06/30/2009 - 3:41am
Red Sox manager Terry Francona waited as long as he could. But in the end, there was little choice.
The Sox were 18-7 in the 25 games since they had shuffled the lineup and installed Dustin Pedroia in the leadoff spot while putting J.D. Drew behind him in the second spot. But that team success had come largely despite Pedroia’s struggles in the role: he had played in 24 of those games, hitting .214 with a .264 OBP and .565 OPS as the leadoff man.
06/28/2009 - 3:34am
Roger Clemens is on notice. Cy Young, too.
On Saturday, Tim Wakefield arrived in style atop a Red Sox franchise record list. The 42-year-old knuckleballer continued his remarkable season by delivering six shutout innings to lead his club to a 1-0 victory over the Braves in Atlanta (recap).
Wakefield (10-3, 4.18 ERA) allowed just three hits -- all singles -- to the Braves. No Atlanta baserunner got past second base while he was on the mound.
06/27/2009 - 4:38am
Remember when Josh Beckett was 2-2 with a 7.22 ERA? That’s OK -- no one else does, either.
Facing the Atlanta Braves for his second straight start (the previous one being a complete-game shutout last Saturday), Beckett again blasted zeros across the scoreboard. The Red Sox starter logged seven shutout innings in his team’s 4-1 victory (recap), permitting just six hits while walking none and punching out six.
06/24/2009 - 7:04am
The way Jason Bay describes it, his job description is simple.
“I’ve maintained all along,” Bay said on the Red Sox Post-Game Show, “that on those days when I’m not getting hits or hitting a homer, if I could drive in a run – like (Sunday) against Atlanta, a sac fly – get those RBIs when I can, that’s basically what I’m really worried about, driving in those runs.”
06/23/2009 - 11:20am
There are plenty of terms used to describe the baseball operations offices of the Boston Red Sox. Few are flattering.
“The dungeon” and “the torture room” are a couple of phrases thrown around to depict the offices beneath Fenway where most of the team’s baseball decisions take place. Such phrases are understandable, particularly around the time of the Major League Baseball draft.
06/21/2009 - 6:03am
This is why the Red Sox stockpiled a pitching surplus.
Daisuke Matsuzaka is 1-5 with an 8.52 ERA. He has looked lost on the mound for nearly all of a season in which he still has yet to deliver a single quality start.
Ultimately, after he lasted just four innings and allowed six runs on Friday, the Sox had little choice but to pull the plug. The team announced that, rather than going with a six-man rotation with the impending return of John Smoltz, Matsuzaka’s next scheduled start will be skipped.
06/19/2009 - 9:54am
The return of Hanley Ramirez to Fenway Park was hardly spectacular. During a three-game series with the Marlins, the superstar shortstop collected just two hits in 10 at-bats with a pair of walks and a pair of strikeouts.
Nonetheless, that modest performance made no less fascinating the “what-if” game that can be played with Ramirez, particularly in a season when the position he occupies for the Marlins has been one of weakness for the Red Sox this year.
06/18/2009 - 4:04am
It was well and good to be called “a tough kid” by Terry Francona, but really, the Red Sox manager’s credentials to make that call only go so far. Recently retired Ultimate Fighting Championship star Chuck Liddell is another matter entirely.
Liddell was on hand at Fenway to watch his friend Brad Penny win his 100th career game. Yet the pitcher almost never had that chance. In the top of the first inning, Marlins outfielder Jeremy Hermida smashed a liner straight back up the middle that hit Penny on the left side of the chest.
06/17/2009 - 6:48am
In the bottom of the sixth, David Ortiz took a hellacious hack at a 91 mph fastball from Marlins reliever Burke Badenhop, fouling it straight back and narrowly missing a chance to send a ball into orbit. The vicious cut forced Badenhop to come to a conclusion that other pitchers will undoubtedly soon reach: he abandoned any efforts to go after Ortiz with fastballs.
06/16/2009 - 6:01am
For four months, Clay Buchholz had been asked the same questions. And every time, his answers remained unaltered.
Yes, Buchholz wanted to pitch in the major leagues. Yes, he understood that the line to the Red Sox rotation was long, snaking around so many times that he had no idea whether he would reach one of the coveted front five spots in 2009. Yes, he viewed it as his responsibility to redeem the faith of his organization after a year-long struggle in 2008, and he was willing to remain patient – no matter how long – while trying to do so.
06/11/2009 - 5:41am
Suddenly, air seemed in short supply.
The Red Sox had enjoyed a comfortable journey through the first six innings of their Wednesday night game against the Yankees. Tim Wakefield had been anything but overpowering. Even so, in his own words, he “was able to spread hits around” to limit the Yankees to just three runs in his six innings. With Chien-Ming Wang imploding in the early innings, the Sox enjoyed a comfortable 6-3 advantage.
06/10/2009 - 7:38am
Though the offices of the Red Sox’ baseball operations department were entirely full as the clock ticked towards midnight, the mood was a boisterous one. It seemed that everywhere that the Sox turned, signs of promise abounded.
On the field at Fenway Park, the Sox were busy handing the Yankees’ lunch to them. The 7-0 win saw the continued dominance of Josh Beckett along with the third home run of the year from a potentially resurgent David Ortiz.
06/09/2009 - 8:55am
Tuesday and Wednesday are arguably the most significant days of the baseball calendar for the Red Sox, and it has nothing to do with the presence of the Yankees. Today is all about the Major League Baseball Rule 4 draft, when the Sox will begin selecting the next 50 players who they hope will help to improve the team’s long-term fortunes.
06/08/2009 - 5:22am
Is David Ortiz really 33?
The struggles of the Red Sox' designated hitter have been so pronounced that it has not been merely the slugger’s abilities that have been doubted, but instead his very identity.
Even with his current six-game hitting streak, Ortiz is now hitting just .197 with two homers, a .288 OBP and .308 slugging percentage. His struggles have been so pronounced that questions about whether the accuracy of his listed age of 33 have become commonplace.
06/07/2009 - 6:55am
This was not the same Jon Lester who threw a no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals last May. This was someone better.
Lester’s fastball exploded into Jason Varitek’s mitt at 98 mph in the first inning on Saturday, a velocity reading that had never been seen on a pitch he’d thrown. For the rest of the night, his four-seam fastball hovered around 94-97 mph with tremendous precision.
Yet that was just one of his weapons. Lester was painting with a dazzling array of pitches, and the results were stunning.
06/06/2009 - 6:57am
Had the Red Sox known what kind of game Brad Penny would have pitched, Julio Lugo would not have been the starting shortstop on Friday.
The Sox have been putting Nick Green in the lineup on nights when they feature starters who elicit grounders. Indeed, Green – whose range is currently considered superior to that of Lugo – will be the Sox’ starting shortstop on Saturday against the Rangers, when Jon Lester and his bat-shattering cutter are on the hill.
06/05/2009 - 11:33am
The footsteps are growing louder. John Smoltz is getting closer to Fenway Park, and with each outing of his rehab assignment in the Red Sox' minor-league system, interest in the future Hall of Famer grows. That will remain the case with the 42-year-old's scheduled start on Friday in Pawtucket, when he will face Triple-A hitters for the first time in his comeback from surgery last June.
06/05/2009 - 7:28am
At the end of last week, it had the makings of a flop. The Red Sox had lost four of their first six contests during their three-city, 10-game road-trip, in the process moving from a first-place tie to a 1.5 game deficit in the division.
05/24/2009 - 12:05pm
Brad Penny knows what time of year it is. The Red Sox’ fifth starter has been traded twice before, and his name has been a regular part of the rumor-mill circuit for years.
He is also aware that his current club – one that he is enjoying immensely, and that he believes has put his career back on track – is in a position where it can deal from a remarkable wealth of starting pitching.
05/24/2009 - 2:44am
It was a ninth-inning that featured all manner of crazy. The Red Sox navigated a 2-1 lead into the final frame, a development that suggested near-certain victory. The team was 19-0 when leading after six innings this year, and 20-0 when leading after eight.
Jonathan Papelbon owns 124 career saves, and was perfect in his 11 opportunities in 2009. The Sox closer had not allowed a run in nine appearances, dating to April 29.
05/23/2009 - 3:50am
Daisuke Matsuzaka’s first two outings of the year were so poor that his catcher – a man who is described as having near-photographic recall of pitches – couldn’t even remember them.
“Was there only one (start), or was there two? I can’t even remember,” said Jason Varitek.
05/21/2009 - 2:53am
Nothing seemed particularly striking about the blast. Last Sept. 22, against Zach Jackson of the Indians, David Ortiz jumped on a fastball on the inner half of the plate, sending it into the Red Sox bullpen in right-center for a solo homer. It was his second round-tripper in as many games and his fifth in an eight-day stretch.
05/20/2009 - 3:08am
In one respect, Tuesday’s game between the Red Sox and Blue Jays was treated merely as the backdrop against which David Ortiz returned to the lineup.
The epic slump of Boston’s designated hitter, a man responsible for an incredible 231 homers in his first six years as a Red Sox, has now reached nearly a quarter season. He sat out all three weekend games in Seattle to clear his head, and his return to the No. 3 spot in the Sox lineup against the Blue Jays seemed like a major event.
05/17/2009 - 2:41am
The stage was set for a familiar refrain.
For the third time in a four-game span, the Red Sox jumped out to a 4-0 lead against a West Coast opponent. That advantage, achieved with a pair of runs in the first and second, seemed slightly ominous given that the team had blown four-run leads on both Wednesday and Friday.
05/16/2009 - 4:10am
There is a danger to allowing one-run games to play too substantial a role in coloring the judgment of a team. When the Red Sox were amidst an 11-game winning streak just a few weeks ago – a run that included improbable come-from-behind, one-run wins – the team’s lineup depth was heralded. Now, after back-to-back one-run losses on the West Coast swing, it would be natural to look at the team’s failure with runners on base and to conclude that the lineup is lacking.