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Closing Time: Red Sox 7, Angels 5

08.18.10 at 10:21 pm ET
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The Red Sox are hanging around.

Using a spirited comeback after falling behind by three runs in the fifth inning, the Red Sox went to 9-0 against the Angels for the season, this time earning a 7-5 victory over LA, Wednesday night at Fenway Park. With both the Yankees and Rays winning, the Sox remain six games behind both teams for first-place — and the wild card. (For a recap click here.)

Here is all that went right and wrong for the Red Sox in the second game of their three-game set with the Angels:

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

- The pinch-hitting strategy of Terry Francona worked out in the seventh inning without either batter swinging the bat. That was all thinks to Angels’ reliever Kevin Jepson. First J.D. Drew came to bat with the bases loaded, pinch-hitting for Bill Hall. After taking the first pitch for a strike, Jepson bounced his second offering, allowing Victor Martinez to come in with the game-tying run. After LA manager Mike Scioscia elected to intentionally walk Drew, Francona turned to Daniel Nava to pinch-hit for Darnell McDonald, with Nava not only hitting .324 from the left side of the plate, but .435 with runners in scoring position. After building an 0-2 count, Jepson would hit Nava in the back, forcing in David Ortiz with the g0-ahead run. Ryan Kalish ended the inning with a 4-3 double play, but the damage had already been done.

- Nava’s presence paid off once again in the eighth, this time in the field. With two outs , Daniel Bard on in relief, and Callaspo representing the tying run at second, Maicier Izturis blooped a shallow fly to left that would have undoubtedly tied the game if not caught. But Nava raced in, stretched out, and managed to catch the fly ball, ending the inning and threat.

- Bill Hall continued his power stroke, hitting one of Fenway’s longest homers of the season, over the Volvo sign in left-center. The home run was the utilityman’s 16th of the season, putting him on pace to have the most homers for a Red Sox hitter with less than 350 at-bats since Ted Williams’ 29 (310 at-bats, 1960). (For what it’s worth: Even after Evan Longoria hit his 16th of the season earlier in the day, Hall remains tied with the Tampa Bay third baseman.)

- The middle of the order came through in fine fashion for the Red Sox, with Victor Martinez, David Ortiz, and Adrian Beltre all came away with multiple hit performances. Martinez managed three hits (including an eighth-inning single that added an insurance run), Ortiz claimed a pair of hits (including a double), and Beltre’s finished with two hits, three RBI, and a two-run homer in the fifth.

- Jonathan Papelbon continued to pitch lights-out at home, where came into Tuesday night with a 2.22 ERA compared to a 4.10 mark on the road. Since giving up two runs to the Yankees on April 7, Papelbon had gone 13 of 14 in save opportunities at Fenway while striking out 24 and walking just five in 22 innings of work. This time around the closer came on to pitch a perfect ninth for his 30th save.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

- John Lackey is still having some issues. Despite getting his 11th win, it was not one of the righty’s better outings, with Lackey giving up at least five runs for the third time in his last four appearances. His final line: 7 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 119 pitches. The most discouraging moment of the performance came fifth inning after the Red Sox had tied it up at 2-2 thanks to Bill Hall’s homer. Lackey came back in the next half inning and the Angels to regain momentum thanks to Alberto Callaspo’s three-run homer into the right field corner.

- Hall, while still showing value offensively, fell short on a Maicer Izturis fly ball in the left field corner with two outs in the second inning. While it wasn’t an easy play, Hall appeared to pull up just enough while approaching the wall along the left-field foul line that the ball fell in and out of his glove. It was the first time Hall had played left field in Fenway Park since Aug. 4.

- Both Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury spoke to the media regarding their injuries, not relaying the best of news. Ellsbury’s interview session lasted less than 30 second, with the outfielder saying, “We’re not sure yet” when asked if he was coming back this season. The rest of his comments were as follows: “It’s a broken rib in the back, broken in the exact same place as I broke it before. Basically, when I come back, I’ll be stronger than ever when I do come back.” (For more on Ellsbury click here.) Cameron confirmed that he would be having surgery, but expects to be ready when next season rolls around.“Everyone knows I’ve been battling all year so it’s time,” the 37-year-old Cameron said of his upcoming surgery on his lower abdomen injury. “I can’t go on the field and compete in this moment like I would like to, so it’s time.” (For more on Cameron click here.)

Cameron: ‘I played with knives in my stomach’

08.18.10 at 6:58 pm ET
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Mike Cameron wants everyone to know that he’s not dead – and neither is his major league career.

“I’m not dead,” he said only partly tongue-in-cheek after meeting with reporters before Wednesday’s game to announce he’ll have surgery – likely in the next two weeks – on the lower abdomen injury that has made playing this season torturous.

Cameron admitted the pain in his lower abdomen simply got to be too much. The Red Sox veteran center fielder announced in front of his locker Wednesday afternoon that he will have surgery in the next two weeks to repair an injury that’s bothered him since opening day.

“Everyone knows I’ve been battling all year so it’s time,” the 37-year-old Cameron said of his upcoming surgery on his lower abdomen injury. “I can’t go on the field and compete in this moment like I would like to, so it’s time.”

Cameron, who played in just 48 games this season, went on the disabled list on Aug. 2 for a second and final time before announcing Wednesday that his season is over.

“I’ve always been kind of a fast healer,” Cameron said. “Who knows? This is unchartered waters for me but with a positive mind frame and who knows, with good old nature of medicine and God’s will, I think everything will be okay.”

And for those wondering if he’s willing to go through surgery, rehab and still get himself in shape for a major league season in 2011, don’t.

“How hungry am I?,” Cameron asked rhetorically. “You’ve seen what I’ve done for the last four months, the desire I’ve had to continue to fight and then go home and feel like you have knives in stomach when you go to sleep.”

“I knew he wanted to play and he was doing a really good job of communicating with us,” Francona said in supporting his injured veteran. “It meant a lot to us to try to play. He knew what he couldn’t do. I think it hurt him a couple of times when he would be criticized when he didn’t get to a couple of balls he normally could have. But he was trying so when you’re in our uniform, that’s probably more of why we want to defend him as opposed to be critical. He was doing everything in his power to be out there and we really respect that.”

Read More: mike cameron, MLB, Red Sox,

Ranaudo, Workman to report to Lowell

08.18.10 at 6:38 pm ET
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Right-handed pitchers Anthony Ranaudo and Brandon Workman, whom the Red Sox selected in the first two rounds of June’s MLB draft and were signed prior to Monday night’s deadline, will report to Single A Lowell but will not pitch.

An elite arm with a massive 6-foot-7 frame, Ranaudo entered his junior season at LSU as one of the country’s top pitchers. From there, elbow issues, inconsistency, and representation by Scott Boras led to his slide to the 39th overall pick. Whether or not the Red Sox would come to terms with the righty served as a popular storyline throughout a summer in which he went 3-0 with a 0.00 earned run average over 29 1/3 innings for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod Baseball League. The two sides agreed to a deal worth $2.55 million prior to the 11.59 p.m. deadline Monday night.

Workman, who played his college ball at the University of Texas, utilized his low-to-mid nineties fastball to the rune of a 12-2 record with a 3.35 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 104 1/3 innings. He received a signing bonus of $800,000.

Read More: anthony ranaudo, Brandon Workman,

Ellsbury: ‘I’ll be stronger than ever’

08.18.10 at 5:06 pm ET
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Jacoby Ellsbury gave a 17-second statement on his latest rib injury that landed him on the disabled list for the third time this season, stopping short of declaring his 2010 season over.

“It’s a broken rib in the back, broken in the exact same place as I broke it before. Basically, when I come back, I’ll be stronger than ever when I do come back.

Asked if he was done playing for the year, Ellsbury said, “We’re not sure yet.”

Red Sox manager Terry Francona was more definitive, suggesting Ellsbury season is over, playing in just 18 games with a .192 average, no homers, five RBIs and a remarkably-high seven steals.

“I don’t know if it is realistic,” Francona said of another Ellsbury game in 2010. “We’ll see. I think our main objective now is to let this thing heal. This kid has had a tough year, pretty unfortunate year. We’ve got to let it heal. I don’t think anybody would write off the season, but we may not have him and we need to be prepared for that. And if something good happens, good. But right now our main goal needs to be letting this kid get better.”

fielded questions on the Ellsbury topic very cautiously and carefully, wanting to not give off any false impressions. Francona did hint strongly that this latest trip to the disabled list likely ends Ellsbury’s 2010 season.

“I think four-to-six weeks, you’re looking at a minimum so that’s why when I say the season, you’re looking at the beginning of October, potentially,” Francona said of the healing process, as advised by orthopedic Dr. Lewis Yocum in a phone discussion on Wednesday morning. “We’re going to probably have to catch a break here.”

Ellsbury saw the orthopedic specialist on Tuesday in Southern California before catching a red-eye flight back to Boston late Tuesday. Yocum spoke with Francona this morning, advising Francona and team trainer Mike Reinold that there is no way of telling when exactly he suffered the injury that was diagnosed over the weekend and re-examined on Tuesday.

What was crystal clear was Francona’s defense of Ellsbury under increasing criticism from those who think he wasn’t doing all he could to get back on the field.

“They said it’s broken, and he needs to let it heal,” said Francona. “My instincts tell me that the kid was probably a little more sore than he was letting on, probably for obvious reasons. He wanted to play, and he felt like he was catching some heat from a lot of [the media] … and he’s probably a little more tender. Maybe he was more susceptible. Maybe he wasn’t. Nobody really knows. That’s kind of consistent with what [Red Sox medical director] Tom [Gill] said and what Dr. Yocum said. But it’s broken, and it’s got to heal.

There were a flurry of questions from all over the press room directed in Francona’s direction about when, where and how Ellsbury was hurt.

“There’s no way to know when [he was hurt] unless you do it every day, which you don’t do,” Francona said. “It doesn’t really matter anyway. It’s broken and has to heal.”

Read More: Dr. Lewis Yocum, Jacoby Ellsbury, MLB, Red Sox

Francona on D&H: Easy for Ellsbury critics to talk tough on radio

08.18.10 at 1:26 pm ET
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Terry Francona

Red Sox manager Terry Francona made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday and defended injured players Jacoby Ellsbury and Kevin Youkilis. Asked if Ellsbury was “soft,” Francona backed his center fielder.

“No,” Francona said. “And I think for anyone to ever say that, especially for a radio host, is very disrespectful. Talking tough on the radio is a lot different than running into a wall or getting hit with a pitch. It’s easy to be a tough guy when you get away from the field. But if you ever walk down to the field for a minute and feel how hard that baseball is — I mean, this guy’s getting beat up.”

Added Francona: “To get to this point in their career, they’ve had to — I know a lot of people think they’re pampered athletes — but they’ve had to work pretty hard, and they’ve had to go through a lot. I guess I probably get a little bit protective of these guys because I think they deserve it.”

Francona also wasn’t pleased with a fan’s question as to why Youkilis (thumb injury) wasn’t on the team’s road trip to Texas but instead appeared at the Patriots’ preseason game Thursday night.

“Youk wanted to come down to Texas,” Francona said. “I kind of talked him out of it. He wasn’t feeling real good to begin with, and I kind of talked him out of it. Now, to answer this guy’s question, I should have also told him he couldn’t come out of his room. I mean, come on, man. The guy’s 28 years old. We can’t lock him in his room and not give him dinner.

“He had thumb surgery,” Francona continued. “I don’t get it. I don’t know, maybe I’m just getting frustrated, it’s that time of year. He didn’t come down to Texas because I kind of didn’t want him to. So, watching the Patriots, that’s probably a good diversion. I don’t know. I don’t really have a problem with that.”

Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

It was kind of funny and I know you commented about this after the game, you know a kid’s pretty good when he can go out without his best stuff and still shut the other team out.

Yeah, that was impressive last night. It was kind of a weird, kind of the way the game was, [Clay Buchholz] wasn’t throwing a lot of strikes. He had the one inning where he kind of created a possible mess and he fished his way out of it, but he never seemed like the game was getting away from him. And that’s a great sign, because with any pitchers, but especially young pitchers, things happen and all of a sudden I’m explaining after the game, “Well, he had good stuff, but he walked two, we had an error and there was a home run.” Well, last night I got to say, “He didn’t have his greatest stuff, he didn’t have his greatest command actually, and he found a way to really pitch effectively.” And that’s a heck of a lot better.

Clay Buchholz is not afraid to have a batter make contact with the ball, he’s not trying to strike people out. He seems to have a lot of confidence in his stuff and his fielders. Did you see that early in his career?

No, that was part of the issue. I think he was envisioning maybe bad things happening, and now it takes a lot to want to induce contact, and keep the ball off the barrel enough, where again, like you said, you’re getting ground balls, taking this thing out on fly balls. That’s not the easiest thing in the world,  but you can see it coming with Clay and it’s coming rapidly.

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, Terry Francona

Remy on D&C: Red Sox season ‘not over yet’

08.18.10 at 11:51 am ET
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Jerry Remy

NESN commentator Jerry Remy called in to the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning for his weekly discussion of all things Red Sox. While New England may be shifting its attention away from the season that is slipping away from the Red Sox and over to the Patriots’ fresh season, the president of the Red Sox Nation is as optimistic as ever.

“This is a big homestand for them. They play three teams that they should handle pretty well because these three teams that are in are not contending teams, they’re teams that have not played well on the road this year and somewhere along the line, they’re going to have to sweep the series against either New York or Tampa Bay,” said Remy.

“[They] go to Tampa Bay after this home stand, we still have two series left with the Yankees, so it’s not over yet, and as I said, it’s been kind of fun  and hopefully they can make this thing kind of interesting before it’s all over. I honestly believe they can do it.”

Below are highlights of the interview. To listen to the full interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On Clay Buchholz:

He’s been something special, he really has. The guy leads the league in ERA even when he [doesn’t do] it off his best stuff, he can win now. He’s been really, really good. When he goes out there, you feel like the game is a [win] for you, even last night against [Jered] Weaver, whose been one of the bext pitchers in the league, you knew you had a great chance with Buchholz out there and he didn’t disappoint again,

He’s really been special and that play at first base was a little scary, I thought he got spiked, but then he came back and he was fine after that.

On his ideal rotation:

Right now, their best pitchers have been Buchholz, [Jon] Lester and [Daisuke] Matsuzaka. Daisuke, on Sunday, in that hot weather, he picked up his pace, he really looked good and he’s looked good over his last five or six starts. [Josh Beckett and John Lackey probably wouldn’t be in the rotation] today, but things can change between now and if they get to the playoffs, which is a 5½-game spread right now, but we’ll see.

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Read More: Adrian Beltre, Clay Buchholz, Jerry Remy, Red Sox

Cameron says he’s done for season

08.18.10 at 10:18 am ET
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Mike Cameron

Outfielder Mike Cameron said Tuesday night that he is done for the season due to his abdominal tear. Speaking to ESPN.com, Cameron said he is scheduled to talk with general manager Theo Epstein on Wednesday to discuss a timetable for surgery

“We’re in a position now where we need all of the healthy — physically and mentally — guys possible playing in the field,” Cameron said. “Me trying to play 65 percent is probably not beneficial to the ballclub at the moment.

“We’re coming to the part of season now where it’s important to have the healthiest guys on the baseball field. I’m looking at that aspect. Sometimes, as hard as it’s been to give in to certain things, it’s probably best to start looking at other options now.”

Cameron has only played in 48 games since signing a two-year $15.5 million contract in the offseason. His revelation about his future came on the same day news broke that Jacoby Ellsbury also likely will miss the rest of the season.

“That’s hard,” Cameron said. “It’s been a hard year, man, for this ballclub. At the same time, there have been so many guys — the Cinderella Man over there in the corner [Darnell McDonald], [Daniel] Nava come up and do his thing, [Ryan] Kalish in a short time has been able to shine and show people he is able to play. And don’t forget this guy [Bill Hall] right here.”

Read More: Jacoby Ellsbury, mike cameron, Theo Epstein,
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