|06.10.10 at 2:02 pm ET|
Following one of their worst losses of the season, the Red Sox will send Jon Lester to the mound on Thursday night in an attempt to take three out of four games against the Indians. Mitch Talbot will counter for Cleveland, which received a complete-game shutout from Justin Masterson for its only win of the series in Wednesday night’s 11-0 blowout.
Since his last loss to the Rays on April 18 in which he allowed seven runs, Lester has performed like a completely different pitcher. In his nine starts since, he’s 7-0 with a 1.29 ERA while opponents are only batting .157 against him. Over Lester’s last three starts, he’s allowed only one run in 19 1/3 innings, including his most recent outing in which he pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings to earn a win against the Orioles.
For his career, when Lester is on the mound against the Tribe, the Red Sox have never lost, winning all six of his starts. He’s 3-0 with a 3.89 ERA overall against the Indians but has a 6.06 ERA in Cleveland. Lester’s last start against the Indians came on Oct. 1 of last season when he tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings, while punching out seven batters.
Mitch Talbot enters Thursday night’s game as the best Cleveland starter this season. He holds the lowest ERA and only winning record of any starter in the rotation. After beginning the season 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA in his first four starts, Talbot has gone 4-3 and seen his ERA rise to 3.54. In his last outing, he outdueled Jake Peavy and pitched seven innings while allowing only run to earn the win.
Though Talbot has never started against the Red Sox, he made a relief appearance on Sept. 15, 2008, when he was on Tampa Bay. Talbot allowed four runs, including two home runs, over three innings in a 13-5 Boston win. No Red Sox hitter has more than two career plate appearances against Talbot, with Kevin Youkilis enjoying the most success with a double and a home run.
Tonight’s matchup will be the final contest of Boston’s seven-game homestand before it continues interleague play with a three-game tilt against the Phillies on Friday. The Red Sox return home on June 22 when they face the Rockies. Read the rest of this entry »
|06.10.10 at 2:00 pm ET|
NESN Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning for his weekly discussion about the Red Sox. He spoke about the recent struggles of Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, the situation with Mike Lowell, as well who on the Boston roster could return next season.
‘I think [Adrian Beltre] is here for one year ,and if he has a big year, he’s looking for a big contract,’ Remy said. ‘[Jason] Varitek, he’s viable to come back. Ortiz, I’m not so sure. I think they’ll probably go out and try to find another DH, a younger guy. Lowell is gone and Victor Martinez is a big question mark.”
Remy also touched on Stephen Strasburg‘s impressive debut with the Nationals.
Below are the highlights of the interview. Visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page to hear the interview.
On Justin Masterson‘s performance:
He was pretty good last night. That’s what we saw a little bit here with the Red Sox. I still believe he’s better off in the bullpen than as a starter, but he sure had a great game last night. That power sinker he throws, he was throwing 95-96 all night long. He just got a lot of ground ball outs, he was really good. ‘¦ Even though it was against the Red Sox, you’re happy for the kid because he’s one of the nicest kids you’re ever going to meet in your life. Everybody pulls for him, they really do. Even through his tough times, they say around here that he handled it with nothing but class and dignity, like we would expect for him.
On Dustin Pedroia:
I think he’ll turn it around. Watching his at-bats, they’re not bad at-bats. He’s making solid contact, he’s hitting the ball well, I think. I think right now he’s just running into some bad luck, and one thing I’ve learned is never count out Dustin Pedroia. He said it the first year, ‘When I get hot, I get hot.’ I don’t worry about him. Read the rest of this entry »
|06.10.10 at 11:34 am ET|
|06.09.10 at 10:38 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — According to Red Sox manager Terry Francona the report from Dr. Lewis Yocum in regards to Jacoby Ellsbury’s injured ribs suggested “he needs a little bit more rest.” Francona couldn’t give the complete evaluation since he hadn’t gotten the opportunity to fully debrief with both Yocum and the team’s medical director, Dr. Thomas Gill.
“We want to talk through it,” Francona said. “I think Tom and Yocum have talked since I heard about it, but we’ll probably stay here a while and try to get some information tonight.” Ellsbury was in Los Angeles being examined by Yocum Wednesday. For more information on the Red Sox see the team page by clicking here.
|06.09.10 at 9:49 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — Former Red Sox pitcher Justin Masterson turned in perhaps his best start as a major leaguer, allowing no runs on two hits over nine innings. The result was an 11-0 victory for the Indians, Wednesday night at Progressive Field. Masterson, who was 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA over his previous two starts, induced 17 ground ball outs to just three fly outs.
It was Masterson’s second career complete game, having pitched on in his last start of the 2009 season.
Masterson’s counterpart, Sox starter Clay Buchholz, didn’t pitch too poorly, but wasn’t as sharp as he had been in building a five-game win streak coming into the game. Buchholz finished his outing allowing three runs on four hits, walking four and striking just one one over seven innings. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, their relievers (Boof Bonser, Joe Nelson) combined to surrender eight runs in the eighth inning to put the game well out of reach.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– Masterson pitched.
– Clay Buchholz showed he was human. After winning each of his last five starts, and coming into Wednesday night having tossed 18 straight scoreless innings, Buchholz didn’t have the command he has had of late. The Red Sox starter only surrendered three runs, but did walk the four while throwing two key wild pitches. (The second wild pitch scored Jhonny Peralta with the Indians’ third run.) His strike total was 61 out of 107 pitches, the lowest number of strikes he had thrown since May 8.
– The left-handed approach didn’t pay off for the Red Sox. The Sox stacked their lineup with lefties against Masterson, who came into the game allowing left-handed hitters a .370 batting average, compared to the .246 clip against righties. The starter had also struck out right-handed hitters at a much higher rate, fanning 37 and walking 11, compared to a 18-to-22 ratio vs. left-handers.This time around, Masterson managed both sides of the plate, getting five of his six punch-outs against lefties (David Ortiz twice).
– Dustin Pedroia continued to struggle. The Sox second baseman came into the game going 13-for-74 (.176) in his last 18 games. Wednesday he went 0-for-4 to lower his batting average to .249, his lowest since April 9.
– David Ortiz also has seen his bat stay silent, going hitless in three at-bats with the two strikeouts.Ortiz his now hitting .103 in June (3-for-29) after winning the American League Player of the Month through May. In regard to letting Ortiz find his way out the slump — and Mike Lowell’s lack of playing time (two starts in the last 18 games) — Terry Francona suggested a change of approach from the beginning of the season, when he was platooning Ortiz and Lowell more times than not.
“I think earlier in the season there were times where I was trying to make things reach and I think they weren’t reaching and it probably got in the way sometimes of guys swinging the bat better,” Francona said. “You try and keep everybody productive and you end up hurting everybody’s production, with the day’s off ‘¦ We tell the guys, sometimes it’s not fair. But you have to do what you think is right.’
– The bullpen was brutal. After Buchholz’ seven innings, Bonser made his first appearance for the Red Sox a forgettable one. The big right-hander allowed a four-pitch walk to Trevor Crowe, who promptly stole second, a single to Shin-Soo Choo, another walk, this one to Austin Kearns, and finally an RBI single to Russell Branyan. That was all for Bonser. Then it actually got worse for his replacement, Nelson. Nelson failed to retire any of the first five batters he faced — including Travis Hafner, who launched a grand slam — before inducing a 6-4-3 double play. Nelson finished his outing giving up four runs on five hits and three walks over the one inning.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– There were no significant injuries.
– They were able to rest Daniel Bard. As an aside, regular closer Jonathan Papelbon won’t be rejoining the team until it returns to Boston Friday. Papelbon is on bereavement leave, which allows the team a replacement for a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven.
|06.09.10 at 6:53 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — Speaking before the Red Sox ‘ Wednesday night game against the Indians at Progressive Field, Josh Beckett explained that it is his right latissimus muscle that has been the problem, and was the deciding factor when the team decided to shut down the pitcher’s throwing. Beckett said that if he passes the physical tests, scheduled to administered either Thursday or Friday, he will throw for the first time since the 25-pitch bullpen session he was forced to cut short May 28.
“Whenever I hurt my lat that’s when they said, ‘You know what, see the doctor, let’s do the tests. Let’s do whatever we need to do,'” explained Beckett.
“I wasn’t throwing normal. When you don’t throw normal that’s when muscles aren’t used to being like that. There are certain days I still feel it, but I’m having a really good day today. Today is one of those days where I get in and think, ‘Why can’t I play catch today?’ But I understand the process. I have to do a strength test before I do anything.”
Beckett has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 19, having originally been placed on the DL because of a lower back strain he suffered May 18 at Yankee Stadium after missing a start prior to the start against New York.
“If they want things to slow down, that’s what has to happen,” Beckett explained. “They have a lot invested in us and I’m coming to grips with that. I’m OK with that. Everybody has to answer to somebody. It’s tough when you have your competitive spirit. I don’t blame anybody for this. My back wasn’t 100 percent, everybody knew that. There wasn’t one pitch that was thrown in that game where it wasn’t raining and it’s unfortunate my foot slipped, hurt my back again. I throw on a side, can’t really repeat my delivery because my back is still a little bit there and I’m trying to get through it. Obviously, that’s when John Farrell said, ‘Wait a minute, what are we doing?’ Then I throw a few more, my lat starts hurting. We’re just trying to protect this thing. It could have been a lot more. We didn’t want to get it to the point where it was something we regretted.
“It’s nobody fault. It’s the way things happen. You want to be out there doing what you do. When you don’t do that some days it’s tough. You don’t feel like part of the team. There’s only so many times where you can hear, ‘Hey, how you doing? Hey, how you doing?’ There are other guys in here right now who understand. There are years in my career where everybody had something. This is a test. We’re being tested. And as far as I can see we’re doing pretty [expletive] good.”
|06.09.10 at 4:38 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — Daisuke Matsuzaka was forced to abandon his scheduled side session due to what Red Sox manager Terry Francona classified as ‘intestinal turmoil.’ The pitcher threw up after executing long toss, not getting a chance to begin his work in the bullpen. Matsuzaka was sent back to the team hotel with the hope that he will be able to throw a lighter side session Thursday.
“He got sick,” Francona said. “I don’t know how you say that in Japanese, but he puked.”
In other Red Sox news:
– News about how Jacoby Ellsbury came through his examination in Los Angeles with Dr. Lewis Yocum won’t be available until just prior to game-time, according Francona. Ellsbury was to have his injured ribs examined by Yocum.
– The Red Sox don’t expect to see Jonathan Papelbon again until the team returns to Boston Friday. Papelbon is on bereavement leave, which can be minimum of three days and maximum of seven days.
– Francona touched on the lack of playing time by Mike Lowell, who has gotten two starts in the last 18 games.
“We’ve got a third baseman who is hitting everything in sight. A first baseman who might be one of the best hitters in the game. And our DH had a month that is unparalleled, so I guess the answer is yes,” said Francona when asked about it was difficult to find Lowell playing time. “The object is to win and sometimes it’s hard. Mikey hasn’t played a lot lately, I certainly understand that but we’ve played good baseball. That has to be our first objective. I think he understands that. I don’t think he likes the idea of his playing time, which I completely understand, but the object is to win.”
The Red Sox manager admitted that earlier in the season he was going out of his way to find Lowell playing time, but saw that the inconsistency in playing time to others was affecting the team’s overall effectiveness.
“I’m sure it is (tough). I completely understand that,” Francona said. “I think earlier in the season there were times where I was trying to make things reach and I think they weren’t reaching and it probably got in the way sometimes of guys swinging the bat better. You try and keep everybody productive and you end up hurting everybody’s production, with the day’s off ‘¦ We tell the guys, sometimes it’s not fair. But you have to do what you think is right.”
– Francona said that Mike Cameron was getting the day off to not only continue his slow progression back into the Sox lineup, but also due to Cleveland starter Justin Masterson’s trouble with left-handed hitters. The outfield consists of all lefty hitters Wednesday night, with Jeremy Hermida in left, Josh Reddick in center, and J.D. Drew in right.
|06.09.10 at 1:16 pm ET|
Regarding the Jacoby Ellsbury situation, Francona said he wasn’t bothered by the fact that Ellsbury sought out a second and third opinion on his injured ribs. Said Francona: “I’ve had numerous conversations with [agent] Scott Boras and they’ve all been good. No, this is a good thing. You can’t let your ego get in the way. Whether it’s medical people or players or managers, we just want what’s best for our players. However you’ve got to go about it, we’re willing to do it.”
With Victor Martinez teaming up with Daisuke Matsuzaka in Monday’s win, Francona was asked if the apparent discord between the batterymates has been resolved. “What happened [between them] wasn’t really that big a deal,” Francona said. “We had a bad night. It happened to be in New York. There’s not a lot of privacy. These types of things happen a lot. It’s just, when the media finds out, you have to deal with it publicly. So we did. For me, it’s not having problems, it’s how you rectify those problems and how you move on. And I thought those guys did a great job, and it was obvious the other night.”
Three weeks into the season, it looked like the Red Sox were going to be an 85-win team, which is good but not good enough to get it done. Now, you guys are playing some really quality baseball. What keyed that turnaround? If you had to bottom-line it, what would you say it is?
I would say that it took us a while to get going in the right direction. Obviously, it’s beginning of the season, the first month. We did a lot of things wrong. We were inconsistent. Our pitching was inconsistent. Offensively, David [Ortiz] was really struggling. We were having a hard time kind of finding a way. Then, sometimes when that happens, you reach for more. Somebody tries to steal a base when they shouldn’t, not because they don’t care but maybe because they’re trying too hard. We had some missteps defensively. It just seemed like it was something every night. We finally get a lead and then [Daniel] Bard gave up a home run to [Miguel] Tejada in Baltimore. Read the rest of this entry »
|06.09.10 at 12:12 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — Josh Beckett will be the first to admit that his initial foray into the major leagues wasn’t close to that of Stephen Strasburg. (But then, again, has there ever been anybody who has ridden that wave? Click here to see what we’re talking about.)
There were some similarities, however.
Beckett was 21 years-old when he first took a mound in a big league game, coming two years after being selected with the second overall pick the 1999 draft. Like Strasburg is to the Nationals, Beckett was to the Marlins — the symbol of optimism for the future.
“I can definitely feel for him,” said Beckett after the Red Sox‘ 3-2 win over the Indians Tuesday night. “I think like somebody said, if he didn’t have different feelings (Tuesday night) than he wouldn’t be human. He would have probably had to feel a little bit different. I know I did.”
The reality is that other than the hype surrounding their potential, the scenes surrounding the debuts of Strasburg and Beckett were dramatically different.
While Strasburg pitched in front of a sell-out crowd, with national television coverage, and live bloggers and social media types drooling at his every move, Beckett’s first outing came in a meaningless September 4 Florida Marlins game against the Cubs with 13,401 fans in the stands at Pro Player Stadium.
At game’s end the buzz was still circling around Strasburg, who came through with a 14-strikeout performance in which he fanned his last seven batters. And why Beckett might not have turned in that kind of line, but it wasn’t far off. The righty allowed just a single hit over six innings, striking out five and walking three, needing just 85 pitches.
“It was defintely different than that,” Beckett said. “There’s a lot of pressure on him. But I think the Washington Nationals did some really good things. Not to take anything away from the organizations he’s pitching against, but his first two starts are going to be against organizations who are in the middle of rebuilding. That’s not taking away from the talent of those guys. Those guys are talented baseball players, but some of them are having to learn on the fly. The Nationals are doing a really good thing in bringing up in this situation.”
|06.09.10 at 11:45 am ET|
Tim Wakefield clearly exhibited a veteran presence on the mound Tuesday night, as his six strikeouts and 7 1/3 innings pitched helped propel the Red Sox to a 3-2 victory over the Indians. Not only did Wakefield earn his second win of the 2010 season, but also, he became the team’s newest leader in career innings pitched. Certainly, his knuckleball looked fantastic, as it floated directly toward Victor Martinez‘ glove all evening.
Wednesday night, Clay Buchholz will take the hill in the penultimate game of this four-game set against the Indians. So far this season, Buchholz has been superb. In his last outing against Baltimore, Buchholz controlled the Orioles perfectly en route to his eighth win of the season, allowing no earned runs in nine innings.
Yet, against the Indians, Buchholz has had numbers that may seem frightful to Red Sox fans. Last season, he pitched a total of three innings and allowed five hits, six earned runs, one home run and two walks, but he did strike out six of the 16 batters he faced. While last year’s performance may seem somewhat scary, it seems that Buchholz won’t let past experiences affect him this evening, especially how he has been performing quite well lately.
Buchholz will certainly want to remain focused when facing Austin Kearns, who leads the Indians with a batting average of .306, Shin Soo Choo who enters tonight’s contest with 63 hits and of course, Jhonny Peralta, who is always a scary foe for pitchers.
For Cleveland, a familiar face, Justin Masterson will face his former team for the first time in his career since being traded to the Indians last season. Masterson has struggled immensely and his current record exhibits it. This season he is (1-5, 5.46 ERA). Masterson’s only win in 2010 came against the Chicago White Sox last Friday, June 4, as he allowed five hits, one home run, walked six batters and struck out Juan Pierre to begin his outing. Masterson leads the Indians pitchers with 55 strikeouts and surely, there will probably be some this evening.
Make sure to pay close attention to Masterson, as he faces a majority of his former Red Sox teammates this evening, which should be entertaining, but also quite interesting.
Red Sox vs. Justin Masterson
Adrian Beltre, (6 plate appearances against Masterson): .143 OBP/ 1 BB/ 2 SO
Marco Scutaro (5): .200 AVG/ .333 OBP/ .200 SLG/ 1 BB
Victor Martinez is 2-4 with one double and three runs batted in.
Indians vs. Clay Buchholz
Jhonny Peralta, (2 plate appearances against Buchholz): .500 AVG/ .500 OBP/ .500 SLG/ 2 RBI/ 1 SO
Andy Marte (2): .500 AVG/ .500 OBP/ 1.000 SLG/ 2 RBI/ 1 double
Trevor Crowe (2): .500 AVG/ .500 OBP/ .500 SLG/ 1 SO
Luis Valbuena is 1-2 with a home run. Asdrubal Cabrera, Grady Sizemore, Shin-Soo Choo, Travis Hafner, Russell Branyan, Lou Marson, Jason Donald, Matt LaPorta and Austin Kearns have never faced Clay Bucholz.
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