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Youk explains why Red Sox deserve All-Star love

07.04.10 at 2:15 pm ET
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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.

David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre made the squad as reserves with Beltre making his way to the Midsummer Classic for the first time.

Jon Lester is also headed to Anaheim, filling out the Red Sox contingent.

Read More: All Star, Kevin Youkilis, MLB, Red Sox

Source: Doubront set to fill in for Buchholz on Tuesday

07.04.10 at 1:33 pm ET
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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.”

Read More: Clay Buchholz, felix doubront,

Star-filled Sox send six to All-Star game

07.04.10 at 1:19 pm ET
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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.

On the National League side, rookie Stephen Strasburg did not make the NL team, with Washington closer Matt Capps representing the Nationals.

Red Sox vs. Orioles matchups, 7/4

07.04.10 at 9:03 am ET
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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.

Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Brian Matusz, john lackey, Red Sox

Papelbon on All-Star nod: ‘I’ve given myself a shot’

07.03.10 at 11:44 pm ET
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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.

Closing Time: Red Sox 9, Orioles 3

07.03.10 at 10:06 pm ET
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Nothing changed for Jon Lester, the Red Sox, or Orioles Saturday night.

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.

Tito: ‘People don’t understand what Cam’s going thru’

07.03.10 at 8:39 pm ET
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It hurts Terry Francona sometimes just to watch Mike Cameron trying to play hurt.

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.”

Read More: darnell mcdonald, mike cameron, Red Sox,

Red Sox pregame 7/3: Wait and see on Clay

07.03.10 at 4:55 pm ET
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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.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Jeremy Hermida, left hamstring, manny delcarmen

Red Sox vs. Orioles matchups, 7/3

07.03.10 at 3:13 pm ET
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Fortunately for the Red Sox, Jon Lester‘€™s next start falls in the three-game series against the Orioles, a team that the Boston starter has dominated over his career. On the mound opposing Lester on Saturday night will be Jeremy Guthrie, who struggled through the month of June in interleague play.

Lester (9-3, 2.86 ERA) has a staggering 11-0 record against the Orioles with a 2.06 ERA in 14 career starts. In his last outing against Baltimore at Camden Yards, the left-hander pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings in an 8-2 Red Sox win. Lester’€™s performance came during his eight-game winning streak, in which he lowered his ERA from 8.44 to 3.13.

In his last start, Lester arguably pitched his best baseball of the season, tossing a five-hitter in a complete game while striking out nine batters. What was more impressive was that Lester outdueled reigning two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum and went the distance after the bullpen was needed for eight innings the previous day due to Clay Buchholz getting injured.

Guthrie (3-9, 4.30 ERA), meanwhile, has been going in the opposite direction of Lester, losing five straight decisions. In interleague play against the Mets, the Giants, the Marlins and the Nationals, Guthrie allowed 17 runs in 25 total innings of work. Guthrie’€™s last victory came on May 25 at home against the Athletics in which he pitched six innings of one-run ball.

In his career vs. Boston, the right-hander is 1-6 with a 4.52 ERA. Guthrie was matched up with Lester in his last start against the Red Sox and took the loss despite allowing two runs on 7 1/3 solid innings of work. David Ortiz has the most success against Guthrie on the Boston roster, hitting .276 with three home runs and eight RBIs. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Jeremy Guthrie, Jon Lester, Orioles,

Michael Bowden remains red hot

07.03.10 at 6:35 am ET
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With Manny Delcarmen down, the Red Sox needed a pitcher. And it certainly would not have been surprising had Michael Bowden gotten the call from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Bowden got off to a dreadful start this year while fighting his way to gain consistency with the new mechanics he had spent the offseason working to achieve. His arm action was sometimes long, and his velocity seemed to dip. Entering a start on May 31, his ERA was 5.83, and his position as one of the Red Sox’ top depth options seemed in jeopardy.

Five weeks now seems like a long time ago. On Friday, Bowden retired the first 13 batters he faced, and ended up allowing just one run on one hit (a solo homer) in 7 2/3 innings. He walked none and struck out four. In his last seven starts, he now has a 1.83 ERA with 33 strikeouts and just eight walks. In the process, he has dropped his season ERA by more than two runs, to 3.77.

Right now, the Sox are reluctant to displace him given his excellent work in the PawSox rotation. At the same time, the team believes that he could be a contributor out of the bullpen — an area of growing need for the Sox, given both the major league club’s performance struggles and the recent injury to Manny Delcarmen — as the season progresses. And while a starter almost always has more value to an organization than a reliever, Bowden could offer the Sox significant value if he could emerge as a viable bullpen contributor, given that he could help the team to avoid having to overpay for a reliever in a trade.

Right now, the cost of acquiring a reliever remains steep, given that virtually every contender is interested in bullpen help, and, according to a major league source, there are few teams with potential relief chips that have put up the For Sale sign. Among the possibilities thus far are the Indians with Kerry Wood, the Pirates with Octavio Dotel, the Diamondbacks with Chad Qualls, the Royals with anyone other than Joaquin Soria and perhaps the Blue Jays, who feature players like Scott Downs. Eventually, the Mariners could also join that group.

That said, given the typical misgivings associated with acquiring relief help, the idea that Bowden could help as a reliever at the major league level — and, perhaps, improve his own trade stock in the process by showing that he can translate his year-after-year minor league success to the big leagues — is tantalizing.

Bowden did not get the call from Pawtucket on Friday. Instead, it was Robert Manuel (1.54 ERA) who was summoned to Boston. But one way or another, whether as a starter or a reliever, the Sox are increasingly certain that the 23-year-old Bowden will make an impact on the Sox at some point this year, a prospect that just a few weeks ago looked less certain.

“He’s definitely going to have an opportunity at some point,” said a team source.

Read More: Michael Bowden,
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