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July 6, 2007
No Lobbying from Francona
Manager Terry Francona said he was going to avoid the temptation to advise Detroit manager Jim Leyland on any personnel decisions -- like maybe starting the Red Sox' Josh Beckett -- in Tuesday's All-Star Game in San Francisco.
Leyland, who will be managing the American League team, likely will choose a starter from the trio of Detroit's Justin Verlander, Beckett and Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia.
"That's his business. He's the manager," said Francona, the All-Star manager in 2005. "I did that a couple of years ago. That's his job now."
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 5:12 PM | Permalink
Ortiz Rests; Other Lineup Switches
Manager Terry Francona told David Ortiz a few days ago that he would have tonight off for a combination of reasons.
The Tigers are starting a tough left-hander (Andrew Miller) and Ortiz, as a member of the Sox' All-Star contingent, isn't going to be getting any rest during the break, either.
As a result, Francona is able to give Ramirez a little bit of a break by keeping him out of the outfield and starting him as the designated hitter, in place of Ortiz. That opens up a spot in left field for Wily Mo Pena, who in the past has had more success against left-handed pitchers than right-handers.
The batting order also underwent a change with Lowell, fresh off his 5-for-6, 5-RBI game against Tampa Bay, vaulting from sixth into Ortiz's number three spot.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 5:01 PM | Permalink
| Comments 1
Youkilis Still Out
Kevin Youkilis, who has been battling a left quadriceps strain, once again is being held out of the starting lineup. This is the fourth game in the last five he has missed, and the Sox' first baseman is likely to miss the final two games of this series as well, giving him a good rest heading into the All-Star break.
Manager Terry Francona said that it's possible Youkilis could be available to pinch hit tonight, but not if it's a situation where he might have to run hard to beat out the back end of a double play. That, said Francona, would defeat the purpose of sitting Youkilis, as he has been doing.
Picking up the slack at first base in this series will be 28-year-old rookie Jeff Bailey and Eric Hinske. Bailey, a right-handed hitter, is expected to start against left-handers Andrew Miller (tonight) and Nate Robertson (Sunday). Hinske, a left-handed hitter, likely will start tomorrow night, against right-hander Jeremy Bonderman.
-- Steven Krasner.
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:53 PM | Permalink
Jeff Bailey, 28, is in his 11th professional baseball season, but tonight he will be spending his first night in the big leagues.
Bailey, as expected, had his contract purchased by Boston from Pawtucket and is in the starting lineup, at first base. Bailey has swapped Red Sox roster spots with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Bailey had to be added to the organization's 40-man big-league roster and that spot was opened up by pushing rehabbing right-hander Matt Clement to the 60-day disabled list.
The call-up news took Bailey surprise, especially since it was given to him by Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson at a truck stop between Scranton and Rochester at 1:30 this morning on the PawSox' road trip.
"I was getting a gumball out of the machine. I put the gumball in my mouth and RJ told me and I told him he was lying to me and walked away. He had to tell me a second time," said Bailey a few minutes ago.
To say the news shocked Bailey is an understatement.
"If you had my numbers, wouldn't you be surprised, too? It came out of nowhere," asked a smiling Bailey, who was batting a mere .250 with 9 homers and 40 RBI in 74 games for the PawSox.
There have been times when Bailey, who also has been in the Florida and Montreal organizations, thought this big-league day would never come.
"But getting to play baseball every day at any level is better than going back to school or working in the paper mill at home. I'm still having fun. That's what it's all about. This (promotion) means a lot. Rather than say I played 15-20 years in the minor leagues, now I can say I played 15-20 years in the minor leagues but I made it to the big leagues. And especially being able to say I made it with the Red Sox means a lot more. This is pretty special," he said.
There is no timetable on the length of Bailey's stay in the big leagues. It may be only for these three days in Detroit as the Red Sox try to protect Kevin Youkilis (left quadriceps strain) and feature Bailey's right-handed bat in the lineup (Bailey was batting .301 against left-handers in Pawtucket).
But Boston manager Terry Francona has liked Bailey's swing since first seeing him in camp as a non-roster player in 2005. Welcoming him to the big leagues is a lot better than sending him back to the minor-league camp, which is what Francona has done the last three springs.
"That's pretty cool to be able to do this," said Francona. "We wouldn't make decisions on "pretty cool," but it is, there's no denying it."
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:31 PM | Permalink
Lineups -- July 6
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:28 PM | Permalink
Sox Streakers for July 6
-Dustin Pedroia has a nine-game hitting streak, during which he is 13 for 38 (.342)
-Coco Crisp has a seven-game hitting streak, during which he is 10 for 27 (.370). Crisp is also 25 for 58 (.431) over his last 16 games.
-Wily Mo Pena, who struck out four times last night, is 4 for his last 30 (.133)
Red Sox vs. Andrew Miller
-This is Miller's first appearance against Boston, and no Red Sox player has faced him before.
Tigers vs. Julian Tavarez
-Brandon Inge, 1 for 2 (.500)
-Ivan Rodriguez, 7 for 18 (.389)
-Placido Polanco, 5 for 14 (.357)
-Gary Sheffield, 8 for 23 (.348)
-Sean Casey, 8 for 23 (.300)
-Carlos Guillen, 1 for 4 (.250)
-Magglio Ordonez, 1 for 10 (.100), 1 HR
-Craig Monroe, 0 for 2
-Curtis Granderson, 0 for 4
-Tavarez is 3-0 with a 3.72 E.R.A. in 10 career appearances (including two starts) against Detroit.
-All-time series: Boston 999, Detroit 938. In Detroit, the Red Sox are 451-511.
-The Red Sox' 12-game division lead is their largest of the year so far.
-Hideki Okajima's selection to the All-Star team marks the first time ever that the Red Sox have had three pitchers selected to the All-Star Game.
-Jonathan Papelbon yesterday became the first Red Sox pitcher since Derek Lowe (2001-02) to record 20 saves in consecutive seasons, and the second Sox pitcher ever (Dick Radatz is the other) to collect 20 saves in each of his first two full major league seasons.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 3:57 PM to Projo Sox Streakers
Report: Detroit player suspended for failing drug test
The Detroit Tigers will be playing the weekend series without utility infielder Neifi Perez, according to reports today in the Detroit Free Press.
Perez, who has played 33 games this year at shortstop, second base and third base, was suspended for 25 games, effective immediately, after testing positive for a banned stimulant, according to the newspaper report.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 11:36 AM | Permalink
Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: Those trusty Devil Rays
Sean McAdam takes a break from today's appearance on WEEI to join us for another edition of projo SoxTalk. Click here to listen to the full audio file. In today's conversation with Art, Sean talks about the woeful state of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who will start the All-Star Game for the American League, the decision to call up Jeff Bailey and what that means about Kevin Youkilis' quad injury, Jacoby Ellsbury's short and memorable stay, and the coming showdown series with the Tigers.
Here are some excerpts from Sean's comments:
On the Devil Rays: "If you had some sort of fire sale, there would be people lined up to bid for the likes of Carl Crawford and Delmon Young and Scott Kazmir and, of course, Rhode Island's Rocco Baldelli when he's healthy. But for whatever reason the pieces fitting together are not moving the team as a whole forward anymore, and it seems their ignominious achievement of not having ever won more than 70 games is not about to change this season either."
On who starts the All-Star Game: "To me it's down on merit to probably four guys: Sabathia, Dan Haren from Oakland, Verlander from Detroit and Beckett. It lines up so that three of those guys -- Verlander, Sabathia and Beckett -- all pitched yesterday, so they would have plenty of rest. So that's not going to be the deciding factor ... I don't know. It's a tough decision, and Terry Francona was saying he doesn't envy Jim Leyland going through it, because he did it a couple of years ago as the manager of the American League champions in the 2005 All-Star Game. My guess is that it is either Beckett or Sabathia, but that's just totally a gut feel, and I don't have any hard evidence to back that up."
Is Youk more hurt that we thought? "I don't know if it's hurt more than we thought, but it's certainly an opportunity for them to rest Youkilis for the final three games of the first half, and not have him make that any worse by playing in three games leading up to the break. Bailey is a converted catcher who has been mostly a dh and first baseman the last couple of years, a little bit of power from the right side, and Terry Francona has always liked him. He goes out of his way to sort of make note of him in spring training every year. And he'll get an opportunity to, I don't know about start, although I think Detroit has three lefties going this weekend, but at the very least it gives them some depth if they want to continue to play Hinske, which they'll do at first."
Posted by Mike McDermott at 11:30 AM to Martone
Baseball Today: Friday, July 6
WORTH THE WAIT: The Red Sox didn't play their first game of the season against the Devil Rays until Tuesday night, and one can only imagine what their record -- back to a season-high 22 games over .500, at 53-31 -- would be if they'd had. Last night's 15-4 romp completed a three-game sweep and gave Josh Beckett his 12th win of the season, tying him with Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia for the major-league lead in victories. (projo.com) It also positioned him for possible selection as the starting pitcher for the American League in Tuesday night's All-Star Game, which Beckett admits is ''exciting . . . it’s completely out of my control but it’s exciting.'' Also headed to San Francisco next week is Hideki Okajima, who earned both the final A.L. All-Star berth in online voting by fans and a rousing ovation from the crowd -- which he returned with bows to all corners of the ballpark (AP Photo, above) -- when it was announced last night. (projo.com)
|As for the game itself, it was decided in the first inning when the Sox scored six runs, an outburst capped by Coco Crisp's grand slam (AP Photo, left). (projo.com) When it finally ended in the rain 3 1/2 hours later, the Sox could be comforted by the fact that, after a rough start with losses in two of the first three games, they finished 5-2 on the homestand . . . and that nearly 20 percent of their games in the second half of the season are against Tampa Bay.|
BREAK TIME'S OVER: The road gets considerably tougher tonight: The Sox now head to Detroit for three games with the defending A.L. champ Tigers, who are eagerly awaiting Boston's arrival. (Detroit News) So are their fans; the club anticipates sellout crowds all weekend. (Detroit Free Press)
READY TO GO: The Tigers are feeling pretty good about themselves heading into the series after routing Sabathia yesterday. (Detroit Free Press)
ROSTER MOVES: True to their word, the Sox sent Jacoby Ellsbury back to Pawtucket immediately after last night's game (Boston Herald), which Terry Francona had said they'd do in order for him to continue his development by playing every day. They'll announce his replacement today and it's expected to be Jeff Bailey (projo.com) . . . which is indication that Kevin Youkilis' quad problem could keep him out of some, if not all, of the games this weekend.
MORE ROSTER MOVES: If the possibility of seeing Ellsbury again isn't enticement enough, PawSox fans have yet another reason to get out to McCoy Stadium: Clay Buchholz, the organization's top pitching prospect, is expected to be promoted from Portland any day now. (projo.com)
I LIKE MIKE: Sean McAdam wonders if the Red Sox shouldn't look into re-signing Mike Lowell, which everyone assumes they won't do. (projo.com)
AT LAST, ACCORDING TO PLAN: The Yankees finally won a game yesterday in the manner everyone expected them to win lots of them -- a relentless offense overcoming mediocre pitching, both the opposition's and its own. (New York Daily News) The Yanks' mediocre pitcher, Kei Igawa, trashed his locker after being lifted (New York Post), joining Scott Proctor and Kyle Farnsworth as Yankee hurlers who vented frustration over their failures in, ah, unique ways.
COMING BACK: Peter Abraham writes that Phil Hughes could be back with the Yankees by the end of the month. (yankees.lohudblogs.com)
MAN BITES DOG: Umpire Lance Barksdale apologized to Phillies manager Charlie Manuel for blowing a call that led to a Philadelphia defeat. (Philadelphia Inquirer) Manuel -- who had been ejected by Barksdale for arguing the call -- was gracious, saying, ''I told him, 'Even I made a mistake one day.' ''
FINALLY, SOME GOOD NEWS: In a season fraught with injuries, the Blue Jays learned yesterday that Troy Glaus may not be hurt as badly as originally feared. In the meantime, two other members of the team's walking wounded -- Reed Johnson and Lyle Overbay -- are ready to return. (Both stories Toronto Sun)
ERROR, PHILLIES: Rhode Island native Jim Salisbury, the main baseball writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, calls the signing of Pat Burrell a $50 million mistake.
CALM BEFORE THE STORM: Many people in Chicago expect the White Sox to be active in the trade market in the next three weeks. (Chicago Sun-Times)
WHISPERS: A major-league executive says there's ''a pretty good chance'' Bobby Abreu will attract interest from a National League team this month, assuming the Yankees are willing to pay a significant portion of the $10 million he's still owed (Bergen Record) . . . If the White Sox trade Tadahito Iguchi, they may inquire about Diamondbacks second baseman Orlando Hudson (Daily Record) . . . Shawn Chacon would like a contract extension from the Pirates (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
OLD FRIENDS: Ex-Sox farmhand Matt Murton, now with the Cubs, has drawn interest from the Padres (San Diego Union-Tribune) . . . Scott Williamson doesn't understand why the Orioles got rid of him (Baltimore Sun).
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 6:57 AM | Permalink