« April 10, 2008
April 12, 2008 »
April 11, 2008
New York 4, Boston 1
By Joe McDonald
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON _ On a night when most of the focus was on Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang was outstanding.
He recorded a complete-game two-hitter to lead New York to a 4-1 victory at Fenway Park. The right-hander improves to 3-0 on the season and needed only 93 pitches to finish the job. The Sox' J.D. Drew hit a solo homer in the fifth inning and Coco Crisp dropped down a bunt single in the ninth for Boston's only two hits.
"Coming into the game we certainly wanted to stay in the middle of the field," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "We wanted to try to get him to elevate. If you look at the end of the game and you see fly balls, you would think the results might be different. We went through a period in the middle of the game where we squared up four or five and we had nothing to show for it. We didn't get anything started. (Wang) rarely pitched out of the stretch. In a game that tight (1-1) we never got anything going."
Buchholz, on the other hand, was also solid in his first meeting against the Yankees.
"He did great," said Francona. "He really did. he competed and threw all of his pitches. He threw his fastball with conviction. He threw some great offspeed pitches and got himself out of that one jam. He got us to a point in the game where we had a chance, even if we weren't scoring we had a chance to win that game."
He worked six innings and allowed just one run on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
“I think this a step you want to take,” he said about facing the Yankees for the first time. “I don’t know if it’s one that I had to take, but at the same time this is what you dream about when you dream about pitching in the big rivalries when you’re growing up. It was something I wanted to do, and they gave me a shot to do it tonight. I felt good overall, but they had a bit better night than we did. You have to tip your cap sometimes.”
Even though it was the Yankees, Buchholz said he wanted to treat it as just another game.
“I try to go in as a regular start,” he said. “I’ve found out in the past that if you go in and try to do too much then that’s the outcome. I did that a couple of time tonight where I felt like I had to throw the ball harder or make a breaking ball break harder and they ended up being outside the zone. When I was calm and let the ball go out of my hand it worked out a whole lot better for me.”
The last time he started at Fenway Park he recorded a no-hitter against the Orioles last Sept. 1. That feat really wasn’t on his mind last night because it’s an entirely different season.
“Somebody brought it up [yesterday],” he said. “My comment was ‘it was last year and I need to forget about it.’ It might not ever happen again. At the same time this was a good step in the right direction as far as pitching out of trouble and learning a few new hitters.”
Posted by Joe McDonald at 10:35 PM | Permalink
Yankees clubhouse confidential
New York's Joe Girardi makes his managerial debut at Fenway Park tonight. The new skipper just met with the local media:
*Yankees' Johnny Damon has been given the night off and Hideki Matsui will play left field.
*Shortstop Derek Jeter (thigh) is not in the lineup tonight and he's doubtful for the series. Girardi said Sunday could be a possibility, but the poor conditions expected at Fenway this weekend won't help the matter. Jeter is slated to stretch and throw today. He doesn't take sitting on the bench very well and Girardi said: "He's already driving me nuts."
*Jorge Posada (arm) will DH tonight. He's scheduled to play long toss today. Girardi said it's not out of the question that Posada could, at some point, play first base, but the club wants to make sure his arm is fine before taking that chance.
*Since Jeter is on the shelf, the Yankees recalled shortstop Alberto Gonzalez from Triple-A Scranton. Girardi called him a traditional shortstop who looks comfortable and is playing great.
*Girardi recalled his time as a player and the wonderful atmosphere that surrounded this series. He remembers the high intensity and also said it's probably at an all-time high right now.
*Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is 1-for-his-last-22 but the Yankees aren't about to take him too lightly. "When great players are struggling," said Girardi, "they're going to turn it around quick."
Posted by Joe McDonald at 4:36 PM | Permalink
Early Red Sox Notes of Interest
* Terry Francona is unsure how Jed Lowrie is going to be used. Lowrie was called up Thursday to take the roster spot vacated by Mike Lowell (DL-thumb).
``I think a lot will be determined by our health,'' said Francona. ``He played a lot of third base in spring training. If he's here for two weeks, we certainly don't want him sitting every day. We'll probably work hin in a couple of times a week at third.''
* Francona was asked about David Ortiz' ongoing slump (3-for-36).
``I still think it comers down to trying to do too much,'' the manager said.
Francona held a brief meeting with the DH in his office and said the message was simple.
``Even guys like David have to be reminded how good they are,'' Francona said.
* On Bryan Corey being designated for assignment: ``He came out spring training with so much for confidence. But we got into the season and he got roughed up a little bit. I hope, for his sake, he gets a major league job. I told him that. I just don't want him to come back and get us out. He's a guy you pull for -- I hope (he gets a job) in the National League.''
Derek Jeter is out of the Yankee lineup, a rarity at any time, much less against the Red Sox.
Francona jokingly advised him to take his time getting back on the field.
``I think (missing games) is very sensible on his part,'' said Francona with a broad smile. ``It's a long year -- you can never be too careful. He needs to take care of that.''
Turning a bit more serious, Francona added: ``If you're a Boston fan, you don't want to see him have anything to do with the outcome of the game.''
Posted by Sean McAdam at 4:36 PM | Permalink
Weather update from Fenway
The Red Sox just released the area update:
The current weather forecast (provided by the Red Sox private weather service, Meteorlogix) in the vicinity of Fenway Park calls for rain showers to move into the area later this evening.
The Fenway Park gates will open at the regularly scheduled time of 5:05 p.m., and the Red Sox hope that tonight’s game with the New York Yankees 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 4:35 PM | Permalink
Lineups..Get Your Lineups, here!
RED SOX LINEUP
Posted by Sean McAdam at 4:30 PM | Permalink
Red Sox-Yankees key stats
-The Yankees do not have a stolen base through their first 10 games, the longest such stretch to begin a season for New York since 1948.
-New York's 31 runs through 10 games is the lowest total to start a season since 1977, when they scored 26 runs in the first 10 (but went on to win the World Series anyway).
-New York has used six rookies so far: Shelley Duncan, Jonathan Albaladejo, Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, Ross Ohlendorf and Alberto Gonzalez. That's the most in the American League and tied with San Francisco for the most in the majors.
-Robinson Cano has the third-highest batting average at Fenway Park (.359) among all American Leaguers. Derek Jeter has more hits against Boston (217) than any other major leaguer. Jorge Posada has more home runs at Fenway (14) than at any other opposing ballpark.
-Clay Buchholz has never faced the Yankees.
-J.D. Drew batted just .161 against the Yanks last season.
-The Yankees won the season series last year, 10-8, by taking eight of the final 10 meetings.
-Since 2006, nine-inning Yankee-Red Sox games have averaged three hours, 30 minutes -- 41 minutes longer than the major-league average.
Red Sox vs. Chien-Ming Wang
-Jacoby Ellsbury, 1 for 1 (1.000)
-Manny Ramirez, 13 for 22 (.591), 2 HR, 4 BB
-David Ortiz, 15 for 30 (.500), 4 2B, 2 HR, 6 BB
-Dustin Pedroia, 4 for 10 (.400), 2 2B
-Kevin Youkilis, 7 for 21 (.333), 3 2B, 8 BB
-Alex Cora, 5 for 18 (.278), HR
-Julio Lugo, 6 for 31 (.194), 2B, 5 BB
-Sean Casey, 1 for 10 (.100)
-J.D. Drew, 1 for 11 (.091), BB
-Jason Varitek, 1 for 16 (.063), HR, 2 BB
-Wang is 5-5 with a 4.56 E.R.A. in 12 career appearances (11 starts) against Boston. At Fenway, he's 2-3 with a 6.17 E.R.A.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 3:44 PM to Projo Sox Streakers
For Papelbon, it's all about respect
By Joe McDonald
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON _ The Yankees’ Mariano Rivera is one of greatest closers in Major League Baseball history. The 14-year pro has accumulated 446 saves and when No. 42 enters the game a victory for New York is all put in the bag.
He’s considered the Godfather among his fellow closers and even though there’s a storied rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox, Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon has the utmost respect for Rivera.
“Even though we’re rival teams we’re still in the same boat,” said Papelbon. “We’re playing the major-league game and we’re trying to do good things for the major-league game. I would love to follow in his footsteps for what he’s done for the game of baseball. It’s a fraternity and we have to stick together as closers. Not that we need to have each others back, but we need to know what’s going on with each other.”
During the offseason Rivera signed a staggering three-year deal with the Yankees for $45 million, making him the highest paid closer in the game. Papelbon inked a one-year deal worth $775,000 during spring training, the most money ever given to a non-arbitration eligible reliever.
The two will face each other at some point this weekend with the teams playing the first regular-season series of 2008.
Papelbon, the one-time starter turned closer, loves the role he’s in and he gives Rivera a lot of credit for keeping this specialty role in the game at the forefront.
“We can’t let the momentum go when it comes to signing a contract, sign with a team or whatever it may be,” said Papelbon.
Rivera is considered the best of his generation and that doesn’t go unnoticed with the rest of the closers in the league.
“I think he shows a awareness for everybody who is in this role,” admitted Papelbon. “He’s the Godfather of today’s closer. Goose (Gossage) was the past generation who sealed the deal as a closer, but with (Mariano) he’s set the tone. Guys like me, Joe Nathan and Frankie Rodriguez, I feel like it’s our time. It’s our duty to follow in the footsteps and keep what closers have become going because it’s up to us to do this in the game of baseball. And, not let a guy like Mariano, who has done so much for this role, to just kind of make him feel like he’s doing it for nothing.”
Papelbon didn’t get a chance to see Rivera during spring training, but he’s hoping the two will both be elected to the All-Star game this July at Yankee Stadium so they can sit down and talk.
“He’s doing a great job and he’s doing it for a reason,” said Papelbon. “I have nothing but good things to say about that guy, obviously.”
Posted by Joe McDonald at 2:50 PM | Permalink
Corey still in town
Red Sox manager Terry Francona announced after Thursday's victory over the Tigers that the club would officially designate reliever Bryan Corey for assignment today. It's 2 p.m. here at Fenway Park and the right-hander is running sprints in right field.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 2:13 PM | Permalink
Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: Yankees coming to town
We're a little short-staffed today due to illnesses, so today's edition of projo SoxTalk will be audio only without pictures. Click here to listen to Sean discuss the lineup's outburst last night against Detroit, David Ortiz's horrendous slump, Kevin Cash's adventure behind the plate, and the state of the Yanks.
Here are some excerpts from Sean's comments:
Last night: "They were able to score runs in bunches, had three different innings where they scored four runs, and kind of broke out a little bit offensively. That's something they haven't been able to do."
Ortiz: "It may only be 10 games, but ... he really seems lost up there. Some of it may be the surgically repaired knee is not yet 100 percent. He has traditionally been a slow starter, who has said that it usually takes him a little while to find his swing, and it's pretty obvious right now that he hasn't found it yet. And until he does, there are going to have to be others who come through and pick up the slack a little bit."
Cash: "He's very solid fundamentally and defensively. He's not going to provide a lot of offense, but then again neither was [Doug] Mirabelli, and I think they're very happy with the way that Cash not only catches the knuckleball and handles Wakefield, but is available and pretty sound to contribute in other ways when he's behind the plate."
The Yankees: "They are a little banged up. They just got [Jorge] Posada back, and [Derek] Jeter looks like he's going to be out for a few more days. And as a result of a couple of those injuries, the offense really hasn't clicked. ... No one doubts that the Yankees are going to be able to score runs in bunches. They haven't yet ... and maybe the Red Sox are catching the Yankees at the right time this weekend, if they're able to get these games in."
Posted by Mike McDermott at 12:12 PM to Projo SoxTalk with Sean McAdam
Baseball Today: Friday, April 11
Journal photo / Bob Breidenbach
ON THE BALL: With the Yankees arriving tonight, it would have been easy for the Red Sox to be looking ahead -- at least a little -- last night instead of focusing on the task at hand. But Joe McDonald reports that the Sox, with key hits from Sean Casey (above), J.D. Drew, Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis, were able to take care of business with a 12-6 win over the Tigers in a 3-hour-and-44 minute drag-a-thon that featured 23 hits 18 walks, seven pitching changes and 386 pitches thrown. Still smiling at the end of it all was Casey, whose 2-for-5, 3-RBI night is recounted by Carolyn Thornton.
COMINGS AND GOINGS: There were plenty of those at the old ballyard. Before the game we had Mike Lowell placed on the 15-day DL because of a sprained left thumb, with Jed Lowrie being summoned from Pawtucket to replace him. McDonald and Paul Kenyon have the details. McDonald also reports on a pregame injury to Alex Cora, the severity of which is still unknown; the Sox are hoping for the best. Then, when it was all over, Kenyon has news of Bryan Corey being designated for assignment to make room for Mike Timlin, who will come off the DL today.
AND NOW . . . We turn our attention to the Yankees. Kenyon talks to Clay Buccholz, who'll get his baptism in the rivalry tonight.
RATE OF RETURN: The rest of the country complains mightily about ESPN's Red Sox-Yankee phobia, but Newsday's Neil Best explains why the worldwide leader -- and Fox -- can't get enough of baseball's greatest rivalry: It delivers viewers. "One of the few certainties in television is the Yankees and Red Sox," said Len DeLuca, ESPN's senior VP of programming and an old schoolmate of mine from Cranston West.
AH, THOSE SCRAPPY $209,081,579 UNDERDOGS: The New York Post's Mike Vaccaro says we should all be fearing the invasion of the Yankees because the Giants' beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl proves the mettle of "the feisty little overachieving cow town that could, the one that dares dream fine, innocent dreams of one day approaching your sporting fiefdom."
$209,081,579? Come on. You don't know? That's what it costs to pay the 25 members of the feisty little overachieving cow town's American League baseball team. Scrappy hustlers aren't as cheap as they used to be, apparently, since that number is $70,396,382 higher than the payroll of the second highest-paid team, the Tigers ($138,685,197). The $70-million difference, incidentally, is higher than the entire payrolls of 11 other teams, including the defending National League champion Colorado Rockies.
AND WHAT'S $133,440,037? That's what the sporting fiefdom is paying its team.
A MORE TRADITIONAL VIEW: Other Red Sox-Yankee previews from down south -- those of the Daily News, Post and Newsday -- don't mention football. Or payrolls.
QUIET STRUGGLES: David Ortiz is in the worst slump of his career and, like Cosmo in Moonstruck, he doesn't want to talk about it. (Boston Globe)
LIFE IN THE FISHBOWL: Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis are two of the players mlb.com talked to in an interesting feature about how life in the digital age has forced players to more zealously guard their private lives.
EXPLAIN YOURSELF, PLEASE: Dennis of Narragansett asks SI.com's Tom Verducci why he thinks the Red Sox have more question marks than the Yankees or Tigers. Verducci gives his reasons.
THE FEUD NEVER ENDS: A Red Sox fan working on the construction crew for the new Yankee Stadium buried a Red Sox T-shirt in the concrete underneath what will be the Yankee clubhouse in order to "jinx" the Yanks. (New York Post)
LOOKING ROYAL: Andy Pettitte halted the Yanks' slide with a strong performance in a 6-1 win at Kansas City. (New York Daily News) The New York Post's George King also credits Joe Girardi's revamped lineup, which had more Morgan Ensberg and less Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi. But tonight's lineup is likely to be sans Derek Jeter. (New York Post)
AND SPEAKING OF LINEUPS . . . Steven Goldman thinks the Yankees would be far better served with Jorge Posada at DH, Hideki Matsui in left field and Johnny Damon on the bench. (New York Sun)
KEEP THOSE HANKIES HANDY: Maury Allen anticipates a flood of tears when Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium are closed. (thecolumnists.com)
IT'S NOT JUST FOR BIG LEAGUERS: Pitch counts are an organizational edict with many teams, including the Red Sox. Which is why, reports Mike Szostak, David Pauley was pulled from yesterday's start against the delightfully named Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs with one out and nobody on in the fifth inning while holding a 2-1 lead.
LUCKY SEVEN: The Indians signed Fausto Carmona to a seven-year, $48 million deal. (Akron Beacon Journal)
LOOKING AHEAD: Peter Abraham wonders if Carmona's contract is the first step on C.C. Sabathia's journey to New York. (LoHud Yankees Blog)
WE HAVE A DEAL: The New York Times reports that Major League Baseball and the players' union "have tentatively agreed to have an administrator oversee the sport’s drug-testing program as they move toward adopting many of the recommendations in the Mitchell report, according to two lawyers with knowledge of the pending deal." And with an overall agreement in sight, the Times also reports players named in the Mitchell Report are unlikely to be disciplined.
INSIDER'S VIEW: If Roger Clemens' behavior since he was named in the Mitchell Report is incomprehensible to you -- as it is to me -- then ex-major leaguer Doug Glanville's guest column on Clemens in the New York Times is required reading. "Maybe," writes Glanville, "by insisting on his innocence, he thought he was pushing against a downhill-rolling snowball to get it back to the top of the hill; instead, he may have unleashed the worst avalanche of his life . . . To those outside Clemens’s protective shell, he seems to be fighting ghosts. We must understand that he stopped listening to the outside world a long time ago, partly because ignoring those voices was integral to his survival."
Fascinating, not just on the specific topic of Clemens but on professional athletes in general. As I say: Required reading.
THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE: Jose Canseco tells espn.com's Sam Alipour that, when it comes to the steroids issue, MLB and its players are "liars, liars, liars, liars and liars. That's all they are. Major League Baseball and all of the players say, 'If we get together and tell a huge lie, it's thousands against one guy.' But the truth stands."
NOT SO FAST: SI.com's John Donovan says it's not a slam dunk that Johan Santana will dominate the National League in the way most people expect.
GET ME REWRITE! Mike Salfino says the Mets' Willie Randolph manages completely by the book. Only problem is, "it's not like Willie's script is Godfather II. It's more like Porky's II." (sny.tv)
MAKE GOOD: The blog Rays Index speculates that Tampa Bay may seek compensation from the Twins if it can prove Minnesota knew of a preexisting nerve condition that has forced Matt Garza to the disabled list. In best Sgt. Schultz fashion, the Twins say they knew nothing, nothing of any problems Garza had. (mlb.com)
I EAT, THEREFORE I AM: The Costa Contra Times' Pat Casey visits the all-you-can-eat section at McAfee Coliseum, and finds his "paltry four dogs, one order of nachos, a bag of peanuts, an ice cream sandwich and a bag of popcorn" over seven innings pales in comparison to the big-league munchers who have embraced the A's newest promotional tool.
MILESTONE CITY: The Rangers are over .500 for the first time since Ron Washington became manager. (Dallas Morning News)
AND DOWN SOUTH IN THE SAME STATE . . . The Astros say they're not panicking over their 3-7 start. (Houston Chronicle)
SAY AGAIN? Foxsports.com's Tracy Ringolsby is amused by the Diamondbacks' boasting that their April sweep of the Rockies in Denver is 'payback' for Colorado's four-game sweep of Arizona in last year's NLCS. "Yeah, right, winning three games in April alleviates the sting from [losing the National League pennant]," writes Ringolsby. "Just exactly how much beachfront property did the Diamondbacks buy in Arizona?"
LET'S BE BUDDIES: After years of proclaiming the metro area couldn't support two teams, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is now saying he hopes the Nationals are a success in Washington. (Baltimore Sun)
HERE AND THERE: Remember when the Phillies said they weren't interested in Steve Kline? (Philadephia Daily News) Never mind. (delawareonline.com) . . . Randy Johnson will make his season debut Monday for the Diamondbacks (Arizona Republic) . . . Rich Harden has been placed on the DL by the A's. (mlb.com)
OLD FRIENDS: Dave Roberts has been diagnosed with a condition called condromalatia, so his knee surgery will be more complex than a normal arthroscopy and he'll be sidelined longer than usual (San Francisco Chronicle) . . . Wily Mo Pena's recovery has progressed to the point that he'll play back-to-back games at Class AAA Columbus this weekend (Washington Post) . . . Eric Hinske has found a home in Tampa Bay. (Baseball Musings)
AND NOW, FOR A SHORT BREAK IN THE ACTION: It's vacation time, so the next installment of Baseball Today will come on Monday, April 21. Have a good week, and see you in 10 days.
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 6:29 AM | Permalink