|Dan Duquette on D&C: Johnny Pesky was ‘great ambassador’ for Red Sox||08.14.12 at 9:28 am ET|
Former Red Sox general manager and current Orioles general manager Dan Duquette made an early morning appearance Tuesday on the Dennis & Callahan show as the two teams prepare for a three-game series starting Tuesday night at Camden Yards.
Duquette, who was with the Red Sox from 1994 to 2002, talked about the team’s struggles this season. The Red Sox are 57-59 going into Tuesday’s series, 5 1/2 games behind the Orioles, who occupy the second Wild Card spot.
‘They have a great lineup,’ Duquette said of the Red Sox. ‘I don’t know if their starting pitching is as strong as they had envisioned it. When your starting pitching isn’t a foundation for your team, it’s tough to overcome.’
With Carl Crawford‘s impending Tommy John surgery, there is a lot of talk, given the Red Sox’ struggles, of shutting him down as soon as possible to get the surgery done so he’s fully healthy for the beginning of next season. Asked, as a general manager, when he knows to throw the figurative white flag, Duquette said this season’s new second Wild Card spot adds a completely different dynamic than ever before.
‘A lot of that has to do with how your team playing and how far you’re out of the race,’ Duquette said of throwing a white flag. ‘With this new Wild Card race, you see all of these teams in the race. I mean, there’s like five teams neck and neck. And that gives hope to another town, another city that you can get into it.
‘It’s there if you can get it going. If you can get your pitching going and reel off 10 wins, you’re still in the hunt.’
|Derek Lowe: ‘I’m playing [golf] tomorrow’||05.10.12 at 11:50 pm ET|
Derek Lowe can feel Josh Beckett‘s pain.
‘I was telling a couple of guys, I remember in ‘01, I was closing. I blew a three-run game in like literally 30 seconds and it happened to be they gave out my posters that day. Well, they turned into airplanes really fast. There was a 10-minute delay. They stopped the game. The whole nine yards. I sat in the clubhouse until 2 o’clock and I’d stick my head out to see if I could leave yet, and they would still be standing there saying, ‘I see you in there!’ Yeah, so no, I’ve seen worse. It’s happened to me.
‘When you play here, you understand that’s part of it. If you go out there and probably don’t pitch the way you would like, they’re going to let you know about it.’
The former Red Sox pitcher’s reaction was in regard to questions about Beckett’s current state, which most recently included a 2 1/3-inning, seven-run outing. This comes, of course, after a day of controversy following news the Sox’ starter had golfed on the day after it was announced he was scratched from his May 5 start.
‘I’m not going to get into that. I don’t play for that team,’ Lowe said. ‘I have no idea what’s going on with that situation. But I do golf. Yes, I do golf. I’m playing tomorrow.’
Following a short three-game road trip to Kansas City, the Red Sox return home to Fenway Park Thursday night for a six-game homestand that begins with a four-game series against the Indians. It’ll be a return to Boston not only for the Red Sox, but for opposing starting pitcher Derek Lowe, who was a member of the Red Sox from 1997-2004. He will start opposite Josh Beckett, who will try to help the Red Sox snap their five-game losing streak at home.
Beckett returns to the hill Thursday night after missing his last start due to a strained lat muscle. Since a rough start to the year, the right-hander has been steadily improving toward his 2011 All-Star form. In Beckett’s first start of the year on April 7, the Tigers blasted him for seven runs and five home runs, chasing him after 4 2/3 innings in a 10-0 rout. But since then, Beckett has calmed down, allowing no more than three runs in a game, and he sits at 2-3 with a 4.45 ERA.
His last start came on April 29, when he lost a decision against the White Sox. He gave up three runs in the first inning of that game but settled down and shut out Chicago for the rest of his outing. He finished with eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings, but the effort wasn’t enough as the Red Sox fell, 4-1. In his career against the Indians, Beckett is 4-5 with a 4.84 ERA. He went 1-1 in three starts against them in 2011. His last time out against Cleveland took place on Aug. 2, 2011, when he pitched six innings and gave up two runs in a seven-strikeout performance. Current Indians hitters are batting a combined .272 against Beckett.
Lowe will return to the confines of Fenway Park for the second time since leaving the Sox after the 2004 season. He began his career with the Red Sox as a closer before shifting into a starting role. In his eight years with the team, he amassed a 70-55 record, 85 saves and a 3.72 ERA. He had arguably his best season with the club in 2002, when he went 21-8 with a 2.58 ERA, which earned him third place in Cy Young voting. But what Lowe may be best known for among Red Sox Nation was his hand in the Red Sox’ World Series championship in 2004, when he won the final game in each of the team’s series as he helped the Red Sox end their 86-year championship drought.
After bouncing around the National League between the Dodgers and Braves since his exit from the Red Sox, Lowe landed in Cleveland this season, and he’s rebounding well from a disastrous 9-17 season with the Braves last season with a strong start in 2012. In six starts, the 39-year-old right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.39 ERA. He’s 2-0 in his last three starts and received a no-decision in his last time out on May 5, when he went six innings and gave up two runs on nine hits in a 5-2 loss to the Rangers.
On June 20, 2009, Lowe made his first and only visit to Fenway Park as a member of an opposing team. Starting for the Braves, Lowe pitched 6 1/3 innings and gave up three runs on seven hits as the Red Sox got the best of him and won, 3-0.
|As Tim Wakefield retires, Red Sox now await the decision of Jason Varitek||02.17.12 at 7:26 pm ET|
Just as they did for Wakefield, the Sox have offered Varitek a minor league contract with an invitation to come to big league camp and compete for a roster spot. Just as was the case for Wakefield, the Sox are allowing a longtime franchise cornerstone the space to make his own decision about his future.
“We told him that there was an opportunity to come to camp, and gave him, as we did to Tim, gave him as much of the landscape as we could in terms of what that would mean. … We felt like they had earned that, to be given some sort of stake in the decision and we’ve tried to give them as much information as we can,” said Sox GM Ben Cherington. “[It is] a unique situation, to put that in a player’s court and not normally what we do. In these two particular cases, we felt that there was merit to doing it that way because of what the players meant to the team.”
Cherington said that at this point, with pitchers and catchers due to report on Sunday, he is not expecting any additions to the roster. However, the decision will ultimately be Varitek’s as to what to do with his career. Wakefield said that he has talked with his teammate of 15 seasons this offseason, but that it is impossible for him to use his own situation to make any assessments about what is right for Varitek. Read the rest of this entry »
|Hot Stove: Derek Lowe reportedly traded to Indians||10.31.11 at 1:31 pm ET|
The report notes that the Braves will pay $10 million of Lowe’s $15 million salary for 2012, the last year of Lowe’s contract.
Lowe went 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA in 34 appearances this season. The former Red Sox reliever and starter is 166-146 with a 3.94 ERA in 15 major league seasons, which also includes stints with the Mariners and Dodgers.
|John Kruk on M&M: ‘They have to do something’ about slow pace of Sox-Yankees games||08.09.11 at 2:54 pm ET|
ESPN baseball analyst John Kruk joined Mut & Merloni Tuesday afternoon for his weekly interview to discuss the ins-and-outs of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, including how slowly the games were played this past weekend. To hear the full interview, check out the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Boston’s 2-1 Sunday night victory over New York lasted four hours and fifteen minutes, which will reportedly prompt a letter from the MLB. Despite the excitement of Josh Reddick‘s 10th inning walk-off RBI, Kruk admitted that the pace of the first 9 1/2 innings made the game tough to watch.
“They have to do something,” Kruk said. “You’re going to a ball game, and the beauty of baseball is there’s no time, but according to the rule book there is time. I understand TV, two minutes between innings, that can cause some issues. But to me, the rule is 12 seconds from once the pitcher gets the ball to when he should throw it, 12 seconds according to the rule book.
“We were timing them. [Angels pitcher Jered] Weaver was averaging 25 to 26 to 28 seconds, [Josh] Beckett sometimes was over 30 seconds, [Yankees pitcher Freddy] Garcia‘s never going to be in a hurry to do anything. And then we watched Derek Lowe pitching for the Braves last night. He was seven to eight seconds, nine seconds. [Tim] Wakefield was eight to nine seconds last night against Minnesota, and the games seemed to be quicker-paced games. I understand with runners in scoring position, shaking off and stuff because you want to make sure you got the right pitch, but I mean, there’s no one on base and it’s taking 30, 40 seconds to throw a pitch, there’s some problems.
“We’ve been getting killed about the lethargic play and Beckett taking his time. [Garica]‘s in no rush either. I always knew that when I was excited for a game and amped up for a game, when a guy was slow and delivered taking his time, sometimes you expand the strike zone just to speed things up, just because you’re impatient. You can put a clock on [Garcia], it’s going to be really, really slow whenever he pitches and with Beckett going against him, jeez, was that long.”
When the game did come to an end, the Red Sox emerged with a 2-1 series victory and sole posession of first place in the American League East. Kruk still has Boston as his pick to win the AL pennant, but he was hesitant to crown them World Series favorites.
“I’m going to say they’re the best team in the American League,” said Kruk. “I think the Phillies, with the addition of Hunter Pence, might have taken a step ahead. Not a big step, but a step ahead and it really balances out their lineup, add the right-handed bat in there to hit behind Ryan Howard. I mean, the Red Sox are just, oh my god, they just kill people. It’s fun to watch.”
|Trade Deadline: Braves likely to keep Derek Lowe||07.25.11 at 4:08 pm ET|
Now, 14 seasons later, Lowe’s name has been thrown around in trade rumors. But, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, it appears the Braves are not likely to trade the right-handed hurler, who is in the third season of a four-year, $60 million deal.
Lowe did struggle in his most recent outing Friday night. Lowe allowed four runs on six hits in just five innings of work as the Braves fell to Cincinnati 11-2.
Rosenthal also noted that the Cardinals are more inclined to acquire Heath Bell than Mike Adams, the Yankees looked into trading for Jeff Keppinger before he was shipped from Houston to San Francisco and B.J.Upton may not be on the move, contrary to a guarantee he made earlier.
|Trade Deadline: Tigers interested in Derek Lowe?||07.17.11 at 11:01 am ET|
Lowe — now 38 years old — is owed roughly $6 million for the rest of this season and is under contract for $15 million next season. Lowe has a 5-7 record in 2011 with an ERA of 4.30. He hasn’t pitched in the American League since he left the Red Sox after the 2004 season.
|Was that it for Jason Varitek in Boston?||10.04.10 at 9:17 am ET|
Jason Varitek has never been one to speak about his own accomplishments that much. But what his bosses said following the 2010 season finale spoke volumes about what he has meant to the team, organization and city of Boston since the Red Sox aquired him and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb at the trade deadline in 1997.
“I don’t think anyone deserves that kind of reception from the fans more than he does.” Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said of the captain. “No matter happens going forward, he’s a Red Sox more than anyone one of us, he’s a Red Sox.”
Then, without stopping Epstein, continued and acknowledged why the fans were giving him a standing ovation before his eighth-inning flyout to deep right center and his coming off the field before the top of the ninth began.
“The future is uncertain,” Epstein said. “Although warmth the fans showed, his teammates showed may have seemed like a goodbye, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.”
Indeed, the Red Sox have a huge question facing them heading into 2011. Do they make an offer to Jason Varitek, similar to the one he just finished out, two years, $8 million?
There’s one big reason they would.
If Victor Martinez, who sounded after Sunday’s game like he was very much looking forward to free agency, doesn’t return, who’s going to catch for the Red Sox?
Or Jason Varitek?
‘I just have to be patient and see what happens,” Varitek said in acknowledging his uncertain future. “There are a lot of things that have to be decided here. It’s not like there are one or two moving parts. There’s a lot of things to be decided.
“I don’t know if I can really answer that. All I can be is appreciative of being here. My time here, my teammates, the organization and importantly, the fans. I’ve said it, my kinds have grown up here. My oldest is 10 and I’ve been here 13 years. This is a part of them, too.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Rumor Mill at this hour: 4 p.m.||12.09.09 at 4:12 pm ET|
Ben Sheets isn’t looking for a pay decrease from his 2008 salary of $12 million, writes Richard Durrett. The Rangers are among the teams who have expressed interest in Sheets.
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