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June 4, 2007
Sox Streakers for June 4
Info taken from the team's official game notes:
-Dustin Pedroia, 13-game hit streak, going 23 for 47 (.489) during those games
-Manny Ramirez, six-game hit streak, going 10 for 22 (.455) during those games
-Kevin Youklilis, 44 for 106 (.415) over last 25 games
-J.D. Drew, 30 games without a home run
-Eric Hinske, 3 for his last 34 (.088)
-Doug Mirabelli, 3 for his last 31 (.097)
Red Sox vs. Dan Haren
-Manny Ramirez, 5 for 9 (.556), 1 HR
-Coco Crisp, 5 for 12 (.417)
-Alex Cora, 3 for 10 (.300), 1 HR
-David Ortiz, 3 for 11 (.273)
-Kevin Youkilis, 1 for 6 (.167)
-Doug Mirabelli, 0 for 5
-J.D. Drew and Dustin Pedroia have not faced Haren
Athletics vs. Julian Tavarez
-Eric Chavez, 2 for 3 (.667)
-Nick Swisher, 1 for 2 (.500)
-Mark Kotsay, 5 for 11 (.455)
-Bobby Crosby, 1 for 3 (.333)
-Mark Ellis, 1 for 3 (.333)
-Jason Kendall, 6 for 30 (.200)
-Travis Buck, Dan Johnson and Shannon Stewart have not faced Tavarez
-The Red Sox are 18-8 on the road, for the second-best winning percentage (.692) in the major leagues, after the Mets.
-Boston has lost its last four games in Oakland, by a combined score of 23-4.
-Today is relief pitcher J.C. Romero's 31st birthday.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 8:37 PM to Projo Sox Streakers
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The Red Sox are going to see a couple of familiar left-handers in this series.
Lenny DiNardo will start tomorrow night's game, against Daisuke Matsuzaka. DiNardo is 1-2 with a 1.80 earned-run average in 12 games, including one start.
At the other end of the Athletics' pitching staff is Alan Embree, who played important roles out of the Boston bullpen not too long ago.
Embree has become the Oakland closer with right-handers Huston Street and Justin Duchscherer on the disabled list. Embree is 4 for 4 in save opportunities. He has a 3.00 E.r.A.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 8:14 PM | Permalink
Mills in the draft
Thursday, the first day of the baseball draft, is likely to be an exciting one for Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills and his family.
Mills' son, Beau, is expected to be a first-round pick, projected to go anywhere from the fourth to the 26th pick, according to scouting bureaus.
Beau Mills, a third baseman, hit .458 with 38 home runs, helping Lewis-Clark State College in lewiston, Idaho, to the NAIA championship. Beau, a Tom Brady look-alike, spent almost two years starring at Fresno State before academic issues knocked him off the team and ultimately to Lewis-Clark, after a suggestion from former Sox pitcher Keith Foulke, who had pitched for the school.
The Sox had made a courtesy pick of Beau in the 44th round of the 2004 draft when he was coming out of high school. He elected not to sign, opting to go to Fresno State instead.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 8:07 PM | Permalink
Which way do I go?
To say manager Terry Francona was tired by the time he got off the elevator at the team hotel and headed to his room is an understatement.
"I got off the elevator at the 31st floor, and they have all kinds of mirrors. They're the cleanest mirrors I've ever seen," said Francona.
"I took a few steps and bumped into a mirror. It looked just like the corridor was there. I turned around and a few feet later I bumped into another mirror," he said with chuckle.
"I guess the third sleeping pill must have been too much," joked Francona.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 8:03 PM | Permalink
Interesting Lineup Tonight
The Red Sox have an unusual lineup for tonight's game because of the team's awful travel schedule (as created by ESPN) and the fact Boston will play three interleague games on the road in Arizona, beginning Friday.
The team's game at home against the Yankees didn't end until after midnight last night, so by the time the Red Sox flew cross-country and entered their hotel rooms this morning it was 5:45 a.m. local time.
Shortstop Julio Lugo is being given the night off, at least from the starting lineup, replaced by Alex Cora. Hot-hitting Dustin Pedroia is in the leadoff spot, followed by Cora. J.D. Drew, who missed the last two games because of a strained right hamstring, is back in the lineup, but is batting sixth instead of fifth because Francona has had to mix-and-match his order to give it some semblance of left-right balance.
Third baseman Mike Lowell, who was hit with a pitch on the left hand on Friday night and then rolled over on that hand trying to make a defensive play last night, is on the bench, so Kevin Youkilis is moving from first to third, with Eric Hinske playing first base.
And, given the long night and knuckleballer Tim Wakefield's start on Wednesday night, Francona has Doug Mirabelli catching tonight. That way, he said, he can alternate Mirabelli and Jason Varitek behind the plate over the four-game series in Oakland.
While interleague play for an American League team playing in a National League city makes it difficult for the A.L. team because there is no designated hitter, forcing David Ortiz, in the Sox' case, to play the field, it is the 8 o'clock ESPN start on Sunday night, followed by a cross-country flight, that just isn't right, said Francona.
"With the schedule the way it is, and with interleague play, we're not going to be able to field our nine guys much of this trip," said Francona. "That's just fact. You can't get around it. It's disappointing. I think that at some point, they (the schedule-makers) will look into this (late start, cross-country flight) and change it. That thought came to me about 4:30."
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 7:47 PM | Permalink
Lester, Timlin shine in Pawtucket
The Red Sox received encouraging reports on two pitchers in Pawtucket who are bidding to rejoin Boston very soon.
Left-hander Jon Lester continued his comeback trail by authoring a sterling complete-game seven-inning performance in Pawtucket's victory over Norfolk in the first game of a doubleheader today. Minor-league doubleheaders are seven innings.
Lester threw a four-hitter, needing only 87 pitches to cruise through Norfolk.
In the second game, veteran reliever Mike Timlin started and worked two shutout innings, needing only 21 pitches to get through the rehab outing.
There is no timetable to activate either pitcher, said Boston manager Terry Francona this afternoon in his daily media session.
"(Lester) says he feels good. He did real well," said Francona after exhanging text messages with Lester, who is working his way back after battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Francona was asked what more Lester has to show before he returns to the big leagues.
"The most pitches he's thrown is (87). I haven't talked to (general manager) Theo (Epstein) about it. We got cut off four times today (on the cell phone). I don't get very good reception here."
As for Timlin, meanwhile, Francona said the team would like to see him throw one more inning for the PawSox before being activated, just to make sure that he no longer is experiencing any discomfort in his right shoulder. He is aware that Timlin would rather be with the Red Sox sooner than later.
"I'm sure there's some frustration on his part," said Francona.
-- Steven Krasner
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Posted by Steven Krasner at 7:36 PM | Permalink
Dustin Pedroia wins two awards
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who struggled mightily early in the season, clearly has begun to find his stride.
Today he was honored twice -- as the American League's Player of the Week and the league's Rookie of the Month.
For the period from May 28-June 3, Pedroia batted .609 with six doubles and six RBI in six games in earning the league's weekly award. He's the first Sox rookie to win it since Brian Daubach for the week ending Aug. 15, 1999.
For the month, Pedroia batted .415 with six doubles, two homers and nine RBI. Pedroia racked up a lusty .600 slugging percentage and a .472 on-base percentage in 21 games. Pedroia has a 13-game hitting streak entering tonight's game in Oakland.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 7:29 PM | Permalink
Video: Minor-league manager goes beserk
AP has 2 minutes and 12 minutes of raw video of Phillip Wellman, manager of the minor league Mississippi Braves, going on a major league tirade after being ejected from Friday night's game in Chattanooga.
Posted by Art Martone at 7:23 PM | Permalink
The lineups for tonight's game
Posted by Steven Krasner at 7:20 PM | Permalink
Game story: Lester shines as PawSox sweep Tides
BY RICH RADFORD
Special to the Journal
NORFOLK, Va. – At this rate, Jon Lester’s return to the major leagues should be right around the corner.
Lester, the 23-year-old lefthander who had his 2006 rookie season with the Boston Red Sox cut short by cancer, pitched a complete seven-inning game Monday in the first game of a doubleheader between the Pawtucket Red Sox and Norfolk Tides Monday at Harbor Park.
Lester’s one mistake of the day came when he left a fastball up and in the middle of the strike zone on the first pitch of the sixth inning. Luis Montanez turned the mistake into a home run for Norfolk’s only run as the PawSox won 5-1.
Other than that one pitch, Lester was as sharp as the sun was bright, scattering four hits, walking one and striking out.
He ended up throwing 87 pitches – 54 for strikes – and said there was still some gas in the tank at game’s end. Not bad for someone diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma 10 months ago.
''They had me down to throw 90 to 95 pitches or to go six innings,'' Lester said. ''Right now, all I’m trying to do is build up my pitch count. I’m feeling really good.''
He also seems to have a handle on the situation: Boston is rolling and doesn’t need him at the present. But when they do . . .
''I’m ready. The last thing I needed to start doing was getting command of my off-speed pitches and get to where I was comfortable and repetitive with them,'' said Lester, who is 1-1 with a 1.26 earned run average with Pawtucket. ''I’ve been that way the last two starts. They’ll give me the call whenever they are ready to give me the call.''
By the fourth inning, Lester had all the run support he would need.
The PawSox scored in the second when Ed Rogers laid down a suicide squeeze bunt to plate Michael Tucker, who had doubled earlier in the inning.
In the fourth, consecutive hits by Bobby Scales, Rogers and George Kottaras were followed by an error by Tides first baseman Jon Knott, who misplayed a chopped grounder by Alex Prieto into an error.
David Murphy hit a monster home run in the top of the seventh and a triple by Scales drove in Brandon Moss, who had walked, to finish Pawtucket’s scoring.
In the second game, the PawSox got back-to-back homers by Michael Tucker and Chad Spann in the second inning. Pawtucket’s patchwork bullpen handled the rest as the PawSox ran four pitchers to the mound and won 2-1.
The Tides eventually scored in the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly by Tike Redman that plated Adam Stern. But the tying run was stranded at third when Travis Hughes won an 11-pitch duel with Norfolk’s Brandon Fahey, finally coaxing Fahey into a ground out back to the mound for the final out.
With the doubleheader sweep, the PawSox (23-31) vacated last place in the entire International League, leaving that to the Tides (23-35).
Posted by Art Martone at 5:08 PM | Permalink
Clemens' MRI reveals disrupted scar tissue
Roger Clemens still hopes to make his 2007 Yankees debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday after an MRI exam showed he had a scar tissue injury in his right groin.
Clemens had originally planned to start Monday night at the Chicago White Sox. He scratched himself from the outing on Saturday because of what the Yankees said then was a fatigued groin, an injury that he first felt during a minor league outing May 28.
He had an MRI exam Monday in Tampa, Fla., and Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo and the scan showed Clemens had disrupted scar tissue.
Clemens played catch Monday in the outfield during a 2-hour, 50-minute workout at the Yankees minor league complex. Most of the workout and treatment took place indoors.
He didn't stop to talk with reporters when he departed.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner plans to throw a bullpen session in Tampa on Wednesday, Zillo said.
Posted by Corey Bourassa at 4:23 PM | Permalink
Lester pitches PawSox to victory
Jon Lester pitched a seven-inning complete game this afternoon as the Pawtucket Red Sox beat the Norfolk Tides, 5-1, in the first game of today's double-header in Virginia.
Lester (1-1) took a big step back toward Boston by surrendering just four hits, walking one and striking out one. He threw 87 pitches. He gave up a home run to Luis Montanez to lead off the sixth inning.
David Murphy and Bobby Scales each had three hits for Pawtucket. Murphy hit a solo home run in the seventh inning.
Former PawSox pitcher Tim Kester (3-5) took the loss for Norfolk.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 3:42 PM | Permalink
Ramirez heating up, enjoying himself
Journal photo / Bob Breidenbach
Ramirez laughs with fans as Andy Pettitte tries to keep him close to first base.
Manny Ramirez is hot, and he's playing like he's having fun. Last night, fans were treated to his big belly-flop slide into second base on a double, and his rather laughable attempts to distract Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte by taking big leads off first base and wiggling his fingers as if he were about to take off. Pettitte, who has one of the best pickoff moves in the history of the game, made several half-hearted throws to first, amusing Manny greatly. Unfortunately, the inning ended with him still standing at first.
Sox fans can appreciate this: Ramirez has a six-game hitting streak going, and in the last 10 contests he is batting 18 for 37, good enough to push his season average from .244 to .288. The hot streak notwithstanding, Ramirez's ninth-inning strikeout against Mariano Rivera should have come as no surprise: Ramirez is 8 for 37 (.216) for his career against the Yanks' closer, with just one home run and 11 whiffs.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 2:36 PM to Projo Mannybeingmanny
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Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: A postmortem on the weekend
Sean McAdam is our guest this morning for Projo SoxTalk. Click here to listen to the full audio file. He talks about last night's (let's face it) impressive Yankee win, and what it does and does not mean for the American League East race (or lack thereof). Sean is still waiting to see if the Yankees can put together a good stretch of games; he's unconcerned about Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon; and he's impressed by Josh Beckett.
Here's some excerpts from what he had to say:
On the Yankees: "That was I think probably a pretty significant win for them. I'm not sure in the big picture if it means much in the standings, or gets them pointed in the right direction again, but I think if for nothing else than their psyche and confidence after what's happened the last couple of weeks, having a dramatic ninth-inning victory like that and getting to Papelbon and winning the second straight series against the Red Sox is probably just what they needed."
On Papelbon: "Papelbon has essentially had two bad outings -- about one a month here -- and I think even the best teams can put up with that."
On Beckett: "I think the good news for the Red Sox, if you're looking big picture here, is that Beckett had no problem executing his breaking pitches despite the finger issue that sidelined him for a couple of weeks last month. He did get his pitch count up and yet managed to get them into the seventh inning, which looked like that might have been a stretch back around the fourth or fifth."
Posted by Mike McDermott at 11:52 AM to McAdam
Baseball Today: Monday, June 4
|BLAST FROM THE PAST: They haven't done much of this so far this season, and -- given their age, injuries and overall skill level -- they may not do it many more times the rest of the way. But for last night at least, they were the Yankees of old. They were patient, driving up the opposing starter's pitch counts; they got shutout pitching from their bullpen; they got clutch hits in the late innings (including a tie-breaking home run from Alex Rodriguez (New York Post), right, on an 0-and-2 pitch from Jonathan Papelbon with two outs in the ninth), and they got shutdown, bottom-of-the-ninth relief from Mariano Rivera (New York Post), albeit aided by a deep drive to David Ortiz that died just short of the bullpen. And in a four-plus-hour torturethon -- another flashback to past Yankee glories -- they beat the Red Sox, 6-5, and took two of three in their weekend series. (projo.com)
TIP YOUR HAT: Sean McAdam writes the Red Sox thought Papelbon made a good pitch to A-Rod, and they saluted Rodriguez for being able to hit it out. (projo.com's Sox Blog) ''I would say with almost every hitter in the league, it’s probably a great pitch,'' said manager Terry Francona. ''But (Rodriguez) has the ability – not all the time – to hit that ball out, like only maybe Manny (Ramirez) and (Vladimir Guerrero) and only a couple of hitters can.''
STIRRINGS: As for the Yankees, who are still six games under .500 and trail the Sox by 12 games in the loss column, last night's win may have been their best of the season (New York Daily News), especially coming on the heels of Saturday's loss, which may have been their worse defeat. (projo.com) It seemed to be an affirmation of pregame Yankee vows to keep on fighting. (projo.com) The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan says the Yanks did just that.
DROPPING LIKE FLIES: It wouldn't be a Yankee game without a starting pitcher getting injured, though the Yankees don't think Andy Pettitte is hurt badly. (New York Post) Speaking of injured pitchers, Roger Clemens is now aiming for a Saturday launch (New York Post), which means Matt DeSalvo will start tonight for them in Chicago. And continuing to speak of injured pitchers, Phil Hughes may be lost for the season. (New York Daily News)
THEY'RE NOT THE ONLY ONES: And speaking now of injured first basemen, Doug Mientkiewicz is expected to miss six to eight weeks after his collision with Mike Lowell on Saturday. (New York Daily News)
AMEN: Terry Francona is ''really, really glad'' that the Sox and Yankees -- who met 12 times in the season's first 55 games -- don't play each other again until August. (projo.com)
THE PRESSURE IS EVERYWHERE: Because this rivalry is so intense, reporters almost came to blows in the yearly Boston-New York media game at Fenway Park.
OLD BUSINESS: Curt Schilling's self-analysis of Saturday's Red Sox victory: ''Let’s see, I sucked, we still won. That about cover it?.'' But, of course, he had much more to say that that.
YOO HOO. ANYBODY HOME? After launching his personal blog with great fanfare last week, Kevin Youkilis has yet to make a second posting. And it's not like he hasn't been in the headlines recently. (projo.com)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Sean McAdam reported Sunday that the umpires recommended Scott Proctor be suspended for hitting Youkilis Friday night, an action they deemed deliberate, but were overruled by Bob Watson, Major League Baseball's vice-president of on-field operations.
WELCOME BACK: The Red Sox expect J.D. Drew to return to the lineup tonight. (projo.com)
IN THE WIND . . . are whispers of a Bobby Abreu-for-Jermaine Dye deal. (Chicago Sun-Times) And Bob Klapisch raises the idea of the Yankees putting Johnny Damon on the market (North Jersey Media Group)
NO, THANKS: Angels owner Arte Moreno hints that his team wouldn't be interested if A-Rod opted out of his Yankee contract and became a free agent. (Riverside Press-Enterprise)
YOU MEAN THERE WERE OTHER TEAMS PLAYING THIS WEEKEND? Sure were, though not that you'd know it by the national media. (The Red Sox, incidentally, are just thrilled they had to play an ESPN Sunday night game -- which wound up crawling past midnight, to boot -- and then fly to the West Coast to begin a series with Oakland tonight.) And one of them, the Cubs, may have lost their manager for a while. (Chicago Sun-Times)
THILLSVILLE: The Tigers split their weekend series with the Indians and couldn't be more happy. (Detroit News)
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 7:01 AM | Permalink
Good, but not good enough
By SEAN McADAM
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON – The fateful pitch was a pretty good one, according to everyone involved.
There was just one problem: it was thrown to a great hitter.
With the Red Sox and Yankees locked in a 5-5 tie in the top of the ninth inning, Jonathan Papelbon threw Alex Rodriguez an 0-and-2 fastball. One swing of the bat later, Rodriguez had homered and the Yankees were on their way to 6-5 comeback win over the Red Sox.
''I know it was a good pitch,'' said manager Terry Francona in the aftermath of the setback. ''We’ve seen him do that before with that pitch, ahead in the count like that. I would say with almost every hitter in the league, it’s probably a great pitch. But (Rodriguez) has the ability – not all the time – to hit that ball out, like only maybe Manny (Ramirez) and (Vladimir Guerrero) and only a couple of hitters can.
''I thought Pap was really throwing the ball well.''
The loss was the first for Papelbon this season and his first since Aug. 9 of last season at Kansas City.
He had inherited a 5-5 game after teammate Hideki Okajima had blown a one-run lead in the eighth inning.
Papelbon had retired the first two hitters he faced in the ninth, getting Derek Jeter on a groundout to first before fanning Bobby Abreu.
He then quickly got ahead of Rodriguez was an out away from giving the Sox a chance to win the game in the ninth when the Yankees third baseman struck.
''I had him 0-and-2, exactly where I wanted him,'' recounted Papelbon. ''I wanted him to chase something in that situation. I’ve got to throw him something out of the strike zone, and I didn’t do that.
''It was a pitch I wanted to throw and where I wanted to throw it.''
But because Rodriguez has the size to extend his swing and the power to muscle the ball through the late night driving rain, the pitch proved costly for Papelbon and the Sox.
''A pretty good pitch,'' concluded catcher Jason Varitek, ''but also a pretty good piece of hitting. You had to hit the ball well to hit out tonight'' because of the cold, windy conditions.
''Next time,'' said Papelbon. ''I’ve got to get him to chase something outside the zone. He’s obviously a great hitter. He’ll win some, and I’ll win some and we’ll go back and forth all year.''
Hours earlier, before the game, Francona had addressed the issue of Papelbon’s command, which has been off some this season compared to last. Going into last night, Papelbon had walked 10 hitters in 20 1/3 innings and has found himself falling behind and in hitter’s counts more often than he would like.
Francona said the closer’s lack of sharpness at times could be attributed to the team’s decision to protect against Papelbon’s overuse. Without as much regular work – in games and in-between side sessions – he’s not been able to command as well.
That wasn’t the issue last night, however. Ahead in the count, Papelbon made only a good pitch when a great one – given the hitter – was necessary.
Posted by Sean McAdam at 1:13 AM | Permalink
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