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August 29, 2007
Game story: Sox fall short 4-3
NEW YORK – This was a battle of Texas gunslingers – a past Red Sox ace matched against the present one – and on this night at least, old was better than new.
Roger Clemens, 45 years old and a dozen years after the Red Sox presumed his best days were behind him, limited the Sox to a single run over six innings while Josh Beckett, stalled in his attempt to become baseball’s first 17-game winner was knocked around for a career-high 13 hits as the Yankees grabbed a 4-3 victory.
Gaining momentum in their late-season pursuit of the front-running Red Sox, the Yankees carvied another game off the Sox’ lead. The Red Sox hold a six-game edge in the American League East heading into this afternoon’s series finale and must still face the Yankees’ best pitcher – Chien-Ming Wang.
The Sox gave themselves a late-inning chance when Kevin Youkilis hammered a homer into the seats in left off Kyle Farnsworth. The homer was the 14th of the season for Youkilis – establishing a personal best – and the fifth in a row away from home.
But the Sox fell short in their comeback, repelled by ageless Mariano Rivera, who recorded a four-out save. Rivera
Beckett, who suffered his first loss since July 31, yielded 13 hits, a career-high and the most number of hits allowed by a Red Sox starter since Curt Schilling gave up 13 on April 22, 2004 against Toronto.
Though the Yankees only scored in two of the seven innings in which Beckett pitched, the start was a game-long battle for him. Beckett didn’t have a single inning in which he retired every hitter he faced and only twice – the fourth and the fifth innings – did he face the minimum number of hitters.
When Alex Rodriguez hit a looping liner to left that got out in a hurry with two down in the seventh, Beckett’s night was through. He trudged off the mound to the derision of the partisan crowd and for an inning on so, stood at the far end of the dugout, his hands on his hips in apparent disbelief.
The Red Sox were held hitless by Clemens through the first five innings. But with one out in the sixth, the Sox snapped to no-hit bid and spoiled the shutout with a mighty swing from the bat of David Ortiz.
Ortiz drove a pitch from Clemens into the upper deck in right for his 25th homer of the season and fourth in his last five games.
The Sox hinted at a bigger inning when, with Clemens tiring, a two-out walk to Kevin Youkilis and a sharply-hit single to right by J.D. Drew gave the Sox baserunners at the corners.
But Clemens got Jason Varitek to hit an inning-ending roller to second, and was then finished for the night.
Beckett gave up a career-high 13 hits, four of them in the third when the Yankees bunched together three runs.
With Jorge Posada (single) aboard, Beckett was nearly out of the inning after Jason Giambi fouled out to first for the second out. But the inning was extended with a walk to Robinson Cano.
A single to center from No. 9 hitter Melky Cabrera produced the first run of the night and Cabrera then moved into scoring position on a wild pitch.
Beckett and Johnny Damon then engaged in an epic at-bat, with Damon expertly fouling off pitched before slicing a groundball through the shortstop hole, delivering both baserunners.
The Sox’ starter then didn’t help himself in fielding a topper to the left of the mound from Derek Jeter. A wild throw to first got past Youkilis at first base, enabling Damon to take third and Jeter to move to second.
Beckett then ended the inning by getting Bobby Abreu to ground to second.
Clemens was wild early, but the Sox couldn’t take advantage.
He walked Drew and Varitek in succession with two out in the second, but Coco Crisp ended the threat with a groundout to first.
In the third, Clemens walked Eric Hinske to lead the inning, but after a groundout by Julio Lugo and a bunt try by Pedroia advanced Hinske to second, then third, Ortiz stranded him there by flying out to the warning track in left.
Varitek drew a second walk leading off the fifth, but never moved from first as Crisp struck out swinging, Hinske flied to center and Lugo grounded to third.
Through the fifth, the Sox had managed to four baserunners – without benefit of a hit.
Posted by Thom Cahir at 10:35 PM to McAdam
NEW YORK – The news about Manny Ramirez’ injury became slightly more ominous yesterday when it was revealed that the outfielder is suffering from an oblique strain, and not, as the Red Sox first said, back spasms.
Ramirez was examined yesterday by both Dr. Stuart Hershon, the Yankees team physician, and Dr. Larry Ronan, one of a team of doctors employed by the Red Sox. They found that Ramirez was suffering from a slight strain of the left oblique muscle.
Ramirez first felt soreness in the area last week, sitting out the final game of the Red Sox series in Tampa. After playing the first three games of the four-game series in Chicago, Ramirez also sat out Sunday.
He was taken out of the game after the seventh inning Tuesday night.
A club source estimated that Ramirez could miss anywhere from ``days to weeks’’ with the injury, though the former is more likely than the latter. Ramirez told the Associated Press yesterday afternoon that he could be out of the lineup ``(M)aybe a week.’’
Oblique strains have been known to sideline players for weeks and, on rare occasions, months.
Manager Terry Francona said only that Ramirez was ``day-to-day’’ and acknowledged that he almost certainly wouldn’t play today, the series finale.
Ramirez is expected to be further examined tomorrow when the team returns home from its three-city road trip.
With reserve outfielder Bobby Kielty also temporarily sidelined with back spasms, stemming from a collision with the bullpen wall in Fenway two weeks ago, the Sox were short of players last night.
Eric Hinske was the starting left fielder last night, but the Sox had only three available outfielders last night, with shortstop Julio Lugo available in a pinch.
Rosters expand Saturday, and while the Red Sox would like to have their call-ups finish the International League season – which concludes Monday – the team doesn’t want to be caught shorthanded, either.
Jacoby Ellsbury will probably join the Sox Saturday, with Brandon Moss due Tuesday.
The Sox have changed their minds about Saturday’s starter.
The plan had been to give Clay Buchholz his second major league start. But because Buchholz has struggled in his last two outings and, correspondingly, Julian Tavarez has sparkled in his last two spot starts, the Sox are now giving the ball to Tavarez to face Baltimore.
There was also some concern about fatigue with Buchholz. He’s pitched 125 1/3 innings at Portland and Pawtucket and another six in Boston in his major league debut two weeks ago, easily the most he’s thrown in a single season.
Buchholz will still be added to the major league roster when it expands and could draw another start later in the month should the Sox clinch and want to rest some of their rotation regulars.
With Roger Clemens (353 career wins) as the opposing starter, last night marked the 25th time since Walter Johnson retired in 1927 that the Sox had faced a 300-game winner. The last two times it’s happened, Greg Maddux was the opponent: June 10, 2005 with the Cubs and this past June 22 with San Diego…Going into last night, the Sox’ bullpen had a scoreless streak of 5 2/3 innings and had allowed just three earned ruins in its last 26 2/3 innings, leading to a 1.01 ERA in that span…Seen in the crowd last night: actors Kevin Bacon, Penny Marshall, Alec Baldwin and lefthander Paul McCartney.
Posted by Thom Cahir at 9:32 PM to McAdam
Manny Back out of the Lineup
To the surprise of no one, Manny Ramirez isn't in the lineup -- and probably won't play tomorrow, either, the result of a strained left oblique which flared up again Tuesday night.
Ramirez came out of the game after the seventh inning, complaining of back spasms. This afternoon, however, the Sox clarified the diagnosis, saying that it's more of an oblique (side of the back) issue. It's a condition the Sox have been monitoring for about a week. Ramirez also missed Sunday's game in Chicago.
He was examined by Stuart Hershon after the game Tuesday, then re-examined earlier today. Dr. Larry Ronan, one of the team of Red Sox physicians, is on his way to New York to examine him further.
Given that tomorrow is a day game, with not much time for turnaround, it's highly unlikely Ramirez will play in the series finale.
``That's fairly realistic (he won't play),'' acknowledged Terry Francona.
Bobby Kielty, who also suffered from some back spasms and came out of the game after replacing Ramirez, had x-rays taken today, which revealed no structural problems. Kielty, too, is day-to-day.
The injuries have left the Sox short of outfielders, with just Eric Hinske (starting in left), Coco Crisp and J.D. Drew. Francona indicated that Julio Lugo would be the emergecy outfielder. Lugo played some outfield with the Dodgers last season.
Francona said the Sox will have replacements soon as rosters expand -- Brandon Moss and Jacoby Ellsbury are certain callups -- but the Sox would like the Pawtucket players to finish out there season first.
``If we need somebody here (before that),'' said Francona, ``we'll get them. We don't think it's necessary for them to be (here ahead of the end of the International League season), but at the same time, we don't want to be caught short.''
Posted by Sean McAdam at 4:39 PM | Permalink
Tonight's lineups: No Manny
Not surprisingly, Manny Ramirez is not in the Red Sox' lineup for tonight's game against the New York Yankees. Here are the lineups:
1. Julio Lugo, ss
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2b
3. David Ortiz, dh
4. Mike Lowell, 3b
5. Kevin Youkilis, 1b
6. J.D. Drew, rf
7. Jason Varitek, c
8. Coco Crisp, cf
9. Eric Hinske, lf
P. Josh Beckett
1. Johnny Damon, lf
2. Derek Jeter, ss
3. Bobby Abreu, rf
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3b
5. Hideki Matsui, dh
6. Jorge Posada, c
7. Jason Giambi, 1b
8. Robinson Cano, 2b
9. Melky Cabrera, cf
P. Roger Clemens
Posted by Mike McDermott at 3:41 PM | Permalink
Kielty's x-rays negative
Terry Francona told WEEI radio today that x-rays on outfielder Bobby Kielty's back came back negative today. Kielty, who hurt his back crashing into the right-field wall at Fenway earlier this month, left last night's game with soreness shortly after he was put into the game in place of Manny Ramirez, who was reportedly suffering back spasms. Francona did not say if Ramirez would be available to play tonight.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 3:12 PM | Permalink
Sox Streakers for August 29
-Mike Lowell has a team-high 10-game hitting streak, during which he is 18 for 36 (.500).
-Josh Beckett has not given up more than three runs in any of his 10 starts this season away from Fenway Park. He's 9-1 on the road.
-For New York: Joba Chamberlain has pitched 10 consecutive scoreless innings over eight appearances since making his major-league debut.
-Kevin Youkilis is 0 for his last 7.
-For New York: Wilson Betemit is 0 for his last 14.
Red Sox vs. Roger Clemens
-Coco Crisp, 2 for 7 (.286)
-David Ortiz, 4 for 19 (.211), HR, 2 BB
-Mike Lowell, 2 for 11 (.182), BB
-Manny Ramirez, 9 for 50 (.180), 2B, 3 HR, 10 BB
-Jason Varitek, 3 for 19 (.158), 2B, 2 BB
-Eric Hinske, 2 for 13 (.154), 2B, BB
-Julio Lugo, 1 for 9 (.111), 2B
-J.D. Drew, 0 for 2, BB
-Alex Cora, 0 for 3
-Bobby Kielty, 0 for 5, BB
-Clemens is 8-5 with a 3.85 E.R.A. in 19 regular-season starts against Boston. He last faced them during in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series, when he picked up a no decision while giving up four runs (three earned) in three innings pitched. We all know how that one ended.
Yankees vs. Josh Beckett
-Andy Phillips, 1 for 1 (1.000), HR
-Robinson Cano, 6 for 13 (.462), 2 2B, HR, 3 BB
-Jason Giambi, 4 for 10 (.400), 2 HR, 5 BB
-Jorge Posada, 4 for 10 (.400), 2B
-Johnny Damon, 4 for 14 (.286), 3 2B, 2 BB
-Melky Cabrera, 4 for 16 (.250), 2B, BB
-Derek Jeter, 4 for 16 (.250), BB
-Hideki Matsui, 2 for 8 (.250), BB
-Alex Rodriguez, 4 for 16 (.250), 2 2B, 3 BB
-Bobby Abreu, 7 for 43 (.163), 2 2B, 2 HR, 18 BB
-Jose Molina, 0 for 3
-Wilson Betemit, 0 for 5, BB
-Beckett is 3-2 with a 7.91 E.R.A. in six career regular-season starts against New York. This season, he is 1-0 with a 5.54 E.R.A. in two starts against the Yanks.
-All-time series: New York 1,082, Boston 889. In Yankee Stadium: New York 583, Boston 398. This season: Boston 7, New York 6.
-Manny Ramirez, who might not play tonight, last night tied Carl Yastrzemski for fourth on the all-time list by hitting his 52nd career home run against the Yankees. Since the start of last season, Ramirez is 45 for 94 (.479) against the Yanks.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 2:22 PM to Projo Sox Streakers
Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: The Yankees win; how badly hurt is Manny?
Sean McAdam joins us from New York for today's edition of projo SoxTalk. Click here to listen to the full audio file. The topics include: Daisuke Matsuzaka's inability to keep the game tied; Yankee Stadium's short right-field porch; Manny Ramirez's back injury; lineup options for the Red Sox should Ramirez be held out of tonight's game; Joba Chamberlain; and tonight's Josh Beckett-Roger Clemens matchup.
Here are some excerpts from Sean's commments:
On Matsuzaka: "Ironically one of the things that was included in the scouting report about Daisuke when he came over is that he was good in big-game situations and would bear down, and frankly we haven't seen that lately."
On Ramirez: "It was a little ominous I guess -- or maybe not -- to see Dr. Stuart Hershon, who is the longtime Yankee team physician, leaving the Red Sox clubhouse emerging from the trainer's room. One supposes -- and that's all it is -- that he was examining Manny. ... Whether that was precautionary, or to administer x-rays, or what, we dont know. I think that it's a little up in the air whether we'll see him today or even tomorrow."
Tonight's pitchers: "Two kind of Texas gunslingers, almost a generation apart. ... Josh Beckett grew up in Spring, Texas, idolizing Roger Clemens. He says he has a box full of baseball cards that are Roger Clemens' alone. It will be the first time that they've faced one another."
Posted by Mike McDermott at 10:25 AM to McAdam
Baseball Today: Wednesday, August 29
REVENGE OF THE IDIOT: This hasn't been the best of seasons for Johnny Damon (above right, AP Photo), and it may even be his last with the Yankees. (Boston Globe) But he's healthier now than he's been all year and Sean McAdam reports that he helped buy the Yankees ''more time — if nothing else — in the chase for first place in the American League East last night'' with a seventh-inning home run off Daisuke Matsuzaka that broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Yanks a 5-3 win. The Boston Herald's Steve Buckley found that the smile was back on Damon's face, at least for one night. Allan Wood, however, articulates what was on the mind of every Red Sox fan: ''Distance to the RF pole at Yankee Stadium? 314 feet. Distance of Johnny Damon's two-run, tie-breaking home-run in the seventh inning? 315 feet.'' (joyofsox.com)
ALL IN THE EYES OF THE BEHOLDER: The Globe's Dan Shaughnessy says this series is crucial only to the Yankees because the Red Sox have the division title wrapped up. Maybe so, counters the Herald's Tony Massarotti -- actually, he agrees because the wrote the same thing Monday -- but he adds the Sox would be wise to bury the Yankees now, while they have the chance. But the New York Daily News' Lisa Olson still thinks ''a pennant race lurks in the bushes,'' even though her colleague, Mike Lupica, thinks there's no race going on here.
HOW WOULD I KNOW? Chad Finn says he's been wrong about so much this season that he won't venture an opinion on the division race. (touchingallthebases.blogspot.com)
THERE'S ALWAYS OCTOBER: We're at the point now where the only way J.D. Drew can redeem himself in the eyes of Red Sox Nation is in the postseason. (Boston Herald) So I suppose it bears repeating: What's the facination, what's the fascination, what's the fascination with J.D. Drew? (weei.com)
(Actually, any chance to relink to that is worth exploiting. This one, too (wcbs.com), with the hook being that Clemens pitches tonight. Oh my goodness gracious . . . )
OF ALL THE DRAMATIC THINGS I'VE EVER SEEN . . . : Dustin Pedroia thinks facing Clemens will be ''awesome.'' (Boston Herald)
HERE AND THERE: McAdam's notebook, which starts by previewing tonight's Josh Beckett-Roger Clemens matchup, has plenty of newsy items, including the fact that Clay Buchholz will, indeed, start Saturday's game against the Orioles; the latest on the back spasms that forced Manny Ramirez out of the lineup in the seventh inning, and the fact that actress Cameron Diaz was among the celebrities spotted in the crowd.
HE WHO HESITATES . . . Rangers owner Tom Hicks says the Marlins first approaced Texas with the Josh Beckett/Mike Lowell package in November 2005. But the Rangers wouldn't give them an immediate answer, the Red Sox got wind of the talks, and the rest -- Beckett and Lowell winding up in Boston -- is history. (Dallas Morning News)
MYSTERY SOLVED (HOPEFULLY): After studying video, Eric Gagne thinks he's been tipping his pitches, which would explain his struggles since arriving in Boston. (Boston Herald) So he and pitching coach John Farrell have been working to solve the problem.
CAN'T COMPARE TO CUB NATION: Bobby Howry says Cub fans are far better than Red Sox fans because they're there through thick and thin and Sox fans ''wouldn't show up if they were losing like we were last year.'' (Chicago Tribune) How Howry knows this -- he spent 1 1/2 seasons in Boston, seasons in which the Sox went 93-69 and 95-67 and attracted 5,375,027 fans combined -- isn't quite clear.
JOBA RULES: We won't see him tonight no matter what, because the Yankees -- trying to protect his precious arm from the career-ravaging bullpen strategies of Joe Torre -- have expressly forbidden Torre from using him on consecutive days. But Joba Chamberlain got his first taste of the Red Sox-Yankee rivalry last night and seemed unruffled by it all as he pitched a scoreless eighth. (New York Post)
OUR HERO: Andy Pettitte got the victory last night and is now 69-33 when he pitches after Yankee losses. (New York Post)
THE MOOSE IS LOOSE: The Yankees answered the prayers of their fans everywhere by announcing after last night's game that Mike Mussina is being lifted from the starting rotation and replaced by rookie Ian Kennedy, at least temporarily. (New York Daily News) That means the Yankees will be fighting for a playoff spot with two rookies (Kennedy and Phil Hughes) among their starting five, but the alternative -- continuing to start the looks-like-he's-completely-lost-it Mussina -- apparently wasn't an option.
THE TIMES, THEY ARE A-CHANGIN': On the LoHud Yankees Blog, Peter Abraham reflects: ''I’m shocked that in a pennant race in September this team will have a pitching staff that includes Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Edwar Ramirez and Chris Britton. That tells you all you need to know about how much power Brian Cashman has. Regardless of what happens the rest of the way this season, he’s building a player development powerhouse that must scare the socks off the rest of baseball. If the Yankees can field a roster loaded with homegrown kids, they can spend whatever they want to retain A-Rod, chase Johan Santana or do whatever else they want.''
THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR: Derek Jeter says that for the Yankees, the playoffs have begun. (New York Post)
A GOOD NIGHT IN YANKEE UNIVERSE: The Yankees also picked up ground in the wild-card race as the Angels rallied from a 5-0 deficit to beat the Mariners. (Los Angeles Daily News) The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has the Mariners' side of the story.
OTHER RACES: The Cubs beat the Brewers in the first game of their N.L. Central showdown (Chicago Tribune) . . . The Cardinals moved into second place by beating the Astros (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) . . . Are the Phillies actually going to make things interesting in the N.L. East? (Philadelphia Inquirer)
DARK CLOUDS IN D.C.: The estimable Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post comments on the troubled state of baseball in the nation's capital and warns that the opening of the new stadium next year won't solve the problems.
AND TAMPA: The Tampa Tribune's Martin Fennelly notes that the clock is ticking on the Devil Rays, because all their young talent will soon become expensive talent and if the team doesn't start winning they'll find themselves unable to afford players like Scott Kazmir and B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford.
QUICKLY: The Dodgers are interested in the A's Esteban Loaiza (San Francisco Chronicle) . . . The Phillies plan to decide in the offseason whether or not to keep Brett Myers in the bullpen or move him back to the rotation (Philadelphia Inquirer) . . . Marlins pitcher Scott Olsen and team president David Samson had a clear-the-air meeting (Miami Herald) . . . The Tigers may seek a short-term replacement for the injured Gary Sheffield. (Detroit Free Press)
OLD FRIENDS: Freddy Sanchez had quite a night as the Pirates swept the Reds. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 6:47 AM | Permalink