|07.04.10 at 4:26 pm ET|
Three times this year the Red Sox have taken the first two installments of a three-game set against the Orioles. And three times, the Sox have failed to put the final touch on a broom job against the team with the worst record (25-56) in the majors.
On Sunday, O’s rookie Brian Matusz shut down the Sox offense, delivering six shutout innings to out-pitch Red Sox starter John Lackey and lead Baltimore to a 6-1 victory.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
–Orioles starter Brian Matusz had not been particularly effective against his fellow portsiders entering Sunday’s game, having been tagged to the tune of a .312 average and .834 OPS by lefties, compared to marks of .271 and .743 against right-handers. But a pair of left-handed hitters for the Red Sox had miserable afternoons against the Baltimore southpaw. David Ortiz and J.D. Drew combined to go 0-for-6 with five strikeouts against him, as Matusz featured a slider that bordered on unhittable for lefties on Sunday.
—Gustavo Molina, on the roster due to the injuries not just to Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek but also Triple-A catchers Mark Wagner and Dusty Brown, had a poor day on two fronts. With runners on first and second and no outs in the third inning, he popped up a bunt attempt, a failure that led to the Sox wasting one of their few early offensive opportunities. Then, with a runner on first and none out in the fifth, he struck out with a terrible swing on a slider at his front foot.
Yet Molina’s offensive limitations to the Sox were known. But he was expected to contribute solid defense, with manager Terry Francona noting upon the catcher’s call-up that he has excellent hands. That made his struggles on Sunday surprising. In the fourth inning, with a runner on third, he failed to move his feet on a wild pitch to his right, instead stabbing at the ball with his backhand on a run-scoring wild pitch. Then, with a runner on second and two outs, he committed a passed ball on a fastball slightly up and to his left.
After the passed ball, Lackey pounded his glove and yelled, “Let’s go,” while waiting for the ball back.
—Marco Scutaro thoroughly botched a double-play grounder in the eighth, first kicking the grounder and then — despite having plenty of time to get Orioles second baseman Ty Wigginton — bounced his throw to first for an error. Scutaro also went 0-for-4, ending his nine-game hitting streak.
–Drew, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts (his third hat trick of the season, and first since May 30), committed his first error of the 2010 season on a fly ball he lost in the sun.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
— Though he suffered his first loss since May 21, John Lackey featured some of his best stuff of the season. He matched a season-high with seven strikeouts and held the Orioles in check through seven innings, allowing just two runs before permitting a couple more (aided by Scutaro’s error) in the eighth. On the day, he allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits and one walk. Still, even with the loss, over his last eight starts, he has a 5-1 record and 3.71 ERA.
He also once again proved a workhorse, throwing 117 pitches. It marked the ninth time this year that he has thrown at least 110 pitches, and sixth time he has thrown 115 or more pitches. The rest of the Red Sox staff has just four games with 115 or more pitches.
—Kevin Youkilis clubbed his 17th homer of the season in the bottom of the ninth inning, helping the Sox to avoid their fourth shutout of the year. Youkilis also crushed a ball to the warning track in right center that was tracked down.
–Though he went just 1-for-3 with a walk, Red Sox second baseman Bill Hall swung the bat extremely well. He sent a rocket off the base of the Green Monster for a single and flied out twice to center, including a well-struck warning track fly ball in the seventh.
|07.04.10 at 3:05 pm ET|
They were all voted by fellow MLB players who understand, and more significantly, appreciate what the Red Sox have overcome, individually and collectively, to get to the point they’re at in this 2010 season. Two of the six – Victor Martinez and Dustin Pedroia – won’t even be able to take part in the game since they are nursing broken bones in a thumb and foot, respectively.
And still the team entered Sunday tied for the most wins  in the majors with the Yankees, and just a half-game behind the Bronx Bombers in the American League East.
“It’s unreal,” said first-time All-Star Clay Buchholz. “It just shows you the caliber of this team. Half of them are on the DL right now. It just shows you how deep this team is and how the guys off the bench have been playing. We’re still winning. I don’t think – from an organizational standpoint – ask for anything more.”
After a rough 2009 and missing the Midsummer Classic last year in St. Louis, David Ortiz has rebounded to lead the Red Sox in homers  and RBI , picking up the slack for injured regulars like Jacoby Ellsbury, Pedroia and Mike Cameron.
Ortiz tried downplaying the honor at first before acknowledging what returning to the All-Star Game really means.
‘Nothing, man,” Ortiz began. “Just one of those years that people appreciate the job that you’re doing on the field and give you an opportunity to be in the All-Star Game.
‘I really appreciate it, man, what the players think about a guy like myself. like I say, I’m a guy that I try to respect everyone and play the game the way it’s supposed to be. I think when you get voted in by the players, just because pretty much everyone agrees with what you’re doing, so, I’d say I really appreciate that.’
But still, this is quite the rebound after 2009, and Ortiz realizes that.
‘Last year, I think it was a break,” he said. “Sometimes there’s a lot of players that play really well and wanting to be in the all-star game and sometimes I think when a guy like myself misses going to any all-star game, which is something I look forward to be by the break, it’s just opening the door for someone that maybe had probably never been there before.
‘I don’t know, I wasn’t really focusing on the All-Star Game. We have a lot of things going on right here right now, a lot of injuries. Trying to win games. we play in a tough division, like always. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t really focusing in on that but like I say, this is a break during the season ‘¦ the fans get really into it. it’s an honor for me to be voted and be part of it and go there and try to put a good show for the fans who go out there and really appreciate what we do.’
Unlike Ortiz, Adrian Beltre is making his first All-Star trip, as are pitchers Buchholz and Jon Lester. Martinez and Pedroia also made it despite not being able to play due to injuries that have landed them on the DL.
Kevin Youkilis can be selected as the final player on the American League’s 34-man roster via the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint.
“Yeah man, all of you out there, you guys make sure that my boy Youk comes on this flight,” Ortiz said. “You can’t play no better than that. When I found out, he wasn’t going, I was kind of upset. A guy that has put it together like Youk thorugh the years and especially this season, he really deserves to be out there. I know a lot of people will keep that in mind and make sure Youk is an All-Star. He deserves to be in there.’
But Ortiz spoke volumes when he spoke of Beltre, the one player who has surpassed all expectations offensively, in a season when the Red Sox desperately needed it. He is leading the team with a .341 average, to go with 12 homers and 53 RBIs entering play Sunday.
‘No question man, if there’s one guy in this clubhouse who should be part of the all-star game, it’s Adrian,” Ortiz said. “Adrian has been doing an unbelievable job for this ballclub and I think he’s earned it. he earned it.’
Since Martinez and Pedroia are both on the DL and will be unable to play in the All-Star Game, they have been replaced by the next highest ranking players at their respective positions on the Player Ballot, catcher John Buck of the Blue Jays and second baseman Ian Kinsler of the Rangers, on the active A.L. roster.
|07.04.10 at 2:15 pm ET|
The one Red Sox player who could argue he was snubbed instead took time to recognize the accomplishment of his teammates when six Red Sox were voted to the All-Star Game in player balloting released Sunday by MLB.
“I think we’re deserving,” Kevin Youkilis said. “We have just as many wins as any team in baseball. We have 49 wins and we’re tied with the Yankees in wins and that’s most in baseball. That speaks for itself. We started out horrible and we had a lot of injuries and we’ve battled a lot of adversity and we deserve to have a lot of guys on the All-Star team. When you have the most wins in baseball, you deserve to have more All-Stars than none.”
[Click here to listen to Youkilis explain why the Red Sox deserve All-Star love.]
Youkilis did not make it despite impressive numbers of .299, 16 homers and 53 RBIs. He was named as one of five American League players eligible to be voted in on a special ballot by fans.
Youkilis can be selected as the final player on the American League’s 34-man roster via the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint.
All six Red Sox players selected to the American League team on Sunday were voted in by player ballot. They include two disabled players in Victor Martinez and Dustin Pedroia and another who could miss his last start before the break in Clay Buchholz, nursing a sore hamstring.
Jon Lester is also headed to Anaheim, filling out the Red Sox contingent.
|07.04.10 at 1:33 pm ET|
According to a team source, left-hander Felix Doubront will likely be summoned from Triple-A Pawtucket to start on Tuesday in Tampa Bay against the Rays. He will fill in for right-hander Clay Buchholz, who is sidelined with a left hamstring strain and is likely to go on the disabled list for the duration of the first half.
Doubront made a fill-in start for the Red Sox in June, picking up a win in his big league debut against the Dodgers while allowing five runs (three earned) in five innings. He is 7-2 with a 2.45 ERA in the minors this year, including 3-2 with a 2.36 ERA this year for Triple-A Pawtucket.
Doubront made a pair of appearances in spring training against the Rays, and was particularly impressive, logging five shutout innings against lineups comprised mostly of Tampa Bay’s starters. He will be pitching on five days of rest in Tampa Bay, having last pitched on June 30 against Scranton and picking up a win by allowing two runs in five innings.
Buchholz is 10-4 with a 2.45 ERA for the Sox in his All-Star season. But he was injured while running the bases in San Francisco on June 26, and while the Sox had initially hoped to have him pitch in Tampa Bay on Monday or Tuesday, the team has instead decided to delay his return in order to give him more time to heal. Buchholz has been able to jog, throw on flat ground and even throw off a mound in a short bullpen session, but he has felt discomfort while trying to sprint.
“Going from a jog to a sprint, it gets a little tight. So we decided to step back,” said Buchholz. “I’m still throwing flat grounds every day. That feels fine. Just sort of give it a little more time to rehab and get it to where it’s not going to be a problem going into my next start. That’s the best thing we can do, not going into it 75 percent but going into it at 100 percent, not having a chance for another injury.
“The day I can run and not be tight is the day we’re going to throw,” he continued. “It has to be a little bit better than it was a couple days ago for me to get off the mound.”
Buchholz is slated to have “his most active day” since his injury on Monday in Tampa Bay, according to manager Terry Francona, likely including running on the field and simulated efforts to cover first base. That said, by the beginning of the final series of the first half in Toronto, Buchholz will have already missed 13 days. That being the case, the Sox could place him on the disabled list through the All-Star break with relatively little impact.
“Since we’ve waited this long, if we DL him, we can bring him back right after the break. That’s not etched in stone, but it seems like it makes common sense. We’ve already talked to Buch this morning about what will probably happen,” said Francona. “If you get in a game where he has to cover first or do something that’s unexpected, if he worsens that hamstring, we’re going to be all kicking ourselves.”
|07.04.10 at 1:19 pm ET|
Six Red Sox were named to the American League All-Star team — David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Victor Martinez, and Adrian Beltre. Pedroia, Martinez and perhaps Buchholz — who is missing his next start — won’t be available due to injury.
Beltre, Buchholz and Lester have all been named to the team for the first time. All six Red Sox representatives were selected by votes of their fellow players; no Sox were named in fan balloting.
Lester and Buchholz will be joined in the American League pitching staff by CC Sabathia, Fausto Carmona, David Price, Neftali Feliz, Phil Hughes, Mariano Rivera, Matt Thornton, Jose Valverde, Cliff Lee, Trevor Cahill, and Joakim Soria. Along with Ortiz, Pedroia, Martinez and Beltre, the AL reserves will consist of Ty Wigginton, Miguel Cabrera, Torii Hunter, Alex Rodriguez, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler (who is replacing Pedroia on the roster), Jose Bautista, John Buck (replacing Martinez) and Vernon Wells.
Kevin Youkilis has been named one of five players who is part of the fan voting for the 34th member of the American League squad. He is joined by Paul Konerko of the White Sox, Nick Swisher of the Yankees, Delmon Young of the Twins and Michael Young of the Rangers.
|07.04.10 at 9:03 am ET|
The Red Sox send John Lackey (9-3, 4.46 ERA) to the mound in their July 4th home game against Baltimore, wrapping up the three-game series between the clubs. Despite a lackluster ERA, Boston’s right-handed workhorse looks for his sixth straight win Sunday, having gone 5-0 in his last seven starts and averaging 6 2/3 innings per outing in that span.
When Lackey last faced the Orioles on June 6, Nick Markakis‘ 11th-inning walk-off single gave Baltimore a 4-3 win. Lackey, however, got the no-decision as he left a 2-2 game with a pair of strikeouts in the seventh inning, after working deep into the contest on 124 pitches.
In 15 career starts against Baltimore, Lackey is 9-3 with a 3.13 ERA. The Sox will rely on the righty to attack the strike zone for another strong start as they attempt to piece together another victory with the All-Star break just around the corner.
Rookie starter Brian Matusz (2-9, 4.90 ERA) looks to put a stop to his nine-game losing streak as he takes the mound for the Orioles Sunday. The southpaw is 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA against the Sox and has started only once at Fenway, when he allowed three runs in six innings. In his last outing against the Sox and Lackey on June 6, Matusz allowed two earned runs on four hits, along with seven strikeouts, in 5 2/3 innings.
Matusz’s nine losses are tied for the lead in the American League. But although the left-hander hasn’t won a game since April 18, throughout June Matusz had a number of solid outings and only once did he allow more than three runs to score, with 23 Ks in 32 2/3 innings pitched.
In that June 6 faceoff between Lackey and Matusz, Victor Martinez was the only one to get a piece of Matusz, fouling off a 2-2 changeup and homering on a 90 mph fastball into left field. With Martinez sidelined and much of that June 6 roster joining him with injuries, few members of the Sox have seen the rookie.
Orioles vs. John Lackey
Miguel Tejada (44 plate appearances): .302 BA/.295 OBP/.442 slugging, 13 hits, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 9 strikeouts
Nick Markakis (35): .333/.429/.400, 10 hits, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Cesar Izturis (27): .185/.185/.185, 5 hits, 1 RBI, 4 strikeouts
Julio Lugo (24): .190/.261/.238, 4 hits, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Ty Wigginton (23): .200/.304/.350, 4 hits,1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts
Adam Jones (21): .238/.238/.333, 5 hits, 1 triple, 8 strikeouts
Matt Wieters (12): .333/.333/.333, 4 hits, 2 RBI, 1 strikeout
Corey Patterson (11): .091/.091/.091, 1 hit, 4 strikeouts
Scott Moore (6): .400/.333/.600, 2 hits, 1 double, 2 RBI, 1 strikeout
Craig Tatum (3): .500/.667/.500, 1 hit, 1 walk
Lackey has never faced Josh Bell and Jake Fox.
Red Sox vs. Matusz
Marco Scutaro (8 plate appearances): .143 BA/.250 OBP/.571 slugging, 1 hit, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 walk
Kevin Youkilis (6): .400/.500/.400, 2 hits, 1 walk
Bill Hall (5): .000/.200/.000, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Darnell McDonald (4): .250/.250/.250, 1 hit, 1 strikeout
Adrian Beltre (3): .500/.667/.500, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
David Ortiz (3): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts
Mike Cameron (2): .000/.500/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Eric Patterson (1): 1.000/1.000/1.000, 1 hit
Matusz has never faced Kevin Cash, J.D. Drew, Gustavo Molina, Daniel Nava and Niuman Romero.
|07.03.10 at 11:44 pm ET|
When asked after the Red Sox‘ 9-3 win over the Orioles Saturday night if he felt like he had a first half worthy of a selection to the American League All-Star team, Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon said, “I do. I feel like that if you’re on a winning team and you’re up at the top of saves — and that’s what I have to do is go out and get saves — I’ve given myself a shot.”
Papelbon has made the All-Star team in each of his first full seasons in the major leagues, and is in position to earn another berth when the teams are announced noon on Sunday. The reliever is second in the AL in saves with 19, trailing Texas’ Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria of Kansas City, both of whom have 21. Tampa Bay’s Rafael Soriano also has 19 saves, but with just one blown save compared to Papelbon’s three.
A potential roadblock for Papelbon is his ERA, which stands at 3.71 in large part to back-to-back blown saves in Colorado where he surrendered a combined five runs in 2 1/3 innings. Heading into the series with the Rockies the closer totaled a 2.76 ERA, and he hasn’t allowed a hit in three appearances since leaving Denver.
“I think you take the guys that are having good seasons and you take the guys who are going to help you win the ballgame. More than ever, you take guys who try and keep a winning streak going and I feel like I can help in that equation, helping win a ballgame,” Papelbon said. “If it happens obviously I’ll be super excited, but if it doesn’t I can’t let it affect me and bring me down and I have to go out there and still continue to be successful the second half of the season.
“As far as saves goes I’m up there where I should be and besides a couple of bumps in the road in Colorado I feel like for the most part of the year I’ve pitched well.”
Considering Papelbon has had to bounce back from the kind of adversity he rarely endured during his stretch as the Sox’ closer (9 of his 14 earned runs have come in three outings), he notes that this selection would be one of the most satisfying.
“The first one is always the one that sticks in your head,” he said. “But if I make it this year it will be very gratifying knowing fans and players understand the season and how you have to grind it out. Hopefully I’m viewed as someone who grinds out a season and goes out there and no matter what happens one day I’m ready to play the next.”
The All-Star Game will be played in Anaheim at Angel Stadium on July 13. No Red Sox player is in position to be voted in as a starter. For more on the Red Sox see the team page by going to weei.com/redsox.
|07.03.10 at 10:06 pm ET|
Lester continued to be unworldly against the Orioles, and this time it paid off in the form or a 9-3 win for the Red Sox at Fenway Park. It was the Red Sox’ 49th win win at what his the season’s halfway point (81st game). (Click here for a recap.)
Lester improved to 12-0 for his career vs. Baltimore, having already come into the game with a 2.06 ERA against the O’s. It continues to be the longest current winning streak by any active pitcher against any team.
The Orioles did manage one run against the Red Sox’ lefty ‘ coming on an RBI single from Corey Patterson in the fifth inning — a feat they hadn’t accomplished in their previous two meetings with Lester.
The Red Sox’ win also continued an encouraging trend at Fenway, where the Sox have now won 15 of their last 18 games, out-scoring their opponents 118-66 during the stretch. Unfortunately for the Red Sox they will play just five of their next 21 games at home.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– Lester needed just 100 pitches to dispatch the Orioles this time around, allowing the single run on five hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked just one. When looking at his All-Star candidacy, Lester becomes the fifth American League pitcher to reach 10 wins, passes Felix Hernandez to claim the second-most strikeouts in the AL (118), and moves up to fifth-place in the league with a 2.76 ERA.
– J.D. Drew continued to show how valuable his presence might be with others on the shelf. Drew followed up a two-home run game with another multiple-hit effort, this time highlighting the Red Sox’ four-run first inning with a two-run double into center field. He finished with three hits. Just for reference sake, the Sox are now 43-28 when Drew appears in a game.
– Kevin Youkilis‘ push for an All-Star appearance continued, with the Red Sox first baseman managing an RBI double in the first, and his 16th homer of the season ‘ a two-run job in the fifth. Although Youkilis’ OPS dipped from May to June (1.204-.907) he has remained a model of consistency. Still he faces a challenge to make his third All-Star team, with Justin Morneau, Miguel Cabrera, and Paul Konerko all possessing better OPS.
– Like Drew, David Ortiz has started to step up when it counts the most. Since June 11 Ortiz is hitting .327 and come into the game with an OPS of 1.117. His latest contribution came in the form of a three hits in four at-bats with one walk, claiming an RBI while scoring a pair of runs.
– Mike Cameron continued to play through pain, this time doing so with a positive outcome thanks to an eighth-inning RBI single. Prior to the hit Cameron had struggled, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. For more on how appreciative Red Sox manager Terry Francona is of Cameron’s efforts click here.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– The Orioles leave town. Baltimore looked horrific once again, making two more errors while dropping their 56th game of the season, falling 25 1/2 games in back of first-place New York. To make matters worse this time around, interim manager Juan Samuel suffered his first career ejection when he got tossed for arguing balls and strikes in the eighth inning.
|07.03.10 at 8:39 pm ET|
Cameron, 37, signed a two-year deal with the Red Sox in December with the hopes of playing the role of the club’s regular center fielder.
Then Cameron’s midsection started acting up early in the season and it’s been a nightmare to deal with ever since.
“Out in San Francisco that first night, he had a hot water bottle on his stomach in about the eighth inning,” Francona said before Saturday’s game as Cameron returned to the starting lineup after being a late scratch on Friday.
“He was devastated by the fact he had to come out of [Friday’s] game right before it started,” Francona said. “From where we sit, we really appreciate what he’s trying to do.”
Cameron missed 34 games in late April and May with lower abdominal strain. He couldn’t warmup properly on Friday after it was initially thought he was having abdominal soreness. He informed Francona about five minutes before first pitch and Darnell McDonald was inserted in the lineup.
[Click here to listen to Francona talk about Mike Cameron’s toughness.]
Cameron entered Saturday batting a respectable .265 with one homer and just eight RBIs. And it’s been a struggle for him to get to some balls in the outfield that he would normally glide under with ease.
But that effort only makes Francona appreciate Cameron that much more. “It’s hard for him. To play a game, he has to really prepare.
“I actually have a lot,” Francona said of his respect level. “I don’t think people understand what Cam is going through to make himself available. He’s not 100 percent. He’s not getting the balls he’s had in his sleep.
“Again, if it’s not perfect, it doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate it. We’ve had to remind him of that a few times. He’s really hard on himself.”
|07.03.10 at 4:55 pm ET|
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said the team plans to run more tests on Clay Buchholz before allowing him to make his next scheduled start, either Monday or Tuesday, against Tampa Bay. Buchholz strained his left hamstring while running the bases last weekend against San Francisco.
On Saturday at Fenway, Buchholz threw 90 feet on flat ground in hopes of being ready to make his next start. Francona indicated he doesn’t need to throw off a mound to be cleared to start but needs to be able to field his position.
“What we’ve kind of come to is that if he pitches on Monday he’s going to have to be as close to 100 percent as he can be,” Francona said. “We’re going to run him through some more stuff and … we’re not going to pitch him if we’re not completely sure so we’ll see.
“The pitching part has actually been the easiest for him. I think the moving around and fielding his position is where we have concern. So obviously we’re going to err on the side of caution with him. Nothing has been ruled out yet but we’ll see.”
[Click here to listen to Francona explain the news on Clay Buchholz.]
Team doctor Tom Gill had some very good news for Francona and the Red Sox on Saturday when he diagnosed the MRI on the sore right forearm of reliever Manny Delcarmen.
[Click here to listen to Francona explain the MRI results on Delcarmen.]
“Structurally, it came out really good,” Francona said. “Even the amount of swelling is not as much as they expected so it’s strictly musculature. We’ll keep him down for a few days and then we’ll start maybe [have him] throw a couple of bullpens maybe Friday and Sunday before the break and hopefully, that’ll do the trick.”
Delcarmen was placed on the disabled list on Friday and will not be active until after the All-Star break.
In other injury news, Francona said outfielder Jeremy Hermida [ribs] swung off a tee in the batting cage Saturday and felt very good and hopes to start live batting practice with the team before the team’s off day on Thursday. Mike Cameron reported to Fenway on Saturday ‘feeling real good,’ according to Francona and was penciled in the starting lineup after being a late scratch on Friday night when he could not get loose.
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