Archive for June, 2009

Red Sox at Orioles Match-Ups, 6/30

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

In 2004, Rich Hill was among the nearly 3.2 million fans who turned out for the Red Sox victory parade following the team’€™s first World Series win in 86 years. Five years later, the Boston native will have a significant reason to root against the club he rooted for while growing up: he’€™ll be facing them on the mound for the first time in his career.

While it may be difficult for Hill to face the team he grew up admiring, he certainly can’€™t afford to let distractions get in the way of his performance. In eight starts this season, Hill has gone 3-2 with a bloated 6.03 ERA ‘€“ not to mention, he’€™s only twice managed to stay in the game for over six innings in 2009.

His counterpart tonight is John Smoltz, another pitcher who will be looking to find his form. Following a lengthy recovery from shoulder surgery to start the season, Smoltz finally pitched his first game in a Sox uniform last Thursday against the Washington Nationals, lasting only five innings and giving up five earned runs.

Though Smoltz allowed four runs in a rough first inning last week, he eventually settled down and allowed just one run on three hits over the next four innings in Washington. He’€™s finally healthy, and he’€™ll be pitching against an Orioles team that has dropped five of their last seven and currently occupy last place in the AL East. What’€™s more, the Orioles are winless against the Sox this season.

Smoltz has faced the Orioles just six times in his career, going 1-1 with a 4.37 ERA against the Bird.

ORIOLES VS. SMOLTZ

Robert Andino (9 career plate appearances against Smoltz): 1-for-9, 6 strikeouts
Gregg Zaun (9): 1-for-8, walk, 5 strikeouts
Ty Wigginton (7): 3-for-7, strikeout
Aubrey Huff (5): 1-for-4, walk, strikeout
Brian Roberts (5): 2-for-5
Luke Scott (3): 0-for-2, HBP
Melvin Mora (1): 0-for-1, strikeout

RED SOX VS. HILL

Jason Bay (16 career plate appearances against Hill): 1-for-14, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Mike Lowell (1): 1-for-1

Red Sox Place Mike Lowell on 15-Day Disabled List

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

The Boston Red Sox today placed third baseman Mike Lowell on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to June 28) with a right hip strain and recalled first baseman/outfielder Jeff Bailey from Triple-A Pawtucket.  Bailey is wearing No. 55 and is active for tonight’€™s game against the Orioles.

The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein.

Lowell, 35, is hitting .282 (75-for-266) with 18 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 41 RBI and 30 runs scored in 68 games for Boston this season.  The right-handed hitter has made starts in just two of the Red Sox’€™ last nine games and returned to Boston following Sunday’€™s game in Atlanta.  On Monday, Lowell received an injection of Synvisc in his right hip.  The third baseman underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip during the offseason.

For Bailey, 30, it is his second stint with the Major League club this season.  The right-handed hitter was originally selected to the active roster on April 22 and went 13-for-69 (.188) with three doubles, one triple, three home runs, nine RBI and 10 runs scored in 23 games before being optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket on May 31.  In 36 games with the PawSox this season, Bailey is batting .259 (36-for-139) with 13 RBI and seven home runs, tied for the second-most on the club.  He has hit safely in each of his last nine games beginning June 20, going 12-for-34 (.353) in that time.

Lowell: Shot went well

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell reported that the shot of Synvisc administered to his surgically repaired right hip on Monday morning in Boston went well. The doctors discovered more fluid in the area than originally anticipated, which explained his recent discomfort.

“I guess the main thing was that they weren’t really expecting to find fluid in there, but they ended up finding a significant amount of fluid so I think that’s a good thing,” Lowell said. “They took the bad stuff out and put the good stuff in. I’m a little bruised from the injection itself but I do feel I have a lot more mobility. I think I’ll be able to tell more tomorrow when I get stretched out and stuff.

“At least for me mentally, it’s a comforting feeling, that there was fluid in there and they took it out. It explains why there was discomfort. It makes a lot more sense to me. You can bank on the fact that everything structurally is fine and your body is trying to protect itself when it’s in a vulnerable state. If there wasn’t fluid I would say, ‘What’s causing it?’ I’m happy they found it. But I think the next few days will be big.”

It is unlikely Lowell will join the team in Baltimore for the remainder of the Red Sox’ three-game series, instead staying behind to work with physical therapist Scott Waugh. The third baseman suggests that Thursday should be the deciding day as to whether he can re-enter the lineup Friday, or whether he might have to land on the 15-day disabled list. (Lowell, whose only action this weekend came when he entered Saturday’s game as a pinch-hitter, has played in just three of the Sox’ last eight games.)

“If I don’t have a big improvement in mobility and flexibility and all of that I have to believe their going to think of something DL-wise, but if I feel really good I might play Friday,” he said. “So Thursday is the day we chart what’s going on.

“I kind of felt like I had a little more space to move around with, but that’s just walking. I just have a little bit of an ache because of the needle that went in that area. I think after that wears off, probably by tomorrow morning, I’ll know, and I’ll know for sure once I stretch with Scotty.”

Red Sox vs. Orioles Match-ups, 6/29

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Tonight, Jon Lester takes to the hill against the AL East cellar-dwelling Baltimore Orioles. The southpaw, who comes into the game with a 6-6 record, will face a lineup carrying a .273 average, good enough for fifth in the majors. Lester will get his first dose of rookies Matt Wieters and Nolan Reimold if they’re in the lineup this evening.

Here’s how the Orioles hitters have done against Lester:

Nick Markakis (26 at-bats) .240 avg/.269 OBP/.400 SLG (4 2B, 1 RBI)
Brian Roberts (25 at-bats) .273/.360/.545 (HR, RBI)
Aubrey Huff (24 at-bats) .364/.417/.636 (HR, 2RBI)
Melvin Mora (18 at-bats) .176/.222/.176 (2 RBI)
Adam Jones (15 at-bats) .417/.533/.417
Gregg Zaun (9 at-bats) .143/.333/.143
Luke Scott (8 at-bats) .000/.000/.000 (3 SO)
Oscar Salazar (5 at-bats) .250/.400/.500
Ty Wigginton (5 at-bats) .600/.600/.800
Robert Andino (2 at-bats) 1.000/1.000/1.000
Felix Pie (2 at-bats) .000/.000/.000

The entire Red Sox lineup will get their first look at Orioles rookie righthander Jason Berken tonight. Berken comes into tonight’s game with a 1-4 record and 6.32 ERA. The Green Bay, Wis., native has fanned 19 batters in 31.1 innings this season for the O’s.

Red Sox at Braves Match-Ups, 6/28

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

In 2005, Brad Penny bet a batboy that he could not down a gallon of milk in an hour. The batboy succeeded in doing so, but threw it up. When the team found out, they suspended the batboy. Penny was quoted as saying “It’s kind of ridiculous that you get a 10-game suspension for steroids and a six-game suspension for milk.”

Anyway, that said here is what today’s pitchers in the Red Sox/Braves tilt have done against their respective opponents:

Brad Penny vs. the Braves

Chipper Jones – .310/.375/.452 (1 HR 10 RBI, 3 SO)      

Nate McLouth – .200/.200/.300 (0 HR 0 RBI, 1 SO)

Garret Anderson – .222/.222/.333 (0 HR 1 RBI, 1 SO)

Dave Ross – .111/.111/.222 (0 HR 0 RBI, 3 SO)

Jeff Francoeur – .286/.286/.714 (1 HR 2 RBI, 1 SO

Kelly Johnson (3) – .667/.667/.667 (0 HR 1 RBI, 1 SO)

Casey Kotchman (3) – .333/.333/.333 (0 HR 0 RBI, 0 SO

Matt Diaz (2) – .500/.500/1.000 (0 HR 1 RBI, 0 SO)

Brian McCann (2) – .500/.500/2.000 (1 HR 1 RBI, 0 SO)

Tommy Hanson, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, made his major league debut earlier this month on June 7th and has since taken no time to prove that he is going to be around for awhile. Through his first four starts in the big leagues, Hanson is 3-0 with an ERA of 3.13. In his last two starts against Cincinnati and the Yankees, he has not allowed a run.

Before he was called up, Hanson was leading the international league in ERA by just .25 over Clay Buchholz.

Lowrie resumes his rehab

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

Jed Lowrie absentmindedly rubbed his left wrist as he spoke Saturday in front of his locker before the Paw Sox home game against Syracuse. Now almost 10 weeks removed from the surgery to repair that area, the wrist — which Lowrie said was at 85 percent of his right wrist when he was last tested a few weeks ago — is less of an impediment to the shortstop’s return to the majors than is the need to simply get back in playing shape.

Lowrie returned to the lineup on Saturday night with Triple-A Pawtucket against Syracuse to resume his rehab with the PawSox. He was in just his third game since undergoing his surgery in mid-April on Tuesday when he was hit by a pitch in the left knee on Tuesday during his first at bat in Norfolk. He remained in the game singling in the top of the third eventually scoring on an Aaron Bates double.

With the three days off, Lowrie’s efforts to regain his timing at the plate and his game stamina have been slowed, at least temporarily.

‘€œI don’€™t have a timetable right now,’€ Lowrie said. ‘€œThe pitch to my knee didn’€™t help on Tuesday. It’€™s only my third real game back because of Tuesday so I’€™m just looking to get at bats.’€

The Sox followed a conservative course in getting the 25-year-old shortstop back into the field.

‘€œIt tightened up on him so we’€™re obviously taking our time on it,’€ said Paw Sox manager Ron Johnson. ‘€œHe rehabbed for a couple days and yesterday he went out for a full pre-game. I talked to him this morning at the airport and he flew back today, not with us, and he said he was ready to go tonight.’€

“He hasn’€™t played a lot,” Johnson continued. “The focus with Jed is to make sure he’€™s ready. This is almost like a ‘€˜re-spring training’€™ for him.

While Lowrie is eager to return, he also recognizes that he will do himself few favors by rushing his rehab or becoming frustrated by the pace of his progress.

‘€œI know I’€™m a major league shortstop and I believe in myself,” said Lowrie. “I’€™ll be back as soon as I can get back.’€

Red Sox at Braves Match-Ups, 6/27

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

Javier Vazquez didn’€™t get a chance to face the Red Sox when the Braves were in Boston last week, and perhaps that was just as well for the pitcher. For his career, Vazquez is 2-6 against the Sox. He seems to have a weakness for throwing homerun balls to his batting Boston counterparts, having given up 11 homers in just 10 games pitched.

Mike Lowell (out of the lineup again today due to hip discomfort) and David Ortiz both have two career homeruns a piece against Vazquez, but look for J.D. Drew to flash his elusive smile as he goes to bat against a pitcher who he’€™s homered off of four times. Well, maybe a smile is a lot to ask of Drew, but at least he’€™ll be happy on the inside.

(The only pitcher against whom Drew has homered more often is Claudio Vargas. Drew has taken Vargas deep five times.)

In his last two starts against Boston, Vazquez has allowed 12 runs in 11 2/3 innings.

On the other side of the ball is 42-year-old Tim Wakefield, who’€™s tied for the most number of wins this season on the Sox pitching staff with Josh Beckett. Wakefield (9-3, 4.47 ERA) will be looking to become the first Boston pitcher to 10 wins in 2009 as he faces a Braves team that didn’€™t go down easy against him last week in Boston. (Wakefield allowed four runs and got a no-decision.)

Ignited by David Ortiz’€™ recent surge and a pitching staff with a 3.38 in their last 23 games, the Sox are 7-3 in their last 10 games and currently hold the American League‘€™s best record at 45-28. The Sox are also 38-24 all-time against the Braves.

BRAVES VS. WAKEFIELD

Garret Anderson (70 career plate appearances against Wakefield): .275 average/ .286 OBP/ .536 slugging, 5 homers, walk, 6 strikeouts
Casey Kotchman (18): .294/ .333/ .529, homer, walk, 2 strikeouts
Chipper Jones (17): .333/ .529/ .500, 5 walks, 2 strikeouts
Gregor Blanco (3): 1-for-3
Yunel Escobar (3): 2-for-3
Brian McCann (3): 1-for-3
Nate McLouth (3): 1-for-3
Martin Prado (3): 2-for-3, strikeout
David Ross (3): 1-for-3

RED SOX VS. VAZQUEZ

Mike Lowell (48 career plate appearances against Vazquez): .283 average/ .313 OBP/ .522 slugging, 2 homers, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Mark Kotsay (39): .200/ .282/ .286, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts
Julio Lugo (29): .296/ .345/ .444, homer, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
J.D. Drew (28): .417/ .500/ 1.000, 4 homers, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts
David Ortiz (26): .304/ .385/ .652, 2 homers, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Jason Varitek (20): .105/ .150/ .158, walk, 9 strikeouts
Kevin Youkilis (14): 1-for-14, 7 strikeouts
Jason Bay (13): 2-for-12, walk, 5 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia (11): 7-for-10, walk, 2 strikeouts
Rocco Baldelli (6): 1-for-6, 3 strikeouts
Brad Penny (6): 1-for-5, 3 strikeouts
Jacoby Ellsbury (4): 0-for-3, walk, strikeout