|05.20.10 at 1:04 pm ET|
After receiving an eight-inning gem from Clay Buchholz on Wednesday, the Red Sox will look to Jon Lester to follow up with a performance to help complete the two-game sweep against the Twins on Thursday night. Minnesota will send out its own ace in Francisco Liriano, who has stumbled in his last two starts after beginning the year on a torrid pace.
Lester, in contrast, has picked up his performance after a slow start to the season. In his first four starts, Lester amassed an inflated 6.23 ERA and received two losses, one of which was against the Twins when he allowed four runs and nine hits over five innings. In his last four starts, however, he’s allowed only seven runs to bring his ERA down to 3.91, while earning three wins to improve his record to 3-2. Despite striking out 10 batters against the Tigers in his last start, Lester received a no-decision in seven innings of work. He allowed only four hits, but tied a season-high with four walks in the game.
Minnesota has been one of the best hitting teams against left-handed pitching this season, ranking second in the majors (behind the Yankees) with a .295 average. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau lead the Twins with a .390 and .382 average, respectively.
Liriano has returned from a career-threatening injury to reclaim the dominant form that characterized his rookie season in 2006. He has traveled a winding road back from Tommy John surgery in November 2006, but with two seasons under his belt following the surgery, Liriano looks like he’s finally nearing his pre-surgery form.
In his first five starts, Liriano recorded a 4-0 record while maintaining a 1.50 ERA. His first victory came against Boston on April 15 when he pitched seven innings, which began a stretch of 23 straight scoreless innings. Liriano’s best start in that run was an eight-inning, 10-strikeout performance against Detroit. His last two starts have been rather pedestrian, as he’s allowed eight runs to receive two losses at the hands of the Orioles and Yankees.
Boston (21-20) will look to avoid falling back to .500 for the 10th time this year. The road ahead also gets tougher with the Red Sox traveling to take on the NL-leading Phillies and major league-best Rays in the next two series.
Red Sox vs. Francisco Liriano
Adrian Beltre (23 career plate appearances against Liriano): .238 average/.304 OBP/.333 slugging, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
Victor Martinez (16): .400/.438/.600, 3 doubles, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Bill Hall (11): .111/.273/.111, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia (9): .750/.667/.875, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts
Marco Scutaro (9): .111/.111/.222, 1 double, 4 strikeouts
J.D. Drew (8): .143/.250/.143, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
Kevin Youkilis (8): .250/.250/.500, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, 3 strikeouts
Mike Lowell (5): .600/.600/.600, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Jason Varitek (4): .000/.250/.000, 1 strikeout
David Ortiz (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 2 RBI, 1 strikeout
Jeremy Hermida is hitless in three at bats against Liriano with a strikeout. The Minnesota starter has never faced Darnell McDonald and Jonathan Van Every.
Minnesota vs. Jon Lester
Delmon Young (24 career plate appearances against Lester): .190 average/.250 OBP/.190 slugging, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Brendan Harris (19): .444/.444/.722, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 4 RBI, 2 strikeouts
Joe Mauer (13): .333/.385/.417, 1 double, 2 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Justin Morneau (13) .333/.385/.583, 1 home run, 4 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Michael Cuddyer (9): .333/.333/.444, 1 double, 2 RBI
Jason Kubel (9): .250/.333/.250, 1 RBI, 1 walk
Nick Punto (9): .333/.333/.333, 2 RBI, 2 strikeouts
Denard Span (9): .400/.667/.400, 2 RBI, 3 walks
Alexi Casilla (5): .000/.400/.000, 2 walks
Orlando Hudson (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout
Jim Thome has two hits and a strikeout in three at bats against Lester. The Boston starter has never faced Drew Butera.
|05.19.10 at 11:35 pm ET|
Tim Wakefield was among the first to come over, followed by pitching coach John Farrell and catcher Jason Varitek, moments after the team informed the lefty reliever he was being designated for assignment on Thursday to make room for shortstop Angel Sanchez.
The move for Sanchez, who will start on Thursday, was necessitated by a cortisone shot that Marco Scutaro received in his left [non-throwing] elbow.
‘We’re going to get Angel Sanchez here for [Thursday’s] game,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “And part of what happened is Scutaro’s non-throwing elbow has been bothering him a little bit. If he says something to you guys about a day off, blame it on me. The Triple-A game wasn’t over. There were some timing issues there. But he got a cortisone shot. We wanted to get him two days down. That’s why we talked to Schoeneweis. Get Sanchez here tomorrow. That will help us there. And it gives him two days off. I don’t think [Scutaro] was trying to deceive anybody. The timing of it was a little bit screwy.”
The cruel irony of the roster move is that it comes on the one-year anniversary that Schoeneweis lost his wife, Gabrielle, and was left to raise his four children.
“It’s nothing personal and it’s disappointing,” Schoeneweis said. “It’s more disappointing for me and my kids and tomorrow’s a tough day for me and my family anyway but everything is for a reason so I’ll get to be home for them and for me. There’s worse things obviously. I’ve been through all that.
“Whatever I decide, I know me and my family will be alright.”
[Click here to listen to Schoeneweis speak after being designated.]
Schoeneweis was 1-0 with a 7.90 ERA in 15 appearances for the Red Sox this season.
“I’m not sure. I’m not sure,” Schoeneweis said in answering whether he would pitch again. “It has to be pretty attractive, not financially, but a really good situation. I just can’t keep getting my kids all excited for one place and it’s just not fair to keep yanking them all over the place just so I can play. It will have to be a place I just can’t turn down. That’s just the way I feel right now.
“I can pitch. I had to do some things here that I’ve never done in my career. I had a blast and loved being here for the time I had and the game’s a business and it was a business move.”
|05.19.10 at 10:10 pm ET|
The Red Sox had gone four straight games without a quality start, and the rotation’s ERA had slipped to 5.18, a dismal mark that was the third worst in the majors, and the second worst in the American League.
But the Sox’ most effective starter to date this year helped the team to right the proverbial ship, and gave his bullpen a much-needed rest. Clay Buchholz delivered one of the finest performances of his career, tossing eight innings and allowing just two runs on five hits to lead the Sox to a 3-2 win over the Twins.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
—Clay Buchholz continued to perform as the Red Sox starter who most consistently has given his team a chance to win. He located a nasty combination of fastballs, changeups and sliders to produce his most efficient outing of the season. After walking 10 batters and striking out just four over his previous two starts, Buchholz proved aggressive in attacking the strike zone, striking out seven and walking just one.
The Twins managed just five hits against him in his eight innings of work, and he once again kept the ball on the ground, getting 11 groundouts against just two flyouts. Buchholz needed just 104 pitches (68 strike) in his outing.
Buchholz (5-3) now leads the Sox with five wins and a 3.26 ERA.
—David Ortiz kept rolling through the month of May. In his second at-bat of the night, he unloaded on a fastball over the plate from Twins starter Scott Baker, sneaking it just over the Green Monster in left-center. Initially, the ball was ruled a triple, but the umpiring crew reviewed and overturned the verdict, ruling it hit off the shelf atop the Wall.
The blast gave Ortiz seven homers in May, continuing a month in which he has been one of the top sluggers in the game. Entering Wednesday, he ranked among MLB leaders in homers (6, T-3rd), average (.367, 12th), OPS (1.163, 6th), RBI (15, T-12th) and slugging (.755, T-3rd).
—Victor Martinez hit the ball hard, flying out to bullpen wall in right-center, singling off the Wall and singling to right while going 2-for-4.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
—J.D. Drew saw his streak of reaching base in 17 straight contests come to an end, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout. His oh-fer came in a leadoff role in which he’s demonstrated little comfort throughout his career. Drew is now hitting .229/.336/.390/.727 in the leadoff role, his lowest totals in each of those four categories from any batting order position.
—Jeremy Hermida continued his defensive struggles in left field, overrunning a fly ball down the left field line. A ball that should have represented the second out of the eighth inning instead became a two-base error. He is tied for the major league lead among outfielders with three errors.
|05.19.10 at 6:52 pm ET|
J.D. Drew has been outrageously good this year in the third spot in the lineup. He is hitting .435/.480/.783/1.263 with two homers in six games from that spot of the lineup.
Yet with shortstop and leadoff man Marco Scutaro out of the starting lineup for just the second time this year, it was Drew to whom manager Terry Francona turned to helm the top of the order for the Red Sox.
“When you lose your leadoff hitter, somebody needs to hit there. You’re always trying to have balance,” said Francona. “I don’t see J.D.’s emotions, he’s not the roller coaster of emotions. I think he’ll be fine.”
Of course, the Sox are probably happy just to have Drew in any spot of the lineup tonight. He was replaced in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Yankees by pinch-runner Jeremy Hermida (who went on to deliver the game-winning hit, a two-run double over the head of Yankees outfielder Randy Winn) after experiencing discomfort in his left calf and right hamstring.
“My left calf’s been a little bit tight so overcompensating for that kind of tightened up my right hamstring so I was able to get in here and treat it a little bit, short night of rest, but we’ll see how it all works out, kind of gauge it as the game goes along, try to keep it loose,” said Drew. “It’s nothing we can’t handle. Got some treatment. Warm it up, get it stretched before the game. … I had a good idea that I’d be ready to go. Just tried to get in here, get it treated, just didn’t want to do anything last night, it was so cold, I just couldn’t get loose, and it kept staying tight.”
With both Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron on the disabled list, Drew’s presence has been critical for the Red Sox. After a slow start to the season, he has been on a tear. Since April 30, he is hitting .406/.473/.703/1.176 with four homers and 17 RBI in his last 17 games.
|05.19.10 at 5:36 pm ET|
With Josh Beckett landing on the disabled list due to his lower back strain, Tim Wakefield will be slotted back into the rotation, getting a start on Sunday. It is a mixed bag for the knuckleballer, who is excited for the chance to return to the rotation, but dismayed that the reason for his opportunity is a teammate’s misfortune.
“I felt great my last start,” said Wakefield. “I’m excited I’m going to get another start, but I don’t want it to be because Josh got hurt. I’ll do my best while I’m in there and look forward to pitching on Sunday.”
Wakefield is not looking at the start as his chance to prove to team decision makers that he deserves a more permanent place in the rotation.
“I shouldn’t have to. I shouldn’t have to,” he said. “I’m not taking each start that I’m going to prove that I can pitch. I don’t make those decisions here. I can only control what I can control.”
Of course, there would appear to be few avenues into the rotation for Wakefield aside from injuries. Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey are all entrenched in the rotation. Clay Buchholz has the best ERA on the staff (3.46), and the Sox appear to have few designs on shifting him to relief. Though Daisuke Matsuzaka has had one brutal inning in three of his four outings en route to a 7.89 ERA, manager Terry Francona said on the Dale & Holley Show that the club has no designs on shifting him to the bullpen.
“Dice out of the bullpen ‘¦ I don’t know how much that helps us,” Francona said before Beckett was placed on the disabled list. “I know Wake’s frustrated being down there, and if you look at things logically, you got to believe Wake is going to be starting at some point, for whatever reason. But just putting Daisuke down in the bullpen, I don’t know if that makes us a better team. He’s strong right now. There is some inconsistency in three of his innings so far, but there is a lot to like about what he’s doing. Again, I guess I come back to that old thing , you got to be a little patient. If you’re not patient, you don’t see what you have. Again, maybe sometimes the answer is not always yes, but if you bail too soon, you lose that chance.”
That sentiment, of course leaves Wakefield (0-2, 5.31) in the limbo that he’s occupied since late April. After his April 25 start, he has spent most of the nearly four weeks since then in the bullpen, save for his spot start last Wednesday.
Yet despite the fact that he has been in the undesirable role of staff swingman, the 43-year-old has been performing well. He allowed just three runs in seven innings in his start last week, and his 2.1 shutout innings of relief on Monday night in New York had his team in position to win until closer Jonathan Papelbon got pounded for four runs by the Yankees. In his last four appearances, he has a 2.70 ERA in 13.1 innings.
“It is what it is. You’ve got to learn to adapt and do whatever job you’re asked to do. Hopefully I can continue to do that. I’ve been able to do a good job,” said Wakefield. “Do the best you can in the job or task that you’re given in that particular moment, whether it’s going in the other night in New York to try to keep us in the game as long as possible or if it’s to get a spot start here and there. Just trying to make the best out of everything.”
|05.19.10 at 5:32 pm ET|
But Sox skipper Terry Francona is not about to gamble with the health of his ace, even if it means he has to miss a start in the process.
The Red Sox placed right-hander Josh Beckett on the 15-day disabled list with a strained lower back and called up right-handed reliever Joe Nelson from Triple-A Pawtucket to deepen the bullpen.
‘We thought about bumping him back and maybe have him miss a start and we started thinking, ‘Okay, if we do that, if we put him on the disabled list, he can basically miss the one start and we can line it up the day he’s available or eligible,’” Francona said in explaining the Beckett move. “I think we all realized, as we talked through it, realized that that was certainly the safest thing to do. You don’t have a crystal ball and since you don’t, if you’re going to make a mistake, or you’re going to err, you better err on the side of caution.”
Francona said he and the team didn’t get back in Boston until 5 o’clock Wednesday morning but Beckett didn’t seem any worse for wear.
‘It’s not worse,” Francona said. “When you get in at 5 in the morning, that’s not conducive to healing when you jump from a game to a plane to a bus and everything. He’s OK. The last thing we want to have happen is have him pitch with a back [issue] and then have the back turn into something else, where he feels like he’s not using his legs and he hurts his shoulder. We really want to make sure he’s OK.’
Other pre-game notes:
–Francona said that the Yankees‘ protest of Tuesday’s game is not a concern. “I haven’t even given it any thought,” he said.
–Francona said that Nelson has performed well in Triple-A, where he had a 2.49 ERA for Pawtucket. He suggested that Nelson — who was the last cut of spring training for the Sox — could emerge as a meaningful option, particularly given his ability to get left-handed hitters out with his changeup.
“He should be able to help us,” said Francona.
Nelson was just happy to be back in Boston and have a chance to make his 2010 Red Sox debut after just missing the roster out of spring training.
“It’s all forgotten today,” Nelson said. “My goal was to get here. The whole time I always said, ‘It may not be on my timeline but when I show them I’m ready and go down and throw well, that’s all I can do.’ I was just hoping for the opportunity and today it came.”
Nelson was the final cut made by the Red Sox in spring training and the team kept him in mind as he was compiling a 3-2 mark with a 2.49 ERA in 16 relief appearances for the PawSox.
“I’ve been throwing the ball pretty well. I got to work on a few things in spring training,” Nelson added. “When you’re in competition, you just get out there and compete and it came down to the last day. Then I just had a chance to breathe down in Triple-A and work on a few things and it’s gone pretty well.”
–Outfielder Mike Cameron, who was scheduled to appear in a rehab game with Double-A Portland on Wednesday, has instead had that assignment pushed back to Thursday due to a poor forecast for the Sea Dogs game. Cameron will be joined in the Portland lineup by Jacoby Ellsbury, who will play on both Thursday and Friday. Cameron may or may not play another rehab game on Friday.
–Francona admitted that he does sometimes sleep in his office, but he prefers not to do so, given the presence of rodents in the recesses of Fenway Park. “Just what you want to see at 4 in the morning, some little varmin who looks like [Dustin] Pedroia scurrying through.”
|05.19.10 at 2:40 pm ET|
Red Sox manager Terry Francona joined the Dale & Holley show Wednesday and talked about what transpired the previous two days in New York, where his team split a two-game series and dealt with some on- and off-field issues.
Francona addressed David Ortiz‘ failure to hustle out of the batter’s box on a key play in the eighth inning Tuesday night, and the manager talked about the Hanley Ramirez situation in Florida as well.
Francona also addressed comments from Mike Lowell Tuesday afternoon that the veteran might be better off elsewhere as he becomes more frustrated with his lack of playing time. Francona said he sympathized with Lowell ‘ and Tim Wakefield as well ‘ but won’t discuss it in depth publicly.
A transcript follows. To hear the interview, click on the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
[Umpire] Joe West might have been right. Those [Red Sox-Yankees] games seem to take forever.
I actually didn’t think about it. There was so much going on in that game, that I [couldn’t] have cared less. The first time I looked [at the time] was when we were getting showered and [travling secretary] Jack McCormick told me what time the bus was, and I said, “You’ve got to be kidding me. We’ve been here that long?” I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was win. I didn’t care what time it was.
How about the Yankees playing the game under protest [after Josh Beckett left with an injury and Manny Delcarmen was given extra warmups]? If you had been in their situation, would you have chosen to do the same thing?
I don’t know. Everybody’s different. John Farrell went out to the mound. And it was pretty obvious, when Johnny got there, from the conversation with Beckett, that there was a problem. So he turned to the umpire, Angel Campos, and said, “We’ve got to get a pitcher in here. He’s hurt.” And Angel said, “Yeah.” So Johnny waved [for a new pitcher].
From there, then there was a few conversations from their side. And I ended up talking both to the crew chief, Larry Vanover, and Angel. And I said, “Where’s the problem? You were standing there and you heard him say he’s hurt.” And he goes, “We really don’t really have a problem.” I said, “Well, then what’s going on?” He said, “Well, they have the right to do whatever they want.” I said, “OK.” So, it wasn’t that big a deal. Read the rest of this entry »
|05.19.10 at 1:06 pm ET|
Red Sox slugger David Ortiz will be a guest on The Big Show Thursday at 3:30 p.m. Ortiz has rebounded from his slow start this season and came up with a number of key hits in the two-game series vs. the Yankees, although he has come under some criticism for failing to hustle on his game-tying hit to the right-center field wall in the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s Red Sox win. Ortiz was thrown out at second base and later admitted he did not run hard out of the batter’s box because he thought he had hit a home run. If you miss the interview Thursday on WEEI, check The Big Show audio on demand page to hear it, and visit the Full Count blog for a recap.
Ortiz is hosting an Eat n’ Greet event to benefit the David Ortiz Children’s Fund on May 27 at Big Papi’s Grille in Framingham. Click here for more information.
|05.19.10 at 10:24 am ET|
After having to scratch and claw their way to split their two-game series with the Yankees, the Red Sox won’t have things much easier at home Wednesday night as they face the AL Central-leading Twins. Minnesota is coming off its own two-game split with the Blue Jays north of the border.
Boston’s pitching has not been at its best as of late, allowing at least five runs in each of the last four games. Manager Terry Francona will send Clay Buchholz to the mound in the hopes of bucking that recent trend. Buchholz enters Wednesday night’s contest with a 4-3 record and a 3.46 ERA that surprisingly is the lowest amongst the team’s starters. In his last start on May 14 in Detroit, Buchholz allowed just one earned run on three hits over 6-1/3 innings to earn his fourth win of the season. However, he walked five batters for the second outing in a row after not having walked more than four in any appearance before that.
The Twins will counter with Scott Baker, who has struggled in the early going to return to the form that won him 15 games last year. His ERA is a half-run higher than it was last season, and he has allowed four or more earned runs in four of his eight starts this season. This will be his first start after being hit in the leg by a Derek Jeter line drive last Friday. Baker gave up five earned runs to the Yankees on 10 hits over 6-plus innings before being lifted in that contest.
If anything though, this short two-game series at Fenway could be decided by the offenses, both of which rank in the top 10 in the majors in runs scored. The Sox rank fourth with 210 while the Twins are tied for ninth with 190. By driving in nine and seven runs in the two games against New York, the Sox offense has shown that perhaps it is not as much of a weak link as many thought coming into the season. On the Minnesota side, with former MVPs Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau headlining the lineup, the Twins always are capable of strewing together runs and could be dangerous against Buchholz.
Red Sox vs. Scott Baker
Victor Martinez (29 career plate appearances against Baker): .250 average/.276 OBP/.286 slugging, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
Adrian Beltre (23): .318/.348/.591, 3 doubles, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Bill Hall (12): .250/.250/.833, 1 double, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 strikeouts
Kevin Youkilis (7): .167/.286/.667, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
J.D. Drew (6): .667/.667/1.000 4 hits, 2 doubles, 1 strikeout
Mike Lowell (6): .600/.667/1.600 3 hits, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Dustin Pedroia (6): .167/.167/.167, 1 strikeout
Jason Varitek (4): .250/.250/1.000 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Twins vs. Clay Buchholz
Jim Thome (5 career plate appearances against Buchholz): .250 average/.400 OBP/1.000 slugging, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Michael Cuddyer (3): .667/.667/.667, 1 RBI
Brendan Harris (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout
Joe Mauer (3): 1.000/1.000/1.000, 2 walks
Justin Morneau (3): .667/.667/.667, 1 RBI
Delmon Young (3): .333/.333/.333, 2 RBI, 1 strikeout
|05.19.10 at 9:43 am ET|
NEW YORK — Speaking prior to the Red Sox‘ 7-6 win over the Yankees, Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, David Ortiz weighed in on the controversy surrounding his former teammate, Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez was benched by Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez after loafing after a ball Monday. The All-Star then proceeded to show little remorse, saying Tuesday, “We got a lot of people dogging after ground balls.”
“This is not about embarrassing the player that he is,” said Ortiz, who befriended Ramirez — a fellow native of the Dominican Republic — prior to the Red Sox trading the shortstop following the 2005 season. “Sometimes we might need to be reminded about things we do that we think is the right thing but it’s not. There are more eyes watching. But embarrassing you, or your embarrassing your manager or your teammates is not the right way to go.
“You say, ‘Son, let’s talk. What happened?’ That’s all it is. You’ve got people watching you. It’s not the right thing to do. Don’t do it. Slap on the hand.”
Ortiz, who said he will be calling Ramirez, doesn’t believe the 26-year-old’s actions should be ignored, but just handled in a more private manner.
“He’s a young kid who is very talented. Sometimes you sit down players who make a mistake and then people start pointing a finger at you. That doesn’t help,” Ortiz said. “He’s a great player. He might have done something wrong but you’re talking about the franchise kid. Why embarrass him? ‘Let’s talk. I don’t think what you did is right. You’re a grown-ass man. You’ve got to do your thing out there, so make sure that doesn’t happen anymore.’ ”
Ironically, Ortiz dealt with a similar situation Tuesday night when he failed to run hard out of the batter’s box after hitting a long fly ball to center field in the eighth inning. The ball dropped in for a hit, allowing the game-tying run to score, but Ortiz was thrown out at second base after attempting to stretch the hit into a double. After the game Ortiz admitted that he thought he had hit a home run.
“Oh, yeah, no question,” Ortiz said. “It was Mother Nature taking away pop from my bat.”
Asked if he was mad at himself for not running hard out of the batters box, Ortiz said, “Oh, yeah. What can you do. Turn the page.”
Red Sox manager Terry Francona chose to not comment on what was, or will be, said to Ortiz regarding the incident. “That’s kind of our business,” he said. “I don’t think that will happen anymore. It was a good swing.”
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