|Tuesday’s Red Sox-A’s matchups: Alfredo Aceves vs. Bartolo Colon||04.23.13 at 12:01 pm ET|
Alfredo Aceves will make his third start since replacing the injured John Lackey, as the Red Sox take on Bartolo Colon and the A’s in the second of three games.
Aceves enters Tuesday night’s start at 1-0 with a 6.28 ERA. He has pitched 14 1/3 innings in four games, allowing 18 hits and eight walks while striking out 11. The long ball has been an issue for the righty, as he has surrendered five home runs, including two in his last start against Cleveland. Right-handed batters are hitting .429 off him this season, but he has held lefties to a .237 clip.
In Aceves’ start on Wednesday vs. Cleveland, he started with five shutout innings, allowing the Sox to jump out ahead 5-0. He ran into some trouble in the sixth, allowing back-to-back home runs to Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi, but still picked up the victory.
“In the starting role, he’s done an excellent job of getting through those five innings,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Maybe the last time out, because we needed some innings, we probably pushed him an inning too long. But still, his preparation, his work in between starts, has been very good. He’s stepped in and done a very good job.”
Colon, a 16-year veteran who pitched for the Sox in 2008, will get the ball for the 12-8 A’s. He enters his fourth start of the year at 2-0, posting a 3.32 ERA. He has allowed 20 hits and struck out 10 in 19 innings, without allowing a free pass.
Colon went 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in his first season in Oakland in 2012, but he was suspended 50 games for testing positive for synthetic testosterone in late August. In 26 career appearances vs. the Red Sox, Colon is 8-11 with a 3.98 ERA, including a 6-6 record at Fenway Park.
Current A’s hitters have only combined for 23 career plate appearances vs. Aceves, and Brandon Moss has one home run in two career at-bats against the right hander. David Ortiz has struggled mightily in his career vs. Colon, going 6-for-46 and striking out 15 times, though he does have a home run.
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Jackie Bradley Jr. bounces back, more offense from Jose Iglesias, Michael Almanzar’s run continues||04.23.13 at 11:39 am ET|
A quick look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system on Monday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 8-2 WIN AT ROCHESTER (TWINS)
– Perhaps it was as simple as Jackie Bradley Jr. needing a couple of days to get his feet under him after being sent down to Triple-A. After a 1-for-8 start in his first two contests with Pawtucket, Bradley offered a reminder of why he opened the year in the big leagues in the first place. He went 3-for-4 — a single to right, a single to left, a double to left — and received an intentional walk in five trips to the plate. It still wasn’t quite vintage Bradley — not including the intentional walk, he saw just 10 pitches in the other five plate appearances — but the fact that he had his timing and was making hard contact after not doing so for his final weeks in the big leagues was noteworthy.
It was Bradley’s 10th career three-hit game and the 11th time that he’s reached base four or more times in a game.
– Ryan Lavarnway went 2-for-5 with a double, and for the fifth straight game, he did not strike out. In 11 games this year, he has seven walks and seven strikeouts, with the frequency of his walk rate and ability to put the ball in play reflected in a solid early batting average (.310) and OBP (.423).
– Jose Iglesias went 3-for-4 with a pair of singles to center and one to right, a season high for hits. It was his second multi-hit game since being sent to Pawtucket. Read the rest of this entry »
|David Ortiz gets standing ovation at restaurant after (expletive) speech||04.23.13 at 5:37 am ET|
D’Angelo Ortiz had heard his father swear before. That usually comes with growing up in a major league clubhouse.
But to watch his dad, David Ortiz, drop an expletive in front of what would ultimately be the entire world was a new experience for the 8-year-old.
“He was looking around like, ‘Oops!’ ” David Ortiz said of his son’s reaction to the designated hitter’s well-publicized speech during the Saturday pregame ceremonies remembering the Boston Marathon bombing tragedy.
Ortiz said Monday that he actually thought for a moment that his son, nor anybody else, heard the much-talked-about expletive.
“The microphone kind of came out a second later delay, so I thought I said it and nobody heard me,” he said. “But then I saw everybody screaming and going crazy and I was like, ‘OK, they got it.’ ”
Since uttering the word, Ortiz has been national news, with the reaction being pretty much one-sided, as the DH learned later Saturday night.
“I walked into a restaurant and I got a standing ovation,” he said. “I’m telling you, people stopped eating dinner and were like, ‘Yeah!’ My Twitter account went up like 50,000 people. It had happened to me once when we won the World Series the first time. But this was different. This was like I was a politician and I just won the whole thing.”
And as for any parents or members of the community who might have been offended by Ortiz’ choice of the F-word, he said he hasn’t gotten any sort of pushback.
“I haven’t heard anything negative from nobody,” Ortiz said. “Nobody. Not one person.
“We needed that. You’re not going to see people do that too often. I talked to people before and nobody heard me cursing. We were out of consciousness at the time. Everybody’s mind was just focusing on doing something about what happened. That was just the beginning of getting people their confidence back. This is your [expletive] city!”
|John Farrell on Mike Napoli: ‘I’d hate to think where we’d be without him’||04.23.13 at 1:06 am ET|
In 2011, Mike Napoli hit .320 and slugged .631 with 30 home runs for the Rangers. He said Monday that his swing feels the same way now as it did especially after the All-Star break that year, when he put up a .383/.466/.706 line.
“Last year I really was up and down,” Napoli said Monday. “I didn’t really feel like this last year. [In] 2011, this is how I felt the second half of the year.”
On Monday night, Napoli hit a grand slam and a double, finishing with 5 RBIs, in a 9-6 Red Sox win over the A’s on Monday. After starting slowly in the season’s first few weeks, Napoli is now hitting like the player the Red Sox had hoped to see when they signed him in the offseason. He has four home runs, 25 RBIs and 21 doubles on the year, to go with a 1.001 OPS at Fenway.
Napoli’s past success at Fenway — he entered the season with a 1.107 OPS there — certainly played into the Sox’ pursuit of him in the offseason. Read the rest of this entry »
|For Will Middlebrooks, a welcome change||04.23.13 at 12:54 am ET|
It had reached a point of considerable urgency for Will Middlebrooks. The questions raised by an 11-game slump that had seen him go 4-for-43 with one walk, no extra-base hits and 16 strikeouts had become tiresome. It was time for change.
He got a haircut, changed his wardrobe. Anything was on the table for the third baseman.
“Wore different shoes, ate different. Anything you could think, I tried to flip flop it,” Middlebrooks said. “It worked.”
The evidence of that notion came in the fourth inning, when Middlebrooks jumped on a 2-0 slider over the plate from A.J. Griffin and sent it screaming into the Monster Seats in left field for a three-run homer, his fifth of the year. While that was his only hit in four plate appearances — two of which ended in strikeouts — for both Middlebrooks and his team, the 24-year-old’s first homer in more than two weeks offered a mixture of relief and satisfaction.
“I hit the ball solid. I’m still not where I want to be but I felt like put some better swings on balls today and stuck to my approach throughout the game,” said Middlebrooks. “Confidence is huge in this game. It’s hard to keep having confidence when you keep failing. It’s just good to hit a ball well, and that builds everything back up.”
Still, Middlebrooks is not above the idea of revisiting some of the rituals that offered him a starting point in his effort to emerge from the crater into which he’d fallen of late. He suggested that he might feel compelled to cut his hair anew on Tuesday, with one slight modification.
“Going to tip the barber a little better,” he said.
|Closing Time: Mike Napoli helps Red Sox slam way past A’s||04.22.13 at 10:07 pm ET|
Given the way Mike Napoli has hit of late, it was almost assumed that he would drive in a run or two when he came to the plate with the bases loaded and nobody out in the fifth inning on Monday. But he left no doubt about it, hitting an 0-1 fastball into the left center field stands for the fourth grand slam of his career.
Napoli drove in five runs in total on Monday, with the Sox erupting for five runs in the fifth inning en route to a 9-3 advantage. They ended up needing that cushion when Clayton Mortensen allowed three runs in the eighth inning, but held on to secure a 9-6 victory that snapped a two-game losing streak.
Felix Doubront had his issues in his third outing of the year, but he didn’t need to be perfect with the support he got from his lineup, and especially from his first baseman. Napoli now has 25 RBIs in 19 games, to go with 21 doubles and four homers. He’s driven in 17 of those runs over the last nine games. He is now in striking distance of the Red Sox record for the most runs driven in during the season’s first month, a mark currently held by Manny Ramirez, who had 31 in April 2001.
Napoli’s first RBI of the night came when he drove in David Ortiz with a second-inning double to right. He took a pitch to the inside of his right elbow in the fourth and was visibly in pain, but the grand slam he hit next time up erased any potential concerns about his health. Monday was the fifth time in his career that he’s driven in at least five runs in a game.
Here’s a look at what went right and wrong for the Sox:
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX Read the rest of this entry »
|John Lackey: ‘Still a little bit of something’ in biceps, but feels ready||04.22.13 at 9:23 pm ET|
Red Sox starter John Lackey, after tossing 3 2/3 shutout innings for Double-A Portland, suggested that he answered outstanding questions about whether he would be comfortable on the mound following the right biceps strained that cut short his first and only start of the season on April 6. The 34-year-old said that he was able to throw all four of his pitches, and that even though he still feels some residue of his injury, his arm is comfortable enough to permit him to move forward, perhaps with a start back in the big leagues this coming weekend.
“It’s not 100 percent. There’s still a little bit of something there. But I think five more days of treatment, that should be fine,” Lackey told reporters in Portland. “I was really just concentrating on feeling good mechanically and locating the ball. I didn’t really cut it loose very often — most of the time, just trying to locate the ball, get some grounders, come out of it feeling good. … If I feel pretty good tomorrow, I’m probably done. Probably heading back [to the big leagues].”
He did indeed locate (throwing 45 of 67 pitches for strikes) and elicit lots of groundballs, recording five outs in that capacity, and with each of the three singles he permitted coming on grounders.
Lackey, who wore a wrap over his biceps that he adjusted during the start, said that the rehab start was intended to permit him peace of mind for a return to the big leagues.
“That’s the main reason I came here today as opposed to just going back there and starting,” Lackey told reporters. “Passed that test today. Hopefully move on, keep it moving.”
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