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Scutaro: ‘I just made a bad throw’

04.07.10 at 2:42 am ET
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No one felt worse about the first Red Sox loss of the season on Tuesday night than Marco Scutaro.

It was his throw – after fielding Derek Jeter’s routine grounder in the eighth inning – that skipped in the dirt in front of first baseman Kevin Youkilis, allowing Jeter to reach, and Jorge Posada to advance to third and Brett Gardiner to move to second.

With the bases loaded, Nick Johnson worked a bases-loaded walk and Posada trotted home with the go-ahead run.

And Scutaro had a helpless feeling at shortstop.

“I just made a bad throw — that’s it,” Scutaro said. “I don’t really have an excuse. It’s always hard when you make errors and it costs you the game. You just turn the page and come back tomorrow and win the series. You can’t really do anything about it right now.”

“It just hopped up quick,” Youkilis added. “It just hit the top of my glove. I just didn’t get it in the webbing. It’s one of those plays where I blame myself. I thought I could have made it, but I got a bad bounce. It’s one of those tough breaks you have. It definitely wasn’t [the game]. One play doesn’t flip the game. There’s tons of stuff we could have done better. We could have scored more runs, we could have given up less runs. That play isn’t how we lost the ballgame tonight.”

Trying to find some humor, Scutaro said he picked a bad time to throw a pitcher’s pitch on his throw to get Jeter.

[Click here to hear Scutaro after Tuesday's game explain the throw.]

“I just threw a nasty two-seamer,” he quipped.

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Vote: Should the Sox have pinch-hit for Ortiz?

04.07.10 at 2:01 am ET
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The Red Sox trailed entering the bottom of the eighth inning, 5-4. Kevin Youkilis led off the inning with a double, bringing David Ortiz to the plate with a runner on second and no outs. Yankees manager Joe Girardi summoned left-hander Damaso Marte from the bullpen to face Ortiz.

Entering Tuesday, Ortiz was 2-for-14 (.143) with a homer and three walks against Marte. He is hitless in his last nine at-bats against Marte, but did work a walk against him in Sunday’s game.

Mike Lowell was available as a pinch-hitter. Though 0-for-1 in his career against Marte, Lowell hit .301 with an .867 OPS against lefties in 2009. Ortiz, meanwhile, hit .212 with a .716 OPS against southpaws.

Manager Terry Francona elected to stick with Ortiz, who flied to shallow center and failed to advance Youkilis. After the game, Francona said that it was too early in the season to consider pinch-hitting for Ortiz.

“With two games into the season, I don’t think we need to start [pinch-hitting], not because I don’t think [Lowell] couldn’t do it, but just because I think the big picture needs to be remembered,” said Francona.

Do you agree?

Should the Red Sox have pinch-hit for David Ortiz on Tuesday?

  • Yes -- Lowell should have been up against Marte (80%)
  • No -- Ortiz should have batted against Marte (20%)
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Jon Lester press conference, 4/6

04.07.10 at 12:33 am ET
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Red Sox starter Jon Lester pitched five innings and allowed four earned runs. After the game, Lester spoke to the media about his performance on the mound and how he felt after his first start of the season.

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Ortiz: ‘There’s 160 [expletive] games left’

04.07.10 at 12:11 am ET
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Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, after going hitless with a walk in his first eight plate appearances of the season, expressed profane displeasure with questions about whether there are grounds for concern after just two games of the season.

“Two [expletive] games already. [Expletives] are going crazy. What’s up with that, man?” Ortiz mused. “There’s [expletive] 160 games left. Y’all [expletives] go ahead and hit for me.”

Ortiz, of course, faces heightened scrutiny this season, following a year in which he hit .238 with a .794 OPS (while hitting 28 homers and driving in 99 runs). Though he finished the season with solid marks of .264/.356/.548/.904, 27 homers and 81 RBIs from June 1 through the end of the season, memories of his .185/.284/.287/.570 line over the first two months of the year linger.

Ortiz also struggled against lefties, hitting .212 with a .716 OPS last year against southpaws. That led to some curiosity about whether Sox manager Terry Francona might pinch-hit for him when the Yankees summoned left-hander Damaso Marte to face Ortiz with a runner on second and none out in a game that the Sox trailed, 5-4, in the bottom of the eighth. Francona elected not to turn to Mike Lowell (who hit .301 with an .867 OPS against lefties last year) as a pinch-hitter, and Ortiz flied to shallow center.

The Sox manager clarified that it was too early in the season either to pinch-hit for Ortiz or to judge his season based on a relatively short-lived oh-fer.

“Two games, if guys go 0-for-4 or 3-for-4, it’s not going to make or break the season. It would be nice to get him on track though,” said Francona. “With two games into the season, I don’t think we need to start [pinch-hitting], not because I don’t think [Lowell] couldn’t do it, but just because I think the big picture needs to be remembered.”

Towards that end, it is worth considering some of Ortiz’ recent starts:

–In 2009, he was 2-for-6 with two walks, a .333 average and .833 OPS after two games before commencing his downward spiral with an 0-for-3 in the third game of the year.

–In 2008, he was 0-for-7 with two walks in his first two games. He was hitting .111 with a .381 OPS after 11 games before going 2-for-4 with a homer and 5 RBI in the 18th game of the year. From that game until he injured his wrist on the final day of May, he hit .313 with a 1.034 OPS.

–In 2007, he was 1-for-6 with a double and two walks, a .167 average and .778 OPS after two games. He went on to finish the year with his highest OPS (1.066).

Unsurprisingly, then, it has been the case that the first two games of the year have been fairly meaningless predictors of Ortiz’ performance over subsequent months. For that reason, both he and the Sox insist that any conclusions based on his first two games against the Yankees would be premature.

“Well, if David comes out and hits two homers tomorrow and goes 4-for-4, then he’s probably back to hitting .300. Tomorrow’s another day,” said Kevin Youkilis. “We’ll worry at 100. I’m not worried about David.”

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Terry Francona press conference, 4/6

04.07.10 at 12:08 am ET
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Red Sox manager Terry Francona spoke to the media following his team’s 6-4 loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park. Francona was asked about Jon Lester’s outing, if he considered pinch hitting Mike Lowell for David Ortiz in the eighth inning, the Marco Scutaro error, and Ortiz’ early offensive struggles.

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Closing Time: Yankees ‘pen the difference

04.06.10 at 11:20 pm ET
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The Yankees evened the season-opening series with the Red Sox on Tuesday night, getting a huge bounce-back effort from the bullpen in a 6-4 victory.

Here are some of the particulars:

Biggest Play Of The Game:

– Easy call here. Despite giving up a pair of hits in the eighth inning it looked as if Hideki Okajima was going to escape without allowing a run as Derek Jeter hit a routine grounder to Marco Scutaro with two outs. But Scutaro committed his first error as a member of the Sox, uncorking a low and wide throw to first that Kevin Youkilis was unable to handle. With the bases now loaded, Okajima then walked Nick Johnson to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead. A Robinson Cano solo homer in the ninth accounted for the game’s final run.

What Went Wrong For The Red Sox

– Jon Lester struggles:
On Sunday night Josh Beckett threw 94 pitches before leaving with two outs in the fifth inning, having allowed five runs on eight hits and three walks. Lester was better than his teammate on Tuesday, but not by much, as he gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in five innings of work. Lester also threw 94 pitches. Terry Francona mentioned before the game that he hoped in 2010 Lester would avoid what is becoming an annual slow start. One start against what might be the toughest lineup in baseball isn’t enough to make a call, of course, but this wasn’t the opening start Lester envisioned in what many feel could be a Cy Young kind of season.

– David Ortiz is 0-for-2010:
And he’s not exactly making loud outs, either. Will Francona give Mike Lowell his first start of the year on Wednesday against Andy Pettitte? Makes sense, given Lowell is a career .345 hitter against Pettitte and Ortiz has looked dismal against left-handed pitching (raise your hand if you thought Lowell was going to pinch-hit for Ortiz in the eighth inning against Marte.) But there is this: Ortiz has owned Pettitte in his career, hitting .367 with an OBP of .431 in 58 plate appearances. Will that be enough to keep him in the lineup?

– Failure to produce against the Yankees bullpen:
After A.J. Burnett labored for five innings (seven hits, three runs) the bullpen took over and dominated the Sox lineup. In four innings the New York ‘pen allowed no runs on just three hits, zero walks while striking out three. Joba Chamberlain was a standout, striking out both batters he faced in the eighth inning.

What Went Right For The Red Sox

– Daniel Bard:
Francona brought Bard into the game in the seventh inning to face the heart of the Yankees order. After walking Nick Johnson, Bard got Mark Teixeira (off to a brutal start) to fly out to left, struck out Alex Rodriguez and retired Robinson Cano on a weak grounder to second. Bard hit 98 MPH and also showed off a nasty changeup in the Cano at-bat.

– Victor Martinez:
The catcher accounted for three of the four Sox RBI with a two-run HR in the third inning off of Burnett and an RBI double in the fifth.

– Terry Francona:
Got big laughs in the pre-game press conference when he admitted that he thought it was Dick Vitale — and not Neil Diamond — singing “Sweet Caroline” on Sunday night.
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Francona pregame press conference

04.06.10 at 5:38 pm ET
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Red Sox manager Terry Francona met with the media before Tuesday’s Red Sox/Yankees game. He touched on several topics, including the four-year extension signed by Josh Beckett on Monday.

Here are some highlights …

On the Beckett signing:

It’s great. I thought they handled it so well. For that to get done the way it did I thought was really professionally done. I remember back when we signed Lackey Theo giving Josh a call and thinking ‘good move’. In a place like this it’s hard to get a deal done like this without a lot of stuff being said. And you never heard a thing about it. I know Theo did a great job but I thought Beckett handled himself really well.”

On how much Beckett means to the team:

“There’s not one person around here that doesn’t want Beckett, I can tell you that. I don’t know if that makes a lot of sense for me to say stuff like that while they were negotiating, but everybody here likes having Beckett around.”

On expectations for Jon Lester:

“We’re excited. He had, the word I would use for this spring is ‘powerful.’ Right from the get-go. His expectations of himself are really high. What we just need to do is get him into that groove where he feels good about himself. Once he gets into that he’s one of the best in the game.”

On what he has told Mike Lowell about his role on the club:

“I think he has a pretty good understanding, but you can’t tell somebody something I don’t know. The one thing we basically told the guys that aren’t starting in our meeting was that you have to be patient. We have three off days. The first 10, 12 days are always difficult for everybody.”

On Clay Buchholz:

“He will throw a simulated game tomorrow. That’s what we decided, rather than sit him out in the bullpen. It won’t a huge thing, just a getting the rust off going into his start.”

On seeing Ryan Westmoreland Sunday night:

“It was great. Again, I understand everybody wanting to ask, it’s just I’ve been trying to adhere to the family wishes. But it was very nice to see him. We tried to, I don’t know if under the radar is the right word for it but keep him sheltered a little bit so he could visit with some players. But it was very nice.”

On the Neil Diamond performance:

“I don’t know if the Red Sox want to hear this, but I actually thought it was Dick Vitale. Go back and look.”

On seeing Pedro Martinez:

“It was pretty cool. I thought that was pretty cool. I thought the fans got to show their appreciation, and it was pretty obvious that Pedro was enjoying it. As he should. I thought it was a pretty good idea.”

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