Thursday, May 31, 2012

Clutch Rallies Help Sox Win Third Straight (26-24)

Lester settled down after a
shaky start
The Red Sox continue to play well of late-- beating the Tigers last night to move within 2.5 games of first place. The Tigers started quickly, loading the bases with three singles (Worth, Cabrera, and Fielder) and just one out. Delmon Young knocked one of them in with a slow bouncer to second baseman Nick Punto-- Punto got one, but it wasn't enough to turn two and the Tigers would score. After a scoreless second inning, the Tigers benefitted by a leadoff triple to center field by Tigers rookie Quintin Berry. Berry would score on a sacrifice fly when Danny Worth hit a fly ball to center to make it 2-0. However, the inning wasn't over on a one out double by Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera got to third on a wild pitch, then scored on a Prince Fielder groundout-- using some very good base running to take a 3-0 lead. With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, the Red Sox got a rally of their own going. Adrian Gonzalez doubled to right-center and was driven in when David Ortiz smacked a home run to dead center to cut the Tigers' lead to 3-2.

Adrian Gonzalez had a go-ahead
double 
The rally kept going though, as Kevin Youkilis hit a bloop single to right before Will Middlebrooks crushed a home run over the monster to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead. It would stay at 4-3 for a while, but in the seventh inning, they put two runners on with two outs. One would score when Miguel Cabrera doubled him home to tie things up at 4-4. Two out rallies appeared to be the Red Sox' friend as with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, they put two runners on. The Red Sox scored one when Adrian Gonzalez hit a ground-rule double to right. They got one more in the eighth when Kevin Youkilis hit a homer to left field to make it 6-4. Alfredo Aceves shut down the Tigers in the ninth and the Red Sox won by that score.

Bright Spots:
Andrew Miller- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K, SV (13)
Daniel Nava- 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB
Adrian Gonzalez- 2-4, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI
David Ortiz- 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Kevin Youkilis- 2-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Will Middlebrooks- 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Dull Spots:
Matt Albers- 0.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB
Kelly Shoppach- 0-4, 2 K, 3 LOB
Nick Punto- 0-4, 2 K, 2 LOB

Player of the Game:
Adrian Gonzalez- Gonzalez was a key in two scoring opportunities as he went 2-4 with a pair of doubles, including the go-ahead one, driving in a run and scoring one-- he is now .273/4/27.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Injury Bug Strikes Again, This Time With Dustin Pedroia

It's the case of Ryan Sweeney all over again-- a Red Sox player gets hurt while making an amazing play in the field. This time it was Dustin Pedroia making a diving stop at second base in Monday's 7-4 win over Detroit. However, that dive had a lasting effect as it hurt a nagging thumb injury that Pedroia had been experiencing for three weeks. The diagnosis is that Pedroia tore the abductor muscle in his thumb. This is the same injury that Kevin Youkilis had when he missed a portion of the 2010 season with surgery. Apparently, Pedroia's injury is much less severe than Youkilis's but it could still garner a couple of weeks on the disabled list. In his style, Pedroia wants to play through the injury, but it seems unlikely that both he will be able to play through this injury and that Bobby Valentine will let him. Pedroia is in the midst of a pretty good 2012 season, as he sits at .295/5/21 on the season. Before last night's game, Pedroia had started every game this year at second base. Pedroia in an invaluable part of the Red Sox and I hope we get him back soon.

Red Sox Beat Verlander To Eclipse .500 (25-24)

Bard pitched well last night
After long last, the Red Sox have finally eclipsed the .500 mark-- winning last night to become 25-24 on the season and only 3.5 games out of first place. It's fair to say that the Red Sox were not expected to win this game with Daniel Bard against Justin Verlander-- but the Sox got going quickly in the second. A leadoff double for David Ortiz and a one-out single for Jarrod Saltalamacchia put runners at the corners with one away. Mike Aviles grounded into what should have been a routine double play, but he beat out the back end and the run scored to make it 1-0. The Red Sox struck again in the fourth when they loaded the bases on three singles (Youkilis, Aviles, Podsednik) and just one out for Nick Punto. In his traditional style, Punto lifted a pop fly that didn't even get out of the infield to make it two outs. Daniel Nava then worked a full count in a fantastic at bat before inside outing a 101 mph fastball down the third base line to score all three runs and give the Red Sox a 4-0 lead.

Ortiz went 3-4 with a home run
However, with one out in the fifth, the Tigers ended Bard's shutout when Jhonny Peralta lifted a home run to right-center to make things 4-1. The Red Sox answered for that when, after a leadoff single for Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz doubled him home off the monster to make it 5-1. Ortiz would be thrown out at third and that would be all the Sox would get in the inning. The Tigers ate away at the Red Sox' lead a little more in the fifth when Prince Fielder took advantage of a hanging change and crushed a home run to right field. Daniel Bard was taken out of the game after this-- having arguably his best outing with a 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K line. It would be Fielder again in the seventh inning, cutting it to a 5-3 lead when he drove Miguel Cabrera in with a single. It would all be good though, because David Ortiz continued his excellent game by belting a home run over the green monster to make it 6-3. Alfredo Aceves picked up his 12th save of the year and that was that.

Bright Spots:
Daniel Bard- 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K, W (5-5)
Vicente Padilla- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, SV (12)
Daniel Nava- 1-4, 1 2B, 3 RBI
David Ortiz- 3-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Scott Podsednik- 2-4, 1 R

Dull Spots:
Andrew Miller- 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 K
Ryan Sweeney- 0-4, 3 K, 4 LOB

Player of the Game:
David Ortiz- Ortiz had a great game to lead to Sox over .500 here-- going 3-4 with two doubles, a home run, two runs scored, and two RBIs-- he is now .319/11/33 this year.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Red Sox Rock Tigers To Open Series (24-24)

Felix Doubront pitched a
great win and won his fifth
It just keeps happening like this: the Red Sox reach .500, lose the next  game, then reach .500 again and it happened again today as the Red Sox became 24-24 on the year. Things started off fast for the Red Sox-- as they got a two out rally going in the first inning. Adrian Gonzalez singled into right with two outs before David Ortiz drove him in with a double down the third base line to make it 1-0. The Tigers would tie it up in the second, however, when Delmon Young put a charge into an off speed pitch and sent it over the monster. The Red Sox would answer in a big way in the bottom half, taking advantage of a blown call. With two outs and two strikes in the inning, Mike Aviles tipped a ball into catcher Gerald Laird's mitt-- strike three-- but the first base umpire ruled it had hit the ground and Aviles' at bat continued. Aviles delivered with a single up the middle to score Ryan Sweeney. Aviles would score on a double to the center field wall by Daniel Nava before Nava would come in on an infield single by Dustin Pedroia to make it 4-1.

Mike Aviles went 2-4 with a run
and two RBIs today

The Red Sox tacked on another run in the third inning when Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered to left to put them up by four. The Tigers would answer for that run with a home run of their own in the fifth-- when Gerald Laird hit a ball on a line that just traveled over the monster to make it 5-2. However, the Red Sox struck right back by putting runners at the corners to start the sixth on singles by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Sweeney. Will Middlbrooks hit a grounder to third base and beat out the infield hit to score Sweeney and make things 6-2-- also chasing starter Doug Fister from the game. Luis Marte entered and got the retired six straight Red Sox batters before running into trouble in the eighth. With Ryan Sweeney on second base and two outs, Mike Aviles lifted a breaking ball to deep left-center to score the run and make it 7-2. Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run homer in the ninth, but the Red Sox would win by a score of 7-4.


Bright Spots:
Felix Doubront- 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K, W (5-2)
Scott Atchison- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 K
Dustin Pedroia- 1-3, 1 RBI
David Ortiz- 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 2-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Ryan Sweeney- 3-4, 2 R, 1 2B
Will Middlebrooks- 1-3, 1 RBI
Mike Aviles- 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI

Dull Spots:
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 K
Kevin Youkilis- 0-4, 1 K, 1 LOB

Player of the Game:
Felix Doubront- He was backed by some solid run support, and Doubront pitched a great game to earn the win and become 5-2/3.86/59 on the year.

Red Sox To Get Outfield Boost With Sweeney Returning

In last Saturday's 7-5 win over the Phillies, you may recall Ryan Sweeney's terrific diving catch on the warning track. The good news was that it was a fantastic and potentially game changing catch. The bad news was that Sweeney received a mild concussion after he hit the ground. Sweeney was placed on the newly applied 7-day DL for concussion patients in baseball. Before his injury, Sweeney had been one of the better hitters on the Red Sox with a .311/0/12 line over 34 games with Boston. Sweeney will add a bit of depth to what is currently a makeshift outfield with three of Daniel Nava, Marlon Byrd, Che-Hsuan Lin, Scott Podsednik, and Adrian Gonzalez generally populating the three positions. While Will Middlebrooks and Kevin Youkilis are still doing well, Gonzalez will probably still be in right and Daniel Nava (.286/2/11) and Scott Podsednik (.455/1/1) have been great so far. Nava is a switch-hitter so he'll probably stay in the lineup while Sweeney and Podsednik, who are both lefties, will probably alternate in some fashion. However, it'll certainly be nice to add a legitimate major league outfielder to the mix.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Series Preview #16: Tigers (23-24) @ Red Sox (23-24)

After going in separate paths since the Opening Series, the Red Sox and Tigers-- two teams supposed to do well this year-- meet again with identical records of 23-24. Starting tomorrow's game will be Felix Doubront (4-2/3.96/53), one of the Red Sox' better pitchers this year, against Doug Fister (0-2/1.84/22). Fister has been great when healthy this year so I'd predict a Tigers win. On Tuesday night's game, we get to watch the Daniel Bard (4-5/4.69/28) experiment continue against one of the best in baseball in Justin Verlander (5-2/2.15/75). If Verlander is pitching, one basically has to give the win to the Tigers and I'll do the same. On Wednesday, it'll be Jon Lester (right)(3-4/4.72/41) squaring off against impressive rookie Drew Smyly (2-1/3.14/46). Just because of my faith in Lester, I'm predicting a win, but it should be a very close game. Thursday's game should be a solid win for the Red Sox though, with Josh Beckett (4-4/4.15/45) going against Max Scherzer (4-3/5.67/72)-- who the Red Sox roughed up earlier this year. Bold Prediction: Red Sox and Tigers tie series 2-2. 

Weekly News

The Red Sox played a decent week this week-- winning a series against the Orioles and losing one against the Rays in a 3-3 week. For the first time of his Sox.Rox career, and hopefully one of many to come, the Player of the Week is Will Middlebrooks (right), who went .421/0/3 this week. This pushes him to .307/5/18 on the year-- as it wouldn't at all surprise me if he contends for Rookie of the Year. For his team-leading third time of the year, the Pitcher of the Week is Josh Beckett. Beckett went seven innings and allowed just two runs in yesterday's 3-2 win over the Rays-- this moves Beckett to 4-4/4.15/45 in what is shaping up to be a strong season. The Performance of the Week goes to Dustin Pedroia in Monday's 8-6 win over Baltimore. Pedroia went 2-4 with a double, two RBIs, and a run scored as he certainly was a big part of that victory. The Game of the Week is really no contest as last night's walk-off 3-2 win on Salty's homer easily takes the cake for arguably the greatest game of the season. Next week, the Red Sox will stay at home to face the Tigers for four games before shipping up to Toronto to take on the Jays for three.

Bullpen Fails Sox To Drop Series Finale (23-24)

Buchholz had his best start
so far this year
If the Red Sox had won today's game against the Rays, not only would they be above .500, but they also would be in fourth place with the Blue Jays also losing to the Rangers. However, it was not to be in a tough loss. Both Clay Buchholz and Jeremy Hellickson were dominant over the first few innings, but the first run crossed the board in the fourth inning. With one out in the inning, Matt Joyce knocked an easy double down the first base line. However, the problem came when Adrian Gonzalez (playing right field for only his second time in Fenway Park) botched the throw to Dustin Pedroia-- the cutoff man-- to allow Joyce to get to third base with just an out. This set up an easy RBI for Ben Zobrist, who merely grounded out to first to give the Rays a 1-0 lead. There were several more scoreless innings until the seventh, when it was Sean Rodriguez playing wall ball for a one out double. The Rays would tack onto their lead on a first pitch bloop single by Will Rhymes to make things 2-0.

Gonzalez hit his fourth home
run this season
However, the Red Sox would answer in just about the best possible way in the bottom of the seventh. They put runners at first and second with a walk and single for Adrian Gonzalez with no outs. Gonzalez delivered by dropping Hellickson's pitch into the monster seats for a three-run homer to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead in the seventh. Clay Buchholz would be taken out of the game after the seventh in a position to win and with a 7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K line-- lowering his ERA from 7.84 to 7.19 on the year. Franklin Morales and Vicente Padilla combined for a perfect eighth before the Red Sox stranded a bases loaded situation in the eighth-- something that would turn into a game changer for Boston. Heading into the ninth, Alfredo Aceves came in to pitch for the Red Sox and walked the leadoff man Ben Zobrist. Luke Scott popped up before Sean Rodriguez crushed a 3-1 pitch over the monster and onto Lansdowne Street. The Sox went 1-2-3 in the ninth to lose the game 4-3 and lose the series as well.

Bright Spots:
Clay Buchholz- 7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K
Kevin Youkilis- 2-3, 1 R
Adrian Gonzalez- 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Scott Podsednik- 2-3

Dull Spots:
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K, BS (3), L (0-2)
Mike Aviles- 0-3, 1 LOB
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 0-4, 1 LOB
Daniel Nava- 0-4, 2 K, 1 LOB

Player of the Game:
Clay Buchholz- Buchholz pitched well as things are certainly trending up for the righty-- he allowed just two runs in seven innings to become 4-2/7.19/33 on the season.

Red Sox Add Salt At Just The Right Time (23-23)

Josh Beckett pitched a great game
This is getting ridiculous as the Red Sox continue to sway between .500 and below-- with last night's clutch win they moved above, but it's only for now probably. Well, last night's game was a fantastic one from the pitching department as Josh Beckett and David Price matched each other pitch for pitch to start the game. This ballgame was still scoreless up until the bottom of the sixth. That was when the Red Sox had runners at first and second with two outs in the inning. The scoreless tie was broken when Will Middlebrooks knocked a single up the middle to score David Ortiz and give the Sox a 1-0 lead.

Saltalamacchia had a pinch-hit
walk-off homer
However, the Rays proceeded to jump on off of Josh Beckett in the next inning. They would put runners at the corners with no outs to start the inning. A sacrifice fly by Ben Zobrist and an RBI single by Luke Scott would change the tie to give the Rays a 2-1 lead. The bottom of the seventh was scoreless and Josh Beckett would be taken out with a 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 5 K line-- yet he was set to lose the game. Andrew Miller and Rich Hill respectively pitched strong eighth and ninth innings to set the Red Sox up for their last chance. Daniel Nava walked to lead off the inning, and Scott Podsednik bunted him over. This put a man on second with one out for pinch-hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Salty made the Rays pay by crushing a pitch into the bullpens to win it 3-2 for the Red Sox.

Bright Spots:
Josh Beckett- 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 5 K
Andrew Miller- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K
Rich Hill- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, W(1-0)
Dustin Pedroia- 2-3, 1 BB
Will Middlebrooks- 2-4, 1 RBI
Daniel Nava- 0-2, 1 R, 2 BB
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 1-1, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Dull Spots:
Marlon Byrd- 0-3, 2 K

Player of the Game:
Josh Beckett- Even when his team wasn't scoring runs, Beckett put the Sox in a great position to win by only allowing two runs in seven strong-- he is now 4-4/4.15/45.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lester Roughed Up In Series Opener (22-23)

Lester didn't pitch well
Just when things were looking good for the Red Sox-- they blew it again and fell below .500 once more. The Red Sox would start off the bottom of the first by putting runners at first and second with two outs. Kevin Youkilis delivered for them by scoring Mike Aviles with a line drive single into center field. There would be a scoreless second for each team before the Rays really made a mark in the third. They loaded the bases with two outs, on a single and two walks, and Matt Joyce came up. Joyce took a low pitch and just drove a high fly ball to dead right-center which just evaded Marlon Byrd and Scott Podsednik into the bullpen for a grand slam to give the Rays a 4-1 lead early on. They kept going in the fourth-- powered by a leadoff single for Drew Sutton (former Red Sox utility man). With one out and Sutton still on first, Elliot Johnson put a charge into a fastball and drove it over the deepest part of the monster for a two-run homer and a  6-1 lead. Immediately afterwards, Carlos Pena homered down the line and just out of Marlon Byrd's reach for a homer.

Aviles had a run and RBI
That would give the Rays a 7-1 lead after just four innings and things were looking demoralizing for the Red Sox. To start the fifth inning, Jon Lester was taken out of the game with a miserable 4 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 3 BB, 4 K line that would raise his ERA all the way to 4.72 on the season. However, the Red Sox would begin to eat away at the Rays' lead in the fifth when they put runners on first and second with two outs. Adrian Gonzalez hit a ball off the green monster in left to score a run and put runners at second and third with two outs. However, Gonzalez's double would be all the Red Sox got as they'd leave the inning still with a 7-2 deficit. In the bottom of the sixth, the Red Sox got off to an even better start by putting runners at first and second with no outs. Marlon Byrd kept it going by hitting a sharp line drive past the second baseman to make it 7-3. A sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly, while resulting in one run, would basically ruin the rally as the Red Sox lost 7-4.

Bright Spots:
Scott Atchison- 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K
Matt Albers- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R
Franklin Morales-1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K
Adrian Gonzalez- 1-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Kevin Youkilis- 1-4, 1 RBI
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 0-2, 1 R, 2 BB
Marlon Byrd- 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Scott Podsednik- 1-3, 1 R

Dull Spots:
Jon Lester- 4 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 3 BB, 4 K
Dustin Pedroia- 0-4, 1 K, 2 LOB

Player of the Game:
Marlon Byrd- This game was pretty miserable on every facet, but Byrd had a decent day-- going 1-3 with a walk and an RBI single, he is now .206/1/9 on the year.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Series Preview #15: Rays (27-18) @ Red Sox (22-22)

At long last, the Red Sox have reached .500-- and now, they play a team who they are 4-2 against this year: the Tampa Bay Rays. In the first game tomorrow night, Jon Lester (3-3/3.95/37) and Alex Cobb (1-0/2.57/6). Cobb was good in his first start, but I have to go with Lester on this one and predict a Red Sox win. On Saturday's game, it'll be Josh Beckett (4-4/4.38/40) against David Price (6-3/2.88/52). Beckett has been great in his past couple of starts and so has Price-- both pitchers have been dominant against their opponents so I expect the Rays to win a pitching game on Saturday. The series finale, and potential rubber match, of the series will be Sunday-- when we'll get to see Clay Buchholz (4-2/7.84/27) taking the hill against impressive youngster Jeremy Hellickson (4-1/2.73/38). Hellickson has been fantastic this year while Buchholz has struggled mightily. However, in two of his last three starts-- Buchholz has been solid, and the Red Sox' offense could make this close; I'd still predict a loss though. Bold Prediction: Rays win series 2-1. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Red Sox Edge O's With Trifecta Of Homers (22-22)

Bard earned his fourth win
The Red Sox kept their hopes for a .500 record alive today by knocking off the Orioles in a tight series finale. The Orioles got going very quickly off Daniel Bard-- loading the bases with one out in the first. They would take a run on a sacrifice fly for Chris Davis but that would be all for the inning. The Red Sox quickly answered in the second by loading the bases with no outs. Scott Podsednik then had a somewhat bittersweet play, grounding into a double play to score the run and tie things up at 1-1, but there could've been much more in the inning. The Orioles then proceeded to answer their mini-rally when Nick Johnson led off the O's half of the second by crushing a 2-0 pitch to right field. The game would continue to see saw in the third when Will Middlebrooks drove Dustin Pedroia home on a double before Kevin Youkilis was caught at home easily by the left fielder Xavier Avery. The score would stay deadlocked at 2-2 up until the sixth inning.

Scott Podsednik made his
first Red Sox start big
The Red Sox would put a little rally up in the sixth after a fly out and a strikeout to lead off the inning. Daniel Nava would take a low breaking ball and golf a line drive into the seats in right field to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead in the sixth. A Scott Podsednik single would keep the rally going and knock starter Jake Arrieta out of the game with a 5.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 K line. Off of new reliever Luis Ayala, Kelly Shoppach would hit the biggest blow of the inning as he knocked a two-run homer to dead left field to give the Red Sox a 5-2 lead late. Daniel Bard would start the sixth, but only pitch to a batter as he'd leave with a 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 2 K line. Andrew Miller came into the game and would allow his first runs of the year when Nick Johnson took him deep to right for his second home run of the game to make it 5-4. The Red Sox would get an insurance run in the eighth, however, when the light-hitting Scott Podsednik popped a homer to right-center to make it 6-4. The O's would score in the eighth as well, but still lose 6-5 as the Red Sox returned to .500.

Bright Spots:
Daniel Bard- 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 2 K, W (4-5)
Alfredo Aceves- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K, SV (11)
Kevin Youkilis- 2-3, 1 R, 1 BB
Will Middlebrooks- 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Daniel Nava- 2-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Scott Podsednik- 2-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Kelly Shoppach- 2-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Dull Spots:
Andrew Miller- 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 BB
Vicente Padilla- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K
David Ortiz- 0-5, 1 K, 2 LOB

Player of the Game:
Kelly Shoppach- Shoppach played a good game today, not only calling a good game for Daniel Bard, but also going 2-3 with a two-run homer-- he is now .281/2/8 this year.

Doubront Good, Matusz Better In Loss (21-22)

Doubront pitched really
well last night
Just one game after the Red Sox reached .500 and tied the Yankees for fourth, all was erased as the Red Sox dropped a tough one. After a scoreless first for both teams, the Orioles got going a bit in the second when Wilson Betemit walked to start off the inning. There was a force out afterwards, but two runs would still score when Steve Tolleson took an inside fastball to left-center for his first home run of the season to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead in the second. Neither team would score in the third, but the Red Sox answered the Orioles blast a bit in the fourth inning when Kevin Youkilis-- in his first game off the DL-- shot a home run to center field to cut it to a 2-1 Orioles' lead. There would be no baserunners for either team through the fifth and sixth as Brian Matusz and Felix Doubront each really settled into grooves last night. The Red Sox were able to knock Brian Matusz out of the game one batter into the seventh inning-- as he left the game with a 6.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 K-- he would lower his ERA from 5.36 to 4.86 in the win.

Youkilis hit a home run 
To begin the seventh inning, Doubront would be out of the game-- he left with a 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 9 K line. Franklin Morales entered the game and got into a little jam in the seventh inning. Morales allowed a single to Chris Davis and a walk to Steve Tolleson before making Xavier Avery fly out. He would be taken out of the game after that, and Matt Albers would enter the game. Albers was great in getting out of that jam, striking out Robert Andino and J.J. Hardy to end the Orioles' threat. Despite Matt Albers' seventh inning heroics, he would be stung in the eighth inning when Wilson Betemit crushed an inside fastball for a two-run home run to deep right field over the mini-monster in Camden Yards. This would essentially end the Red Sox' hopes as they grounded out twice and flew out once in the ninth for an easy, 1-2-3, save for Orioles' closer Jim Johnson. The Red Sox will go for the series win at 12:35 today, and go for .500 once again!

Bright Spots:
Felix Doubront- 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 9 K, L (4-2)
Kevin Youkilis- 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI

Dull Spots:
Mike Aviles- 0-4, 1 K, 1 LOB
Dustin Pedroia- 0-4
David Ortiz- 0-4, 2 K
Will Middlebrooks- 0-3, 1 K, 1 LOB
Marlon Byrd- 0-2, 1 K

Player of the Game:
Felix Doubront- Doubront pitched very well last night, allowing just two runs over six innings and shutting the O's out completely after the second, he is now 4-2/3.96/53 on the year.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Late Rallies Help Sox Strike Even (21-21)

Clay Buchholz wasn't too
good, allowing 5 runs
After long last, the Red Sox are back at the .500 mark. After being 11-11 and going on a miserable losing streak, they are finally back at 21-21. Tommy Hunter and Clay Buchholz threw two perfect innings each to start the game, and this was looking like a pitching duel. However, the Red Sox broke out in the third when a Daniel Nava single and Marlon Byrd double put two runners in scoring position with no outs. Mike Aviles singled up the middle to score Nava, and Byrd would score later on a sacrifice fly by Dustin Pedroia-- barely beating the throw by Nick Markakis to make it 2-0. The Orioles would take the Red Sox' two runs and raise them two more in the third when they loaded the bases to start the inning. After an 11 pitch at bat, Xavier Avery walked in a run, and the O's would get another cheapie when J.J. Hardy knocked an infield hit to tie it at 2-2. Nick Markakis would walk in a run to give the Orioles a lead before Adam Jones drove in a run on a double play to make it 4-2 in the third. The Orioles would score another in the fourth when Chris Davis led off the inning with a line drive home run to right-center.

David Ortiz hit his 10th
home run of the year
Things were looking bleak when the Orioles had a 5-2 lead heading into the sixth, but David Ortiz put all that behind him by hitting a moonshot onto Eutaw Street behind right field. Ortiz's slam would power the Red Sox' offense as a double and a single put a pair in scoring position with no outs. They would score two on a sacrifice fly by Daniel Nava as well as scoring on an obvious balk (even I picked it up!) by Tommy Hunter to tie the game at 5-5. The offense continued to roll for the Red Sox in the seventh when they loaded the bases with just one out. Adrian Gonzalez hit a deep fly ball to left, caught on the warning track, but it would drive in the speedy Mike Aviles to give the Sox a 6-5 lead. Will Middlebrooks proceeded to give the Red Sox an insurance run by driving a clean single up the middle to make things 7-5. The Red Sox would get another insurance run in the eighth when Dustin Pedroia drove in Che-Hsuan Lin on a single to make it 8-5. The O's took a run in the eighth but it didn't matter as the Red Sox won 8-6.

Bright Spots:
Andrew Miller- 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K, W (1-0)
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, SV (10)
Mike Aviles- 2-5, 1 R, 1 RBI
Dustin Pedroia- 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI
David Ortiz- 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Adrian Gonzalez- 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Will Middlebrooks- 3-5, 1 R, 1 RBI
Daniel Nava- 2-3, 1 R, 1 RBI

Dull Spots:
Rich Hill- 0.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R

Player of the Game:
Dustin Pedroia- Pedroia had a very strong night last night, going 2-4 with a double to go with scoring a run and driving in two-- he is now .305/5/20 this year.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Outfield Injuries Continue With Ross Out Indefinitely

The Red Sox continue to have serious injury problems throughout their outfield with Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Ryan Kalish, Jason Repko, Darnell McDonald, and-- most recently, Cody Ross. It seems that Ross broke a navicular bone in his foot after fouling a pitch off his foot in Friday night's game against the Phillies. He did not play the next two games of the series, and the Red Sox now appear to have a diagnosis. Dustin Pedroia underwent a similar injury when he fouled a ball off his foot in June of 2010, and according to the Red Sox team website, Pedroia's injury was more severe. Still, Bobby Valentine expects Ross to miss over a month with the injury, which will put the Red Sox' outfield in even more turmoil. Ross had been having a great year for the Red Sox after being signed to a 1 year/$3 million contract this winter, batting .271/8/28 and showing some great power for the Red Sox. He was tied for second on the team in home runs, and second in RBIs as well to start the season. I hope that this injury does not affect Ross's play once he returns, but he will definitely be missed in the Red Sox' lineup.

Series Preview #14: Red Sox (20-21) @ Orioles (27-15)

After a 2-1 series against the Phillies, the Red Sox will head down to Baltimore to take on the division leading Orioles. In the first game of the series, tonight, we'll get to see Clay Buchholz (right)(4-2/7.77/25) throw against Tommy Hunter (2-2/4.78/28). This is a really tough one for me to choose, as Buchholz has pitched really badly this year, but well in his last two starts; still, I'd predict a very close loss for the Sox here. In Game 2, we'll get to see a pair of young starters with Felix Doubront (4-1/4.09/44) and Brian Matusz (3-4/5.36/29) going head to head. Doubront has been pitching really well of late and I'd predict a win in this game. In Game 3 we'll see a couple more young starters in Daniel Bard (3-5/4.85/26) and Jake Arrieta (2-4/4.72/51). Arrieta has not pitched well against the Red Sox, while Bard has done so against the Orioles so I'd predict a very close win here. Bold Prediction: Red Sox win series 2-1. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Weekly News

The Red Sox have been playing much better of late after a 5-2 week puts them at just one game below .500 at 20-21. For his third time of the season, the Player of the Week is Mike Aviles. Aviles played very well this entire week, batting at a .345/3/6 and homering in every game of the Phillies series-- he is now .275/8/27 this season as he is making Marco Scutaro seem much less missed. The Red Sox had an equally strong week on the mound as the Pitcher of the Week goes to Josh Beckett. Beckett had a fantastic week, going 2-0/0.61/14, winning both of starts to become 4-4/4.38/40 on the year. The Performance of the Week goes to Cody Ross on Thursday's 5-3 win over the Rays. Ross went 2-3 with a home run and four RBIs-- as he is now a solid .271/8/28 on the season. The Game of the Week belongs on Monday's 6-1 win over the Mariners. It's just such a rare feat to watch a Red Sox pitcher toss a complete game, but Jon Lester was flat out dominant on his start that night. In the upcoming week, the Red Sox will play three in Camden Yards against the O's, take a much needed off day, and play three back in Fenway against the Rays.

Red Sox Beat Phillies Behind Stellar Beckett (20-21)

Beckett pitched very well today
After a long hiatus from good baseball, the Red Sox are finally back to just one game below the .500 mark. The Red Sox started off this game in exactly the same way as they started the last one when Mike Aviles whacked a home run to left to lead off the game. The Red Sox got right back into scoring position in the second inning when they put runners at first and second with two outs. Once again, it was Mike Aviles who delivered when he lined a ball into left field to score a run and give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. After a pair of 1-2-3 innings for Josh Beckett, the Red Sox continued to produce off of Cliff Lee in the third inning. The inning started off when David Ortiz lined a ball directly into the shift. However, the Red Sox continued to hit the ball hard in the inning and it paid off when an Adrian Gonzalez single and Will Middlebrooks double put two runners in scoring position with one out.

He allowed a run in 7.2 innings
Jarrod Saltalamacchia immediately hit the biggest blow of the day when he crushed a high fly ball into center field for a three-run homer. Several scoreless innings ensued until the Red Sox got a little shock from Josh Beckett in the top of the seventh. On a pitch from Cliff Lee, he drove a ball off the wall in left-center field. It would only be a single, but it's always nice to see an American League Pitcher hitting balls hard off of one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Red Sox didn't score in the inning, or for the rest of the game. Beckett continued to pitch well but the Phillies finally got to him in the bottom of the eighth. They put runners at second and third before a sacrifice fly by Juan Pierre netted them their first run of the game. That made it 5-1, and Josh Beckett would be taken out of the game with a line of 7.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K-- he would earn the win and the Sox won 5-1.

Bright Spots:
Josh Beckett- 7.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K, W (4-4)
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K
Mike Aviles- 2-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Adrian Gonzalez- 2-4, 1 R
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Dull Spots:
David Ortiz- 0-4, 1 K, 1 LOB

Player of the Game:
Josh Beckett- Beckett pitched a fantastic ballgame today, earning the win after allowing just a run in 7.2 strong innings as he becomes 4-4/4.38/40 on the season.

Red Sox Smash Four Homers, Beat Phillies (19-21)

Lester wasn't great but he earned the
win last night
This game was essentially the opposite of the game before, as the Sox took an early lead and just hung on the beat the Phillies. This game started off really fast for the Red Sox as Mike Aviles homered on a liner into left-center. The Sox got into another good position to score in the second, when they put runners at second and third with no outs. Daniel Nava drove one in one a bad play by Joe Blanton-- who made a bad throw to second. Another one game in on a double play by Jon Lester, so it wasn't pretty but the Sox had a 3-0 lead. The Phillies got a two-out rally going in the third, culminating in a Shane Victorino double to make it 3-1. The fifth would mark the Red Sox' biggest lead of the night as it went to 5-1 on back-to-back homers for Will Middlebrooks and Jarrod Saltalamacchia-- both to right-center.

David Ortiz had a two-run
shot, his ninth of the year
However, the Phillies would nearly come back in the very same inning as Carlos Ruiz scored on a near home run by Hector Luna. Freddy Galvis would promptly drive both Luna and himself home on a blast to left-center to cut the lead to 5-4 Red Sox. In the fifth, David Ortiz let Red Sox fans take a deep breath though. He absolutely hammered a two-run homer into pretty much dead center-- his ninth of the year-- to make it 7-4 in the fifth inning. After a couple more scoreless innings for Lester-- he was taken out before the seventh inning with a 6 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 3 K line-- unimpressive, but he got the job done. Vicente Padilla came in and worked a scoreless seventh before he ran into some trouble in the eighth. With runners at second and third and two outs, Jimmy Rollins drove in one of them with an infield single to cut it to 7-5. However, Alfredo Aceves sent Red Sox fans home happy by working a four out save-- getting his ninth of the season to help the Red Sox win 7-5.


Bright Spots:
Mike Aviles- 1-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
David Ortiz- 2-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Will Middlebrooks- 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 3-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Ryan Sweeney- 1-3, 1 R, 1 2B
Daniel Nava- 1-4, 1 RBI

Dull Spots:
Adrian Gonzalez- 0-4, 2 K, 1 LOB

Player of the Game:
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- Salty had a fantastic game last night, going 3-4 and coming just a triple short of the cycle-- he is having a pretty good season at .283/6/16 this year.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Oswalt Rumors Circling Once Again

Just when Red Sox fans had thought that the Roy Oswalt rumors had died down, they have resurfaced once again. Yesterday, Oswalt threw a bullpen session for the Red Sox and Phillies. The acquisition of Oswalt would certainly help the Red Sox as it's no secret that their starting pitching has not been brilliant-- their pitching staff has a 4.68 ERA, 28th in baseball. Oswalt went 9-10/3.69/93 in 23 starts for the Phillies last year and the righty allegedly has several good offers on the table. Oswalt is 34 years old and his age throws one more variable into the equation. When will he be good to go? Andy Pettitte, who signed with the Yankees over a month ago took about a month and a half to ready up. Now, Pettitte is 39, but it would still probably take Oswalt a solid month to return. In a month, who knows if there will even be room for him. Daisuke Matsuzaka will have returned by then, and barring any more injuries-- the Red Sox would have to take somebody from the rotation (probably Daniel Bard). I agree that the Red Sox need pitching help, but I don't think Oswalt is the way to go.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Papelbon, Hamels Shut Down Sox In Series Opener (18-21)

Bard settled down after a
rough first inning
Even though the Red Sox lost the series opener tonight, they played a good game and it was fun to watch. The Phillies got off to a very fast start, loading the bases on three walks with one out-- Bard showed some serious control issues again. Carlos Ruiz took a first pitch slider to right-center for a single that would score two runs and give the Phillies an early lead. A sacrifice fly for Ty Wigginton and an RBI double for John Mayberry Jr. would hand the Phillies a 4-0 lead after just one inning. The Red Sox slowly began to eat away at this lead-- starting in the third inning when Mike Aviles put a charge into a fastball down the middle and drove a home run down the third base line to cut it to 4-1. The Red Sox got into another position to score by putting runners at the corners with one out in the fourth-- a Cody Ross double and Will Middlebrooks single got them there. Daniel Nava hit a lazy fly ball into center field and right to Shane Victorino, but there was no play and a run scored to further cut the lead. But just when Daniel Bard had appeared to settle down, he got into some more issues.

Mike Aviles had a homer
and a double
With one out in the fifth, Hunter Pence absolutely crushed a ball into left field to give the Phillies a 5-2 lead on Pence's tenth homer of the year. The Red Sox quickly answered in the sixth, though, when Cody Ross crushed a homer around the pole in left field to cut it to a 5-3 Phillies lead. After the top of the sixth, Daniel Bard would be pulled from the game with a line of 5 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 5 BB, 3 K-- as Bard did not have his best stuff tonight. Matt Albers came into the game, and neither team scored for a couple innings with the score still at 5-3 heading into the eighth. With one out in the inning, Adrian Gonzalez took a low curve and pulled it into the seats to cut it to a 5-4 game with his third home run this season. The Phillies answered that run in the bottom of the inning when Freddy Galvis went yard off of Franklin Morales to make it 6-4. Jonathan Papelbon worked a scoreless ninth against his former team and the Phillies would take the opener 6-4.


Bright Spots:
Matt Albers- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Mike Aviles- 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Adrian Gonzalez- 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Cody Ross- 2-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI

Dull Spots:
Daniel Bard- 5 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 5 BB, 3 K, L (3-5)
Franklin Morales- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 K
Dustin Pedroia- 0-4, 1 K, 1 LOB
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 0-2, 1 K, 2 LOB
Nick Punto- 0-2, 2 K, 2 LOB

Player of the Game:
Cody Ross- Cody Ross just continued his tear tonight by going 2-3 with a double, two runs scored, and a home run to make him .271/8/28 this year.

Series Preview #13: Red Sox (18-20) @ Phillies (20-19)

After my predicted 1-1 series with the Rays, the Red Sox will be heading to Philadelphia in a series that could go either way. The Phillies have a tremendously talented pitching staff but a rather weak offense. The Red Sox, on the other hand, have a great offense but a fairly weak pitching staff. In the first game of the series tonight, we will get to see Daniel Bard (3-4/4.30/23) going against one of the Phillies' trifecta, Cole Hamels (5-1/2.28/49). Hamels has been tremendous in his contract year this year, and if Bard's control issues continue-- even the Phillies' offense should be able to capitalize and win this game. Tomorrow night will feature Jon Lester (right)(2-3/3.71/34), who pitched a great game his last time out, against Joe Blanton (4-3/2.96/35), who has also pitched well this year. My optimism predicts a win here, but it's anything but certain. In the series finale on Sunday, we'll get to see Josh Beckett (3-4/4.97/35) against another member of the trifecta, Cliff Lee (0-1/1.95/34) in what should be a close game. I'd expect the Phillies to pull out a tight win in that game, however. Bold Prediction: Phillies win series 2-1.

Ross Drives In Four As Sox Edge Rays (18-20)

Doubront threw the 7th straight
 quality start for the Red Sox
It's very very comfortable to have a one or two run lead against the Rays, who always seem to have a knack to beat the Sox, but the Red Sox edged a close game last night. The Red Sox got going strong off of Matt Moore, loading the bases on two singles and a hit by pitch with just an out. Will Middlebrooks struck out looking on an outside fastball to put the Red Sox' scoring chances in jeopardy. However, Cody Ross came through by working an excellent at bat-- walking despite starting with an 0-2 count-- to push in the Sox' first run. The second run would come leading off the second inning when Marlon Byrd put a charge into a 3-2 fastball and hit his first Red Sox home run into left center field. Matt Moore appeared to have settled down after that, though, retiring five of the next six hitters before Cody Ross came to the plate. Ross belted a low change into dead center field for his seventh homer of the year, giving the Sox a 3-0 lead. However, the Rays would answer with a little rally in the bottom of the third.

Cody Ross had a homer
and four RBIs last night
With two outs and nobody on, B.J. Upton swung at the first pitch and popped it up to Adrian Gonzalez at first. A weird call took place though, as apparently Kelly Shoppach's glove interfered with Upton's swing, and they awarded Upton first base. The Rays made a rally out of this, eventually culminated in a Jeff Keppinger single to score Upton and make it 3-1. The Rays took another in the fourth when rookie Rich Thompson singled up the middle to drive in a run. The Rays would load the bases in the inning but the Sox would escape on a Luke Scott lineout. The next few innings were scoreless, and Felix Doubront was eventually pulled with a line of 5.2 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 6 H, 4 BB, 7 K. The Red Sox were in scoring position again in the eighth when they put two runners in scoring position with two outs. Cody Ross came up and drove them both in on a soft single up the middle to make it 5-2. The Rays scored in the eighth, but the Red Sox would edge this game out by a score of 5-3.


Bright Spots:
Alfredo Aceves- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R
Dustin Pedroia- 2-5, 1 R
David Ortiz- 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB
Cody Ross- 2-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 BB, 4 RBI
Marlon Byrd- 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI

Dull Spots:
Vicente Padilla- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 K
Adrian Gonzalez- 0-3, 1 K, 2 LOB
Will Middlebrooks- 0-4, 2 K, 5 LOB
Daniel Nava- 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K, 3 LOB
Kelly Shoppach- 0-3, 2 K

Player of the Game:
Cody Ross- Ross came up with all the big hits (and walks) last night, driving in four runs, and the Red Sox would not have won without him-- he is now .262/7/27 this season.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Winning Streak Comes To Halt As Sox Strand Twelve (17-20)

For his second straight start,
Clay Buchholz pitched well
This streak came to an end in the way that I predicted, with Jeremy Hellickson out-pitching Clay Buchholz in a duel. The first couple of innings were scoreless, but the Rays got going in the bottom of the second. A leadoff single for Carlos Pena and a hit by pitch to Luke Scott put the Rays in a good position to score. However, Sean Rodriguez complicated matters by hitting a ground ball right at third baseman Will Middlebrooks, which would become a 5-4-3 double play ball. This put a runner at third with two outs and Will Rhymes up-- he would walk to put runners at the corners. With Jose Molina batting, Clay Buchholz balked (on a correct call), on a pickoff to first base-- allowing Rhymes to move to second and Pena to score. Molina would strikeout to end the inning. The Sox appeared to be answering right away when Mike Aviles doubled to lead off the third. However, things would go the way of the Rays tonight as the Red Sox would strand Aviles on two hard hit fly balls and a groundout.

He allowed two runs in five innings
It was in the fourth inning that the Red Sox got on the board with a two out rally. After two outs had already been recorded a Jarrod Saltalamacchia double and a Cody Ross walk put the Sox in a place to score. And they would, when Daniel Nava had a bloop into left field, just out of the reach of the diving Matt Joyce to score a run and make it 1-1. Both pitchers settled down, until the sixth inning when Clay Buchholz put runners at the corners with no outs. He was pulled in favor of Andrew Miller. Miller was pitching to Luke Scott, who hit a high fly ball to short right. Cody Ross caught it, but he misread it and allowed the run to score on the sacrifice fly. That would be the winning run and the Rays won the game 2-1.

Bright Spots:
The pitching- 8 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 9 K
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 2-4, 1 2B, 1 R
Cody Ross- 1-3, 1 BB
Daniel Nava- 1-4, 1 RBI
Mike Aviles- 2-3, 1 2B

Dull Spots:
Ryan Sweeney- 0-3, 1 LOB
Adrian Gonzalez- 0-4, 2 K, 2 LOB
Will Middlebrooks- 0-4, 3 K, 2 LOB

Player of the Game:
Clay Buchholz- Buchholz pitched a good ballgame last night, his second straight, allowing two runs in five innings-- he is now 4-2/7.77/25 on the year.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Series Preview #12: Red Sox (17-19) @ Rays (23-14)

With a five game winning streak on the line, the Red Sox will leave the friendly confines of Fenway Park to face the Rays in Tampa Bay for a two game series. The Rays have been playing well this year, tied for the AL East lead with a 23-14 record. They've had solid pitching (15th in the league) and good hitting (8th in the league) this year. In the first game of the series tonight, I expect the Red Sox' winning streak to end with Clay Buchholz (4-1/8.31/20) doing battle with Jeremy Hellickson (3-0/2.95/29). Buchholz has pitched badly this year, so I'd expect the Rays to take Game 1 behind the reliable Hellickson. The second game of the series with be a pair of rookie lefties with Felix Doubront (right)(3-1/4.46/37) and Matt Moore (1-3/5.31/34) set to pitch. I'd expect the Sox to take a close one here and tie the series. Bold Prediction: Red Sox and Rays tie series 1-1.

Beckett Dominates As Sox Shut Out Mariners (17-19)

Beckett struck out nine in
seven shutout innings
The Red Sox continue to play well of late as they extended their winning streak to a season high five games. The first pair of innings were scoreless for both sides as both Josh Beckett and Blake Beavan were pitching very well. However, the Sox finally got on the board in the bottom of the third inning when David Ortiz took a 3-2 fastball down the middle and hammered it to right for a home run-- his eighth of the year-- to make it 1-0 Red Sox. Once the momentum was in their favor, the Red Sox just kept right on going in the fourth inning. After a Jarrod Saltalamacchia flyout to start the inning, a Cody Ross walk and Daniel Nava single put runners at the corners with one away. Mike Aviles came up and, on the first pitch, lined the ball over second baseman Dustin Ackley's head and into the gap for a double that would score Ross, and put a pair of runners in scoring position. Ryan Sweeney then grounded out to make it two outs, and score the runs-- but that would be the last the Sox would score in the inning, leaving with a 3-0 lead.

David Ortiz had his eighth home run
of the season yesterday
As things turned out, the fourth inning was also Beavan's last as the Sox chased him from the game with a 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K line. Charlie Furbush came into the game, and David Ortiz welcomed him with a leadoff single. Adrian Gonzalez advanced him to second on a ground ball to first, and a wild pitch would put Papi at third with one out for Will Middlebrooks. Middlebrooks took a low slider and belted it off the bottom of the monster for an RBI single to make it 4-0. The next several innings were scoreless, and it was still 4-0 when Josh Beckett was removed from the game with a 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K. The Red Sox got another run in the eighth on Mike Aviles' second RBI double of the game, but it was meaningless as the Sox won 5-0.

Bright Spots:
Josh Beckett- 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K, W (3-4)
Rich Hill- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K
David Ortiz- 2-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Will Middlebrooks- 1-4, 1 RBI
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 2-4, 1 R
Daniel Nava- 1-3, 1 R
Mike Aviles- 2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI

Dull Spots:
Ryan Sweeney- 0-5, 2 K, 4 LOB, 1 RBI

Player of the Game:
Josh Beckett- Beckett pitched a fantastic ballgame yesterday, striking out nine in seven shutout innings-- he is now 3-4/4.97/35 on the season.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lester Goes The Distance In Win Over M's (16-19)

Lester threw a complete
game last night
Again and again, the Red Sox have proven that they are the streakiest team in the majors as their current four-game winning streak illustrates. As usual, they got going very quickly offensively when Dustin Pedroia walked with an out in the first. David Ortiz then came up and promptly gave the Sox a 1-0 lead by banging a double off the monster, the ball ricocheted unpredictably and Pedroia scored easily for the Sox. However, Ortiz would certainly not be stranded as the next batter, Adrian Gonzalez, knocked him in on a double to left to give the Sox a 2-0 lead over the Mariners. It would have seemed that the Sox had something going again in the second, but with a runner on first and two outs-- Marlon Byrd was caught stealing by former Yankees' prospect Jesus Montero-- traded for the currently injured Michael Pineda this offseason. Again, the Red Sox scoring started with just a runner on first in the bottom of the fourth. However, that run would come in quite quickly as Daniel Nava rocketed a two-run homer into the green monster to give the Sox a 4-0 lead.

Daniel Nava had a two-run
home run
With the way that Jon Lester was pitching, that probably would have been enough but they continued to tack on runs in the fourth. Even after Marlon Byrd's flyout, Kelly Shoppach took advantage of a high fastball and hammered it over the green monster-- almost onto Landsdowne Street-- for his first home run of the year. After several scoreless innings by both sides, the Sox got going again in the eighth when they loaded the bases with one out on a single, double, and intentional walk. Marlon Byrd chipped a little fly ball into right field and into the waiting arms of Ichiro, but Will Middlebrooks  was able to hustle it out and it wasn't even a play at home, so the Sox would take a 6-0 lead late. Having only thrown around 100 pitches, Jon Lester headed back out for the ninth inning and put a pair of runners in scoring position with one out. Kyle Seager grounded out to second, producing the only Mariners run of the game and a strikeout by Alex Liddi would official close the book on the game.

Bright Spots:
Jon Lester- 9 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 6 K, CG (1), W (2-3)
David Ortiz- 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Adrian Gonzalez- 1-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Cody Ross- 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B
Daniel Nava- 1-2, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Marlon Byrd- 1-3, 1 SF, 1 RBI
Kelly Shoppach- 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI

Dull Spots:
Mike Aviles- 0-4, 1 K, 1 LOB

Player of the Game- Jon Lester pitched a great ballgame today, almost throwing a shutout but settling for a nine inning, one run victory-- he is now 2-3/3.71/34 on the season.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Series Preview #11: Mariners (16-20) @ Red Sox (15-19)

After a Game 1 loss, the Red Sox really righted the ship against the Indians and won their series 3-1. The Sox will be staying at Fenway to play a quick two-game series with the Mariners, who are fresh off a 1-2 series loss to the Yankees. In the first game of the series tonight, it'll be Jon Lester (1-3/4.29/28) and Jason Vargas (4-2/2.79/38) to do battle. Vargas has pitched well this year, but Lester is heating up and with the Red Sox' offense (third in baseball) against the Mariners' (seventeenth in baseball), the Sox should pull out a close game against the M's tonight. Tomorrow night will be another close game with Josh Beckett (right)(2-4/5.97/26) against youngster Blake Beavan (1-3/4.32/14), another guy who has pitched well this year. Beckett was actually pitching pretty well before his last start against the Tribe, and with the clearly superior Boston offense behind him, I'd predict a win here. Bold Prediction: Red Sox Sweep Series 2-0.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Weekly News

The Red Sox didn't start this week as I'm sure they would have liked to, going 1-3 in the first four, but a three game winning streak and all is forgotten in a 4-3 week. For the first time of the season, Dustin Pedroia (right) is Player of the Week after going .393/2/9 this week-- he is now .319/5/18 as he is having a phenomenal season as usual. The Pitcher of the Week for his second time of the year is Felix Doubront-- who went 2-0/3.65/7 in 14.1 innings this week. Doubront pitched well (especially last night) and is now an impressive 3-1/4.46/37 on the season. The Performance of the Week goes to Will Middlebrooks, who played a great game on Monday in Kansas City. Middlebrooks went 3-5 with a pair of home runs and five RBIs in that game as the rookie is really impressing. The Game of the Week goes to last night as the Sox played a really clean, good game (it doesn't hurt that I was at Fenway!) in all facets and beat the Indians 4-1. In the upcoming week, the Sox will challenge their three-game win streak against the Mariners for two. After that, they will play two in Tampa Bay and three in Philadelphia to wrap up their week.

Red Sox Mash Masterson, Wheeler In Rout (15-19)

Daniel Bard earned his
third win of the year
The Red Sox were looking for the series win over Cleveland when they took the field at 1:35 today, and they performed accordingly. After a scoreless top of the first-- the Sox got to work in the bottom half with a two out rally. After Ryan Sweeney and Dustin Pedroia grounded out to lead off the inning, a David Ortiz walk and Adrian Gonzalez double put them in good position to score. They would do so when Will Middlebrooks lined a ball into left to score a run. Another run would come home when Daniel Nava drove a double off the green monster to score a run and push it to 2-0. The Sox would take two more in the inning when Jarrod Saltalamacchia lined a ball into right field with the bases loaded to give the Sox a 4-0 lead in just the first inning. After another scoreless inning-- Daniel Bard got into a little jam in the third when he loaded the bases on two walks and a hit. He would walk Asdrubal Cabrera on four pitches to bring one run home before Travis Hafner grounded into an inning ending double play, and from that point on it was all Red Sox.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia had
five RBIs today
The Sox quickly answered for the Indians' run when Will Middlebrooks knocked a laser over the green monster. After a couple more scoreless innings, the Sox scored again in the sixth when Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a line drive just out of left fielder Johnny Damon's reach to make it 6-1. The sixth would also be Daniel Bard's last inning-- he finished at 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 2 K. Rich Hill worked a perfect seventh before the Sox really got off in the bottom half. Dustin Pedroia led off the inning with a double but was home  on a David Ortiz single before you could say "meaningless run!" Another run would come home on a wild pitch to make it 8-1 and put runners at the corners for Daniel Nava. Nava made good of the opportunity by driving them both in with a double deep off the monster to give the Sox a 10-1 lead. Jarrod Saltalamacchia came up after a Cody Ross groundout and promptly drove a homer to almost dead center to give the Sox a 12-1 lead. Those would be the last runs of a Mother's Day rout for the Red Sox.

Bright Spots:
Daniel Bard- 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 2 K, W (3-4)
Rich Hill- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K
Matt Albers- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K
Scott Atchison- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 K
David Ortiz- 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 RBI
Adrian Gonzalez- 2-4, 2 R, 2 2B
Will Middlebrooks- 2-3, 3 R, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 RBI
Daniel Nava- 2-2, 3 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 3-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI

Dull Spots:
Cody Ross- 0-3, 1 K, 3 LOB
Mike Aviles- 0-4, 3 LOB

Player of the Game:
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- Salty had a fantastic game today, going 3-5 with a two-run homer to go with  two-run and one-run singles to help the Sox-- he is now .250/5/15.

Red Sox Roll Over Indians Behind Doubront (14-19)

Doubront pitched very
well last night
Well, I feel great because I was actually at Fenway Park last night, and I experience a good, clean win for the Sox. After a couple of scoreless innings for both sides to start the game, Mike Aviles singled to lead off the third on a blooper into center. Two batters later, and on a 2-1 count, Aviles took off for second base. In this situation, the hit-and-run worked to perfection as Dustin Pedroia doubled high off the monster in left-center and Aviles just beat the throw to home; he wouldn't have scored without the hit-and-run. However, he would've scored on the next play anyway as David Ortiz crushed a high line drive into deep left-center and just out of the reach of center fielder Michael Brantley. Pedroia scored on the play to give the Sox a 2-0 lead after three innings of baseball. The Red Sox got right back at it in the fourth, though, as a Daniel Nava single and Jarrod Saltalamacchia ground-rule double put two runners in scoring position with one out. Mike Aviles delivered with a line drive to Shelley Duncan in left, Nava barely scored on the play-- just sliding under catcher Lou Marson's glove.

Pedroia had a key RBI double
Felix Doubront continued to put up zeros on the board-- but he had thrown about 80 pitches entering the sixth inning, which would be his last. Lou Marson doubled into short right, past a diving Ryan Sweeney, to start things off in the sixth. However, Doubront minimized the damage about as much as he could-- allowing the run on an infield hit to Jason Kipnis on some miscommunication in the Red Sox infield. Felix Doubront would be taken out after that inning with a fantastic final line of 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K, he would later earn his third win of the year and is now 3-1/4.46/37. In the bottom of the sixth, with two outs and two strikes, Cody Ross did some damage by hitting an absolute moonshot over the AAA-insurance sign on the monster. With a 4-1 lead, the Sox entered three different relievers (Andrew Miller, Vicente Padilla, and Alfredo Aceves) into the ballgame for the seventh, eighth, and ninth, respectively. None of them allowed a hit and Aceves picked up his seventh save of the season.

Bright Spots:
Felix Doubront- 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K
Andrew Miller- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R
Vicente Padilla- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K
Alfredo Aceves- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K, SV (7)
Dustin Pedroia- 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI
David Ortiz- 1-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Daniel Nava- 2-3, 1 R
Cody Ross- 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Mike Aviles- 1-2, 1 R, 1 RBI

Dull Spots:
Ryan Sweeney- 0-4, 1 K, 2 LOB
Adrian Gonzalez- 0-4, 1 K, 2 LOB
Will Middlebrooks- 0-4, 2 K, 1 LOB

Player of the Game:
Felix Doubront- Doubront pitched an excellent ballgame last night, picking up his third win of the year, going six innings and allowing just a run.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Red Sox Acquire Podsednik, Lose Larish

Ben Cherington has been busy with a couple of minor league deals over the past few days. Yesterday the Sox acquired outfielder Scott Podsednik (right) from the Phillies and today, they traded first baseman Jeff Larish to the Pirates. Podsednik had been playing for the Phillies' AAA team in Lehigh Valley, and was not particularly impressing to start the season-- he was only .203/0/4 in 74 minor league at bats. However, Podsednik has shown his true skill this year, which has pretty much been his main skill throughout his entire career: speed, as he has stoled six of seven bases this year. Yesterday, the Sox got Podsednik from the Phillies in return for cash considerations. In a similar move, they traded Jeff Larish to the Pirates in return for cash considerations. The Red Sox had signed Larish a few weeks ago, and he was yet to start a game in their organization. Larish was not a huge loss for the Sox, and chances are that Podsednik will not be a huge gain. Podsednik will, however, bring some speed to the table-- something not seen much since Jacoby Ellsbury's injury.