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April 11, 2007
Varitek: Hernandez's performance "electric"
Sox catcher Jason Varitek on Mariners' pitcher Felix Hernandez's one-hitter: "He was able to keep doing different things. He had an exploding slider, and he was able to mix in his curveball. And the second time around, he started showing that change-up. It was one heck of a performance.''
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 10:31 PM to Thornton
Varitek on Dice-K's second Major League outing
Sox catcher Jason Varitek on Dice-K's outing: "Probably in his eyes, it probably wasn't his best, but he made some real good pitches. He pitched well enough to keep us in that game. The other guy just pitched a little better today."
``I understand (Matsuzaka) didn't have the same feel on the baseball that he has had, but he was still able to battle through different pitches to get through it and keep the game close. . . . At different times, he was lights out tonight.''
"He's definitely a competitor, no question. And he's going to win a lot of ballgames for this team.''
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 10:26 PM to Thornton
Mariners even series on Hernandez' one-hitter
After getting pounded, 14-3, by the Sox on Tuesday, the Seattle Mariners rebounded with a 3-0 victory tonight behind the one-hit pitching of Felix Hernandez.
Jose Guillen gave Seattle a lead it would not relinquish in the second inning when he singled off the Green Monster and went on to score on Yuniesky Betancourt’s sac fly to left.
The Mariners went ahead, 3-0, in the fifth when Adrian Beltre doubled home Jose Lopez, went to third on a throwing error by Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia and then scored himself on a Jose Vidro liner to center.
Dice-K Matsuzaka could not secure a victory in his Fenway debut. The righthander scattered eight hits over seven innings, giving up three runs – all of them earned. He threw 64 of his 103 pitches for strikes, recording four strikeouts and walking one batter.
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 9:29 PM to Thornton
Drew spoils Hernandez's no-hitter
J.D. Drew spoiled Felix Hernandez's no-hitter with his leadoff single in the bottom of the eighth.
The Sox rightfielder has now hit safely in all eight games this season.
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 9:13 PM to Thornton
No victory for Dice-K tonight
Dice-K Matsuzaka's Fenway debut will not go down as a victory. Seattle tagged the Sox righthander for three runs - all of the earned - before he was relieved by J.C. Romero in the eighth.
Matsuzaka gave up eight hits over his seven-inning stint. He threw 64 of his 103 pitches for strikes, recording four strikeouts and walking one batter.
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 7:12 PM to Thornton
Dice-K walked out to the bullpen to warm up at 6:29 p.m.
He was greeted by a loud round of cheers.
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 6:31 PM to Thornton
Sox Streakers for April 11
The following is from the Red Sox game notes:
-Josh Beckett yesterday won the Fenway opener for the second year in a row, making him the first pitcher to do so since Dennis Eckersley (1979-'80).
-J.D. Drew has hit safely in the first seven games of the season, the first time in his career that he has done so. He joins six other American Leaguers who have done the same this year.
-The club's longest hitting streak dating back to last year is held by bench player Eric Hinske, who has hit safely in 12 straight appearances dating back to September.
-Mike Lowell is tied for the American League lead in doubles with four.
-Dustin Pedroia is 0 for his last 10.
-Kevin Youkilis is 5 for his last 12.
-Seven of the nine regular starters (all except Pedroia and Varitek) have started every game of the season.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 5:37 PM to Projo Sox Streakers
iiyo or iiyo????
Today's pre-game press conference briefly turned into a Laurel-and-Hardy routine when Sox manager Terry Francona attempted to pronounce the Japanese word for "good.''
Sitting just a few feet away from Francona, Japanese reporter Takashi Settai - who writes for the Nikkei, a daily newspaper in Toronto - couldn't help but burst into laughter when Francona stressed the wrong syllable while trying to say "iiyo.''
The journalist quickly apologized when Francona shot him a glance.
"You've got to remember, I grew up in Beaver Falls, Pa.,'' Francona said. ``You can barely understand English there sometimes."
"Say it again?'' Francona said to Settai.
"That's what I said."
"No, you said, ee-YOH."
"No wonder he looked at me like I'm a (dummy) when I said it."
"We try,'' Francona added. "I think most people probably appreciate the attempt, as bad as it might be."
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 5:19 PM to Thornton
Can hopes for Dice-K get any higher?
Does Sox manager Terry Francona think the expectations for Dice-K will continue to mount?
"If they do, that means he's pitching well. I don't think that's going to bother him. . . . The expectations are going to be off the charts, but part of that's because this guy's supposed to be good."
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 5:12 PM to Thornton
PawSox 5, Bulls 3 -- the story
By AL FEATHERSTON
Special to the Journal
DURHAM, N.C. -- Ron Johnson wasn’t quite sure he was in the right place for Wednesday afternoon’s International League game against the Durham Bulls.
Isn’t Durham in the South -- the land of sunny climes?
How come the gray, overcast sky, the misting rain and the temperatures hovering around 50 were so much like what the Pawtucket manager would normally see at home in early April?
“I was kind of hoping the Southern start for us was not going to be like our Northern start, but it’s kind of turned out to be the same thing,” Johnson said. “It’s never easy to play in poor conditions. Anybody who thinks you play a game in snow, rain, cold and it’s the same … it’s not very much fun at all.”
Still, Johnson’s Pawsox overcame both the elements and the Bulls, twice erasing one-run deficits to pull out a 5-3 victory in the third game of a four-game series. Pawtucket, which took three out of four from the Charlotte Knights to open the season, will try to duplicate that feat Thursday night at 7 in the final game of the series with the Bulls.
Johnson can’t complain about his team’s 5-2 start so far this season, a record compiled in the face of some unseasonably cold weather in the Carolinas.
“It’s the summer classic, right?” Johnson said. “It’s supposed to be played in warm weather. But we’ve got to get used to it. They’re professionals and know they have to do it, so you go out there and battle the conditions. I thought the guys did a fantastic job.”
The Pawsox got an overpowering starting performance from Devern Hansack, who struck out 10 Bulls in his five innings of work. The righthander, who threw a five-inning no-hitter for the Boston Red Sox last fall, allowed Durham just two hits and an unearned run before he was pulled after throwing 89 pitches in his five inning stint.
It’s the second straight start in which Hansack has registered 10 strikeouts. He had 10 in five and two-thirds innings at Charlotte last week.
He didn’t get the win because reliever Mike Burns gave up two runs and the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. But Manny Delcarmen (1-0) and Craig Breslow shut down the Bulls in the final three innings and that gave the Pawsox a chance to batter the Bulls’ bullpen.
The Pawtucket batters, stifled by the Bulls’ staff in the first two games of the series, pounded four Durham pitchers for 15 hits. Joe McEwing singled in a run in the fifth and Chad Spann got an RBI when he followed Bobby Scales’ triple with a single in the sixth.
But the blow came in the top of the eighth, when Kerry Robinson drove in the tying and go-ahead runs with a double that he sliced into the left-field corner.
“The pitch before that, I thought I had an opportunity to hit,” Robinson said. “So I just concentrated on staying back and trust my hands.”
The veteran infielder was making his first start of the series and just his second this year.
“I played off the bench in the big leagues for three years,” Robinson said. “You learn to btrust in your abilities and be ready when they call on you.”
Johnson was pleased to see that his bullpen was ready when he called.
“Our pitching has been very, very strong,” Johnson said. “I have faith in every guy [in the bullpen]. We’re trying to make sure certain guys get multiple innings to make sure they’re prepared to pitch in Boston when they’re called upon. I thought Burns threw the ball good. He had a couple of close pitches that could have gone either way.
“If you look at it, we’ve already got [three] different guys with saves? That does matter. Our key is to get people prepared in case the Boston Red Sox need them. It’s a good situation.”
Posted by Art Martone at 5:05 PM | Permalink
Is he here yet?
Asked during his pre-game press conference if Dice-K had arrived at the ballpark, Sox manager Terry Francona quipped:
"I don't know. I figure . . . . . I've had Pedro (Martinez). As long as he's good for the first pitch, that's good enough.''
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 5:04 PM to Thornton
Birthday wishes to Varitek
Sox catcher Jason Varitek celebrates his 35th birthday today.
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 5:02 PM to Thornton
Cool as a cucumber
Sox manager Terry Francona doesn't envision the added hype surrounding tonight's game affecting Dice-K:
"This won't bother him. I've watched him enough now for 2 months, where he goes about his business, and part of what's made this sometimes tolerable, most of the time not even bothering us is because of the way he handles it. He handles his responsibilities with the media and it doesn't seem to get in the way of his work and it doesn't seem to irritate him. Once he steps on that field, he knows what he's supposed to do, and his preparation for getting on the field, it's been flawless. So the way he has handled his responsibilities has made it a heck of a lot easier on us.''
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 4:57 PM to Thornton
No spills and a win, please
Asked about the impact of tonight's game and the much-anticipated Fenway debut of Sox pitcher Diasuke Matsuzaka on the game of baseball, Sox manager Terry Francona had this to say during today's pre-game press conference:
"I came to the ballpark today not feeling any different. My biggest project coming in was not trying to spill the coffee while I was driving because of these people, the way they drive. And then you kind of get in here and you start hearing people talk about what a huge day this is, and I guess for fans of different countries it is. I want us to be 5-3 when it's over, not 4-4. That's kind of how I've been viewing it. I know that he's going to face Ichiro (Suzuki) and the flashbulbs are going to be going off. I just don't want Ichiro to get off first because he screws up the game. So maybe I'm missing out on some of it, but I really want the impact of this game (to be) for us to win. I'll leave the significance up to you guys (the media) or whoever's watching, and however it impacts them, good.''
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 4:41 PM to Thornton
The lineup for tonight's Sox-Mariners' game:
BOSTON RED SOX
ss - Lugo
1b - Youkilis
dh - Ortiz
lf - Ramirez
rf - Drew
3b - Lowell
c - Varitek
cf - Crisp
2b - Pedroia
SP - Matsuzaka
cf - Suzuki
3b - Beltre
dh - Vidro
lf - Ibanez
1b - Sexson
rf - Guillen
c - Johjima
ss - Betancourt
2b - Lopez
SP - Hernandez
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 4:32 PM to Thornton
PawSox 5, Durham 3
Here's the box, with story to come.
Posted by Art Martone at 4:29 PM | Permalink
Mannybeingmanny: Manny versus A-Rod
Alex Rodriguez continued his hot start last night, hitting a home run off Minnesota starter Boof Bonser. It was Rodriguez's 6th home run of the year, and the 470th of his career. That ties him for 27th all-time, with the man he was once almost traded to Boston for: your own Manny Ramirez.
Rodriguez is, whatever else you want to say about him, a player who will go down as one of the best ever. He is only 31 years old -- Manny is 34 (both are very young to be talking about hitting 500 home runs for their careers). That said, Ramirez has reached 470 homers in fewer at-bats. He has 6,600 career at-bats, which means he has homered once every 14 at-bats. Rodriguez has 6,795 at-bats, for a rate of one home run every 14 1/2 at-bats.
Both guys finished last season with 35 home runs; the year before Ramirez had 45 against Rodriguez's 48. And in 2004 Ramirez had 43 home runs against 36 for A-Rod.
Click on for full career statistics for Ramirez and Rodriguez.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 1:53 PM to Projo Mannybeingmanny
Projo SoxTalk with Art Martone
Joe McDonald joins Art to discuss the home opener, Jason Varitek, J.D. Drew and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Click here to listen to the audio file.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 11:21 AM to Martone
Baseball Today: Wednesday, April 11
The sun is shining the morning after a 14-3 Opening Day victory . . .
IF ONLY THEY WERE ALL THIS EASY: Sean McAdam recounts an almost record-setting day at the ballpark. (projo.com) (The 14 runs were one short of the franchise record for most runs in a home opener -- 15, scored against the Yankees in 1973 -- but the 11-run margin of victory was the biggest ever for a home opener.) You can read more from Sean, Steven Krasner, Joe McDonald and Bill Reynolds right here, along with two photo galleries from Bob Breidenbach and Mary Murphy (including a particularly unflattering one of me calling in ProJo SportsTalk from a box seat on the third-base side before the gates opened yesterday morning). If you're into this sort of thing, you can follow the whole day as it unfolded -- in reverse chronlogical order -- from yesterday's entries on the Sox Blog. It was't a whole lot of fun for the Mariners, though (Seattle Times).
TODAY'S ANOTHER DAY: And what a day it promises to be: Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. Felix Hernandez (projo.com), with a dose of Dice-K vs. Ichiro thrown in for good measure (Seattle Times). We'll be talking about it at noon on SportsTalk, and the blog from the ballpark will crank up soon after 4, so come back for more.
LISTEN . . . DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET? DO YOU PROMISE NOT TO TELL? Mariners catcher Kenji Johjima demystifies the gyroball. (Seattle Times)
EVERY STORY STARTS SOMEWHERE: If you want to know the genesis -- or at least the first open signs -- of the Brendan Donnelly-Jose Guillen feud, click here. (espn.com)
DICE-K, SCHMICE-K: The Devil Rays are catching Aki Fever. (devilraysuniverse.blogspot.com)
(Devil Rays Universe???)
MAKING HIS MARK: After spending his first season in Baltimore pining away for the Red Sox, Kevin Millar is starting to embrace Oriole Nation. Both Mr. Irrelevant (journals.aol.com/dcsportsguy/mrirrelevant/) and Gheorghe: The Blog are impressed. (gheorghe77.blogspot.com)
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Dan Wheeler's debut as Astros closer could have gone a little smoother. (Houston Chronicle)
IF PAPELBON WEREN'T CLOSING, THIS WOULD BE STORY ONE IN BOSTON: Trade rumors are now swirling around the man Wheeler replaced, Brad Lidge. (Houston Chronicle baseball blog)
I STAND BY MY COMMENTS: Nothing like a 1-6 start is going to change Jimmy Rollins' mind that the Phillies are the class of the N.L. East. (New York Daily News)
LESSONS FROM A LANDFILL: Tim Marchman admits Shea Stadium is ugly, but, hey, so is life sometimes. What better place to learn that than at a ballpark? (New York Sun)
LIFE IMITATING ART: The Indians playing home games in Milwaukee? Well, the movie Major League, about the shocking resurrection of the team, was shot in Milwaukee's County Stadium, right? So, thanks to the snow in Ohio, they're back in Wisconsin, this time for real. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) And 19,000 fans showed up to watch them beat the Angels last night. (mlb.com)
JOIN THE CLUB: Like most of us, Hank Aaron has very little use for Barry Bonds. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
ONWARD AND UPWARD: Bonds, meanwhile, has more than 755 home runs in his sights. He'd also like to get 3,000 hits, as a tribute to his godfather, Willie Mays. (San Francisco Chronicle)
WHY CAN'T WE GET GENERAL MANAGERS LIKE THAT??? Former Red Sox assistant GM Josh Byrnes is drawing praise for his work as GM of the Diamondbacks. (Arizona Republic)
SOMEBODY, PLEASE, ANYBODY! The Rockies can't find anyone to take Byung-Hyun Kim off their hands. (Denver Post)
DOWN ON THE FARM: PawSox shortstop Ed Rogers won a steak dinner by hitting a home run off the bull in Durham in the PawSox' 2-1 win over the Bulls. (projo.com)
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 7:09 AM | Permalink
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