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May 10, 2008
Colon impresses teammates
Red Sox pitcher Bartolo Colon didn't want to talk about his outing for the PawSox tonight, but rehabbing Red Sox players Alex Cora and Sean Casey were quite impressed with the right-hander's three-inning performance.
Colon allowed one run on four hits with no walks and two strikeouts. He threw 49 pitches (36 strikes).
"He had great movement," said Cora, who went 0-for-3 in his final game in Pawtucket. "I was really impressed with him. He had good arm speed and made some good pitches. His ball was really really moving. I know he's going to make a difference and really help us out. I don't know how soon, but I'll tell you what, he's going to help this team win a world championship."
"He looked great," said Casey, who went 1-for-2, including a double and two runs scored. "He'll be a big plus if he can continue to do that stuff. He's Bartolo Colon, a former Cy Young Award winner. He's got great stuff. When I looked up and he was throwing 97 and 95, that's going to play in the big leagues."
Posted by Joe McDonald at 8:46 PM | Permalink
Casey at the bat
Sean Casey (hip) just led off the bottom of the fourth inning for the PawSox with a double to right-center field. He showed no ill effects running the bases.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 7:02 PM | Permalink
Colon done for the night
The right-hander's final line: 3 innings. 1 run (earned). 4 hits. 0 walks. 2 strikeouts. 49 pitches (36 strikes).
Posted by Joe McDonald at 6:54 PM | Permalink
Colon in the third inning
Colon made quick work of the Tides in the third inning, retiring the side in order. He threw just nine pitches (seven strikes). Colon has thrown a total of 49 pitches (36 strikes). He was scheduled for 55.
Defensively, Cora made a play at short, but threw a one-hopper to first, which Casey was able pick out of the dirt.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 6:38 PM | Permalink
Cora, Casey and Colon update
In the bottom of the first inning, Alex Cora grounded out to second base and Sean Casey popped out to left field.
In the top of the second inning, Colon allowed one run on two hits. He threw 19 pitches (13 strikes).
Posted by Joe McDonald at 6:22 PM | Permalink
Colon in the first inning
Bartolo Colon threw 21 pitches (16 strikes) in the first inning. The right-hander allowed two singles and posted two strikeouts. He reached 97 MPH on the radar gun here at McCoy Stadium.
Colon is scheduled to throw 55 pitches.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 6:09 PM | Permalink
Pawtucket pregame notes
**Red Sox infielder Alex Cora (elbow) and Sean Casey (hip) will play Game One of tonight's doubleheader against Norfolk. Cora will play shortstop and Casey will play first base. After the game the two will rejoin their Boston teammates in Minnesota.
Cora spent about 15 minutes during BP this afternoon signing autographs for the young fans here. It was pretty impressive. Casey also spent some time signing after he was done hitting.
**Red Sox pitcher Bartolo Colon (oblique) will start for the PawSox tonight. The right-hander is expected to throw 55 pitches.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 4:58 PM | Permalink
PawSox lineups for May 10
We usually don't post the daily lineups from Pawtucket (I guess we should from now on) but Nick from Boston was wondering about today's game at McCoy Stadium. So here it is:
Jeff Bailey, rf
Alex Cora, ss
Sean Casey, 1b
George Kottaras, c
Sandy Madera, DH
Chris Carter, lf
Joe Thurston, 2b
Keith Ginter, 3b
Jonathan Van Every, cf
Bartolo Colon, SP
Tike Redman, cf
Eider Torres, 2b
Luis Terrero, rf
Oscar Salazar, dh
Scott Moore, 1b
Alex Cintron, ss
Mike Costanzo, 3b
Omir Santos, c
Brandon Fahey, lf
Radhames Liz, SP
Posted by Joe McDonald at 4:45 PM | Permalink
Pregame Notes -- May 10
-- J.D. Drew is being given the night off from the starting lineup, partially because manager Terry Francona wants to make sure everyone gets a day here and there, and also because the Twins are starting a left-hander, Glen Perkins.
This gives Francona an opportunity to have his two outfield speedsters -- Jacoby Ellsbury and Coco Crisp -- both in the lineup. Ellsbury is playing right, with Crisp, a switch hitter, in center.
Drew is hitting .319 (6 for 19) on the trip, but has only one extra-base hit (a double) and one RBI. He also has fanned seven times in the last four games.
-- Curt Schilling played catch again today from 60 feet, or maybe a few feet longer with some throws. He said he made roughly 40 throws and will do the same on Monday.
-- Two roster moves will be made tomorrow. Alex Cora and Sean Casey are expected to come off the disabled list and join the Red Sox for tomorrow night's game at the Metrodome. Jed Lowrie and Craig Hansen would seem to be the most likely roster casualties because they have options. If Lugo has a more serious concussion than is originally thought, that could change the nature of the transactions.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:43 PM | Permalink
Lugo Out -- Possible Concussion
Error-prone shortstop Julio Lugo has been scratched from the starting lineup because he may be suffering from a mild concussion.
Lugo was struck on the side of the head by the knee of Minnesota second baseman Matt Tolbert on a forceout in the sixth inning of Friday night's game.
The throw from Twins third baseman Mike Lamb to second base was high to the first-base side of the bag, forcing Tolbert to go up for it. Tolbert caught the ball for the out, but as Lugo slid into the base, Tolbert's knee made contact with Lugo's head.
Lugo was a bit dizzy, but managed to stay in the game. He woke up dizzy this morning, was scratched from the starting lineup and sent for some tests. Neither Lugo nor manager Terry Francona thought it was anything serious, but they wanted to check it out.
Rookie Jed Lowrie will start at shortstop tonight in place of Lugo, who committed his major-league-leading 11th error Friday night, leading to a pair of unearned runs in the Twins' 7-6 victory.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:36 PM | Permalink
Starting Lineups, May 10
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:34 PM | Permalink
TWINS 7, RED SOX 6: Papelbon blows second consecutive save chance as Sox fall in ninth
By STEVEN KRASNER
Journal Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jonathan Papelbon sat slumped in his chair in front of his locker, his head in his hands.
That, of course, is not how the Boston Red Sox and their fans are used to seeing their supposedly dominant, invincible closer. They're used to seeing him pump his fist, raise his hands in the air and slaps fives with his teammates on the field after closing out another win.
Unfortunately, Papelbon has been less dominant lately. Indeed, the right-hander has blown his last two saves, including one last night as Boston suffered a stunning 7-6 setback to the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome.
Only two nights earlier, Papelbon was stung for a checked-swing single, an error on a soft roller, a bunt, a groundout and finally a two-out broken-bat RBI single by Placido Polanco, coughing up two runs in the ninth in a 10-9 loss to the Tigers.
Last night the culprit was veteran Mike Lamb, who dunked a two-out, two-run opposite-field single over third and inside the line that turned a come-from-behind Boston win into a depressing defeat. The hit for Lamb, who entered the game in the sixth inning because Brendan Harris had to leave (tight hamstring), scored Delmon Young from third and speedster Carlos Gomez from second.
"The last one was one of those things. This one tonight was a totally different story. There was no correlation at all to the other one," said Papelbon after sorting out his thoughts and talking to the media about 20 minutes after Lamb's hit dropped softly onto the turf.
"Tonight I didn't execute a pitch when I had one out to get. It's that simple," said Papelbon, who had successfully racked up saves in each of his first 10 chances before faltering on this road trip.
"It's frustrating as hell right now. The simple fact is I'm making good pitches but I'm not finishing them off all the way through the strike zone. I was in a comfortable position with one out to get. I didn't get a split-finger where I wanted it. I don't have the sharpness I usually have," said Papelbon.
Of course, it's not that simple. Papelbon has been a flame-thrower, a strikeout machine in his career. Over his first seven appearances of this season, for instance, Papelbon punched out 16 batters in only 8 innings.
But of the last 25 batters he has faced, Papelbon has only one strikeout. That's right, just one.
Papelbon wasn't as clear in his description of what "finishing his pitches" means, but pitching coach John Farrell shed some light on the issue.
"He went through a stretch early where he was so dominant with such good command of his fastball and great location," said Farrell. "Right now, I'm not going to say he's off, but he's not in that same groove. He's not as dominant as he was during that stretch."
And that is a mechanical problem, suggested Farrell.
"He's a little spread out with the lower half of his body at times just a hair," said Farrell. "That doesn't give him a downhill plane for his split so it doesn't have the bottoming out action. It's not every pitch, but it happened (on the pitch to Lamb) and it cost him two runs."
So now Papelbon has blown saves in back-to-back chances for only the second time in his career. The other time was Aug. 6 (at Tampa Bay) and Aug. 9 (at Kansas City), 2006. It also marks the first time in his career he has been tagged with losses in back-to-back relief outings.
That doesn't mean Farrell or Papelbon feel there is a crisis of confidence brewing.
"Pap has always been pretty good about when things don't go the way he or we planned to be able to go out the next time he pitches and forget about the time before," said Farrell.
"I just have to go back on the mound and get back my confidence. I mean, it's not an issue of confidence, but I have to go back out there the next time and approach hitters the way I get hitters out and finish my pitches the way I can," said Papelbon.
The finish of the game was in many was in keeping with how most of the rest of it was played. There was some ugly baseball on both sides from throws to the wrong bases, errors, plays not being made that should have been made.
But the Sox did have a 6-5 lead into the ninth, thanks to a four-run fifth-inning surge that overcame a 5-2 deficit and put Jon Lester (5 1/3 innings, 8 hits, 5 earned runs) in position for a win. Mike Lowell ripped a two-run double off starter Boof Bonser, Kevin Youkilis chased home the tying run with a groundout and the go-ahead run scored on a wild pitch from reliever Juan Rincon.
The Sox, though, wasted some chances to pad their lead, ultimately stranding 11 baserunners.
Still, thanks to two great innings from Hideki Okajima, the win was three outs away. They only got two.
Young opened the inning with a ground-ball single of the middle, went to second on a bunt and stole third after Adam Everett fouled out. Gomez drew a walk (his 4th in 131 plate appearances) and then was allowed to steal second without a throw, his 15th steal of the season, putting the winning run in scoring position.
Why not hold him closer?
"There were three different reasons -- who's running, who's pitching, giving up a hole (in the infield defense)," said Boston manager Terry Francona.
Francona said the only chance to throw out Gomez would have been for Papelbon to use the slide-step, and he didn't want Papelbon doing that for fear it would hinder his stuff and location.
"You're never happy giving up the lead run but considering everything, the biggest thing was we didn't want to vacate a position," said Francona.
Instead, Papelbon was left with a vacant look in his eyes, having blown the save on Lamb's hit.
"You can't defense that hit," sighed Francona. "He's a professional hitter and he got enough of the bat on the ball and hit it where nobody was."
Posted by Steven Krasner at 1:24 AM | Permalink
TWINS 7, RED SOX 6: Postgame notes on Lester, Lugo and Okajima
BY STEVEN KRASNER
Journal Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jon Lester, as has been his disturbing custom, threw a lot of pitches in the early going Friday night.
It took him 57 pitches to get through the first two innings. Not all of it was his fault; a throw to the wrong base by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury led to extra pitches in the first and Julio Lugo's ugly error in the second cost him some more pitches.
But he settled down, found his rhythm and lasted 5 1/3 innings (94 pitches) before manager Terry Francona lifted him. Lester allowed eight hits, but walked only one. Of the five runs he gave up, only three were earned.
"I thought I threw the ball well," said Lester. "They had some broken-bat hits and some balls found holes. There's not a lot you can do about that. You just try to minimize the damage. You have to keep pounding the strike zone and hope they hit the ball at people."
Lester almost got hurt on a play that was scary from the start.
Justin Morneau shattered his bat on a pitch in the third inning. The barrel of the bat started flying toward Lester before veering off more toward second base on the infield grass. A piece of wood that floated past Lester to the third-base side caused him to duck his head and put up his arms in a reaction to the wood-flying chaos, even though he never was in danger of being struck.
Once Lester realized he'd be all right, he raced over to cover first base because when Morneau made contact, the ball bounced to first baseman Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis fed a throw to Lester, who arrived at the bag a split-second before Morneau, who tried the head-first slide.
As Lester landed on the bag, he slightly turned his right ankle. He hopped on his left foot for a couple of steps as he passed the bag and then went down to the dirt. After a few seconds, with Francona and trainer Paul Lessard checking him out, Lester got up and walked to the mound.
After taking a couple of warmup tosses, he assured them he was fine and he stayed in the game.
"I stepped on the bag wrong, but it shouldn't be a concern at all," said Lester.
* * *
Embattled shortstop Julio Lugo, who has voiced displeasure with what he views as the media harping on the negative, provided a little more ammunition along those lines Friday night.
Lugo misplayed a routine bouncer right at him in the second inning, a two-out error that paved the way to a pair of unearned runs and a 4-2 Minnesota lead.
It was Lugo's major-league-leading 11th error and fourth in the his last eight starts. Manager Terry Francona, though, said he didn't talk to Lugo about the errors and didn't seem to indicate that Lugo might need a few "mental health" days.
* * *
Hideki Okajima was very quietly efficient against the Twins.
The left-hander retired all six batters he faced, setting them down on a total of 15 pitches, in establishing a sense of order to the Red Sox' pitching, which was spotty Friday night against the Twins.
Okajima needed only six pitches to work a spotless seventh and then in the eighth, his devastating changeup produced a full-count whiff of Minnesota cleanup hitter Justin Morneau leading off the inning. The rest was easy -- two pitches in fact -- for a groundout and a foulout.
The outing lowered his earned-run average to 0.53.
Posted by Steven Krasner at 12:46 AM | Permalink
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