|Sox saving celebration for AL East title||09.20.13 at 12:28 am ET|
The last time the Red Sox reached the postseason, John Lackey was pitching against them, in a 2009 ALDS series Lackey’s Angels eventually won. On Thursday, Lackey’s dominant complete-game performance clinched the Sox’ first playoff appearance since that series, although the team celebrated the victory no more exuberantly than they would any other win.
From Sox manager John Farrell through the clubhouse, the team maintained that they won’t celebrate in any extraordinary way until they clinch the AL East.
“We know where we’re at. We know what was pending,” Farrell said. “We still feel like there’s the next step is a more important one than this. We know that we’re in but we know that winning the East, that’s been a stated goal since day one of spring training. That’s getting closer. And I think that will be probably a little bit more the realization of where we’ve come from and where we are at the moment.”
The Sox players echoed Farrell’s sentiments.
“We need to go out there and take care of what we need to take care of,” Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. “Tonight was a big win to get a spot, but we want to win the division and we still want to get that 100th win. We’re going to continue to go out there. Tomorrow is a new day and we’re going to focus on that.”
Dustin Pedroia called the win “a big step,” but repeated the mantra that the division title has been the yearlong goal.
“Our main goal was to try to get in and win the division and win the World Series,” Pedroia said. “We’ll celebrate when we win the division.”
Lackey has pitched in 14 postseason games, all with the Angels, but this fall may have some added significance for him in particular given the injury and performance woes he faced over the last three years in Boston.
|Wednesday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Ryan Dempster vs. Jake Arrieta||04.10.13 at 9:38 am ET|
After their ninth consecutive home-opening victory Monday, the Red Sox will look to Ryan Dempster to continue their early season success. Dempster, who will be making his first Fenway start in a Red Sox uniform, will be opposed by Jake Arrieta.
Dempster is coming off of his Red Sox debut, which featured mixed results. In Thursday’s 4-2 loss vs. the Yankees, the 35-year-old grinded through five innings, allowed four walks in his 101-pitch effort. On the positive side, Dempster allowed just five hits and three runs and had eight strikeouts. However, he was matched up with what looked to be a 1996 version of Andy Pettitte, who hurled eight innings of one-run ball.
Said Dempster after the game: “I just got outpitched by the guy on the other side of the field. I made a lot of good pitches and a couple of balls fell in. That was enough to win the game.”
Arrieta also will head into Wednesday night’s start looking to give his team a bit more durability and limiting the number of baserunners. On Friday against the Twins, Arrieta went five-plus innings, allowed five runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out five. When Arrieta was removed by Buck Showalter in the sixth he was in position for the loss, but the O’s rallied for a 9-5 victory.
Said Showalter of Arrieta’s first start: “You can see why Jake has the chance to be so good and why he kind of gets away from it a little bit.”
Dempster will have the opportunity to reach the .500 mark for his career, as he comes into Wednesday’s start with a 124-125 career record. He could have had more wins, but he spent three seasons as the Cubs’ primary closer before returning to the rotation in 2008. Dempster does not have much experience facing the O’s, but in his limited innings he has been very good. In the past 10 years he has a 1-0 record and a 1.35 ERA, with six strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings.
Arrieta has struggled in his career vs. the Red Sox. He holds an 0-3 record with a 6.00 ERA, while striking out 14 in 24 innings of work.
The only two Orioles with much experience facing Dempster are J.J. Hardy and Nate McLouth, who both spent significant portions of their careers in the National League. Hardy has struggled mightily against Dempster, but McLouth has hit .300 against him, with a home run and three runs batted in.
Current Red Sox hitters with at-bats vs. Arrieta have pounded him to the tune of a combined .500 batting average, with seven home runs in 38 at-bats.
|Clay Buchholz: ‘I don’t feel any different than last year’||04.08.13 at 8:50 pm ET|
Clay Buchholz says he doesn’t feel that different than the start of 2012.
But the numbers and the eye test both tell a different story.
In his first two starts of 2012, the right-hander was 1-0 with a 9.82 ERA.
After shutting out the Orioles on three hits in seven innings, walking four and striking out eight, Buchholz earned his second win of 2013 in as many starts Monday. He is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA, matching the 2-0 record of Jon Lester.
“I don’t feel any different than I did last year,” Buchholz said. “Just little things that didn’t go right [last year] and it definitely makes it easier whenever you have somebody like Jonny going out the day before you and throwing [well], it’s something for you to feed off of. It’s better than being 0-2. You have to keep everything on an even keel I think and try not to get too high and don’t get overconfident with it. Just go out and do your work and that’s what I’m going to lead with.”
With Baltimore lefty Wei-Yin Chen matching zeroes with Buchholz, the pressure was on Buchholz heading into the seventh.
Matt Wieters worked a walk to open the inning. But Buchholz zeroed in. He fanned J.J. Hardy and Steve Pearce, sandwiched around a ground out from Ryan Flaherty. His day was over after 113 pitches, 65 strikes. Some eyebrows were raised as Buchholz was allowed the chance to finish the inning, despite a pitch count approaching 100 in the seventh.
“That’s Clay’s ballgame,” skipper John Farrell said. “I felt like he earned that right to get through it. His stuff didn’t diminish. He showed the ability to make big pitches in key moments. It wasn’t like he was losing command or the fastball was becoming elevated. He stayed sharp throughout. More than anything that was his inning to finish.”
Finish is exactly what Buchholz did in strong fashion, blowing away Hardy (looking) and Pearce (swinging) on 93 MPH fastballs.
“Always good to win,” Buchholz said. “I think after that seventh inning when I went out there, it’s sort of inning-by-inning by each [starter]. It’s tough. Each out you do get going up to that point [is important]. You just don’t want runners to get on because all it takes is one pitch like you saw. It’s a fun game to pitch in, especially whenever you come out on top in the end.
“I didn’t really have one thing that was working the whole day. I was up in the zone. There was a couple balls hit early that would have gotten out, but stayed in the park. Other than that, it was sort of a grind there for a little bit.”
|Jonny Gomes launches moonshot, Will Middlebrooks dodges bullet in Red Sox spring loss to Orioles||02.27.13 at 10:30 pm ET|
SARASOTA, Fla. — In a spring training game that saw Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffer a scare with his right wrist, Jonny Gomes blasted a long home run to left field while several Red Sox relievers looked strong early on as the Orioles beat the Red Sox, 5-3, Wednesday night at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.
Reliever Franklin Morales started the game and retired the side in order on 12 pitches, eight strikes. The lefty was making his first appearance of the spring.
But the bigger story came in top of the first when the Red Sox (2-4) appeared to dodge a major bullet. With an 0-1 count, Middlebrooks took an inside fastball from Orioles starter Chris Tillman. Middlebrooks attempted to check his swing and avoid being hit. He was successful in avoiding the pitch but he immediately grabbed his right wrist and went to manager John Farrell. He was taken out of the game and replaced with Pedro Ciricaco. As he went into the dugout, he threw his helmet against the back wall in obvious frustration.
The team later said Middlebrooks, who broke the same wrist last August in Cleveland when hit by a pitch, was suffering from “right wrist soreness” and would be re-evaluated Thursday in Fort Myers. After the game Middlebrooks said he felt no pain and it was “just a scare” and a “freak thing that scared everybody.” He pointed to the outside of his right wrist, where he suffered the break last August and said the initial discomfort was in the same area.
Alex Speier has much more, including reaction from Middlebrooks.
The group of Morales, Joel Hanrahan, Koji Uehara, Andrew Bailey and Andrew Miller all threw a single inning of work. Only Hanrahan allowed a run, and it was unearned, as Ciriaco threw high to first on a routine grounder in the second inning, and Nava couldn’t reach up and grab it.
But the good run of pitching ended in the sixth when Junichi Tazawa was roughed up for two runs on four hits and committed a balk in the sixth. The two runs came on an opposite-field homer to left by Chris Davis, erasing Boston’s 2-1 lead and putting Baltimore ahead, 3-2. Tazawa has allowed five hits and two runs over two innings in his first two appearances. Drake Britton allowed two more runs on three hits in the seventh as Baltimore built a 5-2 lead. Read the rest of this entry »
|John Farrell notes Wednesday: Felix Doubront cleared for start, David Ortiz takes a personal leave||at 6:35 pm ET|
SARASOTA, Fla. — Felix Doubront completed his simulated game Wednesday successfully in Fort Myers and has passed the final hurdle for starting a spring game, according to Red Sox manager John Farrell. That start will come Monday afternoon at JetBlue Park against Tampa Bay.
The lefty was slowed at the start of camp due to fatigue in his left [throwing] shoulder and was held back. He began throwing a week later than the other four projected starters in the rotation. He threw live batting practice earlier this week before throwing his simulated game on Wednesday.
“He was very good. Two sim innings and he’s on tap for Monday,” Farrell said before Wednesday’s game against the Orioles.
After some confusion, another pitcher, Alfredo Aceves, will indeed pitch for Mexico for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Farrell had initially informed his right-hander, who was initially on the provisional roster, that he was not selected for the regular roster and would not be playing. That apparently was not the case.
Farrell said it’s likely that Aceves will start for Mexico, which is part of the reason the Red Sox wanted to stretch him out to start camp.
David Ortiz left the team Wednesday for the Dominican Republic to take care of a personal matter.
“He’s taking a couple of personal days,” Farrell said. “He’s got a personal issue he’s taking care of right now.”
Other pregame notes included Farrell’s reaction to St. Louis manager and former catcher Mike Matheny instructing his catchers to avoid all contact at the plate when possible: “You want the aggressiveness to always remain in the game,” Farrell said. “But at the same time, when a catcher can be opened up, in some cases, for a very severe injury, you almost have to listen to the comments of Mike and Bruce Bochy, former catchers who have sustained a serious injury from it. Their comments probably resonate more than those of who have not been back there. I guess I take the view of the game from the traditional standpoint that you want good, hard play as long as it’s not a cheap shot. Where do you draw the line on a play at the plate? If it’s a hard slide that makes contact. Maybe just a mandatory slide rather than just a head-up, full-on collision, I can see the merit in preserving guys’ health. They can be scary, no doubt about. [Jorge] Posada took one from Hinske that I still don’t know how it got up from it but he did. I think the last thing anyone want is to hurt anyone in the game.
Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox take on Oriole regulars in Sarasota||at 4:43 pm ET|
SARASOTA, Fla. — The Red Sox will send lefty reliever Franklin Morales to the mound Wednesday night in their first night game of the spring, as they visit Ed Smith Stadium for a date with the Baltimore Orioles.
After getting pounded, 15-4, Tuesday by St. Louis at JetBlue Park, the 2-3 Red Sox look to get back on the winning track against a lineup of primarily regulars against the Orioles.
The Red Sox lineup:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Shane Victorino RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Stephen Drew SS
Jonny Gomes LF
Daniel Nava 1B
Mark Hamilton DH
Franklin Morales SP
The Orioles line up this way:
Nolan Reimold DH
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Nate McClouth LF
Wilson Betemit 3B
Chris Tillman SP
For more, visit the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.
|Thursday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Chris Tillman||08.16.12 at 9:41 am ET|
Clay Buchholz gets the start Thursday night at Camden Yards as the Red Sox wrap up their four-game series against the Orioles. The start comes just one day shy of the five-year anniversary of Buchholz’s major league debut in 2007.
After spending much of April and May with the highest ERA in the majors, the 28-year-old has been Boston’s best starting pitcher for more than two months, leading the team in wins (10), ERA (4.24) and WHIP (1.28).
The Sox have won eight of Buchholz’s 10 starts since the end of May and the righty is coming off his best performance of the year: a complete game in which he allowed just two hits and one earned run en route to a 3-2 win over the Indians.
In his three previous starts against the Orioles this season, Buchholz is 1-0 with a 5.00 ERA. The Sox won in his only start at Camden Yards this year, though Buchholz struggled, giving up five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.
In 119 career at-bats, the current Orioles lineup is hitting just .210 against Buchholz, though five of their 25 hits have been for home runs. J.J. Hardy has been particularly successful against Buchholz, recording four hits, two homers and three RBIs in 10 at-bats.
Taking the mound for Baltimore Thursday is Chris Tillman. The 6-foot-5 righty boasts a 3.40 ERA along with a 5-2 record in just seven starts.
Tillman was called up from the minors on July 4 for a start against the Mariners, and in his season debut he carried a one-hit shutout into the ninth inning before he was removed with one out and two men on base.
Against Boston, Tillman has not had nearly the same success. In two career games against the Sox, Tillman is 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA. The six Boston players with plate appearances against Tillman are hitting a collective .464.
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