« August 25, 2007
August 27, 2007 »
August 26, 2007
Game story: Red Sox, getting hot at the right time, pound White Sox again
BY SEAN McADAM
Journal Sports Writer
CHICAGO – Surely the hapless Chicago White Sox can take some of the credit, but the inescapable fact remains: as the Red Sox head for the homestretch, they’re playing some of their best baseball of the season.
Their timing couldn’t be better.
As a prelude to their three-game showdown with the Yankees that begins Tuesday night, the Red Sox on Sunday capped a four-game sweep with an 11-1 shellacking of the White Sox, finishing a run that has seen them go 6-1 on this road trip and 11-5 in their last 16 games, creating a 7 1/2-game cushion over the second-place Yanks.
''This was a huge series for us,'' said second baseman Dustin Pedroia, whose two-out, two-run single in the fifth gave the Sox a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. ''We swung the bats well, pitched good and played good defense.''
In suggesting that the Sox ''swung the bats well,'' Pedroia was surely being diplomatic. The fact is they completely hammered White Sox pitching in the four-game set, scoring 46 runs and reaching double figures in runs in every game.
For the second day in a row, they blasted three homers, including one from J.D. Drew, who hadn’t homered since June 20 and hadn’t homered against an American League team since April 22.
Drew connected against White Sox starter Javier Vazquez in the second, ending a homerless drought that stretched over 51 games and 166 at-bats.
''I’ve been kind of sticking with what I’ve been doing the couple of weeks,'' said Drew. ''It felt good. In that situation, I was just trying to slow things down and get a good pitch to hit.''
Bobby Kielty chipped in with a homer — his first since joining the Red Sox and first overall since last September 26 — as did David Ortiz, who had three homers in the series and has five in the last 10 games. In that stretch, Ortiz is hitting .462 (18-for-39) with nine extra base hits and 16 RBI, bolstering his batting average 13 points to .324.
''This,'' said Drew of the weekend romp, ''was fun. You’re watching guys run around the bases and you never know when you’re going to get an at-bat.''
On Sunday, for the first time in the series, the Sox failed to bat around in any one inning. But they didn’t stop beating up the White Sox bullpen. In scoring four times in the ninth yesterday, the Sox outscored the White Sox 21-2 from the seventh inning on in the series.
Every starter except Kevin Youkilis collected at least one hit.
The Sox’ margin for error grew over the weekend while the Yankees were dropping two of their first three games in Detroit. Boston’s lead in the American League hasn’t been this big since Aug. 2.
That should create some breathing room at Yankee Stadium, no?
''That’s not our mentality,'' said manager Terry Francona. ''It’s not productive to go into a series [thinking like that]. I don’t think that helps you play good baseball.''
''We have to stay focused,'' said catcher Jason Varitek. ''We’ve got a month and a few more days left and we have a job to do. We just have to play like we have been playing.''
Now that the White Sox are gone from the schedule, that might be difficult. But with a seven-game advantage in the loss column over the Yankees, the Sox could effectively clinch the division with a strong series this week.
''I don’t think anybody cares [about eliminating the Yankees now],'' said Pedroia. ''If we go in there and play well, we’ll be fine. If we keep playing the way we are now, we’re going to be fine.''
In their last eight wins, the Sox are averaging 9.6 runs per contest, the kind of production the Yankees were generating earlier this month when they first surged to within four games of the division lead.
Now, it’s the Red Sox’ offense that is flexing its muscles.
''We can’t look forward,'' cautioned Varitek.
On Sunday, propelled by the best week they’ve enjoyed in months, it was more fun to look back.
Posted by Art Martone at 8:45 PM | Permalink
Red Sox journal: Sox made history this weekend in Chicago
BY SEAN McADAM
Journal Sports Writer
CHICAGO –— The Red Sox’ four-game sweep of the White Sox wasn’t just laughably one-sided –— it was downright historic.
In recording wins with scores of 11-3, 10-1, 14-2, and 11-1, they outscored the White Sox 46-7. That marked the first time they had scored double-figures in runs in four consecutive games since June 2-5, 1950, when they did so against Cleveland and the White Sox.
Moreover, the Sox became just the fourth team since 1900 to score 10 or more runs in each game of a four-game series. The St. Louis Browns did in 1920 and again in 1922, and the Colorado Rockies did it in 1996.
The last time the Sox scored 46 runs in the span of four games was 2005 when they scored that many in a stretch that had them beating Minnesota once and Texas three times.
The last time the Sox scored 46 runs in a four-game series was in 1946, when they amassed that total in a four-game set with St. Louis from June 23-26.
Tavarez comes through
Twice in the last week, the Red Sox have turned to Julian Tavarez in a pinch. Both times, he came through.
On Aug. 19, the Sox needed a spot starter to get their rotation set for the Yankees series and to provide additional rest for their rotation. Tavarez went six innings and gave up two runs on two hits, though the Sox lost 3-1.
On Sunday Tavarez again sparkled, temporarily taking Jon Lester’s spot in the rotation and giving the Sox another strong outing –— six innings pitched, one run allowed on two hits.
''Today was his best start of the year –— hands down,'' catcher Jason Varitek said of Tavarez. ''He located well and pitched to both sides of the plate. It was (much) needed.''
Tavarez hasn’t been a rotation regular since mid-July, but has the rare ability to deliver quality starts when called upon.
''That doesn’t happen very often,'' agreed Terry Francona. ''We’re obviously very proud of him. And he should be proud of himself.''
''I don’t take much to get ready (to start),'' said Tavarez, 7-9. ''I just go out there and try to throw strikes and don’t think about too much.''
Manny’s day off
Manny Ramirez was out of the lineup Sunday, marking the second game he’s sat out in the last five. He was also out of the lineup Wednesday, the final game of the series in Tampa Bay.
Francona said Ramirez’ back has been an issue of late, and the prospect of having two days off in succession –— today is an off-day –— proved additional incentive.
Ozzie’s words of wisdom
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, quotable as ever: ''We caught them playing good and they caught us playing bad . . . Boston is the team to beat this year in the American League. This weekend they really outplayed us. They swept us this time, (but) I swept them in the big one (the 2005 ALDS) – that’s when it counts.''
Armed for New York
The pitching matchups for this week’s series in New York: Tuesday -- Daisuke Matsuzaka (13-10, 3.76) vs. Andy Pettitte (11-7, 3.69); Wednesday -- Josh Beckett (16-5, 3.21) vs. Roger Clemens (5-5, 4.34); Thursday -- Curt Schilling (8-5, 4.11) vs. Chien-Ming Wang (14-6, 4.10).
Around the bases
The Sox are 29-12, for a winning percentage of .707 in day games this season. By contrast, the club was just 25-21 last year . . . Mike Lowell's 92 RBI from the third-base position are the most from a third baseman since Butch Hobson had 92 in 1979 . . . The four-game sweep here was the Red Sox’ first since Aug. 5-8, 1968 at the old Comiskey Park. The White Sox have only been swept in a four-game series at U.S. Cellular Field. The last one came in 1999 at the hands of Seattle . . . The Sox are a season-high 29 games over .500 . . . Doug Mirabelli, sidelined since Aug. 17 because of a pulled calf muscle, is expected to rejoin the Sox in New York. He’s not eligible to come off the DL until Sept. 1.
Posted by Art Martone at 8:44 PM | Permalink
Final: Red Sox 11, White Sox 1
CHICAGO -- J.D. Drew, David Ortiz and Bobby Kielty each homered as the Red Sox completed a four-game sweep -- rather, a four-game demolition -- of the White Sox with an 11-1 win this afternoon.
The Sox -- Red, that is -- outscored Chicago 46-7 in the four games as they increased their seasonal record to 80-51 and upped their lead in the A.L. East over the Yankees to 7 1/2 games. (New York was beaten in Detroit today, 5-4.) The lead is their biggest since Aug. 2, when they were eight games ahead.
Julian Tavarez, taking Jon Lester's turn in the rotation, was solid for the second straight time, allowing only two hits and one run over six innings with three walks and seven strikeouts. He is now 7-9 this year. With an off-day tomorrow and the bullpen needing work, Terry Francona used Manny Delcarmen, Eric Gagne and Jonathan Papelbon for an inning each.
The Sox begin a three-game series in New York in Tuesday. The Yankees have another game in Detroit tomorrow night.
Posted by Art Martone at 5:09 PM | Permalink
The Hits (and homers) Keep On Coming
Bobby Kielty belted a two-run homer in the sixth and the Sox now lead 7-1. It was Kielty's first homer as a member of the Sox and first since last Sept. 26 against Cleveland, while with Oakland.
Bottom 6 -- Bos 7, Chi 1
Weekend running total -- 42-7
Posted by Sean McAdam at 4:03 PM | Permalink
Sox Pulling Away....Again
Same story as Saturday apparently....interesting game for a few innings, then the Red Sox start pouring it on.
Dustin Pedroia's two-run single to center and David Ortiz' two-run homer turned a 1-1 game into a 5-1 game in the fifth.
For Ortiz, it was his third homer of the series and ffith in the last 10 games.
Posted by Sean McAdam at 3:53 PM | Permalink
The Sox and Sox have traded solo homers.
J.D. Drew broke his long homer-less streak, drilling a pitch into the left-center seats off Javier Vazquez for his first home run since June 20, a stretch that included 51 games and 166 at-bats. It was the longest homer drought of his career.
In the bottom of the inning, Jermaine Dye, the object of the Red Sox' affection at the trade deadline, evened the score with a homer to right off Julian Tavarez.
Bottom 3 -- Bos 1, Chi 1.
Posted by Sean McAdam at 2:47 PM | Permalink
This is game No. 131 and I don't think it's an exaggeration to suggest that this may be the nicest day of the season. Perfect weather -- about 80 -- with blue skies and a nice breeeze. Hard to believe that this is the same city so hard by storms only three days ago and that tens of thousands of people in the Chicago-area are still without power.
Manny Ramirez has been given the day off by Terry Francona -- his second in the last five days. Francona suggested that Ramirez' back has been bothering him some, but added that the prospect of two days off in a row -- tomorrow is an off-day on the schedule -- was also a factor.
Julio Lugo ss
Dustin Pedroia 2b
David Ortiz dh
Mike Lowell 3b
J.D. Drew rf
Kevin Youkilis 1b
Jason Varitek c
Bobby Kielty lf
Coco Crisp cf
Julian Tavarez p
Jerry Owens cf
Josh Fields lf
Jim Thome dh
Paul Konerko 1b
A.J. Pierzynski c
Jermaine Dye rf
Juan Uribe ss
Danny Richar 2b
Andy Gonzalez 3b
Javier Vazquez p
Posted by Sean McAdam at 1:50 PM | Permalink
Sox Streakers for August 26
-Mike Lowell has a team-high eight-game hitting streak, during which he is 15 for 27 (.556) with three doubles, a home run, six walks and 11 RBI
-For Chicago: Javier Vazquez is 8-1 with a 3.09 E.R.A. in his last 11 starts.
-Kyle Snyder has surrendered runs in six straight relief appearances -- a total of eight runs in 6.1 innings pitched.
-For Chicago: Juan Uribe is 3 for his last 28.
Red Sox vs. Javier Vazquez
-Dustin Pedroia, 3 for 4 (.750)
-J.D. Drew, 9 for 23 (.391), 2 2B, 3 HR, 2 BB
-Julio Lugo, 8 for 24 (.333), 2B, HR, 2 BB
-Manny Ramirez, 6 for 19 (.316), 2 HR
-Coco Crisp, 4 for 13 (.308), HR, BB
-Mike Lowell, 13 for 43 (.302), 5 2B, 2 HR, 2 BB
-Alex Cora, 4 for 14 (.286)
-David Ortiz, 4 for 18 (.222), 2B, HR, 2 BB
-Eric Hinske, 2 for 10 (.200), BB
-Jason Varitek, 1 for 13 (.077), BB
-Kevin Youkilis, 0 for 8
-Vazquez is 2-4 with a 3.86 E.R.A. in eight career appearances (seven starts) against Boston.
White Sox vs. Julian Tavarez
-Darin Erstad, 2 for 2 (1.000)
-Toby Hall, 2 for 4 (.400), HR
-Scott Podsednik, 3 for 11 (.273), 3B, BB
-Paul Konerko, 2 for 8 (.250), 2B, BB
-Jim Thome, 2 for 8 (.250), HR, BB
-Juan Uribe, 1 for 9 (.111)
-Jermaine Dye, 0 for 6
-A.J. Pierzynski, 0 for 9
-Tavarez is 1-2 with a 2.80 E.R.A. in 12 career appearances (three starts) against Chicago.
-All-time series: Boston 944, Chicago 906. At Chicago: Chicago 526, Boston 398. This season: Boston 6, Chicago 1.
-The Red Sox are 14-5 at U.S. Cellular Field since the start of 2003.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 8:02 AM to Projo Sox Streakers