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Josh Beckett pitches first career no-hitter in Dodgers’ win over Phillies 05.25.14 at 4:19 pm ET
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Former Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett notched the first no-hitter of his career, blanking the Phillies in the Dodgers’ 6-0 win at Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon.

Beckett struck out five and walked three, throwing 128 pitches. The righty completed the outing by getting Chase Utley to strike out looking.

Beckett also owns a one-hitter, coming when the then-Sox hurler held the Rays to a single infield hit the night the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, June 15, 2011.

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Red Sox-Dodgers series preview 08.23.13 at 11:17 am ET
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It will be a clash between two first-place clubs and a chance to see some old friends as the Red Sox head to Los Angeles to take on the red-hot Dodgers this weekend.

Almost exactly a year ago, the Red Sox and the Dodgers completed one of the biggest trades in MLB history, with the Sox sending first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, outfielder Carl Crawford, pitcher Josh Beckett and infielder Nick Punto to Los Angeles in exchange for pitching prospects Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, first baseman James Loney and minor leaguers Ivan De Jesus and Jerry Sands. Both teams benefited from the blockbuster deal, and now both sit atop their respective divisions.

Beckett — who talked to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford about his trying last days in Boston — is done for the season after having surgery in July to relieve pressure on a nerve in his neck. The former Sox starter made only eight starts on the season, going 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA. Gonzalez has been a big part of the Dodgers’€™ success in 2013, putting up a .297/.346/.456 line with 26 home runs and 77 RBIs. Punto, who was only with the Red Sox for a brief few months in 2012, has benefited from more regular playing time, batting .257 with a .335 OBP in 276 plate appearances. And Crawford, who was more than ready to get out of Boston, looks revitalized, hitting .289/.340/.413 in 88 games.

“I want to win all three games. Bad,” said Crawford, who has made his feelings about his time in Boston well known. “Then on to the next series.”

The deal allowed the Red Sox to rebuild their club and become a contender this season, just a year after losing 93 games. “At the time things weren’t going well for us and we simply weren’t who we wanted to be,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “Though there were many reasons for that, we felt a significant reallocation of money might allow us to reshape the team more quickly and get us started down a different path.

“It wasn’t about the players we traded. It was simply an acknowledgment that things weren’t working.”

The blockbuster has played a part in the Dodgers’€™ success this year, undoubtedly. But there are many reasons why LA, a team that played .500 baseball in the first half, has become the hottest team in baseball, going 28-5 since the All-Star break. The rotation, the bullpen and the offense has begun to click and get hot at the same time, and a few additions (starter Ricky Nolasco and, most notably, rookie sensation Yasiel Puig) have sparked a talented team and made it one of the toughest clubs to beat. The Dodgers sit 9½ games ahead of the second-place Diamondbacks, their biggest lead of the season. They grabbed hold of the division lead on July 22 and haven’€™t looked back since, continuing to expand the gap between them and the rest of the division.

The Red Sox aren’€™t in a bad spot either, but the race for the AL East title is a little more competitive, to say the least. The Sox briefly lost their lead in the division, with the Rays pulling even with Boston on Tuesday, but a series win against the Giants (and a victory by the Orioles over the Rays) means that the Red Sox are alone again at the top. The series victory against the reigning World Series champs was the first series win for the Sox since taking two of three from the Astros earlier this month. The Red Sox have played .500 baseball this month, going 10-10, but they still have yet to lose more than three games in a row. They hope that the resurgence of Will Middlebrooks, the addition of top prospect Xander Bogaerts, the return of David Ross and the eventual return of Clay Buchholz can inject some life into a club that’€™s been unable to string wins together.

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Read More: carl crawford, daniel nava, David Ortiz, Jon Lester
Josh Beckett on last days in Boston: ‘It just got way too personal for me’ at 9:15 am ET
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When the Red Sox play the Dodgers this weekend, Josh Beckett won’t be in uniform, as he continues to recover from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery.

But he’s sure to be a prime topic of conversation, as the megatrade of one year ago is revisited.

Beckett was sent to Los Angeles along with Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto in a salary-dumping move by the Red Sox that also landed them some top prospects (most notably pitchers Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa).

The last days in Boston were rough for Beckett, as he became the focus of criticism for the team’s poor play and alleged lack of dedication along with discord in the clubhouse.

Beckett said he’s thankful that his teammates continued to support him (he said he remains in frequent contact with a number of Red Sox), and he called reports that teammates turned on him “completely fabricated.” However, he said the criticism from outside the clubhouse made it easier for him to accept a trade.

“It just got way too personal for me,” Beckett said. “It wasn’t just like, ‘Hey, you suck on the baseball field.’ It was now, ‘Hey, you’re a bad person.’ It was getting personal. It wasn’t even about baseball anymore. It was definitely time to make a change. I think everybody from the front office to the players recognized that, we’ve moved on and now here I am.”

Added Beckett: “I think it almost ended up being like a pity party in the clubhouse. Nobody wants to hear [expletive] like that. Nobody wants to hear the personal stuff. Everybody in the clubhouse can deal with if someone has a bad game then you can deal with that somebody is going to get picked on. But when the team wins and you’re still hearing about it, it’s going to too far. It was starting to affect the other guys. I don’t want to be that guy. And it wasn’t just about baseball anymore.”

By the team general manager Ben Cherington got in touch with him about the potential deal with the Dodgers, Beckett said he had reached his breaking point in Boston.

“Once that stuff starts going down that road it doesn’t stop. It picks up steam,” Beckett said. “We’ve seen it before. David [Ortiz] has probably seen it more than anybody. It doesn’t stop. It just picks up steam and snowballs. That’s how it is. It’s just the way it is there. Once it starts going down that road, it just isn’t going to stop. I don’t know if I was naive at the beginning thinking maybe it would stop, but it never does. It hasn’t happened one time.

“I knew it wouldn’t [change]. I knew it would change as soon as Ben called me to say he had a deal with the Dodgers, and I said, ‘Sign me up.’ I had already talked to my wife about it knowing some of that stuff was going on having talked to Ben about it. Holly and I had already talked, we went about our way, sold our place in Boston and here we are.”

Read more about Beckett’s thoughts on the trade here as the one-year anniversary approaches.

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John Henry says Red Sox aren’t for sale, reveals Larry Lucchino has signed extension 09.13.12 at 3:32 pm ET
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Red Sox principal owner John Henry called in to Mut & Merloni on Thursday to refute Fox Business reporter Charlie Gasparino‘s report that he and the Red Sox ownership group have held discussions about selling the team.

“I’m disputing his sources,” Henry said. “Whatever his sources are telling him, I’m completely disputing anything they’re saying along those lines.”

The biggest piece of news to emerge from the conversation is that president and CEO Larry Lucchino will return to the team next season after signing an extension.

Here are some bullet-points of the conversation, which could be heard here:

‘€¢ Henry said that Gasparino’s source, which Gasparino said minutes earlier in an interview with Mut & Merloni has “direct knowledge” of the situation, is incorrect.

“I guess one response I have is that sometimes journalists have sources that just are completely off-base and don’t know what they’re talking about,” Henry said. “I guess that’s what I would have to say having listened to the interview, that whoever he’s talking with, especially when he mentions that there’s been talk with a buyer and so forth, it’s just so far apart or out of the horizon of things that have been going on, as are a number of things. For instance, that all of our time is spent on Liverpool, and that we spend our time at Fenway with Red Sox people talking about Liverpool. It’s just not true.”

‘€¢ Henry adamantly disputed that there were internal discussions about selling the team.

“I think that if there have been any discussions, they certainly haven’t included Tom [Werner] or Larry or I, so I don’t know who’s discussing it. Certainly not minority partners, because we’ve had changes in ownership among minority partners even this year. As you probably know, The New York Times was a significant owner at one point. They owned 17 or 18 percent, and they now own zero. That’s been going on, and others have changed the ownership interest, but there’s certainly been no discussion. We have quarterly partner meetings, and there’s been no discussion among partners, even in executive sessions about a sale of any kind. I don’t think there’s anyone in the partnership who’s interested in selling any of the aspects of Fenway Sports Group.”

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Read More: adrian gonzalez, carl crawford, Dustin Pedroia, John Henry
After losing to Rockies, Josh Beckett takes on LA Times columnist T.J. Simers 08.28.12 at 1:20 am ET
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DENVER — Following his Dodgers debut — in which he allowed three runs over 5 2/3 innings — Josh Beckett met with the media in the visitors’ clubhouse. The former Red Sox pitcher noted that he regretted missing on a few key pitches, and that he was “the second-best pitcher out there,” praising Colorado starter Jeff Francis.

Beckett reiterated that he enjoyed his new teammates, and lamented the fact Colorado leadoff hitter Tyler Colvin took the righty’s second pitch in a Dodgers uniform over the left field wall.

But the real entertainment came with the back-and-forth with Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers. The following is the portion of the six-minute question and answer in which Simers executes his trademark pointed line of questioning (to listen to the entire interview, click here).

Did you ever think the ball would ever come down that first batter you faced?

“I figured it would eventually. Yeah, I figured it would.”

What did you think at that moment, Dodgers debut, second pitch and ‘€¦

“I thought I made a pretty [expletive] pitch. That’€™s what I was thinking.”

That’€™s your choice of words?

“Sure.”

Were you nervous?

“No more than normal. I’€™m always nervous on start day.”

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Read More: Dodgers, Josh Beckett, Red Sox, Rockies
James Loney: ‘I know they’re always trying to build a championship team here’ 08.26.12 at 2:58 pm ET
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James Loney knows full well what he’s getting into.

The 28-year-old veteran first baseman arrived in Boston Sunday as the only major league-ready player to come from the Dodgers in exchange for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto. He knows what kind of year it’s been in Boston.

‘€œI knew a bunch of those guys that got traded,” Loney said in the Sunday press conference before going out and making his Red Sox debut at first base. “I know a bunch of guys here still but I know they’€™re always trying to build a championship team here. I know it didn’€™t work out and this year I guess there were some things going on.’€

He’s heard all about playing in the intense baseball market of Boston from the outside. Now, he gets to experience it first hand.

‘€œI’€™ve heard that,” Loney said. “You hear that. I think a lot of big-market, big city teams are like that. You don’€™t think about it when you’€™re out there. You just go out and play.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adrian gonzalez, Boston Red Sox, carl crawford, Dustin Pedroia
Top 10 big-name Red Sox trades of last half-century 08.25.12 at 6:21 pm ET
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With the Red Sox‘ season quickly fading into oblivion and the fans growing disgruntled with the team, the organization had to make a move. Yet, what the team did caught almost everyone by surprise.

On Saturday the Red Sox traded Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers for first basemen James Loney and some prospects. This trade will go down as one of the biggest August trades in MLB history and one of the biggest trades in Red Sox history.

In Loney, the Red Sox acquire a career .284 hitter who has struggled somewhat this season,  batting .254 with four homers and 33 RBIs. But more importantly the Sox dump most of the $261 million that’s owed to Beckett, Crawford and Gonzalez through 2018.

With that in mind, let’s examine the 10 biggest trades in the last 50 years of Red Sox history. These are trades involving at least one high-profile player (thus something like Jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson doesn’t make the cut, as Bagwell was an unheralded minor leaguer at the time of the deal).

10. Dec. 6, 1976 — Cecil Cooper to Brewers for George Scott and Bernie Carbo

Cooper, at the time, was a young bat with great potential, but the Sox wanted to reacquire the veteran bats of Carbo (traded to Milwaukee just six months earlier) and Scott to add to their potent lineup. They let go of a future five-time All-Star in Cooper, while Carbo and Scott had solid seasons in 1977 but offered little after that.

9. Dec. 7, 1978 — Bill Lee to Expos for Stan Papi

Red Sox management tired of Lee, the odd but productive left-hander who clashed with manager Don Zimmer, and shipped him north of the border. In return they received Papi, who batted an abysmal .188 in 50 games for the Sox in 1979 and was sent to the Phillies in 1980 for catcher Dave Rader. Lee went on to have a solid season in 1979 with Montreal, going 16-10 with a 3.04 ERA, but didn’t do much after that.

8. July 31, 1997 — Heathcliff Slocumb to Mariners for Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe

Looking back on this trade, it’s highway robbery. The Sox sent average closer Slocumb to the Mariners for two guys who became fan favorites soon after. Varitek would man the Boston backstop for almost 15 full years, while Lowe became a standout starter and reliever — including in the 2002 season, when he went 21-7 and finished third in AL Cy Young voting. Both players were a part of the curse-breaking 2004 team, while Slocumb never saved more than 27 games after leaving Boston.

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Read More: adrian gonzalez, Curt Schilling, Dennis Eckersley, Fred Lynn
Red Sox, Dodgers appear close to blockbuster sending Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to LA for prospects at 7:38 am ET
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The incentive for the Red Sox to steam forward in a sweeping roster overhaul — a potential blockbuster sending first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, right-hander Josh Beckett and outfielder Carl Crawford along with utility infielder Nick Punto to the Dodgers in exchange for first baseman James Loney and multiple prospects — is fairly evident. While a major league source said that a deal is not expected on Friday night, it does appear to be gaining momentum to the point where the two teams have exchanged medical records to review as a prelude to a potential deal, whose logic makes all the sense in the world for a Red Sox team that has fallen out of contention.

It’s no secret: In a 12-month span from Dec. 2009 to Dec. 2010, the Red Sox made a series of calculated, high-risk gambles meant to secure a championship core for the long haul, only to see their bets blow up in spectacular fashion. It started in Dec. 2009, when the team signed John Lackey to a five-year, $82.5 million deal through 2014. That was followed by a four-year, $68 million extension in April 2010 that secured the services of Josh Beckett through 2014. The following offseason, after the Sox missed the playoffs, the team traded for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and agreed to the parameters of a seven-year, $154 million extension (on top of his $6.3 million salary in 2011) that would keep him in Boston through 2018. And, finally, the Sox signed free agent Carl Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million contract at the Dec. 2010 winter meetings, with the deal running from 2011-17.

For a time, it appeared that the Sox had set themselves up for the long haul. But when the team fell apart last September, missing the playoffs by a game — following a 2011 season in which Crawford and Lackey (who required Tommy John surgery) had performed poorly, and in which Beckett had been viewed as a central culprit in a clubhouse that fell apart, those deals started to look ominous, particularly given all that followed in 2012.

The Sox had little to no flexibility to pursue roster upgrades last offeason, at least in the absence of deals to move salary (such as the one that sent Marco Scutaro to the Rockies so that the team would have money to sign Cody Ross). And so, at a time when pitchers such as Hiroki Kuroda, Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt were there for the taking on appealing one-year deals, the Sox did not have the available cash reserves within their payroll to make competitive bids for them. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adrian gonzalez, allen webster, blockbuster, carl crawford
Groundhog day and ‘same [expletive] results’ in a loss for Josh Beckett 08.20.12 at 12:18 am ET
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NEW YORK — Josh Beckett had one of his better curveballs of the season. Didn’t matter. He had his most strikeouts in roughly a month. Didn’t matter. For the first time in four starts, he pitched six complete innings. Didn’t matter.

The right-hander was uninterested in discussing his stuff or any moral victories from his start on Sunday night, a six-inning, four-run effort in which he punched out six, walked three and stifled much of the Yankees lineup only to have his night undone by Derek Jeter (who collected a pair of doubles off Beckett and scored two runs) and Ichiro Suzuki (who launched two solo homers). This is a bottom-line time of year as the Red Sox become an increasingly desperate team, and so there was little but self-flagellation to deliver after the Sox suffered a 4-1 loss to the Yankees in which Beckett dropped to 5-11 with a 5.23 ERA.

“Work in progress I guess. Still [expletive] results,” Beckett said of his outing. “Some things were better today, but same [expletive] results.”

In his last six starts, Beckett is now 0-4 with a 7.59 ERA. It is his second streak of six starts without a win this year. More recently, he has been coming up short due to a preponderance of home runs permitted. He’s given up at least two homers in each of his last three outings (tied for the second-longest streak of multi-homer yields of his career).

Prior to the game, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that he believed that Beckett — along with teammates Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz — could remain foundational members of the rotation for the rest of 2012 and beyond. Beckett, of course, is under contract through 2014.

“It’s no secret. Our starting pitching has not been as good as it needs to be if you look at the entirety of the season so far,” said Cherington. “Part of improving it has been to get our guys get back close to where they’ve been in the past. Those are key guys. If there’s other ways to improve it this offseason, we’ll look at that, but there’s a lot of performance upside with the guys here, without adding anything to it. So it’s our job to help those guys, get the most out of them. I know it won’t be any lack of effort on their part. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: ben cherington, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett,
Sunday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Josh Beckett vs. Hiroki Kuroda 08.19.12 at 8:43 am ET
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Josh Beckett will take the mound Sunday night looking to have a better outing than he did last time against the Yankees, when he allowed six runs through five innings in the Red Sox‘ 10-8 loss on July 6.

In that game, Beckett (5-10, 5.19 ERA) allowed five runs in the first inning before settling down and holding New York to one run through the next four innings. The 32-year-old has a 9.90 ERA the first inning this season, and has allowed runs in the first inning in five of his last seven outings.

Those first-inning woes did not hold true in his last outing, but that did not mean the game ended in a better result. Beckett allowed five runs in the sixth inning in the Red Sox’ 7-1 loss to the Orioles.

The right-hander has had a lot of experience against the Yankees, and has had mixed results against the lineup. He has had a lot of success against Mark Teixeira, who only has a .184 batting average in 60 plate appearances.

Taking the mound for the Yankees will be Hiroki Kuroda, who is coming off his best start of the season.

Kuroda (11-9, 3.06 ERA) pitched a complete-game shutout against the potent bats of the Rangers on Tuesday, only allowing two hits and two walks while striking out five.

The 37-year-old has a 5-1 record with a 2.42 ERA in his last 10 starts and leads Yankees starters in innings pitched and ERA.

The Red Sox have not seen too much of Kuroda throughout his career. However, Adrian Gonzalez, who faced the right-hander a number of times when they were both in the NL West, has had a lot of success against Kuroda. Gonzalez has a .345 average with a .690 slugging percentage in 35 plate appearances. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Hiroki Kuroda, Josh Beckett, Red Sox, Yankees
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