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Closing Time: Twins 5, Red Sox 2

04.12.10 at 7:14 pm ET
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It was a great day for the Twins, who opened their new ballpark with a solid 5-2 victory over the Red Sox. (Recap.) One-time Red Sox great bait Carl Pavano (traded back in ‘€™97 in the Pedro Martinez deal) turned in six strong innings of one-run, four-hit ball. Counterpart Jon Lester, meanwhile, struggled, allowing four runs in five innings.

Lester nearly avoided harm in each inning, but ended up permitting all four runs with two outs.

The Sox now enter Tuesday’€™s off-day with a 3-4 record.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE SOX

Jacoby Ellsbury avoided a serious injury

Though Jacoby Ellsbury was out of the lineup on Monday, he should not be sidelined for too long. Ellsbury suggested to reporters that he could be back in the lineup as soon as Wednesday.

Dustin Pedroia is raking

Dustin Pedroia lashed a double (his second of the year), had a pair of line outs to center and added a sac fly in the eighth. He is now slugging .750 in the young season, and has driven in a team-high eight runs.

David Ortiz drove a ball to the opposite field

In a promising sign for David Ortiz, he took a 90 mph fastball on the outside corner from Twins starter Carl Pavano and drove it to the wall in left-center. When left-fielder Delmon Young failed to corral it, it dropped for a run-scoring double, Ortiz’€™ third hit of the year.

However, it was a good news/bad news sort of day for Ortiz, who also struck out looking at a thigh-high Pavano fastball on the inside part of the plate and later struck out swinging on a slider from left-hander Brian Duensing.

He went 1-for-4, and is now hitting .136 with a .436 OPS.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE SOX

–Lester’€™s April Struggles Continue

It’€™s not as if Jon Lester was tattooed. Of the nine hits he gave up in five innings, just one (a Joe Mauer double down the left field line) went for extra bases. Some of the hits were of the bat-shattering variety.

Nonetheless, it was another instance in which Lester struggled with his location, something that has become a common theme of his April difficulties. Just 55 percent (59 of 107) of Lester’€™s pitchers were strikes, and he walked three batters, two of whom ended up coming around to score.

Lester has allowed 4.4 walks per nine innings in March and April, and 3.2 walks per nine innings from May through the end of the season. That helps to explain why the left-hander has a 5.08 career ERA in March/April, and a 3.50 mark in all other months.

–The Running Game

Nick Punto swiped a bag in the bottom of the second, making the Sox the first team in the majors to permit 10 stolen bases this year. The Twins went on to swipe another pair of bags, and the Sox have now allowed 12 stolen bases in 13 attempts.

Right now, the team is on pace to allow 278 steals this year. The only team to yield 200 or more steals since 1990 was the 2001 Red Sox, when the diabolical trio of Hideo Nomo (52 steals), Tim Wakefield (32) and Frank Castillo (27) led the charge for a team that opponents to steal 223 times.

Read More: David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester

Ortiz denies wrist injury

04.12.10 at 5:33 pm ET
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Speaking to the Boston Herald, David Ortiz denied a report in Sunday’s Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he was battling an injured left wrist. The initial report suggested that “[f]riends of David Ortiz say the Red Sox slugger’s left wrist is hurting, though he refuses to make excuses.”

Before Monday’s game, Ortiz told the Herald that injuries have not been to blame for his poor start. He entered Monday with a .111 average (2-for-18), and six strikeouts in his previous nine plate appearances.

“Don’€™t pay attention to that crap,” Ortiz said of the report of an injury. “I’€™m fine. If I’€™d have been raking they wouldn’€™t be saying that.”

“I just can’€™t pay any attention to any of this crap going on around me,” he added. “Just play the game. The game is hard enough for people to be talking trash about you and you paying attention to it. You can’€™t listen to it.”

Ortiz suffered a partial tear of a tendon sheath in his left wrist in May 2008. Prior to that injury, Ortiz had a career line of .298/.399/.603/1.002 with the Red Sox. Since then, he has a line of .246/.343/.473/.817.

MLB Power Rankings, 4/11

04.12.10 at 2:15 am ET
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1. Rays (14-5). DRaysBay: “Coming off his worst start of the young season, Price delivered arguably his best start ever.”

2. Yankees (12-6). River Ave. Blues: “I doubt [Vazquez] will miraculously round into form between starts, but he has to be better than yesterday, right?”

3. Phillies (11-7). The Good Phight: “While Rollins can’€™t be expected to break his career-long trend and keep walking at such a high rate when he returns, a bit more patience from Victorino, Polanco and especially Howard will be needed if the Phils plan to continue scoring at a league-best pace.”

4. Cardinals (11-7). Redbird Rants: “Forget about the score and the month and the stakes. These opportunities don’€™t come knocking often. The best of the era face off ‘€“ mano y mano. Lincecum’€™s arm vs. Pujols’€™ bat. Think about it.”

5. Twins (13-6). Nicks Twins Blog: “Slowey and Liriano have both given plenty of reason to believe they can develop into top-end starters.”

6. Giants (10-8). Frisco Fastball: “Ugh. That’€™s the only word I can find in my small vocabulary to describe last nights gem of a game. Well, I can find a few more, but, they’€™re not even appropriate on the raunchiest of porn sets.”

7. Tigers (10-9). Motor City Bengals: “Damon had three hits including two doubles. What’€™s more, he finally got rid of those horrid white shoes.”

8. Angels (10-10). Halos Heaven: “Hard to believe it sometimes, but Torii Hunter is 34 years old.”

9. Athletics (12-8). Athletics Nation: “Given the injuries that have already beset the A’s, and given the lineup on paper even on a good day, you have to be pleased with the first 20 games.”

10. Rockies (10-9). Rox Pile: “Jimenez is, obviously, the best pitcher in MLB right now, and I don’€™t expect him to slow down. Like the Babe, I’€™m going to call my shot: Jimenez WILL have another no-hitter this season.”

11. Padres (11-7). Friar Forecast: “As of this writing, the San Diego Padres are tied for the best record in the National League.”
12. Marlins (10-9). Fish Stripes: “Ichthyomancy is ready for Midnight Baseball.”
13. Blue Jays (10-9). Bluebird Banter: “I do consider Cito a good batting coach but it isn’t working with this group. But then I think that many of these guys couldn’t learn to hit no matter who worked with them.”

14. White Sox (8-11). Sox Machine: The first step in the Rios Acceptance Plan was all his responsibility.  He pretty much had to prove immediately that he wasn’€™t the absolute zero that bummed everybody out over the last two months of 2009.”

15. Cubs (9-10). Goat Riders of the Apocalypse:Right now, whether they are a good team or not, the Cubs are trending upwards.  The offense is getting hits, the pitching is holding back Chicago’s opponents, and the Cubs are playing well.”

16. Red Sox (8-11). Over the Monster: “If this was Tim Wakefield’s last regularly scheduled start, it’ll be a shame.”

17. Mets (9-9). Kranepool Society: “The Mets right now are playing the way Epstein had hoped his Red Sox would when he ran all his statistical analysis that told him pitching and defense is the way to go. Right now the Mets are fueled on that formula.”
18. Dodgers (8-10). True Blue LA: “Counting the playoffs, the Dodgers have won just six of their last 22 road games, and they have lost six consecutive series on the road.”

19. Rangers (8-10). Lone Star Ball: “16 games into the season, and we are already having folks suggest that theRangers need to drop Rich Harden from the rotation to make room for Derek Holland, who is pitching on the same schedule as Harden at AAA and who is tearing it up in the early going.”
20. Braves (8-9). Tomahawk Take: “There is not any one particular thing that is not working; it is a number of problems that has this team reeling.”

21. Astros (8-10). Crawfish Boxes: “Don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but what a difference a week makes.”

22. Nationals (10-9). Capitol Punishment: “Really, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but it’s fun to dream sometimes. And if nothing else, these last few games have let me dream back to ’05 — back when rooting for this team was all kinds of crazy fun.”

23. Mariners (9-10). U.S.S. Mariner: “These one run losses suck, but as long as the M’€™s continue to run out a JV line-up to accommodate the hugging DH tandem, it’€™s hard to argue that they deserve to win.”

24. Brewers (8-10). Brew Crew Ball: “Hopefully the Brewers are good and rested after their off day today.  Don’t get me wrong–there was a game today.  The Brewers just chose not to play.”

25. Diamondbacks (8-10). Venom Strikes: “It has been hard to watch the Dbacks bullpen blow save after save.”

26. Indians (8-10)Indians Confidential: “Sunday was like a fight where the Indians were hit with jab after jab after jab until they simply couldn’€™t answer the bell.”

27. Reds (8-11). Redleg Nation: “The Reds are great now, right? This win changes things, doesn’€™t it?”

28. Pirates (7-11). Raise The Jolly Roger: “It really has been an unbelievably miserable six days for the Bucs.”

29. Royals (7-11). Royals Review: Do you wanna talk about the details or the big picture? Four years into the Moore regime, and they’re still the bumbling Royals.”

30. Orioles (3-16). Camden Chat: “For a team that’s found so many ways to lose over the course of the season, to see them finally find a way to scratch out a win was heartening.”

Red Sox vs. Twins matchups, 4/12

04.11.10 at 6:01 pm ET
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Yes, they are going to be playing outdoor baseball in Minnesota this season. And the Red Sox will be the first team to officially test out the new digs at Target Field (the St. Louis Cardinals did make a visit at the end of spring training) when they open a three-games series with the Twins Monday afternoon.

Jon Lester will be making his second start of the season against a lineup laden with lefthanded hitters. The Sox starter struggled against the Yankees, allowing four earned runs and walking three through five innings in a no-decision. Lester faced Minnesota once last season on May 26, taking the loss in a 5-3 game after going six innings and allowing five runs (all in the fifth inning) while walking three. In that one, Twins first baseman Justin Morneau delivered the big blow with a three-run shot that gave Minnesota an insurmountable lead.

Lester has made two other starts against the Twins in 2008 and struggled in each, giving up five runs (3 earned) in 5.1 innings in one and five earned in 7.1 innings in the other. That history is not a good sign considering that the Minnesota’s lineup is much improved this season ‘€” the traditionally small-ball Twins have mashed an MLB-best 10 homers in their first seven games.

Carl Pavano will get the honor of pitching the opener at Target Field for Minnesota. The well-traveled righty looked great in his first start against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, holding them to just one earned run and striking out six through seven innings. The Sox saw Pavano once last season before he was dealt from Cleveland to Minnesota, when he helped the Indians earn a 3-2 victory by holding the Red Sox to two runs through six innings despite some control issues, as he finished with three walks and hit one batter.

That was a rare good showing from Pavano against the Sox. His career record vs. Boston in six starts is 2-3, with an ugly 7.07 ERA. The Twins and their fans will be hoping for a better showing than that as they would love to usher in the Target Field era with a victory. But the Red Sox will be looking to play the role of spoiler and get their third straight win to move back over .500.

Red Sox vs. Carl Pavano

Adrian Beltre (30 plate appearances vs. Pavano): .276 average/.300 OBP/.571 slugging, 2 triples, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts

Marco Scutaro (16): .308/.400/.538, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Mike Cameron (13): .077/.077/.077, 4 strikeouts

Mike Lowell (12): .364/.417/.545, 2 doubles, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

J.D. Drew (11): .545/.545/.636, 1 strikeout

Jason Varitek (11): .400/.455/.500, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

David Ortiz (10): .571/.600/1.143, 1 home run, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Victor Martinez (4): .667/.750/2.000, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 walk

Bill Hall (3): .667/.667/2.000, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 strikeout

Dustin Pedroia is hitless in three at bats against the Twins starter. Pavano has never faced Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis or Jeremy Hermida.

Twins vs. Jon Lester

Delmon Young (21 career plate appearances vs. Lester): .158 average/.190 OPB/.158 slugging, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts

Brendan Harris (19): .444/.444/.722, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 2 strikeouts

Joe Mauer (10): .222/.300/.222, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Justin Morneau (10): .444/.500/.778, 1 home run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Michael Cuddyer (6): .333/.333/.500, 1 double

Jason Kubel (6): .000/.167/.000, 1 walk

Nick Punto (6): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Denard Span (6): .500/.667/.500, 1 walk

Alexi Casilla (5): .000/.400/.000, 2 walks

Jim Thome (3): .667/.667/.667, 1 strikeout

Lester has never faced the Twins two new starting middle infielders in shortstop J.J. Hardy and second baseman Orlando Hudson. He has also not seen backup catcher Drew Butera.

Closing time: And about that Red Sox offense

04.11.10 at 5:38 pm ET
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All of a sudden the panic that ensued following Friday night’s Red Sox loss at Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City has subsided. Not only did the Sox claim their first series of the season with an 8-6 win over the Royals, Sunday afternoon, but carried a fair share of optimism heading into their three-game set in Minnesota this week.

The much-scrutinized Red Sox offense finished their three-game set in KC having scored 19 runs. This time the Sox finished with 12 hits, led by Dustin Pedroia’s four and three from Adrian Beltre, who is now hitting .400. (Note: The Red Sox did suffer a setback when Jacoby Ellsbury was forced to leave the game with what appeared to be an injury to the left side of his chest after colliding with Beltre going after a foul ball. The team classifies it as a contusion of the ribs, and Ellsbury said after the game he would be fine. ‘€œIt’€™s sore, but I’€™ll be fine,’€ he said to reporters.)

Key moment: Jumping out to a four-run lead out of the gate in the first inning, taking some of the pressure off of Clay Buchholz, who hadn’t pitched in a real, live game in nine days.

What went right for the Red Sox

Not letting Meche breathe: Gil Meche (who was coming off shoulder issues) came out of the gate with superior stuff — a fastball that reached 97 mph and a potentially devastating curveball. But, in the end, a lack of command killed the pitcher who is in the fourth year of a five-year, $55 million deal, with the Red Sox seeing 35 pitches in the first inning on the way to scoring four runs in the initial frame. By the time Meche’s line was complete, he had surrendered seven runs on eight hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings, having thrown 88 pitches.

- Pedroia can hit the high-inside fastball: And, evidently, everything else. Most notably, Pedroia took a high-inside fastball from Meche and snuck it inside the left field foul pole for his team-leading third home run of the season. Pedroia, however, was also able to show his versatility by lining two singles into center and one into right. (All of Pedroia’s singles this season have gone to center or right.) The second baseman contributed to a top of the order that certainly carried its weight, with Ellsbury and Victor Martinez each coming away with two hits apiece. Ellsbury now has multi-hit games in four of his last five starts.

- Manny Delcarmen showed encouraging signs: Delcarmen offered some optimism for the middle of the Red Sox’ bullpen, going two hitless innings. The righty’s fastball sat at 94 mph, and touched 95 mph, which was more velocity than the Red Sox had seen from Delcarmen throughout spring training. He also mixed in seven changeups out of 27 pitches. It was certainly better than his middle-relieving teammate Ramon Ramirez, who continued his struggles by allowing three runs on three hits while not getting a single out in the eighth.

What went wrong for the Red Sox

- The jury is still out on Bill Hall at shortstop: With Marco Scutaro getting the day off (last seen giving J.D. Drew a neck massage with a rolling-pin-type contraption in the Sox dugout), Hall was presented the task of playing a position he hadn’t manned in the major leagues since 2006. On his first chance Hall committed a fielding error on Alberto Callaspo’s one-out pop up in shallow left field, allowing Scott Podsednik to score the Royals’ first run. As for the rest of his chances, Hall acquitted himself well enough, with one throw that was a bit wide, but otherwise no major issues.

- Clay Buchholz has had better outings: The final line wasn’t terrible: 5IP, 2ER, 7H, 2BB, K, 94 pitches, 59 strikes. But Buchholz did walk somewhat of a tightrope for much of the afternoon, throwing first-pitch strikes to less than 50 percent of his 24 batters faced (11). Buchholz allowed at least one batter to reach in each of his five innings. To be fair, other than a simulated game Buchholz’ exposure to live hitters in the last eight days had been nil.

- Not the best of times for David Ortiz: Ortiz not only went 0-for-4, but struck out for all four of the outs (although the third punch-out came on a pitch well outside the strike zone). One thing to note is how many pitches Ortiz is seeing, with the designated hitter seeing 30 pitches in his five at-bats. Ortiz entered the day having seen more pitches per plate appearance than any other Red Sox (4.80), well ahead of any other member of the lineup.

DeVoss shows what Red Sox almost had…

04.11.10 at 2:16 pm ET
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Not every player signs after being drafted. Each June, the Sox aim high in selecting players who have signability questions, with the expectation that they’ll some sizable piles of cash will convince some to turn pro and will leave others unmoved.

Last summer, among those signability questions, the one who came closest to signing but still enrolled in school was Zeke DeVoss. DeVoss is a tremendously athletic player who was taken in the 38th round, having slipped there because there seemed little chance that he would bypass college. The Sox nearly convinced him to change his made, and the two sides made significant negotiating headway before DeVoss ultimately decided to honor his scholarship commitment at the University of Miami. (While discussions were characterized by sources as having come “close,” they never advanced to the point where DeVoss took a physical for the club.)

DeVoss is off to a solid if unspectacular start for the Hurricanes. Entering today’s game, the center fielder is hitting .282/.367/.456 with a pair of homers and 11 steals. But on Saturday, he showed the kind of well-rounded tool set that were the basis of the Sox’ enthusiasm for him.

The switch-hitting DeVoss went 2-for-4 with a homer. But that was far from his signature moment of the day. For that, one would point to his outrageous over-the-shoulder diving catch, which can be found at about the 1:40 mark of the clip below. The Sox anticipated such feats last summer, when DeVoss was among the top “ones who got away” from a draft class that nevertheless appeared rich on promise in spring training this year.

Read More: draft, zeke devoss,

Closing time: Red Sox were battery-charged in win

04.10.10 at 10:18 pm ET
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The Josh Beckett-Zack Greinke showdown lived up the hype, and the Red Sox‘ starter got the upper-hand. The Red Sox jumped all over Greinke with two runs in the fifth and two in the seventh, while Beckett allowed just three runs over seven innings as the Sox avenged their Friday night loss with an 8-3 win over the Royals Saturday night in Kansas City. (Click here for a recap.)

What went right for the Red Sox

The subs produced: Mike Lowell, Jeremy Hermida, and Jason Varitek had one at-bat this season between them coming into Saturday night. There appeared to be little rust on any of them, however, with the trio going a long way to making their presence felt. Lowell supplied a single while making a few stellar plays at third base, Hermida followed up his pinch-hit single Friday night with a solo homer to get the Sox on the board, and Varitek (hitting lefty) followed Hermida’s long ball with one of his own for back-to-back home runs in the fifth. The catcher then added to his output with another homer, this one coming in the ninth.

- Speaking of Varitek: It should be noted that both of the captain’s homers came from the left side of the plate, usually the side of the dish he wouldn’t be called upon to bat from. Both also came on off-speed pitches, the first a curveball and the second a changeup. By the way, Varitek had hit three homer sin Kauffman Stadium back on May 20, 2001.

- Beckett was Beckett: A sign that Beckett was more on this game than in the season debut against the Yankees came when he hit his spot with two curveballs in striking out Royals’ leadoff hitter David DeJesus in the first inning. The Sox’ ace was able to use all of his pitches, turning in what was an extremely economical outing until hitting a rough spot in a 32-pitch seventh inning. He only had four strikeouts and five swings and misses, but kept the ball down, as was evidenced by 12 of his 16 outs coming on the ground.

What went wrong for the Red Sox

Offensively, not much: Going up and down the lineup, the Red Sox got  production from a lot of different places. The only Sox starter not to manage to claim a hit off Greinke Victor Martinez. Dustin Pedroia would have also gone hitless if not for his ninth-inning homer.

Almost a disaster: David DeJesus’ liner back up the middle in the seventh scored Chris Getz to bring the Royals within a run, but that wasn’t the problem. The real anxiety was due to where the ball tracked, which was right of the back of Beckett’s head. While the ricochet changed the ball’s direction, it didn’t alter Beckett’s path, as he finished off the frame without even a visit from the trainers. “I was thinking about how many runs they were going to score. It didn’t hit me that hard,” Beckett told reporters after the game.

They’re still running: Getz had gotten in position to score on DeJesus’ single after stealing second off Beckett and Varitek. The bizarre part about the play was that Varitek didn’t try at all to come out of his crouch. Even with the emphasis on controlling the running game in spring training, the Sox already lead the majors with seven stolen bases against (with one caught stealing). It bears watching.

Five things we learned on ‘Daisuke Day’ in Pawtucket

04.10.10 at 5:50 pm ET
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The second game of the season for the Pawtucket Red Sox added a little more excitement for fans of the major league club. Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Red Sox oft-injured starter, made his 2010 pitching debut with positive results. The right-hander pitched five solid innings in Pawtucket’s 1-0 win over Rochester on Saturday afternoon.

Matsuzaka surrendered only two hits, walked one and hit two batters while striking out three in his debut.

The questions still come up as to what will happen to Matsuzaka when he is healthy and ready to pitch for the Red Sox, but this was a first step and a positive one for a former 18-game winner in the major leagues.

Matsuzaka said he came out of the outing without any discomfort and said that he feels very good after throwing in live game action.

Here are five things we learned from Saturday’s game.

FASTBALL COMMAND AHEAD OF SECONDARY PITCHES

Neck and back issues have hampered Matsuzaka early this season, and it was important to see if he could locate a fastball with consistent velocity. For all accounts the results were encouraging. Matsuzaka was playing in the 88-91 mph range consistently through his five innings and topped out at 93 once while touching 92 a few times.

“I felt I had good feel on the ball out there today,” Matsuzaka said. “I think the best part about today was my fastball command. … The feeling that sort of left over on my fingers after making those pitches felt pretty good in terms of velocity.”

Matsuzaka admitted that his secondary pitches were not up to par yet.

“My fastball was good but my slider and change-up weren’t that great today,” said Matsuzaka, who missed some spots with his offspeed pitches in the fifth, which resulted in one walk and two hit batsmen. “I think I really need those pitches to come along to put a better ball game together.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Red Sox vs. Royals matchups, 4/10

04.10.10 at 5:40 pm ET
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The Red Sox will send Josh Beckett back to the mound for the second time this season Saturday, though the lineup he will be facing won’t be anything near that of the Yankees.

Instead, Beckett will take to the mound at Kauffman Stadium to face the Kansas City Royals. Though the Royals might not be as daunting an opposition offensively, their pitcher will be every bit as good as CC Sabathia, as reigning AL Cy Young winner Zach Greinke will be on the hill for KC.

Greinke went six innings in his first start of the season against Detroit on Monday, allowing 2 runs (one earned) and six hits while striking out four. The Royals couldn’t take advantage of his effort, however, as they ultimately lost the game 8-4.

Greinke only saw the Sox once last season, when he went six innings on September 22, allowing just two hits and racking up five strikeouts, in a 5-1 KC win. He did have some trouble with control, however, as he walked three on the day. In his career, Greinke has started three games against the Sox with a record of 1-2. Despite that, in terms of teams that he has made more than one start against his 2.49 ERA against Boston is second best, trailing only the his efforts vs. the Seattle Mariners, who Greinke has a 3-0 record and 2.14 ERA against in six starts.

Beckett will be trying to rebound from his opening outing of 2010, when he went just 4 2/3 and allowed five earned against the Yankees. More troubling might have been the back-to-back homers he gave up to Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson, as the long ball plagued Beckett at times last season.

Facing the Royals might be just what Beckett needs to find his groove, as he is 5-0 with a 2.03 ERA in seven career starts against KC. Last season Beckett was 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA and 14 strikeouts vs. the Royals, including a complete game shutout at Fenway on July 12. The second performance might have been somewhat deceiving, however, as the Royals had 12 hits off Beckett in his six innings of work on September 23 but could not manufacture runs in a 9-2 Sox win.

Here are the career numbers for each starter against their respective opponent.

Red Sox vs. Zach Greinke

Victor Martinez (45 plate appearances vs. Greinke): .341 average/.400 OBP/.439 slugging, 1 home run, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts

Marco Scutaro (17): .375/.42/.625, 4 doubles, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Adrian Beltre (10): .250/.300/.250, 1 strikeout

David Ortiz (10): .100/.200/.300, 4 strikeouts

J.D. Drew (9): .375/.444/.500, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Jason Varitek (8): .143/.250/.571, 1 home run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Kevin Youkilis (8): .000/.25/.000, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (7): .400/.571/.600, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Bill Hall (4): .000/.250/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Mike Lowell (4): .750/.750/1.000, 1 double

Mike Cameron (3): .500/.667/1.000, 1 double, 1 walk

Jacoby Ellsbury and Jeremy Hermida have both faced Greinke three times, with the Kansas City righty retiring them each time.

Royals vs. Josh Beckett

Jose Guillen (26 plate appearances against Beckett): .250 average/.269 OPS/.292 slugging, 4 strikeouts

David DeJesus (22): .190/.227/.286, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Jason Kendall (21): .125/.333/.125, 5 walks, 2 strikeouts

Yuniesky Betancourt (14) .462/.500/.923, 1 triple, 1 home run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Billy Butler (11): .182/.182/.182, 5 strikeouts

Scott Podsednik (11): .500/.545/.500. 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Mitch Maier (10): .444/.444/.444, 2 strikeouts

Alberto Callasp (9): .111/.111/.111, 3 strikeouts

Brayan Pena (6): .200/.333/.200, 1 walk

Mike Aviles (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Roman Colon and Chris Getz have faced Beckett two and three times, respectivly, and have been retired by the Sox righty each time. Beckett has never faced Rick Ankiel or Willie Bloomquist.

Red Sox vs. Royals matchups, 4/11

04.10.10 at 5:30 pm ET
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Sunday’s pitching matchup features a pair of starters who will be making their first start of the season in the Red SoxClay Buchholz and Kansas City’s Gil Meche.

Buchholz will have had a 10-day layoff since his final start in spring training by the time he toes the rubber in his first action of the 2010 regular season. The 25-year old righthander was 7-4  with a 4.21 ERA in his 16 appearances, with his last victory actually coming against the Royals on Sept. 24. In that game, Buccholz allowed five hits  and no runs while striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings, helping the Sox earn a 10-3 victory.

The only other time he faced Kansas City was in 2008, when he took the loss in a 4-3 game at Kauffman Stadium. In that one, Buchoolz was tagged for all four runs and also struggled with his control, walking three and hitting one batter.

Meche likewise only made one start against Boston last season, and was shelled in a 15-9 Red Sox win at Fenway. The KC starter allowed eight runs (six earned) and let up two homers and three walks on the day, lasting just 3 2/3 innings. 2009 was a forgettable year as a whole for Meche, as he went from a 14-11 campaign with a 3.98 ERA to a 6-10 record and 5.09 ERA. Still, the veteran Meche has been respectable against the Sox throughout his career, compling a 5-3 record with a 4.26 ERA in 10 starts.

This is the first year that Meche did not start the Royals’ opener. He has been recovering from a shoulder injury, but looked strong in tossing five scoreless innings against Royals minor leaguers on Tuesday.

There is not a whole lot to go on here with Buchholz’s history against the Royals, but Meche has some history against the Sox lineup.

Red Sox vs. Gil Meche

Victor Martinez (41 plate appearances vs. Meche): .244 average/.244 OBP/.390 slugging, 3 doubles, 1 home run, 8 strikeouts

Marco Scutaro (29): .292/.414/.458, 1 triple, 5 walks, 4 strikeouts

David Ortiz (26): .375/.423/.917, 4 home runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts

Jason Varitek (20): .188/.350/.375, 1 home run, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts

Mike Lowell (15): .200/.200/.267, 2 strikeouts

Kevin Youkilis (15): .538/.600/.846, 1 home run, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Adrian Beltre (14): .214/.214/.286, 3 strikeouts

J.D. Drew (12): .300/.417/.400, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (12): .545/.583/.909, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Mike Cameron (6): .250/.500/1.000, 1 home run, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Bill Hall and Jeremy Hermida are both hitless in two and three at bats, respectively, against Meche. Jacoby Ellsbury is 0-2 with a sacrifice fly.

Royals vs. Clay Buchholz

Billy Butler (6 career plate appearances vs. Buchholz): .250/.333/.250, 2 strikeouts


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