« August 30, 2007
September 1, 2007 »
August 31, 2007
Scranton-WB 9, Pawtucket 3
PAWTUCKET – Already out of the playoff picture, Pawtucket was playing for pride yesterday, and the opportunity to finish out the season with a .500 record.
In order to finish the season 71-71, the PawSox needed to win their remaining five games.
But the Scranton Wilkes/Barre Yankees didn’t take it easy on the PawSox last night, even though they had already locked up the International League North regular-season title.
Scranton Wilkes/Barre defeated the PawSox, 9-3.
“We made a couple of mistakes, had a few physical breakdowns, and they capitalized on every one,” Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson said. “That’s probably why the won the division and are a playoff bound club. You got to tip your hat to them.”
Pawtucket starter Mike Burns pitched well in four of his 5 1/3 innings outing, striking out six batters, but he gave up four runs on five hits in the momentum-shifting fourth inning and fell to 4-9 on the season with the loss.
“I thought Burns did a pretty good job,” Johnson said. “When you look at it, it wasn’t like there was a lot of bullets hit all over the ballpark, but hey, that’s why that club is where they are. You can’t take anything away from them.”
Facing Kei Igawa, who was a bust (2-3, 6.79 ERA) for the New York Yankees after they bid over $26 million dollars just to talk to him and then signed him to a five-year, 20 million dollar contract on Dec. 27, 2006, George Kottaras ripped a two-out RBI double down the left-field line that scored Jeff Bailey and gave Pawtucket a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning.
Kottaras was 2-for-3 last night with two doubles and an RBI. He is hitting .320 (33-for-103) with six home runs, 11 doubles, and 21 RBI in his last 29 games.
“He did a real nice job,” Johnson said of Kottaras. “George has finished up very strong here. He’s done a real nice job. There is a lot of life in his bat and it’s fun to watch him.”
Pawtucket’s lead was short-lived.
Scranton/Wilkes Barre scored four runs with two outs in the top of the fourth inning to take control of the game.
Wil Nieves began the Yankees’ slugfest with an infield RBI single. Mike Kinkade scored from third base on the play and Eric Duncan advanced to second base. Juan Francia drove in Duncan with a single hit to right field and Nieves sprinted to third base on the hit.
Both Francia and Nieves scored when Kevin Thompson blasted a double down the left-field line.
Pawtucket didn’t go away quietly. Bobby Scales, who has at least one hit in nine of his last 10 games, crushed his 11th home run of the season – a two-run bomb sent over the fence in left field – to cut Scranton/Wilkes Barre’s lead to 4-3.
In the top of the fifth, Scales tried to make what would have been an amazing diving catch in shallow right field on a Kinkade blooper, but the ball dropped in and bounced over his head. Instead of a single, Kinkade ended up with a triple.
It appeared that Burns was going to get out of the inning unscathed when he struckout Bronson Sardinha for the second out, and then Alberto Gonzalez hit a routine grounder to second base. But Jed Lowrie misplayed the ball and Kinkade scored on the error to give the Yankees a 5-3 cushion.
Edgar Martinez came on to pitch for Pawtucket in the sixth inning, but he didn’t fare much better. He allowed four runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings.
The Yankees padded their lead in the top of the eighth inning when Jose Cruz, Jr. hit a RBI sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Juan Francia. Then after Doug Mientkiewicz hit a RBI sacrifice fly to right field, Bronson Sardinha hit a bases loaded RBI single to left field, scoring Thompson.
Pawtucket inserted Craig Hansen to stop the bleeding but he couldn’t. Alberto Gonzalez belted a ground-rule double down the right field line that scored Cruz and Kinkade and extended Scranton Wilkes/Barre’s lead to 9-3.
Igawa pitched seven innings and limited Pawtucket to just three runs on five hits with nine strikeouts. Of his 101 pitches, 71 of them were strikes.
“Igawa threw the ball really well,” Johnson said. “We only got five hits on the night. We got the most of it though. We got three runs on five hits.”
NOTE: The PawSox will play a double-header today with the first game beginning at 12:30 p.m. and the second at 6:05 p.m. Fans will not be allowed to enter McCoy Stadium until 4:45 for the nightcap instead of the normal two hours prior to game time. The gates will open at 10:30 a.m. for the 12:30 p.m. first game.
Posted by Chris Venditto at 10:51 PM to PawSox
Wakefield Scratched; Tavarez Moved Up
Less than two hours before tonight's scheduled first pitch, Red Sox' knuckleballer Tim Wakefield has been scratched from the start because of tightness in his back.
Julian Tavarez, who was scheduled to pitch tomorrow night, instead will replace Wakefield. Tomorrow's starter is listed as TBA, but right-hander Clay Buchholz is likely to be called up for the start. His last start was last Monday in Rochester, when he coughed up five runs (three earned) in 5 1/3 innings. He'd be pitching on a normal four days of rest.
Wakefield first mentioned back woes after a superb seven-inning shutout performance on the road against Tampa Bay on Aug. 20. He threw only 77 pitches that night, but was taken out after seven innings with the team boasting a big lead for precautionary mesaures.
The right-hander tossed seven shutout innings on the road against the White Sox last Saturday in his start after the outing against the Devil Rays. He has thrown 22 consecutive scoreless innings.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 5:17 PM | Permalink
Pregame Notes, Aug. 31
-- Manager Terry Francona said a short time ago that there will be a "couple, three callups" tomorrow when the teams can expand their rosters and maybe a few more when the Triple A season ends on Monday.
Francona said he didn't think he was supposed to announce tomorrow's promotions until after tonight's game, but two of them are expected to be outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and veteran shortstop Royce Clayton from Pawtucket.
Right-hander Clay Buchholz is a lock to be called up from the PawSox after Monday's finale, and it's possible another right-hander, Devern Hansack, could get the call, too. Left-hander Jon Lester, who was sent to Portland last week, also will rejoin Boston when the rosters expand.
Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson will spend a little time at home before joining the Red Sox for the rest of the season.
-- J.D. Drew, who went 5 for 30 (.167) on the 10-game road trip, said he is expecting a better performance in September.
"I felt like I took some pretty good swings (on the trip). Hopefully it carries over into September. Everything's going to be fine," said Drew, who is batting .257 with a mere 7 homers and 46 RBI.
-- Designated hitter David Ortiz said the absence of Manny Ramirez (oblique) in the lineup doesn't add to his load.
"It's a tough situation, but I feel no pressure," said Ortiz. "I just try to do my best."
-- Orioles left-hander Erik Bedard, who is 13-5 with a 3.16 earned-run average (fifth in the A.L.) and a league-leading 221 strikeouts, will be held out of his start in this series because of a muscle pull in his side.
"You don't want to lose any young pitcher to injury. This kid's a rising star in our league. Am I sad we're not facing him? No. No. The kid's tough," said Francona.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:27 PM | Permalink
Manny Has MRI
Manny Ramirez, the Sox' slugging left fielder who had to be taken out of Tuesday night's game and missed the next two in Yankee Stadium because of a strained right oblique, had an MRI yesterday.
The Sox wanted to see just how much fluid has built up in the injured area, but manager Terry Francona just said in his daily press briefing that the results aren't in yet.
Francona added that he does not know how long Ramirez will be out of action. Sometimes the injury can keep a player out a week or two weeks, he said.
"The minute he can play, he will," said Francona.
But Francona said the Sox will have to be careful with him.
"It's the type of injury that if you try to rush and go too fast (with a return to action), you can lose somebody for a lot longer. That doesn't help. We'll manage it as best we can," he said.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:20 PM | Permalink
Starting Lineups, Aug. 31
R. Hernandez c
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:17 PM | Permalink
Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: A depressing series; look out next time
Just back from New York, Sean McAdam joins us for today's edition of projo SoxTalk. Click here to listen to the full audio file. The topics: the two big problems about this week; the Yankees' late-season dominance of the Red Sox; Joba Chamberlain vs. Kevin Youkilis; the reversed call on the double play in the seventh inning; the always disappointing J.D. Drew; and an encouraging start from Curt Schilling.
Following are some excerpts from Sean's comments.
On the sweep: "The Red Sox know that the Yankees would be pretty formidable in October, and that's half of the problem of what happened the last three days. Not only did the Red Sox not pull away and wrap up the division, but they had an opportunity to really damage the Yankees' playoff hopes ... and they failed to do that."
On the Chamberlain incident: "I think there's definitealy some carryover effect there. ... A number of [Red Sox] players in the clubhouse were talking about, 'There's still three games left,' and 'This is to be continued,' and 'We'll revisit this.' And for whatever reason, Youkilis seems to be in the middle of this all the time. You remember that he got buzzed by Scott Proctor [earlier this season], and yesterday for reasons no one can quite figure out he was the target of Joba Chamberlain."
On Drew's awful series: "You'd be hard-pressed to remember three games in which Drew had worse at-bats. I think there was one single in the first game that was hard hit from Drew, and that was about it. Everything else was the sort of rollover groundball to the right side, or in yesterday's case the groundball to the left side that started the infamous double play [involving Youkilis being called safe, then out]. ... For Drew not to be able to come through and not fill the void [left by Manny Ramirez's absence] is just one more series of disappointments in what has been an always disappointing first seaosn in Boston."
Posted by Mike McDermott at 11:14 AM to McAdam
| Comments 6
Baseball today: Friday, August 31
HERE WE GO AGAIN: But, as the Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy writes, it's never just baseball with these two teams. As an example may we present Joba Chamberlain getting ejected after throwing a pair of pitches over the head of Kevin Youkilis in the ninth inning. (projo.com) The Yankees, as expected, were righteously indignant, saying there was no logical reason why Chamberlain would be throwing at Youkilis and that the rookie was just nervous. (New York Daily News) The Daily News' John Harper agrees, saying the Red Sox are ''crazy'' if they think the pitches were intentional. In the Post, Mike Vaccaro says Chamberlain was an innocent victim of this rivalry's heated past. But the Red Sox, says the Boston Herald, aren't buying it. And the Globe's Nick Cafardo thinks Chamberlain ''knowingly or not, seemed to kick the Red Sox when they were down . . . [And] there will be reverberations that will spill over to the next series Sept. 14-16 at Fenway.''
I WONDER . . . Peter Abraham is one of the few New York media members not willing to parrot the Yankee party line on the incident. On the LoHud Yankees Blog he writes, ''I am not accusing Chamberlain of anything. But there’s plenty of evidence that suggests this may not have been an accident. Pitchers have been trying to make hitters think for 100 years.'' He also notes that Chamberlain lockers next to Roger Clemens and ''Roger is as old school as it gets in baseball. I have no idea if Roger told him to dust Youkilis. But would I bet my house against it? Would you?''
AMEN: Abraham concludes: ''This is why Yanks-Sox is what it is and the rest of baseball [can] only envy the passion. There is nothing like it in the sport.''
THE REAL NEWS: What the Yankees actually did over these last three days was take control of the wild-card race, writes Bill Madden of the Daily News.
SILENT TYPE: Even though we're at a point in the season when people would be very interested in what he has to say -- like about yesterday's start in New York -- Curt Schilling has pretty much stopped posting to his Web site. (He's only made three entries in August.) He's still talking to the mainstream media, though, and the Herald's Steve Buckley reports Schilling was disappointed in his performance, even though he only allowed two runs in six innings.
WHIPPING BOY: Not a day goes by without somebody, somewhere, trashing the disappointing, underachieving J.D. Drew. Today it's the Herald's Tony Massarotti.
SEE YOU SOON: Royce Clayton has joined the PawSox in anticipation of a September callup to Boston and is looking forward to joining the Red Sox. (projo.com)
MANNY'S REPLACEMENT . . . while he's recuperating from a strained oblique muscle may be Jacoby Ellsbury. He's played left field for the PawSox for the last couple of games -- concidence? -- and last night saved the team's 3-2 win over Buffalo with a diving catch in left-center field, after which he got up and threw out a runner at second base for the final out. (projo.com)
BREAKING THE RULES: The Yankees have decided to amend the Joba Rules and won't be quite as strict about his usage patterns. (New York Daily News)
YOUTH WILL BE SERVED: The Post's Joel Sherman says the Yankees are paying the dividends of the 180-degree shift in organizational philosophy instituted by Brian Cashman in 2005.
SO WILL EXPERIENCE: FoxSports.com's Dayn Perry lists 36-year-old Jorge Posada on his All-Underrated Team.
HE SPEAKS! Mike Mussina ended his two-day media boycott and discussed being lifted from the Yankee rotation. (New York Daily News) He said the move caught him ''off-guard'' and that he needed a little time to ''simmer down'' before talking publicly.
THE GODS ARE WITH US: The New York Times reports that the squirrel that was climbing the right-field foul pole at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night may be, according to Norse mythology, a bad sign for the Yankees.
TO THE RESCUE: The Orioles come to town tonight and, as the Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck details, there may not be a team performing as badly as Baltimore is right now.
WHY THE YANKEES ARE THE SECOND STORY IN NEW YORK: The Mets are imploding with a suddenness that defies rational belief. The Philadelphia Daily News' Paul Hagen says logic dictates the Phillies can't catch the Mets, but then asks ''[are] you going to believe what history and common sense and cold, hard logic tell you? Or are you going to believe your eyes?'' Eyes were popping all over Philly yesterday as the Phils scored three runs off Billy Wagner in the eighth and ninth innings and completed a four-game sweep, cutting New York's N.L. East lead to two. (Philadelphia Daily News) Rhode Island's Jim Salisbury, the Inquirer's main baseball writer, asks ''Do you believe yet?'', and adds that the Phillies do. As for the Mets, David Wright says they have to turn the page quickly . . . or else. (New York Daily News) The Post's Jay Greenberg, though, thinks there's plenty of time to right the ship.
THE RACES -- A.L. CENTRAL: The Tigers won yesterday and Jim Leyland thinks there's plenty of time for his team to climb out of the hole its in. (Detroit News) But they didn't gain any ground on the Indians, who scored in the bottom of the ninth to beat the reeling Mariners. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
I'M WITH YOU: Seattle has lost six straight and is plummeting in both the A.L. West and wild-card races. But their former manager, Mike Hargrove -- who lives in Cleveland and spent years with the Indians as a player and manager -- says he feels ''more a Mariner'' than he does an Indian and still follows the team closely despite his abrupt resignation two months ago. (Both stories Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
THE RACES -- N.L. CENTRAL: The Cubs beat the Brewers (Chicago Tribune) and the Astros beat the Cardinals (Houston Chronicle).
WISH LIST: SI.com's John Donovan examines what each contender needs to have happen down the stretch. For the Red Sox, it's that J.D. Drew and Kevin Youkilis start hitting.
OZZIE BEING OZZIE: Ozzie Guillen launched into quite the tirade against his players after they lost Wednesday night. (Chicago Sun-Times)
LOCAL BOYS: The blog The Good Phight gives a little love to Davey Lopes.
QUICKLY: Esteban Loiaza is shocked to be leaving the A's (San Francisco Chronicle) . . . Oakland's Rich Harden says he's came back too soon from his arm woes and is going to be more cautious this time around (San Jose Mercury News) . . . Vernon Wells may need shoulder surgery (Toronto Globe and Mail) . . . The Tigers are mulling whether or not to bring back the declining Ivan Rodriguez (Detroit News) . . . The Rangers are happy with manager Ron Washington, and they proved it by picking up his 2009 contract option (Dallas Morning News).
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 6:52 AM | Permalink