Thursday, March 29, 2012

Aceves Settles Down But Red Sox Still Suffer Loss (12-11)

Alfredo Aceves pitched pretty well today
After a horrible outing which appeared to have knocked Alfredo Aceves from the rotation candidates, he got the ball again today. He was a bit better-- allowing two runs, one earned, and striking out four in six strong against the Blue Jays. He left the game with a 2-2 tie which was quickly broken when Justin Thomas allowed the winning run to score in the eighth inning-- he allowed only that one run in his two innings of work. Michael Bowden pitched the ninth inning and gave up a hit in a scoreless inning. Hitting-wise, the Red Sox were not quite so strong in today's game. They scored one in the second inning with the help of some nice baserunning by Darnell McDonald and a timely double by Ryan Sweeney. They got another in the sixth with a home run for David Ortiz-- his third of the spring. Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a nice day, going 2-2 with a double; however, that was pretty much the only offense the Red Sox would get in a 3-2 loss.

Bright Spots:
Alfredo Aceves- 6 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned run, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Michael Bowden- 1 inning, 1 hit, no runs
David Ortiz- 1-3, solo home run
Darnell McDonald- 0-2, 1 run, 2 walks, 1 steal
Ryan Sweeney- 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 double
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 2-2, 1 double

Dull Spots:
Jacoby Ellsbury- 0-4, 1 left on base
Kevin Youkilis- 0-2, 1 strikeout
Mike Aviles- 0-3, 2 left on base

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Red Sox Toss Second Consecutive Shutout, Win Second Consecutive Ballgame (12-10)

Josh Beckett tossed five shutout
After a slump for the Red Sox-- they won their second straight game today on their second straight shutout. While Beckett was not quite as dominant as Lester was yesterday, he was pretty darn good. He struck out five and allowed just a hit (he walked three) in five shutout innings. This continued Beckett's good spring as he moved to 2-0 with an ERA of a microscopic 0.95 as he has pitched very well so far. Scott Atchison, Franklin Morales, and Mark Melancon closed out the remaining four innings. Melancon and Atchison each struck out two in 1.2 and 1.1 innings, respectively. On the offensive side, things went just as well for the Red Sox-- performing with a starting lineup we could actually see this year (no Josh Kroeger, guys!). Cody Ross banged out a three-run homer in the second inning-- his fourth of the spring, after a one-out walk by Kevin Youkilis and double by David Ortiz. This gave the Sox a 3-0 lead which stuck until Dustin Pedroia drove in Jacoby Ellsbury with a triple in the sixth inning. The Sox scored four runs in the eighth inning, highlighted by a two-run single up the middle by Mauro Gomez to end the scoring with an 8-0 lead for the Red Sox.

Bright Spots:
Josh Beckett- 5 innings, 1 hit, no runs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
Scott Atchison- 1.2 innings, 1 hit, no runs, 2 strikeouts
Franklin Morales- 1 inning, 1 hit, no runs
Mark Melancon- 1.1 innings, no hits, no runs, 2 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia- 1-2, 1 run, 2 RBIs, 1 triple
Cody Ross- 1-3, 3-run homer

Dull Spots:
Mike Aviles- 0-3

Monday, March 26, 2012

Red Sox Get Back On Track In Rout Over Phillies (11-10)

Lester pitched very well today
After a slump lasting a week or so, the Red Sox finally got back on track with a decisive victory over the Phillies today. They got going fast when Dustin Pedroia took a high fastball to right field for a solo home run. With runners at the corners in the second inning, Jimmy Rollins botched a double play ball off the bat of Ryan Sweeney which resulted in another run to make it 2-0. Lars Anderson led off the fifth inning with a double-- however, a strikeout and flyout pushed the situation from an easy scoring chance to a tough one. However, David Ortiz delivered with an RBI single and Cody Ross had the big hit with a homer to left to make it 5-0. After the seventh inning, Jon Lester's night was done-- he had a fantastic day. His final line showed 7 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, and 10 strikeouts to give him his second win of the spring and a 3.50 ERA. The Red Sox scored in the ninth and Matt Albers and Ross Ohlendorf closed out the game with shutout innings to finish a 6-0 win over the Phillies. 

Bright Spots:
Jon Lester- 7 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 10 strikeouts
Matt Albers- 1 inning, no runs or hits, 1 strikeout
Ross Ohlendorf- 1 inning, 1 hit, no runs
Dustin Pedroia- 1-4, 1 home run
Cody Ross- 1-4, 2-run home run
Jose Iglesias- 1-2, 1 RBI, 1 walk
Lars Anderson- 1-3, 1 double, 1 run

Dull Spots:
Nick Punto- 0-4, 3 strikeouts, 5 left on base



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bard's, Red Sox' Struggles Continue Against Jays (10-10)

Bard allowed five runs in six innings
The Red Sox' woes continue as they have now lost six of their last eight games-- dropping from 9-4 to 10-10 this spring. The Sox got going very fast in this game; Mike Aviles led off the first with a double and Jacoby Ellsbury followed him up with a triple down the first base line. Adrian Gonzalez hit a high fly ball to center fielder Colby Rasmus which would wind up as a sacrifice fly to give the Sox a 2-0 lead. They scored again in the second when Nate Spears scored on a double off the wall by Mike Aviles. However, Daniel Bard allowed the Blue Jays to tie the game-- allowing single runs in the second, third, and fourth innings. A two-run triple by Darnell McDonald would give the Sox a 5-3 lead in the fifth inning but that would be all the Red Sox scoring for the day. Two runs in the sixth inning concluded Daniel Bard's day-- he got a no decision after allowing five runs in six innings. Red Sox pitching was pretty good for the most part after Bard's departure-- Scott Atchison, Andrew Bailey, and Justin Thomas each threw scoreless innings. However, in the bottom of the tenth, Doug Mathis was not so lucky-- loaded the bases and allowing the winning run to pass on a walk-off single by Ricardo Nanita. He would end up with 0 innings pitched and the loss.

Bright Spots:
Scott Atchison- 1 inning, no runs, no hits
Andrew Bailey- 1 inning, no runs, 1 hit, 1 strikeout
Justin Thomas- 1 inning, no runs, no hits, 2 strikeouts
Mike Aviles- 3-4, 2 runs, 2 doubles, 1 RBI
Jacoby Ellsbury- 1-3, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 triple
Adrian Gonzalez- 1-2, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 sac fly
Darnell McDonald- 1-3, 1 triple, 2 RBIs
Ryan Lavarnway- 3-5, 1 double
Nate Spears- 2-4, 1 run

Dull Spots:
Daniel Bard- 6 innings, 5 runs, 6 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
Doug Mathis- 0+ innings, 2 hits, 1 run, 2 walks
Jackie Bradley- 0-2, 2 strikeouts
Lars Anderson- 0-2, 2 strikeouts
Felix Sanchez- 0-2, 1 strikeout
Kelly Shoppach- 0-2
Josh Kroeger- 0-2, 1 left on base
Jonathan Hee- 0-4, 7 left on base

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Red Sox Pitching Varies In Split Squad Double-Header (10-9)

Doubront threw 6 strong innings
In the 1:05 game today, the Red Sox faced the Miami Marlins and some solid pitching led them to a decisive win. They got going very quick-- scoring three runs in the first inning after Jose Iglesias and Pedro Ciriaco led off the ballgame with an error and a double to put two in scoring position. A single by Cody Ross, a groundout by David Ortiz, and a single by Ryan Lavarnway would net them a 3-0 lead. The Marlins scored one in the second on a leadoff home run by Austin Kearns to cut the lead to 3-1. However, despite that blemish, Felix Doubront was very good. He pitched for 6 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, and 2 strikeouts in a very good outing. The Sox picked up another run in the sixth after the Sox put runners at first and second with Dan Butler and Ryan Lavarnway, Ryan Sweeney would promptly drive in Butler with a ground ball single to get a 4-1 lead. The Red Sox' bullpen was very solid and preserved Doubront's lead. Doug Mathis struck out one in a perfect inning, Clayton Mortensen struck out two in a perfect inning, and Justin Thomas tossed a perfect inning to end the game. Some very strong pitching was nice to see from the Sox in this game, but it wasn't all so nice today.

Bright Spots:
Felix Doubront- 6 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Doug Mathis- 1 inning, no runs, no hits, 1 strikeout
Clayton Mortensen- 1 inning, no runs, no hits, 2 strikeouts
Justin Thomas- 1 inning, no runs, no hits
Pedro Ciriaco- 2-3, 1 run, 1 double
Cody Ross- 1-3, 1 run, 1 RBI
David Ortiz- 1-3, 1 RBI
Ryan Lavarnway- 2-3, 1 RBI, 1 walk
Ryan Sweeney- 1-3, 1 RBI

Dull Spots:
Derrik Gibson- 0-2, 1 strikeout
Mitch Dening- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 1 left on base
Lars Anderson- 0-3, 1 strikeout, 4 left on base
Nate Spears- 0-3, 1 strikeout, 2 left on base
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alfredo Aceves was roughed up
While the game against the Marlins exhibited some very strong pitching, the same could not be said about the 1:35 game against the Phillies. The Phillies twice in the first and four times in the second to take a 6-0 lead early on. The Sox reclaimed some of that lead when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a fly ball into right field which Hunter Pence lost in the sun-- the ball fell for a 2-run triple to make it 6-2. The Phillies continued to score, however, and knocked Alfredo Aceves out of the game after three innings-- he allowed nine runs on ten hits. Michael Bowden allowed a run in the fourth, but he settled down and allowed just that run in his two innings of work. The Sox scored in the sixth inning when three consecutive singles by Jonathan Hee, Nick Punto, and Josh Kroeger netted Kroeger an RBI single. The Sox got a little rally going in the eighth culminating in a two-run single by Peter Hissey finished the scoring with a score of 10-5. Red Sox pitchers closed out the game well with scoreless (and hitless) innings by Franklin Morales, Andrew Bailey, Vicente Padilla, and Garrett Mock-- the only baserunners came on walks by Bailey and Mock.

Bright Spots:
Franklin Morales- 1 inning, no runs, no hits
Andrew Bailey- 1 inning, no runs, no hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Vicente Padilla- 1 inning, no runs, no hits
Garrett Mock- 1 inning, no runs, no hits, 1 walk
Jacoby Ellsbury- 1-4, 1 triple, 2 RBIs
Peter Hissey- 1-1, 2 RBIs
Mike Aviles- 2-3
Nick Punto- 3-4
Josh Kroeger- 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 run

Dull Spots:
Alfredo Aceves- 3 innings, 10 hits, 9 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia- 0-4, 2 strikeouts, 1 left on base
Kolbrin Vitek- 0-2, 1 strikeout

Friday, March 23, 2012

Red Sox Bats Can't Quite Back Buchholz (9-8)

Clay Buchholz was very shaky
With Clay Buchholz-- the man who started the Red Sox' last win-- on the hill, the Sox faced the Orioles today. However, Buchholz's outing did not turn out quite so well. Buchholz allowed a pair of runs to the Orioles in the bottom of the first. However, Darnell McDonald led off the second inning with a single. A groundout and two singles scored McDonald and put two men on base with just an out. Nate Spears and Nick Punto walked to capitalize on the opportunity and make it a 2-2 game. The Orioles scored three more over the course of the next two innings and Buchholz finished his outing after allowing five runs in five innings. The Sox ate away at the lead a bit in the sixth when Mauro Gomez singled in Tony Thomas to make it 5-3. The Orioles scored one off Mark Melancon in the bottom half to put them up 6-3, however. The Sox scored single runs in the seventh and eighth innings but it wasn't nearly enough to make up for the pitcher's shortcomings. However, the game was ended by some nice pitching by Matt Albers.

Bright Spots:
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 1-2, 1 walk
Daniel Nava- 2-2, 1 run, 1 RBI
Darnell McDonald- 3-3, 1 run
Lars Anderson- 1-2, 1 run, 1 walk
Jason Repko- 1-3, 1 RBI
Nate Spears- 0-1, 2 walks

Dull Spots:
Clay Buchholz- 5 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Mark Melancon- 1 inning, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 strikeout
Jose Iglesias- 0-3, 2 strikeouts, 4 left on base
Mitch Dening- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 1 left on base

Red Sox Battle Back In Tie To Yanks (9-7)

Cook allowed 2 runs in 4 innings
I went to bed unhappy last night-- after watching the game through the top of the eighth I was tired of watching the Red Sox bats flail (even in a spring training game)-- however, they battled back and I wish I'd seen it. After a scoreless game for the first three innings, the Yankees finally got to starter Aaron Cook for two runs in the fourth inning on an RBI triple by Curtis Granderson and an RBI single for Andruw Jones. Cook was taken out after that inning, and he wound up with 4 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 2 strikeouts in a decent outing. On a two-run single by Doug Bernier in the fifth, the Yankees took two more runs and a 4-0 lead. However, Ross Ohlendorf settled down and only allowed those two runs in his three innings. Mark Melancon pitched a perfect eighth inning-- leading to the Red Sox' half of the inning. After a popup by Mike Aviles to lead off the inning, Jason Repko doubled with one out. Pedro Ciriaco proceeded to knock him in with a double to make it a 4-1 game. Nate Spears singled to right to make it 4-2, knocking in Ciriaco. Lars Anderson then flashed some power with a double to center to make it 4-3 and really cut the lead down-- however, Anderson would be stranded. Scott Atchison allowed a hit and struck out a batter in a scoreless ninth to lead into the Red Sox' half of the inning with a 4-3 deficit. Ryan Sweeney singled to lead off the inning, and after a popup for Ryan Lavarnway, Mike Aviles doubled to put two in scoring position with one out. Bobby Valentine then put on one of the most exciting plays in baseball-- the suicide squeeze. With Jason Repko at the plate, he decided not to risk the out so he put on the squeeze and it worked-- Sweeney scored and Aviles advanced to tie it at 4-4. However, with the winning run at third and a tie game, Pedro Ciriaco struck out swinging to end the game.

Bright Spots:
Mark Melancon- 1 inning, no runs, no hits
Scott Atchison- 1 inning, no runs, 1 hit, 1 strikeout
Jason Repko- 1-1, 1 run, 1 double, 1 RBI, the suicide squeeze
Nate Spears- 1-2, 1 run, 1 RBI
Pedro Ciriaco 1-2, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 walk
Lars Anderson- 1-1, 1 double, 1 RBI
Ryan Sweeney- 2-4, 1 run

Dull Spots:
Jacoby Ellsbury- 0-3
Dustin Pedroia- 0-2, 1 strikeout, hurt his left forearm
Kevin Youkilis- 0-2
Cody Ross- 0-3, 2 strikeouts, 1 left on base
Ryan Lavanrway- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 1 left on base

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Losing Streak Extends To Three Against Pirates (9-7)

Lester was shaken up today
Jarrod Saltamacchia had a homer
Today was a tough one as the Sox dropped a close roller coaster game to the Pirates. The Sox got a little rally going in the second inning when Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled to left-center to start things. After a flyout by Ryan Lavarnway, Josh Kroeger lined an RBI single into right field to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. The Pirates tied it up and then took the lead in a big four-run third inning. Lester was taken out as his final line was a bit shaky at 3 innings, 8 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout. However, the Sox cut it close in the fourth when, after a leadoff double by Adrian Gonzalez, Jarrod Saltalamacchia went the other way with a homer to make it a 4-3 game. They proceeded to tie it up in the fifth when the Sox got a two-out rally going, culminating in an RBI double by Adrian Gonzalez. All the while, Junichi Tazawa had pitched very well in relief-- he allowed just a hit and struck out two in three innings of work. A two-out homer by Mauro Gomez netted the Sox a 5-4 lead in the seventh inning. However, the Pirates scored two in the bottom half off Andrew Bailey to give them a 6-5 lead and eventually the win. Neither team scored again as Franklin Morales closed out the loss with a scoreless inning.

Bright Spots:
Junichi Tazawa- 3 innings, 1 hit, no runs, 1 strikeout
Franklin Morales- 1 inning, no runs or hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Adrian Gonzalez- 2-3, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 double
Mauro Gomez- 1-2, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 home run
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 2-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, 1 double, 1 home run
Josh Kroeger- 1-2, 1 RBI
Jason Repko- 1-2, 1 walk

Dull Spots:
Jon Lester- 3 innings, 8 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Andrew Bailey- 1 inning, 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 strikeouts
Pedro Ciriaco- 0-4, 2 left on base
Alex Hassan- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 2 left on base
Lars Anderson- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 3 left on base

Bad PItching Sinks Sox In Loss To Jays (9-6)

This was a tough game for the Blue Jays as they scored early and often in a decisive win over the Red Sox. After the Blue Jays loaded the bases in the second inning, Travis Snider hit a hard liner down the third base line for a two-run double and David Cooper hit a sacrifice fly as the Jays took a 3-0 lead. The Sox fought back in the bottom of the second, though-- after Mike Aviles doubled with two outs, Kelly Shoppach hit a two-run bomb to left center to cut it to a 3-2 lead. Bard held them for the next few innings-- in the end he allowed three runs on three hits and three walks in five innings. However, Jesse Carlson and Michael Bowden were not so lucky as the Blue Jays put up two runs after a little rally in the sixth inning. Andrew Miller threw three pitches before calling to the dugout to be taken out because he hurt his left leg. Doug Mathis pitched a solid seventh before getting knocked around in the eighth-- he wound up with 1.1 innings, 2 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout. Matt Albers wasn't a whole lot better as the Jays scored twice more in the ninth-- he wound up with 1.2 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts. All this added up to a decisive 9-2 win for the Blue Jays.

Bright Spots:
Mike Aviles- 2-3, 1 run, 1 double
Kelly Shoppach- 1-2, 1 run, 2 RBIs, 1 home run

Dull Spots:
Daniel Bard- 5 innings, 3 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts
Michael Bowden- 1 inning, 3 hits, 1 run,
Doug Mathis- 1.1 innings, 2 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Matt Albers- 1.2 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
Nick Punto- 0-3, 1 strikeout
David Ortiz- 0-3, 2 left on base
Cody Ross- 0-3
Ryan Sweeney- 0-3, 2 strikeouts
Nate Spears- 0-2

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mike Aviles To The Phillies? Say It Ain't So

There has been a rumor circulating around the web that Mike Aviles is likely to be traded to the Phillies. This would continue in the Sox' spree of trading shortstop candidates-- first Jed Lowrie to the Astros, then Marco Scutaro to the Rockies, and potentially Mike Aviles to the Phillies. After a hot start to this spring, Aviles is cooled off and is now hitting at a .226/.226/.355 clip with no homers, two doubles, and three RBIs. If Aviles was traded-- Nick Punto and Jose Iglesias would be the primary candidates to become the starting shortstop. This spring, Punto is batting .267/.421/.400 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs. Iglesias, meanwhile, has wowed fans and front office members alike as he has shown his trademark defense plus an improved hitting composure-- he is batting at .231/.286/.385 with a triple and four RBIs. Since Iglesias is the shortstop of the future at 22 years old, he would likely get the chance to start there and try to impress everybody. Even with Iglesias waiting in the wings, I hope Aviles is not traded-- save it for midseason if Iglesias is impressing.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lester Named Red Sox Opening Day Starter

Today came the much anticipated announcement of the Red Sox opening day starter and our man is Jon Lester. With Bobby Valentine at the helm, it wouldn't have been a huge surprise if something unexpected happened-- however, he made the right choice with Lester. This wasn't really much of a competition in my eyes as Lester is no doubt the team's ace after putting together a 15-9/3.47/182 season in a down year last season. This announcement makes sure that opening day against the Tigers is bound to be a good one as Justin Verlander will presumably get the start for Detroit. Verlander had a season for the ages in 2011 as he won the AL Cy Young and MVP after going 24-5/2.40/250, also winning the pitcher's triple crown. In fact, this may well be Lester's toughest assignment of the season. I'm glad Lester gets the start and he definitely deserves it.

Early Lead Slips Away As Sox Fall (9-5)

Felix Doubront pitched well
Well, today was a disappointing game for the Sox as an early 3-1 lead was to no avail in a loss. The Twins scored in the first inning after some issues by Felix Doubront. However, the Red Sox came strong into the second inning. After a walk and a hit by pitch pitted the Sox with two runners with one out, Jason Repko knocked one in with a double. Jarrod Saltalamacchia worked a walk to load the bases. The Sox would score twice more in the inning on a groundout by Darnell McDonald and an RBI by Jacoby Ellsbury to give them a 3-1 lead. The Twins scored again in the third, but overall Felix Doubront was solid-- giving them 4.2 innings with 2 runs and 8 hits. However, the Twins scored three times in the sixth off Mark Melancon-- 1 inning, 3 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout-- to give them a 5-3 lead. After solid outings by Justin Thomas and Andrew Bailey, the Twins scored three in the ninth off Scott Atchison to give them an 8-3 lead. An RBI single for Alex Hassan in the ninth brought it to 8-4 but that was it. The Mayor's Cup is now tied at 2-2.

Bright Spots:
Andrew Bailey- 1 inning, no runs, no hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Jacoby Ellsbury- 2-3, 1 RBI
Jason Repko- 1-3, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 double
Kevin Youkilis- 1-1, 1 walk, 1 steal
Peter Hissey- 1-1, 1 run, 1 double

Dull Spots:
Mark Melancon- 1 inning, 3 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Scott Atchison- 1.1 innings, 3 runs, 3 hits
Brandon Jacobs- 0-2, 1 left on base
Dustin Pedroia- 0-3, 3 left on base
Adrian Gonzalez- 0-3, 1 strikeout, 1 left on base
David Ortiz- 0-3, 1 run, 2 strikeouts, 4 left on base
Jose Iglesias- 0-3, 1 RBI, 3 left on base

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Red Sox Beat Rays Some Moore (9-4)

Buchholz threw 5 strong innings
Cody Ross hit home run #2
Today was a good day for the Red Sox as they continued on this very nice trend of consistently winning. The game started off strong as Cody Ross homered to left, continuing his excellent spring. After a scoreless bottom half for the Rays, the Sox went right back to work with Josh Kroeger leading off the inning with a home run to right. However, in the bottom of the second, the Rays did a little too as Evan Longoria led off the inning with a bomb to left to cut the Red Sox' lead to one. However, in the third, the Red Sox began to take advantage of Rays' starter Matt Moore's shaky control. Three walks in the inning loaded the bases with one out for Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Salty worked a full count before walking. Josh Kroeger then hit a high fly ball to left which would result in a sacrifice fly to give the Red Sox a 4-1 lead. The Sox got going quickly in the fourth-- after Jason Repko was hit by a pitch to start the inning, Nate Spears singled to right to put runners at the corners. Alex Hassan promptly hit a soft liner into center field to score a run and give the Sox a 5-1 lead. Mike Aviles then grounded into a tailor made double play; however, Spears scored to make it a 6-1 game. All this while, Clay Buchholz pitched very well for the Sox-- putting together his strongest start yet. He went five innings, allowing a run on four hits and no walks while striking out four. In the sixth inning, Mauro Gomez led off the inning with a single but it took two outs before they got a rally going. After Gomez advanced to second on a wild pitch, Alex Hassan grounded to third where Longoria threw the ball away, allowing a run to score. The bottom of the sixth did not go so well however, with Justin Thomas allowing two runs before a very good throw by Nate Spears to catch Jeff Keppinger at third base ended the inning. The Rays scored again in the seventh to make it only 7-4, but other than that Vicente Padilla's night was quite good (3 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts) as he closed out the game after the Sox made it 8-4 in the ninth.

Bright Spots:
Clay Buchholz- 5 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts
Pedro Ciriaco- 1-2, 1 RBI
Cody Ross- 1-2, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 home run
Josh Kroeger- 1-3, 1 run, 2 RBIs, 1 home run, 1 sac fly
Nate Spears- 2-4, 2 runs, 1 steal
Alex Hassan- 2-2, 1 RBI

Dull Spots:
Justin Thomas- 1 inning, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 strikeouts
Mike Aviles- 0-4, 1 run, 3 left on base

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Red Sox Tie, Win In Split-Squad Double Header (8-4)

Cook threw 3.1 shutout innings
Today the Red Sox did one of the interesting quirks of spring training, two simultaneous games going on at the same time; starting at 1:05 and 1:35 eastern time. In the first game, the Red Sox played the Orioles in Sarasota. Not too much scoring happened early, with Aaron Cook tossing 3.1 shutout innings, allowing just a hit. Wei-Yin Chen of the Orioles was just as good until the fifth inning, when the Sox put Pedro Ciriaco and Ryan Lavarnway on base to lead off the inning. Nate Spears promptly homered to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead. However, Clayton Mortensen allowed two runs in the sixth inning to allow the Orioles to make it a one-run game-- he finished with 2.2 innings, 7 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts as he was not sharp. Will Inman allowed a hit and a walk in a scoreless seventh inning. Doug Mathis was solid for the eighth, but the O's tied it in the ninth at 3-3. The Sox kept Mathis in though-- and he turned in a decent performance with 3 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 3 strikeouts. The umpires decided to call the game after the tenth and the game ended in a tie-- another quirk of spring training.

Bright Spots:
Aaron Cook- 3.1 innings, 1 hit, no runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Doug Mathis- 3 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 3 strikeouts
Adrian Gonzalez- 1-2, 1 walk
Ryan Lavarnway- 3-3, 1 run
Pedro Ciriaco- 1-3, 1 run
Nate Spears- 1-2, 1 run, 3 RBIs, 1 home run

Dull Spots:
Clayton Mortensen- 2.2 innings, 7 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Josh Kroeger- 0-5, 3 strikeouts, 2 left on base
Kevin Youkilis- 0-3
Ryan Dent- 0-2, 1 left on base
Kolbrin Vitek- 0-2, 1 left on base
Jonathan Hee- 0-4, 3 left on base
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Beckett threw five strong innings
Shortly after that game began, a second one in Ft. Myers also started, also against the Orioles. After two scoreless innings to begin the game, the Sox took advantage of Armando Gallaraga in the third. Lars Anderson led off the inning with what should have been a leadoff double but some rough fielding by Xavier Avery made it essentially a leadoff triple. Alex Hassan didn't hesitate in driving him in with a groundout. After the Orioles tied it in the fourth, the Sox quickly reclaimed the lead. After a groundout by David Ortiz, Cody Ross doubled and Kelly Shoppach singled to put runners at the corners with one away. Nick Punto proceeded to hit a gapper to left-center, scoring Ross and giving the Sox a 2-1 lead. After a Mike Aviles popout, Lars Anderson drove a ball into left. It scored Shoppach and Punto, but Anderson was caught heading to second by left fielder Ryan Flaherty. Beckett finished his day after the top of the fifth-- in all, he earned the win with 5 innings, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts. The Sox proceeded to pad onto their lead in the bottom of the fifth. An Alex Hassan single and Jacoby Ellsbury double led off the inning with two in scoring position. RBI groundouts by Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz gave the Red Sox a 6-1 lead. The next batter, Cody Ross, then crushed a ball over the psuedo-monster in left to give the Sox a 7-1 lead. Ross Ohlendorf came in for the Sox and pitched well over 1.2 innings, allowing no hits or runs plus 2 walks and a strikeout. However, Junichi Tazawa was shaky in the eighth inning-- allowing 3 hits and 3 runs in just an inning. Michael Bowden closed out the 7-4 win with 2 hits in a scoreless inning.

Bright Spots:
Josh Beckett- 5 innings, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Jacoby Ellsbury- 1-3, 1 run, 1 double
Dustin Pedroia- 1-3, 1 RBI
Cody Ross- 2-3, 2 runs, 1 RBI, 1 home run
Kelly Shoppach- 1-3, 1 run
Nick Punto- 1-2, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 double
Lars Anderson- 2-3, 1 run, 2 RBIs, 1 double
Alex Hassan- 1-2, 1 run, 1 RBI

Dull Spots:
Junichi Tazawa- 1 inning, 3 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Mike Aviles- 0-3, 3 left on base

Saltalamacchia Diagnosed With Hip Bursitis

On Wednesday, Red Sox starting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was diagnosed with bursitis in his hip. Apparently the case is not too bad as Saltalamacchia said "During the season I'd play on it, easy. But in Spring Training, there's really no point in doing that." Salty will be taking it easy the next few days as Kelly Shoppach and Ryan Lavarnway will see some more time behind the plate. Saltalamacchia will be taking a leadership role on the team in the upcoming season with Jason Varitek having retired; with Varitek on the squad last season, he batted .235/.288/.450 with 16 home runs and 56 RBIs in 103 games. So far this spring, Salty is 1-9 with an RBI-- he has walked once and struck out three times. However, in the Red Sox lineup right now, offense is not the issue. If he can handle the pitching staff well and bat as he did last year, Salty should be a lock for starting catcher.

Red Sox Can't Reform From Early Struggles (7-4)

Kevin Youkilis had one RBI
In last night's game, the Red Sox never fully gained control in a very close pitching game. Jon Lester allowed runs in the second and fourth innings, as he never really could command his pitches-- throwing over 80 in four innings. His final line stood at 4 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout. In the bottom of the fourth, the Red Sox offense made their first and last true rally. Pedro Ciriaco led off the inning with a double to left. Kevin Youkilis quickly drove him in by hitting a single into left to score the run and make it 2-1. However, that's exactly how the score would stay. Both Red Sox and Twins pitchers were solid the rest of the way. Andrew Miller and Andrew Bailey each threw scoreless innings (the 5th and 6th, respectively) and each struck out two, but Miller walked one as well-- solid outings for both pitchers. Jesse Carlson allowed a hit in an otherwise uneventful inning. Scott Atchison allowed two hits and struck out one in two innings of work. However, on the bad side-- the Red Sox hitters only had six hits last night, walked only once, and struck out ten times. Now, it's true that several minor leaguers were playing but that has got to change.

Bright Spots:
Andrew Miller- 1 inning, no runs or hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Andrew Bailey- 1 inning, no runs or walks or hits, 2 strikeouts
Jesse Carlson- 1 inning, 1 hit, no runs
Scott Atchison- 2 innings, 2 hits, no runs, 1 strikeout
Pedro Ciriaco- 1-3, 1 run, 1 double
Kevin Youkilis- 1-2, 1 RBI
Ryan Lavarnway- 2-2

Dull Spots:
Nate Spears- 0-4, 2 strikeouts, 1 left on base
Darnell McDonald- 0-2, 2 left on base
Josh Kroeger- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 2 left on base
Dan Butler- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 3 left on base
Kelly Shoppach- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 1 left on base
Tony Thomas- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 3 left on base
Jason Repko- 0-2, 2 strikeouts

Friday, March 16, 2012

Red Sox Acquire Latter Part Of Epstein Compensation


After waiting several months too long for the first part of this deal, the second part has been announced to nearly complete the process. This part of the deal involves the Cubs sending minor league pitcher Aaron Kurcz over to Boston. Kurcz has potential to become an above average relief pitcher at the major league level. He put together a pretty good season in 2011, pitching in 32 games (12 starts)-- going 5-4 with a 3.28 ERA. However, it was really in his strikeout and walk ratios that showed the potential for me. Last year, over 82.1 innings (no small sample), he struck out 9.95 batters per nine innings, walking 3.72 per nine, making for a 2.68 K/BB ratio. That, specifically the 9.95 strikeouts, shows setup or even closer potential. I think it is very possible that Kurcz is just as good if not better than Chris Carpenter, who was acquired earlier in the deal. Now, we just have to wonder who our player to be named later will be.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bard Blows Game As Sox Fall To Cards (7-3)

Pedroia hit a home run today
Well, so far the Red Sox have lost twice this spring, and two of those times have been to the Cardinals. Both of the games against the Cardinals have been blown in the 8th inning by a Red Sox pitcher. The Cardinals first took the lead in the 2nd inning as one of few blemishes in a very good outing by Alfredo Aceves: 4 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 4 strikeouts. The Sox then scored three in the fourth inning. A one-out double by David Ortiz and a two-out double for Ryan Lavarnway knotted up the score at 1-1. Darnell McDonald proceeded to homer over the psuedo-monster in left field to make it 3-1. After an inning in which Justin Thomas allowed two hits in a scoreless inning, the Sox took a 4-1 lead in the 5th after Dustin Pedroia (right) led off the inning with a homer. However, the Cardinals scored three to tie it up in the sixth. The Sox took a 6-4 lead back though in the 6th when, after three consecutive walks, Pedro Ciriaco doubled to left. Unfortunately, in the eighth, the game unraveled in front of Daniel Bard who wound up with 7 runs in 2.2 innings. Chorye Spoone closed things out by allowing a run on four hits in 1.1 innings.

Bright Spots:
Alfredo Aceves- 4 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 4 strikeouts
Jacoby Ellsbury- 2-3
Dustin Pedroia- 1-3, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 home run
Pedro Ciriaco- 2-2, 1 double, 2 RBIs
Ryan Lavarnway- 1-3, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 run
Darnell McDonald- 2-2, 1 run, 2 RBIs, 1 homer

Dull Spots:
Daniel Bard- 2.2 innings, 6 hits, 7 runs, 4 walks, 1 strikeout
Chorye Spoone- 1.1 innings, 4 hits, 1 run
Juan Carlos Linares- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 4 left on base
Cody Ross- 0-3, 2 strikeouts, 2 left on base
Mike Aviles- 0-2, 1 left on base

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ciriaco The Hero Again In Red Sox Win (7-2)

Doubront was brilliant through 4
Last night was one hell of a pitching game on both sides with the Sox eventually coming out on top in a very tight game. Felix Doubront was spot on tonight, working four innings with his final line looking like 4 innings, 2 hits, no runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts in a very good performance for the young lefty battling for a rotation spot. Michael Bowden then came on for the fifth inning and was brilliant allowing only a hit and striking out three in a scoreless inning. Vicente Padilla then upped his case for the fifth starter role by tossing three perfect innings while striking out four. Then, finally after eight strong innings by Red Sox (and Yankees) pitchers, the score finally broke. Leading off the ninth inning, Pedro Ciriaco hit a little bloop to right field. Normally this would be a single, however, in right field-- Zoilo Almonte of the Yankees tried to catch it on the run and it got by him. This allowed Ciriaco to easily get into third but Almonte threw the ball away and Ciriaco scored on an inside-the-park home run aided by two errors. Junichi Tazawa came on to get the save, and was very good, allowing just a hit and striking out three in the inning, closing out a rare 1-0 win over the Yankees.

Bright Spots:
Felix Doubront- 4 innings, 2 hits, no runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Michael Bowden- 1 inning, 1 hit, no runs, 3 strikeouts
Vicente Padilla- 3 innings, no hits or runs, 4 strikeouts
Junichi Tazawa- 1 inning, 1 hit, no runs, 3 strikeouts

Dull Spots:
Mike Aviles- 0-3
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 2 left on base
Will Middlebrooks- 0-3, 1 strikeout, 1 left on base
Lars Anderson- 0-3, 2 strikeouts
Josh Kroeger- 0-3, 1 strikeout
Alex Hassan- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 1 left on base

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Red Sox Make Some Timely Plays In Walk-Off Win (6-2)

Beckett threw 4 strong innings
Yesterday's game was an exciting one for the Sox as I luckily got a chance to record and watch the game, which is why it's coming out this morning rather than last night. The 1st inning was a bit rough for the Sox, a one-out double for Emilio Bonifacio. Beckett proceeded to hit two of the next three batters to load the bases with two outs. He then broke the cardinal rule of pitching to not walk in a run by walking Chris Coghlan. However, he settled down after that, and the Marlins were still only up by one when the Sox came to bat in the third. After two quick outs, Mike Aviles lined a ball over Bonifacio's head in the center field and trucked around the bases for a triple. I personally thought that the chance was squandered as Nick Punto came up to bat, but Punto lined a double into left to tie up the game at 1-1. The Sox came back strong in the fourth, after a David Ortiz walk to lead off the inning, Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled to right with one out. With runners at the corners, Cody Ross blooped a single into right to score one. Kelly Shoppach then flew to center to score another and give the Sox a 3-1 lead. All the while, Josh Beckett had certainly settled down-- throwing three shutout innings after the rough first and looking like this on the day: 4 innings, 1 hit, 1 run, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts. After Beckett was done, the two biggest offseason acquisitions came in to pitch: Mark Melancon struck out one in a perfect inning and Andrew Bailey allowed a run on three hits in his inning to put the Sox up 3-2 after six. Ross Ohlendorf came in to throw his first innings with the Red Sox, and was pretty good-- 2 innings, 1 hit, no runs, 1 walk. However, Scott Atchison was a bit rough. With a man on first, Clint Sammons doubled to left-center, but a wonderful, gorgeous, beautiful, fantastic relay got the runner out at home. However, a run would still score on another play at the plate to tie up the game off Atchison, who allowed a run and three hits in his inning. The Sox went down scoreless and the game went to extra innings, where Jesse Carlson threw for 1 inning, 1 hit, no runs or walks, 1 strikeout. However, in the 10th, after a one-out single by Nate Spears, Pedro Ciriaco launched a 2-run homer to win the game for the Red Sox.

Bright Spots:
Josh Beckett- 4 innings, 1 hit, 1 run, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
Mark Melancon- 1 inning, no runs or hits, 1 strikeout
Ross Ohlendorf- 2 innings, 1 hit, no runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Jesse Carlson- 1 inning, 1 hit, no runs, 1 strikeout
Nick Punto- 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 double
Pedro Ciriaco- 1-2, 1 home run, 2 RBIs
David Ortiz- 1-2, 1 run, 1 walk
Cody Ross- 1-3, 1 RBI
Mike Aviles- 2-3, 1 run, 1 triple

Dull Spots:
Andrew Bailey- 1 inning, 3 hits, 1 run
Scott Atchison- 1 inning, 2 hits, 1 run
Kevin Youkilis- 0-3, 2 strikeouts, 2 left on base
Juan Carlos Linares- 0-2, 1 strikeout

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Red Sox Hold O's To Three Hits In Win (5-2)

Lester allowed 1 run in 4 innings
Dustin Pedroia had a 2-run double
The Red Sox pitching staff utterly dominated the Orioles in today's game, holding them to only three hits while the Red Sox offense manhandled the Orioles' pitchers. The Red Sox led off the game with singles by Nate Spears and Dustin Pedroia. Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz both got out, however, putting the scoring chance in jeopardy. However, Ryan Sweeney made good of the opportunity lining a bouncer up the middle which deflected off Dana Eveland's glove but made it into the outfield. After Lester allowed a run in the bottom of the first,  a leadoff single and one-out walk put the Sox in business in the second inning. Dustin Pedroia came through in the clutch, however, with a 2-out, 2-run double to give the Sox a 3-1 lead. Lester was decent in his first Grapefruit League start, he allowed only one hit and one run in four innings, but he walked four and struck out only two, earning the win. The Red Sox didn't score again until the 7th, and in the meantime, their pitchers were quite good. Justin Thomas had a perfect inning plus a strikeout and Aaron Cook threw 2 innings, no runs or hits, 2 walks, and a strikeout. In the 7th, the Red Sox led off the inning with two walks. Lars Anderson proceeded to line a ball into right field to score a run. Then with one out, Oscar Tejeda grounded into what looked like an easy double play that would get the Orioles out of the inning. Instead, the O's got one out before the second baseball threw the ball away, allowing a run to score and the Sox to advance the lead to 5-1. Doug Mathis pitched the 8th for the Sox, and did pretty well, allowing no runs and a hit to go with a strikeout in an inning. With one out and two on in the 9th for the Red Sox, Jonathan Hee doubled to left to score one and give the Sox a 6-1 lead. After Justin Germano allowed a hit in an otherwise perfect inning, the Red Sox had won the game.

Bright Spots:
Justin Thomas- 1 inning, no runs or hits, 1 strikeout
Doug Mathis- 1 inning, no runs, 1 hit, 1 strikeout
Justin Germano- 1 inning, no runs, 1 hit
Dustin Pedroia- 2-3, 2 RBIs, 1 double
Jonathan Hee- 1-1, 1 RBI, 1 double
Ryan Sweeney- 1-3, 1 RBI
Cody Ross- 2-2, 2 runs, 1 walk
Ryan Lavarnway- 1-1, 1 walk, 2 runs
Lars Anderson- 1-2, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 walk

Dull Spots:
Che-Hsuan Lin- 0-2, 3 left on base
David Ortiz- 0-4, 1 strikeout, 2 left on base

2012 Predictions: AL East

1st Place: New York Yankees- Look, I know they're the Yankees, and we hate them-- but they're a very good team and should finish first for the 13th time in the last 15 years. Last year, they finished 11th in MLB in pitching, and even so, made a huge push to acquire pitching this offseason. On the free agent front, they acquired Hiroki Kuroda (right)(13-16/3.07/161) and trading for Michael Pineda (9-10/3.74/173) to bolster a decent rotation. They have the best bullpen in baseball, and an offense that ranked 7th last year which, this year, will be helped by a solid DH in Raul Ibanez (.245/20/84). Expect the Yankees to win the division as they've been doing.

2nd Place: Tampa Bay Rays- If you say you expected the Rays to do what they did last year, then you're lying. They traded all sorts of pieces from their 2010 team and still won the Wild Card and won 91 games. They had the 2nd best pitching in the AL and while their rotation should remain the same, they made a few additions to their bullpen in Fernando Rodney (3-5/4.50/26) and Burke Badenhop (2-3/4.10/51). While their pitching was strong, their offense at 2nd worst in the AL was weak. What they did to improve the offense was acquiring power bats like Carlos Pena (left)(.225/28/80) and Luke Scott (.220/9/22 in 64 games). They also got a few singles hitters like Jeff Keppinger (.277/6/35) and Jose Molina (.281/3/15). Expect the Rays' pitching to carry them to a playoff berth.

3rd Place: Boston Red Sox- Much like nobody expected the Rays to do what they did last year, nobody expected what happened to the Red Sox last year. It was their pitching (22nd in the league) that suffered last year and they made several low-risk high-reward type acquisitions such as Vicente Padilla (0-0/4.15/9 in 9 games), Aaron Cook (3-10/6.03/48), and Ross Ohlendorf (1-3/8.15/27). However, the moves they made to their bullpen should really make a dividend-- guys like Mark Melancon (8-4/2.78/66) and Andrew Bailey (right)(0-4/3.24/41). They had the best offense in the league last year, and should stay at a similar pace after they upgraded their right field position by adding Cody Ross (.240/14/52) and Ryan Sweeney (.265/1/25). Expect the Red Sox to win around 90 games, but in this division-- that isn't enough.

4th Place: Toronto Blue Jays- The Toronto Blue Jays may be the best fourth place team in baseball, but in this division, they aren't going anywhere. Their pitching was very rough last year at 24th in the league and while their rotation stayed about the same, their bullpen improved massively. They acquired Francisco Cordero (5-3/2.45/42), Sergio Santos (left)(4-5/3.55/92), and Jason Frasor (3-3/3.60/57). On offense, the Jays were only 20th in the league-- but look for that to improve as Kelly Johnson, Colby Rasmus, and Jeff Mathis get adjusted to their new home. The Blue Jays aren't going anywhere yet, but in a few years they could be a contender.

5th Place: Baltimore Orioles- Each year, I want to say the Orioles are getting better and each year they aren't, so I'm gonna go ahead and say that they won't. They improved their pitching rotation with the Japanese imports Tsuyoshi Wada (16-5/1.51/168 in Japan) and Wei-Yin Chen (right)(8-10/2.68/94 in Japan) as well as Jason Hammell (7-13/4.76/94). They also improved their bullpen with the acquisitions of Luis Ayala (2-2/2.09/39), Matt Lindstrom (2-2/3.00/36), Darren O'Day (0-1/5.40/18). You wouldn't know it, but the Orioles don't have a bad offense (11th in MLB last year), and to it they added utility man Wilson Betemit (.285/8/46). Still, they are the Orioles.

Red Sox Shutout Rays For Fourth Win (4-2)

Bard made his second start
Last night was a solid game as the Red Sox were able to put a convincing win on one of their hated rivals: the Rays. After a scoreless top half, the Red Sox put runners at the corners with no outs and after a Jacoby Ellsbury strikeout, they loaded them up. Wade Davis kept struggling with his control, however, walking the run in to give the Sox a one run lead. In the bottom of the 2nd, Darnell McDonald led off the inning with a double down the line. A sacrifice fly and a walk to Alex Hassan would put runners at the corners with one out and after Hassan stole second, they had runners in scoring position. That's when Jose Iglesias hit a seemingly harmless fly ball to center on a bizarre play. B.J. Upton ran over to get it as usual, but he just flat missed it-- Iglesias was able to get to third and two runs scored, but it was called an error on Upton. Then another bizarre play occurred, as Iglesias was caught stealing home to end the inning. In the 3rd, a one out double for Adrian Gonzalez put a runner at second, and a two out double to right for Kevin Youkilis drove him in to give the Sox a 4-0 lead. All the while, Daniel Bard had been pretty good in his second start of the spring-- he picked up the win with 3 innings, 2 hits, no runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout. After Bard was done, Alfredo Aceves was pretty good-- 3 innings, 2 hits, no runs or walks, 2 strikeouts, and through Aceves' pitching the Sox offense stood pat. In the 7th, Matt Albers was able to get out of a spot of trouble, he allowed a walk and a hit in his one inning. Junichi Tazawa had a similar situation in the 8th, tossing a shutout inning, but walking two in the process. In the 8th, the Sox' offense came back to life. Will Middlebrooks doubled with one out, and then with two outs, Josh Kroeger lifted a liner into right field which ended up as an RBI ground-rule double. Clayton Mortensen closed out the win by going 1 inning, 2 hits, no runs, 1 walk in an eventual 5-0 victory.

Bright Spots:
Alfredo Aceves- 3 innings, 2 hits, no runs, 2 strikeouts
Nick Punto- 1-2, 1 run, 1 walk
Josh Kroeger- 1-1, 1 RBI, 1 double
Will Middlebrooks- 1-2, 1 double, 1 run
Darnell McDonald- 1-2, 1 double, 1 run
Kevin Youkilis- 1-2, 1 RBI, 1 double

Dull Spots:
Jacoby Ellsbury- 0-3, 1 strikeout, 2 left on base
Ryan Lavarnway- 0-2, 2 strikeouts, 1 left on base
Jason Repko- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 1 left on base

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Red Sox Underperform, Lose To Mediocre Pirates' Lineup (3-2)

David Ortiz hit his second homer
In a night in which many expected the Sox to overrun the Pirates, myself included, the Sox played a bad game and dropped a tough one. The Pirates scored in the first and third off Clay Buchholz-- who didn't have a great night. However, he looked more comfortable out there despite going 3 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs, and a strikeout. The Red Sox never really caught up to the Pirates' fast start, despite David Ortiz (right) leading off the fourth inning with a homer to right. This pitted the Sox in a 2-1 deficit, unfortunately the fifth inning was when the game was coughed up. After a 1-2-3 fourth inning, Vicente Padilla was awful in the fifth, allowing four runs in the inning and putting the Sox behind 6-1. His final line looked like this: 2 innings, 5 hits, 4 runs. The Red Sox did score in the fifth, with Josh Kroeger doubling with two outs and Mike Aviles driving him in with a single up the middle to cut it to 6-2. Will Inman allowed a run in the seventh, but he went 2 innings, 2 hits, 1 run, 3 walks and after him, the scoring stopped. The Red Sox scored once in the sixth when Dustin Pedroia singled. Pedro Ciriaco came in to pinch-run and advanced to second on a wild pitch before stealing third-- I'm telling you, this kid runs like a deer! A single into left for Cody Ross scored Ciriaco and made it a 7-3 deficit. A one out homer to left for Darnell McDonald in the 7th would finally stop everyone's scoring at 7-4. Strong innings for Michael Bowden (1 inning, no runs or hits or walks, 1 strikeout) and Brandon Duckworth (1 inning, no runs, hits, or walks, 1 strikeout) closed out the game.

Bright Spots:
Michael Bowden- 1 inning, no runs, hits, or walks, 1 strikeout
Brandon Duckworth- same as Bowden
Pedro Ciriaco- 1-2, 1 run, 1 stolen base
David Ortiz- 1-3, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 home run
Cody Ross- 2-3, 1 RBI
Darnell McDonald- 2-2, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 homer, 1 double

Dull Spots:
Vicente Padilla- 2 innings, 5 hits, 4 runs
Ryan Sweeney- 0-3, 1 strikeout, 1 left on base
Lars Anderson- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 1 left on base
Nate Spears- 0-2, 2 strikeouts, 1 left on base

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cardinals Looking A BIt Too Accustomed To Chris Carpenter (3-1)

Chris Carpenter lost the game
On the surface, today's 9-3 loss might look like a slugfest-- however, if not for one big inning for the Cardinals, it would've been a pitching game. It started out quite low scoring, with Josh Beckett opening the game with 3 shutout innings-- allowing just two hits. In 2+ innings, Felix Doubront looked a little rough-- allowing 2 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 2. Jesse Carlson was equally rough, as he contributed with a run on a hit in the Cardinals' 3-run 6th inning. After a scoreless 7th, the Red Sox struck right back-- on singles by Juan Carlos Linares and Pedro Ciriaco, plus a walk by Jason Repko-- the Sox loaded the bases with two gone. That's when Jose Iglesias rocketed a triple down the line to score all three runners and tie the game at 3-3. That inning ended eventually, and Chris Carpenter took the mound, which is when it all began to unfurl for the Red Sox. In 1 inning, he allowed 2 hits, 4 runs, and 3 walks. Garrett Mock soon came in and was also off, allowing 2 runs on 2 hits and a walk in 1 inning. The Red Sox were unable to hit enough to keep up with Carpenter's miscues and they dropped their first game.

Bright Spots:
Josh Beckett- 3 innings, 2 hits, no runs, no walks, no strikeouts
Juan Carlos Linares- 1-2, 1 run
Pedro Ciriaco- 1-1, 1 run
Jason Repko- 1-3, 1 run, 1 walk
Jose Iglesias- 1-4, 1 triple, 3 RBI

Dull Spots:
Felix Doubront- 2 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts
Jesse Carlson- 1 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Chris Carpenter- 1 inning, 2 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout
Garrett Mock- 1 inning, 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Jacoby Ellsbury- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 2 left on base
Dustin Pedroia- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 2 left on base
Oscar Tejeda- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 1 left on base
Josh Kroeger- 0-3, 2 left on base
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 0-2, 2 left on base
Will MIddlebrooks- 0-3, 3 strikeouts, 3 left on base

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Red Sox End Streak In An Unlikely Way (3-0)

Justin Germano was impressive
Today was an interesting day for the Red Sox, in a game that was broadcasted by neither television or radio. Justin Germano (right) pitched well through the first two innings for Boston-- he allowed one hit and no runs with no strikeouts or walks either. In the 3rd inning, Oscar Tejeda and Juan Carlos Linares each singled to put runners at the corners with no outs. After a Mike Aviles popup, Ryan Sweeney drove Tejeda in with a sacrifice fly. Cody Ross then singled to keep the Sox in business, but they couldn't keep up the rally. However, in the bottom of the 3rd-- Justin Thomas was a bit rocky. In his lone inning, he allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on two hits and a walk to give the Jays a 3-1 lead entering the 4th. A pair of one-out singles by Lars Anderson and Kelly Shoppach gave the Sox two baserunners, but Oscar Tejeda struck out to give the Sox two outs. Francisco Cordero of the Blue Jays tossed a wild pitch to move the runners up and then a rare throwing error by defensive wizard Omar Vizquel tied up the game at 3-3. That would be all either team would get as the game would stay tied.

Bright Spots:
Justin Germano- 2 innings, no runs, 1 hit, no walks or strikeouts
Tony Pena Jr.- 1 inning, 1 hit, no runs, walks, or strikeouts
Mark Melancon- 1 inning, no runs or hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Junichi Tazawa- 1 inning, no runs, 1 hit
Chorye Spoone- 1 inning, 1 hit, no runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Doug Mathis- 2 innings, 1 hit, no runs
Lars Anderson- 1-2, 1 run
Kelly Shoppach- 1-2, 1 run
Oscar Tejeda- 1-2, 1 run

Dull Spots:
Justin Thomas- 1 inning, 3 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk
Zach Gentile- 0-2, 1 strikeout
Jorge Padron- 0-2

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sox Ride Strong Pitching To Third Win (3-0)

Bard threw 2 scoreless innings
Today, the Red Sox continued their winning ways against the Orioles with yet another solid win. The Red Sox got going quick out of the gate when a Jacoby Ellsbury double and Dustin Pedroia single put them at the corners with none out in the first inning. However, only one run came out of it-- a sacrifice fly by Ryan Lavarnway. In his first two innings of the spring, Daniel Bard (right) was very strong: 2 innings, no runs or hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts. The Red Sox had their biggest inning in the 3rd, when they put runners at the corners with one out. Adrian Gonzalez proceeded to hit a wall ball double off the monster to score one and a Ryan Lavarnway single scored another. The lead became 4-0 when Cody Ross hammered one high off the monster to score Gonzalez. All the while, Alfredo Aceves was brilliant-- tossing two perfect innings and striking out two. However, the problems came when Alex Wilson came in to pitch-- in 1+ innings, he allowed 4 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks. However, a 2-out RBI double off the monster by Pedro Ciriaco netted the Sox the victory. Clayton Mortensen was fantastic, throwing 2.1 strong innings and striking out four with just a hit allowed while Michael Bowden was also very good-- he threw 1.2 perfect innings while striking out one.

Bright Spots:
Daniel Bard- 2 innings, no runs or hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Alfredo Aceves- 2 innings, no runs, hits, or walks and 2 strikeouts
Clayton Mortensen- 2.1 innings, no runs, 1 hit, 4 strikeouts
Michael Bowden- 1.2 innings, no runs, hits, or walks and a strikeout
Jacoby Ellsbury- 1-2, 1 run, 1 double
Dustin Pedroia- 1-2, 1 run, 1 walk
Pedro Ciriaco- 1-1, 1 RBI, 1 double
Adrian Gonzalez- 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 double, 1 run
Ryan Lavarnway- 1-1, 2 RBI
Cody Ross- 1-2, 1 RBI, 1 double

Dull Spots:
Alex Wilson- 1+ innings, 4 runs, 5 hits, 2 walks
Luis Exposito- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 1 left on base
Jason Repko- 0-2, 1 strikeout
Alex Hassan- 0-3, 1 strikeout
Will Middlebrooks- 0-2

Silva No Longer In Running For Fifth Starter

According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, Carlos Silva will no longer be in consideration for the role of the fifth starter. Earlier today it was announced that Silva had been scratched from tomorrow's start against the Blue Jays. Soon after, we learned that Silva had shoulder inflammation and that he would not start the season in Boston. This leaves Vicente Padilla, Felix Doubront, and Andrew Miller in contention for the fifth starter (Aaron Cook has a shoulder injury and will miss the start of 2012). All three of those pitchers impressed in their pitching performances so far this spring. Last night, Padilla went 2 innings while allowing no runs on three hits and striking out two. On Saturday, Miller had a very good day-- he threw two innings, allowing no runs or hits while walking one and striking out three. Doubront was also strong, throwing two innings and allowing a hit and a walk-- also striking out one. This probably isn't a huge loss for the Sox, as I doubt Silva would've made the team anyways.

Red Sox Not Feeling Fraternal Towards Twins (2-0)

David Ortiz's 3rd inning homer
Buchholz pitched 2 strong innings
Last night was a good game (if you're a Red Sox fan) as the Red Sox just came in and dominated the Twins even more than they had on Saturday. Neither team scored in the first inning, but in the top of the second-- the Sox got going. Darnell McDonald led off the inning with a double, but a defensive miscue in left for Ryan Doumit allowed him to advance to third. Josh Kroeger quickly hit him in with a single up the middle to put the Sox up 1-0. Kroeger advanced to second on a passed ball, and Kelly Shoppach drove a single into left field to put runners at the corners with no outs. A Nick Punto walk loaded the bases for Jason Repko, who hit a slow bouncer to the shortstop, who could not turn the double play while the run scored. Jason Marquis threw another wild pitch to allow Shoppach to score after Jose Iglesias walked to load 'em back up with one out. Ryan Sweeney hit a hard grounder to first base where Justin Morneau made an excellent play to get one out, but then threw the ball away allowing Jason Repko to score to make it 4-0 after two. All the while, Clay Buchholz was pitching his first two official innings since June 16. Much like Beckett, he had control problems but other than that was alright-- his final line was 2 innings, no runs or hits, two walks and two strikeouts. David Ortiz (right) led off the top of the third by taking a high fastball over the right field wall but other than that it was a quiet inning for the Sox. Through the 3rd and 4th innings, I got a look at Vicente Padilla-- he pitched 2 innings, allowing 3 hits but no runs or walks and striking out three. He showed good stuff, but got roughed around to a bases loaded situation in the 4th. After a quiet fifth for the Sox, Will Inman took over pitching for them. Inman got roughed up in the 5th, and while he settled down in the 6th-- his final line of 2 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, and 1 strikeout were not good. It stayed at 5-2 until the 7th, when the Sox went wild on Twins' farmhand Deolis Guerra. Pedro Ciriaco singled to lead off the inning, and was advanced to second on a groundout by Alex Hassan. A Will Middlebrooks single drove him in, but they were just getting started. Lars Anderson walked and Juan Carlos Linares popped out to put first and second with two outs and a 6-2 lead. Then the hits came as Nate Spears laced a ground-rule double down the first base line which scored Middlebrooks and brought Anderson to third. Then, pinch-hitter Daniel Butler crushed an inside fastball over the left field wall for a 3-run homer to make it 10-2-- which ended up as the final score. The Red Sox pitching in the last few innings was excellent as Brandon Duckworth was fantastic (he allowed no runs, hits, or walks while striking out two in two innings) and Jesse Carlson was also sharp in his Red Sox debut with a perfect inning.

Bright Spots:
Brandon Duckworth- 2 innings, no hits, runs, or walks and 2 strikeouts
Jesse Carlson- 1 inning, no hits, runs, or walks
Jose Iglesias- 1-2, 1 walk, 1 steal
Pedro Ciriaco- 1-2, 1 run, 1 steal
Will Middlebrooks- 2-2, 1 RBI, 1 run
David Ortiz- 2-3, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 home run, 1 double
Darnell McDonald- 1-2, 1 double, 1 run
Josh Kroeger- 1-3, 1 run, 1 RBI
Nate Spears- 1-2, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 double
Kelly Shoppach- 1-2, 1 run
Daniel Butler- 1-1, 1 run, 3 RBI, 1 homer

Dull Spots:
Will Inman- 2 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Alex Hassan- 0-2, 1 left on base
Juan Carlos Linares- 0-3, 1 strikeout, 4 left on base
Oscar Tejeda- 0-2, 1 strikeout

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Anderson's Slam Leads Sox Over Twins (1-0)

Anderson hit a grand slam today
After such a long winter, the Red Sox are finally back to playing real major league opponents; and as today's game indicated, they were ready. The first few innings of the game were quiet for both teams. Josh Beckett put together a decent start in his first game-- he pitched 2 innings, allowing no runs and a hit while walking one. His control was a bit shaky, but he came through and didn't allow any runs. In fact, the next couple of innings were still quiet-- with Andrew Miller putting on a very impressive performance-- after walking the leadoff batter in the 3rd inning, he struck out the side; he went 2 innings, allowing no runs or hits, while striking out three and walking just one. In the bottom of the 4th was when the Red Sox came through. After a baserunning gaffe in which Dustin Pedroia was out at home, Mike Aviles bounced one up the middle for a 2-run single to put the Sox on the board. However, in the 5th inning, Mark Melancon came on for his Red Sox debut and didn't do so well-- he allowed a run on two hits in the inning. After a spotless sixth by Justin Thomas, the Twins tied it on a single through the right side by Ben Revere off Tony Pena Jr. However, in the bottom of the 7th-- the Sox put the game away for good. Jason Bulger was awful, walking the bases loaded-- in fact, he even walked in the run that put the Sox ahead with a 3-2 lead. However, it wasn't a walk that hurt him most. With the bases loaded and one out, he dropped a curve into Lars Anderson's wheelhouse and Anderson turned on it, sending a high drive into the right field seats for a grand slam that made it 7-2 Sox. In the next inning, the Sox scored another on a beautiful RBI triple by Oscar Tejeda. The Twins scored in the 9th, but it was far too little and the Sox took the game 8-3. 


Bright Spots:
Andrew Miller- 2 innings, no runs, no hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Justin Thomas- 1 inning, no runs, no hits, 2 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia- 1-2, 1 double, 1 run, 1 walk
Oscar Tejeda- 1-1, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 triple
Lars Anderson- 2-2, 1 run, 4 RBI, 1 home run
Mike Aviles- 2-2, 2 RBI
Alex Hassan- 0-0, 2 walks, 2 runs


Dull Spots:
Mark Melancon- 1 inning, 1 run, 2 hits
Tony Pena Jr.- 1 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Jacoby Ellsbury- 0-3, 4 left on base
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 0-2, 1 strikeout, 2 left on base
Kelly Shoppach- 0-1, 1 strikeout, 1 left on base

2012 Predictions: AL Central

1st Place: Detroit Tigers- The Tigers were already one of the best teams in baseball in 2011, with a sparkling 95-67 season. They had the 4th best offense in baseball, and that was before they signed Prince Fielder (right)(.299/38/120) to a huge contract this offseason. Their pitching was middle-of-the-pack in 2011, at 18th in the league with a 4.04 ERA. However, this offseason, they upgraded their bullpen with the acquisitions of Collin Balester (1-4/4.54/34) and Octavio Dotel (5-4/3.50/62). Expect the Tigers to be among the best teams in the league and to make a serious run at the World Series.

2nd Place: Cleveland Indians- For the early portion of 2011, the Indians were a surprise and one of the best teams in baseball. However, due to a lack of pitching, they fell off as the Tigers took control of the division. The Indians didn't do a whole lot this offseason, either. However, they made a few acquisitions that could help their pitching staff such as Derek Lowe (left)(9-17/5.05/137) and Kevin Slowey (13-6/4.45/116 in 2010) who could do with a change of scenery after rough 2011 seasons. Their offense is middle-of-the-road, their only real acquisition there being Casey Kotchman (.306/10/48). Expect the Indians to be 2nd place at around .500 in this very weak division.

3rd Place: Kansas City Royals- As bad as the Royals have been the past few years, they are a team on the rise and there is reason to hope. In this weak division, they could even move to 3rd place in 2012. They had some of the worst pitching in the league last year, but that should be helped by the addition of Jonathan Sanchez (right)(4-7/4.26/102) to the rotation. Also, Jose Mijares (0-2/4.59/30) should be a nice addition to their bullpen. The Royals were actually one of the best hitting teams in the league last year, and the addition of Yuniesky Betancourt (.252/13/68) should help in case their infield isn't performing. This is not the Royals' year, but they are a team on the rise, and it will be soon.

4th Place: Minnesota Twins- Pretty much everything that could go wrong for the Twins last year, went wrong as injuries and ineffectiveness destroyed this team that looked like a contender early. Their pitching fell apart last year, but that should be helped along by the addition of Jason Marquis (8-6/4.43/76) to the rotation. Their bullpen should also look better with the acquisition of Esmerling Vasquez (1-1/4.15/20). Their hitting was below average too in 2011, but that should be helped by outfielder Josh Willingham (left)(.246/29/98), infielder Jamey Carroll (.290/0/17), and catcher Ryan Doumit (.303/8/30). If the Twins can stay healthy, they will go from a 63-win team to a mid-70's winning team-- but still not good enough to contend.

5th Place: Chicago White Sox- While the Royals are a team on the rise, the White Sox are a team free-falling from their glory days. Everything that could go wrong went wrong this offseason, with longtime ace Mark Buehrle going to the sunny skies of Miami and losing pieces of their bullpen in Jason Frasor and Sergio Santos. The moves they did make will not really help them, with outfielder Kosuke Fukudome (right)(.262/8/35) not likely to make an impact. Expect the White Sox to be bad this year, and even worse in the near future.

Red Sox Ride Aviles, Linares To Win

The only real thing we can conclude from yesterday's games is that Boston College is better than Northeastern. Last night, the Red Sox played their final non-official game of the Spring Training season against Boston College. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the 2nd-- helped by a very nice start by Felix Doubront (he went 2 innings, striking out one and allowing a hit). However, the Sox exploded for 4 runs in the 2nd inning-- helped by a liner off the bat of Mike Aviles (right), which went for a 2-run double to give the Sox a 2-0 lead. An RBI grounder by Juan Carlos Linares and a passed ball accounted for the other two runs. However, in the 3rd-- Junichi Tazawa was a bit rough, allowing two runs on three hits to push the lead to 4-2. In the bottom of the 3rd, though, Ryan Lavarnway got on base with a double. He was scored on a beautiful opposite field single by Alex Hassan. In the 4th, Aviles lined another shot off the monster-- this time, leading off the inning. Pedro Ciriaco pinch-ran for him, stealing third and scoring on a single by Linares. In the 5th, Doug Mathis wasn't terribly bad, but his defense didn't support him-- highlighted by a throwing error on a potential double play by Pedro Ciriaco. In the 7th, I was quite impressed by Chorye Spoone; he earned the save with a perfect inning, including striking out Travis Ferrick on a filthy curve to lead off the inning. All in all, a solid win for the Sox-- but definitely BC put up a tougher fight than NEU.

Bright Spots:
Felix Doubront- 2 innings, 1 hit, 1 strikeout, no runs
Chorye Spoone- 1 inning, 1 strikeout, no runs or hits
Mike Aviles- 2-3, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 1 run
Pedro Ciriaco- 1-1, 1 run, 2 stolen bases
Juan Carlos Linares- 1-3, 2 RBIs
Ryan Lavarnway- 2-2, 2 runs, 1 double
Alex Hassan- 1-1, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 walk

Dull Spots:
Junichi Tazawa- 2 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Nick Punto- 0-3, 1 strikeout, 2 left on base
Jason Repko- 0-3, 2 strikeouts, 4 left on base

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Homers By Ross, Sweeney, Gonzalez Highlight Slugfest Vs. Northeastern

The Red Sox essentially went crazy on Northeastern University today in their annual double-header against NEU and BC. After scoring twice in the first inning on a timely double by Darnell McDonald, the Sox exploded in the 2nd with a 7-run inning highlighted by a solo home run by Cody Ross and a 3-run shot by Adrian Gonzalez. Through this time, Jon Lester was very strong for the Sox-- allowing just a hit and striking out two through the first couple of innings. After a run in the third inning, the Sox came storming back in the fourth-- scoring 7 more times-- highlighted by a grand slam by Cody Ross and a 2-run shot by light-hitting outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin. Through this, Justin Germano pitched very well for the Sox-- allowing a hit and striking out one through two innings-- also not allowing a run. Two runs in the fifth, on RBI doubles by Max St. Pierre and Will Middlebrooks, plus two more perfect inning by Michael Bowden slates the Sox with a 19-0 lead in the middle of the 6th. The Sox scored six more in the 6th inning and are now up 25-0 after a big inning highlighted by a 3-run homer by Ryan Sweeney. The game was called after the top of the 7th, the Sox still up 25-0. All in all, a very successful day for the Sox-- even against a college team. There were many reasons to hope, such as the power shown by everyone-- but particularly Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney. Everyone pitched very well, with Justin Germano's nice outing a pleasant surprise. I'll be away from home for tonight's game against Boston College, but I should be able to post about it tomorrow morning (hopefully after having watched the game in the MLB.TV archives. 

Bright Spots:
Jon Lester- 2 innings, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts-- not bad
Justin Germano- 2 innings, 1 hit, 1 strikeout-- very pleasant surprise 
Michael Bowden- 2 innings, no hits, 3 strikeouts-- excellent outing for the bullpen candidate
Jose Iglesias- 1-3, 1 run, 1 stolen base
Pedro Ciriaco- 2-3, 2 runs, 1 RBI
Che-Hsuan Lin- 2-2, 2 runs, 3 RBIs, 1 home run, 1 walk
Adrian Gonzalez- 1-1, 1 walk, 3 RBIs, 2 runs, 1 home run
Nate Spears- 1-2, 2 runs, 1 walk
Darnell McDonald- 2-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, 1 double
Ryan Sweeney- 4-5, 3 runs, 5 RBIs, 1 home run, 1 double
Cody Ross- 2-3, 2 runs, 5 RBIs, 2 home runs
Will Middlebrooks- 3-5, 2 runs, 1 RBI, 1 double

Dull Spots:
Northeastern University!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Catchers Show Pop, Sox Fall In 'B' Game

Even by Spring Training standards, today's 'B' game against the Twinswas meaningless-- as it didn't even count towards their Spring Training record. However, it was baseball, and we'll take it. Today's game started out with a bang as Ryan Lavarnway knocked a ball over the left field wall for a homer in the top of the 1st. Starter Alfredo Aceves pitched an inning and allowed a run, Daniel Bard came in next, also allowing run to put the Sox in a 2-1 deficit by the 3rd. Things stayed put in the next few innings, including a nice 1-2-3 4th inning by Clayton Mortensen. However, a 2-run homer by Twins' farmhand Aaron Bates in the 4th gave the Twins a 4-1 lead. The Red Sox scored one in the 5th, but the Twins again scored two. Red Sox' reliever Tony Pena Jr. allowed a 2-run double to DH Brian Dinkleman to put the Twins up 6-2. The Red Sox fought back with a 2-run triple by Nate Spears in the 6th and a solo homer by Dan Butler (right) in the 7th. However, it wasn't enough and the Red Sox fell 6-5 to the Twins. Even though this was a pointless game, it feels so good to be blogging baseball games again!