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Game Story: Sox offensive woes continue in 2-1 loss to Rangers
When it happens every once in a while, its expected. When it happens a few times, its a trend. When it goes on for as long as it has, its downright troubling.
For the past month, the Red Sox have had difficulty scoring runs. And while it hasnt cost them greatly in the standings, it has cost them some games. Including yesterdays.
Limited to nine hits and a solo run, the Sox lost to the Texas Rangers 2-1 yesterday, the 13th time since June 5 that the Sox have mustered two runs or fewer.
``You go through cycles where it seems like scoring runs is very difficult, said Terry Francona. ``Well straighten it out and well put a bunch up. Its frustrating on a day like today because weve got enough pitching and were having a tough time putting runs across the plate.
That would seem to be an understatement. In dropping five of their last six, the Sox have scored two runs or fewer three times. And against the Rangers, who came into the series ranked next-to-last in the American League in ERA, the Sox have scored just one run over the last 16 innings.
The lone sign of line yesterday came in the fifth when singles by Alex Cora, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis accounted for the only Sox run. Otherwise, they were unable to break through, leaving a runner on third in the fourth, two runners on in the first, seventh and eighth.
For the game, Red Sox hitters were a woeful 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. For this series, which concludes tonight, the Sox are 5-for-34.
A one-out walk to Pedroia brought David Ortiz to the plate in the ninth, representing the winning run. But Ortiz popped out to first, stranding a runner and typifying the Sox ineptitude in scoring chances.
``Were not having the kind of at-bats were capable of, remarked shortstop Alex Cora.
Julian Tavarez was the tough-luck loser, allowing just one earned run in 5 2/3 innings. Then again, Tavarez might be accustomed to the non-support in nine of his 15 starts this season, his teammates have scored two runs or fewer while hes in the game.
``Its not always going to work for you, said J.D. Drew of his teams offensive malaise.
``Its just the way the baseball season is. Its so long. There are times when you just cant find your stroke. But all of a sudden, it will all come back.
``When our pitching staff only gives up a couple of runs like this, we need to score more runs. We have to find a way to get some more runs. We know what were capable of. Weve got a good lineup, up and down. Its just a matter of getting going again. You dont know what its going to be. But then something just clicks and youre off.
Not soon enough for a team that is two games under .500 since June 1 about the time the offense went into hibernation.
Posted by Corey Bourassa at 7:16 PM to McAdam
Five Red Sox selected to All-Star game
As befits the team with the best record in baseball, the Red Sox were rewarded with five spots on the American League All-Star roster yesterday with the potential for one more before the week is out.
David Ortiz was chosen as the first baseman in voting by fans, while outfielder Manny Ramirez, third baseman Mike Lowell, starter Josh Beckett and closer Jonathan Papelbon were chosen in voting by managers, coaches and players.
Yet another possible participant, Hideki Okajima, is one of five finalists for the final spot on the roster. Fan balloting on MLB.com began last night and continues until Thursday at 6 p.m.
“I’m proud of them and proud for our organization,” said manager Terry Francona. “We’re going to be well represented as we should be. We have a lot of good players and I hope we get a sixth.”
Ortiz (.314-13-49) will be appearing in his fourth straight All-Star Game, including three in a row as a starter. He drew more than 2.8 million votes, fifth most along players.
Beckett, who received the most votes of any starting pitcher in the A.L., will make his first All-Star appearance.
“It’s a big deal and I’m really excited,” said Beckett. “It’s going to be fun and I’m looking forward to it.”
At 11-2, 3.38, Beckett could be chosen as the starting pitcher. He’ll likely contend with C.C. Sabathia and Justin Verlander for the honor.
“It’s not up to me,” said Beckett. “I don’t have any control over it, but it would be another exciting feat for me.”
Papelbon (19 saves, 1.50) was chosen for the second straight year, making him only the fourth Red Sox player to make the squad in each of his first two seasons. The others: Frank Malzone (1957-58), Carlton Fisk (1972-73) and Fred Lynn (1975-76).
“This is a huge milestone for me, said Papelbon. “Obviously, you want to be one of those guys on the All-Star team, year in and year out.”
Lowell (.297-12-55) was chosen for the fourth time, but first time in the A.L. He finished second in player voting at third base behind Alex Rodriguez and becomes the first Red Sox third baseman since Shea Hillenbrand to make the team.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” said Lowell. “It was really good news. It’s definitely something that is fun to do.”
Ramirez (.285-11-43), who finished sixth in player voting among outfielders and fourth among fans, was named to his 11th All-Star team. He’s been selected in each of his seven years with the Red Sox, though he declined to take part three of those times.
Finally, there’s Okajima, who eclipsed his more famous countryman, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and has a one-in-five shot at being named.
“I appreciate all the Red Sox fans and fans in Japan for their support,” said Okajima. “I hope everyone keeps supporting me and cheering for me. If I’m selected into the All-Star game, it will be a great honor.”
Posted by Corey Bourassa at 7:12 PM to McAdam
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Game Story: Five errors send PawSox to 14-2 loss
Dropped fly balls, overthrows, a base running blunder and not nearly enough offense to make up for all of the mistakes.
There’s no way to sugarcoat this one, says Pawtucket Red Sox manager Ron Johnson: ``We were just bad today.’’
``The bottom line is today we didn’t catch it and we didn’t hit it, and we got what we probably deserved,’’ Johnson said following his team’s 14-2 loss to the Charlotte Knights before a McCoy Stadium crowd of 8,289. ``The only thing we can do is turn the page on that one. We had a little talk afterward . Everybody in that room knows how poorly we played today, so we’ll see if we can regroup (tonight).’’
Managing just four hits, while committing five errors that resulted in nine unearned runs, the PawSox suffered their worst defeat since dropping a 21-5 decision at Rochester on Aug. 30, 2004.
The errors represent the most the club has committed in a game in more than two years. Pawtucket also had five against Durham on June 23, 2005. The outcome was decidedly different than yesterday’s, however, as the PawSox won that game, 13-2.
No such luck this time.
The Knights got on the board in the first when a throwing error by right fielder Brandon Moss allowed Tomas Perez to score from second.
Wiki Gonzalez then banked the first pitch Mike Burns served up in the third inning off the Amica Insurance sign behind the left-field walkway.
Three errors by third baseman Chad Spann proved costly to the PawSox in the fifth inning. He began by overthrowing first base on an infield hit by Jason Bourgeois. Bourgeois, who went to second on the bad throw, then stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jerry Owens deep in foul territory behind third.
Perez ended up at second base when Spann misplayed the Knights shortstop’s grounder and then committed another overthrow. A two-out bloop single to right by former 2004 PawSox All-Star Earl Snyder drove in Perez to make it 4-0.
Loading the bases courtesy of a walk to Alex Prieto and singles by David Murphy and Bobby Scales, Pawtucket picked up two runs in the fifth when Knights right-hander Gavin Floyd issued run-scoring walks to Michael Tucker and Jeff Bailey. That’s all the PawSox would get out of that inning, though, as Moss struck out and a struggling George Kottaras flew out to left field.
Charlotte got one run back in the sixth when reliever Edgar Martinez gave up a two-out RBI single to Gonzalez that scored Casey Rogowski.
Then the floodgates opened in the seventh, as the Knights batted around the order – and then some - rallying for seven more runs, all but one of them unearned.
They picked up two more runs off of PawSox righty Barry Hertzler in the eighth.
Charlotte already had plenty of insurance by then, though.
Outhit 13-4, Pawtucket left nine men on base. In addition to not capitalizing more in the fifth, the PawSox failed to push anyone across when the club also had the bases loaded in the third.
``It was a lot of physical stuff today,’’ said Johnson, whose club falls to 35-45. ``We just couldn’t catch the ball today and we couldn’t hit it. It’s a different story if we get a bunch of runs and we’re firing the ball all over the place and (throwing) to the wrong base or we’re doing things at the wrong time. When you really break it down, we got four hits, we made five errors, they’re all physical. So turn the page, go enjoy your evening, try to forget it – if you can – and see you (tonight).’’
Posted by Corey Bourassa at 6:00 PM to PawSox
PawSox fall to Charlotte; suffer worst defeat in nearly three years
Dropped fly balls, overthrows, baserunning blunders and not nearly enough offense to make up for all of the mental and physical miscues resulted in a 14-2 defeat to the Charlotte Knights for the Pawtucket Red Sox today at McCoy Stadium.
This is the PawSox' worst defeat since dropping a 21-5 decision at Rochester on Aug. 30, 2004.
Pawtucket, which managed just four hits, committed five costly errors. That's the most the club has committed in a game in more than two years. Pawtucket also had five against Durham on June 23, 2005. The outcome was decidedly different than yesterday’s, however, as the PawSox won that game, 13-2.
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 4:15 PM to PawSox
Red Sox Updates, Pregame Notes
-- Center fielder Coco Crisp is being held out of the starting lineup for the third straight game because of a sore left thumb, which he injured while making an unsuccessful diving attempt to catch a ball in Seattle last Wednesday.
Manager Terry Francona said the team still hasn't decided whether to place Crisp on the disabled list, hoping his thumb will heal quickly enough to have him back on the field before too long.
Jacoby Ellsbury is making his second big-league start.
-- Eric Hinske, meanwhile, is starting at first base because he has been swinging well, said Francona. Third baseman Mike Lowell will be available off the bench because Kevin Youkilis has moved to third base for today's start.
-- The All-Star team will be announced today. Francona said he was not consulted in the process.
-- Curt Schilling (right shoulder) will be re-evaluated tomorrow.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 12:17 PM | Permalink
Lugo still on the bench
Slumping shortstop Julio Lugo, who compounded his hitting woes (0 for 31) by making a poor baserunning decision as a pinch runner last night, is on the bench for the third straight game, again replaced in the starting lineup by Alex Cora.
Manager Terry Francona had a chat with him earlier today, and one topic of conversation was Lugo's ill-advised and unsuccessful attempt to steal third with two outs in the eighth, the Sox trailing by one run and .326 hitter Kevin Youkilis at the plate.
Lugo was thrown out by catcher Gerald Laird, on a one-hop throw, ending the inning. Lugo did not slide and was tagged out in a collision with third baseman Travis Metcalf.
Lugo did not make himself available to the media last night.
"He was trying to make something happen that wasn't there," said Francona a short time ago, noting that he spoke with Lugo today as opposed to right after last night's game when emotions would have been running higher.
"He didn't slide. That made it look bad. He thought it was a foul ball. He had his head down. A lot of things went wrong, but we were able to talk, which is good. You want to have those lines of communication open."
One major point Francona said he made with Lugo is that the Sox aren't quitting on him.
"We need to get him back in there, probably tomorrow, depending on what happens today," said Francona. "We need to get him going. I told him that. That's why we got him here."
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 12:08 PM | Permalink
Starting Lineups, July 1
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 12:06 PM | Permalink