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September 28, 2005
Lilly no shrinking violet vs. Boston
It only seems as if Ted Lilly beats the Red Sox every time he pitches against them.
The truth is that Boston has beaten him three times. The left-hander was only 3-3 against the Sox lifetime. But he has saved some of his best games for Boston.
And Wednesday night was no exception. One start after getting knocked out in the second inning by the Yankees, Lilly continued his recent mastery of the Red Sox, limiting them to two runs in 6 2/3 innings on a night when the wind was blowing out.
The effort trimmed Lilly's earned-run average against the Sox this season to 2.40 in five starts. He's 3-0 versus Boston this year.
``Lilly's been real tough on us for a couple of years,'' said Boston manager Terry Francona. ``I didn't think he had his best stuff to start the game. He was fighting himself a little early, but when they padded their lead, he got more confident and relaxed. He got into a great rhythm.''
How can Lilly's hex over the Sox be explained?
``He's got good stuff, but it seems like when we face him he has it,'' said David Ortiz. ``I watched him pitch against the Yankees (last week) and everything he threw was over the plate. Sometimes it's like a hitter. When you feel confident against a pitcher, it doesn't matter if it's his best night, you feel you can hit anything. When he pitches against us, it's like it's always his best night.''
Posted by at 9:53 PM | Permalink
Give that man a save
Lenny DiNardo's night didn't get off to the best of beginnings Wednesday night.
And the left-hander certainly didn't qualify for an official save. But his four-inning outing at least saved the Red Sox bullpen from getting too much work as the regular season dwindles down.
DiNardo, pitching for the first time since Sept. 20, allowed one hit, walked three and fanned two in relief of struggling starter Bronson Arroyo. Unfortunately for DiNardo and the Sox, that one hit happened to be to the first batter he faced, Frank Catalanotto, who lofted a two-run double off the wall in left, putting Toronto up, 7-1, in the fourth.
Posted by at 9:47 PM | Permalink
Bunt? Big Papi?? Say it ain't so!
All that open field in fair territory was too tempting for David Ortiz.
The Blue Jays went into their shift, pulling the second baseman over to right field, the shortstop to the second-base side of the bag and the third baseman to shortstop, shading second when Big Papi came to the plate in the seventh.
The Sox were losing, 7-2. There was one out and a runner at first. The Sox needed baserunners, but Ortiz is an MVP candidate, and he didn't get to that lofty status by bunting, even if he did bunt for a hit in a game in Anaheim in August.
Ortiz, who twice earlier in the series had faked bunts, this time tried to drop one down. But it was a bad bunt. Catcher Gregg Zaun pounced on it in front of the plate and threw out Edgar Renteria, trying to advance from first to second, blunting another potential rally before it had a chance to start.
No doubt the Jays were thankful Ortiz elected to play a little small-ball on his own.
Ortiz was only 5 for 25 in his career against Toronto pitcher Ted Lilly when he attempted the bunt. But Ortiz had drilled an RBI single to left-center in his previous at-bat against Lilly.
Boston manager Terry Francona said he didn't think it was such a bad play. Further, he thought it showed what a thinking-man's player Ortiz is.
``Ortiz was just trying to get some runners on base,'' said Francona. ``He's achieved so much this year. That just shows how team-oriented he is. It's awesome the way he tried to help the ballclub. Manny (Ramirez) was on-deck. A two-run homer (by Ortiz) doesn't tie the game.''
Ortiz said he was motivated partially by his lack of success against Lilly as well as the scoreboard.
``We're facing this guy who is really dealing against us, making good pitches against us. If I hit a homer it doesn't matter. We'll still be down by a bunch of runs. They had space open (on the field) and I just tried to get on base for Manny. If he hits a homer, we're closer,'' said Ortiz, explaining his decision to bunt.
Posted by at 9:40 PM | Permalink
With the Red Sox down, 7-2, and two outs in the sixth Wednesday night, Tony Graffanino ripped a shot to the base of the Green Monster in left-center.
Graffanino is one of the Sox' best baserunners. But this time, he made a questionable decision, given the score, and he and the Red Sox paid for it.
The Sox second baseman tried to stretch the hit into a double. When he hit the ball, it looked like a certain double. But the ball took a quick carom right to center fielder Vernon Wells, who made a strong throw to second baseman Aaron Hill.
Graffanino tried to slide around the tag, and he may have done it (replays were inconclusive), but he was called out by Brian O'Nora, ending the inning.
Posted by at 9:23 PM | Permalink
Big Papi Moves Up
David Ortiz moved into a tie for fifth place on the Red Sox' all-time single-season RBI list by smacking a run-scoring single in the fifth.
It was his 144th RBI, pulling him even with Walt Dropo and Vern Stephens, each of whom had 144 in 1950. Next up on the list for Ortiz is Ted Williams, who knocked in 145 in 1939.
The hit came off a nemesis of Ortiz, Toronto left-hander Ted Lilly. Ortiz was only 4 for 24 against Lilly, including 0 for 2 Wednesday night, before his RBI single.
Posted by at 9:04 PM | Permalink
Game of Inches
Johnny Damon's 192nd hit of the year fell safely to the Fenway Park turf by an inch.
Damon led off the third by lining a shot to right. Toronto right fielder Reed Johnson raced in and reached down for the ball on the dead run, the ball settling in the web of his glove.
He quickly held it up to show second base umpire Brian O'Nora that he had it. But O'Nora, who had done his job by hustling into the outfield to get a good view of the play, wasn't buying the act. He emphatically slapped the ground with his hand, indicating the ball had hit the grass before settling in Johnson's glove.
Johnson put up a mild protest, and Toronto manager John Gibbons came out of the dugout to have a chat with O'Nora, but got nowhere and replays seemed to back up O'Nora's call.
Damon, meanwhile, has racked up the second-highest hit total in his career. He had 214 for Kansas City in 2000. His best for the Sox was 189, last year's total.
Posted by at 8:07 PM | Permalink
That darn "Cat"
Frank Catalanotto, a career .324 hitter against Boston entering the season, has kept up his assault on Red Sox pitching in this series.
Wednesday night, Catalanotto tripled off the center-field fence in the first inning and hooked a solo homer around the Pesky Pole in the third. Those two hits gave him six in a row over a two-game span.
His streak reached seven consecutive hits when he lofted a two-run double off the Green Monster in the fourth, leaving him just a single shy of the cycle.
The string was snapped in his next at-bat, when Catalanotto grounded out to second base in the sixth.
Posted by at 7:52 PM | Permalink
This and That
Edgar Renteria's homer into the center-field bleachers in the bottom of the first Wednesday night snapped his homerless streak at 138 at-bats, since his game-winning three-run homer in Anaheim on Aug. 21. It was his first homer at Fenway since he took Tampa Bay's Scott Kazmir deep on April 17 . . . Toronto right fielder Reed Johnson robbed struggling Jason Varitek of extra bases and in the process short-circuited a budding Boston rally with a diving catch in right-center with two on and two out in the fifth . . . Scott Schoeneweis, cousin of Jeremy Kapstein, Red Sox senior advisor for baseball projects, made his league-leading 80th appearance. The left-hander retired both batters he faced in the eighth, ending a Boston threat. He set down the Sox in the ninth, allowing just a single to David Ortiz . . . Lenny DiNardo's four-inning stint was the second-longest bullpen outing for the Sox this season. John Halama went 4 1/3 on May 30 against Baltimore . . . Jason Varitek's 0-for-3 dropped his average to .279. He is batting only .206 (28 for 136) over his last 38 games. When the slump began, he was batting .311. He has only 11 RBI over his last 32 games despite batting fifth or sixth most of the time.
Posted by at 7:26 PM | Permalink
First-inning woes; Gone by the 4th
Bronson Arroyo has been having trouble in the first inning lately.
When Frank Catalanotto tripled off the center-field fence and Vernon Wells followed with a two-run missle into the Monster seats in the first inning Wednesday night, it marked the third time in his last five starts that Arroyo had coughed up a pair of first-inning runs.
The promising aspect of it all? Arroyo had won the previous two starts in which he surrendered two runs in the first.
Unfortunately, Arroyo's luck didn't hold in that regard. He was lifted after being unable to retire any of the three batters he faced in the fourth.
By the time the fourth was over, Arroyo had been charged with seven earned runs and the Red Sox were losing, 7-1.
It was Arroyo's worst outing in a long time. He had been 4-0 with a 3.60 earned-run average in his previous five starts, and he had permitted more than four runs in only one of his previous 11 starts.
The right-hander was bashed for three homers, tying a season high. It was his shortest outing since he lasted only 3 2/3 innings on Aug. 5 at Minnesota. His only shorter start came on May 30, when he was lifted after only 2 2/3 innings at home against Baltimore.
Posted by at 7:21 PM | Permalink
Timlin: BoSox Club Man of the Year
Reliever Mike Timlin was announced Wednesday night as the BoSox Club's Man of the Year. The award is given for contributions to the success of the Red Sox and for cooperation in community endeavors. Timlin is the 39th recipient of the award. The award will be given to Timlin Thursday at noon at the BoSox Club luncheon.
Posted by at 6:31 PM | Permalink
Who gets the loot?
After batting practice Wednesday, a select group of Red Sox were heading to the polls, as it were.
They were to vote on potential playoff shares, should the Sox make the postseason. But only players who have been with the team all year were allowed to vote on the matter.
The list of voting members was Bill Mueller, Johnny Damon, Trot Nixon, Kevin Millar, Edgar Renteria, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek, Doug Mirabelli, Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield, Mike Timlin, Mike Myers, David Wells and Keith Foulke.
Player who have been with the team all year are due full shares, but the decisions come on players who have not spent the season in Boston. They get various percentages of a full share, which was the reason for the vote.
Posted by at 5:02 PM | Permalink
God's Plan? Or FOX-TV's plan?
After Tuesday night's game, Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon, looked ahead to the weekend's showdown with the New York Yankees with a divisional title and possibly the American League East's only playoff spot on the line.
It was a bit of fortuitous scheduling, he said.
``It's the master plan, God's way, Red Sox-Yankees,'' he said.
Boston manager Terry Francona was asked Wednesday afternoon how he felt about Damon's assessment.
``I don't know if it was God's master plan. I thought it was FOX's,'' joked Francona, referring to the network that will televise the Saturday afternoon matchup.
``My master plan would have had the weekend mean nothing and us be up. I have a feeling that would have been the Yankees' plan, too,'' he said.
Posted by at 4:56 PM | Permalink
Foulke headed for right knee surgery
Keith Foulke was back in the Red Sox clubhouse yesterday, but as the rest of the team got dressed for batting practice, the injured closer was preparing to meet with team doctors to discuss what will be done to help heal his ailing right knee.
And, as Foulke admitted, the likely path was an arthroscopic procedure to clean out the knee, a similar procedure to what was done in early July to address the left knee discomfort that contributed to his poor performances.
He said the procedure probably would be done in Boston, presided over by team physician Thomas Gill and his staff, and that the rehabilitation would be done in Arizona.
Foulke said his right knee doesn't feel as bad as his left knee did. Foulke, who has said that in retrospect he wishes he had addressed these knee issues in spring training, said he expects to be re-en ergized and raring to go when spring training rolls around in February.
By shutting it down now, he said, it will give his left knee more time to heal. Foulke had returned to the Sox' roster on Sept. 1. He pitched in six games, allowing three runs in 6 2/3 innings. But because he had altered his pitching mechanics to take some pressure off his left knee, he said he began experiencing pain in his right shoulder. That problem has lessened since Sept. 18, when Foulke last pitched, and he said he didn't expect to have any tests done on the shoulder because the inactivity has helped relieve the discomfort he was feeling.
``There were three days in Tampa (Sept. 19-21) I couldn't throw. I probably strained something (in the shoulder) but I didn't push it that much. It's not like I was pitching well. I probably couldn't help the team down the stretch pitching one day and having to take three days off,'' said Foulke, who finished the year 5-5 with a 5.91 earned-run average and 15 saves in 19 chances.
``This spring (2006) will be the first one I'll enjoy going to. I have a lot of work to do over the winter but I'm going to be excited about beinjg able to pitch the way I can pitch and get back to being a dominant pitcher,'' said Foulke, 32, who saved 32 games during the 2005 season and then racked up three saves in helping Boston win its first World Championship in 86 years.
Foulke said it's difficult for him to watch baseball on TV anyway (``It's a pretty boring game to watch''), and it's more difficult to watch his teammates knowing he can't help. That's what made even his visit yesterday to the clubhouse difficult on him, he said.
``It's miserable. When you come back it's nice to see the guys, but they're all getting ready to play and I'm twiddling my thumbs. It's depressing is what it is,'' said Foulke after turning down the loud music to accommodate the media in an unusual-for-him display of respect for the media.
Foulke said he didn't know how much time he'd be around the Sox as the season winds down and hopefully for them moves into the postseason.
``It depends on when the surgery is done,'' said Foulke. ``It's hard being here and not being able to do anything. Hopefully there will be a lot of celebrations in here, but it will be awkward not being part of it.''
Posted by at 4:31 PM | Permalink
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