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.
05/10/2009 - 4:05am
Evan Longoria is 23 years old, less than three years removed from college. He has played 152 games in the majors.
And yet it is already clear that he is on a unique career trajectory. He spent all of six days in the majors before signing a deal that could keep him with the Tampa Bay Rays through 2016 for a total of $44.5 million. By that point, it was already apparent to the baseball world that, so long as he remains healthy, that deal would be a bargain.
05/09/2009 - 4:11am
For the second time in as many nights, the Red Sox entered the sixth inning having done next to nothing offensively. And then: boom.
One night after the Sox scored 12 runs in the sixth inning before recording an out, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 13-2 lead, they rallied for five runs in as many batters on Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays. In the process, Boston turned a 3-0 hole into a 5-3 advantage in an eventual 7-3 win.
05/08/2009 - 3:41am
There was no warning.
For five innings, the Red Sox lineup produced as one might have expected. The leadoff hitter (Jacoby Ellsbury) was out. So were the third (David Ortiz) and fourth (Kevin Youkilis) hitters.
The Sox had touched Indians starter Jeremy Sowers for a run in the first inning, but could do nothing thereafter. Through five innings, Boston had one run on four hits, and when Tim Wakefield walked off the mound at the end of his sixth inning, he was trailing, 2-1, and staring at the likelihood of a hard-luck loss.
05/06/2009 - 5:40am
The Red Sox have taken all five of their games against the Yankees this year, but it would be a mistake to assume that a sizable gap exists between the two clubs. The Yankees could have - and, in some cases, should have - won each of those five contests.
On Tuesday, the Sox claimed a 7-3 win that, like their four prior triumphs against the Yankees, was about the details.
05/05/2009 - 5:46am
NEW YORK—At Fenway Park on April 24, in the first game between the Red Sox and Yankees this year, the Sox took a 5-4, 11-inning victory that they had no business claiming. Down to their last out with a two-run deficit and Mariano Rivera on the mound, Jason Bay crushed a two-run homer that tied the game, and Kevin Youkilis eventually won the contest with a walkoff homer in extra innings.
05/04/2009 - 10:07am
It is almost hard to believe that former Red Sox icon Johnny Damon is in the fourth and final year of his $52 million deal with the Yankees. His departure following the 2005 season (which served as a prelude, in many ways, to the Yankees' 11th hour swoop on Mark Teixeira this offseason) sent the Sox front office as well as New England into a state of shock.
05/03/2009 - 5:29am
Run support is a strange thing.
In the past, Tim Wakefield was often betrayed by his offense. Over the past four seasons, the Red Sox had averaged five runs for each of the knuckleballer’s starts – not bad, all things considered, but well below the norm for an offense that has been a juggernaut in recent years.
05/01/2009 - 3:26am
For the second straight night, Jonathan Van Every was called upon to provide the Red Sox with late-inning heroics. But on Thursday, the task facing the outfielder was very different, and far less thrilling than the game-winning homer that he launched in the 10th inning of Wednesday’s game against the Indians.
Instead, Van Every was charged Thursday with the rather unsavory job of stopping the bleeding in the waning moments of his team’s 13-0 loss to the Rays.
04/29/2009 - 4:13am
It was fun while it lasted for the Red Sox.
The 11-game run came to a sudden and unexpected halt on Tuesday. Once the Sox put the wood to the Indians to jump out to a 5-1 lead in the second and a 7-3 lead entering the bottom of the third, a 12th straight ‘W’ seemed inevitable.
The Sox, after all, had not lost any game all year in which they’d held the lead after three innings. Nor had Boston lost any game in which it had held a lead of four or more runs.
04/27/2009 - 5:07am
Ultimately, it was a series of three games that embodied why meetings between the Red Sox and Yankees have long been considered must-see events. The weekend was rich with moments that had never been seen before and may never be seen again by most who bore witness to them.
The signature moment of Sunday night’s 4-1 Red Sox victory over the Yankees at Fenway was a straight steal of home by Jacoby Ellsbury. A perfect storm of circumstances permitted the event:
04/26/2009 - 4:50am
For the Yankees – or any other team investing big money in a free-agent pitcher – the fear is that they get what A.J. Burnett produced on Saturday.
That doesn’t mean that New York or any other club is quaking about the prospect of a $16.5 million-a-year pitcher giving away a six-run lead in every start. The Yankees have every reason to believe that Burnett’s almost unfathomable inability to hold onto a lead that grew to a half-dozen runs after three innings was a rare – and perhaps one-of-a-kind – occurrence.
04/25/2009 - 4:28am
The Red Sox’ 5-4 win over the Yankees was a rare triumph indeed - in fact, it was one-of-a-kind.
The Red Sox trailed, 4-2, entering the ninth against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. But the future Hall of Famer gave away the lead when Jason Bay battered a ball to left-center, barely clearing the Green Monster for a game-tying two-run homer.
04/23/2009 - 11:32am
Plenty of attention has been devoted to the status of Jason Bay’s next contract. The question of whether the free-agent-to-be will be with the Red Sox beyond the 2009 season looms over his performance this year.
That issue will reverberate throughout this season. Increasingly, Bay’s significance in the Sox lineup is apparent.
In the sixth spot in the batting order, he offers an impressive combination of power and patience, someone for whom totals of 30 homers, 100 RBIs or 100 walks would not come as a surprise.