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Closing Time: Orioles 12, Red Sox 9

05.01.10 at 9:58 pm ET
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Red Sox pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield combined to allow five Baltimore home runs, paving the way for a 12-9 win over the Orioles, Saturday night at Camden Yards. The Sox had carried a 4-1 lead into the fifth, but the O’s responded with 10 unanswered runs off of the first two Red Sox’ hurlers. David Ortiz highlighted the Red Sox’ night by hitting two home runs. (Click here for a complete recap.)


- Daisuke, Inning 5: Matsuzaka succumbed to a horrific frame in the fifth inning. The Sox’ starter seemed to be relying on his fastball more than in the previous four innings, and it cost him with most of the biggest Orioles’ hits in the six-run inning coming off of Daisuke’s heater. Matsuzaka had actually retired the first batter he faced (Luke Scott) in the fifth, but after that it went all downhill. First, Ty Wigginton notched only Baltimore’s second hit of the game when he homered to center. After that came a single, a walk, a force out, another single, yet another single, and finally a three-run homer from Matt Wieters. One more Miguel Tejada double and Matsuzaka’s night was done.

- Wakefield reunion with the ‘pen didn’t go well: The last time we saw Wakefield pitch out of the bullpen it was in the 2004 American League Championship Series, marking his fourth straight scoreless relief outing. That went a whole lot better than this did. First, it appeared that the routine of getting ready in the middle of an inning — as was the case in the fifth — left Wakefield a bit out of sorts (while seemingly forcing Matsuzaka to stay in for one more batter than Terry Francona most likely would have preferred). The end result was three homers allowed by Wakefield, which was the first time a Red Sox reliever had allowed three homers since Keith Foulke in 2006. Watching the outing it was hard not to think that Wakefield has potentially a great deal of value in the rotation, but very little in the bullpen.


- Daisuke, Innings 1-4: Matsuzaka couldn’t have been much better prior to the clock striking 8:30 p.m. He allowed one earned run on just one hit, getting over first-pitch strikes to 11 of the first 13 hitters he faced. While his fastball wasn’t dominant (ranging between 89-91 mph with one reaching 94 mph), his slider was. The pitch was the punctuation on all four of the Red Sox’ starters strikeouts.

- Ortiz’ power stroke: After taking extensive early batting practice, Ortiz saw the extra work pay off. Getting the start at designated hitter for the second straight game, Ortiz got his hands in on an 90 mph, inside fastball from O’s starter Brad Bergesen and deposited it just over the left field wall for his second homer of the season. And even though his next at-bat resulted in an fly-out to left field, the swing offered a reminder of when Ortiz is going good, driving an outside-edge fastball the other way. Then, in the eighth, Ortiz made Francona’s move not to pinch-hit for him against left-hander Alberto Castillo by launching his second homer of the game on to Eutaw Street. It was Ortiz’ 35th career multi-homer game, and his first since last Aug. 26.

- Not your Van Every-day substitute: With Jeremy Hermida sitting the game out with a sore quadriceps, Jonathan Van Every stepped up and did his part while starting in center field. First the 30-year-old took the first pitch of the third inning and sent it over the center field fence, giving the Red Sox’ a 2-1 lead. Then, later in the third, Van Every got a solid jump on a sinker liner off the bat of Adam Jones, allowing the outfielder to eventually make a diving, inning-ending stab. It supported Terry Francona’s theory that Van Every was better suited to center than Darnell McDonald, who got the start in left field.

- Martinez is figuring things out: Earlier in the week, Sox’ catching instructor Gary Tuck suggested Victor Martinez was on his way to getting his throwing straightened out. That’s certainly looking to be the case, as Martinez threw out his second baserunner attempting to steal in as many nights. The approach is noticeable, with the catcher displaying a much shorter arm stroke compared the side-arm method he had previously fallen into.

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Red Sox vs. Orioles matchups, 5/1

05.01.10 at 10:13 am ET
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Saturday marks the return of Daisuke Matsuzaka to the Red Sox rotation, and he will be faced with the task of trying to help the Sox rebound from Friday night’s 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Baltimore Orioles. The right-hander will make his 2010 debut at Camden Yards against Baltimore, an opponent which he has had some success against throughout his career.

Matsuzaka was 3-1 with a 4.78 ERA in his six starts against Baltimore through his first three seasons. He only saw the Orioles once last year, when he worked 5-1/3 innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out five, in a 9-3 Red Sox victory. He made three rehab starts in Triple-A Pawtucket as he recovered from a DL stint with a neck strain. He held the opposition scoreless in 11 innings on work over his first two games before some struggles in the third, as he allowed four runs in 5-2/3 innings to the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs.

He will be opposed by another pitcher who just had a stint in Triple A — the Orioles’ Brad Bergesen.

The right-hander put up solid numbers in 19 starts in his rookie season last year, going 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA. But the start of his 2010 season was the total opposite, as he was pummeled in his thirst three games. Bergesen went 0-2 with an ugly 12.19 ERA, lasting no longer than 4-2/3 in any of his three starts and letting up at least four earned runs in every game. The final straw came when he was blitzed by the Seattle Mariners on April 19, as he lasted just 2-2/3 innings and walked three and gave up seven runs, though only four were earned.

Still, the Orioles brought the youngster back up from Norfolk to face Boston, a team he has pitched well against in two starts. In his first game against Boston Bergesen was excellent, allowing just one run on four hits in eight innings. He didn’t get the win, however, since the Orioles’ bullpen coughed up a four run lead.  In his other start against the Sox it was the Baltimore offense that let Bergesen down, as it could only muster one run and squandered a decent line from its starter: three earned runs in six innings.

Red Sox vs.  Brad Bergesen

Adrian Beltre (7): .286/.286/.857, 1 home run, 1 strikeout

J.D. Drew (7): .286/.286./.286

Dustin Pedroia (7): .667/.714/.833, 1 double, 1 walk

Marco Scutaro (7): .500/.429/.667, 1 double

David Ortiz (6): .333/.333/.333, 2 strikeouts

Jason Varitek (6): .167/.167/.167, 2 strikeouts

Kevin Youkilis (6): .000/.167/.000, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Mike Lowell (3): .500/.667/1.000, 1 double, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Bergesen has never faced Bill Hall, Jeremy Hermida, Victor Martinez, Darnell McDonald or Jonathan Van Every.

Orioles vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka

Nick Markakis (17 career plate appearances against Matsuzaka): .000 average/.294 OBP/.000 slugging, 5 walks, 4 strikeouts

Luke Scott (12): .375/.583/.875, 1 home run, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts

Miguel Tejada (7): .429/.429/.429, 1 strikeout

Ty Wigginton (6): .167/.167/.167, 1 strikeout

Adam Jones (3): .500/.667/.500, 1 strikeout

Matt Wieters (3): 1.000/1.000/1.000

Cesar Izturis is 1-2 in his career against Matsuzaka. The Sox starter has never faced Robert Andino, Garrett Atkins, Julio Lugo, Nolan Reimold or Craig Tatum.

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Closing Time: Orioles 5, Red Sox 4

04.30.10 at 10:46 pm ET
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The Red Sox appeared headed to an impressive 4-3 come-from-behind victory when J.D. Drew delivered a go-ahead homer for Boston in the top of the eighth. But the bullpen betrayed that advantage in Baltimore, as Orioles third baseman Miguel Tejada smashed a game-tying homer off of Daniel Bard in the eighth inning, then delivered a game-winning single back up the middle in the bottom of the 10th against Manny Delcarmen, as Baltimore claimed a 5-4, walkoff victory. (Recap.)


John Lackey was spectacular at times for the Sox. He featured a terrific curveball and slider that helped him to a season-high six strikeouts. He allowed three runs (two earned) in seven innings, allowing just five hits (four singles and a double), while throwing a whopping 120 pitches.

Lackey became the first Sox pitcher to throw 120 pitches this year. Entering Friday, all major league hurlers had combined to throw just nine games of 120 or more pitches.

J.D. Drew entered Friday with just one multi-hit game in 2010, two homers and a .181/.282/.306/.588 line. But the right-fielder smashed a pair of solo homers — one to left-center on a fastball from David Hernandez in the second inning, and another to dead center on a Jim Johnson fastball in the eighth inning — for his fifth multi-homer game as a Red Sox, and his first of the 2010 season.

Dustin Pedroia continued his current hot streak, going 2-for-4 with a homer to right-center and 2 RBI. He is now 10-for-26 (.385) in his last six games. His homer was his first since April 17, and just the third opposite field homer of his career. His six homers in April matched his career-high for any month (previously achieved in August 2008).


–The Red Sox defense, anticipated to be a strong suit this year, continued its disappointing path. A pair of errors led to a key unearned run in the fourth, as center fielder Darnell McDonald kicked a leadoff single to center by Miguel Tejada, then, after a walk put runners on first and second, third baseman Adrian Beltre booted a double-play grounder to allow a run.

Beltre was also caught out of the position in the first inning, when he was heading towards the bag on a planned pickoff throw to third. Matt Wieters shot a run-scoring single to left through the vacated hole.

Beltre in particular has made several sloppy plays this season (five errors), but the Sox defense as a whole has also been well short of advertised. Entering Friday, the Sox had a .691 defensive efficiency, ranked 19th among the 30 major league teams.

Daniel Bard grooved a 96 mph fastball to Miguel Tejada in the bottom of the eighth that the third baseman slammed deep into the left-field stands for a game-tying solo homer. It was the third homer that Bard has allowed in 14.2 innings this year. He gave up five longballs in 49.1 innings in the 2009 season.

–Beltre’s challenging evening did not stop there. He was also thrown out at third on a strike-’em-out, throw-’em-out double play, and was called for baserunner interference in the top of the seventh, thus turning what would have been a force out at second into a double play. The interference call (which was debatable) may have cost the Sox a run, since with two outs, McDonald walked and both Marco Scutaro and Pedroia singled, a rally that yielded one run but could have resulted in more.

Beltre did, however, go 3-for-5 to improve his average to .338.

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Red Sox vs. Orioles matchups, 4/30

04.30.10 at 3:04 pm ET
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It was a nice trip to Toronto for the Red Sox, as they swept the Blue Jays to get back to .500 on the season, at 11-11. Now they will face a familiar opponent — the Baltimore Orioles, who the Sox took two of three from last week.

John Lackey will be on the hill in Friday night’s game, getting his second crack at the Orioles this season. Baltimore got its licks in against the Sox starter on April 24, as Lackey let up 10 hits on the day and walked a pair. But he was able to keep the Orioles from putting up big numbers on the scoreboard, as he let up just three runs in seven innings of work.

On the year, Lackey is 2-1 with a 5.09 ERA, mostly thanks to a rough outing against Tampa Bay on April 19, when he let up eight earned runs in just 3-1/3 innings. The right-hander has done well against Baltimore in the past, posting a 9-3 career record with a 3.21 ERA.

The Orioles will have 24-year old right-hander David Hernandez on the mound. Hernandez emerged as Baltimore’s fifth starter this spring, winning the job over the highly touted Chris Tillman, but has failed to find early success thus far, at least in terms of his record. He is 0-3 with a 4.84 ERA in his first four starts in his second big league season, but he pitched fairly well against the Sox last week at Fenway Park, when he allowed three earned runs over five innings of work.

Control issues have plagued Hernandez early this year, as he has 10 walks over 22-1/3 innings of work. But when you take a closer look at his numbers, he has actually performed relatively well. What has hurt his is a lack of run support, as the Orioles tallied just three runs total in his first three starts before breaking through against the Sox on April 25 to score seven times.

Despite it being just his second year, he has faced the Sox more than any other team. Last year he had mixed results vs. Boston, going 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA. His had his best performance of the 2009 season against the Red Sox, allowing one run over seven strong innings in his first start against the Sox on July 26. In his other three appearances, however, he lasted past the fifth inning just once and lost two of the three games.

Here are the matchups.

Red Sox vs. David Hernandez

Dustin Pedroia (14 career plate appearances against Hernandez): .231 average/.286 OBP/.923 slugging, 3 home runs, 1 walk

Kevin Youkilis (14): .385/.429/.846, 2 home runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

David Ortiz (13): .167/.231/.333, 2 doubles, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Victor Martinez (11): .182/.182/.182, 1 strikeout

J.D. Drew (9): .333/.333/.444, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Adrian Beltre (5): .500/.600/.500, 1 walk

Mike Lowell is 2 for 3 vs Hernandez, while Jeremy Hermida has one walk in his two appearances against the Orioles’ starter. Jason Varitek and Jonathan van Every are both 0-2 against Hernandez. Bill Hall and Darnell McDonald have never faced the right-hander.

Orioles vs. John Lackey

Miguel Tejada (37 career plate appearances against Lackey): .297 average/.297 OBP/.432 slugging, 2 d0ubles, 1 home run, 9 strikeouts

Nick Markakis (28): .320/.393/.360, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts

Cesar Izturis (21): .190/.190/.190, 4 strikeouts

Julio Lugo (20): .222/.300/.278, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Ty Wigginton (16): .286/.375/.500, 1 home run, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Adam Jones (14): .143/.143/.286, 1 triple, 5 strikeouts

Luke Scott (9): .375/.444/1.250, 2 home runs, 2 strikeouts

Matt Wieters (9): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Nolan Reimold (6): .167/.167/.167, 1 strikeout

Garrett Atkins is hitless in three at bats against Lackey. The sox starter has never faced Craig Tatum, the Orioles’ backup catcher.

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Frandsen claimed on waivers by Angels

04.29.10 at 8:11 pm ET
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Infielder Kevin Frandsen, whom the Red Sox traded for from the Giants in spring training, was claimed off waivers by the Angels after the Sox had designated him for assignment to make room for Alan Embree on the 40-man roster. The right-handed-hitting Frandsen, 27, hit .258 in 17 games for Triple-A Pawtucket with two home runs, managing a .308 average against left-handed pitching.

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Lars Anderson promoted to Triple A

04.29.10 at 4:51 pm ET
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Red Sox prospect Lars Anderson was promoted from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday. Anderson is expected to make his PawSox debut at McCoy Stadium on either Thursday or Friday night.

Anderson, 22, was hitting .355/.408/.677/1.086 in 17 games for Portland this season. He ranked third in the Eastern League in batting and was tied for second in both homers (5) and RBI (16). He also led the league with a .677 slugging pct. and was tied for second in total bases with 42.

The left-handed-swinging Anderson, who struggled throughout the 2009 season in Double A, was described as once again driving the ball to all fields in 2010 after becoming pull-heavy in his approach at times last year. Members of the Red Sox organization suggested that he was taking a more relaxed approach to the game this year, something that helped his on-field performance.

The first baseman had reached base safely in 16 of his 17 games played, had a season-high seven-game hitting streak from April 11-19 (9-for-24, .375) and was amidst a six-game hitting streak with the Sea Dogs (10-for-21, .476) at this time of his promotion to Pawtucket. He hit .350 vs. lefty pitching (7-for-20) and .357 vs. right-handed pitching (15-for-42 with all 5 HR). Anderson, who predominately batted fifth in the Portland lineup this season, went 3-for-4 with a run scored in his last Sea Dogs’ game on Tuesday night to lead Portland to a 2-0 win at Binghamton. In his previous game last Sunday he was 2-for-5 with a season-high four RBI including an RBI single in the seventh inning and a tiebreaking three-run home run in the ninth inning to give Portland a 9-5 victory at Trenton.

Anderson, who is ranked as Boston’s No. 4 prospect by Baseball America after earning the No. 1 ranking prior to the 2009 season, spent all of last season with Portland and was a midseason Eastern League All-Star.

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Nielsen ranking: Sox second most hated MLB team

04.29.10 at 11:11 am ET
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Based on an Internet algorithm created by the Nielsen Co., the Red Sox are the second most hated team in Major League Baseball, trailing only the Indians. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Nielsen formula uses various keywords to find out whether people have positive, negative or neutral reactions to different brands and products. Following the Red Sox on the list are the Reds, Astros and fifth-place Yankees. The teams ranking the most popular are the Giants and A’s.

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