|07.23.10 at 11:36 am ET|
After Thursday’s near no-hitter turned into an extra-innings debacle, you’d have to guess that the buzz from that contest would dominate the headlines going into Friday’s game between the Red Sox and the Mariners. However, there is one storyline that may even supersede the one coming from what some have already deemed the Red Sox game of the year: the return of ace Josh Beckett. The Sox fireballer hasn’t pitched in the majors since leaving a May 18 game against the Yankees with back issues. This will be just his ninth start of the season. Opposing Beckett on the mound for the Mariners Friday night will be Jason Vargas.
Beckett (1-1, 7.29 ERA) has to hope that his second go-round in 2010 goes significantly better than his first. His ERA was an atrocious 7.29 in those eight starts, and he had allowed five runs or more on four separate occasions. He could not have returned at a better time, as he gets to face the lowly Mariners. Against Seattle in his career, Beckett is 4-1 with a 3.15 ERA. Those numbers only get better at Safeco Field, where he is 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA in two career starts. Additionally, the Mariners as a team rank last in the majors in average (.235) and runs (320). After Ichiro Suzuki’s .312, no other player on the Seattle roster is hitting higher than .264.
Speaking of Ichiro, his matchup with Beckett should be an interesting one to keep an eye on. Surprisingly, the Seattle lefty hitter is just 2-for-18 against the hard-throwing Boston righty. Given that Ichiro easily has been the team’s best hitter this season, that stat is not very comforting for the M’s heading into Friday. Perhaps they’ll have to lean on Russell Branyan, who is having an off year but is hitting .462 against Beckett with two home runs.
While there will be a lot of hullabaloo about Beckett heading into Friday’s matchup, Vargas (6-4, 2.97 ERA) quietly will enter the game as one of the more solid starters in the American League. His ERA is the eighth-lowest in the American League, and in his last two starts he has been nothing short of brilliant, giving up just one run in each game while going at least seven innings against the Yankees and Angels, respectively. Vargas has been even stingier this season in giving up runs at home, where he is 5-1 in 10 starts with a 2.19 ERA.
It should be interesting to see how the Sox match up with Vargas at Safeco, given that all but two of Boston’s position players have seen the Seattle lefty in the past. Perhaps they can get some advice from J.D. Drew, who has yet to be retired by Vargas in three career at-bats against him, going 2-for-2 with a home run and a walk. Read the rest of this entry »
|07.23.10 at 10:54 am ET|
Red Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters prior to Thursday’s game in Seattle that he believes that Josh Beckett‘s four-year, $68-million contract extension had some effect on the starting pitcher.
“I think he tried to live up to his contract, not in a bad way,” Francona said. “He’s a conscientious kid. For whatever reason, regardless of who you are, when the bell rings, you’ve got to kind of get it going, sometimes it takes guys a little longer. Then, his season got interrupted.”
Beckett struggled with a 7.29 over eight starts before going down with a back injury in May. He takes the hill for the first time since that injury Friday night.
|07.23.10 at 10:15 am ET|
Speaking after going 1-for-5 in his rehab stint with the Pawtucket Red Sox, Thursday night at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Red Sox infielder Mike Lowell said that he doesn’t plan to wait until the end of the season to determine if he is going to retire and will make his decision in September. Lowell also said that the time he recently spent at home in Miami with his family “helped” in the decision-making process.
“I’ll let you know in September,” Lowell said when asked if he would wait until the end of the season to make his decision.
“I think those days in Miami I got a nice glimpse of what it would be with my family and it made me really excited for that part of my life. I’m just not totally sold at this point saying, ‘Yes, this is what’s going to happen after the last game this year,’ or ‘No.’ And the good thing I don’t need to. But yeah I think it’s only normal that it’s a major consideration. For sure.
“It didn’t deter me. If anything it helped. I enjoyed it. I think if I felt my kids were driving me crazy and I didn’t like being at home things would be different, but I really enjoyed being with my wife and kids with no agenda.”
Lowell said when meeting with reporters on April 10 that the 2010 season was “probably” his last year. (Click here for his comments.)
As for a potential trade, the Rangers have been confirmed as monitoring the infielder’s status, although they didn’t have a scout in attendance for Thursday night’s game at McCoy Stadium. (Teams represented by scouts in the PawSox’ game against Toledo were Baltimore, Toronto, Kansas City, and Detroit, which had two.)
The 36-year-old, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list (hip), said prior to his outing with the PawSox Thursday night that he plans on playing five games in seven days, finishing with the the PawSox after their second game in Toledo (July 28).
“If I can’t move around, I’ll probably just walk from Toledo to Miami. It’s going to be a pretty easy assessment for me after Toledo,” Lowell said. “I love you guys, but I’m not going to be here 20 days. It’ll cost me too much money. You know how many spreads that is?
“I’m looking like I’m going to be healthy and I’m going to be activated one way or the other. If I’m healthy, I feel like I should be activated. It would be ridiculous point to have a cortisone shot, do a rehab assignment, feel good and not be activated. I don’t think there’s any point in that.”
For more Red Sox coverage see the team page at weei.com/redsox.
|07.23.10 at 8:37 am ET|
ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney tweeted that Boston’s recent acquisition of infielder Jack Hannahan could mean that the team will look to trade fellow utilityman Jed Lowrie. Lowrie just made his return to the big leagues Wednesday after missing the entire first half of the season with mononucleosis. Hannahan played second base, shortstop and third base for Seattle’s Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma before coming over to the Red Sox organization and could replace Lowrie as a jack-of-all-trades infielder. Olney mentions that Lowrie’s rumored destination could be San Diego should the Sox actually choose to move him.
|07.22.10 at 11:48 pm ET|
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — By his own admission, Mike Lowell’s 1-for-5 performance for Triple-A Pawtucket wasn’t his best day.
But a veteran like Lowell knows what to get out of a start as a DH in a minor league rehab assignment. Especially when it’s your first in live game action in over four weeks.
“It was alright,” Lowell said. “I think for seeing live pitching for the first time in over a month it was kind of so-so. I think my timing was off a little. I felt a lot more comfortable as at-bats went on. Obviously, there’s a purpose to being here.”
Lowell made his first rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday night and went 1-for-5 in Pawtucket’s 5-4, 10-inning win over Toledo as the veteran infielder attempts to come back from yet another bout with a strained right hip. Scouts were on hand at McCoy stadium from the Blue Jays, Orioles, Tigers and Royals.
With one out and a runner on third in the first inning, Lowell popped out weakly to second base on a 1-1 pitch. He struck out on four pitches in the third and flew out several feet from the warning track in left leading off the sixth. In his final at-bat in the eighth, Lowell grounded out to third after Daniel Nava reached second base on a throwing error to open the inning.
With none out and Nava at first in the bottom of the 10th, Lowell hit a bloop single to shallow center to move Daniel Nava to third before Nava scored the game-winning run on a single by Lars Anderson down the right field line. Lowell went on the disabled list on June 23 with a strained right hip and received a shot in the hip on Monday.
But most importantly – at least for Lowell himself – he ran out of the batter’s box in the eighth and tenth innings without any pain.
“I’m not anticipating waking up in any pain,” he said with a typically dry smile. “My biggest concern was the running and that felt good so I’m happy with that. I definitely want to swing bat better.”
Lowell will get the day off on Friday as Pawtucket opens a weekend series in Columbus, Ohio. Lowell expects to play back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday, including playing one of the games as a third baseman.
Nava, playing his first game back at Triple-A since being optioned earlier in the day, tied the game, 3-3, on a long three-run homer in the third. Nava batted .286 in 29 games for Boston, including a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in the majors against Philadelphia at Fenway Park on June 12.
|07.22.10 at 6:58 pm ET|
According to a tweet from Pawtucket Red Sox announcer Dan Hoard, the Red Sox have acquired infielder Jack Hannahan from the Seattle Mariners. The 30-year-old has played parts of four seasons with the Tigers, Athletics and Mariners. It is unknown who the Red Sox may have given up in the deal.
Hannahan has not played in the majors this season and has spent his time at Triple A Tacoma. In 63 games for the Rainiers this season, Hannahan has hit .228 with with a .331 on-base percentage, five homers, and 33 runs batted in.
In his major league career, Hannahan has hit .224 with an .311 OBP, 16 home runs, and 90 RBI. He has played 232 of his 290 games at third base.
|07.22.10 at 6:19 pm ET|
ESPN baseball analyst J.P. Ricciardi joined The Big Show on Friday afternoon to talk about the mentality of the Red Sox approaching the trade deadline, the chaos surrounding July 31, and the etiquette between general managers when trying to make a deal.
“I think it’s safe to say that the Red Sox are not going to trade Casey Kelly and any of their really, really good prospects because they know they’re a big part of what their future is going to be,” Ricciardi said. “I can see them doing some minor things, addressing the bullpen and maybe addressing a bat somewhere, but I don’t think you’re going to see them going above and beyond and doing something crazy.”
Ricciardi also touched on the probability of big-name players such as Prince Fielder, Jayson Werth, Dan Haren, and Roy Oswalt being moved over the next nine days.
Below are the highlights of the conversation. Visit The Big Show audio on demand page to hear the interview.
It’s interesting how some teams handle the pressure of the trade deadline different.
A younger team probably doesn’t handle it as well as a veteran club. I think the veterans have been through it before. They can even talk a young kid off the ledge and tell him, “Hey, all you have to do is just keep playing, you don’t control this. Just keep doing your job and concentrate on the things you can control, which is how you go and play.” I have to believe that some of the younger kids that hear their named mentioned, especially for the first time, are probably a little sketchy and a little nervous at this point. This is really the worst week. From Sunday until the 31st that last week, it’s not comfortable walking around guys. As much as your trying to assure guys certain things, there’s just a lot of tension around. Read the rest of this entry »
- Preliminary 'New Stars for Young Stars' lineup announced
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Big weeks for Acosta and Welch
- Gary DiSarcina named Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year
- Red Sox non-tender Ryan Kalish, Andrew Bailey
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Jesus Loya solid at the plate in Mexico
- Help Wanted: Staff Editor, Scouts
- SoxProspects.com Podcast #48: The Slow Season
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Attention shifts to Caribbean, Jerez shining in Venezuela
- Luis Ortega traded to Brewers for reliever Burke Badenhop
- Red Sox re-sign infielder Brandon Snyder