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September 11, 2007
Clubhouse reaction following comeback win
Red Sox manager Terry Francona:
"It's a win. That's what we set out to do. It didn't start out looking real great. Down 8-1 is not really the formula, but I don't think we abandoned our approach, which is easy to do when you get down a bunch and start rolling over. We didn't give at-bats away. . . we made them go to the bullpen and then we made them continue to go to the bullpen. We kept on them the whole time."
Francona on Bryan Corey, who earned the victory:
"I know he is a September call-up. He's pitched in the major leagues. We have confidence in his ability to pitch and I think it shows when we use him. He's got a lot of confidence. He can add and subtract with his change-up. He has some velocity with a little bit of movement. . . he can really give us some help."
Red Sox catcher Kevin Cash:
“It was exciting. It was fun to be a part of. Not that this was a must-win game, but it was a big game for us to win. We got down early, and it was good it was early, because it gave us a chance to gain some momentum to come back.”
Cash on J.D. Drew:
“J.D. is big for us,” said Cash, who also played collegiate ball with Drew at Florida State. “I know what J.D. can do offensively. His career numbers are pretty impressive and hopefully [last night] was big for him.”
Posted by Joe McDonald at 11:51 PM | Permalink
Game Story: Thirty eight hits later, Red Sox beat Devil Rays, 16-10
By Joe McDonald
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON -- From implosion to explosion the Boston Red Sox did it all last night.
First, Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield was attempting to earn his 17th victory of the season, a mark that would have matched a career-high. It was the second time in as many starts the veteran knuckleballer was standing one win shy of the mark, and it was the second time in as many games he faltered.
Fortunately for Wakefield he quickly became an afterthought.
Boston erased a seven-run deficit en route to a dramatic and entertaining 16-10 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox received a plethora of production from everyone in the lineup for the come-from-behind win. In fact, Boston emptied the chamber in the middle innings to steamroll the lowly Devil Rays, who only the night before beat the Red Sox, 1-0.
It was the cast of usual suspects who helped Boston pummel its opponent last night, including solid performances from Dustin Pedroia, Mike Lowell, Coco Crisp, Julio Lugo, David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis as the Sox banged out a season-high 16 runs to go along with their 20 hits. Again, rookie Jacoby Ellsbury continues to shine as he extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz and J.D. Drew all hit solo home runs, while Lowell went 4-for-5 in the clean-up spot. Youkilis provided a base-clearing triple and a double.
Performances like these are expected as the norm for the Red Sox.
Throw in a good night for the struggling Drew and backup catcher Kevin Cash then you know it was a good all-around performance.
Drew has been pelted with boos around these parts and Cash has quietly handled his role as Wakefield’s batterymate with care since Doug Mirabelli has been injured. Drew and Cash both contributed in a big way last night, maybe a good sign, especially for Drew.
He went 3-for-4 with a walk and his solo homer in the seventh inning was his first at Fenway Park since April 22nd against the Yankees.
Cash, an eight-year pro, signed with the Red Sox as a minor-league free agent in January with 114 games of major-league experience with Toronto and Tampa Bay. He was sent to Pawtucket as an insurance policy and the Red Sox cashed it in when Mirabelli was injured late last month.
Cash’s offensive numbers may not be earth shattering, but he’s proved that his defensive play, especially his ability to catch the knuckleball, gives Boston another option behind the plate.
Francona was recently asked how he thought Cash was handling the situation.
“About as well as you can,” said the manager. “I don’t think it’s any coincidence when he got in there it brought some of the personality of our team out. Not to be hokey it was kind of that ‘all for one’ When we were playing in Tampa everybody knew he potentially had his hands full [replacing Mirabelli]. We kind of banded together and a lot of good energy came out. It’s been good for us. This kid has done a fantastic job.”
With the regular season quickly coming to an end, an all-out team effort the Sox gave last night might just be the kind of jump start for the stretch run. For Drew, it might just be the game he’s desperately been searching for.
Posted by Chris Venditto at 11:03 PM | Permalink
Sox have a week to decide whether to open 2008 season in Japan; '08 interleague opponents set
BY SEAN McADAM
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON – The Red Sox have been given until ''early next week’’ to accept or decline the opportunity to open the 2008 season in Tokyo against the Oakland A’s, a person with direct knowledge of the situation said Tuesday.
Major League Baseball is awaiting a response from both teams and is withholding the release of the 2008 schedule until a determination on the Japanese series is made.
A division exists within the Red Sox organization, with the team’s baseball operations staff against such a series, while CEO and President Larry Lucchino – a member of MLB’s International Committee -- said to be the biggest advocate for the trip.
The team’s baseball operations staff believes that the trip would put unnecessary strain on the players to start the season, citing the problems experienced by the New York Yankees – who opened in Japan against Tampa Bay in 2004 –- to support their claim.
Whether the Sox go to Japan or not, they appear set to play Oakland to open next season. If the Sox pass on the trip, they will instead open on the West Coast against the A’s in Oakland.
According to a source, the team will meet five of the six NL Central teams in interleague play, with an additional series played against Philadelphia. The Sox will play Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Houston, but not the Chicago Cubs.
In recent seasons, the Sox have alternated between Atlanta and Philadelphia as their annual ''traditional’’ rival.
Posted by Art Martone at 9:46 PM | Permalink
*Red Sox manager Terry Francona gave his daily update on ailing Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez and not much has changed.
Ramirez continues to rehab his strained oblique and he was working out with trainer Scott Waugh again this afternoon. Ramirez was scheduled to take some swings in the cage this afternoon. The Red Sox are still being cautious with his baseball-relatged progression.
*Ramirez isn't the only player bruised and banged up. Backup catcher Doug Mirabelli, who recently returned from the DL after suffering a strained calf, has been hampered by a sore hamstring.
Mirabelli is doing better, according to Francona and he’s goal is to be ready for Tim Wakefield’s next start.
*Jon Lester (4-0) will start for Boston tomorrow night in the series finale against the Devil Rays. The left-hander has been solid in his last few outings.
“His velocity seems to be coming back without effort,” said Francona. “He has tightness to his cutter and change-up. I’m sure the ball coming out of his hand like he’s accustomed to is leading to some confidence; I don’t doubt that for one minute.”
*Wakefield (16-10), tonight's starter, is 4-0 against Tampa this season. The knuckleballer is the all-time wins leader vs. the Devil Rays with 19 career victories. The veteran right-hander will attempt to continue his winning ways tonight.
“I hope the trend continues because that would bode well for us,” said Francona. “I think every start has its own personality and every year teams are different and starts are different. I don’t know if I buy into it, I just hope he wins.”
*Mother Nature is messing with the Red Sox. Because of today's inclement weather, pitcher Matt Clement had his scheduled changed a bit. The veteran right-hander continues his comeback from shoulder surgery.
He was scheduled to throw a simulated game yesterday, his second in a week, but it's been pushed back. He will now throw a side session tomorrow before facing live batters again on Sunday.
Dice-K also had his side session moved back until tomorrow.
*There's been a lot of talk around these parts today about the New England Patriots allegedly stealing the signals of the Jets during the season-opener on Sunday. In baseball, attempting to steal signals is almost a time-honored tradition. A few Red Sox players gave their thoughts on the matter this afternoon.
Catcher Kevin Cash:
“Anything to get the extra edge. Pitchers tipping pitches or getting catcher’s signs are part of the game.”
“I would say some teams focus on it a little more than others. They’re trying to figure out something, especially when you have a guy who is dominating on the mound, everybody is going to be looking to see if he doing something to tip his pitches; anything we can pick up. I think that happens quite often.”
“If you pick something up then maybe something is said, it’s not like there’re eight guys in the dugout looking for signs. It’s not like that. It’s more of if a guys gets on second base some teams look at the catcher to see where he’s setting up and try to read signs, but it’s tough to see fingers when you’re far away.”
Red Sox rookie outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury:
“There’re a lot of things you look for with a pitcher. Baseball is obviously about percentages and anytime you can increase your percentages to steal a base and be successful [is important].”
Ellsbury said he’ll occasionally watch some video to see what a pitcher does, but he also admitted he spends more time studying what a pitcher does during a particular game. He also said he’s getting better at picking up a pitcher’s tendencies a lot quicker.
“You really have to pay attention and be a student of the game,” he said.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 5:34 PM | Permalink
Weather update: Skies clearing up at Fenway
The rain has stopped and the skies above Fenway Park are clearing up. Red Sox manager Terry Francona said the club is optimistic that it will play tonight. The sun is breaking through the clouds and it appears the inclement weather is gone.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 4:47 PM | Permalink
Akinori Iwamura, 5
Carl Crawford, 7
Carlos Pena, 3
B.J. Upton, 8
Delmon Young, 9
Brendan Harris, 4
Jonny Gomes, DH
Dioner Navarro, 2
Josh Wilson, 6
Andy Sonnanstine, SP
Jacoby Ellsbury, 7
Dustin Pedroia, 4
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Lowell, 5
J.D. Drew, 9
Kevin Youkilis, 3
Coco Crisp, 8
Julio Lugo, 6
Kevin Cash, 2
Tim Wakefield, SP
Posted by Joe McDonald at 4:44 PM | Permalink
Weather update from Fenway
It's raining. It's raining hard.
The Red Sox just released this statement:
The current weather forecast (provided by the Red Sox private weather service, Meteorlogix) in the vicinity of Fenway Park calls for moderate rain showers that are currently in the area to subside during the early evening hours.
The Fenway Park gates will open at the regularly scheduled time of 5:05 p.m., and the Red Sox expect that tonight’s game with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays will be played. However, the Red Sox would like to alert our fans to the current forecast and the possibility for delay.
This forecast is of course subject to change as the day progresses. Additional updates will be provided as necessary.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 3:16 PM | Permalink
Henry in talks to buy Loudon speedway
LOUDON, N.H. (AP) - The owner of New England's largest sports venue - New Hampshire International Speedway - has been talking with Boston Red Sox owner John Henry about selling the track to the NASCAR team Henry partially owns.
Both track and team are playing down any suggestion a sale is around the corner, however.
Bahre discussed the sale of the track over the past month with Henry and Sox Chief Operating Officer Mike Dee, he told FoxSports.com. He described it as his latest contact with a long list of potential buyers for the highly successful track.
"There's always somebody talking," Bahre said. "I've talked to Mike Dee and John Henry, and they act like someday they might want to do something. They called and said they want to talk, so we talked. I'm going on 81, so someday I want to do something with the track."
Bahre bought the old Bryar Motorsports Park in 1989 and transformed it into a 1.058-mile superspeedway the next year. The track, about 80 miles north of Boston, seats 101,000 and is home to two Nextel Cup races a year, including the Sylvania 300 this weekend.
Henry's partner in Roush Fenway Racing, Jack Roush, was also quoted by the Web site. He said he had not been party to any meetings or serious discussions, but if the partnership was interested in a race track, "I would have to say that New Hampshire would probably be at the top of my list."
Bahre's son, 44-year-old Gary Bahre, had been in line to move from track president to owner, but his father said recent health concerns undercut that plan.
"He'd never want to run it alone, I'll tell you that now," Bob Bahre said last year. He predicted his son would sell the track promptly if he inherited it.
The father said things are going well at the track now, but, "Let's face it, someday, something will happen. Someday you're going to sell your house."
Kentucky Speedway offered $360 million for the track early this summer, the last documented attempt to buy the track from Bahre.
With 101,000 seats, NHIS hosts the largest sporting event in New England, and historically it produces some of the best racing in NASCAR.
Geographically, the track draws diehard sports fans from throughout New England and Canada.
The word of a possible sale comes as NHIS is set to host the Sylvania 300 this weekend, one of two annual NASCAR Nextel Cup races at the track.
Yesterday, Speedway media relations director Fred Neergaard said a sale of the speedway "is not imminent."
"They are not in negotiations or anything like that," Neergaard added.
Bahre told FoxSports that someone's always looking to buy the track, and he's talked to "about eight" different groups.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 11:24 AM | Permalink
Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: Good stuff from Schilling
Click here to listen to today's edition of projo SoxTalk. Today's topics are: Curt Schilling's performance Monday night; no output from the offense; Scott Kazmir's standing among the top A.L. hurlers; Tampa Bay's late-season surge; Daisuke Matsuzaka's immediate future; and Manny Ramirez's health.
Here are some excerpts from Sean's comments.
Schilling:"It certainly looked like he has made the transition, or is successfully making the transition, from power pitcher to a guy who's got to survive a little bit more on finesse. He's learning how to do that, and the results show that."
Can Tampa Bay get better next year? "It will come down to pitching, and beyond Kazmir and [James] Shields, who emerged this year as the number-two guy, I think what they really need is some good young pitching to continue to develop."
Will Dice-K miss a start? "I think that might be something under consideration after this start. I think they want to have him make this one -- first of all, they want to have him throw today and break down some things on the side to see what they can do to improve his command, which has obviously been one of the issues. He will make his start Friday. ... [then] he would have to pitch on regular rest next time, which would be Wednesday in Toronto, and I get the feeling they're not going to have him do that."
Posted by Mike McDermott at 10:41 AM to McAdam
Baseball Today: Tuesday, September 11
PITCH FOR OPTIMISM: Optimism wasn't in big supply at Fenway Park last night, not after a 1-0 loss to Tampa Bay -- Tampa Bay! -- that reduced the Red Sox' lead in the loss column over the Yankees to four games. But Sean McAdam says the silver lining in the dark cloud was the pitching of Curt Schilling (above, Journal photo by Bob Breidenbach), who's looking more and more like the dependable starter the Sox need him to be in the postseason. Schilling's postgame entries on 38pitches.com, which used to consist of fascinating batter-by-batter, pitch-by-pitch breakdowns, have gotten shorter and shorter and now, whenever he actually posts something, are all but nonexistent; last night's consisted of ''Scott [Kazmir] pitched as good a game as I have ever seen him throw.'' That he did, throwing seven innings of five-hit shutout ball; Paul Kenyon has the details. (projo.com) But the Boston Herald's Rob Bradford notes the Devil Rays aren't the pushover they once were, having now won 13 of their last 17.
YEAH, BUT . . . The Sox are still No. 1 in SI.com's Power Rankings.
NOT SO FAST: McAdam talked to Red Sox owner John Henry, who says published reports of the Red Sox opening the 2008 season against the A's in Japan are premature; according to Henry, ''no formal invitation [has been offered] and no decision made.” (projo.com)
THE RIVALRY NEVER ENDS: The New York Post's Larry Brooks reports that the team with the best regular-season record in the American League will have the choice of playing the Division Series over eight days, or over seven. (Whichever option they don't choose will be imposed on the other series.) And Brooks speculates the Sox would ''jump at the chance to play the eight-day series if for no other reason than to require the Yankees to play the seven-day series so Joba Chamberlain would only be available for three games, instead of the four in which he'd be allowed to pitch in the extended version''
THE OTHER GUYS: Peter Gammons likes both the Angels and Indians and thinks it's possible either one could still be playing on Halloween. (ESPN.com)
MUTED CELEBRATION: Today is Jacoby Ellsbury's 24th birthday. It's also the sixth anniversary of the deadliest attacks ever staged on U.S. soil. Ellsbury admits that since that day in 2001, his birthdays ''have been a lot different.'' (Boston Herald)
PAL 'O MINE: Dustin Pedroia was surprised to hear Jay Gibbons' name surface in baseball's mushrooming drug scandal, since they work out together in Tempe, Ariz., and Pedroia says he'd never seen any evidence of Gibbons taking HGH. (Boston Herald) The Devil Rays' Carl Crawford, who also works out there, was similarly shocked.
PUT UP OR SHUT UP: FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal says it's time to end the charade. Baseball should either pour enormous resources into drug testing to get at the root of the performance-enhancement problem, or admit it's a losing battle and forget about it. ''Halfway,'' he concludes, ''is not good enough.''
OCTOBER MEMORIES: According to Doug Mientkiewicz, his current teammate on the Yankees and a high school teammate way back when, Alex Rodriguez' legendary season is being fueled not by the spectre of impending free agency and the riches that await, but by the embarrassment of his playoff pratfall last year. (New York Post)
IT'S THE SAME, BUT DIFFERENT: A-Rod's late power surge has put him in striking distance of Roger Maris' Yankee record for home runs in a season, and it's opening up a flood of memories for Phil Pepe, who was a young beat reporter when Maris hit 61 in '61. (YESNetwork.com) But the total number of home runs is about where the similarity ends, both in regards to the players involved and the chase itself.
RE-ENTRY: Roger Clemens is set to test his aching elbow this week in Toronto. (New York Post) The New York Daily News reports Clemens is tentatively slated to pitch against Curt Schilling Sunday night.
I CALLED IT: At a time when the Yankees looked like a 75-win team, Baseball Musing's David Pinto predicted they'd wind up with 90 to 95 wins. And it looks like he'll be right.
A.L. RACES: The Tigers rallied from a 4-1, ninth-inning deficit and beat the Blue Jays (Detroit Free Press) . . . They played into the wee hours thanks to a 2 1/2-hour rain delay, but the Indians still beat the White Sox (Cleveland Plain Dealer) . . . The Mariners' 9-3 loss to the A's should all but end their playoff hopes. (Seattle Times)
N.L. RACES: The Pirates beat the Brewers (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) . . . The Phillies beat the Rockies (Philadelphia Inquirer) . . . The Mets beat the Braves (New York Post) . . . The Cubs beat the Cardinals (Chicago Sun-Times) . . . The Diamondbacks beat the Giants (Arizona Republic).
To see how all those games affected the races, check out the N.L. divisional standings and wild-card standings. (Projo Stats)
FAME-OUS: MLB.com's Marty Noble thinks Pedro Martinez is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame.
END OF THE LINE? This has been a difficult season for the Cardinals, so difficult that Tony La Russa may walk away and try to find a new managing job when it's over. (USA Today)
THIS JUST IN: The San Jose Mercury News' Daniel Brown is the latest to discover that high-priced free-agent pitchers are a bad risk.
LOCAL BOYS: Ex-Providence College star John McDonald has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Blue Jays. (Toronto Star)
QUICKLY: The Washington Times reports the Nationals may make a run at Andruw Jones . . . Jimmy Rollins is trying to convince the Phillies to trade for Dontrelle Willis (Philadelphia Inquirer) . . . Harold Reynolds says race played a role in his firing by ESPN (New York Times) . . . Brad Ausmus would like to return to the Astros (Houston Chronicle) . . . Tom Glavine says wants to come back for one more year with the Mets. (New York Post)
OLD FRIENDS: Orlando Cabrera won't come right out and say it, but it's obvious he thinks he deserves the Gold Glove (Los Angeles Times) . . . Wily Mo Pena is wowing them with his power in Washington. (Washington Times)
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 6:54 AM | Permalink