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Final: Athletics 20, Red Sox 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 31, 2012 09:50 PM

Game over: Athletics 20, Red Sox 2: In what has been a season full of cringe-worthy moments, this was the worst.

Brandon Moss, the former Sox prospect, was 4 for 5 with a home run, two doubles and a career-high four RBIs. George Kottaras, another former Red Sox player, homered twice and drove in five runs.

Oakland had 19 hits, four of them home runs.

The 20 runs were the most for Oakland since Sept. 30, 2000 when they beat Texas, 23-2. The Sox, incredibly, have allowed 13 or more runs six times this season.

It was the worst loss for the Sox since June 19, 2000, a 22-1 loss against the Yankees. They had not allowed 20 runs in a game since Aug 21, 2009, a 22-11 loss against the Yankees.

The Sox have lost four straight and nine of their last 12. They were 9-20 in August and going back to last Sept. 1 are 69-91.

Top of the 8th: A's 18, Red Sox 2: The A's scored nine runs off Craig Breslow and Mark Melancon. The capper came from, of course. Josh Reddick. His first career grand slam made it 18-2.

What an embarrassment. The 18 runs are the most for Oakland since Sept. 30, 2000 when they beat Texas, 23-2. The Sox, incredibly, have allowed 18 runs twice this season and 13 or more runs six times.

And the game isn't over.

Middle of the 7th: A's 9, Red Sox 2: Ciriaco singled before Iglesias was hit by a pitch. Pedro Figueroa relieved McCarthy and threw a wild pitch. Pinch hitter Mauro Gomez then drove in Ciriaco with a grounder to third base.

Top of the 7th: A's 9, Red Sox 1: Daniel Bard pitched the sixth inning and allowed a home run by Kottaras. It was Bard's first MLB appearance since June.

Top of the 6th: A's 8, Red Sox 1: Aceves hit Cespedes with two outs. Then Moss crushed a homer to right. He has a career-high four RBIs tonight.

Middle of the 5th: A's 6, Red Sox 1: Tazawa retired all four batters he faced. Aceves on now. Guess he really is getting stretched out.

Middle of the 4th: A's 6, Red Sox 1: Salty (No. 23) homered with two outs.

Top of the 4th: A's 6, Red Sox 0: Cook was brutal. After Drew hit a bomb to center that Ellsbury ran down, Reddick doubled to right. With two outs, Moss hit a ball over third base that was deflected and went for an RBI double. An RBI single by Gomez led to Junichi Tazawa coming in.

Cook is 1-6 (soon to be 1-7) with a 5.67 ERA in his last 10 starts. What would be the point of giving up another five or six more? Let Tazawa start. Or Aceves. Or anybody.

Top of the 3rd: A's 4, Red Sox 0: And so it begins. Cespede singled and scored on a double over Podsednik's head in left. Gomes then singled in a run. Donaldson followed with a rocket to left field.

Sox down 4-0 tonight. They were down 2-0 after one inning on Thursday, 4-0 after one inning on Wednesday and 2-0 after one inning on Tuesday.

Middle of the 2nd: Red Sox 0, A's 0: They did it again. Loney singled and went to second when Aviles singled with one out. Ciriaco then grounded to third before Iglesias lined softly to second. Sox already 0 for 4 with RISP.

Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 0, A's 0: Cook retired the A's in order. But two of the outs were fly balls. That's not a good sign for him.

Middle of the 1st: Red Sox 0, A's 0: Oh, those Sox. Podsednik and Pedroia (11-game hit streak) had singles. Ellsbury then grounded into a double platy before Ross flied to center.

Pre-game: Good evening from Oakland Coliseum. There are football yard lines on the field here and not much of a crowd. But the Athletics are leading the wild card race as the Sox come to town. It just like a movie with Brad Pitt, only real!

We'll have game updates deep into the night and it appears the comments section is back in order. Sorry about the tech issues.

Hang out, have fun. It's still a baseball game.

Hill on the comeback trail with Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 31, 2012 09:00 PM

OAKLAND, Calif — Rich Hill has been with the Red Sox for parts of three seasons now but has pitched in only 32 games.

The lefthanded reliever from Milton was still recovering from shoulder surgery when he was signed in 2010. His 2011 season was cut short by a torn ligament and subsequent Tommy John Surgery.

Hill was pitching effectively this year until he strained a flexor tendon and landed on the disabled list in early June.

He will be activated for Saturday night’s game against Oakland. Hill pitched in eight minor league games as part of his rehabilitation.

“Everything has been feeling good. I’ve been able to go out there and pitch with conviction and have the ball go the way I want and have it come out of my hand the way I want to,” he said Friday after rejoining the team. “I’m looking forward to pitching.”

Hill thought he was finally ready to resume his career in full after the shoulder and elbow injuries. The tendon strain was an unexpected obstacle.

"With all the work you put in in the offseason, and the work that goes into coming back and then having a setback like this, it is frustrating, no doubt about it,” Hill said. “You see how hard you work to come back and to have something happen, I guess it's part of the game. You continue on and keep going out there and pitching with conviction.”

The Red Sox will likely wait on their other roster additions until after Triple A Pawtucket is finished with the International League playoffs.

Game 133: Red Sox at Athletics

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 31, 2012 06:15 PM

Good afternoon. Here is a preview of the game tonight:

RED SOX (62-70)
Podsednik LF
Pedroia 2B
Ellsbury CF
Ross RF
Loney 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Aviles DH
Ciriaco 3B
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Aaron Cook (3-7, 4.76)

ATHLETICS (73-57)
Crisp CF
Drew SS
Reddick RF
Cespedes LF
Moss 1B
Gomes DH
Donaldson 3B
Kottaras C
Pennington 2B
Pitching: RHP Brandon McCarthy (7-5, 3.12)

Game time: 10:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. McCarthy: Pedroia 2-9, Aviles 0-7, Ellsbury 2-4, Loney 0-3, Ros 0-3, Salty 1-3, Podsednik 0-2.

Athletics vs. Cook: Drew 13-38, Gomes 7-14, Kottaras 2-8, Crisp 3-7, Moss 4-4, Rosales 1-3, Cespedes 1-3, Norris 0-3, Pennington 0-3, Reddick 1-2, Smith 0-3.

Stat of the Day: Pedroia has hit safely in 23 of the last 24 games at .357 (35 for 98) with 12 doubles, one triple, three homers, 15 RBI and 19 runs. Pedroia also has a 10 straight at 14 of 42. He leads the majors with 12 doubles and is tied for second in the AL with 16 extra-base hits in August.
Notes: The Sox have lost three straight and eight of 11. ... The Sox are 1-5 against the Athletics despite getting outscored only 27-21. ... The Sox are 35-36 against the Athletics the last eight years, 12-21 at Oakland Coliseum. ... Cook is 1-6, 4.91 in his last nine starts. He faced Oakland on July 4 and allowed three runs on nine hits over six innings. ... McCarthy is 2-3, 5.23 in eight career appearances against the Sox. He beat them May 2, allowing one run over 6.2 innings. ... Loney has hit safely in each of his first five games with Boston. He also has an RBI in each of his first four starts with the Sox, the first player to accomplish that feat since 1995 when Jose Canseco and Matt Stairs both did it.

Song of the Day: "Big Tears" by Elvis Costello.

Last call for trades

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 31, 2012 03:15 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. — Today is the final day for teams to obtain a player who can be used in the postseason.

Could that mean a final trade for the deck-clearing Red Sox?

The loss of Rafael Furcal to an elbow injury could have the Cardinals in search of a shortstop at the deadline. Mike Aviles would fill that need. Daisuke Matsuzaka could have some value as well if a contender needs a starter.

There's nothing in the wind as of yet. We will keep you posted.

Pitching matchups for the Athletics series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 31, 2012 09:45 AM

Friday: RHP Aaron Cook (3-7, 4.76) vs. RHP Brandon McCarthy (7-5, 3.12), 10:05 p.m., NESN

Saturday: LHP Felix Doubront (10-6, 4.79) vs. LHP Brett Anderson (2-0, 0.64), 9:05 p.m., NESN

Sunday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-3, 5.10) vs. LHP Tommy Milone (11-9, 3.73), 4:05 p.m., NESN

Angels finish a six-game sweep of the Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 31, 2012 01:28 AM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — If the Los Angeles Angels make their way into the postseason, they should put out a statement thanking the Red Sox for all their generous help.

The Sox and Angeles played six times over a 10-day period in the summer heat of the pennant race and Los Angeles won all of the games. The Angels finished off their sweep on Thursday night with a 5-2 victory.

The Sox were outscored 47-29 by the Angels this season and have lost eight straight games against Los Angeles going back to last year. This is the first time the Sox have ever been swept in a season series of at least six games by any opponent.

A few notes:

• Jon Lester (8-11) allowed four runs on six hits in the first three innings then one run on three hits after that. Lester has three complete games, a career high and the most for a Red Sox lefthander since Frank Viola had six in 1992.

“I just felt like it was my game,” said Lester, who made 110 pitches through seven innings but returned to the mound in the eighth and retired the side in order. “I felt good so I told Bobby and [pitching coach Randy Niemann] when I came in, ‘I’m not coming out.’ I just, for whatever reason, I don’t know why, I felt it was my game.”

That's commendable at any time, but especially under the circumstances.

• James Loney (3 for 4) hit his first home run with the Red Sox since being acquired from the Dodgers and his fifth on the season. Loney has a hit and an RBI in each of his first four starts for the Sox. The last player to do that was Matt Stairs in 1995.

• Mike Aviles was 2 for 3 with an RBI. His 59 RBIs are second among AL shortstops. His 13 home runs are third and his 27 doubles are tied for second. Through Wednesday, his 7.8 UZR was fifth in the league. He also is seventh in OPS.

If you judge Aviles against other shortstops, he has had a very solid season.

That's it from Anaheim. Catch you Friday from Oakland.

Final: Angels 5, Red Sox 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 30, 2012 09:54 PM

Game over: Angels 5, Red Sox 2: The game ended with Mike Aviles on third as Ernesto Frieri got the save.

The Sox were outscored 47-29 by the Angels this season and have lost eight straight games against Los Angeles going back to last year. This is the first time the Sox have ever been swept in a season series of at least six games by any opponent.

Top of the 9th: Angels 5, Red Sox 2: Lester stayed in. Can the Sox find a way to make it worth it?

Top of the 8th: Angels 5, Red Sox 2: Greinke, in his last inning, allowed a single by Aviles. Lester then held the Angels down. But the Sox are running out of chances.

Lester is at 110 pitches and surely done for the night.

Top of the 7th: Angels 5, Red Sox 2: Loney hit his first homer for the Sox, a shot to right field. Lester then worked around a two-out walk.

Top of the 6th: Both sides went in order in the fifth inning. Sox have 3 hits.

Top of the 5th: Angels 5, Red Sox 1: Ross had a leadoff single but that was it for the ox, who have been held to three hits. Lester walked Wells, who went to third on a hit-and-run single by Iannetta. Wells scored with Aviles and Pedroia turned a double play on Trout.

Top of the 4th: Angels 4, Red Sox 1: So much for Lester having his act together.

Hunter, Pujols, Trumbo and Callaspo (pinch hitter for an injured Kendrick) had consecutive singles to account for two runs. Kendrick left the game with a sore right knee.

Middle of the 3rd: Angels 2, Red Sox 1: Lester set down the side on three fly balls. Pedroia then doubled with one out. But Ellsbury grounded out and Loney lined to left. He stung the ball but Wells made the catch while falling down.

Middle of the 2nd: Angels 2, Red Sox 1: Greinke loaded the bases with one out as Aviles singled before Salty and Lavarnway walked. Aviles clocked a sac fly to center. With Salty at third, Ciriaco struck out swinging.

Top of the 2nd: Angels 2, Red Sox 0: The first inning was unkind again. After the Sox went in order, the Angels came out swinging against Lester.

Trout walked before Hunter singled. Pujols then hit a lightning bolt down the line at third that scored two. Lester set down the next three from there but the Sox are already down.

Pre-game: Good evening, gang. The Sox will try to salvage a game in the series against the Angels tonight. The good news is that their hottest starter, Jon Lester, is on the mound.

We'll have updates all game long, so hang out and join the conversation.

Game 132: Red Sox at Angels

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 30, 2012 06:15 PM

Here is a preview of the game:

RED SOX (62-69)
Podsednik LF
Pedroia 2B
Ellsbury CF
Loney 1B
Ross RF
Saltalamacchia DH
Lavarnway C
Aviles SS
Ciriaco 3B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (8-10, 4.98)

ANGELS (68-62)
Trout CF
Hunter RF
Pujols DH
Trumbo 1B
Kendrick 2B
Aybar SS
Izturis 3B
Wells LF
Iannetta C
Pitching: RHP Zack Greinke (2-2, 5.22)

Game time: 10:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Greinke: Podsednik 17-34, Pedroia 2-9, Ellsbury 2-7, Salty 1-7, Loney 0-5.

Angels vs. Lester: Wells 6-33, Kendrick 3-22, Aybar 5-19, Hunter 7-19, Izturis 5-11, Callaspo 1-7, Morales 0-6, Trumbo 1-5.

Stat of the Day: The Sox have lost seven straight games against the Angels going back to last season. Prior to that, they had won 14 of 15.

Notes: Lester is 3-0, 2.25 in his last three starts, dropping his ERA from 5.26 to 4.98. The lefty is 4-1, 4.20 in seven career starts against the Angels, 3-0 in his last three while allowing one earned run over 21 innings. ... Greinke is 1-4 against the Sox in six career appearances despite a 2.88 ERA. He has been a bust as an Angel, going 2-2, 5.22 in six starts. ... The Sox are now 30-31 on the road. ... Pedroia has hit safely in nine straight at 34 of 95 with seven RBIs. He has hit in 22 of 23 games at 34 of 95.

Song of the Day: "Running On Empty" by Jackson Browne.

Happy birthday, Ted Williams

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 30, 2012 05:44 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — It would be a mistake not to mention that Ted Williams was born this day in 1918.

The man hit .344 /.482/ .634 with 521 homers and did not play from ages 24-26. His OPS+ was 190. Take a look, my friends, at how great T.S. Ballgame was.

And here is the greatest piece of baseball trivia ever: Joe DiMaggio hit .408 with an 1.180 OPS during his 56-game streak in 1941. Williams hit .412 with a 1.224 OPS in the same stretch of games.

Also:

• The Sox sent OF Bryce Brentz from Portland to Pawtucket today, just in time for the International League playoffs.

• Gordon Edes spoke to Scott Boras about Jacoby Ellsbury. Holy cow, do the Sox need to trade Ellsbury. There is no chance of signing him before he hits the market based on what Boras told Gordon.

Then there is this: Ellsbury will be 29 next month. That means he will be 30 when he becomes a free agent after the 2013 season. Do the Sox really want to sign a 30-year-old center fielder to a contract of six-plus seasons at huge money?

Ellsbury has played in 227 of the last 445 games. That's 51 percent. What leads you to believe that he will be more durable as he gets older?

• Finally, does anybody else find it totally inappropriate to keep criticizing the players for not attending Johnny Pesky's funeral? Because I sure do.

We all grieve our own way and imposing our personal standards on somebody else is wrong, if not downright creepy. Just because you grew up loving Johnny doesn't mean the players did.

I haven't taken a poll, but I would guess 85 percent of the current roster never met Johnny. These guys grew up all around the world and never stepped foot in New England until they became ballplayers. They know little of his legacy.

When Bob Shepherd, the great Yankees announcer, died in 2010, not one active Yankees player attended his funeral. Some reached out privately to his family, others simply didn't realize what he meant to fans.

It comes down to this: Would you rather somebody attend a funeral and pretend to be sad about somebody they didn't know? Is that really respect?

What a player does in uniform is open for criticism, praise, disdain and whatever other emotions you care to conjure up. Have at it. But don't impose your morality on their private lives.

If the Red Sox wanted the players there, they would have made it a mandatory event. When they choose not to, that was the end of it.

From what I understand Vicente Padilla was under the impression it was mandatory and that's why he showed up. That this stuff became a topic is entirely disrespectful to the Pesky family. It would be interesting to know how many of those braying the most about this attended the funeral.

If somebody you know died, would you want a stranger telling you how to act? There are some things that are personal to all of us and that is one them.

Random West Coast thoughts on the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 30, 2012 02:15 PM

Good afternoon from Anaheim. Fueled by perfect weather, here are some random thoughts on the Red Sox:

• They always say that you can't fire 25 players, so you have to fire the manager. But the Red Sox have, in essence, fired Kevin Youkilis, Kelly Shoppach, Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto.

They also literally fired the pitching coach, Bob McClure.

Those seven people have one thing in common: none of them seemed to much like Bobby, although Carl was coming around near the end. So maybe that means the Red Sox will give Valentine 2013 to show what he can do. That is a legitimate way of looking at it.

Valentine's greatest strength as a manager is molding teams without a lot of star players into contenders and that will probably describe the 2013 Sox.

The Red Sox stink because they have had lousy starting pitching and a record-setting number of injuries. Their starters have an ERA of 4.94 and the disabled list has so far accounted for 1,318 games lost. Not sure any manager out there could overcome that.

But when the decision is made about who should manage the team next season, it's hard to imagine who at the table is going to pound their fist and make a case for Valentine.

John Henry and Tom Werner? Don't see it. Ben Cherington? He never wanted Bobby V in the first place. Any of the other baseball operations people? Nope, they're with Cherington. The only two players who could influence the call would be Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz. Pedroia, who hates the Bobby-fueled drama, is out. Ortiz genuinely likes the manager but is smart enough to know what others think.

That leaves Larry Lucchino, who shepherded Valentine into the organization.

Does Lucchino have enough sway over everybody else in the room? That's probably what it comes down to.

Either that or Henry decides that the idea of three managers in three years is too embarrassing for an organization that used to be envied for its sound decision making.

• Then there is this: It doesn't look like Valentine is having any fun. During the last trip to New York, at least a dozen people who know Valentine well said they thought that. Why would he want to subject himself to more of this?

Even the press conferences have become awkward. Valentine, who usually likes to banter, sits there like an doomed man waiting for the bailiff to come and forever take him away. Lately he has started picking fights when reporters throw accusatory questions at him.

There will be a few interesting incidents in these last few weeks, you watch. NESN will have more drama than TNT.

• Given the score, you were probably asleep by the time the fifth inning rolled around on Wednesday night. But Jose Iglesias showed why you have to keep his name in the conversation.

With runners on first and third, Alberto Callaspo hit a grounder to second. Pedroia made a quick feed to shortstop and Iglesias grabbed it and threw a strike to first base while being taken out by Howie Kendrick.

A run scored, part of a 10-3 loss. But it was eye-catching how quickly Iglesias made the play and, further, how quick the feed was Pedroia because he knew the kid would be there. Here's the thing with Iglesias: You have to figure out whether the runs he'll save with his glove will be more than the runs he will cost you with his bat. Plays like that make you think he's worth keeping. He really is that good.

• Don't know whether he's part of the mix next season or not, but Scott Podsednik is hitting .370 with a .389 OBP over 119 at-bats. He will be 37 in March but he has earned a shot with somebody next season.

• Mauro Gomez can hit. But he's a DH and he turns 28 next week. It's hard to see much upside.

• Pedro Ciriaco is a mystery to me. He was just OK for Pawtucket (.301/.318/.406) but has been pretty darn good for the Red Sox (.345/.358/.473), albeit in 148 at-bats in generally meaningless games. Meanwhile he was a Triple A backup all last season for the Pirates.

He's not a starter, not even Valentine thinks that and he has been Ciriaco's biggest supporter. But Ciriaco probably can be a decent utility player because of his speed and defensive versatility.

Here's the question, however: Would you rather have Mike Aviles do that in 2013 or Ciriaco?

• It's not a matter of if the Red Sox sign Cody Ross to an extension before the season is over, it's a matter of when it happens. Both sides want to get it done.

• Remember this, baseball fans: Nothing you see in September is real. The biggest mistake you can make evaluating players is basing anything on the final weeks of a season, especially for a team fighting to stay out of last place.

• Ortiz has to shut it down, right? What would be the point in having him play another 10 games or whatever? Get rested, get healthy and come back hitting bombs in 2013. That is the best idea now.

• Alfredo Aceves is headed down the same road with the Sox that he did with the Yankees. He is undeniably talented and he has a lot of heart on the mound. But his behavior finally caused the Yankees to let him go and the Red Sox may have do the same eventually.

After James Loney made a nice play to end the eighth inning on Wednesday night, Aceves spiked the ball across the diamond and glared at the Angels dugout. This in a game the Sox were losing by seven runs.

Aceves was a happy-go-lucky dude when the Yankees called him up back in 2008. He was fun to talk with and teammates seemed to like him. But somewhere along the way he let his anger at not becoming a starter get the best of him.

• I'm one of the voters for AL manager of the year. If you feel strongly about somebody, feel free to drop me an email.

• The Red Sox (62-69), Phillies (61-69), and Marlins (59-72) are in a bizarro pennant race to see who is the biggest disappointment in baseball.

• As part of the new ESPN deal, the network can now grab up to six Red Sox games for Sunday Night Baseball.

• Daniel Bard will be activated tonight. Here's hoping that he pitches well and is free of whatever robbed him of his talent.

It would be a shame if the ill-advised decision to make him a starter led to Bard losing what made him so special coming out of the bullpen. Had the Red Sox simply made him the closer when Jonathan Papelbon left, none of this would have happened.

Catch you later on with the game preview. Now that you're done reading this, get back to work.

Stewart gets a return trip to Pawtucket

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 30, 2012 01:45 AM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Zach Stewart probably will get another chance with the Red Sox, if for no other reason than they will need extra arms when the rosters expand in September.

But for now, he has been optioned back to Triple A Pawtucket after a discouraging start Wednesday night against the Angels.

Stewart allowed nine runs on 10 hits in three innings in a 10-3 loss. The 25-year-old righthander looked overmatched right away as the first four Angels scored in the first inning.

“He got too many pitches up. He has to pitch down in the zone to be effective,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “He just wasn’t able to do that tonight. It’s tough to come up and make a start against this team and have things go bad from the first hitter.”

Said Stewart: “I’ve had a few bad ones. It’s always difficult, you never want to have a start like that. It’s one of those things, all you can do is turn the page and go from there.”

Stewart appears to be a classic case of a pitcher who can't make the leap from the minors. He has a 3.19 ERA in 112 minor league games — 3.45 in Triple A. But he is 3-9 with a 6.55 ERA in 32 major league games.

The Red Sox are now in a position where they are evaluating their players for next season. Get used to days like this the rest of the way.

"It's life in the big leagues," Valentine said. "You get an opportunity and sometimes you make the best of it and sometimes you have to have more than one opportunity to show what you can do."

You can make a case that Valentine left Stewart in too long. With two outs and a runner on second in the third inning, Stewart allowed two RBI doubles then a three-run homer to No. 9 hitter Chris Iannetta. The game was pretty ugly at that point.

But the Red Sox have seven games in the next seven days, part of a stretch of 16 games in as many days. So Valentine left Stewart in to finish the inning.

"I was deathly afraid of using the entire bullpen," Valentine said.

Does it matter whether Valentine saves a rookie's pride a little or keeps an extra pitcher fresh for the next game?

That such a question even needs to be asked tells you where the Red Sox are right now.

Final: Angels 10, Red Sox 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 29, 2012 09:55 PM

Game over: Angels 10, Red Sox 3: Zach Stewart’s first impression was not a good one. He gave up nine runs in three innings as the Sox were beaten, 10-3, before a crowd of 37,841.

You have to go back to April 26, 1902 to find a pitcher who gave up more runs in his debut with Boston. That was Pep Deininger of the Boston Americans, who allowed 11 runs against the Washington Senators.

The Sox are now 0-5 against the Angels this season and have lost seven straight against Los Angeles dating to last season.

Top of the 9th: Angels 10, Red Sox 3: Jason Isringhausen allowed singles by Lavarnway and Gomez (3 for 4) but the Sox could not score. Aceves then worked a scoreless inning thanks to a terrific play by James Loney at first base to rob Trumbo of a hit.

Top of the 8th: Angels 10, Red Sox 3: Wilson was replaced by Jordan Walden and he retired the Sox in order. Alfredo Aceves then worked out of a jam in the bottom of the inning.

Pedroia and Ellsbury are out of the game.

Top of the 7th: Angels 10, Red Sox 3: Wilson left two runners stranded in the sixth as Gomez and Podsednik had singles. Andrew Miller loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning but struck out Morales and got Trumbo to fly to left.

Top of the 6th: Angels 10, Red Sox 3: Trumbo walked and took third on a hit-and-run single by Kendrick.

Callaspo grounded into a double play, which allowed Trumbo to score. Iglesias made a nice turn, getting the feed from Pedroia and making a strong throw while getting taken out.

Middle of the 5th: Angels 9, Red Sox 3: Good stat padding going on. Scotty Pods and Ciriaco singled. Podsednik took third when Ellsbury grounded into a force. When Ellsbury stole second, Podsednik scored when the throw got away. Pedroia then singled in Ellsbury.

Ross lined to left and Lavarnway fanned looking.

Top of the 5th: Angels 9, Red Sox 1: Tazawa retired the side in order, fanning Hunter and Morales. He has shown some potential this season. Tazawa has fanned 27 in 29 innings.

Middle of the 4th: Angels 9, Red Sox 1: Aviles singled, but that was it. Tazawa has replaced Stewart.

His line: 3 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 HR. 72/36.

Top of the 4th: Angels 9, Red Sox 1: This game is officially out of hand.

Morales doubled and scored on a two-out double by Callaspo. Aybar then doubled in a run before Iannetta homered.

Poor Zach Stewart has allowed nine runs on 10 hits, seven of them for extra bases. Tazawa is warming up. Hard to imagine sending Stewart out for more of this.

Middle of the 3d: Angels 5, Red Sox 1: Wilson retired the side in order. He hasn't won a game since June 26. This sure looks like the one.

Top of the 3d: Angels 5, Red Sox 1: The Rally Monkey may get a night off. Aybar doubled, took third on a fly ball to right by Trout (despite a strong throw from Ross), and scored on a single by Hunter.

That's six hits in two innings off Stewart.

Middle of the 2d: Angels 4, Red Sox 1: Gomez singled, went to third on a single by Aviles, and scored on a sac fly by Podsednik after Iglesias struck out.

Top of the 2d: Angels 4, Red Sox 0: The scouting report on Zach Stewart is that he pitches to contact.

Yes, he sure does.

Trout singled and scored on a double by Hunter. Pujols then singled in a run before Morales homered to right. That was a lot of contact.

Sleep well, all.

Middle of the 1st: Red Sox 0, Angels 0: Pedroia and Ross worked two-out walks. Ryan Lavarnway had a shot to make it hurt but hit a fly ball down the line in right that Hunter tracked down with his speed.

There was a minor earthquake in California today, a 4.1 centered about eight miles away from Anaheim in Yorba Linda. I felt in in my car while stopped at a light and will readily admit it was a little unsettling.

Lavarnway, who was raised in Woodland Hills, Calif., laughed at me.

"That was nothing," he said. "If you were driving and not stopped, you would have never noticed it."

Maybe so. But I'll be happy to get back on solid ground in Massachusetts.

Pregame: There's plenty of room at the Hotel California and here at Angel Stadium as the Red Sox prepare to face C.J. Wilson and the Angels.

The Sox have won seven of their last eight games here despite the presence of the dreaded Rally Monkey.

If you're staying up late, we'll have updates all night long. Please feel free leave your comments.

Bard, ready or not, set to return to Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 29, 2012 09:10 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif — The statistics do not reflect it, but Daniel Bard believes he is ready to return to the major leagues.

The 27-year-old righthander joined the Red Sox on Wednesday and will be activated on Thursday. Bard spent the last 12 weeks with Triple A Pawtucket after his promising career hit an unexpected detour.

One of the best set-up relievers in the game for the better part of three seasons, Bard failed as a starter this season. He was 5-6 with a 5.24 earned run average and got demoted on June 4, a day after he lasted only 1 2/3 innings against Toronto.

Bard walked six batters in that game and hit two. He was optioned to Pawtucket for what the team said would be a short time. It proved to be nearly three months.

“It definitely came as a shock, the first half,” Bard said.

Bard did not pitch well at all in Pawtucket because of control problems, posting a 7.03 ERA over 31 appearance. He walked 29, hit 10 and threw nine wild pitches over 32 innings.

Bard did not walk any batters in his last three outings and the Red Sox are hopeful he can gain a measure of consistency. The velocity is still there, although Bard does not dial up that seemingly effortless 98-mph heater he once had.

“It gave me a chance to work on some things without too much consequence in the results,” Bard said. “I accomplished some really good things and I’m headed in the right direction. Now I need to get back in that competitive environment.”

Bard made his major league debut at Angel Stadium on May 13, 2009. Now he gets a fresh start here again.

“It’s a matter of trying to get better every day,” he said.

Bard doesn’t regret trying to become a starter. But he admits that is what led to his having so many problems.

“I think it was trying to morph myself into a starter too much, trying to change,” Bard said. “Throw more changeups, front-door cutters, back-door sinkers. Just trying to do things that I hadn’t done in the past.

“It worked some days and didn’t work others days. I kind of got in to deep with it. I kind of lost the pitcher that I felt like I was the last three years. I had to do what I could to rediscover that."

That means throwing a fastball and a slider and attacking the strike zone. Bard will not have a defined role in the bullpen beyond simply pitching in relief.

Did the Red Sox ruin one of their best pitchers? It looks that way at the moment. The next several weeks will reveal more of the answer.

Game 131: Red Sox at Angels

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 29, 2012 06:13 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of the game:

RED SOX (62-68)
Ciriaco 3B
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Lavarnway C
Gomez 1B
Aviles DH
Iglesias SS
Podsednik LF
Pitching: RHP Zach Stewart (1-2, 6.00)

ANGELS (67-62)
Trout CF
Hunter RF
Pujols DH
Morales 1B
Trumbo LF
Kendrick 2B
Callaspo 5B
Aybar SS
Iannetta C
Pitching: LHP C.J. Wilson (9-9, 3.83)

Game time: 10:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Wilson: Pedroia 6-13, Aviles 2-12, Podsednik 2-12, Ross 2-8, Ellsbury 3-7, Salty 0-6,

Lavarnway 0-5, Loney 1-4, Ciriaco 1-3, Kalish 0-3, Gomez 1-2.

Angels vs. Stewart: Aybar 2-3, Callaspo 0-3, Hunter 1-3, Kendrick 1-3, Trumbo 0-2, Wells 2-2.

Stat of the Day: Stewart will be the 53rd player to play for the Red Sox. The Sox also used 53 in 2010 and ’06. They last used more in 1996 when 55 players saw action.

Notes: The Sox will see what they have in Stewart, who was obtained for Kevin Youkilis on June 24. He faced the Angels as a starter on Aug. 24, 2011 while with the Blue Jays and allowed seven runs in six innings. His last start in the majors was June 18 for the White Sox against the Cubs. He allowed six runs in 5.2 innings. ... Wilson, believe it or not, has not won a game since June 26. He is 0-5, 6.09 in 11 starts since. The Red Sox hit him hard last Thursday (5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER). ... The Sox are 0-4 against the Angels this season and have lost six straight against Los Angeles dating back to 2011. ... Ellsbury has had at least two hits in each of his last six games, going 13 for 28 (.464) with five RBIs and nine runs scored. According to Elias, his stretch of six straight games with at least two hits and one run is tied for the longest such streak in the majors this season. Pujol did it from July 30 to Aug. 4. ... Lavarnway is 5 of 15 after going 5 of 37 when called up. ... Pedroia has hit safely in eight straight games at 12 of 36 and in 21 of 22 at 33 of 92. He has 15 extra-base hits and 14 RBIs in those 22 games with 19 runs.

Song of the Day: "Show Biz Kids" by Steely Dan.

Pedroia, the horse, wins a race at Suffolk Downs

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 29, 2012 05:49 PM

Pedroia, a chestnut filly, won the third race at Suffolk Downs today.

Ridden by Hector Ramos and trained by Arthur Duffy, Jr., the 4-year-old sat off the pace and seized command at the top of the stretch, drawing off by 9 3/4 lengths and completing the one mile and 70 yard distance in 1:47.60.

Pedroia returned $3.40, 2.20 and 2.20 as the heavy favorite in the field of eight.

No word on whether the horse said, "Wooooo, laser show!" after winning.

Zach Stewart gets his chance tonight

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 29, 2012 03:04 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Red Sox will start Zach Stewart against the Angels tonight. Which probably has a few fans asking, "Who is Zach Stewart?"

The righthander, who turns 26 next month, was one of the players obtained from the White Sox for Kevin Youkilis on June 24.

Stewart is 3-8 with a 5.92 earned run average in 31 major league games with the Blue Jays and White Sox, 12 of them starts. The Sox used him only as a starter in Triple A Pawtucket. Stewart was 3-5, 3.94 in 11 starts.

As a member of the Blue Jays, Stewart started in Anaheim on Aug. 24, 2011. His line was not pretty: 6 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 4 K.

Ryan Lavarnway, who caught Stewart in Pawtucket, said he has shown improvement over the last few weeks.

“He gave us a chance to win pretty much every time he was out there,” Lavarnway said. “I think he’ll compete. I can’t speak to what he did before he came here, but his stuff looked good to me.”

Stewart has worked on improving his slider since joining the Red Sox. He is not an overpowering starter, given his reliance on a sinker. At one point, Stewart was considered a prime prospect for Toronto, but he has already been traded three times.

After being drafted by the Reds out of Texas Tech in 2008, Stewart was traded to the Blue Jays a year later as part of a package to obtain Scott Rolen.

The Jays traded Stewart and Jason Frasor to the White Sox in 2011 for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen.

The Red Sox then sent Youkilis to the White Sox on June 24 in exchange for Stewart and infielder Brent Lillibridge. The Sox traded Lillibridge to the Indians on July 24.

“With a trade, there’s always a silver lining to it just because somebody wants you and somebody has given up something to come and get you,” Stewart said. “To give up a guy like Youkilis and what he brings to the table and what caliber of player he is, it meant a lot to me to come over here and that they thought that much of me.”

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to free up playing time for Will Middlebrooks and to get Adrian Gonzalez out of right field before he ran into a fence or something. Anything Stewart gives them will be a bonus. Starting tonight, we'll see what he has to offer.

ESPN's new deal with MLB and what it means for the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 29, 2012 01:31 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — In case you missed it, ESPN has a new deal with Major League Baseball. It's for eight years and $5.6 billion dollars. That's billion.

Of interest to Red Sox fans:

• When ESPN televises a game on Monday or Wednesday, that game will no longer be blacked out in the markets of the two teams. In other words, you can choose to watch the Red Sox on NESN or ESPN on those nights.

In New York and Boston, that's a pretty significant concession. NESN and YES can't be too pleased with that.

• ESPN has agreed to show all 30 teams at least once every season. But it also gained the right to show more popular teams more often, meaning the Red Sox and Yankees.

• ESPN will get one of the Wild Card playoff games. It also gets any tie-breaker games.

• A secondary issue: Wonder what this means for Terry Francona, if anything? He has been very, very good on ESPN this season and there don't seem to be any managerial openings that would interest him.

With ESPN increasing its presence in baseball, Francona might be wise to stick around and ride that train for a while.

Josh Beckett's spin is another wild pitch

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 29, 2012 12:12 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — If Josh Beckett is going to make things up, somebody needs to call him on it.

Here's what Beckett told WEEI.com about his practice of not talking to the media after some games he pitched this season:

"If you noticed, every start I felt I cost the team a win, I was there. I was there every time. I don't need any credit, which I've never asked for. But if I felt like if I cost the team a game I stood in front of my locker and answered every question everybody had."

Really?

At Texas on July 25, Beckett allowed four runs in seven innings in a game the Sox lost 5-3. His wild pitch in the seventh inning allowed the go-ahead run to score. Beckett did not speak to reporters after the game, twice ignoring requests to comment. He refused a third time when a reporter approached him as he walked to the team bus.

"Got nothing to say," was his response.

Beckett also stayed quiet after a 4-1 loss in Miami on June 11 when he allowed all four runs. Maybe he didn't think those four runs cost the team the game in a 4-1 loss.

There are several other similar examples.

Beckett also claimed that the media was to blame for his image in Boston:

"There are certain people in the media who painted me out to be a monster with horns, and that's just not the case. ... I'm like, well, maybe you should start asking some people who are around me and know me. That's the thing, nobody ever asks them. And if they do ask them, they don't write that. They don't write what people say because that's not how they want perception to be."

Starting in June of 2011, I asked Beckett if he would cooperate on a feature story. My pitch was that for all his time in Boston, nobody really knew the real him. The idea was to speak to him at length along with his family, his friends, former teammates, etc.

I printed out a feature story on Jason Varitek and handed it to Josh, telling him that was the sort of personality piece I wanted to write about him.

I asked him to speak to Varitek if he wanted to know how the story would be handled. I even told Beckett that once the story was written, I would review anything that came up with him to make sure he had every chance to have his say.

Beckett refused at that time. And again in September of 2011, November of 2011, and February of 2012. I tried through his agent and through the team, too. After four tries, there didn't seem any point in trying again.

It would have been a good story to tell, too. Beckett is funny when he wants to be and interested in things beyond baseball. There is something there beyond the Texas Tough Guy image he so carefully cultivates.

Now, after he is traded, Beckett is complaining about nobody doing the very story I wanted to do and still regret not doing. It's disingenuous.

Beckett is not a bad guy. But nobody seems more determined to have people think that he is.

The Dodgers will get tired of that act in time. Just like the Marlins and Red Sox did.

It's too bad, too. The guy has accomplished a lot on the field and his stubbornness sometimes overshadows that.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 29, 2012 10:06 AM

The Red Sox were walked-off by the Angels on Tuesday night as Alfredo Aceves melted down.

New first baseman James Loney doesn't let anything bother him. That's good and sometimes it's bad. Amalie Benjamin has a detailed look at Loney.

The notebook has Zach Stewart getting a chance to show the Sox what he can do.

Dan Shaughnessy writes the Red Sox are starting fresh after the trade and it's not going to be easy to watch. (Subscription only).

Aceves returns and another brutal loss follows

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 29, 2012 02:40 AM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Bobby Valentine didn't have much of a bullpen available to him on Tuesday night.

Andrew Bailey had pitched in four of the previous five games. So had Vicente Padilla. Mark Melancon had appeared in four of the previous six games. Junichi Tazawa was in three of the last six.

So once Clay Buchholz was finished with seven innings and left with a 5-4 lead, Valentine turned to Alfredo Aceves for a six-out save.

Aceves has not had a six-out save this season but has gone at least two innings five times this season.

The alternative was one of the lefties, Andrew Miller or Craig Breslow. But the Angels had two switch hitters and then a long line of righthanded hitters coming up.

"Wasn't much choice," said Valentine, who drummed his fingers on his desk as he took questions after the game.

Aceves certainly was well-rested. When Bailey closed out a game against the Royals, Aceves tore off his uniform in the bullpen and then confronted Valentine about why he didn't. That earned him a three-game suspension.

Valentine and Aceves talked it over on Tuesday before the game and all seemed well. Aceves had a quick eighth inning and got the first out in the ninth. Then he hit Erick Aybar in the back foot with a curveball.

As so often is the case, Aceves quickly became unraveled and fell behind pinch hitter Alberto Callaspo as catcher Ryan Lavarnway made several trips to the mound to try to settle his pitcher down. After Aybar stole second on a 3-0 pitch, Callaspo walked.

Mike Trout was next. They worked him inside and got ahead 0-and-2. The third pitch had to be somewhere Trout couldn't hit it, that's a cardinal rule. But it was close enough for Trout to muscle it into center field despite breaking his bat. Aybar scored and Callaspo went to third.

"Too much [of the plate]," Valentine said.

Torii Hunter's sacrifice fly won it from there.

Aceves would not speak to reporters after the game, putting his phone to his ear and walking by. He then walked to the team bus through the outfield, the only player to take that route.

Aceves is 2-9 with a 4.76 ERA and has blown eight saves now. In his last 11.1 innings, Aceves has allowed 13 runs on 14 hits. Bailey is surely the closer now and Valentine made sure to let reporters know that.

"I’m not saying that was his role tonight — for a save. He was the only guy available to pitch," the manager said.

Valentine got Junichi Tazawa up in the ninth, but too late to replace Aceves. Given how erratic Aceves is, somebody should have been up at the start of the inning.

The Sox have been walked-off six times and are 13-17 in one-run games. On a night when they scored five runs against Jered Weaver on the road, they lost.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are 1-3 since picking up all those Red Sox as they lost again tonight in Colorado. The stink travels, it seems.

Final: Angels 6, Red Sox 5

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 28, 2012 09:50 PM

Game over: Angels 6, Red Sox 5 Aceves (2-9) hit Erick Aybar with a pitch with one out. After Aybar stole second, Alberto Callaspo walked. Trout, the young MVP candidate, was next.

Aceves got ahead of him 0-and-2. His next pitch, a fastball, was lined into center to drive in a run. Callaspo went to third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Torii Hunter.

Aceves has blown eight saves.

Middle of the 9th: Red Sox 5, Angels 4: Kalish led off with a single against Kevin Jepsen. After failing to get a bunt down, Iglesias grounded into a double play. Ciriaco then grounded out.

Aceves stays in to try to finish it off.

Top of the 9th: Red Sox 5, Angels 4: Uneventful inning for Aceves. Looks like he will stay in there for the 9th, too, as nobody is warming up.

Middle of the 8th: Red Sox 5, Angels 4: Missed chance there for the Sox.

Pedroia reached on an error then was thrown out trying to steal second. Lavarnway doubled off the wall in center with two outs, a real rocket. Loney walked to extend the inning but Salty struck out.

Aceves in. Buchholz's line: 7 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 2 HR. 109 pitches, 65 strikes.

Top of the 8th: Red Sox 5, Angels 4: Trout looped a single into right field with one out and took off for second with the bounce skipped past Kalish.

Hunter curiously tried to bunt and popped the ball up a few feet. Lavarnway made a terrific diving catch for the second out. The Sox decided to pitch to Pujols and he flied to right to end the inning.

Middle of the 7th: Red Sox 5, Angels 4: Ciriaco singled with two outs and stole second. But Scotty Pods fanned.

Buchholz out for the bottom of the inning. Red Sox need him to clear this inning, especially with Bailey not available.

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 5, Angels 4: Buchholz's streak continued when Hunter flied deep to right field. Then Buchholz allowed a cutter to drift over the middle of the plate and Pujols hit it deep over the fence in center for his 29th home run.

Trumbo walked with two outs and scored on a double to the gap in left field by Kendrick. The Red Sox tried to make a play at the plate and Kendrick took third. Izturis extended the inning by drawing a walk but Buchholz got Aybar to ground to first.

Buchholz threw 31 pitches in that inning.

Middle of the 6th: Red Sox 5, Angels 2: Ellsbury singled, stole second and went to third when the throw went into center. Lavarnway then hit a fly ball to deep left to drive in the run.

Very efficient offense by the Sox against a tough pitcher tonight.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 4, Angels 2: Buchholz is mowing 'em down. That's 10 straight and 15 of 16. He has thrown only 65 pitches, too.

Middle of the 5th: Red Sox 4, Angels 2: Quick inning for Weaver as Ciriaco lined to center and Trout made a diving catch before Podsednik and Pedroia hit fly balls to left.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 4, Angels 2: Easy inning for Buchholz, who has retired seven straight and 12 of 13.

Middle of the 4th: Red Sox 4, Angels 2: Rough inning for Weaver. Pedroia (single), Ellsbury (single) and Lavarnway (walk) loaded the bases. Singles by Loney and Salty scored runs. Lavarnway then scored when Kalish grounded into a double play. Iggy had a chance to drive in a run but grounded to shortstop.

Top of the 4th: Angels 2, Red Sox 1: Clean inning for Buchholz, who looks like he has settled in.

Middle of the 3rd: Angels 2, Red Sox 1: Weaver set down Iggy (F-8), Ciriaco (K) and Scott Pods (4-3) in order.

Top of the 3rd: Angels 2, Red Sox 1: Much better inning for Buchholz, who allowed a single by Iannetta with two outs then struck out Trout looking.

Trout is one of those players you have to see in person to really appreciate. His physicality is impressive. It's like watching an SEC linebacker play baseball.

Middle of the 2nd: Angels 2 Red Sox 1: Salty slugged No. 22 when he drove a 3-2 Weaver curveball into the bleachers in right.

You'd like to see Salty up his OBP, but his power isn't easily ignored. Especially for a catcher. Interesting guy to ponder.

Top of the 2nd: Angels 2, Red Sox 0: Buchholz's second pitch, a belt-high heater on the inner half of the plate, was lined over the wall in left by Trout for his 25th home run. The 21-year-old is the youngest player (and first rookie) to get to 25 homers and 40 steals.

Hunter walked and took third on a single by Pujols. Trumbo's sacrifice fly made it 2-0.

In his last 6.1 innings against the Angels, Buchholz has allowed nine earned runs on 14 hits.

Middle of the 1st: Red Sox 0, Angels 0: Weaver dispatched the Red Sox easily. Podsednik grounded to second, Pedroia struck out and Ellsbury flied to center. 10 pitches, 8 strikes.

Now we'll see what Buchholz learned from his last start.

Pre-game: Good evening from beautiful Angel Stadium. The Big A is a great place to catch a game and tonight it'll be Clay Buchholz against Jered Weaver in what should be a good pitching matchup.

Hang out for updates and feel free to chip in with your comments. If you're staying up back home, we'll be here letting you know what is going on.

Webster makes organizational debut

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 28, 2012 09:15 PM

RHP Allen Webster, one of the prospects obtained from the Dodgers on Saturday, made his organizational debut for Double A Portland at New Hampshire.

He allowed three runs on six hits over four innings with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Webster, 22, is a former 18th-round draft pick who has a 3.34 earned run average in 108 games, 82 of them as a starter.

Stewart gets the start on Wednesday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 28, 2012 07:14 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Red Sox will have RHP Zach Stewart start against the Angels on Wednesday.

He was one of the players obtained from the White Sox for Kevin Youkilis.

Stewart is 3-8, 5.92 in 31 games (12 starts) in the majors for the Jays and White Sox. He was 3-5, 3.94 in 11 starts for Triple A Pawtucket after the trade.

Also:

• Alfredo Aceves was activated off the suspended list by the team. Bobby Valentine met with him for 30 minutes today. The coaches then met with Aceves for 20 minutes. All sides seem to be OK, but Aceves was generally unresponsive to questions from reporters. It was a little tense for a few minutes, but that has been the case with Aceves since spring training.

• LHP Franklin Morales (shoulder) went on the disabled list. Seems like more of a precaution. That makes 27 players on the DL 34 times for the Red Sox. In both categories, that's the most for any team going back to at least 1987 and for the Red Sox since 1971.

• Cody Ross is just getting a day off

• Will Middlebrooks is not on the trip. He's getting a CT scan on his broken right wrist on Friday back in Boston.

• Andrew Bailey (who has worked 4 of the last 5 games) likely not available. Aceves may be needed to close.

Game 130: Red Sox at Angels

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 28, 2012 06:15 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of the game tonight:

RED SOX (62-67)
Podsednik LF
Pedroia 2B
Ellsbury CF
Lavarnway C
Loney 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Kalish RF
Iglesias SS
Ciriaco 3B
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (11-4, 4.47)

ANGELS (66-62)
Trout CF
Hunter RF
Pujols DH
Morales 1B
Trumbo LF
Kendrick 2B
Izturis 3B
Aybar SS
Iannetta C
Pitching: RHP Jered Weaver (16-3, 2.74)

Game time: 10:05 p.m

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Weaver: Pedroia 4-28, Loney 8-23, Ellsbury 5-22, Salty 3-12, Podsednik 4-14, Aviles 3-8, Ciriaco 1-3, Lavarnway 1-3, Ross 0-3.

Angels vs. Buchholz: Wells 5-26, Hunter 4-21, Izturis 9-21, Aybar 3-21, Callaspo 4-17, Kendrick 4-15, Morales 4-8, Trout 0-2, Iannetta 2-2, Pujols 2-2, Wilson 0-2.

Stat of the Day: The Sox will play 22 of their remaining 33 games on the road.

Notes: The Sox have won two straight and three of their last four and tonight start a nine-game trip to Los Angeles, Oakland and Seattle. ... The Angels are in trouble, now 10 games out in the division and 4.5 in the wild card. The Angels are 18-24 since the All-Star break. ... Buchholz and Weaver faced each other at Fenway last Wednesday The Angels won the game 7-3 as Weaver allowed one run over seven innings. Buchholz was hit hard, giving up seven runs on 12 hits over 5.1 innings. Weaver is 3-4, with a 4.23 ERA in 12 career starts against the Sox. Buchholz is 5-3, 4.81 in eight starts against the Angels. ... Hot Sox: Podsednik has hit in seven straight at 12 of 29. He has hit safely in 25 of 29 games he has started this season at .393. .... Ellsbury has hit in seven straight and 12 of the last 15. He has eight extra-base hits and eight RBIs in those 15 games. ... Ross is 9 of his last 22 with six RBIs in five games. ... The Sox were swept by the Angels in three games at Fenway last week.

Song of the Day: "Already Gone" by the Eagles.

Matsuzaka placed on trade waivers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 28, 2012 05:12 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Nick Cafardo reports that Daisuke Matsuzaka was placed on trade waivers by the Red Sox.

Teams have until Aug. 31 to set their playoff rosters, so if Matsuzaka is going to get traded it would have to be soon. Given his solid performance on Monday, perhaps there is a shot.

Matsuzaka does have full no-trade rights as part of his contract.

Quick, somebody text Magic Johnson.

Lester hosting NVRQT Night on Sept. 24

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 28, 2012 04:55 PM

The Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) announced its inaugural event, NVRQT Night, on Monday, Sept. 24 at the House of Blues in Boston. The charity event will be hosted by Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester and wife Farrah, with actor Mike O’Malley as the emcee.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to host the inaugural NVRQT Night,” Lester said in a statement. “The foundation supports such a great cause that Farrah and I are proud to be a part of.”

NVRQT Night will entail a number of attractions, live and silent auctions as well as entertainment by Universal Republic Records recording artist Will Dailey. Sponsors include People’s United Bank, Covidien, Mohegan Sun, JetBlue Airways and Transamerica.

The event begins at 6 p.m. for VIP guests and 7 p.m. for general admission. Tickets (from $250 to $100 per person) can be purchased at www.pcrf-kids.org. For more information, please contact PCRF at (949) 859-6312 or visit www.NVRQT.org.

Podcast: The trade

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff August 28, 2012 03:46 PM

Eric Wilbur and Chad Finn discuss the pros and cons of the blockbuster deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto to the Dodgers, and what it means for the Red Sox' future.

Get Adobe Flash player

Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes. Find its archive here.

Wrong turn for the Red Sox and Angels

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 28, 2012 01:58 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — When the Red Sox and Angels met in the 2009 American League Division Series, they were two of the three best franchises in the game.

The Sox won 95 games that season and the Angels 97. They scored a ton of runs, were stocked with premium talent and managed by respected figures in Terry Francona and Mike Scioscia.

The Angels swept that series, 3-0. Then they lost the ALCS to the powerhouse Yankees, who went on to win the World Series that season.

The Sox haven't been back to the playoffs since and neither have the Angels. That's certainly not going to change this season for Boston and probably not for Los Angeles, either. The Angels are 10 games out of first in the AL West and 4.5 games out in the wild card. They need to pass three teams to get in.

The Sox are 241-212 (.532) the last three years and the Angels 232-220 (.513). That's a lot of meh.

The Sox made a series of terrible decisions, signing John Lackey (away from the Angels) and Carl Crawford as free agents. Then they traded for Adrian Gonzalez only to trade him away 21 months later. Francona was fired and GM Theo Epstein got the Cubs to rescue him from the mess he created.

The Angels inexplicably traded for players like Vernon Wells and Scott Kazmir, moves that led to GM Tony Reagins stepping down. Even Scioscia, who has a contract through 2018, doesn't seem safe. His team, once a model for playing the game the right way, has lost its compass.

There is hope. The Red Sox hit the organizational reset button on Saturday when they dumped three bad contracts on the Dodgers. The Angels have Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Jered Weaver to build around.

But when the teams start a three-game series tonight, the spotlight will be elsewhere in baseball. At this time three years ago, the Sox and Angels were baseball royalty. Now they're just another couple of teams trying to figure it out.

Bob Ryan's career, a video retrospective

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 28, 2012 01:23 PM

If you are a fan of Bob Ryan, you should check out this video put together by Scott LaPierre. It's a great tribute.

If you are a BostonGlobe.com subscriber, download this free e-book of Bob's greatest hits.

Pitching matchups for the Angels series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 28, 2012 09:45 AM

Tuesday: RHP Clay Buchholz (11-4, 4.47) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (16-3, 2.74), 10:05 p.m., NESN

Wednesday: TBA vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (9-9, 3.83), 10:05 p.m., NESN

Thursday: LHP Jon Lester (8-10, 4.98) vs. RHP Zack Greinke (2-2, 5.22), 10:05 p.m., NESN

Gonzalez blames Fenway for lack of power

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 27, 2012 11:24 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Adrian Gonzalez, the new fresh prince of Bel-Air, told the Los Angeles Times that Fenway Park was to blame for his lack of home runs.

Says Gonzalez:

"What took my power away was the Green Monster. ... I used to hit line drives that way and they would be doubles. That took away five home runs from me last year. So I would have had 32."

Gonzalez hit eight home runs in 267 at-bats at Fenway Park this season. Cody Ross has 13 in 202 at-bats and Jarrod Saltalamacchia 11 in 183. Does the wall duck when they're up?

Gonzalez also went after the media.

"They didn't like that I was a calm person. I won't throw my helmet, I won't scream, I won't use bad words if I strike out. That's what they want over there," he said.

I'm genuinely curious, did any credible person in the Boston media do that? If so, I honestly can't remember. Feel free to post a link if somebody credible did that.

No question Boston is a tough media town and Gonzalez took some hits. But did anybody really go after him for his demeanor? That seems like revisionist history.

Meanwhile, Josh Beckett couldn't get through six innings in his Dodgers debut and is headed for a loss in Colorado. His semi-respectable line: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 R. The Rockies have a 10-0 lead in the eighth inning.

Matsuzaka earns first win of 2012

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 27, 2012 08:49 PM

No one knows the lengths to which a major league pitcher will go to win a game.

In the case of Daisuke Matsuzaka, Monday's 5-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals was a painstaking process that involved Tommy John surgery on June 9, 2011 and two stints on the disabled list that forced him to miss 106 games, the last 48 for a right trapezius strain.

Matsuzaka overcame those setbacks — and then some — to record his first victory since May 8, 2011, and 50th of his major league career.

Matsuzaka went seven strong innings and gave up one unearned run on five hits and two walks while striking out six. He threw 101 pitches, 71 for strikes, and looked very much like the dominant pitcher he had been advertised to be when he first came over from Japan five years ago.

"You know, he gave us what we needed – 100 pitches, seven innings, five hits,’’ Bobby Valentine said. "It’s a good outing.’’

It had been quite some time since anyone used those words to describe one of Matsuzaka’s outings, especially after the righthander went 0-3 with a 6.65 ERA in the five starts since his return from surgery.

"When I returned back in June and didn’t get the results that I wanted I thought for a moment that I wouldn’t be able to pitch a game like today this season,’’ Matsuzaka said, through interpreter Jeff Cutler. "I got back to my rehab and my last two rehab starts in Pawtucket went really good and I knew that if I was able to pitch like that up here, the results would come.’’

Said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia: "He looked real sharp, had great command and went after the hitters from the first inning. Next inning, we tried to slow him down a little bit. It’s going to be a process of getting that feeling back and getting that sharpness back. But today was really good.’’

So good, in fact, it was the first time all season Matsuzaka had felt pain-free.

"When I went back on the DL back in July it was very discouraging, especially since I didn’t expect my body to respond in the way that it did,’’ he said. "The encouraging part about that was that it wasn’t my elbow.

"My elbow was feeling fine, despite not being sure that I’d be able to come back strong this season and pitch a game like I did today,’’ he said. ``I was able to work at it and the results eventually started to come.

"My body feels a lot better than it did before I had Tommy John and my body definitely feels better than it did back in June.’’

It had to come as an encouraging sign for the Sox, who won their second straight game since pulling off Saturday's nine-player blockbuster deal with the Dodgers.

"I’m very encouraged,'' Valentine said of Matsuzaka's performance. "Obviously, he’s going to get another start – maybe two, three, four, five. Might finish strong. Throwing like that, he has a chance.''

In other news:

• Designated hitter David Ortiz went back on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained right Achilles'. It was his second stint on the DL after missing 35 games. He was activated for Friday night's 4-3 victory over the Royals and went 2-for-4 with a double and a two-run single, which came in his first at-bat.

Ortiz will undergo a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection on his heel in the next few days to accelerate the healing process, which Ortiz said he hoped would give him a "60-70 percent'' chance of getting back in the lineup before the end of the season.

Ortiz had a similar PRP injection on his right knee in 2007 and experienced a positive result.

"You guys know I live for this [game],’’ he said. "And there’s not one thing that I would like to do more than be out there performing for our fans. I had one [PRP injection] done before and I believe in that big time. The thing is we didn’t get it done before because we thought it wasn’t needed in my case, but at this stage, at this point, I got to get through it.’’

Final: Red Sox 5, Royals 1

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff August 27, 2012 01:39 PM

Final: Red Sox 5, Royals 1: Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched a gem, allowing no earned runs in seven innings with six strikeouts and two walks while Cody Ross drove in three runs as the Red Sox head out west with some momentum. The Royals scored an unearned run in the first and nothing else. The Red Sox countered with a Jacoby Ellsbury home run in the first and added two in the third on a Ross two-run single and two more in the sixth.

Bottom of 8th, Red Sox 5, Royals 1: Red Sox go down quietly, although James Loney ended the inning with a well-struck liner to deep left.

Top of 8th, Red Sox 5, Royals 1: Clayton Mortensen comes on to relieve Daisuke Matsuzaka and proceeds to allow consecutive one-out singles, prompting Bobby Valentine to go with Vicente Padilla, who ends the trouble by getting Salvador Perez to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

Bottom of 7th, Red Sox 5, Royals 1: Luke Hochevar stays in the game and induces consecutive ground balls before a Scott Podnesnik single. Dustin Pedroia ends the inning with a grounder to shortstop.

Top of 7th, Red Sox 5, Royals 1: Dice-K has tossed seven sparkling innings, allowing one run and five hits with six strikeouts and two walks. He allowed a one-out single to Eris Hosmer but struck out Johnny Giovotella while Jarrod Dyson flied out into the left-field corner. Matsuzaka has thrown 101 pitches.

Bottom of 6th, Red Sox 5, Royals 1: Luke Hochevar still can't solve Cody Ross, who belts a double off the Green Monster to score Jacoby Ellsbury, who doubled. Ross now has three RBIs while Ellsbury has a home run, double and has scored two runs. James Loney follows Ross with a dunker over shortstop to score Ross for his second RBI for the Red Sox.

Top of 6th, Red Sox 3, Royals 1: When it appeared that Dice-K was ready to relent runs, he responded by getting two significant outs to end a KC threat. After Alex Gordon doubled and Billy Butler walked, Salvador Perez laced a lazy fly ball to right field. With runners at the corners and two out. Matsuzaka struck out Mike Moustakas to end the inning.

Bottom of 5th, Red Sox 3, Royals 1: Luke Hochevar has now retired six straight batters since the Red Sox two-run third. He gets Mike Aviles to bounce out to third, strikes out Pedro Ciriaco and then gets Scott Podsednik to ground to first to end the inning. Hochevar has four strikeouts and one walk.

Top of 5th, Red Sox 3, Royals 1: Dice-K strikes out Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer -- his third and fourth strikeouts -- before a Green Monster double by Johhny Giovotella. Jarrod Dyson grounds out to first base to end the threat.

Bottom of 4th, Red Sox 3, Royals 1: Red Sox go down quietly in order, after James Loney pops out to short, Jarrod Saltalamacchia bounces out to first and Mauro Gomez fouls out to catcher.

Top of 4th, Red Sox 3, Royals 1: Matsuzaka is working on a solid start, getting the first two out before a Salvador Perez single. Pedro Ciriaco made a nice bare-handed grab of a Mike Moustakas grounder for the third out.

Bottom of 3rd, Red Sox 3, Royals 1: After Pedro Ciriaco struck out, Scott Podsednik and Dustin Pedroia follow with consecutive singles. Jacoby Ellsbury flies to deep left field but both runners eventually advance on a passed ball during Cody Ross' at-bat. Ross follows with a shot that caroms off the top of the Green Monster, scoring two runs. Ross was thrown out trying to reach second base.

Top of 3rd, Royals 1, Red Sox 1 Matsuzaka continues to remain steady, allowing only a single to Johnny Giovotella, who reached second on a wild pitch with two out. Alcides Escobar left Giovotella stranded with a routine fly ball to right field.

Bottom of 2nd, Royals 1, Red Sox 1 Luke Hochevar induces James Loney to line out to shortstop and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to foul out to third before walking Mauro Gomez. Mike Aviles ends the inning with a broken-bat grounder to third.

Top of 2nd, Royals 1, Red Sox 1 Matsuzaka is beginning to calm down, retiring the side in order, helped by a nice running catch from shortstop Mike Aviles on a Salvador Perez pop-up in foul territory. Jacoby Ellisbury follows with a catch near the left-center field wall of a Lorenzo Cain liner to end the inning.

Bottom of 1st, Royals 1, Red Sox 1 Scott Podsednik begins the Red Sox half of the inning with a strikeout and Dustin Pedroia is robbed of extra bases on a marvelous catch by center fielder Jarrod Dyson, who practically climbed the ball to make the grab. Jacoby Ellsbury follows with a solo homer, his second, that crawled over the short-right field fence near Pesky Pole to even the game.

Top of 1st, Royals 1, Red Sox 0 Daisuke Matsuzaka begins the game by walking Jarrod Dyson, who takes exactly one pitch to steal second and advance to third on Dustin Pedroia allowing the late throw to roll into shallow center field. One out later, Dyson scored on a sacrifice line out by Alex Gordon. Billy Butler ended the frame with a fly ball to center field.

Ortiz will get shot in Achilles', hopes to be back this season

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff August 27, 2012 01:06 PM

While the baseball world and Red Sox management has essentially give up on the club this season, rendering the final 34 games meaningless, David Ortiz wants to return to action and hopes receiving a shot in his sore right Achilles' tendon will help.

The Red Sox placed Ortiz back on the 15-day disabled list today after he experienced more discomfort after returning to the lineup Friday against the Kansas City Royals after missing 35 games, but he believes a Platelet-rich plasma or "PRP" injection that will assist in healing the injury so he can return in September.

"You guys already know, I'd like to be out there playing, helping out," he said before the Sox took on the Royals in the series finale. "The good thing that we talked about today (with doctors) is we're going to try this one PRP injection to see how it goes in next couple of weeks. And if I'm good, I can just go back out there and play."

According to the Mayo Clinic website, PRP is "derived from the patient's own blood, a process that involves spinning a blood sample at high speeds. One byproduct is plasma, which contains a high concentration of platelets — thus the name platelet-rich plasma. Doctors have found that about 70 percent of those receiving PRP therapy showed improvement."

Ortiz, 36, hopes that he is in that 70 percentile. He said the Achilles' tendon is not torn but simply needs rest.

"You guys know I live for this (baseball)," he said. "And there's not one thing that I would like to do more than be out there performing for our fans. I had (PRP) done before and I believe in that big time. The thing that we didn't get it done before because we thought that wasn't a need in my case but at this stage, at this point, I gotta get through it. The doctor brought that up and I want to give it a try."

Ortiz laced a double in his second at-bat Friday and felt discomfort rounding the bases.

"The other day I tried to come back for the reason of the game intensity, I thought I was going to be OK until I hit that double and I had to rush out to second base, I feel that pain because I was running with the game intensity," he said. "The way I feel right now wasn't right."

Ortiz said his next option was going to be "shockwave" treatment, which could have taken as many as five weeks. He said surgery is not necessary.

"That's part of the reason why I want to be careful with it because I don't want to have to get to the point where I keep on playing and if you're sore, you know your body's telling you something," Ortiz said. "And if you continue to just doing damage on top of it from what you already have, then it costs you a surgery. That's why we're trying to be careful."

David Ortiz to DL; Ryan Kalish rejoins Red Sox

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 27, 2012 12:03 PM

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz will be placed on the 15-day disabled list but has not yet been shut down for the season, according to manager Bobby Valentine. Ortiz returned to the Red Sox lineup Friday after a stint on the DL but did not play Saturday or Sunday because of his injured Achilles' tendon in his right foot.

Outfielder Ryan Kalish was in the Red Sox clubhouse this morning, the Globe's Michael Vega reports. Kalish was sent to Triple A Pawtucket on August 9.

Game 129: Royals at Red Sox

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff August 27, 2012 10:30 AM

Good morning everyone. Here's a preview of this afternoon's game:

RED SOX (61-67)
Podsednik LF
Pedroia 2B
Ellsbury CF
Ross RF
Loney 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Gomez DH
Aviles SS
Ciriaco 3B

Pitching: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-3, 6.65 ERA)

ROYALS (56-70)
Dyson CF
Escobar SS
Gordon LF
Butler DH
Perez C
Moustakas 3B
Cain RF
Hosmer 1B
Giavotella 2B

Pitching: RHP Luke Hochevar (7-11, 4.95 ERA)

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Stat of the Day: With an announced attendance of 37,188, Sunday's game was the 781st consecutive sellout for the Red Sox at Fenway Park, dating back to May 15, 2003.

Notes: Matsuzaka has made only five starts this season. He hasn't pitched since July 2, when he gave up five runs on four hits in one inning against Oakland. ...The Red Sox have had 10 or more hits in five straight games. ... 10 of Boston's last 11 games have been decided by three runs or fewer. The Red Sox are 4-7 in their last 11 games. ... Scott Podsednik has hit safely in his last six games and in 24 of his 28 starts for the Red Sox. ... Mike Aviles has a hit in all nine games against his former team (13 for 42).

Final: Red Sox 8, Royals 6

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 26, 2012 01:51 PM

Final: Red Sox 8, Royals 6: The Red Sox earned at least a split of this four-game series against the Royals with an 8-6 victory Sunday before a Fenway Park crowd of 37,188.

Felix Doubront, activated from the disabled list (right knee contusion) Saturday, went five innings and allowed four runs on six hits, including a three-run homer by Lorenzo Cain in the fourth.

Pedro Beato picked up the win in his Sox debut after being acquired from the New York Mets in a trade for Kelly Shoppach.

Pedro Ciriaco and Dustin Pedroia each homered while newcomer James Loney, acquired Saturday in the blockbuster nine-player trade with the Dodgers, recorded an RBI single in the fifth that enabled the Sox to tie it, 4-4. The Sox tacked on a run in the sixth and two more in the fifth, which provided the buffer they needed to withstand a two-run eruption by the Royals in the eighth.

Pedroia's solo homer (12th of the season) gave the Sox a needed insurance run. Mark Melancon came on in the ninth and recorded his first save of the season.

Top of 8th: Red Sox 8, Royals 6: Laser Show! Pedroia hammered a 1-and-0 pitch from Louis Coleman for a leadoff solo homer to the Green Monster seats that gave the Sox some breathing room. It was Pedroia's 12th homer of the season.

Coleman got out of the inning when he struck out the next three batters he faced. Mark Melancon was summoned to close out the game in the ninth.

Top of 8th: Red Sox 7, Royals 6: Beato scuffled when he gave up back-to-back singles to Butler and Perez before walking Francoeur to load the bases for Johnny Giavotella. Craig Breslow inherited the potentially flammable situation from Beato.

Breslow struck out Giavotella, got Hosmer to fly to right on a sacrifice fly (that scored Butler from third) before giving up an RBI single to Abreu that cut it to 7-6 and put runners on the corners with two outs.

Breslow got out of the innning when he came back from a 3-and-0 count to strike out Cain looking at an 84 slider.

Bottom of 7th: Red Sox 7, Royals 4: The Sox got an insurance run when Scott Podsednik came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded and reached on a fielding error by Alcides Escobar (his second of the game). It allowed Cody Ross, who reached on a leadoff single to center off reliever Jeremy Jeffress, to score from third.

With the bases still loaded, Ciriaco chopped a hit-and-run infield single and beat out the throw from third to allow Lavarnway to score from third, making it 7-4. It left the bases loaded for Jacoby Ellsbury, who came in to face Francisley Bueno, who entered the game in relief of Jeffress (0.2 IP, 2 R/0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 K) and got Ellsbury to pop up to first to get out of the inning.

Top of 7th: Red Sox 5, Royals 4: Beato got two quick outs before allowing Alex Gordon to reach on a single to short. But catcher Ryan Lavarnway threw out Gordon as he attempted to steal second to end the inning.

Bottom of 6th: Red Sox 5, Royals 4: Jacoby Ellsbury chased Tim Collins, who relieved Will Smith (5 IP, 5 R, 9H, 2 BB, 1 K) in the sixth, after ripping an RBI single over the first baseman's head to score Mauro Gomez, who reached on a fielding error by shortstop Alcides Escobar, with the go-ahead run.

RHP Aaron Crow entered in relief of Collins and got Dustin Pedroia to hit a chopper back to the mound to end the inning.

Top of 6th: Royals 4, Red Sox 4: Beato, an imposing specimen on the mound, submitted a nice 1-2-3 inning in his Fenway Park debut in relief of Doubront. Beato struck out Abreu with a 93 fastball to end the inning.

Bottom of 5th: Royals 4, Red Sox 4: A lot of fireworks in the bottom of the fifth, beginning with Pedro Ciriaco's solo homer to left that pulled the Sox within 1. After Jacoby Ellsbury singled to right, Dustin Pedroia was called out at first after hitting a hard groundball to third that was bobbled by Royals third baseman Tony Abreu.

Although TV replays clearly showed Pedroia had beaten Abreu's throw to first, first base umpire Dan Bellino called Pedroia out, which drew an immediate (and heated) protest from manager Bobby Valentine, who was ejected for the fifth time this season. The Fenway Park crowd registered their loud vocal support for their manager when Valentine lit into Bellino before departing the game.

After Ellsbury stole third, Ross walked to put men on the corners for Loney, who delivered an RBI single to center that tied it, 4-4, marking his first hit with the Red Sox.

Pedro Beato was summoned from the bullpen to relieve Duobront (5.0 IP, 4 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR) after he threw 98 pitches (67 strikes).

Top of 5th: Royals 4, Red Sox 2: With Pedro Beato, just called up Sunday from Pawtucket, warming up in the bullpen -- and Andrew Miller, Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa all begin to get limber -- Duobront submitted a 1-2-3 inning himself. He struck out Butler for the third time in the game, getting Perez to fly to right, and Francoeur to ground out to third to end the inning.

Bottom of 4th: Royals 4, Red Sox 2: Smith got three groundball outs to retire the Sox in 1-2-3 fashion.

Top of 4th: Royals 4, Red Sox 2: With two outs, the Royals rallied for four runs on four consecutive hits. Lorenzo Cain delivered the crushing blow with his 3-run homer off Doubront to give the Royals a 4-2 lead. Doubront, who had been activated from the 15-day DL (right knee contusion) Saturday, had thrown 84 pitches through the first four innings, having thrown three scoreless frames before allowing four in the fourth.

Bottom of 3d: Red Sox 2, Royals 0: Duobront preserved the shutout after he got out of a jam and struck out Butler (this time, swinging) with men on the corners to end the inning.

Top of 3d: Red Sox 2, Royals 0: The Sox went down in 1-2-3 fashion with Loney again providing the final out of the inning on his groundball out to second.

Bottom of 2d: Red Sox 2, Royals 0: Mike Aviles belted a towering RBI double off the wall of Will Smith, scoring Mauro Gomez (walk) from first to give the Sox a 2-0 lead. The Sox threatened to tack on another run when Scott Podsednik reached on an infield single to short, putting men on the corners. Both were stranded, however, when Ciriaco and Ellsbury hit flyball outs to end the inning.

Top of 2d: Red Sox 1, Royals 0: After Salvador Perez led off with a single to the gap between third and short, which eluded Ciriaco's outstretched glove, Doubront retired the next three batters he faced. He sandwiched a pair of strikeouts of Jeff Francoeur (swinging) and Eric Hosmer (looking) around a fly to center by Johnny Giavotella.

Bottom of 1st: Red Sox 1, Royals 0: Cody Ross ripped an RBI single to left, scoring Pedro Ciriaco from third after he singled and advanced on Dustin Pedroia's one-out double down the line to shallow right. James Loney, making his Fenway debut with the Red Sox after being acquired from the Dodgers Saturday along with a pair of minor leaguers and a pair of players to be named later, wound up hitting into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Top of 1st: Royals 0, Red Sox 0: Little in the way of issues for Doubront, who struck out DH Billy Butler (looking) to end the inning after allowing one hit.

Pregame Welcome to Fenway Park where the Red Sox host the Kansas City Royals in the third game of this four-game series. LHP Felix Doubront (10-6, 4.70) will take the mound and oppose LHP Will Smith (4-5, 5.40).

Feel free to post your comments here. Enjoy the game.

Ortiz out for second day in a row, trip back to DL looms

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 26, 2012 12:04 PM

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz was out of the lineup for the second game in a row Sunday against the Royals at Fenway Park.

Ortiz, who returned to the lineup after missing 35 games with a strained right Achilles' tendon, could possibly be headed back to the disabled list after playing one game in Friday's' 4-3 victory in the opener of this four-game series against the Royals.

"Talked to him late [Saturday] night about 12:30 and he didn't think today would be a good day to play,'' Sox manager Bobby Valentine said before Sunday's game.

Ortiz went 2-for-4 with a double and 2-RBI. He gave the Sox a 2-0 lead when he hit a two-run single in his first at-bat. On his second plate appearance, Ortiz doubled and felt some discomfort in his heel as he rounded first base.

He missed Saturday's 10-9 loss in 12 innings and was out of the lineup Sunday.

Asked if the team had reached a crossroads where it had to weigh and measure the risks of continuing to allow Ortiz to play or to shut him down for the season, Valentine replied, "We're probably there. We're just going to give it a couple of days to see. He said the practice and game [conditions] is just that little difference in adrenaline that differentiates it.

"When he hit the double and he turned it, he turned to second, he said it was uncomfortable, where he was comfortable doing those things in practice. We're definitely not going to do anything to jeopardize David's career. David totally wants to do everything he can to be a part of this team for this year and for the future, so that's what we're dealing with.''

In other matters:

* Valentine said that OF Che-Hsuan Lin, who had been called up Saturday from Triple A Pawtucket along with SS Jose Iglesias and RHP Junichi Tazawa after the team completed a blockbuster nine-player trade with the Dodgers, had been sent back down to Pawtucket to make room for RHP Pedro Beato to help fortify a bullpen that was completely depleted in Saturday's 10-9 loss in 12 innings.

* James Loney, who was one of the five players acquired from the Dodgers in exchange for the financial flexibility the team realized in unloading the contracts of its three highest-paid players (Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett), arrived at the ballpark Sunday and was inserted into the lineup at first base in the No. 5 hitting position.

* Valentine said Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is scheduled to start Monday, would likely be activated from the DL before his start. Also, Valentine said Daniel Nava, who was placed on the 15-day DL Saturday with a sprained wrist, was "feeling good in his rehab, but he wasn't feeling great when he played the game here after his fourth game in Triple A where he had three at-bats. In his third at-bat here he felt something and he thought it would go away, and it kept getting worse the next day in batting practice."

Game 128: Royals at Red Sox

Posted by Leonard Neslin August 26, 2012 10:00 AM

Here's a preview of the game:

RED SOX (60-67)
Ciriaco 3B
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Loney 1B
Lavarnway C
Gomez DH
Aviles SS
Podsednik LF

Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (10-6, 4.70)

ROYALS (56-69)
Cain CF
Escobar SS
Gordon LF
Butler DH
Perez C
Francoeur RF
Giavotella 2B
Hosmer 1B
Abreu 3B

Pitching: LHP Will Smith (4-5, 5.40)

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Stat of the Day: Saturday's 10-9 loss marked the sixth time this season the Red Sox have lost when they scored at least eight runs.

Notes: James Loney will make his Red Sox debut today. ... David Ortiz might be returning to the disabled list after playing one game on his strained right Achilles tendon. ... Doubront is 0-2 with a 6.97 ERA in his last four starts. ... Smith will make his first career appearance against the Red Sox. ... Alfredo Aceves will not be available tonight, as the team suspended him for three games after he stormed out of Bobby Valentine's office, upset about Andrew Bailey closing Friday's game. ... Podsednik has hit safely in 11 of 12 starts in Boston this season, including eight multi-hit efforts. In 13 home games this season, he is 20 for 46 (.435) with four doubles. ... Pedroia has hit safely in 20 of 23 games in August at .340 (32 for 94) with 10 doubles, 13 RBI and 19 runs. ... Ciriaco is 30 of his last 81 (.370) with six doubles and eight RBIs.

Ortiz may be returning to disabled list

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 26, 2012 12:37 AM

Red Sox DH David Ortiz was not available for Saturday night's game against Kansas City and may be going back on the disabled list with a strained right Achilles tendon.

"It's definitely going to need some time," he told the Globe. "The way things are now, I can't play on it."

Ortiz then met with GM Ben Cherington, manager Bobby Valentine and head athletic trainer Rick Jameyson.

Prior to the game, Valentine said that the medical staff had told all involved that Ortiz was not in any more danger of rupturing his Achilles then he would be normally. But that doesn't mean Ortiz is able to play.

After missing 35 games, he returned to the lineup on Friday and had two hits. But Ortiz has trouble running and afterward said that his foot was sore. Now he'll get more time off, perhaps the rest of the season.

Also:

• Cody Ross twisted his right knee sliding, which is why he left the game after the 9th inning. It was just precautionary, Ross said, and he expects to play on Sunday.

• Valentine on Alfredo Aceves being suspended: “I'm a little disappointed. You've just got to know the difference between right and wrong. That's all we ask."

Several players were surprised that Aceves reacted like he did given how much he was used the previous night and the fact that Andrew Bailey is an All-Star closer who lost the job only because of injury.

• The 20 hits for the Sox were a season high. And they still lost. Since 1919, it's the seventh time they have had that many hits and lost, the first time since 1981.

Thanks to everybody for reading today. Busy day at the park.

Red Sox suspend Aceves for three games

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 25, 2012 09:15 PM

The Red Sox on Saturday suspended righthander Alfredo Aceves for three games for “conduct detrimental to the team” following a confrontation with manager Bobby Valentine.

Aceves had a closed-door meeting in Valentine’s office after the Red Sox beat the Kansas City Royals on Friday night. The righthander was angry that he was not used to close the 4-3 game.

Valentine instead turned to Andrew Bailey to get the final three outs. Aceves faced 10 batters and threw 37 pitches against the Angels on Thursday, giving up five runs on six hits. It was his seventh blown save of the season.

Aceves slammed the office door following the meeting with Valentine and stormed out the clubhouse.

The Red Sox can replace Aceves on the roster during his suspension but did not do so tonight. The suspension was announced midway through the game.

The Yankees released Aceves after the 2010 season for issues related more to his behavior than his play on the field. He has performed well for the Red Sox over two seasons, going 12-10 with a 3.31 earned run average and 27 saves in 113 appearances.

Aceves was not expected to be the closer this season but was given the role when Bailey underwent surgery on his right thumb at the end of spring training.

Aceves has largely performed well in the role, although he has allowed 11 runs on 13 hits in his last 9.2 innings.

On Thursday, after being hit hard by the Angels, Aceves said the Red Sox were playing “[expletive], [expletive] baseball and refused to take blame for the 14-13 loss.

“I missed a couple of pitches, yeah,” Aceves said. “It’s not about that [why] we lost the game. There were like 25 runs.”

Aceves’ agent, Tom O’Connell, had no comment on his client’s suspension.

Final: Royals 10, Red Sox 9 (12 innings)

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 25, 2012 07:00 PM

Game over: Royals 10, Red Sox 9 (12 innings): The Sox went in order before a smattering of fans remaining from the crowd of 37,103.

Greg Holland (7th save) closed it out for Francisley Bueno (1-0) as Junichi Tazawa (0-1) takes the loss. The Sox blew a 9-3 lead in this game, failing to score in the final eight innings.

The Sox (60-67) are 0-6 at home in extra innings, which seems almost impossible to do. They also have lost three games this season when they had at least 18 hits. That also would seem hard to do.

Since at least 1919, it was only the fourth time the Sox lost at home when having at least 20 hits.

Middle of the 12th: Royals 10, Red Sox 9: With two outs, Tazawa walked the hard-to-walk Jeff Francoeur. Hosmer doubled him to third. Abreu then delivered an RBI single to left on an 0-2 pitch.

Tazawa showed some good stuff tonight. But those are two inexcusable mistakes.

Top of the 12th: Royals 9, Red Sox 9: Facing Bueno, Gomez whiffed. Salty singled to center. Jose Iglesias, who ran for Lavanway in the 9th inning, batted as the DH and grounded into a 1-6-3 DP.

Obviously David Ortiz is not available or he would have hit in that spot.

Middle of the 11th: Royals 9, Red Sox 9: Tazawa retired the Royals in order with two strikeouts.

Sox are 0-5 in extra innings at home this season. That seems pretty hard to do.

Top of the 11th: Royals 9, Red Sox 9: Sox missed a big chance there.

Ciriaco singled to right, took second on a wild pitch and then went to third on a terrific bunt by Scotty Pods.

The Royals, smartly, intentionally walked Pedroia. Lefty Francisely Bueno came on to face Ellsbury. When Ellsbury grounded to first, Hosmer threw out Ciriaco at the plate.

Che-Hsuan Lin, who came in to replace Ross defensively, struck out. He was overmatched.

Tazawa now pitching. Yes, that guy's name is Francisely.

Middle of the 10th: Royals 9, Red Sox 9: Padilla worked around a leadoff single by striking out Abreu and Cain to end the inning.

Now Ciriaco leads off against Herrera, who has already gone 1.1 innings.

Top of the 10th: Royals 9, Red Sox 9: No dice. Lavarnway singled with two outs but Aviles lined to center. Extra innings, here we come.

Vicente Padilla is in. Somebody call in extra security.

Middle of the 9th: Royals 9, Red Sox 9: Bailey retired the Sox in order despite two deep fly balls.

Gomez, Salty and Lavarnway next. Sox need to get this over with soon. The bullpen is beaten up and Felix Doubront comes off the disabled list tomorrow.

Somebody hit one out, boys. Then we can all go home.

Top of the 9th: Royals 9, Red Sox 9: Breslow retired the Royals in order in the top of the eighth. In the bottom of the inning, Podsednik singled off Worcester's Tim Collins and was doubled off when Pedroia lined a seed to first.

Ellsbury doubled off the wall then stole third. Ross, facing hard-throwing Kelvin Herrera, got ahead 3-0 but flied out on a 3-2 pitch to center.

Andrew Bailey coming in.

Top of the 8th: Royals 9, Red Sox 9: Aviles singled with one out off Aaron Crow and was thrown out stealing. Then Ciriaco struck out.

Middle of the 7th: Royals 9, Red Sox 9: That was ugly. Andrew Miller started the inning and pitched like the Andrew Miller of 2011.

With two outs and a runner on first, he walked Dyson and Escobar to loaded the bases. Gordon followed with a two-run single. Mark Melancon came in and allowed an RBI double by Butler. Perez then followed with an RBI single.

In came Craig Breslow. He got Moustakas to fly to deep right and Ross misplayed the ball into a two-run triple that tied it. The Sox walked Francoeur to get to Hosmer and he grounded out to finally end the inning.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Adrian Gonzalez belted a three-run homer in first at-bat. Why can't the Red Sox get guys like that?

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 9, Royals 3: Cook went six innings and allowed three runs. That's about as good as the Sox could expect on three days' rest.

Middle of the 5th: Red Sox 9, Royals 3: Cook allowed singles by Abreu and Escobar but kept the Royals off the board. Under the circumstances, he has done well.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 9, Royals 3: Ciriaco walked before two-out singles by Ellsbury, Ross and Gomez scored two runs. That's four RBIs for the great Gomez.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 7, Royals 3: Sorry for the delay in the updates. Had to finish the story on the trade. Busy day here at the Fens.

Anyway, Pedroia doubled in the bottom of the third. Ellsbury walked and Ross singled to load the bases. Gomez, making people forget about Gonzalez, singled in two runs. Ross went to third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ross.

Cook, meanwhile, has shut down the Royals since the first inning.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 4, Royals 3: That was fast. Big Mauro Gomez belted his first homer. After singles by Salty and Lavarnway, Mike Aviles belted one over the wall.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers just Tweeted out of a photo of Gonzalez, Beckett and Punto posing with Magic Johnson. Boston loves you now, Magic.

Top of the 2nd: Royals 3, Red Sox 0: The Sox went in order against Guthrie.

Middle of the 1st: Royals 3, Red Sox 0: Not a good start for Cook on short rest. Dyson and Escobar singled and scored on a double off the wall by Gordon. Butler than had an RBI single.

Roster moves made: The Red Sox activated Felix Doubront from the 15-day disabled list, placed Daniel Nava (left wrist) on the 15-day disabled list and recalled Jose Iglesias, Che-Hsuan Lin and rJunichi Tazawa from Triple-A Pawtucket.

James Loney is expected to arrive on Sunday.

Pre-game: Good evening from Fenway Park, where it feels like Christmas morning. The new-look Red Sox entertain the Royals with Aaron Cook on the mound.

Hang out here for updates all game long.

Cherington: Red Sox needed a major change

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 25, 2012 06:45 PM

Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto were on a private jet headed for Los Angeles and the heat of the pennant race when Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington sat down for a press conference at Fenway Park this afternoon.

The Red Sox had just completed one of the most significant trades in baseball history, sending Beckett, Gonzalez, Punto and injured outfielder Carl Crawford to the Dodgers for first baseman James Loney and four prospects.

The first question was the most obvious one: Why did the Red Sox make this shocking move?

“We recognize that we are not who we want to be right now,” said Cherington, whose first year as GM has been a memorable one for reasons good and bad. “We felt like in order to be the team that we want to be on the field, we needed to make more than cosmetic changes.

“To build the team that we need, that the fans deserve, that we want, required more of a bold move to give us an opportunity to really reshape the roster, reshape the team.”

The Red Sox also sent the Dodgers $11 million, only four percent of the $275.69 million owed to Beckett, Crawford, Gonzalez and Punto.

Gonzalez is signed through 2018, Crawford until 2017 and Beckett and Punto until 2014. In one swoop, the Red Sox exorcised their three highest-paid players and can now rebuild a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008.

“The key is that we are absolutely committed to building the best team we can in 2013 and beyond and we’re going to do that in the most disciplined way possible,” Cherington said. “When we’ve been at our best we’ve made good decisions, disciplined decisions [and found] value, whether it’s in the free agent market or trade market.”

Some of the money could be spent in the coming weeks. The Red Sox are interested in retaining outfielder Cody Ross, who was signed to one-year deal and went into Saturday’s game with 19 home runs and 62 RBIs. A new deal could come before the end of the season.

“I hope we can work something out,” Ross said. “I’d like to stay.”

David Ortiz, who is seeking a two-tear deal, could benefit in the brave new world of the Red Sox. His power, along with his presence in the clubhouse, remains significant and the odds of the Red Sox retaining him have increased.

The Red Sox, Cherington said, remain committed to a “significant” payroll.

The genesis of the deal came weeks ago when Dodgers GM Ned Colletti targeted Gonzalez as the player he believed could boost the Dodgers into the playoffs this season and carry the franchise beyond.

“We’ve been talking to the Dodgers all year,” Cherington said, noting that Los Angeles was interested in Kevin Youkilis in June. The teams also spoke before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

“There wasn’t any one moment,” Cherington said. “It was a process that started earlier in the year and involved a lot of conversations and a lot of ideas going back and forth.”

Red Sox team president Larry Lucchino prodded the deal along in recent days, dealing directly with his Dodgers counterpart, Stan Kasten.

The Dodgers felt so strongly about Gonzalez that they took on the underachieving Beckett and Crawford, who had Tommy John elbow surgery on Thursday.

The Dodgers also gave up two of their top pitching prospects in righthanders Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster. The Sox also obtained first baseman/outfielder Jerry Sands and infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr.

Gonzalez was in the Los Angeles lineup against the Marlins, batting fourth. Beckett is scheduled to start on Monday at Colorado.

Loney will be added to the Red Sox roster on Sunday. DeJesus was optioned to Triple A Pawtucket and Webster will report to Double A Portland.

Sands and De La Rosa will remain in the Dodgers organization until the end of the season, at which point the trade will officially be completed. Because they are on the 40-man roster of the Dodgers and did not clear waivers, they cannot yet be traded.

The Red Sox are headed to a third consecutive season out of the playoffs and have earned a reputation for having poor team chemistry. Manager Bobby Valentine flatly said “yes” when asked if the Red Sox needed a change in their clubhouse.

“Just didn't feel like it mixed as well as it should," he said.

Cherington said the move was a baseball decision more than an attempt to change the personality of the team.

“The bottom line is we haven’t won enough games,” he said. “That goes back to last September. We just haven’t performed on the field. … This is not about the four players we gave up, anything they did particularly wrong. We just haven’t performed as a team.”

There are long-term dangers in making such a move. The Red Sox traded for Gonzalez and signed Crawford in December 2010. They were traded only 21 months later. It is unusual for a team to trade such prominent players so quickly and that could leave high-profile free agents hesitant to sign with the Red Sox.

“It is something we considered,” Cherington said. “If we who we want to be on the field, off the field, we will be a great place for players to be. If we get back to being the team we want to be, players are going to want to be here. This is still a great place to play. The highs are really high when things are going well. When they’re not, it can be tough. That’s why it’s so important to get back to where we want to be.”

Via Twitter, Beckett, Gonzalez and Punto sent out messages thanking Red Sox fans for their support.

“Even in the tough times I ran into so many wonderful people that were so awesome. I'm greatly appreciative to all of you,” Beckett wrote.

Had Beckett expressed such sentiments while a member of the Red Sox, perhaps he still would be playing for them. Instead, a new era is at hand for the franchise.

“We’re excited about the chance this gives us to build the next great Red Sox team,” Cherington said.

Red Sox announce trade with Dodgers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 25, 2012 06:40 PM

Here is the press release from the Red Sox:

The Boston Red Sox today traded right-hander Josh Beckett, left fielder Carl Crawford, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, infielder Nick Punto, and cash considerations to the Los Angeles Dodgers for first baseman James Loney, infielder Ivan DeJesus, Jr., right hander Allen Webster, and two players to be named later.

Ben Cherington, Red Sox Executive Vice-President/General Manager, made the announcement.

A lifetime .284 hitter, Loney, 28, is batting .254 (85-for-334) with four home runs and 33 RBI, 32 runs, and 23 walks this year. The left-handed hitter has hit .301 (22-for-73) in 20 starts since the All-Star break. He is tied for the club lead with 114 games played this season and ranks second on the club with 18 doubles.

Loney ranks third among active players and 14th on baseball’s all-time list with a .349 postseason average (22-for-63) in 17 games (min. 65 plate appearances).

Defensively, he ranks third among qualifying National League first basemen with a .883 zone rating in 2012, while his .995 fielding percentage (22 E/4,701 TC) since 2009 places third best in the National League.

A first-round selection (19th overall) by the Dodgers in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, he has hit .284 (872-for-3,070) with 173 doubles, 20 triples, 71 home runs, 451 RBI, 355 runs scored, 268 walks and 29 stolen bases in 896 career Major League games over seven seasons, all with Los Angeles.

Since the start of his first full Major League season in 2008, he leads the NL and ranks sixth in the majors with 752 games played, and is one of just four players to appear in at least 158 contests in each of the last four years.

De Jesus, who has been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, has appeared in 23 games for the Dodgers over two Major League stints this year, batting .273 (9-for-33) with three doubles, four RBI and five runs scored while appearing in the field at second base (7 games, 3 starts) and third base (5 games, 1 start).

With Triple-A Albuquerque, the right-handed batter has hit .295 (66-for-224) with 12 doubles, three triples and three homers in 60 games. In 22 contests since the start of August the 25-year-old has hit .354 (29-for-82) with nine extra-base hits and 19 RBI.

For the Isotopes this season, he appeared at second base (43 games), shortstop (9), third base (6), left field (2) and right (1).

De Jesus, the Dodgers’ second-round pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, made his Major League debut with Los Angeles last year and owns a .231 average (15-for-65) in 40 major league games. He has a career .297 average (809-for-2,721) with 131 doubles, 14 triples, 30 home runs, 333 RBI, 430 runs, 304 walks and 65 stolen bases in 722 minor league games since 2005, spending the majority of his last three campaigns in Triple-A. He is the son of 15-year Major League veteran shortstop Ivan De Jesus, Sr.

Webster has pitched at Double-A Chattanooga this year, posting a 6-8 record with a 3.55 ERA (48 ER/121.2 IP) and 117 strikeouts compared to 57 walks allowed in 27 appearances, including 22 starts.

The 22-year-old right-hander is tied for fourth in the Southern League in strikeouts and ranks seventh in the circuit in ERA, the second-best mark among full-season Dodgers farmhands.

He has surrendered just one home run all season and since May 15 ranks fourth among Double-A qualifiers with a 2.05 ERA (20 ER/88.0 IP) and fifth with a .215 opponent average (68-for-317). Overall this season he has given up three earned runs or less in all but three starts and has held opponents to one earned run or less in a start 10 times. He entered the 2012 season ranked by Baseball America as the Dodgers second-best prospect and as having that system’s best changeup, and was also tabbed by the publication as the No. 95 prospect overall in baseball. Selected in the 18th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, Webster is 34-24 with one save and a 3.34 ERA (180 ER/485.0 IP), 456 strikeouts, 456 hits allowed and 202 walks over five minor league seasons in the Los Angeles system.

Game 127: Royals at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 25, 2012 03:00 PM

Here's a preview of the game:

RED SOX (60-66)
Podsednik LF
Pedroia 2B
Ellsbury CF
Ross RF
Gomez 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Lavarnway DH
Aviles SS
Ciriaco 3B
Pitching: RHP Aaron Cook (3-7, 4.79)

ROYALS (55-69)
Dyson CF
Escobar SS
Gordon LF
Butler DH
Perez C
Moustakas 3B
Francoeur RF
Hosmer 1B
Abreu 2B
Pitching: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (2-3, 3.23)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Stat of the Day: The all-time series between the Sox and Royals is 217-217.

Notes: David Ortiz is out of the lineup after playing one game on his strained right Achilles tendon. ... Cook is starting in place of Beckett. He started on Tuesday and threw 85 pitches, so he may be a little limited today. ... Guthrie is 3-8, 4.50 in 19 career appearances against the Sox, 17 of them starts. ... Podsednik has hit safely in 10 of 11 starts in Boston this season, including seven multi-hit efforts. In 13 home games this season, he is 18 for 40 (.450) with four doubles. He has a .388 career average (33 for 85) at Fenway, hitting safely in 20 of 24 games. ... Pedroia has hit safely in 19 of 22 games in August at .348 (31 for 89) with nine doubles, 13 RBI and 18 runs. ... Ciriaco is 28 of his last 76 (.368) with six doubles and eight RBIs.

Song of the Day: "Say Goodbye To Hollywood" by Billy Joel.

California, here they come

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 25, 2012 02:48 PM

A1KjQMrCMAA0RSJ.jpg

Direct from Nick Punto's Twitter account, here are the Red Sox players on their way to Los Angeles on a flight chartered by the Dodgers.

It would seem they're pretty happy about it.

Bad contracts, sure, but not bad people

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 25, 2012 02:48 PM

The trade of Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto has been portrayed in some circles as ridding the clubhouse of malcontents.

That is not true. It was ridding the team of three bad contracts, not necessarily bad people.

That is particularly true of Crawford. There was not one player on the roster — not one — who worked harder at getting better than Crawford. He came with only the best intentions, he was a good teammate and he did everything asked of him without complaint.

He played two games in 2011 before Terry Francona dropped him down from second to seventh in the batting order. That disrespect was something he never could understand. They Red Sox, in essence, gave him $142 million then showed their lack of faith in him after seven at-bats.

Crawford didn't ask to get hurt. He didn't ask for surgery on his wrist and his elbow. He didn't ask to be the kind of player who had no natural fit in the Red Sox lineup. He didn't ask for "fans" to yell racist remarks at him. He just wanted to play baseball.

Here's hoping he's the National League MVP next season.

Gonzalez is a terrific player in every aspect of the game except for running. He's a Gold Glover at first, a guy who can hit for average and power and he plays hard every day.

He was a victim of outsized expectations. We all thought the move from Petco Park to Fenway would result in 40 home runs a year. It didn't. We all thought he would be an MVP candidate. He wasn't. We all thought he would become the face of the franchise. He didn't care to be.

Gonzalez was merely an outstanding player and not the best one. For that crime, he got ripped.

He didn't help himself, however. Gonzalez's comments at the end of last season's collapse were discouraging. He blamed the schedule and then voiced his belief that God's plan didn't include the Red Sox making the playoffs.

Being around the Yankees and now the Red Sox left one big impression when it came to star players: You have to identify the ones who will embrace the challenges of a big market and avoid the ones who can't. Brian Cashman often says that's the biggest challenge of his job. The trade shows that the Red Sox understand that now.

Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz are pros at handling Boston, just like Johnny Damon, Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez were. Cody Ross gets it. So does Will Middlebrooks. I think Clay Buchholz understands how to handle things and present himself correctly.

Gonzalez never figured it out, or didn't want to. You don't tell people who spent $500 to bring their kids to the park for a game that God had a different plan about who was making the wild card.

Then there's Beckett, who isn't a bad person at his core but seemed intent on having everybody think that he was.

Josh cultivated the imagine of being a guy who didn't care. He got caught drinking in the clubhouse during games and blamed the people who caught him instead of apologizing for it. This year, after pitching poorly, he blew off reporters several times after games and left it to his teammates to explain his failure. He has ignored every pitching coach since John Farrell left and showed little respect for Bobby Valentine.

Beckett was one of the best starters in the AL last season. He'll probably be one of the best starters in the NL, too. He'll figure out how to pitch effectively with a diminished fastball and Don Mattingly won't cut him the slack the Red Sox did.

The Red Sox let Beckett get out of control and once they did, there was no reeling him back. In the end, he was so undesirable that they essentially gave him away as a throw-in.

Was he a bad guy? That's up to you to decide.

But don't paint Crawford and Gonzalez with that brush. The Red Sox made an error in judgement by obtaining them and it just didn't work out. That doesn't make them bad people.

Gonzalez says thanks to Red Sox nation

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff August 25, 2012 02:35 PM

Adrian Gonzalez jumped on Twitter to let fans know he was thankful for his stay in Boston.

Gonzalez tweeted: "Thanks to Red Sox nation for everything. You guys are great!"

He followed up with a tweet about his new home.

"Excited to get back to Cali and be a part of Dodgertown!"

Cook set to start; Lin and Iglesias on the way

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 25, 2012 11:06 AM

The Red Sox will start Aaron Cook tonight.

Outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin and shortstop Jose Iglesias will be called from from Triple A Pawtucket. It appears the Sox will wait for James Loney to arrive on Sunday to fill their other roster spot.

Trade nearing its official completion

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 25, 2012 10:22 AM

The deal is done but not yet announced. Josh Beckett has agreed to waive his 10-5 rights according to a major league source and Carl Crawford agreed to the deal as well. He had limited no-trade protection.

The Red Sox are going to be responsible for only $10-12 million of the $272 million they owed to Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto.

The commissioner's office has to approve the cash payment the Red Sox are making. Once that is official, the announcements will come.

This will be, arguably, the most historically significant trade the Sox have made since selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees.

That trade changed the franchise for the worse. This deal offers the opportunity for the Red Sox to remake a team that has been in steady decline since the 2007 World Series title.

It'll be fascinating to see what happens next. But as Red Sox fans wake up today, their team has a brighter future than it did 24 hours ago.

The Red Sox will receive infielder Ivan DeJesus, OF/1B Jerry Sands, RHP's Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, and first baseman James Loney.

Here's some background on each player from Nick Cafardo's On Baseball column this morning:


Loney is a free agent at the end of the season. He’s never quite lived up to his billing. He’s a line-drive hitter with marginal power, but did drive in 90 runs twice and 88 once. He was hitting .254 with four homers and 33 RBIs when he was yanked from Friday night’s lineup. Red Sox third base coach Jerry Royster instructed Loney early in his career.

Sands is a big guy (6 feet 4 inches, 225 pounds), and a righthanded hitter who has put up impressive minor league numbers — 35 home runs one season, and 24 homers with 101 RBIs this season at Triple A Albuquerque — but it’s never translated to the majors. Would a short porch in Fenway bring that out? That’s the hope. The Dodgers projected him as a fourth outfielder who can play some first. They aren’t sweating this loss.

De La Rosa, 23, seems to be the prize. He once threw 100 miles per hour, before blowing out his elbow last year and undergoing Tommy John surgery. When he returned to the Dodgers Aug. 22, he was throwing 96 and still had an outstanding throwing motion. The Red Sox watched him that night. One of the issues with De La Rosa is that he likely cannot be traded at this time. It appears the Sox and Dodgers would have to make a separate deal at the end of the season because he was claimed on waivers by the Blue Jays, and then pulled back. Because he did not clear waivers, he will not officially be in this trade.

Webster was the pitcher the Dodgers would not include in the Ryan Dempster deal with the Cubs. He is generally considered the Dodgers’ second-best pitching prospect, and is 6-8 with a 3.55 ERA at Double A Chattanooga. It appears the Sox were trying to get pitching prospect Zach Lee in this deal but were unable to do so.

A righthanded-hitting utility infielder, De Jesus has never shown great promise after a home plate collision slowed his career path.


According to players at Fenway Park, Gonzalez, Beckett, and Punto are already en route to Los Angeles.

Red Sox, Dodgers deal done according to source

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff August 25, 2012 10:09 AM

The Globe's Nick Cafardo is reporting that the Red Sox' proposed deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, trading away Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett, has been completed, according to a major league source.

More information to come.

Dodgers deal still needs to be finalized

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 24, 2012 09:39 PM

The blockbuster deal that would send Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers for five players needs to be finalized in a few ways before it's announced.

1. The money: The Red Sox would love to have the Dodgers assume the remainder of Josh Beckett's, Carl Crawford's, and Adrian Gonzalez's contracts, but it won't work that way. Boston will have to eat some money. How much is one of the issues that's being resolved and then it has to be approved by MLB.

2. The players: The five players being mentioned as coming to Boston as first reported by ESPNBoston were infielder Ivan DeJesus, OF/1B Jerry Sands, RHP's Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, and first baseman James Loney.

De La Rosa was claimed on waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays, therefore he did not clear waivers. He was pulled back by the Dodgers and optioned to the minors. It appears that De La Rosa, who is the prize player in the deal, won't be able to change teams until this offseason. We'll see how the teams handle this situation.

3. Josh Beckett's 10-5 rights: Beckett has the right to refuse a deal. So the Sox have to get his approval to be traded to LA. It doesn't appear Beckett would refuse, but it's not yet a certainty.

4. Review of medical records: It appears the Dodgers would have to be assured Crawford could make it back in reasonable time next season so they can have their Crawford-Matt Kemp-Andre Ethier outfield.

De La Rosa, 23, is coming off Tommy John surgery but the Red Sox watched him pitch Aug. 22 against San Francisco and his velocity was 96 miles per hour.

Blockbuster trade set to happen for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 24, 2012 09:10 PM

Nothing is official yet. But here is the trade that seems likely to be approved sometime late Friday or Saturday:

RED SOX OBTAIN
1B James Loney
OF/1B Jerry Sands (AAA)
RHP Rubby De La Rosa (AAA)
INF Ivan DeJesus (AAA)
RHP Allen Webster (AA)

Note: De La Rosa is likely to be a player to be named later as he is not eligible to be traded immediately, having been claimed on waivers and then withdrawn.

DODGERS OBTAIN
1B Adrian Gonzalez
RHP Josh Beckett
OF Carl Crawford
INF Nick Punto

The Dodgers also would be responsible for an incredible $274 million in payroll obligations and reportedly are willing to take most, if not all, of that on.

The Sox would go from having roughly $100 million in guaranteed money for 2013 to $39 million.

Webster, who is 22, is the best of the bunch in terms of the prospects the Red Sox are getting back. Sands has hit for power in Triple A while DeJesus is a defensively versatile 25-year-old. De La Rosa, who is a year off Tommy John surgery, is a hard-throwing 23-year-old starter who has a 2.75 ERA in 57 minor league games.

The biggest thing the trade does is give the Red Sox a chance to re-set their organization after what amounts to three years of failure. They can get back to the business of player development instead of spending on free agents. That is the strong suit of the organization and has been for a while.

It's a franchise-changing deal. In one day, the Red Sox changed the look of the team, created huge financial and roster flexibility, and improved the tenor of their clubhouse.

Beckett obviously was a player not remotely interested in what the fans thought of him and his decline was evident this season. Crawford's two seasons in Boston, at best, were miserable ones for him. Gonzalez, while a very good player, never seemed comfortable in Boston.

Try this out for a 2013 lineup:
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Middlebrooks 3B
* Ortiz DH
* Ross RF
TBA 1B
Lavarnway/Salty C
Kalish or somebody else LF
Iglesias SS

* Free agents

Rotation candidates
Buchholz
Lester
Doubront
De La Rosa
Morales
Lackey
Aceves

A lot of fans have asked about the Red Sox chasing a free agent like Josh Hamilton. Don't see it. He's going to be 32 in May and obviously comes with a unique set of risks along with questions about staying healthy on the field.

The Sox need to forget high-priced free agents and grow their own stars. Guys like Middlebrooks, Lavarnway, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. need to be the future, not free agents who came to Boston only because the money was better than anywhere else.

Interesting times all of a sudden.

Final: Red Sox 4, Royals 3

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 24, 2012 07:09 PM

Final, Red Sox 4, Royals 3: Andrew Bailey gets his first save of the season, Jon Lester gets his third straight win as the Sox scratch out their 13th one-run win.

Top of the eighth, Red Sox 4, Royals 3: Jon Lester threw three straight balls to Billy Butler, and on the last one he grabbed at the back of his left leg.

After a mound meeting, Bobby Valentine pulled him and called for Vicente Padilla.

Padilla struck out Jeff Francoeur after giving up a single to Butler, then Valentine called on Andrew Miller, who got Mike Moustakas to pop to short.

Andrew Bailey cleaned up the inning getting Bobby Pena to fly out to center, and will likely come back out in the ninth for a four-out save.

Bottom of the seventh, Red Sox 4, Royals 3: After putting up his third career four-hit game Thursday night, Pedro Ciriaco came up with another clutch hit tonight.

With runners on second and third, down in the count 0-and-2, Ciriaco pulled a change-up to left and Mauro Gomez and Mike Aviles got on their horses.

The two-run double gave the Sox the lead late. He then swiped third (his ninth steal this year).

Tim Collins walked Dustin Pedroia to get to David Ortiz and the lefty-lefty matchup, and it worked.

Even though Ortiz is hitting .314 against lefties this season, he struck out waving at a 1-and-2 changeup.

Top of the seventh, Royals 3, Red Sox 2: This is the 11th time this season Jon Lester's gone seven innings.

He's giving the bullpen a huge break after the Sox used eight arms last night.

If things hold steady this will be Lester's 14th quality start.

Bottom of the sixth, Royals 3, Red Sox 2: With David Ortiz up, the Red Sox had the hitter they wanted at the plate with no outs and Dustin Pedroia on second.

He was so in control of the at bat that he showed bunt with a 2-and-0 count. But Bruce Chen fought back and put a two-strike fastball on the black, and Ortiz couldn't do a thing with it except look.

Chen's up to five strikeouts tonight.

Top of the fifth, Royals 3, Red Sox 2: The only hicucp in an altogether smooth inning was the ground ball that ate up Mauro Gomez at first. But Gomez recovered and made the toss to Jon Lester to get Jeff Francoeur and end the inning.

Bottom of the fourth, Royals 3, Red Sox 2: Bruce Chen works a 1-2-3 inning, fanning Ryan Lavarnway for his third strikeout of the night.

Lavarnway is 6 for 39 since being called up at the beginning of the month, but he's reached base in eight of his 11 starts.

Top of the fourth, Royals 3, Red Sox 2: Jon Lester put himself in a tough spot, giving up a pair of walks and a pair of singles (one in the infield), but a double-play ball allowed him to get out of it and give up just one run in the process.

Bottom of the third, Red Sox 2, Royals 2: Empty frame for the Sox, but David Ortiz brought his rake with him tonight.

He ripped a two-out double to center for his second hit of the night.

Meanwhile, Jacoby Ellsbury was gunned down trying to take second. It was the first time he was caught stealing this season (after eight attempts).

Top of the third, Red Sox 2, Royals 2: Eric Hosmer's "Tony Gwynn SoloHitter" swing just got the better of Jon Lester. He smacked a first-pitch fastball to the Monster seats for his 12th home run of the season, cutting the lead in half.

Alex Gordon tied it up with a two-out Wall double.

Lester settled down and got Butler to ground out to short to end the inning.

Bottom of the second, Red Sox 2, Royals 0: The Sox threatened, but Bruce Chen worked his way out of a first-and-third jam, getting Pedro Ciriaco to pop up to short.

Chen's staying power is slightly amazing. He's made 344 career big league appearances and he currently leads the Royals with 27 starts.

He's already got a win over the Sox this year (May 9) and it was his first over the Sox since 2005.

Top of the second, Red Sox 2, Royals 0: If there's a sign that Jon Lester's getting back to being himself, it's the way he's handling the Royals so far.

They've been his chew toy most of his career (5-2, 1.35 ERA in eight career starts, his lowest ERA against any AL club, and 4-0 against the Royals at Fenway).

He tossed a 1-2-3 inning with all of eight pitches (six strikes).

Bottom of the first, Red Sox 2, Royals 0: Back in the lineup with two on and one out, David Ortiz immediately ripped a bases-clearing single to put the Sox up.

Walking up to Tupac's "All Eyez on Me" after a 35-game absence was a nice touch.

He also extended the hitting streak he had before he went down to 12 games.

Top of the first, Red Sox 0, Royals 0: Jon Lester gets off to strong start, striking out Alex Gordon and Billy Butler in a quick first.

Pregame: The Sox get ready to face the Royals with David Ortiz back in the lineup, but Adrian Gonzalez, who was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers has been scratched.

Always something. Feel free to discuss.

Adrian Gonzalez scratched

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 24, 2012 07:03 PM

Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who was claimed off waivers earlier in the day by the Los Angeles Dodgers, has been scratched from tonight's lineup.

Circled by reporters in the clubhouse before the game, Gonzalez said he only wanted to answer baseball questions before walking away.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he and general manager Ben Cherington had a discussion before the game but the waiver claim never came up.

Valentine, who was displeased with news of the waiver situation being leaked, said he planned to talk to Gonzalez face-to-face.

“I'll see Adrian and I'll tell him how much I love him and want him and think that he should be here and he'll look at me and say, 'Oh, I wonder if that's true, I wonder if there's a trade brewing' until the whole thing is over and he is our player forever," Valentine said. "It's all kind of BS."

Red Sox, Dodgers involved in trade talks

Posted by Robert Burgess August 24, 2012 06:38 PM

The Red Sox and Dodgers are involved in trade discussions, according to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo.

The Dodgers are interested in Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett, both of whom they claimed on waivers earlier today, according to a major league source.

There have been discussions regarding an expanded deal with both players. The Dodgers have a need for a lefthanded, power-hitting first baseman and to improve their starting pitching, according to Cafardo.

It appears the new owners of the Dodgers, who spent $2 billion on the franchise, are going all out to win the National League West and to compete for a championship.

The Dodgers and Red Sox had discussed a deal for Gonzalez at the July 31 trading deadline, but it did not come to fruition.

Any deal with the Dodgers would have Los Angeles assuming a majority of the players' contracts. Gonzalez is owed approximately $130 million and Beckett is owed $15.7 million for each of the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

Also, a report from ESPNboston.com indicated a deal could include Carl Crawford and Nick Punto, but that rumor has not been confirmed.

Crawford had season-ending Tommy John surgery Thursday.

For more updates on this developing story, check out The Buzz.

Valentine: 'People in baseball can't keep a secret'

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 24, 2012 05:18 PM

valentine gonzalez.jpg

Despite the news circulating that Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez had been claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier in the day -- news that manager Bobby Valentine said he saw scrolling across the bottom of his television -- Valentine said he spoke to general manager Ben Cherington this afternoon and there was no mention of it at all.

"There wasn't a mention of, 'Disregard it' or 'Who do you want' " Valentine said. "There wasn't any conversation, so I believe it's nothing more than the standard operational 'Guy gets claimed, it's a block not a trade and life goes on.' ''

What frustrated him, though, was was that news of a standard practice had in his eyes been leaked and blown out of proportion.

Valentine said:

Every player goes on these waivers during this month – every player. The game is if someone really wants someone, they claim him and they try to make a trade. If someone doesn't want him and they don't want the player to go to another team then they'll claim him and really not try to make a trade. They'll say, 'Hey, we'll offer a bag of balls' and the conversation's over. Then the other team who wanted him can't get him. I guess that's the way the game's played. It's gone on forever.

The difference now is – and I know we get blamed a lot in our clubhouse about who can keep a secret – the problem now is that people in baseball can't keep a secret. This stuff is not supposed to be out, but obviously there's someone that's privy to the information who decides to let that stuff out. I guess it's stuff you can't combat, but it's not right.

Someone's trying to [say], 'Oh, we'll make their life miserable and let this one out.' I'll guarantee you there were 10 guys claimed in the last week. Maybe 20. Have we heard about 20 guys being claimed and going to different teams. Maybe there haven't been that many, but you would think that other guys get claimed.

Valentine said he expects to talk to Gonzalez about the situation face-to-face.

“I'll see Adrian and I'll tell him how much I love him and want him and think that he should be here and he'll look at me and say, 'Oh, I wonder if that's true, I wonder if there's a trade brewing' until the whole thing is over and he is our player forever. It's all kind of BS."

Ortiz likely back in lineup after evaluations

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff August 24, 2012 05:05 PM

24ortiz.jpg

After going through a range of on-field evaluations with clinical consultant Dan Dyrek before tonight's game against the Royals, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine inserted David Ortiz back in the lineup after the slugger missed 35 games with a strained right Achilles.

They've gone 13-22 in Ortiz's absence.

"I thought the crazy thing with David is that initially it didn't seem like it was going to be very long," Valentine said. "So with each passing day I think the disappointment was more that we didn't have him."

Cody Ross said Ortiz's presence in the lineup is obviously a much-needed boost.

"Any time you lose a player like him, you're probably going to go through a tough patch," said outfielder Cody Ross. "It's definitely nice to have him back."

Game 126: Royals at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 24, 2012 03:39 PM

Here is a preview of the game:

RED SOX (59-66)
Ciriaco 3B
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Gonzalez 1B
Ross RF
Lavarnway C
Aviles SS
Podsednik LF
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (7-10, 5.03).

ROYALS (55-68)
Cain CF
Escobar SS
Gordon LF
Butler DH
Francoeur RF
Moustakas 3B
Pena C
Hosmer 1B
Giavotella 2B
Pitching: LHP Bruce Chen (9-10, 5.45)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Stat of the Day: From the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia has hit .386 in 40 career games against the Royals, the best average in major league history against the Royals (min. 125 plate appearances).

Notes: The Sox have lost four straight and 11 of their last 15. They also have lost nine of their last 11 games at Fenway Park. ... The Sox are 1-2 against the Royals this season and only 10-8 against Kansas City the last three seasons. ... Lester lasted only five innings against Kansas City on May 9, throwing 105 pitches. The lefty has been strong in his last two starts, allowing two earned runs over 13 innings and striking out 18. Given how their bullpen was used on Thursday, the Sox need Lester to go deep into this game. ... Kansas City has won six of its last nine games. ... David Ortiz, who is expected to be in the lineup, would be playing for the first time since July 16 when he strained his right Achilles tendon. He did not play in any minor league rehab games. ... The Sox the AL lead with a 23-16 mark record when facing a lefthanded starter this season.

Song of the Day: "Join Me In L.A."by Warren Zevon.

Dodgers awarded waiver claim on Gonzalez

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 24, 2012 01:53 PM

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports this afternoon that the Dodgers have been awarded a waiver claim on Adrian Gonzalez. That means one of three things can happen now:

1. The Sox withdraw Gonzalez from waivers.

2. The Sox work out a trade with the Dodgers. There is a 48-hour window in which to do that.

3. The Sox simply give Gonzalez's contract to the Dodgers. Starting in 2013 he has six years and $127 million remaining on his contract.

My guess? The Sox talk about a deal and elect not to do it. But now that they know there is interest, it could lead to a deal in the winter.

UPDATE, 4:50 p.m.: Now comes word, via Sean McAdam of Comcast, that the Dodgers also have claimed Josh Beckett.

Beckett can block any sort of deal thanks to his 10-5 rights.

In theory, the Sox could just let Beckett go to the Dodgers. But it's hard to imagine that the Dodgers would be willing to take Beckett (who has $35 million left on his deal) unless it were part of a bigger deal for Gonzalez.

Sign him up: Bill Lee goes the distance

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 24, 2012 12:12 PM

The Red Sox need pitching. How about Spaceman Bill Lee?

He went the distance in an independent league game on Thursday in California.

Heck, at least Lee would add some levity to the situation.

Will anyone bite on Red Sox players?

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 24, 2012 11:45 AM

The roster deadline is approaching and there are now some interesting Red Sox names out there on the waiver wire.

Today, according to a major league source, Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury were the latest Red Sox to be placed on trade (or revocable) waivers. On Thursday, Josh Beckett went through and on Tuesday it was Adrian Gonzalez.

We'll monitor the possibility of claims put in on these players. Both Gonzalez and Beckett should or could draw some interest from contenders. The Dodgers are always a possibility with Gonzalez and Beckett.

Beckett could also draw interest from contending teams like the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, and the Atlanta Braves.

The Braves inquired about Lester earlier this season while Ellsbury has always been a favorite of the Washington Nationals.

If anyone put a claim on Beckett, would the Sox pull him back or try to save the big money and use it toward another free-agent pitcher this offseason?

With the other players, the Sox would likely pull them back if they couldn't receive a "to-die-for" offer of players in a trade.

Pitching matchups for the Royals series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 24, 2012 10:00 AM

Friday: LHP Bruce Chen (9-10, 5.45) vs. LHP Jon Lester (7-10, 5.03), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Saturday: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (2-3, 3.23) vs. RHP Josh Beckett (5-11, 5.23), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Sunday: LHP Will Smith (4-5, 5.40) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (10-6, 4.70), 1;35 p.m., NESN

Monday: RHP Luke Hochevar (7-11, 4.95) vs. RHP Aaron Cook (3-7, 4.79), 1:35 p.m., NESN

Note: These are projected starters for the Red Sox, who have yet to announce their rotation.

The Red Sox find another way to lose

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 24, 2012 01:25 AM

One of the best things about baseball is you never know what you're going to see when you start watching a game.

Take Thursday night, for instance.

The Red Sox lost, 14-13, in 10 innings. They couldn't hold a 6-0 lead in the third inning and an 11-9 lead in the ninth.

Get this: Going back to at least 1919, it was the third time the Sox scored 13 runs and lost. The last time was May 3, 1970 against the White Sox in a 22-13 game. Before then you have to go all the way back to 1930.

The 59-66 Sox have lost four straight and 11 of their last 15 games. They are 0-5 in extra inning games at Fenway Park.

“We’re playing [expletive], [expletive] baseball,” said closer Alfredo Aceves, who allowed three runs in the ninth inning to blow the save then two in the 10th to lose the game.

With the Sox up, 11-9, Aceves came out for the ninth inning. Vernon Wells homered to left field, the ball appearing on replay to be worth a video review by the umpires. But the Red Sox did not protest.

“I thought it was out,” catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said, echoing the comments of others in the clubhouse. “It bounced straight up.”

Said Valentine: "There wasn't anybody on the field that didn't think it was a home run, I didn't think. That's the first I've heard of that. No one even came back with the replay and said [anything]. How does it bounce straight up like that if it's not a home run?"

Given how Aceves was pitching, it probably didn't matter much. With two outs, impressive Angels rookie Mike Trout singled to right and took second when Cody Ross overran the ball.

It proved to be a big error as Trout scored on a single by Torii Hunter, just beating a strong throw from Scott Podsednik. Aceves stared out at Ross in right field after the run scored.

Aceves, who has blown seven saves, then walked Howie Kendrick before Mark Trumbo’s single to center scored Hunter and gave the Angels the lead.

“I missed a couple of pitches, yeah,” Aceves said. “It’s not about that [why] we lost the game. There were like 25 runs.”

Ross atoned for his mistake with a home run off Angels closer Ernest Frieri in the bottom of the ninth to tie it.

After watching Aceves throw 31 pitches in the ninth inning, Valentine sent him back out to the mound for the 10th. Kendry Morales started the inning with a home run. Erick Aybar then singled and scored when Wells doubled off Craig Breslow.

“I had two lefthanders in the bullpen and they had a righthanded lineup,” Valentine said. “I had three innings left [out of the bullpen] and I wanted to squeeze another inning out. It obviously was the wrong decision.”

The offense showed some heart, collecting 18 hits. Dustin Pedroia was 4 for 6 with five RBIs including one with two outs in the bottom of the 10th.

But with Pedroia on second, Frieri (2-0) struck Adrian Gonzalez to end a game that lasted four hours and 34 minutes.

“It was a wild game. We just have to try to find a way to win those,” Pedroia said.

A few notes for you:

• Podsednik was 7 of 13 in the series. He is hitting .375 in 31 games.

• Junichi Tazawa and Mark Melancon gave the Sox 3.1 scoreless innings after Franklin Morales and Clayton Mortensen were shelled.

• Trout has scored 99 runs in 102 games. .345/.410/.601 and 41 SBs in 45 attempts. That's astonishing.

• The Sox are 24-33 in games decided by one or two runs.

• Sox are 29-37 at home. That .439 winning percentage puts them on a pace to go 35-46 at home. They have not been that bad at home since 1965 (34-47).

Thanks to everybody for reading today. It's appreciated.

Final: Angels 14, Red Sox 13

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 23, 2012 07:00 PM

Final: Angels 14, Red Sox 13: The Sox were swept in excruciating fashion, 14-13, by the Angels in 10 innings Thursday night before an announced Fenway Park crowd of 37,829. The Sox coughed up a 6-0 lead in the third after the Angels rallied for eight runs, then came back to tie it, 9-9, with a pair of runs in the sixth, before breaking the stalemate with a pair of runs in the eighth to take an 11-9 lead.

The Angels rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth to seize a 12-11 lead, before Cody Ross tied it in the bottom of the frame, 12-12, with a solo homer that sent it into extras. The Angels tallied a pair of runs in the top of the 10th, but with two outs the Sox managed only a run in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single by Dustin Pedroia (4-for-6, 5 RBI, 1 double, 1 home run, 3 runs scored) that scored Pedro Ciriaco, who reached on a two-out single.

Ernesto Frieri put the wraps on this 4 hour 34 minute marathon by striking out Adrian Gonzalez on three pitches. The teams combined for 27 runs, 38 hits (20 by the Angels) and 5 homers (Sox 3; Angels 2).

Top of 10th: Angels 14, Red Sox 12: Incredible! Kendry Morales broke a 12-12 tie with his lead-off solo homer to right off Aceves, who turned it over to Craig Breslow after giving up a single to Erick Aybar.

Wells doubled to left off Breslow, scoring Aybar with an insurance run. Wells, however, wound up getting thrown out at third by Saltalamacchia. Breslow got out of the inning with strikeouts of Iannetta (looking) and Hunter (swinging) to end the inning. The running (combined) total: 26 runs, 36 hits (20 by the Angels), 5 homers (Sox 3; Angels 2).

Bottom of 9th: Angels 12, Red Sox 12: Unbelievable. Cody Ross tied it when he belted a solo homer (his 19th of the season) to the Green Monster seats off reliever Ernesto Frieri, who entered the ninth in relief of Scott Downs. By that juncture of the game, both teams had combined for 24 runs and 33 hits, including four homers (three by the Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia, Mike Aviles, and Ross).

Top of 9th: Angels 12, Red Sox 11: The Angels rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth against Sox closer Alfredo Aceves, who gave up a solo homer to Vernon Wells, which appeared to barely clear the wall in left.

After Mike Trout reached on a single to right and went to second on an error by right fielder Cody Ross, Torii Hunter ripped an RBI single to left, which scored Trout from third. Trout beat a throw to the plate from Podsednik in left to tie it, 11-11.

After Howie Kendrick walked, Mark Trumbo hit an RBI single to center, scoring Hunter with the go-ahead run.

Bottom of 8th: Red Sox 11, Angels 9: Replays clearly showed Mike Aviles had beaten a throw from second baseman Howie Kendrick to first. But first base ump Jordan Baker ruled differently and called Aviles out on the play.

It loomed large given the fact Scott Podsednik and Pedro Ciriaco each reached on a pair of back-to-back singles. Had he been called safe, Aviles probably would have scored the go-ahead run.

Jepsen turned it over to LHP Scott Downs, who faced Jacoby Ellsbury with two outs and two runners in scoring position. Ellsbury delivered by ripping a 3-and-2 pitch from Downs to right for an RBI single that scored Podsednik from second with the go-ahead run and advanced Ciriaco to third.

Pedroia came up with runners on the corners and padded Boston's lead with an RBI chopper down the line to third that eluded Erick Aybar and allowed Ciriaco to score to make it 11-9 before Downs got out of the inning by getting Gonzalez to fly to center.

Top of 8th: Red Sox 9, Angels 9: After surviving a hairy, bases-loaded jam in the seventh, there were no such issues for Padilla in a tidy 1-2-3 eighth.

Bottom of 7th: Red Sox 9, Angels 9: Nothing doin' for the Sox in the bottom of the 7th as Kevin Jepsen retired the side in 1-2-3 order on a pair of fly ball outs to left by Gonzalez and Ross and a called third strike on pinch-hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who remained in the game at catcher for Lavarnway.

Top of 7th: Red Sox 9, Angels 9: Mike Trout sent Andrew Bailey from the game after he hit a tying RBI single to center that scored Kendry Morales to tie it, 9-9. Vicente Padilla entered the game in relief of Bailey, who gave up back-to-back singles to Morales and Aybar before getting Wells to fly to left and Iannetta to strike out (looking).

Padilla got himself out of a jam when he issued a walk to Hunter that loaded the bases for Kendrick, who struck out swinging to end the inning.

Kevin Jepsen was summoned to relieve Walden (0.2 IP, 1 R, 2 H) in the bottom of the 7th.

Bottom of 6th, 2 out: Red Sox 9, Angels 8: Mike Aviles belted a solo home run to left off Jason Isringhausen, who entered the sixth in relief of C.J. Wilson (5 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 6K, 1 HR) to help the Red Sox tie it. It was Aviles' 12th homer of the season, which improved upon his previous career high (10).

Isringhausen handed it over Jordan Walden after issuing a walk to Scott Podsednik, who wound up getting thrown out by Iannetta stealing second.

After Pedro Ciriaco greeted Walden with a double off the The Wall, Jacoby Ellsbury followed with an RBI double off The Wall to score Ciriaco with the go-ahead run, making it 9-8. Walden got Pedroia to fly to center to end the inning.

Andrew Bailey will relieve Melancon (2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) in the top of the 7th.
.
Bottom of 5th: Angels 8, Red Sox 7: The Red Sox got one run back when Dustin Pedroia reached on an error by Angels' third baseman Alberto Callaspo and went to second on a passed ball.

After Gonzalez struck out for the second out of the inning, Cody Ross rifled an RBI single to right, scoring Pedroia. Ryan Lavarnway stranded Ross at first when he struck out swinging.

Top of 5th: Angels 8, Red Sox 6: Mark Melancon entered the game in relief of Junichi Tazawa and retired three of the four batteres he faced, allowing Chris Iannetta to reach on a single to center before getting Trout to fly to center to end the inning.

Bottom of 4th: Angels 8, Red Sox 6: Wilson again retired the Sox in 1-2-3 fashion. He has retired the last seven consecutive batters he's faced, recording two strikeouts in that stretch.

Top of 4th: Angels 8, Red Sox 6: Tazawa, who mercifully extricated the Sox from their ruinous third inning, reciprocated with a 1-2-3 inning of his own.

Bottom of 3d: Angels 8, Red Sox 6: The Red Sox were rendered mute in their response to LA's eight-run outburst at the top of the frame when Wilson retired them in 1-2-3 fashion, striking out Cody Ross (looking), Ryan Lavarnway (swinging), and inducing Mauro Gomez to fly to right.

Top of 3d: Angels 8, Red Sox 6: All of Morales's good work in the first two innings was unraveled in the third when he surrendered six runs (two earned) on six hits and a pair of walks, both coming with the bases loaded. He departed after Erick Aybar reached on an error by third baseman Pedro Ciriaco, who bobbled Aybar's grounder to third.

The Angels scored eight runs in the inning overall, the last five with two outs.

After Vernon Wells drew a walk from relief pitcher Clayton Mortensen (2 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk) that scored Alberto Callaspo from third to pull the Angels within 6-4, Chris Iannetta, of Providence, R.I., tied it 6-6 with his 2-RBI single to right, scoring Kendry Morales and Aybar. Mike Trout's RBI single to right scored Wells with the go-ahead run, 7-6, and Torii Hunter padded it with an RBI single to right off Mortensen, making it 8-6. Hunter appeared to get caught in a run down between first and second, but escaped when Mike Aviles inexplicably threw to third in an attempt to pick off Trout.

Hunter, as a result, safely reached second on the throw to third, where Trout was also safe.

Junichi Tazawa came in and recorded that elusive third out by inducing Howie Kendrick to ground to second.

Bottom of 2d: Red Sox 6, Angels 0: The Sox erupted for five runs on five hits, the biggest of which was a 3-run homer by Dustin Pedroia, who was halfway to the cycle after doubling in his first at-bat of the game off C.J. Wilson. Scott Podsednik and Jacoby Ellsbury also had RBI singles in the inning before Pedroia tattooed a Wilson fastball into the Green Monster seats.

Top of 2d: Red Sox 1, Angels 0: Another strong inning for Morales, who gave up a pair of hits in the inning but struck out Vernon Wells with a 96 fastball to end the inning. A vast improvement over his last start last Friday in New York, where Morales gave up five runs on six hits, including four homers.

Bottom of 1st: Red Sox 1, Angels 0: Dustin Pedroia reached on a two-out double to center, then came home on Adrian Gonzalez's RBI single to center off C.J. Wilson to give the Sox an early one-run lead.

Top of 1st: Angels 0, Red Sox 0: Strong start for Franklin Morales, who got the first two outs of the inning before allowing Howie Kendrick to reach on a single to left. Morales got out of the inning after getting Mark Trumbo to pop to second.

PregameWelcome to Fenway Park where the Red Sox (59-65) will attempt to avert getting swept by the Angels in the finale of this three-game set. Franklin Morales will go to the mound to oppose C.J. Wilson.

Please feel free to post your comments here. Enjoy the game.

David Ortiz supports MLB's random drug testing

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 23, 2012 06:45 PM

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz said Thursday he was in full support off Major League Baseball’s random drug testing program in the wake of the 50-game suspensions handed down to Giants’ outfielder Melky Cabrera and A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon, both of whom tested positive for synthetic testosterone.

"It’s legit,’’ Ortiz said of the testing program, which he said he was subjected to about 20 times since its inception, about 2-3 times this season. "I believe in our drug testing even more than I did when we first started it.’’

Ortiz would not stand in judgment of Cabrera or Colon.

"I’m nobody to judge anyone,’’ Ortiz said. "Whatever you do, you do if you have a reason to do it. Bottom line is, you got to be ready for the results. What they’ve been into the last couple of weeks has got to be a nightmare for them, for their family, their career.

"Our drug program is legit. You don’t get away with [expletive], and if you see the way they test you, it tells you a lot.’’

Ortiz said it was regrettable that players still felt compelled to test the limits of MLB's drug testing policy.

"They say they came up with the ideal of cleaning up the game and they're doing it,'' Ortiz said. "They're doing a great job.''

Ortiz said players were subject to random testing in the offseason and that there were no excuses when it came to ingesting banned substances during off-season training because "before you use it, you got to go through MLB - period. No excuses.

"If you want to be in the MLB, you've got to be clean. If they catch you with something in your system, you're just as guilty as someone who does steroids ... [MLB] wants to make sure we're doing it the right way. If you want to be part of MLB, you got to keep it clean.

"I absolutely understand. I don't think [the suspensions] are unfair at all. I'm a huge believer in the drug testing program.''

In 2009, the New York Times reported that Ortiz was among roughly 100 major league players who tested positive for PEDs in a 2003 survey test.

Ortiz later confirmed he tested positive but denied using steroids. He suggested the result came from supplements he was using at the time.

David Ortiz set to return from DL on Friday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 23, 2012 05:00 PM

David Ortiz ran the bases this afternoon and barring a setback with his strained right Achilles tendon, will be activated off the disabled list on Friday.

Ortiz has been out since July 17. The Sox are 13-21 in his absence with their designated hitters going 31 of 130 (.238) with seven RBIs and no home runs.

The Sox averaged 5.0 runs and had a .771 OPS with Ortiz in lineup. That production has dropped to 4.3 runs and .713 OPS without him.

"It looked like David got through everything perfectly today," Bobby Valentine said. "He had run sprints and done other things. Today he ran the bases. We’re going to see how he gets through it. If he gets through it we’re planning on hopefully activating him tomorrow."

Ortiz also took batting practice today. He was hitting .316 with 23 homers and 58 RBIs at the time of his injury. Despite missing more than a month, Ortiz still leads the team in home runs.

"I feel OK, yeah,’’ Ortiz said. "I’m not really ready, but I think I can play like this and hopefully continue improving.’’

Asked if he felt he would be activated Friday, Ortiz said, "Maybe, maybe. We got to see how I’m feeling. I ran today again and was feeling good.’’

Also:

• Valentine got upset when asked the rotation for the Kansas City series, which starts on Friday.

"Who cares who’s pitching? Why is this such a big thing?" he said. "There’s a lot of things going on that, unless we just want to start some stir on something, I don’t think there’s any reason to talk about it."

Valentine did say that Felix Doubront would come off the disabled list to pitch on Sunday. Unless something unusual happens, Jon Lester will start on Friday and Josh Beckett on Saturday. Aaron Cook would be lined up for Monday.

Valentine indicated that Daisuke Matsuzaka will pitch another game for Triple A Pawtucket on Monday.

• Albert Pujols (right calf strain) is out of the Los Angeles lineup. He told reporters he felt "way better" today, however.

• The Sox took their annual team photo today. There was one photo taken of just the team in front of the scoreboard. Then another with the players and all the team employees.

• Valentine on Adrian Gonzalez’s defense this season: “He’s better than I thought. He’s the Gold Glove in the American League, I think without a doubt. He has saved, I can’t even imagine how many, balls in the dirt that are tough hops. There are a lot of easy hops that are thrown in the dirt. He catches the tough ones.”

Game 125: Angels at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 23, 2012 03:05 PM

Here's a preview of tonight's game:

RED SOX (59-65)
Ciriaco 3B
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez DH
Ross RF
Lavarnway C
Gomez 1B
Aviles SS
Podsednik LF
Pitching: LHP Franklin Morales (3-4, 3.67)

ANGELS (64-60)
Trout CF
Hunter RF
Kendrick 2B
Trumbo 1B
Callaspo 3B
Morales DH
Aybar SS
Wells LF
Iannetta C
Pitching: LHP C.J. Wilson (9-9, 3.62)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, MLB Network / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Wilson: Aviles 2-20, Pedroia 4-10, Punto 2-6, Podsednik 1-10, Gonzlez 3-7, Salty 0-6, Ross 1-5, Ellsbury 2-4, Lavarnway 0-2, Nava 0-1.

Angels vs. Morales: Aybar 0-1, Hunter 1-1, Kendrick 0-1.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 6-14 in August.

Notes: Morales is 3-3 with a 3.98 earned run average in seven starts this season. In 43 innings as a starter, he has allowed only 33 hits and struck out 44. Morales was hit hard by the Yankees on Friday, giving up four home runs over 5 1/3 innings. ... Wilson hasn't picked up a victory since June 26. In 10 starts since he is 0-5 with a 5.70 ERA. The Angels are 14-12 in games Wilson has started. Wilson is 4-1, 1.43 against the Red Sox in 17 career appearances, five of them starts. He has allowed five runs against the Sox in his last 38.2 innings. ... The Sox have lost three straight and 10 of 14. They are 29-36 at home with losses in eight of the last 10 games.

Song of the Day: "Angels And Fuselage" by Drive-By Truckers.

Beckett on trade waivers and what that means

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 23, 2012 01:33 PM

The Red Sox have placed Josh Beckett on trade waivers according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

In theory, that could lead to his getting traded. In practice, it probably won't.

Beckett will surely clear waivers because no team would be foolish enough to claim his contract, which runs through 2014 at $15.75 million a year.

Once he does clear, the Red Sox would be free to trade him.

The problem there is finding a contending team that would want Beckett. He is 0-4, 7.59 in his last six starts. The last time Beckett pitched well, the Olympics hadn't started yet.

Beckett also has the worst clubhouse reputation in baseball right now, whether that is true or not. No contender is going to want to bring in a player accused of assorted misdeeds, mutiny and malfeasance.

What Beckett does have going for him is a sparking postseason record (7-3, 3.07 in 14 games) and two rings. So let's say a team decides to roll the dice and make a deal for him in hopes that he will win a few playoff games.

Theoretically, his diminishing stuff could still be effective in the National League.

However . . .

1. The Sox would have to chow down on most of the money and get little back in return.

2. Beckett still has 10-5 rights and can refuse any deal.

If Ben Cherington can trade Beckett under all those circumstances, he should get Executive of the Year.

It's our (hopefully) fun baseball quiz!

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 23, 2012 09:30 AM

Understandably, chatting about baseball here on Extra Bases has not exactly been fun of late.

The Red Sox are . . . well, you know how the Red Sox are.

So in the interest of having some fun with baseball, here are five questions to ponder. Please post your answers in the comments section so your fellow readers can enjoy the responses.

Question 1: If you could meet any one player in baseball history, who would it be?

My answer: Definitely Ted Williams. I saw him once, but never had a chance to actually speak to him. I would have loved the chance to ask him about hitting, fishing and flying a fighter in the Korean War. What a fascinating life he led.

Question 2: Who is your favorite non-Red Sox player in the majors now?

My answer: Ichiro Suzuki. You can find comparisons to most any player out there. But who compares to Ichiro? He plays with a style all his own and he can change a game by hitting a ball 90 feet. Can't wait to hear his speech when he makes the Hall of Fame.

Question 3: If you could pick any one active pitcher to start Game 1 of the World Series, who would it be?

My answer: This is a tough one. Do you want somebody with big-game experience or just the best guy out there? The top choices are King Felix or Justin Verlander. But you can't discount somebody like CC Sabathia. I'd go with King Felix.

Question 4: If you could attend any one game in baseball history, which would it be?

My answer: I'd bet the answer for most folks will be Game 6 in the 1975 World Series to see Pudge Fisk hit that home run. But I'd pick the 1934 All-Star game to see Carl Hubbell strike out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin in order.

Question 5: If you could pick any one player in the majors to add to the Red Sox roster, who would it be? Take age, salary and health into account.

My answer: They need pitching, so Stephen Strasburg it is. But Mike Trout is awfully tempting.

Bonus question: Name your favorite baseball movie.

My answer: It's "Bull Durham." It's a real baseball movie, not a movie about kids, a talking cornfield or AARP Robert Redford playing baseball. Susan Sarandon still had her fastball in 1988, Robert Wohl is hilarious and there are at least 30 memorable lines. But you're not wrong to pick "Major League."

Have at it, gang.

It was bound to happen eventually, even to the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 23, 2012 12:02 AM

The Red Sox are 59-65 after Wednesday night's loss against the Angels. They haven't been six games under .500 this late in a season since 1997. Not coincidentally, that is the last time they finished with a losing record.

This team is on pace to win 77 games. Given their schedule, their injuries, their pitching and what seems to be a general "let's get this over with" attitude, that's probably what is going to happen, too.

The only other team in baseball that has gone longer without a losing record is the Yankees, who were 76-86 in 1992.

Good franchises like the Tigers (2009), Rangers (2008), Angels (2010), Braves (2008), Phillies (2002), Cardinals (2007), Giants (2008) and Dodgers (2010) have had losing records since the last time the Red Sox did.

Turns out the Red Sox aren't immune from the rhythms of baseball. Bad decisions catch up to every team after a while. Mix in some injuries and a bunch of other nonsense and that's fourth place.

The crime is not finishing with a losing record. It's what you do to change it that counts. The Rays had their last losing season in 2007 and went to the World Series a year later. The Rangers emerged from their wrecked 2008 season and went to the Series in two of the next three seasons. The Giants were a mess in 2008 and champions in 2010.

It's nobody's birthright to have a successful team every season. If Sox fans didn't know that before, they sure do now.

A few notes:

• In what was his 100th appearance in the majors, Clay Buchholz had one of his worst performances. The seven runs matched his career high, as did the 12 hits he allowed. “I think I made a couple of bad pitches and they hit them,” Buchholz said. “I’m not really disappointed in anything. Ball was up in the zone. You can’t throw pitches consistently up there and expect to get away with it with a team like that.”

Buchholz had allowed eight earned runs in his previous six starts. He was due for a stinker and a stinker he got.

• Albert Pujols left the game with a strained right calf and is getting an MRI. He is questionable for Thursday.

• Scott Podsednik is hitting .370 with a .392 OBP in 30 games for the Sox. This was a guy who was barely over .200 in Triple A when they picked him up.

• Felix Doubront threw a lengthy bullpen session on Tuesday, simulating four innings of work. The lefthander was shut down to rest then placed on the disabled list with what the team claimed was a “right knee contusion.” He is eligible to come off the DL on Saturday. Bobby Valentine has not announced his rotation for the weekend series against the Royals but Doubront is expected to be part of it.

• David Ortiz went through some running drills and reported his strained right Achilles' tendon felt fine. He will try the same on Thursday. There seems to be a chance he plays this weekend.

• The Red Sox will take their annual team photo on Thursday. Now there’s a collector’s item.

• Jim Rice, Fred Lynn and Dwight Evans threw out first pitches before the game as part of the annual Jimmy Fund telethon. Rice came out from left field, Lynn from center and Evans from right. They were wearing their jerseys.

• Another great outfielder, Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, celebrated his 73d birthday on Wednesday.

Final: Angels 7, Red Sox 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 22, 2012 07:22 PM

Game over: We knew the Red Sox would be a factor in this wild card race. They have managed to keep the Angels alive. Clay Buchholz was extremely disappointing looking more like the pitcher he was the first half of the season. A poor effort by the Red Sox all around. Looks like a team that's packed up and gone home with the exception of Dustin Pedroia, who plays hard all the time. Sox put two on in the ninth but Adrian Gonzalez flew out to left. The game was played in 3:14 before 37,373.

Top 9th: Angels 7, Red Sox 3 Mark Melancon mows those Angels down.

Bottom 8th: Angels 7, Red Sox 3 Sox show a little life with emphasis on little. Dustin Pedroia hustled out an infield hit and scored on a Cody Ross double to right and a throwing error by Torii Hunter.

Top 8th: Angels 7, Red Sox 2 One of the weirdest caroms off the wall you'll ever see, I thought with the ball darting sideways toward right center on Chris Iannetta's drive. Then WBZ's Jon Miller said he saw the same carom in batting practice earlier by an Angel hitter. So they practice this stuff? Anyway, it went for a triple, but Tazawa escaped.

Bottom 7th: Angels 7, Red Sox 2 Looks like Scott Podsednik cares - three hits and a steal. Ellsbury takes an 0-for-4.

Top 7th: Angels 7, Red Sox 2 The rare three-up, three down by the Halos.

Bottom 6th: Angels 7, Red Sox 2 A couple of Ks by Ross and Salty and a ground out by Lavarnway. Team looks like it's completely beat.

Top 6th: Angles 7, Red Sox 2 Buchholz, Boston's ace, threw another meatball to Howie Kendrick who lined it in to the Monster seats. Buchholz, who allowed 12 hits and was charged with seven runs, was replaced Junichi Tazawa. The righty struck out Chris Iannetta, then allowed an infield single to the speedy Mike Trout to load the bases. Torii Hunter singled in two more runs.

Bottom 5th: Angels 4, Red Sox 2 Quicky inning for the Sox - Ellsbury, Pedroia and Gonzalez - three up and three down.

Top 5th: Angels 4, Red Sox 2 Good Houdini act by Buchholz. Gave up a single to Iannetta and a walk to Trout. Long fly ball to right center by Torii Hunter advanced the runners. Wells, who came into the game for Pujols (right calf strain), grounded to third where Ciriaco gunned down a run at the plate. Buchholz then retired Morales to get out of the inning.

Bottom 4th: Angels 4, Red Sox 2 It's become laughable that Adrian Gonzalez has taken to fake the bunt against the shift when it would be almost impossible for him to beat it out considering he jogs to first base. Nice two-out rally for Sox. Ryan Lavarnway, DHing tonight, flashes a little power with a double high atop the centerfield wall scoring Jarrod Saltalamacchia who singled to left with two outs. Mike Aviles then doubled just over Vernon Wells' glove in left scoring Lavarnway. Ciriaco, another guy who hustles, beat out an infield single to put runners at first and third. Podsednik grounded out to end the inning.

Top 4th: Angels 4, Red Sox 0 Clay Buchholz not himself tonight. He hasn't allowed four runs since July 14 vs. Tampa Bay. Pujols doubled and was knocked in after a ground out by Kendry Morales, on a single up the middle by Mark Trumbo. On the ground ball out, Mike Aviles had a play at third and looked over there but didn't throw and elected to take the safer out at first. It wound up costing Boston a run. After Jarrod Saltalamacchia caught Mark Trumbo stealing, Howie Kendrick doubled to right and rode home on an Izturis single up the middle. Pujols did not come out after the inning replaced by Trumbo, who switched from left to first and Vernon Wells went to left.

Bottom 3rd: Angels 2, Red Sox 0 Not a great night for Jacoby Ellsbury, who hit third in the order Tuesday night and second tonight. He knocked into a DP in the first and popped out to right with two on in the 3rd. Dustin Pedroia lined out to left to end the threat.

Top 3rd: Angels 2, Red Sox 0 With the way Weaver looks the two runs the Angels just scored off Buchholz may be tough to overcome. The Angels strung together three singles by Maicer Izturis, Erick Aybar and Chris Iannetta to produce one run. Mike Trout's 6-4-3 double-play grounder got the second run in.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Angels 0 Not hearing a lot of good sounds when the Sox make contact with Weaver's pitches tonight. They go down again in the second as Cody Ross, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway look pretty over-matched.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Angels 0 Solid inning for Buchholz, who was relaxing before his outing by strumming on his guitar which has become a ritual for him.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Angels 0 One guy who can never be accused of dogging it is Dustin Pedroia. He was struck out by Jered Weaver, but Chris Iannetta let the ball get by him and Pedroia ran hard to first and beat the throw. He also stole second base, but he was stranded.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Angels 0 When Clay Buchholz pitches you know the Red Sox have a chance. Buchholz got out of the first inning even after allowing a two-out single to Albert Pujols, who was thrown out trying to stretch his hit off the wall into a double by leftfielder Scott Podsednik.

Game 124: Angels at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 22, 2012 03:15 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of the game:

RED SOX (59-64)
Podsednik LF
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ross RF
Saltalamacchia C
Lavarnway DH
Aviles SS
Ciriaco 3B
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (11-3, 4.19)

ANGELS (63-60)
Trout CF
Hunter RF
Pujols 1B
Morales DH
Trumbo LF
Kendrick 2B
Izturis 3B
Aybar SS
Iannetta C
Pitching: RHP Jered Weaver (15-3, 2.74)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Weaver: Pedroia 4-25, Ellsbury 5-18, Salty 2-9, Podsednik 1-10, Punto 1-9, Gonzalez 3-7, Aviles 2-6.

Angels vs. Buchholz: Wells 5-25, Hunter 4-18, Izturis 6-18, Aybar 1-18, Callaspo 4-17, Kendrick 2-12, Bourjos 1-6, Morales 4-5, Wilson 0-2.

Stat of the Day: The Sox have lost 64 games. Half have been by one or two runs.

Notes: Now here's a good pitching matchup. Buchholz is 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA in his last six starts and has allowed four earned runs over 17 innings in his last two. He us 5-2, 3.95 in seven career starts against the Angels. This will be his 100th major league appearance. ... Weaver was 9-0. 1.60 fro, June 20 to Aug. 6. He is 0-2 in two starts since, allowing 12 earned runs over 10 innings. Weaver is 2-5, 4.41 in 11 career starts against the Sox, 0-3, 5.50 in the last three. He is 1-3, 7.16 in six starts at Fenway. The Red Sox have won eight of 11 regular season matchups against Angels starter Jered Weaver, including a 5-1 record in his six starts at Fenway. ... Salty has 21 homers, the most for the a Red Sox catcher since Jason Varitek had 22 in 2005. ... The Sox start the day 13 games out of first and eight games out in the wild card. They are actually behind Seattle in the wild card race.

Song of the Day: "Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of" by U2.

Why ending the sellout streak at Fenway Park would be good for the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 22, 2012 12:51 PM

The Red Sox announced the crowd at Fenway Park on Tuesday as being 37,794. It was the 776th consecutive sellout.

It's the longest sellout streak in professional sports history in the United States and has been for a while now.

That's fantastic. The Red Sox and all their fans should be proud of how well the team has been supported over the years.

Now end it.

As the Globe reported earlier this season, the "streak" is a matter of semantics. It's really a streak of distributing tickets, not selling them. It's certainly not a streak of having every seat full. Anybody who has been to a game at Fenway this season knows that.

The streak has become something to ridicule, not to be proud of. Newspaper stories now include phrases like "an announced crowd of 37,794" because we don't really believe the Sox. The streak is routinely mocked on on Twitter and elsewhere on the web.

There have been "sellouts" this season where the park was 65 percent full. Entire rows were empty in right field. You could sit most anywhere you wanted no matter what time you walked up to a ticket window.

In a weird sort of way, John Henry and Co. would actually come out ahead in the arena of public perception if they gave up the ghost and announced what the attendance really was sometime soon. It would be a sign they realize that everything is not all hearts and flowers at Fenway.

It also would be a message to the players and baseball operations department that people are no longer blindly lining up any more to watch a team that has been under .500 for a calendar year now.

Everybody thinks the players are too entitled. A good way to shake that up would be to point at some empty seats and remind them they need to give people something worth paying for.

If the Sox ended the streak, the majority of fans would hear the news and think, "Good, maybe now they'll understand."

The first step to fixing something is admitting there's a problem. By announcing the phony sellouts night after night, the Sox aren't doing that.

It may seem strange, but an announced crowd of 32,672 might be just what this franchise needs.

Ask Nick: Will Bobby Valentine be back next year?

Posted by Leonard Neslin August 22, 2012 12:02 PM

Have a
question?

100x150asknickmugshot.jpg Submit your question here to be considered for the next edition of Ask Nick.
I think I've heard the word "communication" about enough. As far as communication issues go, it's important to have it, but once players hit the baseball field, they're playing baseball. That's where they play the game. They are not running into each other, not knowing what they're supposed to do. They know what to do — pitch, hit, run, field. There's no "communication" involved with that other than hitting cutoff men and reading signs.

Having communication problems is a nice way of saying "We stink."

The Red Sox stink on the field. I have a hard time believing that $17-$20 million a year players can't play baseball without good communication. It's such nonsense.

I don't agree with Ben Cherington that it's not necessarily the personnel. I think it is. If they haven't learned by now it's that the personnel has to be changed after three years of finishing out of the playoffs, don't think the lesson will ever be learned.

Otherwise, it has been a big week in Boston for changes on and off the field. Carl Crawford is headed off for his Tommy John surgery (Thursday) and Bob McClure has been fired. The last two pitching coaches — Curt Young and Bob McClure — haven't worked very well. Maybe they should hire a righty next season.

Randy Niemann was hired as the interim pitching coach. I must say that Niemann did a good job in McClure's absence for family issues earlier this season. It seemed the staff had a decent run during that time period. Niemann was the assistant pitching coach. At one point Niemann was told he could no longer be in the Red Sox bench per order of Major League Baseball which only allows five coaches to be in uniform. But usually the only way this is enforced is if someone (usually another team) complains.

I've always thought Rick Peterson would be Valentine's best choice for pitching coach. He's got a history of turning pitchers around and I'd bet he would have good results with Jon Lester and Josh Beckett (if they choose to keep him). He's not concerned about whether he's popular with the pitchers. He's tough, he has his own ideas on how to do things. He did a great job in Oakland with Barry Zito and Mark Mulder in particular. Currently the Orioles' minor league pitching coordinator, he takes a biomechanics approach to pitching and is tied in with Dr. James Andrews. Seems like a no-brainer.

Now to the mail:

Now that Brad Mills had been fired, how likely do you think it is that he will replace Bobby V this offseason. I don't think his record in Houston is a reflection of his ability to manage, the Astros have practically had a minor league roster for the past two seasons.
Stephen, Niceville, Fla.

I think Brad Mills is excellent. I've always been a big fan of his style and work. He was Terry Francona's enforcer. I just don't think Bobby V is going to be replaced. I think the owners are reasonable enough to know there are many other issues they need to deal with. The manager is way down the list and the players, for the most part, play hard for Valentine. The results just haven't been there.

For years, I have been writing to professional baseball writers; congressmen; presidents and others who could spearhead a necessary movement to have a legitimate salary cap enforced in major league baseball. I find it hard to believe it is not talked about more often. There is no parity because of it and the New York Yankees, for example, virtually ensure themselves of a wild card slot every year. Money is of no consequence to them so a financial penalty for a violation is a farce. Other major sports caps are legitimate. It is hard to understand; year after year it continues and there is not anybody (to my knowledge) complaining about it.
James, Quincy, Mass.

I've heard this for many years, but I like the way baseball is structured. It's a true free enterprise system. If you can't compete, then don't buy a team. I like the fact that teams can spend as much as they want. The only I would like to see is a minimum cap. You have to spend say, $70 million and adjust it every year. I also don't like revenue sharing. It seems small market teams can pocket $30-$40 million per year and seldom use it to improve their major league which is the spirit for which it was intended.

In a recent radio interview, Johnny Damon spoke about a negative atmosphere after leaving spring training in 2002; and it was guys like him and Millar who helped liven things up. Maybe there is not enough of that now. Those teams seemed to complain less, have more fun and win. Who are the goofy gung-ho guys on this roster?
Bill, Bronx, N.Y.

Bill makes a great point. There are no Johnny Damons on this team with the exception of Dustin Pedroia and to some extent, David Ortiz. I think as they start to manipulate the roster this winter they have to find guys with great intangibles as well as skill. It's tough to do. But that '04 team had that great mix. It was self-policing really. It's a managers dream to have those types of individuals on a team. This roster not only doesn't have it, but it has some sour people, whose careers are on a downward trend. Let's face it, the manager and the GM were changed, but the roster wasn't.

We seem to have a great farm system. Yet the emphasis the past few years has been on mega deals of which some come unstuck. Do you see the Cherington/Valentine era being more about using the prospects and some older guys out of the farm system (like Middlebrooks & Podsednik) to Give the team a lift?
Bill, Melbourne, Australia

I think Cherington will be more protective of the farm system. I think he needs to be because ownership isn't going to give him the blank check they gave Theo Epstein. That proved to be a lot of wasted money.

Matsuzaka ready to replace Cook?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 21, 2012 11:33 PM

As Aaron Cook allowed five runs 11 hits and saw his earned run average climb to 4.79 Tuesday night, Daisuke Matsuzaka was down the road in Pawtucket throwing seven shutout innings in his latest minor league rehabilitation start.

Matsuzaka gave up one hit, walked four and struck out seven. He started the eighth inning but came out after issuing two walks. Matsuzaka threw 102 pitches and would appear ready to come off the disabled list.

Could that be to start on Sunday in place of Cook against the Kansas City Royals?

“Much too early to figure that one out," Bobby Valentine said. “See Dice tomorrow and see how he feels and talk it over with everyone."

Cook (3-7) isn’t too concerned.

“Nope, not one bit,” he said. “It’s not my decision. I’m just going to take the ball and throw it when they tell me.”

A few notes for you . . .

• The Red Sox all wore No. 6 in memory of Johnny Pesky and the Angels, of their own volition, wore a small patch with a "6" on their uniforms.

“Johnny was just a pleasure to be around every time we came in here,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “I’ve only known him since 2000 when I first started managing here and we had some great baseball talks, about a half hour at a time. He was a true gentleman and [Tuesday night] was a very fitting tribute to a special person.”

Pretty classy move by the Angels.

• That ball Mark Trumbo hit in the fifth inning may have just landed. Wow.

“He hit it about as hard as you can hit a baseball,” Cook said

Said Scioscia: “That ball was absolutely killed.”

Trumbo, who has 30 home runs, arrived at Fenway in a 14-for-76 slump. He was 2 for 4 and hit a home run that people at Fenway won't soon forget.

“I always try to drive the ball. Maybe my swing was a little overaggressive, but I tried to tone it down a little bit. My biggest thing is if I get a pitch to hit, I don’t want to miss it," he said.

• The Sox are an unimaginable 29-35 at home with losses in seven of their last nine games. They're also 24-32 in games decided by two or fewer runs.

• Wanted to say thank you to our summer intern, Alex Prewitt. He did a terrific job helping out with our Sox coverage and is headed for the Washington Post to cover the University of Maryland. Please join me in wishing him well. Alex has a great future in our crazy business.

We have had a bunch of great interns in the last few years. Nicole Auerbach (2011) is at USA Today. Robert Mays (Grantland.com) and Nate Taylor (New York Times) were in our Class of 2010.

Thanks to everybody for reading today. Catch you tomorrow.

Final: Angels 5, Red Sox 3

Posted by Alex Prewitt August 21, 2012 06:50 PM

Final: Angels 5, Red Sox 3: The Sox mounted a late comeback, aided by four scoreless innings from their bullpen and a two-run homer by Salty in the sixth, but stranded two on base in the eighth and could never get over the five-run lead the Angels got on starter Aaron Cook. Los Angeles pounding out 11 hits (all groundball singles, except for Trumbo's monster blast in the fifth) off the righty, who dropped to 3-7 on the year.

Clay Buchholz and Jered Weaver will square off Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m.

Thanks for reading my final live blog as the Globe's summer intern. Postgames notes will follow. Always a pleasure bringing you the updates.

Bottom 9th: Angels 5, Red Sox 3: Ernesto Frieri notched his 15th save after Podsednik lined out to the track in right-center, Ciriaco grounded out to the mound, and Pedroia grounded out to third. Game over.

Top 9th: Angels 5, Red Sox 3: With Alfredo Aceves on for the ninth, Gonzalez made a nice scoop on an Aybar bunt attempt, Ianetta flied out to the track in deep center, Trout walked, and promptly got gunned down at second by Salty on a pitchout. Trout had gotten caught stealing three times before Tuesday night, and has an AL-high 39 stolen bases.

Bottom 8th: Angels 5, Red Sox 3: Downs got Gonzalez to ground out, then was lifted in favor of Kevin Jepsen. Jepsen induced a grounder to third from Ross, but put runners on first and second after walking Salty and giving up a Nava single. Aviles ripped one on a 2-2 count, but it went right to Kendrick at second. Inning over, Sox strand two.

Oh, right. Her name is Caroline. Now I remember.

Top 8th: Angels 5, Red Sox 3: Padilla sets down Trumbo, Kendrick, and Callaspo in order -- the first two on groundouts to Aviles, and Callaspo on a strikeout looking.

Time to sing about that sweet woman whose name I forget.

Bottom 7th: Angels 5, Red Sox 3: Santana finished his night when Aviles grounded out to first. With Jordan Walden in relief, Podsednik doubled to the base of the Monster, moved to third on a Ciriaco grounder, and scored on a wild pitch.

Pedroia ripped a single off the Monster, ending Walden's day in favor of Scott Downs for the lefty-on-lefty matchup. Ellsbury cranked one off the end of the bat, but flied out to right-center.

Santana's line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 100 pitches, 62 strikes.

Top 7th: Angels 5, Red Sox 2: Six up, six down for Mortensen, this time against the heart of the Angels order. Hunter grounded out to Aviles deep in the hole, and both Pujols and Morales struck out swinging.

Time to sing the song of a demanding yet indifferent individual who can't even say please when asking for peanuts and Cracker Jack.

Bottom 6th: Angels 5, Red Sox 2: Finally, some offensive life. Salty homers for the first time since July 27, stroking one to deep right, scoring Ross, who walked. Hunter could have had a shot at robbing it, but he overran the ball.

Nava struck out to end the inning.

Top 6th: Angels 5, Red Sox 0: Perfect inning for Mortensen in relief, getting Aybar on a weak groundout to the mound, striking out Ianetta swinging, and getting Trout to fly out to center.

Bottom 5th: Angels 5, Red Sox 0: Santana works around a Podsednik single with an Aviles popout, a Ciriaco strikeout, and a Pedroia groundout.

Cook is done. Clayton Mortensen on for the Sox.

Cook's line: 5.0 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 85 pitches, 55 strikes.

Top 5th: Angels 5, Red Sox 0: Trumbo demolished a full-count hanging sinker over the Volvo sign atop the Monster, clear out of Fenway for his 30th homer of the season, scoring Morales, who singled.

Kendrick and Callaspo both grounded out after, as Cook received a few boos exiting the field.

Bottom 4th: Angels 3, Red Sox 0: While the Angels get groundball singles, the Sox are finding no luck through the air. Ross popped out to first, Salty lined out to second, and Nava struck out swinging.

Top 4th: Angels 3, Red Sox 0: Pitching to contact got Cook in some trouble. Trumbo struck out swinging to lead things off, but the Angels strung together three straight singles to put another run on the board. Kendrick was driven in by Aybar, who got caught in a rundown for the second out, putting Callaspo on third in the process. Ianetta singled off the glove of a diving Aviles to score Callaspo.

Cook missed big on a sinker to Trout, who singled for the second time tonight, and Hunter sailed a long fly just foul of Pesky's Pole before grounding into an inning-ending fielder's choice. Angels had five hits that inning, and two runs to show for it.

Bottom 3rd: Angels 1, Red Sox 0: Podsednik weakly grounded out to second, and Ciriaco grounded one up the middle that Santana couldn't handle. It was ruled a single. Pedroia reached on a fielder's choice, beating out the double play ball on Ciriaco's hard takeout slide at second. On a 2-2 count, Ellsbury ripped a single to right, putting runners on the corners, but Gonzalez struck out swinging to strand them.

Top 3rd: Angels 1, Red Sox 0: Ianetta shattered his bat on a leadoff groundout to second. Trout bounced a groundball single up the middle, then moved up when Cook threw the ball away trying to pick him off at first. Hunter struck out -- Cook has a season-high 3 Ks now -- but Pujols poked an RBI single up the middle after Cook had him in an 0-2 hole.

Morales flied out to left to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd: Angels 0, Red Sox 0: Gonzalez lined out to deep left to lead things off. Ross then flared a liner over the head of Pujols, hustling into second when the ball settled into the rightfield no-mans land.

Salty walked on four pitches. Nava, fresh off his return from a DL stint, popped out into foul territory behind third, and Aviles popped out into shallow right.

Top 2nd: Angels 0, Red Sox 0: Cook has tied his season high with two strikeouts, fanning Aybar swinging to end the inning. Trumbo led off with a scorching single up the middle, but Cook induced a double play from Kendrick. He walked Callaspo before Aybar struck out.

Bottom 1st: Angels 0, Red Sox 0: A very merry Aaron Cook-like first inning for Santana. Ciriaco grounds out to short, Pedroia to third, and Ellsbury to first.

Top 1st: Angels 0, Red Sox 0: After striking out -- yes, a strikeout, just Cook's eighth of the season -- Rookie of the Year and MVP candidate Mike Trout, and getting Hunter to ground out to short, Cook left a sinker high and inside, and Pujols cranked it off the Monster for a two-out double. Morales hit a high chopper to the mound to strand Pujols.

More pregame: A nice, touching tribute for Pesky before first pitch. Both teams lined up on their respective baseline, the Sox all wearing No. 6 uniforms. After a moment of silence, a trumpeter played "Taps" at shortstop. Then broadcaster and emcee Dave O'Brien said, "Rest in peace, No. 6."

Pregame: The Sox return to Fenway after a 4-6 road trip and a day off during which they fired their pitching coach and determined a surgery date for Carl Crawford. Now they send Aaron Cook (3-6, 4.58 ERA) to the mound with the Angels in town. Every Boston player will wear No. 6 tonight in honor of the late Johnny Pesky. Los Angeles counters with Ervin Santana (6-10, 5.59 ERA), coming off a four-hit, one-run effort against Cleveland on Aug. 15.

Enjoy the game and comment away, folks, as always. On a personal note, tonight is Alex the Intern's last assignment with the Globe. Thanks for being great readers throughout the summer. No seriously. It's been awesome.

Red Sox podcast: Late changes

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff August 21, 2012 06:08 PM

In the latest Red Sox podcast, Pete Abraham and Chad Finn discuss pitching coach Bob McClure's firing, Carl Crawford's season-ending surgery and what's ahead.

Get Adobe Flash player

Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes. Find its archive here.

A night to remember Johnny Pesky

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 21, 2012 05:19 PM

6photo.jpg

The Red Sox will all wear No. 6 tonight and there will be a pregame ceremony to mark the passing of Johnny Pesky. There also is a No. 6 cut into the grass behind shortstop with a foul pole next to it.

There will be another ceremony later this season.

As to matters involving the team:

• Daniel Nava was activated off the disabled list and replaced Carl Crawford on the roster.

• Vicente Padilla was activated off the disabled list. Danny Valencia was optioned to Pawtucket.

• Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting third for the first time in his career. Bobby Valentine said he hoped that would help Ellsbury be more aggresisve at the plate.

• Rich Hill will continue his rehab assignment with Pawtucket. Once he does back-to-back outings, he should be ready to return from the DL.

• Daisuke Matsuzaka (yes, he's still around) is scheduled to pitch for Pawtucket tonight. The hope is he will go seven innings. Can you get money on that in Vegas?

Game 123: Angels at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 21, 2012 03:15 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of the game:

RED SOX (59-63)
Ciriaco 3B
Pedroia 2B
Ellsbury CF
Gonzalez 1B
Ross RF
Saltalamacchia C
Nava DH
Aviles SS
Podsednik LF
Pitching: RHP Aaron Cook (3-6, 4.58)

ANGELS (62-60)
Trout CF
Hunter RF
Pujols 1B
Morales DH
Trumbo LF
Kendrick 2B
Callaspo 3B
Aybar SS
Iannetta C
Pitching: RHP Ervin Santana (6-10, 5.59)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Santana: Podsednik 8-29, Crawford 10-32, Pedroia 3-21, Ellsbury 5-18, Punto 7-16, Gonzalez 2-10, Aviles 0-7, Valencia 1-7, Ross 0-3, Salty 0-2.

Angels vs. Cook: Pujols 6-17, Callaspo 2-10, Hunter 3-9, Aybar 1-6, Izturis 3-6, Morales 1-6, Wells 0-5, Kendrick 0-4, Wilson 0-.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox are 15-3 against the Angels the last two seasons.

Notes: Two underachieving and expensive teams meet tonight. ... The Sox are 13 games out of first and seven games out in the wild card. The Angels are 9.5 games out in the West and four out in the wild card. ... The Sox have lost eight of 12. The Angels have lost four straight. The Sox are 16-20 since the break, the Angels are 14-22. ... The Sox are 29-34 at home with losses in six of their last eight games. ... Cook is 2-1, 2.86 in three career starts against the Angels. His last one was 2010. ... Santana is 2-3, 4.27 in 10 starts against the Sox. ... Gonzalez is hitting .369/.411/.654 since the All-Star break with 29 extra-base hits and 40 RBIs. He is tied for fifth (with Albert Pujols) in the AL with 85 RBIs.

Song of the Day: "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes" by Elvis Costello.

Daniel Nava set to return from disabled list

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 21, 2012 10:04 AM

Nick Cafardo is reporting that Daniel Nava will be activated off the disabled list today to replace Carl Crawford on the roster.

After a scorching start in when was called up in May (.312/.425 /.472 through 41 games), Nava slumped (.139/.262/.250 over 24 games) and ended up on the disabled list.

He is hitting .251/.373/.397 for the season.

Pitching matchups for the Angels series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 21, 2012 09:42 AM

Tuesday: RHP Ervin Santana (6-10, 5.59) vs. RHP Aaron Cook (3-6, 4.58), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Wednesday: RHP Jered Weaver (15-3, 2.74) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (11-3, 4.19), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Thursday: LHP C.J. Wilson (9-9, 3.62) vs. LHP Franklin Morales (3-4, 3.67), 7:10 p.m., NESN, MLB Network

These teams haven't played each other all season. Now they'll play six times in the next 10 days.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 21, 2012 08:45 AM

Broken lines of communication have contributed to the Red Sox falling out contention this season.

Pitching coach Bob McClure was fired on Monday.

The notebook has Carl Crawford headed for surgery.

Nava homers in rehab game

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 20, 2012 10:47 PM

Let's wrap up a busy day with some notes:

• With Carl Crawford out, Daniel Nava is one of the players who could help replace him in left field.

Nava played his second minor league rehabilitation game for Triple A Pawtucket on Monday, going 1 for 3 with a solo home run against Rochester at McCoy Stadium. Nava, who has been on the disabled list since July 29 with a sprained left wrist, has played in two games for Pawtucket.

• Lefthanded reliever Rich Hill also moved closer to a return, throwing one scoreless inning. He struck out one and threw six of his eight pitches for strikes. Hill has thrown 3 1/3 innings in his rehab assignment so far.

• The funeral for Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky was held in Swampscott. The 92-year-old passed away last week. The private ceremony was attended by a large number of representatives from the organization including Cherington, John Henry, Larry Lucchino, Bobby Valentine, and many of the players.

The team is planning for a memorial service to be held at Fenway Park later this season.

• Jackie Bradley Jr., the organization’s top outfield prospect suffered an ankle injury while playing for Double A Portland on Tuesday and was helped off the field. It's not known how serious the injury is.

For Crawford, timing right for surgery

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 20, 2012 10:31 PM

For Carl Crawford, his two seasons with the Red Sox have been marked by poor performance and injury. But at least this one is over with.

The left fielder will undergo Tommy John surgery on his left elbow Thursday and could be ready for Opening Day in 2013 if all goes well.

The surgery, which involves transplanting a tendon from a different part of the body to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow, is usually performed on pitchers and requires 9-12 months to return.

But position players can return in as early as seven or eight months. The Red Sox medical staff was able to get pitchers Rich Hill and Daisuke Matsuzaka back ahead of schedule this season and Crawford could benefit from that experience.

Dr. James Andrews, who diagnosed Crawford as having a ligament tear in April, will perform the surgery. The Red Sox tried a conservative route, hoping that rest would enable Crawford to avoid surgery. But after 31 games, the decision was made to go ahead with the operation and allow Crawford to get started with rehabilitation.

Crawford approached the Red Sox with the idea over the weekend.

“It became clear over the last few days surgery was going to happen. It was a question of when,” general manager Ben Cherington said on Monday. “We felt like after talking this weekend, and with Carl, that the right thing to do was get it taken care of now.

"Carl had played through the injury and played pretty well. But it wasn’t getting any better. The symptoms were getting worse. We decided to get it taken care of now.”

Crawford hit .282 with 15 extra-base hits and 19 RBIs in 177 at-bats. But he acknowledged playing in pain and felt from the start that surgery would be necessary.

With five years remaining on his $142 million deal, getting Crawford healthy took precedence for the Red Sox over his playing out the final weeks for a team with little hope of making the playoffs.

McClure's ouster a positive for Valentine

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 20, 2012 10:20 PM

The firing of Bob McClure as pitching coach can be interpreted as a show of support for Bobby Valentine by the Red Sox.

General manager Ben Cherington said the decision was based on performance. That Red Sox starting pitchers have a 4.82 earned run average, the fourth-worst in the American League, certainly provided ample cause.

But McClure also tangled with Valentine throughout the season, to the point where they rarely spoke. Their communication improved in recent weeks, but the relationship never a productive one.

Randy Niemann, who was on the staff as the assistant pitching coach, will replace McClure at least through the end of the season. Niemann has a long history with Valentine, having coached under him when both were with the Mets from 1997-2002.

Cherington said “no” when asked if any other changes were planned to the coaching staff. Bench coach Tim Bogar and bullpen coach Gary Tuck have had their differences with Valentine as well.

“This decision didn’t have anything to do with that. We felt like we needed to make a chance to put our pitchers in the best position to do what they needed to do in the next six weeks,” Cherington said. “The next six weeks are important no matter what our record ends up.”

The 59-63 Red Sox are mired in fourth place largely because of their underperforming starters. The team is 17-29 in games started by Jon Lester (7-10, 5.03) and Josh Beckett (5-11, 5.23), the two pitchers expected to carry the staff.

Daniel Bard, a stellar relief pitcher who was made into a starter, lasted only 11 games before being demoted to Triple A Pawtucket.

Niemann is the fourth pitching coach the Red Sox have had in four seasons. John Farrell left after the 2010 season to become the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. He was replaced by Curt Young, who lasted only one season. Then came McClure.

Many of the Red Sox pitchers attended a charity event hosted by Beckett at Jillian’s Lucky Strike Lanes across from Fenway Park on Monday night.

“No, man, I’ve got nothing to say,” Beckett said when asked about McClure, “and you shouldn’t be asking at all right now.”

But Lester was more forthcoming.

“It’s too bad that we had to make a move like that, but you’ve got to understand the nature of the beast as far as us not performing well,” he said. “You don’t ever want a coach to take responsibility. It’s a tough situation, but talking with Mac, he seems like he’s in a good place and hopefully he can move forward from here and go from there.”

Clay Buchholz, who emerged as the most reliable starter, was surprised by the news.

“I knew that the team probably wanted to make a move just to make something happen, I don’t know,” he said. “Mac, I had a really good relationship with him. I talked to him every day and it was an odd move to me, but that’s why it’s a business and the team’s going to do what it thinks it needs to do to win.”

Niemann, 56, has never been a major league pitching coach. But he has been a bullpen coach and was the rehabilitation pitching coordinator for the Mets. He spent parts of eight seasons pitching in the majors.

“Randy has a lot of experience. He knows our guys well. He’s been involved with the pitching staff pretty intimately since the beginning of spring training. There won’t be any learning curve, that’s for sure,” Cherington said.

See the Globe tomorrow for more on the move.

Red Sox fire pitching coach Bob McClure

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 20, 2012 06:35 PM

The Red Sox fired pitching coach Bob McClure and replaced him with Randy Niemann for the remainder of the season.

McClure, 60, joined the Red Sox organization as a special assignment scout/instructor in November 2011 and was named as pitching coach in December 2011. He was the pitching coach of the Royals from 2006-12 before being fired from that job.

McClure and manager Bobby Valentine had a rocky relationship starting in spring training and only recently started to communicate on a professional level.

Niemann, 56, has served as Boston’s assistant pitching coach in 2012, his first season in the Red Sox organization. He previously spent 24 seasons in the Mets organization, including three stints as New York’s bullpen coach for parts of the 1997-99 seasons and the 2000-02 and 2009-10 campaigns.

He worked with Valentine from 1997-02 with the Mets.

Crawford to have elbow surgery on Thursday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 20, 2012 06:09 PM

This statement was just released by the Red Sox:

Carl Crawford has a chronic left elbow ulnar collateral ligament tear. While he has been following a conservative treatment protocol and playing with this injury, his symptoms are getting worse.

After consultation with the Boston Red Sox medical staff and with Dr. James Andrews, the decision has been made to proceed with a left elbow ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (Tommy John surgery). The surgery will be performed by Dr. Andrews on Thursday, August 23. We expect Carl to make a full recovery.

Crawford obviously will miss the rest of the season. For position players, the recovery time is usually 6-8 months. That gives him a chance of being ready for Opening Day in 2013.

More on this to come as Ben Cherington will be speaking to reporters within the hour.

Roger Clemens making a comeback at 50

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 20, 2012 04:11 PM

Here's one nobody saw coming: Roger Clemens is making a comeback.

The 50-year-old Rocket has signed with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters and will start on Saturday.

Here's hoping the Red Sox pick him up. We need more drama around Fenway Park.

On a somewhat serious note, Clemens is set to be on the Hall of Fame ballot this year for the first time and will probably not get elected right away (if at all) because of his ties to the use of performance enhancing drugs.

If Clemens were to get in just one game, he would not be eligible for another five years. By then, perhaps opinions about PED use may have changed in his favor.

It's completely unlikely to happen. But why wouldn't the Houston Astros give Clemens a start?

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 20, 2012 10:39 AM

The season is fading away as the Red Sox lost, 4-1, to the Yankees.

Nick Cafardo writes about the drama that may or may not have been started by Kelly Shoppach. And Ben Cherington gets to the bigger issues.

Ryan Lavarnway is getting his chance to catch after making defensive strides. Alex Prewitt has the story.

The notebook has Carl Crawford about to get Tommy John surgery.

Dan Shaughnessy writes that Cherington owned up to the problems. (Subscription required).

For the Red Sox, no avoiding reality

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 20, 2012 01:12 AM

NEW YORK — The Red Sox can’t come out and say their season is over. With nearly seven weeks left to play, it’s still too early to think like that. Their own collapse last season proved anything can happen in baseball.

But a 4-1 loss against the Yankees tonight left the Sox looking like a dead team.

At 59-63, the Sox are 13½ games behind the Yankees in the American League East and 7½ games out in the wild card race with 40 games left to play.

“We have to play one game at a time, we can’t really worry about any of that stuff,” said Josh Beckett, who took the loss. “We need a lot of things to happen now."

With their playoff hopes on life support, the Sox are expected to announce on Monday that left fielder Carl Crawford will undergo season-ending surgery on his left elbow. It would be a tacit acknowledgement that Crawford is better served preparing for next season than playing out the string this year.

Crawford had one hit in what may his final game of the season, one of the five the Sox had. They weren’t nearly enough as Beckett allowed four runs over six innings.

Ichiro Suzuki hit two solo home runs for the Yankees, the second one earning him a curtain call from the sellout crowd of 48,620. The Yankees hit eight home runs in the series, all without a runner on base.

The Sox were 4-6 on their road trip and have dropped eight of their last 12 fames. They open a seven-game homestand on Tuesday before what could be a hostile crowd at Fenway Park give the team’s run of bad news on and off the field.

“All we do is keep is keep playing,” Beckett said.

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That's it for tonight. Thanks to everybody for reading.

Final: Yankees 4, Red Sox 1

Posted by Alex Prewitt August 19, 2012 07:56 PM

Final: Yankees 4, Red Sox 1: The Sox couldn't muster enough off Kuroda to overcome two Jeter doubles and two Ichiro solo homers. Beckett takes the loss again, giving up a two-out RBI double to Granderson in the first, a wild pitch that allowed Jeter to score in the second, and, of course, those two blasts by Ichiro. The score is flipped from Saturday night, and the Yankees take the series.

Gonzalez's homer in the seven provided the sole run for the Sox, who have Monday off before opening up a series at Fenway against the Angels.

Thanks for reading. Postgame notes to follow. Have a good night.

Top 9th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 1: Crawford, in what could very well be his final at bat of the season, singled up the middle to lead things off, but Pedroia grounded into a double play. Gonzalez ripped two foul balls down the right-field line, then struck out swinging on a 83-mph slider. Game over.

Bottom 8th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 1: Miller got Ibanez to fly out to center, then gave way to Junichi Tazawa, who got Martin on a grounder to third. Ichiro then beat out Ciriaco's deep throw for an infield single, and McGehee grounded into a fielder's choice to end things.

Rafael Soriano on to close. We are three outs away and under three hours, by the way.

Kuroda's line: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 112 pitches, 75 strikes.

Top 8th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 1: Kuroda continues to cruise. Ciriaco lined out to center, Punto got caught looking, and Ellsbury flied out again to center.

Bottom 7th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 1: Miller rung up Granderson and Chavez on breaking balls after Cano walked. Swisher flied out to right to start the inning.

Kuroda remains in the game with Ciriaco-Punto-Ellsbury due up.

Top 7th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 1: Gonzalez cranks a solo shot to right to put the Sox on the board. Lavarnway singled up the middle, snapping a 1 for 19 streak against right-handers, but Salty flied out to left and Podsednik flied out to center.

Time to stretch.

Beckett is done for the day. Andrew Miller on for the Sox.

Beckett's line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 2 HR, 1 WP, 98 pitches, 58 strikes.

Bottom 6th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 0: Beckett again leaves a fastball over the middle of the plate, and Ichiro again cranks it over the right-field wall. He takes the curtain call after the seventh multi-homer game of his career.

Top 6th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 0: Kuroda hasn't allowed a run in his past 16.1 innings, and has allowed just four hits -- all singles -- in that span after getting Punto (grounder to second), Ellsbury (flyout to center), and Crawford (deep fly to the right-field warning track) in order.

Bottom 5th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 0: Jeter moves to 3 for 3 tonight with a single to lead things off, and after Swisher struck out swinging, Cano snapped an 0 for 16 with a single up the middle, and Granderson walked to load the bases.

Beckett then fell behind 3-0 on Chavez, who either got the green light or ignored the stop sign and skied a popout in foul territory to Gonzalez at first. Ibanez got under one and flied out to center to end the inning, getting Beckett out of a potentially big jam.

Top 5th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 0: The Sox got a runner in scoring position for the first time tonight on a bizarre play. After Salty singled, Podsednik hit a high chopper towards Cano at second. Cano appeared to tag him, and Salty appeared to run out of the baseline, but was ruled safe. Either way, Ciriaco grounded out to short to end the inning.

Bottom 4th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 0: Ichiro demolished a 1-2 fastball into the right-field second deck for a solo homer, his second with the Yankees. Beckett's given up seven two-strike homers this season.

Top 4th: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0: The Sox again go down in order against Kuroda. Crawford and Pedroia both ground out to second, and Gonzalez bounces out to Swisher at first unassisted.

Bottom 3rd: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0: Jeter hammered another Beckett pitch over the middle of the plate to centerfield for his second double of the night, upping his career average against the righthander to .330. After Swisher walked, the two executed a double steal, and Jeter scored on a wild pitch, moving him to one shy of Craig Biggio for 13th all-time in runs.

Beckett then rung Cano up on a full-count two-seamer, intentionally walked Granderson to put runners on the corners, took enough time between pitches to cause Yankees fans to start the wave in the third inning, and struck out Chavez on a full count.

Top 3rd: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: After Podsednik flied out to deep left, Kuroda struck Ciriaco out, so the world has license to officially implode. Punto singled, becoming the first Sox batter to reach base, but Ellsbury struck out to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: Solid inning for Beckett, who gets Ibanez (grounder to second), Martin (strikeout swinging), and Ichiro (flyout to right) in order.

Top 2nd: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: Six outs, and the Sox haven't gotten the ball out of the infield. Gonzalez pops out to Jeter, Lavarnway goes chasing an outside breaking pitch, and Salty weakly bounces out to second.

Bottom 1st: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: Beckett gets behind after the first inning. We know, revolutionary stuff here. Jeter led off with a double to deep center, but Beckett nearly got out of it with a groundout by Swisher and a strikeout to Cano. One strike away from stranding Jeter on third, Granderson, hitting cleanup for the first time since 2009, instead ripped a double down the right-field line. Chavez nearly extended the damage, but flied out to the warning track in left.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0: Three groundouts, and Kuroda is through a perfect first after setting Ellsbury, Crawford, and Pedroia down in order.

Pregame: Good evening. The Sox send Josh Beckett (5-10, 5.19) in Sunday night's rubber match at Yankee Stadium, with a two-fold opportunity to take the series and get the right-hander back on track. New York counters with Hiroki Kuroda (11-8, 3.06).

Updates go here, comments go below, and everyone will have a jolly old time. Enjoy the game.

Bard will return to majors this season

Posted by Alex Prewitt August 19, 2012 07:55 PM

NEW YORK — Speaking in the dugout before Sunday's series finale against the Yankees, Sox general manager Ben Cherington offered some new developments on pitchers Daniel Bard and John Lackey.

Bard, who has labored in the Pawtucket bullpen since being optioned June 5, could return to the majors soon, possibly before the rosters expand on Sept. 1.

“He’s going to be back in the big leagues," Cherington said. "I don’t know when it’s going to be. But its important to get him in this environment again and around people he knows well.

"We’re trying to find the right time to do that and to do it in a way that’s fair to everyone.”

Bard has a 7.45 ERA in 29 innings with 29 walks, nine hit batters and nine wild pitches with Pawtucket.

“He’s not the first really good pitcher to go through a bad time and he’s going to come back from it," Cherington said. "Part of that is getting him back in this environment and continuing the work he has started."

Lackey, meanwhile, impressed manager Bobby Valentine by his latest bullpen session, a 45-pitch outing Sunday. According to Cherington, Lackey, who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, will likely pitch in a competitive game before the offseason.

A fall league or the Florida Instructional League seem to be the likely options, given that the minor league seasons will be over by the time Lackey is ready to increase his workload and pitch in a "competitive environment."

Also:

• The Red Sox got some good news regarding Brian Johnson, the 21-year-old rookie ball lefthander who was struck on the left side of his face by a batted ball during the Futures at Fenway doubleheader on Saturday. Johnson suffered multiple fractures but not a concussion.

“He’s good,” said Cherington, who was waiting to hear if Johnson had been released from the hospital. “There are no concussion signs, no neurological signs or anything like that. But he got hit pretty good. He’s alert and doing well.” It’s uncertain at this point whether Johnson will need any surgery to repair the fractures.

Johnson was the 31st overall pick in the June draft. The University of Florida player was signed for $1.575 million.

• With Crawford about to have surgery, Daniel Nava is getting close to a return from the disabled list. He was 0 for 1 with two walks for Pawtucket on Sunday in his first rehabilitation game. Nava has been on the disabled list since July 29 with a wrist injury

• Ortiz was tearing into balls during batting practice but did not do any running drills. Ortiz, out since July 17 with a strained right Achilles tendon, hopes to play during the coming homestand.

Decision on Crawford will come on Monday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 19, 2012 07:19 PM
(This story was updated after the game)

NEW YORK — Carl Crawford has almost certainly played his final game of the season for the Red Sox.

The team will decide on Monday whether Crawford will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. Given the words general manager Ben Cherington used on Sunday, surgery seems inevitable.

Crawford could have the surgery as early as Wednesday. Dr. James Andrews, who diagnosed his injury in April, would do the surgery.

“This is a real injury he's playing with and we've got to take it seriously," Cherington said. "He's been playing through an injury because the team is trying to win games. But with this decision we need to focus on what's best for Carl.”

Cherington said that the team's medical staff, working with Crawford, would make the final decision.

“Carl has given everything he has. From everything that I gather, the elbow situation is trending in the wrong way,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “If that’s the case, I guess a decision will be made.”

Said teammate David Ortiz: “He's probably going to undergo the surgery, right? That's not good. But you've got to do what you've got to do to be ready to go next year.”

As the Globe first reported on Saturday, Crawford decided he wanted the surgery now and was seeking a resolution of the situation. With the Red Sox 7.5 games out in the American League wild card with 40 games left, the timing makes sense for him to have surgery now rather than wait until after the season in October.

For position players, Tommy John surgery usually requires 6-8 months of rehabilitation. By having surgery now, Crawford could be ready for Opening Day in 2013.

"He's got a UCL injury, it's pretty clear. Everyone knows that. He's been playing on it," Cherington said. "This is a long-term contract; he's here for a long time. We've got to be assured we're doing the right thing for him and ultimately for the team, too. This is not a short-term investment."

Cherington said the Sox were initially hopeful that Crawford could avoid surgery.

"But we've known that surgery was a possibility if the symptoms didn't go away and he didn't feel like he could play at a high level of play for a long time," Cherington said. "We are where we are today. He's played well and to his credit he's gutted through this for the team. I think we've had enough time to know and we have enough information to get together [on Monday] and make a decision for the rest of the year."

Crawford declined comment. But he has said for several weeks that he believes surgery is necessary. Cherington said no further examination of Crawford's elbow is planned, another sign that surgery is imminent.

Crawford started in left field against the Yankees on Sunday and was 1 for 4. He is hitting .282 with three home runs and 19 RBIs since returning from the disabled list.

Game 122: Red Sox at Yankees

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 19, 2012 04:15 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of the game tonight:

RED SOX (59-62)
Ellsbury CF
Crawford LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Lavarnway C
Saltalamacchia DH
Podsednik RF
Ciriaco SS
Punto 3B
Pitching: RHP Josh Beckett (5-10, 5.19)

YANKEES (71-49)
Jeter SS
Swisher 1B
Cano 2B
Granderson CF
Chavez 3B
Ibanez LF
Martin C
Ichiro RF
McGehee DH
Pitching: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (11-8, 3.06)

Game time: 8:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: ESPN / WEEI, WCBS

Red Sox vs. Kuroda: Gonzalez 10-29, Ross 6-25, Podsednik 2-11, Pedroia 2-6, Salty 1-5, Ciriaco 0-4, Ellsbury 2-4, Aviles 1-3, Crawford 1-3, Gomez 1-3, Punto 1-3.

Yankees vs. Beckett: Jeter 29-92, Cano 24-73, Teixeira 10-52, Swisher 10-46, Granderson 10-36, Jones 10-37, Suzuki 10-36, Chavez 4-17, Ibanez 4-17, Martin 2-9, Nix 1-8.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 17-15 at the new Yankee Stadium. They are the only American League team with a winning record in the park.

Notes: The Sox are 4-5 on a tumultuous road trip that ends tonight. They start the day 12.5 games out of first and 6.5 games behind in the wild card with 41 games left to play. ... Beckett is 14-7 in 28 career starts against the Yankees (albeit with a 5.52 ERA). He has faced them once this season, giving up six runs over five innings on July 6 at Fenway Park. Overall this season, Beckett is 1-4, 7.96 in his last five starts. ... Kuroda is trending up. He is 3-1, 1.44 in his last six starts. That included allowing two runs in eight innings against the Sox on July 29 at Yankee Stadium. ... Pedroia has hit safely in 13 straight at 21 of 52 with eight extra-base hits and eight RBIs. ... Ellsbury has one home run in 164 at-bats this season. He had 32 in 660 at-bats last season.

The legend of Pedro Ciriaco: The Red Sox infielder is 15 of 29 against the Yankees this season with seven RBIs in seven games. He is the first Red Sox player with multiple four-hit games against the Yankees since Wade Boggs did it three times against the Yankees in 1989...He is the first Major Leaguer with a pair of four-hit games vagainst the Yankees in a season since Chone Figgins in 2008 and is the first player on any team to do that while batting 8th or 9th in the lineup since Boston’s Doug Griffin did it twice from the 8th spot in 1973. (A note featuring Doug "Dude" Griffin. How great is that?) ... According to Elias, only two other players have recorded at least 15 hits in their first 30 AB against the Yankees during the expansion era (since 1961): Glenn Hubbard (15 H, 1988) and Howie Kendrick (15 H, 2006-2007).

Song of the Day: "Stubborn Kind of Fellow" by Marvin Gaye.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 19, 2012 09:44 AM

The Red Sox, for one day, looked great as they topped the Yankees, 4-1, behind Jon Lester.

Dan Shaughnessy writes that Lester is a keeper. (Subscription needed).

Carl Crawford is seeking elbow surgery to get ready for next season.

The notebook has Blue Jays manager John Farrell not interested in talking about the Red Sox.

Pedro Ciriaco hit the Yankees hard again. Alex Prewitt has the story.

The Futures at Fenway notebook has Deven Marrero becoming a leader for Lowell. Jason Mastrodonato has that story.

Pitching prospect Brian Johnson was hit in the head by a ball during the doubleheader. Craig Forde has the details.

In the Sunday Baseball Notes, Nick Cafardo looks at managers losing their power over players. (Subscription needed).

Report: Kelly Shoppach was behind text message to Red Sox owners

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 19, 2012 12:26 AM

NEW YORK — The New York Daily News is reporting this morning that Kelly Shoppach, and not Adrian Gonzalez, was behind the text message sent to Red Sox owners in July complaining about Bobby Valentine.

Shoppach clashed with Valentine regarding his lack of playing time earlier this season and the two did not subsequently get along. A Yahoo! Sports story regarding the text message and the subsequent meeting held between some players and the team owners in New York last month broke on Tuesday, just a few hours after Shoppach was traded to the Mets.

The Daily News is now reporting that Shoppach was behind the content of the text message. The Yahoo! story pinned it on Gonzalez.

Shoppach is now with his fourth team in four years.

Farrell not commenting about the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 18, 2012 11:27 PM

NEW YORK — As speculation swirls regarding the job security of Bobby Valentine, the inevitable next step is theorizing about who his replacement would be.

One name that continues to come up is Blue Jays manager John Farrell, the former Red Sox pitching coach.

The Red Sox were reportedly interested in Farrell last fall before they hired Valentine, to a point where the Jays formally amended their team policy to prohibit employees from leaving the organization for a lateral move.

“I'm under contract here,” Farrell told reporters in Toronto on Saturday. “I'm not going to talk about speculation.”

Asked if he were aware of the speculation, Farrell said, “That's the operative word: speculation. I'm not going to comment on speculation or conjecture.”

Farrell then abruptly ended the interview session.

Farrell is under contract through the 2013 season. But, in theory, the Red Sox could trade for him. The Marlins obtained Ozzie Guillen from the White Sox in that fashion last fall.

Farrell is 137-145 in two years with the Blue Jays. But his reputation within Fenway Park is so spotless that Sox officials would surely look past his modest record with the Blue Jays.

A bigger question is whether Farrell would want to return. A case can can be made that the Blue Jays have a brighter future than the aging and expensive Red Sox. Farrell also is a close friend of Terry Francona and could view a return to Boston as being disloyal.

In other matters from the Bronx today:

• Valentine sparred with a New York reporter when asked about assessing the worth of a manager, ducking a series of questions before offering up an interesting comment.

“As far as my job is concerned, whether I’m doing a good job, I’m not doing a good job,” he said. “I didn’t get paid to do anything other than get to the playoffs, win a lot of games, be in the thick of things right down to the end and even be in first place.

“The team I’m managing is not there. It’s simple. So my job has not been a good job if I had to assess. But that’s not what I do; that’s not my job.”

Valentine was asked how he keeps his spirits up.

“That’s a hell of a question,” he said. “I don’t know if I keep them up that well to tell you the truth. I keep them up. I enjoy what I’m doing. I think it’s very challenging and fun.”

Valentine also was asked if the controversy regarding his status was weighing on the team.

“It’s hard to tell. It’s my first year,” he said. “Everyone tells me it’s standard operational procedure. Life in the big city … it’s not a big city. Provincial town.”

• LHP Felix Doubront was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to Aug. 10) with what was reported to be a right knee contusion, an injury that was not mentioned until Friday.

Doubront (10-6, 4.70) was shut down earlier this month, the Sox concerned with the workload on his arm and diminishing results after a good start to the season. The 24-year-old is in his first full season as a starter in the majors.

Infielder Mauro Gomez was called up from Triple A Pawtucket. Gomez was 9 for 30 with three doubles and three RBIs over nine games in three previous stints with the team.

• Daniel Nava, on the disabled list since July 29 with what the team said was a wrist injury, will join Triple A Pawtucket on Sunday to start a rehabilitation assignment

• LHP Rich Hill pitched a scoreless inning for Double A Portlan, the latest step on his rehabilitation from an elbow strain. He allowed a hit and had a strikeout.

• David Ortiz took batting practice on the field, the latest test of his strained right Achilles tendon. He could try some running drills on Sunday.

• Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal wore a bowtie on the air that represented Will-To-Live, a non-profit group dedicated to preventing teen suicide. Former Red Sox pitcher John Trautwein started the organization in memory if his son, Will. Go to will-to-live.org for more information.

Finally, the all-Yale battery of Breslow and Lavarnway

Posted by Alex Prewitt August 18, 2012 08:06 PM

NEW YORK — There were no pocket protectors. No secret pitch code derived from the enigmatic order of the Skull and Bones. When Craig Breslow and Ryan Lavarnway became what is believed to be the first all-Yale battery in the modern baseball era, the only multi-syllabic phrases on anyone's mind were "curveball" and "double play."

Placed in the context of a 4-1 win against the Yankees Saturday afternoon, those words spoke volumes.

With Nick Swisher on first base after his third single and the Red Sox clinging to a 3-1 lead, manager Bobby Valentine summoned Breslow to replace Andrew Bailey, preferring the lefty-on-lefty matchup with a slumping Robinson Cano due up.

On the second pitch, Cano rolled over on an outside cutter to Adrian Gonzalez at first base for the inning-ending double play.

"He's pretty aggressive, probably looking to tie the game in that situation," Breslow said. "Pretty powerful offensive weapon. Keeping the ball on the ground and getting a double play was a bonus at that point. Just trying to make an out and figured we'd take our chances with a righty-righty matchup after that."

The comparative magnitude between Breslow and Lavarnway's Ivy League milestone and the importance of getting one of the league's most dangerous hitters out with the tying run at the plate is up for debate.

"I guess it's probably up to you guys to make a big deal out of it," Breslow said with a smile. "For me, it was just another outing. I guess if we could have had [Padres rightfielder and Princeton alumnus] Will Venable at the plate, put the finishing touches on the matchup. There's probably a baseball coach in New Haven who's probably pretty proud too."

In fact, Yale coach John Stuper texted both players after the game.

Certainly, the postgame questions for both focused more on the former.

"Yes, some of you guys have brought it to my attention," Lavarnway deadpanned.

While at Yale, Lavarnway became the all-time Ivy League leader in home runs. He played from 2006-2008, matriculating four years after Breslow graduated with a bachelors in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and himself eschewed a career in medicine for professional baseball.

Lavarnway was a philosophy major.

"I definitely look at him first as a baseball player, second as a friend, third as a Yale alumni," Lavarnway said. "He's been great to me since before I got drafted, coming back and talking to me, making the transition into pro ball."

Bailey was Breslow's former teammate in Oakland, and has played a large role in Breslow's charity, the Strike 3 Foundation. But as the Athletics' closer, he usually replaced Breslow in games. Not the other way around.

"He was just joking, saying, 'Atta boy for picking me up' ," Breslow said. "Usually it's the other way around. Now that he's got three outings under his belt, he's starting to look like the Bailey of old, challenge guys and go right after them. I don't think it'll be too long until he's able to finish his own innings."

Final: Red Sox 4, Yankees 1

Posted by Alex Prewitt August 18, 2012 03:55 PM

Final: Red Sox 4, Yankees 1: Turns out that Lester's strong outing in Cleveland wasn't a fluke, at least not today. He picked up the win with seven strong innings against the same Yankees lineup that banged out five homers the night before.

Saturday afternoon, we saw Pedro Ciriaco go 4 for 4 and own New York pitching again. We saw an all-Yale battery. And we saw Adrian Gonzalez provide the difference with his two-run homer in the first.

Thanks for reading. Postgame blogs and notes to follow.

Bottom 9th: Red Sox 4, Yankees 1: After allowing a deep single to the pinch-hitting Chavez that landed at the left-field wall -- Crawford made a strong throw to hold Chavez at first -- Aceves settled down, getting Ibanez to bounce into a fielder's choice, striking out Granderson (2 for 2 up until that point), and getting Martin to fly out to right to end the game and pick up the save.

Top 9th: Red Sox 4, Yankees 1: Podsednik singled and moved up on Ciriaco's double (he's 4 for 4 tonight), and later scored on Eppley's wild pitch. But after Punto walked, Ellsbury grounded out and Ciriaco got thrown at home with the infield in on Crawford's fielder's choice. Former Sox pitcher Derek Lowe came in and got Pedroia to ground out to second.

For what it's worth: Ciriaco is hitting .517 lifetime against the Yankees, the best of any player besides Barry Bonds with at least 25 plate appearances over the past 55 years.

Aceves on to close.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: Bailey blew Jeter away with a 95-mph fastball but gave up Swisher's third hit today and got lifted in favor of Craig Breslow for the lefty-lefty matchup.

With the all-Yale battery working together, Breslow induced a double play from the struggling Cano to end the inning.

Top 8th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: Pedroia extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a one-out double, but after Gonzalez was intentionally walked, Cody Epply came on and struck out Ross looking and got Lavarnway to ground out into the shift to stop the rally and keep the deficit at two.

Lester is done. Andrew Bailey on for the Sox in a big situation.

Lester's line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 1 WP, 105 pitches, 61 strikes.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: Huge inning for Lester. Granderson doubled to lead off the inning and advanced on the throw when Martin grounded out to third. But a shallow flyout to Nix in right wasn't enough to score him, and neither was a weak Ichiro groundout to first.

Lester is likely done after seven and his pitch count at 105 as he slowly walked off the mound, tossed a ball to two kids behind the dugout, and was greeted by fist bumps as he went down the stairs.

Top 7th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: Ciriaco dropped a perfect bunt down the third-base line, and moved up to second when Punto grounded to first. That ended the day for Phelps, who gave way to Boone Logan. The lefty then struck out Ellsbury on three straight pitches.

The line for Phelps: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 95 pitches, 63 strikes.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: Lester works a perfect six against the middle of the Yankees order, his first three-up/three-down inning this afternoon. Cano and McGehee both grounded out to second, and Jones flied out to left.

Top 6th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: Phelps has seven strikeouts today, one away from his career-high, after fanning Ross (for the third time today) and Lavarnway, leaving Gonzalez on first after he singled. Pedroia led off the inning and nearly decapitated Phelps, but Cano was there up the middle with the shift on.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: It's the Nick Punto Glove Show at third base today. He has seven assists this game, getting Nix on a routine ball to lead off the inning and making a nice stop on a hard-hit Jeter grounder. Lester did the rest, stranding Ichiro, who singled and stole second, with a cutter that broke down and in to fan Swisher.

Top 5th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: The bottom of the Sox order gets the run back. Ciriaco continues to rake against the Yankees, reaching on a single, and Punto cranked an RBI double down the right-field line, and moved to third when Jones booted the ball by the wall. With Punton 90 feet from a three-run Boston lead, Ellsbury and Crawford both grounded out to first.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1: After Jones sharply grounded out to short, Lester had McGehee literally dropping to his knees on a curveball in the dirt to fan him for the second time today. But Granderson demolished his 32nd homer of the year to deep center to put the Yankees on the board. Punto's great diving stop on Martin ended the inning.

Top 4th: Red Sox 2, Yankees 0: Phelps has retired seven straight, avenging Gonzalez's homer with a weak grounder to second, striking out Ross swinging for the second time today, and inducing an inning-ending flyout from Lavarnway.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 2, Yankees 0: Ichiro grounded out to third, Jeter bounced out to short, and after Swisher singled and moved up on a wild pitch, Cano got under a curveball and flied out to center.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 2, Yankees 0: Solid inning for Phelps, who gets Ellsbury (lineout to third), Crawford (strikeout looking), Pedroia (popout to right) in order.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 2, Yankees 0: Lester again walked the leadoff hitter, but this time got Martin to bounce into an awkward double play. Punto got high-hopped at third, and his throw pulled Pedroia off the base, but the Sox completed it and bailed out Lester. Punto then made a long throw to nail Nix for the third out.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 2, Yankees 0: Leading off the inning, Lavarnway nearly took off Phelps' head, but the pitcher ducked in time and Cano made a nice backhanded stop up the middle. After Podsednik flied out to left, Ciriaco singled down the right-field line and promptly stole second, Boston's second swiped base today off Martin. Punto then got rung up with Ciriaco in scoring position.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 2, Yankees 0: Lester opened the game with a five-pitch walk to Jeter, and got visits from both Pedroia and Lavarnway after falling behind 2-0 against Swisher, who eventually ripped a line-drive single to left.

After that? Lester mowed through Cano with a nasty cutter that broke away from the left-hander, got Jones on a weak grounder to third, and got McGehee flailing at another cutter tailing low and inside.

Save that hiccup in the beginning, when Lester had a major problem finding the zone, he settled down and looked strong.

Top 1st: Red Sox 2, Yankees 0: Sox strike first thanks to two of their hottest hitters. Crawford poked a single through the infield and Gonzalez ripped an opposite-field two-run homer, his 14th of the season, and 39th RBI since the All-Star break.

Pregame: The Yankees tagged Franklin Morales for four solo homers in Friday night's series-opening win, and will field the exact same lineup Saturday against the Sox and starter Jon Lester (6-10, 5.20 ERA). New York counters with David Phelps (3-3, 2.53 ERA), making his second straight start (and fifth of his career) after allowing six hits and two runs over five innings against Texas on Aug. 13.

Come for the baseball, stay for the comments, eventually leave for things that aren't baseball and comments. Enjoy the game.

Source: Crawford will ask to get elbow surgery

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 18, 2012 03:31 PM

NEW YORK — A major league source told the Globe this afternoon that Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford wants to get Tommy John surgery on his left elbow next week and plans to approach the team with his request in the next 48 hours.

General manager Ben Cherington said today that request has not come as of yet.

"It's a situation we are monitoring and we will continue to work with Carl to determine a course that is best for him and the team," Cherington said.

Crawford partially tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow in April and was given an injection of platelet-rich plasma, a procedure that in some cases promotes healing. The injection has little effect and Crawford came off the disabled list in July, saying he was willing to play with pain with the team still in contention.

Crawford has hit fairly well in 29 games (.287/.313/.500) but has said that he expects to get the surgery. Throwing, he said, remains painful.

For a position player, Tommy John surgery usually requires at least six months of rehabilitation. By getting the surgery now, Crawford could be ready for the start of the 2013 season instead of starting the season on the disabled list again.

With the 58-62 Red Sox falling out of contention, the situation is coming to a boil.

Cherington said the decision would be made based on what is best for Crawford and not on the standings. For now, the Red Sox are trying to determine the best course of action.

“[Surgery] is not inevitable until it happens,” Cherington said. “We felt earlier this summer it was something that we had a chance to manage and certainly Carl was on board for that. If it gets to a point where it’s not something he feels he can play with safely, then we’ll consider the next step.”

UPDATE, 10:10 p.m.: Crawford was not available for comment after a 4-1 victory against the Yankees. But he told Fox Sports before the game that the situation is something is thinks about every day and is weighing the merits of continuing to play against having surgery now and getting started on what would be a lengthy rehabilitation process.

Game 121: Red Sox at Yankees

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 18, 2012 12:15 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of the game:

RED SOX (58-62)
Ellsbury CF
Crawford LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ross DH
Lavarnway C
Podsednik RF
Ciriaco SS
Punto 3B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (6-10, 5.20)

YANKEES (71-48)
Jeter DH
Swisher 1B
Cano 2B
Jones RF
McGehee 3B
Granderson CF
Martin C
Nix SS
Suzuki LF
Pitching: RHP David Phelps (3-3, 2.53)

Game time: 4:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: FOX / WEEI, WCBS

Red Sox vs. Phelps: Aviles 1-3, Gonzalez 0-3, Pedroia 1-3, Ross 1-3, Salty 2-2, Ciriaco 0-1.

Yankees vs. Lester: Jeter 19-55, Cano 12-50, Teixeira 12-45. Swisher 11-38, Jones 7-24, Suzuki 9-31, Granderson 6-26, Nix 6-16, Martin 2-8, Ibanez 4-12, McGehee 1-4, Stewart 1-2.

Stat of the Day: Of the Red Sox' 62 losses, 31 have been by one run (14) or two (17).

Notes: The Red Sox are 13.5 games out of first place, matching their largest deficit of the season. They have not been further behind since Sept. 19, 2001 when they were 14 games out. ... The Sox have lost seven of 10 and are 3-5 on a road trip that has two games left. ... Lester is coming off a dominating effort against Cleveland (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 K). He has faced the Yankees twice this season and allowed eight earned runs on 13 hits over 10.1 innings. Lester hasn't won consecutive games since May 14 and 19. ... Phelps, a 25-year-old rookie, has faced the Sox twice in relief this season, allowing three runs on seven hits over six innings. He has appeared in 23 games this season and this will be his fifth start. ... The Sox are 3-7 against the Yankees this season and 4-10 going back to last season. ... Pedroia has hit safely in 12 consecutive games at 20 of 47 (.425) with eight extra-base hits and eight RBIs. He is 6 of 17 with four extra-base and four RBIs in four games since being accused by Yahoo! Sports of organizing a meeting to complain about manager Bobby Valentine. ... The Sox, believe it or not, are third in the majors with 587 runs. Only the Rangers (594) and Yankees (592) have more.

Song of the Day: "Helplessly Hoping" by Crosby, Stills and Nash.

For the Red Sox, tough road to .500

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 18, 2012 10:40 AM

NEW YORK — Here's a sobering fact: at 58-62, the Red Sox are on a pace to win approximately 78 games this season.

It would be their first losing season since 1997 when they finished 78-84 under Jimy Williams. Much like their 2012 brothers, that team scored a lot of runs and didn't pitch very well. Those were the days of John "Way Back" Wasdin and Heathcliff Slocumb.

To finish over .500 and avoid the ignominy of being a $175 million team with a losing record, the Sox would have to go 24-18 in their final 42 games.

It's not going to be easy. The Sox have 29 games left against contenders (Yankees, Rays, Athletics, Orioles, Angels) and only 13 against the Jays, Mariners and Royals.

They also have more games on the road (24) than they do at home (18).

Before this season is over, 78-84 might look good.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 18, 2012 10:13 AM

The Red Sox gave up five home runs and were beaten by the Yankees, 6-4.

For Franklin Morales, it was another rough start against the Yankees/ Alex Prewitt has the story.

The notebook has David Ortiz rising to the defense of Bobby Valentine.

Dan Shaughnessy writes that the Red Sox are hard to believe.. He also takes to Twitter to see what former strength and conditioning coach Dave Page is saying about the team. It's not very nice. (Subscription only).

David Ortiz: Don't blame Bobby Valentine

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 17, 2012 11:41 PM

NEW YORK — Batting practice was long over and his teammates were in the clubhouse preparing to face the Yankees on Friday when David Ortiz took a seat in the dugout to speak to a handful of reporters about the issues swirling around the Red Sox.

Ortiz came to the defense of manager Bobby Valentine, saying he should not be fired. That some of his teammates may not support Valentine is incidental, he said.

“Who cares if a player’s against a manager? We’ve got to deal with the manager anyway,” Ortiz said. “A manager is not something you can go and change like you change your underwear. It can happen at some point, but the possibility of it having especially in the middle of the season is a small percent, so that’s not our case.”

Ortiz does not believe Valentine is to blame for the team falling so far out of contention.

“I think Bobby’s doing great, man. He had to deal with so many things through the season, a lot of guys' injuries. I guarantee if he doesn’t have that many guys go onto the DL this year, history would be different this year, and all the talks and negativity that have come out against him, I don’t think it would be there.

“Because what does it mean if you’re playing well? He can’t manage the team and at the same time go and play for us. All he can do is make moves and make decisions. But if you don’t have your squad out there providing what you expect — because of injuries or bad games or whatever — I don’t think people should be looking at it like it’s his fault we struggled the way we have this year.”

Ortiz declined to take part in the July 26 meeting in New York called by some of his teammates to complain about Valentine. Since spring training, Ortiz has been a vocal supporter of Valentine.

But Ortiz is angry that details of the attempted mutiny were leaked and became a story earlier this week.

“It affects the players,” Ortiz said. “The other day, [Dustin] Pedroia was playing baseball out there [ticked] off and not focused on what he wants to do because that report came out saying he was against the manager.

“How do you think he’s going to feel out there? … That kid, he wants to do nothing but play baseball no matter who his manager is, no matter who’s the umpire, who’s the fan — he don’t care. He wants to go out there and beat the crap out of whoever he’s playing against that day.”

Yankees slug Red Sox in a snoozer

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 17, 2012 11:31 PM

NEW YORK — The Red Sox played the Yankees on Friday night. There were six home runs hit and the game was decided by two runs.

But, man, was it boring.

The Sox took a 4-3 lead in the third inning, Dustin Pedroia belting a three-run homer. The Sox were then blanked for the final six innings by Phil Hughes (12-10) and two relievers.

Yankees pitchers retired 14 of the final 15 Red Sox who came to the plate. That allowed the game to finish in a tidy 2 hours, 49 minutes.

“We kind of let Hughes off the hook,” Sox manger Bobby Valentine said. “We gave him a couple of inning where we hit some balls real early in the count.”

Franklin Morales (3-4) has been a surprisingly effective starter for the Sox this season, just not against the Yankees. The lefthander lasted 5 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on six hits. Four were solo home runs by Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, Russell Martin and Derek Jeter.

In two starts against the Yankees, Morales has allowed 11 earned runs on 12 hits — eight of them home runs — over 8 2/3 innings.

Granderson and Martin then connected back-to-back in the second inning, each hitting the second pitch of the at-bat over the easy-to-reach fence in right field. Granderson, who has 31 homers, was the first lefthanded batter to hit a home run against Morales this season.

Also:

• Morales is the first pitcher to allow four home runs in two games against the Yankees in the same season since Chicago’s Ted Lyons in 1937. No Sox pitcher has allowed four home runs in two games against the same team in the same season since 1918.

• Rich Hill had his rehabilitation assignment shifted to Double A Portland and was scheduled to pitch on Friday. But the game against New Britain was suspended by rain after five innings and Hill did not get in.

• Red Sox DHs are 28 of 116 (.241) without a home run since David Ortiz went on the disabled list.

Final: Yankees 6, Red Sox 4

Posted by Alex Prewitt August 17, 2012 06:55 PM

Final: Yankees 6, Red Sox 4: Yankees take the series opener behind four solo homers off Morales, but it was Nix chasing an 0-2 slider from Mortensen and flaring it into right that gave New York the go-ahead run. Another solo shot, Swisher's second of the night, provided the final difference.

Pedroia had a three-run homer in the third that brought the Sox back into the game, and nearly had a game-tying bomb in the eighth, but instead flied out to the track in center.

Thanks for reading. Postgame notes to follow.

Top 9th: Yankees 6, Red Sox 4: Ross fanned for the second time tonight, Salty got under a popout to short, and Aviles popped out to McGehee, who reached into the Sox dugout to get it and end the game.

Bottom 8th: Yankees 6, Red Sox 4: Miller struck out Granderson swinging, then Andrew Bailey entered and got Martin to fly out to deep left and dialed up a high fastball to get Nix whiffing.

Rafael Soriano on to close for the Yankees.

Top 8th: Yankees 6, Red Sox 4: Crawford doubled on a pretty weird play. He lined one up the middle that Robertsen kicked into shallow right field, allowing Crawford to move up a base. Pedroia then crushed a ball to deep center that Granderson tracked down at the track, and did a jump-360 in frustration after rounding first. Gonzalez grounded out to Swisher to strand Crawford in scoring position.

Bottom 7th: Yankees 6, Red Sox 4: Swisher went deep for the second time tonight, this time from the left side of the plate (12th time in his career he's homered from both sides in the same, one behind teammate Mark Texeira for most all-time). He dumped one into the Yankees bullpen off Mortensen to give New York a little cushion.

Andrew Miller entered, and sandwiched a Jones single around two nice sliding stops from Pedroia. David Robertson is entering for the Yankees.

The line for Hughes: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 108 pitches, 72 strikes.

Top 7th: Yankees 5, Red Sox 4: That's eight straight retired for Hughes, and six outs left for the Sox after Aviles, Podsednik, and Ciriaco all ground out to various parts of the infield. Shortstop, pitcher, and third base, respectively, if you must know.

Bottom 6th: Yankees 5, Red Sox 4: After Morales carried a four-hitter into the sixth (granted, all four were homers), the Yankees offered up some station-to-station hitting. McGehee singled, and moved to third on a Granderson single to deep right that chased Morales in favor of Clayton Mortensen.

Mortensen got a huge full-count strikeout on Martin, had Nix 0-2, and got him to chase an outsider slider, but Nix poked a go-ahead single into right field. Ichiro then struck out to end the inning, and the Yankees are back on top.

The line for Morales: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 4 HR, 92 pitches, 57 strikes.

Top 6th: Red Sox 4, Yankees 4: Gonzalez grounded out to Jeter with the shift on, Ross likewise bounced out to shortstop, and Salty popped out to shallow right. Hughes has retired six straight, and is keeping his pitch count in check after ballooned in the third inning.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 4, Yankees 4: Nix and Ichiro both went down quickly, but Jeter hit his 10th homer of the season (and 250th of his career) on a two-out, full-count slider to tie things up. Morales has now allowed four solo homers tonight, the second time this season he's allowed four bombs to the Yankees in a single game.

After Swisher walked, Cano lined out to Ellsbury to end things.

Per the Yankees, by the way, they now have 10 players with 10-plus homers. That ties the franchise record set in 1998.

Top 5th: Red Sox 4, Yankees 3: Ciriaco and Crawford sandwiched an Ellsbury single by each flying out to Ichiro in left. Ciriaco's was routine, and Ichiro made a nice sliding catch on Crawford's shallow ball. Pedroia then grounded to Cano for an inning-ending fielder's choice.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 4, Yankees 3: Sox flashing some serious leather tonight after McGehee struck out looking to lead off. Ciriaco charged on a grounder to get the speedy Granderson, and Aviles dove to snare a Martin up the middle. Morales has retired six straight now.

Top 4th: Red Sox 4, Yankees 3: Hughes rebounded from his four-run third by striking out Ross and Salty swinging to start off the fourth. After a single by Aviles (2 for 2 tonight), Podsednik popped out to second.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 4, Yankees 3: Podsednik made a very nice leaping catch at the wall in right to rob Cano of a probable two-run homer after Jeter reached on an Aviles throwing error. Jones made good contact, but harmlessly flied out to center.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 4, Yankees 3: Sox take the lead when Pedroia cranks a three-run homer to left on his birthday.

Before that, Aviles singled just over the glove of a leaping Cano, and Hughes snared a Podsednik comebacker, only to yank his throw into centerfield, allowing Aviles to scoot to third. He scored when Ciriaco beat out a potential double-play ball at first.

Ciriaco took off on four straight full-count pitches on Ellsbury, who fouled all four off before eventually walking on a 10-pitch at bat. With runners on first and second, Crawford fouled out to third before Pedroia stepped in for his 10th homer of the season.

Gonzalez lined out to first to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd: Yankees 3, Red Sox 0: Granderson and Martin both yanked fastballs down the right-field line for back-to-back solo homers. After a brief respite to clear the mud from the mound and in the batter's boxes, Morales struck out Nix looking and got Ichiro on a flyout to center.

Top 2nd: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: Gonzalez skied an infield popup that Martin dove into no-mans land to catch after an McGehee lost it in the rain. Ross then flied out to right, and Salty struck out swinging on an outside fastball.

Bottom 1st: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: Swisher fouled off three straight pitches then tagged a hanging slider off Morales into the left-field seats for his 17th homer of the season to get the Yankees on the board early. Morales then struck out Cano looking on three pitches and got Jones to ground out to Ciriaco at third.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0: Hughes spins a perfect first inning. Ellsbury grounded out to short, Crawford whiffed on a 93-mph high fastball, and Granderson tracked down a deep liner from Pedroia.

Also, it's raining pretty hard now in the Bronx.

Pregame: Good evening, good readers. The Sox are at Yankee Stadium for a three-game series, and send Franklin Morales (3-3, 3.29 ERA) to the mound. New York counters with Phil Hughes (11-10, 4.44 ERA). Stick around, leave your comments, enjoy the game.

Doubront throws off mound; Ortiz out against New York

Posted by Alex Prewitt August 17, 2012 05:57 PM

NEW YORK -- Pitcher Felix Doubront threw around 45 pitches off the mound Friday before Boston's series opener against the Yankees, and will likely have another such session before the Sox evaluate his return to the rotation.

"So we have him a little up and down session in the bullpen today, we'll have another one of those planned coming up where he'll do it longer, and then he'll be ready to pitch in the game and throw 100 pitches or so," manager Bobby Valentine said. "He'll be ready this next week to pitch. If we decide that we don't need him until at the end of the week, we might even take that amount of time."

Doubront had a "nice, active rest period," according to Valentine, after the Sox skipped his last start. He last pitched on Aug. 9 at Cleveland, where he lasted just 4.1 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. He has thrown 122.2 inning in his first full season in the majors as a starter.

Valentine said the Sox have also considered retroactively placing Doubront on the disabled list if they don't plan to use him until the end of next week. Doubront has been battling a minor knee injury.

Ortiz takes BP, won't play in Yankees series

David Ortiz was "pain-free," according to Valentine and was scheduled to take batting practice Friday.

However, the designated hitter, who was fully shut down the past couple of days to rest his strained right Achilles, was not expected to be available against the Yankees this weekend.

"I think he might run a little, do some things to test it," Valentine said.

Ortiz went on the disabled list July 17 after injuring his Achilles rounding second on an Adrian Gonzalez homer. Since he got hurt, the Sox are 12-17.

Blame the media?

Valentine was asked about a WEEI interview conducted by Larry Lucchino, in which the Sox owner heaped blame on the Boston media.

The manager jokingly took it a step further.

"It's always the media's fault," he said. "What are you kidding? Partly? I think he's totally incorrect. Partly?"

Valentine then laughed off the idea that the media had something to do with the way this season has gone.

"The blame for what? The whole season? No. Media has nothing to do with the whole season."

Prior released by PawSox

Triple A Pawtucket has released reliever Mark Prior to make room for recently acquired pitcher Pedro Beato.

Attempting a comeback from the multitude of injuries that relegated of the game's most promising young pitchers in the minors, Prior was 1-0 with a 3.96 ERA in 19 appearances with Pawtucket, but he walked 23 batters in 25 innings.

Beato was the "player to be named later" from the Mets in the deal for catcher Kelly Shoppach.

Game 120: Red Sox at Yankees

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 17, 2012 03:00 PM

Good afternoon from the Bronx. Here's a preview of the game tonight:

RED SOX (58-61)
Ellsbury CF
Crawford LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ross DH
Saltalamacchia C
Aviles SS
Podsednik RF
Ciriaco 3B
Pitching: LHP Franklin Morales (3-3, 3.29)

YANKEES (70-48)
Jeter SS
Swisher 1B
Cano 2B
Jones RF
McGehee 3B
Granderson CF
Martin C
Nix SS
Suzuki LF
Pitching: RHP Phil Hughes (11-10, 4.44)

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, MLB Network / WEEI, WCBS

Red Sox vs. Hughes: Crawford 4-21, Pedroia 5-21, Ellsbury 4-11, Gonzalez 5-11, Valencia 1-8, Punto 3-5, Salty 2-7, Ross 1-5, Aviles 0-5, Podesdnik 2-4, Ciriaco 3-3.

Yankees vs. Morales: Martin 2-7, Cano 1-6, Teixeira 0-3, Jones 2-4, Suzuki 0-4, Swisher 2-3, Grandy 1-2, Ibanez 0-1, Jeter 1-3, Nix 1-2, Stewart 0-2, Chavez 0-1, McGehee 0-1.

Stat of the Day: Red Sox designated hitters are 28 of 112 (.250) without a home run and only six RBIs in 29 games since David Ortiz went on the disabled list.

Notes: The Sox are 3-4 on a road trip that ends with three games in New York. ... The Sox start the day a whopping 12.5 games out of first place in the division. They are 6.5 games out in the wild card with 43 games left to play. ... The Sox are 3-6 against the Yankees this season, getting outscored, 67-46. ... Morales is 3-2, 3.35 in seven starts. His one start against the Yankees this season (on July 7) did not go well. He allowed six runs on six hits over 3.1 innings. Andruw Jones homered twice. Jayson Nix and Nick Swisher went deep once. Morales has a 1.86 ERA on the road this season. ... Hughes has a 3-6, 6.17 mark in 18 career appearances against the Sox, 10 of the starts. He is 1-1 this season in two starts, allowing 11 runs on 17 hits over 8.1 innings. ... Pedroia has an 11-game hit streak going. He is 19 of 43 (.442) with seven extra-base hits and 5 RBIs. ... Gonzalez is 45 of 119 (.378) in 31 games since the All-Star break with 37 RBIs. His OPS is now up to .826.Gonzalez is 15 of 37 against the Yankees this season with six extra-base hits and six RBIs in nine games. ... Ellsbury is 1 for 12 against the Yankees this season. ... Cano, who usually kills the Sox, is 8 of 38 with one RBI this season. ... Teixeira has 18 RBIs in nine games against the Sox this season. Swisher has 12 RBIs against the Sox and is 11 of 26 with six extra-base hits.

Song of the Day: "Frankie" by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Random thoughts on the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 17, 2012 10:37 AM

NEW YORK — A few random Red Sox thoughts from Manhattan on a sunny morning . . .

• Larry Lucchino showed up at Camden Yards on Thursday night and went into "blame the media" mode. It's a good diversionary tactic and befitting of his law degree. But Lucchino has to know that Red Sox fans are smarter than that.

The media in Boston can be hyperbolic and in some cases, downright vapid. But nobody from the Globe, Herald, WEEI, Comcast or the other outlets threw a pitch this season or helped pick the roster. Fans not pinkish of hat know that.

If a professional athlete is somehow distracted into poor performances by the media, he shouldn't be a professional athlete, or at least not a well-paid one. That is especially the case in the social media era.

If the media is such a problem, how are the Yankees 70-48? They have literally twice as many reporters following them. Don't insult smart fans by making up excuses.

• Equally silly is the idea that the atmosphere in Boston will somehow hurt the team's ability to lure free agents. With rare exceptions, players go where the money is, period. You heard CC Sabathia didn't want to sign with New York. He signed with New York. We heard Carl Crawford disliked big markets. He came to Boston. Albert Pujols loved St. Louis and played high school ball in Missouri. He went to Anaheim.

You think Mark Buehrle, an avid hunter from the midwest who used to go home to his farm on days off when he played in Chicago, wanted to live in Miami for six months? Free agents pick the best contracts, not the best cities.

• John Henry is controlling the message by sending out e-mails (surely filtered through Dr. Charles) to reporters whenever crisis strikes. But he would be wise to take unfettered questions at some point and let fans hear his answers. That hasn't happened since spring training.

• David Ortiz made a pretty good case for returning in 2013 at the same salary when he was playing. His case got even stronger once he went to the DL. The Sox lineup is not remotely as dangerous without David.

• It's easy to understand why Red Sox players don't like playing for Bobby Valentine. He has his own way of doing things and he's not particularly interested in propping you up emotionally. He wants to be their manager, not their friend.

But what did the players think was going to happen when they got Terry Francona fired? The Red Sox weren't going to hire Francona's bench coach or one of Francona's friends or a young Francona. They were going to look for the anti-Francona and that's Valentine.

The players created this mess and invited Valentine in. If they liked playing for Francona so much, they shouldn't have had the worst collapse in the history of baseball and disrespected the guy at the same time.

Francona said on his way out that he felt like he lost the clubhouse. Did the players think ownership didn't hear that?

• The Sox have an interesting decision to make with their catchers. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is hitting .229 with a .285 OBP and that negates his power to some degree. It's also tough to ignore that the team was 26-16 when Kelly Shoppach started.

Now is probably the time to see what Ryan Lavarnway can do. Then a good decision can be made.

• The people at Pawtucket say that Jose Iglesias is making better contact in recent weeks and looks much more comfortable at the plate. But it's worrisome that he has only 11 extra-base hits all season.

Mark Belanger hit .228 and helped the Orioles win a lot of games with his glove. But at this point, Iglesias may not hit .228.

• Would love to see Ryan Kalish play a bunch of games this winter in the Dominican Republic. Bet that would get his career on track.

• Wonder if Jon Lester and Tim Lincecum, two 28-year-olds from the state of Washington, ever talk?

Lester is 6-10, 5.20 with a 1.37 WHIP over 24 starts and 147 innings. Lincecum is 6-13, 5.45 with a 1.50 WHIP over 25 starts and 140.1 innings. Maybe Lester should grow his hair long and Lincecum should get a crew cut. Can't hurt.

• Attention Red Sox: An easy way to improve your public image would be to ask Josh Beckett to take down the novelty bottle opener that says "First Class White Trash" hanging from his locker. It shows up in every TV interview he does.

Of course, somebody in the organization would have to come up with the moxie to ask Josh to do something first.

• Kevin Youkilis is hitting .198 since the All-Star break. Wonder if the Yankees would sign him on the cheap over the winter as A-Rod insurance?

• Here are four moves to fix the Red Sox for 2013:

No. 1: Trade Josh Beckett and $20 million of his remaining $31.5 million to the Braves for shortstop pospect Tyler Pastornicky.

No. 2: Trade Jacoby Ellsbury for a starter. How about Chad Billingsley of the Dodgers? Ellsbury is going to impossible to sign, or exceedingly costly. Get pitching back now before it's too late.

No. 3: Sign free agent James Shields (assuming the Rays don't pick up his option). He can handle the AL East.

No. 4: Release John Lackey. Or trade him for whatever you can get, maybe somebody else's bad contract. Eating $30.50 million would sting. But it would be worth twice as much in positive publicity and send a clear message to the fan base that it's a new era.

This creates a rotation of Lester, Buchholz, Shields, Billingsley and Doubront. Make Franklin Morales a long reliever/spot starter.

• Mentioned this on Twitter the other day and wanted to repeat it: I hope we celebrate the great life of Johnny Pesky more than we mourn his death.

This is a man who made friends everywhere he went, served his country, was devoted to his family and died surrounded by loved ones at 92.

Forget what he did in baseball for a second, that's about as perfect as life gets. We should all be half as lucky.

Pesky's public visitation at the Solimine-Landergan-Richardson Funeral Home (67 Ocean Street, Route 1A in Lynn) is Sunday from 2-8 p.m.

Pitching matchups for the Yankees series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 17, 2012 10:00 AM

Friday: LHP Franklin Morales (3-3, 3.29) vs. RHP Phil Hughes (11-10, 4.44), 7:05 p.m., NESN, MLB Network

Saturday: LHP Jon Lester (6-10, 5.20) vs. RHP David Phelps (3-3, 2.53), 4:05 p.m., Fox

Sunday: RHP Josh Beckett (5-10, 5.19) vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda (11-8, 3.06), 8:05 p.m., ESPN

Futures at Fenway doubleheader is Saturday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 17, 2012 09:30 AM

If you're looking for something to do on Saturday, especially with kids, the Futures at Fenway doubleheader starts at 1:05 p.m.

From a pure baseball standpoint, this is a chance to sit in great seats and watch two games. Lowell plays Hudson Valley (Rays) first before Pawtucket takes on Buffalo.

So you can see a bunch of the recent draft picks at Lowell and guys like Jose Iglesias, Dan Butler, Juan Carlos Linares and Ryan Kalish later on. Lefty Chris Hernandez is scheduled to pitch. He's an interesting prospect in that he's not overpowering, but he has an effective mix of pitches and a very good sense of what he can and can't do.

Hernandez was a 2010 draft pick (out of Miami) and is already at Triple A.

If you're toting along the kiddos, there will be Star Wars characters roaming around, discount concession prices, games, autograph sessions and more. The kids can run the bases after the second game, too. Tickets start at $5. The most expensive are $30.

Here's the information you need.

Final: Red Sox 6, Orioles 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 16, 2012 07:16 PM

Game over Alfredo Aceves picked up his 24th save with a perfect 9th. He struck out Chris Davis, Mark Reynolds and Matt Wieters in a strong performance. The game was played in 3:22. Sox now off to New York. Buchholz won his 11th game going 8 innings.

Top 9th: Red Sox 6, Orioles 3 Leadoff double by Adrian Gonzalez leads to nothing against Orioles closer Jim Johnson. Gonzalez went the other way and hit deep down the left field line. But Johnson struck out Ross and Salty and got Punto to line to right.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 6, Orioles 3 Buchholz got through the 8th inning after allowing a one-out double to McLouth.

Top 8th: Red Sox 6, Orioles 3 Sox just trying to run out the clock on this game. They would love to score another run or two, but may have to settle for a three-run lead.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 6, Orioles 3 Buchholz gave up a one-out walk, but it didn't hurt him. He's pitched through seven with a three-run lead. It'll be interesting to see how much longer Buchholz goes. He pitched a complete game 3-2 win August 10 vs the Indians in which he threw 104 pitches. Buchholz had thrown more than 100 pitches, but no more than 108 pitches in his last five outings.

Top 7th: Red Sox 6, Orioles 3 Salty singled but the Sox failed to add to their lead.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 6, Orioles 3 Buchholz struck out the side in a strong statement after the Red Sox had taken the lead in the top of the inning.

Top 6th: Red Sox 6, Orioles 3 Huge rally by the Red Sox was punctuated by a two-out, two-run singled by Gonzalez who was thrown out between second and third as the third Sox run scored. With one out, No. 9 hitter Podsednik doubled to left field. After Ellsbury walked, Crawford grounded into a force at second base. He stole second base and Podsednik scored on Pedroia infield hit to third. Gonzalez then knocked in a run before Ross produced the third run as Gonzalez was eliminated on the basepaths.

Bottom 5th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 3 Buchholaz walked JJ Hardy with one out, but escaped without any harm to preserve the tie.

Top 5th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 3 The Sox tied things up when Dustin Pedroia doubled in Carl Crawford (single). Pedroia advanced to third on a wild pitch by Tillman. And Pedroia scored on Gonzalez' sac fly to center on a close play at the plate which Pedroia barely beat out.

Bottom 4th: Orioles 3,Red Sox 1 The red-hot Mark Reynolds singled to center, but Machado knocked into a double play to end the inning.

Top 4th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 1 Sox put two on but again came up short. Cody Ross doubled and with two outs, Pedro Ciriaco walked. But Podsednik struck out to end the inning.

Bottom 3rd: Orioles 3, Red Sox 1 Clay Buchholz hit Adam Jones with a pitch, but Buchholz got Matt Wieters to knock into a 4-6-3 double-play.

Top 3rd: Orioles 3, Red Sox 1 The Red Sox hit three fairly deep fly balls for outs from Crawford, Pedroia and Gonzalez.

Bottom 2nd: Orioles 3, Red Sox 1 Mark Reynolds has sick power. He clobbered his 12th homer on the first pitch from Clay Buchholz. The Sox turned a nifty 2-5-3 double-play following a Manny Machado double and then Cody Ross threw out a runner at the plate all to keep this game close.

Top 2nd: Orioles 2, Red Sox 1 The Red Sox put together a two-out rally when Nick Punto walked, Pedro Ciriaco beat out an infield single to short and Scott Podsednik drove in a run with a single to center. Jacoby Ellsbury, DHing last night, sent a long drive to right, but it was caught at the wall by Nick Markakis.

Bottom 1st: Orioles 2, Red Sox 0 The Orioles got to Clay Buchholz quickly when Nick Markakis and JJ Hardy each singled, and after Nate McClouth's ground ball advanced the runners, Adam Jones singled them in with a perfectly placed hard-hit ball down the first base line and into rightfield.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 A double to right field by Carl Crawford was wasted as Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez (strikeout) left a big run stranded on second against Chris Tillman.

Pregame notes from Camden Yards

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 16, 2012 05:30 PM

BALTIMORE --- Bobby Valentine met with the media before Thursday night's game against the Baltimore Orioles and discussed several topics with the media, including his ejection and that of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the eighth inning of Wednesday night's 5-3 loss at Camden Yards. He also discussed Jacoby Ellsbury's start at designated hitter tonight among other topics.

Valentine was ejected by home plate umpire Mike Everitt in the eighth inning Wednesday night for arguing the case of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who complained about a quick-pitch delivery from reliever Pedro Strop and was ejected by Everitt.

Valentine said he didn't invite an inquiry from MLB on the matter.

"Nah,'' he said. "I'll bet there'll be a review of the situation sometime, somewhere -- probably winter time, but I just hope somebody doesn't have to get hit in the head for them to understand the intent of the rule. It's a pretty simple thing.''

Rule 8.05 (e) in the MLB rule book plainly states "a quick pitch is an illegal pitch,'' which warrants the batter taking a ball and, if a runner is on base, a pitcher being charged with a balk. The rule is aimed at preventing the pitcher from delivering the ball before a batter has an opportunity to take his position in the batter's box. The quick pitch, the rule states, is considered dangerous and shall not be permitted.

"It's just for the safety,'' Valentine said. "I didn't like the outs, either, but as I said, my guy [Franklin Morales] tried to get away with it, too. I'm not saying anything other than what it is. If you get away with it, fine. But it should be reviewed.''

-- Ellsbury became the 10th different player to start at the DH position. The Red Sox center fielder, who had been nursing an unspecified "leg injury", was able to rest without being out of the lineup and imperiling his 38-game hitting streak vs. the Orioles, which ranks as the second longest in MLB vs. one team since 1900. Vlad Guerrero's 44-game hitting streak vs. the Rangers from 2004-06 ranks as the longest such streak in MLB history.

"The last couple of days we've just been concerned about the a little leg situation,'' Valentine said. "This is just being a little overcautious and aware of the situation. I asked him if he wanted a day off and he said, 'Absolutely not. No,no,no,no,no -- a hundred times no.' I want to play, so he's DH'ing tonight.''

Valentine declined to clarify the nature of Ellsbury's "leg situation."

"I don't know if he likes that,'' he said. "I don't know if guys like any of that stuff. Some guys don't like to talk about it . . . It's a situation that we don't want it to be a big thing in talking about it or having it become a big thing.''

Ellsbury started the first seven games of the season before suffering a subluxation of his right shoulder and missing the next 79 games on the DL beginning April 14. Since his return from the DL July 13, Ellsbury has had hits in 21 of 30 games, hitting .286 (36-for-126) in that stretch with 12 doubles, a home run, 8 RBIa, 19 runs and 6 stolen bases.

"I'm really glad that he's back,'' Valentine said. "His presence is very important on the team and his production, again, I'm very satisfied with what he's doing. You guys have a vision of what he did last year and how excellent he was in every facet, every minute of the game. He's not quite there yet, but he's plenty good for me.''

-- With Gonzalez's ejection Wednesday, Nick Punto was deployed as the team's emergency first baseman. Valentine was asked if that situation give him pause to re-evaluate who will serve as Gonzalez's backup in the event of another emergency.

"Well, I guess Nick has been there and so has Dan Valencia and so has Salty, in a spot,'' Valentine said. "We've kind of visited that.''

Asked if catcher Ryan Lavarnway was ever an option there, Valentine replied, "He says he hasn't taken ground balls there this year. He's more of an emergency option in the outfield. He shags [flies], and looks good, too.''

-- Daisuke Matsuzaka had an interesting outing in his fourth rehab start with Triple A Pawtucket in a 5-1 loss Wednesday night in the first game of a doubleheader against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Matsuzaka allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts in 5.2 innings, throwing four scoreless innings before getting into a jam in the fifth. "I'm very encouraged by what I heard. I didn't see it,'' Valentine said. "Arnie [Beyeler, the Pawtucket manager] and Rich [Sauveur, the PawSox pitching coach] said it was his best stuff that he's had in a while. We'll take it to the next step and then we'll know what we have.''

-- A day after he made a statement clarifying the fact that players did not call for Valentine to be removed from his job, as detailed in a Yahoo! Sports report Monday, Red Sox principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, and team president/CEO Larry Lucchino were all present at batting practice.

Game 119: Red Sox at Orioles

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 16, 2012 03:00 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of tonight's series finale in Baltimore:

RED SOX (57-61)
Ellsbury DH
Crawford LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ross RF
Saltalamacchia C
Punto 3B
Ciriaco SS
Podsednik CF
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (10-3, 4.24)

ORIOLES (64-53)
Markakis RF
Hardy SS
McLouth LF
Jones CF
Wieters C
Davis, DH
Reynolds 1B
Machado 3B
Quintanilla 2B
Pitching: RHP Chris Tillman (5-2, 3.40)

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN/WEEI

Red Sox vs. Tillman: Crawford 7-14, Pedroia 2-4, Ellsbury 1-3, Gonzalez 1-2, Valencia 1-3, Aviles 1-2.

Orioles vs. Buchholz: Markakis 3-27, Jones 4-18, Witers 6-21, Andino 2-14, David 3-11, Reynolds 1-8, Hardy 4-10, Betemit 2-5, Teagarden 0-5.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox are 34-46 vs. righthanded starting pitchers this season.

Notes: This is Buchholz's fourth start against the Orioles this season. He's 1-0 with a 5.00 ERA in 18 innings, and won his last outing vs. the Orioles on June 7 ... A loss would make the Red Sox .500 on the road this season. They have lost 11 of their last 18 on the road ... Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched 5.2 innings for Pawtucket on Wednesday and allowed 5 runs and five hits to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, who won 5-1. Matsuzaka took the loss ... The Orioles are looking for their second sweep of the Red Sox this season. The Orioles won three straight at Fenway Park May 4-6.

Lucchino: Valentine will not be fired this season

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 16, 2012 10:32 AM

Red Sox team president Larry Lucchino said on WEEI this morning that Bobby Valentine would not be fired this season.

He said that was unequivocally the case.

Lucchino also said that the much-discussed meeting in New York was a "player roundtable" that is held regularly. He also disputed some of the facts of the Yahoo! Sports piece. He then defended ownership's commitment to the team.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 16, 2012 03:15 AM

Aaron Cook went from a strong start of the game to a loss as the Orioles beat the Red Sox.

Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox are trying to plug leaks in the organization.

The notebook has David Ortiz remaining on the sidelines.

In the On Deck blog, Craig Forde looks at the state of the Red Sox affiliates.

Springsteen sweeps the series at Fenway

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 16, 2012 12:43 AM

chin_springsteen_liv3.jpg

Barry Chin / Globe Staff

First off, a big thank you to all the Extra Bases and Globe readers who said hello at Fenway Park the last two nights. It was fun meeting so many nice folks who share a love of baseball and music.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band put on two terrific shows at the old ballpark. Bruce also paid tribute to the late Johnny Pesky both nights, calling for a spotlight on the Pesky Pole and the wreath encircling his retired number.

Here's what was remarkable: Over the two nights, Bruce did 45 different songs. Only 12 songs repeated from Tuesday (29 songs) to Wednesday (30 songs).

Highlights over the two nights included Bruce dancing with a woman police officer; running from left field to right field about as fast as Jacoby Ellsbury; ordering a hot dog and a beer from the stage (and killing the beer in one gulp) and saying "Sorry about that" when he mentioned the New York football Giants in the lyrics of one of his songs and people playfully booed.

Ken Casey from Dropkick Murphys joined Bruce on stage for "American Land" on Wednesday. He was having a blast.

Boston has long been a great spot for Springsteen shows because of all the avid fans in the area. In my experience, the crowds are better here than New Jersey or New York. The two nights at Fenway were among his best shows on this world tour, especially the second night and the amazingly eclectic set list.

As somebody who been to a lot of shows, Wednesday was in my top three. It was that good. Bruce was loose, up for anything and the band followed along, especially Steve Van Zandt. He was in rare form. The covers he did were great, too, and added a special element to the show.

Tuesday setlist:The Promised Land, Out in the Street, We Take Care of Our Own, Wrecking Ball, Death to My Hometown, My City of Ruins, Spirit in the Night, The E Street Shuffle, Jack of All Trades, Atlantic City, Because the Night, Johnny 99, Darlington County, Working on the Highway, Shackled and Drawn, Waitin' on a Sunny Day, Boom Boom, Drive All Night, The Rising, Badlands, Thunder Road. Encores: We Are Alive, Born to Run, Rosalita (Come Out Tonight), Glory Days, Dancing in the Dark, Tenth Avenue Freeze-out, Dirty Water, Twist and Shout.

Wednesday setlist: Thunder Road (just Bruce with Roy Bittan), Hungry Heart, Sherry Darling, Summertime Blues, Girls in Their Summer Clothes, We Take Care of Our Own, Two Hearts, Wrecking Ball, Death to My Hometown, My City of Ruins, Knock on Wood (the old Eddie Floyd hit from 1966), Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?, Thundercrack, Frankie, Prove It All Night (with the 1978 intro), Darkness on the Edge of Town, Working on the Highway, Shackled and Drawn, Waitin' on a Sunny Day, Backstreets, Badlands, Land of Hope and Dreams. Encores: Who'll Stop the Rain (acoustic), Rocky Ground, Born to Run, Detroit Medley, Dancing in the Dark, Quarter to Three, Tenth Avenue Freeze-out, American Land (with Ken Casey).

The band will be at Gillette Stadium on Saturday. If you're thinking about going, don't think and just go. It's a great show. If you're never been before, you'll love the experience.

(Apologies for the non-baseball post. But the shows were at Fenway, Johnny Pesky was mentioned and plenty of people out there enjoy activities other than baseball.)

Crawford: 'It just sailed over my head'

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 16, 2012 12:36 AM

BALTIMORE -- Carl Crawford seemed to have some explaining to do after he allowed Mark Reynolds's 2-RBI double to fly over his head in left field, allowing the Orioles to strike the crowning blow in a five-run sixth inning outburst that pinned the Red Sox with a 5-3 loss Wednesday night at Camden Yards.

What Crawford needed to explain, though, was why he didn't appear to make an attempt to even reach out with his glove.

It seemed similar to the lackluster effort Crawford submitted on the last play of the 2011 season when he came charging in from left and couldn't come up with a sliding catch on Robert Andino's low-liner to left.

"You guys can write whatever you want on that, but it was a tough play, in my mind,'' Crawford said of the ball Reynolds hit to left Wednesday night. "It just sailed over my head.''

Asked why he didn't attempt to even reach out for it, Crawford replied, "I don’t think I could’ve made that catch, to be honest with you guys. It was way over my head. I pretty much didn’t get it.’’

Asked for his take on Crawford’s fielding gaffe, Sox manager Bobby Valentine seemed to bite his tongue when he replied, "Tough play.’’

It was but one of many for the Red Sox (57-61) who lost for the eighth time in 11 games this season vs. the Orioles after watching Aaron Cook twirl a perfect game through three innings and take a no-hitter into the sixth, where he imploded after allowing five runs (two earned) on three hits and three walks (tying a season high).

"He really pitched well for the five innings and fielding his position really well during that time,’’ said Valentine, who was ejected in the eighth inning by home plate umpire Mike Everitt for arguing the ejection of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who argued a quick-pitch delivery by reliever Pedro Strop should have been called a ball.

"He just had a misplay that could’ve got us out of the inning,'' Valentine said of Cook, "and – ahh, Lordy – we didn’t turn the double play, gave up a double and the next thing we were down by a few runs.’’

In the span of Baltimore’s game-breaking five-run, six-hit outburst in the sixth, Cook lost, in succession: the no-hitter, then the shutout, then a 2-0 lead, and, at the end of it all, the game when he departed after in 5 1/3 innings.

"I let the team down,’’ said Cook, after the Sox remained 6 1/2 games behind the Tampa Rays for the second American League wild card berth. "We’re trying to win games and that’s one we should’ve won,’’ Cook said. "And we lost because I made an error.’’

Cook made a throwing error that haunted him when he snagged Adam Jones’s sharply-struck comebacker to the mound, attempted to start a double play by spinning around and throwing to second, but wound up putting the go-ahead run on third when his wild throw went bounding into center.

"It’s a play I’ve made over a hundred times,'' Cook said. "I just didn’t get my feet set and tried to make a quick throw. I had plenty of time and just yanked it. It was just a bad throw and it ended up costing us a game. Stuff like that can’t happen."

Final: Orioles 5, Red Sox 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 15, 2012 07:21 PM

Game over: The Sox had no chance against Pedro Strop and Jim Johnson (35th save) the final two innings and bowed to the Orioles for the second straight night. Manny Machado made a great diving stop at third to rob Nick Punto to end the game.The Sox are four games under .500 and fading fast. The game was played in 2:53 before 22,269.

Top 8th: Orioles 5, Red Sox 3 Both Bobby Valentine and Adrian Gonzalez were ejected when Gonzalez argued too much about Pedro Strop's quick pitch delivery in which does not have a discernible stop. Strop has a quick-pitch component where he just winds and throws. Gonzalez argued that Strop was basically balking, but home plate umpire Mark Everitt disagreed and threw out Gonzalez who kept chirping on the bench while Valentine came out to defend him and got himself tossed.

Bottom 7th: Orioles 5, Red Sox 3 Craig Breslow pitches a strong inning to keep the Sox within two runs.

Top 7th: Orioles 5, Red Sox 3 The Sox got one back when Carl Crawford's ground ball out scored the third run after Nick Punto reached on a throwing error by JC Romero and Jacoby Ellsbury singled. The inning ended on a nice play at third by Manny Machado, who made a strong one-hop throw from deep third base to retire Dustin Pedroia.

Bottom 6th: Orioles 5, Red Sox 2 What an awful inning for Aaron Cook. He went from pitching a no-hitter to falling apart. Cook had allowed three singles with one out, producing a run, but then he fielded Adam Jones' tapper to the mound on what would have been a likely double-play and fired it into centerfield scoring the tying run. He them allowed a ground rule double to Matt Wieters scoring the go-ahead run. Andrew Miller came on to retire the lefthanded Chris Davis, but Junichi Tazawa came on and Mark Reynolds doubled to left field scoring two more runs. What a disaster.

Top 6th: Red Sox 2, Orioles 0 A Jarrod Saltalamacchia single is all the Sox could muster.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 2, Orioles 0 Cook started with another leadoff walk - this one to Matt Wieters. But once again he got out of it. He got a great assist from Dustin Pedroia, who again came out of his body to make a sensational dive to stop Chris Davis' ball from heading into right field and threw him out. Cook struck out Mark Reynolds with one of his first breaking balls of the night, and then retired Manny Machado with a ground ball out.

Top 5th: Red Sox 2, Orioles 0 No. 8 and No. 9 hitters Scott Podsednik and Nick Punto stroked singles and the first run scored on Jacoby Ellsbury's ground rule double to right center. Punto then scored on Carl Crawford's fly ball to center.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox Orioles 0 Aaron Cook walked leadoff man Nick Markakis to start the inning and then got three ground ball outs. Adam Jones looked as if he might have beaten Mike Aviles' throw to first which would have scored a run, but first base umpire Laz Diaz made the out call much to the dismay of the Orioles.

Top 4th: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 Adrian Gonzalez stroked a one-out single, but the Sox are unable to do much after that as Gonzalez gets the desired outs vs. Cody Ross, who struck out for a second time, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia who flew out to center.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 Cook keeps rolling with two more ground outs and a liner to short as he takes care of the bottom of the Orioles order with ease.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 Gonzalez retires the side No. 9 hitter Nick Punto and then Ellsbury and Crawford.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 Aaron Cook's got the sinker working - three ground ball out by the O's.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Aviles and Scott Podsednik go down in order against Miguel Gonzalez.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 Aaron Cook suffered a major cut to his left knee the last time he faced the Orioles when he was spiked while covering homeplate in the third inning back on May 5 in an 8-2 loss. Tonight he started well throwing a 1-2-3 inning with two ground ball outs.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 Might as well start like you finish - leave runners on base. The Red Sox had runners at first and third thanks to walk by Carl Crawford and a single by Dustin Pedroia, but Cody Ross struck out to get Miguel Gonzalez out of the jam.

Valentine appreciates Henry's clarification

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 15, 2012 05:25 PM

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, whose dwindling clubhouse support was detailed in an explosive Yahoo! Sports report of a July 26 meeting in New York in which a divide between the players and the manager grew even wider, said he appreciated principal owner John Henry's clarification of what was said in that meeting.

"As I said before, I regret the fact that he has to be out there," Valentine said. "If we were 10 games over .500 or in first place [in the division], I don't think he'd have to make any statements."

According to the report, several players expressed to management an unwillingness to continue playing for Valentine. But Henry refuted that, saying in remarks e-mailed to reporters that nothing of the sort was ever suggested in the team meeting July 26.

"I appreciate John coming out and saying that,'' Valentine said.

Asked if this latest drama to hit the clubhouse was beginning to weigh on him or the team, Valentine replied, "Oh, I don't know if it's weighing on me, but the guys are upset that every time we win a game, something else pops out of the bag of tricks. I guess this guy was sitting on the story for about three weeks and decided to wait right before the Yankees series to pop it out there .... Great stuff, really good stuff.''

When apprised about Tuesday's postgame remarks by Dustin Pedroia, who said the players bore the brunt of the responsibility and criticism and not Valentine for the team's underachieving record, Valentine said, "I feel bad that he has to have that kind of comment. Dustin's the warrior of warriors, one of the greatest players that I've ever been around. To say that he's to blame for something? I don't blame him for anything.

"I think we're in it together, personally, and I think we're going to get hot.''

In other matters:

* David Ortiz said he had been shut down for the last three days and had not done any hitting because of lingering soreness in his strained right Achilles'. "He's trying to get rid of all the soreness,'' Valentine said. "Until it's completely gone, they don't want to start up.''

Asked how much the team missed Ortiz the last four weeks since going on the DL July 17, Valentine said, ``David's a great player, but we're getting guys up there in the right situation. There's no telling whether or not David would be driving them in or not. We'll wait for him to get back and we'll be fine until he does.''

Valentine said he was not certain how the team's record would impact Ortiz's expected return. "I have no idea about David coming back,'' he said. "I pray that he is -- this year and next."

* Andrew Bailey, who made his first appearance Tuesday on the same day he was activated from the 60-day disabled list after missing the first 116 games of the season, was available to pitch out of the bullpen Wednesday night. "That's why he only pitched to the two hitters [Tuesday]," Valentine said. "Feels pretty good, as a matter of fact."

Asked what he hoped Bailey showed in the last five weeks of the season, Valentine replied, "I hope he settles right into being the kind of pitcher that we traded for and I'm sure he will."

* Felix Doubront was off Wednesday, but indicated he was expecting to throw a bullpen session Saturday in New York in the hopes of getting ready to return to the rotation in time to start the opener of a seven-game homestand, beginning next Tuesday night vs. the Los Angeles Angels. "I think once we get home, he'll be right back in the saddle," Valentine said.

* The last two outs of "King" Felix Hernandez's perfect game in Wednesday's 1-0 victory over the Tampa Rays were broadcast on the center field video board at Camden Yards during the Red Sox batting practice. It was the 23d perfect game in MLB history and the first for the Mariners franchise.

Game 118: Red Sox at Orioles

Posted by Leonard Neslin August 15, 2012 03:00 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of tonight's game.

RED SOX (57-60)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Cody Ross, DH
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Mike Aviles, SS
Scott Podsednik, RF
Nick Punto, 3B

Pitching: RHP Aaron Cook (3-5, 4.70)

ORIOLES (63-53)
Nick Markakis, RF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Nate McLouth, LF
Adam Jones, CF
Matt Wieters, C
Chris Davis, DH
Mark Reynolds, 1B
Manny Machado, 3B
Omar Quintanilla, 2B

Pitching: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (4-2, 3.42)

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN/WEEI

Red Sox vs. Gonzalez: Aviles 0-2, Pedroia 0-2, Gonzalez 0-1.

Orioles vs. Cook: Reynolds 5-20, McLouth 3-15, Betemit 5-9, Andino 0-2, Davis 2-2, Hardy 0-1, Jones 1-2, Markakis 1-2, Wieters 1-2.

Stat of the Day: Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 37 against the Orioles after a 2-for-5 performance Tuesday. That is the longest such streak by a Red Sox player against any team and the longest ever against the Orioles franchise.

Notes: The Orioles are 7-3 against Boston this year ... The Red Sox are 4-9 in August ... Miguel Gonzalez is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his last three starts ... Cook allowed seven runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Orioles in a May 5 start ... Cook will make his first appearance tonight since beating the Rangers Aug. 6, when he allowed one run over seven innings ... Reliever Andrew Bailey was activated off the disabled list before Tuesday's game, walking one batter and striking out another in his Red Sox debut.

John Henry answers Yahoo! story

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 15, 2012 01:17 PM

Red Sox owner John Henry made the following comments on the meeting story by Yahoo:

"First of all for more than a decade we have had a code among players, staff and ownership that our meetings are private and do not leave the room. There is one reason for that. It enables all of us to openly discuss important issues. For more than a decade not one person in any of those meetings has gone to the media with private information. Over the decade we have made great strides as a result of these meetings in a number of ways including improvement in training facilities, protocols, safety, resources, travel issues, clubhouse issues and trust within a cooperative framework. But more than anything else these meetings have been about the same thing the meeting in New York was about — what it takes to win – what can we all do to improve our ability to win?

"About this time eight years ago we had one such meeting. It closely resembled the meeting in New York. Both were meetings I asked for. And both quickly went to the point – what do we need to do to turn things around. We held three meetings in New York – separating groups so as to have frank discussions about what was wrong.

"What Tom, Larry and I heard in the player meeting was one overriding sentiment. Players felt responsible for the record. They weren't blaming injuries or anyone but themselves. At the same time they openly spoke about what could improve in addition to their play. They made substantive points. We addressed those points. No one in that meeting at any time took the position that Bobby should be or needed to be replaced.

"I understand that when the team isn't playing up to our standards that issues are going to be sensationalized. But what is important for Red Sox fans to know is that ownership, players and all staff especially Bobby Valentine are determined to turn around what has thus far been an unacceptable, failed season. We are all on the same page in that regard and will not waver."

In the latest Sox soap opera, blame is widespread

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 15, 2012 09:45 AM

Bobby Valentine has made plenty of mistakes this season.

He is too honest for his own good when it comes to discussing the players with the media, telling the truth about them complaining about playing time (Kelly Shoppach) or their minor injuries (Carl Crawford). If somebody makes a mistake, he doesn't pretend everything is fine.

Terry Francona was good at covering up and often times looked ridiculous defending the indefensible. But clearly he had a good handle on how fragile the egos were in that clubhouse.

Valentine also is too much of an adherent to the idea that if a player has a problem, the player will come see him. After eight years under Francona, who was the definition of a players' manager, Valentine needed to cross the bridge more than halfway. Maybe not as far as Francona did, but more than he has.

Perhaps the biggest mistake Valentine made was failing, until recently, to forge closer ties with his coaching staff. That one is not entirely his fault given that some of the coaches weren't willing to give him a chance from the start. In retrospect, Valentine probably should have demanded more coaches he was comfortable with when he got hired instead of accepting house men more loyal to the front office.

If you think those reasons are good enough to fire Valentine after only one season, nothing I write is going to dissuade you.

But in the wake of Jeff Passan's story for Yahoo! on Tuesday, there a few facts are worth mentioning:

• The Red Sox last made the playoffs in 2009. They last won a playoff game in 2008. It is now 2012. This core group of players was underachieving a long, long time before Valentine showed up. That is undeniable.

The Red Sox have become accustomed to losing. With a few exceptions, most of the players shrug their shoulders and go about their business. That business, with few exceptions, is not winning baseball games.

• It's beyond comical that some players were offended that Valentine made Jon Lester pitch four whole innings against Toronto on July 22 when he allowed 11 runs. This just in: The Sox had 20 games in the next 21 days. They had worn out the bullpen the night before. Maybe the idea of further wearing out the bullpen so a 5-8 pitcher wouldn't have his lousy ERA go higher wasn't a big concern at the time.

• It has become apparent over the last calendar year that the Red Sox front office made some serious miscalculations when it came to assessing the character of players they signed to large free-agent deals or contract extensions.

John Lackey and Carl Crawford are obviously uncomfortable in Boston and it has affected their play. If Adrian Gonzalez was indeed the ringleader against Valentine — and he didn't deny Passan's charge that he was — that speaks poorly about his character, too. It is worth noting that Valentine was a staunch defender of Gonzalez in the spring when the first baseman was hitting .256 and going weeks between home runs.

Josh Beckett, hailed as the leader of the pitching staff when he was signed to a huge extension, has been anything but. Unless, of course, the Red Sox wanted their pitchers led by somebody who doesn't seem to much care what happens to the team.

It's telling that earlier this season, Valentine pulled Clay Buchholz aside and advised him to be his own man and not to follow the example set by others.

Somehow — and this is the crux of the matter — the Red Sox went from being a franchise of grind-it-out, hard-nosed players to being entitled, selfish and unlikable.

What are they so entitled about? That's the mystery. Yeah, five years ago you had a heck of a team.

• Dustin Pedroia is the de facto captain of the team. Plenty of players follow him whether he has a "C" on his jersey or not. That he was so tight with Francona was going to be a problem for Valentine. Both men needed to find common ground in spring training and it seems that never happened.

If only for the sake of the team, Pedroia should have been more demonstrative in his support of Valentine and Valentine should have invited Pedroia into his office once in a while. That would have headed off a lot of problems.

Pedroia should be careful. His image is getting more bruised by the day.

• None of this peripheral stuff is an issue if the team is winning and the team isn't winning because Beckett and Lester have pitched so poorly this season. Francona couldn't fix that last September and Valentine hasn't been able to this year, either.

• Finally, there is the overriding idea that the front office and ownership has allowed this to happen. The Red Sox seem intent on appeasing their players as unprofessional behavior often goes unchallenged. The players are unhappy about a doubleheader? Bribe them off with headphones and a yacht trip. The players are out of shape? Fire the strength and conditioning coach. The players quit on the manager? Fire the manager. The players are unhappy with the new manager? Rush to New York and have a meeting with them.

This started years ago, not when Valentine was hired.

You can't fire 25 players, true enough. But when the time came, the Sox dumped Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez because they were obstacles to success. That time has come again.

If Valentine gets fired, all it will be is more appeasement.

Then again, you might be doing him a favor. Then he can sit around for a season, collect on his contract and not worry about winning. In that sense, he would be just like the players he was given to manage.

Pedroia upset with Yahoo! story

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 14, 2012 10:37 PM

BALTIMORE — Dustin Pedroia, who was named along with Adrian Gonzalez as the players most vocal in ripping Bobby Valentine at a meeting called by Sox owners on July 26 to discuss the state of the team, was upset with the manner in which he was portrayed in a Yahoo! Sports story.

"I really haven't read it all. It's tough. We had a meeting — I'll be honest with everybody — we had a meeting in New York and the coaches had a meeting, Bobby had a meeting, we all had a meeting, and when I spoke I said we all need to get better — that includes owners, Bobby, coaches, and especially the players.

"I had one problem with Bobby all year and I went in and talked to him like a man and he talked to me like a man. And we've been great. We've had a great relationship. That's all I can really say about it. I'll go out there and play for him any day of the week. I'm playing for all my teammates and it's unfortunate that all this stuff comes out. I know we lost last year and we made huge signings and all kinds of stuff, but we're trying to play the game the right way and have an organization that does things the right way and play winning baseball.

"It's tough when all this stuff comes out that everyone's trying to get the manager fired. It's not the case, man. I don't know, I've never met the guy who wrote the story."

Asked if it was an easy solution to fire the manager, he said, "I don't think Bobby should be fired. Listen, we haven't played well. That's the bottom line. I'm not going to blame anything on Bobby. I don't think anybody else is. It's on the players. Last year wasn't on Tito. I know he took it hard, we all did. But it's on the players, man."

Sox owners apparently didn't think that anything the players said was bad enough for them to replace Valentine. About a week later, John Henry threw his support toward Valentine in a statement to the media.

Final: Orioles 7, Red Sox 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 14, 2012 07:27 PM

Game over: The Red Sox were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on base tonight and that told the story of the defeat. Josh Beckett allowed six hits and five runs in 5-1/3 innings. Mark Melnacon gave up a big three-run homer in relief of Beckett to Mark Reynolds, who hit two bombs. The game was played in 2:53 before 26,204.

Bottom 8th: Orioles 7, Red Sox 1 Andrew Bailey's debut occured this inning. He walked his first batter Chris Davis relieving Melancon with two outs. He then struck out Mark Reynolds who had homered twice. As rain and lightning began, he struck him out.

Top 8th: Orioles 7, Red Sox 1 Red Sox are pretty much done in this game. Lots of chances went by the boards.

Bottom 7th: Orioles 7, Red Sox 1 Melancon settles down just in time....Orioles go down with no damage.

Top 7th: Orioles 7, Red Sox 1 Wow. Bases loaded and the Sox get nothing. Darren O'Day entered in relief of Chen and just fooled Sox hitters including a called third strike on Ryan Lavarnway to end the inning.

Bottom 6th: Orioles 7, Red Sox 1 The Red Sox have let this get away from them. Two runs scored on three hits off Beckett who was even booed by Red Sox fans who were at the Orioles game as he departed. Hardy singled and after one out, Adam Jones walked. Matt Wieters hit a Baltimore chop on which Aviles tried to scoop and throw but it got by him and then it got by Pedroia as a run scored. Chris Davis then singled up the middle scoring the fourth Orioles run. That was all for Beckett. But that wasn't all for the Orioles. On Mark Melancon's first pitch, Mark Reynolds homered with two men on base.

Top 6th: Orioles 2, Red Sox 1 The Red Sox squandered another chance when they had runners at the corners with one out. Ross had singled and moved to third on Crawford's single, but Aviles struck out and Valencia flew out to center against Wei-Yin Chen.

Bottom 5th: Orioles 2, Red Sox 1 Mark Reynolds blasted a solo homer off Beckett to take the lead.

Top 5th: Orioles 1, Red Sox 1 Pedroia tripled to right field with two outs, but Adrian Gonzalez grounded out.

Bottom 4th: Orioles 1, Red Sox 1 Beckett has a quick inning,prolonged a tad when Ryan Lavarnway mistimed a slide on as he was trying to make a sliding catch on a pop-up, but it didn't hurt Beckett.

Top 4th: Orioles 1, Red Sox 1 Cody Ross started the rally with a ground-rule double. He advanced to third on Lavarnway's grounder and scored on Carl Crawford's single.

Bottom 3rd: Orioles 1, Red Sox 0 Omar Quintanilla homered to lead off the third. Beckett stopped the bleeding right there retiring the next three batters.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 The Red Sox had a pair of runners on base after Pedro Ciriaco doubled with two outs and Dustin Pedroia walked.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 Beckett allowed two batters to reach base - Matt Wieters with a walk and a single by Chris Davis - but Beckett dug in to get out of the jam.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 Ryan Lavarnway, who has now become the co-catcher with Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled to right but Chen retired the rest of the Sox.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 Josh Beckett retired the Orioles in order in the first inning.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 Jacoby Ellsbury singled and moved to second on DH Pedro Ciriaco's sacrifice bunt on which he was trying for a basehit. Dustin Pedroia lined out to the pitcher and Adrian Gonzalez struck out to end the inning.

Game 117: Red Sox at Orioles

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 14, 2012 03:00 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of tonight's game.

RED SOX (57-59)
Ellsbury CF
Ciriaco DH
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ross RF
Lavarnway C
Crawford LF
Aviles SS
Valencia 3B
Pitching: RHP Josh Beckett (5-9, 4.97)

ORIOLES (62-53)
Markakis RF
Hardy SS
McClouth LF
Jones CF
Wieters C
Davis DH
Reynolds 1B
Machado 3B
Quintanilla 2B
Pitching: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (10-7, 3.79)

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN/WEEI

Red Sox vs. Chen: Aviles 0-5; Gonzalez 2-6, Pedroia 2-6; Ross 1-2; Saltalamacchia 1-3; Shoppach 0-1

Orioles vs. Beckett: Markakis 14-50; Jones 11-38; Hardy 5-19; Wieters 5-19; Andino 6-15; Reynolds 3-15; Davis 4-14; Betemit 1-8; McLouth 1-6; Quintanilla 0-6

Stat of the Day: Adrian Gonzalez has had a hit in every game in August except one. He is batting .422 so far this month, and .309 overall.

Notes: The Red Sox will wear black armbands on their uniforms in honor of former player and manager Johnny Pesky, who passed away on Monday at age 92 ... The Orioles will hold a moment of silence in Pesky's honor before tonight's game ... The Red Sox will hold a public tribute for Pesky at Fenway Park later this season, but do not have details yet ... Beckett is coming off a terrible last start when he gave up eight runs in five innings to the Rangers. He lost to the Orioles in June despite only allowing five hits and two runs ... Reliever Andrew Bailey is expected to be activated off the disabled list before the game. Bailey has not played in the majors after having thumb surgery, but made six rehab appearances in the minors ... The Orioles lead the season series, 6-3 ... Orioles 3B Manny Machado was named AL co-player of the week along with Red Sox 1B Adrian Gonzalez ... Jacoby Ellsbury has a 36-game hitting streak against the Orioles, dating to April of 2009 ... Today is Clay Buchholz's 28th birthday.

Sox deal Shoppach and will activate Bailey

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 14, 2012 02:46 PM
BALTIMORE – The Red Sox opened up room for the future today when they traded Kelly Shoppach to the New York Mets for a player to be named later. Reliever Andrew Bailey, who has not pitched for the Red Sox the entire season, will be activated.

Shoppach, as we reported last Friday, had been placed on trade waivers and the Sox and Mets were able to work out a deal.

"Kelly was claimed by the Mets and we were able to work out a deal,'' said manager Bobby Valentine. "We have Ryan Lavarnway here and he's been waiting for an opportunity to play.''

Shoppach, 32, hit .250 (35-for-140) with 12 doubles, two triples, five home runs, 17 RBIs, 16 runs scored, 11 walks and a stolen base in 48 games for the Red Sox this season after signing with the club as a free agent in December 2011.

He started 42 games behind the plate and threw out 26.9 percent of attempted base stealers (7 of 26). Originally selected by Boston in the second round of the 2001 draft, the righthanded batter posted a .227 average (324-for-1,428) with 83 doubles, two triples, 64 home runs, 197 RBI, 190 runs and 138 walks in 508 career Major League games over parts of eight seasons with the Red Sox (2005, 2012), Indians (2006-09) and Rays (2010-11).

Lavarnway has struggled since being called up from the minors (2-for-22), but the Red Sox aren’t concerned about his bat. He will assume a major role behind the plate from this day forward. He was recently named the International League defensive catcher of the year by Baseball America.

Kelly Shoppach traded to Mets

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 14, 2012 02:19 PM

The Red Sox announced today they have traded catcher Kelly Shoppach to the Mets.

The Red Sox will receive a player to be named later.

Shoppach was batting .250 this season. He played in 48 games and had five home runs and 17 RBIs.

Castiglione event at Camden Yards on Wednesday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 14, 2012 09:35 AM

If you're in Baltimore on Wednesday to catch the game, here's an event you might want to know about.

The Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards is hosting a talk with Joe Castiglione at 2:30 p.m.

He will discuss his long career as a play-by-play announcer, talk about this season and answer questions from the audience. His new book, "Can You Believe It?" will be available for visitors to have signed. The event is free with admission to the museum for fans who would like to attend.

Red Sox players remember Johnny Pesky

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 13, 2012 11:36 PM

Via the Red Sox, here are some tributes to the late Johnny Pesky:

Wade Boggs: "The No. 1 thing everyone has to understand is that there wasn’t a greater gentleman of the game. Johnny was loved by everyone. He would light up your day when he walked in the room. I have to give him credit for hitting me all those ground balls every day at 3:17. I have to attribute those two Gold Gloves that I won to the hard work that he and I put in."

Boo Ferriss: "You can sum Johnny up as a great player, a great teammate, but best of all, a great friend. I remember coming back from the service and I was anxious to get to know him, and he was just a friendly, lovable guy from the start. He was a great encourager in my 1946 season and through my career in Boston, helping me and encouraging in any way he could. He could swing that bat and spray that ball over the field. He was one of the all-time greatest guys as a player and as a person."

Fred Lynn: "Johnny bleeds Red Sox red. He couldn’t do enough to help you out. I know he worked with Jimmy (Rice) a lot; he must have hit Jimmy eight million balls off that wall to help him learn how to play it. John was our hitting coach and he was almost like a dad to me. When I’d line out he’d say 'Hey, you see that guy standing there? Don’t hit it there. You’re a college guy.' Being with Johnny was like being with my dad all day. I always joked that Johnny hit 200 singles in a year, and I hit 200 in my career. "

Frank Malzone: "All the great things that I’ve heard people say about him in the last few hours on the news are all true. I played for him for two years in 1963 and 1964. Ballplayers always loved him. He was always there to hit fungos and wanted to make players better. John was a survivor. He just wouldn’t take that Red Sox uniform off. I admire him for that. It was great to see him at the 100th year anniversary with Bobby (Doerr). That was a plus for me. It was great that he was given special recognition that day. He was always there for people. It meant a lot to the fans and it meant a lot to all of us."

Pedro Martinez: "From the bottom of my heart I am extremely sad. I feel like part of the Red Sox tradition just died because when I think of Johnny I think of him hitting fungos at spring training. We will all miss him so much. I was embraced by Johnny and he was always there at every event. He was such a representative of everything that happened in Boston. It's hard to think of the success, defeat, and all we went through without Johnny. You couldn’t do anything without Johnny Pesky."

Kevin Millar: "Johnny is the greatest man I have ever met in this wonderful game we are so blessed to play. He will truly be missed in the Red Sox family."

Bill Monbouquette: I had my best year ever when Johnny was managing in 1963. I went 20-10 that season. We used to talk a lot – sit on the bench and talk baseball for hours. He was like a father to me. He was a wonderful guy and a heck of a player. I really am surprised that he’s not in the Hall of Fame. He was a lifetime .300 hitter. He loved the Red Sox and he loved going to the ballpark each day to see his former teammates, the guys that played for him and the new players on the team."

Jerry Remy: "He was fortunate enough to live his life the way he wanted to, and that was to be a part of the Red Sox organization. He did everything you could possibly do for the team. He is what the Red Sox are all about. He's one of the very few people who truly loved what they did and he loved being a member of the Red Sox family. I will never forget the tears in his eyes when they retired No. 6."

Jim Rice: "It’s a great loss, not only for the Sox but all of New England. Johnny’s been around for so long, you think about all the greats that have played with the Red Sox over the years, and he was still there. He was a legend with Ted Williams and Dom DiMaggio, and when you think of the Red Sox, you always think of Johnny Pesky. He was a great ambassador for the Red Sox."

Luis Tiant: "He was like my father when I came here in 1971. He was a great, great friend, always good to my family when we’d go to spring training. We were like a family, together for so many years. He really was a great man, a baseball man all his life, and he was good to everybody. You learned a lot from him, and being around him for so many years was a great experience. You’re not going to find many people like him. Everyone who knew him will miss him."

Jason Varitek: "I’m almost speechless. This is a very sad day for me and for anyone who has ever spent any time with Mr. Pesky. He was the most positive influence I ever came across who wore the Red Sox uniform. He was always there through the good and bad times with the same smile and passion for his team. 'Hello my honeysuckle, hello my honey bee, my ever lovin’ Jason just got three.' Johnny used to say, wishing me three hits that night. The game, the team, the organization, and Red Sox Nation will truly miss Mr. Pesky. Love you, Pesky!"

Tim Wakefield: "Today is a very sad day. Johnny was a mentor to me early in my career and later became more than that – he became a friend and father figure. His legacy will live forever in my heart and in the hearts of all of Red Sox Nation. He will be missed."

Selig: Baseball has lost a great ambassador

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 13, 2012 06:43 PM

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig issued the following statement today regarding the passing of Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky at the age of 92:

“The national pastime has lost one of its greatest ambassadors today. Johnny Pesky, who led a great American life, was an embodiment of loyalty and goodwill for the Boston Red Sox and all of Major League Baseball. A part of the Greatest Generation and forever one of ‘The Teammates,’ Johnny was a wonderful player who excelled alongside his dear friends Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr and Dom DiMaggio. Just as importantly, Johnny touched the hearts of hundreds of Red Sox players and its legion of fans around the world.

"I am deeply saddened by the loss of this special man, whose number six will be a part of Fenway Park forever. I extend my deepest condolences to Johnny’s family, his many friends throughout the game and all the fans of the Boston Red Sox."

Red Sox mourn loss of 'a beloved friend'

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 13, 2012 06:27 PM

This release from the Red Sox:

Red Sox Hall of Famer Johnny Pesky, the beloved fixture at Fenway Park who spent 61 years with the club — including the last 44 — passed away today at the age of 92. He was surrounded by family and friends at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers.

Born John Michael Paveskovich on September 27, 1919, the Portland, Ore, native was signed by the Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 1940 and spent 73 years in professional baseball. With the Red Sox, he served as a player, coach, manager, broadcaster, instructor, and ambassador. He was inducted into the inaugural class of the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1995.

“We have lost a dear and beloved friend,” said Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry. “Johnny was happiest when wearing the Red Sox uniform. He was able to do that for 61 wonderful years. He carried his passion for the Sox, for Fenway Park, and for baseball everywhere he went, and he was beloved in return. We will miss him. We share the sadness that his family and legions of friends are all feeling.”

The Red Sox will host a public tribute at Fenway Park at a later date.

“Johnny was one of the wonderful links to 70 years of Red Sox history,” said Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. “He was the grandfather of the Red Sox. He was as loving and kind a gentleman as one could imagine. His stories were delightful, and his love of Ted Williams and his teammates shone through in virtually every conversation. We know that those stories, and his spirit, will continue to live on at Fenway Park. We extend our sympathies to his son, David, his daughter-in-law Alison, and all of the members of the Pesky family.”

Pesky and his beloved wife, the former Ruthie Hickey, were married over 60 years. She passed away in 2005.

“Johnny Pesky will forever be linked to the Boston Red Sox,” said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. “He has been as much a part of Fenway Park as his retired Number 6 that rests on the right-field façade, or the foul pole below it that bears his name. But beyond these physical testaments, Johnny will be remembered most for his warmth, kindness, and loyalty. It was through his countless friendships that Johnny made his greatest impact on us, and we will miss him dearly. His was a life well-lived.”

Pesky attended Opening Day this year, as well as the 100th Anniversary celebration on April 20. His final visits to Fenway Park were Friday, August 3 for the induction of the Class of 2012 into the Red Sox Hall of Fame and again on Sunday, August 5, a Red Sox 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Pesky, whose Number 6 is one of the Red Sox’ eight retired numbers, led the Major Leagues with 205 hits as a 22 year-old in 1942, his first Major League season, setting a club rookie record that stood 55 years (until 1997).

He hit .331 that summer of ’42, second in the majors to Ted Williams’ .356 and finished third in MVP voting. He missed the next three seasons, serving his country during World War II.

Upon his return, the left-handed hitter led the American League in hits in both 1946 (208) and 1947 (207), batting .335 and .324 in those seasons, respectively, to become the first American Leaguer with at least 200 hits in his first three seasons.

His three career 200-hit campaigns stood as the most by a Red Sox player for 32 years.

Pesky started at shortstop in the 1946 All-Star Game at Fenway Park and helped the club win the American League pennant that year. He played every inning at shortstop in the seven-game World Series won by the St. Louis Cardinals. He was back in St. Louis 58 years later when the Red Sox completed their historic comeback and won the 2004 World Series.

Over parts of his eight seasons playing for the Red Sox (through June 1952), Pesky hit .313 with 196 doubles, 46 triples, 13 home runs, 361 RBI, 776 runs scored, 581 walks and 48 stolen bases, and he remains among Boston’s career leaders in batting average (7th), on-base percentage (7th, .401), runs scored (10th) and at-bats per strikeout (3rd, 21.61).

He joins Ted Williams and Wade Boggs as the only players in franchise history to score at least 750 runs while compiling a batting average of .300 or more.

Pesky’s six runs scored in a 14-10 win over the White Sox at Fenway Park on May 8, 1946 set an American League record that has since been tied but has yet to be surpassed. In 1,029 games for Boston, the versatile infielder totaled 549 appearances at shortstop, 457 at third base and five at second base. He turned a Major League-leading 48 double plays in 1949, still the Red Sox record for a third baseman.

Following a 10-year Major League career during which he also played for the Detroit Tigers (1952-’54) and Washington Senators (1954), he coached for the New York Yankees’ Triple-A Denver affiliate in 1955 under Ralph Houk and managed in the Detroit system with five minor league teams from 1956-’60. He managed in the Nicaraguan Winter League in 1959.

Pesky rejoined the Red Sox organization in 1961 as skipper for the Triple-A Seattle Rainiers and reprised that role the next season before taking the helm of the Red Sox from 1963-’64. Including managing the final five games of the 1980 season, he compiled an overall Major League managerial record of 147-179 (.451), all with Boston. He spent 1965-’67 as a coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates and managed Pittsburgh’s Triple-A Columbus club in 1968.

The 1969 season began a continuous stretch of 44 years for Pesky as a member of the Red Sox organization. He was a Red Sox radio and TV analyst for six seasons (1969-’74) before returning to the field as the team’s first base coach for nine years from 1975-’84. He then served as special assistant to the Red Sox General Manager until 1992. He was also interim manager at Triple-A Pawtucket for part of the 1990 season. From 1993-’99, he was special assistant for Red Sox player development, and then held the position of special assignment instructor since 2000. In 1982, the Boston Baseball Writers gave him their Good Guy Award.

On April 11, 2005, Pesky and Carl Yastrzemski led the active players in raising the 2004 World Championship flag at Fenway Park.

Yankees pay tribute to Johnny Pesky

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 13, 2012 06:09 PM

The Yankees will honor the memory of Johnny Pesky with a moment of silence before their game against the Rangers tonight.

“He was always so nice to me throughout the years. Every time I’d see him, he would come over and say, ‘I hope you get four hits today – and the guy behind you hits into four double plays.’ I’ve always enjoyed having the opportunity to talk to him," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said.

“I always like the fact that we have a lot of ex-players that come around all the time. I always liked going up [to Boston] and having an opportunity to see him. They loved him there; fans, players, media, everyone loved him. I send my best wishes to his family.”

New Yankees pitcher Derek Lowe, a member of the 2004 Red Sox, was sad to hear the news.

“He always loved spring training. I can see him right now, leaning on a fungo, hitting ground balls to people," Lowe said. "That’s the beauty of both these organizations; they keep the history around so the younger guys can see it and get to know the guys that came before you. He was great. We had a lot of laughs.”

Beyond what a terrific player he is, Jeter's ability to say the exact right thing is off the charts, isn't it? Thanks to Mark Feinsand of The Daily News, who passed along these quotes from the Bronx.

Johnny Pesky, 1919-2012

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 13, 2012 03:45 PM

Baseball PreviewF-6548005.jpg

Johnny Pesky, a member of the Red Sox as a player, manager, coach, broadcaster and beloved team ambassador, has passed away at the age of 92.

Pesky died at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers according to the Solimine, Landergan and Richardson funeral home in Lynn.

Pesky played for the Sox from 1942-52, missing three seasons serving in the military during World War II. He managed the team from 1963-64 and briefly again in 1980.

This season was Pesky's 61st with the club in some capacity and 44th in a row.

Born John Michael Paveskovich in Portland, Ore., Pesky was signed by the Red Sox in 1940 and made his major league debut in 1942, hitting .331 and finishing third in the MVP voting.

Pesky was a career .313 hitter with the Red Sox before playing for the Tigers and Senators. In all, he played in 1,270 major league games and hit .307 with a .394 on-base percentage. He was an All-Star in 1946.

Pesky had his No. 6 retired by the Red Sox in 2008. He appeared regularly at team events, including the 100th anniversary of Fenway Parks opening in April. His final visits to Fenway Park were Aug. 3 for the induction of the Class of 2012 into the Red Sox Hall of Fame and two days later for a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Pesky was a close friend of Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio and Ted Williams. A statue of those four men called "Teammates" is outside of Fenway Park's Gate B.

The right field foul pole at Fenway Park is known as the "Pesky Pole" because of his ability as a player to wrap balls around it for home runs.

Pesky, even in his later years, kept a locker in the Red Sox clubhouse and served as a counselor, friend and instructor to dozens of players over the years, particularly in spring training.

From Wade Boggs to Nomar Garciaparra and down to Dustin Pedroia, generations of Red Sox players grew to admire Pesky.

Pesky is survived by a son, David. His wife, Ruth, died in 2005. They married in 1944.

Johnny Pesky Guest Book

Story: Explaining 'Pesky's Pole'

Photos: Johnny Pesky's career highlights

Obituary: Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky dies.

Andrew Bailey set to rejoin the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 13, 2012 03:15 PM

Andrew Bailey is ready for his Red Sox debut.

The righthander, out all season recovering from thumb surgery, will be activated off the disabled list on Tuesday according to team sources.

Bailey retired all four batters he faced for Triple A Pawtucket on Sunday in Buffalo. He has made six appearances and thrown 6.1 innings during his rehab assignment, allowing one run on six hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts.

A two-time All-Star, Bailey was acquired in December from Oakland. Bailey has been a closer in his career but is expected to start out in a set-up role upon his return. Alfredo Aceves has filled in as closer this season, picking up 23 saves in 29 chances.

Also:

• Adrian Gonzalez and Orioles third baseman Manny Machado have been named the American League Co-Players of the Week for the period ending August 12th.

Gonzalez batted .393 (11-for-28) with seven doubles, two home runs, 14 RBI and six runs scored in seven games to win his second weekly honor of the season and the seventh of his nine-year career. Machado, 20, batted .375 (6-for-16) with a double, a triple, three homers, seven RBI and five runs scored in four games since his debut.

Minor league coverage from On Deck

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 13, 2012 02:05 PM

Craig Forde has a new post up at the On Deck blog about catching prospect Blake Swihart.

Craig also arranged a chat with 2012 draft pick Pat Light for Wednesday.

RadioBDC starts today

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 13, 2012 01:31 PM

If you like having some music on during the day, check out RadioBDC on Boston.com. It started today.

Just heard "Anna Sun" by Walk The Moon. Good stuff, so give it a shot.

Meanwhile, anybody else going to Springsteen at Fenway?

Pitching matchups for the Orioles series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 13, 2012 12:15 PM

Tuesday: RHP Josh Beckett (5-9, 4.97) vs. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (10-7, 3.79), 7:05 p.m., NESN, MLB Network

Wednesday: RHP Aaron Cook (3-5, 4.70) vs. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (4-2, 3.42), 7:05 p.m., NESN

Thursday: RHP Clay Buchholz (10-3, 4.24) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (5-2, 3.40), 7:05 p.m., NESN, MLB Network

A tribute to Bob Ryan

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 13, 2012 10:15 AM

My friends grew up wanting to be Fred Lynn, Bobby Orr or Larry Bird. I wanted to be Bob Ryan.

We got two papers on the doorstep in New Bedford back then, the Globe in the morning and the Standard-Times in the afternoon. Reading Bob's words about the Celtics became a daily ritual. Then he started writing columns and, wow, my favorite writer knew everything about baseball, too.

Through stupid luck, I landed a part-time job at the Standard-Times sports department and ended up a journalism major at UMass and the sports editor of the Daily Collegian.

During my junior year, Bob came out to Amherst one night to see the basketball team play Temple.

I cajoled the sports information director, the estimable Howie Davis, into letting me sit next to Bob on press row. I wore the only tie I owned at the time and got there early, nervously awaiting his arrival. I had, oh, 100 questions.

Bob answered all of them, graciously encouraging me and mixing in tidbits about the times he saw Dr. J play for UMass. Trust me when I tell you, no man walking the face of the earth knows more about basketball than Bob.

(Or movies. But that's another story for another day.)

At halftime, as Bob looked over the stat sheet, I had the Collegian's photographer take a surreptitious photo of me sitting next to him. I still have it, framed in my office.

Over the years, at assorted college basketball games and then baseball games, Bob was somebody I looked up to professionally. I didn't know as much as he did and couldn't write as well. But I tried to emulate how much he loved what he did.

Bob always found the joy in sports and enjoyed bantering with the coaches, managers and players. Sometimes he had his notebook in hand, often times he didn't. But there was always a conversation going. That's what stuck with me, how much he loved it.

To be his colleague the last three years is one of the great thrills of my career. I wish everybody could sit next to Bob at Fenway Park during a game. He charts every single pitch and notices every nuance about the game. You come away knowing so much more than you did going in. Not necessarily about baseball, mind you. But about something.

At the Super Bowl in Indianapolis, Bob decided to go see a few college basketball games that week, just for fun. We went to IUPUI's little gym one day and then Butler's famed Hinkle Fieldhouse two days after that. A few of us followed along in Bob's wake. Magically, all the doors opened for us and there were seats right down in front.

Going to a college basketball game with Bob Ryan is an experience unlike any other. Both coaches came over to shake his hand as did the officials, the athletic director, most of the players and about 100 fans. Because he's on ESPN so often, folks in Indiana know Bob as well as we all do in New England.

Then we went to a dive bar and he told stories until last call about some of the places he's been and the people he knew. Now there's a way to spend a night.

Bob has retired, the Olympics being his last assignment for the paper, and said good-bye in the paper on Sunday. The gold medal men's basketball game was, fittingly, the subject of his last column. How perfect is that?

Don't worry, he'll write for the Sunday paper quite often and be around the Garden and Fenway Park as a fan. He's going out on his terms.

A few weeks ago, when he officially covered his last Red Sox game, Bob got a standing ovation in the press box at Fenway. Never saw that before. Then again, never saw anybody as deserving of it.

------------

Boston.com has a collection of Bob's columns on this career tribute page. Somebody should send the link to every journalism student out there, if only so they get the message to enjoy the ride.

For Lester, Red Sox, a much-needed victory

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 12, 2012 07:01 PM

CLEVELAND — Jon Lester went into Sunday’s start against Cleveland tied for the second-most losses in the American League (10) and with an earned run average of 5.36, nearly two full runs higher than what his career mark had been.

“You know what? It sounds bad but there comes a point where you just need to forget about your stats and worry about trying to keep your team in the game,” the lefthander said. “That’s where I’ve kind of come to. Just keep them in the game as best I can. It’s one of those deals, you just have to go pitch.”

Perhaps it was that freedom that allowed Lester to pitch so well. An avalanche of run support didn’t hurt, either, as the Red Sox enjoyed a 14-1 victory at Progressive Field.

Lester allowed one run over six innings and struck out 12, one shy of his career best.

Adrian Gonzalez was 2 for 3 with a home run, a double, and four RBIs. Carl Crawford added three doubles and three RBIs as the Sox collected 16 hits against five Cleveland pitchers.

“My confidence never strayed. I know what kind of pitcher I am. I think I’ve proven that,” said Lester (6-10). “I knew that my stuff was there.”

This time, he got the proof and walked away with a smile. Cleveland hitters swung and missed at 20 of his pitches, an unusually high number for six innings. Of equal importance was the mix of pitches that produced those bad swings. Five were on curveballs and five on cut fastballs. He even got two on sinkers.

It was Lester's first victory since June 27.

Also:

• Gonzalez is hitting .393 (42 of 107) since the All-Star break with 35 RBIs in 28 games. He is up to .309 on the season and leads the team with 80 RBIs.

“I’m confident. I’m just trying to stay with it,” he said. “When things are clicking and you’re making contact with the pitches you want to make contact with, you feel good about it when you’re up there. You’re not hesitating; you’re not battling yourself. You’re out there ready to swing.”

• Crawford left the game with what Bobby Valentine described as a "minor" issue with his surgically repaired wrist.

"It was a little sore today. It is what it is. I've been playing with pain the whole time I've been back. It's just one of those things where it's a little more sore than other days today," said Crawford, who said another injection could be the answer.

• Will Middlebrooks felt something crunch when he was hit in the right wrist by a fastball on Friday night. He hoped at first that it was the Velco on his batting gloves. But he soon realized that it was something much worse.

“Once we came in, I really couldn’t move it much,” Middlebrooks said on Sunday. “I had a feeling it wasn’t good.”

X-rays taken at an emergency room revealed a broken pisiform bone, a diagnosis confirmed when Middlebrooks visited noted specialist Dr. Thomas Graham Saturday.

The pisiform, in simple terms, is a small pea-shaped bone that helps join the hand to the wrist.

His season is likely over. With the Red Sox falling out of contention, there is no reason to rush back their prized 23-year-old third baseman. Middlebrooks has been told he will not need surgery to repair the break. Although the bone is in two pieces, the hope is it will heal after his wrist is placed in a cast this week. He will be checked again in three weeks.

“Nothing was displaced, just broken,” Middlebrooks said. “I’m going to have to see how it goes the next few weeks … They said it should heal up fine. Times vary, everyone’s different.”

See the Globe tomorrow for more on Will.

• David Ortiz, who last week said he hoped to play against the Indians on Sunday, still isn’t ready to return from the disabled list. He has been out since July 17 with a strained right Achilles' tendon. Ortiz received only treatment on Sunday and will take Monday off. If he is able, he will work out in Baltimore before the game on Tuesday. But he does not know when his return will come.

“It’s not healing,” he said. “I thought I was getting there and it’s still sore and I still can’t run. I’m doing the best I can with it.”

Ortiz is being cautious, knowing than an Achilles' tendon tear would be career threatening for him. That injury, if it requires surgery, can knock a player out for 10 months or more.

“I hate watching games. I can’t watch games any more,” Ortiz said. “I want to be out there. But if I can’t run, I can’t really play.”

• Andrew Bailey is scheduled to pitch for Triple A Pawtucket at Buffalo. The closer, who has been out all season recovering from thumb surgery, could be activated this week ... Lefthanded reliever Rich Hill, out since early June with a strained flexor tendon in his elbow, is scheduled to start a rehabilitation assignment on Monday in the Gulf Coast League.

Final: Red Sox 14, Indians 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 12, 2012 01:07 PM

Game over Not many opportunities for a Red Sox laugher but this was one of them. The Sox stroked 15 hits and scored 14 runs, highlighted by an 8-run fifth inning to bury the Indians. The Sox and Indians split the four-game series. Jon Lester improved to 6-10 and went six innings, allowing one run on three hits with two walks and 12 strikeouts. The Sox smacked seven doubles and a two-run homer by Adrian Gonzalez, who knocked in four runs. Carl Crawford had three hits - all doubles - and knocked in three runs. Mike Aviles reached base five times and scored three runs. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia also had three hits. The game was played in 3:20 before 27,448.

Top 9th: Red Sox 14, Indians 1 Interesting inning. Clay Mortensen got to hit and struck out against Joe Smith. The Sox lost the DH when Saltalamacchia moved from DH to first base.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 14, Indians 1 Bobby V made some serious changes in the defense. Jarrod Saltalamacchia went from DH to first base. Pedro Ciriaco went from second base to centerfield. Nick Punto went from first base to second base. Clay Mortenson was pitching. Ciriaco, who has been working out in the outfield, caught the first two outs of the inning. Cody Ross caught the third out after Mortensen allowed a basehit..

Top 8th: Red Sox 14, Indians 1 Danny Valencia was the only Sox starter without a hit and he knocked into a 4-6-3 DP to end the inning after Aviles singled and reached base for the fifth time.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 14, Indians 1 Lester's line: 6IP, 3H, 1ER, 2BB, 12Ks. Tazawa replaced him. Lou Marson reached on an infield hit on a nice play in the hole by Aviles, who also made a strong throw to first base. Carrera doubled to left center, but Marson looked like he was trying to score, but put on the brakes and went back to third base. Tazawa then stranded runners in scoring position.

Top 7th: Red Sox 14, Indians 1 The Sox need one more run to match their single-game high June 20 vs. Miami when they won 15-5. The Sox have most of their scrubs in. Pedro Ciriaco is at second, Nick Punto at first, Scott Podsednik in left. Ryan Lavarnway is catching. Ciriaco beat out an infield hit and after he erased on a fielder's choice by Punto, Punto was awarded second on a throwing error by the second baseman, but Sox couldn't score.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 14, Indians 1 Lester is on his way to his 12th quality start in 24, not a great ratio, but he's pitching well today. He's got 12 strikeouts and Junichi Tazawa is warming so this might be the end of his day.

Top 6th: Red Sox 14, Indians 1 Mike Aviles stroked the team's seventh double, but the Sox can't add another run.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 14, Indians 1 No lack of run support for Jon Lester this time.The 14 runs is equal to the total number of runs of support he received (while he's been in the game) in his last six starts.

Top 5th: Red Sox 14, Indians 1 Not many of these lopsided games for the Sox this season, so this one has been different. The Sox tacked on eight more runs off relievers Josh Tomlin and Frank Hermann. Tomlin is a pitcher who the Red Sox wanted from Cleveland when they were shopping Kevin Youkilis. Tomlin surrendered an infield single to Dustin Pedroia, a walk to Adrian Gonzalez and a nice opposite-field single by Cody Ross scoring Pedroia. Gonzalez scored on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's infield single. We should not that it was hustle that got both Pedroia and Salty basehits and extended this inning. After Mike Aviles walked to load the bases, newly-acquired third baseman Danny Valenica, who was 0-2 in his previous at-bats, got the third run of the inning in a on a sacrifice fly to left field for the first out of the inning. With two outs, Jacoby Ellsbury drilled a double to the rightcenter gap scoring two more. Crawford followed with his third double, another gapper to rightcenter, scoring Ellsbury. The doubles just kept on coming. Gonzalez stroked another right-center gap double scoring two more.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 6, Indians 1 Lester got them out again, adding another K, his seventh. Jack Hannahan hit a deep fly to center but Jacoby Ellsbury caught it on the warning track.

Top 4th: Red Sox 6, Indians 1 The Red Sox tacked on a run basically because Mike Aviles was ripped at being hit in the hand by a Kluber pitch and went on a mission to score. he stole second base and tried to steal third, but was driven in by Kelly Shoppach's single. One unusual sighting was to see Carl Crawford not run all out on a ground ball out. Crawford usually runs out everything to put pressure on the defense.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 5, Indians 1 Lester struck out the side amid a two-out single by Carlos Santana. There was a 2-1 pitch Lester thought he should have had and stared down home plate umpire Marty Foster.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 5, Indians 1 Sox go down in order. Cody Ross has struck out twice, completely fooled by Kluber in both at-bats.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 5, Indians 1 Lester walked No. 9 hitter Ezequiel Carrera, but that was his only difficult moment in this inning, capping it off with a strikeout of leadoff hitter Jason Donald.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 5, Indians 1Carl Crawford had visions of Tampa Bay in his head as he stroked a double to rightcenter scoring a pair of Boston runners. Mike Aviles singled to lead off the inning against Kluber, and after the next two Sox were retired, Jacoby Ellsbury placed a single to left, setting up Crawford's big hit and his second double in as many at-bats.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 3, Indians 1 Jon Lester has a three-run lead before he even set foot on the mound but once he did the first two Indians batters singled to create first and third with no outs.Shin-Soo Choo struck out. Carlos Santana got one run in with a sacrifice fly to center easily scoring Jason Donald, who had singled to left to start the rally. Shelley Duncan had an outstanding at-bat against Lester and earned a walk on a 3-2 count before Brent Lillibridge ended the 27-pitch inning with a force play at second base..

Top 1st: Red Sox 3, Indians 0 Back to back doubles by Carl Crawford and Dustin Pedroia produced the first red Sox run off Indians starter Corey Kluber with one out. Adrian Gonzales followed with a towering home run to right field. Kluber settled down and struck out both Cody Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Game 116: Red Sox at Indians

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 12, 2012 09:30 AM

Good morning. Here's a preview of the game:

RED SOX (56-59)
Ellsbury CF
Crawfotd LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ross RF
Saltalamacchia DH
Aviles SS
Valencia 3B
Shoppach C
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (5-10, 5.36)

INDIANS (53-61)
Donald 2B
Cabrera DH
Choo RF
Santana 1B
Duncan LF
Lillibridge SS
Marson C
Hannahan 3B
Carrera CF
Pitching: RHP Corey Kluber (2-2, 6.10)

Game time: 1:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Kluber: No history.

Indians vs. Lester: Cabrera 2-13, Choo 1-11, Hannahan 6-14, Kotchman 2-12, Duncan 4-11, Marson 3-9, Donald 3-6, Brantley 1-5, Lillibridge 0-4, Santana 0-2, Carrera 0-1.

Stat of the Day: Lester was 75-31 (.708) with a 3.47 ERA in the first 149 games of his career in the majors. He is 6-13 (.316) with a 5.37 ERA in the 29 games since.

Notes: The Red Sox are seeking a split of the series. The have lost four of their last five games and eight of the last 11. They start the day a season-worst 12 games out of first place and six games out in the wild card. ... Lester has not won a game since June 27 against Toronto. But he is 4-1, 3.53 in 10 career starts against Cleveland. In two starts last season, he threw 13 scoreless innings and allowed only six hits while walking four and striking out 16. The Sox are 8-15 in games Lester has started this season. ... Kluber will be making his sixth MLB appearance and third start. The 26-year-old was 11-7, 3.59 in 21 starts for Triple A Columbus before being promoted earlier this month. He faced Pawtucket on April 29 so presumably the Sox will have some sort of decent scouting report. ... Red Sox DHs have gone 95 at-bats without a home run since David Ortiz went on the disabled list. ... The Sox are 73-87 in the last calendar year.

Song of the Day: "Southern Man" by Neil Young.

For the Red Sox, a fast-paced loss

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 11, 2012 10:41 PM

CLEVELAND — There are, of course, two sides to every story.

The Cleveland side is that 24-year-old Zach McAllister pitched a gem against the Red Sox Saturday night, allowing two runs on three hits over eight innings, his career high. He struck out four without a walk in a 5-2 victory.

Good for him.

Then there's the Red Sox side of things. They went in order in six of the nine innings, seven if you count the sixth inning when Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a double then foolishly tried for third and was thrown out.

The Sox came to the plate 31 times. Here's the breakdown on how many pitches they saw:

One: 3 times
Two: 6 times
Three: 6 times
Four: 4 times
Five: 5 times
Six: 7 times

Is that McAllister throwing a lot of strikes (66 of 100) or the Red Sox rushing through at-bats?

Valentine said he had no problems with the approach of his players. But the Red Sox are walking less this season. How they maintain their plate discipline over the remaining 47 games will be something to keep an eye on.

Meanwhile:

• David Ortiz said a few days ago that he hoped to return to the Red Sox lineup on Sunday. But after working out at Progressive Field on Saturday, he admitted that goal was unlikely to be met. “I don’t think so,” Ortiz said after taking batting practice on the field. “I’m only so-so.”

Ortiz was scheduled to do some running drills after he hit but decided against it. “Still pretty sore,” he said.

Ortiz has been out since July 17 with a strained right Achilles' tendon. His recovery has been a series of good days followed by bad ones due to soreness. Ortiz has yet to try running the bases, which would seem to be prerequisite to getting back in the lineup.

Ryan Lavarnway was the designated hitter for the second straight game, going 0 for 3. The Sox have used seven players as the DH in Ortiz’s absence with Cody Ross (nine of the 25 games) getting the most games.

The replacement designated hitters have hit .274 with no home runs and only five RBIs.

Ortiz was hitting .316 when he went on the disabled list with 23 home runs and 58 RBIs. His OPS of 1.024 still leads the American League.

• Ellsbury led off the sixth inning with a double to center field. But despite the play being in front of him, he tried for third and was thrown out by Michael Brantley.

After Brent Lillibridge put the tag on him, Ellsbury threw his helmet in disgust. With Carl Crawford, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez coming up, making the first out of the inning at third base was a mistake the Red Sox could not afford.

“If he had to do it again, he wouldn’t do it again,” Valentine said.

But Ellsbury disagreed. “I was being aggressive and trying to make something happen,” he said. “That’s what you’ve got to do when you’re not scoring runs.”

• RHP Andrew Bailey is scheduled to pitch for Triple A Pawtucket on Sunday at Buffalo. It will be his sixth and perhaps final minor league rehabilitation appearance. Bailey, who has been out all season recovering form surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament, has thrown five innings in the minors and allowed one run on six hits. He has struck out nine and walked one.

• Righthander Derek Lowe, who was released by the Indians earlier this month, has signed with the Yankees and is expected to join the team on Monday. Lowe would be the seventh member of the 2004 Red Sox who went on to play at least one game with the Yankees. Mark Bellhorn, Johnny Damon, Alan Embree, Ramiro Mendoza, Doug Mientkiewicz and Mike Myers were the others. The Red Sox considered signing Lowe but decided against it. He had a 5.52 ERA with the Indians and a 1.69 WHIP.

• Gonzalez was 1 for 4 with a two-run double and just missed another RBI in the ninth inning when left fielder Ezequiel Carrera made a running catch up against the wall to end the game and leave a runner stranded. Gonzalez has 31 RBIs since the All-Star break, the most in the AL and second in baseball to San Francisco’s Buster Posey, who has 32.

• Valentine travels with a mountain bike that he rides for exercise and depending on the city, as transportation to the ballpark. On Friday night, after the Sox beat the Indians, Valentine was at Progressive Field well into the night. When he left the park, the gate to the players’ parking lot [where he parked his bike] was locked and the attendant had gone home. “The only way to get back in was through a boiler room door that was open and I carried up my bike up three flights of stairs,” Valentine said. Valentine then rode through the concourse, looking for an exit out into the street. Finding none, he used an emergency exit and briefly set off an alarm.

Final: Indians 5, Red Sox 2

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 11, 2012 06:25 PM

Game over: A punchless team tonight succumbed to Zach McAllister and the Indians. The Red Sox had taken a 2-1 lead with their only legitimate rally in the fourth, but even there came up short. Franklin Morales ran up his pitch count early and the Sox bullpen was mediocre. The one guy who came to play, as usual, was Dustin Pedroia with great defense and a ninth-inning single. Adrian Gonzalez made a bid for the wall in left in the ninth, but fell short. The game was played in 2:40 before 27,894.

Bottom 8th: Indians 5, Red Sox 2 Craig Breslow came on. He struck out Choo, but then allowed a double to Carlos Santana that jetted passed Carl Crawford to to the wall after it took a funny hop when it landed in the outfield. Ezequiel Carrera singled to left on a 2-2 pitch to score the insurance run.

Top 8th: Indians 4, Red Sox 2 The Red Sox really make make mediocre pitchers look good. McAllister got through the eighth. It was the longest he'd ever pitched in his career.

Bottom 7th: Indians 4, Red Sox 2 Lillibridge continued his assault on the Red Sox. He doubled to center, advanced to third on a ground ball out and scored on a suicide squeeze by Lou Marson. Dionald singled and then Ellsbury saved further damage against Mark Melancon by making a spactacular sliding catch on the wearninbg track to rob Cabrera.

Top 7th: Indians 3, Red Sox 2 Red Sox back to their old ways offensively - 1-2-3 - without much of a fight.

Bottom 6th: Indians 3, Red Sox 2 Dustin Pedroia is coming out of his body tonight defensively. Another great diving stop on Jason Donald's grounder heading into center field, got up and threw him out. But Morales was tiring. He walked Cabrera and hit Choo in the back with a pitch. He was up to 103 pitches at this point. Bob McClure paid a visit to the mound with Andrew Miller and Mark Melancon warming in the pen. The Indians worked a successful double-steal and when Morales went 3-1 on Carlos Santana, the Sox ordered an intentional walk. That was all for Morales. Miller came on with the bases loaded and got Brantley to line out to left. With Crawford's bad elbow he didn't even attempt to throw to the plate, scoring the go-ahead run. Melancon replaced Miller and retired Duncan on a hard-hiot ball up the middle that Mike Aviles made a nice stop on to force the runner at second base.

Top 6th: Red Sox 2, Indians 2 Jacoby Ellsbury doubled to left, but was thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple when Brent Lillibridge took centerfielder Michael Brantley's throw which was wide of third and dove to tag ellsbury on the leg before Ellsbury could get to the bag. Speed kills. The Sox went out after that.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 2, Indians 2 Guess Lillibridge is coming back to haunt the Red Sox. He singled to center scoring Michael Brantley to tie it up. Morales got himself in trouble by balking Brantley to second. Brantley then took off for third on Shelley Duncan's ground ball out before Lillibridge struck. Morales got out of further difficulty when he retired Kotchman and Marson (on a called third strike with a 96 mph heater).

Top 5th: Red Sox 2, Indians 1 Bottom of the Sox order goes down in order. Lavarnway now 2-for-18.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 2, Indians 1 What can you say? An absolutely superb diving play on a Carlos Santana grounder which Dustin Pedroia turned into an inning-ending double-play. Choo had walked twith one out against Morales.

Top 4th: Red Sox 2, Indians 1 Got to admit, it was like a track meet out there, but strange table-setting methods by the Red Sox. After Jacoby Ellsbury doubled to the leftcenter gap, Carl Crawford, who spent hours practicing his bunting in spring training, laid down a hard one that pitcher Zack McAllister fielded, turned to third where he could have had Ellsbury dead had their been someone covering. Third baseman Brent Lillibridge had come in when Crawford bunted and couldn't get back. Every one was safe. Pedroia then grounded to third and Lillibridge had Ellsbury caught between third and home, but the shortstop, Asdrubal Cabrera, couldn't get over to third to catch Ellsbury getting back. Every one safe. Bases loaded. Adrian Gonzalez then put a nice inside-out swing on a McAllister offering and sent it off the left field wall. Ellsbury, Crawford and Pedroia all raced home just a few feet away from each other as if if were a 100-yard dash. Two of them scored, but Pedroia was tagged out. The Sox stranded Gonzalez at second, a run that may come back to haunt them.

Bottom 3rd: Indians 1, Red Sox 0 Why can't we get players like Brent Lillibridge? He homered to left in the third ending Morales' domination. Lillibridge was designated for assignment by the Sox and then traded to the Indians for Jose De La Torre (no relation to Joe). Morales got the next two outs on fly balls and then K'd Jason Donald on a 96 mph high fastball.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Indians 0 Guess the Red Sox think Zack McAllister is Bob Feller. He's retired the first nine batters.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Indians 0 Franklin Morales gets two outs via the fly ball and one more K. He's got four K's throwing a nice 95 heater and effective offspeed stuff.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Indians 0 Adrian Gonzalez sent a deep drive to right but caught at the wall by Shin-Soo Choo. Jarrod Saltalamacchia sends a deep drive to left. Sox get nothing out of it, but if I were McAllister I'd be worried.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Indians 0 Impressive performance by Franklin Morales to start the game. He struck out the side.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Indians 0 Zack McAllister mows the Sox down in the first inning. Jacoby Ellsbury struck out, Carl Crawford lined to shortstop and Dustin Pedroia grounded out to second base. Game began at 6:23 p.m.because of a Gaylord Perry tribute here before the game.

For Middlebrooks, a tough end to the season

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 11, 2012 04:00 PM

CLEVELAND — Will Middlebrooks stopped by Progressive Field this afternoon and is now seeing a specialist, Dr. Thomas Graham of the Cleveland Clinic, about his broken right wrist.

The rookie third baseman believes that his season is over, although there remains a small chance he could return in the final week of the season.

"I want to play, but I have to do the right thing," he said.

Middlebrooks was hit by a 96-mph fastball thrown by Indians reliever Esmil Rogers in the ninth inning. He was wearing a black brace this afternoon, however, and said it didn't hurt that much.

Bobby Valentine was crushed.

"He had a terrific run with us. He's a terrific player," the manager said. "I don't think he'll be back this year. He might for a short stint, I don't know. I couldn't be happier or more proud of everything he did, developing into the player he is right now and contributing to our team. It's a damn shame."

Valentine said there was "no silver lining" in the situation.

For now, the Red Sox will use Pedro Ciriaco and Danny Valencia at third base along with Nick Punto, perhaps. There are no plans to use Mike Aviles at third and bring up Jose Iglesias.

Ciriaco has only six innings of experience at third base in the majors, that coming last season. He played three games at third base for Pawtucket this season and one other game there while in the Pittsburgh organization in 2011.

Game 115: Red Sox at Indians

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 11, 2012 02:15 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of the game:

RED SOX (56-58)
Ellsbury CF
Crawford LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ross RF
Saltalamacchia C
Lavarnway DH
Aviles SS
Ciriaco 3B
Pitching: LHP Franklin Morales (3-2, 3.14)

INDIANS (52-61)
Donald 2B
Cabrera SS
Choo RF
Santana DH
Brantley CF
Duncan LF
Lillibridge 3B
Kotchman 1B
Marson C
Pitching: RHP Zach McAllister (4-4, 3.60)

Game time: 6:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. McAllister: Pedroia 2-4, Aviles 1-2, Gonzalez 0-3, Ross 1-3, Salty 1-3.

Indians vs. Morales: Kotchman 2-6, Brantley 1-3, Carrera 1-2, Hannahan 1-2, Kipnis 0-1, Cabrera 0-1, Choo 0-1, Duncan 1-1, Santana 1-1.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox are 13-15 since the All-Star break. Eight of their losses are by two runs or less.

Notes: The Sox are 1-1 in the four-game series. ... Morales is 3-1, 3.06 in six starts this season. In three starts on the road, he has allowed two earned runs on nine hits over 17 innings. Opposing hitters are 31 of 167 (.186) against Morales since June 3 (14 appearances). ... McAllister, a former Yankees prospect, faced the Red Sox on May 12 and allowed four runs on eight hits over seven innings. He struck out eight without a walk. McAllister had a rough time against the Twins on Monday, giving up nine runs (two earned) on six hits before getting taken out of the game in the second inning. ... Ross has hit safely in eight straight at 13 of 32 with four doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four runs scored.

Song of the Day: "Stop Your Sobbing" by The Kinks.

Source: Middlebrooks has a broken wrist

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 11, 2012 12:32 AM

CLEVELAND — A major league source said tonight that Will Middlebrooks has a broken right wrist and the Red Sox will call up Danny Valencia from Triple A Pawtucket on Saturday.

No word yet on how long Middlebrooks will be out. But with only seven weeks left to play, it could well be the remainder of the season. He is hitting .288 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs in 75 games. Outside of Mike Trout and Yoenis Cespedes, Middlebrooks has been the most productive rookie in the American League.

Valencia was obtained from the Twins on Aug 5. He is a career .260 hitter over parts of three seasons but was hitting only .198 this season. He has played two games for Pawtucket since the trade.

The Sox also have Nick Punto and Pedro Ciriaco available. A less likely solution would be to play Mike Aviles at third and use Ciriaco (or Jose Iglesias) at shortstop.

For Clay Buchholz, more brilliance

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 10, 2012 11:40 PM

CLEVELAND — Clay Buchholz had a 9.09 earned run average through six starts, giving up 10 home runs over only 32 2/3 innings.

Every mistake was hit hard and Buchholz was walking to the mound expecting something bad to happen.

“You can’t be confident when you’re getting your brains beat in every night,” he said.

Bobby Valentine and Ben Cherington kept Buchholz in the rotation, defying calls that he belonged in the bullpen or back in Triple A. They remembered that Buchholz had missed almost four months in 2011 with a back injury and needed time to regain his footing.

Their patience paid off. Buchholz was brilliant against the Indians on Friday night, throwing a complete game two-hitter in a 3-2 victory.

Buchholz gave up one earned run and struck out six without a walk. He retired the last 12 Cleveland hitters he faced and 18 of the final 19. He hand-delivered a victory to a team desperate for one.

That’s probably as good as he’s been all year. He’s really turned it around and pitched his butt off,” said Cody Ross, whose two-run home run in the sixth inning provided the winning runs.

Buchholz regained command of his changeup in May and built himself back up. He is 6-1 with a 1.91 ERA in 10 starts since June 1. At 10-3 and with a 4.24 ERA, Buchholz is clearly the best starter on the staff this season. Granted, that's not much of an accomplishment.

Buchholz also is one of the cornerstone players the team can rebuild around. Though he still needs to prove he can throw 200 innings in a season, Buchholz has the kind of personality and competitive nature the Red Sox need more of.

Watch him field his position, for instance. Buchholz goes hard after the ball and sprints to cover first base when Adrian Gonzalez makes a play in the hole. He also attacks hitters instead of nibbling and almost never bickers with umpires.

Also:

• Daisuke Matsuzaka had a rough first inning for Pawtucket, allowing a single and then a home run. But he settled down and went 4 2/3 innings, allowing the two runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out three.

With Felix Doubront beaten up and Franklin Morales probably facing limitations at some point, Matsuzaka is going to pitch for the Red Sox again. So you have that to look forward to.

• Ross has 18 homers and is hitting .278 with an .883 OPS. He wants to stay with the team and he seems to fit in very well. Ross would be a nice player to have around until Bryce Brentz is ready or Ryan Kalish fulfills his promise.

• Scott Podsednik last played in a baseball game on July 29. Friday night he was 1 for 3 and made a couple of nice catches in left. Asked before the game when was the last time he took batting practice, Podsednik smiled and said he was about to.

• Not sure what this means. But the Sox are 20-14 against the AL Central. So if they could play all road games against teams in the Central and face lefties, you have to like their chances.

• As reporters left Valentine's office and went into the clubhouse after the game, Adrian Gonzalez was sipping from a bottle of beer while standing in the hallway. "Aaaaaah," he said after taking a sip.

Gonzalez laughed. Inside the clubhouse, some of the other players had piled up cans of Bud Light on one of the tables to mock the story that John Lackey was drinking on Thursday.

Kind of funny, although some moral arbiters in the media will surely summon up plenty of faux outrage about it. I'm more outraged that guys who make millions drink Bud Light.

Thanks to everybody for reading today. Catch you tomorrow.

Will Middlebrooks taken for x-rays on right wrist

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 10, 2012 10:35 PM

CLEVELAND — Red Sox rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks was taken to an area hospital after tonight's game for x-rays on his right wrist.

Middlebrooks was hit by a 96-mph fastball thrown by Cleveland reliever Esmil Rogers in the ninth inning and left the game.

Manager Bobby Valentine said that Middlebrooks was in a lot of pain and that the ball "hit him in a bad spot."

"I doubt that he’s in there tomorrow. I hope that it’s only a day, doubtful of that," Valentine said.

Valentine said Middlebrooks was struck on the side of the wrist near the base of the hand, right on the bone.

"I have no idea what it is," Middlebrooks said before he left. "I just know it hurts."

Also, David Ortiz (right Achilles strain) rested today and will work out tomorrow. But it's now doubtful he plays on Sunday.

"I don't think so," Valentine said.

Final: Red Sox 3, Indians 2

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 10, 2012 07:12 PM

Game over: A complete game victory for Clay Buchholz. An excellent outing, allowing only two hits. The Red Sox break their three-game losing streak. The game was played in 2:40 before 27,246.

Top 9th: Red Sox 3, Indians 2 Sox might have lost a significant player when Will Middlebrooks got hit in the hand with an Esmil Rogers fastball. Middlebrooks came out of the game, replaced by Nick Punto. Sox couldn't add to their slim lead and now it's up to Clay Buchholz..

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 3, Indians 2 Buchholz retired three straight batters. He went to 3-0 on Jack Hannahan, but recovered nicely as he threw a strike and then got him to line out to left field. He struck out Jason Donald to end the inning.

Top 8th: Red Sox 3, Indians 2 Just can't seem to add to this slim lead. first and second, one out and Adrian Gonzalez knocks into an inning-ending double-play. Ughh.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 3, Indians 2 Buchholz very economical tonight. He retired the side in the seventh and had thrown 77 pitches. Would be huge if he could pitch a complete game and save the bullpen.

Top 7th: Red Sox 3, Indians 2 Three up, three down for Sox against righty reliever Cody Allen, who relieved Seddon after six.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 3, Indians 2 Was there a worse defensive play all season by the Red Sox? Pedroia misfired on Jason Donald's ground ball toward the second base bag, going through Pedroia into short center. Mike Aviles retrieved the ball and tried to throw out the runner at first but threw it into the stands. Donald was awarded third, He scored on Carrera's sacrifice fly.

Top 6th: Red Sox 3, Indians 1 Cody Ross finally solved 28-year-old journeyman lefty Chris Seddon, slamming a two-run homer to centerfield (estimated 420 feet) his 18th. Dustin Pedroia had stroked his second hit, a single to center, but Adrian Gonzalez ran the count to 3-0 and then 3-1 before popping out to left.

Bottom 5th: Indians 1, Red Sox 1 Buchholz isn't giving the Indians much to hit. Another 1-2-3 inning including an inning-ending strikeout against Jack Hannahan.

Top 5th: Indians 1, Red Sox 1 Scott Podsednik returned to the Red Sox and beat out an infield hit with two outs. Podsednik was wearing Wade Boggs' No. 26, a number that should be retired. But Michael Brantley made a nice diving catch on Jacoby Ellsbury's short fly to center to end the inning.

Bottom 4th: Indians 1, Red Sox 1 Buchholz allowed a leadoff double to Cabrera, but stranded him (at third) with some nice pitching to keep the game tied. Buchholz is 9-3 with a 4.48 ERA and this is his 20th start. He received a no decision when he pitched seven innings and allowed one unearned run in a 6-4 Sox loss to the Twins on August 4.

Top 4th: Indians 1, Red Sox 1 Dustin Pedroia singled in Mike Aviles to tie the game. After leftfielder Ezequiel Carrera made a nice diving catch to rob Jacoby Ellsbury of extra bases, Aviles walked and advanced to third on pitcher Chris Seddon's throwing error on a pick-off. Pedroia singled through the shortstop hole. Pedroia then stole his 9th base of the season, but Adrian Gonzalez flew out to center. After Cody Ross was walked intentionally, Middlebrooks lined out to shortstop.

Bottom 3rd: Indians 1, Red Sox 0 Clay Buchholz has his act together. Another strong, dominating inning. He still awaits support.

Top 3rd: Indians 1, Red Sox 0 Ryan Lavarnway singled to right to lead off the frame, but was thrown out trying to take second when a pitch in the dirt got a away from carlos Sanatna. But Lavarnway was thrown out at second nonetheless.

Bottom 2nd: Indians 1, Red Sox 0 Clay Buchholz has retired the last five batters. He should continue this way against this weak Indians lineup, but the issue is when the Red Sox offense realizes that Chris Seddon isn't Steve Carlton.

Top 2nd: Indians 1, Red Sox 0 Red Sox are up there hacking like they want to get to the new casino downtown. What happened to patience? At least Will Middlebrooks took it to 3-2 before lining out to right. Six up, six down for the Sox so far.

Bottom 1st: Indians 1, Red Sox 0 Asdrubal Cabrera took a 2-0 fastball by Clay Buchholz and drilled it over the rightcenter field fence. Yep, starting badly already.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Indians 0 The Red Sox are turning lefty Chris Seddon into a star already. Seddon, whjo entered the game with a 7.70 ERA, easily retired the top of the Red Sox order, including No. 3 hitter Dustin Pedroia with a swinging third strike. Nice night here in Cleveland.

Red Sox place Shoppach and Aviles on trade waivers

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 10, 2012 07:08 PM

CLEVELAND — The Red Sox placed catcher Kelly Shoppach and shortstop Mike Aviles on trade waivers Friday.

While it's not unusual to have players go on waivers before August 31st, the Sox had gone nine days without placing anyone on waivers, which is unusual. On August 1, the Sox placed Carl Crawford and Nick Punto on trade waivers and both of them cleared.

What does this all mean?

In Crawford and Punto's case they both can now be traded without any restrictions since no team put in a claim on them. If a team claims Shoppach or Aviles, the Red Sox can do one of three things: pull them back so they can not be traded the remainder of the season, award the player to the team claiming them, or work out a trade with the claiming team.

In the case of multiple claims, the team with the worst record gets the claim. Both players would go through the American League first and then the National League.

Shoppach and Aviles might be attractive to contending teams. There had been interest in Shoppach at the trade deadline, but the Sox didn't pull the trigger. Aviles is a gritty shortstop who might be able to help a contender like the San Francisco Giants, for instance.

The Red Sox need to make playing time for Ryan Lavarnway who is the DH in tonight's game. The Sox could also stand to bring up Jose Iglesias and let him pla,y or allow Pedro Ciriaco to play shortstop the rest of the season.

Red Sox giving Doubront a rest

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 10, 2012 05:56 PM

CLEVELAND — Felix Doubront will skip at least one start, the Red Sox having decided to give the 24-year-old lefty a rest.

Doubront has allowed 16 earned runs on 27 hits and 14 walks over his last 20.2 innings. He has thrown 122.2 innings, 35 more than he did all last season, majors and minors.

"Right now a little blow for Felix is what the doctor ordered," Bobby Valentine said. "Want him to take a deep breath, maybe do a little bit more leg work, do a little less throwing."

The plan is for Doubront to miss just one start. But Valentine did not dismiss the idea of Doubront going on the disabled list.

Aaron Cook will start in Doubront's place on Wednesday in Baltimore.

Also:

• The Red Sox signed Scott Podsednik so that Ryan Kalish could return to Pawtucket and play regularly before coming back in September. Kalish has not been effective as a part-time player (.203/.247/.241) and needs more at-bats.

Podsednik was traded to Arizona, refused an assignment to Triple A and then was released. He stayed in the Boston area and kept working out before being signed by the Red Sox.

• Pedro Ciriaco nearly started in left field tonight. The Red Sox have worked him out there in an attempt to increase his versatility. Valentine, for one, believes Ciriaco can be a super-utility type of player.

• It's just a day off for Carl Crawford.

Game 114: Red Sox at Indians

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 10, 2012 03:15 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of tonight's game:

RED SOX (55-58)
Ellsbury CF
Aviles SS
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ross RF
Middlebrooks 3B
Lavarnway DH
Shoppach C
Podsednik LF
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (9-3, 4.48)

INDIANS (52-60)
Carrera LF
Cabrera SS
Choo RF
Santana C
Brantley CF
Duncan DH
Kotchman 1B
Hannahan 3B
Donald 2B
Pitching: LHP Chris Seddon (0-0, 8.31)

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Seddon: Saltalamacchia 0-0 (BB).

Indians vs. Buchholz: Kotchman 6-14, Choo 1-6, Cabrera 2-5, Brantley 0-6, Hannahan 2-5, Marson 0-4, Kipnis 2-4, Santana 1-2.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox have not had a losing record since 1997. To finish 82-80, the will have to go 27-22 (.551) the rest of the way.

Notes: The Sox start the day 11 games out of first and 5.5 out in the wild-card race. They have lost three straight, seven of nine and 13 of 20. ... Cleveland has won two straight after dropping 11 in a row. ... The Sox are 12-15 since the All-Star break. Eight of those losses have been by two runs or less. The Sox are 23-29 in games decided by two runs or less this season. ... Buchholz is 5-1, 2.17 in nine starts since June 1. He is 1-1, 5.32 in four career starts against the Indians. ... Seddon, a 28-year-old journeyman, is making his second start of the season and the fifth of his career. He has 4.2 innings of experience against the Sox, none since 2010. ... Gonzalez has hit in nine straight at 16 of 34 with six doubles, two homers and 12 RBIs. He is now hitting .310 with an .825 OPS. Gonzalez's 74 RBIs are fifth among AL first baseman, just behind Prince Fielder (81), Albert Pujols (76), Edwin Encarnacion (75) and Mark Teixeira (75).

Song of the Day: "Lawyers, Guns and Money" by Warren Zevon.

At 55-58, Red Sox facing a new reality

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 10, 2012 12:35 AM

CLEVELAND — The Red Sox have lost three straight, seven of nine and 13 of their last 20 games. At 55-58, the one reasonable goal remaining is to try and finish with a winning record.

To dream of anything beyond that is foolish.

The players know that, too. The clubhouse was unusually silent after Thursday night's 5-3 loss against the Indians, even for a team accustomed to losing. The Sox haven’t formally surrendered to their fate but are deep in negotiations at this point.

That being the case, here are a few ideas:

Shut Felix Doubront down: The lefty is clearly wearing down in his first full season as a starter, having allowed 16 earned runs on 27 hits and 14 walks over his last 20 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old has thrown 122 2/3 innings, 35 more than he did all last season, majors and minors.

Doubront had no fastball Thursday and could not get out of the fifth inning. Using him every five days now is inviting an arm injury. The Sox would be better served getting a few more starts out Daisuke Matsuzaka then heaping more innings on Doubront.

“Maybe,” Bobby Valentine said when asked if the workload was getting to Doubront. “His command is not quite what it was.”

Trade Kelly Shoppach, play Ryan Lavarnway: What is the point of having Lavarnway here if he is not going to catch somewhat regularly? Shoppach was signed as a stop-gap player and did far better than expected in that role. Now is the time to see what Lavarnway can do.

Trade Cody Ross or sign him: Ross has value on the market. He is hitting for power, getting on base and has playoff experience. Getting a solid prospect would be a nice return on a player originally signed for $3 million to platoon.

If you believe he's a great fit at Fenway Park, then sign him. Otherwise, take advantage of his value being so high.

Trade any other fringy veteran who can be traded: If Aaron Cook is not part of the plans for 2013, see what he might bring back. Is there a market for Mike Aviles? Ben Cherington needs to be Crazy Eddie for a week.

Clarify Bobby Valentine's status: If John Henry is planning to fire Valentine once the season is over, do it now. Let Tim Bogar manage and determine whether he is a viable candidate for the job.

If not, Henry needs to come out and say, "Regardless of what happens, Bobby is my manager next season. Period. I blame the players, not him."

Otherwise, you're inviting seven weeks of Valentine being a piñata for attention-seeking media people who love an easy target and a bloodthirsty audience. He doesn't deserve that. Valentine came to Boston with good intentions and was handed the keys to a lemon built by Epstein and Co.

Form a council of team leaders: You want better communication? Have Valentine appoint Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Jon Lester and the least crazy reliever as the team's leadership council. Their job will be to meet with the manager once a week and discuss any issues that come up. They also could be a conduit to ownership and the front office. The Red Sox have dozens of people with the same goal all moving in a different direction. Some kind of map is needed.

Think it sounds silly? It worked pretty well for the New York Giants last season.

Give the people something they can cling to: Jose Iglesias playing shortstop every day for two weeks? A September cameo for Jackie Bradley Jr.? Find something that will make some of these games watchable.

It's going to be a slog to the finish no matter what. The only question now is how productive that slog will be.

Red Sox re-sign Scott Podsednik

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 9, 2012 11:00 PM

CLEVELAND — The Red Sox have signed Scott Podsednik to a major league deal and he will rejoin the team tomorrow. The team will send Ryan Kalish back to Triple A Pawtucket to make room for the veteran outfielder.

The Sox traded Podsednik along with Matt Albers to the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 31 for lefthander Craig Breslow, but Podsednik refused the Diamondbacks' minor league assignment and was granted free agency.

Podsednik had a nice run with the Red Sox, hitting .387 with one homer and seven RBI and an .893 OPS in 62 at-bats and served as a spark plug in Jacoby Ellsbury's absence.

The Red Sox also had the opportunity to consider Johnny Damon, who had been designated for assignment by the Indians and eventually released, but opted for Podsednik instead.

Final: Indians 5, Red Sox 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 9, 2012 07:14 PM

Game over: An awful performance by the Red Sox tonight from Felix Doubront's fifth inning meltdown to Pedro Ciriaco's baserunning to the lack of clutch hitting. They drop to three games under .500 for first time since June 11th. The Indians won in 3:13 before 19,639.

Bottom 8th: Indians 5, Red Sox 3 Ezequiel Carerra reached on an infield single to second on a nice diving stop by Ciriaco, who couldn't pop up and make the throw. Lillibridge followed with a single to left field. Craig Breslow came on to pitch. Kotchman's sac bunt moved the runners into scoring position. Marson walked and Donald's fielder's choice got the insurance run across. Cabrera was walked intentionally to reload the bases for lefthanded hitting Choo. Breslow struck him out.

Top 8th: Indians 4, Red Sox 3 How often can you say pathetic? First and second one out and the Sox can't get a big hit. Gonzalez was hit in the leg with a pitch and left for pinch-runner Nick Punto. After Cody Ross singled, Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out for the third time and 101st time this season. Middlebrooks popped to right.

Bottom 7th: Indians 4, Red Sox 3 Junichi Tazawa was rolling with two quick outs and then got bogged down with a single by Choo and a walk to Santana. But another trip to the mound by pitching coach Bob McClure seemed to help again, as Tazawa got Brantley to ground out to first base to end Cleveland's threat.

Top 7th: Indians 4, Red Sox 3 Bad, bad baseball. Pedro Ciriaco led off with a double to right off Jimenez. Last batter he faced. Lefty Tony Sipp came on to strikeout Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford then knocked into a 6-5-6-4 double-play when his grounder to short caught Ciriacio between second and third. Ciriaco was tagged out in a rundown and Crawford tried to get get to second and was thrown out there.

Bottom 6th: Indians 4, Red Sox 3 Andrew Miller pitched a 1-2-3 inning as he handles the bottom of the Indians order with ease.

Top 6th: Indians 4, Red Sox 3 As one scout just pointed out to me, "This team is very easy to pitch to." Salty, Muiddlebrooks and Aviles were struck out in the sixth by Jimenez., who now has 10 strikeouts.

Bottom 5th: Indians 4, Red Sox 3 The good times didn't last long for Doubront. With one out, Marson singled and Donald walked. Cabrera then doubled down the left field line scoring Marson. Doubront walked the dangerous Shin-Soo Choo, which wasn't the worst thing in the world, but it did load the bases with one out. Santana took him to 3-2 before stroking a single through the shortstop hole, scoring the tying run. That was all for Doubront. Bobby Valentine summoned Andrew Miller to pitch to lefthanded hitting Michael Brantley, whose sacrifice fly to left got the go-ahead run in for the Tribe. Milelr retired Shelly Duncan with a tapper back to the mound.

Top 5th: Red Sox 3, Indians 1 Jacoby Ellsbury singled and stole second and was driven in by Dustin Pedroia's single. Ellsbury drew a throw to the plate, which enabled Pedroia to take second base. Jimenez struck Gonzalez out on a 3-2 pitch and Cody Ross flew out to deep right to end the threat.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 2, Indians 1 Another rocking chair inning for Doubront as Brantley, Duncan, Lillibridge go down.

Top 4th: Red Sox 2, Indians 1 Just answered my own question. Yes, the Red Sox are supporting Doubront. After Dustin Pedroia singled, Adrian Gonzalez unloaded his 12th homer to rightfield on a 1-1 pitch that hung up nicely in the strike zone for Gonzalez to put a perfect swing on it. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Will Middlebrooks also singled but the Sox couldn't do more with it.

Bottom 3rd: Indians 1, Red Sox 0 Doubront's first 1-2-3 inning. Looks like he's settling down, but will he get any support from the Sox offense?

Top 3rd: Indians 1, Red Sox 0 Nothing doing against Jimenez so far. Jimenez has lost four straight starts with an 8.42 ERA. He's been been pretty awful lately, but the Red Sox are making him look terrific. Pedro Ciriaco, hitting ninth and playing second base, singled with one out, but the rest of Boston's order went out with a whimper.

Bottom 2nd: Indians 1, Red Sox 0 Doubront pitched to the bottom third of the order and had better success though Casey Kotchman singled through the left side of the infield. Mike Aviles made a nice play deep in the hole and threw out Brent Lillibridge for the first out. No. 9 hitter Lou Marson lined out to right, and Donald, who hit the home run to lead off the game, took a called strike on a 95 mph fastball to end the inning.

Top 2nd: Indians 1, Red Sox 0 Jimenez strikes out the side - Cody Ross, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Will Middlebrooks go bye-bye.

Bottom 1st: Indians 1, Red Sox 0 Nice way to start things off for Felix Doubront. He surrendered a leadoff homer to the opposite field to Jason Donald, who was a last-minute replacement for Jason Kipnis.Doubront wasn't fooling anyone, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a deep liner to center for an out and Carlos Santana singled on a hard liner to left before Michael Brantley doubled down the left field line. With runners at second and third, pitching coach Bob McClure visited the mound before Shelley Duncan came up to hit. That seemed to settle down Doubront, who got Duncan ona calle third strike to end the threat.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Indians 0 Not sure what more Jacoby Ellsbury can do. He walked vs. Ubaldo Jimenez to open the game, stole second and stole third with one out. Dustin Pedroia, DHing, struck out while Adrian Gonzalez grounded to third base. It's overcast and we mau get some rain during the course of this game.

Bailey goes back-to-back days in Triple A

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 9, 2012 05:24 PM

CLEVELAND — Andrew Bailey pitched another scoreless inning for Pawtucket this afternoon, allowing one hit and striking out two against Syracuse.

Bailey has now pitched five innings in five minor league games during his rehab assignment, allowing one run on six hits and one walk while striking out nine.

He is scheduled to pitch for Pawtucket again on Sunday. If that goes well. Bailey could be in a position to rejoin the team.

As to other matters:

• Jon Lester will start Sunday.

• Asked if there was a plan for Josh Beckett, Bobby Valentine said there was a meeting held today to discuss the struggling righthander. But the result was not his ouster from the rotation, deportation to Texas or anything like that. The Red Sox are hoping that Beckett struggled on Wednesday because he was coming off a seven-day break.

• Per colleague Nick Cafardo, the Red Sox appear to have no interest in Derek Lowe.

• David Ortiz will take BP today and do some agility drills. Then he will run the bases Friday. The hope remains that he will play on Sunday.

Game 113: Red Sox at Indians

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 9, 2012 03:20 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of the game:

RED SOX (55-57)
Ellsbury CF
Crawford LF
Pedroia DH
Gonzalez 1B
Ross RF
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Aviles SS
Ciriaco 2B
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (10-5, 4.56)

INDIANS (51-60)
Kipnis 2B
Cabrera SS
Choo RF
Santana DH,
Brantley CF
Duncan LF
Lillibridge 3B
Kotchmab 1B
Marson C
Pitching: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (8-11, 5.29)

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, MLB Network/WEEI

Red Sox vs. Jimenez: Gonzalez 5-27, Pedroia 3-8, Ross 1-5, Punto 1-5, Crawford 0-4, Middlebrooks 1-3, Salty 0-3, Ellsbury 0-1.

Indians vs. Doubront: Brantley 0-3, Cabrera 0-3, Kipnis 1-3, Santana 0-3, Choo 0-2, Duncan 0-1, Hannahan 0-2, Kotchman 0-2, Marson 1-2.

Stat of the Day: If the Red Sox were merely .500 (21-21) in the games started by Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, they would be 61-51 and leading the wild card.

Notes: The Sox have lost two straight, six of eight and 12 of 19. They stated the day 10 games out of first in the division and 5.5 games back in the wild card with 50 games left to play. ... The Indians snapped an 11-game losing streak on Wednesday when they beat the Twins, 6-2. ... The Sox are 3-1 against the Indians this season but only 11-11 against them since the start of the 2010 season. ... Doubront started against the Indians on May 12 and allowed one run over six innings. He is 5-0, 3.82 in six starts against AL Central teams this season. ... Jimenez has been a disaster for Cleveland since they obtained him from Colorado last season, going 12-15 with a 5.22 ERA in 33 starts. He is 0-4, 8.42 in his last five starts this season. ... Gonzalez is hitting .348/.380/.509 with 45 RBIs in the 59 games he has played since June 1. ... The Sox are 26-23 on the road.

Song of the Day: "We Are Nowhere and It's Now" by Bright Eyes.

Andrew Bailey hopes to achieve another rehab 'milestone'

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 9, 2012 11:54 AM

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Andrew Bailey threw a scoreless inning of relief in the sixth inning of Triple A Pawtucket's 10-2 loss to the Syracuse Chiefs Wednesday night at McCoy Stadium.

It was Bailey's fourth rehab appearance since starting the season on the 60-day disabled list after undergoing right thumb surgery. It was his first, however, with the PawSox, after striking out six batters and allowing one run over three innings of work combined in one appearance at Double A Portland and with rookie Gulf Coast League Red Sox.

Wednesday night, Bailey submitted an efficient 1-2-3 inning on 11 pitches (8 strikes) in which he got the first batter to ground to first, the second to fly to center, and struck out the third batter.

"Yeah, it felt pretty good," Bailey said. "I kind of executed pitches the way I wanted to and definitely it's a step in the right direction."

Bailey was expected to throw back-to-back with another inning in Thursday afternoon's game against Syracuse, which he viewed as a significant milestone in his ongoing rehab.

Asked if he expected to throw one or two innings Thursday, Bailey said, "It's the first back-to-back, so I don't think I would go out there and throw two innings, so I'll probably throw just one and go from there."

Bailey said his encouraging results Wednesday was not likely to accelerate his timetable.

"I think it's important to stay this course," he said. "Evaluate how I feel [Thursday], and go out there and pitch and come in the next day and see how I feel. I don't think going out there and having a 1-2-3 inning really changes the course of anything.

"I think, for the most part, it's just off feel and getting through the little milestones and one of them is [pitching] back-to-back and so that's the next step."

Pitching matchups for the Indians series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 9, 2012 09:45 AM

Thursday: LHP Felix Doubront (10-5, 4.56) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (8-11, 5.29), 7:05 p.m., NESN, MLB Network

Friday: RHP Clay Buchholz (9-3, 4.48) vs. LHP Chris Seddon (0-0, 8.31), 7:05 p.m., NESN

Saturday: LHP Franklin Morales (3-2, 3.14) vs. RHP Zach McAllister (4-4, 3.60), 6:05 p.m., NESN

Sunday: TBA vs. RHP Corey Kluber (2-2, 6.10), 1:05 p.m., NESN

Podcast: Where are Sox headed?

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 9, 2012 07:09 AM

Hit play to listen to this week's edition of the Globe Red Sox podcast, produced by Daigo Fujiwara.

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Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes. Find its archive here.

Crawford piling up the extra-base hits

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 8, 2012 09:04 PM

The Red Sox are 55-57 and have lost 12 of their last 19. It's like watching a slow-motion train wreck.

So let's look at some things that aren't brutal:

• Carl Crawford is 16 of 49 (.327) in his last 12 games with five doubles, two triples and three home runs. He has scored 11 runs and driven in 12. His batting average through 21 games is .284. After a rough first season with the Red Sox, Crawford is finally showing what he is capable of.

“He’s back. He’s the Carl that I played against for a lot of years,” Cody Ross said. “Confidence is the No. 1 key for him. When he’s swinging good, nobody can get him out and he creates havoc on the bases. It would have been nice to have him all year.”

• Will Middlebrooks has 15 home runs in his first 73 major league games. You know who else did that? Ted Williams in 1939. A few other Red Sox players (Walt Dropo, Norm Zauchin and Fred Lynn) did that over multiple seasons. But Middlebrooks and the Splendid Splinter did it in one season.

Middlebrooks has 54 RBIs in those 73 games. Williams had 77 en route to 145 that season. He hit a ridiculous .327/.436/.609 at the age of 20 with 44 doubles, 11 triples and 31 homers.

• Bobby Valentine was asked before the game if he considered a “pre-emptive strike” at umpire Paul Nauert before Dustin Pedroia was ejected on Tuesday night.

Pedroia struck out on a check swing that was called a strike by Nauert from first base. Pedroia argued the call on the field and continued his yelling from the dugout. He was eventually ejected after going out to play the field in the top of the ninth inning.

Pedroia was ejected before Valentine stepped on the field. Valentine then argued vociferously with Nauert but was not thrown out despite his best efforts.

Valentine was incredulous at the idea that he could have done something to prevent Pedroia being ejected.

“You living in a fantasy world? Were you watching the game?” Valentine asked. “That’s not even worth answering.”

When word of the exchange reached the clubhouse, Pedroia called Valentine over to his locker and shook his hand. Pedroia later said he thought Valentine handled the situation well.

• Adrian Gonzalez (3 for 5, three doubles) has hit safely in all eight games this month at 15 of 31 with six doubles and 10 RBIs. He is up to .310 on the season with an OPS of .818.

• Baseball America named Ryan Lavarnway as the best defensive catcher in the International League based on a poll of managers. It was a significant honor for Lavarnway, who has worked hard at his defensive skills.

Until being called up on Aug. 1, Lavarnway was the starting catcher for Pawtucket.

First baseman Lars Anderson (since traded to Cleveland), second baseman Pedro Ciriaco and shortstop Jose Iglesias were also named the best at their respective positions.

Jackie Bradley Jr., who has since been promoted to Double A, was cited for being the best hitting prospect, baserunner, defensive outfielder and most exciting player in the Carolina League.

Beckett struggles again, booed again in no-decision

Posted by Alex Prewitt August 8, 2012 06:52 PM

607beckett.jpg

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Josh Beckett received a no-decision Wednesday afternoon in Boston's 10-9 loss against Texas.

Red Sox fans had no problem deciding what they thought of another subpar outing.

Beckett was booed once again as he left in the sixth inning, having allowed a season-high eight runs on eight hits, including three homers. His first-inning ERA is up to 10.42 after allowing three runs, two on a Josh Hamilton triple, in the opening frame. No matter how hard Boston's offense fought back, tying the game again and again, the Rangers offense kept on firing against the enigmatic and oft-criticized starter.

"Just too many pitches down the middle of the plate," Beckett said. "Everything was up. Even when I was on the corners, it was still up. Control, in that matter, yeah, not necessarily control outside the zone. Inside the zone, I felt like everything was elevated."

After Hamilton scored on an Adrian Beltre sacrifice fly in the first, Beckett got Nelson Cruz swinging and Michael Young looking, both on curveballs. He set down the side in order in the second, and got out of a jam in the third by getting Hamilton, Beltre, and Cruz consecutively.

But things unraveled in the fifth. Mitch Moreland led off with a solo homer. Elvis Andrus singled, and Hamilton homered. All three were on cutters. Manager Bobby Valentine yanked Beckett in favor of Clayton Mortensen in the sixth after trade-deadline acquisition Geovany Soto hit a two-run homer, scoring David Murphy.

"He made some good pitches and some not so good pitches," Valentine said. "He finished the fifth inning pretty good. The bottom of the order, I thought maybe he could squeak one out. Sure wasn't expecting Soto to hit a home run."

Sox fans, on the other hand, have grown accustomed to booing Beckett, who received another round as he trudged towards the dugout.

"I didn't even listen to that," Dustin Pedroia said. "We're all in this together. We support Josh. He's our teammate. We're going to do all we can to get his back.

"There's going to be times when I have tough times and they might boo me. We've just got to go out there and play as hard as we can, and do it together."

Beckett was pitching on seven days off after his most recent start was pushed back due to back spasms that caused him to exit from a July 31 start against Detroit after 2.2 innings.

But the extra rest did little to curb the frustration and the poor outings. In fact, the more Beckett rests, the worse he remains. On five or fewer days rest, Beckett's ERA is 3.62. On six or more, it's 10.13.

"Obviously the numbers aren't good, but I don't feel any different," Beckett said. "I felt strong out there. Health-wise, there was no problems."

Regarding his results, the issues remained.

Final: Rangers 10, Red Sox 9

Posted by Alex Prewitt August 8, 2012 01:15 PM

Final: Rangers 10, Red Sox 9: Josh Beckett got off the hook after allowing a season-high eight runs through five innings, and the Sox climbed back into things with a four-run seventh, but Alfredo Aceves inherited the go-ahead run in the ninth and allowed it to score on a sacrifice fly.

Adrian Gonzalez finished with three doubles and three runs scored, and Cody Ross and Will Middlebrooks each homered as the Rangers took the series.

The Red Sox drop to two games below .500 heading into a road trip, beginning tomorrow in Cleveland.

Thanks for reading. Postgame notes to follow.

Bottom 9th: Rangers 10, Red Sox 9: Ross ripped a double to left-field that took a weird hop off the wall after Gonzalez led off the inning with a foul popup to first. Kalish ran for Ross at second. With an 0-2 count and the tying run on second, Lavarnway struck out swinging on an outside slider.

Top 9th: Rangers 10, Red Sox 9: Mortensen put runners on first and third after Andrus walked and Hamilton singled, leaving a mess for Alfredo Aceves, who gave up the go-ahead sacrifice fly to Beltre. Cruz cranked a foul ball over the Monster that was upheld via review, and then walked on a full count. Young flied out to deep center, and Aceves got Murphy swinging on a curveball.

Sox are down one heading into their final at bats against closer Joe Nathan.

Bottom 8th: Rangers 9, Red Sox 9: Nothing going for the Sox, as Ellsbury flies out to center, Crawford grounds out to first, and Pedroia grounds out to short.

Top 8th: Rangers 9, Red Sox 9: Mortensen holds the lead, getting Soto swinging at a fastball and Kinsler to ground into a double play after Moreland walked.

Time to sing.

Bottom 7th: Rangers 9, Red Sox 9: Will Middlebrooks does it again. He blasted an 0-2 offering from Oswalt into the Sports Authority sign above the Monster, tying the game up after Gonzalez doubled home Pedroia, who singled, and Ross walked.

Alexi Ogando entered and dialed up a triple-digit fastball to strike out Lavarnway, got Shoppach looked at a 87-mph slider on the outside corner, and Ciriaco grounded out to short.

Top 7th: Rangers 9, Red Sox 5: Ellsbury made a great catch against the wall to rob Hamilton of a sure double, and Middlebrooks flashed some leather to his left on a Beltre grounder, but Cruz pushed the Rangers lead to four with a solo homer.

Young laced a single up the middle, and Murphy popped out into shallow left. Ciriaco and Crawford crashed into each other, but the shortstop made the catch to end the inning.

Bottom 6th: Rangers 8, Red Sox 5: A 1-2-3 inning for Oswalt, who got Ciriaco looking at a curve, Ellsbury swinging at a fastball, and Crawford to ground out to second.

Top 6th: Rangers 8, Red Sox 5: Well, that was short lived. Beckett gave up a lead-off single to Murphy and Soto parked his first homer with Texas, chasing Beckett to more boos from the crowd after he allowed a season-high eight runs.

Mortensen came in from the pen, fresh from a Pawtucket recall, and got Moreland (flyout to left), Kinsler (grounder to short), and Andrus (grounder to short) in order.

Becket'ss line: 5 IP, 8 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 3 HR, 86 pitches, 58 strikes.

Bottom 5th: Rangers 6, Red Sox 5: Crawford chugged his way to a stand-up triple to lead things off, and after Pedroia grounded out to third, Gonzalez drove him home with a deep double off the Monster, giving the Sox a response yet again. Harrison then walked the bases loaded, and got yanked for Roy Oswalt out of the bullpen.

Gonzalez then scored on a passed ball, but Shoppach struck out with runners on second and third to end the inning, but the Sox are within one.

Harrison's line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 97 pitches, 61 strikes.

Top 5th: Rangers 6, Red Sox 3: So much for that bottom-of-the-order success after Moreland hammered one into the camera area in centerfield, the first homer Beckett's allowed since May 10, a 12-start span. Middlebrooks made a great barehanded pickup on Kinsler's bunt attempt, but Andrus singled and Hamilton cranked his 30th homer of the year past Pesky's Pole.

Beckett walked Cruz after Beltre popped out foul, drawing a few scattered boos, and Young grounded out to second to end the inning.

All three hits that inning were on Beckett cutters, by the way.

Bottom 4th: Rangers 3, Red Sox 3: Lavarnway led off with a groundout to short, but Shoppach followed it up with a double to center on a ball that Hamilton misplayed and had it bounce off his glove. Ciriaco hammered a ball, but flied out to left, and Ellsbury sharply grounded out to second.

Top 4th: Rangers 3, Red Sox 3: Another perfect inning for Beckett against the bottom of the Texas order. Young flies out to right, Murphy grounds to Gonzalez, and Soto flies to center.

Bottom 3rd: Rangers 3, Red Sox 3: Cody Ross ties things up with a homer just inside the left-field foul pole, cranking a curveball atop the Monster after Pedroia flied out to right and Gonzalez grounded out to third.

Middlebrooks struck out looking on a fastball to end the inning.

Top 3rd: Rangers 3, Red Sox 2: Kinsler reached on a hit-by pitch that replays showed didn't actually hit him. Beckett exchanged some words with home-plate umpire Paul Nauert, the same Paul Nauert who ran Pedroia last night. After a perfectly executed hit-and-run by Andrus, Ellsbury made a strong throw on a Hamilton flyout that held Kinsler at third, but Andrus was able to tag up and move to second.

Middlebrooks snared a Beltre liner, and Beckett induced a Cruz grounder to get out of the jam.

Bottom 2nd: Rangers 3, Red Sox 2: After Shoppach struck out looking, Ciriaco ripped a double down the left-field line and moved up to third on an Ellsbury grounder, but Crawford stranded him with a groundout to second.

Top 2nd: Rangers 3, Red Sox 2: Beckett gets through a perfect third, and has retired six straight after those three early runs. Murphy grounds out to first unassisted, Middlebrooks ranged hard to his left to snare a Soto grounder, and Moreland flied out to Ross in right.

Bottom 1st: Rangers 3, Red Sox 2: Here come the Sox in response. Gonzalez got Boston back on the board with a line-drive double into the right-field corner, scoring Pedroia, who singled. Ross drove Gonzalez home with a single up the middle. It could have been more, had Murphy not robbed Crawford of sure extra bases at the wall after Ellsbury struck out on a foul-tipped fastball to lead off the inning.

Middlebrooks walked to put runners on first and second, but Lavarnway grounded out to short. Still, the Sox nearly erased that early deficit.

Harrison threw 35 pitches that inning.

Top 1st: Rangers 3, Red Sox 0: The enigmatic Josh Beckett strikes again in another dismal first inning. Kinsler fouled off a few pitches and drew a full-count walk, stole second, and moved up on an Andrus bunt single. Hamilton then blasted a 2-RBI triple to the wall in right-center, and scored on a Beltre sacrifice fly. Beckett settled down, getting Cruz swinging and Young looking, both on biting curveballs. Beckett's first-inning ERA, for reference, is now 10.42.

Pregame: The Sox wrap up a 10-game homestand Wednesday with a rubber match against the Rangers, sending Josh Beckett (5-9, 4.54 ERA) to the mound after the righty was pushed back from his last scheduled start with back spasms. Texas counters with lefty Matt Harrison (13-6, 3.17 ERA) who is looking for his 10th road victory this season, which would be a franchise record. In his past 13 starts, Harrison is 9-3 with a 2.11 ERA.

Bring in the noise, bring in the funk, and bring in the comments for the afternoon start. We've got your live updates, so read along.

Vicente Padilla to DL, Mortensen up from Triple A

Posted by Alex Prewitt August 8, 2012 11:24 AM

The Red Sox have placed reliever Vicente Padilla on the 15-day disabled list with bicep soreness. In the corresponding move, Clayton Mortensen was recalled from Triple A Pawtucket before Wednesday's rubber match against Texas.

Padilla has pitched in 41 games this season, his most since he made 51 appearances in 2000, but has allowed seven earned runs on six hits in his past three innings, including a blown save in New York and a loss at home Friday against Minnesota.

Manager Bobby Valentine said Padilla could have pitched as soon as this Friday, but the Sox weren't "willing to take the chance of going short for the next couple of days." So far this season, Boston has placed 24 players on the DL.

"It's not fair to the guys out there, and he could put us in a real bind," Valentine said. "He's getting the 15, so I hope it does him really good."

Albeit with a small sample size, Mortensen has been stellar in appearances with the Sox this season. He has a 1.17 ERA in 23.0 innings with 17 strikeouts, and picked up his first win of 2012 with 2.2 scoreless innings on July 31 against Detroit.

"Well, let's not jinx him," Valentine said. "He's risen to the occasion, and he's throwing as well in Triple A, so it's not like he's getting lucky. He's a pretty good pitcher. Throws different pitches, and he says he's ready to go."

Franklin Morales, who Valentine said Tuesday would pitch in Aaron Cook's stead this weekend at Cleveland, will not be available out of the bullpen Wednesday.

"We discussed it, and in all fairness to everyone involved, he's not going to be out there," Valentine said. "He's there in emergency today."

With Craig Breslow, who has appeared in of seven games since his trade from the Diamondbacks, unavailable today and Junichi Tazawa having pitched consecutive games, that leaves Valentine's bullpen with Alfredo Aceves, Mark Melancon, Andrew Miller, and Mortensen. The importance of keeping things strong in the pen isn't lost on him.

"Value-wise, if it's a fantasy-league team that you have, a starting pitcher is much more valuable," Valentine said. "Pennants are won by bullpens."

Etc.

  • David Ortiz ran the bases Wednesday afternoon, from home to second a few times. "Feels really good today. Increasing the workload a little," Valentine said. "We're not outside, so he's not going to hit on the field, but he's going to hit in the cage."
  • Bobby V on Breslow: "I talked to him, coaches talk to him every day, he throws, gives us feedback, and we look at past performance. The fact that he hasn't pitched many pitches is a factor. Being it's a day game, I don't think he'll [pitch]. He doesn't even think he's breaking a sweat."
  • Bobby V on whether umpires hold a grudge, given Dustin Pedroia's ejection last night: "Year after year? Yes. But not game after game."

Game 112: Rangers at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 8, 2012 09:50 AM

Good morning. Here's a preview of the game this afternoon:

RED SOX (55-56)
Ellsbury CF
Crawford LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ross RF
Middlebrooks 3B
Lavarnway DH
Shoppach C
Ciriaco SS
Pitching: RHP Josh Beckett (5-9, 4.54)

RANGERS (64-45)
Kinsler 2B
Andrus SS
Hamilton CF
Beltre 3B
Cruz RF
Young DH
Murphy LF
Soto C
Moreland 1B
Pitching: LHP Matt Harrison (13-6, 3.17)

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, MLB Network / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Harrison: Pedroia 3-13, Aviles 1-13, Crawford 4-11, Ellsbury 3-11, Gonzalez 1-8, Salty 1-6, Shoppach 0-3, Punto 1-1, Ross 0-1.

Rangers vs. Beckett: Beltre 6-30, Young 6-28, Napoli 6-22 (4 HR), Hamilton 8-20, Andrus 4-15, Kinsler 3-16, Cruz 1-14, Murphy 5-12, Moreland 2-8, Gentry 1-2, Gonzalez 1-2.

Stat of the Day: The Rangers own the Sox, having won the season series four years in a row. Since 2009, Texas is 24-12 against the Sox, 11-6 at Fenway Park. The Rangers have won 12 of their last 18 games against the Sox and nine of their last 12 at Fenway. The Rangers are 5-2 against the Sox this season, outscoring them 47-24.

Notes: After seven days off to attend to a sore lower back, Beckett returns to the mound for what could be a very interesting afternoon. The righthander was booed off that same mound on July 31 after leaving with the back injury. Beckett has faced Texas twice this season, allowing seven earned runs over 14 innings. Beckett is 3-4, 4.91 in 10 career starts against Texas, 0-6, 6.66 in four starts at Fenway. ... Harrison is facing the Sox for the first time this season. He is 3-1, 6.10 in seven career games against them, five of them starts. ... The Sox are 22-13 against lefty starters. ... The Sox are 4-5 on their homestand and start a 10-game road trip in Cleveland on Thursday. ... Ross is 10 of 28 this month with three doubles. ... Saltalamacchia, out against the lefty, is 23 of his last 119 (.193) with 50 strikeouts. ... Napoli is 7 of 18 against the Sox this season with four home runs and 10 RBIs. Since the start of the 2010 season, he is 25 of 76 (.329) with 11 homers and 26 RBIs in 23 games against the Sox with home runs in nine of the last 15 games. ... The Sox are 14-19 since July 1.

Song of the Day: "Love, Reign O'er Me" by The Who.

Pedroia ejected, Red Sox dejected

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 8, 2012 12:02 AM

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AP photo

Dustin Pedroia left the clubhouse before reporters were allowed in Tuesday night. It was a smart move despite robbing us all of what would have been colorful remarks in the wake of his ejection.

Smart because ripping umpire Paul Nauert to the media would only increase the fine he has coming from Major League Baseball. And also because, we suspect, Pedroia is a little embarrassed.

For all his Napoleonic bluster, Pedroia has only been ejected one other time in his career and that was back in 2008. Getting tossed in a game the Sox really needed to win — and let's be honest, every game left is pretty much in that category — is nothing to be proud of.

With his team down by two runs in the eighth inning, Pedroia checked his swing on a two-strike pitch the turned to his left.

When he turned back, Pedroia was shocked to learn that first base umpire Paul Nauert ruled it a swing on appeal. Replays showed that Pedroia appeared to hold up. It was a pretty bad call.

“It looked like he checked his swing from our vantage point,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “Can’t get it back.”

As he walked slowly back to the dugout, Pedroia yelled at Nauert. The umpire then held up his hand, saying he had heard enough. Pedroia sat as close as he could to first base and kept shouting.

Pedroia did not look at Nauert when he took the field in the ninth inning. But he was ejected after five pitches, his anger bubbling over.

Valentine did his best to join Pedroia in the clubhouse, but Nauert would not eject him as he jumped around and waved his arms.

“I was pretty angry and supporting my guy. Probably said more to him than I said other times and gotten thrown out,” Valentine said. “He wasn’t going to throw me out unless I made a complete fool of myself or punched him or something.”

Shortstop Mike Aviles said Pedroia was angrier than he had ever witnessed before.

“People might think we’re going through the motions. But that’s not the case,” Aviles said. “We’re coming to the park trying to find ways to win. That’s a perfect example of how much guys care. It’s late in the game and Pedey’s up there battling. He’s trying not to give away an at-bat. For him to get fired up like that, it just shows you we don’t think our season is over.”

Meanwhile . . .

• Jon Lester was brilliant for five innings and bad for two. The Sox are a shocking 8-15 when he starts. "I can't keep talking about being frustrated. It's like beating a dead horse," Lester said.

It's a testament to how bad Lester's season has been that a 4.79 ERA in the last three starts is looked on as an improvement.

These things happen. Justin Verlander was 11-17, 4.84 in 2008. Tim Lincecum is 6-11, 5.43 this season. Now Lester is 5-10, 5.36.

• Years from now, the 2012 season will probably be best remembered for being the rookie year of Will Middlebrooks. His pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning gave him 14 dingers and 51 RBIs on the season. Not bad for a player who spent nearly all of 2011 in Double A.

You'd like to see Middlebrooks get his on-base percentage (.322) up a little. But he has a terrific swing and his defense is getting better and better. Along with the home run, he made a sweet barehanded play on Adrian Beltre in the eighth inning.

• Carl Crawford is swinging the bat so much better. But getting picked off second in the first inning with Pedroia up was beyond terrible.

• Did trade deadline rumors somehow contribute to Josh Beckett having a sore back? He seems to think so.

The righthander came out of his start on July 31 because of a muscle spasm. On WAAF radio Tuesday morning, he offered an unusual explanation about what happened.

“We traveled in late from New York [two nights before], and I didn’t sleep particularly well. I had a lot of anxiety and stress things going on, exterior distractions. I don’t think a lot of it was great for my back,” Beckett said. “Then going out and pitching on that mound, it was very wet and my back just locked up on me.”

Beckett then said that it was “different” to hear his name in trade rumors.

“I still had to answer questions about it, so it was very confusing,” he said. “That’s where I think the anxiety comes in. It’s not so much stress, it’s more anxiety than anything because you’re not real sure how things are going.”

Two things: Beckett has full no-trade rights. So he could have ended any talks any time he wanted to. Beckett also didn't have to answer any questions beyond those coming from media outlets of his choosing. He is virtually never available for interviews.

• There may be a roster move coming and it could be Mark Melancon going back to Pawtucket. He threw 30 pitches tonight and with Beckett on the mound Wednesday for a day game, the Sox may need their bullpen.

Speaking of tomorrow, we'll catch you then. Thanks to everybody for reading today.

Final: Rangers 6, Red Sox 4

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 7, 2012 07:00 PM

Game over: Rangers 6, Red Sox 3: The Sox had their modest two-game winning streak snapped in a 6-3 loss to the Rangers before a Fenway Park crowd of 38,416, the largest of the season.

The Sox (55-56) rallied for three runs in the seventh on a 3-run pinch-hit homer by Will Middlebrooks to cut Texas' lead to 4-3, but that was as close as the Sox could get as the Rangers tacked on insurance runs in the eighth and ninth inning.

Bottom of 9th, 2 out: Rangers 6, Red Sox 3: Pedroia wound up getting ejected by Nauert when he argued David Murphy had swung before getting hit by Craig Breslow's pitch. Nauert heard enough and gave Pedroia the heave-ho, marking the second ejection of his career. The Fenway crowd of 38,416 chanted "Bob-by! Bob-by! Bob-by!'' when Valentine came to his second baseman's defense and lit up Nauert.

After he got Mitch Moreland to fly to left, Breslow handed it over to Junichi Tazawa, who struck out Ian Kinsler with a 95-m.p.h. fastball up in the zone then gave up a run-scoring bloop single to right to Elvis Andrus, which scored pinch-runner Alvin Gentry from second, giving the Rangers a 3-run lead.

Tazawa got out of the inning when he got Adrian Beltre to fly to left, leaving the Sox down to their last three outs to make up a three-run deficit without their sparkplug second baseman.

Bottom of 8th: Rangers 5, Red Sox 3: Mike Adams entered the game in relief of Robbie Ross and struck out the first two batters he faced, getting Pedroia on a checked-swing called third strike by 1st base ump Paul Nauert, who was the subject of Pedroia's wrath as he walked all the way back to the dugout.

Somehow, Nauert averted throwing out Pedroia, even after he continued his withering rebuke from the dugout. Adams wound up getting out of the inning by striking out Ross (swinging).

Top of 8th: Rangers 5, Red Sox 3: Nelson Cruz's one-out RBI single to right scored Josh Hamilton, who drew a lead-off walk from Melancon, to give the Rangers a bit of a buffer after their calamitous seventh.

Melancon, however, came back and struck out the last two batters he faced, punching out Soto with an 82-m.p.h. curveball that ended the inning.

Bottom of 7th: Rangers 4, Red Sox 3: Will Middlebrooks, pinch-hitting for Nick Punto, hit a 3-run homer when he belted a first-pitch offering from Dempster that appeared to just reach the top of the wall, where some fans sitting in the Green Monster seats reached out to grab it.

After the play was reviewed by the umpiring crew and ruled a home run. All the runs in the inning were unearned after Ian Kinsler committed a fielding error trying to backhand Ryan Kalish's sharply-struck grounder. It enabled Kalish to reach and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who reached on a seeing-eye single to right, to advance to second.

Middlebrooks brought them all home with one prodigious swat of his bat. It was the first pinch-hit homer of his career, which chased Dempster (6.2 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K, 99 pitches) from the game.

Top of 7th: Rangers 4, Red Sox 0: Rangers tacked on another run against Lester. The Sox lefty scuffled in the seventh after giving up a one-out walk to Michael Young. He went to third on Geovany Soto's ground ball single to right, then scored on David Murphy's sacrifice fly to left.

Lester's night was done after 6.2 innings when he issued a two-out walk to Olt, prompting Bobby Valentine to summoned Mark Melancon, who gave up an RBI single off the wall to Kinsler that scored Soto from second. Melancon got out of the inning when Elvis Andrus grounded to short for the 6-4 force out at second on Kinsler.

Bottom of 6th: Rangers 2, Red Sox 0: Dempster continued to keep the Sox in check. After issuing a two-out walk to Pedroia, Dempster got Gonzalez to fly to right to end the inning. It marked the second time in the game Gonzalez came up to the plate with RISP and produced the inning-ending out for the Sox.

Top of 6th: Rangers 2, Red Sox 0: After David Murphy ripped a lead-off double to right, Ian Kinsler drove him home with a one-out single off the wall that just missed being a 2-run homer.

With two out, Lester just missed the corner on a 2-and-2 fastball to Hamilton to run the count rull. Hamilton made him pay on the next pitch by lacing an RBI single to right that scored Kinsler. He got out of the inning when Adrian Beltre flew to right.

Bottom of 5th: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Nothing doin' for the Sox as Dempster retires them in 1-2-3 fashion. Seems like he was a great pick-up for the Rangers.

Top of 5th: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Nice recovery by Lester. Just when it appeared he might stumble after giving up a two-out single to Michael Young, then allowing him to advance on a wild pitch to Geovany Soto, Lester rallied by striking out Soto on an 89 cutter.

Through five scoreless innings, Lester has allowed two hits, no walks, while striking out three. Through the first four innings, he faced the minimum of 12 batters, thanks to a second-inning double play, and has thrown 62 pitches (38 strikes).

Bottom of 4th: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: After entering the game 2-for-15 vs. Dempster, Ross doubled off the wall for the second time in as many at-bats in the game against the Rangers' righty. It was the 11th double in their last 12 innings for the Sox against Texas pitchers.

With two out, however, Ross wound up getting stranded when Saltalamacchia grounded to first.

Top of 4th: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Nick Punto assisted on all three outs in the fourth as Lester retired the Rangers on three groundball outs to third, giving him eight overall so far in the game.

Bottom of 3d: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Dempster retired the Sox in 1-2-3 fashion. He matched Lester, pitch for pitch, through three scoreless innings, as each pitcher threw 38 pitches.

Top of 3d: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Lester retired the Rangers in order. He was in complete control, striking out Texas 1B Mike Olt, the pride of UConn, who was making his first Fenway Park plate appearance. Olt went down swinging at a 78 curveball

Bottom of 2d: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Cody Ross hit a lead-off double off the wall, giving the Sox 10 doubles in their last 10 innings vs. Texas pitchers. But the Sox stranded him at third after Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out, Mike Aviles grounded to short, and Ryan Kalish grounded to first.

Top of 2d: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Lester made quick work of the Rangers when he got Michael Young to ground to short for an inning-ending double play.

Bottom of 1st: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Facing Rangers right-handed starter Ryan Dempster, who was acquired from the Cubs at the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, the Red Sox managed to cobble together a pair of back-to-back hits, including a one-out double off the wall by Carl Crawford.

Crawford, however, wound up getting picked off at second by Dempster. After Dustin Pedroia singled off the wall, Dempster got Adrian Gonzalez to ground to the mound to end the inning.

Top of 1st: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Jon Lester, who deserved to win his previous start after allowing 3 runs on 7 hits over 8 innings in a no-decision Aug. 2 vs. Minnesota, got off to a promising start with an efficient 12-pitch, 1-2-3 inning in which he struck out lead-off batter Ian Kinsler, got Elvis Andrus to ground to first, and Josh Hamilton to fly to left.

Pregame: Greetings from Fenway Park where the Red Sox (55-55) will attempt to extend their modest two-game winning streak when they host the Rangers (63-45) in the second game of this three-game set that will wrap up a 10-game homestand. The Sox will send LHP Jon Lester (5-9, 5.36) to the mound to face RHP Ryan Dempster (5-5,2.82), who was acquired from the Cubs 10 minutes before the 4 p.m. non-waiver trading deadline.

As always, please feel free to post your comments here.

Ortiz optimistic about playing this weekend

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 7, 2012 05:42 PM

The Red Sox have yet to play a game this season when Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz were all in the lineup together.

That could change in a few days.

David Ortiz, who received an injection in his strained right Achilles' tendon on Monday, is optimistic that he will come off the disabled list this weekend and play against the Indians. He hasn't played since July 16.

Ortiz has targeted Sunday as his return date.

"Today was the first time I kind of run a little faster than what I've been doing," Ortiz said. "There's still a little sensation in there but it's improving, it's getting better. ... The way I feel today, it's healing fast."

Ortiz said there no plans to play any minor league rehab games. He has been taking batting practice for about a week now and feels comfortable at the plate.

"It's not like I have plenty of time for [rehab]," he said. "When I feel better, I'm going to go at it and play. ... In my case, I know what it takes me to go back and perform."

Achilles' injuries are dangerous ones. If there is a complete tear, a player is usually out 12-18 months. Ortiz has been advised to make sure he's ready before going back out on the field.

Scott Atchison will try rehab, not surgery, on elbow

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 7, 2012 04:57 PM

On the advice of Dr. James Andrews, righthander Scott Atchison will try rest and rehab on his torn ulnar collateral ligament instead of Tommy John surgery.

"He felt like it was kind of a tear that's probably been there for a while," Atchison said on Tuesday. "I may have caused a little inflammation or irritated it a little bit so we just need to get it to calm down. That requires some rest. We're devising a plan to attack."

Atchison said he is "very optimistic" that he will be able to pitch again in September.

Bobby Valentine believes it's possible.

"I was glad to hear something like that," the manager said. "I had a very similar report on Nolan Ryan when I was with the Rangers a 100 years ago. They said very similar thing: 'Hey, it's torn and you either get it cut on or throw 75 pitches a game or something.'

"He [Ryan] went on to pitch a couple of more no-hitters, strike out a bunch of people ... so who knows?''

In other matters:

• With the Red Sox playing a day game Wednesday after the night game, Valentine kept third baseman Will Middlebrooks out of the lineup. Nick Punto will start at third.

Asked if he gave Middlebrooks the night off because of concerns about his hamstring, Valentine said, "It was in the back of my mind, but it's not related. He's running really well now, but he's showing us enough that we let him go on bases and things and try not to get him into a fatigue situation with the way he's playing.''

• Valentine sounded as though he planned to have LHP Franklin Morales make another start when he indicated that Aaron Cook would miss this weekend's four-game series in Cleveland to get ready for the three-game set in Baltimore next week.

Asked if Morales was available to use out of the bullpen, Valentine said, "I'm hoping we don't have to use him. If it's an emergency situation, he's flexible enough to pitch.''

• Four Bruins players — Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille, Tuukka Rask, and Mike Mottau — showed up at Fenway Park and took their hacks at the wall during batting practice. Rask, surprisingly, was the only player who rapped the wall a few times, hitting off a pitching machine.

Thornton came away with a new-found appreciation for what Red Sox hitters go through.

"They're hand speed is so ridiculously faster than ours, it's amazing,'' said the bruising Bruins forward.

Game 111: Rangers at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 7, 2012 03:15 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of the game:

RED SOX (55-55)
Ellsbury CF
Crawford LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ross DH
Saltalamacchia C
Aviles SS
Kalish RF
Punto 3B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (5-9, 5.36)

RANGERS (63-45)
Kinsler 2B
Andrus SS
Hamilton CF
Beltre 3B
Cruz RF
Young DH
Soto C
Murphy LF
Olt 1B
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster (5-5, 2.82)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Dempster: Gonzalez 2-17, Ross 2-15, Punto 0-4, Pedroia 0-3, Salty 1-4, Aviles 2-3, Crawford 1-3.

Rangers vs. Lester: Young 9-28, Kinsler 4-20, Hamilton 6-21, Andrus 5-16, Beltre 6-16, Napoli 6-15, Cruz 8-14, Murphy 209, Gentry 1-1.

Stat of the Day: Jarrod Saltalamacchia is only 9 of 45 (.200) against the Rangers since he was traded to the Red Sox. But seven of those hits have been for extra bases.

Notes: The Sox start the day nine games out of first and four games behind in the wild card. They have won two straight and are 4-4 on a homestand that has two games remaining. ... Lester is 3-2, 4.47 in nine career games against Texas. He faced them at Fenway on April 17 and got rocked (2 IP, 8 H, 7 R 7 ER, 4 BB, 2 K) in an 18-3 loss. Lester has looked better in his last two games this season (14 IP, 11 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 13 K) thanks to better downward action on his cutter and more of an attacking mentality on the mound. ... Dempster is pitching at Fenway for the first time since June 12, 2001 when he was a Marlin. He allowed four runs on seven hits over six innings that day. Troy O'Leary and Trot Nixon took him deep. Dempster faced the Sox (as a Cub) on June 15 at Wrigley Field. He threw seven shutout innings, allowing five hits. He walked two and struck out three. Dempster was pounded in his first start for the Rangers (4.2 IP, 9 H, 8 ER) by the Angels. ... Gonzalez is hitting .400 (60 of 150) in his last 38 games. He also has 24 RBIs in 22 games since the All-Star break, hitting .405 in that stretch. ... Crawford is 14 of his last 40 (.350) with eight extra-base hits and 12 RBIs. ... Aviles is 6 of his last 14 since missing five games with turf toe. ... Beltre has hit .310 at Fenway since the start of the 2010 season.

Song of the Day: "Love and Peace or Else" by U2.

Wild card opportunity still there for the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 7, 2012 11:05 AM

As of this morning, the Tigers (59-50) and Angels (59-51) lead the American League wild-card race with the Athletics (58-51) and Orioles (58-51) right behind. Then come the Rays (56-52).

The Red Sox (55-55) are four games behind the Angels and while that doesn't seem like a lot with 52 games left to play, the problem is passing four other teams.

But there is a little good news. The Sox have six games left against the Angels, three with the Athletics, nine with the Orioles and six against the Rays. So they can directly do some damage to those teams ahead of them.

Some other good news: The Sox have six off days remaining this season. That could allow them to manipulate their rotation to get the maximum out of guys like Clay Buchholz and, presumably, Jon Lester. It also could allow them to put Aaron Cook in the best position to succeed.

The other shred of optimism comes in the impending return of Andrew Bailey. With Vicente Padilla starting to look a little worn down, Bailey could become a key late-inning reliever for the Red Sox. Let's not forget, this is a two-time All-Star who was obtained to be their closer.

A fresh Bailey can make the bullpen that much more effective and allow Bobby Valentine to rest guys who have carried a heavy load this season.

Is it realistic that the forever .500 Red Sox will suddenly climb through the standings? Of course not. But the opportunity is still there.

It would be ironic. In 2011 the Red Sox were terrific all season and lousy at the end. Maybe in 2012 they will be lousy all season and terrific at the end.

After watching what happened last season, you can't say it's impossible.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 7, 2012 10:35 AM

The Red Sox pounded out a 9-2 victory against the Rangers. Michael Vega has the story.

Nick Cafardo writes that John Henry came out in support of Bobby Valentine.

The notebook has David Ortiz hoping an injection helps his strained Achilles tendon.

Dan Shaughnessy isn't buying it. He's down on everything to do with the Sox.

The Red Sox Foundation has donated $52 million to various causes in the last 10 years. Bella English has that story.

Get up and go, Springsteen is coming to town

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 7, 2012 10:30 AM

(This post has nothing to do with the Red Sox. It's about a concert at Fenway Park. Pardon the brief interruption. Thanks.)

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will be at Fenway Park for two shows on Aug. 14 and 15. They also will be at Gillette Stadium Aug. 18. In all, about 140,000 people will see them that week.

Here's one word of advice: Go.

There are still some tickets available at Fenway and given the size of the venue, you'll get a pretty good view of the stage. There are video screens, too.

Full disclosure: I am not remotely impartial about this. I've seen Bruce solo or with his band 114 times since high school, coast to coast and even two shows in Ireland last month. There are probably about 50 other times I've gone to see a band play in New York or New Jersey on the off chance that Bruce might show up.

I go for the music, but also for the fun of traveling and hanging out with friends.

A lot of people ask what's the point of going so often. You can only hear "Born to Run" so often, right?

True. But no two Bruce shows are the same. In Ireland, he played 16 different songs from the second night from the first. In all, there were 46 different songs the two nights. Rarely is there a night when there's not something unique about the show.

On this tour, there are 17 people on the stage. Bruce has a horn section, backup singers and his usual compatriots in the E Street Band. They're capable of amazing things musically. Over the course of three hours, you'll get plenty of rock. But also some gospel, folk, jazz and blues.

Jake Clemons, nephew of the late, great Clarence Clemons, is in the band now and handles the sax solos. He's terrific. So are the rest of the horns: Clark Gayton, Eddie Manion, Curt Ramm and Barry Danielia. Seeing a band with a great horn section is really a treat.

Bruce runs around the stage like a teenager, literally diving into the crowd at times. Whether you know all the words or not, he somehow pulls everybody in the arena into the experience. You'll hear three hours or so of music and you'll be on your feet a lot.

There are a lot of preconceived notions about Springsteen. The biggest is that some people think he will talk about politics, But in the five shows I've seen on this tour, that hasn't happened. He does encourage folks to contribute to local food banks, however.

A lot of people also figure they'll hear just his MTV hits from the 80s, the stuff from the "Born in the USA" album. You'll get some of that, but very little he does live sounds like it does on the record. He is touring behind a new record, "Wrecking Ball" and recently has pulled out a lot of rarities from his early albums.

His last show in Europe went four hours and that didn't include the five-song acoustic set he played for the people who showed up early.

A few years ago my mom wanted to see Harry Connick Jr. perform in Boston for her birthday and I grudgingly went along. I wasn't a fan going in but I was coming out. He was a terrific entertainer. He sang, he danced, he played assorted instruments and told some jokes.

That taught me a good lesson about not being stubborn when it comes to art. It's silly to shut yourself off to something without experiencing it first to make up your own mind.

Bruce is in that vein. You'll leave feeling you saw something special. You'll see and hear things you don't expect and walk away impressed that a 62-year-old guy loves what he does so much.

There are probably a dozen or so people in my life, friends and family, who didn't understand the big fuss about Bruce and asked me about it. So I took them to a show and every one of them had a great time.

Are they all as nuts as I am? Nope. But they had fun and most have since gone back a few times. So I hope you figure out a way to go and you have a good time. Come say hello at the shows.

Look at it this way, maybe you haven't done anything memorable this summer. Now is your chance. A summer concert at Fenway Park and a few beverages. What's not to like?

Valentine appreciates vote of confidence from Sox ownership

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 7, 2012 12:55 AM

Amid rampant speculation about his status before Monday night's 9-2 victory over the Texas Rangers, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine received unsolicited votes of confidence from principal owner John Henry and general manager Ben Cherington which seemed to quell the media-driven cacophony, if only for a day.

Asked for his reaction to the front office's show of support, Valentine said, "I regretted that they had to do it. If our record was better they wouldn't have had to do it. Totally appreciate it, though.

"They felt it was necessary, they think it was good for the guys.''

It seemed to have the desired effect as the Red Sox pounded out 14 hits -- including eight for extra bases, all doubles -- to climb back to the .500 mark (55-55) after taking the opener of this three-game set against the Rangers, which will wrap up a 10-game home stand.

"I don’t know that the players were so totally involved in all the drama,’’ Valentine said. "But I like when they play well and when they execute well.’’

The top three hitters of Boston’s lineup led the hit barrage as Dustin Pedroia went 3-for-4, with three doubles (giving him 22 on the season). Meanwhile, leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury and No. 2 hitter Carl Crawford – as mercurial a top-of-the-order tandem as there is in the Major Leagues – combined to go 5-for-9 with 5 runs scored, 4 RBI, and 4 doubles.

"That doesn’t happen too often, but when it does this offense is going to be pretty explosive,’’ said Ellsbury, who went 3-for-5 with 3 runs scored and an RBI. He smacked a pair of doubles off Rangers righthanded rookie Yu Darvish, who became the first starter in franchise history to allow seven doubles in a game.

"You can see tonight when that does happen, we’re going to score a lot of runs,’’ Ellsbury said. "For us, it’s fun getting on base, running, causing havoc. It puts a lot of pressure on the defense.’’

Righthanded sinkerballer Aaron Cook (3-5) was the beneficiary of Boston’s extra-base explosion as he picked up the victory giving up one run on six hits and three walks while recording a pair of strikeouts over seven innings.

"I think any time I have my sinker working, and the guys are playing great defense behind me, that’s a great recipe for success,’’ said Cook, who won for the first time since June 29 and recorded his fifth quality start in nine outings this season.

"I was just really focused on staying at the bottom of the zone as much as possible tonight,’’ Cook said. "Even when getting guys on, I just pounded the bottom of the zone and let the guys play defense behind me. It's pretty much my approach every time I take the mound.’’

Asked afterward about Valentine's vote of confidence, Adrian Gonzalez said, "Yeah, he deserves it. It's one of those things where he hasn't swung the bat all year, he hasn't pitched -- it's us who are playing out there. We're at a .500 record right now and it's on us, it's not on Bobby.

"Everybody wants to make a big deal out of that, but it's never been on Bobby. It's been on us.''

Now more than ever, it seems. The Sox are back to having a .500 record, they're on a modest two-game winning streak but need to turn it into a considerably longer one if they intend to cover the ground they must cover in the remaining 52 games on the schedule, including 20 at home.

"Definitely, the calendar’s ticking away and so we’ve got to start playing good baseball and get on a roll,’’ Cook said. "The bats really came to life tonight. If we can continue to go out there and just play the type of baseball that we’re capable of just playing – play fun, play relaxed – I think good things can happen.’’

Final: Red Sox 9, Rangers 2

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 6, 2012 07:19 PM

Game over: Big win for the Red Sox who got back to .500, winning their second straight game. A lot of energy around the team the same day that ownership backed Bobby Valentine. Aaron Cook gave the Red Sox quite a boost with seven strong innings. Junichi Tazawa finished it off but allowed a solo homer to Adrian Beltre in the ninth. The game was played in 2:47 before 37,316.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 9, Rangers 1 Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an infield hit and then scored on Carl Crawford's double off lefty reliever Michael Kirkman. Adrian Gonzalez then knocked Crawford in with a single. Cody Ross hit a sacrifice liner to right to score pinch-runner Pedro Ciriaco.

Top 8th: Red Sox 6, Rangers 1 Junichi Tazawa took up where Aaron Cook left off - a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth. Cook, one run on six hits over seven innings,

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 6, Rangers 1 It's a good thing the Red Sox added an insurance run here because no lead is safe with the Rangers. Adrian Gonzalez knocked in Dustin Pedroia.

Top 7th: Red Sox 5, Rangers 1 Cook pitched well in his final inning, walking Soto but no harm. The veteran rigthhander had the sinker working and did the team a huige favor with his performance.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 5, Rangers 1 Ryan Kalish was thrown out trying to steal after a single. Mike Aviles also got on base, but the Sox failed to add to their lead.though Crawford's drive to left was caught at the wall on a leaping catch by Murphy.

Top 6th: Red Sox 5, Rangers 1 Cook keeps rolling, a 1-2-3 inning where he struck out Hamilton and got a pair of ground outs by Beltre and Cruz.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 5, Rangers 1 Darvish's best inning striking out Ross and Salty and getting Middlebrooks to pop out.

Top 5th: Red Sox 5, Rangers 1 Cook has settled down and the sinker is working. He walked Ian Kinsler but got Michael Young to rill back to the pitcher for the final out.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 5, Rangers 1 Sox rallied off Darvish. With one out, Ryan Kalish walked and Mike Aviles singled and Ellsbury knocked in a run with a double off the wall. After Crawford's sacrifice fly got the second run in, Dustin Pedroia doubled to left scoring the fifth Boston run.

Top 4th: Red Sox 2, Rangers 1 Aaron Cook allowed a ground rule double to Nelson Cruz, his second double in an as many at-bats and then picked the rightfielder off second base in a real bonehead play by Cruz. Cooks got out of the inning.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 2, Rangers 1 The Sox took the lead off Yu Darvish when the top of the order - Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford - hit doubles producing the tying run. Crawford came in on Adrian Gonzalez double to right field.

Top 3rd: Rangers 1, Red Sox 0 Cook was aided by another double play, this one by Adrian Beltre after a Josh Hamilton single.

Bottom 2nd: Rangers 1, Red Sox 0 Well, as has been the case a lot lately, the Red Sox had men on base and couldn't score. Cody Ross singled to right and Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked, but Will Middlebrooks struck out, Ryan Kalish knocked into a fielder's choice and Mike Aviles grounded out to short. The Sox got nothing.

Top 2nd: Rangers 1, Red Sox 0 Cook's sinker isn't sinking much. Nelson Cruz doubled to right and came in on David Murphy's single to center. Mike Napoli helped Cook's cause by knocking into a double-play. Cook walked Geovany Soto and then allowed a single to Mitch Moreland before Ian Kinsler grounded out to end the inning.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Rangers 0 The Red Sox were baffled by Yu Darvish as both Jacoby Ellsbury (a called third strike on 3-2) and Carl Crawford whiffed before Dustin Pedroia slammed a double to left. But Adrian Gonzalez grounded out to second to end the threat.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Rangers 0 Aaron Cook has a 9.00 ERA in his last three starts, but he retired the Rangers after allowing a double to right to No. 2 hitter Michael Young. Cook had drawn some interest from the Rangers before the trade deadline but nothing materialized.

John Henry backs Bobby Valentine

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff August 6, 2012 05:46 PM
Red Sox owner John Henry sent out a mass e-mail to beat reporters this afternoon concerning questions about Bobby Valentine's job status. Here's what he had to say:
"I've gotten questions about Bobby and about ownership from you so I'll say the following on the record.

"To blame Bobby Valentine for the Red Sox being .500 at this point in the season is simply wrong. A lot has been written about injuries to key players this year. The impact of that on the Sox this year should not be discounted.

In baseball, managers often get too much credit and too much blame for what happens on the field. That seems to be a constant. There is often the thought in organizations, "This isn't working so the manager needs to go." But an organization is much more than the field manager. We all share responsibility for the success and failure of the Boston Red Sox. We are not making a change in manager.

There has been no lack of effort from our players and we have had a number of them playing hurt. I watch every game and the effort our players put in night after night is very clear to see.

In regard to the notion that we have somehow not empowered Bobby, you should ask him directly about that. We have been nothing but supportive of him inside and outside of the clubhouse. Stories that imply otherwise are due to speculation that is not warranted at all by the facts.

And the notion that we are not present and not attending games is misleading to the public. Tom, Larry and I seldom miss home games. This year is no different. We seldom miss a telecast when on the road if we aren’t there. This is a 365-day-a-year sport for us – as it is for Ben and for Bobby. Even when we are away we discuss issues daily. Just because we aren't answering all media questions doesn't mean we aren't on the job. We are.

Our commitment to winning is unabated. That is our focus. We continue to have the 2nd highest payroll among the 30 clubs. We have been at this for more than 10 years in Boston, and winning is just as much our focus today as it was when we took over."

Bobby Valentine: 'I manage for my job every day'

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 6, 2012 04:54 PM
With his team having averted being swept by the lowly Minnesota Twins in a 6-4 victory in the four-game series finale Sunday at Fenway Park, embattled Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was hit Monday with questions about his job security after one Boston newspaper called for him to be fired.

Entering Monday night's home game against the Texas Rangers, the Red Sox found themselves one game below the .500 mark (54-55) and 4 1/2 games out of the American League wild-card race with 52 regular-season games remaining, which gave rise to speculation about whether Valentine was now managing for his managerial life.

"I have no idea,'' Valentine said. "I manage for my job every day. I try to give my best every day that I come out. We're on a winning streak now, so I kind of like that.''

Asked if there was more pressure to win in Boston than anywhere else in the Major Leagues, Valentine replied, "I think pressure is that thing that you put on yourself when you're unprepared. I think that I've been prepared every day. I'm prepared today for whatever happens, but I don't know about 'pressure.'

"I have great expectations when I wake up every day of my life,'' he said.

Asked about his handling of the team and how the players responded to his managerial style, Valentine replied, "I don't know what my style is. I think that all the players are having a good season and a lot of them have responded pretty well and the guys who haven't done so well, I guess you could say they haven't responded so well, I would guess.''

But did Valentine find himself having to adjust to how he's handled things as opposed to 10 years ago?

"Yeah, sure, I think I adjust every day,'' he said. "Ten years ago? Fifteen years ago? Absolutely, that's like the dark ages. Absolutely. It's silly to think that you don't evolve and change -- unless you're dead. But then you're still decaying, because it's what everyone does. They do it the same time. They always do it, huh? --- get older. Dead people do that.''

In other matters:

* DH David Ortiz, who was still experiencing some discomfort in his strained right Achilles' after undergoing a full-bore workout Sunday, received an injection to help him deal with the lingering pain. "I talked to him earlier and he said today he was going to get an injection to try and get rid of some of the pain when he works out,'' Valentine said. "He says he feels good when he's working and then it hurts afterwards."

Asked about a possible timetable on Ortiz's return from the disabled list, Valentine declined to say whether it would be days or weeks. "That's why I always hate to say a day or a week,'' Valentine said. "When he's ready, I'll be ready to put him in the lineup. I thought it was days a couple of days ago, so it was probably wrong, huh?"

* Scott Atchison met today with Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., to receive a second opinion on the torn ulnar collateral ligament that was revealed by the MRI exam he underwent a week ago. "He saw Dr. Andrews today and he's going to make a determination in the next couple of days when he evaluates all the opinions,'' Valentine said of Atchison.

* Daisuke Matsuzaka, on the 15-day DL with a right upper trapezius strain, made his second rehab start with Triple A Pawtucket Sunday vs. Lehigh Valley, and gave up four runs (one earned) on five hits and a walk with striking out three batters over 3.0 innings (75 pitches, 49 strikes).

* Andrew Bailey, on the 60-day DL recovering from right thumb surgery, made his third rehab appearance Sunday with Double A Portland vs. Erie, and allowing one run in an inning of relief while striking out two batters, giving him six strikeouts over three innings in three rehab outings. He will make back-to-back starts next Wednesday and Thursday with Triple A Pawtucket.

* LHP Rich Hill will probably go to Fort Myers, Fla., once this 10-game homestand ends and throw a batting practice before getting into a Gulf Coast League game.

Game 110: Rangers at Red Sox

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff August 6, 2012 03:00 PM

Good afternoon. The Red Sox snapped a four-game losing streak Sunday. The first-place Rangers are at Fenway Park tonight. Here's a preview of tonight's game:

RED SOX (54-55)
Ellsbury CF
Crawford LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ross DH
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Kalish RF
Aviles SS
Pitching: RHP Aaron Cook (2-5, 5.24)

RANGERS (63-44)
Kinsler 2B
Young SS
Hamilton CF
Beltre 3B
Cruz RF
Murphy LF
Napoli C
Soto DH
Moreland 1B
Pitching: RHP Yu Darvish (11-7, 4.38)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN/WEEI

Rangers vs. Cook: Beltre 6-13, Gonzalez 3-8, Hamilton 3-3, Napoli 2-9, Soto 1-5.

Red Sox vs. Darvish: No history

Stat of the Day: Red Sox starter Aaron Cook is 0-4 with a 5.79 ERA in his last five starts.

Notes: Adrian Gonzalez has six multi-hit efforts in his last nine games. He has 19 multi-hit games in his last 37 games since June 23. Since that date he leads the American League with a .393 average. ...The Rangers and Yankees are tied for the best record in the American League. ... Rangers starter Yu Darvish is 1-3 with a 6.82 ERA, 39 strikeouts, 20 walks over his last five starts. ... Alfredo Aceves earned his 23d save Sunday. ... The Red Sox are 28-32 at home.

Firing Bobby Valentine won't fix the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 6, 2012 12:12 PM

Let's say the Red Sox had decided last winter that they just weren't ready for Bobby Valentine as manager and hired Gene Lamont instead.

Do you really think they would be 10 games over .500 instead of one game under?

Because that's who the alternative was. It wasn't Tony La Russa or Joe Torre, it was Gene Lamont, who is three years older than Valentine, hasn't managed in the majors since 2000 and hasn't been offered the chance to, either.

Do you really think Gene Lamont would have figured out a way around 1,119 games missed on the disabled list? Yes, that's one thousand, one hundred and nineteen. It's a record.

Or the epically bad decision to make Daniel Bard a starter?

Or the decision not to obtain a competent starting pitcher during the winter because Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz were enough?

Or the decision not to do anything to change the chemistry of a team that flat-out quit on Terry Francona last season?

Or the organization's alarming inability to promote one decent pitcher to the big leagues (other than Felix Doubront) since 2009?

Or the run of terrible free-agent decisions made by Theo Epstein?

If you sincerely believe that Gene Lamont would have fixed all that, then by all means Valentine should be fired.

But don't fire Valentine because he doesn't get along with a bunch of assistant coaches who were hired by and remain loyal to Francona and/or the front office. Don't fire him because he was assigned a pitching coach who was fired by the Royals and was supposed to be a minor league instructor and part-time scout for the Sox.

Don't fire him because he did what had to be done and moved Kevin Youkilis off third base and put Will Middlebrooks in.

Don't fire him because the Red Sox make him cover up for players too gutless to explain things themselves.

Don't fire him because the medical staff gets to decide when a player needs a day off.

Don't fire him because he doesn't cozy up to certain media members whom Francona wisely tolerated because that was the path of least resistance.

The Red Sox have not made the playoffs since 2009. They have not won a playoff game since 2008. They are three games under .500 since the 2011 All-Star break. This is an organization with issues that go way beyond the manager. Somewhere along the way, they lost their soul and that filtered down to the clubhouse.

Make a list in your mind of players you believe really care whether the teams wins or loses on a given day. Bet you don't get deeper than seven or eight. This mess all started long before Valentine showed up.

Changing the manager is not going to change any of that. Sure, Gene Lamont, Tim Bogar or somebody else can get that title and nod their heads at everything the front office says. They'll be quite excellent at making sure not to say anything that offends the players. After all, entitled underachievers should never be challenged or offended in any way.

But know this: Valentine fixed a bullpen that was a complete mess 24 hours before the season started.

He worked around the injuries well enough to compose lineups that have somehow scored the third-most runs in baseball.

He wrung something out of guys like Mike Aviles, Andrew Miller, Daniel Nava, Vicente Padilla, Scott Atchison, Kelly Shoppach, Marlon Byrd, Scott Podsednik and Pedro Ciriaco.

He was the guy who said Franklin Morales should be starting. He decided on Alfredo Aceves as the closer. He pushed for Middlebrooks and he's pushing for Ryan Lavarnway now.

Only in Boston would you be subjected to such contrived nonsense as Valentine being called on the carpet for joking to a rookie about making a couple of bad plays in the field. Yes, certainly, Bill Belichick or Doc Rivers would never do such a thing.

Only in Boston would such secondary, meaningless issues command more attention that the fundamental fact that 15 other franchises have qualified for the postseason since the Red Sox last did. That number will surely grow this October. Your team is not good and hasn't been for a while.

The Red Sox need to significantly change their roster, not their manager. If you think getting rid of Valentine is going to change what is wrong about this team, you are fooling yourself. He's not the common denominator here no matter how hard some try and spin it. That's too easy.

The Red Sox quit on their manager last year and they fired the manager. Maybe this time they need to look at where the problem really is.

Pitching matchups for the Rangers series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 6, 2012 10:25 AM

Monday: RHP Yu Darvish (11-7, 4.38) vs. RHP Aaron Cook (2-5, 5.24), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Tuesday: RHP Ryan Dempster (5-5, 2.82) vs. LHP Jon Lester (5-9, 5.36), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Wednesday: LHP Matt Harrison (13-6, 3.17) vs. RHP Josh Beckett (5-9, 4.54). 1:35 p.m., NESN, MLB Network

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 6, 2012 10:10 AM

The Red Sox ended a four-game losing streak as Franklin Morales beat the Twins on Sunday. Nick Cafardo has the story.

Adrian Gonzalez struck a big blow for the Red Sox in the fifth inning.

The notebook has Carl Crawford having a big day.

Sox acquire 3B Danny Valencia from Twins

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 5, 2012 02:23 PM

The Red Sox acquired Twins third baseman Danny Valencia Sunday in exchange for minor league outfielder Jeremias Pineda.

This was the release from the Red Sox announcing the move in the second inning of Sunday's game against Minnesota Twins.

The Boston Red Sox today acquired third baseman Danny Valencia from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for outfielder Jeremias Pineda. Valencia has been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington.

Valencia, 27, has hit .260 (257-for-989) with 52 doubles, four triples, 24 home runs, 129 RBI, 106 runs scored and 63 walks in 273 career Major League games with the Twins over the last three seasons. The right-handed batter is 25-for-126 (.198) this season with six doubles, one triple, two homers, 17 RBI and 13 runs scored in 34 games for Minnesota in 2012 and hit safely in five of seven contests in his second Major League stint of the season since July 27. Valencia has also played in 69 games for the Twins Triple-A club in Rochester this season, batting .250 (67-for-268) with 17 doubles, a triple, seven homers and 37 RBI. He was originally selected by the Twins in the 19th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

Pineda, 21, has gone 56-for-133 (.421) with nine doubles, three triples, 22 RBI, 20 runs, five walks and 14 stolen bases in 36 games this season for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Red Sox, including 29 appearances in center field, four in left and one in right. A switch-hitter, he is leading the GCL in batting average. Over two professional seasons in the Red Sox organization, Pineda has hit .321 (75-for-234) with 11 doubles, five triples, a home run, 32 RBI and 20 stolen bases over 70 games between the Domican Summer League Red Sox and the GCL.

With today’s transaction, Boston’s 40-man roster is now at 40.

Final: Red Sox 6, Twins 4

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 5, 2012 01:35 PM

Final: Red Sox 6, Twins 4

The Sox salvaged a 6-4 victory to snap a four-game losing streak after surviving a ninth-inning scare when the Twins rallied for three runs on a pair of homers off Vicente Padilla. It threatened to ruin the good work done by starter Franklin Morales and relievers Mark Melancon and Craig Breslow.

With no out, Alfredo Aceves, who absorbed Saturday night's 6-4 loss when he gave up four runs on four hits in the ninth including a three-run homer by Joe Mauer, picked up the save when he retired the three batters he faced, striking out Jamey Carroll to end the game before a Fenway Park crowd of 37,019.

Bottom of 8th: Red Sox 6, Twins 1: With Luis Perdomo on the mound for Jeff Manship (2 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 1 BB), the Sox tacked on an insurance run when Jacoby Ellsbury ripped an RBI sacrifice fly to center, scoring Ryan Kalish from third after he doubled to center and advanced on a stolen base.

Vicente Padilla took over for Craig Breslow (1/3 IP) in the ninth.

Top of 8th: Red Sox 5, Twins 1: After he got the first two outs of the inning, Melancon (1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 K) handed it over to Craig Breslow, who came in and got Joe Mauer to ground to short.

Bottom of 7th: Red Sox 5, Twins 1: With two men aboard, Cody Ross ripped an RBI single to center, scoring Carl Crawford, who singled to right and went to second on intentional walk of Gonzalez.

Saltalamacchia drove a ball to deep center and was robbed of a potential extra-base hit by Ben Revere's amazing over-the-shoulder snag on the warning track. Revere doubled up Gonzalez at second to end the inning.

Top of 7th: Red Sox 4, Twins 1: Strong 1-2-3 inning for Melancon, who struck out Brian Dozier (swinging) with a 95 cutter for the second out of the inning.

Highlight of the mid-inning: American Idol winner Kris Allen performing a beautiful rendition of "God Bless America." That's why he's an American Idol, folks.

Bottom of 6th: Red Sox 4, Twins 1: Sox get two hits in the inning from Will Middlebrooks (single to center) and Mike Aviles (single to left), but strand both runners when Ellsbury grounds to second.

Mark Melancon took over for Morales (6 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 K, 106 pitches) in the top of the 7th:

Top of 6th: Red Sox 4, Twins 1: A strong 1-2-3 inning for Morales. That would be his third quality start of the season. He has thrown 106 pitches (63 strikes) through six innings, the second most of the season he's thrown since 109 in a no-decision at Seattle June 28.

Jeff Manship took over for Nick Blackburn (5 IP, 4 R, 9 H, 4 K, 90 pitches) in the bottom of the 6th.

Bottom of 5th: Red Sox 4, Twins 1: Adrian Gonzalez hit an opposite-field 2-run HR into the Green Monster seats, scoring Carl Crawford, who reached on a single to center, to give the Sox a three-run cushion.

It was Gonzalez's 11th homer of the season. He was donating $5,000 to the Jimmy Fund for every HR he hit in the second half of the season. His total so far: $25,000.

Top of 5th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Ben Revere's RBI sacrifice fly to center scored Alexi Casilla, who drew a lead-off walk, with Minnesota's first run of the game to pull within 2-1.

Morales struck out Mastroianni for the second time in the game, this time swinging at an 94 fastball.

Bottom of 4th: Red Sox 2, Twins 0: RHP Nick Blackburn retired the Sox in 1-2-3 fashion, striking out Ryan Kalish (looking) for the second out of the inning.

Top of 4th: Red Sox 2, Twins 0: Another strong scoreless inning for Morales, who got two quick ground ball outs before allowing a single to Ryan Doumit. He got out of the inning after inducing Brian Dozier to pop to second.

Through four innings, Morales has allowed three hits and two walks while striking out three batters. He's thrown 71 pitches, 44 for strikes.

Bottom of 3d: Red Sox 2, Twins 0: Carl Crawford broke the ice when he grounded to short for an RBI that scored Mike Aviles (single to center) and Adrian Gonzalez hit an RBI single to shallow center that scored Jacoby Ellsbury (double to left) that gave the Sox a 2-0 lead.

The Sox could have padded that lead but stranded a pair of runners after Dustin Pedroia singled to right and advanced on Gonzalez's run-scoring hit to center.

Top of 3d: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Morales allowed the first two batters he faced to reach base, inducing Revere to ground into a force at second that wiped out Jamey Carroll, who drew a lead-off walk. After Darin Mastroianni singled to center, Morales picked him off at first on a nifty play he engineered with first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who snuck behind Mastroianni to make the catch and apply the tag.

Morales got out of the inning when he fielded an infield chopper by Mauer on the first base line and applied the tag himself.

Top of 2d: Twins 0, Red Sox 0 A strong 1-2-3 inning for Morales, who punctuated the inning with a strikeout of Alexi Casilla, who chased an elevated fastball.

The Sox announced a minor trade, acquiring Twins 3B Danny Valencia in exchange for minor league OF Jeremias Pineda. Valencia was optioned to Pawtucket.

Bottom of 1st: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Carl Crawford, who celebrated his 31st birthday Sunday, was the first Red Sox to reach base when he reached on a one-out single to center. He stole second, but wound up getting stranded there when Dustin Pedroia grounded out to third and Adrian Gonzalez lofted a pop foul to third.

Top of 1st: Twins 0, Red Sox 0 A promising but protracted start for Franklin Morales, who gave up a lead-off hit to Ben Revere (extending his career-high hitting streak to 19 games) then struck out Darin Mastrioanni and Joe Mauer (both looking) before allowing Josh Willingham to walk after a 10-pitch at-bat. Morales got out of the inning when he got Justin Morneau to ground to third.

Pregame Greetings from Fenway Park where the Red Sox (53-55) will attempt to snap a four-game losing streak by sending LHP Franklin Morales (2-2, 3.32 ERA) to the mound to oppose RHP Nick Blackburn (4-6, 7.43 ERA). We're moments away from the first pitch.

As always, please feel free to post your comments here. Enjoy the game.

Pregame Twins-Red Sox notes from Fenway Park

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 5, 2012 11:31 AM

Carl Crawford celebrated his 31st birthday Sunday. It was a working birthday holiday for the Red Sox left fielder, who was penciled into the lineup in the No. 2 hitting position for Sunday's finale of this four-game series against the Minnesota Twins.

It was also his eighth consecutive game in the lineup since his last programmed day off.

"It was part of a rehab process where they wanted to make sure that he was ready to go,'' said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "They wanted to make sure he passed those tests. We were playing it day-by-day. Being that it's his birthday I think the least he should do is play today, but he's playing great.

"He's swinging well and doing everything we need him to do in the outfield and on the bases,'' Valentine said. "If he needs a day, he'll get a day just like everyone else, but right now there's nothing restricting him.''

In other related items:

* Jacoby Ellsbury, who was a late scratch before Saturday's 6-4 loss to the Twins because of a "leg issue,'' was back in the lineup for Sunday's game. Ellsbury came off the bench late in Sunday's game as a defensive replacement Ryan Kalish, who drew the start when Ellsbury was scratched.

"We were trying to keep a situation from getting to where we don't want it to be,'' Valentine said of Ellsbury's leg issue, which the manager said was not hamstring-related.

"He doesn't like to have things mentioned,'' Valentine said. "It was just a preventative thing.''

Ellsbury spent time during batting practice before Saturday's game working on his bunting, asked if it was something he had wanted the center fielder to work on, Valentine said, "Well, again, because he hasn't played so much and hasn't had those reps, he's not as comfortable doing the sacrifice, or a bunt for a hit. But if they regularly play him in close at third, you have to make a really good bunt if you're going to bunt to third, but he's fast.''

* Valentine said RHP Josh Beckett was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday. Beckett suffered back spasms in the third inning of his last outing last Tuesday and missed his turn in the rotation Sunday and is expected to be slotted back into the rotation Wednesday. "He's on track,'' Valentine said.

Franklin Morales, who is 2-2 with a 3.32 ERA, will take Beckett's turn in the rotation. Since June 3, a stretch which included five starts, Morales has led the Majors with a .189 opponent average (28-for-148).

* LHP Rich Hill, who had been on the 60-day disabled list since June 10 recovering from a left elbow strain, threw a bullpen session Sunday and "looked good, felt good,'' Valentine said. The next step for Hill would be to pitch in a rehab assignment. "It shouldn't be that far,'' Valentine said. "There's no definite schedule yet, I don't think.''

* RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka was scheduled to make his second rehab start Sunday for Triple A Pawtucket. "He'll let it all hang out and see if he can win a baseball game,'' said Valentine, who indicated Matusuzaka would be kept to a 90-pitch count. Matsuzaka began his rehab stint last Monday night vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees) in Rochester, N.Y., allowing 4 hits and 1 walk with 3 strikeouts over 2.1 scoreless innings. He threw 47 pitches, 30 for strikes.


Game 109: Twins at Red Sox

Posted by Staff August 5, 2012 08:48 AM

Good morning. Here's a preview of this afternoon's game.

RED SOX (53-55)
Ellsbury CF
Crawford LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ross DH
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Kalish RF
Aviles SS
Pitching: LHP Franklin Morales (2-2, 3.32)

TWINS (47-60)
Revere CF
Mastroianni RF
Mauer C
Willingham LF
Morneau 1B
Doumit DH
Dozier SS
Casilla 2B
Carroll 3B
Pitching: RHP Nick Blackburn (4-6, 7.43)

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN/WEEI

Red Sox vs. Blackburn: Ellsbury 5-18, Shoppach 9-18, Crawford 1-14, Pedroia 4-15, Aviles 6-11, Gonzalez 3-7, Ross 1-4, Saltalamacchia 0-3

Twins vs. Morales: Mauer 1-4, Carroll 1-3, Doumit 0-2, Morneau 0-2, Span 1-1, Willingham 0-1, Valencia 0-0 (BB)

Stat of the Day: On Saturday, Pedro Ciriaco became the first Red Sox player to hit his first career home run as a pinch-hitter since Yamaico Navarro on July 2, 2011.

Notes: The season series with the Twins is on the line today, as the teams have three wins apiece. ... The Red Sox scored five runs off Blackburn in three innings April 24 in Boston. ... Blackburn has allowed six runs or more in three of his last five starts. ... Morales didn't allow a run against the Twins in two April relief appearances. ... Aviles's home run Saturday gave him a single-season career high 11 homers. ... Crawford celebrates his 31st birthday today. He is 10-for-30 with a double and 3 homers in his last seveb games on his birthday including 2 for 4 with a double last year. Crawford is the only modern Major Leaguer (since 1900) to record 200 doubles, 100 triples, 100 homers and 400 stolen bases before turning 31 years old. ... After Saturday's RBI double, Crawford now has seven extra-base hits in his last eight games. ... Bobby Valentine is three games away from 3,000 games managed in his career. ... RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka is scheduled to make a rehab start Sunday for Triple A Pawtucket. ... RHP Andrew Bailey is set to make a rehab appearance for Double A Portland.

Final: Twins 6, Red Sox 4

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 4, 2012 07:00 PM

Final: Twins 6, Red Sox 4: The Sox wasted seven strong innings from starter Clay Buchholz and a pair of solo homers by Mike Aviles and Pedro Ciriaco, whose pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the eighth broke a 2-2 tie, as the Twins rallied for five runs in the last two innings of the game, including four in the ninth, to extend the Sox losing streak to four consecutive games.

Alfredo Aceves (2-7) absorbed the loss after he gave up four runs on four hits in the ninth, including a three-run homer by Joe Mauer on a 3-and-2 pitch with two outs.


Top of 9th, 2 out: Twins 6, Red Sox 4 Alfredo Aceves, who was one pitch away from delivering the Red Sox a 4-3 victory, wound up giving up a three-run homer on a 3-and-2 pitch to Joe Mauer, which ended his night after allowing four runs on four hits in the frame.

Craig Breslow entered the game and got Morneau to fly to left to end the inning.

Bottom of 8th: Red Sox 4, Twins 2: The Fenway Park crowd of 37,914 chanted ``Pe-dro! Pe-dro! Pe-dro!'' after Pedro Ciriaco, pinch-hitting for lead-off hitter Ryan Kalish, belted a solo homer off lefty reliever Glen Perkins. It was the first homer of Ciriaco's career and gave the Sox a 3-2 lead.

Alex Burnett relieved Perkins with two out and Dustin Pedroia at second (hit by pitch, stolen base) when Cody Ross ripped an RBI single to right that scored Pedroia to give the Sox a two-run buffer.

Burnett struck out Saltalamacchia (looking, 94 fastball) to end the inning. Jacoby Ellsbury. who was a late scratch because of a "leg issue,'' entered the game in the top of the ninth for Ciriaco.

Top of 8th: Red Sox 2, Twins 2: Andrew Miller wasn't long for the game -- let alone the inning -- when he loaded the bases after walking Denard Span, giving up a base hit to Ben Revere and walking Joe Mauer.

It prompted Sox manager Bobby Valentine to summon Alfredo Aceves, who inherited loaded bases with no outs. Aceves got Morneau to loft an RBI sacrifice fly to right, enabling Span to tag up from third and score the tying run.

Aceves got out of the iherited jam when Ryan Doumit popped to short and pinch-hitter Josh Willingham grounded to short for a force out at second.

Bottom of 7th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: The Sox stranded a runner when Saltalamacchia reached on a lead-off single to center. But Mr. De Vries got Aviles to fly to shallow right, struck out Shoppach (for the third time in as many at-bats) and got Punto to ground to second.

Andrew Miller was summoned to relieve Buchholz (7 IP, 1 unearned R, 1 BB, 3 K). He threw 103 pitches, 66 strikes.

Top of 7th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: The defense came up big once again for Buchholz when they turned a 3-6-3 double play after Brian Dozier reached on an infield hit. Punto then robbed Jamey Carroll of a potential extra-bases hit when he poached a scorched liner to third. End of inning.

Buchholz has thrown more than 100 pitches for the night with 103, 66 for strikes.

Bottom of 6th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Mr. De Vries -- we'll just keep calling him that -- continued to keep the Sox off the board.

After giving up a solo homer to Aviles, Mr. De Vries has retired 14 of the next 16 batters he faced, striking out the side in the sixth, and allowing just one hit and a walk in that stretch.

Top of 6th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Buchholz was the beneficiary of some solid defense when he gave up a lead-off single to Justin Morneau, but got Ryan Doumit to ground into a 4-6-3 double play. Buchholz got out of the inning by getting Mastroianni to ground to third.

Through six innings, Buchholz has allowed one run on six hits and one walk while striking out three batters. He's thrown 93 pitches, 60 for strikes.

Bottom of 5th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Impressive inning for Mr. De Vries, who struck out the side, fanning Shoppach (84 slider), Punto (83 curveball), and Kalish (92 fastball) to give him four strikeouts for the game.

Top of 5th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Jamey Carroll scored Minnesota's first run of the night when he reached on sharply-struck single toward the hole between third and short. Nick Punto made a diving stab, but was unable to make the throw in time.

Buchholz commited his second throwing error of the game (and third overall of the season) when he missed wide on a pickoff attempt at first, enabling Carroll to advance to second. Carroll scored from second when Ben Revere reached on an infield nubber in front of the plate, which enabled Carroll to take third. He wound up scoring when catcher Kelly Shoppach made a throwing error to first.

Joe Mauer grounded to third to end the inning as the Sox clung to a one-run lead.

Bottom of 4th: Red Sox 2, Twins 0: De Vries retired the first two batters he faced, making it seven in a row since giving up the solo homer to Mike Aviles, before he issued a walk to Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

But Aviles came up and flew to center on a towering fly ball to end the inning.

Top of 4th: Red Sox 2, Twins 0: Buchholz gave up a two-out double to Darin Mastroianni, then struck out Brian Dozier (swinging) to keep the Twins at bay for four consecutive scoreless innings.

Bottom of 3d: Red Sox 2, Twins 0: De Vries retired the top of the Sox' order in 1-2-3 fashion, as well.

Top of 3d: Red Sox 2, Twins 0: Nice 1-2-3 inning for Buchholz, who got through the top of Minnesota's order by sandwiching a pair of ground ball outs to short around a fly ball out to left. He's thrown 44 pitches (28 for strikes) through three innings.

Bottom of 2d: Red Sox 2, Twins 0: Mike Aviles belted a solo homer into the Green Monster seats to give the Sox a 2-0 lead with one out in the bottom of the second.

Aviles's homer, on a 1-and-0 pitch from Twins starter Cole De Vries, was his 11th of the season, setting a new single-season career high for the Sox shortstop.

Top of 2d: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Buchholz extricated himself from a bases-loaded jam when he gave up back-to-back singles to Justin Morneau, who advanced to second on Buchholz's throwing error on a pickoff attempt at first, and Ryan Doumit.

Buchholz clawed his way back by striking out Darin Mastroianni. Nick Punto then made a great diving stab at Brian Dozier's scorched liner. Buchholz walked Alexi Casilla to load the bases but got out of the inning unscathed by inducing Jamey Carroll to ground to first.

Bottom of 1st: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Carl Crawford wasted little time giving Buchholz and the Sox some breathing room when he ripped an RBI double off the wall that scored Ryan Kalish, who drew a lead-off walk, from first base.

Top of 1st: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Clay Buchholz, looking to record his 10th win of the season, got off to a strong start with a 1-2-3 inning, striking out the first batter he faced, Denard Span, on an 82-mile-per-hour changeup.

Pregame: Welcome to Fenway Park where the Red Sox (53-54) will attempt to climb to the .500 mark yet again this season by sending RHP Clay Buchholz (9-3, 4.75 ERA) to the mound to snap a three-game losing streak against the Twins and their RHP Cole De Vries (2-2, 3.98 ERA).

As always, please feel free to post your comments here. Enjoy the game.

Ellsbury late scratch from Red Sox lineup

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 4, 2012 04:54 PM

Jacoby Ellsbury was a late scratch from the Red Sox lineup for Saturday night's game against the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park, said manager Bobby Valentine, who indicated the move was made as a precaution to prevent "a leg issue'' from becoming a larger one.

"Just being safe with Jacoby,'' Valentine said. "He has a very little situation that he wanted to play through, but with a day game [Sunday], I vetoed it.''

Ryan Kalish, as a result, was penciled in as the starting center fielder and hit out of the lead-off position. It was Kalish's 18th start of the season, 16th in center field, but first as the lead-off hitter.

Asked what specifically kept Ellsbury out of the lineup, Valentine said, "It's a leg issue -- but it's not an issue, but it could become an issue. Now that he's not playing, it's an issue.''

In other related news:

* Josh Beckett, who suffered a back spasm in his last outing that limited him to 2.2 innings and 49 pitches in Tuesday night's rain-shortened 4-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers, did some flat-ground throwing out in right field before Saturday's game. "He really felt good today,'' Valentine said. "We're going to insert him in on Wednesday.'' Valentine said Beckett would probably throw a bullpen session Monday.

* Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who sat out the last two games because of a bout of food poisoning, was back in the lineup Saturday night as the designated hitter while Kelly Shoppach drew the start at catcher. "He said he felt really good when he woke up this morning and came here and lifted some weights and got it out of his system,'' Valentine said.

With three catchers on the roster, Valentine said, "I don't know how permanent the three-catcher situation is going to be, but it's nothing I've ever been comfortable with or even tried to do, I don't think. But if they're here the whole time, I will get 'em work behind the plate.''

* On the concept of having a staff "ace'' in the starting rotation: "It's negligible. It means nothing to me. My ace is the guy who's pitching that day. I don't know why it means anything to anybody. You can only pitch once every five days. He's got to pitch 33 times during the season and if you're really lucky, he might pitch the first game of a playoff series, but the way it usually happens, he doesn't.''

* Will Middlebrooks was given the night off, meaning Nick Punto was penciled in as the starting third baseman. "Wanted to give him a day off two days ago, but he talked me out of it and wanted to go through the lefthander,'' Valentine said. "It should've been two days ago. We all need days off and he's out working every day early, so this will do him great.''

Valentine said it had nothing to do with the diving catch Middlebrooks made on Brian Dozier's pop-up bunt in foul territory in front of the Twins' dugout for the first out in the 10th inning of Friday night's 6-5 loss.

"He wanted it, didn't he?'' Valentine said. "He just showed the effort that these guys have burning in their belly every night to go out there. Very big play at a big time in the game. Too bad it didn't result in a win.''

Game 108: Twins at Red Sox

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 4, 2012 02:35 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of tonight's game.

RED SOX (53-54)
Ellsbury CF
Crawford LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ross RF
Saltalamacchia DH
Aviles SS
Shoppach C
Punto 3B
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (9-3, 4.75)

TWINS (46-60)
Span CF
Revere RF
Mauer 1B
Morneau DH
Doumit C
Mastroianni LF
Dozier SS
Casilla 2B
Carroll 3B
Pitching: RHP Cole De Vries (2-2, 3.98)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN/WEEI

Red Sox vs. De Vries: No history

Twins vs. Buchholz: Morneau 5-11, Span 4-10, Mauer 3-7, Carroll 0-3, Casilla 3-3, Revere 2-3, Willingham 2-3, Valencia 0-2

Stat of the Day: Adrian Gonzalez raised his batting average by at least a point every game from July 27 to Thursday, going from .290 to .302. He was 12-for-25 during that stretch.

Notes: Buchholz has not lost a game since July 14. ... The Red Sox are back under .500 for the first time since July 28. ... The Twins have won consecutive games against the Red Sox for the first time since 2009. ... De Vries made his Major League debut on May 24 and lost to the White Sox. He has made 10 starts. .... Gonzalez leads baseball with a .416 average with runners in scoring position this season. ... The Red Sox are 32-16 when they score first. ... Despite dropping the last two games, the Red Sox lead the season series vs. the Twins, 3-2. ... Manager Bobby Valentine is four games away from 3,000 games managed in his career. ... Pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is scheduled to make a rehab start Sunday for the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Red Sox coming to grips with their fate

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 4, 2012 12:50 AM

There were no talk of playing for pride in the Red Sox clubhouse or getting ready for next season after Friday night's 6-5 loss in 10 innings against the Twins. Nothing like that.

But for the first time this season, it was hard not to miss the sense of resignation among the players.

The season is two-thirds over and the Red Sox have lost one more game than they have won. They are 10 games out of first and four games behind in a crowded wild-card race.

The Red Sox also have lost three straight after winning four in a row. The momentum gained by two dramatic victories against the Yankees in New York then a series victory against the Tigers has been lost.

“That seems to be the story of the season,” Adrian Gonzalez said, his voice just above a whisper.

A day after they were held to two hits, the Sox had 14. But they blew a four-run lead, failing to score over the final seven innings. They were 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position and have dropped the first two games in a series against a team they swept on the road back in April.

“Talent can only go so far. You have to figure out ways to win,” Cody Ross said. “There’s a difference between being a really talented group and a winning group. On paper it looks like that, but right now it feels like we’re reading water. It’s not a good feeling. We have to snap out of it.”

The Twins scored the winning run on what amounted to a defensive misplay. With Vicente Padilla on the mound in the 10th inning, Darin Mastroianni hit a fly ball to the gap in right field.

Ross and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury converged, but the ball fell between them for a double.

“Yeah,” manager Bobby Valentine said when asked if the ball could have been caught. “I thought it hung up there long enough. … When it was off the bat, I thought it was going to be caught.”

Ross, Valentine said, was playing a few steps to the line.

“I don’t know if Ells came over enough with him,” the manager said.

Ross took responsibility.

“I feel like I should have caught it,” he said. “Any ball that’s hit my way, I feel like I should catch. It’s tough to defend the whole field; it’s a big field out there. I caught a couple of ball down the line that could have easily been triples. That one drops in. Just so happens it’s in a big part of the game.”

Ellsbury was not available for comment.

The Twins tried a bunt that was popped up by Brian Dozier. Third baseman Will Middlebrooks dove to catch the ball in foul territory. But his effort was wasted when Jamey Carroll singled to center to drive in the go-ahead run.

“We should have won tonight, no doubt about it,” Gonzalez said. “Today’s frustrating because of where we are. We’re getting close to the end of the year. We have two months to go, these are the kind of games we can’t afford to lose.”

Also:

• The Sox are 2-6 in extra innings, 0-4 at home.

• Carl Crawford was 3 for 5 with a homer, a double and three RBIs. He has hit two home runs off lefties this season, one fewer than all last year.

• The Sox haven't lost back-to-back games against the Twins at Fenway since 2006.

• Somebody needs to get with Felix Doubront and set him straight about his body language on the mound. If there is an obvious blown call, the pitcher is entitled to a dirty look or something of that nature. Veteran pitchers often stop by the umpire on their way to the dugout after the inning for a discreet word or two.

But Doubront isn't helping himself with his gyrations and assorted tantrums. He's 24 and in his first full year in the majors. That's not doing himself any favors with the arbiters.

Thanks to everybody for reading today. I'll be doing the pre and post-game shows on NESN on Sunday with Dale Arnold (and, I think, Jim Rice). Hope you tune in.

Final: Twins 6, Red Sox 5 (10 innings)

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 3, 2012 07:00 PM

Game over: Twins 6, Red Sox 5:

The Red Sox suffered yet another loss to the Minnesota Twins, this one in extra inning. The Sox squandered a 5-1 lead in the fifth and then failed to break a 5-5 stalemate, going 3-for-14 with RISP.

RHP Jared Burton retired the bottom of the Sox order in 1-2-3 fashion in the bottom of the 10th before a Fenway Park crowd of 37,285.

Top of 10th: Twins 6, Red Sox 5: Jamey Caroll drove in the go-ahead run when he ripped an RBI single to center that scored Darin Mastroianni, who reached on a lead-off double to right. Carroll, who reached in all five plate appearances after drawing a walk in his first plate appearance, matched his career high with his fourth hit of the night.

Padilla limited the damage to one run when he struck out Revere (looking) to end the inning.

Jared Burton entered the bottom of the frame in relief of Jeff Gray (1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 K).

Bottom of 9th: Red Sox 5, Twins 5: After Gray struck out Ross and got Gonzalez to fly to center, Lavarnway came to the plate with a .000 batting average and an 0-for-7 skein. He snapped it with a towering double off the wall in left that kept the inning alive.

With pinch-runner Pedro Ciriaco in the game for Lavarnway, Middlebrooks came to the plate and fouled off six off the first seven pitches he faced before grounding out to third to send the game into extra innings. It made the Red Sox 3-for-14 with RISP.

Top of 9th: Red Sox 5, Twins 5 Miller seemed to be cruising along when he got the first two outs of the inning with relative ease. But when he struggled to get the third out, walking Willingham and hitting Morneau, it prompted Bobby Valentine to summon Vicente Padilla from the bullpen to face Danny Valencia, who struck out on three pitches -- all four-seam fastballs.

Bottom of 8th: Red Sox 5, Twins 5 Once again the Red Sox threatened when Crawford ripped a one-out single to right off reliever Alex Burnett and Shoppach followed with a sharply-struck single to left.

It put two men aboard for Aviles, who drew a walk that loaded the bases and ended Burnett's night. LHP Tyler Robertson entered the game to face Ellsbury, who got ahead of the count at 2-and-1, fouled off three sliders, then struck out swinging on a 90-m.p.h. two-seam fastball.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire summoned RHP Jeff Gray to face Pedroia, who stranded all three base runners when he took a called strike on the first pitch and flew to right on the next pitch to end the inning. Boston is 3-for-13 with RISP after eight innings.

Top of 8th: Red Sox 5, Twins 5 Andrew Miller was summoned from the bullpen to relieve Mark Melancon (1P, 1H, 1K), who gave up a two-out single to Jamey Carroll, who reached after hitting a scorched comebacker to the mound.

Miller came in and got Span to ground to second for the third out of the inning.

Bottom of 7th: Red Sox 5, Twins 5 The Sox squandered a huge scoring opportunity with two outs. After a pair of very questionable strikeout calls on Ellsbury and Pedroia by home plate umpire Mark Wegner, Ross reached on a double off the wall.

Gonzalez, who entered the game leading the majors with a .414 batting average with men in scoring position, was intentionally walked. Fien then induced Lavarnway (0-for-3 RISP) to hit a pop foul to the catcher to end the inning.

Top of 7th: Red Sox 5, Twins 5: After Breslow (1.1 IP, 1 H) gave up a two-out double to Morneau, Mark Melancon entered the game and ended the potential threat by striking out Valencia.

Casey Fien replaced Duensing (6 IP, 5 R, 10 H, 3 K, 90 pitches)

Bottom of 6th: Red Sox 5, Twins 5: A 1-2-3 inning for Duensing, who struck out the last two batters he faced: Shoppach and Aviles.

Top of 6th,: Red Sox 5, Twins 5: Tazawa was not long for the game when he was quickly relieved by newly acquired lefty Craig Breslow, who entered the sixth after Tazawa gave up a one-out double to Jamey Carroll.

Breslow got Span to hit a broken-bat ground out to second and got Revere to ground to third, running his scoreless streak to 2.0 innings in as many outings.

Bottom of 5th: Red Sox 5, Twins 5: It looked like the Twins were going to give away the go-ahead run when Cody Ross reached on an error after his sharply-struck grounder found a way through the legs of third baseman Danny Valencia (five-hole). Ross went to second on an error by Mauer, who airmailed his throw to second after Gonzalez hit a nubber that died in front of the plate.

Duensing got out of the jam when DH Ryan Lavarnway grounded into a 4-6-3 double play and Will Middlebrooks hit a pop foul to first.

Junichi Tazawa will take over for Doubront (5 IP, 5 R, 8 H, 4 BB, 2 K, 97 pitches) in the top of the 6th.

Top of 5th: Red Sox 5, Twins 5: The wheels started to wobble for Doubront when he issued a walk to Joe Mauer that loaded the bases for Josh Willingham, prompting a mound visit from pitch coach Bob McClure.

It didn't seem to help Doubront much when he walked Willingham, which enabled Span, who reached on a fielder's choice, and went to second on Ben Revere's single to left, to score from third on the walk.

When Doubront threw two more balls to the next batter, Morneau, prompting a mound visit from Pedroia, who attempted to settle down the young lefty. Even that didn't seem to help much when Morneau slapped a two-run single to shallow center, scoring Revere and Mauer, making it 5-4.

Danny Valencia tied it, 5-5, when his sacrifice fly to right (which was run down by Cody Ross) scored Willingham from third. Doubront, who gave up four runs on three hits and a pair of walks, got out of the inning when he got Mastroianni to fly to center.

Bottom of 4th, Red Sox 5, Twins 1: Duensing gets Pedroia, who singled in his first two at-bats, to ground into an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play.

Top of 4th: Red Sox 5, Twins 1: Doubront gave up a lead-off single to left to Justin Mourneau but retired the next three batters he faced, striking out Danny Valencia (looking), getting Darin Mastroianni to ground to firsta and Brian Dozier to ground out to short. Through four innings, Doubront has thrown 64 pitches (42 strikes), and has allowed one run on five hits and two walks.

Bottom of 3d: Red Sox 5, Twins 1: After Adrian Gonzalez broke a 1-1 tie with his RBI single to left that scored Dustin Pedroia from second, Carl Crawford delivered a huge blow against Brian Duensing when he belted a 3-run homer to the Sox bullpen in right.

The three runs were unearned after first baseman Justin Morneau misplayed a pop foul by Crawford and dropped it, giving the Sox left fielder a second chance. Crawford crushed the next pitch, an 89-mile-per-hour sinker from Duensing, for his third homer of the game, giving the Sox a 5-1 lead.

Top of 3d: Twins 1, Red Sox 1: Big double-play ball helped Doubront get out of the inning after he issued a one-out walk to Joe Mauer then induced Josh Willingham to hit into a 1-4-3 double play.

Bottom of 2d, 2 outs: Twins 1, Red Sox 1: Kelly Shoppach helped the Sox tie the game when his RBI single to center scored Carl Crawford, who reached on a two-out double to right.

Shoppach advanced to second on Aviles's ground ball single to center, but both wound up stranded on base when Ellsbury flew to left to end the inning.

Top of 2d: Twins 1, Red Sox 0: Justin Morneau, who reached on a lead-off double off the wall and advanced on Danny Valencia's sacrifice fly to right, scored Minnesota's first run on Darin Mastroianni's broken-bat RBI single up the middle just beyond the grasp of diving shortstop Mike Aviles.


Dubront earned a mound visit from pitching coach Bob McClure after issuing a walk to No. 9 hitter Jamey Carroll, which put two men aboard for Span, who wound up grounding out to second.

Bottom of 1st: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: With one out and runners on the corners after Jacoby Ellsbury beat out a broken-bat infield chopper to second for a base hit and then went to third on Dustin Pedroia's single to center, Adrian Gonzalez came up and grounded into 6-4-3 double play to strand both runners. That made it 10 consecutive scoreless innings against the Twins.

Top of 1st: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Great running grab by Jacoby Ellsbury in right center, which robbed Josh Willingham of a potential run-scoring hit with Ben Revere at third. Ellsbury's outstanding glove work enabled starter Felix Doubront to get out of the innning after throwing 19 pitches (12 for strikes).

Pregame

Greetings from Fenway Park where the .500 Red Sox (53-53) will attempt to snap a two-game losing streak in the second game of this four-game series against the Minnesota Twins (45-60). The Red Sox, who were shut out by Samuel Deduno in Thursday night's 5-0 setback, will send LHP Felix Doubront (10-5, 4.37 ERA) to the mound to oppose LHP Brian Duensing (2-6, 4.53).

As always, please feel free to post your comments here. Enjoy the game. 1-

Ortiz works out, but not returning this weekend

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 3, 2012 05:57 PM

David Ortiz took batting practice on the field and then did some running drills in right field. He is making daily progress with his strained right Achilles tendon.

But when asked if he would be activated this weekend, Big Papi shook his head.

"No," he said. "Not yet."

Ortiz was feeling energetic enough to leap up the dugout stairs and photo bomb some fans on the field who were taking a picture. That was pretty funny.

Just a guess, but Ortiz will return Monday or Tuesday.

Beckett scratched for Sunday, but not on DL

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 3, 2012 04:43 PM

The Red Sox, as expected, have scratched Josh Beckett from his start against the Twins on Sunday because of a lower back injury. Franklin Morales will start in his place.

"Josh feels much better today," Bobby Valentine said. "But he is not going to throw. So he will not pitch on Sunday. But it looks like he's feeling better."

Beckett worked out today. But he has yet to throw since coming out of the game on Tuesday after a back spasm.

"I don't think Monday," Valentine said. "I don't know about Tuesday. He might miss a whole [turn through the rotation] or we might slot him in. We're trying to see how everybody else fits with Josh's recovery. He hasn't thrown a ball yet, it's kind of silly to say when he'll pitch in a game."

Valentine said it was "kind of nebulous" whether Beckett would go on the DL but that it seemed unlikely.

Also:

• Andrew Bailey threw a scoreless inning in the Gulf Coast League. He allowed a hit and a walk and struck out two. He will next pitch for Portland on Sunday.

• David Ortiz is back on the field this afternoon taking BP and presumably will do some running drills.

• Daisuke Matsuzaka will make another rehab start for Pawtucket on Sunday.

Red Sox induct Schilling, Barrett, Burks, others into hall of fame

Posted by Staff August 3, 2012 03:29 PM

The Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame Class of 2012 met with the media prior to their induction ceremony on Friday at Fenway Park, reflecting on their careers with one of the most storied franchises in sport.

The latest round of inductees includes Marty Barrett, Ellis Burks, Joe Dobson, Dutch Leonard, Curt Schilling, Joe Mooney and John I. Taylor. The final game of 1967, when the “Impossible Dream” Red Sox defeated the Minnesota Twins, 5-3, was also recognized as the Hall of Fame’s Memorable Moment.

Schilling was the obvious center of attention, fielding questions on numerous off-subject topics, including his failed video game company, while also recalling the organization’s World Series success during his tenure.

“To walk out on that sacred ground and take the ball every fifth day was something I’m very proud of and proud to be associated with,” said Schilling, who compiled 53 regular season wins in a Boston uniform. “I’m very proud. The important thing about something like this is that it’s recognition of the group of people I was with when I was here.”

Schilling, who has been outspoken about the team and organization since former manager Terry Francona's departure, also gave his take on the current atmosphere on Yawkey Way.

“Communication is the essential piece to all of it and apparently it doesn’t seem like that’s going very well here," said Schilling. "It starts at the top in the owners' box and goes all the way to the clubhouse and everybody has to be on the same page. I’ve played on teams like this and it's hard and it's challenging because generally it never revolves around the nine innings in this place, its always about the other stuff. Its harder because its worse because there's more of it and a guys a lot of times aren’t prepared for that.

“You have to have the group of guys who handle all of the media and answer all of the questions for everybody. All the World Series teams I played on, we had leaders. I took a lot of flack for a lot of things, but that stuff never bothered me because I knew what my job was.”

During his four years in Boston, Schilling helped the team to two World Series titles, posting a 6-1 postseason record with a 3.28 ERA.

“We realized that we had something very special and we recognized it early,” said Schilling regarding 2004. “It was a special year and I wish it could have parlayed into more with that group. We had a very special group from the manager to the clubhouse guys. When you play in the big leagues you understand that it’s always about a family when you play on good teams. That was what we had.

“You literally couldn’t wait to get up and go to the ball park. You couldn’t wait to be around the guys and that was organization wide.”

Although he was only able to play in 11 games during the 2004 World Series campaign, Ellis Burks looked back fondly on the year when he returned to the organization where his career began.

“That was a lot of fun,” said Burks, who played for the White Sox, Rockies, Giants and Indians between stints in Boston. “I never in my wildest dreams thought the Red Sox would want me to come back here.

“I’ve never burned bridges wherever I went and played, it was just a matter of me accepting it and wanting to be a part of it once again. I’m glad I did.”

Burks' first six years with the Red Sox came from 1987 to 1992, crossing paths will fellow inductee Marty Barrett, who manned second base for nine seasons.

“When you’re in the minor leagues, you think you’re going to get there, but you never really know,” said Barrett, who played in Boston from 1982 to 1990. “I couldn’t have imagined back then that this would have happened.”

Representing the Hall of Fame Memorable Moment from 1967 that clinched the first Red Sox pennant in 21 years was Jim Lonborg, winner of that season's Cy Young Award.

“I remember Rico catching that last out,” said Lonborg, who vividly recalled the ensuing moments. “I remember the joy of being with all of my teammates for a brief moment. Then I remember the chaos of a lot of people that I didn’t know and not quite going exactly where I wanted to go, which was back in the clubhouse to be with my teammates.

“Thank god for the Boston Police, they were able to abscond me from the crowd and get me where I wanted to be.”

All of the Hall of Fame honorees were recognized in a mid-day induction ceremony at Fenway Park and will be part of a pregame ceremony prior to Friday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins.

Game 107: Twins at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 3, 2012 03:20 PM

Here is a preview of the game:

RED SOX (53-53)
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Gonzalez 1B
Lavarnway DH
Middlebrooks 3B
Crawford LF
Shoppach C
Aviles SS
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (10-5, 4.37)

TWINS (45-60)
Span CF
Revere RF
Mauer C
Willingham DH
Morneau 1B
Valencia 3B
Mastroianni LF
Dozier SS
Carroll 2B
Pitching: LHP Brian Duensing (2-6, 4.53)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Duensing: Aviles 4-14, Shoppach 0-8, Crawford 0-5, Ross 0-3, Ellsbury 1-2, Gonzalez 0-2, Salty 1-2, Pedroia 0-1.

Twins vs. Doubront: Carroll 1-2.

Stat of the Day: As of tonight's game, the season is two-thirds over.

Notes: The Sox are nine games out of first and four games out in the wild card with 56 games left. ... Doubront is making his first career appearance against the Twins. The Sox are 14-6 in the games he has started. ... Duensing is 0-1, 3.60 in four career outings (one start) against the Red Sox, a total of five innings. ... Gonzalez has multiple hits in five of the last six games. He has at least two hits in 18 of the last 34 games. Gonzalez has walked in each of the last three games after going 29 games without a walk. ... Aviles is back after missing five games with turf toe. ... The Twins have won five of their last seven. ... Revere has a 16-game hit streak, his career best. ... The Sox are 22-12 against lefthanded starters. ... The newest members of the Red Sox Hall of Fame, who were inducted this morning, will be recognized on the field before the game. They are Marty Barrett, Ellis Burks, Joe Dobson, Dutch Leonard and Curt Schilling along with former groundskeeper Joe Mooney and former owner John I. Taylor. Dobson, Leonard and Taylor were inducted posthumously.

Song of the Day: "Evenflow" by Pearl Jam.

For the Red Sox, history in the making

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 3, 2012 12:58 PM

Statistics on injuries in baseball are, somewhat surprisingly, hard to come by.

But this much we do know: Based on the available information, the Red Sox have set a team record by putting 23 players on the disabled list 27 times this season.

Going back to 1987, the 23 players are the most put on the DL in a single season by any team in the majors.

The 2008 Nationals used the DL 30 times and the 2004 Rangers 29 times. The Red Sox are one of five teams tied for third with 27 uses of the DL. Those stats go back 25 years according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com.

For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about this team, you can make a case that it's somewhat of a miracle they're 53-53 given all the injuries. The Phillies, who also have been plagued by injuries, are 47-58.

Thursday night marked the 75th defensive lineup and 91st batting order the Red Sox have used in 106 games.

The player with the most starts in left field is Daniel Nava. Most starts in center? Jacoby Ellsbury is tied with Marlon Byrd who was designated for assignment on June 9. Adrian Gonzalez has started more games in the outfield than Carl Crawford.

Meanwhile, we await news on Josh Beckett and his sore back.

Westmoreland checks in via Twitter

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 3, 2012 12:09 AM

westytweet.jpg

Here's some news that will make you smile.

Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland, who underwent a second brain surgery on July 13, was on Twitter just now.

He wrote: "He pulled me through again. #2for2inlife & batting 1.000 in brain surgeries."

There was a photo of Westmoreland holding a Bible.

Westmoreland, only 22, first had surgery in 2010 and recovered well enough to return to playing baseball. Now he's fighting through it again.

Good luck to him and his family.

(For more on Westmoreland, see this amazing story from the Globe Magazine.)

Deduno befuddles forever .500 Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 2, 2012 11:30 PM

His name is Samuel Deduno. Prior to this season, the 29-year-old righthander from the Dominican Republic had appeared in six major league games, all in relief, for the Padres and Rockies. He wasn't considered much of a prospect.

Deduno signed a minor league deal with the Twins over the winter and spent only a brief time in major league spring training before being assigned to Triple A Rochester. He pitched well there and when Minnesota became desperate for starters, he got a shot.

Facing the Rangers and Orioles, Deduno gave up six earned runs on 12 hits in his first 9 2/3 innings. About what you might expect. Then he beat the Royals and Indians, allowing two earned runs over 13 1/3 innings.

Thursday night he got a start against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. A Red Sox team that had won four of five games and scored 27 runs. A Red Sox team, ostensibly, with something to play for.

You saw what happened. Deduno threw six shutout innings and allowed two hits, both by Adrian Gonzalez, in a game the Sox lost, 5-0.

Aaron Gleeman, who writes for Hardball Talk and follows the Twins as closely as anybody, had a great line on Twitter during the game: "Nothing about Samuel Deduno makes any sense," he wrote.

You could say the same about the $175 million Red Sox, who are at .500 for the 16th time this season.

Jon Lester (8 innings, 7 hits, 3 runs, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts) pitched well enough to win most nights. Not this time.

There were the usual excuses afterward about facing a pitcher they hadn't seen before and how he was effectively wild. Only Dustin Pedroia, as is often the case, admitted the truth.

“Jon pitched great, offense stunk,” Pedroia said. “There’s no more [expletive] questions or anything. You don’t have to ask anybody else. Jon pitched great; we stunk.”

That about sums it up. Hope you're enjoying the Olympics.

Final: Twins 5, Red Sox 0

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 2, 2012 07:00 PM

Game over: Twins 5, Red Sox 0: The Red Sox suffered their second loss in a row, wasting an eight-inning effort by Jon Lester, who allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out seven before a crowd of 37,191.

The Sox dropped to 53-53.

Lester (5-9) suffered the loss while Minnesota starter Samuel Deduno (3-0) picked up the victory after throwing six shutout innings of two-hit ball at the Sox.

Top of 9th: Twins 5, Red Sox 0: With Aceves on the mound, the Twins tacked on a pair of insurance runs with two outs when Brian Dozier crushed a 2-and-0 fastball for a two-run homer, launching it into the Green Monster seats where it caromed off Sports Authority sign in left. Aceves got out of the inning, mercifully, when he induced Drew Butera to fly to center, leaving the Sox down to their last three outs to score five or more runs.

Bottom of 8th: Twins 3, Red Sox 0: Glen Perkins entered the eighth in relief of Casey Fien (1 IP, 1 K) , and proceeded to keep the Sox at bay with a 1-2-3 inning. Alfredo Aceves will enter the game in the ninth for the Sox in relief of Lester (8 IP, 3 R, 7 H, 7 K, 105 pitches, 69 strikes).

Top of 8th: Twins 3, Red Sox 0: Lester looked strong in the eighth, making a stab of Span's comebacker to the mound, getting Ben Revere to ground to first and striking out Josh Willingham to record his seventh punchout of the game. He has now thrown 105 pitches (69 for strikes) and has done everything humanly possible to help the Sox win -- except, that is, score some runs.

Bottom of 7th: Twins 3, Red Sox 0: Fien put the clamps on the Sox, retiring the side in order, sandwiching a pair of fly ball outs to center around a strikeout (looking) of Ryan Kalish.

Top of 7th: Twins 3, Red Sox 0: 1-2-3 inning for Lester. He's kept the Sox in it, but they have squandered several opportunities to score runs for him. Casey Fien will be the new pitcher for the Twins. Deduno's line: 6 IP, 2 H, 4 BB, 1 K, 101 pitches (50 strikes).

Bottom of 6th: Twins 3, Red Sox 0: The Sox appeared to have Deduno teetering when they put two runners aboard with two outs. Adrian Gonzalez, who broke up Deduno's no-hit bid with a double to left in the fourth, reached on a single to center. Ross drew a walk to put runners in scoring position, but the Sox failed to capitalize when Lavarnway flew to left to end the inning.

Top of 6th: Twins 3, Red Sox 0: The Twins tacked on another run after Lester gave up a pair of back-to-back doubles with two outs. After Justin Morneau doubled to left, Ryan Doumit followed with an RBI double to right that scored Morneau to make it 3-0.

Bottom of 4th: Twins 2, Red Sox 0: Sox squandered another scoring opportunity when they put two men aboard against Deduno. Adrian Gonzalez hit a one-out double to left, then after Cody Ross popped to third, Ryan Lavarnway drew a walk, putting two aboard for Will Middlebrooks, who stranded the runners when he flew to center to end the inning.

Top of 4th: Twins 2, Red Sox 0: Lester continued to keep the Sox in it, retiring the Twins in order.

Bottom of 3d: Twins 2, Red Sox 0: Deduno did not allow the Sox to muster any kind of a response with another 1-2-3 inning, retiring the last seven batters he's faced in a row.

Top of 3d: Twins 2, Red Sox 0: After he retired the first six batters he faced, Lester had his no-hit bid broken up by Brian Dozier's lead-off single up the middle. After Lester got the next two batters out, Denard Span ripped an RBI double to right scoring, Dozier. Span scored on Ben Revere's bloop single over shortstop Pedro Ciriaco to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.

Bottom of 2d: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: The game seemed to shape up into a pitcher's duel when Deduno responded in kind with a 1-2-3 inning as well, getting three ground ball outs that retired Ryan Lavarnway, Will Middlebrooks and Ryan Kalish in order.

Top of 2d: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Lester stacked up another 1-2-3 inning on top of his first, striking out Ryan Doumit on a 76 curveball for the second out of the inning. Lester has now thrown 22 pitches (15 for strikes).

Bottom of 1st: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: The Sox stranded a pair of base runners in the bottom of the frame when Twins starter Samuel Deduno issued back-to-back walks to Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez before inducing DH Cody Ross to loft an inning-ending pop fly to short.

Top of 1st: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Strong start for Jon Lester, who retired the side in 1-2-3 order, striking out the first two batters he faced. Both were looking at cutters. Lester threw 12 pitches in an efficient first inning.

Pregame Welcome to a hot and steamy Fenway Park where the Red Sox (53-52) will host the Minnesota Twins (44-60) in the first game of a four-game series. The Sox will send LHP Jon Lester (5-8, 5.49 ERA) to the mound to oppose RHP Samuel Deduno (2-0, 3.13).

As always, please feel free to post your comments here. Enjoy the game.

Step forward for Ortiz, but still not ready

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 2, 2012 05:36 PM
300ortiz.jpg

David Ortiz performed agility drills before Thursday's game. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)

David Ortiz, who is on the disabled list with a strained right Achilles tendon, took batting practice on the field this afternoon and then did some agility drills under the supervision of physical therapist Dan Dyrek, a team consultant.

Ortiz moved laterally, did some exaggerated steps and also some quicker steps before jogging back and forth in a straight line in right field.

Over the weekend, when the Red Sox were in New York, Ortiz was unable to get through those drills. So progress is being made.

"I feel better. The guys were a little surprised with how I was moving compared when we tried in New York," Ortiz said. "New York was absolutely very bad. I just take a couple of steps and I couldn't even walk through without limping."

Ortiz estimated he was running at 50-60 percent of his usual speed.

"I'm not going to be 100 percent when I come back to play, but when we start doing the power [running] drills and I start feeling better, I think I'll be ready to go," he said.

Ortiz has found the treatment to be a series of stops and starts. The treatment, in some cases, left him limping then led to improvement 48 hours later. NESN analyst Matt Stairs, who as a player had the same injury, talked to Ortiz about what to expect.

"It's improving," Ortiz said. "As I work out and do different things, the following day I feel a little sore. But it's part of the process from what they say. [Wednesday] when I came in, I felt really good. Then we take the treatment to another level and today I came a little sore. But today we take the treatment to another level, a level that I thought I wasn't going to be able to do. It feels good, though. I'm improving."

Ortiz said the last hurdle before being activated will be running at full speed, or close enough to it. He estimated that would be in another three or four days. He has not ruled out playing at some point this weekend.

"If I can handle it for a couple of days, probably they might give me the green light. But we have to get there first," Ortiz said.

Ortiz said he was frustrated with the setback in New York. But he has learned that his particular injury requires patience to avoid a setback.

"This is something, it's not a game," he said. "I started learning about that injury. It's an injury that can put you out for a long time if you don't take care of it."

Josh Beckett questionable for next start

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff August 2, 2012 05:32 PM

Josh Beckett did not throw this afternoon and is questionable for his start on Sunday, according to Bobby Valentine.

"I’d say it’s questionable for him to throw [Friday], which would then make it questionable that he would make his next start, which means he won’t make it, more than likely," Valentine said.

Beckett had a back spasm during his start against the Tigers on Tuesday and left the game in the third inning,

There is no decision on whether Beckett will go on the disabled list or potentially start on Monday or Tuesday. Valentine said he needs to have a discussion with Beckett then see how a shift would affect the rest of the starters.

Valentine said Beckett felt "much improved today, had a great night sleep. Still a little limited in his motion.''

If Beckett does not start Sunday, Franklin Morales would likely take his place. Morales is available in the bullpen tonight.

Game 106: Twins at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 2, 2012 01:15 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of the game:

RED SOX (53-52)
Ellsbury CF
Crawford LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ross DH
Lavarnway C
Middlebrooks 3B
Kalish RF
Ciriaco SS
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (5-8, 5.49)

TWINS (44-60)
Span CF
Revere RF
Willingham DH
Morneau 1B
Doumit LF
Valencia 3B
Dozier SS
Butera C
Casilla 2B
Pitching: RHP Samuel Deduno (2-0, 3.13)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Twins vs. Lester: Mauer 7-20, Span 5-15, Morneau 5-19, Willingham 2-7, Carroll 1-9, Valencia 1-6, Casilla 0-3, Revere 1-3, Doumit 2-3.

Red Sox vs. Deduno: No history.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 3-0 against the Twins this season and 18-10 against the AL Central this season.

Notes: Here's a crazy stat for you: The Red Sox haven't won consecutive games started by Lester since May 14 and 19. ... The Sox are 8-13 in games started by Lester. He showed some improvement against the Yankees on Saturday (6 IP, 4 H, 4 ER) in a victory against CC Sabathia. Lester is, oddly, 1-3, 4.96 against the Twins in his career. ... Deduno is a 29-year-old journeyman making his fifth big-league start. But the first four sure were good. Deduno has allowed two runs on eight hits in his last 13.1 innings. None of the Red Sox have faced him before. ... Middlebrooks has hit in nine straight at 13 of 33 with six RBIs. ... Gonzalez is .389/.407/.550 in his last 33 games. ... Lavarnway is starting a major league game for the first time since Game 162 last season. ... Ciriaco has hit safely in six straight at 9 of 23.

Song of the Day: "Summer Days" by Bob Dylan.

Derek Lowe would welcome a return to Red Sox

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff August 2, 2012 11:56 AM
Derek Lowe is returning to his Fort Myers home for a “tune-up” and that’s all he thinks he needs to get back on track after the Cleveland Indians designated him for assignment Wednesday.

He would love a return to the Red Sox.

Lowe said he will go back and work with his longtime personal trainer Chris Correnti, the man who also worked closely with Pedro Martinez for many years when they were all together with the Red Sox. Correnti did outstanding work with both Martinez and Lowe during their Red Sox years, but was allowed to leave. The Red Sox haven’t had someone of Correnti’s credentials since.

“Of course I would,” responded Lowe when asked if he’d like to return to the Red Sox. “I just need to go back with Chris and get my stuff right again. I know I will. I know I can pitch like I did the first two months of the season.”

In a radio appearance on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show this morning, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington indicated there is some interest from the Sox.

"Derek obviously had a great run here," Cherington said. "We'll take a look at it. But we still need to focus on the guys here. We have great respect for Derek and what he did. We'll take a look at it. If it makes sense to pursue, we'll do so. That will be on the agenda today. But we still feel like we have the potential solutions internally for our rotation."

Lowe, 39, had really struggled and pitched to a 5.52 ERA in 21 starts for Cleveland this season. The righthanded sinkerballer gave up seven runs on eight hits, two walks and a balk over 2 1/3 innings in Cleveland's 8-3 loss Tuesday night. He had lost four straight, had a 15.88 ERA in his past three starts and an 8.80 ERA in his past 12.

But his good stretches are very good.

Lowe was 6-1 with a 2.05 ERA, but is 2-9 since with his ERA ballooning to 5.52. He is 174-156 with 85 saves in his career with Boston, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta and Cleveland.
The Indians dumped Lowe to make room for rookie righthander Corey Luber. Lowe has had more stretches where he’s gotten off kilter the last two years, but if you know Lowe, and it will be interesting to see which teams will understand this, once he gets his mechanics right he tends to go on a good roll and his veteran presence could really be helpful..

Lowe is still throwing a lot of ground balls – about 60 percent – but he’s walked way too many batters - 45 in 119 innings. The Indians took on $5 million of his $15 million salary from the Braves this offseason. The Braves no longer had room for Lowe, but lamented the deal earlier in the season when Lowe was going good.

Lowe does not believe he’s reached the end of the road, but just a bump, he knows he can get through after working with Correnti.

Pitching matchups for the Twins series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 2, 2012 09:30 AM

Thursday: RHP Samuel Deduno (2-0, 3.13) vs. LHP Jon Lester (5-8, 5.49), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Friday: LHP Brian Duensing (2-6, 4.53) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (10-5, 4.37), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Saturday: RHP Cole De Vries (2-2, 3.98) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (9-3, 4.75), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Sunday: RHP Nick Blackburn (4-6, 7.43) vs. RHP Josh Beckett (5-9, 4.54), 1:35 p.m., NESN

The trend takes a wrong turn for Aaron Cook

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 2, 2012 12:45 AM

"Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls, it's more democratic." — Crash Davis

Here's the thing, Crash Davis was wrong. Nuke LaLoosh got called up to the show because he could strike batters out.

That brings us to a real pitcher, Aaron Cook. He was the Thomas Jefferson of democratic ground balls in his first four starts after coming off the disabled list in June, going 2-1 with a 1.67 earned run average.

Now the trend has shifted. Cook couldn’t get out of the fifth inning on Wednesday night as the Tigers beat the Red Sox, 7-5.

Cook is 0-3 in his last three starts, allowing 15 earned runs on 20 hits, six of them home runs, over 15 innings. Those games came against the Blue Jays and Yankees before the Tigers roughed him up.

Cook allowed six runs on nine hits. Five of the runs came in the fifth inning as a close game got away from the Sox and snapped their four-game win streak.

Six of the nine hits came on two-strike pitches. Cook didn’t have a strikeout in the game and has only four over 44.2 innings.

Strikeouts may be fascist. But sometimes you really need them.

“We all wish he had a pitch that, with two strikes, it would be a swing-and-miss pitch,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “That’s what you live with. A contact pitcher, he works quick and doesn’t walk people. But at times those groundballs find holes.”

In a 1-1 game, thee hits came in bunches in the fifth inning. With two runs in and a runner on, Cook tried a 2-and-2 curveball to Miguel Cabrera that stayed up in the strike zone.

Cabrera clobbered it over everything in left field, across Lansdowne Street and onto the roof of the parking garage. It was only a few feet away from the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia explained that the idea was to get Fielder to chase a pitch in the dirt. But the ball spun up.

“He thought he could bounce a curveball and he didn’t bounce it. The big boy deposited it,” Valentine said. “Looking for that groundball at someone. It didn’t happen that inning.”

Prince Fielder was next and he homered to straightaway center, another curveball gone awry. Valentine finally came and got Cook then.

Cook has allowed two home runs in each of his last three starts. They’ve accounted for 10 runs.

“I can live with the groundballs getting through and scoring runs here and there,” he said. “But when I’m making bad pitches to the best hitters in the game and just leaving them up, they did exactly what they were supposed to do with those pitches.

If Cook were to stay in the rotation, he would face the Texas Rangers at Fenway on Monday. But with Josh Beckett questionable for his next start because of back spasms, the Red Sox may not have the flexibility to replace Cook.

Cook made a case to keep his job.

“I know what happened and why it happened. I still feel strong; I still feel healthy. It’s just a matter of, in those certain situations, not making bad those pitches and just bearing down,” he said. “I feel like I’ve only been making three or four bad pitches a game but they’re been resulting in four or five runs.”

Meanwhile:

• Adrian Gonzalez is now hitting .300 after going 2 for 3. He is hitting .389 since June 23.

• Carl Crawford is 5 of his last 17 with a triple, 2 homers, and 4 RBIs.

• Will Middlebrooks has hit safely in 9 straight at 13 of 33 with six RBIs. He's at .300 for the season.

• Two nice defensive plays in the outfield tonight. Jacoby Ellsbury made a tumbling grab of a fly ball to center by Delmon Young in the fourth inning that saved at least one run. He crashed into the bullpen wall.

Ryan Kalish then went a long way to make a sliding grab in right field in the sixth inning to take a double away from Jhonny Peralta, Kalish was 1 for 3 and drew a walk off a lefty, too. Nice night for him.

Finally, thanks to everybody for reading today. Fun to see nearly 1,000 comments on the blog and a good discussion.

Back at it tomorrow.

Many happy returns for Craig Breslow

Posted by Alex Prewitt August 2, 2012 12:13 AM

Within 24 hours, Craig Breslow flew from Los Angeles to Boston, with a pit stop in Phoenix for clean clothes. He landed at Logan Airport shortly after 5 p.m., and arrived at Fenway with 10 minutes to spare before the start of Tuesday's series finale against Detroit.

Breslow, who was traded from the Diamondbacks in exchange for Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik just before Tuesday's deadline, relieved starter Aaron Cook in the fifth after back-to-back homers from Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.

He pitched 1.1 innings of one-hit ball with two strikeouts in a game the Tigers won, 7-5.

"Probably would have been nice to settle in a little bit, but at the same time getting out there and getting my feet wet is also nice," said Breslow, who got Albers's old locker and wore his predecessor's No. 32 jersey. "Sometimes when you have a little bit of time to think about your surroundings, it doesn't work in your favor."

Breslow spent two seasons with Pawtucket in 2006 and 2007, and appeared in 13 games with the Sox. He also earned a World Series ring in '07 as a postseason call-up, despite not pitching at all.

"It's exciting for me," said Breslow, a Trumbull, Conn., native. "I appreciate the time I had away, but this is home for me. The first time I was here, I was just a fill-in, shuffling back and forth between here and Triple A, but this time I hope I can contribute."

And, of course, there's his collegiate pedigree, which has followed him everywhere. Breslow is a Yale graduate with a dual degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. He put his medical school aspirations on hold to pursue a career on the mound.

Breslow arrived at Fenway alongside catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who was recalled from Pawtucket when Daniel Nava's injured wrist put him on the disabled list. Breslow and Lavarnway are the only two former Yale players in the majors.

"It's nice to have some company," Breslow said. "I'm sure I can deflect some ribbing now that he's another Yale guy, and a younger guy."

Final: Tigers 7, Red Sox 5

Posted by Alex Prewitt August 1, 2012 06:55 PM

Final: Tigers 7, Red Sox 5: Cook pitched well for the first four innings, getting grounder after grounder with his sinker, but unraveled in the fifth to the tune of back-to-back homers from Cabrera and Fielder.

The Sox eventually clawed their way back into it with a five-hit, three-run sixth that chased Porcello, and Crawford pulled them within one with a solo homer in the seventh, but Young's solo shot off the usually reliable Miller in the eighth provided the final margin.

So Boston takes two of three from Detroit, missing out on extending the winning streak with the hapless Twins coming to town tomorrow, and the Tigers avoid the sweep.

Postgame notes to follow. Thanks for reading, folks. Enjoy your night.

Bottom 9th: Tigers 7, Red Sox 5: Ciriaco struck out swinging, Ellsbury narrowly was called out on a grounder to short, and Crawford went down swinging on a 94-mph fastball.

Game over. Tigers win.

Top 9th: Tigers 7, Red Sox 5: Tazawa struck out Santiago swinging, got Jackson to fly out to right and, after a Berry single, worked a 10-pitch at bat against Cabrera and dialed up a fastball to 96 mph to strike him out swinging.

Bottom 8th: Tigers 7, Red Sox 5: With Benoit on the mound, Salty struck out for the second time tonight, this time getting caught looking at a 95-mph fastball. Middlebrooks popped out to Fielder in foul territory. Kalish grounded out to the mound.

Top 8th: Tigers 7, Red Sox 5: Detroit pumped the lead back up to two runs after Young hooked a homer around Pesky's Pole. Miller then struck Avila out looking and got pulled for Tazawa, who got Peralta on a grounder to end things.

Bottom 7th: Tigers 6, Red Sox 5: Crawford atones for three subpar at bats earlier tonight with a solo shot in the Sox bullpen. Dotel then came on in relief, and struck out Pedroia, got Gonzalez on a flyout to left, and Ross to sky a popout to second.

Top 7th: Tigers 6, Red Sox 4: Melancon walked Jackson to lead off the inning, and he moved to third on groundouts from Berry and Cabrera. With Fielder due up, Bobby V summoned Andrew Miller for the lefty-on-lefty matchup, and Fielder (2 for 3 with HR and 2B tonight entering the at bat) whiffed on three straight curveballs.

Bottom 6th: Tigers 6, Red Sox 4: Slowly but surely, the Sox clawed their way back for a few runs this inning. Pedroia, Gonzalez, and Ross all strung together consecutive singles. Salty grounded into a run-scoring double play, and Middlebrooks singled home Ross to bring Boston within three, chasing Porcello from the game in the process.

Reliever Phil Coke then walked Kalish, and Ciriaco lined an RBI single to right. Ellsbury then struck out on a slider to strand runners on the corners.

Melancon on for the Sox.

Porcello's line: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 88 pitches, 55 strikes.

Top 6th: Tigers 6, Red Sox 1: Young led off with a single, but Breslow got Avila swinging on a fastball, Peralta to fly out to right (aided in no small part by Kalish, who flashed some leather on a nice sliding catch), and, after Young moved up on a wild pitch, Santiago to pop out to Gonzalez by the mound.

Bottom 5th: Tigers 6, Red Sox 1: Kalish singled and moved up on a Ciriaco bunt. Ellsbury then walked on four straight pitches. Crawford then swung at the first pitch, grounding into an inning-ending double play.

Top 5th: Tigers 6, Red Sox 1: Detroit took the lead after Avila and Peralta strung together consecutive singles and got moved over on a Santiago bunt. Jackson then hit a grounder through the hole between short and third for an RBI single. Peralta also scored on a Berry groundout to second.

Jackson moved to third on a wild pitch, and Cabrera demolished a hanging curveball well over the Monster. For some reason, Cook went back to the curve, and Fielder hammered it to deep, deep center, chasing Cook from the game. It's the fifth time this season Detroit has gone back to back.

Craig Breslow, fresh off the plane at Logan, entered for his first appearance with the Sox since 2006, and got Boesch swinging on three pitches.

Cook's line: 4.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 86 pitches, 61 strikes.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 1, Tigers 1: Gonzalez reached on a leadoff single, but Porcello got Ross to fly out to right, Salty swinging on a curveball, and Middlebrooks to ground out to third.

Top 4th: Red Sox 1, Tigers 1: Cook plunked Berry to lead off the inning, but kept throwing over to first -- five times in all -- before finally picking him off. Cabrera sharply lined out to right, and Fielder cranked an opposite-field double off the Monster.

(Another semi-related note: Crawford air-mailed not only the cutoff man but second base as well on Fielder's double.)

Cook tried to pick off Fielder at second, and wound up drilling him right in the head. After getting checked out by the trainer, Fielder stayed in the game and received a nice applause from the Fenway crowd.

Boesch fouled off a few pitches, and hit an RBI seeing-eye single that tied things up. Young blasted a flyball deep to center that Ellsbury tracked down on a full sprint, crashing into the wall and drawing a standing ovation as he jogged off the field, unharmed.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 1, Tigers 0: Ellsbury and Crawford each grounded out, and Pedroia struck out looking on an outside fastball, slamming his bat down afterwards.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 1, Tigers 0: Cook gave up a one-out single to Santiago, Detroit's No. 9 hitter, but promptly got Jackson to ground to Gonzalez for an inning-ending double play. Nine outs so far, eight on the ground.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 1, Tigers 0: Middlebrooks struck out for the seventh time in the past four games, Kalish faces major-league pitching for the first time since July 7 and strikes out swinging on a slider in the dirt, and Ciriaco gets mowed down on three pitches. Porcello fans the side.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 1, Tigers 0: The Aaron Cook Groundball Machine keeps on chugging. Boesch grounds to Ciriaco, Young to Middlebrooks, and Avila, defying all that we know to exist in this world, flied out to Crawford in left.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 1, Tigers 0: Ellsbury led off with a double that skipped off first base and down the right-field line. Crawford struck out swinging, and Pedroia made solid contact on a changeup that Jackson ran down in center, but Ellsbury tagged and moved to third. Porcello kept barely missing the corners against Gonzalez, walking him on five pitches. Ross then hit an RBI single to right. Salty lined out to second to end the inning.

A semi-related note: Gonzalez has walked in consecutive games for the first time since June 20-21.

Top 1st: Tigers 0, Red Sox 0: What a surprise. Four grounders from Aaron Cook. Cabrera's found the hole between short and third, but Jackson, Berry, and Fielder all went down on groundouts.

Pregame: The bad weather appears to have passed, and we should start on time as Boston goes for the sweep in the series finale against Detroit after last night's rain-shortened win. Two sinkerballers are on the mound tonight: Aaron Cook (2-4, 4.50 ERA) for the Sox against Tigers righty Rick Porcello (7-6, 4.56 ERA).

Comment away, friends. Enjoy the game.

Ryan Lavarnway: 'Great to be back'

Posted by Alex Prewitt August 1, 2012 05:22 PM

Ryan Lavarnway found out soon after Triple A Pawtucket completed a rain-delayed, 4-2 win over Scranton around midnight Tuesday that he would be joining the Red Sox for the first time since 2011.

Daniel Nava was placed on the disabled list with an injured wrist, and Lavarnway, with the PawSox all season despite a .295 batting average with 43 RBIs and a .815 OPS in 83 games, soon found himself at Fenway.

"It's great to be back," Lavarnway said. "Doesn't matter what the situation."

His time in Boston might be brief. Lavarnway will provide a righthanded bat with Mike Aviles still nursing his turf toe and an extra backstop with Kelly Shoppach healing from a bruised shin.

"He said we'll figure out what the plan is tomorrow," Lavarnway said of manager Bobby Valentine. "I don't have much, I don't know anything more than you do at this point."

Though Lavarnway, who hit .231 with two homers and eight RBIs in 17 games with Boston last season, has caught on a regular basis for the first time this year, his body feels the best it ever has this late in the season, thanks in large part to a managed diet and increased flexibility work.

"I've got to tell you, it's a lot different than DHing half the time," Lavarnway said. "It's more of a physical grind, and I think I've already caught 20 more games than I've ever caught in a year. but I've got a great postgame routine, I'm staying in shape a lot better this year, working on my flexibility, and my body feels great."

Lavarnway arrived in the Sox clubhouse just ahead of newly acquired reliever Craig Breslow, who was acquired from Arizona at the deadline for Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik.

Breslow and Lavarnway are both Yale products. Breslow graduated in 2002, and Lavarnway left after his junior year in 2007.

"I heard we got him, shot him a text message," Lavarnway said. "I can't wait to see him, because he's always been good to me. It'll be great working with him."

As for the brainy archetype associated with the Ivy League school?

"I've never claimed to be the smartest guy in any room," Lavarnway said, "but it might be the first time that people don't give me credit for it."

Lavarnway called up; Nava to disabled list

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 1, 2012 05:11 PM

The Red Sox have two roster moves to make today. One is done.

Daniel Nava was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a wrist injury. Ryan Lavarnway was called up from Triple A Pawtucket to take his place on the roster.

LHP Craig Breslow was scheduled to land at 5 p.m. at Logan. If he gets to the park, he will be added to the roster and presumably a pitcher will be optioned. Clayton Mortensen and Junichi Tazawa are the leading candidates.

Lavarnway is here because Kelly Shoppach is dealing with a badly bruised shin. He should be available for the game, but is at least a little questionable. With Shoppach and Mike Aviles (toe) dealing with injuries, Lavarnway gives the Sox another righthanded bat.

Meanwhile:

• Josh Beckett is not a DL candidate, at least not yet, according to Bobby Valentine. But Franklin Morales is being held in reserve to make a start.

• David Ortiz was looking relatively mobile as he walked through the clubhouse on his way to the batting cage. "Feeling good," he said in a revealing two-word interview with the Globe on his way by.

Ortiz is eligible to come off the disabled list as of today. He seems to be only a few days away. Once he can run with his strained Achilles' tendon, he'll be back.

• RHP Scott Atchison is scheduled to see Dr. James Andrew on Monday morning to hear what his options are for a torn ulnar collateral ligament. The expectation is that he will get Tommy John surgery. Tough break for Atch, who was having his best season in the majors.

• Andrew Bailey pitched a scoreless inning in the Gulf Coast League today. He allowed a hit and struck out two. He'll stay in Fort Myers for his next appearance.

• LHP Rich Hill is scheduled for a bullpen session on Thursday. From there he hopes to advance to live batting practice. He said his strained flexor tendon has fully healed as far as he can tell.

• Ryan Sweeney had a screw put in his broken knuckle. It sounds like his season is over given how long it will take for him to heal. Teammate Aaron Cook hung boxing gloves in his locker. " “I haven’t slept in two days. I couldn’t sleep. I just messed up," said Sweeney, who hurt himself punching a metal door. I’ve talked to a lot of guys. Everybody’s thrown their helmet or thrown their bat or hit something. I guess I just didn’t know how to push the door. It’s just one of those things. The adrenalin got to me.

“Trust me, I regret it. That’s the biggest thing, not being there for your team and being able to be out on the field. It’s a tough thing to swallow.”

• Breslow and Lavarnway are the only two active players in the majors from Yale. Before them, you have to go back to the pride of Worcester, Ron Darling. He was in the majors from 1983-95.

• Ryan Kalish is bumming a bit because his pal Lars Anderson was traded to Cleveland. The two spent parts of six years as teammates in the organization. "People are asking me if I'm OK," Kalish said, laughing. "I'm happy for him. I hope he gets a chance."

• Kudos to Will Middlebrooks, who visited sick kids at Boston Children's Hospital. He took a bunch of pictures with his iPhone and was showing different people. Middlebrooks seems to be a young man who really gets what it means to be in his position. It's easy to see why so many people in the organization like him.

Game 105: Tigers at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 1, 2012 03:15 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of the game:

RED SOX (53-51)
Ellsbury CF
Crawford LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ross DH
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Kalish RF
Ciriaco SS
Pitching: RHP Aaron Cook (2-4, 4.50)

TIGERS (54-50)
Jackson CF
Berry LF
Cabrera 3B
Fielder 1B
Boesch RF
Young DH
Avila C
Peralta SS
Santiago 2B
Pitching: RHP Rick Porcello (7-6, 4.56)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, ESPN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Porcello: Punto 2-14, Crawford 3-8, Aviles 2-6, Pedroia 1-5, Ellsbury 5-5, Shoppach 2-5, Ross 2-4, Gonzalez 1-2, Salty 0-1.

Tigers vs. Cook: Fielder 3-20, Cabrera 3-7, Young 3-5, Jackson 1-3, Avila 1-2, Boesch 1-2, Infante 1-3, Kelly 1-3, Peralta 1-3, Raburn 1-3.

Stat of the Day: Of Pedro Ciriaco's nine RBIs, four have given the Red Sox the lead.

Notes: The Sox have won four straight and start the day 7.5 games behind the Yankees in the division and 3.5 games out in the wild card. ... The Tigers have lost five of their last six games. ... Cook has one career start against the Tigers, that coming last June 19 when he was with the Rockies. He allowed four runs on eight hits in four innings. Cook has given up nine earned runs on 11 hits over 10.1 innings in his last two starts. ... Porcello is 0-2, 10.80 in three career starts against the Red Sox. ... Middlebrooks has hit safely in eight straight at 12 of 29 with four extra-base hits and five RBIs. ... Gonzalez hit .373 in July (35 of 95).

Song of the Day: "Cool For Cats" by Squeeze.

On Beckett and his getting booed last night

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 1, 2012 09:30 AM

I'm curious about what you all think about Josh Beckett getting booed on Tuesday night.

Obviously he is not a popular player and he has not pitched well this season. But an injured player getting booed is pretty unusual, especially in his home stadium. I can't remember the last time that has happened.

Beckett was pitching pretty well under adverse circumstances and motioned to the trainer to come out to the mound in the third inning after he walked in a run.

Clearly he was injured and then they took him out. As Beckett walked off the field, the boos were very loud.

Afterward, Beckett said he heard the reaction and offered no reaction to it. He look the high road. Bobby Valentine seemed surprised and said he expected people would regret it once they learned of the circumstances.

But it didn't take a baseball expert to realize Beckett was injured. Assistant athletic trainer Brad Pearson came out to the mound and was examining Beckett's lower back. When Valentine came out to the mound, he motioned for another pitcher.

Is that what Fenway has become, a place where injured players are booed? In talking to several players last night, they were surprised. Fenway, one said, is a demanding place to play but booing an injured player crossed the line.

"That's pretty rough," the player said.

Beckett, at times, seems to go out of his way to be unlikable. He was unapologetic after the events of last season and this season has been refused to take questions after his starts several times. I've been critical of that. It's unprofessional, in my opinion, not to take accountability for your actions.

But Beckett also is 5-1 with a 3.88 earned run average in eight postseason starts for the Red Sox. He is 14-7 in 28 starts against the Yankees since he joined the Red Sox.

Beckett is fifth in team history in strikeouts and 13th in games started. Whether you care to admit it or not, he is one of the more significant starters in the history of the franchise.

Since Beckett joined the Red Sox in 2006, only Justin Verlander (118), CC Sabathia (106), Jered Weaver (95) and Felix Hernandez (90) have more wins in the American League than his 89. Since 2006, he has made eighth-most starts in the American League and pitched the eighth most innings.

If you compare him to other pitchers — and not to some unrealistic standard — he has been among the best starters in the league during his tenure with the team. That's not an opinion, that's a fact.

Should he be better given what he gets paid? Maybe so. But Beckett ($15.75 million) gets paid the going rate for a top-tier starter. Sabathia is making $23 million this season. Verlander is getting $20 million. Weaver is at $14 million and Hernandez is making $18.5 million.

Based in his age, accomplishments and previous contract, Beckett pretty much makes the standard rate. Again, that's not opinion. That's how the game works. One argument you hear about Beckett all the time is how overpaid he is. That's showing a lack of knowledge in the system.

I'm not suggesting you go out and buy his jersey. I'm not suggesting you even cheer him. Nobody says you have to like every player on the team. Beckett has done and said a lot of dumb things the last few months. He should get booed if he pitches poorly.

But he didn't try to get hurt. He didn't want to get hurt. He was pitching in a 1-0 game against Verlander. He wanted to win the game.

Beckett is a stubborn jackass. But he's a jackass who has done pretty well for your team and kept throwing the ball until he couldn't on Tuesday night.

Booing a player who comes off the mound in a pouring rain with an injury? Boston is better than that. Or at least should be.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 1, 2012 09:08 AM

The Red Sox scored four runs in the fourth inning and beat the Tigers in a rain-shortened game at Fenway.

The boos rained down on an injured Josh Beckett and Dan Shaughnessy looks into why that was. (Subscription only).

Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox didn't do much at the trade deadline.

The notebook has Ryan Sweeney on the DL after punching a door.

Red Sox get a win, injured Beckett gets booed

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff August 1, 2012 12:34 AM

Here's how hard it was raining (and still is) at Fenway Park: Tigers manager Jim Leyland offered no complaint about the game being called in the sixth inning despite his team having the bases loaded and two outs in a 4-1 game.

"You got the bases loaded and you're a little bit excited because you got a shot, but the umpires do the best they can with that stuff,” Leyland said

“We had been playing in some pretty heavy rain and I think [umpire crew chief Jerry Layne] just decided at that point he needed to stop it and he gave it a good shot to try to get it in, but from what I hear it wasn't supposed to stop raining around 1 or 1:30. So certainly to call the game at this point was the right call. So be it.”

“Unique,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. “I don’t think it’s ever happened before. That’s why we come out, to find something new in this great game of baseball.”

It probably actually has happened before. But the Red Sox won’t argue with the details. They have won four straight, their longest streak since winning five in a row from June 16-21.

“We’ve made some progress the last few days,” Will Middlebrooks said.

On a night when Josh Beckett left the game in the third inning with a back injury, Clayton Mortensen won the game in relief after being called up from Triple A Pawtucket earlier in the day. Justin Verlander (12-6) took the loss, allowing all four runs on six hits.

Beyond the victory, the story of this game was Beckett.

He retired the first eight batters he faced and appeared en route to a strong performance.

His run ended when Omar Infante reached on an infield single. With the rain picking up in intensity, Beckett hit Austin Jackson with a pitch, a 3-and-2 changeup that brushed his jersey. Quintin Berry then walked to load the bases.

Miguel Cabrera was next and Beckett walked him on five pitches to force in a run. The righthander then motioned to the dugout.

Pitching coach Bob McClure and assistant athletic trainer Brad Pearson came to the mound, joined a minute later by Valentine.

Beckett was taken out of the game with what the team said was a lower back spasm. He was loudly booed by the crowd as he walked slowly back to the dugout.

“It is what it is,” Beckett said when asked about the harsh reaction of the crowd to his injury.

Beckett had no other reaction to the booing, but admitted he noticed it.

“Yeah, you always do,” he said.

Valentine, who was talking to the other players on the field at the time, did not realize until later that Beckett had been booed.

“I don’t think he deserved a boo at all,” Valentine said. “Those who were booing will probably take it back today when they figure out what the situation was.”

Beckett said his back “locked up” on him pitching out of the stretch on the slippery mound out if the stretch. Verlander also mentioned that throwing out the stretch was difficult and that he slipped a few times.

“We’ll take it day-by-day and see how he feels tomorrow and in between,” Valentine said.

Beckett was on the disabled list for nearly two months in 2010 with a back injury that was aggravated while pitching on a wet mound at Yankee Stadium. Beckett also missed a start earlier this season with a strained muscle in his back.

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