s last seven days will ensure that the Sox’ season will end on Sunday.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
–Jonathan Papelbon‘s season of woe continued. He allowed a run on three hits and a walk, in the process blowing his eighth save of the year. His season ERA now stands at 4.02, his ERA against the Yankees is 8.64, and in Yankee Stadium this year, it is 9.00.
–Alex Rodriguez concluded his three-game homer binge against the Red Sox with his most meaningful longball of the series. With a runner on first and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Rodriguez and the Yankees trailed, 1-0. After Matsuzaka jumped ahead of Rodriguez, 0-2, the third baseman got his hands inside of a 92 mph cutter on the inner part of the plate, driving it just inches over the fence in right-center for a two-run homer that put the Yankees ahead, 2-1.
The longball was the fourth of the three-game series for Rodriguez, giving him 612 for his career.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
–Daisuke Matsuzaka, pitching against a Yankees club against whom he entered the night with a 6.31 ERA, was masterful. He featured a three-pitch (fastball, changeup, cutter) mix that had the Yankees guessing for much of the night. Aided by a favorable strike zone, Matsuzaka punched out seven batters (five looking) and walked one in eight innings, marking just the fifth start this season in which he has allowed two or fewer walks. He allowed just four hits.
The outing offered a dramatic reminder of Matsuzaka’s far-reaching talent. His stuff can be overpowering, as it was on Sunday night. Of course, that fact makes his inconsistency and inefficiency all the more puzzling. The right-hander, after all, was coming off a run of having allowed four or more earned runs in seven straight starts, the longest such rut by a Sox pitcher since 1942-43.
The performance marked just the second time in the right-hander’s career that he has turned in a quality start against the Yankees, the other such outing coming last Sept. 26.
–Victor Martinez continued to defy conventional wisdom that catchers are meant to wear out down the stretch. The switch-hitter went 2-for-5, delivering a key run-scoring, two-out single in the top of the third inning to give the Sox their only run against Yankees starter Phil Hughes. Martinez is now hitting .323 with a .980 OPS in September, continuing a career-long pattern of season-ending excellence.
For his career, Martinez – prior to Sunday – had a .319 average and .397 OBP in Sept./Oct., his highest marks of any month. His career .882 OPS was his second best of any month, and his 128 RBIs are the most of any month.
–Ryan Kalish continued to show great game awareness and an ability to impact contests. Most notably, he launched a Sox rally in the ninth with a single against Rivera, followed by his steals of second and third base, putting himself in position to score the tying run. The rookie made a fantastic tumbling catch in left-center of a Robinson Cano bid for the gap that sliced away from him.
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