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Swarzack Done In By Second Varitek Homer

05.28.09 at 3:16 pm ET
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With his tenth homer of the season, Jason Varitek has put the Sox on top 2-1.

Varitek only had 13 homers last season and hasn’t hit more than 20 homers in a season since he hit 22 in 2005, but he is definitely on pace to do even more if he stays healthy this year.

His ten long balls this year have been evenly split between both sides of the plate. Today, both came from the left side.

In his 13 seasons (all with the Sox) Varitek has been a leader and those contract negotiation issues this past offseason seem light years away right now.

Breaking Bad

05.28.09 at 2:51 pm ET
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David Ortiz’s bat breaking incident in the clubhouse after striking out yet again really sums up everything that has gone on for him this season.

With the Sox on this road trip for the next couple days, Fenway Park will play host to a couple concerts from the Dave Matthews Band and Phish.

The DMB fansite antsmarching.org previewed the show by describing Fenway as: “The home of “Big Papi” David Ortiz, who has exactly 1 more home run than everyone reading this.”

Covering Tons of Ground In a Short Span

05.28.09 at 2:46 pm ET
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As Denard Span took away an extra base hit from J.D. Drew in the top of the sixth with the game still tied at 1-1, he showed how tough it is to be a center fielder. In center, you need to control the entire outfield, in addition to running those kinds of balls down. There are not too many guys in the league that have that kind of speed and finesse out there. The Sox are lucky to have a guy out there in Ellsbury that they can trust but it is definitely one of the most important positions out there.

Guys like Juan Pierre, Carlos Beltran, and Andrew Jones in his prime come to mind as guys who can both help you at the plate and in the field, and both the Twins and Sox have had blessings with Span and Ellsbury respectively.

This game is quickly turning into a great pitching duel between Beckett and Swarzack. This kid could have a bright future for the Twins who always seem to be in the thick of things in the AL Central. Currently, they are .500 and just ahead of KC for second place in the division.

Tek Ties It Up In the Fifth

05.28.09 at 2:25 pm ET
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Jason Varitek has tied the game, crushing a home run to straight away center field. He found the pitch that he could wait on and then exploded on the ball. The homer is his 9th on the season.

For a guy who is only batting .242 on the season, at least the Sox can be happy with the way he has been carrying the ball lately.

As Lugo walks with one out here in the fifth inning, let’s see if Jacoby can keep it going.

Swarzak Holding Sox At Bay

05.28.09 at 2:00 pm ET
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With Jason Bay getting the day off, Anthony Swarzak has looked very good through the first third of the game only allowing one hit and walking two.

He is very content with letting the big guys get themselves out and not making any mistakes.

Twins have a runner in scoring position now with one out for Joe Mauer after a successful bunt by Denard Span here in the third.

Beckett Struggles a Bit, But Gets Out of Second

05.28.09 at 1:55 pm ET
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Josh Beckett started today’s game by striking out the first 4 batters that he faced but then had some trouble in the second inning. Joe Crede hit his 9th homer of the season to put the Twins up 1-0 and then Beckett walked Brendan Harris and Delmon Young before getting former teammate Mike Redmond to ground into a double play.

Beckett and Redmond were teammates with the Marlins and won a championship together in 2003.

David Ortiz singled in his first plate appearence today so we will see if Big Papi can build off of that and maybe start to finally get going a little.

In their half of the third inning, the Sox struggled to get good wood on the ball as Ellsbury and Pedroia grounded out to second and third respectively. Drew then flied out to left to end the inning. Twins still lead 1-0 after two and a half.

The skinny on Anthony Swarzak

05.28.09 at 12:50 pm ET
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Thanks to D.J. Bean, here is the skinny on right-hander Anthony Swarzak who starts for the Twins. Today’s start will be just the second of the 23-year old’s career. His major-league career got off  to a start last week, as he hurled seven innings of five-hit shutout ball against the Brewers in a 6-2 Twins win. Swarzak got his opportunity with the Twins when lefty Glen Perkins went on the DL.

Fast facts:

-Heading into the season Swarzak was ranked as the Twins’ sixth-best prospect according to Baseball America.

-Scoutingbook.com describes Swarzak as a “powerful righthander with an excellent fastball-curve combination.”

-Prior to being called up he was 3-4 with a 2.25 ERA at AAA Rochester this season.

-An interesting tidbit: In 2007 Swarzak was suspended 50 games for violating baseball’s drug policy. The violation was rumored to be recreational drug use.

Transcript from Schilling chat

05.28.09 at 12:47 pm ET
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Here is the transcript from Curt Schilling’s live chat today on his blog, 38 Pitches:

Question: What should the red sox do with their abundance of starting pitching?

Schilling: As far as Penny, Smoltz and the gang, if they keep the two vets, there is no reason to think they can’t go 6 man later in the year to keep eveyrone fresh. I don’t trade ANY pitcher right now, too much can happen, too many days left to start thinking like that, plus if you float that now and don’t trade him, or can’t, you end up with a guy in your rotation that knows you tried to trade him.

Question: How close were the Sox to going with a six-man rotation last year? 

Schilling: It was much closer to reality than people think, I tihnk if I had not been hurt it might have happened a time or two.

Question: How do you explain Jon Lester’s early-season struggles?

Schilling: Inconsistent. Fastball command is again his main issue. Stuff looks fantastic, he looks very healthy and he’s getting that red ass you want your top of the rotation guys to have. he’s always had that, but it’s showing more now, which is a good thing. He’ll be ok, pencil him in for 15-16 by years end and a few more in October. 

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Red Sox/Twins Match-ups

05.28.09 at 11:34 am ET
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Although none of the Red Sox hitters have a major league history with Anthony Swarzak, the Twins’ batters are very familiar with Sox starter Josh Beckett. Thanks to intern D.J. Bean, we look at how they have fared against Beckett:

Delmon Young: 12 ABs, 5 hits, .417 BA, RBI, 2 SO, 0 BB

Justin Morneau: 9 ABs, 3 hits, .333 BA, HR, 2 RBI, SO, 0 BB

Nick Punto: 8 ABs, 3 hits, .375 BA, 2 SO, 0 BB

Michael Cuddyer: 6 ABs, hit, .167 BA, HR, RBI, 2 SO, 0 BB

Brendan Harris: 6 ABs, 2 hits, .333 BA, 2 RBI, SO, 0 BB

Jason Kubel: 6 ABs, 2 hits, .333 BA, HR, 2 RBI, SO, 0 BB

Joe Mauer: 5 ABs, 3 hits, .600 BA, RBI, SO, BB

Brian Buscher: 5 ABs, hit, .200 BA, 0 SO, 0 BB

Joe Crede: 4 ABs, hit, .250 BA, 2 SO, 0 BB

Alexi Casilla: 3 ABs, hit, .333 BA, 0 SO, 0 BB

Denard Span: 2 ABs, 0 hits, 0 SO, 0 BB

All-Star Early returns

05.27.09 at 9:32 pm ET
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Two Red Sox players lead at their positions and another, the reigning A.L. MVP is second at his position in the first American League All-Star balloting results released on Wednesday.

On the right side of the infield, Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis (414,693 votes) and Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler (514,645) are ahead at their positions. Kinsler leads Dustin Pedroia, who is second with 426,127 votes.

Both Youkilis and Kinsler made their Midsummer Classic debuts in 2008, with Youkilis (.379, 7 HR, 28 RBI, .486 OBP) earning a start via fan balloting and Kinsler (.283, 12 HR, 33 RBI, 10 SB) becoming an All-Star via the Player Ballot.

Behind the plate, two-time A.L. All-Star Joe Mauer (.429, 11 HR, 31 RBI) of the Minnesota Twins leads a crowded field with 381,443 votes, while his four nearest competitors all have more than 272,000 votes.

In the outfield, Jason Bay (.282, 13 HR, 47 RBI), a two-time National League All-Star looking to make his A.L. All-Star debut, is setting the pace with 446,183 votes. Less than 4,000 votes behind Bay with 442,553 is 2008 A.L. All-Star Josh Hamilton (.250, 6 HR, 21 RBI) of the Texas Rangers.

Other Red Sox players include Mike Lowell, currently fifth among A.L. third basemen, Jason Varitek, third among catchers and outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury (9th) and J.D. Drew (13th).

Read More: A.L. All-Stars, balloting, Red Sox,
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