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Fifth inning: Indians take the lead

05.06.09 at 8:56 pm ET
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The trio of switch-hitters the Indians have lined up against Justin Masterson — Asdrubal Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Shin-Soo Choo — are giving the hurler some trouble through the first five innings, with the group going 5 for 9, with four RBI and two runs. All three, of course, are hitting lefty, which is also working to their favor in facing the Sox starter.

In the fifth, it was a run-scoring double off the centerfield wall by Martinez, and Choo’s RBI single, which did the damage. Martinez’s hit came off a 93 mph fastball, while Choo took advantage of a Masterson slider. In case you were wondering, Martinez is now hitting .400 as a left-handed hitter, while Choo stands at .300 as a lefty.

Meanwhile, Cleveland starter Carl Pavano has settled down. David Ortiz did bloop an opposite field single with one out in the fifth, but Pavano got his former Florida teammate, Mike Lowell, to end the inning with a fly out to right.

It has been a far cry from Pavano’s most memorable Fenway Park outing, coming June 27, 2003. It was that night Pavano, pitching for the Marlins, allowed six runs on six hits without retiring a batter. His replacement, Michael Tejera, also didn’t retire a batter before allowing five runs on four hits. The final that night, in case you forgot, was Red Sox 25, Florida 8.


Fourth inning: A Lowrie diversion

05.06.09 at 8:29 pm ET
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While we’re muddling through the middle innings, wanted to relay some interesting info on Jed Lowrie

Lowrie, was back at Fenway Park after spending the last few weeks in Arizona, where he underwent surgery to remove an ulnar styloid bone in his injured left wrist, reiterating that the doctors told him that a rough estimate as to when he could return to playing would be 6-8 weeks.

But what was interesting was that Lowrie said the fracture in the bone didn’t come in the fielding incident that first led to the pain, last May. Doctors told the shortstop that he had the fracture for years, although neither the player, or his mother, could recall a time during his 25 years which would lead to such an injury.

With the fractured bone already dislodged, what the injury last season actually did was break up the scar tissue which was doing the job of the bone for all these years. As the season progressed the scar tissue became less and less reliable, causing the pain and problems Lowrie experienced in the postseason. It, of course, built itself up with rest in the offseason, leading to the optimism of spring training.

But as the spring moved along, the same problem occurred, with the scar tissue not able to do the job of the bone, ultimately forcing the surgery. The inch-long bone was removed (since it served no purpose) and the scar tissue continues to be broken up until it is no longer needed. 

In short, no bone and no scar tissue is better than a fractured bone and here-today, gone-tomorrow scar tissue.

Oh yeah, one of Lowrie’s replacement, shortstop Nick Green, struck out with one out and the bases loaded as the Sox squandered a good chance to add to their lead. J.D. Drew ended the frame with a ground out to end the frame.


Third inning: A left-handed compliment

05.06.09 at 8:08 pm ET
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Justin Masterson’s first real test came with one out in the third, when he had to go against the left-handers Grady Sizemore, Asdrubal Cabrera (a switch-hitter), and Victor Martinez (switch-hitter) with runners on first and second. Even after implementing the change-up to keep lefties honest this season, Masterson continues to work out the kinks when it comes to getting those type of hitters out.

Entering Wednesday night, lefties were hitting .288 with a .377 on-base percentage, compared to the .256/.265 clip for righties. Masterson got Sizemore to pop out to left, but Cabrera rocketed a 92 mph fastball back up the box to drive in the Indians’ first run. He did finish off the frame by inducing a fly out to center from Martinez.


Second inning: Remember when …

05.06.09 at 7:46 pm ET
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Remember when the Red Sox went after Carl Pavano in the free agent market following the 2004 season, instead ending up with Matt Clement. Clement has retired, and Pavano keeps pitching. But the rest of the story after the two inked their deals, until present day, aren’t all that different in terms of sucess (or lack thereof).

Pavano has survived to make six starts this season, albeit with a 1-3 record and 7.46 ERA entering Wednesday night. That was the good news for the Tribe’s starter, the fact he was healthy enough to make tonight’s start. The bad news was that it is coming against a Red Sox’ lineup that is loaded with hitters with pretty good success against the former Boston farmhand. 

Jason Bay is 3 for 6; J.D. Drew is 5 for 8; David Ortiz is 3 for 5; Jason Varitek is 3 for 8; and Nick Greeen is 3 for 10.

So, somewhat predictably, the Sox struck first thanks to a run-scoring double play ground out from Jeff Bailey, coming with the bases loaded, scoring Bay. The Sox outfielder had led off with walk, was followed by Mike Lowell’s double, and a walk to Varitek. The home team struck again when Jonathan Van Every singled in Lowell with two outs.


First inning: More important than baseball

05.06.09 at 7:29 pm ET
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More important than the game …

NESN just released a statement that Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy is taking a leave to recover from cancer surgery. The statement says that Remy underwent surgery for lung cancer late last year.

‘€œI want to focus on completing my recovery so that I can return to work without distractions or interruptions,’€ said Remy, a former smoker who underwent surgery for lung cancer late last year.

Remy expected a more immediate return but suffered a setback due to an infection and subsequent case of pneumonia. He now hopes his experience serves as a cautionary tale about the adverse health effects of smoking.

‘€œI hope that disclosing my bout with cancer will reinforce the dangers of smoking to every member of Red Sox Nation, especially children,’€ said Remy, the president of Red Sox Nation.

Carl Pavano allowed a leadoff single to J.D. Drew, whose history as a leadoff hitter is somewhat quizzical. For his career, Drew is a .244 career hitter in the leadoff spot. But in his at-bats that lead off the game, the Sox’ outfielder was hitting .388 with a pair of home runs. Pavano got out of it thanks to a double play grounder from Dustin Pedroia, followed by a fly out by David Ortiz.


Lester on Joba: ‘It’s gotten old’

05.06.09 at 6:48 pm ET
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A day after Joba Chamberlain hit Jason Bay in the back in the fifth inning of what turned into a Red Sox win over the Yankees, Tuesday  night in New York — and a few hours after Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell told Dale and Holley on WEEI that ‘Those things aren’t forgotten’ in expressing Chamberlain’s motivations — opinions on the matter could be heard in the Sox’ clubhouse.

First, Josh Beckett, the pitcher on the mound for the Sox following Chamberlain’s pitch, would only say, “Everybody has a job to do and mine is not to delegate blame, or purpose, or intent. Things have a way of working themselves out, that’s way I look at it. That stuff always has a way of working itself out.”

Like Farrell, Jon Lester was a bit more pointed in his remarks.

“It’s one of those deals where I’m all for throwing in, but there comes a point somebody, whether it be baseball or the opponent, has to step in and say enough is enough,” said Sox hurler. “Balls have gone over guys heads and gone up too close. There’s a difference between throwing in and making a point and he definitely tries to make some points. I don’t know if he’s trying to him there or not, but he did and it looks bad because J-Bay did hit a home run off of him, along with the history with us and other players. He always come back and says the ball slipped, I wasn’t trying to hit anybody. One time you can fool us, two times you can maybe say OK, but it’s gotten old. In baseball it’s one of those deals where you can’t really think there’s a punishment necessary. It’s one of those deals where we might have to police it ourselves a little bit more, I don’t know.”

The Red Sox and Yankees next meet for a three-game series at Fenway Park, starting June 9.

Lowrie: Feeling stronger every day

05.06.09 at 5:12 pm ET
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With his stitches out of his surgically repaired left wrist, Jed Lowrie re-joined the Red Sox for rehab work on Wednesday, with the hope of returning to action by the All-Star break.

“They told me six-to-eight weeks, that’s what the doctors said,” Lowrie said. “Take it day-by-day, make sure it’s strong. Everything looked good so hopefully, in six-to-eight weeks, I’ll be back out there.”

Lowrie said he is feeling stronger after just a week of rehab work out in Arizona.

“A lot better,” Lowrie said before Wednesday’s game. “Everything I’ve heard from the training people I’ve been working with and the doctors is that everything went well and I’ve been doing rehab for seven days now and it’s good to be back.”

Lowrie had the surgery on April 22 in Scottsdale, Ariz. and the procedure was immediately considered a success by the team and Lowrie.

“I’m stronger, I wouldn’t say strong,” Lowrie said. “Obviously, any kind of surgery is a traumatic event. You have to build back the strength and the range of motion. There isn’t a lot of pain but the strength and range of motion are the two things I need to get back.”

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Red Sox vs. Indians Match-Ups, 5/6

05.06.09 at 3:30 pm ET
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The Red Sox return home after going 5-4 over their nine-game roadtrip. They claimed victories against the Indians in two of three in Cleveland, the team that arrives in Fenway Park for a ridiculously brief two-game visit. Read the rest of this entry »

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The House That Rebuilt Papi?

05.06.09 at 3:09 pm ET
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Maybe it was the fact that he admitted to everyone in the world on Sunday and again on Monday that he was in the worst slump of his career. Or perhaps it was the mere fact of being in a city — albeit in a new park — where he has enjoyed some of his most notable career successes.

Whatever the cause, it was clear that David Ortiz left the new Yankee Stadium feeling better than when he entered it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Transcript of Francona on Dale and Holley

05.06.09 at 1:12 pm ET
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(Courtesy Drew Scott and Jared Shafran)

Here is Red Sox manager Terry Francona with Dale and Holley this afternoon: 

On the weather last night:

Francona: Couple guys said to me, ‘€œMan you looked nervous down there, you were pacing.’€ I said, ‘€œI was freezing.’€

D&C: Man that was a crummy night wasn’€™t it?

Francona: Well it wasn’€™t that bad, but weather wise it was awful.  I can’€™t wait for summer, you’€™re right I’€™m the one guy when it’€™s 94 degrees, and everyone is sweating and I’€™m out there with a sweatshirt on feeling pretty good about myself.

D&C: It was funny to hear Jason Bay say that this was a nice day in British Columbia (laughs).

Francona: (laughs) You know what, we get on him all the time, he’€™s the one guy, he comes out of the dugout and pops his head out, it’€™s like half snowing  and he goes, ‘€œGod is it beautiful out here.’€ He doesn’€™t like the sunshine in Spring Training where we are in Port Charlotte and he’€™s losing the balls in the sun and it’€™s 95 degrees, he was happy as could be last night.

On the Yankees struggles: 

D&C:  You guys in all seriousness, for the first time I think in twenty four years, the Red Sox have won their first five games against the Yankees.  Is it just a coincidence or are you feeling very comfortable against this team?

Francona: You know Michael, I think it’€™s a lot of things combined into one. The very first game we played them, Mo [Mariano Rivera] gives up the homerun to Jason and we’€™re a pitch or two away from losing that game, so I think it’€™s always good to keep some perspective. We’€™ve played in some good games and we’€™ve played some long games. I thought in New York the last two nights were difficult nights to play, the one is a big delay and the weathers nasty, and we didn’€™t even get a chance to be on the field, and right away from the get go we had good energy and we stayed with it. We did a lot of good things, our pitching has come through in the bullpen where like last night we didn’€™t have Pap [Papelbon] and Ramon [Ramirez]available, other guys come in and do their jobs. It’€™s been probably a number of different things like it always is, and the same thing when you lose, there’€™s always probably more than what you see on the surface.

On Joba Chamberlain:

D&C: You mentioned Jason Bay, I might as well ask right off the bat, was there any doubt in your mind that there was intent when he got hit by Joba Chamberlain last night?

Francona: (sighs) Oh man, you know what guys, how’€™d I know that was going to be asked? It’€™s real hard for us to see into someone else’€™s head, and so I probably, most of the time try not to. Our big concern is winning the game, you know the game has a way of playing itself out. It’€™s a long year and we play them a lot of times and I’€™m sure there’€™s times when we do stuff and they’€™re over their yelling like a couple nights before. I don’€™t know you’€™d have to ask him. I guess that’€™s the better way you’€™d have to ask him, and see what he says. I know that I don’€™t think it bothered Jason Bay, it probably hurt him a little bit, but I don’€™t think it bothered him. He’€™ll come back and he’€™ll probably be even better.

Read the rest of this entry »

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