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June 26, 2007
Crisp heating up at right time.
By SEAN McADAM
Journal Sports Writer
SEATTLE – Even after a recent torrid stretch that has seen him lift his batting average to a respectable .258, Coco Crisp’s season can’t be truly measured on the stat sheet.
The stats can show that he has boosted his average 37 points in the last 11 games; that he’s second in the American League with four bunt hits and tied for fourth with four sacrifices; and that he’s been successful in 15 of his 19 stolen base attempts.
But the true measure of Crisp’s 2007 season is found in more arcane numbers, not readily available or found on a web site. According to data compiled and maintained by one major league club, Crisp is playing the best center field of any outfielder in the major leagues – and by a long shot.
The club, which asked not to be identified, uses a complicated metric to measure defensive play, including range and coverage. Based on its findings, tabulated monthly, Crisp is playing at a ``plus-24’’ level in center field, meaning that through the end of May, Crisp had already recorded putouts on two dozen more players than the average center fielder.
While the data can’t be easily extrapolated for an entire season – there’s no guarantee that Crisp will finish at a plus-72, for example – he’s on pace to easily top last year’s best full-season grade, a plus-30, earned by Willie Taveras, then with Houston.
Similarly, Crisp could equal the best numbers achieved by Mike Cameron and Andruw Jones, each of whom had graded out near a plus-60 in their prime.
``Regardless of what the numbers say,’’ said Red Sox manager Terry Francona, `` I know how well Coco has played out there. Sometimes, the numbers can fool you a little. But I can see with my own eyes how good he’s been.’’
Crisp wasn’t nearly as proficient in the field last year, his first in Boston. The spacious center field in Boston was new to him and Crisp’s play was tentative at times.
``If you ask me,’’ said one scout recently, ``I think he just needed a year to get used to center again (Crisp has played left field in 2005, his final year in Cleveland). It take some adjusting – the ball comes off the bat differently. For one things, it’s hit right at you and that can be tricky. But he’s a much better center fielder this year than a year ago.’’
When the Sox dealt for Crisp after the 2005 season, they envisioned him as a worthy successor to Johnny Damon, who left as a free agent to the New York Yankees. What they got, instead, was someone seemingly unsuited for both of Damon’s roles – center fielder and leadoff hitter.
At the plate, Crisp wasn’t nearly patient enough. In the outfield, he showed only brief flashes. An astounding diving catch against the New York Mets’ David Wright last June was unquestionably the season highlight. But that sort of highlight-reel catch was infrequent.
This season, they seem to be an almost weekly occurrence.
``I think he’s just more familiar, more comfortable, more confident out there,’’ said third base coach DeMarlo Hale, who also doubles as the Red Sox’ outfield instructor.
``He’s a talented young man with the speed to close on a ball quickly. And we’re seeing that more and more.’’
Crisp, who has declined to be interviewed in recent weeks, reported to spring training as a more assertive defender. He’s spent more time going over scouting reports to help him better position himself and is more knowledgeable about his own pitchers, giving him help in anticipating where a pitch might be hit.
A season ago, from his perch in the dugout, Hale had to direct Crisp in the outfield from batter to batter. This year, Crisp has often adjusted his positioning in center before Hale has a chance to move him.
``And he’s taken more of a leadership role out there with Manny (Ramirez) and J.D. (Drew),’’ Hale said. ``He’s communicating with them and making sure they’re covering the space between one another.’’
Even by conventional measures, Crisp’s play has been outstanding. Going into last night, he had yet to commit an error in center and the number of putouts he had recorded (205) without an error was second only to the Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki, who had 218.
Posted by Thom Cahir at 10:57 PM to McAdam
FINAL: Norfolk 7, Pawtucket 3
PAWTUCKET -- The Pawtucket Red Sox gladly returned home from their recent 2-6 road trip through Indianapolis and Louisville only to continue their skid, losing to the Norfolk Tides at McCoy Stadium, 7-3.
Tides starting pitcher Craig Anderson had a perfect game going through 4 1/3 innings before the PawSox’ Brandon Moss ended it with a line-drive single to left field. Still, Anderson was in control and finished 6 2/3 innings of solid work, allowing three runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
For Pawtucket Chad Spann provided an RBI single in the fifth inning, and Michael Tucker belted a two-run homer in the seventh.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 9:44 PM | Permalink
Lineups for Tuesday night
Crisp , cf
Ichiro Suzuki, cf
Jose Lopez, 2b
Jose Vidro, dh
Richie Sexson, 1b
Kenji Johjima, c
Jose Guillen, rf
Adrian Beltre, 3b
Yuniesky Betancourt, ss
Willie Bloomquisrt, lf
Felix Hernandez, p
... Manager Terry Francona gave Manny Ramirez the night off just to rest, noting that Manny has played more games than any other Red Sox player to date...Nick Hagadome is at Safeco Field meeting Red Sox players and personnel...Hagadome, a standout at the University of Washington is expected to finalaize his first pro contract in the next few days...SS Julio Lugo is out of the lineup, which isn't a surprise.
Posted by Thom Cahir at 6:40 PM to McAdam
Sox Streakers for June 26
-Coco Crisp, 18 for 39 (.462) with three home runs and three walks over his last 11 games.
-Dustin Pedroia, 13 for 36 (.361) with a home run and three walks over his last nine games.
-J.D. Drew, 12 for 34 (.353) with two home runs and four walks over his last nine games.
-For Seattle: Richie Sexson, 13 for 44 (.295) with five home runs and three walks over his last 12 games.
-Julio Lugo, 0 for his last 29. He is batting .091 in June and .191 for the season.
-David Ortiz, 7 for 36 (.194) over his last 12 games, with two home runs and six walks.
Red Sox vs. Felix Hernandez
-J.D. Drew, 2 for 6 (.333)
-Mike Lowell, 1 for 6 (.167), 1 HR
-David Ortiz, 1 for 6 (.167)
-Manny Ramirez, 1 for 6 (.167)
-Julio Lugo, 1 for 7 (.143)
-Alex Cora, 0 for 2
-Dustin Pedroia, 0 for 2
-Wily Mo Pena, 0 for 3
-Jason Varitek, 0 for 3
-Kevin Youkilis, 0 for 3
-Eric Hinske, 0 for 4
-Coco Crisp, 0 for 5
-Hernandez is 2-0 with a 1.12 E.R.A. lifetime against Boston.
Mariners vs. Kason Gabbard
-Ichiro Suzuki, 2 for 3 (.667)
-Adrian Beltre, 1 for 3 (.333)
-Yuniesky Betancourt, 1 for 3 (.333)
-Willie Bloomquist, 1 for 3 (.333)
-Ben Broussard, 0 for 1
-Kenji Johjima, 0 for 3
-Richie Sexson, 0 for 3
-No other active Mariners batter has faced Gabbard.
-Gabbard is 0-1 with a 2.84 E.R.A. lifetime against Seattle.
-Gabbard made his major league debut against Seattle on July 22, 2006. He pitched well but took the loss. The winning pitcher was tonight's opponent, Felix Hernandez.
-Hernandez went 0-2 with a 6.85 E.R.A. over four starts before beating Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
-The Red Sox have now lost six straight at Safeco Field.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 3:28 PM to Projo Sox Streakers
Ramirez falls in All-Star vote count
Detroit's Magglio Ordonez has moved ahead of Manny Ramirez in fan balloting for the All-Star Game. Ordonez, who has never been elected to start an All-Star Game, would join Vladimir Guerrero and Ichiro Suzuki in the A.L. 's starting outfield. Ramirez is fourth in the balloting. Manny has been one of the leaders up until now, something that did not sit well with Tom Gage of the Detroit News. Ordonez leads the league in batting average (.379), doubles (34), on base percentage (.453) and extra-base hits (47). Manny's numbers in the same categories: .296, 16, .394 and 28.
Ramirez had good numbers against Jeff Weaver coming into last night's game (a lot of the Red Sox did), but Weaver got him out twice with runners on base last night, including once in the third with men on second and third with two outs. Ramirez is hitting .257 this year with runners in scoring position, although his OBP is .407.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 1:59 PM to Projo Mannybeingmanny
| Comments 1
Projo Sports Chat transcript
Today's Sports Chat was all Red Sox, all the time. Here's the transcript. Remember to join Art tomorrow at noon: go to projo.com/chat, pick a display name and enter the sports chat room to send your questions.
soxx: Do you think Theo would make a :rental" deal for Buehrle? and is there any chance that we might get Iguchi as part of any deal?
Art Martone: Hi, soxx. I think the Sox would make a ''rental'' deal for Mark Buehrle, and take the draft choices when he walks away as a free agent (probably to the Cardinals) at the end of the year. But I don't think Iguchi would be included because that would, by definition, raise the price. I think the Sox would only do this if they held onto the very best prospects -- Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, maybe Daniel Bard -- and dealt second-level minor-leaguers like Brandon Moss or Jed Lowrie. They couldn't get Iguchi if that were the case; they'd need to give more. (I assume your thinking is, move Pedroia back to shortstop and put Iguchi at second.) But as time passes and more and more teams begin sniffing around Buehrle, I think it's more likely the White Sox might be able to get the kind of prospects, out of someone, that the Sox probably won't surrender, and thus I think a Buehrle-to-Boston trade is a long shot. I've been wrong before, though.
SoxFanatic456: After last night's night performance, does it look like Timlin's run with the Red Sox is just about over? If the Red Sox would want to part ways with him, how would they do it? Trade? Release? Send down? Retire?
Art Martone: Sean McAdam and I discussed this today on Sox Talk, and Sean's take is ''What you see (from Timlin right now) is what you're going to get (the rest of the way).'' I tend to think that's true. I know there's a lot of organizational affection for Timlin, whose been a good soldier and a great ambassador in the community, and Terry Francona in particular thinks the world of him. That said, we know they're looking for bullpen help and I get the feeling that Timlin's spot is the most vulnerable. In a perfect world (for the Red Sox), he'd retire and save them the pain of having to release him, which is more likely. Judging by his postgame comments -- that his command and location were off -- it doesn't sound like Timlin is ready to give it up, and so I think the day will come where they're going to have to release him.
soxx: Art, my first time here, was unaware of your chats, its great to have access to someone knowledgable on the Sox. thanks for your 1st answer, but were you aware that Iguchi played ss in japan for 5 years?
Art Martone: Thanks, soxx! I was thinking Pedroia would be easier to switch since he's younger than Iguchi (Tadahito is, I believe, 32). Also -- and I didn't know this until today -- Iguchi is in the walk year of his contract, too, meaning it would be a rental for *two* players since reports are that Iguchi wants to play somewhere warmer than Chicago. In that case, it seems more and more unlikely that Iguchi would be included in a trade to the Red Sox.
SoxFanatic456: What are the latest on the Mark Buehrle rumors? Is there any possibility that the Red Sox could be showcasing Kason Gabbard as a part of this deal? Also, how serious are the Red Sox in trading for Rockies closer Brian Fuentes, if the Rockies are still interested in Tavarez the Red Sox could trade him there for Fuentes when Lester returns, is there any possibility of that happening?
Art Martone: I can't believe the Fuentes rumors are all that serious, at least not to the Red Sox, for any number of reasons: 1) The Rockies are still in the hunt, so why would they trade him? 2) The Sox *have* a closer, who's better than Fuentes. 3) Even if Fuentes would agree to accept a setup role, he's left-handed and Boston is already tilting a bit left in the bullpen. 4) Fuentes would have more value to a team actually looking for a closer, which means Colorado -- if they choose to go that route -- could get more than the Red Sox would be willing to give.
soxx: In your opinion, is there any chance of moving Lugo, and to where?
Art Martone: Not at the moment, not with almost all the four-year, $36 million contract remaining and with him playing as poorly as he is. If the Sox dumped him now, it would be the ultimate sell-low strategy. I think their only real option is to wait it out and hope he somehow gets out of this funk that's all but paralyzed him at the plate. Odds are he will; at least, the odds are he won't hit .190 this year. But having said that, I still remember George Scott hitting .171 in 1968 and thinking all year that *he* would break out it eventually, that -- having hit .303 the year before -- there was no way his batting average could tumble 130 points in a single season. But it did.
Warren: Tavarez clearly was not on his game last night...do you think the 97 pitch outing prior may be the cause ?
Art Martone: No, Warren, I just think he was pitching at a level not consistent with his ability and this was the natural pullback to what he actually is. After all he's done for the Red Sox this year, though, he deserves a mulligan for that one.
Warren: Art....assuming A-Rod invokes the option on his contract and the sox are not interested....seems to me that A-Rod and Boras then would have over played their hand since the only real bidder at that kind of money would be the yanks...I can't see anyone else offering stupid money for a guy who wherever he goes the team performs badly and improves greatly when he leaves
Art Martone: Oh, I can. The Giants, the Cubs, the Angels, maybe even the White Sox . . . the bidding could escalate quickly. And I don' t think there's any way the Sox *wouldn't* be interested if A-Rod hits the market.
soxx: Its been reported that Reinsdorf will not allow any window for extension with buehrle, do yyou think he may for Iguchi, if sox were to just ant him?
Art Martone: I don't think the Red Sox are interested enough (or at all) in Iguchi that they would ask. They already have Lugo under contract through 2009, and I think upper management would frown upon giving another multiyear contract to an infielder in his 30s.
Dave: Why don't the Sox insert Cora at SS instead of a $36 million dollar SS that hasn't had a hit since June 15th?
Art Martone: Hi, Dave. I'm fairly certain Cora will play more and more in the days ahead, but will he get the job full-time? I wonder. They just have too much invested in Lugo -- monetarily, but also in they've built their team (with him playing a key role) -- to pull the plug on him three months into a four-year contract. It's still early enough that he can turn things around, and their lead frees them from any sense of urgency about making a switch. But if it gets close to playoff time and Lugo is still struggling to hit his weight . . . well, different rules then.
soxx: Art, really hope you're wrong on Sox having an interest in Arod, I, for one, do not want "the curse of Arod' anywhere near the Sox.
Art Martone: A lot of people don't -- Warren especially! -- but I think he'd intrigue the Sox management. He's a great player, and I mean a Great Player, and if he ever got here, I think he'd be a cinch to finish his career with 800 home runs. As for the "Curse of A-Rod," I just don't think he's the reason his teams get worse -- or, more accurately, have worse records than the year before -- when he joins them, nor do I think his departure is the reason his former teams get better. The guy has a lot of baggage, I will grant you, and some people don't particularly care for him, but on the field . . . I'd take him.
Dewey24: Art, I know the permium is on ptiching (and I think the Sox should take a run at Otsuka) but I really think they need one more .380+ OBA guy. Seems to me we keep leaving men in scoring position - eps with bases loaded (see last night) and nt getting anything. Any talk about a move for a legit position player like a Texiera - with obviously Lowell headed off somewhere else?
Art Martone: Hi, Dewey. I'm with you. This lineup is about one hitter shy of being really dangerous, and I'd love to see them pick up another bat. The only problem is, the positions where they need offensive upgrades -- center field and shortstop -- are not positions where those types of hitters are readily available. I think if they make such a move, it would be what you suggest: For a first baseman like Texeira, with Youkilis moving to third and Lowell headed out. I know there were internal Texeira discussions earlier, and maybe they'll be revisited as we get closer to the deadline (and Teixeira comes off the DL). I can't see them making another run at Todd Helton, if for no other reason than Helton's left-handed and they would tilt too far left. We'll see who becomes available in the next few weeks.
Warren: Art....do you see JD Drew being moved come trade time ? Who would want him with that contract ?
Art Martone: I don't think there's any way they trade Drew. Main reason? They don't want to.
Dewey24: Also, you mentioned Moss as a 2nd tier prospect. But every time I see him play he's solid, has pop and a hose for an arm with high OBP. Seems like everything Drew was projected to be without the injuries. I know there's a big drop between MLB & AAA but I would hate to see this guy get packaged for a ham & egger like Buehrle and end up being the next Freddy Sanchez or Hanley Ramierz. Have the Sox thought about giving him a 1st baseman's mitt?
Art Martone: Not that I know of. I think they see Moss as a step behind Jacoby Ellsbury as a prospect, and with Drew on board they don't see the need for many young outfield prospects. That's why I think they'd be more likely to include Moss in a deal of "second-level" prospects, because I don't think they see him projecting to be in the Boston outfield.
soxx: Coco seems to be picking it up, saw the report saying magadan changed his stance, with his defenze am happy in cf for now, Ss seems only weak spot
Art Martone: That's true. If Crisp can hit .275 or so, with his defense he's an asset. To this point he hasn't hit that well, which is why I looked at center as a position for upgrade.
soxx: Do you see any realistic deals done by theo before the deadline?
Art Martone: I think they'll definitely do something to attempt to strengthen the bullpen. Anything bigger depends on a lot of moving parts, the kind of trades that have proved difficult for the Sox to make in the last couple of years. But I would say they're almost certain to do something involving a relief pitcher or two.
Warren: Schiling has apparently taken offense to Theo's remark that Schilling taking a break now( on the DL) may be a blessing in disguise...Well duh ! Of course it will ...at Schilling's age...no brainer...as long as he keeps up his conditioning...this indeed is a blessing in disguise ! the only one that should take offsense are the people that are being fooled...Schilling is thinking about next year's contract and doesn't want any time off .
Art Martone: Could be, Warren, could be. But I think he'd be better served by taking some time off and pitching healthy rather than pitching through pain and seeing his performance suffer. The Sox would benefit, too.
soxx: Otsuka or gagne possibilities?
Art Martone: The price tag for them might be too high, since other teams may target them as more important pieces than the Sox will. I can see other teams offering more for either, or both, than Boston. But I think the Red Sox will definitely kick the tires on the two of them, and who knows? Maybe something can be worked out.
soxx: Art, sorry i have missed your chats before, how long have you been doing them?
Art Martone: We started them a few weeks ago, and they're catching on. Eventually, we'd like to spread them around to the other writers. Shalise Manza Young has already done a Patriots chat, and we're hoping to do more.
Warren: Hi Art...assuming the yanks don't make the playoffs...I envision a double dip firing...Cashman and Torre ...what do you think ?
Art Martone: It's not often you and I are in complete agreement, Warren -- see Terry O'Reilly and Don Cherry -- but we are here. If the Yankees don't make the playoffs, I can see both of them being dismissed.
Warren: Art...do you think to much is being made of the drop off in numbers for Ortiz and Manny ?
Art Martone: Interesting question. They're both hitting well, just not for the kind of power we're accustomed to. Me, I don't see it as a big concern because I don't think either one of them has lost his power, at least not to a great extent. As Kevin Youkilis says, they'll eventually get to their normal numbers, which means we could be in for a big second half, power-wise, from both of them.
Warren: Art...seems like the New York media has the best of both worlds...the yanks play bad...lots of stories in that...the team whips putrid teams and shaves the deficit and everyone is yelling 78'...the team takes another dive and the media is back to hanging everyone in sight ...lots of fodder either way ?
Art Martone: I thought it was the fans more than the media harping on '78, but you live there and you'd know better than me. In any case, there's been plenty to talk about, hasn't there?
soxx: Art, Do you see any future for Wily Mo with the ?Sox
Art Martone: Theo Epstein still likes Pena and has hopes for him. I see his upside -- 40-homer potential -- but I can see having to go through a lot of rocky road to get there, and I don't know that the Sox can be that patient.
Dewey24: Actually I think this is the last year of Torre's contract so Warren will have to be content with a single firing and a no-rehire of Torre. Though personally I would bag Cash. This team is his mess, and the Yankees have underachieved since he's been GM. (As a Sox fan I hope Cash stays, of course)
Art Martone: That's true, Dewey. His contract runs out at the end of 2007. Of course, he might get fired before the end of '07, which could give Warren his two-fer.
mike: That's all the time we have today, folks, and we're sorry we did not get to several questions. But we will be back tomorrow from noon to 1.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 1:12 PM to Martone
Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: Schilling's swipe at Theo
Sean McAdam joins Art Martone from Seattle for today's edition of projo SoxTalk. Click here to listen to the full audio file. Today, they discuss Curt Schilling's surprising comments about Theo Epstein. Also on the agenda: the continuing troubles of Mike Timlin, the latest Red Sox trade rumor (involving Colorado's Brian Fuentes), and Jon Lester's demonstration of why he should not have been called up to start tonight's game against the Mariners.
Here are some excerpts from Sean's comments:
On the Fuentes story: "I don't think there's any question that their number-one priority ... is to improve the bullpen. Not a closer, obviously, and Okajima has emerged as a terrific setup man, but I think they realize they need some additional late-inning help. My only surprise is that Fuentes is left-handed, as Okajima is, and you would think they'd be looking more for a righty setup man. But I think they're looking for people that can get big outs late in the game and, you know, they'll sort it out later."
Was Schilling throwing Theo under the bus? "I think some forethought went into that remark. I'm not saying [Schilling] had it drawn up on the playboard and was ready to unleash it at any moment, but you could see that he had thought about this, given the question was fairly, you know, innocuous, and he seemed pretty poised to make his point. And it'll be interesting to see what the reaction is from the front office and Theo Epstein, and how this impacts the rest of, you know, their relationship the rest of the way, because it certainly did seem a little over the top."
On Lester: "You talk to people in the Red Sox organization, and while I think there was public sentiment to bring up Lester because of, you know, everything he's been through and what a terrific story it's going to be when he does finally rejoin the major league team, the fact of the matter was that [Kason] Gabbard had pitched better and deserved it."
Posted by Mike McDermott at 11:35 AM to Martone
Baseball Today: Tuesday, June 26
SAILING AWAY: For 4 1/2 innings, the Sox were following the formula -- tight pitching, timely hitting -- that's served them so well so far on this road trip . . . and, indeed, as Bill Reynolds points out, this season. But it all came unglued in the fifth inning. A wild throw by Julian Tavarez (shown getting away from Kevin Youkilis above, AP Photo) gave the Mariners runners at second and third with no outs and they took it from there, scoring five runs and going on to a 9-4 win over the Sox. (projo.com) It was Tavarez' first lemon in quite a while -- he'd gone 5-0 with a 3.17 ERA in his last seven starts -- and the relievers, Kyle Snyder and Mike Timlin in particular, were no better. If nothing else, Youkilis got his name into the record books. (projo.com)
HE SPEAKS! Curt Schilling apologizes for his nearly two weeks of silence with a brief entry on 38pitches.com in which he says his shoulder ''feels fine.''
DID HE EVER: Whether he intended to be or not, Schilling was far more controversial while talking to reporters before last night's game. He took what could only be interpreted as a swipe at general manager Theo Epstein while discussing his time on the disabled list, countering Epstein's assertion that Schilling could benefit from some rest by saying, ''[It's] easy to analyze that when you’re not in uniform and you’ve never been in one.'' (projo.com)
Schilling was answering a question in terms of whether he agreed with Epstein, who said going on the DL was ''an opportunity to get (Schilling) rested, rehabilitated and strengthened so he can be in peak condition in the second half,'' or with manager Terry Francona, who said, ''it’s different when you’re in uniform and not in uniform -- I don’t think Schill necessarily sees it that way.” (Boston Herald) He may not have meant it the way people are going to take it -- then again, he may have -- but I have a sense, or maybe it's a fear, that we're on the doorstep of yet another two-day, talk-show controversy.
JUST WAIT: Tony Massarotti mulls what's going to happen when the Red Sox finally start hitting. (Boston Herald)
STILL NUMBER TWO: The Sox remain second in SI.com's Power Rankings.
ONE STEP BACKWARDS: Jon Lester was routed last night in Louisville, which may justify the Red Sox' decision to keep him in the minors after Schilling got hurt. (projo.com)
QUICK HITS: Sean McAdam makes some observations about the Sox, including who belongs on the All-Star team and whether or not the Mark Buehrle trade will happen. (projo.com)
BUEHRLE WATCH: The Newark Star-Ledger reports the Mets are still interested, though they'd be more likely to part with top prospects for Jose Contreras if they were going to trade for a White Sox pitcher. The Ledger also says the Yankees have yet to involve themselves in the Buehrle chase. According to the New York Post, the Mets will only pursue Buehrle if they get a 72-hour window to sign the free agent-to-be.
WRONG MOVE: The Chicago Sun-Times' Jay Mariotti thinks the White Sox should sign Buehrle, not trade him.
FUENTES WATCH? The Denver Post says the Red Sox are among the teams that have an interest in Rockies reliever Brian Fuentes.
WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO DO . . . The New York Daily News thinks the Yankees' ''new policy of not dealing prospects for quick fixes will be tested as attractive rental players such as Jermaine Dye hit the trade market.''
WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE: The New York Post's George King is adamant: ''Anyone who looks at the AL East race and believes the Yankees have a shot at their 10th straight title should be drug tested.'' So colleague Mike Vaccaro urges the Yankees, and their fans, to forget the Red Sox and focus on the Indians, who currently lead the wild-card race.
DOWN AND UP AND DOWN: Bobby Abreu is slumping again. (New York Daily News) The New York Post goes into more detail.
THE REAL IDIOTS: NYYFans.com's Phil Allard calls the signing of Johnny Damon ''one of Brian Cashman’s greatest follies''.
PALS AGAIN: John Smoltz and Chipper Jones say they've smoothed over their 'misunderstanding'. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
END OF THE LINE: Veteran infielder Jeff Cirillo announces this will probably be his last season. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
'MY BAD': That was the extent of Paul LoDuca's apology to Marvin Hudson after going, in the words of the New York Daily News' Vic Ziegel, Tasmanian Devil on the umpire and earning a two-game suspension.
PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN: The blog Mike's Baseball Rants examines American League dominance in interleague play.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Joe Posnanski gives us the 'director's cut' of last month's fascinating story on Bo Jackson. (thesoulofbaseball.blogspot.com)
WHISPERS: The Cubs may trade Jacque Jones today; the Rangers, Padres and White Sox are interested (Chicago Sun-Times) . . . The Blue Jays are listening to offers for Troy Glaus (foxsports.com) . . . Dontrelle Willis is ignoring all the trade talk (Miami Herald) . . . The Rockies have inquired about Royals closer Octavio Dotel (Denver Post).
OLD FRIENDS: The Dodgers are moving Nomar Garciaparra to third base (Riverside Press-Enterprise) . . . Many people in Cincinnati are blaming Bronson Arroyo's poor season on a 129-pitch outing May 16, but the blog On Baseball and the Reds studies the issue and isn't so sure.
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 7:05 AM | Permalink
Late Red Sox notes
BY SEAN McADAM
Journal Sports Writer
SEATTLE – Kevin Youkilis set a Red Sox franchise record Monday night by playing his 120th consecutive errorless game at first base, eclipsing the mark held by Stuffy McInnis, who had a 119-game streak in 1921. Youkilis’ last error at first was July 4, 2006 in Tampa. He has handled more than 1,054 chances since then.
It appeared that third baseman Mike Lowell was ejected by home-plate umpire Jim Reynolds after the final out of the game. Lowell tossed the bat in apparent disgust after a called third strike. Reynolds then pointed at him, the usual signal for an ejection. The two continued to jaw as they left the field for the dugout.
Here and there
David Ortiz stole his first base of the season in the third . . . Former Red Sox catcher and coach Bill Haselman visited with players, coaches and manager Terry Francona before the game. Haselman lives in the Seattle area and is doing some part-time work for KIRO Radio as well as working as an investment broker.
Posted by Sean McAdam at 2:38 AM | Permalink
| Comments 1
Game story: Mariners sail by Sox, 9-4
BY SEAN McADAM
Journal Sports Writer
SEATTLE – Far more times than not this season, Julian Tavarez has fulfilled the unstated responsibility of a fifth starter: give your team a chance to win.
Not, however, on Monday night.
Tavarez couldn’t get out of the fifth inning, surrendering six runs on six hits and suffering his first setback since May 1, a 9-4 pasting by the Seattle Mariners. The loss was the Sox’ sixth in a row at Safeco Field. The Mariners are 7-2 in their last nine games with Boston.
Three of the six runs charged to Tavarez were unearned, but they, too, were of his making. With the Sox leading 2-1 in the fifth, Tavarez fielded a bunt by Mariners shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and fired it past first, enabling Betancourt to reach safely and Adrian Beltre to advance all the way to third.
Third baseman Mike Lowell, charging the bunt, attempted to call Tavarez off the play, but Tavarez was already committed to trying to get Betancourt at first. Manager Terry Francona said he thought the pitcher didn’t get a good grip before making the throw, though Tavarez himself disagreed.
A big inning for Seattle unraveled from there, with four of the next five hitters reaching.
''Everything went wrong for me,'' said Tavarez, who saw his record evened at 5-5. ''That’s how it goes. I didn’t get any breaks. I didn’t do anything different – I challenged the hitters, work quickly and tried to get ground balls. It was just a little of this, a little of that.''
''He was behind in the count a lot,'' explained Francona. ''His stuff was good. His fastball was explosive. But he left some pitches up and out of the zone and kind of misfired more than he needs to be successful.''
The outing was the pitcher’s shortest since his first outing of the season, April 7 in Texas. Tavarez came into last night with a 5-0, 3.07 record in his last seven starts. He hadn’t allowed a run over his previous 13 innings.
That streak ended in the second when Richie Sexson doubled and rode home on Ben Broussard’s single to right.
The Sox responded with two runs against Jeff Weaver in the top of next inning. With Coco Crisp (single) and Julio Lugo (error, fielder’s choice) on first and third, J.D. Drew drilled a single up the middle, just under the glove of second baseman Jose Lopez, scoring both runners and giving Boston a 2-1 lead.
A one-out single to right from David Ortiz advanced Drew to third, giving the Sox runners at the corners with one out. But the prospect of a big inning dimmed when Weaver fanned Manny Ramirez and, after walking Kevin Youkilis, got Lowell to pop to third, leaving the bases loaded.
The Sox wouldn’t score again until the ninth when Youkilis added a two-run double.
In between, the Mariners added on against Tavarez, Kyle Snyder and Mike Timlin.
Snyder, who inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam from Tavarez, was uncharacteristically wild, walking two hitters in a row to force in two runs as the Mariners built their lead to 6-2.
Seattle broke the game open in the seventh against Mike Timlin. Timlin issued a leadoff walk to Sexson, then was struck in the glove hand by the top half of Ben Broussard’s sawed-off bat on a grounder to second.
''A little scary,'' said Timlin afterward. ''I’m glad I saw the bat, because I was watching the ball.''
Watching the ball then got tougher for Timlin. With Broussard on first with a fielder’s choice, Timlin gave up homers to Kenji Johkima and Beltre on consecutive two-seam fastballs that left up in the strike zone.
Youkilis’ two-run double came far too late to help, as Weaver won for just the second time this season. From the fourth through the eighth innings, the Sox mustered just two hits, while failing to take advantage of their few opportunities. They stranded two in the fourth, two in the sixth and the bases full in the eighth.
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