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Clemens could face 30 years

08.19.10 at 4:32 pm ET
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Roger Clemens has been indicted on multiple charges surrounding his alleged dishonesty in refuting steroid use in 2008. While under oath and addressing Congress, Clemens denied allegations from former trainer Brian McNamee that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

“I’ve been accused of something I’m not guilty of,” Clemens told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee two years ago, adding, “I have never taken steroids or HGH.”

Following Clemens’ testimony, a perjury probe was opened by the FBI. Two years later, Clemens faces charges of perjury, making false statements, and obstruction of Congress. He faces six counts total, each of which carry maximum sentences of five years, meaning that if convicted, the seven-time Cy Young award winner and Red Sox great would be behind bars for up to 15 years.

While no date has been set for Clemens’ trial, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton will preside over the case. Evidence reportedly includes bloody gauze and vials that McNamee saved.

A former police officer and trainer, McNammee became infamous in 2007 when the George J. Mitchell Report alleged that he obtained human growth hormone, anabolic steroids, and amphetamines for Clemens and Yankees teammate Andy Pettitte.

Approached by congressional investigators, Pettitte, who himself had already confirmed his involvement with performance-enhancers, said that Clemens had admitted to him that he used HGH. Clemens responded to the development by saying that Pettitte “misremembered the conversation.”

Given that McNamee said under oath that he injected Clemens at least 16 times between the 1998, 2000, and 2001 seasons, the conflicting stories of each side made for one of the bigger storylines to emerge in the Mitchell Report’s wake. Clemens then filed a defamation suit against the former trainer, a case that was practically thrown out entirely last year.

A two-time World Series champion as a member of the Yankees, Clemens began his prolific career in Boston, winning three Cy Youngs, an American League MVP award, and an All-Star Game MVP award. He won four more Cy Youngs after departing Boston, the most recent of which came in 2004 as a member of the Houston Astros. In total, Clemens struck out 4,672 batters over 24 seasons between the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees, and Astros.

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Red Sox vs. Angels matchups, 8/19

08.19.10 at 1:09 pm ET
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The Red Sox and Angels will face each other for the 10th and final time this season Thursday afternoon, and the Angels couldn’t be any happier that it will be the two teams’ last matchup while the Sox wished their season series could last just a bit longer. The Sox are 9-0 this season against the team that swept them in the 2009 ALDS and will go for the rare season sweep – they’ve also swept three-game season series with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks – Thursday night. Josh Beckett will try to clinch the sweep when he takes to the hill against Los Angeles starter Ervin Santana.

It’s more than safe to say that Beckett (3-2, 6.51 ERA) has struggled in his last two outings. Over those two starts against the Yankees and Rangers, he’s thrown just 9 2/3 innings while giving up 13 combined earned runs on 21 hits. In his last start against Texas, he gave up three home runs to the AL West-leading Rangers en route to a 10-9 loss. That start was only the latest in a long series of struggles for the righty fireballer. Beckett has allowed six or more earned runs five times in 13 starts this season. To illustrate the bipolarity of his season, that number is one less than the amount of times he’s allowed just three runs or less. Without knowing exactly which Beckett they’ll get Thursday, the Boston bats may have to be at their best, and they have been in 2010 when he’s been on the mound. Beckett has received six or more tallies in run support seven times this season. However, when the offense has been at the top of its game, Beckett has not necessarily been the same; he has an 8.22 ERA in games with that much run support this season.

As shaky as Beckett’s been for the Sox, Santana (12-8, 3.99 ERA) has been nearly as stable for the Halos. He is tied for the team lead in complete games with three and is second in ERA and strikeouts to ace Jered Weaver, who leads the American League in the latter category with 186 punchouts while Santana has 130. Santana has proven he has the ability to rebound after a horrid Aug. 4 start against the Orioles in which he have nine earned runs on 12 hits in 3 2/3 innings. After that start, he saw his ERA balloon from 3.65 to 4.11. However, after last Saturday’s seven-inning, one-run performance against the Blue Jays, that stat is back down to just below the 4.00 mark. That being said, the Boston power hitters may still be licking their chops a little when Santana steps onto the hill. He’s allowed a home run in five straight starts and is sixth in the AL in that category with 21 homers allowed on the season. Read the rest of this entry »

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How Nava gave Beltre goose bumps, saved a season

08.19.10 at 12:03 pm ET
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Daniel Nava makes a diving catch in left field to keep the Red Sox ahead of the Angels. (AP)

It’s not how you start, but how you finish.

That was never more true than on Wednesday night as Daniel Nava made a spectacular diving grab off a fast-sinking liner to left off the bat of Maicer Izturis to end the eighth inning.

With two outs and runners on first and second and the Red Sox clinging to a 6-5 lead over the Angels, if the ball hits the grass, the game would surely be tied.

The speedy Alberto Callaspo, who had already annoyed the Red Sox with three great defensive plays, would surely score from second and pinch runner Brandon Wood would have made it to third base and Daniel Bard and the Sox would be in deep doo-doo. But the catch nearly didn’t happen because of a mistake a lot of outfielders make, even when they’re kids.

“I did the old Little League thing, first step back and then once I saw it, I was like, ‘I’ve got to get moving,’ ” Nava said. “Yeah, initially I went back but then I had to cruise on in.”

Leave it to Nava, a Californian, to put it in those terms. Just like his personality, laid back and smiling all the while.

After taking a misstep backward, Nava quickly corrected himself and took off with everything he had. He dove at the last possible moment and extending his right arm, he caught the ball just before it hit the ground. Inning over. Threat averted. Game saved. Season still alive.

And for those thinking that’s hyperbole, consider the Red Sox would have fallen 6 1/2 games behind the Rays and Yankees in the AL East and seven games back in the loss column.

“That was huge,” third baseman Adrian Beltre said. “That gave me goose bumps right there. It was a huge turnaround right there it would’ve been a tie ball game right there and somebody else coming up to hit. That was huge. Might have been the play of the game right there.”

Francona agreed with his third baseman’s assessment.

“He might have taken one step back but he recovered with the timing of it, guys on base, probably play of the game,” Francona said.

Nava didn’t just do it with his glove. He used his whole body on Wednesday. Pinch-hitting for Darnell McDonald in the seventh and the bases loaded in a tie game, Nava fell behind two strikes to flame-throwing Kevin Jepsen but then the Red Sox caught a huge break. Jepsen came inside with a 95 mph heater. It drilled Nava in the right rib cage, a sensitive area for the Red Sox this season to be sure. But it forced in David Ortiz with the go-ahead run.

“Don’t know how great an at-bat it was,” Nava admitted. “I was in an 0-2 hole. Anytime they want to hit me, I’m happy to take it in that situation.”

Read More: Angels, daniel nava, Maicer Izturis, MLB

Boxscore Breakdown: Notes From Wednesday’s Win

08.19.10 at 9:15 am ET
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A few notes from the 9th straight win over the Halos:

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* – No team since at least 1920 has gone winless against the Red Sox while playing more than 4 games in a season. But the Angels could become the first one today. Here is the list of teams that have gone 0-10 or worse in a season series:

0-13 – Colorado vs. Atlanta (1993)
0-12 – Baltimore vs. Toronto (2010*)
0-12 – Minnesota vs. Texas (1999)
0-12 – Detroit vs. Cleveland (1996)
0-12 – Sand Diego vs, Montreal (1994)
0-12 – NY Yankees vs. Oakland (1990)
0-12 – Baltimore vs. Kansas City (1988)
0-12 – Kansas City vs. Baltimore (1970)
0-11 – Oakland vs. Baltimore (1978)
0-10 – Kansas City vs. NY Yankees (1998)

* – still games to be played

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* – Last night, Daniel Nava was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. It was just the 41st bases loaded plunking in the majors this season and the first time a Red Sox player has been hit in such a situation. What’s more, it was an 0-2 pitch that got Nava. There have now only been 4 Red Sox players hit with the bases loaded on an 0-2 pitch since 1994. The last was Jason Varitek in 2008. Finally, it broke a tie. The last time ALL THAT happened to a Red Sox player prior to last night? John Valentin in 1994.

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* – Jonathan Papelbon struck out all three batters he faced last night. It was the 5th time in his career that he has faced at least 3 batters and struck them all out, tied with Lee Smith for the most ever by a Red Sox pitcher. Billy Wagner holds the major league record for the most such outings in a career with a whopping 32.

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* – Wednesday night marked the 50th time that an opposing starter has lasted 5 or fewer innings against the Red Sox. The most ever in a season is 67, against the 1987 squad.

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* – The Red Sox put 20 runners on base last night. It was the 14th time this season that they’ve done it (during regulation, 9-inning, games only) and the 4th time against the Angels. Boston’s OPS against the Angels this season is 1.028, on pace for the highest ever by any Angels opponent in a season (min. 6 games played versus Angels):

1.028 – Boston Red Sox, 2010
.950 – Detroit Tigers, 1994
.949 – Baltimore Orioles, 1994

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* – Last night, Marco Scutaro grounded out leading off the bottom of the 1st inning. It marked the 15th consecutive game that the Red Sox first batter of the game has been retired.

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* – Wednesday’s night the Red Sox scored 3+ runs for the 18th straight time against the Angels. It’s their longest current streak against any team. Their longest all-time streaks (since 1950):

33 – vs Baltimore Orioles (2006-08)
29 – vs Los Angeles Angels (1993-96)

Obviously, that streak doesn’t include last year’s ALDS.

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* – David Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 9 games last night. The longest streak by a Red Sox player this year is 14, by Adrian Beltre. If that stands, it would be the fewest games as the longest hitting streak by a Red Sox player in a season since Wade Boggs and Dwight Evans each had 14 game streaks in 1982. The last time that the longest streak was fewer than 14 games was way back in 1972, when Carlton Fisk and Rico Petrocelli led the team with 12 game streaks.

Photos: Slide show of another Red Sox rally for a win

08.19.10 at 8:23 am ET
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Daniel Nava took a 95 mile-per-hour fastball to the ribs with the bases loaded to break a 5-5 tie and then made a sensational diving grab of a sinking liner as the Red Sox erased a 5-2 deficit and beat the Los Angeles Angels, 7-5, Wednesday night at Fenway Park. WEEI.com’s John Vu was at Fenway to capture some images from the win. Click on the image below to launch a slide show.

(John Vu/WEEI.com)

Read More: Adrian Beltre, daniel nava,

Fan injured in fall off Fenway staircase

08.19.10 at 6:44 am ET
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According to multiple reports, a fan was taken to the hospital with head and neck injuries after falling off a staircase and about 15 feet to the ground during Wednesday’s Red Sox game. Witnesses said the man was unconscious and lying in a pool of blood, with cuts on his face, after he fell off the stairwell by the right field roof deck and landed face-first on the ground.

“He had blood on his eye. … It looked like he was hit by a foul ball,” one witness told WHDH-TV (Channel 5).

Read More: fall, fan, Red Sox,

Some Sox: Sure, we’re scoreboard watching

08.19.10 at 12:21 am ET
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One of the great cliche questions posed to any player or coach on a team playing catch-up in a pennant race  is whether they’re scoreboard watching.

And, predictably, most times the reply is along the lines of, “We just have to take care of our own business.”

But following an emotional come-from-behind 7-5 win over the Angels on Wednesday night at Fenway, several Red Sox players admitted that indeed, they are paying attention to the two clubs that sit above them on the Green Monster scoreboard daily standings.

Bill Hall hit one of the longest homers this season by any Red Sox player at Fenway Park. His blast in the fourth tied the game, 2-2. The blast sailed over the Volvo sign in deep left-center, about 60 feet to the right of the scoreboard that showed the Rays on top in the AL East at the start of Wednesday’s Red Sox game, with the Yankees just behind by a half-game.

The Rays won their game and the Yankees beat the Tigers as the Red Sox were handling the Angels for a ninth straight time this season. So, the Red Sox remained 5 1/2 games behind the Rays and Yankees in both the AL East and the wild card, six back in the loss column.

“We feel like every time we win, they win and every time they lose, we lose,” Hall said. “It’s been a little bit of a tough run for us lately but we’re paying more attention now. It’s that point of the season now where you start to look at what the teams ahead of you are doing because you know where you want to be and where you want to get to.

“Obviously, those two teams are where we want to be and so we’re watching every single day.

[Click here to listen to Bill Hall admit to scoreboard watching the Yankees and Rays.]

Hall said if the Red Sox respond to the pressure down the stretch, they’ll earn their reward.

“We know Tampa put a little pressure on us, they won early, they had the early game,” Hall added. “We could obviously look out there in left field and see that the Yankees won, too. It puts a little pressure on us because we know we need to win ball games but at the same time, we can’t worry too much about what they’re doing on a daily basis. If they’re losing a game, we can’t worry about trying to make up ground, we just have to go out and win. Winning is the most important part. We feel like if we win, they’re going to lose enough games the rest of the season that we’ll get ourselves right where we need to be for the rest of the season.”

Adrian Beltre, the club’ clear choice for MVP in 2010, admitted to watching the scoreboard a little bit but was not as committed to keeping track of the Rays and Yankees.

“We have to a little bit, sometimes,” Beltre admitted. “But we have to do our job. We have to come in here and try to win ball games. If we play good games, it should take care of itself. It’s true, we look a little bit but we shouldn’t be worried about that right now.”

Then there was Daniel Nava. The rookie made a huge game-saving diving grab in the eighth to keep the Sox on top. He also took a 95 MPH heater in the right ribs from Kevin Jepsen in the seventh. Nava had the best spot in the house to look at the scoreboard and the standings but declined to do either, instead choosing to focus on the task at hand and immediately in front of him.

“No, not really, not right now,” Nava said when asked if he turns and takes a peek at the scoreboard and standings. “I think we have to take care of what’s in front of us before we start worrying about them. We have to do our jobs and I think it also probably makes it easier to do our job when you’re just focused on your job as opposed to all these things that are surrounding you and whatnot.”

Read More: Adrian Beltre, al east, AL wild card, bill Hall
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