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Trade Deadline: Diamondbacks reportedly interested in Kerry Wood, Jason Isringhausen

07.15.11 at 2:05 pm ET
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The Diamondbacks, who are in need of a seventh-inning arm, are looking to acquiring a veteran reliever. They have shown specific interest in Kerry Wood and Jason Isringhausen, tweeted John Gambadoro of Sports 620 KTAR in Phoenix.

Both veterans have turned the clock back half a decade and are putting up impressive numbers. While the Mets are open to trading Isringhausen, who is 1-0 with a 3.14 ERA in 28.2, the Cubs will have a harder time dealing their 34-year-0ld hurler. Wood, who has a 2.76 ERA in 31 appearances this season, has a no-trade clause, as well as personal ties to Chitown.

Gambadoro added that Arizona is looking at Toronto’s arms as well.

Nomar Garciaparra on M&M: I don’t see David Ortiz leaving Red Sox

07.15.11 at 1:00 pm ET
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Former Red Sox star Nomar Garciaparra checked in with the Mut & Merloni show Friday afternoon to talk about the Red Sox and news around Major League Baseball. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter skipped the All-Star Game and received some criticism when he was spotted with his fiancee in Miami. Jeter had recorded his 3,000th hit over the weekend, shortly after coming off the disabled list, and opted for the rest instead.

“I didn’t have a problem with it,” Garciaparra said. “I understood. It’s hard, because as a player, you’re caught in between. You’ve got to worry about the second half. He’s coming off an injury.”

Garciaparra said the All-Star Game is “a huge honor,” but the schedule is so tight that it can be a problem for a player with an injury. “There’s really no time for you to get treatment,” he said, adding: “I don’t think people really understand that the environment is not there for you to really get ready like you do normally during the season.”

Garciaparra said he’s one of those who does not like having the All-Star Game determine home-field advantage in the World Series. “I never liked it to begin with,” he said.

Touching on David Ortiz‘ future in Boston, Garciaparra was asked if he expected to see Ortiz eventually play elsewhere.

“I really don’t, but then again you’re asking the wrong guy. I thought the same thing about myself,” Garciaparra said with a laugh.

Read More: David Ortiz, Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra,

Andrew Miller explains why drop in velocity shouldn’t be a concern

07.15.11 at 12:58 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. ‘€“ Andrew Miller stands at 6-foot-7 and has broken off fastballs of excess of 96 mph in the past. That, he explains, doesn’€™t mean you should be expecting non-stop, eyebrow-raising radar gun readings every time he pitches.

Some talk has been made of the difference between what kind of velocity Miller was delivering in the minors (and even his first outing with the Red Sox this season) compared to what is showing up at now.

In his first start, against the Padres, according to Pitch FX he maxed out at 96.1 mph with an average fastball of 93.2 mph. The next appearance (vs. the Pirates) his fastball topped out at 94.9 mph with an average of 92.40 mph.

In his start in Houston, Miller’€™s heater reached 93.9 mph with an average of 90.83 mph. And in his last start, against the Orioles, the fastball hit a max of 93.9 mph with an average of 91.28 mph.

‘€œIt’€™s just one of those phases to be honest with you. I’€™m not really concerned with my velocity,’€ Miller said. ‘€œObviously it’€™s nice the higher it is, if you can control it, because it’€™s something you can use to your advantage. It’€™s just one of those things. I feel great physically. I’€™m not battling through anything, sore or tired or anything.

‘€œI’€™ve always pitched at a certain level and then kind of bumped it up a little bit. I think a lot of time expectations are maybe that I throw harder than I actually do. And for me, while I think I was throwing the ball harder for whatever reason, it has come down. It will be nice if comes back, but I’€™m not concerned about it.’€

The bottom line is that Miller continues to get wins for the Red Sox, having gone 3-0 with a 3.57 ERA, a trend he is hoping to continue Friday night at Tropicana Field.

‘€œWhen I came up it was like, ‘€˜We’€™re going to do a six-man rotation.’€™ Unfortunately it seems like guys have been hit by the bug or something because it’€™s one guy after another,’€ he said. ‘€œThat’€™s what I’€™m here to do, fill in the best I can. I know I can’€™t replace some of those guys shoes but if we can go out there and win some games we’€™re reaching our goals and we’€™ll try to do that every time out.’€

Trade Deadline: Eight teams, including Yankees, send scouts to see Rockies’ Ubaldo Jimenez

07.15.11 at 12:27 pm ET
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Seventeen scouts from eight MLB teams ‘€” including the Yankees ‘€” were at Coors Field Thursday to watch Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez pitch against the Brewers, Tracy Ringolsby of FoxSports.com reported. Not every team has expressed specific interest in Jimenez, but the Reds ‘€” another team with scouts present Thursday ‘€” have done so.

The Tigers, Braves, Phillies, Cardinals, White Sox and Indians also sent scouts to Thursday’s game.

Jimenez went six innings vs. Milwaukee, allowing two runs on six hits, with two walks and four strikeouts. He is 4-8 with a 4.14 ERA and a .241 BAA this season.

Red Sox fans may best remember Jimenez as the starting pitcher for Game 2 of the 2007 World Series. Jimenez pitched 4 2/3 innings against the Red Sox, giving up two earned runs on three hits and five walks with two strikeouts in a losing effort.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees, ubaldo jimenez

Trade Deadline: Price for Mets’ Carlos Beltran might be too high for Red Sox

07.15.11 at 12:22 pm ET
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The Red Sox reportedly have contacted the Mets regarding Carlos Beltran, but ESPN’s Buster Olney writes that “New York is insisting on a Grade A prospect in return.” Olney speculates that the Red Sox might decide to settle for one of the second-tier outfield options such as Kansas City’s Jeff Francoeur, Oakland’s Josh Willingham or San Diego’s Ryan Ludwick.

With all three starting Red Sox outfielders and backup Josh Reddick batting lefty, there has been talk that the switch-hitting 34-year-old Beltran has been on Boston’€™s watch list. Beltran is a career .291 hitter against lefties, with a higher OPS (.886) when he bats righty against lefties than the reverse (.844).

Beltran has played the majority of his career in center field but has spent time in right field, making him a platoon option with J.D. Drew.

Signed for $18.5 million this season, Beltran has about $6 million left on his contract.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, buster olney, carlos beltran, J.D Drew

Jerry Remy on D&C: ‘Bad timing and late timing’ by Orioles sparked brawl

07.15.11 at 10:29 am ET
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NESN color commentator Jerry Remy called in to the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk Red Sox. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Remy said his biggest concerns heading into the second half of the season are the injuries to the starting rotation, in particular the back injury that has sidelined Clay Buchholz for a month.

‘€œIt’s been such a long time, and there’€™s still soreness there,’€ Remy said, adding, “As far as the other guys, I don’€™t think [Jon] Lester has thrown a ball yet, and [Josh] Beckett coming out of the All-Star Game, not being able to pitch there, tells you that something wasn’€™t quite right, and he wasn’€™t going to risk anything.’€

Remy said the Red Sox will need to find a way to weather these next few weeks as their rotation gets healthier, and not lose too much ground in the AL East.

Remy credited Boston’€™s AL-best 55-35 record to the offense, especially Jacoby Ellsbury.

‘€œWhen you look at the first half of the season, you can point to [Adrian] Gonzalez as being the MVP,’€ Remy said. ‘€œBut not far behind him is Jacoby Ellsbury for what he’€™s done. He’€™s been the table-setter, he’€™s the guy atop the lineup who has done everything.’€

Added Remy, ‘€œthe offense can even get better in the second half with [Carl] Crawford coming back.’€

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: carlos beltran, Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, J.D Drew

Nuggetpalooza: Back to work

07.15.11 at 9:08 am ET
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Back from the break with a new batch of nuggets:

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* – Since allowing three or more home runs in five of the season’s first eight games, the Red Sox pitching staff has allowed three homers (never more) in a game just twice in the last 82 games.

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* – Over their last 24 games, Red Sox relievers have inherited 24 runners and allowed only two of them to score (8.3%). This after allowing 26 of their first 80 inherited runners to cross the plate (32.5%).

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* – The Red Sox have knocked out the opposing starter in fewer than five innings in five straight games. It’s the first time that the Sox have done that in 28 years (July 14-18, 1983 against Steve McCatty, Chris Codiroli, Gorman Heimueller, Rick Langford, and Bruce Kison).

Note this: Only one of the last 12 right-handed starters has lasted seven innings against Boston (and that one, Vance Worley of the Phillies, lasted exactly seven). Over those 12 starts (60 innings), those starters put up an ERA of 5.79, a 1.78 WHIP, and allowed 12 home runs.

One more thing: Pitches Needed Per Inning By Opposing Starters – 2011

17.6 – Red Sox (19.9 so far in July)
17.1 – Yankees
16.8 – Tigers
16.7 – Mets

Fewest? 15.2, by starters facing the Brewers.

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* – Over the last three seasons, here are the hitters with the highest batting averages in the first five games following the all-star break (min. 30 AB):

.500 – Yunel Escobar (17-for-34)
.484 – Nelson Cruz (15-for-31)
.465 – Delmon Young (20-for-43)

And now the lowest averages (same minimums):

.088 – Chris Davis (3-for-34)
.111 – JD Drew (5-for-45)
.111 – Josh Willingham (4-for-36)

—————————————————————————————————————————– Read the rest of this entry »

Red Sox-Rays matchups: Andrew Miller vs. David Price

07.15.11 at 9:00 am ET
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Regular-season baseball is back for the Red Sox after a brief four-day hiatus, and there are no arguments about it. These games count. The Sox sit 1 1/2 games ahead of the rival Yankees after the All-Star break with just over 70 games left on the schedule for both teams. With that many contests yet to be decided, it’€™s important to not forget the third-place Rays, who are six games behind Boston and could take a bite into that deficit with a three-game set between the two sides this weekend. The Red Sox will send lefty Andrew Miller to the hill to try to keep the Rays at bay from the get-go of the season’€™s second half while the Rays will counter with their lefty ace David Price down in Tampa Bay Friday night.

The successes of Miller (3-0, 3.57 ERA) during his limited time with the Sox this season have been well-documented. He’€™s allowed three runs or fewer in each of his four starts at the big-league level in 2011, but Friday could provide his first real test of the year. His four previous starts came against offenses (Padres, Pirates, Astros and Orioles) that score fewer than the league average of 4.18 runs per game. The Rays offense, which produces runs at a rate of 4.22 per game, will be the best offense the lanky lefty has faced thus far. If he’€™s going to be successful, Miller will have to work on his control after he surrendered a season-high four walks in that pre-break start against the O’€™s. That inefficiency led to him throwing 97 pitches over just five frames and an early exit, despite the win.

Miller has faced most of the Rays starting lineup but that experience has been of the very limited variety. Only Johnny Damon and B.J. Upton have faced him four times, with Upton going 2-for-4 with a solo home run in those plate appearances. Ben Zobrist has yet to put a Miller pitch into playing as he is 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and a hit-by-pitch.

Price (8-7, 3.70 ERA), on the other hand, has plenty of experience against his Friday night foe as five different Sox hitters have double-digit plate appearances against the lefty. Still, that history between the two sides has not been a particularly good one for the Boston batters. While his career record against Boston is just 4-3, Price owns a 3.43 ERA over those seven starts and has held this current set of Sox hitters to just a .222 batting average.

Price has been good but not necessarily great against the Sox this season, giving up five runs over 12 2/3 innings pitched over two starts. He allowed three runs in five frames of work on June 16 but walked a season-high five Sox hitters in a 4-2 loss at Fenway Park. Price allowed four earned runs in each of his two starts in the month of July before the Midsummer Classic, causing his ERA to jump to its highest level since April 29 when it stood at 3.95. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: andrew miller, David Price,

Red Sox prospect Travis Shaw aims to follow All-Star father’s footsteps

07.15.11 at 12:15 am ET
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For most kids, dreaming of being in the big leagues is easy, even as they have little idea of what it would mean to fulfill that goal. For Travis Shaw, things were a bit different.

Shaw, whose father Jeff was a big league reliever for 12 years, spent plenty of time around major league clubhouses while growing up. The exposure to that environment left Travis with little doubt that he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and one day make it to the big leagues.

“I have always wanted to be like my dad,” Shaw said. “Seeing the lifestyle definitely contributed to it being a dream of mine.’€

The younger Shaw saw first-hand what being a major leaguer is like. Jeff Shaw played for the Indians, Expos, White Sox, Reds and Dodgers over the course of his 12 seasons. He was a two-time All-Star and the 1997 Relief Man of the Year.

“Out in L.A. I would shag fly balls at home games,” he recalled. “Then when they went on the road I would be the bat boy a lot. Growing up around that and seeing the everyday routine that major leaguers went through was pretty special.’€

While watching his son play Wednesday night in Lowell, Jeff recalled another memory of having Travis around his teams growing up.

“I remember when he came to Houston and I was on the mound and Travis was in the dugout. After each pitch the camera would show his face and the majority of the time he would be making faces at the umpire’s call.”

During the summer of 2007, Shaw played for a summer league team, Greenville Tech, that participated in tournaments throughout the South. That is when Jeff had an idea that his son might have a chance to become like him and make a career out of baseball.

In 2008 Shaw was drafted out of high school in the 32nd round by the Red Sox. He knew right away that he would not sign and instead would head to college and play for Kent State. Despite the decision, it was at that time that he realized he could potentially be like his Dad and become a professional baseball player.

‘€œI honestly didn’€™t realize that maybe I had a shot until I got drafted after high school,” Shaw said. “There wasn’€™t any talk of me getting drafted until very late in the year. I got a couple phone calls from professional scouts and I realized, ‘€˜Wow, maybe this could be a career,’€™ and that is when I started to focus on it a lot more.’€

The elder Shaw wanted his son to go to college, and Travis agreed so it really wasn’t a hard decision.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeff Shaw, Kevin Youkilis, travis shaw

Trade Deadline: Padres set high price for Mike Adams

07.14.11 at 5:11 pm ET
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The Padres have one of the most coveted tradechips potentially on the market in right-handed reliver Mike Adams, and it appears that they are going to use that to their advantage. Sports Illustrated baseball writer Jon Heyman tweeted that San Diego would demand one of “baseball’s very top prospects” if they were to trade Adams this season.

Adams has just a 1.32 ERA and 0.71 WHIP in 41 games as a set-up man for the struggling Padres, who sit in last place in the NL West. But his most attractive asset may be his contract. The reliever will be paid only $2.5 million for his spectacular services in 2011, a deal that would be very enticing to any team that’s looking to cost-effectively improve its bullpen.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Mike Adams, san diego padres,
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