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July 3, 2007
FINAL: Red Sox 4, Devil Rays 1
BOSTON - Daisuke Matsuzaka dominated the Tampa Bay Devil Rays tonight and pitched the Red Sox to a 4-1 win at Fenway Park.
Matsuzaka pitched eight shutout innings, allowing just four hits and striking out nine Rays. Jonathan Papelbon came on in the ninth and allowed the 19th home run of the season to Carlos Pena. Papelbon avoided further trouble and picked up his 20th save.
The Red Sox scratched out three runs in the second inning with the biggest hit coming from the most unlikely source: Julio Lugo. The struggling shortstop snapped a 0-for-33 skid with a 2-run single that pushed Boston's lead to 3-0.
Boston added a single run in the sixth inning off Tampa's Scott Kazmir, a talented lefty who owned a 5-2 record and 2.60 ERA in 11 career starts against the Sox entering the game. The Red Sox managed seven hits off three Tampa pitchers. David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez continued their struggles and combined to go 0-for-7 with three strikeouts.
The Red Sox and Rays continue their three-game series this afternoon before the big July 4 fireworks show erupts a few blocks away on the banks of the Charles River. First pitch Wednesday is set for 1:05 with Tim Wakefield opposing Edwin Jackson.
Posted by Kevin at 9:48 PM | Permalink
Dice K is Dealing
Daisuke Matsuzaka is baffling the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Fenway tonight. Through eight innings, the Dice Man has allowed four hits and no runs. It took the Rays until the eighth inning to push a base runner to third.
Terry Francona could send Matsuzaka back out for the 9th but Jonathan Papelbon hasn't pitched since June 29th and he's warming up in the pen.
Matsuzaka has pitched superbly for awhile now. In his three previous starts, he owned a 2-0 record with only two runs over 21 innings. Counting tonight, he's struck out eight or more hitters in each of his last six starts.
Posted by Kevin at 9:38 PM | Permalink
| Comments 1
BY KEVIN McNAMARA
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON -- Tuesday night Sox Droopings:
Coco Crisp is back in the lineup is center field, replacing impressive rookie Jacoby Ellsbury. Crisp missed four games because of a sprained thumb he injured last Wednesday in Seattle. Returns to the lineup with a 4-game hitting streak. Has hit safely in 12 of last 13 games to push average from .221 to .262
Ellsbury will remain with the Red Sox, most likely through the end of the first half of the season this Sunday. He'll be used as insurance fro Crisp and a potential pinch runner. Asked if he could play right or left field, manager Terry Francona said he's yet to ask the rookie how comfortable he'd be in either spot.
Kevin Youkilis is also back in the lineup after missing last night with a sore quadriceps muscle in his leg. Francona feels Youkilis will be fine the rest of the week and benefit from the time off over the All-Star break.
Francona said he knows what he'll do with the team's starting pitching rotation after the All-Star break but he's not ready to disclose anything publicly just yet. ''We have our rotation now,'' he said. ''Rest, one way or the other, is good for everybody. We're just trying to get it as even as we can where guys get enough and not too much.''
Josh Beckett is a potential starter in the All-Star Game and will almost certainly pitch in the game. He's scheduled to start on Thursday and would be on his normal four-days rest for next Tuesday. Francona said he'll try to make sure Beckett doesn't overextend himself in San Francisco. ''I'll give him a huge lecture about trying not to throw 105 (mph),'' he said. ''It'll be the farthest from a side day that there could be. There's going to be a lot of emotion (for him).''
Jonathan Papelbon is the other Red Sox pitcher on the All-Star team. Reliever Hideki Okajima is one of five candidates for the final All-Star spot.
Posted by Kevin at 4:40 PM | Permalink
Red Sox-Tampa Bay; Tuesday lineups
BOSTON -- Starting lineups for tonight's Red Sox-Tampa Bay game:
(For the not-paying-attention set, Cumberland's Rocco Baldelli is on the 60-day disabled list and isn't traveling with the Rays these days.)
CF CoCo Crisp
2B Dustin Pedroia
DH David Ortiz
LF Manny Ramirez
1B Kevin Youkilis
3B Mike Lowell
C Jason Varitek
RF Wily Mo Pena
SS Julio Lugo
P Daisuke Matsuzaka
3B Akinori Iwamura
LF Carl Crawford
SS Brendan Harris
1B Carlos Pena
DH Greg Norton
2B Ty Wigginton
CF Delmon Young
RF Jonny Gomes
C Dioner Navarro
P Scott Kazmir
Game Time: 7:05.
Posted by Kevin at 4:35 PM | Permalink
Sox Streakers for July 3
-The Boston bullpen has worked 13 consecutive scoreless innings.
-Daisuke Matsuzaka has struck out at least eight batters in five consecutive starts.
-Dustin Pedroia has a seven-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 10 for 30 (.333)
-Julio Lugo is now 0 for his last 33 since a fourth-inning single on June 14.
-David Ortiz is 10 for 48 (.208) over his last 13 games.
-For Tampa Bay: Carl Crawford is 3 for his last 29 (.103).
-The Devil Rays have lost eight in a row, the longest losing streak in the majors. They have the worst record in the American League, at 33-48.
Devil Rays vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka
-Akinori Iwamura was 2 for 8 against Matsuzaka in Japan, with a home run.
-This is Matsuzaka's first appearance against Tampa Bay.
Red Sox vs. Scott Kazmir
-Alex Cora, 2 for 4 (.500)
-Coco Crisp, 3 for 10 (.300)
-Mike Lowell, 3 for 11 (.273), 1 HR
-Jason Varitek, 3 for 15 (.200)
-David Ortiz, 5 for 26 (.192), 1 HR
-Wily Mo Pena, 1 for 7 (.143)
-Manny Ramirez, 4 for 29 (.138), 1 HR
-Kevin Youkilis, 1 for 13 (.077)
-Eric Hinske, 0 for 2
-Kazmir is 5-2 with a 2.60 E.R.A. in 11 career starts against Boston.
-Since the move to divisions in 1969, this is the latest that the Red Sox have ever faced a division foe for the first time, with the exception of the 1981 strike season.
-All-time series: Boston 98, Tampa Bay 53.
-At Fenway Park, the Devil Rays are 7-31 since the start of the 2003 season. Boston has won 13 of its last 15 home games against Tampa Bay and has played 20 home series against the Devil Rays without losing one.
-But, Tampa Bay won six of its last nine overall games against Boston in 2006.
-The Red Sox were also 50-31 in 2002 and 2006; in neither season did they make the playoffs.
-Manny Ramirez has more home runs (39) and RBI (124) against Tampa Bay than any other player.
-Tampa Bay today activated Juan Salas, a relief pitcher who had been suspended for violating the league's illegal-substance policy.
-Tampa Bay pitchers struck out 233 batters in June, the most of any American League club and the most in club history for one month.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 4:22 PM to Projo Sox Streakers
Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: Electrifying Ellsbury
Sean McAdam joins us once again for today's edition of projo SoxTalk. Click here to listen to the full audio file. Leading off the conversation today is the topic of Jacoby Ellsbury, who helped provide fans a night to remember last night. We also look at more evidence that this is not 1978, and the fans' surprising tribute to Julio Lugo.
Here are some excerpts from Sean's comments:
On Ellsbury: "He brings some excitement to the ballpark with his speed and athleticism, and the kind of things that Red Sox fans have not seen a lot of in recent history. He's an exciting guy, someone who can beat out a routine groundball for an infield hit and more remarkably, as we saw last night, score from second base on a wild pitch. I'd venture to say that's probably happeed less than five times in Red Sox history."
On the team's depth: "They've had Kason Gabbard make three starts this year, and he's won two of them. Hinske hasn't played a whole lot, but he comes through with a bases-loaded triple that essentially wins the game last night, after Texas had come back to close within a run. And then the excitement provided by Ellsbury, the draft pick from a couple of years ago. It does speak to the fact that, you know, this is not roll the balls out there and run the same nine guys into the ground from April to October.
On the reaction to Lugo hitting leadoff: "There really wasn't much in the way of boos. There was kind of muted applause [for Lugo's first at-bat], but they weren't really outwardly booing him. And then he had the walk, he had the sacrifice, he had another walk, and when he came out for the last at-bat in the seventh, people were really getting behind him. There was a chant of 'Let's go Lugo' during the at-bat. And then he grounded out, and then he heard some boos, so the sentiment returned. But I'd say for a guy who hasn't gotten a hit in two and a half weeks, they've been going pretty easy on him so far."
Posted by Mike McDermott at 12:08 PM to Martone
Baseball Today: Tuesday, July 3
ONE TO REMEMBER: Games come and games go and, win or lose, most of them fade from memory. But then there are moments, the best of which stay with us forever. Jacoby Ellsbury delivered one last night, when he soared home from second base on a wild pitch (Above, Journal photo by Mary Murphy) during the Red Sox' 7-3 win over the Rangers. "Blink, and you'll miss him,'' writes Sean McAdam, referring to both Ellsbury's speed -- the kind that's rarely been seen around Fenway Park for lo these past 95 years -- and the fact that he probably won't be here much longer. (Coco Crisp may return to the lineup tonight, and while that doesn't mean Ellsbury will be shipped back to Pawtucket immediately, he probably will only stay until Joel Piniero comes off the disabled list.) But Sean notes: ''[While] waiting for the Red Sox’ offense to resuscitate itself, Jacoby Ellsbury is a coming attraction, a sneak preview of the future.'' Lucky us; even after he's gone from Boston, albeit temporarily, we'll still get to watch him.
WE PROBABLY WON'T REMEMBER THE REST, BUT MAYBE WE SHOULD: At season's end, a 7-3 win over Texas on July 2 won't be recalled as much reason for celebration. But in light of the offensive struggles of the last two nights, the Sox had reason to feel better about things when it was over, particulary since the scuffling regulars were picked up by the support staff. The loudest of the unsung heroes was Eric Hinske, who didn't even know he was going to play until about three hours before gametime. It seemed particularly apt for the Sox to coast to victory on the backs of Hinske, Ellsbury and Kason Gabbard since Terry Francona had raved about the team's depth in his pregame talk with the media.
YOU'RE OUR GUY: Many people -- including yours truly -- felt that Julio Lugo might have lost the fans forever through a combination of offensive ineptitude, his bloated contract, and a Steve Lyons-like baserunning blunder for the ages on Saturday, but they couldn't have been more supportive last night. Even Francona seemed a little worried about that before the game, saying one of the reasons he was putting Lugo back in the lineup is that he ''can't manage like a fan.'' Lugo still didn't get a hit, extending his slump to 0-for-33, but he did walk twice and have a sacrifice bunt.
(All above stories from projo.com and projo.com's Sox Blog.)
'I FEEL BANANAS EVERY DAY': That's what's Lugo says playing for the Red Sox does for him, and apparently that's a good thing. (Boston Herald)
BUT THE SOX DON'T: ESPN.com's Rob Neyer notes that Lugo is continuing a strange Boston tradition: ''Every year the Red Sox change shortstops, and every year the new shortstop is worse than the old one.''
REMEMBER WHEN: RockCatsNews.com takes a look at the history of Double-A baseball in their neck of Connecticut over the last 25 years, much of which involved the Red Sox, who played in first Bristol and then New Britain before moving their AA franchise to first Trenton and finally Portland, Maine.
GOODBYE NESN, HELLO REDS?: Ken Macha's name has surfaced, though without attribution, in the Reds' managerial search. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES: Ashley Papelbon says that while she could never do it (Boston Herald), she understands what might have driven Cynthia Rodriguez to wear an obscene shirt to Yankee Stadium Sunday, apparently in support of her husband. (New York Post) The Yankees are now dealing with the aftermath of Mrs. A-Rod's little statement. (New York Daily News)
|THE LION IN WINTER: He may not be The Rocket of old, but every so often Roger Clemens (AP Photo, right) shows flashes of the brilliance that made him one of the greatest pitchers in history. He did just that last night, stifling the Twins on two hits over eight innings as he became the eighth pitcher ever to win 350 games. (New York Daily News)
THE YANG TO THE YIN: But it wouldn't be the 2007 Yankees without some bad news to offset the good, and the thrill of Clemens' victory was tempered by a hamstring injury to Alex Rodriguez. (New York Post) No one knew how serious it was immediately after the game and the Yanks were talking bravely about him playing tonight, and
for their sake he'd better; the Post's Joel Sherman points out that without A-Rod, the Yankees ''are the Devil Rays
.'' Sherman had advocated trading Rodriguez if the Yanks determine they're out of the playoff hunt, in order to speed up the rebuilding process, and says: ''If Rodriguez is lost to a DL stint, it is the worst of both worlds: The Yanks' wild-card chances would vanish and the chance to contemplate dealing him would all but evaporate.''
BOMBSHELL COMING? A columnist for the Times Herald-Record writes that Roger Clemens' and Andy Pettitte's names may have been among those blacked out in Jason Grimsley's statement on players accused of using performance-enhancing drugs.
NATTERING NABOBS OF NEGATIVISM: The New York Sun's Tim Marchman says that, contrary to popular belief, Joe Torre isn't working the Yankee bullpen too hard.
SILVER LINING IN EVERY CLOUD: Folks in Seattle wonder if Mike Hargrove's surprise resignation means the Mariners will now be able to re-sign Ichiro, who reportedly didn't get along with his former manager. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
GIVE HIM A BAT: Mike Piazza is still sore from the shoulder injury he suffered in Boston in early May, but he is able to hit. Thus the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser wonders if the time hasn't come for the A's to forget about him catching and give Piazza the job -- full-time DH -- he's capable of doing.
BUEHRLE MAN: It may have been Mark Buehrle's last start in Chicago, and it wasn't exactly one to remember . . . though not because of anything he did. Meanwhile, the Sun-Times' Jay Mariotti excoriates the White Sox for not signing the left-hander. (Both stories Chicago Sun-Times) Ken Williams, however, is still talking optimistically about getting a deal done with Buerhle. (AP, via Toronto Globe and Mail) The Los Angeles Daily News reports that the Buerhle-to-the-Dodgers rumors aren't accurate.
TRADE TALK: Brian Cashman says that if he was willing to trade Philip Hughes, the Yankees could already have acquired an impact player to help them immediately. (New York Daily News) The fact that he hasn't (made such a deal) indicates he won't (trade Hughes) . . . . . Salomon Torres has filed a grievance against the Pirates and asked to be traded (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) . . .
DAMAGED GOODS?: A.J. Burnett is on the DL, and the fact that the Blue Jays are releasing so little information raises concerns that his shoulder injury is serious. (Toronto Star) One of the reasons for their silence could be that they're trying to trade him. (Toronto Globe and Mail)
MONEYBALL: In an interview with the blog The Biz of Baseball, Indians GM Mark Shapiro talks of the challenges of running a mid-market franchise and makes several flattering references to the Red Sox and the way they do business.
OLD FRIENDS: Bill Mueller will stay on as Dodgers' hitting coach for the rest of the year (Los Angeles Daily News).
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 6:55 AM | Permalink