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June 22, 2007
Game Story: Road woes continue for PawSox
LOUISVILLE—The road continues to be an unkind place for the Pawtucket Red Sox.
The PawSox lost for the fourth time in five games on the current road trip, managing just four hits off Bobby Livingston in a 7-0 loss to Louisville in the first of a four-game series Friday night at Slugger Field. Livingston (3-4) pitched a complete game, striking out four and getting 18 ground ball outs for his third straight win.
The PawSox won at Indianapolis Thursday after dropping the first three games of that series, but they were unable to build any momentum against the Bats.
“Livingston did a fantastic job,” PawSox manager Ron Johnson said. “He totally shut down our offense. We didn’t do anything at all except for a couple of hits in the last inning. You have to just tip your hat to a guy when he pitches that well.”
PawSox starter Abe Alvarez presented a stark contrast to Livingston. Though he struck out a season-high eight batters, Alvarez struggled from the beginning, falling behind in the count to six of seven batters in the first inning.
Trouble began immediately for the lefty.
Jeff Keppinger, the International League’s leading hitter with a .372 average, doubled off the left field wall on the game’s first pitch. Pedro Lopez followed with a bunt single and Jesse Gutierrez walked to load the bases with one out. Mark Bellhorn then grounded a 2-0 pitch into left field plating two runs to put Louisville up 2-0.
The Bats scored a third run off Alvarez in the fourth when Jeff Bannon led off with a double and scored on a one-out sacrifice fly by Dan Conway.
Things could have been worse for Alvarez (4-6); while he surrendered nine hits and five earned runs, Alvarez struck out batters in key spots, escaping jams in the third and fifth with inning-ending punch outs.
Alvarez exited in the sixth inning after Mike Edwards singled and Chris Dickerson walked to open the inning. Both runners scored against reliever Mike Burns to make it 5-0. Alvarez labored, throwing 97 pitches, including 62 strikes.
“I didn’t think Abe pitched all that poorly,” Johnson said. “They got a couple of pretty well-placed ground balls, including that one by Bellhorn in the first and they tacked on some runs late.”
Meanwhile, Livingston silenced Pawtucket. The PawSox’s only hit through the first five innings was a second inning double by Brandon Moss with one-out. Livingston then retired 13 straight batters, with Jacob Ellsbury reaching on a bunt single with two out in the sixth. Livingston, who has two Major League starts and one win this season for Cincinnati, did not walk a batter for a third consecutive start. He has walked only 12 batters in 83.1 innings. In contrast to Alvarez, he threw an economical 104 pitches with 72 strikes.
Louisville, which had averaged two runs and eight hits on a just-completed eight-game road trip, got well against Pawtucket pitching, getting 13 hits, including two each from Keppinger, Lopez, Gutierrez and Joey Votto. Edwards led all batters, finishing 3-for-4 with an RBI.
In his first at-bat with Pawtucket, Bryan Pritz, who was called up from Portland Friday, singled off Livingston to begin the ninth, but was erased two pitches later when Joe McEwing grounded into a double play. Pritz replaced David Murphy who was recalled this week by the Red Sox. Pritz’s single was Pawtucket’s third hit. Bobby Scales singled with two out in the ninth for the fourth.
Slugger Field has never exactly been the friendly confines for Pawtucket; the PawSox are to 9-20 at the ballpark since it opened in 2000.
--JEFF ROBINSON (Special to the Journal)
Posted by Corey Bourassa at 10:07 PM to PawSox
Drew, Lowell sidelined; other notes
SAN DIEGO -- J.D. Drew was held out of tonight's starting lineup, still feeling the effects of a tightened right quad which began bothering him Wednesday in Atlanta.
Drew took batting practice early and could return to the lineup as soon as tomorrow night.
Lowell sidelined, as well
Mike Lowell remains out of the lineup for the third straight day. He has a sore left thumb and would have missed one of the games here anyway because of the lack of a DH.
''I just thought, coming off the off-day where he hasn't swung the bat for three days, I don't know if that's very smart (playing him),'' said manager Terry Francona.
Two draftees close to signing
The Red Sox' second pick in this month's amateur draft, 18-year-old high school shortstop Ryan Dent from Long Beach, Calif., worked out for the team this afternoon. Dent is close to agreeing on a contract, as is No. 1 selection Nick Hagadone, a left-handed pitcher from the University of Washington. Both players could be under contract before the end of the weekend.
Check projo.com and The Providence Journal for more notes, and also for a profile of David Murphy. For tonight's game story, come to projo.com's Sox Blog; it'll be posted soon after the game is finished.
Posted by Sean McAdam at 7:41 PM | Permalink
Schilling placed on DL; Murphy recalled
SAN DIEGO -- As expected, Curt Schilling was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to last Tuesday, and outfielder David Murphy was recalled from Pawtucket to replace him on the roster.
Schilling was examined by the medical staff in Boston and went through a workout with physical therapist Scott Waugh. Schilling is expected to land in San Diego about game time.
Murphy, who, barring unforeseen circumstances, will only be on the active roster through Monday night, flew here from Indianapolis this morning. On Tuesday the team is expected to send Murphy back to Pawtucket and summon a pitcher to take Schilling's spot on the roster. Speculation persists that the call will not go to Jon Lester but instead to one of the other pitchers on the Pawtucket staff. Kason Gabbard remains one of the leading candidates.
Posted by Sean McAdam at 7:37 PM | Permalink
Friday night's lineups
SAN DIEGO -- Here are the lineups for tonight's game:
Coco Crisp cf
Dustin Pedroia 2b
David Ortiz 1b
Manny Ramirez lf
Kevin Youkilis 3b
Jason Varitek c
Wily Mo Pena rf
Julio Lugo ss
Daisuke Matsuzaka p
Marcus Giles 2b
Jose Cruz Jr. rf
Adrian Gonzalez 1b
Mike Cameron cf
Michael Barrett c
Kahlil Greene ss
Russell Branyan lf
Kevin Kouzmanoff 3b
Greg Maddux p
Posted by Sean McAdam at 7:34 PM | Permalink
Sox Streakers for June 22
-Daisuke Matsuzaka, has posted a 1.80 E.R.A. in three starts in June. He hasn't received much run support, though, and he's 1-2 in those starts.
-Coco Crisp, seven-game hit streak, during which he is 12 for 23 (.522) with three home runs
-Manny Ramirez, five-game hit streak, during which he is 8 for 18 (.444) with three home runs
-Kevin Youkilis, five-game hit streak, during which he is 7 for 19 (.368)
-Dustin Pedroia, four-game hit streak, during which he is 10 for 25 (.400)
-Julio Lugo, 0 for his last 16, batting .109 (7 for 64) in June, and .201 overall
-Mike Lowell, 9 for 54 (.167) in his last 15 games
Red Sox vs. Greg Maddux
-Mike Lowell, 18 for 49 (.367), 4 HR
-Wily Mo Pena, 5 for 14 (.357), 3 HR
-David Ortiz, 1 for 3 (.333), 1 HR
-J.D. Drew, 3 for 15 (.200)
-Julio Lugo, 1 for 8 (.125)
-Alex Cora, 2 for 18 (.111)
-Kevin Youkilis, 0 for 1
-Manny Ramirez, 0 for 8
-No other active Red Sox player has faced Maddux.
-Maddux is 5-0 with a 3.42 E.R.A. in his career against Boston.
Daisuke Matsuzaka at Petco Park
-Although Matsuzaka has (obviously) not faced the Padres, he led Japan to victory over Cuba in the World Baseball Classic championship game in San Diego last spring. He was named MVP of the classic.
-All-time series: Boston 4, San Diego 2
-Greg Maddux has 339 wins for his career. He needs three more to tie Tim Keefe for ninth on baseball's all-time list.
-The Padres have lost five of their last six at home.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 3:19 PM to Projo Sox Streakers
Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: The secret to the Sox' success
Sean McAdam joins us from San Diego for today's edition of projo SoxTalk. Click here to listen to the audio. On the day after an off-day, and with Boston's first-place lead back up to 10 1/2 games, Sean and Art Martone talk about some of the keys to the team's commanding position, and look ahead to what should be a fine series with the top team in the National League, the San Diego Padres.
Here are some excerpts from the conversation:
On the Red Sox' starting pitching: "They've had very few games where the starter's out of there in the fourth, fifth, or even sixth inning. ... That's how the Yankees got themselves in that hole. People talked about, 'Well they didn't have good setup relief,' and I think there's still some point to that, but there were too many times early where either some of the rookie starters or even some of the veterans were not getting them even through six innings, and when your starters are getting knocked out of the game in the fourth and fifth inning night after night, then that takes its toll on a bullpen, no matter how good it is. And that's something that the Red Sox have been able to avoid. It just seems like their starters almost as a matter of faith get them through the sixth, often deeper."
On the Red Sox' defense: "They make plays. They don't give away runs. They're not spectacular in terms of their range, but you would say that they're probably not substandard in any position, except perhaps left field, where Manny has the capability to turn in a spectacular play but also can botch some routine ones."
On the Padres series: "I think it will be a good test. I don't think this is a great offensive team, the Padres, and I think that frankly some of their pitching stats are reflective of, a, the National League, and b, the home ballpark they play in. But there's no denying that they've been impressive, and they too are pretty sound and don't beat themselves. And the Red Sox, for a team that has scuffled to score runs regularly the last couple weeks, it will be interesting to see how they respond to both the big ballpark and the good pitching staff."
Posted by Mike McDermott at 11:39 AM to Martone
Baseball Today: Friday, June 22
DAY OF REST: That's what the Red Sox had in San Diego yesterday, waiting for tonight's opener of their weekend series against the Padres. They'll be, as we all know, without Curt Schilling, who, as Sean McAdam notes, is one of the few Sox players to be sidelined by injury this year. (projo.com) Sean says the team's lead in the A.L. East -- now up to 10 1/2 games -- cushions them from too much worry about Schilling's (assumed-to-be-temporary) absence, but notes there could be longer-term worries, at least in some corners, with the veteran pitcher: ''Schilling’s weight and conditioning were a concern this spring, and this recent episode might be interpreted by some as a possible extension of that issue.''
SOUNDS OF SILENCE: We'd love to hear The Big Schill's thoughts on all this, but 38pitches.com remains quiet.
WE'RE WITH YOU: By the end of June, the Sox will have played nine late-night games out West (and four others that started in the late afternoon locally) in a three-week span. Many fans back East complain about this kind of schedule, but guess what: The players do, too. (Boston Herald)
OLD PALS: The Globe's Gordon Edes has a nice piece on Terry Francona and Brad Mills, who became friends when they first met at the University of Arizona and maintained that friendship throughout their baseball careers, which intersected at many points and now have come together again in the Red Sox dugout.
QUICK HITS: Hideki Okajima probably won't make the All-Star team, even though the Herald's Jeff Horrigan thinks he should . . . Did you know the Sox' bench players call themselves ''the I-75s''? Click on this Globe story to find out why . . . Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury will participate in the Futures Game on All-Star weekend (projo.com).
SWITCHEROO: The Padres have flopped Greg Maddux and Chris Young in their rotation this weekend, probably as a prelude to Young dropping the appeal of his five-game suspension immediately after pitching against the Red Sox. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
SUPPORT FROM AN UNLIKELY SOURCE: The Cubs' Derrek Lee, whose fight with Young earned five-game banishments for them both, says he doesn't think Young should have been suspended. (Chicago Tribune)
KEEP AN EYE OUT THIS WEEKEND FOR . . . Padres pitcher Justin Germano, whom ESPN.com's Rob Neyer says is a great story.
WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? The New York Sun's Steven Goldman says the Yankees and Mets were both asleep at the switch when they didn't attempt to acquire Michael Barrett, who was traded this week from the Cubs to the Padres.
YOU'RE OUR GUY: Speaking of the free-falling Mets, COO Jeff Wilpon says manager Willie Randolph's job is safe. (New York Daily News)
POETIC JUSTICE? There's something odd about the fact that the day after Jason Giambi agrees to talk to George Mitchell's investigative team about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball (New York Daily News), the Yankees head to San Francisco for a series against the Giants and Barry Bonds. (New York Post) The only Yankee willing to discuss Giambi's decision, not surprisingly, was the always honest Johnny Damon. (New York Post)
WHADDYA SAY THERE, BUD? FoxSport's Mark Kriegel wonders when we're going to hear something, anything, from Bud Selig on this issue.
TOUGHER CALL: SI.com's Jon Heyman says Sammy Sosa's Hall of Fame candidacy is not as black-and-white as Mark McGwire's, whom he says he'll never vote for.
THE ALL-STAR GAME LIKE IT OUGHTA BE: FoxSports.com's Dayn Perry looks at who's winning the All-Star vote but who should actually make the team. A quick glimpse: He wants Justin Morneau at first base and not David Ortiz.
NO, BUT THANKS FOR ASKING: Joe Girardi turned down the Orioles' offer to manage the team (Washington Post). Many people think Girardi is holding out for the Yankees job, which may finally open up again after this season (if not earlier). The man who currently holds it, Joe Torre, warns that turning down offers could lead teams to stop making those offers. (New York Daily News)
EVER HAD ONE OF THOSE DAYS? The Baltimore Sun's David Steele says that's what yesterday was for the O's, who also learned that Miguel Tejada has a broken wrist and likely will have to head to the disabled list (Baltimore Sun), ending his consecutive-game streak at 1,152.
LOCAL BOYS: The St. Petersburg Times reports that Rocco Baldelli may be sidelined another six weeks after his latest hamstring injury.
WHISPERS: ESPN.com's Jayson Stark says the Braves are much more interested than the Mets in Mark Buehrle . . . The New York Times confirms the Mets wouldn't part with prospects such as Lastings Milledge or Carlos Gomez for Buehrle, but they might for the Astros' Roy Oswalt or the Marlins' Dontrellle Willis . . . The Cubs are shopping Jacque Jones, and the Rangers are interested (Chicago Sun-Times) . . . The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports the Marlins have controversial outfielder Elijah Dukes on their radar, but only if the Devil Rays are willing to accept little in return . . . In a Q-and-A with readers, Los Angeles Times baseball writer Ben Bolch says the Marlins have no interest in trading Miguel Cabrera, but would be asking for three top prospects if they change their minds . . . The Chicago Sun-Times reports Ken Griffey Jr. has been telling people close to him that he'd welcome a trade to the Cubs, where he'd play again for his old manager, Lou Piniella.
OLD FRIENDS: Scott Hatteberg is still grateful to A's general manager Billy Beane for convincing him to move to first base when he signed with Oakland as a free agent in 2002. If he hadn't, ''I could be working at a Blockbuster somewhere,'' said Hatteberg, who's still in the big leagues with the Reds (Cincinnati Post) . . . John Wasdin, who sprained his thumb in May is still rehabbing with the Pirates (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 7:00 AM | Permalink