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Jacoby Off and Running
Red Sox rookie sensation Jacoby Ellsbury stole two bases Thursday night in New York. He's been successful on all 13 attempts to start his major-league career, dating back to last season.
It is the longest streak of consecutive steals for a Red Sox player to begin his career since Lee Tinsley began his career with 15 steals in 1994 and 1995.
Former Red Sox player, and current player development consultant, Tommy Harper still holds the single-season record with 54 stolen bases in 1973. He has always said that if his record is to be broken, Ellsbury will be the one to do it.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 11:29 PM | Permalink
Boston 7, New York 5
By Joe McDonald
Journal Sports Writer
NEW YORK _ The Yankees obviously took exception to Manny Ramirez tearing into them last night.
The Red Sox slugger showcased his offensive prowess and dealt New York’s pitching staff a huge blow with a pair of home runs, a single, three RBI and three runs scored to lead Boston to a 7-5 victory at Yankee Stadium.
New York’s disgust was evident in the top of the seventh inning when Yankees reliever Kyle Farnsworth threw his first offering to Ramirez high and tight, which made home-plate umpire Larry Vanover issue warnings to both dugouts. Maybe it was the two homers that caused Farnsworth to throw a fastball near Ramirez’s head, or maybe it was a little retribution for the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez getting drilled on Wednesday.
Either way it didn’t seem to bother Ramirez.
“We hit one of the best players here (Wednesday) night, so I guess they just want to send a message,” he said. “They need to back up their players and compete. . . I just like to compete and I like challenge.”
Not everyone was as laid back as Ramirez after the brush-back pitch and eventual victory for the Red Sox.
“I don’t know if he was throwing at him or what,” said second baseman Dustin Pedroia. “He just throws so hard, he’s throwing 100 MPH and that’s a career-ender if he gets hits.”
His two homers last night were career numbers 494 and 495. Ramirez was asked if he was getting excited about 500 and he shrugged it off.
“Not really,” he said. “Because I’m going to 600.”
What about 700?
“The sky’s the limit,” he answered. “Why not?”
Ramirez wasn’t the only one to keep the Yankees at bay as Red Sox starter Josh Beckett improved to 2-1 this season after working eight solid innings, allowing just three runs on six hits with five strikeouts. Not one for public speaking, the right-hander gave all the credit to Ramirez.
“He’s pretty good, huh?” he said. “Hopefully he’ll invite me to his Hall of Fame speech.”
Whenever Ramirez’s career is over, he’ll be able to look back and enjoy the statistics he put up against the Yankees. In fact, he could go down as one of the best Yankee killers of all-time and last night he continued his streak.
His 160 career RBI against the Yankees are his most versus any other club. It’s also the highest total against a single team by any active player. That’s not all because his numbers against New York since 2006 are staggering. Ramirez is hitting .452 (55-for-115) with 14 homers and 38 RBI in 33 games. Ramirez now has 55 career homers against the Bronx Bombers, which is the most against any opponent in his career.
Not bad for the New York City native.
“Maybe I’m just lucky,” he said.
Of course it’s still early in the season, but there were whispers at Yankee Stadium last night that if Ramirez can continue this pace maybe he’ll become the first player since Carl Yastrzemski to win the Triple Crown.
“You don’t look at that, yet,” said Red Sox first baseman Sean Casey. “If anyone is capable, he has the ability to do that. There are a handful of guys who can do it and Manny is one of those guys. He’s an RBI machine and he still hits a lot of home runs. With his swing and how he can hit to all field, he can hit for average, too.”
It quite clear Ramirez is locked in right now, but by talking to him you would never know it.
“I don’t think much,” he said. “I just love my job and love to compete.”
Even when a fastball is surging towards his head.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 11:18 PM | Permalink
Another long one tonight?
By Joe McDonald
Journal Sports Writer
NEW YORK _ It’s no secret the Red Sox and Yankees play long games.
When the storied rivalry takes place there’s a pretty good chance the game will take close to four hours or more to play. The Red Sox players laugh and roll their eyes when asked about the marathon games that take place at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium, but you won’t hear anyone complain.
Entering Thursday's game the teams have played four games this season with each one lasting 2:59, 2:49, 3:55 and 4:08 respectively. That’s a lot of baseball. Wednesday’s game at Yankee Stadium, a 15-9 victory in favor of New York, was tiring.
“I looked up Wednesday night in the fourth inning and it was 10 minutes of 10,” said Francona. “I was hungry and I was tired.”
Francona explained one of the reasons is due to the fact the Red Sox play so many nationally televised games, especially with the Yankees.
“I don’t want to exaggerate, but I know you have to add on 45 seconds to a minute in between half innings,” he said. “That’s a lot. You’re looking at 20 minutes and that’s significant. We beat the heck out of each other. Both teams work the count and grind out at-bats. There are numerous pitching changes. They run enough where we’re throwing over to first all game. I don’t think anybody is complaining about the quality of baseball. There are just long games. We’ve had some long ones, but it’s not like everybody is playing in slow motion.”
Plus the fact both lineups are so good and patient at the plate, which equals long innings and high pitch-counts.
“Anytime you have 18 hitters going up there with good approaches it’s going to be a long game,” said Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. “The pitchers have to have a plan for each guy and try to find a way to get them out. It takes a long time.”
Last night concluded the brief two-game set between New York and Boston and earlier in the day the players in the Sox’ clubhouse appeared tired and banged up.
“These games are draining,” added Pedroia. “After you play the Yankees you’re sorer than if you played someone else. The games are a lot longer. The atmosphere is a lot different than just a normal game. Maybe they can try to speed it up, but I don’t know how they would.”
When Sean Casey signed with the Red Sox during the offseason, he was told by some of his new teammates wait until a Yankees series. The veteran first baseman was told the games were long and he said yesterday he now knows exactly what his teammates were talking about.
“It’s living up to its expectation so far,” he joked. “That just the way it is because you have two good teams with good-hitting lineups that get on base. . . I looked up Wednesday night at 10:15 it we weren’t even through six innings. It’s crazy.”
It doesn’t matter how long the games last, the players don’t want anything to change. No gimmicks. No time clocks. No keeping the hitters in the batter’s box. As an experiment, minor-league baseball instituted a rule a few seasons ago that hitters had to keep at least one foot in the box. The hitters didn’t like it and the umpires don’t enforce it.
Baseball “can’t do that,” said Pedroia, who was in the minors at the time. “Everybody has their own way of getting ready to hit. That’s ridiculous. They can’t try to take control over a guy’s at-bat. When a guy goes up to hit, it’s his time and nobody else’s. That whole rule is kind of stupid.”
Red Sox rookie Jed Lowrie has spent a total of seven days in the big leagues and five of the seven games he’s been a part of since his recall from Pawtucket have been against the Yankees. He said yesterday he’s used to playing long games when he was playing in Single-A Wilmington and Double-A Portland.
“You get so programmed as a player to never look at the time, you’re always looking at the innings,” said Lowrie. “There are times with four-hour games you think ‘man, this is dragging on’ but you just need to pay attention to the situation and the innings.”
Just because the minutes turn to hours during these games doesn’t mean the product is bad because there’s nothing boring about a New York and Boston series.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing,” Lowrie said of the long hours. “I think it’s better baseball. You get up there and it’s more of a skill to take a tough pitch rather than swing at anything. I think the real fans would appreciate it. The real fans of baseball would be able to distinguish between a good hitter and a good at-bat. That’s why these games take so long because there are so many good players on these two teams. I don’t think it’s bad for the game at all.”
There could be worse things to do than watch the Great American Pastime for four hours.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 5:09 PM | Permalink
Red Sox Pregame Notes: Youkilis will play
*Kevin Youkilis contacted manager Terry Francona early this morning and informed him he was ready to play. The Sox' third baseman fouled a ball off his left big toe in the sixth inning on Wednesday. X-rays were negative.
“He made it very clear to me that if I didn’t play him he would be a pain in the butt,” said the manager. “That’s good news because when a guy has that kind of outlook at 10 in the morning and he’s laughing about it he’s probably feeling a little better than expected.”
Francona admitted he thought Youkilis would be feeling it this morning, but was relieved he was able to pencil him into the lineup tonight.
*Outfielder Coco Crisp has been hampered by a hamstring injury and is out of the lineup again tonight. Francona said this afternoon that Crisp could play if needed, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. The manager said Crisp’s range-of-motion is fine.
*Infielder Alex Cora was placed on the 15-day DL Wednesday with a right-elbow sprain. He was scheduled to have an MRI but according to Francona the test could not be completed because Cora experienced a little anxiety in the tight quarters. He went back today to try again, this time in an open MRI machine.
*Pitcher Bartolo Colon (oblique) continues to just be. He was sitting in the visitor’s clubhouse earlier today, flipping a baseball. Francona said he still has no new information on when the veteran right-hander will begin to throw again. “I know he’s feeling good and he wants to get in there,” Francona said.
*Rookie infielder Jed Lowrie is celebrating his 24th birthday today at Yankee Stadium. He said his family is in town and they shared a birthday cake at his agent's office here in New York.
Line of the day comes from Francona when asked about the now famous unearthed David Ortiz jersey that was buried at the new Yankee Stadium and is up for auction.
“No one in the Francona household will be bidding on it. I’ll go and get him to sign one of his own.”
More to come. . .
Posted by Joe McDonald at 4:55 PM | Permalink
Youkilis -- ``Sore,'' But in the Lineup
Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis is in the lineup, a day after fouling a ball off his left big toe.
Youkilis fouled a ball off the top of his show in the sixth inning last night and came out in the eighth inning when the toe began to throb.
But though the toe was sore when he woke up this morning, he called Terry Francona and told the manager to put him in the lineup -- or else.
``Or I would annoy him all game (in the dugout),'' said Youkilis.
``It's sore,'' said Youkilis. ``But as long as I can put my shoe on and be able to stand on my toes, I'm good. It's not painful when I walk.''
Youkilis recalled palying through a situation in spring training 2005 when he did the same thing against former teammate Derek Lowe in Vero Beach, Fla. That time, it turned out, his toe was broken. X-rays taken Wednesday night here revealed no break.
``I'm just going to play my game,'' Youkilis said, ``and play hard. If I'm a step slow...''
Posted by Sean McAdam at 3:49 PM | Permalink
Tonight's Lineups....This afternoon!
Posted by Sean McAdam at 3:45 PM | Permalink
Corey becomes free agent
Former Red Sox pitcher Bryan Corey has elected free agency instead of accepting his minor-league assignment. The right-hander was designated on April 11 after posting a 14.55 ERA in six appearances for Boston.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 3:20 PM | Permalink
Ortiz jersey buried in Bronx will be auctioned for Jimmy Fund
BOSTON (AP) - Some might call it a curse, others might call it a cure for cancer.
The Boston Red Sox's official charity, the Jimmy Fund, is auctioning off the David Ortiz jersey that was buried under the New York Yankees' new stadium by a Boston fan trying to curse its American League rivals.
The auction began Thursday on eBay Inc. and lasts for one week. The starting bid is $500.
All proceeds will go to the children's cancer charity, which is affiliated with Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Construction worker Gino Castignoli had dropped the jersey in wet concrete, apparently hoping to hex the archrival Yankees.
Anonymous tipsters led the Yankees to the jersey's location, and it was dug up Sunday.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 1:10 PM | Permalink
It was a long night for the Sea Dogs, too
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The Portland Sea Dogs and Connecticut Defenders dueled for so long that they had to reach beyond their bullpens to finish the game, the longest in franchise history for the Dogs.
Both teams ran out of pitchers Wednesday night in the game, which lasted 5 hours and 41 minutes. The Dogs enlisted outfielder Jay Johnson in the 16th inning, and Connecticut tapped third baseman Simon Klink in the 17th.
Johnson managed to shut down the Connecticut Defenders for two endings before the game finally ended after 17 innings with an 8-7 win for the Dogs.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 12:41 PM | Permalink
Projo SoxTalk with Sean McAdam: A long and fruitless night
Last night's was a pretty ugly game, so I guess it's appropriate that today's edition of SoxTalk is sound only, with no pictures. Sean discusses Clay Buchholz's tough night, Chien-Ming Wang's inability to follow up on Friday's excellent effort, Kevin Youkilis' injured foot and the strange scheduling decision by Major League Baseball to have the Yankees finish this season on the road.
Click here to listen to Sean's comments.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 12:35 PM to Projo SoxTalk with Sean McAdam