RHP Justin Masterson, making his first career triple-A start tonight against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, got off to a good start. Pitching in his first game since May 20, when he recorded his first career major league win with the Red Sox, Masterson had a 1-2-3 first inning, throwing 13 pitches. He struck out shortstop Alberto Gonzalez on three pitches.
It is widely believed that Masterson will pitch for Boston in place of Daisuke Matsuzaka on Tuesday; his start tonight was moved up two days, which puts him in line for that date.
Twins claim former Red Sox smart guy Craig Breslow
AP photo / Charles Krupa
Craig Breslow pitches for the Sox in 2006.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Minnesota Twins claimed left-handed reliever Craig Breslow, formerly of the Red Sox, off waivers, a week after he was let go by the Cleveland Indians.
Breslow posted a 3.24 ERA in seven appearances for the Indians, allowing 10 hits and five walks with seven strikeouts in 8 1-3 innings. The Indians let him go when closer Joe Borowski came off the disabled list on May 23.
Breslow was expected to join the team before Friday's game against the New York Yankees. It's his fourth team in four years.
Right-hander Pat Neshek, who is probably out for the season with an elbow injury, was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster.
The 27-year-old Breslow graduated from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. He split time with the Boston Red Sox and their Triple-A team the last two seasons.
Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: They forgot to bring their bats
Click the play button below to hear Sean's comments, recorded this morning in Seattle. The topics: Boston's offensive slump, Erik Bedard, Tim Wakefield, the potential return of Justin Masterson, and whether Kevin Youkilis can get the offense going again.
Here are some excerpts from Sean's comments:
"Something's happened to the offense, and it can't all be the opposing pitching, although there's been some good guys that they've faced on this trip, Erik Bedard being the perfect example last night two-hitting them through seven innings. But two of those five losses have been shutouts, in those losses they have combined for a grand total of three hits."
"Wakefield has made some adjustments mechanically since his last start. He had given up 17 runs in 14 innings in the three outings prior to last night and, you know, one of the hallmarks of his career has been that he is notoriously streaky up or down. So I think the thing that the Red Sox can perhaps take out of last night is that that outing may have been the beginning of the turnaround and they can expect him to maybe get on one of his rolls, which they could use."
NO, IT IS GOOD NEWS: The Boston Herald's Michael Silverman says a little time off would be a good thing for Matsuzaka, as indeed for almost any pitcher. And he points out the team has been superb in managing their workloads because "[saving] bullets, so their pitchers still have some and some with pop, for a seven-month season is the name of the game for the Red Sox."
THE DOMINO EFFECT: With Matsuzaka almost certain to miss his next start -- even if Francona wouldn't say so -- the Sox began some organizational shifting to get ready. Joe McDonald reports Justin Masterson's first start at Pawtucket is being pushed up two days, from Saturday to tonight, which would put him in line to pitch Tuesday in Boston. Matsuzaka's next scheduled start is Monday but, because of today's off-day, Tim Wakefield can pitch Monday on normal rest.
GO WITH THE FLOW: McDonald talked to Masterson about the whole thing and he expressed confidence in the way the team has handled him so far. "They know what they’re doing," he said of the Red Sox’ philosophy. "You have to buy in and know what they’re doing is to help you." That was in contrast to, say, Jon Lester, who chafed at the organization's pitch-count restrictions while he was working his way back to the big leagues last year. (McDonald quotes PawSox manager Ron Johnson as saying taking Lester out of a start when he'd reached his pitch-count limit "was never a delightful situation. It was like sticking a finger in your eye.")
MASTERSON? WHY NOT CLAY BUCHHOLZ? Because his next scheduled start is Friday, and he won't be ready to pitch either Monday or Tuesday.
STOLEN MEMORIES: I know it's been a long time since I thought of Patsy Dougherty or Heinie Wagner. But Jacoby Ellsbury brought them back to life last night when he stole his 20th base of the season, tying him for fifth place on the list of most steals by a Red Sox rookie. (projo.com)
PICK SIX: The Yankees are letting fans vote which six games should be included on the soon-to-be-released Essential Games of Yankee Stadium DVD. And no, don't think you can flood the ballot box with votes for Games Six or Seven of the 2004 ALCS; the games have been pre-selected and you have to choose from a list.
YANKED AROUND: A self-proclaimed "diehard Yankees fan" says the team reneged on its promise to give him 15 All-Star Game tickets in exchange for a pair of home-run balls he caught during a game last year. (New York Post) The Yankees say they promised nothing of the sort.
I BEG YOUR PARDON? The Daily News' Filip Bondy can't believe some of the crowd totals being released by the Mets, who, he says, have "successfully . . . taken over the lead [from the Knicks] for fabricating attendance figures."
SEATTLE -- The Mariners thought they had caught Jacoby Ellsbury leaning the wrong way in the third inning, but after a pickoff throw forced Ellsbury to take off for second, the throw to second by Miguel Cairo was errant, allowing Ellsbury to successfully steal second. That was Ellsbury's 20th steal of the season, moving him into a tie for fifth place in Red Sox history for most steals in a rookie season. He's even with Patsy Dougherty (1902) and Heinie Wagner (1907). Next on the list is Nomar Garciaparra, who had 22 in 1997.
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The Sox are 3-11 in their last 14 games at Safeco Field.
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Safeco Field hasn't been very hospitable for Tim Wakefield. Wakefield is 0-3 with a 3.20 ERA in seven games and has never won here. It's the only American League ballpark where Wakefield has yet to record a victory. Then again, he's never pitched well against the Mariners -- in Boston, at Safeco or the old Kingdome. He's winless in his last 18 appearances against them -- eight of those starts -- dating back to July 29, 1997.
Mariners 1, Red Sox 0: Boston bats go south out West
BY SEAN McADAM
Journal Sports Writer
SEATTLE – If the Red Sox have any designs on winning on the road this season, maybe they should first concentrate on hitting on the road. Either way, they haven’t been doing much of either of late.
Losing for the ninth time in the last 10 road games, the Red Sox were blanked by the Seattle Mariners last night, 1-0, leaving them 1-5 through the first two stops of this three-city road trip.
Two of the five losses have come in shutouts. In those two games, the Sox combined for just three hits. In the six road games in the last week, the Sox are now hitting a not-so-robust .169. They’ve scored just 14 runs in those six games for an average of 2.2 runs, less than half of their season average of 4.98 per game.
Tim Wakefield made his best start of the season, allowing just five hits in eight innings while striking out a season-high eight and walking no one. But one of the five hits was a solo homer in the third to No. 9 hitter Yuniesky Betancourt, and that was the difference.
Erik Bedard limited the Sox to two hits over seven innings – both singles, and both in the fourth inning. The Sox didn’t collect another hit after the fourth.
"Bedard’s stuff was great," said manager Terry Francona, "but so was Wakefield’s. He left one ball up that carried out of the ballpark. Other than that, he was spectacular and we didn’t do anything to help him."
Wakefield, who has just one win since April 20, had allowed 17 earned runs in his previous 14 innings before last night. But some between-start fine-tuning corrected a mechanical problem and he was almost flawless.
"I felt a lot better than my last start," said Wakefield, who fell to 3-4. "I was able to control the strike zone better. I stayed back (in his delivery) a little more, allowing my arm to travel through the slot a little easier. I made some adjustments mechanically and it paid off. Obviously, it showed with the (improved) command of my knuckleball."
After the homer, Wakefield retired 10 of the next 11 hitters he faced and allowed just three more hits the rest of the way. But the offensive support he needed never materialized.
The Sox never got a baserunner past second base, but, thanks to some walks, had their opportunities. They stranded seven runners, including at least one in each of the final three innings.
In the eighth, with Bedard out of the game, J.D. Drew worked a leadoff walk against Brandon Morrow. But for the second night in a row, Julio Lugo’s late-inning bunt try was pushed too hard and Drew, the lead runner, was cut down at second on a fielder’s choice.
With closer J.J. Putz on in the ninth, Manny Ramirez worked a one-out walk and Sean Casey joined him two batters later, giving the Sox the potential tying run in scoring position and the potential go-ahead run at first.
But Putz got Coco Crisp to roll out to second to finish things.
"It’s a combination of things," said Dustin Pedroia when asked to explain the team’s offensive dip. "The strike zone’s been a little bigger and some pitchers have been throwing the ball well. I don’t know – we weren’t in two good hitter’s parks (Oakland and here). Just one of those things, I guess."
Though the Sox were held hitless in eight of the nine innings, Francona said his lineup "made Bedard work hard (109 pitches in seven innings). We just didn’t have anything to show for it."
Francona, too, cited some of the pitchers the Sox have seen to date, including Oakland’s Rich Harden and Seattle's Bedard and Felix Hernandez, as one of the reason’s for the team’s collective cooling off at the plate.
"They’ve been pounding the strike zone and working ahead," he said of the opponents. "They’ve done a good job against us."
In the meantime, the Sox have fallen 1 1/2 games behind the front-running Tampa Bay Rays, with four more road games awaiting, beginning tomorrow in Baltimore, where the Sox were 0-2 in a visit just two weeks ago.
A return home to Fenway Park seemingly can’t come soon enough.
But first, comes a day off on the schedule.
"Those are always good to have," said Pedroia. "It will be nice to step away."