|Lester’s labors done||07.05.09 at 3:40 pm ET|
It was an odd sort of game for Jon Lester. The left-hander featured sometimes dazzling stuff, his fastball regularly popping the mitt at 97 mph, and he struck out nine batters. But the Mariners hit his mistakes, as Lester gave up eight hits in his seven innings, and he allowed four runs (though just one earned, since three followed a Dustin Pedroia error). Lester logged a whopping 122 pitches, his most this year and the second most in his career, behind only the 130 pitches he threw in his no-hitter against the Royals last year.
Lester finished his day by walking Ken Griffey, Jr., with two outs in the top of the seventh. He leaves behind an inherited runner and a 4-3 deficit to Justin Masterson and the Red Sox.
|Jacoby Ellsbury’s emergence continues||07.05.09 at 3:30 pm ET|
Jacoby Ellsbury just crushed a Brandon Morrow changeup over the Mariners bullpen for his fifth homer of the year. The solo shot brought the Red Sox to within a run, as Boston now trails Seattle, 4-3, after six innings. Ellsbury continues to scorch the ball. He is now hitting .312 in July, after having hit .300 or better in each of the prior two months. His extra-base power has also been more frequently in evidence since the beginning of June.
|A bizarre turn of events for Pedroia, Cedeno||07.05.09 at 2:44 pm ET|
Ronny Cedeno entered this three-game series against the Red Sox with a .130 batting average that was, by far, the worst in the majors. But he’s gone 4-for-11 in this series, including a huge two-run homer on Friday and a three-run triple down the right-field line against Jon Lester and the Sox today that just put the Mariners ahead, 3-2, heading into the bottom of the fourth. With the bases loaded and two outs, Cedeno sliced a pop-up down the right-field line, a bit short of the Pesky Pole. Right-fielder J.D. Drew’s sliding attempt failed, and the ball hit the warning track and bounded down the low fence, Drew scrambling to prevent an inside-the-park grand slam.
Cedeno’s triple would not have happened but for a rare error by second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who undid the good deed of his first-inning homer. With one out and two on, M’s catcher Kenji Johjima grounded to third. Kevin Youkilis’ relay to second was slightly wide of the bag, but though Pedroia had to reach to his right to backhand the throw, it was catchable. Pedroia, however, failed to corral it, and so rather than being the second out of the inning, the Mariners had three runners on and one out. Lester nearly escaped, striking out Chris Woodward, but Cedeno’s hit-’em-where-they-ain’t triple left the Sox facing a one-run hole.
So, Lester is trailing, despite not having given up a run (all three fourth-inning runs were unearned due to the Pedroia error) and despite the fact that his stuff is electric. Despite a mid- to high-90s fastball, and a cutter and curve that have both been swing-and-miss offerings, he has given up seven hits through his first four innings.
|Wakefield the star among Red Sox’ six selections||07.05.09 at 1:59 pm ET|
Now in his 17th major-league season, Tim Wakefield is a rookie again.
The 42-year-old, who broke into the majors in 1992, was selected to the All-Star team for the first time. A distinguished career has come into somewhat sharper focus this season on the strength of the knuckleballer’s 10 wins, tied for the most in the American League.
At 42, Wakefield is the second-oldest first time All-Star in history, behind only Satchel Paige, who was 45 years old when selected for the 1952 game. (Paige turned 46 the day before that year’s contest.) Wakefield is 10-3 with a 4.30 ERA this year.
Sox left-fielder Jason Bay and second baseman Dustin Pedroia were voted onto the American League squad as starters.
Following his 2008 MVP campaign, Pedroia is hitting .285 with a .365 OBP and .742 OPS. He is tied for sixth in the A.L. with 57 runs and tied for ninth with 23 doubles. He is also tied for the A.L. lead with 11 three-hit games, and tied for the major-league lead with three four-hit games, and is second to teammate Kevin Youkilis in batting average with runners in scoring position (.368). Pedroia is the A.L. starting second baseman for the second straight year.
After a recent slump, Bay is hitting .259 with a .366 OBP and .894 OPS. He leads the American League with 70 RBIs, and is tied for sixth Sox with 19 homers. He has been particularly successful in close-and-late situations, as he has five homers in the seventh inning or later with his team ahead by one run, tied, or with the tying run batting, on base or on deck. Bay is also tied for the A.L. lead in outfield assists (8). This will be his third All-Star game, but his first as a starter.
Kevin Youkilis was beaten out as the A.L.’s starting first baseman by Mark Teixeira, but made the team as a reserve. Youkilis is hitting .306, leads the A.L. with a .429 OBP and is second in the league with a 1.008 OPS. He leads the A.L. in batting with runners in scoring position (.375). Youkilis is an All-Star for the second time, having also been chosen for the game last year.
Josh Beckett (9-3, 3.67) was selected as a member of the All-Star pitching staff. He struggled to a 2-2 record and 7.22 ERA in April, but has followed that with one of the best stretches of his career. In his last 11 starts, he is 7-2 with a 2.35 ERA, and ranks fifth in the A.L. in wins (9, 5th) and strikeouts (99, 5th). Beckett is making his second All-Star squad, having done so in 2007.
Jonathan Papelbon made the All-Star team for the fourth time in as many years as the Red Sox closer. His 20 saves are fourth in the A.L., and his 1.75 ERA is fifth best among A.L. relievers.
Papelbon and Beckett were named through the votes of their peers. Wakefield and Youkilis were both selected for the team by Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, who is managing the team.
|Dustin Pedroia Vouches for his All-Star Selection||07.05.09 at 1:47 pm ET|
About 30 minutes after the announcement that he had beaten out Ian Kinsler in fan voting to be the starting second baseman of the American League All-Star squad, Dustin Pedroia took a swing worthy of the honor. He jumped on a 94 mph first-pitch fastball from Seattle starter Brandon Morrow, clearing the Monster Seats with his third homer of the year (and ending a 124 at-bat homerless drought).
Not to be outdone, David Ortiz — now batting cleanup — crushed a 96 mph fastball over the Red Sox bullpen and into the right-field bleachers for his ninth homer of the year. The two solo shots have put the Sox ahead, 2-0, in the bottom of the first.
|Red Sox vs. Mariners Match-Ups, 7/5||07.05.09 at 12:51 pm ET|
Jon Lester vs. the Mariners
The last time Jon Lester faced the Mariners in mid-May, he was hammered for five runs and two homers in 5.2 innings. He took the loss, dropping his record to 2-4 with a 6.51 ERA. He vowed to work harder than any other pitcher until he found the map to success that day. The result: in eight subsequent starts, he is 5-2 with a 2.41 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 52.1 innings.
Ichiro Suzuki – .357/.357/.786 (2 HR 3 RBI, 1 SO)
Mike Sweeney – .250/.357/.250 (0 HR 1 RBI, 2 SO)
Franklin Gutierrez – .100/.100/.100 (0 HR 2 RBI, 6 SO)
Kenji Johjima – .375/.444/.375 (0 HR 0 RBI, 0 SO)
Josh Wilson – .000/.111/.000 (0 HR 0 RBI, 2 SO)
Jose Lopez – .143/.250/.143 (0 HR 0 RBI, 0 SO)
Wladimir Balentien – (3) .333/.333/.667 (0 HR 0 RBI, 0 SO)
Russell Branyan – (3) .667/.667/1.000 (0 HR 0 RBI, 1 SO)
Ken Griffey Jr. – (3) .000/.000/.000 (0 HR 0 RBI, 0 SO)
Chris Woodward – (2) .000/.000/.000 (0 HR 0 RBI, 2 SO)
Brandon Morrow vs. the Red Sox
Random detail about Brandon Morrow as he prepares to make his fifth start of the season: prior to the 2006 draft, the Mariners told Daniel Bard that they were considering taking him (back in his days as a starter at UNC) with the sixth overall pick of the draft. Instead, they went with Morrow, whose power arsenal suggested a guy who could reach the big leagues quickly as a reliever. Morrow is now being converted to starting duty (he’s making his fifth start of the year), while Bard is enjoying a successful first taste of the bigs as a reliever.
J.D. Drew – (5 career plate appearances against Morrow) .000/.600/.000 (0 HR 0 RBI, 1 SO)
Jason Varitek – (5) .200/.200/.400 (0 HR 1 RBI, 2 SO)
Dustin Pedroia – (4) .250/.250/.250 (0 HR 0 RBI, 1 SO)
Julio Lugo – (3) .333/.333/.667 (0 HR 0 RBI, 1 SO)
Kevin Youkilis – (3) .000/.333/.000 (0 HR 0 RBI, 1 SO)
Jacoby Ellsbury – (2) .000/.000/.000 (0 HR 0 RBI, 0 SO)
Mark Kotsay – (1) .000/.000/.000 (0 HR 0 RBI, 1 SO)
|Mariners Trip Red Sox in Extras, 7-6||07.03.09 at 10:20 pm ET|
Though the Red Sox rallied to erase a two-run deficit in the eighth inning and send the game into extra innings, the Mariners responded with a rally of their own in the 11th to claim a 7-6 win.
The rally came against reliever Ramon Ramirez, whose record dropped to 5-3 for the year. Ramirez jumped ahead, 1-2, against leadoff man Franklin Gutierrez, but the Seattle centerfielder knocked a fastball back up the middle for a single. Ramirez then walked Ryan Langerhans to put runners on first and second with no outs. Following a sac bunt by Chris Woodward to put runners on second and third, Rob Johnson softly poked on 0-2 pitch down the right field line.
The Sox responded with a rally of their own in the bottom of the 11th. Catcher George Kottaras jumped on a 98 mph fastball from Mariners reliever Mark Lowe, crushing it over the visiting bullpen in right for his first career homer. J.D. Drew then ripped a single to right (also on a 98 mph fastball) to put the tying run on first. But Dustin Pedroia grounded into a fielder’s choice to third, with Drew getting forced at second to end the game.
The Sox’ record fell to 4-3 in extra innings this year with the loss. Their lead over the Yankees in the division fell to 2.0 games.
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