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6th Inning: Penny’s last hurrah

04.22.09 at 9:47 pm ET
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Brad Penny finished off his night, having gone six innings, giving up six hits, three runs (2 earned), and one walk, while striking out two. He threw 89 pitches, 56 for strikes. Overall, a strong outing for Penny, whose fastball topped out at 93 mph but was delivered with much-improved command. He would be replaced by Ramon Ramirez, who still hasn’t given up a run this season.

The outing was the second six-inning stint for Penny this season, after not having gone as many as six since June 8 of last year entering this campaign.

Also of note in the frame, Nick Green notched another hit, raising his average to .313. If you’re wondering about that home run he hit in Game 1, it wasn’t the longest he had ever launched. That, he said after the game, had come when the Red Sox traveled to Bradenton in spring training this year. Green also pointed out that he had hit 21 homers in the minors in 2007.

For more Green, check out Intern Drew’s chat with the shortstop in between games tonight.

5th Inning: Liriano gone, Penny stays

04.22.09 at 9:30 pm ET
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Francisco Liriano has been replaced by Matt Guerrier. Liriano had gone 7, 4 1/3, and 6 innings in his previous three starts, and threw 74 pitches, just 43 of which were for strikes. His line: 4 IP, 4 H, 7R, 4 BB, 6 K. Guerrier has given up at least one run in each of his last three appearances, although he cruised through his first frame Wednesday night by retiring Kevin Youkilis, J.D. Drew, and Jason Bay in order.

The Red Sox have now struck out seven times, entering the game with the sixth-fewest strikeouts as a team in the American League

Brad Penny, by the way, finished the fifth having allowed six hits and two runs (one unearned). After facing one batter in the sixth he had thrown 76 pitches.

Ortiz talks between games

04.22.09 at 9:19 pm ET
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(By Drew Scott)

David Ortiz held court before Game 2 of the Red Sox‘ doubleheader with the Twins. Here are some highlights:

Are you trying to hit the ball to the left or is that just happening?

I don’€™t know man. I just swing man, just in case I hit it.

What do you do during rain delays?

I talk to you (laughs). Naw, I just hang around and chill and I always grab my computer and watch the other guys talk trash, hear Petey (Pedroia) screaming. It’€™s the longest three hours ever when you have that little man screaming.

How do guys stay loose? How do they handle rain delays?

I hate rain delays. They kind of get you out of what you want to do.

What do you think of what Mike Lowell‘€™s been doing that last few days?

Killing it man, killing! That’€™s what we get paid for, killing!

Read the rest of this entry »

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4th inning: One step back, two forward

04.22.09 at 9:13 pm ET
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Things started taking a turn for the worse for Brad Penny, with Justin Morneau hitting a 1-0, 91 mph fastball into the centerfield bleachers for a solo home run. Just for reference sake, Morneau didn’t hit any of his 23 home runs in 2008 on 1-0 counts. (I know, who cares.)

After a Jason Kubel ground-rule double, it looked like Penny might get out of the frame with just the one run after a Michael Cuddyer pop-up. But Brian Buscher’s grounder bounced off Nick Green’s glove, marking the shortstop’s third error of the day and allowing Minnesota’s second run.

While much has been made of Green’s offensive output, and his solid play in the field (highlighted in Tim Wakefield’s flirtation with a no-hitter in Oakland), it should be noted that shortstop is anything but Green’s natural position. Coming into this season he had played just 23 games at short in the majors after having totaled 191 at second base. (Note: Green did once again help his plus-minus by doubling in his second at-bat.)

That leads us to the Julio Lugo rehab update — 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk with Pawtucket.

Through four innings Penny has thrown 66 pitches, 41 for strikes.

The Red Sox responded to the Twins’ comeback thanks to a Jeff Bailey walk, Green’s double, a Jacoby Ellsbury run-scoring ground out to second, and Dustin Pedroia’s sacrifice fly.

Red Sox 7, Twins 2

3rd Inning: Ortiz works the wall again

04.22.09 at 8:53 pm ET
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In his 61st plate appearance, Jacoby Ellsbury drew his fourth walk of the season, leading off the third. Among regular leadoff hitters in the majors, Ellsbury’s free pass total was second-to-last (with Jimmy Rollins only having a pair). Believe of not, old friend Coco Crisp is third in the AL among leadoff men, totaling 11 walks coming into Wednesday.

After Dustin Pedroia’s fifth double of the season (remember, he led the AL with 54 a year ago), David Ortiz got a two-bagger of his own. The RBIs were his 738 and 739th of his career, breaking him out of a 10th-place tie with Joe Cronin for the most in Red Sox history. And in case you were wondering, Ortiz’ double came on a 92 mph Liriano fastball — who, in case you forgot, is a lefty. The DH has come a long way from whiffing badly on Koji Uehara 88 mph heaters.

All but one of Ortiz’ Fenway Park hits this season have come to either center or left field, yet all of his ground outs have been to the right side of the infield. He has now hit three doubles off the left field wall after managing 13 off the Monster a year ago. Both of his hits in Game 1 were to left.

Red Sox 5, Twins 0

2nd inning: Bombs away for Bailey

04.22.09 at 8:35 pm ET
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Jeff Bailey … yes, Jeff Bailey … helped the Red Sox jump out to a 3-0 lead, hitting his fourth career home run over the left field wall on a 1-0 Francisco Liriano change-up. Bailey had hit four home runs, while carrying a .255 batting average. (That would be 25 percent of hits going for homers).

Liriano has come away with four strikeouts — including the unbelievably hot-hitting Kevin Youkilis (his ninth punch-out of the season), but he did walk J.D. Drew, who has yet to have an at-bat today without getting on base. Youkilis would make up for hit by robbing Nick Punto of a third-inning hit down the third-base line.

When Liriano first came up in 2005 he had an outrageous 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. After batting elbow issues, it appears as though the 25-year-old might be returning to form, coming into Wednesday with a 9.6 K/9 clip.

Red Sox 3, Twins 0

1st Inning: Penny takes first step

04.22.09 at 8:12 pm ET
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It has been well documented how Brad Penny’s two Fenway Park starts have not gone swimmingly, giving up 17 runs. But it should also be noted that the first inning has also proved to be somewhat of a bugaboo throughout his career, having given up more home runs (30) in the frame than any other frame.

Game started at 7:57 with the temperature standing at 49 degrees.

Penny made it through the first in fine fashion (excluding a walk to Justin Morneau), throwing first-pitch strikes to each of the four batters he faced while tossing 10 of his first 16 offerings for strikes. He threw just two curveballs, with his fastball topping out at 93 mph.

Dustin Pedroia’s swing and miss at a third strike against Minnesota Francisco Liriano was just his 11th swing and miss of the season. Pedroia led the Red Sox in fewest swings and misses (8.1 percent) last season, with Jacoby Ellsbury finishing second at 12.6 percent. This year it’s Ellsbury who is the early lead, coming in at 8.0 percent, while Mike Lowell is second, missing eight of his 85 swings (9.4 percent)

Red Sox 0, Twins 0

Getting ready to roll in the rain

04.22.09 at 7:32 pm ET
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It looks as though the Red Sox and Twins are going to attempt to play the second game of their doubleheader Wednesday after all, with the scheduled start time slated for 7:55 p.m.

If you’re looking to pass the time, check out the 10 questions asked of Nick Green by intern Drew Scott after the Red Sox’ Game 1 win.

Wakefield makes history

04.22.09 at 5:27 pm ET
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With the 7-inning, rain-shortened complete game victory over the Twins, Tim Wakefield became the oldest pitcher since Charlie Hough to hurl back to back complete game victories. Hough did it June 17 and 22 in 1992 while pitching for the White Sox. Wakefield, who was coming off a complete game victory  against Oakland, is the oldest Sox pitcher to turn in a complete game (42 years, 263 days).

Wakefield now owns 32 complete games and has collected back to back complete games on six occasions. He has compiled a 1.69 ERA (3 ER/16 IP) over the past two games, giving up nine hits while fanning eight and walking three.

Mike Lowell is getting his first day off the season after starting the first 14 games, with Kevin Youkilis moving over to third base and Jeff Bailey starting at first in tonight’s Game 2, which is supposed to pit Brad Penny against Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano. While the weather is putting the 7:10 p.m. starting time iffy, the Sox are ready to wear uniforms with green trim along with green hats in honor of Earth Day.

Read More: Tim Wakefield,

Red Sox call the first game; nightcap still scheduled

04.22.09 at 4:11 pm ET
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The first game of the day-night doubleheader was just called, with the Red Sox declared the 10-1 winners. The night game is still scheduled to start on time. That’s unique…

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