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Beltre says ‘Thank you’ to Buchholz

04.27.10 at 11:58 pm ET
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TORONTO — Adrian Beltre is getting a big dose of unique moments in his short Red Sox career.

Last week it came when the free-swinging third baseman won a game with a bases-loaded walk. And Tuesday night — in the midst of what turned into a 2-1 win for the Red Sox over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre — Beltre found another aberration in the form of what could have been the most costly of errors.

With one out and nobody on in the eighth inning, and the Red Sox clinging to a one-run lead, the usually slick-fielding Beltre gathered in a slow bouncer off the bat of Vernon Wells. But after double-clutching, he tossed the ball wide of first baseman Kevin Youkilis, putting the potential game-tying run at second base.

“The ball got in the packet of the glove, I couldn’t get it out, and then I threw a cutter,” explained Beltre regarding his fourth error of the season. “It wasn’t the runner. It was just a bad grip, rushed it, pulled the ball and threw a cutter.”

Fortunately for Beltre, Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz eased the pain.

The starter promptly got Lyle Overbay on strikes, and then induced a weak fly ball to center off the bat of Alex Gonzalez to end the threat, and calm Beltre’s nerves.

“That was good. He was behind me after I made that play,” Beltre said. “I told him to pick me up and he did, big time. That was huge. Nobody wants to make an error, but when you make an error like that you’re just praying the run doesn’t score, especially the way he was throwing the ball tonight. It was one of those plays you’re praying the pitcher picks you up and get out of the inning. It happened.”

Drew had another bout with vertigo

04.27.10 at 11:29 pm ET
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TORONTO — J.D. Drew said after the Red Sox2-1 win over the Blue Jays that he was stricken with another case of vertigo Sunday night and early Monday. It is a condition that the outfielder has suffered through at various times in his career, with the last bout coming at the end of May, 2008, forcing him to miss a game. Drew said the symptoms had subsided enough by game time Monday that he was able to play, and by Tuesday’s first pitch the problem had dissipated.

“The first at-bat (Monday) I felt like I was kind of floating, but as my heart rate got going things started speeding up and I was able to faze out of it,” he explained. “It felt better as the game went along, and it felt fine tonight.

“It’s one thing you don’t want to deal with over an extended period of time. I felt much better tonight. What happened in 2008 it was something I woke up with it, and had it all day. What happened the other night was that I had it all night, I woke up 4 a.m. in the morning and the room was all over the place.”

Drew ended up playing some of a key role in the Red Sox’ win Tuesday night, drawing a two-out walk to load the bases in the eighth inning, setting up Mike Lowell’s game-winning, run-scoring free pass. The Sox’ right fielder also had a hit to go with his two walks, boosting his batting average to .191.

Embree called up, Castro sent down

04.27.10 at 11:05 pm ET
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Red Sox manager Terry Francona said after his team’s 2-1 win over the Blue Jays Tuesday night that lefty reliever Alan Embree was being called up to the team, with Fabio Castro headed back to Triple A Pawtucket. The Red Sox still have to make a corresponding roster move to fit Embree on to the 40-man roster.

Embree had pitched in eight games with the PawSox, allowing three runs on two hits, striking out six and walking five over 7 1/3 innings. He had faced 14 left-handed hitters, not surrendering a hit and just one walk.

Embree had the option of opting out of his contract with the Red Sox if he wasn’t placed on the 25-man roster by Friday. Castro was with the Red Sox for just one day, having joined the team as insurance in the bullpen, with Scott Atchison having been sent to Pawtucket.

Closing Time: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1

04.27.10 at 9:58 pm ET
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TORONTOClay Buchholz was the story, as he not only saved the Red Sox, but saved the bullpen, giving up just one run in eighth innings in leading the Sox to a 2-1 win over the Blue Jays Tuesday night at Rogers Centre. (For a game recap click here.)


– Buchholz’ eighth inning: With his pitch count climbing further into the 100’s, Buchholz was dealt an unfortunate circumstance when Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre threw away a routine grounder off the bat of Vernon Wells. It put the potential game-tying run at second base with one out, with Lyle Overbay and Alex Gonzalez due up. Buchholz first fanned Overbay with a fastball, and then got Gonzalez to fly weakly to center field to end the threat, as well as the starter’s night.


– Francona’s eighth-inning decision: With the bases loaded and two outs, Red Sox manager Terry Francona chose to pinch-hit Mike Lowell for David Ortiz against Jays reliever Scott Downs. The move forced Jays manager Cito Gaston to bring on righty reliever Kevin Gregg, who promptly gave the Sox the lead by throwing Lowell four straight balls.

– The middle of the order came through when it counted: Heading into the eighth, the Sox’ first four hitters — Marco Scutaro, Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, Kevin Youkilis — had gone a combined 1-for-13. But there was a revival in the eighth, with Pedroia rifling a one-out single up the middle, Martinez following up with a single of his own, and Kevin Youkilis getting the Sox’ second baseman over to third with a deep fly ball to right. J.D. Drew’s second walk of the game loaded the bases, setting the stage for Lowell’s RBI.

– Buchholz came through: Remember that April 15 game in Oakland last season, when Tim Wakefield saved the Red Sox’ bullpen by pitching a complete game just one day after Daisuke Matsuzaka’s horrific one-inning appearance? Buchholz was charged with a similar responsibility Tuesday night, and he didn’t disappoint. Throwing a career-high 117 pitches, the righty held Toronto to one run on seven hits, striking out four and walking two. Surprisingly, Buchholz, usually a ground ball pitcher, induced more outs in the air (11-8).

– Teams have stopped stealing: Since Texas left town last week, the Red Sox have gone a long way in controlling the running game. In the past five games they have only allowed two steals. You can factor in that the Orioles (5) and Blue Jays (14) aren’t two of the speedier teams in the league, but every little bit counts. Catcher Victor Martinez could also be seen working with catching instructor Gary Tuck on his throws as early as 2:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. This time around, the credit for limiting the base-stealing could largely be credited to Buchholz, who limited his baserunners to seven, and did a solid job of holding the ones that reached.


– They had the misfortune of facing Marcum: A good amount of credit for the Sox’ offensive troubles has to go to Toronto starter Shaun Marcum, who pitched well in all four of his starts leading up to Tuesday night. Marcum managed to make it through the seventh for the fourth time in five starts, and still hasn’t given up more than four runs in any of his appearances. In case you forgot, Marcum was on the fast track to top-of-the-rotation residency before succumbing to Tommy John Surgery in 2008. Maybe some day Marcum will be so good as to stop the Blue Jays from selling Roy Halladay shirts in their Rogers Centre gift shops.

– Things aren’t looking up for Ortiz: David Ortiz, who hadn’t started in four of his last six games coming into Tuesday night, didn’t help his cause by going 0-for-2 with a walk (grounding out and popping out to right) before being pinch-hit for for the second time this season. The two outs — which both saw Ortiz way out on his front foot — weren’t encouraging enough to precent Francona from executing the righty-lefty switch that seems to be becoming the norm.

Ortiz wants to play ‘two or three more years’

04.27.10 at 6:40 pm ET
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TORONTO — Speaking before the Red Sox‘ game with the Blue Jays Tuesday night at the Rogers Centre David Ortiz said that he would like to play “two or three more years” beyond the 2010 season. “I’ll be 37 or 38,” he said. “Two or three more years and then I’ll take it to the house.”

Ortiz referenced coming into the majors as a 21-year-old and how far away playing in his mid-30’s seemed. “Time has gone fast, really fast,” he said. “I never thought it would happen this fast. I talked to all those (Twins teammates) and they said, ‘It goes fast, believe me.’ And they were right.”

The 34-year-old is in the final year of his contract with the Red Sox, who have a $12.5 team option on the DH for the 2012 season.

Ortiz also mentioned how he has lost 20 pounds by improving his diet, which was a process he began following the 2009 season. “I don’t really know how I did it, but I did it,” he said. “I was eating too much so I started right after the season. I feel a lot better when I run. I’ve always been a good athlete since I was a kid, but as I got older I started losing it. But for a big guy I think I run pretty good.”

Ortiz is in the lineup Tuesday, hitting sixth, after not starting in four of the last six games.

Red Sox vs. Blue Jays matchups, 4/27

04.27.10 at 5:25 pm ET
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The Red Sox emerged victorious in a 13-12 slugfest Monday night. Might we see a pitcher’s duel in Toronto on Tuesday?

Boston’s starter, Clay Buchholz, has the track record against the Blue Jays do pull it off. Toronto was the team that Buchholz saw the most last season, and he performed well against the AL East foe, going 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA in his four starts with 20 strikeouts. In fact, Buchholz let up just one earned run in each of his three victories over Toronto last season.

But the one loss came in one of his worst performances of the year on Sept. 29, when he allowed seven earned runs in five innings on work. More troublesome than that, however, was the five home runs that the Jays smacked off of the right-hander, including two from Adam Lind.

Despite his 1-2 record in his three starts, Buchholz has probably been Boston’s best starter ‘€” he has a 2.70 ERA and 18 strikeouts ‘€” and the Sox could use a solid performance from him after taxing the bullpen on Monday.

The Jays will counter with Shaun Marcum, who is 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA in his first four starts of the 2010 season. Toronto’s Opening Day starter missed all of the 2009 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, but he has appeared in 11 games against Boston as both a starter and a reliever, six of those as a starter.

Marcum made three starts against Boston in 2008, going 2-1 with a 5.17 ERA. That stat was inflated by his last outing against the Sox, when he lasted just 3-2/3 innings and gave up five earned runs. The week before that game he let up just one run on five hits in five innings in a start at Fenway, and also pitched well in his first start of the year against the Sox, going seven innings and striking out eight while allowing three runs.

Red Sox vs. Shaun Marcum

David Ortiz (19 career at bats against Marcum): .143 average/.368 OBP/.143 slugging, 5 walks, 5 strikeouts

Kevin Youkilis (17): .235/.235/.529, 1 home run, 7 strikeouts

Adrian Beltre (15): .462/.533/1.077, 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Dustin Pedroia (14): .077/.071/.308, 1 home run, 1 strikeout

Mike Lowell (13): .385/.385/.615, 1 triple, 1 strikeout

Jason Varitek (13): .400/.538/.400, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts

Victor Martinez (12): .500/.583/1.250, 3 doubles, 1 home run, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

J.D. Drew (11): .222/.364/.667, 1 home run, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Marco Scutaro is 2-2 vs. Marcum in his career, while Bill Hall, Jeremy Hermida  and Darnell McDonald have never seen the Jays starter.

Blue Jays vs. Clay Buchholz

Aaron Hill (17 career at bats against Buchholz): .235 average/.235 OBP/.412 slugging, 1 home run, 3 strikeouts

Lyle Overbay (16): .429/.500/.500, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Vernon Wells (15): .167/.333/.167, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

Adam Lind (14): .357/.357/.857, 2 home runs, 2 strikeouts

Jose Bautista (9): .250/.333/.625, 1 home run, 1 walk, 2 srikeouts

Travis Snider (7): .143/.143/.143, 5 strikeouts

John McDonald (6): .167/.167/.333, 1 double, 2 strikeouts

Jose Molina (5): .333/.400/.667, 1 double, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Buchholz has faced John Buck, Edwin Encarnacion and Randy Ruiz three times. Ruiz is the only one to have a hit, while Buck was hit by a pitch in one at bat. Alex Gonzalez and Mike McCoy have never faced the Boston starter.

Pedroia officially not the shortest anymore

04.27.10 at 4:40 pm ET
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TORONTO — Of the news and notes from pregame at the Rogers Centre, there was nothing more interesting than watching Marco Scutaro get Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox‘ newest reliever, Fabio Castro, to stand back to back to see who is taller. The winner … Pedroia.

Pedroia is listed at 5-foot-9, while Castro’s height on the team’s site is 5-foot-7, but the second baseman admitted that it might be closer than some think. He requested that next season he be listed at what he deems is his official height: 5-foot-8.

Also of note:

Terry Francona said that Friday would most likely be the day in which Tim Wakefield is first available for bullpen duty. He also noted that pairing up Jason Varitek with Wakefield when the knuckleballer comes on in relief will be unavoidable and is on the radar of the team.

– Francona also noted that he will most likely try and stay away from using Daniel Bard, Hideki Okajima, and Jonathan Papelbon Tuesday night.

Lineups: Ortiz back in, Martinez catching

04.27.10 at 2:15 pm ET
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TORONTO — David Ortiz makes his return to the Red Sox‘ lineup Tuesday night at the Rogers Centre, hitting sixth against Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum. Victor Martinez will also be behind the plate with Clay Buchholz getting the start for the Sox. The Red Sox lineups is as follows: Scutaro SS, Pedroia 2B, Martinez C, Youkilis 1B, Drew RF, Ortiz DH, Beltre 3B, Hermida LF, McDonald CF, Buchholz P.

Of the players in the Sox’ lineup, Beltre and Martinez have had the most success against Marcum, with Beltre going 6-for-13 with two home runs and Martinez having gone 4-for-8.

Mike Lowell, who did start at designated hitter in the teams’ series opener, is 5-for-13 against the Jays’ starter, while Ortiz is just 2-for-14. Here is how the rest of the Red Sox’ lineup has fared vs. Marcum: Scutaro 2-for-2, Pedroia 1-for-13, Martinez 4-for-8, Youkilis 4-for017, Drew 2-for-9, Ortiz 2-for-14, Beltre 6-for-13. Hermida and McDonald has never faced the righty.

Schilling on D&C: Blame Sox’ struggles on pitching

04.27.10 at 1:34 pm ET
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Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning and talked about the Red Sox’ slow start, Tim Wakefield’s move to the bullpen, and the downfall of Ben Roethlisberger.

I know you’€™re a moral man. You must be ashamed of Ben Roethlisberger.

No, I’€™m embarrassed for him and disappointed in him ‘€” incredibly disappointed in him. I don’€™t know him, I’€™ve met him and gotten to know him a little bit, but he’€™s made just ridiculously stupid choices and decisions in his life. And at some point, you hope before this, that athletes understand that they don’€™t live their lives in a vacuum. And you can have the bitchers and moaners and gripers that say, it’€™s not fair ‘€” but it is what it is. If you want to take home the fruits of being a professional athlete, there’€™s a price to pay and I’€™ve always argued it’€™s a small price for a time you’€™re in that window of opportunity.

Do most guys get scared straight after the first time or not?

Well, because you spent your whole life being enabled, right? Everyone that we generally surround ourselves with has been telling us our whole lives how great we are. And there’€™s a level of empowerment ‘€” it’€™s like you’€™re immune. Thankfully I married Shonda, so that went out the window when I got married. And here’€™s one of the other issues: Ben is still single. So I’€™m not really sure there’€™s any motivation to change ‘€” unless he has personal motivation to change his life, and that worries me. And he obviously surrounds himself with a bunch of guys who just are idiots, because they’€™re not looking out for his best interests wither.

When there are websites attesting to exactly what your penis looks like ‘€¦ that to me would be rock bottom.

Well, my bigger fear was the fact that, starting to come out of the woodwork are stories that we haven’€™t heard about, that he’€™s done this before in other places. And those are the kind of things, because that leads you to believe that ‘€“ because I’€™ve always been, well, you know what, he made a bad choice. But when you’€™re talking about the third, fourth or fifth time, that’€™s not bad choice, that’€™s bad people.

Will you ever wear the Roethlisberger jersey again?

Probably not. It’€™s not something I think I can wear around my house and honestly address my kids. Because I’€™ve had to talk to some of my boys about it and it’€™s a painful conversation. Because you guys know me well enough, we’€™ve talked about this in the past; these aren’€™t my kid’€™s heroes. That’€™s the mistake I think a lot people make. The god given ability doesn’€™t make someone a hero to me. It’€™s the make of the man, the things that I can’€™t see. What is he doing when people aren’€™t watching? And those are the things that I concern myself with when it comes to a lot of these people, It speaks to a lot of different issues, and unfortunately he’€™s a guy that has made some incredibly poor choices in life.

What is the strength of this Red Sox team through 20 games?

They’€™ve got a great manager. Yeah. They’€™re struggling. The only statistic that gives me pause is in the first decade of this millennium, they were the best April team in major league baseball. The three years that they left April with the best record in the major leagues, two of those years were ‘€™04 and ‘€™07. Generally it’€™s hard to not play inspired baseball coming out of spring training, because you walk out into this, literally, playoff atmosphere. We’€™re opening up with the Yankees here, and you get jump-started ‘€” which I’€™ve always viewed as an advantage here. They’€™re not pitching. That’€™s the bottom line, is they’€™re not pitching. Josh Beckett will not end up with a 7.2 ERA at the end of the year. But they’€™re going to have to consistently throw the ball better than they’€™re throwing it and get deeper into games, because these are innings that you’€™re taxing your bullpen that you won’€™t have available in August and September. Read the rest of this entry »

A box score breakdown from Monday night

04.27.10 at 11:49 am ET
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Some things you might not have noticed from last night’s never-ending slugfest north of the border:


* – Marco Scutaro scored 4 runs from the leadoff spot last night. It was the first time in his career that he has scored 4 times in a game. He had scored 3 runs in 10 different games. The Red Sox had a player scored 4 runs in a game 5 times in 2009, the last by Dustin Pedroia on August 22. Boston is now 87-0 since 1952 when they have a player score 4+ runs in a game.


* – Boston had five different players with 3 hits last night for the first time since May 28, 2005 (a 17-1 rout of the Yankees) and just the 4th time since 2000. That was also the last time that they did it in a road game.


* – Toronto had two players with 4 RBI each. It’s the first time that the Red Sox have won despite multiple opposing players with 4+ RBI since the famous 19-17 win over Texas at Fenway on August 12, 2008. It appears that they had NEVER won such a road game before.


* – Among Red Sox pitchers with at least 15 career starts in March/April, Josh Beckett now has the 2nd highest ERA ever (and 2nd highest on this team):

5.12 – Jon Lester
5.04 – Josh Beckett
4.95 – Dennis Eckersley
4.87 – Mike Torrez


* – Boston’s team ERA of 5.06 threatens to be their worst before May 1 in any season since 1996 (5.66) and their 3rd worst ever.


* – The Red Sox scored 13 runs and struck out 11 times last night. It was just the 3rd non-extra innings game since 1952 in which they have scored 13+ runs and fanned 11+ times. Both other times came against Kansas City. Once last July and once in 1977.


* – The Red Sox bullpen has allowed 3+ earned runs in each of the last 4 games. It’s the first time that a Boston pen has done that since August 18(DH)-19-20 of 2006. I’ve gone back as far as 2001 and haven’t found a stretch of FIVE consecutive such games, so let’s just assume that it won’t happen again tonight.


* – Between the two teams, 8 of 10 inherited runners scored last night. There were only 5 games in the majors last season in which 8+ inherited runners scored (and none so far this season). Red Sox relievers allowed 4 inherited runners to score for the second straight game. It’s the first time that they’ve allowed multiple inherited runners home in consecutive games since August 12-13, 2008. It’s the first time since at least 1974 that the Red Sox have allowed 4+ inherited runners to score in consecutive games and just the 36th time it’s been done in the majors since then (Colorado’s done it three times since 2000).


* – The two teams combined to throw 399 pitches in last night’s game. It’s the highest total in a non-extra innings game in 2010 and only three games last season topped that total. The most was 424 in an 11-10 Indians win over the Rays last May 25. the second most was 410, in a 9-8 Tribe victory over Boston last April 28.

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