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Video: The Full Count – Trade Deadline Edition

07.22.10 at 2:10 pm ET
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Bradford and Speier go 3 Up 3 Down, discuss the Sox trade interests, and Rob defends the makeup of the team.

Read More: mike cameron, Red Sox, Trade deadline,

Red Sox vs. Mariners matchups, 7/22

07.22.10 at 10:16 am ET
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Following a 2-5 start after the All-Star break, the Red Sox look to rebound Thursday night as they begin a four-game series against the Mariners in Seattle.

The Sox will hand the ball to John Lackey, who sports a 9-5 record with a 4.65 ERA. In his last start against the Rangers on July 17, Lackey got a no-decision in the Sox’ only win in the four-game series. He allowed seven hits and two runs while striking out three.

The Mariners will turn to Ryan Rowland-Smith, who holds a 1-9 record with a 6.18 ERA. The Australian’€™s only win this season came on June 20, when he defeated the Reds during interleague play. In four starts this month, Rowland-Smith has allowed 26 hits, 17 runs and three home runs.

Kevin Youkilis has experienced great success against the Mariners pitcher, with two doubles and four RBI. The Sox will need Youkilis to help spark an offense that only recorded 10 runs in three games against the A’€™s.

Thursday’€™s game marks the first meeting between the two clubs this year. In 2009, the Mariners won the series 4-2.

Red Sox vs. Ryan Rowland-Smith

Marco Scutaro (5 plate appearances): .200 AVG./.200 OBP/.200 SLG, 1 strikeout

David Ortiz (4): .250/.250/.250, 2 strikeouts

Kevin Youkilis (4): .500/.500/1.000, 2 doubles, 4 RBI, 1 strikeout

Ryan Shealy (3): .333/.333/1.333, 1 HR, 1 RBI

J.D. Drew (1): .000/.500/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Kevin Cash (1): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

The Mariners starter has never faced Adrian Beltre, Bill Hall, Darnell McDonald, Jed Lowrie, Mike Cameron and Dusty Brown.

Mariners vs. John Lackey

Ichiro Suzuki (85 plate appearances): .306 AVG/.330 OBP/.376 SLG, 3 doubles, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 walks, 14 strikeouts

Jose Lopez (40): .300/.317/.425, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 6 strikeouts

Milton Bradley (17): .176/.364/.294, 2 doubles, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts

Franklin Gutierrez (11): .182/.250/.182, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Russell Branyan (6): .500/.500/1.167, 1 double, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Josh Wilson (5): .000/.167/.000, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Jack Wilson (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Josh Bard (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Ryan Langerhans (3): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts

Casey Kotchman (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Rob Johnson (2): .000/.333/.000, 1 walks

The Red Sox starter has never faced Chone Figgins, Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders.

Read More: john lackey, Kevin Youkilis, Ryan Rowland-Smith,

Olney on D&C: Brewers’ Hart a possibility for Sox

07.22.10 at 9:21 am ET
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ESPN’€™s Buster Olney joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to discuss the current rumors and speculations regarding the Red Sox. With the MLB trade deadline rapidly approaching, Olney discussed a few names that the Sox may explore and talked about the possibility of the club picking up David Ortiz‘€™ option in 2011.

On if general manager Theo Epstein has to make a decision to be a buyer, seller or an obtainer:

‘€œI do think he has that decision, and I do think that is kind of what they’€™ve been waiting on. Give it more time to decide whether to pour resources into the 2010 team to make sure they are not in a situation where they are pouring paint down a hole. … And it’€™s interesting because the Phillies are in the same situation where they are kind of sitting there saying, ‘You know what, lets see if we can add guys who cannot only help us, maybe get back into this thing in 2010, but guys who can help us next year.’ That’€™s why a Corey Hart might be a good fit for the Red Sox, and I know yesterday activity around the Brewers outfielder really picked up a lot more.

“And maybe if they start to fall out of it a little bit more, maybe they get less interested in a guy like Scott Downs, the reliever from Toronto who is a free agent at the end of this year. Go for the guys who have four to five years of service time rather than go for players who are going to be eligible for free agency in the fall.’€

On if the Sox will be fine with just having their injured players return and not making a trade:

‘€œI also think another factor is they have to look at the landscape of their division and say, ‘You know what, even if we add something, we spend resources to improve the 2010 team, bottom line is we maybe chasing the two best teams in baseball.’ That’€™s a dynamic they have to deal with and I think the GMs in the other divisions really don’€™t have to worry about.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Corey Hart, david dejesus, Scott Downs,

Another fantastic Fenway finish

07.21.10 at 10:17 pm ET
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There was so much appropriate about the ending of Wednesday’s first professional soccer match at Fenway Park in 42 years.

The game was tied late. The game was forced into extra ‘innings’ and a team named Celtic came out on top.

What more would Boston fans want in the inaugural Fenway Football Challenge?

Paul McGowan scored the decisive goal in extra penalty kicks as Celtic F.C. defeated Sporting Club de Portugal before 32,162 in the inaugural Fenway Football Challenge Wednesday night at Fenway Park. McGowan’s goal came just moments after Liedson’s shot went over everything and into the right field grandstands, giving Celtic the 6-5 edge in penalty kicks.

Helder Postiga‘s header in the 82nd minute lifted Sporting C.P. into a 1-1 draw in regulation. Diogo Salomao just missed moments earlier, hitting the crossbar on a header, drawing Celtic keeper Lukasz Zaluska out of position and allowing Postiga to knot the match.

“It’s not like your normal set-up,” Celtic manager Neil Lennon said. “And it’s the history and tradition of the stadium, as well.”

Georgios Samaras scored on a penalty kick in the 72nd minute to give Celtic the lead in the first Fenway Football Challenge.

But the game was secondary to the event itself. Just ask Lennon.

“I think we enjoyed it,” Lennon said. “It’s one of the most famous stadiums in the world and to play a football game here, it was pretty unique.”

Lennon was not alone in his awe of Fenway on Wednesday night and the near-sellout crowd to watch an exhibition match.

“It was a little strange playing here,” Sporting C.P. manager Paulo Sergio admitted. “We have the habit of the crowd being in line with the pitch and when I looked today, it seemed too long. I had the impression that to the left of me was too large, said Sporting manager Paulo Sergio. But, it is a mythical stadium and I will from here become a fan of the Red Sox and be more curious about baseball.”

As is the case with Red Sox fans, the following of Celtic F.C. is loyal and well-traveled. This was a payback of sorts for Celtic to its loyal fan base.

“We knew there was a huge following, obviously the Irish and the second and third-generation Irish, it was important to come and try and connect with the supporters and important to take the team here and have all the fans over here see them in the flesh, as it were,” Lennon said. “It was important to put on a performance that sent the fans home happy because a lot of people have a traveled a long, long way to come and see them tonight, and I know the boys appreciated that and I hope the fans appreciated it as well.”

Samaras, who played for Greece in the recent World Cup, had several chances in the first and second half before getting tripped by Anderson Polga on an offensive move near the left field line. The match was a “friendly” or exhibition as both teams get ready for their regular premier leagues in Europe.

The match was the first on the Fenway pitch since Pele and Santos F.C. played the Boston Beacons in an exhibition on July 9, 1968.

Read More: Celtic F.C., Celtics, Neil Lennon, Pele

After memorable run, Nava sent back to minors

07.21.10 at 8:51 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava told reporters in Oakland that he had been optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket following his club’s loss to the Athletics on Wednesday. The outfielder, who became the second player in baseball history to hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in his big league career, was sent back to the PawSox in order to clear a roster spot for Jeremy Hermida.

Nava hit .286 with a .381 OBP, .832 OPS, one homer and 16 RBI in 29 games. The switch-hitter was particularly impressive against right-handers, hitting .319 with a .390 OBP and .911 OPS. In his final at-bat before being sent down, Nava lined out to center field as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s 6-4 loss to the A’s.

The 27-year-old took his return to the minors in stride.

“I’ve got things I need to work on, and I’ll go back there, try to work on that stuff, try to focus on that stuff, wait for another opportunity,” he told reporters in Oakland.

Hermida is set to be activated for Thursday’s game against the Mariners. He has missed the last six weeks as a result of a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre on June 6 that left him with five fractured ribs. Hermida is hitting .217 with a .653 OPS, five homers and 27 RBI this year. During five minor league rehab games with Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket, Hermida hit .211 with a .566 OPS.

Read More: daniel nava, Jeremy Hermida,

Closing time: Athletics 6, Red Sox 4

07.21.10 at 6:39 pm ET
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Jack Cust and Matt Watson each homered in spoling Clay Buchholz‘ return from the disabled list on Wednesday as the Athletics’ bats once again proved stronger than those of the visiting team in a 6-4 Red Sox loss.

Jed Lowrie filled in admirably for Marco Scutaro in his first game of the season, while Adrian Beltre supplied the Sox with the team’s only homer. Though the Sox mustered four runs off of A’s starter Gio Gonzalez, the offense was silenced for much of the lefty’s start and failed to tack on a run after the 24-year-old’s departure.

With the loss, the Red Sox have opened their 10-game road trip by dropping two of three to the Athletics. They now head to Seattle for four with the Mariners before closing out the road trip with a three-game set in Anaheim.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– Buchholz was clearly off his game in his return from the disabled list. He was charged with five runs on the day (two of which he left to Scott Atchison upon departing in the fifth inning) and was unable to escape the fifth inning.

Buchholz struggled in each of his four-plus frames, facing 24 batters en route to recording just 13 outs. The cleanest he looked in the game was in the fourth inning, as the only slip-up Buchholz had was a walk to Cliff Pennington after Rajai Davis reached on a throwing error by Lowrie.

For Buchholz, it was his shortest start of the season to not be cut short by injury. He went just one inning against the Giants on June 26 before leaving with a hamstring injury suffered while running the bases.

With the loss, Buchholz fell to 10-5 on the season. Despite giving up more than a run per inning on Wednesday, his earned run average remains an impressive 2.81.

– Gonzalez didn’€™t have much trouble handling a struggling Red Sox offense, turning in a quality start and cruising through the second, third, and fourth innings.

After allowing an RBI single to Beltre in the first inning, Gonzalez settled down nicely, escaping the 28-pitch inning without further damage and allowing no Red Sox hitters to reach in the following three innings.

The Sox were able to tack on a run in the fifth inning, but the frame that proved to be accompanied by most the most trouble for was the sixth. After allowing a leadoff single to Kevin Youkilis, Gonzalez served up a two-run homer to Beltre. On the day Gonzalez gave up four runs on seven hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out three.

-The Red Sox failed to make the most of a struggling Henry Rodriguez in the seventh inning while trailing, 6-4. The flame-throwing right-hander was routinely bordering on walking the Sox’€™ hitters, as he ran the count full to four of the five batters he saw.

Though Lowrie and David Ortiz were able to walk in succession, the Sox didn’€™t put any runners on base against Rodriguez until there were two out. Youkilis ended the inning by flying to deep right’€¦ on a full count.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

Jed Lowrie had a promising return, though not in the field. Lowrie committed the throwing error that put Davis on base in the fourth inning. The error didn’€™t come back to haunt the Red Sox in the inning, and much of the rest of Lowrie’€™s performance was solid.

Coming off a lengthy stay on the disabled list due to mononucleosis, Lowrie began his day by drawing a walk in the first inning and scoring on a Beltre single. He worked the count full in the third inning before flying out to right.

Lowrie’€™s most valuable contribution came in the fifth inning, when he plated the second run of the day in the form of Bill Hall on a single to left center off Gonzalez, who had stymied the Red Sox lineup for much of the day. He walked in the seventh inning off Rodriguez with two down, sustaining the inning with the team trailing and making way for David Ortiz to also walk.

– Though he entered Wednesday hitless in four of his last five games, Hall stood out from Boston regulars on a day that didn’€™t require much to do so. Batting eighth, Hall broke up a string of 10 Red Sox hitters who were retired by Gonzalez by doubling to right center to lead off the fifth inning. He scored on a single from Lowrie.

– Beltre had a big game offensively for the Red Sox, accounting for three of the team’€™s four runs. Beltre has now hit in four straight games, three of which have been multi-hit performances. With 16 homers on the season, he has now doubled the eight he hit in 2009, his final season with the Mariners. Barring injury, 2010 should be his seventh 20-homer campaign in 13 seasons.

Read More: Adrian Beltre, Clay Buchholz, Closing time,

Francona on D&H: Need to use ‘common sense’ with Buchholz, Beckett

07.21.10 at 2:18 pm ET
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Terry Francona made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday afternoon, and the topics of discussion included the impending return of Clay Buchholz, the disappointing loss Tuesday night, and the progress of Dustin Pedroia and Victor Martinez.

Talking about Pedroia, Francona said, “He’s doing everything in his power to do two things. One, to be ready as quickly as possible. And the second thing is to drive me insane. Yeah, he’s like a caged animal. We have got to get him back in the lineup or somebody’s going to kill him.”

Following is a transcript of the interview.  To listen to the entire interview visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

If things go the way they should, you should have your full rotation going for the next five days for the first time since May 11.

How about that? That has a nice ring to it. I think just as important is that it’€™s not just getting them back in name only but getting back to where they can be productive. I think that’€™s something we can’€™t lose sight of. There’€™s a lot of good players out there who are trying to get back, but we can’€™t rush them to the point again where they’€™re coming back with a good name. We have to get the production that comes along with that. Again, that’€™s what we’€™re trying to do.

How do you figure out how many rehab starts is enough for a guy? Is that something you ask John Farrell or do you ask Clay Buchholz or Josh Beckett when they feel comfortable?

Well, you just named two of them, and there’€™s probably three or four factors. One is we certainly listen to how the pitcher feels. John Farrell, when he talks about pitching, he certainly has my ear. But again, what’€™s just best for our team. If you rush somebody out there before they’€™re ready, not only are they going to have a tough time competing, but they’€™re going to put a strain on your bullpen, which you don’€™t really want to do either. So you just try to balance everything and then we talk to our players and try to come to the right conclusion.

What is your philosophy on using Jonathon Papelbon in a tie game at home vs. on the road?

We will use him at home in a tie game all the time. On the road, very rarely does that happen. There has to be a day off or something like that where he hasn’€™t pitched in a long time. Like last night for instance, when they had [Andrew] Bailey in the game, he’€™s going to go two. You bring Pap in with a tie game, you’€™re hoping that he goes two innings. That’€™s not the best way. We need to hold him back. We had plenty of pitchers last night. We need to hold him back. If we use Pap and we use [Daniel] Bard and we go through our whole bullpen and then we finally take a lead and we can’€™t save the game, boy I’€™d be kicking myself.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Red Sox, Terry Francona,

Stark on D&H: Bullpen market is ‘abysmal’

07.21.10 at 2:10 pm ET
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ESPN baseball insider Jayson Stark talked to the Dale & Holley show Wednesday about what he’s heard from around the baseball world as July 31 looms. It seems like every team in contention, including the Red Sox, could look for some bullpen help via a trade, but according to Stark, they’re not finding much.

“Right now, I think [the Red Sox] are mostly focused on relief pitchers,  and this is one of the most abysmal bullpen markets ever,” Stark said. “I think it’s almost unanimous that the most attractive relief pitcher on the market is, are you ready, Scott Downs of the Blue Jays. He’s being priced insanely high, and for a team in the division, the Red Sox, the Yankees, the price is probably twice as high. You wouldn’t get him for 60 cents on the dollar, you’d get him for like $2.60 on the dollar.”

If the Red Sox are running into trouble looking for a reliever, they may be in luck as they look for a right-handed bat because according to Stark, the Phillies are really trying to get rid of Jayson Werth, who the Sox reportedly have targeted in the past.

“It’s clear now that the Phillies are marketing Jayson Werth. Buster Olney and I spent a lot of time on this yesterday, last night. The Phillies are trying to trade for a starting pitcher. Clearly, they have their eyes on Roy Oswalt, and to make the money work for this year, they would make a companion deal and trade Jayson Werth. The Red Sox would be a team right at the front of the line if they can figure out how to match up with the Phillies. Right now, I’d say Tampa Bay’s ahead of them though.”

Some of highlights of that interview are below. To hear the entire interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

What is out there on the trade market for the Red Sox? Are there any players you could get for 50 or 60 cents on the dollar?

I think one of their issues is they have so many players coming back from injury that if you knew exactly who was coming back when and what they were going to be when they came back, it’€™d make them a lot easier to pinpoint exactly where they want to go. Right now, I think they’€™re mostly focused on relief pitchers, and this is one of the most abysmal bullpen markets ever. I think it’s almost unanimous that the most attractive relief pitcher on the market is, are you ready, Scott Downs of the Blue Jays. He’s being priced insanely high, and for a team in the division, the Red Sox, the Yankees, the price is probably twice as high. You wouldn’t get him for 60 cents on the dollar, you’d get him for like $2.60 on the dollar. So they run into issues there.

They also like to address a right-handed thumper if they could. It’s clear now that the Phillies are marketing Jayson Werth. Buster Olney and I spent a lot of time on this yesterday, last night. The Phillies are trying to trade for a starting pitcher. Clearly, they have their eyes on Roy Oswalt, and to make the money work for this year, they would make a companion deal and trade Jayson Werth. The Red Sox would be a team right at the front of the line if they can figure out how to match up with the Phillies. Right now, I’d say Tampa Bay’s ahead of them though. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Jayson Stark, Jayson Werth, Trade deadline,

Red Sox vs. A’s matchups, 7/21

07.21.10 at 12:14 pm ET
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Following Tuesday’€™s heartbreaking 5-4 extra-innings loss to the A’€™s, the Red Sox will look to recoup and salvage the three-game series in Oakland during Wednesday’€™s rubber match. In order for that to happen, Boston will need its offense to turn around. The Sox bats haven’€™t scored more than four runs in a game since July 10, and with several key position players still on the DL, it will be up to the players currently on the roster, whether they were there for Opening Day or not, to make that turnaround. If not, the Sox arms will need to continue to carry the load during this 10-game West Coast road trip, and for that reason, first-time All-Star Clay Buchholz could not have picked a better time to make his own return from the disabled list as he takes the hill for Wednesday’€™s matinee. He will square off against young Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez.

This will be Buchholz’€™s (10-4, 2.45 ERA) first start since he exited Boston’€™s June 26 game against San Francisco after pulling up lame on the basepaths with a hamstring injury. However before the setback, Buchholz was putting up statistics equivalent to a Cy Young candidate. He was one of the league leaders in wins and ERA and even had Yankee manager Joe Girardi saying that had Buchholz not missed the All-Star game due to the hamstring issue, it would have been a very difficult call as to who would start for the American League between eventual starter David Price, Jon Lester and him.

Buchholz was able to make one rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket before joining the Red Sox Wednesday and allowed two runs over 3 2/3 innings to go along with four hits, two strikeouts and one walk. Not exactly tantalizing numbers, but Buchholz did report afterwards that he felt fine physically and that was his biggest concern heading into the start.

On the other side, although Gonzalez (8-6, 3.63 ERA) may not seem as exciting for baseball fans, he certainly has put up some quality numbers for the A’€™s this season. His ERA is second-lowest among Oakland starters, and his 92 strikeouts in 114 innings put him in the lead for the team in that category. In four of his last five starts, he’€™s allowed a run or less with the only blip on the radar being a four-inning, five-run performance against the Yankees July 7. He allowed three runs over five innings in a 9-4 loss to Boston June 1 but ultimately did not factor in the decision. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Gio Gonzalez,

Boxscore Breakdown: Another Runner Out At Home

07.21.10 at 10:44 am ET
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I guess the bright side of last night’s loss was that the Red Sox are now one day closer to getting healthy and they didn’t lose any ground to New York or Tampa Bay. I guess.

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* – David Ortiz was thrown out at home trying to score from first base on a double by Kevin Youkilis in the first inning last night. Since the start of the 2009 season, Ortiz has been on first when a double was hit 17 times and last night was the first time that he has been sent home.

His “Try%” (percentage of the time sent home from first on a double) is the lowest in the majors in that span (min. 10 opportunities since 2009):

5.9% – David Ortiz (1-17)
6.7% – Bengie Molina (1-15)
8.3% – Mike Lowell (1-12)

It was the 3rd time this season that the Sox have had a runner thrown out at home trying to score from first on a double, tied with four others for the most in the majors.

It should be noted that they’ve had the most opportunities (91) and the most successful tries (30), although in the AL only Seattle (34%) has a lower “Try%” than Boston’s 36%.

Since the start of the 2007 season, Boston has had 14 runners thrown out attempting to score from 1st on a double, the most in the majors:

14 – Boston Red Sox
13 – Florida Marlins
11 – Seven teams tied

Tampa Bay has had only 3 such runners thrown out in the last 3 1/2 seasons, the fewest in the majors.

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* – Despite Ortiz getting nailed last night, the Red Sox continue to be more aggressive about trying to take the extra base in 2010 than in recent years.

A runner has an opportunity to take an extra base when he’s on first on a single (taking third) or a double (scoring) or when he’s on second (scoring) when a single is hit.

During the five seasons from 2004 through 2008, the Red Sox’ “Try%” was the lowest in the majors every year (between 33% and 36% each year). In 2009, they tried to advance on 37% of their opportunities (3rd lowest).

But so far in 2010, they are trying to advance 41% of the time and 10 teams have a “Try%” lower than the Red Sox.

When you consider that Fenway Park, specifically the proximity of the “Green Monster” in left field, negatively affects their “Try%” every season, their 41% mark in 2010 really stands out.

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* – Last night in Oakland, the Red Sox collected 12 hits with 8 of them coming before the end of the 3rd inning. It was the 16th time this season that Boston has banged out more hits in the first three innings than they’ve gotten the rest of the game, 3rd most in the AL behind the Angels (19) and Rangers (18).

Fortunately, the Red Sox have gone 11-5 in those games, the 2nd best such record in the AL, trailing only the Yankees (9-4) and just ahead of the Angels (12-7).

In 2009, the Sox offense had 32 such games and managed only a 16-16 record. Only Baltimore (33) and Texas (33) had more such games in the AL while the best records in those games belonged to the Yankees (15-4) and the Angels (15-8).

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* – It was the 7th time this season that Boston has not had an RBI after the 2nd inning and the Sox are now 2-5 in those games. It’s the 2nd lowest number of such games in the majors this season (the Yankees have 6). Speaking of the Yankees, did you know that they are 0-26 in those games since the start of the 2008 season, the only team in the majors without such a win.

(Note: I have to use RBI for this stat because my database cannot account for runs scored on errors, passed balls, wild pitches, stolen bases, or balks.)

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