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Stanley Cup toes the rubber at Fenway Park

06.19.11 at 4:01 pm ET
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Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas and the rest of the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Bruins were paraded around the warning track for 10 minutes prior to Sunday’s Red Sox game against the Brewers.

Chara and Thomas were on the lead duck boat of four that were in the processional that began by entering through the center field wall about 15 minutes before first pitch.

Chara was holding up the Stanley Cup for nearly the entire time during the procession around Fenway.

After making one round around Fenway, the players departed in the center field triangle and made their way to the infield with the Stanley Cup, in addition to the Eastern Conference trophy and the Conn Smythe trophy, earned by Thomas as the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoff run.

The pre-game ceremony was capped off by all members of the Bruins throwing simultaneous first pitches to the Red Sox players, who stood in a line from dugout to dugout behind home plate.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park, MLB

Clay Buchholz makes it a Red Sox weekend trifecta on the DL

06.19.11 at 2:30 pm ET
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Andrew Miller is about to get his big shot with the Red Sox. And the Red Sox might just find out how smart they were to take a chance on him in the winter.

Clay Buchholz joined Jed Lowrie and Carl Crawford on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday as the Red Sox placed the right-handed starter on shelf with lower back strain. He is the third Red Sox player to land on the DL in as many days.

Taking his spot on the staff is lefty Miller, who will take Buchholz’s place in the rotation and will start Monday in series-opener against the Padres. Miller was selected from Triple-A Pawtucket and added to the 40-man roster while the move with Buchholz is retroactive to June 17.

The 26-year-old Buchholz is 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA, allowing 76 hits with 60 strikeouts and 31 walks in 14 starts. He is undefeated in nine straight starts since the beginning of May, compiling a 5-0 record with a 2.59 ERA in that span. Since the start of the 2010 season, Buchholz ranks third among qualifying American League pitchers in both ERA (2.70) and winning percentage (.697).

For Miller, this is his first career stint with the Red Sox after signing with the club as a minor league free agent last December. The 26-year-old left-hander is 3-3 with a 2.47 ERA, 61 strikeouts and 35 walks over 13 appearances (12 starts) with Pawtucket this season, including a 2-1 mark with a 1.78 ERA in his last four outings (three starts) since May 29.

Few pitchers in baseball had higher expectations in the 2006 MLB draft.

Originally signed by the Tigers with the sixth overall selection in the first round of the 2006 draft, Miller struggled out of the gate with the Tigers, going just 15-26 with a 5.84 ERA.

In 294 1/3 innings, he allowed 191 earned runs, while striking out 238 and issuing 174 walks over 79 career Major League games. After struggling with the Tigers, he moved onto the Marlins before 2008 and signing his minor league deal with the Red Sox last December.

Miller has sparkled in Triple-A, leading all qualifying pitchers with a .181 opponent average this season and ranks fourth among that group in ERA.

Read More: andrew miller, Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, Detroit Tigers

Josh Reddick gets the call in left

06.19.11 at 11:37 am ET
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With the Stanley Cup champion Bruins in the house ‘€” being honored before the game ‘€” the Red Sox will start their standard lineup with one exception as Josh Reddick gets the nod in left field for the disabled Carl Crawford.

This is Reddick’s fourth start of the season but first in left field. His previous three came in right field. He is also batting ninth for the first time after batting eighth his previous three starts. Reddick is batting .385 with no homers and four RBIs.

Darnell McDonald started Saturday night against lefty Randy Wolf while Reddick, a lefty batter, will get the call against Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo.

The lineup vs. Gallardo is: Jacoby Ellsbury CF, Dustin Pedroia 2B, Adrian Gonzalez 1B, Kevin Youkilis 3B, David Ortiz DH, J.D. Drew RF, Marco Scutaro SS, Jarrod Saltalamacchia C and Josh Reddick LF, with Tim Wakefield taking his 3-2, 4.39 ERA to the mound as the starting pitcher.

Rickie Weeks, after hitting a leadoff homer and doubling in Saturday night’s 4-2 win over the Sox as the DH, returns to his more familiar spot of second base. The Brewers go with: Weeks 2B, Corey Hart RF, Ryan Braun DH, Prince Fielder 1B, Casey McGehee 3B, Yuniesky Betancourt SS, Nyjer Morgan LF, Carlos Gomez CF, Jonathan Lucroy C and Gallardo P.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup, Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox, josh reddick

Sunday’s Red Sox-Brewers matchups: Tim Wakefield vs. Yovani Gallardo

06.19.11 at 6:00 am ET
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Two starters with completely different pitching styles will be toeing the rubber in the final game of the weekend series between the Red Sox and Brewers on Sunday at Fenway Park. Boston will send soft-tossing veteran Tim Wakefield to the mound, while Milwaukee will counter with 25-year-old fireballer Yovani Gallardo.

Wakefield (3-2, 4.39 ERA) has continued to contribute as a starter, especially with his last outing against the Rays. The knuckleballer gave up just one earned run on four hits through seven innings, although he took the loss as Boston was shut out by James Shields. Wakefield did walk five hitters in that game and has given up a home run in each of his last four starts, but those seven strong innings snapped a string of subpar outings; he gave up five runs against the Yankees on June 8, and four runs against the White Sox on June 1.

One would assume Wakefield has an advantage against a seldom-faced opponent in interleague play, but in 76 combined plate appearances, the Brewers have hit the Boston starter quite well. As a team, Milwaukee is hitting .315 with five home runs and 10 RBI.

Yuniesky Betancourt faced Wakefield 19 times during his days in Seattle, and hit .316 with a team-high two home runs and five RBI. In 21 plate appearances, Mark Kotsay has a double, a triple, two home runs and three RBI to go along with a .250 batting average. Corey Hart played just one game against Wakefield back in 2008, but went 2-2 with a walk and a solo home run.

Gallardo (8-3, 3.76 ERA) has been pitching in the big leagues since 2007, but Sunday will mark his first career start against the Red Sox. Only Adrian Gonzalez and relief pitcher Matt Albers have faced the right-hander. Gonzalez is 3-for-8 with a home run, three RBI, and four strikeouts, while Albers is hitless in two plate appearances.

Gallardo finished last season with a record of 14-7 and a 3.84 ERA, and he’s on pace for an even better performance this year. He got off to a rocky start, carrying an ERA above 6.00 into May. Since then, he’s won six out of his last seven decisions, surrendering just eight runs combined in those six victories.

Most recently, Gallardo struck out a season-high 10 batters over seven innings of one-run, three-hit ball, but he took a no-decision as the bullpen gave up four runs to the Cubs. Even though Boston doesn’t have much experience against Gallardo, he’ll have his hands full against a Red Sox lineup that led the league in runs, batting average and on-base percentage entering Saturday.

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Read More: Brewers, Red Sox, Tim Wakefield, Yovani Gallardo

Lester, the longball and the arbitrary nature of wins

06.19.11 at 12:59 am ET
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Jon Lester pitched his way through the proverbial tale of two games on Saturday.

Early, the Brewers proved aggressive in punishing his mistakes, clubbing three homers (matching a career high for most permitted in a game by the left-hander) in the first three innings, including back-to-back homers by Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart to open the game. However, after allowing two more runs (including a solo shot by ex-teammate George Kottaras) in the third, Lester then had his way with Milwaukee’s lineup from the fourth through eighth innings, retiring 14 of 17 batters to finish the game and showing terrific stuff.

The final line fell in between anything that lent itself to definitive judgment. Lester pitched eight innings (good) while allowing four runs (not so hot), three of which were earned (not so bad). He gave up three longballs (career-high), walked three (somewhere in between) and struck out eight (impressive). The final verdict on the performance in the Sox’ 4-2 loss to the Brewers on Saturday was … mixed.

“We lost. Yeah, you can sit back and say there were some positives. With the way it started, it could have been a lot worse,” said Lester. “I just tried to minimize the damage and keep the guys in the game.”

It was an odd game for Lester that encapsulates what has been a somewhat odd season for the lefty. In contrast to past years, in which he got off to a slow start in April but then went on a sustained run of dominance from May through the end of the year, Lester burst out of the blocks this year, going 4-1 with a 2.33 ERA in his first seven starts, but has since drifted into an inconsistent stretch.

Over his last eight starts, the left-hander has a 5-2 record but with a 4.94 ERA. He’s permitted nine homers, but he’s also punched out 49 batters in 51 innings.

The strikeouts suggest his pitching arsenal remains very, very good, as does the fact that he got eight strikeouts and 12 swings and misses (nine on cutters) from the Brewers on Saturday. The homers — with 14 now this season, Lester has already matched (in 96 1/3 innings) the total longballs he yielded in 208 innings last year — suggest that his command has been inconsistent. Read the rest of this entry »

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Closing Time: Brewers play powerball to beat Lester, Sox

06.18.11 at 10:00 pm ET
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All good things must come to an end, even for a Red Sox team that had been red hot entering its contest on Saturday against the Brewers. The Sox had won 12 of 13, and they had won 11 straight contests when an opposing team featured a left-handed starter.

That run came to an end on Saturday, when Milwaukee southpaw Randy Wolf spread out nine hits over seven innings to limit the Sox to just two runs, as the Sox suffered a 4-2 loss.


Jon Lester matched a career high by allowing three homers (all of the solo variety), giving him a total of 14 allowed this year. That is, in fact, tied for the second-most the southpaw has ever permitted in a single season, a fact that verges on startling given that he has thrown just 97 1/3 innings this year. He has already matched the number of homers he permitted in 208 innings in 2010.

That said, Lester (9-3) did settle in after the third inning, retiring 15 of the final 18 batters he faced en route to an outing in which he lasted eight innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on seven hits and three walks. He finished the night with eight punchouts, mostly on the strength of a nasty cutter that resulted in nine of the 12 swings and misses the Brewers had against the left-hander.

Adrian Gonzalez committed his first error as a member of the Red Sox, and it proved costly. He dropped a foul pop-up in the top of the first against leadoff man Rickie Weeks. Lester’s next three pitches resulted in a Weeks solo homer, a Corey Hart solo homer and a Ryan Braun double. Gonzalez also had a rare rough night at the plate, going 0-for-4 with a double play groundout.


Marco Scutaro continues to produce. He went 2-for-4 and is now hitting .371 with a .907 OPS in the month of June, going 13-for-35 since coming off the disabled list on June 7.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia delivered a run-scoring and also gunned down a would-be base stealer. After starting the year mired in a dreadful slump that saw him toting a .138 average and .391 OPS through the Sox’ first 13 games, Saltalamacchia is hitting .278 with a .336 OBP, .496 slugging mark and .832 OPS in 35 games.

Kevin Youkilis, one day after leaving a game early due to a stomach bug, seemed no worse for wear. He collected a pair of hits, one clanking about a foot from the top of the Green Monster for a double, and made an excellent defensive play at third, a diving stop to his left for an inning-ending force out in the sixth.

Red Sox vs. Brewers Live Blog, June 18

06.18.11 at 6:45 pm ET
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The Red Sox will look to extend their winning ways on Saturday night against the Brewers. Winners of 12 of their last 13 as well as their last 11 games in which an opponent features a left-handed pitcher on the hill, the Sox will have at Milwaukee southpaw Randy Wolf. Jon Lester will look to become the American League’s first 10-game winner.

For all the latest news, analysis and updates from the game, enter the Live Blog below.

Red Sox vs. Brewers Live Blog, June 18

Francona: Putting Crawford on the disabled list ‘a no-brainer’

06.18.11 at 5:27 pm ET
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As soon as the injury occurred, the likely outcome seemed quickly apparent. As soon as Carl Crawford hobbled past the first base bag after beating an infield hit and then almost immediately was escorted to the Red Sox clubhouse in the first inning of Friday’s game, a trip to the disabled list for his Grade 1 left hamstring strain seemed a likely outcome.

On Saturday, that is precisely what happened. The Sox placed Crawford on the disabled list; prior to the start of the game, Josh Reddick will be added to the big league roster.

“I think the medical people thought at best it was going to be 10, 14 days. That’€™s kind of a no-brainer,” Francona said of the decision to put Crawford on the 15-day disabled list. “He gets it.”

Crawford, despite his struggles, has been a near-constant in the Red Sox lineup, having played in 67 of the team’s 69 games. Though he leads the majors in four-hit games, he is hitting .243 with a .275 OBP, .384 slugging mark and .659 OPS. Still, his range in left field has certainly had an impact on the Sox’ run prevention. Opponents currently have a .278 batting average on balls in play against the Sox, the second lowest mark in the AL (behind the Rays) and a reflection of the team’s excellent outfield defense.

— In Crawford’s absence, Francona said the Sox will “kind of piece it together a little bit.” The team has four options, with Mike Cameron, Darnell McDonald, Reddick and Drew Sutton all capable of filling in for Crawford in left field.

Reddick hit. 385 with a .400 OBP, .462 lugging mark and .862 OPS in five games in the majors, but then struggled after being demoted to Pawtucket. He went 1-for-23 in his first seven games back before hitting a pair of homers on Friday for the PawSox.

“It sure seems like [struggling after a demotion] happens, doesn’€™t it? I think it’€™s for different reasons,” said Francona. “Sometimes guys go down, in some instances they’€™re upset. You see that in spring training. A guy battles, battles, battles, doesn’€™t make a team, goes down there, it’€™s a letdown, and then all of a sudden you’€™re fighting your way uphill. With Josh, that isn’€™t the case. He knew why he was [in the majors].

“He’€™s still a young hitter that’€™s understanding his swing, and when he’€™s in a mode of using the entire field, he stays on the ball better, doesn’€™t swing at bad pitches and then he ends up hitting the ball out of the ballpark. Then he gets in that pull mode sometimes, then he starts swinging at balls out of the zone and gets himself in trouble. He went back to Triple-A and kind of struggled for a while. Fortunately, yesterday, he hit a couple balls out of the ballpark, and more importantly were that they were nice, level swings. He wasn’€™t cheating or selling out to get to a ball and happened to get a fastball middle-in, hit it for a homer.”

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Read More: bobby jenks, carl crawford, darnell mcdonald, drew sutton

Saturday’s Red Sox-Brewers matchups: Jon Lester vs. Randy Wolf

06.18.11 at 3:20 pm ET
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A pair of left-handed hitters will take the hill on Saturday at Fenway Park, with Jon Lester facing off against Brewers veteran Randy Wolf. Only four Brewers batters have faced Lester. Yuniesky Betancourt has had the most success against the hard-throwing lefty. Betancourt is 4-for-10 with one home run, a double, three RBIs and three walks. Josh Wilson, on the other hand, is hitless against Lester in 11 at-bats and has struck out four times.

Brewers vs. Jon Lester

Yuniesky Betancourt (13 plate appearances): .400 BA/ .538 OBP/ .800 SLG, 1 HR, 1 double, 3 RBIs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

Josh Wilson (12): .000/.083/.000, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Carlos Gomez (7): .143/.143/.143, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Mark Kotsay (2): 1.000/1.000/1.000

Ryan Braun, Craig Counsell, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, George Kottaras, Jonathan Lucroy, Casey McGehee, Nyjer Morgan, Rickie Weeks and pitcher Randy Wolf have never faced the Boston starter.

Several Sox hitters have a history of success against Wolf, though interestingly, the one who has enjoyed the best history against him — J.D. Drew, who is 4-for-11 with a pair of homers against the left-hander — is not in the Sox lineup on Saturday.

Red Sox vs. Randy Wolf

Adrian Gonzalez (18): .353/.389/.353, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts

Mike Cameron (16): .231/.375/.231, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

J.D. Drew (12): .364/.417/1.182, 2 HRs, 1 double, 1 triple, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Jason Varitek (8): .333/.500/.500: 1 double, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (7): .333/.286/.333, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Carl Crawford (4): .667/.500/.667, 1 RBI

David Ortiz (2): 1.000/1.000/1.000, 1 walk

Kevin Youkilis (2): .500/.500/.500, 1 strikeout

Marco Scutaro (1): .000/.000/.000

Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, Darnell McDonald, Dustin Pedroia and pitcher Jon Lester have never faced the Milwaukee starter.

Read More: Jon Lester, Milwaukee Brewers, Randy Wolf,

Red Sox prove Bruins don’t have monopoly on clutch offense and defense

06.18.11 at 12:30 am ET
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If the Bruins taught both New England and perhaps the rest of North America anything with their stellar playoff run that ended in winning the Stanley Cup, it’€™s that a single flick of a stick or a quick flash of a glove can change not only a singular moment but an entire game or even a seven-game series. Ask Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Tim Thomas or even Roberto Luongo and they’€™ll tell you the same thing.

In the Red Sox 10-4 win over the Brewers Friday night, the Boston baseball team proved that they’€™ve learned the same lesson and are more than able to apply it in game situations.

Take the very start of the game, for example.

With his team down 2-0 (sound familiar?) before it had even stepped up to the plate, leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury knew that he would have to do something that would help his team dig into the deficit. So when Brewers starter Shawn Marcum offered up a low, 76-mph changeup over the plate, Ellsbury quickly turned over his wrists and golfed the pitch into the Red Sox bullpen.

Thanks to the early momentum provided by Ellsbury’€™s second leadoff homer of the season and fifth of his career, Boston was able to tie the game later in the inning on a double by David Ortiz and eventually turn a potentially long day into a 10-4 offensive onslaught. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury,
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