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Batting Stance Guy: The Red Sox All-Moustache Team

05.10.10 at 2:25 pm ET
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Our good friend Batting Stance Guy is back, just in time to check in before going on his promotional tour for the soon-to-be best-selling book “Batting Stance Guy: A Love Letter To Baseball” (Click here to check it out.)

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Red Sox vs. Blue Jays matchups, 5/10

05.10.10 at 12:53 pm ET
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Two weeks ago, the Red Sox traveled to Toronto and swept the Blue Jays in a three game series. John Lackey didn’t get a chance to see Toronto; instead, he will get his first crack at the Jays on Monday night.

Lackey will be trying to follow up a fantastic performance against his old team, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, in his last start. The right-hander let up just two hits and one earned run  in seven innings. After getting shellacked by the Tampa Bay Rays on April 19 — he allowed eight runs in just 3 1/3 innings — Lackey has gone seven innings in each of his last three starts and has lowered his ERA from 5.63 to 3.89 for the season.

The Sox starter faced Toronto once in the 2009 season, with good results. He lasted seven innings and gave up two earned runs, striking out six batters and walking three. That was only good enough for a no-decision, however, in the Angels’ victory. In his career, the right-hander is 3-3 in 11 starts against Toronto, sporting a solid 3.31 ERA. Read the rest of this entry »

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Francona, Lester after Sox win

05.10.10 at 7:18 am ET
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Here is some post-game comments from Red Sox manager Terry Francona and starting pitcher Jon Lester following their team’s 9-3 win over the Yankees Sunday night at Fenway Park:

Francona on Lester

“Two walks. When we got the lead he threw strikes, used his cutter. The two solo homers were the only damage. When you don’t walk people, against that lineup, even when they hit balls out of the ballpark, solo homers didn’t do us in. I thought the other night we leaned on him pretty hard so we didn’t want to, and it worked out pretty good. We scored some runs so we could get him out of there without extending him to the eighth. So that worked out good too, it’s a long year and we need a lot out of him. I thought his cutter was very good tonight.”

“He’s always been able to build once he feels good and fortunately he’s maintained that. He’s a big, strong kid and he’s got a good delivery and he’s durable. There’s that hump he seems to have to get over every year but once he gets over it he’s OK.”

Francona on David Ortiz (who ripped a second-inning, ground-rule double that scored a pair)

“I thought it was a great swing. He worked the count deep and swung at strikes and put a good swing on it. I hope I don’t have to every night go back 10 days and remember what he did, there’s a lot of good things that happened tonight all the way around that we don’t have to break down every swing that David took.”

Lester on his outing

“Felt all right. Early on, I felt like I struggled a little bit with just the feel of the ball. Tough night to pitch, just a tough night to play baseball.  But got in a little bit of a rhythm early on.”

“We want to go out there and play well, but regardless of what the team did the day before or week before I’m determined to go out there and pitch well. We only get to work every five days so it’s important to go out there and do our job. The past two days haven’t been much fun but it was nice to go out there and get once from those guys.”

“It wasn’t any adjustments, 3-2 to Swisher I’m not going to walk him with a six-run lead at the time. It’d be stupid to put baserunners on at the time with the heart of their order coming up I went after him. He put a good swing on it and hit it out. Same thing with Alex. I’m 2-0, I’m not going to just start throwing stuff up there just to pitch around him. He put a good swing on it.”

“I feel good. I feel good mentally and physically going into each start. That’s half the battle and I just have to go out there and keep executing, keep the ball down. And for the most part I was able to do that tonight. Guys did a great job, it helps when guys go out there and score a lot of runs, takes a lot of pressure off.”

“Just a matter of time for guys to settle in. Buc has done a good job, kind of hitting his stride early, throwing the ball well. He had a rough one the other day but he’ll bounce back and be fine. Lack’s done a pretty good job, I think we’ve all, at times, done a pretty good job and once guys get one or two outing under the belt it’s kind of snowball effect and hopefully we can feed off of each other and get on a bit of a roll and kind of put this stuff behind us.”

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Why Beltre wore the glasses

05.10.10 at 12:22 am ET
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Adrian Beltre had a pretty good night, only after making a leap of faith not seen in any of his 13 seasons in the big leagues.

After striking out swinging in the second inning, Beltre determined that the wind was not helping matters. He remembered a pair of clear Oakley glasses he had stored away for such occasions, starting four years earlier while in Seattle. The problem was that the third baseman had never actually used the protective glasses in a real game … until Sunday night.

“That first at-bat I struck out and didn’t see the ball good. So I said, ‘I’ve got to try them,’” Beltre explained after the Red Sox’ 9-3 win over the Yankees.

“My eyes are really sensitive and every time it’s windy I can’t see. Today the wind was really bad. It was the first time I’ve ever worn them. Ever. I’ve had them for many years but I’ve never used them.”

He might want to put the glasses in hibernation too long.

On the third pitch of his second at-bat Beltre launched a two-out, two-run double to center field. His next at-bat resulted in another double, this time to left field. By the end of the game he had raised his batting average to .333 with two RBI and two runs, all while wearing the yellow-lensed accessory.

Oh, and by the way, the glasses are not prescription.

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Closing Time: Red Sox 9, Yankees 3

05.09.10 at 11:15 pm ET
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The Red Sox responded from two straight nights of Yankee blowouts with a decisive 9-3 win over New York, Sunday night at Fenway Park. The Sox pounded out nine runs on 10 hits, with all of the runs getting charged to Yanks starter A.J. Burnett. J.D. Drew, Jeremy Hermida, and Adrian Beltre each had two hits for the Sox. Jon Lester got the win, his third. (Click here for a recap.)

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

- David Ortiz can still hit the fastball: One of Ortiz’ most encouraging swings of the season came with the count full and two runners on in the fifth inning. Burnett came in with his third straight fastball of the at-bat, a 95 mph heater which the Red Sox’ designated hitter turned on, hitting a blast to deep right field where it bounced into the stands for an RBI double.

- Jon Lester had his ‘A’ game: Lester turned in his fourth straight solid start, only allowing solo homers to Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez in his seven-inning outing. When it was all said and done the lefty struck out seven, walked two, gave up just four hits and the two runs in lowering his ERA to 3.71.

- Marco Scutaro got things off on the right foot: The first three balls in play by the Yankees were all grounders to short, which Scutaro fielded flawlessly. He also kicked things off in the first with a leadoff single, which would accompany two walks on the night. Scutaro came into the game hitting .333 when leading off the inning (13-for-39) with five walks. He also was hitting .287 with a .353 on-base percentage in the leadoff spot.

- A.J. Burnett started: While Burnett has started this season in style (coming in with a 4-0, 1.99 ERA), he continued his trend of failing at Fenway. The Yankees starter succumbed to nine runs on nine hits over 4 1/3 innings. The outing pushed his ERA at the home of the Red Sox to 12.68 in five starts over the last two years.

- The offense was opportunistic: Five of the Red Sox’ nine runs came with two outs, with Adrian Beltre (2), Ortiz, Jeremy Hermida, and Kevin Youkilis. Hermida’s RBI was one of three on the night for the outfielder, who launched his fourth of the season in the fifth inning.

WHAT WENT WRONG ABOUT THE RED SOX

–Catcher Victor Martinez went 0-for-5 and stranded four runners, ending his modest six-game winning streak in which he hit .375.

–Outfielder Darnell McDonald went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, all against right-handed pitchers. While he is hitting .368 with a 1.323 OPS against left-handed pitching, he is hitting just .184 with a .516 OPS against righties.

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Pregame notes: Cameron headed to Pawtucket

05.09.10 at 6:20 pm ET
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Terry Francona met the media before Sunday night’s series finale with the Yankees and discussed a number of topics, including the status of Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury.

“Cam and Ellsbury are going to go out and do their stuff and then we’ll sit down with both of them — after BP– with the medical staff and try to get a little better handle on where we’re at.”

After meeting with Cameron the center fielder told the media that he will begin his rehab assignment with the Pawtucket Red Sox Monday night, serving as the team’s designated hitter. If all goes as planned he will play in the field Tuesday.

“I need to go see where I’m at, run around, dive, everything else. Kind of see what it feels like and see where I’m at and I have to be brutally honest with myself and be brutally honest with the staff,” he said.

“In my mind for a while, I guess the last week or so, something snapped in my mind as far as what day I was going to play. Basically the last few days generally let me know I can add a little bit more. Running-wise it’s pretty good. My steps are better. My steps are much better. Tomorrow will be a true test for me. I’ll go and really play the game, try and get some hits, dive head-first, but still be cautious to know I’m rehabbing, rehabbing trying to get back to the big leagues … I need to see where I’m at more than anything else, so I’ll try and go do it.”

Cameron has not played since April 18 with an abdominal strain and said the length of his rehab assignment will be based on his progress the next few days.

Francona was quick to note that Ellsbury is still behind Cameron in the rehab process.

Francona was asked how the diminished on-field role of veterans Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Mike Lowell and David Ortiz has impacted their leadership in the clubhouse.

“Anytime there’s a change, sometimes it can be a little unsettling. Saying that, it’s our responsibility to get it settled and play good baseball. I don’t know that you can go 20 years and not have change. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable personally, but again our job, all the things we talk about, you gotta live it out.”

- Boof Bonser pitched three innings for Pawtucket on Friday night, allowing just one run on three hits. He threw 44 pitches, and Francona said Sunday that he thought Bonser would throw somewhere in the 60-65 pitch range for the Triple-A club in his next start.

- Ramon Ramirez said his right triceps felt much better Sunday after leaving the game with tightness Saturday. The reliever, who played catch prior to Sunday night’s game, noted that the problem with his arm didn’t crop until he entered the game.

- Marco Scutaro, who played with Dallas Braden with the A’s, had this to say about the Oakland pitcher who threw a perfect game Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays: “You just don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s the beauty of this game. He knows how to pitch. I think any major league pitcher can do it if you throw the ball where the catcher asks for it.”

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Red Sox vs. Yankees matchups, 5/9

05.09.10 at 4:35 pm ET
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After being battered by the Yankees in the last two games, the Red Sox will have Jon Lester on the mound as they try to avoid the sweep Sunday night.

Lester has turned things around as of late after his early struggles, winning his last two starts to bring his season record to 2-2 with a 3.93 ERA. He followed up an outstanding one hit, 11 strikeouts, no run outing in seven innings against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 28 by holding the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to just 1 run over eight innings in his last start.

Lester’s first start of the season came against New York, and he had his issues. Three walks hurt the left-hander’s cause as he allowed four earned runs in just five innings of work, squandering a 3-1 lead. That was a rare tough start against the Yankees for the Sox’ starter, however, as over the past three seasons he is 3-1 with a 2.80 ERA in seven starts vs. New York.

He will be opposed by A.J. Burnett, who is off to a great start in his second year in a Yankees’ uniform. The hard-throwing right-hander is currently 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA, good enough for sixth in the American League.

Arguably his worst start of the season, however, did come in the first series against Boston. Burnett lasted a season-low five innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits. But he has been dominant in his last two starts — much like Lester — allowing just one earned run and striking out a total of 12 batters in 15—1/3 innings in two victories over the Baltimore Orioles.

After some high scoring affairs the last two days (even if they were one-sided), this one could be a pitcher’s duel if these two starters continue their recent trends.

Red Sox vs. A.J. Burnett

David Ortiz (37 career plate appearances against Burnett): .250 average/.270 OBP/.611 slugging, 4 doubles, 3 home runs, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (37): .286/.459/.500, 2 home runs, 9 walks, 2 strikeouts

Kevin Youkilis (35): .241/.343/.345, 1 home run, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts

J.D. Drew (33): .250/.364/.357, 3 doubles, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts

Adrian Beltre (30): .286/.333/.536, 4 doubles, 1 home run, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Jason Varitek (27): .208/.296/.417, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts

Victor Martinez (26): .316/.500/.579, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 6 walks, 1 strikeout

Mike Lowell (23): .200/.304/.250, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts

Marco Scutaro (23): .286/.348/.333, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Bill Hall (13): .182/.308/.364, 2 doubles, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Jeremy Hermida (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Burnett has not faced Darnell McDonald or Jonathan Van Every.

Yankees vs. Jon Lester

Derek Jeter (29 career plate appearances against Lester): .370 average/.414 OBP/.370 slugging, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts

Robinson Cano (25): .261/.280/.348, 2 doubles, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Nick Swisher (22): .188/.364/.500, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts

Alex Rodriguez (20): .263/.300/.684, 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Jorge Posada (17): .200/.294/.200, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Mark Teixeira (17): .235/.235/.412, 1 hme run, 5 strikeouts

Nick Johnson (6): .000/.167/.000

Curtis Granderson (2): .500/.500/.500, 1 strikeout

Lester has never faced Francisco Cervelli, Brett Gardner, Ramiro Pena or Randy Winn.

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