|Sunday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: John Lackey vs. Chase Whitley||06.29.14 at 8:01 am ET|
Lackey (8-5, 3.45 ERA) will look to rebound from his last start against the Mariners Monday, as the usually consistent right-hander turned in his worst start in years.
Lackey lasted just 3 2/3 innings, surrendering seven hits and seven earned runs en route to a 12-3 Mariners blowout victory. He was solid through the first three innings of the contest, his lone blemish being a solo home run from Mariners first baseman Logan Morrison in the second inning.
However, the same could not be said in the fourth inning, as Lackey was roughed up for six runs before being pulled by Sox manager John Farrell.
“I felt pretty good in the first couple of innings,” Lackey said after the game. “Struggled obviously in the fourth inning, but wasn’t able to make a pitch to get out of there. Started going downhill and couldn’t stop it.”
The loss snapped Lackey’s career-best streak of 39 consecutive starts in which he has thrown at least five innings. The streak was the third longest in the AL, behind Detroit’s Justin Verlander (42 games) and Anaheim’s Jared Weaver (41 games).
Lackey was dominant in his last start against the Yankees on April 23, holding the Bronx Bombers to just one run over eight innings while striking out a season-high 11 batters. In 29 career starts against the Yankees, Lackey is 11-11 with a 4.82 ERA.
Whitley (3-1, 4.07 ERA) took the first loss of his major league career during his last start Monday against the Blue Jays, allowing 11 hits and eight earned runs in 3 2/3 innings.
“If they made adjustments, I have to make adjustments. That’s on me,” Whitley said after the game. “I couldn’t command the ball at all like I have in the past. I got away from the game plan, and couldn’t execute the pitches I wanted to throw. They’re a good hitting club.”
|After latest loss, David Ortiz not pleased with schedule, Red Sox performance||06.27.14 at 10:52 pm ET|
NEW YORK — David Ortiz wasn’t happy.
He wasn’t happy with the way the Red Sox played in their 6-0 loss to the Yankees. The designated hitter wasn’t happy with how his team got to the point of playing the first of three games in New York. And he isn’t happy with what the Sox are presenting offensively on a regular basis.
First, the performance, which included being shutout for 5 2/3 innings by a pitcher (Vidal Nuno) with an ERA of 5.88.
“No energy,” he said. When asked to elaborate, Ortiz responded. “It just seemed like we weren’t there. We just have to figure it out.’
Then came the issue with the Red Sox schedule.
Even though the team is coming off an off-day, Ortiz cited the Sox’ schedule as a road block toward finding success.
The Red Sox had played 20 straight days prior to Thursday’s day off. They will have also spent 21 days on the road in June, currently finding themselves in the middle of a 10-game road trip that included seven West Coast games (including a night contest in Seattle Wednesday night before arriving in New York early Thursday morning).
“The schedule we have is just unbelievable,” Ortiz said. “It’s pretty bad, man. It’s pretty bad. I’m not using that as an excuse, but we’re human and we go everywhere to play, right? In my 18-year career I’ve never seen that. The schedule is we had to play the last game on the West Coast in a night game and then have to travel. It’s pretty bad. You have to do something about that at some point. It doesn’t help.”
Ortiz was also asked if the front office needed to make a move in order to help fix an offense that has scored a major league-low 32 runs over the last 13 games.
“I don’t know, man,” he said. ‘Our GM [Ben Cherington] is somewhere right here, ask that question to him. I’m just a player.”
The weekend series in the Bronx will be the first meeting between the clubs since the Yankees took two out of three games on April 22-24. Boston holds a 2-5 record against New York this season.
Workman (1-0, 2.88 ERA) will be making his first start since June 15, as the right-hander served a six-game suspension for throwing behind Rays third baseman Evan Longoria in a May 30 game.
In his last start against the Indians on June 15, Workman put his team in a good position to win, holding Cleveland to two earned runs while striking out seven over six innings of work. Despite Workman’s solid performance, the Red Sox were defeated by a score of 3-2.
“He’s growing. He feels more comfortable throwing his curveball, and he throws it in bigger situations,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said after the game. “He can bounce it, he can throw it for a strike, move it around and change speeds on you. So it’s nice if you have more than one weapon to get guys out with.”
While Workman has been a pleasant surprise for the Red Sox out of the starting rotation, the team has not capitalized on his performances this season, posting a 2-3 record in his five starts. The average margin of victory in those games has just been 1.8 runs.
Workman last faced off against the Yankees on Sept. 13, 2013, in a brief relief appearance, getting one out in the seventh inning before being pulled from the game. In four career appearances (zero starts) against the Yankees, Workman is 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA.
Nuno (1-4, 5.88 ERA) has not had much luck recently, as the southpaw has yet to earn a win since May 7. Nuno, who started the season in the bullpen before bumped up to the rotation on April 20, has struggled as of late, posting a 6.86 ERA in four starts this month.
|Rico Petrocelli on MFB: Don Zimmer ‘was a great, great baseball man’||06.05.14 at 2:20 pm ET|
Former Red Sox shortstop/third baseman Rico Petrocelli joined Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss the life of baseball icon Don Zimmer, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 83. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Zimmer, who spent 66 years in baseball as a player, manager, coach and executive, had a lasting impact on many within the game. While Petrocelli was only on the Red Sox roster during Zimmer’s first season as Boston manager in 1976, he had many positive takeaways regarding the man known to many as “Popeye.”
“He was a guy that sometimes players got mad [at], but they didn’t stay mad very long,” Petrocelli said. “Zim was tough, he expected a lot from the players, and what that meant was that he wanted guys to hustle and to play hard every game. … That’s all he asked as a coach and as a manager.
“He was the type of guy that you wanted to protect, like a teddy bear. You couldn’t dislike him. The only guy I know who really disliked him was Bill Lee. They had their problems, but overall Zim was a great, great baseball man. Everyone respected him.”
Zimmer coached the Red Sox from 1976 until 1980, averaging 92 wins over his four full seasons at the helm. Despite his track record, Zimmer drew the ire of the Boston fans at the end of his tenure with the club, something that Petrocelli said really affected the Sox skipper.
“He was very hurt,” Petrocelli said. “The fans started to get on him. … He took it hard. That’s the thing about him. He could be tough on the field, he wanted players to play hard and sometimes get all over you if you didn’t, but he also was very emotional.”
|Koji Uehara sits out Red Sox win after experiencing shoulder stiffness||04.11.14 at 11:16 pm ET|
NEW YORK — The injuries keep coming for the Red Sox.
Just moments before what turned out to be a 4-2 Red Sox win over the Yankees Friday night, it was determined that Koji Uehara wouldn’t be available for duty after experiencing right shoulder stiffness during pregame.
“We felt it was best to stay away from him,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Just precautionary. This will be a day to day type of things and we’ll check on him tomorrow and his availability.”
Farrell noted Uehara hadn’t been dealing with any sort of stiffness prior to Friday.
“Based on what Koji’s expressed as far as the stiffness, this doesn’t seem to be a one-pitch injury type thing,” Farrell said. “He just felt some stiffness and we wanted to stay away from him.”
The reliever did mention after the game that he had similar tightness two years ago while pitching with Texas, an issue that he said took two months to overcome after it resurfaced.
“It’s not something I feel all the time,” he said. “It’s not pain. It’s tightness when I throw. I feel it.”
Replacing Uehara in the closers role Friday night was Edward Mujica, who set the Yankees down in order in the ninth inning to pick up his first save as a member of the Red Sox. Mujica had served as the Cardinals’ closer for much of the 2013 season, having made the National League All-Star team after picking up 26 first-half saves.
“He’s got a lot of success in that closer’s role,” Farrell said. “He pitches with a lot of confidence in that ninth inning.”
“When I signed with this team they told me ‘We’re going to have a lot of opportunities in the bullpen,’”Mujica said. ‘The job I did last year they said, ‘Mujica can do the job if Koji goes down.’ But everybody is ready to go to do whatever role.”
There were no plans at this time for Uehara to return to Boston for a further examination.
|Closing Time: Jonny Gomes, Grady Sizemore makes sure Jon Lester finally gets support as Red Sox win||at 10:08 pm ET|
(Lester had entered the game having gotten just one run of support in his first two starts.)
“I felt all right,” Lester said. “I had some grinds in there throughout the game. That’s the Yankees. They’re going to grind away at you and make you throw a bunch of pitches. Overall, none of that really matters. We won the game, at the end, that’s all that matters.”
While Gomes’ solo homer and Sizemore’s three-run job highlighted the offense for the Red Sox, perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the night for John Farrell‘s team was the continued excellence of Lester. The starter went 6 2/3 innings, allowing six hits, two runs, and two walks while striking out six. Lester finished his outing throwing 113 pitches.
Sabathia continued his struggles against the Red Sox, having come in the night totaling a 4-6 mark and 6.48 ERA against the Sox since the beginning of 2011. (The Yankees‘ record in those 12 starts was 4-8.) The lefty went seven innings, allowing four runs on six hits, striking out nine and walking two.
“CC is such a competitor and bulldog out there,” Gomes said. “Once he gets the lead you have to do what you can to jump him. So coming out in the sixth he’s going to be pounding the strike zone so I want to try and be aggressive in the count. We did a great job. You really have to congratulate Jon Lester, keeping us off our feet on defense. We couldn’t get much going early on and he kept running out there with those quick inning. He pitched his heart out tonight and I’m glad we were able to give him some runs.”
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:
WHAT WENT RIGHT
- Gomes’ homer — clearing the left field fence — was his first of the season. The outfielder finished with two hits, marking his first multi-hit game of the season.
- Sizemore also came away with a pair of hits, including the blast over the right field fence with David Ortiz and Mike Napoli having gotten aboard via singles. The Sox left fielder also is now 4-for-10 against left-handers this season.
- Junichi Tazawa came on and ended the Yankees‘ threat in the seventh inning, getting Derek Jeter to fly out to right on the reliever’s second pitch of the night. Tazawa came on for Lester with runners on first and second with the Sox leading by a pair. The righty finished his night allowing just one hit over 1 1/3 innings.
- Edward Mujica came on for the ninth to pick up his first save as a member of the Red Sox.
WHAT WENT WRONG
- Dustin Pedroia went hitless in back-to-back games for the first time this season, going 0-for-4 to lower his batting average to .240. Pedroia still hasn’t walked this season.
- Lester could have escaped his outing having surrendered just one run (an Alfonso Soriano homer) if home plate umpire Brian Hays had given the lefty a two-strike cutter against Brian Roberts in the seventh. But Roberts would ultimately walk (to Lester’s dismay), leading to a Kelly Johnson RBI single.
- Koji Uehara was sidelined after experiencing shoulder stiffness. (See details by clicking here.)
NEW YORK — David Ross had hope.
But then, on a November get-away weekend with McCann and former Braves pitcher Eric O’Flaherty (whom the Red Sox also had interest in), the free agent catcher broke the news to his buddy.
“We went on a guys’ trip and he had told me the Yankees had made a pretty good offer early on and he was probably going to be a Yankee,” Ross said. “I didn’t say anything because that’s a lot of money and I don’t want to be messing up anybody’s thing.
“Early on I did (think McCann would come to Boston). I knew he wanted to come here, a lot. I had just told him what it was like here and that interested him. But when it comes to that much money they were talking about, I kind of stayed out of it because he’s got to make the best decision for him and his family. But I definitely was telling him about everything I liked about being here, and how well he would fit in here. But the Red Sox weren’t even close to what he got, so it really was a no-brainer.”
The left-handed hitting McCann ‘ who signed a five-year, $85 million deal (with a $15 team option) ‘ is batting just .167 with a .356 OPS in his first nine games with the Yankees.
Still, the expectation is that acquring the 10-year veteran (he of the .819 career OPS) will ultimately be a big win for the Yankees.
“It’s weird competing against him. It’s really weird,” Ross said. “It’s funny to me. There was a foul ball over near our dugout about 20 rows deep and he ran over and I was yelling, ‘You’ve got room!’ He just started laughing. You turn yourself into competitors. I want to now kick his tail every time I play him.
“I think they knew how close we were. I know there was some dialogue and they were interested in him. There were other players they called me about, including some catchers. They knew he would fit in well here. But they were in a tough position here where they had some really good catchers coming. I don’t know if the Yankees felt the same way about their farm system.”
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