« August 17, 2007
August 19, 2007 »
August 18, 2007
Ortiz delivers, Red Sox come from behind to beat Angels
BOSTON -- It’s alive!
Red Sox slugger David Ortiz once again has life in his bat. And, when that happens it usually means good things for Boston as it did last night.
With the Sox trailing by five runs heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, Boston put up a 6-spot thanks in part to a grand slam by Ortiz en route to a 10-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Fenway Park.
“That was well struck,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “The timing wasn’t bad, either. . . That one swing changed the complexion of the ballgame.”
Fellow Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez, who entered the eighth inning 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, provided a much needed two-run double for insurance.
For Ortiz, who has been a walking ice pack for much of the season as he’s battled aches and pains on both his upper and lower body, it’s been a good couple of days. He’s proven he won’t let the injuries hinder his ability to compete.
“I’m just trying to hang tight and help this ballclub,” said Ortiz. “I know they count on me and I don’t think it’s fair to shut things down when other people would like to. It would only get worse if I’m out of the lineup, so I’m just trying to do what the trainers tell me through the season and I fight back [the pain] when I go out there to play.”
Ironically, Francona was asked prior to last night’s game if he thought Ortiz had been taking better swings of late, and the manager said he noticed Ortiz was taking more aggressive swings where his legs and hands were involved, especially during his 4-for-9 performance with a home run and four RBI during Friday’s doubleheader.
Last night the slugger’s body served as medieval catapult as he launched a ball out of Fenway Park with the strength of 100 men.
text ignored“I don’t like to talk about my homers,” he said. “But that was a pretty good one.”
It’s been awhile since Ortiz connected as well as he did in the six-run fifth inning as he drove the offering from Angels starter Jered Weaver and seemed like it was going to hit the Prudential Building downtown.
Before Friday’s twin bill, Ortiz had gone through a 10-game stretch without a home run, and with his granny last night now has two in three games to reach 21 on the season.
Both Ortiz and Ramirez have seen a drop in power numbers this season as both have combined for just 40 roundtrippers. It’s a much different story from a year ago when Ortiz finished 2006 with 54, while Ramirez collected 35. With a month and a half remaining in the regular season this year, it’s highly unlikely they’ll even come close to those numbers.
No matter because it’s important that Ortiz seems to be getting comfortable at the plate at the right time.
He needed to be last night to help out his starting pitcher.
Red Sox ace Curt Schilling, making his 18th start of the season, struggled to find his groove in the first two innings as the Angels climbed out to a 4-0 lead.
With one out in the first inning, Orlando Cabrera doubled to left and later scored on a fielder’s choice for a 1-0 Anaheim advantage. Schilling surrendered three more runs in the second as Reggie Willits provided a two-out RBI-single before Chone Figgins snuck a two-run homer around Pesky’s Pole for a four-run lead.
Schilling settled in and retired seven of the next eight batters he faced – only allowing a double to Jeff Mathis – until Vladimir Guerrero belted a solo home run into the Monster seats for a 5-0 Angels lead in the fifth inning.
Weaver cruised through his first four innings of work, retiring 12 of the first 15 batters he faced until Boston made a huge dent in the fifth.
The Sox’ Eric Hinske (single), Coco Crisp (double) and Alex Cora (hit-by-pitch) all reached before Julio Lugo provided a two-run single. With no outs, Boston continued it rally as Ortiz crushed his seventh-career grand slam, and the team’s fifth in 2007, as he deposited it half way up the right-field seats for a 6-5 advantage.
And, the Sox weren’t done in their comeback.
Schilling took his first lead of the game and retired the side in order in the top of the sixth inning to close out his outing. Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin took over in the seventh and retired the side before lefty Hideki Okajima worked a perfect eighth thanks to three terrific defensive plays by Crisp in center field.
Boston pushed across four in the bottom half of the inning as Ramirez collected a two-run double, Jason Varitek provided a RBI-single and J.D. Drew scored on a wild pitch to give closer Jonathan Papelbon a five-run cushion in the ninth.
When it was over, it was Ortiz’s much-sought after grand slam that proved crucial.
“I don’t get to see many pitches like that,” he said.
There’s a reason for that, just ask Weaver.
Posted by Chris Venditto at 11:09 PM | Permalink
| Comments 1
Postgame clubhouse reaction
Manager Terry Francona on David Ortiz's grand slam:
"That was well struck, and the timing wasn't bad, either. That one swing changed the complexion of the ballgame."
Ortiz on his grand slam:
“I don’t like to talk about my homersm, but that was a pretty good one.”
Ortiz on playing through aches and pains:
“I’m just trying to hang tight and help this ballclub. I know they count on me and I don’t think it’s fair to shut things down when other people would like to. It would only get worse if I’m out of the lineup, so I’m just trying to do what the trainers tell me through the season and I fight back [the pain] when I go out there to play.”
Posted by Joe McDonald at 11:05 PM | Permalink
PawSox score in ninth to beat Chiefs, 5-4
PAWTUCKET – Home cooking hasn’t tasted very well for the Pawtucket Red Sox this season. They hope that changes the rest of the way.
The PawSox play 11 of their last 17 games at McCoy Stadium and hope they all end like last night’s 5-4 thriller. The Sox scratched out a ninth inning run on two walks, a hit batsman and a game-winning single by Joe McEwing to knock off the Syracuse Chiefs in the first game of a four-game set.
The Sox are now 27-34 at McCoy, nearly the worst home record in the International League. But Pawtucket is coming off what could be a critical, but tiring, 11-game road trip. The Sox finished 6-5 on the tour that took them to Scranton, Syracuse and Ottawa. Friday’s game with the Lynx was rained out but that was a fortunate break since the Sox were able to begin a grueling nine-hour bus ride home a few hours early.
``It’s a grind this time of year. At the start of the season you see that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s very true,’’ said McEwing, a 34-year old veteran who’s played in the majors for nine years with four different teams. ``It seems like we’ve been on the road forever but we’re hoping to finish the year playing good baseball.’’
Starting pitcher David Pauley didn’t throw like someone who was crumpled in a bus for most of the night. He no-hit the Chiefs for the first 4.2 innings as Pawtucket built a 4-0 lead after five innings. All four runs came in the bottom of the fifth. After a Brandon Moss double and walk to Bobby Scales, a sacrifice bunt and another walk loaded the bases. Then Alex Prieto delivered the big hit, lining a hard single up the middle that scored two runs. Jacoby Ellsbury followed with an opposite-field liner into the left field corner that scored two more runs. Prieto made a great slide over Syracuse catcher Sal Fasano for the fourth run.
Pauley tired a bit and let up two runs in the sixth, the second of which came after a mental mistake when he failed to look Wayne Lydon all the way back to third base on a grounder back to the mound. Ryan Roberts led off the seventh with a solo homer to make it 4-3 and end Pauley’s outing. Edgar Martinez came on and allowed an unearned run after a single, a two-base throwing error by Scales and a fielder’s choice plated the tying run.
Martinez settled down and combined with Javy Lopez to pitch a shutout eighth inning. Bryan Corey did the same in the ninth and ended up picking up the win (he’s now 5-8) as Pawtucket rallied off Jaime Vermilyea. Junior Spivey worked his way to a one-out walk and then Vermilyea hit the ninth batter in the order, Alex Prieto, in the leg. Ellsbury walked to load the bases and that brought up McEwing, who’s hit safely in 13 of his last 16 games at a .340 clip.
Sensing that Vermilyea was struggling with his control, McEwing sat on the first pitch and lined a fastball that sunk into center in front of Lydon for the game-winning hit. ``I tried to be aggressive in that situation,’’ McEwing said. ``
Posted by Chris Venditto at 10:12 PM to PawSox
Bobby Kielty is in the house.
He said he wanted to play for a team that had an opportunity to play in meaningful games in September and October.
Welcome to Boston!
As expected the Red Sox purchased his contract from Pawtucket today and the veteran outfielder is in the dugout tonight. Kielty, 31, has 579 games of major-league experience with Minnesota, Toronto and Oakland. He was designated for assignment by the A’s on July 21 and released on July 31. The Red Sox signed him to a minor-league deal on Aug. 6.
There were numerous reasons why he wanted to play here, especially since he said the Red Sox showed interest even before he was designated. But one thing stood out.
“Definitely No. 1 was playing for a playoff contender,” he said. “I grew up a big fan of the Red Sox, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to be a part of. I’m definitely excited to be here.”
Red Sox manager Terry Francona and Kielty talked about what the newcomer’s role off the bench is going to be, and when the meeting concluded everyone understand the situation. He’ll be used basically as a utility outfielder, mainly playing the corner spots and will an added left-handed bat off the bench against left-handed pitchers.
“I know my role,” he said. “I’m a pretty laid-back kind of guy and when I go out and perform I like to play hard. I’m totally happy with it.”
Because he has family from Massachusetts, he grew up watching the Red Sox and admitted he was a huge Roger Clemens fan. Kielty knows how rabid Red Sox Nation can be, and he said he’s ready for the challenge.
“There’s pressure with coming to any team,” he said. “Being a new player you want to perform well, and make a good impression right away. Boston is a big market with a lot of fans and they have a lot of passion. I just want to play my game and if I can do that everything will be fine.”
Kielty will not be in the lineup against the Angels tonight, but Francona said he’ll play tomorrow.
“He’s a professional hitter,” said the manager. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about him as a person and as a teammate. We’ll just get him comfortable quickly and hopefully he can help us.”
*Catcher Kevin Cash arrived at Fenway in the sixth inning on Friday night and Francona said Cash will catch Julian Tavarez tomorrow and Tim Wakefield on Monday. Cash caught some of Wakefield’s side session during spring training, and has worked with both minor-league knucklers John Barnes and Charlie Zink.
“But they’re not Tim Wakefield,” said Francona. “Wakey has been through [catching changes] and he will not alter the way he pitches. We hope it goes great.”
Francona said Doug Mirabelli, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday night with a strained right calf muscle, was still sore yesterday. Just in case Cash couldn’t get here in time on Friday – he was with the PawSox in Ottawa – and if a catcher was needed Francona said he had about six volunteers for the job, including Alex Cora, Eric Hinske and Mike Lowell.
“Everybody but Ortiz was volunteering,” joked Francona.
*It was less than 24 hours after Red Sox reliever Eric Gagne blew a save opportunity on Friday night and it was still being discussed yesterday afternoon. The newly acquired right-hander surrendered a one-run lead and allowed the Angels to score three runs in the top of the ninth inning en route to a 7-6 victory. By the time the local media was allowed in the clubhouse Gagne was already gone.
It was the second time in a week that Gagne imploded on the mound, causing the Red Sox to lose. But, Francona said he’s sticking with him.
“I don’t think using him differently helps,” he said. “You put a guy who pitches on adrenaline in a blowout game, it’s not going to help him. When a hitter goes through a slump, your good hitters you stay with them. You might give then an occasional day off and that’s what we did with Gagne [last night] because he threw a lot of pitches [Friday]."
It was Gagne’s third blown save of the season, and since arriving in Boston at the trade deadline, he has allowed 10 runs on 14 hits in seven appearances.
“You try to put the players in the best position where they can succeed,” added Francona. “If you run away from that, it’s not going to work. . . We need to work hard to get this guy locked in opposed to running away from him.”
Posted by Joe McDonald at 7:24 PM | Permalink
Chone Figgins, 5
Orlando Cabrera, 6
Vlad Guerrero, 9
Garret Anderson, DH
Gary Matthews, 8
Casey Kotchman, 3
Maicer Izturis, 4
Reggie Willits, 7
Jered Weaver, SP
Julio Lugo, 6
Kevin Youkilis, 5
David Ortiz, DH
Manny Ramirez, 7
J.D. Drew, 9
Jason Varitek, 2
Eric Hinske, 3
Coco Crisp, 8
Alex Cora, 4
Curt Schilling, SP
Posted by Joe McDonald at 4:27 PM | Permalink
Epstein admits mistake; Arroyo reacts
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein admitted he made a mistake.
After the Red Sox traded utility outfielder Wily Mo Pena, and cash considerations, to the Washington Nationals in exchange for a player to be named later yesterday afternoon, Epstein said he was wrong.
Pena was acquired by Boston from Cincinnati in exchange for pitcher and fan favorite Bronson Arroyo on March 20, 2006. Epstein was criticized publicly for the deal, and he said yesterday he made a mistake.
“It didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to,” he said. “Certainly wasn’t a good trade in retrospect. From a pure talent standpoint in a vacuum, that can still be debated because Wily Mo certainly has the talent and in the right situation he can hit a lot of home runs. There’s still a good chance he blossoms as a hitter. Here the fit never materialized.
“Certainly there have been times in the last 18 months where we could have used a very legitimate pitcher, which Bronson Arroyo is. We have to look back and say that (trade) is probably one we would want back.”
Arroyo returned a phone call made by the Journal late last night in response Epstein's comments.
"I have a lot of respect for Theo," said Arroyo. "He's always been a straight shooter, and I appreciate that. To admit he made a mistake must have been tough to do. He has always treated me good."
When asked if he would want to play again in Boston someday, Arroyo said: "Of course. I hope I have10 years left and at some point maybe I can get back there."
Because of complexity of the rules at this time of the season, Epstein said he couldn’t reveal at this point who that player to be named is, but said the bench will be more functional going forward this season.
“We’re pleased with the way things turned out [yesterday],” said Epstein. “We ended up getting a player who we really like. We’re fairly happy with the resolution given the circumstances.”
Posted by Joe McDonald at 1:52 AM | Permalink
| Comments 2