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Schilling talks Wagner on Dennis & Callahan

08.25.09 at 1:19 pm ET
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Curt Schilling called into the Dennis & Callahan show this morning to discuss some topics in the sporting world, one of which was Billy Wagner’s recent decision to nix a trade to the Red Sox (CLICK HERE for audio):

On what Billy Wagner gains by staying in New York: I know that they’€™re probably not going to pick up his option, which I don’€™t think is the problem. I think arbitration is the problem here (in Boston).’€

On Wagner’€™s alleged comments on ‘€œhis desire to end the year healthy for the future’€ and that ‘€œhe has a better chance lasting a month in a non-competitive environment’€: I’€™ve known Billy Wagner a long time and I can absolutely believe that. I can believe that comment.

On Wagner being ‘€œnutty and a little strange’€: No, not as much as you think. He’€™s left-handed, which makes him goofy to begin with.

On whether he and Papelbon could get along: They’€™d get along fine. Paps is Paps. There’€™s just not a whole lot of forethought there, and I’€™m one to talk. But if Billy Wagner if setting you up in the eighth, there’€™s a pretty good chance you’€™re going to get a few more save opportunities than you otherwise might. He’€™s always been a nightmare for left-handed hitters and when he was up around 100 (MPH) he was a nightmare for guys on both sides.

On whether he buys into the claim that Wagner was a righty at birth but broke his arm and switched to lefty, ultimately developing the ability to throw 100 MPH: I heard that story a long time ago. He says that it’€™s true, but I’€™m still calling it BS.

Read More: billy wagner, Dennis & Callahan, Schilling,

Red Sox vs. White Sox Match-Ups, 8/25/09

08.25.09 at 12:10 pm ET
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The Red Sox bats have seemingly come back to life after a rousing 12-8 win over the White Sox last night. Boston powered its way past Chicago thanks in large part to home runs from Mike Lowell and J.D. Drew.

Tonight, the Red Sox face another of Chicago’s veteran right-handers in Freddy Garcia. The Venezuelan-born hurler is making his second start of the 2009 season for the Pale Hose.

In his last outing Garcia had a rough go of it against the Royals. Garcia went just 4.1 innings, giving up five earned runs in a 5-4 loss.

Garcia will face a lineup that is much more offensively potent than that of the Kansas City Royals tonight. Here’s how the Red Sox have fared in the past against Garcia:

Victor Martinez (30 plate appearances) .200 BA/.400 OBP/.478 SLG (2 HR, 5 RBI, 6 BB)

Jason Varitek (28) .296/.321/.481 (HR, 4 RBI)

David Ortiz (22) .200/.273/.450 (HR, 3 RBI, 6 SO)

Rocco Baldelli (10) .222/.300/.222

Nick Green (6) .167/.167/.167

Kevin Youkilis (6) .000/.000/.000

Casey Kotchman (5) .000/.200/.000

J.D. Drew (4) .250/.250/.250

Jason Bay (3) .000/.300/.000

Mike Lowell (3) .333/.333/.667 (2B, 2 RBI)

Alex Gonzalez (2) .000/.000/.000

Garcia has yet to face Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. Garcia is 6-2 with a 4.78 ERA lifetime against the Red Sox and 3-1  for his career at Fenway Park.


The Red Sox will counter with lefthander Jon Lester tonight. Lester comes into tonight’s matchup wielding a 10-7 record and a 3.58 ERA.

Lester is currently third in the American League with 181 strikeouts thus far this season. Lester trails only Detroit’s Justin Verlander (211) and Kansas City’s Zach Greinke (182) in that regard.

Lester will be facing a lineup he has very little familiarity with. In just two career starts against President Obama’s favorite ballclub, the southpaw is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA.

Here’s how the White Sox have fared against Lester in the past:

Alex Rios (25) .300/.440/.429 (2 2B, 3 RBI, 4 SO)

Jermaine Dye (6) .000/.000/.000

Paul Konerko (6) .200/.333/.200

A.J. Pierzynski (4) .333/.250/.333

Carlos Quentin (3) .000/.667/.000

Alexei Ramirez (3) .333/.333/.333

Jim Thome (3) .667/.667/.667 (2 H)

Mark Kotsay (2) 1.000/1.000/1.000 (2 H)

Lester has yet to face Gordon Beckham, Ramon Castro, Brent Lillibridge, Jayson Nix, and Scott Podsednik.

Read More: freddy garcia, Jon Lester,

Tracking the Development of Buchholz

08.25.09 at 12:01 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz is a young pitcher in this league who is learning opposing hitters, as well as himself, each and every night he takes the mound. We all know how Clay came onto the scene, throwing a no-hitter right here at Fenway Park on September 2, 2007, against the Baltimore Orioles, as well as all the hype that consequently followed. But did we all get way ahead of ourselves as far as our expectations?

After all, look around the league. Every team in this league seems to have a young fireballer with loads of potential. On any given night, those kids can go out and throw a gem. Potential may be able to get you to the big leagues, but consistency will keep you there. We like to judge talent on what the player looks like on his very best night. How good can they really be? But what we should be really looking at is how good the player can be on his very worst night. We saw Clay on a night where he was at his very best. Unfortunately, we have also seen Clay at his worst.

I must admit, 2008 head me shaking my head. I really liked what I saw from Clay in terms of “pure stuff.” I compared Clay’s 2008 start with Jon Lester’s debut in 2006, and it got even more confusing. After six starts, Lester was 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA. Clay after six starts was 2-2 with a 3.71 ERA. Lester went on to throw 14 innings over his next two starts, giving up only one earned run, while Clay really struggled, going 8 1/3 and giving up 12 earned runs in two losses.

Jon Lester went on to become one of the very best left-handed pitchers in the game as Clay Buchholz was placed on the disabled list and then sent down to the minor leagues to work on his release point. At the time, I thought that might have been a pretty quick hook to the minors. Clay had eight starts, five pretty good…three not so good, but isn’t that expected when you have a young arm as your No. 5 starter?

I also thought having Clay change his release point was a bad idea. As it turned out, it only frustrated Clay more than it helped. His changeup didn’t look the same. His curveball didn’t have the same bite and had more of a slurve look to it. Overall, I think that 2008 was a learning experience for everyone. Clay came to camp this year with a different attitude. He’s back to his old release point. In talking to him, it’€™s obvious that he’s got a better understanding of the process and what it takes for him to pitch in the Big Leagues.

Overall, I think that you have to be pleased with what you have seen this year from Clay. I absolutely love the two-seamer that he has been featuring. Last year, Clay tried to get by with a 95 mph four-seamer. The problem was that he wasn’t getting many swings and misses. He wasn’t blowing it by anyone. Because of that, he tried to be too fine with it and got himself in a lot of trouble falling behind hitters. Not the case this year.

That two-seamer has great movement and can really tie up a right-handed hitter. Now comes the big question. Does he trust it? Because it’€™s a new pitch, it’€™s important that Clay believes in it and goes to it when he needs to. As good as Clay has looked this year, it’€™s still been a ‘€œtwo steps forward, one step back’€ kind of year. Three good starts, one bad. Three good, one bad. That’s the way 2009 has gone. When he throws well we’ve seen a pitcher who is not afraid to use his fastball ‘€“ a pitcher who pitches out of jams, not into them.

But, unfortunately, in his two not-so-good starts, we saw a young pitcher who still gets rattled when his fastball gets hit hard, someone who continues to throw the ball to first when the base runner is still standing on it (must be some kind of nervous twitch) and who turns to his changeup whenever he seems to be in a jam.

But, like I said, he’s still young. Let’s not forget that. That Jon Lester has developed quicker than Clay is by no means a reflection on how good Clay can become.

Clay Buchholz is this team’€™s No. 3 starter and will prove it over the next five weeks. He’s got the potential. Now it’€™s time for him to show the consistency.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, development, Jon Lester,

Every which Clay

08.25.09 at 8:36 am ET
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By his own admission, Clay Buchholz had seen this nightmare before.

Staked to a comfortable lead, the Red Sox righty looked anything but on Monday night as he could not get three outs with a five-run lead to earn the win.

It was on Aug. 2 in Baltimore when Buchholz was staked to a lead of 7-0 but gave up six runs in the third. The Red Sox came back with seven runs in the fourth and it appeared Buchholz was in line for the easy win when he got through the fourth inning. But he could not retire a batter in the fifth and was yanked after three batters and did not get the win.

On Monday night against the White Sox, the Red Sox made up a 4-1 deficit with a six-run third and added two more in the fourth for a 9-4 lead. But Buchholz, just one out away from completing the fifth, allowed a three-run homer to Paul Konerko and Ramon Ramirez was called on to get the final out of the fifth.

“Second time this year,” Buchholz said. “It’s tough to swallow whenever a team gives you the (five-run) lead and you can’t get through five innings with it. Too many pitches. They fouled off a lot of pitches and when I was already deep in the count. They battled up there and got some timely hits and that’s the way it goes sometimes.

“I’ve got to be able to go out there and put up zeroes in multiple innings in a row to even stand a chance to get past the fifth or sixth inning. I failed to do that tonight. I had three good starts leading up to this one and definitely wanted to have another one and it’s definitely hard to go out there and not get a win when your team gives you nine or 10 runs to do it,” Buchholz said. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Red Sox,

Sources: Penny was claimed on waivers

08.25.09 at 8:33 am ET
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According to multiple sources, pitcher Brad Penny was claimed off waivers earlier this month, and then subsequently pulled back by the Red Sox. With the 48-hour window in which a deal could be worked out by the Red Sox and the claiming team already passed, Penny, who is being skipped over for his turn in the rotation this week, can’t be dealt by the Sox. 

Penny is scheduled to be available for relief duty both Wednesday and Thursday, with a simulated game planned for Friday if he isn’t used. Righty is currently 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA and has suffered losses in each of his last four outings. Since the All-Star break he is 1-5 with a 7.82 ERA.

Report: Wagner to stay with Mets

08.25.09 at 12:17 am ET
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According to FoxSports.com, Billy Wagner has invoked his no-trade clause, forcing the Mets to keep the 38-year-old reliever and not trade or release him to the Red Sox.

The report states that according to a source the Red Sox would have agreed to not exercise the pitcher’s $8 million option for 2010, but wouldn’t agree to not offer Wagner arbitration. Wagner projects to be a Type A free agent after this season, which would allow whichever team offers him arbitration to receive two draft picks if the hurler signs with another club. The activation of Wagner’s no-trade clause also prevented the Mets from letting Wagner go to the Sox without any compensation.

The teams have until 1 p.m. Tuesday to complete any transaction, but, according to the source, Wagner’s position appears firmly entrenched.

Tito on Daisuke: Sometimes you have to butt heads

08.24.09 at 6:11 pm ET
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Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Daisuke Matsuzaka could return to the Boston rotation as early as Sept. 8 following his 37-pitch outing for the Gulf Coast Red Sox on Monday.

“Everything was pretty good,” Francona said. “Good breaking ball, he commanded his fastball and he stayed down. (He) threw some good changeups. I thought it was generally really positive.”

(Click here to watch video of the outing, courtesy WBBH-TV Fort Myers, Fla.)

The right-hander is rehabbing and strengthening his right shoulder and he will make his next appearance for Double-A Portland on Saturday. He is expected to make at least one more appearance before a decision is made on whether to return in early September.

“The improvement on his strength numbers are phenomenal,” Francona said.

Francona said that the initial conflict over the training program for Matsuzaka is now water under the bridge and both the team and Matsuzaka are moving ahead in unison.

“He’s done a phenomental job. Getting him back at full strength, being Dice-K will be very welcome. I think we probably needed to do this. Sometimes you have to butt heads, however you get there, getting there is what’s important and we’ve done that.”

Francona will see Matsuzaka in Boston when he returns on Tuesday to meet with the team.

Read More: Francona, Matsuzaka, Red Sox,

Red Sox can’t ask for physical on Wagner

08.24.09 at 1:52 pm ET
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Billy Wagner is healthy.

At least that’s what the Mets are stating by putting him on waivers, which ultimately led the the Red Sox being awarded the claim on the 38-year-old reliever last Friday.

While there have been some concerns over Wagner’s health, according to Buster Olney’s sources, rules state that by placing a player on waivers teams are putting a guarantee of full health on that player. If there is any physical issue, the team is required to pull the player back off of waivers.

If the team trades or assigns the player, and then it is determined the player is not healthy, Major League Baseball revokes the waivers and assigns the player back to his original team.

Bottom line, there is no such thing as a request for a physical on a waiver claim.

Some of the concerns over Wagner’s health had popped up after the lefty didn’t pitch over the weekend after making his first appearance of the season Thursday, in which he struck out two in completing a perfect inning, touching 96 mph with his fastball in the process. He had undergone Tommy John Surgery on his left, pitching elbow last September.

Sounds of the game: the better team now

08.24.09 at 11:23 am ET
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Jason Bay couldn’t have been more honest when he was asked about the tide turning this season between the Yankees and Red Sox. Following Sunday night’s 8-4 loss to the Yankees, Bay said the Bronx Bombers have rebounded from an 0-8 start against the Red Sox and have shown they’re the better team now. And that’s all that matters.

Both sides spoke about Sunday night’s home run spree the Yankees enjoyed off Josh Beckett and what it all means now.

Jason Bay said the Yankees have proved they’re the better team right now.

Bay said the Yankee bats were the difference over the weekend.

Skipper Terry Francona said the Red Sox are going to be okay.

Francona said the Yankees were clearly honing in on Beckett early in the count.

Josh Beckett said he just his tail kicked.

Beckett said that was a humbling experience.

Beckett said he is still confident in the team.

Yankee manager Joe Girardi said his Yankees have rebounded nicely against the Red Sox.

Girardi said the Yankees feel they are a much better team than earlier in the season.

Read More: Derek Jeter, jason bay, Red Sox, Yankees

Yankees find their Fenway mojo

08.24.09 at 8:34 am ET
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Things have certainly turned around for the Yankees and their performance at Fenway Park over the weekend essentially locked up their first American League East title since 2006.

The Yankees beat the Red Sox, 8-4, Sunday to take two-of-three in the weekend showdown, finish their road trip 7-3 and extend their lead to 7 1/2 games with only 39 games remaining for Boston.

Yankee captain Derek Jeter told everyone who would listen on Friday, when he was also responding to criticism from Jim Rice, that the Yankees have a short memory and their 0-6 mark at Fenway to start this season meant nothing now.

Over the weekend, the Yankees went out and proved Jeter’s point.

“We’re not worried about what happened here a month ago,” Jeter said. “We feel as though we’re playing a lot better than we did early in the year. You have to be able to forget about it and have a short memory, just like I said when we came in here. We’re not thinking about the first couple of series here.”

From the very beginning Sunday night, the Yankees proved a point – they are the better team than the Red Sox right now. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Derek Jeter, jason bay, Red Sox, Yankees
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