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April 24, 2007
PawSox fall to Red Wings
In a rematch of starting pitchers Rochester’s Kevin Slowey once again bettered Pawtucket’s Devern Hansack as the Red Sox fell to the Red Wings 5-2 Tuesday at Frontier Field.
The two rookies faced each other only last week at McCoy Stadium with Slowey (3-0) striking out nine in five innings and Hansack (1-2) allowing three runs on eight hits in five innings as the Red Wings shutout Pawtucket.
In last night’s rematch the PawSox finally scored on the Rochester righty but four runs on 10 hits by the Red Wings off Hansack helped Rochester to the win.
"The story was Slowey," Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson said.
"It was a dominating performance by Slowey," Rochester manager Stan Cliburn added.
"You have to tip your hat. Slowey did a great job," Johnson said. "It was an interesting game."
Slowey (3-0) again had nine strike outs, this time over seven innings, allowing the two runs on three hits. The PawSox whiffed 13 times in the game.
"We made the most of our three hits," Johnson said.
Brandon Moss had a single in the second and Chad Spann singled in the fifth.
Then, in Slowey’s terms, the bottom fell out when he walked Moss in the seventh.
Moss became the first batter in 65 that Slowey has faced in 18 innings to earn a walk from the Red Wings rookie.
"He made some really good pitches," Moss said of his 13-pitch at-bat against Slowey in the seventh inning. "He has really good command. It took him a lot of pitches to walk me and none of them was over the middle of the plate. He was trying to get me to chase something out of the zone. If he wanted to throw a strike there he could have."
George Kottaras followed with a two-run homer to right.
"He hit it a country mile," Slowey said.
"I was overly aggressive in earlier at-bats," Kottaras said. "I went up looking for a pitch I could handle. He has great stuff and will make you pay if you chase stuff. He has a great idea on how to pitch I was lucky to run into one (that he didn‘t concentrate on)."
Kottaras became the first in 66 batters to homer off of Slowey drilling the first pitch he saw over the right-field wall for the only Pawtucket runs.
"Slowey said he made a mistake on Kottaras," Cliburn said. "I told him that wasn’t a mistake pitch. It was a 91 MPH fastball that a good hitter hit out of the park. Your only human."
Three of the Rochester runs came on sacrifice flies. Another on a wild pitch, one of four thrown by Hansack, and the other on a single to center.
"We went out and manufactured runs," Cliburn said. "We stole bases. We were aggressive on the base paths and that allowed us to score on the sacrifice flies."
"When they needed to run and steal a base, they did," Johnson said. "We did a good job of defending but it didn’t work."
Today’s afternoon tilt with the Red Wings will be another classic pitching duel as righty Matt Garza, the minor league player-of-the-year, will take the mound for Rochester against Jon Lester for Pawtucket. It will be the lefties first rehab start for the PawSox. Lester, in three starts for Single-A Greenville allowed three runs on 11 hits over 13 innings with 15 strike outs in three starts for the Drive.
ED GONSER (Special to the Journal)
Posted by Corey Bourassa at 10:13 PM to PawSox
Final: Blue Jays 10, Red Sox 3 before 37,000 at Fenway
BOSTON -- There were more people in Fenway Park tonight -- 37,161 -- than there've been at any time since World War II.
Too bad they didn't get to see a better ballgame.
The Blue Jays broke open a close game with a pair of runs in the top of fifth inning, then put it out of reach with four unearned runs in the sixth as they beat the Red Sox, 10-3, tonight and swept the two-game series.
The new modern attendance record was the result of several areas of new seating, both standing room and in the aluminum-bleacher "Conigliaro's Corner" on the right-field roof, added this offseason. The Sox approached, but didn't quite reach, the 37,000 mark on Friday night against the Yankees. There is less seating for day games because two areas of the bleachers are cordoned off to help the hitters sight lines.
The team drew crowds higher than 37,000 prior to the war, when fire laws were looser and fans were allowed to cram in virtually every corner of the field . . . including some allowed to stand on the field, in foul territory.
The game was tied 1-1 in the third when the Jays scored three. The Sox had battled back to 4-3 by the top of the fifth, but the Blue Jays scored two more to make it 6-3. Then they ended the suspense with four unearned runs in the top of the sixth.
Frank Thomas doubled off the base of the left-field wall, driving in Alex Rios and Adam Lind and giving Toronto a 3-1 lead. Lyle Overbay then hit a bouncer to the left side that second baseman Dustin Pedroia had lined up. But first baseman Eric Hinske cut in front of him and the ball caromed off his glove. The official scorer gave Overbay an RBI, ruling Wells would have scored even if the play had been made (he was running as the ball was hit).
The error was one of four made by Boston, the most the Red Sox committed in a game since Sept. 9, 2005.
In the bottom of the third, the Sox got a run back. Julio Lugo beat out an infield hit, stole second, and came home when Hinske singled to right, a line drive that Rios just barely missed as he dove for the ball.
Mike Lowell homered with one out in the fourth, making it 4-3. But the Blue Jays made it 6-3 on a two-out, two-run double off the wall in left by Overbay, scoring Lind and Wells, both of whom had singled with one out.
The Red Sox lifted starter Julian Tavarez after Overbay's double in favor of Kyle Snyder, Tavarez labored all night, throwing 85 pitches and surrendering seven hits and six runs in his 4 2/3 innings.
In the top of the sixth, Wily Mo Pena flubbed a line drive by Lind with two runners on and two outs, dropping the ball and allowing the seventh Blue Jay run to score. Wells singled home two more as the Toronto lead went to 9-3.
Toronto manager John Gibbons then had Wells steal with a six-run lead, and the move paid off in another run. Wells was not only safe but he went to third on an errant throw by catcher Jason Varitek. Thomas then singled him in, making it 10-3.
Wells' four hits and four runs scored both matched his career highs.
Toronto had opened the scoring with a two-out solo home run from Wells in the top of the first. In the bottom of the inning, David Ortiz singled home Lugo to tie the score. Lugo had singled, stolen second, and moved to third on an infield grounder by Hinske.
Posted by Art Martone at 9:59 PM | Permalink
A-Rod: I want to stay in New York
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Alex Rodriguez's torrid start has reaffirmed his intentions for after this season: He wants to stay in pinstripes.
Rodriguez, whose 14 homers are tied for the most ever in April, said Tuesday that he has no plans to leave the New York Yankees after the season, when the third baseman can opt of his contract.
“I want to stay in New York, no matter what,” Rodriguez said in the Yankees' third-base dugout before Tuesday night's game at Tampa Bay.
“I love New York. It's the greatest place for me to play.”
Rodriguez is entering the seventh season of his $252 million, 10-year contract, a deal he signed with the Texas Rangers. He can terminate the agreement after the season, forfeit the $81 million owed in the final three years and become a free agent.
“Abilitywise, we certainly want him here,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “Sitting in the middle of our lineup and making the statement he is right now, we certainly don't want him to go anywhere. That's without question. I'd like to believe he's going to be here.”
Rodriguez entered Tuesday night's game at Tampa Bay hitting .400 with a league-leading 34 RBIs in 18 games, and he's already matched the record for April homers set by Albert Pujols last year.
When asked if he could explain his start, Rodriguez said simply, “No.”
“I know you guys are looking for some profound answers, but I don't have them,” Rodriguez said. “I'm having as much fun as I can. I'm trying to keep it simple. Just try to prolong it as long as possible and enjoy it.”
Posted by Art Martone at 8:55 PM | Permalink
Hall of Fame receives Varitek's bat
The Red Sox announced last night that the bat used by Jason Varitek to hit the fourth consecutive home run in the third inning Sunday night has been donated to the Hall of Fame.
Posted by Art Martone at 8:09 PM | Permalink
Playing safe with Coco
The Red Sox are taking it slowly with Coco Crisp’s strained left oblique, which means Crisp is getting another night of rest.
Wily Mo Pena will be in center tonight for the third straight game as Crisp sits.
``I said yesterday I thought he’d play today,’’ manager Terry Francona said, ``but I’m hopeful he’ll play tomorrow. The trainers keep saying we’re better off being cautious, which I understand. So we’ll wait another day.’’
``They want to make sure nothing happens. That’s a touchy area,’’ Crisp said. He, too, felt he could go. He did his normal pre-game workout. It was simply decided not to push the issue.
``Every player tells you he’s fine. Then they take one swing or make one bad movement and they miss six weeks,’’ Francona said. ``I thought Coco could play. But if there is a chance he goes out there and gets hurt, to me that doesn’t make any sense. I’d rather err on the side of caution.’’
After a bad start, Crisp had gone 8-for-20 in his last five games being being hurt.
Posted by Paul Kenyon at 5:33 PM | Permalink
Timlin's defensive heroics saves face
Mike Timlin saved his own life on Monday night. Toronto hitter Gregg Zaun smoked a line drive right back up the middle, that fortunately, Timlin was able to snare. If the Red Sox reliever wasn’t able to snare it, it possibly could have been a serious situation.
“Lucky stab,” he said after Monday’s game. “Either I caught it or it caught me . . . You just hope it doesn’t catch flesh. Usually the flesh is from the neck up.”
Timlin was able to joke about it, but the Red Sox have had some issue with their pitchers getting hit by line drives, some very serious.
Case in point: Bryce Florie suffered serious facial injuries when he was hit by a line drive off the bat of New York Yankees’ Ryan Thompson on Sept. 8, 2000 at Fenway Park. Florie was never the same after that. Most recently, Matt Clement was drilled off the side of the head on July 26, 2005 in Tampa Bay. The Devil Rays’ Carl Crawford hit the ball that seemed to have changed Clement’s career, too.
Former Red Sox farm hand Josh Hancock had his jaw shattered on June 3, 2002 while pitching for Double-A Trenton.
Fortunately, Timlin doesn’t have to put himself in that same category due to his quick reaction.
“I’m glad he got his glove up,” said Francona yesterday. “You certainly don’t want that run to score, but that can become very secondary in a hurry. His reaction was fantastic. Guys who end (their delivery) in an athletic position are going to have a chance, not only to defend themselves, but to make those plays. (Timlin) always lands with his feet square, and you would like to be able to teach that, but I don’t think you can.”
Posted by Joe McDonald at 5:32 PM | Permalink
No running into fences tonight for Youkilis
There were two pieces of news for Kevin Youkilis today and Youkilis was not overly thrilled with either one.
One was that the Sox first baseman was being given a night off.
``It’s a good night. Youk ran into about every wall there is (Monday night),’’ manager Terry Francona said.
Youkilis twice ran into fences chasing foul balls. That came on the heels of twice being hit by pitches. Youkilis admitted he was a bit shaken when he ran into the fence as he was racing back, toward the trap, chasing on foul ball in the first game against Toronto.
``I think they added a triangle pad or something,’’ he said. ``I thought I had about two feet of room, but it’s s at an angle. When you’re running you think you have more room. That thing just jumped out of nowhere.’’
Despite the bumps, Youkilis said he was ready, willing and able to play. He reported that he had just completed his usual pre-game routine, including doing some weight lifting. Still, Francona felt it was a good time to give hims some rest and equally importantly get Eric Hinske some work. Hinske will hit in the number two hole usually occupied by Youkilis.
``He’s done such a good job staying prepared,’’ Francona said of Hinske. ``He’s not playing enough for our liking, but I don’t know what else to do.’’
The second issue with Youkilis was the All-Star ballot. Voting began this week. Youkilis is the only Sox regular not on the ballot. It is the second year in a row he is not on the ballot, but for good reason. Each team can only have one player at each position. David Ortiz is listed as Boston’s first baseman.
``I don’t worry about that,’’ he said. ``That’s out of my control.’’
Posted by Paul Kenyon at 5:09 PM | Permalink
Clement's rehab moving slowly
Red Sox pitcher Matt Clement remains in Fort Myers as he continues to rehab his surgically repaired right shoulder.
The veteran right-hander had a arthroscopic procedure performed last September, and according to Red Sox manager Terry Francona, Clement is still a long way off.
"He's doing well," said the manager. "He's at the point where there's a lot of repetition. It's boring, but he's got to do it."
The two have been in contact via text messages over the last few weeks and Clement is playing long toss at 105 feet.
Prior to his injury-prone season last summer, Clement had made 30 or more starts in each of his first seven full seasons in the majors. He only made 12 starts for Boston in 2006 and posted a 5-5 record with a 6.61 E.R.A.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 4:48 PM | Permalink
Alex Rios, 9
Adam Lind, 7
Vernon Wells, 8
Frank Thomas, DH
Lyle Overbay, 3
Aaron Hill, 4
Gregg Zaun, 2
Royce Clayton, 6
John McDonald, 5
Roy Halladay, SP
Julio Lugo, 6
Eric Hinske, 3
David Ortiz, DH
Manny Ramirez, 7
J.D. Drew, 9
Mike Lowell, 5
Jason Varitek, 2
Wily Mo Pena, 8
Dustin Pedroia, 4
Julian Tavarez, SP
Posted by Joe McDonald at 4:35 PM | Permalink
Sox Streakers for April 24
Culled from the team's official game notes:
-J.D. Drew has reached base safely in 17 of his 18 games; he's 8 for his last 22 (.364)
-Mike Lowell has hit safely in nine straight games and is 14 for 35 (.400) with two doubles and three home runs in that stretch. But, he has 6 errors, as many as he had all last year.
-Julio Lugo is 2 for his last 23; his average has dropped over the last seven games from .333 to .246.
-Manny Ramirez is 10 for his last 53 (.189).
Blue Jays vs. Julian Tavarez
-Alex Rios, 7 for 9 (.778), 1 HR
-Vernon Wells, 4 for 10 (.400), 0 HR
-Frank Thomas, 3 for 9 (.333), 1 HR
-Aaron Hill, 3 for 10 (.300), 0 HR
-Lyle Overbay, 4 for 14 (.286), 0 HR
-Royce Clayton, 4 for 20 (.200), 1 HR
-Matt Stairs, 1 for 5 (.200), 0 HR
-John McDonald, 0 for 7
-Gregg Zaun, 0 for 7
-Jason Phillips, 0 for 4
Red Sox vs. Roy Halladay
-Wily Mo Pena, 2 for 4 (.500), 0 HR
-J.D. Drew, 1 for 2 (.500), 0 HR
-Mike Lowell, 3 for 8 (.375), 1 HR
-Coco Crisp, 6 for 18 (.333), 1 HR
-David Ortiz, 17 for 60 (.286), 5 HR
-Manny Ramirez, 17 for 63 (.370), 3 HR
-Jason Varitek, 13 for 50 (.260), 1 HR
-Kevin Youkilis, 5 for 20 (.250), 0 HR
-Julio Lugo, 6 for 31 (.194), 1 HR
-Alex Cora, 2 for 12 (.167), 1 HR
-Dustin Pedroia, 0 for 6
-The Red Sox have won 10 of their last 13 and maintain the best winning percentage in the American League.
-This is the fifth time in the last seven years that the Red Sox have started 12-6 or better.
-Red Sox pitchers have allowed at least five runs in four straight games, after doing so just twice in the first 14 games.
-Boston's bullpen is now second in the A.L. in E.R.A., trailing Baltimore's. The team's overall E.R.A. is second in the league to Oakland's.
-The Blue Jays have won 7 of their last 10 meetings with the Red Sox.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 3:41 PM to Projo Sox Streakers
Fire the announcer!
Taking a pause from bashing their own manager after this weekend's three-game sweep at Fenway, members of the New York media are turning their wrath to ESPN broadcasters Joe Morgan and Jon Miller.
Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News takes Morgan and Miller to task for allegedly concealing from the public the fact that Manny told Morgan before the game that this would be the night he ended his slump. Both of them mentioned Ramirez's prediction after the slugger's third-inning home run, the first of four straight homers for the Red Sox. I'm not sure what the big disservice is about not relaying a player's random hunch, but there's another problem with the premise: Miller actually made reference to Ramirez's comments before the game started.
Richard Sandomir of The New York Times makes some good points, though, when he breaks down ESPN's confusing use of footage of Theo Epstein reacting to the home runs. Depending on when you were watching the replay, he might have been reacting to Drew's shot, or to Lowell's, or to Varitek's. There was also film of Ramirez celebrating one of the home runs from the dugout, and as the night went on it became perfectly unclear whom Ramirez was cheering. Sandomir also notes that Morgan and Miller failed to set the record straight when Terry Francona, in a dugout interview, said that Rocky Colavito was one of the Cleveland Indians who -- along with Francona's father, Tito -- hit four consecutive home runs in 1963.
Meanwhile, the guy who gave up those home runs in '63 -- the immortal Paul Foytack -- asks Rob Bradford of the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune this about Manny: "Why do they let [Ramirez] dress that way? I don't understand that." Fine way to thank a guy who has just (kind of) lessened a stigma that Foytack has carried for nearly 44 years. Then again I, for one, had never heard of Foytack until Sunday.
So much for Ramirez breaking out of his slump. Last night was a particularly bad night for Manny, who twice struck out looking, failed to hit the ball out of the infield and misplayed Vernon Wells' third-inning double. But I am sympathetic toward players having a letdown after the New York sweep; I was falling asleep during that game last night myself.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 1:51 PM to Projo Mannybeingmanny
Projo SoxTalk: Pedroia coming around, Lester on deck
In today's edition of projo SoxTalk, baseball writer Joe McDonald looks ahead to tonight's Roy Halladay-Julian Tavarez matchup, and talks about two people he knows well: Dustin Pedroia and Jon Lester. While Pedroia appears to be breaking out of his slump in Boston, Lester is getting ready to start tomorrow afternoon in Rochester, N.Y., for the PawSox. Click here to listen to the full audio file. In the meantime, here are some excerpts of McDonald's conversation with sports editor Art Martone:
On Pedroia: "He is one of the hardest workers that the Red Sox have, and Terry Francona continually talks about that work ethic. I got to the ballpark really early yesterday and I went down to the field, and he was taking some extra batting practice. And then he came over and just sat in the dugout and just talked with everybody around, whether it was media members or red sox personnel, and he was joking -- and you could just tell that he had his confidence back. And that's what I saw with him last year, when he was with the Pawtucket Red Sox.
On how the Red Sox will handle Lester: "I think what they are going to do, at least what people in the organization are telling me, is that he will start on Wednesday, and then he'll start again next Tuesday at McCoy, and that is when his rehab will end. And then they'll have to make a decision. They'll have to either assign him to Pawtucket or keep him up in Boston, most likely in the bullpen for now. But I wouldn't be surprised if he stays a little longer in Pawtucket. After next week's start they'll probably assign him to Pawtucket and just kind of see how he fits into that rotation. I know his pitch count tomorrow -- Wednesday -- is supposed to be about 80-85, which is a good sign. It's up from the start of the season, when he was in Greenville.
By the way, we'll have updates tomorrow on the blog from Lester's start in Rochester.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 11:23 AM to Martone
Baseball Today: Tuesday, April 24
A locally tinged look at baseball today . . .
WE WERE TRYING, HONEST: The Red Sox insist they weren't suffering from an emotional letdown after sweeping the Yankees, but the atmosphere at the ballpark, on and off the field, sure was different during last night's loss to the Blue Jays. The good news is the Sox continue to get production from the previously lifeless lower part of the batting order. (projo.com)
LOCAL BOY MAKES GOOD: Ex-Providence College infielder John McDonald has, against all odds, carved out a nice career for himself. (projo.com)
THE MIDAS TOUCH: Can't say the Red Sox haven't done wonders for their neighbors' property values. (Boston Herald)
BRONZE MEDAL: Forbes Magazine lists Theo Epstein as the third-best general manager in baseball, behind the A's Billy Beane and the Mets' Omar Minaya.
THE FUTURE IS NOW: The pitching-starved Yankees have summoned uber prospect Phil Hughes. I've been reading baseball stories in newspapers for about 45 years, and the Post's George King today used a phrase I'd never, ever, ever seen when he wrote that if Hughes' promotion isn't ''enough to pebble your skin, you don't like baseball''. (New York Post)
Pebble your skin??
Yeah, there's no pressure on this kid.
IT HAS TO BE, BECAUSE THE PRESENT'S NOT MUCH: To quote our radio friends in Boston, how's the Kei Igawa signing working out for ya? (New York Post)
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, JOE . . . TORRE? The Post's Joel Sherman says the Yankees need the old, calm Joe Torre at the helm, not the panicky version who often seemed to be making moves in desperation last weekend. (New York Post)
WEEKEND REDUX: The Futility Infielder's Jay Jaffe puts forth the optimists' spin on the Yanks' sweep at the hands of the Red Sox, and -- judging by what I've heard on talk shows and from Yankee-fan friends -- this is pretty much the majority opinion in Yankee Universe. (futilityinfielder.com)
(Note: My apologies for originally identifying Jay as "Jeff". It was a brain cramp, because I've been ready Jay for years and enjoy his work.)
YEAH, BUT . . . Except that some of the Yankees themselves aren't buying it (Bergen Record)
LOSERS STILL, BUT LOVABLE? Lou Piniella's Cubs may not be winning any more than the Cubs of the past, but you have to admit, they're more fiery about it. (Chicago Tribune)
TAKE THIS JOB AND . . . Brad Halsey is furious at the A's. Trashing your team from a Triple-A clubhouse probably isn't a real good career move, though. (San Francisco Chronicle)
'IT'S ABOUT TEAM FIRST': Gary Sheffield, batting .119 at the time, had no problem with being benched Sunday. (Detroit News) He said during spring training that his first choice at the end of last season was to come to the Red Sox, but he knew the Yankees would never let that happen. An aside: Can you imagine if he had made it to Boston and was hitting .119 here? Does the phrase "Embedded Yankee'' ring a bell?
OLD FRIENDS: No links because most of the stories are just one-line entries, but lots of injury news involving ex-Red Sox players: Wade Miller was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Cubs because of back spasms. In this case, however, many suspect "back spasms" is a euphemism for "lousy pitching" . . . Johnny Damon's sore back and hamstring kept him out of the starting lineup last night, though he did pinch-hit in the eighth inning (he popped out with the bases loaded and one out and the Yankees trailing 10-6) . . . The Indians put Andy Marte on the 15-day disabled list because of a bad hamstring . . . Scott Williamson had to leave last night's Orioles game because of right triceps tightness . . . Mike Gonzalez, who missed a week because of a bad elbow, returned to action for the Braves last night and pitched against the Marlins . . . Lew Ford, recovering from knee surgery, has begun playing extended spring-training games for the Twins . . . Anibal Sanchez, who was forced out of Saturday's game because of cramping in his calf and hamstring, is feeling better and says he'll make his scheduled start on Friday for the Marlins.
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 7:06 AM | Permalink