|World Series media roundup: Criticism centered on Mike Matheny, Cardinals lineup||10.29.13 at 2:15 pm ET|
After being handed two decisive losses at the hands of the Red Sox in Busch Stadium, the Cardinals are facing a hefty amount of criticism from both local and national media. With the Cards on the brink of elimination and tasked with trying to win two straight games at Fenway Park, St. Louis’ outlook certainly doesn’t look very favorable .
The last time a visiting team was down 3-2 in the Fall Classic and won the final two contests at an opposing ballpark was back in 1979, when the Pirates defeated the Orioles for their fifth World Series title.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has drawn the ire of the media over the last few days for some of his questionable moves regarding the handling of the St. Louis lineup and bullpen.
NBCSports.com’s Matthew Pouliot expressed these thoughts about Matheny in one of his latest articles, as he criticized the second-year manager for batting Shane Robinson second in the order in Game 5 while leaving the talented but hobbled Allen Craig batting sixth.
Pouliot also took issue with Matheny deciding to leave Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright in during the seventh inning Monday night. Despite the fact that Wainwright was already approaching 100 pitches, Matheny did not have anyone warmed up in the St. Louis bullpen.
By the time Matheny finally elected to go with Carlos Martinez, the damage had already been done, as the tiring Wainwright surrendered two runs to give the Sox a 3-1 lead that they would never relinquish.
‘¢ The Cardinals lineup, which finished first in the NL this season with 783 run scored, has received flak from the St. Louis media, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss wrote a piece addressing the team’s anemic offense this postseason.
|David Ortiz wasn’t expecting another World Series sweep||10.25.13 at 1:41 pm ET|
The slugger, who belted his 16th postseason home run and second of this World Series, did not come into this series expecting another World Series sweep.
In 2004, the Red Sox never trailed in beating the Cardinals in four straight. In 2007, they trailed for just the first three inning of Game 2 before sweeping away the Rockies.
And after an 8-1 laugher in Game 1, a victory that ran Boston’s World Series win streak to nine, some might have thought that another Series sweep might be in order. This thinking was only reinforced when the Cardinals looked intimidated on the big stage of Fenway Wednesday night.
Ortiz belted a two-run homer off Michael Wacha in the sixth for a 2-1 lead. “Changeup that stayed up,” Ortiz explained. “You’ve got to try and not miss it because you’ll probably not see another one. You go through the motion of the game and my at-bat before, he got me 3-0 and then he threw me changeups back-to-back so I got the idea he wasn’t trying to give in. Just go from there.”
If the Red Sox could be the 22-year-old wunderkind, they would be halfway home to another sweep.
But the Red Sox were the ones committing the miscues in the very next inning as the Cards scored three times. Then, the St. Louis bullpen of Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal shut the door in a 4-2 Cardinals win.
“Series is still going on. 1-1, even-Steven,” Ortiz said. “We have to go out there and play better than we did [Thursday]. There’s nothing you can do about it. The only time you can come in and do something about it is Saturday.
“It’s not a secret for anyone that they have great pitching,” Ortiz said. “When you are able to score some runs off these guys, you try to keep up with it.”
The way Ortiz looked at it after Game 2 is one loss is just one loss, even in the World Series.
“It’s part of the game, man,” he said. “Nobody can dictate that you’re going to win four straight games every time you go out there in the World Series. This is baseball. You’re playing against the best team in the National League so anything is expected.”
|Adam Wainwright: ‘I didn’t show [Red Sox] anything’||10.24.13 at 12:10 pm ET|
Wainwright, who was dominant in two wins over the Pirates in the NLDS, allowed five runs – three earned over five innings Wednesday night at Fenway. But it was how shaky the ace looked on the Fenway mound that left the most jarring impression among the millions watching.
“That’s my ball. I called it,” Wainwright said. “Then I waited for someone else to take charge and that’s not the way you play baseball, completely my error.”
From the walk he issued to Jacoby Ellsbury, the first batter he faced, the right-hander knew he didn’t have it. It set the stage for a nightmarish first inning, featuring the first of two errors from Pete Kozma.
“It was difficult from the first pitch on, unfortunately,” Wainwright said. “My delivery was completely out of sync from the start. Very uncharacteristically I was unable to make an adjustment on the fly. Next time will be different. I’m very confident in this team to get me back the ball again. The good thing about the start is I didn’t show them anything I had. Everything I threw was pretty garbage. They didn’t really see much out of me.
“Felt very out of sync tonight, unfortunately. It’s something that usually I can make adjustments on the fly a lot quicker than I did tonight. It’s pretty disappointing to do that on this stage.”
While acknowledging just how good the Red Sox are at working counts, Wainwright was downright disgusted that he didn’t make life harder on the Boston lineup. He promised that things will be different again the next time, a next time he’s confident will come for him in this World Series.
“I pointed out quite of few things in my delivery that were close to being horrible and I’ll make some adjustments and be ready for the next start,” Wainwright said.
“I didn’t make it real tough on them, to be honest with you. I threw a lot of balls out of the zone, no contest pitches and a lot of pitches up in the zone for them to hit. It’s kind of a perfect storm of pitching right there. Leave balls up and throw balls wildly out of the zone where they can’t offer or leave balls over the middle, you’re going to get hit.”
Wainwright’s confidence going forward is based in the Game 2 starter, rookie Michael Wacha, who is 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA in three postseason starts this month.
“I’m very confident in Mikey. We all believe in his ability. We all know and trust what he can do out there. He’s done it all postseason long. He doesn’t need to do anything different. He’s been great thus far just being himself and that’s what we expect [Thursday].”
|Mary J. Blige, flyover get 2013 World Series off to roaring start at Fenway Park||10.23.13 at 8:46 pm ET|
|Ben Cherington on D&C: Everyone in Red Sox clubhouse ‘understands that this is about something bigger than themselves’||09.12.13 at 11:27 am ET|
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning and discussed his team’s clubhouse atmosphere, Mike Carp‘s role on the team, and how the team’s medical staff handled Clay Buchholz‘s injury.
The Red Sox, who hold a 9½-game lead over the Rays in the AL East, have had been boosted all season by a strong clubhouse atmosphere, which Cherington said is due to all of the Boston players focusing on one goal: a chance at a World Series title.
“I think it has a little something to do with the guys, certainly, something to do with doing well, and obviously a lot of the moves that John [Farrell] has made have worked, that helps. And then something to do with the time of year we’re in,” Cherington said. “I think it’s just, right now, everyone in that clubhouse understands that this is about something bigger than themselves. It’s about team. There are other times where it would be appropriate to sort of think more about personal goals and priorities, but right now, that’s just not the time. And everyone knows that.”
One player who has fit into this team-first mentality has been Carp, who has hit .314 with nine home runs and 37 RBIs despite being limited to a backup role, playing in only 74 games.
“I think anybody that is a good hitter and a good player in the big leagues wants to play. These are competitive guys and they want to be in there. But I think on this team, Mike walked into this team in spring training … and I think he recognized the role that he was going to be in on this particular team and he’s accepted it and to his credit, has done really, really well,” Cherington said. “It doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to play more. I’m sure, down the road, that’s something that he wants to do. But right now he’s just been ideal in that role.”
Cherington also talked about closer Koji Uehara and how important he’s been to the team this season, especially with injuries to relievers such as Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan.
“Thankfully, we were able to sign Koji,” Cherington said. “There were some people in the organization that were really really pushing to sign Koji, even though at the time it didn’t seem like maybe it was the biggest need on the team. We just felt like he was such a good fit and had such a sort of unique skill that it made sense.”
|David Ortiz slugs his way to 2,000 hits||09.04.13 at 9:50 pm ET|
David Ortiz lined an RBI double to left-center field as part of an eight-run sixth inning as the slugger collected his 2,000th major league hit. The double came off Tigers reliever Al Albuquerque and put the Red Sox up 11-4.
The game stopped briefly as Ortiz stood at second base and tipped his helmet to the crowd, which gave him a standing ovation for nearly a minute. The Fenway sound system marked the occasion with dramatic music as the crowd paid tribute.
Just two innings early, he clubbed his 25th homer of the season, a long solo blast off Tigers starter Rick Porcello to the seats over the Red Sox bullpen, leaving him one hit shy of the milestone. The home run gave him 426 in his career, tying him with Billy Williams for 47th on the all-time list.
Ortiz now has eight hits in his last 20 at-bats since snapping an 0-for-23 slump on Friday night against the White Sox.
Ortiz is the 14th player to record his 2,000th career hit as a member of the Red Sox, along with Bobby Veach (1924), Jimmie Foxx (1938), Joe Cronin (1940), Bob Johnson (1945), Bobby Doerr (1951), Ted Williams (1955), Carl Yastrzemski (1973), Bill Buckner (1984), Jim Rice (1986), Don Baylor (1987), Dwight Evans (1988), Wade Boggs (1992), and Manny Ramirez (2006).
Then in the seventh, as he received a standing ovation coming to the plate, Ortiz crushed his second homer of the night into the stands above the Red Sox bullpen again, giving him two homers, three hits and four RBIs on the night. As he rounded the bases, the Fenway speakers blared the theme from “2001-A Space Odyssey” in honor of his 2,001st career hit.
Ortiz came out to a curtain call after entering the dugout.
The homer also marked his 41st career multi-homer game and his 39th with the Red Sox, extending his franchise record.
|Shane Victorino: David Ortiz breaks out and shows again why ‘he belongs in the Hall of Fame’||08.30.13 at 11:58 pm ET|
But Victorino had a message for Ortiz recently. Don’t worry, relax, be happy. In baseball terms, keep swinging and good things will happen.
Sure enough, Hector Santiago left a 92 MPH fastball thigh high on a 2-2 count and Ortiz, who walked in his first at-bat, laced a two-run single to the left of the shift, doubling Boston’s lead from 2-0 to 4-0 and providing just enough margin for the Red Sox to hold on for a 4-3 win over the White Sox Friday night. Earlier in the at-bat, Santiago left a 93 MPH fastball right over the middle and Ortiz swung right through it.
“Very big,” Victorino said. “Obviously, he’s the kind of guy, we all go through that in the game. What he’s going through, it happens. Nobody is immortal in this game. It happens to the best of them. It’s about going out there each and every day, trying to battle, get as many at-bats under your belt to feel comfortable.
“We all go through that rut. We all go through those kind of things. You want to minimize them as much as you can. But it was definitely nice to have him come back tonight, come up and get that big hit, get on base a couple of times, a couple of walks. As I told him the other day, you just have to go up there and have fun, relax. We all get like that when we’re not swinging the bat well. You seem to want to tense up or want to do too much or swing outside of the zone or do things like that. But, we talked about it. I told him, ‘Go out there, have fun, relax. You’re way too good. You’re not a hall of famer for no reason.’ He’s done it for such a long time. It’s one of those things, he’s way too good.”
|Joe Girardi on Ryan Dempster: ‘I wish he had to hit is what I wish’||08.19.13 at 3:39 am ET|
Girardi made it clear several times that what bothered him the most was that home plate umpire Brian O’Nora didn’t immediately eject Dempster for what he thought was clearly intent to hit Rodriguez. Instead it was Girardi who was ejected.
One working theory is that Dempster was taking matters into his own hands by drilling Rodriguez for the shame he’s brought to baseball and the MLB Players Association. On Friday, Jon Lester was quoted as saying Rodriguez ‘spit in the face’ of baseball by allegedly cheating with performance enhancing drugs several times.
On Sunday night, after throwing a pitch behind his knees and then working the count to 3-0, Dempster hit Rodriguez with a fastball inside.
“You saw me on the top step. I never stand on the top step when he threw the first one behind him,” Girardi said. “You’d have to be really unaware and not paying attention to not know he threw at him on purpose.
“[O’Nora] should say that’s it. You had your shot. The first three were down the zone and the next one was up. It’s not right. You don’t take the law into your own hands. You don’t do that. We’re going to skip the judicial system? It’s ‘My Cousin Vinny.'”
The Yankees erased a 6-3 deficit thanks in part to Rodriguez, whose solo homer ignited a four-run sixth inning for New York in a 9-6 Yankee win.
“I’m sure it did,” Girardi said when asked if the Rodriguez incident fired up his team. “I don’t know I was gone. They rallied and responded.”
Girardi says Dempster can’t hide behind the Players Association brotherhood in defense of his actions Sunday night.
The embattled Yankee superstar saved up his revenge for a solo homer that started a four-run sixth inning in New York’s 9-6 win.
“Honestly, I had like 15 of my teammates come up and say, ‘hit a [expletive] bomb and walk it off,” Rodriguez said. “They were pissed off and so was I.
“It was the ultimate revenge.”
Then afterward, he let Dempster have it with a tirade.
“Whether you like me or hate me, what’s wrong is wrong,” Rodriguez said. “It was unprofessional and silly, and kind of a silly way to get someone hurt on your team as well.”
Rodriguez said he’s not worried that Sunday’s incident could be repeated down the stretch of the season.
“I’m not at all,” he said. “That today kind of brought us together. Joe’s reaction was amazing. Every single one of my teammates came up to me and said, ‘hit a bomb and walk it off’ and they were as pissed as I was.”
There was a moment of comic relief when Rodriguez, appealing a 211-game MLB suspension for PED use, was asked if he thought Dempster should be suspended.
“I’m the wrong guy to be asking about suspensions. I have an attorney I can recommend. Don’t ask me that question.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi charged out of the dugout, appealing to home plate umpire Brian O’Nora that he be ejected for intentionally throwing at Rodriguez. Did Rodriguez expect this at some point?
“Look, my only focus is to play baseball and to play baseball the right way,” he said. “That was silly and unprofessional, and my teammates reacted. I thought Joe’s reaction was incredible. Hopefully, we can take this and build some momentum for the rest of the year.”
|Shane Victorino feels for Gerardo Parra but says Fenway sun ‘should teach him a lesson’||08.04.13 at 9:27 pm ET|
Right field at Fenway Park on a sunny afternoon can be one of the hardest positions to play in all of baseball. Sunday was a classic exhibit of why.
Arizona right fielder Gerardo Parra, who spent extra time in right working with coaches before the series started on Friday, dropped a line drive off the bat of David Ortiz in the first inning. Then, he lost a Jacoby Ellsbury pop fly to shallow right that allowed a run to score in a two-run sixth for Boston. The Red Sox didn’t capitalize on his first mistake but did later as they beat the Diamondbacks, 4-0.
Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino certainly had his moments. He crashed into the wall with his left hip trying unsuccessfully to catch a foul fly in the third inning. In the ninth, he experienced what Parra did earlier, when he lost Martin Prado’s fly to shallow right.
“I take pride in my defense. Unfortunately, in that last inning, I lost that ball in the sun,” Victorino said. “The ball against the wall, if I get a chance to make an out, sometimes I get a little carried away. It was a little dangerous there but again, I felt like I could make the play. Obviously, it hit my glove. As they always say the rule is if it hits your glove, you should catch it. So I was upset at myself for not catching it. Sometimes, there’s some risk involved. Again, collectively if you look at what we’ve done in the outfield. Jonny has made some great plays. The other night, he crashed into the wall.
“You have to continue those kind of things. Anytime, you can get an out, put a glove on it and catch it, every out counts.”
Victorino gave up his body on the foul fly in the third, something he doesn’t regret.
“It was my left hip,” he said. “My left hip hit the wall pretty well. It didn’t really feel too comfortable. But actually, I don’t know if that was a good thing that I hit the wall with my left hip. It might have made everything feel better on my left side. So, again, anytime I have the chance to make a catch, I’m going to try and make it. Knock on wood I came away unscathed from a serious injury. I’m going to continue to play that way.”
Victorino, who was hit by a pitch on the left arm a half-inning after his dive into the stands, said it was a battle all day as the sun came out in the second inning and stayed out for the rest of the game. Read the rest of this entry »
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