|Red Sox lineup: Jacoby Ellsbury gets his first day off||05.19.13 at 11:08 am ET|
MINNEAPOLIS — With Shane Victorino’s back well enough to play, Jacoby Ellsbury will get his first day off of the season. Victorino is in the lineup against Minneosta lefty Pedro Hernandez, playing center field and hitting leadoff, a spot he hit 31 times last season.
Not starting for the Red Sox for a second straight game is shortstop Stephen Drew, who injured his back during an eighth-inning slide Friday night. Pedro Ciriaco replaces Drew at shortstop, having notched a pair of hits Saturday night.
Here is the Red Sox lineup as they look for the sweep at Target Field:
Shane Victorino CF
Jonny Gomes LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Daniel Nava RF
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Jarrod Saltlamacchia C
Pedro Ciriaco SS
John Lackey P
|Sunday’s Red Sox-Twins matchups: John Lackey vs. Pedro Hernandez||05.19.13 at 8:04 am ET|
The offense carried the Red Sox in their 12-5 win over the Twins on Saturday, with Sox pitchers struggling with command and walking eight batters on the night. John Lackey will look to lead the club to a three-game sweep on Sunday afternoon, taking on left-hander Pedro Hernandez.
Lackey had an impressive start to 2013 despite suffering an injury that sidelined him for most of April. The Red Sox starter allowed six runs in his first 15 1/3 innings while striking out 16 batters. The righty’s last couple of starts haven’t gone quite as well, as he’s given up 13 runs in his last 16 1/3 innings (though only nine of those runs were earned). Lackey comes into his sixth start of the season with a 1-3 record and 4.05 ERA, receiving the loss in each of his last three outings.
It’s become evident that Lackey has had problems pitching out of the stretch this year. When there are runners on, opponents own a .372 batting average against Lackey, but they are batting only .221 when the bases are empty. That trend continued on Tuesday against the Rays. Lackey cruised through his first three innings with a small hiccup in the third, allowing a single to Jose Molina and a double to Yunel Escobar but getting out of the inning unscathed. Things fell apart in the bottom of the fourth, when Lackey gave up six hits. Five runs crossed the plate before all was said and done. It was the second start in a row in which one big inning led to four or more runs.
“We’re just going to go back to the work environment and keep on working a lot more from the stretch than the windup. He’ll be fine,” assured pitching coach Juan Nieves after Lackey’s last outing.
It’s worth mentioning that Lackey hasn’t had the best of luck in his previous few outings. A pop-up that Mike Napoli lost in the Tropicana Field ceiling (it was called a single, yet it would have been a routine play in most other circumstances) led to what would be the decisive two runs of the game on Tuesday night. A checked-swing double from Luke Scott to drive in the first two runs of the inning wasn’t hit hard at all. And back in his start against Minnesota on May 9, Lackey’s errant throw to second on a tailor-made double play ball opened the floodgates and led to four unearned runs, in a game the Sox would drop 5-3.
Hernandez has not been able to stifle the Red Sox in his two career starts against them. The left-hander gave up eight runs on 12 hits to Boston in his major league debut on July 18, 2012, his only appearance in the majors that year. His outing against the Sox during Minnesota’s visit to Fenway earlier this month didn’t go much better; he lasted only two innings, giving up six runs on seven hits, including a grand slam to Jonny Gomes in the bottom of the first inning. Hernandez avoided the loss, however, since the Twins managed a total of 15 runs in the game, but the starter’s ERA inflated to 5.96 from 3.92. The 24-year-old lefty owns a 2-0 record on the season in five starts and two relief appearances.
|John Farrell explains decision to leave in Ryan Dempster||05.19.13 at 12:34 am ET|
MINNEAPOLIS — It had never happened to John Farrell before. The Red Sox manager hadn’t ever gone to the mound and allowed a pitcher to talk him into staying in a game.
But that’s exactly what happened Saturday night.
With Ryan Dempster sitting at 122 pitches (four more than any Red Sox pitcher had thrown in a single game this season), the Red Sox clinging to a three-run lead with two outs in the fifth inning and Minnesota’s Jamey Carroll coming up, Farrell strolled to the mound for what appeared to be the execution of a pitching change.
But Dempster told his manager he had enough left to get that inning’s final out. That was good enough for Farrell.
“Well, he kind of talked his way into it,” said Farrell of Dempster after the Red Sox’ 12-5 win over Minnesota. “In hindsight, probably should have made the move at the time, but still, it’s a veteran guy who was fine physically in terms of his arm, he didn’t feel anything. But trying to get him the last out of the fifth to give him a chance to win.”
Five pitches later, Carroll rifled a single into right, scoring Pedro Florimon and bringing up the potential game-tying run to the plate in the form of Joe Mauer. That would be it for Dempster, whose pitch total was the highest since Sept. 13, 2011, and marked just the second time since 2001 he had reached such heights.
“Well, [pitching coach] Juan [Nieves] and I were talking about the fact I make a trip to the mound and don’t make a pitching change, that’s a rarity,” Farrell said. “You want to give the guy every opportunity to record a win but at that point the game was in jeopardy as well as the high number of pitches. It’s a delicate balance but at some point that decision had to be made.”
“He just asked me if I had enough in the tank to get the last hitter. I did. I made a good pitch,” said Dempster, who threw four sliders and a splitter to Carroll. “Jamey went out and hit a pitch a foot off the plate down around the other batter’s box. He threw his bat at it and hats off to him. I made a pitch there and it wasn’t quite good enough.”
The end result was a frustrating, 4 2/3-inning outing in which the starter allowed five runs on eight hits and six walks.
“I just couldn’t throw it where I wanted to throw it,” Dempster said of his fastball. “I kept missing away with it, missing up with it, missing off the plate with it. I didn’t really have any of my pitches tonight. That’s frustrating when you’re out there and can’t throw your fastball where you want, can’t throw your split where you want and can’t throw your slider where you want. Just have to work on it between starts and get them next time.”
Neither Farrell nor Dempster thought that extra rest would be needed despite the elevated pitch count. The last time he totaled as many pitches, the righty did bounce back to turn in two solid outings (13 innings, 4 runs).
“I’m a pretty good judge of my body. I’m going to do what I need to get ready,” the pitcher said. He added, “I was tired. But you’ve just got to go out there and recover. Recovery days are huge.”
|Closing Time: David Ortiz powers Red Sox to rout of Twins||05.18.13 at 11:04 pm ET|
MINNEAPOLIS — David Ortiz is at it again.
The Red Sox designated hitter almost single-handedly carried his team to an 12-5 win over the Twins Saturday night at Target Field, with Ortiz claiming the 40th multi-home run game of his career via a pair of blasts. It marked the fourth time in Ortiz’ career he has claimed six RBIs, having last accomplished the feat Aug. 12, 2008.
It was the fourth straight win for the Red Sox.
In the 21 games he has notched at least one hit (out of 24), Ortiz is hitting .420, and is 9-for-19 on the current road trip. At Target Field, the DH is hitting .500 (19-for-38) with five home runs.
“It used to be, but not any more,” said Ortiz when asked if the success meant anything more that it was against his old team. “I just go about my business. You guys see me try to hit the moon every time I go to hit everywhere. It’s not new.”
Also helping the Sox’ offensive onslaught was Daniel Nava, whose seventh-inning, two-run helped cap a game-changing four-run frame for the Sox. The outfielder joined Will Middlebrooks, Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz as members of the Red Sox claim multi-hit games.
The were moments of discomfort for the Red Sox, especially in the fifth inning when Ryan Dempster couldn’t manage to get the final out of the frame before being removed for Clayton Mortensen. Red Sox manager John Farrell left the starter in for 127 pitches (the second-most he had thrown since 2001), having had to watch the Twins bring the potential go-ahead run to the plate.
“Might have been our best offensive night of the year,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “We worked deep counts, we drove the baseball, a big night by David again, Daniel Nava continues to drive the ball with some authority but we had good at-bats up and down the lineup all night tonight and as it turns out, we needed every run. The middle innings kind of got a little dicey for us, tried to get Ryan through that fifth inning with every available pitch but we had gotten to the point where I had to make a move there.”
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ 26th win of the season:
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Ortiz got the Red Sox on the board right away in the first inning, launching a three-run homer well up into the right field seats with one out. It was Ortiz’ fourth home run at Target Field in 41 plate appearances. The blast scored Jacoby Ellsbury (single) and Pedroia (walk).
Ortiz accounted for the Sox’ second run, as well, ripping a single into right field to score Jonny Gome in the third. Gomes had drawn a one-out walk, which was followed by Pedroia’s infield single. The hit allowed for a 4-1 Red Sox lead.
With runners on second and third with one out in the second, Aaron Hicks hit a slow ground ball just inside the bag at third base. Middlebrooks managed to back-hand the ball and fire home to catcher Ryan Lavarnway. The Red Sox proceeded to execute a nifty 5-2-6-1 putout after a brief rundown, keeping runners at first and second.
Pedroia extended the Red Sox’ lead to three runs with an RBI double in the fifth, scoring Gomes. The second baseman is now 7-for13 with runners in scoring position and nobody out this season. He also is hitting .410 over the last 10 games with five doubles, five RBI and 11 runs scored.
The Red Sox extended their lead to 7-2 in the fifth thanks to Nava’s sacrifice fly and a run-scoring single out of Lavanrway. For Nava, it was his 12th RBI in 17 plate appearances when facing a righty with a man on third.
With the bases loaded, one out and the Red Sox leading by two in the sixth, Aaron Hicks lofted a shallow fly ball into right field. Pedroia not only went back to make a basket catch, but whirled around and fired a strike to Lavarnway in time to get Ryan Doumit trying to tag up. (Lavarnway absorbed a fairly sizable collision in completing the double play.)
“That’s the first time I’ve completed a backwards somersault in a long time,” Lavarnway said. “So I’m pretty happy with it.” Regarding the collision, the catcher added, “You know what I think he might have go the worst out of it. I think my face mask might have hit him in the face. I’m not a small person, so…”
Napoli, who had drawn just 11 walks this season, claimed three free passes for the first time as a Red Sox. It was a feat he managed four times in 2012 on the way to earning 56 walks for the season.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Immediately after seemingly getting out of a jam in the second inning with the 5-2-6-1 double play, Pedro Florimon came right back and singled in the hosts first run. Florimon now has hits in four of the five games he has seen Boston pitching this season. Minnesota did strand a pair in the inning when Dempster fanned Joe Mauer.
The Twins cut the Red Sox’ lead to 4-2 in the fourth when Justin Morneau singled in Mauer. Dempster was able to get out of the inning without any further damage, but had already thrown 97 pitches through four.
The fifth was a disaster for Dempster and the Sox, with the righty quickly running out of gas even before Jamey Carroll sent the pitcher to the showers with five-pitch at-bat, culminating in an RBI single. The good news for Dempster and the Red Sox is the last time he threw as many as 127 pitches (in 2011) he came back with two strong outings (4 runs, 13 innings). The pitch total was the most by a starter who didn’t make it through five innings since Carlos Zambrano (2004).
“Throwing strikes. That was a big problem,” Dempster said. “I just didn’t have any command tonight. That sucks. But at the end of the day, we won the game and that’s really all that matters. You can take positives. I fought out of some bases-loaded jams early in the game that kept the game close. Just didn’t hang in there to get the win, but we won the game.”
|Jacoby Ellsbury was slated for off day, but Shane Victorino not quite ready||05.18.13 at 6:24 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell had planned to give Jacoby Ellsbury his first day off of the season Saturday night, but Shane Victorino’s back still wasn’t quite healthy enough to allow for the outfielder’s return to the lineup. Victorino would have hit leadoff and played centerfield.
Farrell did say prior to the Red Sox’ game against the Twins Saturday night at Target Field that there is some hope that Victorino is ready to return for the teams’ series finale.
“He was hopeful for today last night,” said Farrell of Victorino, who left Thursday night’s game in the ninth inning after colliding with the Tropicana Field fence. “He’s a hard guy to keep out of the lineup because he wants to get in every day and he’ll probably push it or risk it a little bit more than maybe we’re comfortable with. I think the additional day will be good.
Ellsbury is hitting .247 with a .312 on-base percentage, having stolen 13 bases in 15 attempts. Heading into Saturday night’s game, the center fielder was 2-for-15 with three walks on the current road trip. Both Twins starters for the series’ final two games — Scott Diamond and Pedro Hernandez — are left-handers.
“Still some inconstancies with the timing,” said Farrell regarding Ellsbury. ” There’s time where he’ll show good patience, he’ll work deep in the count, and the next at-bat may be a little bit over aggressive trying to make something happen. And it comes down to timing. We see him where he’s squaring up some balls, he gets on base and he’ll create some havoc. But the consistency to which he’s made himself known for is a little elusive right now. He’s a key part for us. We need him to, and we may need to work with him, to get him going everyday. But his consistency has a huge effect and a huge impact on who we are offensively.”
In other injury news, Stephen Drew experienced some pain in his back while running through some hitting, fielding and throwing drills earlier Saturday afternoon, leading to the shortstop’s exclusion from the lineup. Drew, who tweaked his back while beating out a double in the eighth inning of Friday night’s game, had been slated to hit seventh against Diamond.
|Saturday’s Red Sox-Twins matchups: Ryan Dempster vs. Scott Diamond||05.18.13 at 5:27 pm ET|
The Red Sox look to extend their winning streak to four games on Saturday night, with Ryan Dempster taking the hill against Twins lefty Scott Diamond.
Dempster was roughed up by the Blue Jays in his last outing on Sunday, allowing a season-high six runs on seven hits in five innings, coming out on the losing end of a 12-4 count. The starter’s ERA climbed to 3.75 from 2.93 after the loss, and he failed to go more than five innings for the first time since his second start of the season. His three home runs allowed were the most of any Red Sox starter in a single outing in 2013.
“I didn’t make good pitches and I’ve got to do a better job” Dempster said after the game. “There were sliders that were left up in the zone and I just didn’t have the slider I normally have, and that’s unfortunate.” Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia agreed that the Sox starter was off his game, adding, “He made some good pitches, but I felt like the game plan changed a little bit today from the last few games. … It just seemed any mistake we made, they were all over it.”
Despite the subpar performance against Toronto, Dempster has been a solid No. 3 starter in a reliable Red Sox rotation. Hitters are only batting .205 against Dempster over his eight starts this season, and he’s managed to strike out an average of 11.4 batters per game. Dempster has also avoided getting knocked out of the game early, going at least five innings and throwing over 90 pitches in every one of his outings in 2013.
The veteran righty has faced the Twins five times before in four starts and one relief appearance. A lifetime 5.19 ERA against the Twins is partially due to the 10 runs he allowed in his first outing back in 2002, but Dempster has only given up four earned runs in his last 21 innings against Minnesota. He took on the Twins during the last homestand, going seven innings while allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits and a walk while striking out eight.
He’ll be matched up against Diamond, like Dempster a native of Canada, for the second time this year. The Red Sox were not able to figure out Diamond in his first career start against the club; the lefty threw seven innings of three-hit, shutout ball, earning his third win of 2013. His last start wasn’t quite as dominant, however, as he gave up six runs to the Orioles on nine hits, including three home runs, one more than his season total prior to the start. The loss extends an unfortunate streak for Diamond, who has not won at his home park, Target Field, in nine starts.
“I got eaten alive out there,” Diamond said after the loss. “It was frustrating, I definitely left a lot of balls up in the zone today and paid for it.”
Diamond owns the second-lowest ERA in a very mediocre Minnesota rotation, coming into the game with a 3-3 record and 4.08 ERA. The lefty has only 15 strikeouts on the season in 35 1/3 innings, which is not out of the ordinary in the Twins rotation. None of the five starters have more than 22 strikeouts on the year.
|Red Sox lineup: Shane Victorino, Stephen Drew sit||05.18.13 at 3:48 pm ET|
MINNEAPOLIS — Shane Victorino is out of the lineup for a second consecutive day after suffering a back injury on Thursday night against the Rays. With the Red Sox facing a left-handed starter in Scott Diamond of the Twins, Jonny Gomes — who had the game-winning sac fly in the 10th inning of Friday’s game — will bat second and play left field, with Daniel Nava in right.
Similarly, with a southpaw on the mound, Ryan Lavarnway will get the start behind the plate for Ryan Dempster. Stephen Drew will also get a day off, with Pedro Ciriaco at shortstop.
RED SOX LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Jonny Gomes, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, RF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Ryan Lavarnway, C
Pedro Ciriaco, SS
Ryan Dempster, RP
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