Kevin Youkilis, who has been hit in each of the last two games -- both times in the same general vicinity -- is out of tonight's lineup. Manager Terry Francona originally had Youkilis in the lineup, but when Youkilis arrived at Rogers Centre and conferred with his manager, the switch was made. Eric Hinske will start at first base.
Jon Lester played catch at a distance of 90 feet for about 12 minutes earlier today. He'll take tomorrow off, then long toss Friday when the team returns home.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, tonight's starter, isn't one to rest in the trainer's room before a start. Matsuzaka was spotted running in the outfield, four hours before gametime.
Alex Rios rf
Adam Lind lf
Vernon Wells cf
Frank Thomas dh
Troy Glaus 3b
Lyle Overbay 1b
Aaron Hill 2b
Sal Fasano c
John McDonald ss
If you have tickets to the Sunday, June 3 game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park, take note. The game has been selected as ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball pick, which means it will start at 8:05.
-Dustin Pedroia, 8 for his last 13 (.615) with three doubles, a home run, five RBI, three runs and two walks
-Manny Ramirez, seven-game hitting streak, 12 for his last 30 (.400) with two doubles, three home runs, six RBI, three runs and two walks
-Jason Varitek, 9 for his last 17 (.529) with a home run, three RBI, five runs and four walks
-Coco Crisp, 2 for 13 (.154) on this road trip
-J.D. Drew, 4 for his last 40 (.100)
-Eric Hinske, 2 for his last 20 (.100)
-Mike Lowell, 1 for 16 (.063) on this road trip
-Julio Lugo, 3 for his last 20 (.150)
-David Ortiz, 0 for his last 10
Red Sox vs. Tomo Ohka
-Mike Lowell, 13 for 39 (.333), 3 HR
-Dustin Pedroia, 1 for 3 (.333)
-David Ortiz, 2 for 9 (.222), 1 HR
-J.D. Drew, 3 for 14 (.214)
-Wily Mo Pena, 3 for 14 (.214), 2 HR
-Manny Ramirez, 2 for 10 (.200)
-Eric Hinske, 2 for 12 (.167)
-Julio Lugo, 2 for 14 (.143)
-Alex Cora, 1 for 9 (.111)
-Coco Crisp, 0 for 2
Blue Jays vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka
-Jason Smith, 1 for 2 (.500)
-Lyle Overbay, 1 for 3 (.333)
-Vernon Wells, 1 for 3 (.333)
-Royce Clayton, 0 for 2
-Aaron Hill, 0 for 2
-Adam Lind, 0 for 3
-Alex Rios, 0 for 3
-Frank Thomas, 0 for 2
-The Red Sox have won nine of their last 11 road games
-Boston has won five of its six road series so far
-Terry Francona last night became the 10th Red Sox manager to win 300 games with the team
-Boston's E.R.A. on this road trip: 1.80 through four games
-Tonight's game is the first matchup of two Japanese starting pitchers since 2002 (Tomo Ohka of Montreal vs. Mac Suzuki of Kansas City) and only the fourth such matchup in major league baseball history. The first three all involved Suzuki.
-- "Regardless of my opinions, thoughts and beliefs on anything Barry Bonds it was absolutely irresponsible and wrong to say what I did. "
-- "I’d love to tell you I was ambushed, misquoted, misinterpreted, something other than what it was, but I wasn’t."
-- ''As someone who’s made it very clear I have major issues with members of the media that take little or no pride in their work it’s the height of hypocrisy for me to say what I did, in any forum. I started this blog to give people a look into the life we live on and off the field, not to get into back and forths with people I don’t like or have issues with. Doing that will only make this a rant filled no content bunch of words.''
-- "It was a callous, wreckless and irresponsible thing to say, and for that I apologize to Barry, Barry’s family, Barry’s friends and the Giants organization, my teammates and the Red Sox organization as well as anyone else that may have been offended by the comments I made.''
Terry Francona, appearing as a guest on WEEI's Dale and Holley show (with Greg Dickerson filling in for Dale Arnold) today expressed his annoyance with the way Curt Schilling blasted Barry Bonds yesterday on the same radio station.
"For a guy who doesn't talk much to the media, he sure does talk to the media," Francona said. Schilling yesterday said fans should not embrace Bonds' pursuit of Hank Aaron's home run record because, he said, Bonds had cheated on steroids, on his wife and on his taxes.
Here's more of what Francona said when asked about Schilling's comments by Michael Holley:
"I talked to Schill yesterday about it. He's never been short on opinions, and so many of them are insightful. I just thought that this was an area where you're better off just leaving it alone, and he didn't. And the problem is, it makes it tough for me, because then he comes to the ballpark and doesn't talk to the media, so I'm left to kind of clean up the mess, which I really don't feel like. But again, I've been with Schill a long time (in Boston and in Philadelphia), nobody's more crazy about Schill than me. I just kind of asked him to zip it a little bit, which I think he will."
The Pawtucket Red Sox took the lead with a three-run ninth, only to give it up in the bottom of the inning and then lose the game, 5-4, to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in the 10th. It was the sixth straight loss for Pawtucket, and their 10th defeat in 11 games.
Jeff Bailey hit a two-out, bases-loaded double just after fouling a line drive off the side of third-base coach/manager Ron Johnson (Johnson seemed to be in pain, but stayed in the game) to put the PawSox ahead in the ninth. Pawtucket entered the inning down 3-1, but a single, an error and two walks closed the deficit to 3-2 and set the stage for Bailey's hit.
But reliever Mike Burns couldn't close the deal. He walked leadoff hitter Omir Santos, who then stole second and scored on a two-out RBI single by Chris Basak. In the 10th, Burns again walked the leadoff man, this time Shelley Duncan, then gave up a single to Bronson Sardinha. After an out and an intentional walk, Santos drove in Duncan with the game-winning run on an infield ground ball; Pawtucket was unable to turn the double play to end the inning.
PawSox starter Kason Gabbard pitched four and a third innings, giving up three runs on six hits, three walks and three strikeouts. He gave up a two-run home run to third baseman Chris Basak in the third inning, after Pawtucket had jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on Bailey's RBI double.
The PawSox are now 0-6 on the season against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the New York Yankees' new Triple-A affiliate. The teams play again tomorrow night in Pennsylvania.
Click here to listen to today's edition of projo SoxTalk, in which Sean McAdam joins Art Martone to talk about the local nine. The Blue Jays are stumbling badly, and there may be some bad blood brewing in this series. Kevin Youkilis left last night's game after being beaned (he nailed a home run earlier in the game), and there was quite a lot of speculation about whether it was an intentional hit-by-pitch. Here's what Sean has to say on the subject:
"I know that Youkilis is getting tired of being hit, and it was particularly painful for him last night because the spot he got hit in -- sort of the mid-thigh of his left leg -- was just a little bit lower from where he had gotten a contusion Sunday against Minnesota. He already has been hit five times in 31 games, and it's getting a little old for him, to say nothing of how painful its been.
"He wasnt sure why he was singled out, although obviously he hit the home run earlier in the game and had a pretty productive night at the plate. It may just have been his spot in the lineup when (Toronto) decided to wake themselves up, but both benches were warned, there was nothing that transpired after that. But he just feels like he has a target on his back, for whatever reason, and wishes it would end."
Stay tuned. McAdam also discusses reports that Toronto starter Tomo Ohka -- a former Red Sox import from Japan -- has a chip on his shoulder about all the attention that his opponent in tonight's game, Daisuke Matsuzaka, has gotten. Martone and McAdam also discuss Josh Beckett and the further evidence that a trade between the Mets and the Devil Rays a couple years ago may be one of the most lopsided of all time.
Schilling's remarks on Bonds draw national attention
Curt Schilling's comments about Barry Bonds yesterday morning on WEEI's morning show have, perhaps predictably, caused a national stir. Schilling has been criticized on ESPN's Baseball Tonight and SportsCenter for saying that Bonds had admitted to cheating on his wife, cheating on his taxes and cheating on baseball. Click here, by the way, for a reminder of what Bonds told the grand jury investigating the BALCO steroid distribution case, back in 2003, when he said that he used a clear substance and a cream without realizing what they were. His longtime extramarital relationship with Kimberly Bell seems to be undisputed, and Bell has also been prominent in suggestions that Bonds may have cheated on taxes.
On a night when Bonds hit his 745th home run, off Tom Glavine of the Mets, to get within 10 of Hank Aaron's all-time record, the spin on the national media was largely that Schilling was incorrect in suggesting that Bonds had admitted to knowingly committing any of the above offenses. This morning, on the same radio program where he made his remarks yesterday, some callers agreed with Schilling while others questioned why he did not make stronger comments while appearing in 2005 before a congressional committee interested in steroid use by ballplayers (he mainly ripped Jose Canseco, who wrote a book alleging widespread steroid abuse in baseball). Others, again perhaps predictably, alleged that the focus on Bonds is all about racism.
MARCHING FORWARD: George Mitchell's investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball has reached the stage where the players union has now agreed to let the players decide whether or not to provide medical records to investigators. The story continues: ''According to sources, Mitchell is now seeking information on a number of current and former Orioles who played during or around the time Jason Grimsley was with Baltimore in 2004 and 2005: Rafael Palmeiro, who tested positive for the steroid stanozolol in 2005; David Segui, who last year admitted using HGH; Jerry Hairston Jr., who was named as a player who bought performance-enhancing drugs over the Internet earlier this year, and Fernando Tatis.'' (New York Daily News) Sammy Sosa, incidentally, also played for the '05 Orioles.
SPARE ME: According to Devil Rays owner Stuart Sternberg, 17-year old Tropicana Field "has a shelf life of five [more] years." (Tampa Tribune) Either they're building domed stadiums out of straw down in central Florida, or . . . wait a minute . . . could it be . . . is it possible Sternberg is trying to strongarm the local politicos into building him a new place? Gee? Ya think??
These sort of tactics work best when you have some leverage, Stu. Since the United States has just about run out of cities -- save Las Vegas, which has issues of its own -- that want major league baseball teams, and since the Devil Rays a) aren't really a hot item and b) not a whole lot of people in and around Tampa would care one way or the other if they left, it won't be easy building the sort of civic panic that responds to this kind of shameless strongarming. Best of luck, Mr. Sternberg. You've got your work cut out for you.