« May 4, 2008
May 6, 2008 »
May 5, 2008
"Leaky" Lugo: His defense at short is still lacking
Julio Lugo has never been known for playing solid defense at shortstop.
This year, he has sprung a bigger leak than usual on the left side. On Sunday he was charged with his ninth error of the season in only his 30th game. Many of his errors have been on poor throws, but he bobbled a ball Sunday.
Manager Terry Francona said he and the coaching staff have to remind Lugo to remain aggressive on defense, even if his error total is ugly. Francona traces some of Lugo's defensive anxieties to his three-error game in Toronto on April 6, which put him in a fielding-percentage hole.
"I think lately he has played more aggressively, making plays in the hole, planting his foot (to make a strong throw)," said Francona. "When he gets his chest out and is all over the field and is fearless, that's the guy we want. We just remind him of that."
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:51 PM | Permalink
Leyland promises "Drastic Lineup Changes" for Detroit
Tigers manager Jim Leyland, frustrated by the Tigers' lack of consistent offense from a lineup that would seemingly be one of the best in the game from top to bottom, vowed "drastic changes" for Monday's game against the Red Sox.
But the veteran skipper didn't alter his lineup too much, his hands partially tied because it's not as if he has a lot of different bodies to plug into his veteran lineup. So he dropped Gary Sheffield to sixth in the order and Edgar Renteria to eighth, with Ivan Rodriguez all the way down to the number nine slot.
The Tigers also designated outfielder Jacques Jones for assignment and called up Matt Joyce from the minors. He will either play right field or serve as the designated hitter, with Magglio Ordonez filling the position that Joyce doesn't.
The potentially potent Detroit offense is fourth in the league in runs scored with 158 -- only four behind the league-leading Sox. But they have tallied at least four runs in an inning 10 times, accounting for roughly one-third of their total number of runs, making them pretty much a feast-or-famine offense.
The Tigers were limited to two runs in the first two games of a three-game sweep in Minnesota over the weekend, and then, after scoring six runs in the first inning Sunday, Detroit failed to score again and lost, 7-6.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:43 PM | Permalink
Hansen Pushing Delcarmen?
The Sox on Sunday promoted Craig Hansen from Pawtucket to replace outfielder Brandon Moss(appendectomy), and it sounds as if manager Terry Francona is looking forward to seeing the rejuvenated right-hander pitch.
In what may be a related, developing situation, right-hander Manny Delcarmen has continued to struggle in his role as the bridge between the starting pitcher and the dynamic duo out of the bullpen in the late innings, Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon.
Hansen, the number 26 pick overall in the 2005 draft, struggled in the big leagues in 2006 and spent all of last season in Pawtucket, struggling there as well. This season, Hansen seems to have re-discovered the groove that made him such a high pick.
He was 1-0 with a 1.62 earned-run average and 17 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings for the PawSox, allowing runs in only one of his appearances. Hansen had a one-day stay in Boston two weeks ago and was the losing pitcher on April 23, surrendering a homer in his 1 2/3-inning stint.
"We probably rushed him," said Francona of Hansen's troubles early in the big leagues after a sterling career for St. John's.
"We saw him last year throwing changeups on 3-and-2 pitch. He's a guy who throws hard and has a nasty slider. He has gotten back to pitching like it's 'me against you, let's go. If you beat me, you beat me.' The results have been very good. This is a great way to get him up here and see what he can do. It could be (he'll be up) 10 days or 10 years. This is a chance to watch him pitch," said Francona.
If Hansen pitches well, he might push Delcarmen for the late inning setup spot. Delcarmen has been faltering badly. He has been scored upon in five of his last six outings, and in his only scoreless appearance, he gave up a hit and a walk in one-third of an inning.
Delcarmen hasn't been able to work himself out of his funk because in his role, Francona can't have a lot of patience. Delcarmen generally enters games with the Sox ahead, and is backed up by Okajima, so at the first sign of trouble, Francona is lifting Delcarmen and calling for Okajima.
"(Delcarmen) just hasn't been consistent enough with his pitches and is paying the price," said Francona.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:29 PM | Permalink
Ortiz' Sore Knee Good Enough
David Ortiz, who was scratched from Sunday's game because of a sore right knee, is back in the starting lineup tonight.
But manager Terry Francona said that the Sox will be keeping their eye on their slugging designated hitter, not wanting to push him too much too soon and risk losing him for a long stretch of time.
Francona said the cold weather hasn't helped Ortiz' case of tendinitis. He said the Sox weren't sure when they got to Comerica Park today whether he'd be able to play, but after Francona talked to him, he put Ortiz in his customary three hole in the batting order.
"We have to look at the broad, big picture and not run him into the ground," said Francona.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:26 PM | Permalink
Starting Lineups, May 5
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:21 PM | Permalink
Colon Rehab Workout
Bartolo Colon had a brief but successful rehab outing this afternoon for the Sox' extended spring team against the Orioles' extended spring team in Florida.
Colon, who has been sidelined because of a strained oblique, threw 19 pitches in two innings, walking one and fanning one. He did not allow a run. Then he went and threw 16 more pitches in the bullpen, bringing his total up to where the Red Sox wanted it to be. Manager Terry Francona said the report he received had Colon touching 93 m.p.h. on the radar gun.
The right-hander is expected to join the Red Sox in Detroit before heading to Pawtucket to continue his rehab assignment. The plan now is for Colon to pitch for the PawSox Saturday night at McCoy Stadium at Norfolk.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 3:20 PM | Permalink
Sox-Yankees argument leads to murder charge
NASHUA, N.H. (AP) -- A woman accused of running down a man in her car after a Red Sox-Yankees argument in a bar never hit her brakes as she accelerated toward the small group he was in, a prosecutor said today.
"She never braked, and she accelerated at a high speed for about 200 feet. She went directly at this group of people," prosecutor Susan Morrell said of Ivonne Hernandez, who is charged with reckless second-degree murder in the death early Friday of Matthew Beaudoin, 29.
Authorities won't describe the argument beforehand in Slade's Food & Spirits, but witnesses said it heated up when Hernandez identified herself as a New York Yankees fan. Like the rest of New Hampshire, Nashua, 45 miles northwest of Boston, is Red Sox country.
Bartender Tanya Moran said the argument spilled outside, and at least one person in a group that included Beaudoin began chanting "Yankees suck!" when they saw a Yankees sticker on Hernandez's car.
Hernandez, 43, allegedly gunned her car and struck Beaudoin and his friend Maria Hughes, 21. Hughes had only minor injuries, which Beaudoin's sister Faith said was because her brother shielded his friend.
Hernandez, of Nashua, was arrested at the scene. She acknowledged she had been drinking and refused to take a breath-alcohol test, said Morrell, a senior assistant attorney general. Hernandez said she had been in an argument with the group.
"She indicated to police that she wanted to scare this group of people. She thought they would get out of the way," Morrell said.
Hernandez was ordered held without bail after being arraigned toay in Nashua District Court. The charges, including aggravated drunken driving, are felonies, so Hernandez could not enter a plea.
Her public defender, James Quay, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Beaudoin died of massive head trauma at a hospital, Morrell said.
Moran told The Telegraph of Nashua during the weekend that Beaudoin came to the bar regularly to socialize, sing karaoke and have fun.
"He came to hang out. He didn't really drink much," she said.
Chris Lovett, a disc jockey at Slade's, told the New Hampshire Union Leader that Beaudoin kept to himself and "wasn't an instigator."
Faith Beaudoin said her brother, who lived in Nashua, was a 1997 graduate of Nashua High School who worked dealing poker at Sharky's in Manchester and Nashua. She said his organs, including his heart, live and kidneys, were donated in hopes of saving other people's lives.
"He was always helping people when he was alive, and he's still saving lives," she said, choking back tears during the weekend.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 2:28 PM | Permalink
Baseball Today: Monday, May 5
Journal photo / Mary Murphy
YOU'RE RIDIN' HIGH IN APRIL, SHOT DOWN IN MAY: Ol' Blue Eyes could have been singing right to the Rays, whose sweep of the Red Sox at the Trop during the last weekend in April is yesterday's news after the Sox (above) returned the favor -- in far more convincing fashion -- at Fenway over the first weekend in May. It started with a rain-delayed 7-3 win Friday night that didn't end until 12:48 a.m, continued with a 12-4 thumping Saturday night that made a winner of Josh Beckett, and concluded with yesterday's 7-3 series wrapup behind more strong pitching from Jon Lester. (All stories projo.com.) That's a 26-10 runs differential, compared to the 10-5 combined scores that the Rays posted in their three wins in St. Petersburg. If a similarity strikes you -- the 10 runs scored by the Rays in both series -- you're right; the difference in the two weekends is that the Sox bats, silenced in the heat of central Florida, came alive in the cold and drizzle of the Northeast. Steven Krasner noted the offensive explosion in his Inside The Game feature Sunday, and it continued yesterday.
The Sox' fans, accustomed to far greater success than the long-suffering Rays followers, reacted a lot more sedately than the Tampa Bay crowds; no brooms, no gloating, no talk of redemption. (Even our old friend Steve Silva, who can be hilarilously over-the-top in times like these, kept it toned down.) As for the Rays themselves, they took the three losses in stride, saying in both the St. Petersburg Times and the Tampa Tribune that, in the words of manager Joe Maddon, they didn't see the weekend "being devastating to this group at all." Probably not; the Rays, in the words of Baseball Prospectus, are "swimming in prodigious young talent these days" and the long-term future is very bright. But the blog Shysterball thinks that, for this year anyway, "I have this feeling [the Rays] won't be getting much closer" to the Sox than the three games they trail by as we speak.
WELL-ARMED: Lost in the fireworks provided by the bats is the shutdown pitching of the Sox' starters, extending back well beyond this series. Sean McAdam takes a closer look at it all and some of the numbers are astounding: An overall 2.69 ERA for the starting pitchers (including emergency callups David Pauley and Justin Masterson) and a 1.92 ERA in the last eight games. Curt Schilling agrees with McAdam. (38pitches.com)
NOT SO WELL-ARMED: Good thing the starters are going go well, because -- as Sean notes -- the bullpen, save for Jonathan Papelbon and Hideki Okajima, hasn't been nearly as reliable as the rotation. McAdam specifically mentions the struggles of Manny Delcarmen at the end of the column, which leads us to . . .
ANOTHER CHANCE: The recall of Craig Hansen, reported today in the notebook by McAdam and Paul Kenyon. His roster spot is that of Brandon Moss, who underwent an emergency appendectomy Saturday night and was reported yesterday to be comfortable and recovering. (projo.com) But the job Hansen may take is Delcarmen's. If you click back to the earlier McAdam column, you'll see where Sean notes the Sox are looking for an effective bridge to the Okajima/Papelbon tandem -- opponents are hitting .500 off Mike Timlin and Delcarmen has been scored upon in 9 of his 16 appearances this year, including 5 of his last 6 -- and Hansen will probably get a real shot to fill that role. On a transcript of his ESPN Radio appearance on the Hacks With Haggs blog, Peter Gammons says the Angels were raving about Hansen after he pitched against them two weeks ago.
The notebook also contains items on David Ortiz' ailing knee, the emergence of the stolen base as a Red Sox offensive weapon (who'da thunk?) and the continuing offensive struggles of Mike Lowell.
THE REAL MONSTER: Speaking of Papelbon -- which we were, a few steps back -- the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo has a nice feature on the Sox' closer, whose dominance is sparking memories (among those, like me, old enough to rememeber) of Dick Radatz.
TOUGH TALK: He's a players' manager through and through, which means any problems he needs to address will be taken care of out of the public eye. Every so often, though, Terry Francona will send a message to his players via the media . . . and that's what he seemed to be doing Friday night, when he talked about the "responsibility" of playing through minor aches and pains. Krasner related his comments, which appeared to be aimed at J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury; coincidentally or not, both were soon back in the lineup.
WHAT'S THIS? The Sox are now headed to Detroit for the beginning of an 11-game road trip, and they may not recognize what they see when they get there. Jim Leyland, "shocked" by his team's inconsistent offense, is promising a complete change in the batting order tonight. (Detroit Free Press)
THAT'S ONE ON ME: I didn't even know the Red Sox had Matt Miller. Well, they did, and they traded him to the Pirates. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
MOVE OVER, ICHIRO: Jeff Bailey is hitting like a fiend since PawSox manager Ron Johnson made him the team's unlikely leadoff man. (projo.com)
A BEGINNING: Okay, says the New York Daily News' Bill Madden, it's time to face facts: The Phil Hughes/Ian Kennedy Era is over, at least for now with Hughes on the DL and Kennedy on his to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. (New York Daily News) But it didn't matter yesterday, as the Yankee offense continues its own resurgence and led the Yanks to an 8-2 romp over the Mariners in the first game post-Hughes/Kennedy (New York Daily News), completing a weekend sweep and making a winner of Darrell Rasner, who was summoned as one-half of the replacement team for Hughes and Kennedy. (New York Post) The other? Kei Igawa. (New York Post)
AN ENDING? Rhode Island's Jim Salisbury, the national baseball writer for the Philadephia Inquirer, thinks the Yankees' struggle could set in motion of a series of events that will culminate in Brian Cashman being named Phillies' GM.
CROSSFIRE: Willie Randolph is becoming a polarizing figure in Mets Nation. Some, like Tim Marchman of the New York Sun, think he should go; others, like the blog Mets Today, disagree. It's my experience that once a manager gets to this point in the public arena, his departure is only a matter of time.
CINCO DE MAYO: He actually wrote it on May 2, but what better day to highlight Chad Finn's Random Lists of Five, which includes the five Red Sox players he hated the most (and all of whom played for "the reprehensible 2001 team"). I also enjoyed the Five True Yankees Of The New Millennium. (www.boston.com/sports/touching_all_the_bases)
ADIOS, JULIO: Finn also has a love letter to Julio Franco, who finally hung them up -- at age 49 -- this weekend, but who "very likely [is] still a couple of years younger than Miguel Tejada."
WHAT A BABE: Tejada's been the butt of a lot of jokes lately, and not without reason. Even so, he deserves props for delivering on his Ruthian promise to hit a home run for a child with muscular dystrophy. (Houston Chronicle)
IT'S A START: Roger Clemens finally apologized -- to his "family and fans" for "mistakes in my personal life" -- but continues to insist he never used performance-enhancing drugs. (New York Daily News)
WHAT ABOUT THEM? Ozzie Guillen wonders -- in the purplest language imaginable -- why the White Sox, who won the World Series in 2005, are so criticized in Chicago while the Cubs, who haven't won in 100 years, get a pass. (Chicago Tribune)
PACK YOUR BAGS THEN, SORI: Lou Piniella compares Alfonso Soriano to Bobby Bonds. (Chicago Tribune)
WHADDYA WORRIED ABOUT? Stop fretting about the Rockies' 12-19 record. The Denver Post's Woody Paige points out that it's only one game off last year's 13-18 mark at this point, and the Rox made it to the World Series in '07. So I guess those 20 wins in 21 games at the end of last season is something we can expect every year, then.
TURNAROUND IS FAIR PLAY: The Miami Herald notes the off-center characters in the Marlins' bullpen aren't spooked by opposing fans. In fact, it's the other way around.
MEDICAL REPORT: The Giants' Matt Cain has a hamstring problem (San Francisco Chronicle) . . . The Rockies' Kip Wells will undergo surgery to remove blood clots from his pitching hand (Denver Post) . . . The Tigers' Dontrelle Willis has had a setback in his rehab from an injured knee (Detroit News) . . . The Royals' John Bale broke his hand after punching a door (Kansas City Star) . . . The Braves' Peter Moylan may need season-ending surgery. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
OLD FRIENDS: Joel Piniero has a bad back and may miss his scheduled start tonight (rotoworld.com) . . . Eric Gagne "has become a crap shoot when the Brewers summon him to close games," according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel; yesterday he suffered his fifth blown save of the year . . . Derek Lowe got hammered in Denver yesterday (Los Angeles Times) . . . But Bronson Arroyo was even worse, and Reds manager Dusty Baker suspects he may be injured (Springfield News-Sun) . . . Kason Gabbard made a strong rehab start for the Rangers Saturday and may start for Texas on Thursday night. (mlb.com)
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 6:48 AM | Permalink