|Power Rankings: Rating potential Red Sox postseason opponents||09.17.13 at 9:48 am ET|
“We still have work to do.”
This has become Red Sox manager John Farrell’s mantra leading into the final 11 games. But the reality is that the work to be done isn’t about the regular season, but rather what awaits come Oct. 4. That’s when the Sox will kick off their best-of-five American League Division Series against some yet-to-be-determined team.
So, with the reality of a playoff series looming, let’s take a look at which teams the Red Sox will most want to face, and which ones they’ll probably want to steer clear of:
The A’s have the second-best record in the American League, standing three games in back of the Red Sox. But the reason why they get the nod over the ultra-talented Tigers is for the simple reason that Bob Melvin‘s club is red hot. Sure, they got blown out by the Angels on Monday night, but since Aug. 26 they are 16-5 and had won eight of nine games before their latest loss.
Record vs. Red Sox: 3-3
Why Red Sox won’t want to play them: During the A’s recent run (starting on Aug. 26), they have three pitchers with ERAs under 2.00 — Bartolo Colon (4 starts, 1.13 ERA), Sonny Gray (3 starts, 1.83 ERA) and Dan Straily (4 starts, 1.90 ERA). Colon, in particular, has given the Sox trouble, allowing two runs in 13 2/3 innings this season. The A’s also possess the same kind of opportunistic success that has characterized the Red Sox, carrying a .342 batting average with runners in scoring position over the last 21 games.
Why Red Sox will want to play them: Two of the A’s hottest pitchers (Gray, Straily) are, for all intents and purposes, rookies. They haven’t faced a Red Sox lineup that has fared quite well against newbie hurlers this season. Also, during Oakland’s hot stretch, its bullpen hasn’t exactly been lights out, carrying a 4.81 ERA in that span, with hitters managing a .314 batting average against closer Grant Balfour in the last three weeks of games.
Considered by many as the American League’s most talented team from top to bottom, the American League Central-leading Tigers are one game behind Oakland and four games in back of the Sox. After treading water in recent weeks, Detroit has managed to find something of a groove lately, winning five of their last six games (albeit with three of the wins coming against the Mariners and the White Sox). Read the rest of this entry »
|Exit Sandman: Top 10 Mariano Rivera moments vs. Red Sox||09.16.13 at 11:13 am ET|
As the 2013 season winds to a close, so does the career of arguably the greatest closer in baseball history.
Mariano Rivera, who holds the MLB record for most saves (651) and games finished (948), announced during spring training this year that he will retire at the end of 2013.
While this news has a huge effect on the Yankees, his retirement will have a profound effect on many other teams, especially the Red Sox, who have faced Rivera in 115 games over the past 19 seasons.
Here’s a look at the top 10 Mariano Rivera moments vs. the Red Sox over the course of the future Hall Of Famer’s career:
10. Rivera’s first appearance against Boston, Sept. 10, 1995 – Entering the major leagues as a 25-year-old rookie in 1995, Rivera originally was brought up as a starting pitcher before being converted into a reliever by the end of the season. In what would be the first of many, many appearances against the Red Sox, Rivera pitched two scoreless innings while striking out one batter, outfielder Willie McGee, in a 9-3 Yankees victory.
9. Rivera booed at Yankee Stadium, April 6, 2005 – The beginning of the 2005 season was pretty rough for Rivera. After missing time in spring training with elbow bursitis, Rivera had two straight blown saves against the Red Sox, including a miserable performance on April 6 in which Rivera gave up five runs in two-thirds of an inning. After he was pulled, Rivera, who had four straight blown saves against the Red Sox dating back to the 2004 postseason, was booed by the Yankee Stadium crowd as he walked to the dugout.
8. Rivera shuts down Sox in ’99 ALCS, Oct. 13-18, 1999 – After coming back from two games down to defeat the Indians in the ALDS, the Red Sox were rolling and looked poised to continue their run against the defending World Series champion Yankees. However, the Sox were overmatched, especially by Rivera, who recorded two saves in three appearances while not allowing any runs, and were eliminated in five games. The Yankees went on to win the World Series again that season, their third title in four years.
|Friday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: John Lackey vs. Hiroki Kuroda||09.13.13 at 10:25 am ET|
The Red Sox and Yankees kick off a three-game set at Fenway Park on Friday night in what will be the final series between the two rivals during the regular season.
Taking the mound for the Red Sox is John Lackey, while Hiroki Kuroda gets the call for the Yankees.
The teams last faced each other this past weekend, as the Red Sox scored 37 runs over the four-game series en route to taking three out of four games.
Lackey (9-12, 3.48 ERA) started the third game of that series in what was an unusual start for both the right-hander and the Sox offense.
Prior to Saturday’s game, Lackey had only won one of his last nine starts, despite the fact that he only allowed 27 runs and 11 walks over those 62 innings of work.
The chief reason for Lackey’s poor record during that stretch was the Red Sox offense, which has failed to show up in many of Lackey’s starts.
The Red Sox have been shut out 12 times this season. Six of those times, it was when Lackey was the starting pitcher.
However, in Lackey’s last start on Saturday, it was a complete reversal.
Lackey put together a poor performance, allowing eight hits and seven earned runs over 5 2/3 innings, but he was boosted by the red-hot Boston offense, which scored 12 runs in the first five innings.
Despite pitching poorly for the first time in what seems like months, Lackey picked up the win in what ended up being a 13-9 Red Sox victory.
Kuroda (11-10, 2.99 ERA) took the mound against the Red Sox on Sunday and held the potent Boston lineup to just two runs and five hits over six innings.
|Saturday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: John Lackey vs. David Huff||09.07.13 at 9:20 am ET|
Despite only allowing 18 earned runs over his last 49 1/3 innings, Sox pitcher John Lackey only has a 1-4 record to show for it over those seven starts, mostly due to a lack of run support.
Lackey and his teammates will try to turn around his recent stretch of bad luck Saturday afternoon, as the right-hander takes on the Yankees and left-hander David Huff at Yankee Stadium.
Despite being ranked second on the team in ERA (3.22) and innings pitched (162 1/3 innings), Lackey is tied for last on the staff with eight wins and has the most losses among Sox pitchers with 12.
Perhaps the best way to highlight the lack of run support in Lackey’s games this year is by looking at the Sox’s 20-4 win against the Tigers on Wednesday, as the 20 runs that Boston scored in those nine innings equals the same amount of runs that the team has scored in Lackey’s last nine starts.
Lackey once again was solid in his last start against the Tigers on Monday, as he held the potent Detroit lineup to just three earned runs over 7 1/3 innings. However, he was outdueled by Doug Fister, who held the Red Sox to four hits and zero runs over seven innings as the Tigers won the game by a score of 3-0, handing Lackey his 12th loss.
“This is about as good as I’ve ever pitched,” Lackey said after the game. “I’m probably better now than I ever have been.”
While he only has one win over his last nine starts, Lackey earned that victory in his last start against the Yankees on Aug. 17, as the right-hander held the Bronx Bombers to just one earned run over 6 2/3 innings in a 6-1 Boston victory. In 25 career starts against New York, Lackey is 9-10 with a 4.58 ERA.
Picked up off waivers from the Indians on May 26, Huff has appeared in six games for the Yankees out of the bullpen, compiling a 2-0 record with a 1.13 ERA over 16 innings.
Saturday will be the first start for Huff, who is replacing Phil Hughes (4-13, 4.86 ERA) in the Yankee rotation, mostly due to the fact that Hughes is 0-4 with a 6.46 ERA in August.
In 16 2/3 career innings against the Red Sox, Huff is 0-2 with a 1.62 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP.
|Friday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Felix Doubront vs. Andy Pettitte||09.06.13 at 9:28 am ET|
Following Thursday’s dramatic series opener in which the Red Sox captured a 9-8 victory in 10 innings, the Sox and Yankees will face off again Friday night, with Felix Doubront taking the mound for the Sox opposite fellow southpaw Andy Pettitte.
Doubront (10-6, 3.89 ERA) will be looking for redemption after putting forth arguably his worst performance of the year against New York (and Pettitte) on Aug. 16, as he lasted only four innings, surrendering seven runs and eight hits in a 10-3 Boston loss.
Doubront rebounded in his next two starts, earning wins against both the Giants and Orioles, allowing only three earned runs in 14 2/3 innings.
In his last start, Doubront put together a subpar performance against the White Sox on Sunday, as he only pitched 3 2/3 innings and allowed four earned runs and seven hits. At 90 pitches in the fourth inning, Doubront was forced out of the game early in what was an eventual 7-6 Red Sox victory.
“I have no words. For myself, I’m moving forward,” Doubront said after the game. “Moving forward and looking toward the next start. Like I always say, this game is over. This game is in the past.
In his career against New York, Doubront is 3-2 with a 3.33 ERA in seven starts. His last start against the Yankees bloated Doubront’s numbers against them, as he only allowed 11 earned runs in 42 innings in his previous appearances against New York.
Now in his 14th year with New York, the 41-year-old Pettitte (10-9, 4.01 ERA) has once again put together a solid season, and has stepped up his play in a major way over the last month.
After allowing seven earned runs over just 2 2/3 innings against the White Sox on Aug. 5, the veteran has been magnificent, only allowing four earned runs over his last 30 innings. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they ran into Pettitte during this great stretch, as he didn’t allow any earned runs over 6 2/3 innings in that Aug. 16 game.
|Closing Time: Mike Napoli leads Red Sox to walk-off win over Yankees||07.22.13 at 12:58 am ET|
Mike Napoli kept getting his chance, and he finally took it in the 11th inning when he blasted his second home run of the game to deep center field to help the Red Sox walk off with an 8-7 win over the Yankees at Fenway Park on Sunday night.
Napoli, who finished 2-for-6 in the game with four runners left in scoring position with two outs, also hit a three-run shot in the third inning, which gave Boston a 4-3 lead and swung momentum to Boston’s dugout. Napoli had not hit a home run off of a lefty since May 1 and was batting .247/.340/.355 with only one homer against lefties on the season entering Sunday night.
The right-handed hitter started the season red hot with 18 extra-base hits and 27 RBIs in April, but struggled at the plate in June, only hitting two extra-base hits and 14 RBIs while striking out 25 times in 76 at-bats. However, he has rediscovered his power swing since the beginning of July, and has seven extra-base hits and seven RBIs in only 13 games this month.
It was the ninth walk-off win of the season for the Red Sox (four of which have come via home run), who are now 33-17 at Fenway Park and 14-9 in one-run games. The Sox are already tied for their most walk-off wins in a season since they had 10 in 2006. The victory also allowed the team to stay 1½ games in front of the Rays, who come to Fenway Park on Monday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– The Red Sox continue to do damage to left-hander CC Sabathia. The Yankees ace has allowed six or more runs in seven starts over the last three years. Five of those have come against the Red Sox. Sabathia was hit hard for seven runs on nine hits (two homers) in five innings on Sunday.
|Red Sox heading into new season with fourth-highest payroll||04.01.13 at 8:30 am ET|
NEW YORK — Early on in the offseason, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said on WEEI that his team would have one of the highest payrolls in baseball when the 2013 season kicked off.
He was right.
According to a report from USA Today, the Red Sox are entering the new season with the fourth-highest payroll, coming in at $150,655, 500. The only teams that have a higher price tag are the Yankees ($228,835,490), Dodgers ($216,597,577) and Phillies ($165,385,714). The Tigers reside just behind the Sox at $148,414,500.
The Red Sox’ payroll falls well short of where they stood on Opening Day 2012, when their number came in at $173,186,617, only behind teh Yankees and Phillies.
Alex Rodriguez enters ’13 with the highest salary, being paid $29 million, with Cliff Lee ($25 million) and Johan Santana ($24,644,708) directly behind him. John Lackey is the Red Sox’ highest-paid player, making $15,950,000, followed by David Ortiz ($14,500,00). The Red Sox do, however, have eight players making $9 million or better, compared to the seven they totaled a year ago.
The Astros easily won the prize for lowest payroll, totaling a number of $22,062,600.
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