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Thursday, August 26, 2010

How have Ichiro and Felix Hernandez not demanded a trade out of Seattle?


Felix Hernandez and Ichiro Suzuki are two of the best players in Major League Baseball and yet they will continue to toil in obscurity until they get out of rainy Seattle.

True to form, the Red Sox (73-55) had a nice opportunity to build some momentum yesterday and they did that, well kind of but not really.

They beat the Mariners (50-77) 5-3 in game 1 of a day-night doubleheader before losing to King Felix (10-10) 4-2 in the nightcap.

The Rays got blown out by the Angels and the Yankees lost once again to the Blue Jays, but after one long day at Fenway, Boston was still 5.5 games back in the AL East and wild card.

Game 1 was a sort of Josh Beckett (4-3) mirage: he pitched great (albeit against a pathetic lineup) for six innings then nearly coughed up a 4-0 lead.

The Red Sox were up 4-0 thanks to an infield single by Adrian Beltre in the sixth, Mike Lowell's sacrifice fly and Daniel Nava's two-run single off former Sox scrub David Pauley.

Russell Branyan hit a solo homer off Beckett in the seventh and then former Sox first baseman Casey Kotchman cranked a two-run homer.

Bye Josh. He went 6.1 innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.

Daniel Bard pitched 1.2 scoreless innings and Jonathan Papelbon had a 1-2-3 ninth for his 32nd save.

In the nightcap, Boston waved the white flag before the game even began: subbing Tim Wakefield for Jon Lester, who will pitch the opener at the Rays tomorrow night.

Wakefield (3-10) pitched about as well as could be expected in a no-win situation: 5.2 innings, four runs (three earned) on eight hits with two strikeouts.

Hernandez lowered his ERA to an absurd 2.47 (second in the AL to Clay Buchholz) with 7.1 innings of ace stuff: two runs (one earned) on four hits with a walk and nine strikeouts.

Beltre and Terry Francona were both tossed in the third thanks to a misunderstanding by a rookie umpire, perfect. He thought Beltre was talking trash to him when in fact, he was gabbing with Felix, his former teammate. It's been that kind of season.

Ichiro scored in the first on Branyan's ground out. Jose Lopez drove in two in the third inning with a single.

Ryan Kalish scored on a wild pitch in the third but Matt Tuiasosopo (3 hits) had an RBI double in the sixth.

J.D. Drew closed out the scoring with a solo homer to center in the sixth.

Brandon League recorded the last five outs for the save.

With three in Tampa Bay this weekend: Lester vs. Price, Buchholz vs. Garza and Shields vs. Lackey, the Red Sox need to win at least two games to prolong this agony. If they can somehow sweep the Rays, this will get very interesting but don't count on it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Scutaro and Lackey to the rescue


These are strange days at Fenway Park and with the Boston Red Sox in general. The team claimed former star Johnny Damon off waivers from the Detroit Tigers yesterday but he has 48 hours to make his decision.

In the mean time, the Red Sox (72-54) won their third straight and moved a season-high 18 games over .500 with a 6-3 win at Fenway over the Seattle Mariners (49-76) last night.

John Lackey (12-7) submitted one of his best performances of the season, against Seattle once again. He almost no-hit them in July at Safeco Field. Last night in the cold and rain, Lackey went eight innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits with two walks and a season-high 10 strikeouts.

Marco Scutaro continued his injury-plagued but fine season, driving in a career-best four RBIs.

The Mariners went up 1-0 in the third on an infield single by Chone Figgins (3 hits, stolen base) and an error by Jed Lowrie.

Scutaro's first two-run single put Boston up 2-1 in the fifth inning and then J.D. Drew (2 hits) made it 3-1 with an RBI single.

Doug Fister (4-9) held the Red Sox in check for the first few innings but then he unraveled thanks to his crappy stuff and even worse defense behind him.

He went 6.1 innings, allowing five runs (two earned) on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts. Ryan Langerhans dropped a pop fly in left that bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double.

Casey Kotchman tied it at 3-3 in the sixth.

Scutaro was money in the seventh with a two-run single and Victor Martinez pushed another run across with a sacrifice fly.

Jonathan Papelbon gave up a hit but struck out two in the ninth for his 31st save.

Josh Beckett takes on former Sox youngster David Pauley tonight as Boston tries to keep the good times rolling.

The Yankees lost last night but the Rays won so the Red Sox trail both teams by 5.5 games.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Thank God for Penthouse Pets and Deal or No Deal floozies


Don't look now but Clay Buchholz has positioned himself in the AL Cy Young discussion. Barring a ridiculous last month and change, he won't win because C.C. Sabathia and David Price have the inside track (on better teams) but nevertheless it's been an amazing season for Boston's young ace.

Two lengthy rain delays couldn't stop him yesterday as Buchholz (15-5) and the Red Sox (71-54) beat the Blue Jays (64-59) 5-0 at Fenway Park to take two out of three in the series.

Buchholz threw six shutout innings and lowered his AL-best ERA to 2.26. Filthy. He allowed five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.

Shawn Marcum (11-7) pitched well (7 innings, 3 earned runs, 4 hits, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts) for Toronto but he made three big mistakes in the fifth inning.

David Ortiz (2 hits) started the three-run frame with a triple, his first of the year (but he's had one in all 11 MLB seasons). Adrian Beltre drove him in with an RBI double then Bill Hall (3 for 4 with 3 homers lifetime vs. Marcum) hit a two-run bomb onto Landsdowne Street.

Victor Martinez added an RBI single in the eighth which drove in Ryan Kalish and Ortiz made it 5-0 with an RBI single that plated Marco Scutaro.

Daniel Bard pitched a scoreless seventh with two strikeouts then rookie Felix Doubront locked down his second MLB save with two scoreless innings including two strikeouts.

Boston is 6.5 games behind the Yankees in the AL East and 5.5 behind the Rays for the wild card.

The good news is that the Seattle Mariners are in town for three games; the Red Sox won't have a better opportunity for a sweep in the rest of the season. The bad news is that it's pouring today and it's supposed to rain the next few days as well so who knows when these games will happen.

John Lackey faces Doug Fister tonight in the series opener. Seattle is miserable but they did split with the Red Sox in July at Safeco Field.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Red Sox improve to 9-0 against hapless Angels


Other than the playoffs last season, it's safe to say that the Boston Red Sox own the Los Angeles Angels (or whatever you want to call him).

John Lackey (11-7) tried his hardest to lose to his former team: seven innings, five earned runs on ten hits, five strikeouts but he was overshadowed by Scott Kazmir, who got a no-decision.

Do you remember how good Kazmir was with the Devil Rays (when they weren't just the Rays)? He's my age but he's already washed up, pretty sad. He went five innings, allowing four earned runs on eight hits with three walks and two strikeouts. It's obvious why Tampa Bay dumped him last season, they could see he didn't have anything left.

This was a back and forth game with both offenses running wild on bad pitching. Adrian Beltre gave Boston (69-52) a 1-0 in the first inning with an RBI single.

Mike Napoli tied it up with a solo homer in the third and Howie Kendrick put Los Angeles (60-61) up 2-1 in the fourth with an RBI single.

Bill Hall made it 2-2 with a solo homer in the fourth before Alberto Callaspo crushed a three-run bomb in the fifth.

No problem though as the Angels and their B-squad of relievers couldn't hold the lead. Beltre cut it to 5-4 with a two-run homer in the fifth before Boston scored two runs in the seventh without getting a hit.

Victor Martinez (3 hits) scored on a wild pitch and then Daniel Nava drove in a run by getting hit by a pitch.

The Sox added an insurance run in the eighth when V-Mart hit an RBI single.

Jonathan Papelbon struck out the side in the ninth, probably his best outing of the season. It was a historical feat too since with that he became the first closer with 30+ saves in his first major league season.

Josh Beckett takes the mound tonight as the Red Sox look to sweep the Angels, Ervin Santana will pitch for Los Angeles.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Darnell McDonald and Ryan Kalish, outfielders of the future for the Red Sox?


2010 has been a revolving door for the Boston Red Sox as they have shuffled through a million lineups to augment an absurd level of injuries.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron were declared done for the season last night (no surprise) but the Sox (68-52) had no time to worry about it. More importantly, Dustin Pedroia-the team's heart and soul-returned to action after being out since June 25.

Thanks to two replacement outfielders: journeyman Darnell McDonald and rookie Ryan Kalish, Boston shut out the Los Angeles Angels (60-60) 6-0 at Fenway Park in the first game of a three-game series.

McDonald hit a solo homer in the third over the Monster that broke the back window of a car parked on a rooftop garage on Landsdowne Street. Pretty cool stuff, sorry person with Rhode Island plates.

Kalish topped that with a grand slam in the fourth, making it 5-0 Red Sox.

Victor Martinez doubled home David Ortiz (2 hits, 2 runs) in the fifth and Boston had accumulated an impressive 6-0 lead over Jered Weaver (5 innings, 6 earned runs, 6 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts).

It shouldn't have taken this long to mention him but Clay Buchholz (14-5) improved his AL-best ERA to 2.36 as he has quickly added his name to the top of the AL Cy Young discussion. He went seven scoreless innings without his best stuff: five hits, two walks and three strikeouts.

Things figure to get much uglier pitching wise as John Lackey takes on Scott Kazmir tonight in game two. Lackey has been a big disappointment so far with the Red Sox and Kazmir has completely lost his wondrous talents he showed in obscurity for the Rays.

Tampa Bay and the Yankees both won last night, meaning they're both tied and 5.5 games ahead of Boston.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Texas Rangers are a legitimate World Series contender, fact


When you watch the AL East (baseball's best division) day in and day out, it's easy to overlook other AL divisions and especially the National League.

However, seeing quality teams like the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox allows you to know talent when you see it and this season, the Texas Rangers appear to have the right combination of pitching, great lineup and a closer to go deep into October.

The Rangers (67-49) took two out of three from the Sox (67-52) over the weekend, sealing it with yesterday afternoon's 7-3 win.

The temperature hovered around 100 degrees for each game and it was an easy metaphor to say that Boston's playoffs hopes continue to wilt as the summer quickly vanishes.

Daisuke Matsuzaka (8-4; 6.2 innings, 4 earned runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts), who has quietly become Boston's third best starting pitcher, deserved a better fate on this scorcher of a day.

Dice-K left down 2-0 (sacrifice fly in the second and bunt single in the seventh) with two outs in the seventh but Manny Delcarmen allowed a three-run homer to Michael Young (2 hits) on his first pitch of his outing.

Down 5-0, the Red Sox decided to make it somewhat interesting. Marco Scutaro had an RBI double and Darnell McDonald hit a two-run homer which cut it to 5-3.

It wasn't enough though as Texas added two more in the eighth to close it out.

C.J. Wilson (11-5) beat Boston for the third time this season. He went 7.2 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.

The big 10-game road trip fittingly ended 5-5 for the Red Sox. They're six games behind New York in the AL East and five games behind the Rays for the wild card. Neither of those teams are playing particularly well at the moment either but Boston has been unable to gain any ground.

Dustin Pedroia is returning to the lineup tomorrow (out since June 25) as the Sox kick off a nine-game homestand vs. a favorable trio of teams (Angels, Blue Jays, Mariners). Boston will not go anywhere unless they catch fire in the next week or so, time is running out.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Does this look like the face of the bozo that leads MLB in blown saves?


Once upon a time Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was one of the best in baseball at his position.

Those days seem long gone as he continues to scuffle, blowing his AL-leading sixth game yesterday afternoon in Toronto as the Blue Jays (60-54) shocked the Sox (66-50) 6-5 in the series finale at the Rogers Centre.

It's hard to overstate how important this game was: Boston led 5-2 going into the ninth and they had the chance to sweep a pretty decent team on the road and gain half a game on the idle Rays.

For once John Lackey deserved better: he went eight plus innings, allowing three earned runs on eight hits with a walk and four strikeouts. With a low pitch count, he went back out to start the ninth but promptly gave up a solo homer to Jose Bautista (who's your dealer bro?).

Enter Papelbon (4-5) who gave up three earned runs on four hits before he was mercifully pulled by Terry Francona.

After Vernon Wells (2 hits) double on the first pitch by Papelbon, Adam Lind (2 hits) singled up the middle to cut it to 5-4. Edwin Encarnacion tied it up with a double down the left field line. After a strikeout and an intentional walk, Daniel Bard came on but Fred Lewis delivered a sacrifice fly which scored Aaron Hill with the winning run.

Against scrub minor leaguer (a spot starter) Brad Mills, the Red Sox teed off. Victor Martinez (2 hits) began the barrage with a sacrifice fly in the third. David Ortiz made it 2-0 in the next at bat with an RBI single.

Toronto got one back in the fourth when a run scored on Lind's double play ball.

Jed Lowrie and Ortiz hit solo shots in the fifth to get Mills out of the game.

Another run scored for the Blue Jays in the sixth on Bautista's double play.

Things looked fine though as Darnell McDonald (2 hits) had an RBI triple in the eighth which scored Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2 hits) to make it 5-2.

Boston wraps up this road trip with three in Texas, beginning with Josh Beckett vs. 9-1 Tommy Hunter tonight. The Rangers are a very good team and it's always though to play in the Texas heat this time of year.

It'll be interesting to see what happens if the Sox find themselves in a save situation tonight. Bard only threw two pitches yesterday while Papelbon labored through 19 that felt like 40. Francona will stay with a player until his arm falls off so don't expect him to do anything drastic for a long time.

New York (who won last night) are six games ahead of Boston and Tampa Bay is four games ahead of the Sox in the AL wild card.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bill bleepin' Hall


Remember when you wrote the Boston Red Sox off this season?

Well it's time to jump back on the bandwagon because this team is playing well and they're inching closer and closer to an improbable playoff spot.

The Sox (66-49) smoked the Blue Jays (59-54) 10-1 last night at the Rogers Centre.

Clay Buchholz (13-5) just did what he's been doing for the last year: embracing his role as the best Red Sox starting pitcher.

He allowed Jose Bautista's sacrifice fly in the first (scoring an unearned run) but other than that, he went eight innings, allowing five hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

Shawn Marcum (10-6) is a good pitcher but he was no match for Buchholz or Boston. In four innings, he allowed eight earned runs on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts. A 36-pitch first inning was a sign of ominous things to come for Marcum.

I don't know what it is about the Rogers Centre but the ball is flying out of there for the Blue Jays (most homers in MLB) and the Red Sox (second most homers).

Boston slugged four home runs last night, including two from Bill Hall (3 hits, 4 RBIs).

Mike Lowell (3 hits) walked with the bases loaded in the first as the Sox grabbed a 1-0 lead.

Hall hit two towering shots to left field in the second (solo) and fourth inning (two-run). The Sox knocked out Marcum and sewed up the result with five runs in the fifth: J.D. Drew had a solo homer, Adrian Beltre had an opposite field three-run bomb and Hall had an RBI single.

Victor Martinez (2 hits) closed out the scoring with an RBI single in the eighth.

Adam Lind had three hits for Toronto in the one-sided loss.

John Lackey opposes rookie Brad Mills this afternoon as the Red Sox look for the sweep. They enter today, 3.5 behind Tampa Bay in the wild card and five games behind the Yankees.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I'm starting to love this team


They've been counted out for basically the whole season, the ratings are way down as the Pink Hats have jumped aboard the latest trend and the injuries have mounted at a ridiculous pace but through it all, the 2010 Boston Red Sox have survived. Kind of like Arnold in the Terminator 2.

The Sox (65-49) won 7-5 last night at the Rogers Centre over the previously hot Blue Jays (59-53).

Neither Daisuke Matsuzaka (5.2 innings, 4 earned runs, 6 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts) nor Ricky Romero (6 innings, 5 earned runs, 8 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts) were on their game so this one was decided by the bullpens.

Felix Doubront (2-2) gave up a solo homer to Jose Bautista, his 35th (major league leader) in the seventh but he survived to get four outs and serve as the bridge to Manny Delcarmen (eighth) and Jonathan Papelbon, who pitched a scoreless ninth for his 29th save.

Boston jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning which qualifies as an explosion for them these days. Adrian Beltre had an RBI double, Jed Lowrie (2 hits, 2 RBIs) had a ground-rule RBI double and Jacoby Ellsbury (2 hits) kept the line moving with a run-scoring single.

Toronto leads MLB in homers so it was no surprise when Adam Lind (2 hits) crushed a solo shot in the bottom of the second.

Mike Lowell put the Red Sox up 4-1 in the third with a sacrifice fly but Travis Snider tied it up in the bottom of the third with a three-run bomb.

J.D. Drew hit a solo homer in the fifth but Bautista tied it in the seventh.

Lowell and Lowrie teamed up for the winning runs in the eighth. Lowell hit a solo homer and Lowrie had another RBI double.

Clay Buchholz faces Shawn Marcum tonight.

The Rays rolled last night but the Yankees lost so Boston is five games behind New York and 4.5 behind Tampa Bay.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Red Sox are still alive thanks to tidy 2-1 win in Bronx


This season still has the look and feel of one that will ultimately end in disappointment but you have to give the Boston Red Sox credit for hanging around in baseball's best division.

The Sox (64-49) earned a split at Yankee Stadium yesterday afternoon with a nail-biting 2-1 win over the Yankees (69-42).

Boston is still six games behind New York in the AL East and 4.5 behind Tampa Bay (who broke a five-game losing streak last night).

Jon Lester (12-7) broke his career-worst four game losing streak with 6.1 scoreless innings. He allowed four hits with three walks and six strikeouts.

Daniel Bard entered with one out and the bases loaded in the sixth but he was able to strikeout Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher.

The Sox had a 2-0 lead thanks to two runs in the second inning. Bill Hall drove in Ryan Kalish with an infield hit and Hall came around on J.D. Drew's groundout.

Jacoby Ellsbury was moved to ninth in the batting order after starting 0-for-16 since he returned from the DL. The move paid off as he got a hit, walked, was hit by a pitch and stole four bases (tying Jerry Remy's franchise record).

Mark Teixeira hit a solo homer off Bard in the eighth but Jonathan Papelbon had one of his best outings of the season for his 28th save.

He got out of a jam in the eighth and then struck out the side in the ninth.

Phil Hughes (13-5) was the tough-luck loser since he went six innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts. He seemed to be on the ropes early as the Red Sox worked his pitch count but he settled down in a big way after the rocky second inning.

Boston heads to Toronto for three beginning tonight against the Blue Jays, one of baseball's hottest teams. The Jays also lead MLB in home runs.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, who's been great since the All-Star break faces Ricky Romero, a good young lefty that nevertheless the Sox have owned.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Damn it Beckett


Despite his past success in the playoffs in 2003 with the Marlins and 2007 with the Red Sox, Boston pitcher Josh Beckett has not been a big game performer for the last few seasons.

Facing one of the biggest games of the season last night at Yankee Stadium, Beckett couldn't get through the fifth inning as the Sox (63-49) lost 7-2 to New York (69-41) on a day when Tampa Bay lost its fifth straight game.

Beckett (3-2) went 4.2 innings, allowing seven earned runs on 11 hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

Scheduled starter A.J. Burnett was scratched before the game with back spasms but Dustin Moseley (2-1) stepped in and pitched very well: 6.1 innings, two earned runs, six hits, two walks and five strikeouts.

New York scored twice in the second inning on a throwing error by Bill Hall and an RBI single by Derek Jeter (2 hits, 3 RBIs).

Hall (3 hits) atoned for his usual fielding blunder with a solo homer in the fifth, cutting it to 2-1 Yankees.

The bottom of the fifth was when the wheels fell off for Beckett and the Red Sox. Mark Teixeira led off the inning with a solo bomb. Lance Berkman (3 hits, 2 runs) hit an RBI double, Kevin Cash made a throwing error which led to another run and Jeter sent Beckett to the clubhouse with a two-run double.

Boston got one more run, on an infield hit by pinch hitter Mike Lowell in the seventh. A ball that looked like a double play ball by Alex Rodriguez that he couldn't corral.

Needless to say, today is the biggest game of the season for Boston. They have Jon Lester on the mound, he's lost four straight starts and he needs to get right. Also, they can't lose more ground to New York and I'm sure the Rays will turn around soon despite all their injuries.

Phil Hughes takes the ball for the Yankees in the afternoon matinee.

The Sox are seven games behind the Yankees in the AL East and 4.5 behind Tampa Bay. This is the start of a ten-game road trip and it figures to remain very difficult with three in Toronto (who is playing great) and in Texas (who are legit and Arlington is always a tough place to play in the summer heat).

Friday, August 6, 2010

Beltre and Dice-K help Red Sox split with Indians


The bad news seems to come daily for the Boston Red Sox and yesterday was no different as Kevin Youkilis will miss the rest of the season with his random thumb injury.

Every time you want to bury this team you can't though as they emerge from their shallow grave with a nice win. Last night, the Sox (62-47) earned a split with the Indians (46-63) thanks to a 6-2 win at Fenway Park.

There were basically two reasons why Boston won this game: Daisuke Matsuzaka and Adrian Beltre. Dice-K (8-3) had probably his second best start of the season (behind the near no-hitter at the Phillies) as he went eight impressive innings, allowing one earned run on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

For much of the game, Cleveland rookie Josh Tomlin matched Dice-K, starting out the first three innings with a perfect game. However, with one swing, Beltre gave Boston all the runs they would need as he crushed a fourth inning grand slam over the Monster.

Shin-Soo Choo had given the Indians an early 1-0 lead in the first with a solo homer to center.

J.D. Drew added two important insurance runs in the eighth with a clutch two-run single.

Even a 6-1 lead at home isn't safe for Hideki Okajima (2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk). Luis Valbuena hit an RBI single in the ninth and when two runners were on base, Terry Francona had to go to Jonathan Papelbon since they needed this game bad.

Papelbon made it interesting as usual, walking the bases loaded (putting the tying run at the plate in the form of nobody Trevor Crowe) but striking out two batters to end it. It was his 26th save of the season.

For the first time since before Memorial Day (it's an absolute joke that it's been that long), the Red Sox will play the Yankees. The two teams have four in the Bronx this weekend, starting tonight and ending Monday afternoon.

Clay Buchholz faces Javier Vazquez tonight at Yankee Stadium. The Bombers come in six games ahead of Boston and half a game ahead of Tampa Bay (the wild card leaders). Needless to say, the Red Sox have to win at least a couple games in the series to stay alive. They simply can't afford to be swept.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Red Sox lose to the Indians, again


If he pitched against only the Boston Red Sox, former Sox pitcher Justin Masterson would have a hell of a career.

Following his shutout against Boston in June, he came to Fenway Park last night and beat the Red Sox again, 9-1 in one of the worst losses in a season that's teetering on the brink of being completely over.

With the win, Cleveland (46-62) has already earned at worst a split of the four-game series as Boston (61-47) fell 6.5 games behind the Yankees and Rays for the AL East/wild card.

Masterson (4-10) only lasted five innings: four hits, one earned run, four walks, three strikeouts but that was a much better effort than Jon Lester (11-7), who lost his fourth start in a row. Lester has been the brunt of plain bad luck (the Sox have scored three runs when he's been in the last three games) but last night he went five innings, allowing seven hits, four runs (two earned) with two walks and four strikeouts.

It was an ugly game as Boston committed three fatal errors, beginning when Lester botched a throw to third on a bunt in the third inning. That allowed the Indians to score a run for a 1-0 lead and they added two in the fifth on Asdrubal Cabrera's sacrifice fly and Shelley Duncan's RBI double.

After Jayson Nix's solo homer in the sixth off Fisk's foul pole, Lester was pulled.

David Ortiz hit his 23rd homer of the season in the sixth, solo of course, but that was the only highlight for the home team as Cleveland pushed across five more runs in the seventh thanks to two errors by Marco Scutaro and Victor Martinez. Andy Marte capped it with a three-run homer.

Jacoby Ellsbury returned and batted leadoff while playing center field. Unfortunately, his performance (0 for 5) was completely forgettable.

Daisuke Matsuzaka takes on rookie Josh Tomlin tonight as the Red Sox try to salvage a split before they head to the Bronx for a pivotal four-game series at Yankee Stadium.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mike Lowell says "I'm not dead yet"


After losing on Monday night to the Indians and having Kevin Youkilis placed on the DL with a thumb injury (that might keep him out for the rest of the season if he needs surgery), the Red Sox needed a boost of energy or else they're done.

Last night, that came in the form of Mike Lowell who returned to the field, playing first base, and hit a two-run homer as Boston (61-46) beat Cleveland (45-62) 3-1 at Fenway Park.

Josh Beckett (3-1) had his third straight good start, actually this was his best one in a long time. He went eight innings, allowing one earned run on three hits with no walks and eight strikeouts.

Jonathan Papelbon got a 1-2-3 ninth for his 25th save of the season. He also became the first closer to get 25+ saves in his first five MLB seasons.

Lowell cranked his two-run bomb off David Huff (2-10) in the second, taking the first pitch he saw in months in the big leagues over the Monster.

Lou Marson cut it to 2-1 in the third with a solo shot and Bill Hall (2 hits) pushed across the last run in the fourth with a solo homer of his own.

Ryan Kalish continued to impress, adding two more hits out of the ninth spot in his fourth MLB game. He's hitting .538.

Things got crazy in the eighth when Indians reliever Jensen Lewis threw behind Adrian Beltre. Beckett came out of the dugout and started barking at anyone in a Cleveland uniform, especially Shelley Duncan, who he plunked earlier in the game.

Beckett, Lewis and Indians third base coach Steve Smith were all ejected. Terry Francona was fired up too, yelling at Smith. However, it was a typical baseball "fight" with both benches emptying but not much actually happening other than some pushing and name-calling.

Former Red Sox Justin Masterson takes on Jon Lester tonight at steamy Fenway.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Red Sox do nothing meaningful at trade deadline but produce two straight walk-off wins


As expected, the Boston Red Sox did nothing substantial (sorry Ramon Ramirez, you bum) at the non-waiver trade deadline (Saturday) but that mundane news was tempered with the excitement of two straight walk-off wins over the Tigers on Saturday and Sunday.

I was lucky enough to be sitting on the Monster with some buddies from college on Saturday night as David Ortiz came through with a bases-loaded, three-run double. It's the first walk-off I've seen in person (as far as I can remember) so it was a cool moment.

Yesterday's didn't have quite the same panache since it came when Marco Scutaro (2 hits, steal) bunted and Tigers (52-52) reliever Robbie Weinhardt threw it away, allowing Darnell McDonald to score for the 4-3 Red Sox (60-45) win.

Truthfully, it shouldn't have come to that since Clay Buchholz (8 innings, 3 hits, 2 earned runs, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts) completely silenced Detroit until the ninth when a lucky bounce led to an infield hit and he walked the last batter he faced.

Jonathan Papelbon (4-4) was summoned and on the first pitch, Miguel Cabrera cranked a two-run double (that missed being a homer by a few feet) as Detroit cut it to 3-2. Then Papelbon blew his fifth game of the season when Jhonny Peralta tied it with a groundball up the middle.

Making the win even more impressive is that the Sox beat Tigers ace Justin Verlander (7 innings, 6 hits, 3 earned runs, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts).

Eric Patterson gave Boston a 1-0 lead in the second with an RBI single and Adrian Beltre (2 hits) doubled the Sox advantage with an RBI single in the third. Rookie Ryan Kalish (who went 2-for-4 in his MLB debut on Saturday) added a sacrifice fly in the third for the surprising 3-0 lead.

The time is now for the Red Sox, they're still 6.5 games behind the Yankees and 5.5 in back of the Rays for the wild card. The good news is that the miserable Indians come to Fenway for four games beginning tonight. For any chance to make the playoffs, Boston has to pretty much at least split every series and when they play garbage like this, they need to win three or sweep them.

Tonight John Lackey takes on Fausto Carmona as Lackey tries to keep his streak of three straight great starts going down the stretch.