|Closing Time: Powerful July continues for Red Sox hitters||07.27.11 at 10:20 pm ET|
This has been a July to remember for Red Sox hitters, as they continued their hot streak of late by hammering 16 hits en route to a 12-5 win over the Royals. The 16 hits give the Red Sox 11 consecutive games of 10 or more hits at Fenway Park. It is tied for the third longest streak in Red Sox history. At 18-4, the Red Sox have the best July record in the majors.
The powerful Red Sox lineup bailed out Red Sox starter John Lackey (9-8) who gave up three first inning runs, putting the Red Sox in a 3-0 hole before they even stepped to the plate. Lackey has struggled in the first inning of late as he has allowed seven runs in the first inning in his last three starts combined — though notably, he has settled down after getting touched up early.
Here is what went right (and wrong) for the Red Sox:
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia hit back-to-back home runs to lead off the bottom of the first. It was the first time the first two Red Sox batters hit home runs in a game since July, 21 1995, when Troy O’Leary and John Valentin did it.
– Ellsbury also stole his 29th base of the season. The swipe ended a 15-game streak without a stolen base, which was the second longest streak of his career. Back in 2008 he went 24 games without a stolen base. With 17 home runs and 29 stolen bases so far thus season, Ellsbury has a chance to become the first 30/30 player in Red Sox history. He is a near-lock to become the first 20/30 player in Sox annals.
– Pedroia’s 24-game hit streak is the longest hit streak in Red Sox history by a second baseman. He also continues to feast off of left-handed pitching. Entering Wednesday’s game, he led the majors with a .410 batting average against lefties.
– Ortiz’s grand slam in the fourth inning was the first grand slam by a member of the Red Sox this season. It was his 10th career grand slam (ninth as a Red Sox), and the four RBIs gave the slugger 1,000 career RBI’s in a Red Sox uniform. Ortiz’ four RBIs, after the five he had last night, marked the third time in his career in which he has knocked in four or more runs in consecutive games, and the first since 2005.
– Yamaico Navarro went 2-4 on the night, with an RBI and a run scored. It was his first career multi-hit game.
– The win for Lackey was his fourth straight. It is the first time as a Red Sox that he has won four consecutive starts. Before the streak his ERA was 7.47; it has now dropped to 6.28. During the four-game streak, he has struck out 18 while walking three, dramatically improving on his marks earlier in the year. Lackey did bounce back after the rough first inning, retiring eight straight Royals hitters at one point.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– Although Lackey earned the win, he was not as overpowering as he was in his prior outing. He gave up 11 hits in only 5 2/3 innings of work, and for the first time since his first start of the year, he allowed multiple homers. Lackey also did not get off to a good start, giving up three runs in the first inning. It is the third straight game in which Lackey has given up at least one first-inning run.
– Navarro, on a foul pop-up that could have ended the game, overran the ball and flopped to the ground while committing an error.
|Trade Deadline: Astros reportedly seek top pitching prospect for Hunter Pence||07.27.11 at 12:04 pm ET|
Heyman also added that the Phillies are “trying hard” to get a deal done for Pence and that most people believe that in the end Pence will not be traded and stay with the Astros.
According to a tweet from FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies are the most aggressive on Pence, while the Red Sox have also inquired but have had trouble finding a match. Rosenthal writes the Braves are not currently involved in negotiations.
Pence is currently hitting .308 with 11 home run and 62 RBIs.
|Trade Deadline: White Sox, Blue Jays, Cardinals reportedly complete trades involving Edwin Jackson||07.27.11 at 11:59 am ET|
The White Sox and Blue Jays have agreed to a deal that sends starting pitcher Edwin Jackson and third baseman Mark Teahen to the Blue Jays for relief pitcher Jason Frasor and starting pitcher Zach Stewart, according to a tweet from FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.
SI.com’s Jon Heyman tweets that Jackson will be flipped from the Blue Jays to the Cardinals in exchange for outfielder Colby Rasmus.
Jackson is 7-7 with a 3.92 ERA. Teahen is hitting .203 with three home runs and 11 RBIs.
Frasor is in his eighth big league season, all of which have been with the Blue Jays, and is 2-1 with a 2.98 ERA in 2011. Stewart has started three games this season for the Blue Jays and is 0-1 with an ERA of 4.86.
|Trade Deadline: Mets ‘making progress’ with Giants, Rangers on Carlos Beltran||07.27.11 at 11:25 am ET|
The Mets are making progress in their negotiations with the Rangers and Giants in a deal for outfielder Carlos Beltran, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. He also adds that the Braves are now involved in discussions involving the outfielder.
Braves catcher Bryan McCann suffered a strained left oblique muscle in Tuesday night’s game and will be placed on the 15-day disabled list, which could make the Braves in the market to add a power hitter to their lineup. McCann is hitting .306 with 18 home runs and 55 RBIs. Beltran is batting .289 with 15 home runs and 66 RBIs.
Olney also tweets that the Indians are out of the running to trade for Beltran: Sources: Indians walked away from their Beltran talks convinced that the player’s agent, Scott Boras, is controlling the process.
|Trade Deadline: Blue Jays reportedly interested in Wandy Rodriguez||07.27.11 at 11:09 am ET|
The Blue Jays reportedly are seeking pitching help, as FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal links the Blue Jays to being interested in three pitchers: Padres closer Heath Bell, Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez and Astros left-handed starter Wandy Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is 6-7 with a 3.60 ERA this season. He has struggled in the month of July as he has an ERA of 6.00 this month. American League teams worry about how his performance would translate to their league.
Bell, an eight-year veteran, has 29 saves this season. The Phillies are also a team interested in the closer. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that Philadelphia is being “aggressive” in going after Bell.
|Jerry Remy on D&C: ‘The key is getting [Clay] Buchholz back’||07.27.11 at 9:52 am ET|
NESN color commentator Jerry Remy checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning for his weekly interview about the Red Sox and discussed what he expects at Sunday’s trade deadline from a Red Sox standpoint. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
With the trade deadline coming up Sunday, Remy said he does not think the Red Sox need to make a deal.
‘It wouldn’t bother me if they didn’t do anything because I think they have enough here to do what they want to do,” Remy said. “A lot of it depends on Clay Buchholz, obviously, and it sounds and looks like he is on his way back to where we want him, which is in the starting rotation. If they didn’t do anything, do they have enough? I think they do. They can cover right field. I think [Josh] Reddick has played very well and I think [Darnell] McDonald can play against left-handers. Who knows if J.D. [Drew] has a month in him when he comes back? You just don’t know.
“If they do nothing, I am comfortable with that, but my guess is they will do what they do all the time. They are out there looking right now, but I don’t think they will give up the house to get something because they are pretty good and playing pretty good and I think they have enough right here to go where they want to go.”
Remy added that he is confident the Red Sox are working the phones and doing their due diligence.
|Trade Deadline: Red Sox reportedly called Rockies on Ubaldo Jimenez||07.27.11 at 9:43 am ET|
The Red Sox reportedly called the Rockies on Tuesday about the availability of starter Ubaldo Jimenez, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com. The Yankees and Reds also made calls to the Rockies, and Harding reports things “are moving further along” with the Reds.
According to Harding, the Rockies have asked for starting pitchers Travis Wood and Homer Bailey from the Reds as well as a top prospect from the Reds’ farm system. The Rockies will not come down on their asking price no matter what team is making the offer.
Earlier in the week a source told FoxSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi that the chances of Jimenez being traded have improved to “around a 50/50 chance.” He also added that the Tigers and Rangers are also teams that have shown interest in the right-hander.
|Tuesday’s Red Sox-Royals Matchups: Andrew Miller vs. Danny Duffy||07.26.11 at 3:27 pm ET|
Andrew Miller (4-1, 4.65), who made his 2011 debut June 20, gets the call for the Red Sox, while the Royals will send rookie Danny Duffy (2-4, 4.58) to the hill. Miller is in his sixth season, but he has only appeared in 20 or more games in two of those six seasons.
Miller is coming off of an outing where he struggled with his control, but battled to get out of jams and did not allow a run in the Red Sox 4-0 win over the Orioles July 20. Miller allowed six walks in just 5 2/3 innings, but only allowed two hits and struck out three to earn the win.
The Red Sox have won five of the six games that Miller has started since he joined the rotation. Miller has not made it into the seventh inning in any of his starts with the Red Sox. He has allowed 16 earned runs in 31 innings of work.
Duffy is coming off of one of his better outings of the season. He went seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and earned the win in the Royals 4-2 win over the White Sox on July 19. The outing before that Duffy was the touch luck loser as he gave up only two runs in six innings, but the Royals offense did not help him out any as the Royals fell to the Tigers 3-1 on July 7.
Duffy was optioned to triple-A on July 8 before being recalled on July 19.
Both pitchers have very little experience against the opposition. Duffy has never faced anyone on the Red Sox. Miller has only faced four members of the Royals, all fewer than 10 times. Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur each have nine at-bats against the left-hander. Cabrera has one hit, while Francoeur has two.
|Trade Deadline: Padres ‘definitely’ will make moves this week||07.25.11 at 6:10 pm ET|
Speaking with MLB Network Radio Monday afternoon, Padres general manager Jed Hoyer said the Padres, “definitely will be making moves this week,” according to tweets from ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden.
Hoyer added that many teams have called the Padres about starting pitcher Aaron Harang and closer Heath Bell. He said that they are “not close” with a deal involving Bell. Hoyer also told MLB Network Radio that the Padres are not looking to trade setup man Mike Adams, and that if Bell were to be traded he feels comfortable with Adams as their closer.
Hoyer also said the goal is to get major league-ready players in addition to prospects at this month’s trading deadline. The Padres are in last place in the NL West, 14 1/2 games behind the Giants.
|Trade Deadline: Hiroki Kuroda reportedly would waive no-trade clause to join Red Sox||07.25.11 at 6:03 pm ET|
According to ESPN, Dodgers starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda would waive his no-trade clause to join either the Red Sox or the Yankees. A few other teams have been interested in Kuroda including the Tigers, Indians and Brewers, but a no-trade clause in his contract had been seen as an impediment in any trade talks.
ESPN’s Buster Olney sees the Red Sox as a possible fit for the starting pitcher, considering the uncertainty over Clay Buchholz. Over his last six starts, Kuroda is 1-4 with a 2.89 ERA. The Dodgers haven’t given Kuroda much support all year long as they are averaging less than three runs per game in Kuroda’s starts.
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