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April 19, 2008
Lester's post-game reaction
Jon Lester following tonight's start in which he gave up three runs in 6.1 innings - his longest outing since going 6.2 innings at Oakland on April 2 - recorded a season-high five strikeouts and a season-low two walks: ``I threw the ball the way I wanted to throw it in the first couple of innings. A couple at bats I got the ball up a little bit, but this was definitely a big step forward for me. First-pitch strikes were a lot better, attacking the zone. My mindset going into the game was they're going to beat me swinging the bats. I'm not going to give these guys any fre epasses. So if that means throwing the ball down the middle, then that's what I did. If we lose that game, it's kind of a bitter sweet game because liek I said, it was such a big step forward for me as a pitcher."
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 10:57 PM | Permalink
Lester continues to hone skills
By Joe McDonald
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON _ Jon Lester is still a work in progress.
The Red Sox starter lasted 6 1/3 innings last night against the Texas Rangers and allowed three runs on 10 hits. Those 10 hits match a career-high, and is the most allowed by a Boston pitcher this season. The left-hander was dealt with a no-decision and is 1-2 in five starts this season.
“Tonight was a step forward,” said pitching coach John Farrell. “The only time he got hurt was when he elevated the ball up around the thigh.”
The numbers seem lopsided, but fortunately Lester was able to strand runners in scoring position and work out of jams. Still, the Red Sox would like to see him not get into those jams so often.
“We striving hard to make sure he doesn’t have to,” added Farrell. “But that’s become kind of his trademark. For him, it speaks to his competitiveness.”
Manager Terry Francona was asked after Boston’s 5-3 victory if he thought Lester is getting frustrated.
“He gave up a lot of hits, but I think he only had two walks,” said Francona. “He maneuvered his way through the lineup. When he first came up (to Boston) we saw him do that. He’d get himself into trouble and he’d compete and find a way to get out of it. He competed tonight and didn’t give in.
“There’s always room to get better,” added the manager. “But he’s trying. He’s working hard. He got us deep in that game where we could win it.”
Lester realized he was better tonight, especially in the first couple of innings. He said he was able to attack the zone better and was able to throw a lot of first-pitch strikes.
"This was definitely a big step forward for me," said Lester. "My mindset going into the game was they're going to beat me swing the bats. I'm not going to give these guys any free passes. So if that means throwing the ball down the middle then that's what I did."
Posted by Joe McDonald at 10:56 PM | Permalink
Francona's postgame reaction
Sox manager Terry Francona's post-game reaction to Boston's 5-3 come-from-behind win over Texas:
On Manny Ramirez' towering eighth-inning game-winning home run: ``It's a pretty swing, isn't it? It's nice just to get the game tied. We have Oki and Pap, we're at home. We didn't have the lead for very long, but it was long enough and it was at the right time."
On Jon Lester's outing: ``Tonight he gave up a lot of hits, but I think he only had two walks and he maneuvered his way through the lineup. When he first came up, we saw him do that. He'd get himself into trouble and he'd compete and find a way to get out. He competed tonight and didn't give in. We had Tavarez warming up in the third inning and you look up and he's still pitching in the sixth. That was okay. There's always room to get better, for all of us, but he's trying. He's working hard. He got us deep enough in that game where we could win it."
On David Ortiz' confidence: ``I think when the weather warms up and guys hit their stride and at-bats carry over, I think a lot of hitters feel good for a while. As long as he doesn't get caught up in looking at the scoreboard right now after he has a couple of at-bats where he makes outs, and David's smart enough not to do that, he'll be just fine. He's back to where at every at-bat, he's a threat. I don't care what his batting average is; I can guarantee other teams don't want him up there in those situations, especially with that guy hitting behind him."
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 10:48 PM | Permalink
Boston 5, Texas 3
By Joe McDonald
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON _ Manny Ramirez has earned most of the headlines so far this season. With the way he’s playing, that may not change.
Ramirez actually had a quiet game against the Texas Rangers last night at Fenway Park. Wait a second. . . he almost had a quiet night until he provided the heroics once again with a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Boston a 5-3 victory. Until that blast he was 0-1 with two walks.
“That is a pretty swing isn’t it?” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona with a smile. “It’s nice just to get the game tied. . . We didn’t have the lead for long, but it was long enough and it was at the right time.”
Another Manny, however, almost stole Ramirez’s spotlight.
Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen came into this season with a lot of promise and proved his worth during spring training. In fact, management took notice late last season that the hard-throwing right-hander finally turned the corner with his development and was on path to make a permanent impact in the bullpen.
Last night was a perfect example of that.
Boston starter Jon Lester lasted 6 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on 10 hits as Texas led 3-2 in the top of the seventh inning. Delcarmen entered the game with one out and one runner on and did exactly what he’s supposed to do – strike batters out.
“We want him to assume that responsibility,” said Francona. “After the couple of hiccups in Toronto he didn’t hang his head and he didn’t doubt himself. He’s getting big outs for us. We talked about him all spring. He’s growing into a veteran and by saying that I’m being complimentary of the way he acts and the way he works. Again, he’s assuming responsibility and that’s a good way to put it.”
Even though his pitch count was a little high with 21 pitches, Delcarmen struck out two and walked only one. As he walked off the mound, he gave a little fist pump because entering the game he had allowed six of nine inherited runners to score.
Not last night.
“Just to get out there and get a couple of punch outs was good,” said Delcarmen. “I threw the ball well. Lester battled through 6 1/3 and just to be able to help him out was pretty good. I got the job done and felt good.”
Lester got off to an interesting spot as he retired two quick outs to begin the game before the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton crushed a solo homer into the Monster seats for a 1-0 Texas lead.
Boston responded in the bottom half of the inning as Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a double to deep center field. Dustin Pedroia followed with a sacrifice bunt and reached on a throwing error by the pitcher to put runners on the corners. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who pulled out of his hitting slump with a grand slam on Friday night, hit into a 4-6-3 DP as Ellsbury scored to tie the game at 1-1.
For obvious reasons, Texas starter Jason Jennings wanted to stay clear of Manny Ramirez, so he walked him. Kevin Youkilis extended his hitting streak to eight games with an RBI-double to give Boston a 2-1 advantage.
Lester, however, surrendered a run in the top of the second inning and another in the top of the third as the Rangers gained a 3-2 lead. The middle innings, for both teams, were scoreless as Lester lasted 6 1/3 innings.
Delcarmen entered the game and retired two of the three batters he faced to leave two runners stranded. He wasn’t the only reliever to come up big for the Sox. Veteran Mike Timlin and Javier Lopez did their jobs in order to get the Sox’ offense jump started in the eighth inning.
Ellsbury led off the inning and popped out to short before Pedroia doubled off the left-field wall. Ortiz scorched a line drive base hit to right to score the game-tying run at 3-3. Then Ramirez did it again. He crushed his 6th homer of the season – 496th of his career – way over the Monster and way up on the light tower to give Boston a 5-3 lead. Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon closed it out in the ninth to record his sixth save of the season.
Ramirez stole Delcarmen’s headline, but the reliever’s work did not go unnoticed.
“Manny is seeing the ball like the size of a basketball right now,” said Delcarmen. “He is just unbelievable right now and it’s pretty good. Our bullpen right now, like last year, is picking guys up and it’s good.”
Posted by Joe McDonald at 10:40 PM | Permalink
Postgame reaction to Sox 5-3 win over Texas
Post-game reaction from the Sox clubhouse
Jonathan Papelbon on Manny Ramirez, who belted his 496th career home run in the eighth inning: ``I'll tell you what. It's impressive what he's doing right now, that guy. Regardless of what you say about the guy, he prepares better than anybody and is more focused than anybody as a hitter than I've ever seen. It's incredible what he's doing right now."
Papelbon on the impact of David Ortiz and Ramirez hitting back-to-back in the lineup: ``Especially when you have to pitch to David and you know Manny's coming up next, I think that's what keeps us in the ballgame at all times. If those guys are coming up late in the ballgame, the ballgame is never over."
Catcher Jason Varitek on Jon Lester's start: ``The first home run, you know (Josh Hamilton) is a strong guy. He hit a fastball up and flicked it on top of the monster. And (Jason) Botts turned on the ball pretty well (for a double to left in the third inning). After that, I think (Lester) really settled in. He got some length in that game, which was good for our bullpen.''
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 10:38 PM | Permalink
Lowell takes ``step in the right direction''
Mike Lowell, who has been out of the lineup since injuring a ligament in his left thumb while making a diving backhand last week against the Detroit Tigers, took 35 swings off the tee today.
The Sox third baseman described the session as ``a step in the right direction.’’
``I was a little anxious today to see how it was going to feel, and I felt really good after the tee work,'' he said. ``I was very encouraged.’’
``Barring any setbacks,'' Sox manager Terry Francona said. ``Maybe we're a week away from him playing in a game.''
Posted by Carolyn Thornton at 5:37 PM | Permalink
Former Red Sox catcher Marzano passes away
Former major league and Red Sox catcher John Marzano passed away this morning. Details still aren't clear at this point, but it appears to be a heart attack. He was 45. Red Sox manager Terry Francona just spoke about it during his daily press conference with the local media.
Marzano played for the Sox from 1987 to 1992.
He was scheduled to appear at Fenway Park on Monday since he played for both the Red Sox and Rangers.
The Red Sox just released this statement:
The Boston Red Sox organization joins all of Major League Baseball in mourning today’s passing of John Marzano. It is a great loss.
John was selected by the Red Sox in the first round of the June 1984 amateur draft and made his major league debut with Boston in 1987. He spent all or parts of the next six seasons with the Red Sox and was a valuable contributor to the club on and off the field.
Over the last few years, John covered a number of Red Sox games in his role as a television, radio and internet journalist. The same preparation and engaging personality that marked his time as a player in Boston carried over to his duties with the media.
We express our heartfelt sympathies to John’s family and friends at this very difficult time.
Here's my story about Marzano:
Marzano also played for the PawSox in 1987-1990 and 1992.
When he was playing for the PawSox he was one of my favorite players, so I waited for him after a game one night to ask for an autograph. I waited and waited and waited. Finally an attractive woman asked who I was waiting for. When I told her, she just smiled and introduced herself as Marzano's wife. So, I asked her for her autograph and she gladly signed my ball.
I never did get John's.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 5:10 PM | Permalink
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Manny Reacts to Farnsworth Suspension
Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez just learned that Yankees pitcher Kyle Farnsworth has been suspended for three games and fined an undisclosed amount of money for throwing at Ramirez during Thursday night's game in New York.
"I don't think he deserves that," Ramirez said of the suspension. "He was just trying to protect his players. We hit A-Rod (Wednesday) night. When you've got a guy on your team like that on your team, you're going to protect him."
Red Sox pitcher David Aardsma drilled Alex Rodriguez in the back during the sixth inning on Wednesday after A-Rod hit a solo home run off Clay Buchholz in the first inning.
On Thursday, Ramirez was 3-for-3, including two homers when Farnsworth threw a 97 MPH fastball behind his head. After the game Ramirez wasn't too upset about the incident, and even today he still wasn't bothered by it.
"To be honest with you, I didn't even see the pitch," he said. "I just stay in the same place. . . That's just how the game is played. You hit one of their guys, they are going to hit one of yours."
Farnsworth's suspension was scheduled to start today, but he has asked for an appeal.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona stayed away from questions concerning the incident.
“That’s not my area,” he said. “I try to keep those guys away from me. That’s none of my business.”
When pressed further about if he was surprised there was a suspension when Farnsworth wasn’t ejected during the game, Francona said he wasn’t about to rate the umpires or the people who rate them.
“I was just a bystander,” he said. “An interested bystander.”
Posted by Joe McDonald at 4:44 PM | Permalink
Ian Kinsler, 2b
Michael Young, ss
Josh Hamilton, cf
Hank Blalock, 3b
Jason Botts, 1b
David Murphy, rf
Gerald Laird, DH
Adam Melhuse, c
German Duran, lf
Jason Jennings, SP
Jacoby Ellsbury, cf
Dustin Pedroia, 2b
David Ortiz, DH
Manny Ramirez, lf
Kevin Youkilis, 3b
J.D. Drew, rf
Jason Varitek, c
Sean Casey, 1b
Julio Lugo, ss
Jon Lester, SP
Posted by Joe McDonald at 4:40 PM | Permalink