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Sox hit 90 losses for the first time since '66

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 30, 2012 07:15 PM

BALTIMORE — The Red Sox lost 90 games in 1966. Young sluggers Tony Conigliaro and George Scott had good seasons for manger Billy Herman before he got fired, but the pitching staff had a rough time of it.

In the 45 years since, the Sox fielded plenty of teams that disappointed a generation of fans. But until Sunday, none had lost 90 games.

Zach Stewart pushed the Sox deeper into despair, getting hit hard again in a 6-3 loss against the Baltimore Orioles.

“We haven’t had a good season and every loss hurts, all 90 of them,” said Bobby Valentine, who is almost surely three games away from losing his job.

Stewart allowed five runs before being pulled out of the game in the third inning. The skeleton Sox lineup — Mauro Gomez batted fourth and Danny Valencia fifth — was unable to overcome that kind of deficit and the Sox lost their fifth straight.

At 69-90, the Sox have the third-worst record in the American League and are 23 games out of first place.

Stewart, a 26-year-old righthander, was obtained from the White Sox in June for Kevin Youkilis. The Sox must have liked something about him, but it hasn’t been apparent what that could be in two starts.

In games against the Angels and Orioles, Stewart has allowed 14 earned runs on 17 hits over 5.2 innings. Counting his time with the White Sox, Stewart has surrendered 14 home runs over 35.2 innings this season.

In 14 career starts in the majors, Stewart is 2-9 with a 7.51 earned run average.

Also:

• Clayton Mortensen allowed one run in 3.1 innings of relief. He has a 2.93 ERA over 40 innings and earned a look next season. “He’s been terrific. He’s very competitive and he throws pitches that are tough to time,” Valentine said.

• The Sox finished 5-13 against the Orioles. They have lost 19 of 26 against Baltimore. … The Sox were 7-19 in September a year after their infamous 7-20 September collapse. … The Sox are 26-47 since the All-Star break and 104-127 since the All-Star break in 2011.

• The Sox had their rookies dress up for the train trip to New York. Most teams have themes for this sort of thing and plan it out. The Rays, for instance, had their rookies dress in colorful leotards and choreograph a dance to "Call Me Maybe" that was performed on the field at Fenway Park.

The haphazard Sox had most of the rookies wear cheerleader outfits with Will Middlebrooks dressed as Dorothy from the “Wizard of Oz.” The outfits were cheap Halloween costumes and if much thought went into the hazing ritual, it was very little.

The larger point is that the Sox are so disjointed and lacking in leadership that even something silly like rookie hazing comes off poorly.

• A little "good" news: With the loss, the Red Sox are guaranteed of receiving one of the top nine pick picks in the amateur draft next June. That is important for reasons beyond the opportunity to add a premium player.

Under the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, the first 10 picks in the draft are protected from being surrendered as compensation for signing a top-tier free agent.

Now, if the Sox were to sign such a free agent, they would give up only their second-round choice.

At least there's that.

Thanks to everybody for reading this weekend. Off to New York.

Will Middlebrooks is off to see the Wizard

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 30, 2012 07:00 PM

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BALTIMORE — Sunday was rookie hazing day, the Red Sox dressing their rookies up in silly outfits for the trip to New York.

Via the Red Sox Twitter feed, here's Will Middlebrooks as Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz."

David Ortiz's Twitter feed has a few more photos if you are so inclined.

Final: Orioles 6, Red Sox 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff September 30, 2012 01:55 PM

Game over: The Orioles swept the Red Sox with a win this afternoon. Another poor start by Zach Stewart, who the Sox acquired from the Chicago White Sox for Kevin Youkilis. He lasted only 2-2/3 innings and allowed five runs. The game was played before 41,257 in 2:19. Johnson picked up his 50th save. The Orioles were awaiting the Angels-Rangers outcome. If Texas wins, the Orioles clinch a postseason berth.

Bottom 8th: Orioles 6, Red Sox 3 Mark Reynolds hit into an inning ending double-play as the Orioles hand it to Jim Johnson.

Top 8th: Orioles 6, Red Sox 3 Dustin Pedroia reached on an infield hit and then got caught stealing on a great throw by Matt Wieters. Red Sox keep taking strange chances on the bases.

Bottom 7th: Orioles 6, Red Sox 3 McLouth singled and was sacrificed to second. After Chris davis was walked intentionally by Chris Carpenter, Jones knocked into a double-play started by Iglesias.

Top 7th: Orioles 6, Red Sox 3 Nava belted a two-run homer. After Ciriaco singled, he managed to get himself caught in a run down.

Bottom 6th: Orioles 6, Red Sox 1 Three up, three down against Mortensen.

Top 6th: Orioles 6, Red Sox 1 Three fly ball outs for Pedroia, Ross and Gomez.

Bottom 5th: Orioles 6, Red Sox 1 Chris Davis hit No. 31, a shot to right off Clay Mortensen.

Top 5th: Orioles 5, Red Sox 1 A one-out Pedro Ciriaco double was wasted as Nava and Iglesias struck out and the disappearing ellsbury grounded out on a nice play by Hardy.

Bottom 4th: Orioles 5, Red Sox 1 Jose Iglesias makes great play after great play. So fun to watch as he robs Hardy.

Top 4th: Orioles 5, Red Sox 1 Cody Ross homered, his 22nd. Danny Valencia also singed in the inning, but the Sox are taking the one run at a time approach.

Bottom 3rd: Orioles 5, Red Sox 0 Zach Stewart had another early exit - this time 2-2/3 innings. He allowed a leadoff homer to J.J. Hardy, then watched Jim Thome single to center to knock in Adam Jones.

Top 3rd: Orioles 3, Red Sox 0 Jose Iglesias doubled with one out, but Ellsbury and Pedroia can't get him in. The Sox are going to pay Ellsbury how much?

Bottom 2nd: Orioles 3, Red Sox 0 Stewart settles down nicely and sets down the No. 8,9 and leadoff hitter.

Top 2nd: Orioles 3, Red Sox 0 Saunders retired five straight before Ryan Lavarnway roped a double to left field, but he was stranded.

Bottom 1st: Orioles 3, Red Sox 0 Red Sox folks keep telling us Zach Stewart has a great arm. Terriffic. He allowed a leadoff homer to Nate McLouth, then singles to JJ Hardy and Chris Davis and loaded the bases when he hit Adam Jones with a pitch. Matt Wieters knocked into a double-play scoring the second O's run and Jim Thome singled to center accounting for the third run.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 Sox helped out Orioles starter Joe Saunders with a lot of early swings. Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Cody Ross go down in order.

Game 159: Red Sox at Orioles

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 30, 2012 10:15 AM

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

RED SOX (69-89)
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Gomez 1B
Valencia 3B
Lavarnway C
Nava LF
Ciriaco DH
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Zach Stewart (1-3, 7.91)

ORIOLES (91-67)
McLouth LF
Hardy SS
Davis RF
Jones CF
Wieters C
Thome DH
Reynolds 1B
Flaherty 2B
Machado 3B
Pitching: LHP Joe Saunders (8-13, 4.09)

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Saunders: Pedroia 8-29, Loney 8-27, Ellsbury 5-16, Podsednik 4-11, Salty 1-11, Aviles 1-5, Ross 2-4, DeJesus 1-3.

Orioles vs. Stewart: Hardy 3-4, Jones 0-4, Reynolds 1-2, Thome 1-2, Andino 1-2, Davis 1-2, McLouth 1-2, Wieters 1-1.

Stat of the Day: The Orioles have scored 25 runs in their last three games, 21 by home runs.

Notes: The Sox turn their lonely eyes to Stewart to try to avoid a three-game sweep. The 26-year-old, who was obtained from Chicago in the Kevin Youkilis trade, is making his second appearance of the season with the Sox. The first one, against the Angels on Aug. 29 in Anaheim, didn't go so well as Stewart allowed nine runs on 10 hits over three innings. He is 2-8, 7.16 in his previous 13 career starts. One cause for hope: Stewart faced the O's on June 16, 2011 and allowed two runs over seven innings. ... Saunders is 2-3, 3.62 in six start for the Orioles since being obtained from the Diamondbacks. He is 4-2, 4.17 in nine career starts against the Sox, the last in 2010. ... Baltimore is tied with the Yankees for first place in the division. ... The Sox have lost four straight and eight of nine. They are 26-46 since the All-Star break. ... The Sox have not lost 90 games since 1966.

Song of the Day: "Burning Down The House" by Talking Heads.

Baltimore's man of the year

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 30, 2012 10:04 AM

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BALTIMORE — Saw this gentleman outside of a sidewalk pub across the street from Camden Yards on Saturday.

He's wearing a t-shirt that says "Yankees suck" and he's proudly holding up a sign that says "Cheap Ass Beer."

The pennant race has gripped Charm City.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 30, 2012 09:37 AM

The 2012 Red Sox were done in by poor starting pitching and injuries. It was a season that never got started.

This graphic has a timeline of what went wrong, complete with all the controversies.

Nick Cafardo writes that there are no game-changing managers out there to hire.

The notebook has Mark Melancon closing strong after a difficult season.

Felix Doubront pitched well, but the Orioles beat the Red Sox, 4-3.

In the Sunday Baseball Notes, Nick looks at the good work Dan Duquette and Billy Beane did this season to build winning teams.

Thoughts on a miserable milestone for the Red Sox

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

BALTIMORE — The next loss for the Red Sox will be their 90th of the season. This will almost certainly be viewed as further evidence of the apocalypse and the need for Bobby Valentine to be drawn and quartered in Copley Square.

Losing 90 games is a benchmark in baseball. It's the point where you cross the line from being merely a bad team to being a truly dreadful one. Plenty of teams have losing seasons, but you need to really stink up the joint to lose 90 games.

But it's worth noting that you have to back to 1966 — three years before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon — to find the last Red Sox team to lose 90 games.

If that sounds impressive, it should. Because no other team has come close to going that many years.

The St. Louis Cardinals (1990) are next, with the Yankees (1991) right behind them. The Oakland Athletics (1997) are a surprising third. Then come the Angels (1999) and Phillies (2000).

The saintly Terry Francona presided over the 2000 Phillies, by the way. He got fired after 97 losses.

The remaining 24 teams have had 90-loss seasons in the last decade.

So do not bemoan 90 losses. Celebrate the fact that you went 45 years without having to say, "Man, my team really stinks."

May you go another 45. By then, the 2057 Red Sox will have retired the number of Dylan Pedroia after his glorious career. Parking at Fenway will be $350, however.

For Doubront, it's a season to build on

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 29, 2012 10:45 PM

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BALTIMORE — Felix Doubront was asked how he felt after making 29 starts this season and throwing 161 innings.

The 24-year-old lefthander smiled.

"Tired," he said.

And why not? Doubront had never thrown more than 129 innings in a season before and that came in 2008 in Single A ball.

The good news for the Red Sox is that Doubront finished strong. He allowed nine earned runs on 16 hits over 26 1/3 innings in his last four starts and struck out 31.

"When a young guy improves right up until the last day of the season, I think that's a good thing," Bobby Valentine said.

Don't dwell too much on Doubront being 11-10 with a 4.86 ERA. Look instead at the 167 he struck out in those 161 innings and the 162 hits he allowed. There's a lot to build on there.

"I thought he was obviously one of our best pitchers all year long," Valentine said.

Said Doubront: "A lot of challenge; a lot of learning from this season. It was a pretty good season for me. First full year and I figured out something for next year ... One of my goals was to finish strong. I learned a lot of things about the game, about pitching. That's the most I'm proud of."

Doubront lost the game in the seventh inning Saturday night when impressive Baltimore rookie Manny Machado lined a fastball just over the fence in left field. He otherwise pitched pretty well, allowing four runs (three earned) over seven innings with one walk and 10 strikeouts.

Doubront arrived at spring training as one of a large group of pitchers fighting for a spot in the rotation. He was out of minor league options, too. Six months later, he has established himself as part of the team's rotation going forward.

"I was pretty confident. I came to spring training to win that spot," Doubront said.

"He's really started to mature and see what he's really all about," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "He knows he's good, he just got to go out there and continue to pitch well. That's exactly what he has done. He has proved to everybody what he needed to prove."

Meanwhile . . .

• The Fighting Showalters are tied with the Yankees in the AL East at 91-67 with four games to play. The O's are an amazing 28-9 in one-run games. They're also 72-0 when leading after seven innings.

• The Sox have lost four straight and eight of nine. At 69-89, they are back in last place. The Sox have not lost 90 games since 1966.

• Salty has 25 homers, 23 of them coming as a catcher. The Sox record for catchers is 26 by Pudge Fisk in 1973 and '77. Fisk started 149 games behind the plate in 1977, by the way.

• Junichi Tazawa did what Junichi Tazawa does and pitched a scoreless eighth inning. His last 13 appearances are, well, dominant: 12 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 17 K.

• The Sox will pitch Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and (gulp) Daisuke Matsuzaka against the Yankees next week. New York will go with CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova (or David Phelps) and Hiroki Kuroda.

• The Sox are 7-18 in September with four games left. They were 7-20 last September.

• The Sox were watching the Yankees-Blue Jays game this afternoon. At one point, David Ortiz correctly predicted eight consecutive pitches Boone Logan would throw and got the location right six times.

"Think I've seen a lot of lefties?" he said. "But you have to be able to hit it, too."

• Sellout crowd of 46,311 at Camden Yards. It has been fun walking around the city and seeing so many people in orange and black and looking forward to a late-season game. This used to a great baseball city and this team has reignited some passion.

Wouldn't it be something if the Orioles and Nationals made it to the World Series?

Final: Orioles 4, Red Sox 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff September 29, 2012 07:27 PM

Game over: The Red Sox dropped their second straight vs. the Orioles, who moved into a first-place tie for first place with the Yankees in the American League East. The Orioles won it on rookie phenom Manny Machado's 7th inning home run to break a 3-3 tie off Felix Doubront, who allowed three earned runs over seven innings and struck out 10. Jim Johnson earned his 49th save. The game was played before 46,311, a sellout at Camden Yards in 2:37.

Bottom 8th: Orioles 4, Red Sox 3 Junichi Tazawa was outstanding in retiring the side. Sported a 96 mph fastball, a moving two-seamer, curveball and split. Pretty nice repertoire.

Top 8th: Orioles 4, Red Sox 3 A combination Brian Matusz and Darren O'Day retired the top of the Sox order.

Bottom 7th: Orioles 4, Red Sox 3 Super rookie third baseman Manny Machado broke the tie with a home run to left off Doubront. The Sox lefty did a nice job escaping further damage. There were Orioles runners at second and third and one out after McLouth's bloop double to left. But Doubront struck out both Hardy and Jones to escape further harm.

Top 7th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 3 Sox managed a 2-out single by Pedro Ciriaco, but Hunter had things under control.

Bottom 6th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 3 Doubront struck out two to bring his total up to six. he allowed a broken bat single to Chris Davis, but retired Mark Reynolds on a grounder that forced the runner at second base. Doubront is sporting an outstanding curveball tonight.

Top 6th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 3 The Sox tied it as Steve Johnson began to tire. Jacoby Ellsbury singled and Scott Podsednik walked to start the sixth. Johnson was replaced by Tommy Hunter. Pedroia grounded out to Hardy who got the force at second base. With runners at first and third Cody Ross' fly ball to right was dropped by Chris Davis with Adam Jones converging. The run scored.

Bottom 5th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 2 The Orioles got a leadoff single by Lew Ford, who was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Robert Andino. But Doubront was able to secure the next two outs from McLouth and Hardy to escape.

Top 5th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 2 Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a two-run homer with Mauro Gomez (walk) aboard to pull the Sox closer. That's No. 25 for Salty, one behind Carlton Fisk's single-season Sox record for a catcher. Mark Reynolds made a great catch tripping over the tarp near the railing on the first base side and came up with Aviles' pop fly.

Bottom 4th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 0 Chris Davis hit his 30th homer, a two-run shot to right field off Felix Doubront with Adam Jones aboard. Jones had reached on a throwing error by Mike Aviles.

Top 4th: Orioles 1, Red Sox 0 Manny Machado made a sensational play on a short-hop hard-hit grounder by Cody Ross to start an inning-ending doubleplay.

Bottom 3rd: Orioles 1, Red Sox 0 Doubront has a solid inning. Looks as if he has his good stuff again tonight. Now if Sox offense could only get going.

Top 3rd: Orioles 1, Red Sox 0 Sox went down easily in the third.

Bottom 2nd: Orioles 1, Red Sox 0 Doubront hit Chris Davis with a pitch with one out. Davis then easily stole second base. Reynolds reached on an infield hit to the left of the mound that Doubront couldn't handle. Machado followed with a single up the middle, scoring the first Oriole run.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 Cody Ross singled and with one out was thrown out trying to steal. After Saltalamacchia walked, Ryan Lavarnway fouled out to first base.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 Felix Doubront seemed up for the Orioles challenge tonight with a strong first inning.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0 With knowledge of a Yankee loss, the Orioles came out hyped. Starter Steve Johnson retired the Red Sox in order in the first before a packed house at Camden Yards.

Ellsbury returns to the Red Sox lineup

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 29, 2012 05:26 PM

BALTIMORE — Jacoby Ellsbury, who last played on Sept. 20, is back in the Red Sox lineup after resting a strained left lat muscle.

"Hopefully he won't have any feelings as we go through our pre-game batting practice and everything and he can play the next few days and go home on a good note," Bobby Valentine said.

Why not shut Ellsbury down?

"He wanted to [play] and he's a good player and it's a pennant race that teams are in. We should put our best foot forward," Valentine said. "This isn't a situation that is threatening, the way I see it. It's just to get him to feel 100 percent and I guess he does. If there's anything that could take five days of his winter, where he can't work out as much as he'd like to, I wouldn't even think about it. But that doesn't seem to be the case."

Ellsbury hit .321 with a .928 OPS in 2011 and was second in the American League MVP voting. But he has played only 70 games this season and hit .277 with a .704 OPS. He has four home runs in 285 at-bats after slugging 32 in 660 at-bats last season.

"I didn't see him play that way this year. Never quite hit his stride this year," Valentine said. "I had a lot of conversations with the coaching staff about it and a few with Jacoby about it. It's just the feel; he hasn't had the feel from what I gather."

Also:

• The Red Sox will pitch Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka in the Yankees series to end the season. The Yankees will pitch CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Hiroki Kuroda.

• The Orioles unveiled a statue of Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson before the game. Cal Ripken Jr., Earl Weaver, Boog Powell, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and a bunch of other notable O's are in attendance.

"He made the play coming in on it as well as anyone I ever saw," Valentine said. "He was one of the kindest, most considerate people I've ever talked to, in uniform and out of uniform. Somehow he came up with those big hits. Even though his swing didn't always look that good, he found a way to hit a ball in the gap."

Robinson was the American League MVP in 1964 and won an amazing 16 Gold Gloves from 1960-75.

Game 158: Red Sox at Orioles

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 29, 2012 03:15 PM

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

RED SOX (69-88)
Ellsbury CF
Podsednik LF
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Gomez 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Lavarnway DH
Ciriaco 3B
Aviles SS
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (11-9, 4.91)

ORIOLES (90-67)
McLouth LF
Hardy SS
Jones CF
Wieters C
Davis RF
Reynolds 1B
Machado 3B
Ford DH
Andino 2B
Pitching: RHP Steve Johnson (4-0, 1.62)

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Johnson: Ellsbury 0-1, Pedroia 0-1, Ross 0-1, Salty 0-1.

Orioles vs. Doubront: Davis 3-8, Jones 2-8, Wieters 0-7, Andino 0-7, Hardy 0-5, Betemit 0-2, Ford 1-2, Machdo 0-3, Reynolds 0-3, Avery 0-2, Tolleson 1-2,

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 24-28 against the Orioles over the last three seasons with losses in 15 of the last 21 games.

Notes: If the Red Sox accomplished anything in 2012, it was finding a starter in Doubront. Tonight will be his 29th start and he has thrown 154 innings. He is closing strong, too, having allowed six earned runs over 19.1 innings in his last three starts. The lefty dominated the Orioles on Sunday at Fenway Park, allowing one run over seven innings and striking out a career-best 11. He didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning. ... Johnson, a 24-year-old rookie, is making his fourth career start. He threw two innings of relief against the Sox on Aug. 16 and struck out four. ... Podsednik has hit safely in six straight at 8 of 19. ... The Orioles start the day a game out of first (the Yankees have an afternoon game at Toronto) and have a three-game lead in the wild card with five games to play. ... The Sox have lost three straight and seven of eight.

Song of the Day: "Can't Cry Anymore" by Sheryl Crow.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 29, 2012 10:30 AM

Jason Varitek wants to help restore the Red Sox and that's why he took a job in the front office.

The notebook has the Red Sox getting embarrassed again, 9-1, at Baltimore.

Terry Francona is interested in the Indians and the feeling is mutual.

Final: Orioles 9, Red Sox 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff September 28, 2012 07:15 PM

Game over The Orioles won their 90th game with a six-run outburst against Aaron Cook in the first inning and a great pitching performance by Chris Tillman, who allowed one hit and one run over eight innings. The game was played in 2:23 before 33,518 at Camden Yards. The Orioles went over the 2 million mark in attendance. The magic number to the postseason for the O's - 3.

Bottom 8th: Orioles 9, Red Sox 1 Daniel Bard got some work. He walked Teagarden on four pitches after one out, but retired the next two batters.

Top 8th: Orioles 9, Red Sox 1 Fourteen straight batters retired by Tillman who allowd one bunt single and one run.

Bottom 7th: Orioles 9, Red Sox 1 After a Thome single (his third hit) vs. Beato, Reynolds knocks into a double-play.

Top 7th: Orioles 9, Red Sox 1 Tillman never let up with a big lead. The Red Sox haven't had much of a chance all night against him. Three up and three down again. The Sox have mustered one hit - a leadoff bunt single by Podsednik in the first inning.

Bottom 6th: Orioles 9, Red Sox 1 Orioles give their offense a rest.

Top 6th: Orioles 9, Red Sox 1 Tillman really pitching well as he retired the Sox in order.

Bottom 5th: Orioles 9, Red Sox 1 Aceves allowed four straight hits, three of them doubles in the fifth to produce three O's runs. Mark Reynolds, Manny Machado and Ryan Flaherty all doubled to produce two runs and Taylor Teagarden singled in the third run of the inning. Aceves was replaced by Valentine and handed him the ball and patted Valentine on the shoulder. Former Oriole Pedro Beato replaced him.

Top 5th: Orioles 6, Red Sox 1 Tillman struck out Salty and Nava in a 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 4th: Orioles 6, Red Sox 1 Aceves strong again. He retired the first two batters - Taylor Teagarden with a strikeout and McLouth with a tap back to Aceves. Hardy reached on a nubber down the third base line, but Chris Davis struck out.

Top 4th: Orioles 6, Red Sox 1 Dustin Pedroia got to second on a stolen base, but Loney flew out to left to end the inning.

Bottom 3rd: Orioles 6, Red Sox 1 Alfredo Aceves allowed a leadoff single (and error by Scott Podsednik) to center to Jim Thome, who looks 10 years younger. But the O's failed to muster anything else. Acveves had his good stuff going as he retired the next three batters. Aceves has a chance to show why he should be a starting pitcher in the future as he's going to be allowed to go deep into the game. The Orioles are one team which have always been interested in Aceves.

Top 3rd: Orioles 6, Red Sox 1 Daniel Nava led off with a walk, but he was erased on Podsednik's double-play grounder.

Bottom 2nd: Orioles 6, Red Sox 1 Aaron Cook's awful outing ended after he put the first two Orioles on in the inning. Alfredo Acves came on and threw a double-play grounder to Chris Davis and then got Adam Jones to ground out on a nice play on a hard-hit ball that nearly took Pedro Ciriaco's head off at third.

Top 2nd: Orioles 6, Red Sox 1 Tillman retired the Red sox in order as James Loney popped out to third, DH Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out and catcher Ryan Lavarnway grounded out to third base.

Bottom 1st: Orioles 6, Red Sox 1 Aaron Cook didn't get the memo about being a spoiler. Maybe he didn't get the memo about being the starting ptcher. He allowed a leadoff single to Nate McLouth and then after one out, Chris Davis hit his 29th homer, a smash on a 1-1 pitch to rightfield. Cook really struggled here. After Adam Jones grounded out for the second out, the O's loaded the bases on singles by Jim Thome and Manny Machado, and a walk to Mark Reynolds. Cook then allowed a grand slam to Ryan Flaherty, his sixth on a 2-1 pitch to right field.

Top 1st: Red Sox 1, Orioles 0 This is a pride series for the Red Sox. The O's knocked them out last season and the Sox would like to make baseball's Cinderella team squirm. The Sox got a run when Scott Podsednik beat out an infield hit and advanced to second on an error. After he was advanced to third on a Pedro Ciriaco grounder, Dustin Pedroia's sac fly drove him in.

Francona interested in the Indians

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

Terry Francona, out of uniform since an acrimonious departure from the Red Sox a year ago, is interested in becoming the next manager of the Cleveland Indians.

Francona said on Friday that he will interview for the position. He and incumbent bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. are reportedly the two leading candidates to replace Manny Acta, who was fired on Thursday.

Francona has worked for ESPN as an analyst since the Red Sox let him go. He has received glowing reviews for his work on television but has maintained for months that he wants to return to the dugout.

“I wouldn't come in and interview if I wasn't [interested],” Francona told MLB.com.

The Indians have significant work ahead before becoming a contender and operate under budget constraints not present in Boston. But Francona has great respect for Indians team president Mark Shapiro and general manager Chris Antonetti.

Francona spent the 2001 season as a special assistant to Shapiro, who was then the general manager. He has often said how valuable a learning experience that season was.

Francona would value having a solid relationship with the front office after the events of last season in Boston.

Francona has spent 12 seasons as a manager with the Phillies (1997-2000) and Red Sox (2004-11). He has two World Series titles and 1,029 victories.

Ellsbury out again, but not shut down

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 28, 2012 05:17 PM

BALTIMORE — Jacoby Ellsbury is out of the lineup for the sixth consecutive game with a super-secret injury that Bobby Valentine has been told not to talk about. But the center fielder could play on Saturday.

"They said tomorrow, he should be in there tomorrow," Valentine said. "He's going to do everything today in practice, going to actually test everything today. Then tomorrow will be the day. I hope all goes well — throwing and hitting."

Ellsbury, who has a strained lat according to sources, has been set to play the next game for three games now. He last played on Sept. 20.

Since returning from the disabled list on July 13, Ellsbury has missed eight of the 71 games the Sox have played. That does not count today.

In other news:

• Will Middlebrooks took a few swings at balls on a tee today. His right wrist (which was fractured in August) was sore but held up well.

"It's a peace of mind thing for me and for them," Middlebrooks said. "I'm going to be fine. It's getting better."

The Red Sox sent Carl Crawford home last season with a sore wrist that was supposed to be nothing. Then he had surgery in January. The intent with Middlebrooks seems to be making sure he's OK before the season ends.

• Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is a new father and will miss the game today. Maverick Wieters was born Friday morning.

Maverick Wieters is a tremendous name.

"A name like Mav Wieters, got a chance to be pretty good. You know he's going to be over 6-feet tall," Buck Showalter told the O's writers.


Game 157: Red Sox at Orioles

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 28, 2012 01:20 PM

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

RED SOX (69-87)
Podsednik CF
Ciriaco 3B
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Loney 1B
Saltalamacchia DH
Lavarnway C
Nava LF
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Aaron Cook (4-10, 5.13)

ORIOLES (89-67)
McLouth LF
Hardy SS
Davis RF
Jones CF
Thome DH
Reynolds 1B
Machado 3B
Flaherty 2B
Teagarden C
Pitching: RHP Chris Tillman (8-2, 3.08)

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Tillman: Pedroia 4-10, Ellsbury 1-6, Valencia 1-6, Ciriaco 1-4, Podsednik 2-5, Ross 2-5, Salty 1-5, Loney 1-2, Aviles 1-2, Iggy 0-2, Nava 1-2.

Orioles vs. Cook: Reynolds 6-25, McLouth 4-20, Chavez 5-16, Thome 0-8, Betemit 5-9, Hall 5-10, Hardy 1-7, Jones 1-8, Wieters 5-7, Davis 4-7, Machdo 2-5, Andino 0-2, Flaherty 1-1.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox are 14-36 (.280) in September the last two seasons.

Notes: The Orioles are a game behind the Yankees in the division with six games left. The Red Sox have three games against the O's and three against the Yankees. The Orioles are three games up in the wild card. ... The Sox are tied for last in the division with the Blue Jays. The Sox haven't finished in last since 1997. ... The Sox are 5-10 against the Orioles this season. ... Cook allowed five runs on nine hits over 5.1 innings against the Orioles lat Saturday. He has faced the O's three times and given up 13 earned runs in 13.1 innings. ... Tillman allowed one run over six innings against the Sox on Sunday. The 24-year-old is facing them for the third time this season. ... Junichi Tazawa has struck out 35 and walked four in his last 28.2 innings. ... Mark Melancon this month: 8.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K. ... Jacoby Ellsbury last played only Sept. 20. ... Zach Stewart turns 26 today. He's starting on Sunday. Yes, he plays for the Red Sox.

Song of the Day: "Bad Luck" by Social Distortion.

Jason Varitek reflects on a new role with the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 28, 2012 11:39 AM

Jason Varitek, who on Thursday was named a special assistant to Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, was asked today if he would have any interest in becoming the manager.

"If I answer it either way right now, I wouldn’t be giving myself the best opportunity to … I’m not in a position to make that a yes or a no at this point," Varitek said on a conference call with reporters.

The 40-year-old Varitek has long been seen as a potential manager. His 15 years as a catcher and long tenure as the team captain are bold lines on a resume. But for now, he wants to learn as much as he can in his new off-field role.

"I’m going to be involved in a lot of different areas to learn a lot of different things. Everything from meetings to player development and things along those lines," he said. "I don’t think there’s any one thing. I’m trying to learn what I don’t know and what I can help with and what I need to learn where maybe I fit better to help with. It’s a huge gray area where I’m trying to learn as much as I can."

Varitek said his duties would include working with minor league catchers.

One of the great winners in Red Sox history, Varitek was a key player on two World Series champions and played in 63 postseason games from 1998-2008.

The demise of the Red Sox over the last few seasons was one of the driving forces in his return to baseball after retiring seven months ago.

"It’s upsetting, more so for the organization, the fan base and what everybody has grown to expect in a place like that. The ultimate goal is to get back to that same winning tradition," Varitek said. "That’s why you do it. That’s why I never left this organization. That’s why you take part. I know a lot of the people still and I’m not that far removed. If I can offer some help in some ways then I want to be able to do it."

Greetings from Gate C-42

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 28, 2012 07:38 AM

Good morning from Logan Airport. We're here waiting for a flight to Baltimore and the last road trip of the Red Sox season.

Today is the one-year anniversary of the Sox losing, 4-3, in Baltimore in Game 162 to complete their epic collapse. So much has changed and so much hasn't. There's a new GM, a new manager and soon to be another new manager.

The team somehow got worse and approximately 234 different players got in a game this season.

(OK, so it was 56. It just felt like 234.)

Now here we are, back in Baltimore a year later. Only this time with a lot less drama.

This is a weird time to be a beat writer. There is not much point to writing about the games, so we fill the paper with feature stories instead. Meanwhile the writers from Baltimore, New York and Tampa Bay sitting a few feet away are hanging on every pitch.

In the end, it's the same job and it's a fantastic job. But it's a lot more exciting when the team you cover is playing for something.

Our excitement will come, presumably, in the weeks to come when the Sox remake their roster in an attempt to make next Sept. 28 a heck of a lot more interesting than this one.

If you're reading this, you're hanging in and that is much appreciated. We'll do what we can to make the remaining six games interesting to read about. Hey, maybe Guillermo Quiroz will hit for the cycle or something.

Yes, the Sox have a guy named Guillermo Quiroz.

Catch you later from Camden Yards.

Varitek named assistant to the GM

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 27, 2012 08:35 PM

The Red Sox on Thursday named Jason Varitek as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington.

Varitek, 40, retired in March after a 15-year career with the Red Sox that included two World Series titles and seven seasons as the team captain.

Varitek will not be based in Boston in his new role, which will encompass a variety of duties.

“Jason was one of the most respected players of his era and will be a key voice as we move forward,” Cherington said. “He will be involved in a number of areas including major league personnel decisions, evaluations, and mentorship and instruction of young players. We are fortunate to have him in this role.”

Varitek appeared in 1,546 games with the Sox. Only Carl Yastrzemski (23), Ted Williams (19) and Jim Rice (16) spent more years with the franchise without ever playing for another club.

A three-time All-Star (2003, 2005 and 2008), Varitek became the first Boston catcher ever to win a Silver Slugger Award when he received the honor in 2005, the same year he was also honored with a Gold Glove.

Indians fire Acta; a fit for Francona?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 27, 2012 03:23 PM

The Cleveland Indians this afternoon fired manager Many Acta after three seasons. Bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. has been named interim manager and identified by the team as a candidate to get the job.

Alomar is well-regarded in Cleveland and has to be seen as the favorite. He played 11 years for Cleveland and has a good rapport with the players and front office.

Alomar was one of the candidates interviewed by the Red Sox last fall during their long search for a new manager.

If Alomar were to fall through, however, Terry Francona could be a candidate.

Francona spent the 2001 season working in the Cleveland front office and is highly regarded by team president Mark Shapiro and general manager Chris Antonetti.

The Indians probably aren't looking to pay a manager what Francona would be seeking. But Francona would value the idea of working with people he knows and trusts.

It's far more likely that Francona would seek a job with a contending team. But the managerial search season has started and wheels are spinning.

Cleveland's move today also underscores the need for the Red Sox to be ready to act quickly should they fire Bobby Valentine.

Cherington discusses searching for a new manager

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 27, 2012 10:51 AM

Not that this will come as any sort of stunning news, but Ben Cherington has kinda, sorta said Bobby Valentine will be getting fired.

At the end of an otherwise innocuous interview on WEEI this morning, the general manager was asked about the timing of a managerial change.

"I'd always rather get the decision right than rush it," Cherington said. "But what we know we need to do is hit the ground running this offseason. One of the things that, as I look back on last offseason, that didn't go perfectly was simply the amount of time that we spent on the manager search and what that did to the rest of the offseason and I would like to spend less time on it this offseason, that's for sure."

The season ends Wednesday in New York. By Thursday afternoon, that search could be underway.

UPDATE, 3 p.m.: Here's what Cherington when he spoke to the Globe's Mike Vega:

"I honestly meant it very literally, like we would like to spend less time on it. That could mean one day, that could mean no days. In my mind, it was nothing to do with Bobby or a decision about him, but I guess people are taking it the wrong way and if I need to clarify it, I’ll clarify it.

"The only thing I can clarify is to tell you that I meant it in the most literal sense possible. We’d like to focus less of our offseason on who the manger is. I don’t think that has anything to do with Bobby Valentine. It has to do with how we’re allocating our time."

Pitching matchups for the Orioles series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 27, 2012 10:00 AM

Friday: RHP Aaron Cook (4-10, 5.13) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (8-2, 3.08), 7:05 p.m., NESN

Saturday: LHP Felix Doubront (11-9, 4.91) vs. RHP Steve Johnson (4-0, 1.62), 7:05 p.m., NESN

Sunday: RHP Zach Stewart (1-3, 7.91) vs. TBA, 1:35 p.m., NESN

Clemens speaks glowingly of Boston

Posted by Globe Staff September 26, 2012 10:24 PM

Roger Clemens received a strong ovation — with a few boos, too — when he was introduced as a pitcher on the All-Fenway Park team before the Red Sox-Rays game Wednesday night.

Clemens spoke glowingly about Boston and his 13 years here.

“I felt young around some of the guys and old with the others,” Clemens said. “It was fun to see guys when I was 21 years old that made me nervous in big league clubhouse in Winter Haven, Fla. Got to see some of those guys and some of the guys I competed with and against. It was a great night; everybody was pretty excited about it."

“It was a fun week for me,” Clemens said. “We [he and his family] were able to celebrate the Astros' 50th [anniversary] over the weekend. That was fun for me because growing up around Houston I got to see the Cesar Cedenos and J.R. Richards, Jose Cruz Jr., and guys I watched down there.

“Of course, then to come back to Boston where it all started for me."

Clemens, who said Tuesday that he doubts a return to pitching for the Astros is in the cards after two successful starts for the independent Sugarland Skeeters, will be on the Hall of Fame ballot in December.

Will Clemens get elected, or will it be held against him that he’s prominently mentioned in the Mitchell Report as someone who took steroids — even though he was recently acquitted of charges that he lied to Congress?

Clemens said he doesn’t think about the perceptions of others and added he’s never been guilty of the charges.

Talking again about Boston, he said, “It’s great, I had the opportunity to come back a couple of times and play in a golf event with one of my buddies. We sat in the Monster [Seats] and that was a treat for all of us. I’ve always loved it here and pitching here. I’ve always said how close it looks for the fans to the field.

“They come here to root you on and they get into it. This is where I made my mark, so this will always have a special place in my heart."

Clemens said he’s always been treated well in Boston, even when he was a Yankee and even when he was dealing with the steroids issue.

“I can’t control the smattering of other things, but every time I’m in this town they’ve been nothing but great and thankful for the effort I gave when I was here," he said. "I know how I went about my work. We came close so many times. We made a lot of great memories. I had 13 wonderful years here."

Clemens said about his dinner with some of his All-Fenway "teammates," such as Pedro Martinez, “I’ve had battles with Nolan [Ryan]. I’ve had battles with Pedro. That’s great competition and I loved the competition. That’s what I do. I take my work seriously like he does. We talked about repeating our deliveries. He said he admired how I went about it and delivered the ball consistently all the time.

"Jason [Varitek] came over and got me from my table and we had good talk on how you make adjustments every couple of years and how you break down hitters."

Clemens said about his experience here, “I was good every year. Whether I was banged-up, I tried to answer the bell. I won 200 games with stuff and won the rest with my heart and determination.”

"I’ve never lost my love for this town. I learned to pitch in Boston."

Final: Rays 4, Red Sox 2

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff September 26, 2012 08:51 PM

Game over: The Red Sox ended their Fenway season with a 34-47 record with a 4-2 loss to the Rays Wednesday night. Jon Lester was beaten again, and is now 9-14 on the season. The game was played in 3:18 before 37,247. Sox players just threw T-shirts into the crowd.

Top 9th: Rays 4, Red Sox 2 Rays couldn't do much vs. Craig Breslow, who walked a batter but struck out three.

Bottom 8th: Rays 4, Red Sox 2 Not much left in the tank for these Sox.

Top 8th: Rays 4, Red Sox 2 Mark Melancon has been impressive. After allowing a leadoff single to BJ Upton, he struck out the next three batters.

Bottom 7th: Rays 4, Red Sox 2 Sox go down again as Fenway is now about half empty in this final Fenway game of 2012.

Top 7th: Rays 4, Red Sox 2 Lobaton's ground rule double off Rich Hill scored an insurance run for the Rays.

Bottom 6th: Rays 3, Red Sox 2 The Sox chipped away at the Rays lead with one run. Pedroia stole second, his 100th career theft, and after a Ross single to right, Loney's sacrifice fly got the run home.

Top 6th: Rays 3, Red Sox 1 Lester surrendered a two-out double to Ben Zobrist but struck out Longoria to end the inning.

Bottom 5th: Rays 3, Red Sox 1 Sox can't counter with anything off Cobb. Three up and three down.

Top 5th: Rays 3, Red Sox 1 Lester lost no-hitter and shutout here. Keppinger singled with one out for the first hit and that was folllowed by Pena's homer. Francisco made it back-to-back off the Triple A sign over the Monster.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 1, Rays 0 A Lavarnway single with one out was erased by a Nava double-play grounder.

Top 4th:Red Sox 1, Rays 0 Lester again has a strong inning. Hasn't allowed a hit.

Bottom 3d: Red Sox 1, Rays 0 The Sox threatened for more, putting two runners on base. A Scott Podsednik single resulted in Dustrin Pedroia reaching on a fielder's choice and then stealing second base. Ross walked, but Loney grounded out to end the threat.

Top 3d: Red Sox 1, Rays 0 Lester continued to be on his game, retiring the bottom of the Rays order. He's pitched to the minimum nine batters so far.

Bottom 2d: Red Sox 1, Rays 0 The Red Sox drew first blood. A walk to Salty and an RBI single Daniel Nava, after Salty advanced to second on a ground ball out by Lavarnway, did the trick.

Top 2d: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Longoria drew a walk but Lester managed to get out of it when Pena knocked into a double play.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Dustin Pedroia drew a two-out walk against Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb, but Cody Ross popped out to end the threat.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Lester retired the Rays in order after a long ceremony to honor the All-Fenway team.

Yaz believes Cabrera has shot at Triple Crown

Posted by Globe Staff September 26, 2012 08:49 PM

It’s been 45 years since Carl Yastrzemski won the last Triple Crown. And he believes Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera has a legitimate shot.

Yastrzemski, who was voted the reserve left fielder (behind Ted Williams) on the All Fenway Park Team, which was honored Wednesday night before the game, finds it hard to believe it’s been this long since somebody has won it.

“Somebody’s going to do it, whether it’s Miguel Cabrera this year or someone next year,” Yaz said at a press conference alongside Dwight Evans after the ceremony. “I’m surprised it’s gone on this long to be perfectly honest. When [Pete] Rose broke [Ty] Cobb’s hit record and when [Cal] Ripken broke [Lou] Gehrig’s consecutive game record, I never thought that would happen either, so it’s going to happen.”

Yastrzemski said the Triple Crown was barely mentioned in 1967 because the Red Sox were marching toward their Impossible Dream season.

“The one thing that will help [Cabrera] is that he’s in a pennant race,” Yastrzemski said. “There’s so much more publicity nowadays, people call a report in every day. In ’67, the Triple Crown wasn’t even mentioned. We were so involved I didn’t know I’d won it until the next day when I read it in the paper.

"The only person who mentioned it the last two weeks of the season was Jim Lonborg. He came up to me. We were playing in Baltimore against Frank Robinson, who was ahead of me by a few points. He said, ‘Get some hits because I’m gonna give Frank an 0-fer.’ He went 0 for 5.”

Yastrzemski batted .326 with 44 homers and 121 RBIs in 1967. Cabrera entered Wednesday leading the American League with a .329 average and 133 RBIs. He was one homer behind Texas' Josh Hamilton, who had 43 entering the night.

Red Sox announce All-Fenway Park team

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff September 26, 2012 06:47 PM

600fenway.jpg

The Red Sox released their All-Fenway Park team before Wednesday night's game against the Tampa Rays.

The team was chosen by fans and historians, as well as Red Sox personnel and consultants. More than 120,000 fan votes were recorded, the Red Sox said.

Starting Lineup
C: Carlton Fisk*
1B: Jimmie Foxx**
2B: Dustin Pedroia*
3B: Wade Boggs
SS: Nomar Garciaparra*
LF: Ted Williams**
CF: Fred Lynn*
RF: Dwight Evans*
RHP: Pedro Martinez*
LHP: Lefty Grove**
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon
DH: David Ortiz*
Manager: Terry Francona

PR: Dave Roberts
PH: Bernie Carbo*

First reserves

C: Jason Varitek*
1B: Mo Vaughn
2B: Bobby Doerr
3B: Mike Lowell
SS: Johnny Pesky**
LF: Carl Yastrzemski*
CF: Dom DiMaggio**
RF: Trot Nixon*
Pitcher: Roger Clemens*
Pitcher: Luis Tiant*
Pitcher: Tim Wakefield*
Pitcher: Dennis Eckersley*
Pitcher: Dick Radatz**
Manager: Joe Cronin**

Second reserves
C: Rich Gedman*
1B: George Scott
2B: Jerry Remy*
3B: Frank Malzone*
SS: Rico Petrocelli*
LF: Jim Rice*
CF: Reggie Smith*
RF: Tony Conigliaro**
Pitcher: Babe Ruth**
Pitcher: Smoky Joe Wood**
Pitcher: Curt Schilling
Pitcher: Bill Lee*
Pitcher: Jim Lonborg*
Manager: Dick Williams **

*Indicates players in attendance at Wednesday’s ceremony
**Indicates players who are deceased

Photos: All-Fenway team unveiled at ballpark

Bobby Valentine: 'Not much I would've done differently'

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff September 26, 2012 05:56 PM

Before the Red Sox hosted the Tampa Rays in their regular season home finale Wednesday night at Fenway Park, first-year Boston manager Bobby Valentine addressed questions about his future with the club and whether he expected to return in 2013.

Asked if he had contemplated the notion that Wednesday night's home game could be his final Fenway appearance as the Sox manager, Valentine replied: "I'm not getting fired today, if that's what you mean."

When pressed about whether he came to the park thinking it might be his last day managing the Sox at home, Valentine sounded as though he were conducting an exit interview.

"I don't think so, not until you asked that," he said. "And if it is, I'd like to thank you all, or at least most of you, for your professionalism this year and your willingness to put up with all the stuff that goes on on a day-to-day basis and wish you all great health to you and your families. Enjoy."

The Sox entered Wednesday night's game with their worst home record (34-46) since going 34-47 at Fenway in 1965. They finished under .500 at home for the first time since 1997 (39-42).

Valentine was asked what he learned about himself this season.

“Well I don’t know about learning about myself, you know. I have the gas masks. I could handle the chemical weapons. The bullets penetrated a bit, but they didn’t kill me. What did I learn about myself? I’m almost a year older, I know that, and it’s gone quickly.’’

Asked how he would assess his performance based on his record, Valentine said, "Obviously [it] wasn't what I set out to do, so when you don't accomplish what you set out to do you feel like you haven't done a good enough job. It's simple.''

Valentine, however, dealt with a record number of injuries, upheaval on the roster, and the midseason blockbuster trade that sent the three highest-paid players -- Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford -- along with Nick Punto to the Dodgers in exchange for first baseman James Loney and four other minor league prospects,

Was it the job he thought he was getting?

"All those variables are things I feel I'm prepared to handle," he said. "When I come back next year. I think I'll be prepared to handle them and hopefully we'll have better results.

"Not much I would've done differently," Valentine said.

Then, interjecting a bit of gallows humor, he added, "I think I would have kept the beer in the clubhouse. I could have used it after a few of those games."

Game 156: Rays at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 26, 2012 03:15 PM

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

RED SOX (69-86)
Ciriaco 3B
Podsednik CF
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Loney 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Lavarnway DH
Nava LF
Iglesias SS
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (9-13, 4.96)

RAYS (84-70)
Jennings RF
Upton CF
Zobrist SS
Longoria 3B
Keppinger DH
Pena 1B
Francisco LF
Roberts 2B
Lobaton C
Pitching: RHP Alex Cobb (9-9, 4.27)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Cobb: Aviles 0-6, Pedroia 0-5, Salty 0-2, Podsednik 104, Ciriaco 0-3, Ellsbury 1-3, Loney 1-3, Ross 0-3, Iglesias 0-1, Lavaenway 0-2, Nava 0-2.

Rays vs. Lester: Upton 13-58, Pena 12-45, Longoria 11-42, Zobrist 7-32, Rodriguez 2-16, Molina 5-15, Scott 0-11, Francisco 2-14, Jennings 3-9, Johnson 2-7, Fuld 1-6, Lobaton 0-5, Joyce 2-3, Gimenez 0-2.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 34-46 at Fenway this season, getting outscored 419-417. Their all-time worst record at home (over a 162-game season) was 34-47 in 1965.

All-Fenway team revealed: As a conclusion to the season-long 100th Anniversary celebration of Fenway Park, the Red Sox will present the All-Time Fenway Park Team during a pre-game ceremony tonight. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 6:30 p.m.

Notes: Say goodbye to the Sox, who are playing their final home game until April 8, 2013 against Baltimore. The Sox have lost five of six but remain a half-game ahead of Toronto in the division. The Jays must be awful. ... The Rays have won six straight and are three games out of a wild card spot with eight to play. ... Lester is 4-5, 3.97 in his last 10 starts. He faced the Rays on May 25 and allowed seven runs over four innings. He is 10-7, 4.29 in 21 career starts against the Rays. ... Cobb has faced the Sox twice this season and allowed four earned runs over 11 innings. ... Per the Red Sox, tonight’s game will be the 8,000th Major League game played at Fenway Park, including regular season and postseason games played by both the Red Sox and Boston Braves.

Song of the Day: "Don't Come Around Here No More" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Information on the 2013 WBC

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 26, 2012 01:16 PM

Here's some information on the 2013 World Baseball Classic:

Pool A
Site: Fukuoka, Japan (Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome)
Dates: March 2-6
Teams: Japan, China, Cuba and qualifier TBA

Pool B
Site: Taichung, Taiwan (Intercontinental Stadium)
Dates: March 2-5
Teams: Australia, Korea, Netherlands, qualifier TBA

Pool C
Site: San Juan, Puerto Rico (Hiram Bithorn Stadium)
Dates: March 7-10
Teams: Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, qualifier TBA

Pool D
Site: Arizona (Chase Field and Salt River Fields)
Dates: March 7-10
Teams: United States, Italy, Mexico, qualifier TBA

Second Round
Pool A and Pool B winners and runners-up at Tokyo Dome, March 8-12
Pool C and Pool D winners and runners-up at Marlins Park, March 12-16

Semifinals and Final
AT&T Park in San Francisco, March 17-19

Rosters: Provisional rosters for all 16 participating teams will be announced on Dec. 3 at the 2012 Baseball Winter Meetings.

Tickets: Dec. 3 is when sales start. Ticket strips will include tickets to each of the six games at each venue (first and second round), or each of the three games in San Francisco. Go to www.worldbaseballclassic.com for information.

Qualifiers: Spain and Canada have advanced. The two remaining qualifiers will be played at Xinzhuang Stadium in New Taipei City, Taiwan from Nov. 15-18 and at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City, Panama from November 15-19.

Chinese Taipei, New Zealand, Philippines and Thailand will play in China. Panama, Brazil, Colombia and Nicaragua will play in Panama.

Impact on the Red Sox: Any player selected will be gone from spring training from roughly the last few days of February to possibly March 21.

Tough to say at this point what players will be selected, But certainly David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Felix Doubront, Cody Ross, Andrew Bailey, Alfredo Aceves, Che-Hsuan Lin are candidates for their respective countries.

Braves offer a lesson that the Red Sox missed

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 26, 2012 12:15 PM

The Atlanta Braves collapsed last September, too. They went 9-18 and kicked away their playoff chances.

As you might imagine, it didn't get a lot of attention in Boston.

But this should: the Braves clinched a playoff spot on Tuesday. At 87-67, they're guaranteed one of the National League wild cards.

Atlanta fired its hitting coach after the season. But manager Fredi Gonzalez stayed. So did GM Frank Wren. There wasn't any panic or departures to Chicago, just a determination to make things right.

Atlanta built around its pitching, survived a few bumps along the way and came out better for it.

Are the situations different? Sure they are. The Braves weren't crushed by injuries like the Red Sox were. They also weren't distracted by internal dissent, bickering coaches and other nonsense, either. They worked together.

Two collapses. One team bounced back and showed a lot of character. Another somehow got worse.

Varitek close to taking a job with the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 26, 2012 11:47 AM

Nick Cafardo had two pieces of news in the paper today:

• Jason Varitek will be taking a job with the Red Sox. It will probably not be as part of the major league coaching staff. “I will be involved in some way. We’re just putting the finishing touches on something and we’ll have it finalized soon," Varitek said.

Varitek retired before this season. With four young children, he is looking for an opportunity to ease his way back into baseball while still having time for his family.

• Roger Clemens told Nick that he will not be pitching for the Houston Astros this season or next. Clemens had pitched a few games of independent league ball in Texas.

• Don't miss the jacuzzi story told by Pedro Martinez last night.

• If you think the Red Sox are a mess, it's nothing compared to Miami.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 26, 2012 10:38 AM

Nick Cafardo writes that honoring the 2004 Red Sox was a welcome distraction.

The notebook has Roger Clemens visiting Fenway (and saying he won't pitch again) and the Sox losing to the Rays.

Former Globe intern Alex Prewitt (now with the Washington Post) has the story of the Dogman, a Lowell clubhouse worker who stepped back from the brink.

Yawkey League All-Stars play at Fenway

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 26, 2012 10:15 AM

The Yawkey Baseball League All-Star Game will be at 11 a.m. on Oct. 6 at Fenway Park.

Fifty players will represent the 16 teams in the amateur league as the Dan Tarpey All-Stars face the Bill Stewart All-Stars.

The YBL has been playing All-Star games at Fenway since 1993. with the last game coming in 2004.

Go to yawkeybaseball.com for more information.

Home is where the losses are for Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 25, 2012 11:14 PM

Tuesday night's 5-2 loss against the Rays left the Sox at 34-46 at Fenway Park this season. It's their worst record at home since the 1965 team went 34-47.

The Sox are a pedestrian 126-117 (.516) at home the last three seasons. They were 320-166 (.658) the six years prior.

Among the many issues on the agenda for next season is finding a way to play better at home.

"It's usually the flip side of that, knowing that we're going home and we're going to win," said Clay Buchholz, who took the loss Tuesday night. "It's a little different. But this year as a whole is going to leave a sour taste in a lot of guys' mouths. To know that you don't want to be at that point again is going to drive just about everybody in this clubhouse to be prepared and to be ready for spring and the beginning of next season."

Meanwhile:

• That David Price struck out 13 without a walk tells you how weak the Red Sox lineup was.

Pedro Ciriaco, Daniel Nava, Mauro Gomez, Ryan Lavarnway, Danny Valencia, Che-Hsuan Lin, and Jose Iglesias were 4 for 24 with 11 strikeouts.

The 13 punchouts were a season high for Price and matched the most by a pitcher against the Sox this season. Felix Hernandez and Stephen Strasburg also did it.

• Buchholz (11-7) has lost four straight decisions, the longest such streak of his career.

• The Sox announced the attendance as 37,045 and said they have drawn 3,005,756 fans. That's the fifth time over three million in team history, all since 2008.

• Sox are 9-8 against the Rays with one game left.

• The Rays have won six straight. But Oakland beat Texas, so Tampa Bay remains three out in the wild card.

• At 69-86, the Sox have to go 4-3 in their last seven games to avoid 90 losses for the first time since 1966.

• Mike Aviles has 10 plate appearances in the last nine games. They should be getting a good look at Jose Iglesias. But doesn't Aviles deserve to play ahead of Danny Valencia?

That's it from here. Thanks for reading.

Final: Rays 5, Red Sox 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 25, 2012 06:57 PM

Game over: Rays 5, Red Sox 2: David Price had a somewhat rocky few innings but bamboozled the Sox over the final six innings to improve to 19-5. The Rays have won six straight.

It was Price's fourth career complete game. He fanned 13 and was in control the whole time. Buchholz falls to 11-7.

Middle of the 9th: Rays 5, Red Sox 2: Last licks for the Sox after Vicente Padilla pitches a scoreless inning. Price stays in the game despite Fernando Rodney warming up.

Top of the 9th: Rays 5, Red Sox 2: Price is likely finished after eight innings and 102 pitches. He struck out 11, one off his season high, and scattered seven hits.

This would be six straight wins for the Rays. Oakland is tied with Texas in the sixth in Texas.

Top of the 8th: Rays 5, Red Sox 2: Price has fanned 10 and allowed seven hits. Buchholz was done after six innings. His line: 6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER. 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 99 pitches, 61 strikes.

Middle of the 6th: Rays 5, Red Sox 2: Sloppy inning for the Sox there. With runners on first and second, Pena grounded to first. Gomez fired to shortstop for one out and Iglesias relayed to Buchholz at first. It should have been a double play but Buchholz came off the bag.

Molina followed with a well-hit ball to left field that Nava played off the wall. One scored and another came in with Nava fumbled the ball. Molina was injured running to first and came out of the game. Jose Lobaton replaced him.

Top of the 6th: Rays 3 Red Sox 2: Price has settled down. Buchholz, too. William Shatner is here. That's all I really have for you at this point.

Top of the 4th: Rays 3, Red Sox 2: Ciriaco and Nava singled with one out. With Pedroia up, Ciriaco inexplicably tried to steal third and was thrown out.

Here's why you don't do that:

1. Pedroia is up.

2. You have the speed to score from second on a single.

3. Pedroia is up.

Ciriaco does a few things you like. But he has a tendency to over-reach at times.

Pedroia, naturally, doubled and Nava went to third. He scored from there on a balk by Price. Ross had a chance to tie it and struck out. So the Sox have six hits in the last two innings and two runs thanks to bad base running.

Middle of the 3rd: Rays 3, Red Sox 1: The Sox scored a run in the second. Ross singled before Gomez singled off the ladder on the wall in left. You almost never see that.

Lavarnway popped out and Ross held at third. Valencia followed with a liner to the gap in left. He took a wide turn around first and was thrown out going back to the base. So the Sox turned three hits into one run.

Middle of the 2nd: Rays 3, Red Sox 0: Buchholz walked Longoria on six pitches and Scott on four. Then he threw a first-pitch, get-me-over fastball to Keppinger. He crushed it off the base of the light tower in left.

Middle of the 1st: Rays 0, Red Sox 0: The game started after a delay of 12 minutes. Can't believe Curt Schilling missed the ceremony and another chance to criticize Valentine.

Buchholz retired the side in order. That's 8 shutout innings in a row for him against the Rays.

2004 ceremony underway: Those in attendance from the 2004 team are riding duck boats around the warming track.

Terry Francona got a big hand. The trophy is on one of the boats. The players are throwing soft baseballs to the crowd. This is nice and all, but Fenway is about a third full.

Here is who showed up:

Players: Keith Foulke, Nomar Garciaparra, Adam Hyzdu, Pedro Martinez, Dave McCarty, Kevin Millar, Joe Nelson, Trot Nixon, David Ortiz, Phil Seibel, Jason Shiell, Mike Timlin, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Alan Embree.

Manager: Terry Francona,

Coaches: Ron Jackson, Lynn Jones, Dave Wallace, Brad Mills.

Ortiz hopped on a duck boat from the dugout. The scoreboard showed messages from Derek Lowe, Dave Roberts and Bronson Arroyo.

Foulke threw out the first pitch to Varitek and the catcher jumped into his arms like that night in St. Louis.

Pre-game: No replacement refs here at Fenway. Just good old baseball. The Sox entertain the Rays in the penultimate home game of this tortured season. It's a good pitching matchup as Clay Buchholz faces David Price.

The Sox have a lineup that includes Pedro Ciriaco, Daniel Nava, Mauro Gomez, Ryan Lavarnway, Danny Valencia, Che-Hsuan Lin and Jose Iglesias. If those seven guys were at a table at Legal Seafood, how many people would know they played for the Sox?

But if you're reading this blog, bet you do. So hang out for updates and we'll try to be entertaining.

Feel free to leave your comments. They actually work, I'm told.

'04 Red Sox honored at Fenway tonight

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 25, 2012 05:45 PM

Roger0925.jpg

These are going to be a weird few days at Fenway Park.

The ragtag 2012 team is playing its final two games at home before going on the road then slinking off into ignominy. Yet the Red Sox are also hosting two celebrations.

The 2004 World Series team will be honored tonight and the "All-Fenway" team on Wednesday.

Pedro Martinez, Kevin Millar, Mike Timlin, Keith Foulke, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek and Terry Francona are on hand toinight. Oddly enough, so is Nomar Garciaparra.

The likes of Phil Seibel (two games) and Adam Hyzdu (17 games) are here, too, along with some others.

Meanwhile, Roger Clemens and his son Kobe watched batting practice.

(As an aside, I have no idea what the actual truth is about Roger. We all have our suspicions, certainly. But I do know that getting to cover a few of his games was a lot of fun. Back in the day, you stopped doing everything to watch the the Rocket pitch.)

As for the 2012 Red Sox:

• Jacoby Ellsbury is out for the fourth consecutive game with a lat strain. According to Bobby Valentine, he could have played tonight but the decision was to be cautious.

• RHPs Daniel Bard and Zach Stewart threw live BP on the field. Stewart was tuning up for his start on Sunday. Bard needed the work. Hard to believe that it's come to that for him.

• The Red Sox have four players in their lineup hitting .169 or worse. I know, small sample sizes. But wow.

Game 155: Rays at Red Sox

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

Here's a preview of the game:

RED SOX (69-85)
Ciriaco DH
Nava LF
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Gomez 1B
Lavarnway C
Valencia 3B
Lin CF
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (11-6, 4.16)

RAYS (83-70)
Jennings LF
Upton CF
Zobrist SS
Longoria 3B
Scott DH
Keppinger 2B
Joyce RF
Pena 1B
Molina C
Pitching: LHP David Price (18-5, 2.58)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio:NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Price: Pedroa 8-27, Ellsbury 6-22, Aviles 4-16, Ross 2-12, Nava 0-11, Salty 1-8, Podsednik 3-8, Valencia 6-7, Ciriaco 0-6, Lavarnway 2-4, Gomez 1-3, Iglesias 2-3.

Rays vs. Buchholz: Scott 7-20, Pena 5-30, Zobrist 3-29, Longoria 6-27, Upton 7-23, Joyce 5-15, Molina 5-14, Rodriguez 3-10, Jennings 2-7, Keppinger 1-8, Johnson 1-5, Brignac 0-3, Gimenez 0-3, Fuld 1-2, Roberts 0-1.

Stat of the Day: This will Lavarnway's 11th start at catcher in the last 16 games.

Notes: The Rays are three games out in the wild card with nine games to play. The math is against them, but then it was last year, too. They have won five straight. ... The Sox have dropped four of their last five. ... The pitching matchup is a rematch from last Thursday in Florida. Buchholz threw seven no-hit innings and Price allowed three runs over 7.1 innings. But the Rays won the game , 7-4, with six runs in the ninth off Andrew Bailey and Vicente Padilla. ... Buchholz is matching his career best with his 28th start. He has thrown a career-best 181.2 innings. He is 0-2 in his last five starts despite a 2.95 ERA and is 1-2, 3.62 in five starts against the Rays this season. ... Price is 1-1, 3.28 in four starts against the Sox this season. ... The 2004 team will be honored before the game as part of the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.

Song of the Day: "After The Thrill Is Gone" by The Eagles.

Why Felix Doubront can't be the No. 3 starter in 2013

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 25, 2012 08:20 AM

Felix Doubront pitched very well on Sunday for the Red Sox, allowing one run over seven innings against Baltimore and striking out 11.

A 24-year-old lefthanded starter with swing-and-miss stuff is a nice commodity to have. But if Doubront is the No. 3 starter at the start of next season, the Red Sox will have failed this winter.

The most important duty GM Ben Cherington has this winter is to improve the quality and depth of the rotation. Everything else is secondary.

That means Doubront can't be the No. 3 starter. Because while he's pretty good, he's not that good. The Red Sox have to sign or trade for a pitcher who slots in one of their three best starters. Then comes Doubront and John Lackey or somebody else.

Who is that pitcher? Your guess is as good as mine at this point. The best free agent at the moment is Zack Greinke and it's not him, not with how he has pitched for the Angels.

Maybe it's Edwin Jackson, Jake Peavy or James Shields. It just has to be somebody good. The Sox have money and prospects. They need to get the rotation fixed and not go into spring training holding auditions or transitioning relievers. We saw how that worked this year.

Red Sox starters have a 5.03 ERA. That's 12th in the American League. Poor starters wreck the entire team. The bullpen gets worn down and the position players get mentally beaten down from having to play from behind every night.

A few other thoughts about the future:

• Who the next pitching coach is may be more important than who the next manager is. That the Sox have a 6.31 ERA in the first inning indicates how poorly they prepare for games.

• Assuming Bobby Valentine is fired, the Sox need to have their manager in place in two or three weeks, not two months like last year. The new guy has to have a chance to build a coaching staff he can trust, not one he can't turn his back on.

You have to believe Cherington already has a list of 3-4 candidates in mind and will move swiftly. Our guess is John Farrell, Tim Bogar or Torey Lovullo gets the job.

• Dustin Pedroia gets named captain.

• Cody Ross gets two years and $10-12 million.

• Hitting coach Dave Magadan and bullpen coach Gary Tuck go to the Cubs when their contracts expire.

• Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler gets a spot on the coaching staff.

• David Ortiz gets a two-year deal or one with a reachable option. Yes, it's taking a chance. But it's taking a chance on somebody who can handle playing for your team and won't whine about the market.

• Jason Varitek takes some kind of position with the team. But not in uniform.

• The Red Sox hire a "director of pitching" with the power to influence drafting, scouting, development and coaching at all levels of the organization.

• Cherington also hires somebody notable as one of his top assistants.

That's it for now. Once this season is over — a week from tomorrow, thank goodness — there will be plenty of time to write more about what is to come.

Red Sox invite fans to take BP at Fenway

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 24, 2012 05:53 PM

The Red Sox are going to great lengths to keep the season ticket holders happy once this disappointing season has ended.

The team has scheduled three days of fan batting practice at Fenway Park and they're apparently expecting a big turnout.

From 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 5, Oct. 7 and Oct. 8, fans with Red Sox accounts can swing at five pitches from a pitching machine on the field. Only one representative per account will be allowed on the field.

(Wondering if you were invited? Check your email.)

Guests are welcome to attend can watch from the seats. The Sox are providing bats and helmets. There also will be tours of the park, photos with the World Series trophies and other events. Concessions will be half price.

Just a thought, why not let fans swing at five pitches from Daisuke Matsuzaka? There's a better chance of hitting one.

Share a Fenway Park memory, win a prize

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff September 24, 2012 05:32 PM

dvdset.jpgAs the Red Sox wrap up the season-long celebration of Fenway Park's 100th anniversary, we've teamed up with A+E Networks Home Entertainment/MLB Productions to offer Extra Bases readers the chance to win some very cool prizes.

All it will cost you to enter is merely sharing a memory from a special trip to the old ballpark. It can be a short story told in 500 characters or less, a photo, or a short video clip.

Submit yours here and tell us a little about it.

Entry stays open until Oct. 3. Winners will be chosen by a random drawing.

Now the good part. The prizes are as follows:

Fifteen winners will receive a commemorative DVD called Fenway Park: 100 Years as the Heart of Red Sox Nation. It's valued at $14.99 on MLB.com.

Five winners will receive the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park 100th Anniversary Collector's DVD Set (pictured). Its value is $79.99.

Check the rules here.

Pitching matchups for the Rays series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 24, 2012 02:00 PM

Tuesday: LHP David Price (18-5, 2.58) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (11-6, 4.16), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Wednesday: RHP Alex Cobb (9-9, 4.27) vs. LHP Jon Lester (9-13, 4.96), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Pedro Martinez on the state of the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 24, 2012 12:32 PM

Pedro Martinez was asked on Sunday about his take on the 2012 Red Sox. Martinez joined the Sox in 1998 and went through some trying seasons in his time.

"I'm not that far apart from also having teams that went completely bad, especially in the second half. I'm very familiar with it," he said. "They need to change a few things. When things go wrong, you really have to look at the things that went wrong and fix them.

"The team has the tools to actually come back by next year. I was on a lot of teams where we had a lot of sore and painful defeats. So this team, all they have to do is fix their character, come back next year and think that everything is possible and start nice and fresh. Hopefully management will make the adjustments they need to make and work on the character a little more and I think that talent is basically there. So they need to just work all together and focus on it. I think that's achievable."

A fond farewell at Fenway to Johnny Pesky

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 23, 2012 07:45 PM
johnny pesky tribute

Jim Rice was among many current and former Red Sox to sign the Pesky Pole during Sunday's tribute. (Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff)

The impact that Johnny Pesky made on the Red Sox during his 70-year career as a player, manager, coach and ambassador was evident on Sunday night when Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk walked onto the field at the start of the team’s tribute.

Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, Jim Rice, Jason Varitek, and Tim Wakefield followed along with all of the players on the present-day roster.

Jerry Remy, Reggie Smith, Bill Lee, Keith Foulke, Lou Merloni and Rich Gedman also were among those on hand along with former coaches Brad Mills, Ron Jackson, Lynn Jones and Dick Berardino.

All spent countless hours with Pesky at Fenway Park and during spring training.

“It's probably a cumulative memory of John. You can talk about all the guys that played for this team over the course of the years, but he sort of remained the face of the organization for the longest time,” Fisk said.

“He loved the game of baseball. He was one of those guys that transcended a lot of eras.”

Martinez was close to Pesky and misses his friend, who passed away last month at the age of 93.

"Anytime you see Boston, you remember his legend,” Martinez said. “You see Boston as a tradition, you have to think about Johnny Pesky, Ted Williams and people like that that.

“Everywhere in the history of Boston you seem to have Johnny Pesky. Every story about every season that ever started has started with Johnny Pesky in spring training. … I just think that his soul was attached to Boston in some way that nobody’s probably able to describe. It makes Johnny unique and makes his soul unique.”

The ceremony was a simple one. Author Dick Flavin spoke. Then a selection of players, past and present, shared stories about Pesky. David Pesky, Johnny’s only child, attended with his wife, Alison.

At the end of the ceremony, the players and guests laid roses on the large No. 6 on the infield at shortstop. They then all signed the “Pesky Pole” in right field.

Fans who stayed after the 2-1 victory against Baltimore gathered in the third base seats to watch, then viewed an exhibit of Pesky memorabilia on the warning track in left field.

Fenway Park set for Johnny Pesky tribute

Posted by Staff September 23, 2012 05:39 PM

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Fenway Park is preparing for the team's tribute to Johnny Pesky. Ceremonies are scheduled to run from 6-7 p.m. and the park will be open at no charge to the general public until 9 p.m.

Former and current Sox players will be on hand to pay tribute to Peksy and share stories about the life and career of the man who spent 70 years with the organization.

The grounds crew has etched a solid number 6 in the dirt at shortstop, Pesky’s old position. There are large photographs of Pesky with his teammates and with his wife, Ruth, hanging from the Green Monster.

Fans will have an opportunity to write personal messages to the Pesky family and walk the warning track to view displays of one of the most beloved Red Sox of all-time.

Those in attendance include Carlton Fisk, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Jim Rice, Bill Lee, Jerry Remy, Keith Foulke, Lou Merloni and numerous others along with all of the current players.

Other Sox alums in attendance are Luis Tiant, Reggie Smith, John Tudor, Rich Gedman, Joe Nelson, Skip Lockwood, former hitting coach Ron Jackson, former bench coach and Houston manager Brad Mills, Lynn Jones, Dick Berardino, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield.

Check back later for more on the ceremony.


Final: Red Sox 2, Orioles 1

Posted by Staff September 23, 2012 01:30 PM

Final, Red Sox 2, Orioles 1: The Red Sox avoid the sweep and snap both a four-game losing streak and a four-game home losing streak. Boston will enjoy an off day tomorrow before playing their final two home games of the season against Tampa Bay on Tuesday and Wednesday night. The Red Sox improve to 69-85 with the win.

Top 9th, Orioles 1, Red Sox 2: Andrew Bailey hits the hill for Boston looking for his sixth save of the season. Weiters, who was on fire in the first two games, grounds out to second to cap an 0-for-4 day. A Jim Thome pinch-hit, ground-rule double puts O's on second and third. An intentional walk of Davis loads the bases. Gomez fields Machado's grounder and goes home to cut down the lead runner. And pinch-hitter Ryan Flaherty goes down looking to end it.

Bottom 8th, Orioles 1, Red Sox 2: Pedroia pulls the crowd back into this game with an opposite field double down the first base line and along the right field wall. Ross follows with a high fly to left that catches the top of the Monster four an RBI double. Mauro Gomez pinch hitting, puts a charge on a Brian Matusz pitch, but it is run down in left-center. Lavarnway is the second straight Sox pinch-hitter, promoting another O's pitching change as they bring on 19-year-old Dylan Bundy, making his Major League debut. Bundy induces two flyouts to end the inning.

Top 8th, Orioles 1, Red Sox 1: Junichi Tazawa spells Doubront who finished with a career-high eleven strikeouts on the day. Tazawa makes quick work of the Orioles with a 1-2-3 inning. It's the fourth time today that Baltimore, who has four hits on the day, has gone down order.

Bottom 7th, Orioles 1, Red Sox 1: Troy Patton starts the inning in relief for the O's, but is lifted after allowing a Scott Podsednik single. Bobby Ayala comes on for Baltimore and retires Ciriaco with some big help from Machado who makes a great diving play to his right on a ball down the line, then popping up to beat Ciriaco by half a step.

Top 7th, Orioles 1, Red Sox 1: Iglesias makes a nifty play at short, charging in on a ball, and line drive flipping it to second base, but the double play could not be completed on Machado. But Doubront uses the opportunity to up his K mark, as he sits down Andino for the third time tonight for his eleventh strikeout.

Bottom 6th, Orioles 1, Red Sox 1: James Loney singles in the frame, but the Sox can muster nothing more.

Top 6th, Orioles 1, Red Sox 1: Doubront gets Mark Reynolds swinging to end a 1-2-3 inning. It was Doubront's tenth strikeout of the day, a career high mark for the lefty. It was also the third time he's gotten Reynolds today.

Bottom 5th, Orioles 1, Red Sox 1: The Sox are retired 1-2-3 for the second time on the day. Pedro Ciriaco has three fly outs to right field.

Top 5th, Orioles 1, Red Sox 1: Lew Ford gets the first Orioles hit of the game, a single back up the box on the first pitch of the inning. And Chris Davis wall-balls a double for their second hit. Machado pops one up to shallow left that Ciriaco just misses, allowing Ford to tie the game. Doubront bears down, strikes out two more and gets out of the jam. Felix has tied his season and career-highs with nine strikeouts in a game.

Bottom 4th, Orioles 0, Red Sox 1: Cody Ross checks in with a wall-ball single to leadoff and scores on an error by Andino who threw away a perfect double-play ball that would have ended the inning. Iglesias flies out to right, ending the inning and stranding two.

Top 4th, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: Doubront strikes out the side, giving him seven through four innings. He is doing a solid job mixing his pitches and keeping these hitters guessing.

Bottom 3rd, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: Tillman gets the Sox to go down quietly, the first 1-2-3 of the day for the Orioles.

Top 3rd, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: Doubront allows a leadoff walk to Manny Machado, but then mows down the next in order, tossing two more Ks to the effort.

Bottom 2nd, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: Jarros Saltalamacchia hits one a mile high and Robert Andino loses it in the sun, allowing the ball to drop to between him and Jones in shallow center. Andino gets a second chance on another mile-high pop, finding Danny Valencia's fly, albeit with a little bit of concern at the end of the play. Daniel Nava moves Salty to third with a deep sac-fly to center. Jose Iglesias strands Salty with a ground out to short.

Top 2nd, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: Two strikeouts and another fly ball out to centerfield for Doubront and crew as a Lew Ford walk proves harmless.

Bottom 1st, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: Podsednik and Dustin Pedroia each pick up first-inning singles, but can't be helped around as James Loney ends the inning on a check-swing grounder to third base.

Top 1st, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: Doubront gets the Orioles on three straight flyouts to start the game. Cody Ross went slamming into the right field wall to track down an Adam Jones fly to end the inning.

Pregame: Hello from Fenway Park on a gorgeous fall Sunday. I am Craig Forde, back one more time to keep you updated on all of today’s action. The Red Sox are looking to avoid their second three-game sweep at home against Baltimore this season. The O’s are 10-4 against the Sox this year and 7-1 at Fenway. Felix Doubront will be making his second start of the season against Baltimore. He lost in his prior outing against them back on May 22nd, but did post a season-high nine strikeouts over six innings. The O’s counter with Chris Tillman who had a no decision in an August 16th start against the Red Sox. Skies are clear as can be, the sun is shining bright, and it is the last home day game of the season. It’s a perfect day for baseball!

Ellsbury in the lineup . . . for a few minutes

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 23, 2012 12:17 PM

Jacoby Ellsbury was in the original lineup before he tried to throw and then he was replaced in center field by Scott Podsednik.

The Red Sox haven't disclosed what the injury is. But it has been learned that Ellsbury has a lat strain.

In what is likely a related move, the Sox added outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin to the roster. He had been in Florida staying ready.

Not much else to report on a beautiful day at Fenway. We'll have updates once the game starts and then posts about the Johnny Pesky tribute after the game.

Game 154: Orioles at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 23, 2012 10:00 AM

Good morning. Here is a preview of the game:

RED SOX (68-85)
Podsednik CF
Ciriaco 2B
Pedroia DH
Ross RF
Loney 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Valencia 3B
Nava LF
Iglesias SS
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (11-9, 5.08)

ORIOLES (87-64)
McLouth LF
Hardy SS
Jones CF
Wieters C
Reynolds 3B
Ford RF
Davis DH
Machado 3B
Andino 2B
Pitching: RHP Chris Tillman (8-2, 3.22)

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs Tillman: Pedroia 3-7, Ellsbury 1-6, Valencia 1-3, Aviles 1-2, Ciriaco 1-1, Podsednik 1-2, Ross 1-2, Salty 0-2.

Orioles vs. Doubront: Davis 1-5, Jones 2-5, Wieters 0-4, Andino 0-4, Betemit 0-2, Hardy 0-2, Avery 0-2, Tolleson 1-2.

Stat of the Day: This is hard to believe, but the Sox have trailed at some point in each of their last 32 games.

Notes: The Sox find themselves in the familiar position of needing a win to avoid being swept. They have lost four straight. ... The Orioles have won six straight and 9 of 11. They start the day trailing the Yankees by a game in the division. ... The Sox are 15-33 since Aug. 1. ... The Orioles are 10-4 against the Red Sox and 7-1 at Fenway. ... Doubront has pitched well in his last two starts, giving up five earned runs on five hits over 12.1 innings. He has walked 10, however. Doubront faced the Orioles on May 22 and allowed two runs in six innings in a 4-1 loss. The Sox are 16-11 in games Doubront has started. ... Tillman is 0-1, 5.7 in three career starts against the Sox. He faced them Aug. 16 in Baltimore and allowed three runs on six hits over 4.2 innings. ... Lavarnway has four extra-base hits and nine RBIs in his last nine starts. ... The Sox are 33-45 at home. Only the Twins (29-46) have more losses at home in all of baseball. The Rockies also have 45.

Song of the Day: "Wreck On The Highway" by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 23, 2012 09:51 AM

Alfredo Aceves was shaky again as the ever-clutch Orioles beat the Red Sox at Fenway, 9-6 in 12 innings.

The notebook has the Red Sox honoring some prospects.

The Sunday Baseball Notes looks at some options for Terry Francona. (Subscription only).

Aceves playing his way out of town

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 22, 2012 07:19 PM

Alfredo Aceves is eligible for arbitration for the second time. You have to think the Red Sox will release him long before it comes to that.

Aceves spoiled a comeback by the ragtag Sox, allowing three runs in the 12th inning that gave the Baltimore Orioles a 9-6 victory on Saturday.

Aceves left Fenway Park within a few minutes of the last pitch and was not available for comment.

Aceves has given up 25 earned runs on 29 hits and 11 walks in 25 innings dating back to Aug. 2. He has appeared in nine games since his suspension and allowed at least one run in six of those.

The Sox have lost the last 11 games Aceves has pitched in. The last three appearances — nine earned runs on nine hits over 3.2 innings — have been particularly bad.

“It’s kind of like a box of chocolates right now,” Bobby Valentine said. “You never know what you’re going to get.”

Aceves is 2-10 with an ERA of 5.31.

Also:

• The Red Sox have played seven extra-inning games at home this season and lost them all. That is actually not impossible, only very unlikely. The Kansas City Athletics did it in 1964.

• The Orioles have won 16 consecutive extra-inning games, the longest streak in the majors since 1949. They are 9-1 in games going 12 innings or more.

• The Orioles are 7-1 at Fenway this season with one final game on Sunday. Then again, that’s not unusual this season. The Sox are 33-45 at home, their most losses at Fenway since 1980.

• Ryan Lavarnway has nine RBIs in his last nine games.

• Junichi Tazawa has struck out 11 in his last 6.2 innings. He has fanned 43 and walked 5 in 40 innings.

Final: Orioles 9, Red Sox 6

Posted by Staff September 22, 2012 01:00 PM

Final: Orioles 9, RedSox 6: It was an entertaining one to be sure, but the Sox never gained a lead all day and ultimately fall for the fourth straight game. The Orioles improve to 11-0 in extra-inning games on the road, and 16-2 overall when additional frames are required. We’ll do it all over again tomorrow as Felix Doubront faces Chris Tillman in a 1:35 p.m. start.

Bottom 12th, Orioles 9, Red Sox 6: The A.L. saves leader, Jim Johnson (46) on to shut the door for the second straight night. Gomez hits an opposite field single to right and moves to second on a defensive indifference, but gets no further as Johnson shuts things down, striking out Valencia to end it.

Top 12th, Orioles 9, Red Sox 6: Alfredo Aceves is pitcher number eight for Boston against the meat of Baltimore's order. Jones ropes a two-bagger to the wall in left-center to lead things off. Thome with a shot off of Aceves that one hops the track in right field for a ground-rule double, scoring Jones. Endy Chavez drives in pinch-runner Xavier Avery with a single to right and Aceves is yanked for Chris Carpenter. Machado scores Chavez with a single back up the box and the Orioles add a little more breathing room. The bleeding stops on a pop-up to third by McLouth.

Bottom 11th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6: Tommy Hunter hits the hill for Baltimore, becoming the thirteenth pitcher of the day. The top of the Sox order goes down without a fight and we get one more free frame.

Top 11th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6: It's a new inning, so it must be time for a new Sox pitcher...ladies and gentlemen, Marc Melancon. And it's another 1-2-3 inning for Boston who have sent down thirteen straight O's.

Bottom 10th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6: Sox sandwich an Aviles single and a Nava walk into the inning, but can't do anything about it. More free baseball ahead.

Top 10th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6: Andrew Bailey is the sixth pitcher of the game for Boston and he gets the O's to go down in order.

Bottom 9th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6: Luis Ayala on in relief for Baltimore. Pedroia hits a flat, foul pop-up that Reynolds tracks down before the camera well on the first base side. Ross gets caught up on an Ayala breaking ball, striking out for the second out. Lavarnway's strike out sends us into extra frames.

Top 9th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6: Junichi Tazawa becomes the fifth Boston pitcher on the day. Jones goes down swinging at a 96-mile-per hour heater and Weiters is finally retired on a groundout to first. After a battle, Tazawa gets Thome swinging at 95-mile-per hour cheese.

Bottom 8th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6: Nava goes two-put, wall-ball double and Pods follows with one of his own as McLouth just misses on it as he leaped at the wall. Ciriaco grounds to second for the third out as we head to the ninth inning deadlocked at six.

Top 8th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 5: Craig Breslow on for the Red Sox and he works a 1-2-3 inning, only the second time the Sox have retired Baltimore in order today.

Bottom 7th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 5: Podsednick opens things with a double, followed by a Ciriaco walk and a crazy play at second where the Orioles Hardy and Flaherty ran into each other, missing the force play and loading the bases. Ross chops one to second base and Pedroia is tagged out going to second base for the first out, but not before Pods crossed the plate. Hardy makes up for things with a great diving play at shortstop on a Lavarnway grounder. He gets the force at second, but Ciriaco scores to pull the Sox within one. Gomez strikes out to end the rally.

Top 7th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 3: Adam Jones whacks the first pitch of the inning off of the Sports Authority sign above the Monster seats for his 31st home run of the season. After sprinkling in a couple of walks, Mortensen gets out without any additional damage by striking out three batters.

Bottom 6th, Orioles 5, Red Sox 3: Jake Arrieta on to pitch for the Orioles and he makes quick work of the Sox, setting them down 1-2-3 for the second straight inning.

Top 6th, Orioles 5, Red Sox 3: Cook strikes out the leadoff man, but allowed back-to-back hits, running him from the game in favor of Rich Hill

Cook's final line: 5 1/3 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 77/48 pitches/strikes

Ryan Flaherty takes Hill to the triangle for a bases-clearing triple. Hill Ks McLouth, but is lifted for Mortensen who gets Hardy to ground out to short to end the inning.

Bottom 5th, Orioles 3, Red Sox 3: Ross, Lavarnway and Gomez go down 1-2-3, the first time the Sox have been retired in order today.

Top 5th, Orioles 3, Red Sox 3: Weiters picks up his second double of the day and third hit as he continues to knock the leather off the ball against the Red Sox, but for third time Thome follows with a grounder hit perfectly to Pedroia in the shift.

Bottom 4th, Orioles 3, Red Sox 3: Danny Valencia makes a nice impression on the home crowd with a two-run bomb that cleared everything in left field. It is his first home run as a member of the Red Sox, and scored Aviles who had reached on a leadoff single. Nava makes it three very solid hits for Boston, as Wolf heads towards the 70 pitch mark for the game. Pedroia grounds into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Top 4th, Orioles 3, Red Sox 1: Mark Reynolds takes a 2-0 fastball off the AAA sign above the Monster seats for his 22nd long ball of the season. The O's continue to put good wood on Cook's pitches, but can't muster any more runs.

Bottom 3rd, Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: Ciriaco leads off with a single but is promptly gunned down trying to steal second. The next two guys reached base before Randy Wolf extinguished the threat by forcing Lavarnway to pop to first and striking out Gomez.

Top 3rd, Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: Once again Thome finds Pedroia on the shift, this time Dustin catches up to the grounder going to his right, allowing him to force an out at second and throw to first to double up Thome.

Bottom 2nd, Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: A Daniel Nava walk was the only threat the Sox had in the second, but he was stranded at first as the Sox put up the first zero of the day.

Top 2nd, Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: Chris Davis singles, then moves to second on an errant pick off throw by Cook. Manny Machado follows with a single to center and Podsednik's throw is not enough to catch Davis at the plate. The O's put a few more on, but can't plate another run as Scott Podsednik makes a nice play in front of the wall in center to end the inning.

Bottom 1st, Orioles 1, Red Sox 1: Dustin Pedroia bounces one into the stands down in right for a ground rule double and Ryan Lavarnway flares one opposite field to right to get him home and tie the game up at one. Mauro Gomez sizzles his bat in half on an inning-ending liner to short.

Top 1st, Orioles 1, Red Sox 0: Aaron Cook wastes a strike in walking Nate McLouth on five pitches to start the game. And McLouth wastes no time in stealing second base, which he does on the first pitch to J.J. Hardy who advances him to third with a ground out to second. Adam Jones hits one out to shortstop and with Mike Aviles playing back on the ball his only play was at first base for the second out. McLouth scores the first run of the game. Weiters picks up where he left off yesterday, opposite fielding a double into the left field corner. Thome hits into the shift with Pedroia back on the outfield grass for the final out of the inning.

Pregame: Good afternoon folks, I am Craig Forde, back on blogging duties fifteen hours after the Sox dropped game one of their three-game set to Baltimore, 4-2. The Autumnal equinox is upon us and as we change seasons, Fenway Park plays host to a little day baseball. The weather will be around 70 degrees and overcast by first pitch, so kick back on this fine fall day, follow along as we provide you with live updates and feel free to comment.

Matsuzaka lined up for Game 162

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 22, 2012 11:50 AM

Bobby Valentine said this morning that Daisuke Matsuzaka was being lined up to start Game 162. That would be Oct. 3 in New York against the Yankees.

Matsuzaka has not faced the Yankees since Oct. 2, 2010.

Matsuzaka is 1-6 with a 7.68 ERA in 10 starts this season. He will be a free agent after the season

Red Sox announce minor league award winners

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 22, 2012 11:35 AM

RHP Brandon Workman was named the minor league pitcher of the year by the Red Sox. He was 10-8 with a 3.50 ERA and 130 strikeouts over 138.2 innings in 25 starts for High A Salem and Double A Portland.

Workman was the team's second round pick in 2010 out of Texas.

SS Xander Bogaerts was named the player of the year. He hit .307/.373/.523 for Salem and Portland with 20 home runs, 37 doubles, 3 triples and 81 RBIs. He also drew 44 walks over 127 games.

Bogaerts hit .326/.351/.598 in 23 games for Portland. He was selected for the Futures Game and was a Carolina League All-Star.

The defensive player of the year was OF Jackie Bradley Jr., a center fielder with Salem and Portland. Bradley also hit .315 with 55 extra-base hits, 87 walks and 63 RBIs in 128 games. He, too, was a Carolina League All-Star. Bradley was a supplemental first round pick in 2011.

3B Garin Cecchini was named the base runner of the year. He was 51 of 57 in steals for Single A Greenville. The former sixth round pick (in 2010) hit .305/.394/.433.

RHP Keivin Heras and OF Manuel Margot were named the Latin program pitcher and player of the year. They played in the Dominican Summer League. Heras was 6-1, 2.03 in 13 starts. Margot hit .285 with 45 RBIs in 68 games. He also stole 33 bases.

Daniel Nava won the Lou Gorman Award for dedication and perseverance. Nava was a manager at Santa Clara University before playing junior college ball and returning to the school and hitting .395.

Undrafted of college, he was discovered in the independent Golden League and made his debut with the Red Sox in 2010. Nava was taken off the 40-man roster and not invited to spring training in 2012. But he returned to the majors on May 10 and has played 78 games this season.

Ellsbury out of the lineup again

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 22, 2012 11:17 AM

Jacoby Ellsbury remains out of the Red Sox lineup with an injury and may not play until Tuesday, if then.

Manager Bobby Valentine has not disclosed the injury. But it was learned on Friday that Elllsbury has a lat strain. Ellsbury, who did play catch before the game, was not available for comment.

"Oh, gosh, I have no idea," Valentine said when asked if Ellsbury would play on Sunday. "Probably be conservative and cautious. When he's ready to play, we'd love to have him play. ... It's something he wants to be cautious with."

Ellsbury has played in 246 of the last 476 games.

Game 153: Orioles at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 22, 2012 09:30 AM

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

RED SOX (68-84)
Ciriaco DH
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Lavarnway C
Gomez 1B
Aviles SS
Valencia 3B
Nava LF
Podsednik CF
Pitching: RHP Aaron Cook (4-10, 4.93)

ORIOLES (86-64)
McLouth LF
Hardy SS
Jones CF
Wieters C
Thome DH
Reynolds 1B
Davis RF
Machado 3B
Flaherty 2B
Pitching: LHP Randy Wolf (2-0, 5.23)

Game time: 1:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Wolf: Ross 3-14, Loney 3-10, Podsednik 1-8, Saltalamacchia 3-9, Ellsbury 1-4, Pedroia 1-4.

Orioles vs. Cook: Reynolds 5-22, McLouth 4-18, Chavez 5-16, Betemit 5-9, Wolf 0-6, Hardy 1-4, Jones 1-5, Wieters 2-4, Davis 2-4, Andino 0-2, Machado 0-2, Quintinilla 0-2.

Stat of the Day: The Orioles are 52-21 in games decided by one or two runs. The Sox are 30-41.

Notes: The Orioles have won five straight and eight of 10. They are 40-20 since July 18 ... The Sox have lost three straight ... Baltimore starts the day a game out of first in the AL East ... The Sox are 4-9 against the Orioles this season, 1-6 at Fenway ... Cook has faced the Orioles twice this season, allowing 11 hits and 12 runs (8 earned) over 8 innings. He was spiked in his start against them on May 5 and suffered a cut on his left knee that led to a stay on the disabled list ... Wolf, who signed with the Orioles on Aug. 31 after being released by Milwaukee, is getting a spot start based on a 3-1, 2.70 career record in six starts against the Sox. That includes going 2-1, 4.73 in four starts at Fenway. Pitching for the Brewers, he allowed two runs over seven innings at Fenway last June 18 ... Reynolds is 15 of 34 in 10 games against the Sox this season with nine extra-base hits, 15 RBIs, 8 walks and 8 runs scored ... Iglesias is 4 of 7 after going 2 of 35.

Song of the Day: "Bird on a Wire" by Johnny Cash.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 22, 2012 09:23 AM

Pawtucket manger Arnie Beyeler knows Jose Iglesias well and believes he will succeed in the majors.

The notebook has Jon Lester taking a loss against Baltimore for the first time.

Final: Orioles 4, Red Sox 2

Posted by Staff September 21, 2012 07:00 PM

Final: Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: After posting a 14-0 mark in his first 20 career starts against the Orioles, Jon Lester picks up his first loss against them. The good news for the Red Sox, if such thing exists this year, is that they shouldn’t fall into last place as the Blue Jays were getting trounced by Tampa Bay, 12-1, late in the game. We return tomorrow for some afternoon baseball with a 1:10 p.m. start time as Aaron Cook faces off against Randy Wolf. Only four more home games to play in this 2012 season.

Bottom 9th, Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: Jim Johnson on to close the door for the Orioles, looking to set the Orioles mark for saves in a season with 46. He is currently tied with Randy Myers.

Salty runs the count full before flying out to right. Loney grounds out to Reynolds who slips to Johnson covering the bag for out number two. Nava keeps hop alive with a single to left. Mauro Gomez, pinch-hitting for Iglesias, strikes out to end the game.

Top 9th, Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: Mark Melancon on in relief for Boston.

Machado first pitch swinging, grounds out to Pedroia. Chavez grounds out to Iglesias who makes it look so easy sometimes. Andino catches a 94-mile-per-hour heater on the back of his left shoulder. Andino gets lifted for a pinch runner and stares down Melancon as he cross the infield from first base. Omar Quintanilla on to run. McLouth takes the first pitch back through the box for a single. Hardy strikes out to end the inning.

Bottom 8th, Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: Pedroia goes down, 5-3, to start the inning. Ross with a laser to center that looked as if it could find the gap, but Jones is just too quick and tracks it down. Lavarnway with a harmless fly to left to end the inning. The 3-4-5 hitters for Boston are 1-for-12 on the night.

Top 8th, Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: Scott Atchison on for the Red Sox.

Lester's final line: 7 IP, 8H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 112/70 pitches/strikes

Jones Ks and is retired for the first time this evening. Weiters is tamed this time around, flying to center on an 0-2 count. Ciriaco can't barehand the slow roller from Reynolds who reaches with a single. Ford flies out to center to end the inning.

Bottom 7th, Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: Nava to center field, Jones doesn't move much to get to it for the first out. Iglesias with a nice piece of the first pitch he sees, lining it into left for a single. Buck Showalter out to the mound to pull Gonzalez who leaves after 101 pitches, 72 of which were for strikes.

The side-arming Darren O'Day on for Baltimore. Ciriaco posts one out to Jones in center after a series of foul balls. Podsednik grounds to Andino who flips to Hardy to end the inning.

Top 7th, Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: Lester back on the mound to start the seventh. Pedroia moves to his left on a Chavez grounder and flips to Loney for the first out. Andino finds that hole between Loney and the first base line for a single. He is the third O's batter to put it right down the line tonight. McLouth skies a foul pop up that Ciriaco snatches in front of the O's dugout. Hardy goes down looking to end the inning. Lester at 112 pitches, tied for his sixth highest total of the year.

Bottom 6th, Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: Lavarnway lines to third for out number one. Salty with a high fly ball that McLouth camps under for the second out. Loney follows up with a similar fly out to left field for Gonzalez's second 1-2-3 for the night.

Top 6th, Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: Hardy nubs one back to Lester who runs it most of the way to first before handing off to Loney for the out. Jones picks up the free pass, Lester's third. Weiters comes through again for the O's, lining one into the left field corner, bringing home Jones for the second time tonight. Its the 21st multi-hit game for Weiters who has all three of the Orioles RBIs to this point. A wild pitch puts Weiters on third with one out. Reynolds punches home Weiters with an RBI single past the drawn in infield. Ciriaco with the play of the day so far, lunging to his left on a very hard hit grounder from Ford, eliminating Reynolds at second base. Machado grounds out to Iglesias who flips to Pedroia at second for the last out.

Lester ends the inning at 93 pitches, 59 for strikes...action in the bullpen may spell the end of his night.

Bottom 5th, Orioles 2, Red Sox 2: Nava swings at a bad ball in the dirt and is retired at first to make it official. Igesias grounds to Reynolds at first for the second out. Ciriaco grounds it back up the middle, Gonzalez slows it down but Andino can't make the throw to retired Pedro at first. It goes down as a single, Ciriaco's second hit of the night. Sox execute on a hit-and-run with Pods putting his hit into left field as Ciriaco advances to third on the play. Pedroia finds the hole on the left side of the infield to tie the game at two. Nice at-bat by Dustin, working the count full and then some before slapping one through, snapping an 0-for-18 drought. Ross grounds to short and the Hardy shuffles it to Andino for the last out.

Top 5th, Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: Chavez grounds out to third and Ciriaco makes it interesting with this throw, but Loney gets it on the other side of the bag for the first out. Andino skips a fast grounder past the dive of Ciriaco for a single. McLouth sets up Iglesias with the perfect 6-3 double play to end the inning. It's the second straight inning-ending DP for the Sox and their third of the night.

Bottom 4th, Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: Ross down on strikes to start things off. Lavarnway puts some good wood on a ball, but it hangs up in right field for Chavez. Balls seem to be dying down tonight unless they are hit on a line. Salty draws the Sox first walk of the night, his 35th of the season. Loney ends the inning with a fly out to left.

Top 4th, Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: Hardy pops a leadoff single into left field. Jones gets a nice piece of the first pitch he sees and takes it out to the Monster for a double, giving the Orioles two runners in scoring position with no outs. Weiters finds that seem between Loney and the line, scoring both runners with an opposite field single. Reynolds hits one a mile-high and Loney gets to it in foul ground for the first out. Lester gives up his second free pass of the night, this time to Ford, bringing Randy Niemann to the hill for a visit. Lester handles the Machado comeback nicely, but puts a terrible throw to second base that thankfully Iglesias snatched up and turned the double play on. The Sox have had a 9-4-3 and 1-6-3 double so far.

Bottom 3rd, Orioles 0, Red Sox 1: Daniel Nava pulls one perfectly down the right field line, along the right field wall where it got hung up out near the 380 mark, bringing Nava back to second for a ground-rule double. Iglesias with "how-not-to-bunt" showing on pitch number one, popping it perfectly to third base. Ciriaco brings home Nava with a wall-ball double that popped up off the top of the scoreboard. Podsednik makes sure that Machado is awake with a ripped liner to third for the second out. Pedroia stands Ciriaco with a groundout to second base. Sox draw first blood.

Top 3rd, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: Chavez chops one out towards second and Pedroia makes a nice place coming in on the ball. Robert Andino draws the first walk of the game. McLouth ropes one out towards the bullpen but Pods gets to it backtracking and relays it back in to double off Andino at first. Andino was long past second when Pods caught the ball just on the warning track. Solid stuff from Lester thus far.

Bottom 2nd, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: Ryan Lavarnway grounds out to short. Jared Saltalamacchia with a liner to short for out number two. James Loney becomes Miguel Gonzalez's first strikeout victim of the night, as the Sox go down 1-2-3.

Top 2nd, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: Mark Reynolds becomes the second Oriole to leadoff with a strikeout. Baltimore is keeping Iglesias warm at short as Lew Ford grounds to short for the second out. Manny Machado makes it a 1-2-3 inning with a groundout to third.

Bottom 1st, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: Pedro Ciriaco grounds to short for a leadoff out. Scott Podesdnik takes a 1-2 pitch into right field field for the first Red Sox hit of the game. Dustin Pedroia puts a charge into one, sending out to center field, but it hangs up and Jones gets to it before the warning track. Cody Ross hits an opposite field liner that Endy Chavez gets to in time to end the inning.

Top 1st, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: A 90-mile-per-hour cutter from Jon Lester retires Nate McLouth for the first out of the ballgame. J.J. Hardy follows with an easy ground out to Jose Iglesias at short. Adam Jones goes opposite field on a Lester curve, finding space between Loney and the first base line, for a single. Matt Weiters knicks one off the top of his bat, slicing off a splinter as the ball rolls out to Iglesias for another easy out, ending the inning.

Pregame: Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I am Craig Forde, back once again to drive the live blog ship as the Sox kick off their final homestand of the season with the first of three against the Baltimore Orioles. Jon Lester (9-12) looks to reach double digit wins for the fifth straight season and run his career record against Baltimore to 15-0. The Sox will look to trip up the Orioles who currently sit one game behind the Yankees in the A.L. East, but still maintain a 4 ½ game lead for one of the two Wildcard spots. We are down to the final eleven games of the season and the temps are down in the low 60s and sinking. So bundle up, sit back, follow along and comment away as we provide live updates throughout the evening.

Red Sox give Ellsbury a rest

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 21, 2012 05:22 PM

A few notes for you:

• Jacoby Ellsbury is out of the lineup with an injury that Bobby Valentine was apparently told not to disclose. "He has a little situation that we're making sure it's nothing more than a little situation," Valentine said. "He really shouldn't of played yesterday."

Indications are that Ellsbury has a sore lat muscle.

• The Sox called up RHP Zach Stewart, RHP Pedro Beato and INF Danny Valencia. Stewart is being lined up to start against the Orioles on Sept. 30.

OF Che-Hsuan Lin was not called up, which seems a little odd given that the Red Sox actually lack healthy outfielders and Lin is a terrific defensive player.

• Daisuke Matsuzaka's next start is being skipped. But Valentine said he would be making one more start before the season is over. That should help the Sox get a higher draft pick.

• Valentine tried to give Dustin Pedroia a day off. But he showed up at Fenway at 1 p.m. and had talked his way into the lineup an hour later.

• The Orioles activated DH Jim Thome and LHP Troy Patton off the disabled list.

• Former Red Sox first base coach Ron Johnson, who was fired last season, is with the Orioles. He was their Triple A manager this season.

• The Sox added Triple A manager Arnie Beyeler and pitching coach Rich Sauveur to the coaching staff.

"It gets a little crowded in that coaches' room," Valentine said. "I even offered my office if anybody wanted to dress there. But you know what the coaches think of me."

• Best to Guy Spina, one of the Fenway Park press box attendants. He is retiring after 38 years with the organization.

• Fans attending Saturday's game can line up on the warning track from 11:20 a.m. to noon to get photos with the players. ... Kids attending the game on Sunday can run the bases after the game. ... The Johnny Pesky tribute will be on Sunday at 6 p.m. after the game. It will be open to fans for free.

Game 152: Orioles at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 21, 2012 03:08 PM

Here's a preview of the game:

RED SOX (68-83)
Ciriaco 3B
Podsednik CF
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Lavarnway C
Saltalamacchia DH
Loney 1B
Nava LF
Iglesias SS
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (9-12, 4.95)

ORIOLES (85-64)
McLouth LF
Hardy SS
Jones CF
Wieters C
Reynolds 1B
Ford DH
Machado 3B
Chavez RF
Andino 2B
Pitching: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (6-4, 3.57)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Gonzalez: Aviles 0-5, Pedroia 1-5, Ellsbury 1-3, Ross 0-3, Salty 1-3, Nava 1-1, Podsednik 1-2.

Orioles vs. Lester: Jones 9-40, Wieters 11-31, Andino 6-16, Davis 0-13, Reynolds 3-10, Hardy 5-11, Betemit 1-5, Teagarden 0-4, Chavez 2-3, Tolleson 0-3.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 33-43 at home with five games left. It's their most losses at home since 1983 (38-43). The Sox were 36-45 in 1980.

Notes: The Orioles arrive in town trailing the Yankees by a game in the division. But they lead the wild card by 4.5 games. ... The Sox will play six of their final 11 games against Baltimore. ... Lester is 14-0, 2.49 in 20 career starts against the Orioles. But he is 0-0, 3.50 in the last three. That includes Game 162 last season. ... Gonzalez, a 28-year-old rookie, was in the Red Sox organization in 2010-2011. He has thrown 10 innings against the Sox this season, allowing three runs on eight hits and three walks with four strikeouts. ... The Sox are 4-8 against the Orioles this season.

Song of the Day: "The Kids Are Alright" by The Who.

Pitching matchups for the Orioles series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 21, 2012 09:45 AM

Friday: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (6-4, 3.57) vs. LHP Jon Lester (9-12, 4.95), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Saturday: TBA vs. RHP Aaron Cook (4-10, 4.93), 1:10 p.m., NESN

Sunday: RHP Chris Tillman (8-2, 3.22) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (11-9, 5.08), 1:35 p.m., NESN

Greetings from Gate A-14

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 21, 2012 06:47 AM

TAMPA, Fla. — Good morning from the Ricky Bell International Airport and Waffle House here in Tampa. We're waiting for a flight home.

Woke up this morning to this actual message from a Red Sox fan: "I mean, (Bad word), (bad word). Are you (bad word) (bad word) me?"

That about sums it up. It doesn't really matter how many victories the Sox end up with at this point. But that loss was pretty painful last night.

Poor Jose Iglesias, the kid goes 3-for-4 with his first home run and can't really enjoy it. He really crushed that pitch, too.

Two things that stuck out otherwise for me last night:

• After Pedro Ciriaco butchered a fly ball in the third inning, Clay Buchholz stayed on the field after the inning ended and gave him a little pat on the back when they entered the dugout.

It's not a big deal. But it speaks to the kind of teammate and professional Buchholz is. Not every pitcher in the game would do that. Plenty would have given Ciriaco a dirty look.

• The Nationals clinched a playoff berth last night. This is the same franchise that was 69-93 in 2010. The Orioles and Athletics are headed that way, too.

So as fractured and inept as the Red Sox look now, it can change quickly. Buchholz showed he's the kind of pitcher you can build a rotation around. You also got a sense of what Iglesias and Ryan Lavarnway can do.

The pieces are there. The Sox need some significant changes in their approach and that starts with getting more people in place who are committed to winning and not their own petty agendas. But it's not like this will need years to fix.

Time to head home. If you're at Fenway this weekend, please say hello.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 21, 2012 06:20 AM

The Red Sox turned a rare happy night into another loss when the bullpen allowed six runs in the ninth inning against the Rays.

The notebook has Mike Aviles giving third base another shot.

Red Sox turn joy into misery

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 20, 2012 11:52 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — You would think that by now, Bobby Valentine would be numb to the ways his Red Sox can lose games.

Not so, he said.

"It still hurts just as bad,” Valentine said after the Sox were beaten, 7-4, on Thursday night.

But this one was a doozy as a joyful game turned sour in a few minutes,

Clay Buchholz outpitched Tampa Bay ace David Price, leaving a three-run lead in the hands of the bullpen after seven shutout innings. Two rookies who could be central figures next season, shortstop Jose Iglesias and catcher Ryan Lavarnway, helped carry the offense. Iglesias had three hits, including the first home run of his career. Lavarnway added two hits, one of them an RBI single.

Then came the deluge as Tampa Bay scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the final three on a home run by B.J Upton.

“Stuff happens. It’s how our season has been going,” Buchholz said in a tone that indicated he wasn’t all that surprised.

The Sox took a 4-1 lead into the ninth inning and handed the ball to closer Andrew Bailey, who has pitched well since returning from the disabled list.

He was terrible this time. Singles by Matt Joyce, Jeff Keppinger, and Carlos Pena scored a run. Pinch-hitter Stephen Vogt, a rookie who was 0 for 19, walked to load the bases with one out.

Valentine had two relievers warming up, but stuck with Bailey.

“First time he was in trouble. Got to give him a chance to get out of it, I think,” Valentine said. “Wanted to see what he would do.”

Desmond Jennings swung at the first pitch he saw and singled in two runs. Valentine’s faith was gone at that point and he went to Vicente Padilla.

Upton lined Padilla’s fourth pitch, a belt-high fastball, over the wall in center field for his 24th home run. It was the seventh time the Red Sox have suffered a walk-off loss this season.

Bailey (1-1) took all the blame.

“It’s inexcusable. There’s no other way to describe it,” he said. “I’ve got to get that job done and find a way to get out of that inning. … I didn’t get ahead of guys and didn’t put guys away. Just didn’t pitch.”

Meanwhile:

• Padilla has allowed nine runs on 15 hits (four of them home runs) in his last 9.1 innings. He is cooked after being worked hard all season.

• Iglesias cracked a line drive well over the wall in left off J.P. Howell in the ninth, turning around a sinker. “It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” Iglesias said. “I put the team in a good position.”

Iglesias was 3 for 4. He had been 2 for 35 in his previous 15 games. Confidence, he said, was not a problem.

“I’m going to stay positive no matter what, every single day, and try and get better,” he said. “Every day is a new day.”

• Mauro Gomez, who had an RBI triple, has nine RBIs in his last 10 games in 20 at-bats.

• Get this: Gomez has two triples in 81 at-bats and Ellsbury has none in 285. Try and figure out baseball.

• Dustin Pedroia was 0 for 16 in the series.

What a night. Thanks to everybody for reading. Catch you from Fenway tomorrow.

Final: Rays 7, Red Sox 4

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff September 20, 2012 07:24 PM

Game over: BJ Upton hit a dramatic three-run walkoff homer against Vicente Padilla to snatch victory from defeat.

The Rays were down 4-1 when they tied the score against Andrew Bailey who blew the save. Padilla came on with runners at second and third and one out and after falling behind 2-1 to Upton. He drilled the three-run blast to center ending the game. The Red Sox split with the Rays and went 4-3 on the road trip.

Clay Buchholz pitched seven shutout, four-hit innings while Junichi Tazawa allowed a run in the eighth. Bailey had been very good since being inserted in the closer role. He allowed back-to-back singles to Matt Joyce and Jeff Keppinger, but then retired Luke Scott on a ground ball to first base as the runners advanced to second and third. Carlos Pena ran the count to 3-2 before stroking a single to right to score the second run. Runners were at first and third with one out for pinch-hitter Stephen Vogt, who drew a walk to load the bases and one out. Desmond Jennings singled in a pair of runs to erase Boston's lead.

Top 9th: Red Sox 4, Rays 1 Jose Iglesias homered to left field, his first career round-tripper.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 3, Rays 1 With Junichi Tazawa replacing Clay Buchholz, who went seven innings and allowed four hits, two walks and struck out four, Desmond Jennings scorched a hard grounder over Mike Aviles' glove at third base for a double. He advanced to third on B.J. Upton's fly ball to right. He scored on Ben Zobrist's sacrifice fly to left.

Top 8th: Red Sox 3, Rays 0 Mauro Gomez stroked a stand-up triple to rightcenter scoring Ryan Lavarnway as he greeted reliever Wade Davis with a shot to the gap. Davis relieved David Price, who once again received no run support.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 2, Rays 0 Buchholz allowed a double off the left field wall to Luke Scott with one out, but once again the Rays were unable to capitalize. Carlos Pena grounded out and pinch-hitter Ryan Roberts flew out to center to end the threat.

Top 7th: Red Sox 2, Rays 0 Sox get Podsednik to third, but can't drive him home. Podsednik singled to shortstop and moved along on ground ball outs by Iglesias and Ellsbury. Pedroia made another out and is 0-for-15 in this series.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 2, Rays 0 The Buchholz machine kept rolling. He retired the side. The Rays have now gone 22 straight innings at The Trop without scoring for Price.

Top 6th: Red Sox 2, Rays 0 The Sox rallied vs Price and broke his 29-1/3 scoreless innings streak at Tropicana Field. Jose Iglesias got his second hit, beating out an infield single to shortstop. After Ellsbury struck out and Pedroia flew out to right, a wild pitch advanced Iglesias and he rode home on a Ross double. Ryan Lavarnway singled in the second run. Mauro Gomez singled to right, Aviles walked but Nava fouled out to third to end the rally.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 The Rays were foiled in their attempt to score vs. Buchholz. They had a chance. Buchholz walked Carlos Pena with one out and Desmond Jennings singled sending Pena to third with two outs, but B.J. Upton flew out to right to end the threat.

Top 5th: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Mike Aviles singled to right but was caught stealing as Daniel Nava swung and missed for strike three. This might have been a missed hit and run. Scott Podsednik grounded out to end the inning.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Buchholz keeps on rolling. He retired Longoria, Joyce and Keppinger.

Top 4th: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Ross, Lavarnway and Gomez are retired by Price.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Pedro Ciriaco is having a tough time picking up the ball in centerfield. He let BJ Upton's routine flyball drop in front of him for a double which should have eben the third out of the inning. That made Buchholz have to work a little harder and essentially get four outs to get out of the inning, which he did.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Price allowed a single to Jose Iglesias, but retired the hitters before and after him to keep the Sox off the scoreboard.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 The Rays wasted a leadoff double by Evan Longoria on a deep drive to right center on which there was limited communication between Pedro Ciriaco, playing center, and Daniel Nava, playing right. The ball fell between them. But Buchholz did a good job working out of it, allowing a walk to Luke Scott, before getting the third out without the Rays scoring.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Price is right tonight. Gomez, Aviles and Nava go down easily.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Clay Buchholz is the other half of this excellent pitching matchup with David Price. He retired the Rays in order in the first.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Cody Ross reached on an error by David Price with two outs after Dustin Pedroia nearly beat out an infield hit ahead of him. That was the only error Cy Young candidate Price would make however as the Sox were retired.

Mike Aviles shifts over to third base

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 20, 2012 06:05 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Mike Aviles is starting at third base tonight, his first appearance there since Game 162 last season.

Aviles hasn't worked out at third base all season, including spring training. But when Bobby Valentine asked him, Aviles said he would be willing to play the position.

"I just want to play," he said. "Hopefully I can handle whatever comes at me."

Aviles has played 60 games at third in his career, 14 of them last season. He's more comfortable at shortstop or second base, but playing third beats sitting for the fifth straight game as the Sox continue to give Jose Iglesias experience at shortstop.

"Mike's played great. He's played more than he's ever played, he's played consistently. His defense has been, I think, amazing," Valentine said. "His offense has been very productive. Obviously the walks aren't there. But he's gotten big hits and he's hit good pitching. He's run the bases well [and] stolen bases when we needed him to.

"Sitting isn't his cup of tea, for sure. He should be very proud of the way he's played. I also am very proud of the way he's played and happy."

Aviles and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are the only position players to be active for all 151 games this season. Jon Lester is the only pitcher.

Also:

• RHP Scott Atchison is pitching with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He spurned Tommy John surgery and tried a course of rest a rehab instead.

It seems to have worked. He has faced seven batters since coming off the DL and retired six of them. Atchison threw a perfect 1.2 innings on Wednesday. He was 90-91 mph with his fastball and 86-87 mph with his slider. That's right in line with his average velocity on the season, which was 90.3 on his fastball and 82.2 on his slider.

Is the 36-year-old Atchison a medical marvel?

"I don't know about that," he said. "I just know I can pitch and it doesn't hurt like it used to."

Atchison has an 0.97 WHIP on the season. He has walked only nine batters over 48.1 innings.

"Atch looks exactly the same. Warming up, too," Valentine said. "As he's warming up, it's almost the same number of pitches. They're moving the same and it looks like the hitters are reacting to them the same. ... He's not acting through it, it's regular. There's no grimacing in his face."

• Jacoby Ellsbury is getting a day off after playing six consecutive games on turf.

• Clay Buchholz, who is 28, was listening to a lot of Creedence Clearwater Revival and Hootie and the Blowfish in the clubhouse before the game. The starting pitcher gets to pick the music.

• The Rays decided against batting practice.

• Will Middlebrooks is throwing again, his broken right hand having healed. But he will not be swinging a bat before the end of the season.

"That still hurts," he said. "It'll be another four weeks or so."

Middlebrooks has a therapist lined up in Texas and said he plans to start hitting a little earlier this winter to try and get his rhythm back. He doesn't expect there to be any complications.

• The Sox will pitch Lester, Aaron Cook, and Felix Doubront against the Orioles this weekend. The Fighting Showalters are off today after playing in Seattle. The O's will start Miguel Gonzalez on Friday and Chris Tillman on Sunday. They have not named a starter for Saturday.

Game 151: Red Sox at Rays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 20, 2012 03:13 PM

Here's a preview of the game:

RED SOX (68-82)
Ciriaco CF
Pedroia 2B
Ross DH
Lavarnway C
Gomez 1B
Aviles 3B
Nava RF
Podsednik LF
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (11-6, 4.33)

RAYS (79-70)
Jennings LF
Upton CF
Zobrist SS
Longoria 3B
Joyce RF
Keppinger 2B
Scott DH
Pena 1B
Mplina C
Pitching: LHP David Price (18-5, 2.54)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Price: Pedroia 8-23, Ellsbury 6-20, Aviles 4-13, Ross 1-8, Salty 1-8, Nava 0-8, Podsednik 2-7, Ciriaco 0-4.

Rays vs. Buchholz: Scott 6-28, Pena 5-28, Zobrist 3-26, Longoria 5-24, Upton 6-20, Joyce 5-12, Molina 5-12, Rodriguez 3-10, Jennings 1-4, Keppinger 1-5, Johnson 1-5, Brignac 0-3, Gimenez 0-3, Fuld 1-2.

Stat of the Day: Adrian Gonzalez leads the Sox with 86 RBIs. Cody Ross is next with 74. The Sox haven't gone a full season without a player driving in at least 90 runs since Tom Brunansky led the team with 74 in 1992.

Notes: The series ends with a good pitching matchup. Buchholz will be facing the Rays for the fifth time this season. He is 1-2, 4.62 over 25.1 innings. In his career, Buchholz is 5-4, 2.76 in 12 starts against Tampa Bay, 3-3, 2.89 in seven starts at Tropicana Field. ... Price is 7-4, 3.15 in 13 career starts against the Sox, 1-1, 3.12 in three starts this season. ... The Sox are 4-2 on a road trip that ends tonight. They have won two of three. ... The Rays have lost four of five and seven of their last nine. They start the day 6.5 games out in the division and the wild card. ... Ciriaco is 15 of 15 in stolen bases. ... The Sox have 492 extra-base hits, tied with Texas and Milwaukee for the most in the majors. ... The Sox allowed 15 hits and 10 walks over innings on Wednesday. That last happened against Milwaukee in 1996.

Song of the Day: "Must Of Got Lost" by the J. Geils Band.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 20, 2012 10:24 AM

James Loney, who was put in a strange situation, has tried to make the best of it with the Red Sox.

Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox need to act quickly once the season ends.

The notebook has the Sox clinching a losing seasons thanks. The Rays hammered their pitching on Wednesday.

Ghosts of 1997 return for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 19, 2012 11:38 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Red Sox, at 68-82, are officially a losing team for the first time since 1997.

Before crying about it, here's something to consider: The Sox averaged 91.8 victories over the previous 14 seasons, with eight postseason appearances and two World Series titles.

The Yankees, counting this season, have 20 winning seasons in a row. That was the only streak longer than Boston’s. Nobody else was closer.

So crying about 2012, as bad it is, is a little disingenuous. It was bound to happen eventually.

Anyway, let's survey the wreckage from Wednesday's 13-3 loss. Covering this team is like working for FEMA:

• Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-6) has allowed 20 earned runs on 24 hits and nine walks over his last 13 1/3 innings. He has pitched less than four innings in four of his last six starts.

The righthander was asked whether he should remain in the rotation. After a long pause, Matsuzaka murmured an answer to interpreter Jeff Cutler.

“That’s a hard question to answer,” he said. “I still haven’t really taken in what happened today.”

It won’t be difficult to analyze. Matsuzaka gave up nine hits, two of them home runs by Jeff Keppinger and Carlos Pena in the fourth inning as his earned run average climbed to 7.68 this season. He lost a 3-1 lead.

“He threw the ball down the middle. They hit it hard, like they should,” manager Bobby Valentine said.

With two days off coming up, the Sox can skip Matsuzaka’s next start at the very least. They should probably just sit him down for good.

• Daniel Bard walked the first two batters he saw to load the bases in the sixth inning. Luke Scott had a sacrifice fly and Jeff Keppinger an RBI single. When Bard walked Matt Joyce to load the bases, Andrew Miller came in and walked Pena and Molina to force in two runs.

“It was tough to look at,” Valentine said.

Bard has walked 71 in 90 1/3 innings this season, counting his time with Triple A Pawtucket. He also has hit 18 and thrown 10 wild pitches.

“He says he really wants to pitch,” Valentine said. “We’re trying to get him where he can have some kind of good feeling about this season at the end. It’s tough.”

Losing seasons are one thing. But what happened to Bard is the real crime of 2012. You have to wonder whether he'll be a viable pitcher down the road at this point.

• Mike Aviles did not play for the fourth consecutive game. With the Red Sox getting a long look at rookie shortstop Jose Iglesias, Aviles has been left to rot despite solid play over the first five months of the season. Iglesias is 2 of 35 (.057) with 10 strikeouts. “Pretty hard,” Valentine said. “Mike really wants to play and I understand that totally. … It’s tough, though, really tough.”

• Third-string catcher Guillermo Quiroz, obtained from Seattle on Sept. 4, finally got in the game, catching the final two innings. He is the 56th player used by the Sox this season, a team record.

Final: Rays 13, Red Sox 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff September 19, 2012 07:24 PM

Game over: A combination of a terrible performance by Daisuke Matsuzaka and one by the Red Sox bullpen made for a horrible Wednesday night at The Trop. After the Red Sox had won two straight and four out of their last five, the Rays' offense finally came alive in a 13-3 Tampa win. The game was played in 3:21 before 12,708.

Bottom 8th: Rays 13, Red Sox 3 Chris Carpenter gave up a run as the misery continued. He did get a strikeout with the bases loaded.

Top 8th: Rays 12, Red Sox 3 Sox retired in order.

Bottom 7th: Rays 12, Red Sox 3 Valentine did a complete overhaul of the lineup. Mauro Gomez went to third, Ivan De Jesus to second, Pedro Ciriaco shifted from third to center field, Scott Podsednik moved to left field. Also, Guillermo Quiroz came in to catch for the Sox. He became the 56th player to play for the Sox, a team record. Scott Atchison continued to be the only positive. He retired the Rays in order.

Top 7th: Rays 12, Red Sox 3 Three up, three down for Sox. Ciriaco drove a ball deep to left that was caught for the final out.

Bottom 6th: Rays 12, Red Sox 3 Aceves unravels as he allows three runs (charged with four altogether), makes a throwing error, and fails to back up third base, allowing the third run of the inning to score. Carlos Pena walked and Molina bunted for a hit, but Aceves tried to make an off-balance throw to first and it was wide of Loney. With runners at second and third, Desmond Jennings tripled in the runs. Ciriaco was charged with an error for allowing the second run to score, but Aceves failed to back up third, so there was no backup for Ciriaco. Upton doubled in the third run of the inning. Aceves was taken out by Valentine. This time Aceves didn't make a scene, handing Valentine the ball and leaving quietly. But then came Daniel Bard. He walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases. His first out was Luke Scott's sacrifice fly. Keppinger then singled in the 10th Rays run. Bard walked Joyce and Valentine had seen enough, Bard faced five batters and allowed three walks and a hit. Then it was Andrew Miller's turn to dissolve. The big lefty walked Carlos Pena on four pitches with the bases loaded, and fell behind Molina 3-and-0 before throwing his first strike on his eighth pitch. Miller ran the count to 3-and-2 before walking Molina to force in another run. Out came Miller. Thank goodness for Scott Atchison, who ended the six-walk, seven-run inning with a double-play grounder.

Top 6th: Rays 5, Red Sox 3 Archer ran his strikeout total to eight as Loney and Salty went down on strikes.

Bottom 5th: Rays 5, Red Sox 3 Aceves holds the fort as he tackles the middle of the order.

Top 5th: Rays 5, Red Sox 3 An Ellsbury single highlighted another non-eventful inning for the Sox in which Archer struck out two more (Ciriaco and Ross).

Bottom 4th: Rays 5, Red Sox 3 One of those Dice-K innings. Jeff Keppinger homered to left. Matt Joyce singled to right. Carlos Pena homered to right and Jose Molina doubled high atop the wall in center. Bye-bye Dice-K. In came Alfredo Aceves, who got the next three outs while stranding a runner at third.

Top 4th: Red Sox 3, Rays 2 Sox managed a Daniel Nava walk amid a pair of strikeouts (Salty and Lavarnway).

Bottom 3d: Red Sox 3, Rays 2 Desmond Jennings reached on a single to deep shortstop and stole second base. After BJ Upton grounded out with the runner staying put, Ben Zobrist singled to center, scoring Jennings, who didn't even hesitate with Ellsbury's arm in center.

Top 3d: Red Sox 3, Rays 1 The Sox added two runs here. Jose Iglesias, who has been somewhat of a sparkplug, walked and advanced to second on Pedro Ciriaco's single to left. Jacoby Ellsbury failed to sacrifice, but he singled on a grounder up the middle to score Iglesias. Dustin Pedroia avoided a double play with hustle down the line, scoring Ciriaco with the third Sox run.

Bottom 2d: Red Sox 1, Rays 1 Matsuzaka minimized the damage. He allowed hits to Longoria, Scott, and Keppinger to start the inning to load the bases. He walked Matt Joyce to force a run in, but then struck out Carlos Pena and induced a 5-3 double-play grounder by catcher Jose Moilina to escape what could have been an awful situation.

Top 2d: Red Sox 1, Rays 0 The Red Sox drew a pair of walks off Archer - James Loney and Jarrod Saltalamacchia taking free passes. But the slow-footed Ryan Lavarnway knocked into a 4-6-3 double play to take Boston out of a potentially big inning.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 1, Rays 0 Dasiuke Matsuzaka retired the Rays in order and effectively protected the one-run lead.

Top 1st: Red Sox 1, Rays 0 The Sox manufactured a run with a single by Pedro Ciriaco to lead off vs. Chris Archer. He stole his 15th consecutive base and then scored on Jacoby Ellsbury's bloop single to left. Ellsbury was picked off trying to steal.

Red Sox will wait for roster additions

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 19, 2012 05:18 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — You know the season is winding down when Bobby Valentine is at second base during batting practice turning double plays with Dustin Pedroia.

But we press on with a few notes:

• The Sox will wait for Friday before making any roster additions. Pawtucket lost the Triple A championship game on Tuesday night.

• Valentine sounds like he wants to play Pedro Ciriaco in center field on Thursday. The Sox want to test his versatility and at the same time give Jacoby Ellsbury a night off from playing on the turf.

• Mike Aviles hasn't played the last three games and isn't in the lineup tonight. Valentine said he regrets that, but doesn't believe it would be fair to put Aviles at third base after he played shortstop all season.

It's understandable that the organization wants to use this time to see young players. That makes the most sense. But it's unfortunate Aviles is the victim because he was a steady player all season and one of the few position players who stayed off the DL.

• Will Middlebrooks fielded a few grounders in BP and made some easy throws to first base. His right hand is healthy enough to throw, but swinging a bat remains a few weeks away.

Game 150: Red Sox at Rays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 19, 2012 03:10 PM

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

RED SOX (68-81)
Ciriaco 3B
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Loney 1B
Saltalamacchia DH
Lavanway C
Nava LF
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-5, 7.14)

RAYS (78-70)
Jennings LF
Upton CF
Zobrist SS
Longoria 3B
Scott DH
Keppinger 2B
Joyce RF
Pena 1B
Molina C
Pitching: RHP Chris Archer (0-3, 3.22)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Archer: No history.

Rays vs. Matsuzaka: Pena 7-28, Upton 6-22, Scott 4-13, Longoria 5-17, Zobrist 5-14, Joyce 1-10, Molina 1-7, Rodriguez 2-6, Francisco 1-3, Fuld 1-2, Brignac 1-1.

Stat of the Day: The Sox have won two straight. They haven't won three straight since a four-game win streak from July 28-31.

Notes: The Rays are staggering, having lost four straight and seven of eight. They start the day six games out in the division and in the wild card race with 14 games left to play. ... The Sox have won two straight and four of five. ... Matsuzaka is 2-7, 5.83 in 12 career starts against the Rays and hasn't beaten them since 2008. That was back when he was good. He last faced the Rays on April 11, 2011 and allowed seven runs on eight hits over two innings. ... Archer, 24, is making his fourth major league start. ... The Sox are 9-5 against the Rays and 5-2 at Tropicana Field. ... Ellsbury has hit safely in nine of the last 10 games at 15 of 42 (.357) with seven RBIs.

Song of the Day: "Rhymin' and Stealin' " by Beastie Boys.

Taking a deeper look at Lavarnway

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 19, 2012 12:13 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — With the Red Sox out of contention, our plan for the next few weeks will be to trim down stories on the games and focus more on larger issues such as the development of Ryan Lavarnway.

As the piece mentioned, Lavarnway has caught 100 games this season, the last 20 with the Red Sox after 80 with Triple A Pawtucket.

Down the road, that number will not seem like a big deal. But it's worth noting that Lavarnway's previous high was 66 for Single A Greenville in 2009.

Those extra 34 games behind the plate were something his body had to get used to. That likely has something to do with Lavarnway hitting .170/.237/.283 in 118 plate appearances with the Sox this season.

But when you speak to scouts, teammates and Red Sox coaches, there's unanimity in the idea that Lavarnway will hit at the major league level. He has a .376 OBP in the minors over parts of five seasons and that's not a fluke.

Lavarnway is a righthanded hitter with pop. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a switch hitter, is better lefthanded. So maybe there's merit to having them in a platoon of sorts next season. Or perhaps using Salty as a catcher, occasional first baseman and occasional DH.

Even if David Ortiz returns — and odds are that he will — he will be 37 and need days off.

A scenario where Lavarnway catches, say, 52 games and Saltalamacchia 110 could make sense to the Red Sox.

What is certain is that Lavarnway seems ready for prime time. The only question now is where he fits.

Down the stretch they come in the AL East

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 19, 2012 09:45 AM

If you are a baseball fan, you have to be loving the American League East right now.

New York was rained out on Tuesday. But in Seattle, Baltimore beat the Mariners, 4-2, in a game that lasted 18 innings and nearly six hours. The Orioles won despite Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Mark Reynolds going 0 for 21.

The Yankees (83-63) and the Orioles (84-64) are tied for first place in the division. The Rays (78-70) aren't finished quite yet, but are on life support.

Some sub-plots to consider:

• The Orioles will play six of their remaining 14 games against the Red Sox starting with three at Fenway Park this weekend. The Red Sox would dearly love to pay the Orioles back for what happened last season.

• The Yankees end the season with three games against the Red Sox in the Bronx.

• Orioles manager Buck Showalter was fired by the Yankees in 1995, right before they went on their dynasty run under Joe Torre. Think he might take some satisfaction in beating one of his old teams?

• Dan Duquette, seemingly blacklisted from baseball after being fired by the Red Sox, has pushed every right button as the GM in Baltimore. What a career turnaround for him.

• The Orioles are an amazing 14-2 in extra innings and 27-8 in games decided by one run. That explains how they are 20 games over .500 despite being outscored by 12 runs this season.

By this point in the season, a team that has been outscored by 12 runs should be roughly 73-75 based on the usually trustworthy pythagorean winning percentage.

The Yankees, also 20 games over .500, have outscored their opponents by 97 runs. The Fighting Showalters are a great story.

The Red Sox will have a big influence in how this all plays out. For those Red Sox fans still paying attention (and we know you're still out there), this should add a lot of entertainment value to the last few weeks.

Final: Red Sox 7, Rays 5

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff September 18, 2012 07:23 PM

Game over: The Red Sox went down in order in the top of the ninth, then the Rays had the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the inning, but B.J. Upton flied out to center field to end the game.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 7, Rays 5 A leadoff single by Jeff Keppinger vs. Vicente Padilla. Valentine yanked him for Craig Breslow who got Luke Scott on a fielder's choice and then Ryan Roberts knocked into an inning-ending double-play.

Top 8th: Red Sox 7, Rays 5 Sox go down. Ellsbury walked but nothing else doing.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 7, Rays 5 Clayton Mortensen ran into major control issues and loaded the bases before leaving for Junichi Tazawa, who allowed a two-run single to Ben Zobrist. Tazawa got Evan Longoria to ground out to minimize the damage.

Top 7th: Red Sox 7, Rays 3 Red Sox broke it open with a two-out rally scoring three times. Cody Ross walked and stole second base and Loney also walked before Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled in the fifth Sox run. Ryan Lavarnway then stroked a two-run double to the rightcenter gap scoring a pair of runs.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 4, Rays 3 Give Felix Doubront a lot of credit for a nice recovery. He retired the Rays in order in the sixth.

Top 6th: Red Sox 4, Rays 3 Ryan Lavarnway singled to left and Scott Podsednik broke an 0-for-18 with a single to right. After a Jose Iglesias ground ball out advancd the runners, Pedro Ciriaco's speed caused havoc as Sean Rodriguez rushed his throw to first and overthrew the bag. The go-ahead run scored, But Podsednick also tried to score from second and was thrown out after failing to slide. Podsednik seemed upset that on-deck hitter Jacoby Ellsbury didn't give him the slide sign.

Bottom 5th: Rays 3, Red Sox 3 Doubront allowed a walk to Desmond Jennings but continued to go on the right path after his horrible third inning.

Top 5th Rays 3, Red Sox 3 Sox tie it with a nifty rally against Jeremy Hellickson. Jose Iglesias drew a walk, Pedro Ciriaco singled sending Iglesias to third. Jacoby Ellsbury singled in Iglesias flashing good speed. Ciriaco then scored on Dustin Pedroia' medium fly ball to center. All tied up. Hellickson lasted four innings, allowed five hits and three runs. He had seven strikeouts.

Bottom 4th: Rays 3, Red Sox 1 Doubront got it back together striking out two of three batters he faced. Still painfully slow.

Top 4th: Rays 3, Red Sox 1 The Red Sox chipped into the Rays lead when James Loney's single to right drove in Cody Ross, who doubled to right to start the inning. Hellickson dug in after that and retired Boston's nest three batters.

Bottom 3rd: Rays 3, Red Sox 0 Felix Doubront completely lost his control. He walked the bases loaded, allowed a two-run single to Ben Zobrist and a sac fly to Evan Longoria. Doubront worked extra slow and seemed not confident in himself at all.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 The Rays showed why they're the worst defensive team in the league. With two outs, Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an error by third baseman Sean Rodriguez. Jeremy Hellickson then threw his pickoff throw to first away, sending Ellsbury all the way around to third base. Third base coach Jerry Royster was actually about to send him, but held him uip at the last minute which proved to be a wise decision. But Dustin Pedroia couldn't get Ellsbury in when he flew out to center field.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Doubront retired the first two batters and then walked Ben Francisco, falling behind 3-1 before issuing the free pass. Doubront retired Ryan Roberts on a grounder to Pedro Ciriaco at third base.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 The Sox put a couple of baserunners on vs. Hellickson but couldn't break into the scoring column. Cody Ross singled to lead it off, but after two outs, Ryan Lavarnway drew a walk. But Scott Podsednik struck out to end the inning.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Felix Doubront's first turn around the Rays lineup was also fruitful with a strikeout and a pair of fly ball outs.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Jeremy Hellickson started strong with two strikeouts (Pedro Ciriaco and Jacoby Ellsbury) and a ground out by Dustin Pedroia. The Rays need this game badly.

Preview of the Triple A championship game

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 18, 2012 06:57 PM

The Pawtucket Red Sox are playing for the Triple A national title tonight.

Over on our On Deck blog, Craig Forde has a preview of the game complete with lineups.

Thanks to Craig for blogging about the minors this season. It was a great addition to Boston.com.

Pre-game notes from the Trop

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 18, 2012 04:59 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — John Lackey threw two simulated innings this afternoon from the mound at Tropicana Field.

Facing teammates Guillermo Quiroz, Ivan De Jesus, Daniel Nava and Mauro Gomez, Lackey threw 27 pitches plus warm-ups. Based on watching from the press box, Lackey looked pretty good. He retired six of the eight hitters he faced and seemed to have pretty good hop on his fastball. Lackey didn't throw any cutters.

The righthander will next report to Fort Myers and is scheduled to start an intrasquad game on Sunday. That will essentially end his pitching for the season.

Based on what he has done to this point, Lackey should enter spring training without any restrictions. He had Tommy John surgery last Nov. 1.

Also:

• Jon Lester was the team's nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award for community service. Tim Wakefield won the award in 2010 and David Ortiz in 2011.

• Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler and pitching coach Rich Sauveur will join the Red Sox coaching staff on Friday. The Paw Sox are in the Triple A National Championship game tonight in Durham, N.C., against Reno.

• No word yet on which Pawtucket players will be called up. The Paw Sox players on the 40-man roster are RHP Pedro Beato, RHP Zach Stewart, INF Danny Valencia, and OF Che-Hsuan Lin.

Those players called up will join the team here on Wednesday.

• Alfredo Aceves has pitched one inning since Sept. 8, the residue of his assorted unprofessional acts. Asked when he might pitch again, Valentine smiled and said Aceves could pitch in long relief at some point.

Podcast: Conversation with Jim Kaat

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff September 18, 2012 03:56 PM

Jim-Kaat.jpgThis week's podcast features special guest Jim Kaat, the former major league pitcher and current analyst on MLB Network.

Kaat will be the game analyst for MLB Network's two exclusive Division Series playoff games -- with Matt Vasgersian on Oct. 7 and with Bob Costas on Oct. 10. MLB Network channel listings are available at FindMLBNetwork.com.

The podcast is produced by the Globe's Daigo Fujiwara. Hit play to give it a listen.

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

Game 149: Red Sox at Rays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 18, 2012 03:15 PM

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

RED SOX (67-81)
Ciriaco 3B
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Loney 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Lavarnway DH
Podsednik LF
Iglesias SS
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (10-9, 5.11)

RAYS (78-69)
Jennings LF
Upton CF
Zobrist SS
Longoria DH
Keppinger 3B
Francisco RF
Scott 1B
Roberts 2B
Gimenez C
Pitching: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (8-10, 3.22)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Hellickson: Pedroia 5-20. Salty 5-16, Ellsbury 2-14, Aviles 2-10, Nava 1-7, Ross 0-5, Ciriaco 3-3, Gomez 0-3, Podsednik 2-3.

Rays vs. Doubront: Zobrist 2-9, Pena 1-8, Rodriguez 3-8, Upton 2-6, Longoria 2-4, Scott 2-6, Keppinger 3-5, Gimenez 1-5, Jennings 2-4, Francisco 2-3, Johnson 0-2, Joyce 1-2, Thompson 1-3, Molina 0-1.

Stat of the Day: The Sox have trailed at some point in each of their last 27 games.

Notes: The Sox have won three of their last four while the slip, slidin' away Rays have dropped six of seven and eight of their last 11. Tamps Bay is 5.5 out in the division and five out in the wild card. ... Doubront is 0-5, 7.38 in his last eight starts, last winning a game on July 18. But he pitched well against the Yankees in his last start, allowing two runs over 6.1 innings. Doubront has allowed five earned over 10.2 innings against the Rays this season. ... Hellickson is 1-1. 4.38 in four starts against the Six this season. ... Mauro Gomez has nine RBIs in his last 12 games.

Song of the Day: "Don't Take Me Alive" by Steely Dan.

Bogar to interview with Astros on Wednesday

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff September 18, 2012 12:17 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As we reported in the Sunday edition of the Globe, Red Sox bench coach Tim Bogar will interview for the Houston Astros managerial job.

Bogar will interview on Wednesday. Not known yet if Bogar is heading to Houston or whether the Houston brass is coming here. The Astros have already interviewed Tampa Bay bench coach Dave Martinez and former Phillies manager Larry Bowa.

The Astros have a substantial list which also includes former Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale, now the third base coach with the Baltimore Orioles.

Hits and misses for the 2012 Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 18, 2012 11:50 AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — When spring training started in February, we all looked at the Red Sox roster and tried to imagine how the season would play out.

Who would perform up to expectations? Who would fall short? Who would surprise?

With 14 games left to play, it's fair to say we have a pretty good idea of what happened. Here's a brief breakdown of who fits in what category:

Overachievers: Matt Albers, Scott Atchison, Mike Aviles, Craig Breslow, Felix Doubront, Mauro Gomez, Rich Hill, Andrew Miller, Franklin Morales, Vicente Padilla, Cody Ross, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kelly Shoppach.

Note: These players gave the Sox more than what was expected. You can quibble with Salty based on all the strikeouts. But the 41 extra-base hits are impressive and he made decent strides as a catcher in the post-Varitek era. The biggest problem with this list is that most of these guys are role players or relievers. Only Salty, Aviles. Ross and Doubront had prominent roles.

Surprise contributors: Marlon Byrd, Pedro Ciriaco, Will Middlebrooks, Clayton Mortensen Daniel Nava, Scott Podsednik, Junichi Tazawa.

Note: These are guys who either weren't in spring training or didn't make a big dent there and proved to be valuable to varying degrees. Middlebrooks looked like a star in the making before he broke his hand.

Underachieving pitchers: Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Bailey, Daniel Bard, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Aaron Cook, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Mark Melancon.

Note: Wow, that's a long list. Bailey is here because of injury. Everybody else clearly played their way there. Buchholz can't get a pass with a 4.33 ERA. That's 1.63 runs higher than the previous two seasons.

Underachieving position players: Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, Darnell McDonald, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Nick Punto, Ryan Sweeney, Kevin Youkilis.

Note: Lots of big names here, too. Crawford, Ellsbury and Ortiz were sidetracked by injuries and gave the Red Sox less than what was hoped for. Pedroia's .807 OPS is the lowest of his career.

Incomplete: Ryan Kalish, Ryan Lavarnway, James Loney.

Note: It's hard to get a gauge on these guys because of injuries, limited playing time or circumstance. Poor Loney, he was the last passenger on the Titanic.

In the end, the Red Sox got less than what they expected from Aceves, Bailey, Bard, Beckett, Buchholz, Crawford, Ellsbury, Gonzalez, Lester, Matsuzaka, Melancon, Ortiz, Pedroia and Youkilis.

Those were 14 pretty important names on the roster when spring training started. Beckett, Crawford, Gonzalez and Youkilis all got traded and people celebrated when they did. Bard spent more time in the minors than the majors and Ellsbury and Ortiz were on the DL for (so far) 135 games.

To what degree Bobby Valentine's managing style affected this is open to interpretation. But when so many key players underachieved at the same time because of injuries or simply stinking it up, the Red Sox were doomed regardless of who the manager was.

If your lists are different, feel free to explain in the comments section.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 18, 2012 10:20 AM

The Red Sox dealt a blow to the Rays on Monday night with a 5-2 victory.

Nick Cafardo writes that a lack of offense is sinking Tampa Bay.

The notebook has the Red Sox looking into hosting a football game between Notre Dame and UConn.

Tazawa continues to impress

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 17, 2012 11:51 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Red Sox are at a point in the season where wins and losses aren't especially important. You would like to think that the 2013 team will look a lot different than some of the lineups Bobby Valentine is pulling out of a hat these days.

It's better to look for players getting an opportunity now who can help this team when the games matter again.

Junichi Tazawa, for instance.

The 26-year-old righthander pitched a perfect eighth inning, throwing 11 of his 15 pitches for strikes and whiffing two along the way.

Tazawa has thrown 7.2 shutout innings in his last eight appearances, giving up one hit and one walk and striking out 14.

“Can't throw the ball any better than he's thrown it. It's impossible,” Bobby Valentine said.

Tazawa, speaking through interpreter Jeff Cutler, was modest when asked about the life on his fastball this season. He has been consistently in the upper 90s and the ball darts in the strike zone. Teammates have said it’s a nasty pitch, but Tazawa only grinned when asked if that were the case.

“So far the results have been there. I hope it continues that way,” he said. “I don’t want to get complacent. I want to make sure my head is in the right place and I control everything.”

Tazawa has gone four consecutive appearances with multiple strikeouts and and one (or less) base runners allowed. Since 2003, the only Red Sox pitcher who has done that is Jonathan Papelbon. He had five consecutive such outings in 2007.

Tazawa looked like a solid prospect as a starter during the first three seasons of his career before he blew out his elbow and had Tommy John surgery. But his fastball is a put-away pitch in relief. He has 97 strikeouts in 80 innings with Triple A Pawtucket and the Red Sox while allowing 22 walks.

A few other items:

• Joe Maddon is a genius and all that. But walking Pedro Ciriaco to get to Jacoby Ellsbury was pushing it in the seventh inning, even with a lefty on the mound.

“I don’t think you see a lot of times where you walk ‘em to get to Ells,” Valentine said. “I don’t mind him coming up with the bases loaded.”

Ellsbury had hit lefthanders (.309 with a .687 OPS) better than he has righthanders this season (.243 with a .674 OPS) and he dropped an RBI single into left field.

Ellsbury said seeing Ciriaco get walked provided some extra motivation.

“I like that,” he said. “I always like that mentality in any situation. … You’re not always going to have success in that situation but it only adds to my focus.”

• Good base running by Jose Iglesias in the sixth inning. He stayed out of a double play when he was running on a grounder to short and then took third on a pitch pitch that wasn't too far away from Jose Molina.

• Aaron Cook threw a bunch of cutters Monday night instead of going exclusively with his sinker. That led to six solid innings and his first win since Aug. 6.

• Sox have won three of four and the Rays have lost six of seven. It's a reverse 2011.

Final: Red Sox 5, Rays 2

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff September 17, 2012 07:10 PM

Game over: The Rays scored a run in the ninth, but their playoff hopes continue to fade after a loss to the Red Sox. Aaron Cook gave Boston six solid innings, the bullpen pitched three innings and allowed just one run and Jacoby Ellsbury knocked in three of the five runs to pace the Boston attack. The Red Sox, who have now won three out of four, beat the Rays in 3:11 before 11,722 at the quiet Trop.

Top 9th: Red Sox 5, Rays 1 Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an infield single, on base three times. He was eventually caught stealing at third, ending Boston's streak of 17 straight stolen bases streak.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 5, Rays 1 Brilliant inning by Junichi Tazawa. He struck out two as he retired the side with dominant stuff.

Top 8th: Red Sox 5, Rays 1 Sox have a chance to enlarge the lead but come up short. Single by Loney, his second hit of the game.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 5, Rays 1 Strong inning for the seldom-used Rich Hill. Rays go down in order. Hill K'd two.

Top 7th: Red Sox 5, Rays 1 Sox exploded for three runs. They knocked Cobb out after Loney singled and Salty walked. Lavarnway reached on a fielder's choice and error by shortstop Zobrist to load them up. Mauro Gomez, pinch-hitting for Scott Podsednik, singled to left scoring a pair. Iglesias laid down a sac bunt to advance the runners. Rays walked Ciriaco intentionally, but Ellsbury blooped a single to left to score the fifth Sox run

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 2, Rays 1 Ben Zobrist helped Aaron Cook with a double play grounder. Cook is done. Went six full innings, and allowed one run. Not bad.

Top 6th: Red Sox 2, Rays 1 Jacoby Ellsbury stroked a two-run homer on a 3-1 pitch by Alex Cobb, the first hit allowed by Cobb. It came with Jose Iglesias on board after Iglesias was hit with a pitch, and then used his legs to advance to third, first running with the pitch on a ground ball out by Pedro Ciriaco and then breaking for third on a wild pitch by Cobb. Pedroia walked and stole second base, the 17th straight steal by Sox runners. After a Jose Molina passed ball advanced Pedroia to third, Cody Ross struck out to end the inning.

Bottom 5th: Rays 1, Red Sox 0 The Rays broke the scoreless game when they got to Cook for a run. Luke Scott and Carlos Pena, hitting .216 and .193 respectively each singled and the run scored on Ryan Roberts grounder to first base on which James Loney tried to gun the run down at the plate, but his throw was off the mark. Lavarnway threw out Pena trying to steal third base and after Cook walked Jose Molina, he retired Jennings on a grounder to shortstop.

Top 5th: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 It's time to start mentioning the fact that the Red Sox do not have a hit through five. Cobb has allowed only a second-inning walk to Saltalamacchia. He struck out Salty and Lavarnway in the fifth.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Cook allowed an infield single to thrid base to BJ Upton, but Ben Zobrist grounded into a force at second before Matt Joyce knocked into a 6-4-3 double-play.

Top 4th: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 A parade of quick outs in this game so far. Sox go 1-2-3 again vs. Cobb.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Aaron Cook is breaking bats and retiring the rays in order again.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Another easy inning for Cobb. Jose Iglesias took no chances and swung at the first pitch and flew out to deep center for the second out of the inning.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 The Rays went down in order vs. Cook as this weak Rays lineup continues to have problems scoring runs.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Jarrod Saltalamacchia worked in a walk with two outs, but a fairly easy inning for Cobb.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 Aaron Cook continues to try to make something positive of his season and perhaps his future. After getting the first two outs he allowed a single to Ben Zobrist before Matt Joyce fouled out to third baseman Pedro Ciriaco.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Tampa Bay 0 Hugely important games for the Tampa Bay Rays. Alex Cobb started things off on a positive note by retiring the Red Sox in order. Pedro Ciriaco, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia couldn't get the ball out of the infield.

Game 148: Red Sox at Rays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 17, 2012 03:05 PM

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

RED SOX (66-81)
Ciriaco 3B
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Loney 1B
Saltalamacchia DH
Lavarnway C
Podsednik LF
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Aaron Cook (3-10, 5.18)

RAYS (78-68)
Jenning LF
Upton CF
Zobrist SS
Joyce RF
Scott DH
Keepinger 3B
Pena 1B
Roberts 2B
Molina C
Pitching: RHP Alex Cobb (9-8, 4.26)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, MLB Network / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Cobb: Aviles 0-6, Pedroia 0-3, Nava 0-2, Podsednik 1-2, Salty 0-1.

Rays vs. Cook: Keppinger 0-12, Pena 2-5, Longoria 2-4, Upton 0-4, Roberts 0-3, Scott 0-3, Zobrist 0-3.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are actually 7-5 against the Rays this season, outscoring them 60-39.

Notes: The Sox have been officially eliminated. With 15 games left they are 17.5 games out in the division and 16.5 games out in the wild card. ... The Rays are heading in that direction. They were 1-5 on a road trip to Baltimore and New York and are five games out in the division and four games out in the wild card with 16 games left. ... Cook is 1-8, 5.40 in his last nine starts and 0-6, 6.00 in his last six. His last win came Aug. 6. Cook hasn't faced the Rays since June 17, 2009 when he was with the Rockies. Cook is 6-20, 5.64 over the last two seasons (33 games) yet remains in the Red Sox rotation. ... Cobb is 5-0, 3.31 in his last eight starts. His last loss was on July 27. He faced the Sox on May 25 and allowed three runs (two earned) over 5 innings and 96 pitches. ... The Sox have scored 38 runs and hit .222 in their 14 games this month.

Song of the Day: "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" by Green Day.

Pitching matchups for the Rays series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 17, 2012 10:00 AM

Monday: RHP Aaron Cook (3-10, 5.18) vs. RHP Alex Cobb (9-8, 4.26), 7:10 p.m., NESN, MLB Network

Tuesday: LHP Felix Doubront (10-9, 5.11) vs. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (8-10, 3.22), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Wednesday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-5, 7.14) vs. LHP David Price (18-5, 2.54), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Thursday: RHP Clay Buchholz (11-6, 4.33) vs. RHP James Shields (14-9, 3.77), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Valentine unapologetic for unusual move to pinch-hit for Iglesias

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff September 16, 2012 06:51 PM

TORONTO — Bobby Valentine said he was only trying to cobble together a run for starting pitcher Jon Lester in Sunday's 5-0 loss to the Blue Jays when he decided to make the unusual move of sending Daniel Nava in to pinch-hit for Jose Iglesias in the seventh inning in the middle of his at-bat.

"Just trying to get a run for Jon, obviously,” Valentine said, explaining his rationale for lifting Iglesias after Pedro Ciriaco reached on a two-out single to left and stole second.

"Told Daniel if [Ciriaco] steals second, you’ve got it. Otherwise, I was all set to play defense,'' Valentine said. "I was pinch-hit for with the bases loaded, 3-2 count, and it didn’t ruin my confidence. I talked to [Iglesias]. He’ll get over it. He said, 'Whatever’s right for the team.' "

Said Iglesias: "It’s pretty unusual, but he made a decision. He tried to do what’s best for the team, and I respect that decision."

With the Red Sox engaged in a scoreless stalemate against the Blue Jays, Iglesias worked the count to 2-and-2 against reliever Brandon Lyon when Ciriaco stole second. It was at that point Valentine lifted Iglesias, who struck out looking and flied to right in his two previous at-bats, in favor of the switch-hitting Nava, who had been hitting .217 with runners in scoring position.

Nava grounded back to the mound to end the inning.

"I was told to be ready,’’ Nava said, when asked if he was surprised to find himself pinch-hitting for Iglesias in the middle of his at-bat. "Anyone who is on the bench, you know you got to be ready. I didn’t know the exact details when I could be going in, but if a guy comes off the bench, it doesn’t matter if it’s a new at-bat, fresh count, or in the middle – obviously, something I’ve never done before – but you still have to be ready.’’

Asked if he felt for Iglesias in that situation, Nava replied, "Oh, yeah, totally. But I think we were in a situation; it was a 0-0 game and we were trying to get a runner across. I’m sure Iggy was feeling like he normally does if he stayed in there. You don’t want to be that guy. It’s unfortunate for him that I was unable to get a knock and that it didn’t work out.’’

Iglesias, who has started 10 of the last 18 games, was hitting .071 after going 2 for 28 in 26 games since his Aug. 25 call-up from Triple A Pawtucket.

"I don’t think it was a make-or-break situation," Valentine said. "He’ll have an opportunity to get some hits. It’s not kindergarten here. You don’t think it was a good decision. So what? I think it was the right thing to do to try to win a game for a [pitcher] who’s busting his butt out there."

Final: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff September 16, 2012 12:50 PM

Final: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0 The Blue Jays averted a sweep by taking the finale of this three-game set, pinning the Red Sox with a 5-0 loss before a Rogers Centre crowd of 21,698.

Jon Lester (9-12) went seven innings, but was tagged for three runs in the seventh, including a two-run homer by Adeiny Hechavarria that made it 3-0. Brandon Lyon picked up the win for the Blue Jays.

Bottom of 8th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0 Daniel Bard was rudely greeted by Brett Lawrie's ground-rule double to left. Lawrie then scored when Colby Rasmus hit a high-chopper to left field that bounded over the head of Ryan Kalish, who had entered the game for Scott Podsednik. It allowed Rasmus to safely reach second.

Bard was gone after he issued a walk to J.P. Arencibia, prompting Sox manager Bobby Valentine to summon Andrew Miller from the bullpen to face Adam Lind. Miller got Lind to hit a grounder to second for the force on Arencibia before handing it over Scott Atchison, who gave up an RBI single to center by Moises Sierra that made it 5-0.

Bottom of 7th: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 0 The Jays rallied for three runs with two outs when Yan Gomes singled up the middle. Pinch-runner Rajai Davis then stole second and scored on Omar Vizquel's hit-and-run single to center, giving the Jays a 1-0 lead.

Adeiny Hechavarria made it 3-0 when he belted Lester's first pitch into the second level of seats in left field. With Daniel Bard warming up in the Sox bullpen, Lester got out of the inning when Anthony Gose struck out. Through seven innings, Lester allowed three runs on four hits and one walk while striking out seven batters. He threw 101 pitches (68 strikes).

Top of 7th: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 Brett Cecil entered the game in the top of the seventh in relief of Brandon Morrow (6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K), who threw 102 pitches. Cecil faced one batter, striking out Jarrod Saltalamacchia, before handing it over to Brandon Lyon with one out in the seventh.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 Lester seemed to struggle when he issued a leadoff walk to Moises Sierra. Yan Gomes laid down a bunt that Lester fielded. He spun toward second to begin a double play, but airmailed his throw over second, allowing Sierra to advance and Gomes to reach base.

Lester settled down and struck out the next two batters he faced before getting Anthony Gose to ground to short for the inning-ending forceout on Gomes at second.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 Lester looked strong through the first four innings, retiring one above the minimum 12 batters. He needed just eight pitches to retire the Blue Jays in order after getting Colby Rasmus to pop to left, J.P. Arencibia to hit a pop foul to first, and Adam Lind to hit a hard comebacker to the mound.

Top 4th: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 Just as they did in the first inning, when Dustin Pedroia singled and Jacoby Ellsbury drew a walk from Toronto starter Brandon Morrow, the Red Sox stranded a pair in the fourth after Cody Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia each singled to reach base.

Morrow got out of the jam when he got Ryan Lavarnway to fly to right and Pedro Ciriaco to hit a pop foul to first.

Bottom 3d: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 After retiring his first six batters, Jon Lester gave up a hit when Omar Vizquel doubled down the line to left.

After Adeiny Hechavarria grounded to short, Vizquel went to third on Brett Lawrie's groundout to second. He wound up getting stranded there, however, when Lester got Colby Rasmus to hit a pop foul to Sox first baseman James Loney.

Pregame Greetings from Rogers Centre in Toronto, where the retractable roof has been rolled back, revealing a perfectly azure-blue sky overhead. The Red Sox (66-80) will attempt to go for a sweep in the finale of this three-game series against the Blue Jays (65-79) and send LHP Jon Lester (9-11, 4.99 ERA) to the mound to oppose RHP Brandon Morrow (8-6, 3.16).

As always, please feel free to post your comments here. Enjoy the game.

Valentine clarifies 'weakest roster' remark

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff September 16, 2012 12:15 PM

TORONTO — Bobby Valentine on Sunday clarified a remark he made before Friday night's 8-6 victory over the Blue Jays when he said the team had the "weakest roster'' in September in baseball history.

Valentine made the comment after he was asked about the team's depleted roster and whether he was looking forward to refortifying the team in any specific area.

"Are you kidding? This is the weakest roster we've ever had in September in the history of baseball,'' Valentine said Friday. "We could use help everywhere. We've got four outfielders and it's September, yeah. We've got four infielders, it's September — of course.

"If there are people who could be brought up, we should bring 'em up, but I don't know that there's a lot of guys left.''

Before Sunday afternoon's game against the Blue Jays, Valentine took a moment to clarify the remark.

"The other day when I made a comment about the September roster, that wasn't meant to be a criticism of any players or anyone within the organization,'' Valentine said. "It was merely a statement of fact because of injuries and our Triple-A team being in the playoffs. It's just different because we have less people than most September rosters, and less positions filled than any September roster I've ever seen.

"If anyone thought it was anything other than a statement of what it was, stand corrected on that.''

Game 147: Red Sox at Blue Jays

Posted by Leonard Neslin September 16, 2012 10:00 AM

Here is a preview of the game:

RED SOX (66-80)
Podsednik LF
Pedroia 2B
Ellsbury CF
Ross RF
Loney 1B
Saltalamacchia DH
Lavarnway C
Ciriaco 3B
Iglesias SS
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (9-11, 4.99)

BLUE JAYS (65-79)
Lawrie 3B
Rasmus CF
Arencibia C
Lind 1B
Sierra RF
Gomes DH
Vizquel 2B
Hechavarria SS
Gose LF
Pitching: RHP Brandon Morrow (8-6, 3.16)

Game time: 1:07 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Morrow: Pedroia 9-17, Ellsbury 8-16, Saltalamacchia 0-9, Aviles 2-5, Podsednik 1-2, Nava 1-3, Quiroz 0-1.

Blue Jays vs. Lester: Escobar 7-23, Arencibia 5-23, Encarnacion 4-21, Lind 3-24, Davis 5-21, Mathis 4-12, Lawrie 2-11, Johnson 0-8, McCoy 1-6, Vizquel 2-7, Rasmus 2-6, Torrealba 0-4.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox will try for their first series sweep since taking three in a row from the Marlins in June.

Notes: Lester allowed a career high 11 runs in his last start against the Blue Jays on July 22. ... He has won four of his last five decisions. ... Morrow hasn't faced the Red Sox this season, but he gave up five earned runs in his last start against them Sept. 13 last year. ... Pedroia was hitless in his return to the lineup following the birth of his second son. ...

Final: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 2

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff September 15, 2012 01:26 PM

Final: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 2: Pedro Ciriaco helped the Red Sox defeat the Blue Jays for the second time in as many games with an RBI double that scored Jarrod Saltalamacchia with the winning run in Saturday's 3-2 victory over the Blue Jays before a Rogers Centre crowd of 37,325.

Craig Breslow (1-0) picked up the victory in relief of starter Clay Buchholz, who went 7.0 innings and allowed two runs (one unearned) on four hits and five walks while striking out five batters.

Top of 9th: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 2: Pedro Ciriaco ripped an RBI double down the line to left to score Jarrod Saltalamacchia with the go-ahead run off reliever Steve Delabar. Saltalamacchia reached on his leadoff double to right off Delabar then advanced to third on Mike Aviles' sacrifice fly to center.

Andrew Bailey was summoned to relieve Craig Breslow and close it for the Sox.

Top of 8th: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 2: The Sox threatened to score the go-ahead runs when Pedro Ciriaco drew a leadoff walk that spelled the end of Carlos Villanueva's day.

Aaron Loup entered the game and walked Jacoby Ellsbury and was gone after Daniel Nava laid down a 3-4 sacrifice bunt that advanced the runners to third and second, respectively, prompting John Farrell to summon Steve Delabar from the bullpen to face Dustin Pedroia, who walked to load the bases for Cody Ross.

The Red Sox let Delabar off the hook when he came back from an 3-and-0 count to strike out Ross and got James Loney to pop up to second to end the inning with three runners aboard.

Craig Breslow was summoned to pitch for the Red Sox in the bottom of the eighth in relief of Clay Buchholz (7.0 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 5 BB, 5 K).

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 2: Toronto tied it when Buchholz intentionally walked Edwin Encarnacion to load the bases for Adam Lind, who hit an RBI sacrifice fly to center that scored Anthony Gose (base hit) with the tying run.

Buchholz got out of the inning after he induced Yunel Escobar to ground out to second.

Top 4th: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1: The Sox rallied for the go-ahead run with two out when Cody Ross drew a two-out walk. Villanueva gave up back-to-back singles to center by James Loney and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the latter of which drove in Ross with the go-ahead run, making it 2-1.

Bottom 2d: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 1: Daniel Nava, who made a game-saving diving catch in left in the eighth inning of Friday night's 8-6 win, threw around the leather in left again Saturday when he made a leaping grab on the warning track before crashing into the wall. Nava held onto the ball for the third out as Buchholz left men stranded on the corners.

Top 2d: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 1: Cody Ross tied it up when he belted a solo leadoff homer to left off of Carlos Villaneuva. It was Ross' 21st homer of the season, the most he's had since 2009 when he had 24 with the Marlins.

Bottom 1st: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0: With runners in scoring position, Yunel Escobar hit an RBI single to right, scoring Edwin Encarnacion, who drew a walk from Clay Buchholz and went to third on Adam Lind's scorched double to right. Lind, however, wound up getting thrown out at the plate by right fielder Cody Ross to end the inning.

Carpenter's first MLB win overshadowed in Friday's 8-6 triumph

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff September 15, 2012 12:00 PM

TORONTO -- Overshadowed by Ryan Lavarnway's tying three-run homer in the fourth, Daniel Nava's game-saving diving catch in the eighth, and Mauro Gomez's first career MLB triple that broke a 5-5 tie in the ninth, was the fact Chris Carpenter picked up his first MLB win in Friday's 8-6 triumph over the Blue Jays.

Carpenter, who was acquired from the Cubs in February as compensation for general manager Theo Epstein, picked up his milestone win after he was summoned to relieve the ineffective Vicente Padilla and threw 2/3 scoreless innings of relief in the eighth, stranding a pair of baserunners (fielder's choice, intentional walk).

"Heard from family and a bunch of friends,'' Carpenter said. "It was kind of one of those special nights.''

Sox manager Bobby Valentine was impressed.

"First win, heck of a job,'' Valentine said before Saturday's game against the Blue Jays. "He made good pitches to [Kelly] Johnson and at 3-and-2, I figured he hasn't been in the game that much to make a pitch out of the zone that somebody might swing at.''

Since he was called up from Triple A Pawtucket, where he went 1-0 and recorded four saves with a 1.15 ERA in 16 appearances with the PawSox this season, Carpenter has tossed 3.1 scoreless innings over his first four outings with the Red Sox.

"He's pitched very well since he's been here,'' Valentine said. "I've been impressed with his velocity and his breaking ball. His kind of reset command. He'll fire one that looked like it got away from him and comes right back and makes a real good pitch.''

Asked how he commemorated the moment, Carpenter replied, "Got the ball'' as he nodded to a baseball wrapped inside a white tube sock that was sitting on the top shelf of his locker.

"I don't know what I'm going to do with it,'' Carpenter said. "Might set it next to the first K ball that I've got at home. I don't know what I'm going to do with it, but it's nice to finally have one.''

Did he ever figure his first MLB win would come in a foreign country?

"No ... no,'' Carpenter said. "That thought definitely never crossed my mind.''

Now he'll have to declare his souvenir when he clears customs at the US border.

"I'm going to have to throw it in my suitcase,'' Carpenter said. "I'm sure they'll let me back with that.''

Pedroia rejoins team in Toronto, back in lineup

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff September 15, 2012 11:51 AM

TORONTO — After being away from the team for the last two days to be with his wife, Kelli, for the birth of their second child, Dustin Pedroia rejoined the Red Sox in Toronto in time to play in Saturday's game against the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.

Pedroia was positively beaming after the couple welcomed the arrival of their newborn son, Cole, Thursday morning.

"He's big — he's almost nine pounds,'' marveled Pedroia, who was weary from a lack of sleep but appeared none worse the wear as he spoke with reporters in the visitors' dugout.

"I brought him home at 1 in the afternoon [Friday] and then got on a flight about 7 o'clock that night,'' said Pedroia, who departed after the sixth inning of Wedneday night's home game against the Yankees when his wife went into labor. "There was not much rest, but it was worth it.''

Pedroia, who has hit safely in all but three of his last 35 games since Aug. 5 to record a Major League-high .381 batting average in that stretch, said he was eager to get back to work, especially after the team had to reshuffle its infield, with Mike Aviles filling in for Pedroia at second base in Friday night's 8-6 victory over the Blue Jays.

Pedroia was back in the lineup for Saturday's game at second base, hitting out of the No. 3 position.

"When I got to the hospital I watched the rest of that game, and then the next day, but I couldn't watch [Friday] night because I was flying,'' Pedroia said. "Yeah, I mean, I missed being around the guys and doing what I can to help them out, so it's good to be back.''

Pedroia, who also has a 3-year-old son Dylan, said it was a relief to finally get through the birth of his second son only because of the anxiety he felt for his wife.

"Just because she had problems with Dylan, so I was always worried that she would go into labor early and stuff like that,'' Pedroia said. "But it all worked out great, they're both healthy and that's all I could ask for.''

So how did Dylan react to having a baby brother?

"He's all fired up,'' Pedroia said, smiling. "Thank God the baby's big, because he'll probably beat on him a little bit, but it's all good.''

Game 146: Red Sox at Blue Jays

Posted by Leonard Neslin September 15, 2012 10:00 AM

Here is a preview of the game:

RED SOX (65-80)
Ellsbury CF
Nava LF
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Loney 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Lavarnway DH
Aviles SS
Ciriaco 3B
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (11-6, 4.46)

BLUE JAYS (65-78)
Davis, LF
Lawrie, 3B
Encarnacion, DH
Lind, 1B
Escobar, SS
Johnson, 2B
Torrealba, C
Sierra, RF
Gose, CF
Pitching: RHP Carlos Villanueva (7-5, 3.48)

Game time: 1:07 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Villanueva: Pedroia 4-10, Ellsbury 3-8, Ross 4-6, Loney 1-7, Podsednik 0-6, Saltalamacchia 1-5, Ciriaco 1-4, Nava 0-2, Aviles 0-3, Kalish 1-2, Lavarnway 1-2.

Blue Jays vs. Buchholz: Lind 10-33, Mathis 2-12, Encarnacion 1-14, Escobar 2-9, Davis 2-10, Arencibia 0-11, Vizquel 1-7, Johnson 0-5, Lawrie 1-8, Rasmus 1-6, Gose 2-4, McCoy 0-4, Hechavarria 1-3.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox lost their 80th game of the season Thursday night against the Yankees. The Red Sox haven't lost 80 games in a year since 1997, and they haven't had 80 losses as of Sept. 13 since 1966 when they lost 90 games and finished in ninth place out of 10 American League teams.

Notes: Buchholz nearly went the distance against the Blue Jays last Sunday, allowing four earned runs in 8 2/3 innings in a 4-3 loss. ... Villanueva threw a quality start in that matchup (6 IP, 3 ER) and has pitched at least five innings in all of his starts since June 19. ... The Red Sox have lost 12 of their last 15 games and the Blue Jays swept them at Fenway Park last weekend. ... Pedroia is expected to return after missing two games because of the birth of his second son.

Final: Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 5

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff September 14, 2012 07:11 PM

Game over: Andrew Bailey retired the Jays in the 9th to earn a save as the Red Sox rallied for three runs in the 9th, the big hit a two-run triple by Mauro Gomez to seal the win. The Red Sox, 65-80, are trying to overtake Toronto for fourth place in this series. The game was played in 3:42 before 21,888 at Rogers Centre. Chris Carpenter got the win for the Red Sox. It was Bailey's third save.

Top 9th: Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 5 Big hit by Mauro Gomez, a triple scoring two runs. Ryan Lavarnway's sacrifice fly scored Gomez.Ellsbury had singled and with one out Ross singled before Gomez' big hit.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 5 Vicente Padilla looks worn out. The veteran righty allowed a leadoff single to Colby Rasmus and then a double to Brett Lawrie which tied the score. Daniel Nava then made a spectacular catch in leftcenter to rob Adam Lind of extra bases and fired a nice throw into second base, but Mike Aviles couldn't handle the throw or the Sox would have doubled Lawrie off the bag. Chris Carpenter replaced Padilla. Lawrie made a bonehead running play as he was thrown out at third on Escobar's grounder to shortstop. Carpenter then wild pitched the runner to second base, intentionally walked Kelly Johnson before retiring the side when JP Arencibia flew out to center.

Top 8th: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 4 Jose Iglesias created some excitement when he stole second base when the throw hit him and went into centerfield. Iglesias got to third with two outs, but Pedro Ciriaco struck out to end the threat.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 4 Impressive two-strikeout inning for Junichi Tazawa, who has a world of confidence these days and could very well emerge as Boston's set-up man next season.

Top 7th: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 4 Three up and three down for the Sox.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 4 Dice-K allowed a triple to Adam Lind in the sixth and was lifted for Clayton Mortensen. Mortensen surrendered an RBI single to left to escobar to pull the Jays to within one run. Mortensen struck out Kelly Johnson as Escobar stole second.

Top 6th: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3 Jose Iglesias was hit with a pitch and advanced to second base on Pedro Ciriaco's sacrifice bunt. But the Sox couldn't get the insurance run in.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3 Dice-K pitches his second consecutive rocking chair inning.

Top 5th: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3 A clutch two-out bases loaded single by Daniel Nava scored a pair of runs to give Boston the lead. Aviles singled, Gomez reached on a fielder's choice and Lavarnway walked to set the stage for Nava. Aviles made a Wes Welker spin move to avoid Bret Lawrie's tag at third on what was the key play of the inning.

Bottom 4th: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 3 Stop the presses! Dice K pitches a 1-2-3 inning.

Top 4th: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 3 Ryan Lavarnway hit a three-run home rto left to tie the game vs. Aaron Laffey. After Cody Ross walked and Mauro Gomez singled, Lavarnway hit a lined shot that made it over the wall.

Bottom 3rd: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 0 Yup. this is the Dice-K we know and love. Walks and wild pitches galore. With the bases loaded, Dice-K uncorked two wild pitches that scored runs and Brett Lawrie's ground ball to second scored the third run.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 The Sox made two quick out, but then Ciriaco and Ellsbury produced back-to-back hits and pulled off a double-steal to make it interesting, but Mike Aviles flew out to right to end the rally.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 Dice-K squirmed out of a jam after he allowed a leadoff bloop double to Adam Lind. Lind mad eit to third on Yunel Escobar's ground ball out, but Dice-K bore down and retired the next two batters.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 Mauro Gomez walked with one out, but Ryan Lavarnway and Daniel Nava each tapped back to Laffey.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 Dice-K retired the Jays in order here. No. 3 hitter Brett Lawrie reached on an infield single to third base. Pedro Ciriaco threw the ball away but Aviles recovered the ball in foul territory and threw Lawrie out at second base.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 All you need to know about tonight's lineup is that Mike Aviles is batting third and playing second base. Another challenge for Bobby Valentine. Aaron Laffey, who pitched 13 shutout innings against the Red Sox over two starts before allowing two runs in 4-2/3 innings back on September 8, retired the Sox in order in the first.

Pedroia remains in Boston with wife and newborn

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff September 14, 2012 05:34 PM

TORONTO — Mike Aviles was penciled in at second base for Friday night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays after Dustin Pedroia remained back in Boston with his family after his wife, Kelli, gave birth to the couple's second child.

Pedroia left in the seventh inning of Wednesday night's game against the New York Yankees and was away from the team Thursday due to the birth of his son.

"They're doing well,'' reported Sox manager Bobby Valentine, who declined to divulge the child's name. "Mom and baby are supposed to be doing well, but I don't know about Dustin. With no baseball and no sleep? Great combo. He'll sleep on the plane.''

Without Pedroia, Valentine was left with a lineup that included Aviles at second, where he was making his first start of the season, Jose Iglesias at shortstop, James Loney at first and Pedro Ciriaco at third.

Ivan De Jesus was the only available infielder on the bench for Friday night's game.

"We have options, we have options,'' Valentine said. "But Dustin will be back, we know that.''

In other matters:

• Although league sources indicated there would be no suspensions, Valentine did not acknowledge what discipline Major League Baseball had taken after he, Cody Ross, and third base coach Jerry Royster were ejected by home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez in the ninth inning of of Thursday night's 2-0 loss to the Yankees. Asked if there were any differences in fines of players and coaches, Valentine said, "They're not the same. I don't think so. I don't know what it's based on.''

• John Lackey did some flat-ground work at the Rogers Centre in Toronto after he threw 20 pitches of live batting practice Thursday at Fenway Park. "Maybe at the end of Tampa, we might have another BP day, or we might wait until he gets home, depending on the field schedule and his arm,'' Valentine said.

Asked if Lackey was due to do an Instructional League stint, Valentine said, "That's what he's talked about. He'll do an Instructional League stint and see about a little competitive action -- a couple of innings.''

How encouraging would it be for a guy to get some competitive innings 10 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last Nov. 1?

"Oh, you'd have to ask him, but I think it'd be good for him,'' Valentine said. "That's what his plan has been all summer. I don't want to speak for him, but it seems like accomplishing something you set out to do would be pretty important for an athlete.''

• After his last outing, a one-inning affair that ranked as the second shortest stint of his career, Daisuke Matsuzaka expressed some lingering concerns about addressing a mechanical flaw that caused an erosion of his confidence and that of the coaching staff in his ability to remain in the starting rotation.

Asked if Matsuzaka had sufficiently addressed those concerns, Valentine said, "We'll have to see ... It's like three times in a row it's [Ryan] Lavarnway and he [have worked together] and it's part of a rhythm cadence for them getting together. Hopefully, it'll flow better today."

• Valentine said he called to congratulate Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler and pitching coach Rich Sauveur after the PawSox swept Charlotte in three games to win the best-of-five International League's Governors Cup with a 4-1 road victory. It marked Pawtucket's first IL title since 1984.

"Called Arnie and Rich, congratulated them and invited them up once their season ends -- if it ever ends,'' Valentine said. "He's a good baseball man. I'm really proud of what he's done. He never complained and gave excellent reports about people he was sending up. Always put his nose down to the grindstone down there [in Pawtucket], made a lot of adjustments with his roster, obviously. Finished by saying he had a lot of great guys who loved to play the game of baseball and that he was lucky. That's a good thing.''

With the PawSox playing Tuesday in Durham, N.C., against the winner of the Pacific Coast League best-of-five championship series between Reno and Omaha, it was not expected the Sox would receive any reinforcements until then.

"There might be one or two guys who are on the roster who might be coming up,'' Valentine said.

Asked if there was any specific area where the team needed help, Valentine said, "Are you kidding? This is the weakest roster we've ever had in September in the history of baseball. We could use help everywhere. We've got four outfielders and it's September, yeah. We've got four infielders, it's September — of course. If there are people who could be brought up, we should bring 'em up, but I don't know that there's a lot of guys left.''

Game 145: Red Sox at Blue Jays

Posted by Leonard Neslin September 14, 2012 03:00 PM

Here is a preview of the game:

RED SOX (64-80)
Ciriaco 3B
Ellsbury CF
Aviles 2B
Ross RF
Gomez DH
Lavarnway C
Nava LF
Loney 1B
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-5, 7.20)

BLUE JAYS (65-77)
Davis LF
Rasmus CF
Lawrie 3B
Lind 1B
Escobar SS
Johnson 2B
Arencibia C
Sierra DH
Gose RF
Pitching: LHP Aaron Laffey (3-5, 4.43)

Game time: 7:07 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Laffey: Aviles 4-15, Pedroia 3-12, Saltalamacchia 4-10, Ellsbury 2-10, Ross 1-7, Podsednik 1-6, Ciriaco 1-6, Gomez 0-2, Iglesias 0-2, Lavarnway 0-0 (2 walks).

Blue Jays vs. Matsuzaka: Lind 4-29, Escobar 4-14, Encarnacion 2-8, Mathis 1-11, Davis, 3-9, Johnson 1-9, Arencibia 0-5, Vizquel 2-6, Rasmus 1-5, Lawrie 1-3, Torrealba 1-2, Gose 1-1, Hechavarria 1-1.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox lost their 80th game of the season Thursday night against the Yankees. The Red Sox haven't lost 80 games in a year since 1997, and they haven't had 80 losses as of Sept. 13 since 1966 when they lost 90 games and finished in ninth place out of 10 American League teams.

Notes: Tonight is the start of a seven-game road trip that ends with four games in Tampa Bay. ... The Blue Jays knocked Matsuzaka out of last Saturday's game in the second inning and he took the loss in a 9-2 drubbing. ... He held the Jays to one run over 5.1 innings on June 26. ... Laffey hasn't pitched through the fifth inning since Aug. 22 and hasn't earned a victory since Aug. 5 against the Athletics. ... The Red Sox have lost 12 of their last 14 games and the Blue Jays swept them at Fenway Park last weekend. ... The Red Sox are losing the season series against the Jays at 5-10. ... The Pawtucket Red Sox won their first International League championship since 1984 Thursday night.

Red Sox to honor 2004 team, unveil all-Fenway Park team

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff September 14, 2012 11:57 AM

The Red Sox announced Friday they will honor the 2004 World Series champion team and unveil an all-time Fenway Park team during the final two home games of the regular season against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, Sept. 25 and Wednesday, Sept. 26.

All uniformed personnel from the 2004 team have been invited to attend the festivities before the game on Sept. 25.

Wondering where the 2004 Red Sox are now? Take a look through our photo gallery on the team that broke through to win a championship for the first time in 86 years.

The all-time Fenway Park team was determined by fan voting, baseball historians, Red Sox staff, and team history consultants. Members of the all-Fenway team will be presented before the regular season home finale on Sept. 26.

These tributes will conclude Fenway's season-long 100th anniversary celebration.

Pitching matchups for the Blue Jays series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 14, 2012 10:00 AM

Friday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-5, 7.20) vs. LHP Aaron Laffey (3-5, 4.43), 7:07 p.m., NESN

Saturday: RHP Clay Buchholz (11-6, 4.46) vs. RHP Carlos Villanueva (7-5, 3.48), 1:07 p.m., NESN

Sunday: LHP Jon Lester (9-11, 4.99) vs. RHP Brandon Morrow (8-6, 3.16), 1:07 p.m., NESN

For Doubront, at least, it's a step forward

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 14, 2012 12:01 AM

The Red Sox lost a rather tepid game at Fenway Park Thursday night, 2-0 against the Yankees. There were 11 hits in the game, nine of them singles, and not much excitement.

If you want something positive to take out of this night, look to Felix Doubront, who pitched into the seventh inning and gave up two runs.

There was some doubt Doubront would make the start. The 24-year-old lefthander was 0-4 with an 8.27 earned run average in his previous seven starts and there were concerns he was wearing down in his first full season as a starter in the majors.

But Doubront pitched well in a bullpen session on Monday, convincing the team to give him another shot and it paid off.

“I was trying to think less and make pitches. That’s what I did,” Doubront said. “It was the mental part I worked on. I tried to throw the first pitch for a strike.”

Doubront (10-9) allowed four hits and struck out five with five walks. He has pitched well against the Yankees in four starts this season, giving up seven earned runs over 25 innings. He is the only starter in the majors this season with four quality starts against New York.

“I thought he was excellent,” Bobby Valentine said. “He had a good fastball, breaking ball. Good competitiveness. Just missed on some pitches.”

Doubront, who said he has two starts remaining, hopes to end his season on a good note.

“Finish strong and healthy, those were my goals the whole year,” he said. “I think I can do it and I’m going to do it.”

Said Valentine: “Talking with him, he was very determined to right his ways. I think today was a good step in that direction. If we scored some runs, we would have gotten a win.”

Doubront can be an important piece in the rotation in 2013. The question is whether he's the fourth or fifth starter on a deep staff or the No. 3 starter.

Meanwhile:

• The Sox have lost six of their last seven games and 13 of 15. They have 80 losses for the first time since the 1997 team finished 78-84.

• The Sox start a seven-game road trip in Toronto on Friday. Dustin Pedroia will join the team there sometime this weekend.

• Bill Cosby, who worked closely with Sox chairman Tom Werner during his television career, threw out the first pitch before the game. Larry David, a Yankees fan, was in a seat near the Red Sox dugout. There was no word on whether he took the HOV lane to the game. Actor Jon Hamm also was on hand.

• The Yankees are 10-5 against the Sox this season, winning seven of the nine games played at Fenway. The Sox have lost the season series for the first time since 2007.

• Kudos to Jackie Dempsey, one of the Red Sox ball girls. She was on the field before the game taking grounders from coach Jerry Royster to improve her skills. Bench coach Tim Bogar was giving her pointers, too. Dempsey, who also works in the front office, played infield at Villanova after starring at Lexington High.

Pawtucket wins International League title

Posted by Staff September 13, 2012 11:35 PM

Triple-A Pawtucket claimed its first Governors' Cup title in 28 years by defeating the Charlotte Knights, 4-1, at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill S.C.

Pawtucket starter Nelson Figueroa held the Knights to one run over six innings. The combined efforts of relievers Will Inman, Jose De La Torre and Josh Fields — who each tossed a scoreless inning — was enough to make an early lead hold up.

The PawSox got two runs in the second inning on a Mike Rivera RBI single and a Che-Hsuan Lin sacrifice fly. They got two more in the seventh thanks to Jeremy Hazelbaker and J.C. Linares, who each drove in a run.

It was the third International League title for the PawSox, the first since 1984.

Pawtucket will now play in the one-game, Triple-A championship game next Tuesday in Durham, N.C.. They await the winner of the Pacific Coast League championship series, which is tied at one game apiece between the Omaha Storm Chasers and the Reno Aces.

Final: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0

Posted by Staff September 13, 2012 07:00 PM

Game over: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0: The Yankees maintain a first place tie with the Orioles after this win while the Red Sox maintain their place in the AL East basement.

There were only 11 total hits in this one. Phil Hughes had solid stuff in holding the Sox bats at bay. In 7.1 innings of work, the Yankee starter allowed only five hits and struck out seven. Doubront was decent in his 6.2 innings of work for the Sox, but five walks and four hits allowed helped the Yankees get the only two runs they would need.

Bottom 9th: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0: Rafael Soriano on for the Yankees to try and close this one out.

Loney with a quick, one-pitch at-bat as he grounds down to first, unassisted. Ross at least makes his a four-pitch at bat, but three of those were strikes for the second out. Nava keeps hope alive with a two-out single into center field and gets to second on the next pitch with no throw down. Salty grounds out to second to end the game.

Top 9th: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0: A shift in the infield as Iglesias comes on at short and Aviles moves over to second. It is the first time this season that Aviles has played anywhere else in the field besides shortstop where he has played in 124 games. Melancon on to pitch.

Nunez breaks his bat on a flare pop-up that Iglesias catches up to just on the outfield grass. Jeter lines out to Ross for the second out of the inning. Swisher walks, putting him on base for the first time tonight. Iglesias boots a routine grounder from A-Rod and can't get Swisher at second in time. Cano hits one hard, but it hangs up for Ellsbury to track it down.

Governors' Cup FINAL: PawSox 4, Charlotte Knights 1: The Pawtucket Red Sox are the International League Champions for 2012. They will face the Pacific Coast League champion in a one-game, Triple-A championship game next Tuesday in Durham, N.C.

Bottom 8th: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0: Ciriaco strokes a wall-ball double on the first pitch he sees. Mauro Gomez on to pinch-hit and he can't wait to get at it as he pops the first pitch he sees out to centerfield for our number one.

Joe Girardi hits the mound to relieve Phil Hughes who had a very solid night. Lefty Boone Logan on for the Yankees.

Ellsbury flies out to Ichiro in right field, but Ciriaco moves up to third on the sac-fly. Girardi gets LOOGY Logan out of the game for David Robertson.

Lavarnway in to pinch-hit for Podsednik, flies out to Ichiro to stand the runner at third.

Top 8th: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0: Cano hits an easy grounder to DeJesus who comes up on it before the ball was even in his glove for an error to start the frame. Martin flies to left-center, handled by Ellsbury. Jones walks on four pitches for the sixth free pass of the night. Granderson Ks for the third time tonight. And Pearce flies out to center field to end things in the top of the eighth.

Bottom 7th: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0: Nava ropes one out to right but Swisher gets a good track on it and makes a diving catch for the first out. Salty goes down swinging for the third time tonight. The good new for Salty is that he might not get the chance for the 'golden sombrero' tonight as the Sox are running out of innings. Aviles pops to first to end the inning.

Top 7th: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0: Granderson goes down swinging for the second time tonight. Pearce draws a walk, Doubront's fifth free pass of the night. Nunez takes an inside pitch near his hands over the infield for a single and his second hit of the night.

Bobby Valentine out to the mound to collect Doubront. Junichi Tazawa on to face Derek Jeter.

Tazawa bringing the heat (consistently hitting 96 miles-per-hour) but Jeter drops one between everyone in shallow center, scoring Pearce. The hit ties Jeter for 10th on the all-time hit list, tying him with the great Willie Mays at 3,283 career hits.

Swisher Ks for the second time tonight. A-Rod goes down looking at strike three and did not like that call at all. It's the seventh strikeout by Sox pitching this evening.

Governors' Cup update - Jeremy Hazelbaker's seventh inning triple drives in Che-Hsuan Lin and J.C. Linares drives in Hazelbaker to give the PawSox a 4-1 lead over Charlotte after seven innings of play.

Bottom 6th: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: DeJesus goes down swinging for the second time in as many at-bats. Ellsbury with a single back up the middle. Podsednik becomes the sixth strikeout victim of the game for Hughes. Loney singles through the third base-shortstop hole to put two on with two out. Ross ends the threat with a can-of-corn to Swisher in right.

Top 6th: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: A-Rod gets a bad piece of a ball and grounds out to Doubront who had to come up off of the mound to his right to field it. Cano draws a one-out walk. Martin goes down looking at strike three and Jones ends it with a 6-4 ground out.

Governors' Cup update - Charlotte scores one on the bottom of the fifth inning on a Carlos Sanchez single. The PawSox still maintain the lead, but it is now 2-1 after five-and-a-half innings.

Bottom 5th: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: Salty strikes out to lead things off. Aviles singles into the center for the second Sox hit of the night. Ciriaco hits it to a perfectly positioned Cano, who was breaking to the second base bag, stepped on it and relayed to first for the double play.

Top 5th: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: Pearce grounds out to third to start the fifth. Nunez hits one that gets by the diving glove of Ciriaco and into the left-field corner for a one-out double. Jeter's first-pitch ground out to short moves Nunez to third with two out. And another ground out to short, this time by Swisher, ends the inning.

Bottom 4th: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: Ellsbury gets some good wood on a Hughes fastball, but it hangs up in the air for Swisher to make the play in right. Podsednik becomes the Sox first base runner after drawing a walk. Loney quickly lines one out to left field for out number two. Ross gives out plenty of souvenir foul balls, before roping a grounder passed A-Rod at third. Podsednik moves to third on the hit, the Sox first off of Hughes. Nava grounds to Cano to end the inning.

Top 4th: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: A-Rod picks up his second single of the game, a shot back up the box that looked like it could have decapitate Doubront. A-Rod proceeds to steal second on a 78 mile-per-hour curve, his 12th swipe of the season. Cano draws a walk after a long battle, putting two on with no out. Randy Niemann makes a trip to the mound after Doubront starts Martin off with two straight balls. That meeting did not work as Martin walks on four straight to load the bases.

Andruw Jones lines the first pitch he sees out to Ross, but A-Rod tags up from third to put the Yanks on the board first, and Cano moves to third on the play. Doubront is helped out in a huge way when Granderson sends a broken-bat liner down to Loney at first who steps on the bag to double off Martin and end the threat.

Governors' Cup update: The PawSox maintain their 2-0 lead over Charlotte through three-and-a-half innings of play.

Bottom 3rd: Yankees 0, Red Sox 0: Mike Aviles puts some terrible swings into his strikeout performance. Ciriaco skies the first pitch he sees and Nunez collects the pop-up in shallow left field. Ivan DeJesus Jr. becomes Hughes third strikeout victim of the night. Sox have yet to get a base runner through three.

Top 3rd: Yankees 0, Red Sox 0: Eduardo Nunez wildly flails at strike three outside the zone. Jeter laces a liner opposite field and Ross makes a few steps back to snag it. Swisher grounds to short to end the inning. Doubront with a solid first three, pounding the zone and keep his fastball near 93-94 so far.

Bottom 2nd: Yankees 0, Red Sox 0: Cody Ross, first-pitch swinging, grounds out to shortstop. Daniel Nava flies out to center on a 1-1 fastball. Granderson has caught three of the first five outs tonight. Jared Saltalamacchia strikes out on a 94 mile-per-hour heater from Phil Hughes.

Top 2nd: Yankees 0, Red Sox 0: Russell Martin leads off the inning with a ground out to third base. Andruw Jones picks up a walk after running the count full. Curtis Granderson chases a pitch outside and Doubront picks up his second K of the night. Steven Pearce ends the inning with a lazy fly to centerfield.

Governors' Cup update - PawSox catcher Mike Rivera drives in Danny Valencia for the first run of the game in Charlotte and Che-Hsuan Lin plates Andy LaRoche with a sac-fly. The PawSox lead 2-0 in the second inning.

Bottom1st: Yankees 0, Red Sox 0:Jacoby Ellsbury almost legs out an infield single on a solidly hit ball to short, but is out by half a step. Scott Podsednik drives one to deep center where Curtis Granderson tracks it down after getting a great read on it. James Loney also flies out to Granderson, this time in front of the track in left-center.

Down in Charlotte (actually Fort Mill, South Carolina to be exact), the PawSox are scoreless against the Knights after one full inning. Charlotte bumped starter Matt Zileski for Scott Carroll.

Top 1st: Yankees 0, Red Sox 0: Derek Jeter leading off for New York tonight in the DH role after tweaking his ankle last night at first base. He hits one to Doubront's right, but Felix comes off the mound to make a nice play for the first out. Nick Swisher goes down on three straight strikes, the last one a 94 mile-per-hour fastball that he watched go by. Alex Rodriguez punches a two-out single into centerfield. Robinson harmlessly grounds back to third to end the top half of the inning.

Larry David, John Hamm and Bill Cosby (who threw out the ceremonial first pitch) are all in attendance this evening.

Pregame: Good evening, Craig Forde back for some more live blogging from Fenway Park as the Red Sox get set to close out their penultimate series against the Yankees this season. It’s the rubber match of their three game with Felix Doubront facing off against Phil Hughes.

I will provide an inning-by-inning account of things here, with an eye on the PawSox down in Charlotte who are looking to win their first Governors’ Cup title since 1984. Check out the lineups for that game here. Feel free to leave comments.

No discipline announced for Alfredo Aceves

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 13, 2012 05:29 PM

If the Red Sox have disciplined righthander Alfredo Aceves for his actions on Wednesday night, they aren't saying what that is.

But the player has not been suspended or fined, manager Bobby Valentine said.

When Aceves was taken out of the game in the seventh inning, he left it to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to hand the ball to Valentine. The pitcher then left the mound from the third base side, making it a point to avoid Valentine.

Aceves was suspended for three games last month for an incident that included slamming the door of Valentine's office after a heated discussion.

“You always want people around who know the difference between right and wrong and sometimes when people don’t know the difference between right and wrong you can talk all day long to them and it doesn’t matter,” Valentine said. “In Alfredo’s case, I think that he understands what he’s doing.

“That means when you know you do something wrong, then you understand that there’s also consequence.”

Valentine, who has spoken well of Aceves all season, was asked if the incidents have changed his view.

“I think I knew what I was dealing with from spring training. You just try and manage every situation that you have to have to try and manage,” Valentine said. “He’s a good pitcher.”

Could Aceves have a lesser role on the staff for the remaining games?

“We have a lot of pitchers,” Valentine said. “When we need him, he’ll still pitch.”

Also:

• Cody Ross could be facing a suspension from MLB in the wake of ejection on Wednesday. Ross never bumped Alfonso Marquez but was enraged and had to be restrained from getting close to the umpire.

Ross had no comment today.

"I don’t know how the [disciplinary] system works,” Valentine said. “It used to be you had to touch someone or say something really bad. [Ross] seemed like a guy who was into the moment, got excited. That used to be acceptable but I don’t know how the system is working these days.”

Valentine, who also was ejected, has been tossed six times this season. That’s a franchise record for a player or manager.

“That’s a record, huh? Wow,” he said. “I’m surprised. I can tell you, I’ve done less in all six times than I’ve ever done before.”

• Kelli and Dustin Pedroia welcomed their second son into the world this morning. Mother and baby are doing fine according to the Red Sox. Pedroia did not play on Thursday. His plans beyond that were not revealed. Pedroia left Wednesday’s game after the sixth inning when his wife went into labor.

• Righthander John Lackey, who is rehabilitating from Tommy John elbow surgery done last Nov. 1, threw 20 pitches of live batting practice on the field this afternoon.

“He felt even better than he looked last time and looked better than he did last time,” Valentine said. “His velocity is pretty good, I’ll tell you that.”

Lackey’s next step will be to throw a two-inning simulated game.

The goal for Lackey is to pitch a few innings in the Instructional League in Florida in the next few weeks.

“It’s been a goal of his, so you always want to be able to reach your goals. He’s worked so hard. He looks good and he feels good,” Valentine said.

Game 144: Yankees at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 13, 2012 03:25 PM

Here is a preview of the game:

RED SOX (64-79)
Ellsbury CF
Podsednik D
Loney 1B
Ross RF
Nava LF
Saltalamacchia C
Aviles SS
Ciriaco 3B
De Jesus 2B
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (10-8, 5.21)

YANKEES (80-62)
Jeter DH
Swisher RF
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Martin RF
Jones LF
Granderson CF
Pearce 1B
Nunez SS
Pitching: RHP Phil Hughes (14-12, 4.13)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, YES, MLB Network / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Hughes: Pedroia 6-24, Ellsbury 5-13, Salty 2-12, Ross 1-8, Aviles 2-8, Nava 1-7, Podsednik 2-7, Ciriaco 3-6, Gomez 2-3, Kalish 1-5.
Yankees vs. Doubront: Cano 0-10, Granderson 2-10, Martin 2-8, Swisher 4-10, Jeter 2-10, Teixeira 2-9, Jones 1-6, Nix 0-5, Suzuki 1-5, Rodriguez 0-3, Nunez 0-1, Chavez 1-1, Dickerson 0-1.

Stat of the Day: Saltalamacchia’s 24 home runs are tied for second most by a catcher in the majors this year behind A.J. Pierzynski of the White Sox, who has 26.

Notes: The series wraps up with Doubront seeking his first win since July 18. He is 0-4, 8.27 in seven starts since and last lasted only 32.2 innings in those starts. Doubront has faced the Yankees three times and allowed only five earned runs over 18.2 innings with 21 strikeouts. ... Hughes is 2-1, 2.79 in three starts against the Sox this season. He faced them Aug. 17 and allowed four runs (none earned) over seven innings. ... The Sox have lost 5 of 6 and 12 of 14. They start a seven-game road trip in Toronto on Friday night. ... Pedroia is out after the birth of his second child. ... The Yankees are tied for first in the division with the Orioles. ... Swisher is 21 of 46 with 11 extra-base hits and 14 RBIs against the Sox this season. ... The Sox are 5-9 against the Yankees this season.

Song of the Day: "Truth Hits Everybody" by The Police.

John Henry: Red Sox are not for sale

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 13, 2012 12:21 PM

Here is what John Henry said just now about the report that the Red Sox are up for sale:

"A sale of any kind is so far from our thinking it hasn't even come up apart from technical planning issues involving death or disability. This report is completely without foundation.

"Regarding unnamed sources: Any sale discussions that may have taken place were missing three key people — Larry [Lucchino], Tom [Werner] and me. The Sox and any of the other components of FSG are not for sale and will not be for the foreseeable future."

Are the Red Sox for sale?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 13, 2012 11:30 AM

A story on the Fox Business web site suggests the Red Sox are for sale. The report doesn't site any sources and is largely speculative.

Here is what is known for sure. In an on-the-record interview held Aug. 22, team chairman Tom Werner said the team was not for sale and would not be for sale.

In an on-the-record interview this morning, team president Larry Lucchino said the idea was "nonsense."

What to do about Aceves, and other random thoughts on the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 13, 2012 09:19 AM

When Alfredo Aceves wasn't used as the closer on the night of Aug. 25, he tore off his Red Sox jersey in the bullpen then angrily confronted Bobby Valentine in the clubhouse. Their discussion was heated and Aceves slammed the office door on his way out. That led to Aceves being suspended for three days.

Note: Aceves had thrown 37 pitches the night before and allowed five runs.

On Wednesday night, Aceves was pitching in the seventh inning when Derek Jeter singled, Curtis Granderson hit a rocket out to right field and Nick Swisher pounded a double to center.

When Valentine came to take him out, Aceves acted unprofessionally. He handed the ball to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to give to Valentine, then walked in a circuitous route back to the dugout, taking great and public pains to avoid his manager.

Note: Valentine has been a staunch supporter of Aceves since the start of spring training. He liked him as a starter. He made him the closer when Andrew Bailey was injured and he supported him after all eight of his blown saves.

The Red Sox need to further discipline Aceves today and releasing him should not be out of the question. It doesn't matter if Valentine is a lame duck, Daffy Duck or Scrooge McDuck, you can't let players disrespect the manager like that.

Aceves is an exceedingly talented pitcher and fears no situation on the mound. But the Yankees got tired of his act and released him after he spent a year dawdling on the disabled list and then broke his collarbone in a bicycle accident that was never fully explained to their satisfaction.

He irritated Joe Girardi and Terry Francona and now he defies Valentine. Somebody needs to sit Aceves down and tell him he's not bigger than the teams he plays for. The guy is blowing what should be a long and prosperous career.

Also . . .

• Imagine being Ben Cherington trying to evaluate your shortstops on Wednesday. Jose Iglesias made a ridiculous play in the fifth inning that saved a run when he ranged behind second base to smother a ball and made a quick throw to first to get Robbie Cano.

In the bottom of the inning, with a runner on third, he took a called third strike with two outs. Iglesias is 2 for 24 at the plate this season and one of the hits was a bad-hop double.

Mike Aviles pinch hit for Iglesias in the seventh inning and doubled in a run. He now has 60 RBIs and 41 extra-base hits.

It's an age-old baseball question: Go with the better glove at an important defensive position or go with the better bat? Here's the thing: Aviles has been, at worst, a totally fine defensive shortstop. But the temptation is there with the kid because he is just that good in the field.

• Then there's this: Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki would welcome going to a new team, we've been told. The Red Sox will make their splashes in the trade market this winter, not the free agent market.

• A lot of readers have asked for an opinion about Pedro Ciriaco. I think his ceiling is being a bench player in the majors. He has speed, defensive versatility and a little pop in his bat. But facts are facts: He turns 27 in two weeks and has a .314 on-base percentage. This is not an undiscovered gem, this is a player who has usable skills off the bench.

• Asked on Twitter last night if Red Sox fans would like to see Swisher, a pending free agent, at first base next season. The answers were generally either heck yes or heck no.

If Swisher were willing to settle for a reasonable deal, he would be a good pickup. He works counts, hits for power and can handle the market. But he wants a huge deal, which is certainly his right. If he can get one, good for him.

If he has to settle for a reasonable deal, bet Yankees will probably give it to him.

• When did Granderson become Dave Kingman? 37 home runs and 170 strikeouts this season. He has a .324 OBP.

• The 2013 schedule includes 19 games against divisional foes, up from 18. That seems like too many.

• Interesting nugget from Bobby V last night: Junichi Tazawa insists his teammates and coaches speak English to him. Because he started his pro career in the U.S. in the minors, Tazawa has acclimated better to such things as weight room workouts and throwing programs. He's also part of the team when you speak to guys who came up with him.

It's a tricky thing with players from Japan for obvious reasons. Hideki Matsui has always had an inclusive personality and was beloved as a teammate. But Ichiro Suzuki and Daisuke Matsuzaka come off as independent contractors, guys who are on their own program and almost dismissive of everybody else.

Tazawa has a chance to be a big part of the 2013 team.

• Manager Arnie Beyeler and the Pawtucket Red Sox are a win away from the International League title. Beyeler deserves a ton of credit given that his roster changes virtually every day.

When the Sox remake their major league coaching staff for next season, Beyeler is somebody who should be carefully considered. With so many younger players being worked in, it would make sense to have somebody who knows them well.

One non-baseball thought:

• UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun will announce his retirement today. My first job out of UMass was covering UConn for the Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin. Calhoun was in his first season and was, frankly, terrifying.

In 1986, the idea of UConn winning three NCAA titles was laughable. They were such a bad team in the Big East that the school commissioned a study to determine whether they should remain in the league. The team practiced in the old UConn Field House and if the track team was working out, a basketball player chasing a loose ball had to dodge runners.

Calhoun worked the Huskies like dogs and was even hard on the writers. If you wrote something he didn't like, he would call early in the morning and tell you in no uncertain (and unprintable) terms what he thought. But when you showed up to cover practice a few hours later, it was like it never happened.

If you hustled after stories, you would get them. If you showed up at practice, he would tell you things. Calhoun was so desperate for media attention on his team that he would talk to a stupid kid from a small paper and answer all his questions.

This may sound silly and if it does, that's fine. But I tried harder at my job because I didn't want him to think less of me. Sitting there at practice and hearing him preach the values of hard work to his players sank in. The effect was profound.

Calhoun grew up in blue-collar Braintree and loves his Red Sox. After one of his three titles, the Yankees invited him to throw out the first pitch at a game and he refused. He might be the only person who has ever done that.

UConn's victory against Duke in the 1999 NCAA title game was Calhoun at his best. In the years that followed, we sometimes saw Calhoun at his worst. UConn broke rules, the players were lax academically and Calhoun lost control of the powerhouse he built because he so badly wanted to win. He made mistakes and if you think poorly of him for that, you aren't wrong.

But the man could coach, he worked hard and he built one of the best programs ever out of rubble. A lot of people are better off in their lives for knowing him and I'm one of them. Here is wishing him well in retirement with the hope he finds some peace in that raging soul of his.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 13, 2012 09:08 AM

The Red Sox showed plenty of fight on Wednesday night but were beaten by the Yankees, 5-4.

Nick Cafardo checks in with Andy Pettitte, whose return from a fractured ankle is key for the Yankees.

The notebook has details on the 2013 schedule.

Dan Shaughnessy has a series of observations from the game. (Subscription only).

Pedroia gets two hits, rushes to wife's side

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 13, 2012 12:38 AM

Dustin Pedroia left the game before the seventh inning when his wife, Kelli, went into labor with their second child.

“I got the word that it was time and told him,” Valentine said. “I told him to leave.”

Pedroia was 2 for 3 with a run scored. He is up to .295, having hit safely in 35 of his last 38 games.

Good luck to Dustin and Kelli with the baby. We're sure the kid will have great intangibles.

Red Sox show plenty of fight in a loss

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 13, 2012 12:28 AM

There have been times the last few weeks when the Red Sox appeared intent on getting games over with as quickly as possible. The lack of enthusiasm was almost understandable given the state of their season.

That hasn’t been the case against the Yankees this week.

The passion was plentiful at Fenway Park on Wednesday night as the Sox were beaten, 5-4, by their old rivals in a game that lasted nearly four hours and included a series of ejections.

"We don’t want to lay down for anybody," Jarrod Saltalamacchia said.

The game nearly took an ugly turn in the eighth inning when umpire Alfonso Marquez called Cody Ross out on strikes with a runner on second and two outs.

The 3-and-2 pitch looked like a strike according to Pitch f/x, albeit low and on the outside corner.

After stepping toward first base, Ross turned at Marquez and held his bat overhead as though wielding an ax. A savage argument ensued. Ross, who is genial as they come, really lost it.

Ross was swiftly ejected, as was third base coach Jerry Royster. Manager Bobby Valentine pushed Ross away from the umpire and then, after returning to the dugout, was ejected.

Valentine returned to the field and shouted at Marquez for another minute. He has been ejected six times this season, a team record.

"Cody was really upset. I was just doing everything I could do to get Cody away from him," Valentine said. "He should be upset. He was battling his butt off and representing the tying run and winds up getting called out. So he’s upset. He's trying; he’s trying hard."

Ross was not available for comment afterward.

Curtis Granderson drove in three runs with a pair of home runs for the Yankees, who remain tied atop the American League East with the Orioles

Rafael Soriano got the last four outs of the game for his 37th save. He allowed a solo home run in the ninth inning by Saltalamacchia, who also doubled and tripled.

Mike Aviles reached on a two-out error to give the Sox one more chance. But Jacoby Ellsbury, who had a walk-off single on Tuesday, grounded back to the mound.

The Sox, down 5-1 in the seventh inning, scored the final three runs of the game.

“I really liked the way we kept coming back,” Valentine said.

Also:

• With the Sox down, 3-1, Alfredo Aceves allowed a single by Derek Jeter in the seventh inning then a blast to right field by Curtis Granderson, his second of the game. The ball landed several rows behind the Yankees’ bullpen.

With two outs, Aceves gave up a long double to center by Swisher and Valentine came to take him out of the game.

Rather than hand the ball to the manager, which is the custom, Aceves gave it to Saltalamacchia and walked around the mound on his way back to the dugout, going well out of his way to avoid Valentine.

Valentine chuckled when asked about it.

“Who cares if he showed me up?” he said. “If I have to explain Aceves’s actions, I’ll wind up going across the river and work for Harvard.”

Aceves was suspended for three games by the team last month for an incident that included an angry argument with Valentine when he was taken out of the closer’s job.

Aceves said there was no friction with Valentine.

“I’m good,” he said. "Ask him if he's good. I don't know."

If the Red Sox stand for something, Aceves will be disciplined again. You can't let a player embarrass a manager like that.

• The Sox have lost five of their last six games and 12 of 14. They have not won consecutive games since beating Kansas City at Fenway Aug. 26 and 27. At 33-42, the Sox are assured of having a losing record at home for the first time since going 39-42 in 1997.

• Saltalamacchia was 3 for 3 with a walk after missing three games with back spasms. The three extra-base hits were a first for him. He has 24 homers and 54 RBIs. “I wasn’t trying to do too much because of the back. I wasn’t trying to over-swing. I was standing in on balls, not trying to pull anything. Felt pretty good,” he said.

Said Valentine: “Salty has had a really good year for us this year. It's totally unappreciated by some.”

• Jeter left the game in the eighth inning with an injured left ankle but said he would play on Thursday.

Final: Yankees 5, Red Sox 4

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff September 12, 2012 07:19 PM

Game over: The Red Sox showed some fight, but fell short. Jarrod Saltalamacchia finished a very productive night with a solo homer to right. The Sox had good swings against Rafael Soriano including Daniel Nava's warning track shot to leftcenter. After Mike Aviles reached on an error by the pitcher, Jacoby Ellsbury bounced back to Soriano to end it. The game was played in 3:43 before 37,230.

Top 9th: Yankees 5, Red Sox 3 James Loney got hit by a truck - Alex Rodriguez - in a collision at first base after Andrew Miller threw A-Rod's slow roller wide of Loney, who was knocked down..One addition to the thrown out of the game roll-call - third base coach Jerry Royster was also tossed. Vicente Padilla relieved Miller and kept things status quo.

Bottom 8th: Yankees 5, Red Sox 3 Don't think you'll ever see Cody Ross angrier than his blowup with home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez after taking a called third strike from Rafael Soriano to end the inning with James Loney on second base after a double. Ross was hot. He was right in Marquez' face, gesturing. He had to be broken up by Jerry Royster and then Bobby Valentine. Ross was ejected. Valentine came out between innings and started another heated argument with Marquez, who listened and then ejected Bobby V. The crowd cheered Bobby V.

Top 8th:Yankees 5, Red Sox 3 Sox survived a boot by Mike Aviles at short on Andruw Jones' grounder. They got out of it with an inning-ending double-play grounder by Jeter.

Bottom 7th: Yankees 5, Red Sox 3 Back to back doubles by Salty and Nava produced the first Sox run when Mauro Gomez grounded out scoring Salty from third. Pinch-hitter Mike Aviles doubled in Boston's second run of the inning.

Top 7th: Yankees 5, Red Sox 1 Alfredo Aceves bombed once again. He allowed a single to Jeter and a home run to Granderson, his second of the game. He left after allowing a double to Swisher. Aceves hung around the mound as Valentine made the pitching move and then circled completely the opposite direction of Valentine and ran into the right corner of the dugout.

Bottom 6th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 1 An Ellsbury leadoff single was erased on a Ciriaco double-play grounder. After a Pedroia single, Loney grounded out.

Top 6th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 1 Nick Swisher led off with a double, but the Yankls couldn't capitalize against a combination Rich Hill/Alfredo Aceves. Hill struck out pinch-hitter Jayson Nix, walked pinch-hitter Andruw Jones and got Ichiro to ground into a force at second base. Aceves came on and got Stewart to fly out to left.

Bottom 5th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 1 Salty tripled to the triangle and there he stayed as Nava (K), Podsednik (popped out) and Iglesias (K) couldn't get it done.

Top 5th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 1 Think we just saw why Jose Iglesias is so special defensively, robbing Robinson Cano of a basehit by ranging far up the middle and making a diving stop of a grounder and then making a solid throw while his body was completely in air to nail Cano. Cook allowed a Jeter single in the inning, but Cook survived.

Bottom 4th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 1 Dustin Pedroia ignited Boston's first rally with a double. He scored on James Loney's single to right.

Top 4th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 0 Remember what I said about Cook having a good sinker? Never mind. Curtis Granderson opened with a solo homer to right center. After A-Rod singled, Robinson Cano hit a two-run bomb to left. Chavez also doubled with two outs, but Cook drew the line.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 Sox remain hitless in the third as Phelps has them fooled.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 Tough pitching by Aaron Cook. He allowed a leadoff double to Eric Chavez, the 300th of Chavez' career, but then got Ichiro to tap back to the mound, Chris Stewart to fly out to right and he struck out Derek Jeter.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked with two outs but the Sox haven't been able to crank up their offense against Phelps.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 So far Cook's sinker is working. Bobby Valentine was afraid to use Cook against the Yankees earlier this season, but so far Cook has retired all six Yankee batters, three of them with ground outs in the second inning.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0. Yankees 0 Yankees starter David Phelps retires the Sox in order in the first. Jacoby Ellsbury (K), Pedro Ciraico (5-3) and Dustin Pedroia (6-3) went down.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 Aaron Cook throws three outs to start the game. Very nice pregame ceremony honoring Joe Castiglione's 30 years with the Red Sox. One of the great people of all time and a deserving finalist for the Ford C. Frick Award, the broadcasting arm of the Hall of Fame.

Atchison returns to roster, Salty to the lineup

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 12, 2012 06:15 PM

A few pre-game notes from Fenway Park:

• RHP Scott Atchison was activated off the 60-day disabled list. No word on a corresponding move for the 40-man roster. But LHP Franklin Morales could be going on the 60-day DL as he seems to be done for the season.

Atchison is trying to pitch with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He got through two minor league games and showed the same velocity and movement he did before the tear was detected.

"Scotty Atchison pitched as well as anybody on our team for the first nine weeks of the season," Bobby Valentine said. "When they said that he might not pitch again, I looked in his eye and he said, ‘No, I’m going to pitch. This is easy.’ ... It’s a credit to him as a person as well as him as a pitcher. He’s special."

• The Sox will have a pre-game tribute to Joe Castiglione today. He is celebrating his 30th anniversary with the team.

• Jarrod Saltalamacchia is back in the lineup after missing three games with back spasms. He worked out before the game and said he felt fine. "It’s good. I think Salty’s going to finish strong. We get his bat in the lineup, he’s going to help us win some games," Valentine said.

Follow the PawSox on Boston.com tonight

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 12, 2012 05:55 PM

The Triple A Pawtucket Red Sox will play Game 2 of the International League Governor's Cup series tonight against Charlotte.

We have a preview on the On Deck blog and Craig Forde will have updates all game.

Game 143: Yankees at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 12, 2012 03:15 PM

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

RED SOX (64-78)
Ellsbury CF
Ciriaco 3B
Pedroia 2B
Loney 1B
Ross RF
Saltalamacchia C
Nava LF
Podsednik DH
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Aaron Cook (3-9, 5.17)

YANKEES (79-62)
Jeter SS
Granderson CF
Rodriguez DH
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Ibanez LF
Chavez 3B
Suzuki RF
Stewart RF
Pitching: RHP David Phelps (3-4, 3.55)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, YES, ESPN / WEEI, WCBS

Red Sox vs. Phelps: Pedroia 1-6, Ross 1-6, Ciriaco 3-4, Aviles 1-3, Ellsbury 0-3, Lavarnway 0-3, Podsednik 0-3, Salty 2-2.

Yankees vs. Cook: Martin 2-20, Ibanez 7-14, Jones 2-14, McGehee 5-11, Swisher 3-8, Granderson 4-6, Suzuki 2-6, Cano 1-5, Chavez 0-4, Cervelli 2-3, Dickerson 1-2, Jeter 1-3, Nunez 1-3, Rodriguez 2-2, Stewart 1-1.

Stat of the Day: The Yankees are 75-40 when they hit at least one home run. They are 4-22 when they do not, which was the case on Tuesday.

Notes: The Yankees start the day tied for first in the AL East with the Orioles after the Spoiler Sox beat them on Tuesday with a walk-off. The Yankees have lost 8 of their last 12. ... The Sox, who have dropped 11 of 13, haven't won two in a row since Aug. 26-27 when they beat the Royals. ... The Sox have won four of their last six against the Yankees, but trail 8-5 in the season series with five games to play. ... Cook is 1-8, 5.40 in his last 11 starts. He faced the Yankees on July 27 in New York and got croaked, giving up six runs on seven hits in four innings. He has faced the Yankees twice in the last two years and allowed 11 earned runs on 19 hits over 9.2 innings. ... Phelps started against the Sox on Aug. 18 and pitched well: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. He has allowed six earned runs in 12.2 innings against the Sox this season. ... Pedroia has hit three home runs in his last four games. ... The Sox are 11 of their last 11 in stolen base attempts. ... Jeter has a seven-game hit streak (15 of 32).

Song of the Day: "Killer Parties" by The Hold Steady.

Podcast: Spoilers allowed

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff September 12, 2012 03:06 PM

Hit play for the latest Globe Red Sox podcast, produced by Daigo Fujiwara.

Get Adobe Flash player

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

Valentine's WEEI appearance more cordial this time around

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff September 12, 2012 02:56 PM

The gloves were on, but no punches were thrown in Bobby Valentine's return engagement with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley on WEEI's "The Big Show" Wednesday afternoon.

Valentine wore boxing gloves during a studio appearance with the radio duo, a reference to his appearance on the show last week when he said to Ordway, "If I were there right now, I'd punch you right in the mouth. Ha ha. How's that sound?" after Ordway asked Valentine if he'd checked out mentally this season.

Ordway apologized to Valentine to begin the show and Valentine apologized as well, diffusing any tension there may have been about the comment.

"I knew it was a joke," Ordway said.

Valentine said comments "by others" about his family set him off. "I was upset with that, not with you," said Valentine.

During an interview with Tom Caron last weekend, Valentine said of the criticism of him this season, "It's always been personal. All year it's been personal."

Asked about those comments Wednesday, Valentine backed off.

"That's not really what I meant," said Valentine. "Not that it's all been personal. There are some guys with agendas. It's simple. It's been that way everywhere I've gone. It's no big deal, I get it. If other people don't get it, it's no big deal.

"I understand with some people that have agendas -- and they had them going in, they weren't going to figure out who I was, they weren't going to understand anything about 2012. They were just going to come with preconceived notions. Those notions are what people believe is reality. And that's a personal agenda of yours. It's not necessarily about my family or anything. It's not professional."

Valentine admitted he had lashed out a few times this season at his team's poor play. Of some of his comments, he said, "You never get a chance to put the genie back in the bottle."

Valentine said he has a good relationship with his current players. He said he's had five or six conversations with Josh Beckett, and that Kevin Youkilis "was in my office more than anybody." The only player he didn't talk much with, he said, was Kelly Shoppach.

"He chose not to," said Valentine.

The Red Sox manager reiterated he planned to continue with the team next year and beyond.

Red Sox 2013 schedule begins vs. Yankees

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff September 12, 2012 01:12 PM
A season opener in New York against the Yankees, an early season homestand against a newcomer to the American League, and a visit to the trading partner in one of Boston's biggest deals ever highlight the 2013 Red Sox schedule.

The Red Sox will open their 2013 season in New York against the Yankees on April 1, Major League Baseball announced Wednesday.

The MLB season kicks off the night before on March 31 with a matchup to be announced. According to The Associated Press, ESPN could move Red Sox-Yankees to the opening-night game.

The Red Sox will play their home opener on April 8 vs. the Orioles, and they will play host to the Astros, who are switching to the American League next season, April 25-28. Boston is at home for 17 of its 27 games in April.

A West Coast swing in August includes a stop in Los Angeles to face the Dodgers. The visit begins just two days before the one-year anniversary of the blockbuster trade that sent Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Nick Punto from the Red Sox to the Dodgers.

The annual Patriots Day game will be against the Rays on April 15.

Interleague games will be vs. Philadelphia May 27-28; at Philadelphia May 29-30; vs. Colorado June 25-26; vs. San Diego July 2-4; vs. Arizona Aug. 2-4; at San Francisco Aug. 19-21; at Los Angeles Dodgers Aug. 23-25; and at Colorado Sept. 24-25. Interleague games are spread throughout the season in 2013.

The Red Sox conclude the season Sept. 27-29 in Baltimore.

Click the Full Entry button to see the full Sox schedule.

FULL ENTRY

Pedro Ciriaco: Scourge of the Yankees

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 12, 2012 11:01 AM

ciriaco.jpg

Pedro Ciriaco beat the tag of Yankees catcher Russel Martin for the winning run on Tuesday. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)

Red Sox to pay tribute to Pesky on Sept. 23

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 12, 2012 09:56 AM

This release from the Red Sox:

The Boston Red Sox will present a “Celebration of Life” tribute to Johnny Pesky after their Sunday afternoon game on September 23. Ceremonies to honor the beloved icon, who passed away August 13 at age 93, are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. They are open to fans who attend that day’s game and to the general public. There is no charge.

Fans with tickets to the game may stay at the ballpark after the game (or depart and return), and fans without tickets are welcome shortly after the completion of the game, which begins at 1:35 p.m. against the Baltimore Orioles. While the formal portion of the ceremony is set to take place between 6-7 p.m., fans are welcome to stay until the park closes at 9 p.m. Both current and former Red Sox players will be in attendance.

In addition to hearing stories about Pesky’s 70-year career, fans will have the opportunity to walk on the warning track and see displays that illustrate his life as a player, coach, manager, broadcaster, ambassador, patriot, husband, father, and friend. Fans will also have the opportunity to write personal messages that will be given to his family and become part of the Nation’s Archives at Fenway Park.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 12, 2012 09:45 AM

The Red Sox had a reason to celebrate as Jacoby Ellsbury delivered a walk-off victory against the Yankees on Tuesday night.

Nick Cafardo writes that these are troubling times for the Yankees.

The notebook has Bobby Valentine saying he's the best man to manage the Sox.

Here's a photo gallery of images from the Sept. 11 ceremony held before the game.

Ellsbury, Red Sox, have reasons to celebrate

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 11, 2012 11:55 PM

Let's be honest, the Red Sox are beyond redemption at this point. But the best consolation prize in Boston, a city that thrives on revenge, is delivering a damaging punch to the Yankees.

Jacoby Ellsbury celebrated his birthday in grand fashion on Tuesday night, his walk-off single beating the Yankees, 4-3, and touching off an actual celebration at Fenway Park.

Ellsbury’s fourth hit of the night scored Pedro Ciriaco from second base and dropped the Yankees into a tie for first place in the American League East with the Baltimore Orioles, who beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-2.

The Yankees, who have lost eight of 12, have five more games left against the Sox. There is plenty of motivation on both sides of baseball’s best rivalry.

“Nothing would be more awesome than knocking these guys out of the playoffs,” said catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who noted the same would be true of the Rays and Orioles. “At this point, we have to accept this role and run with it.”

The Sox used three singles to win the game. Yankee killer Pedro Ciraco singled to left with one out against David Robertson (1-7) and took second on an infield single to the left side by Mike Aviles.

Ellsbury was next and he bounced a high changeup into right field. Ichiro Suzuki made an accurate throw to the plate but Ciriaco beat it and the Red Sox mobbed Ellsbury as he rounded first base.

“That was a great feeling,” Ellsbury said. “The fans were great tonight, they were into the game, energetic. … Just trying to get a pitch I could drive. Just trying to get something I could hit to the outfield.”

Ellsbury, who turned 29, had his first four-hit game of the season. He also had an RBI single in the third inning and later scored a run on a single by Dustin Pedroia.

The last Red Sox player to have four hits on his birthday was Carl Yastrzemski on Aug. 22, 1976.

Also:

• Ciriaco was 2 for 3 with a sacrifice. He is 17 of 35 in nine games against the Yankees this season with 11 runs scored, seven RBIs and four stolen bases. Ciriaco also made two nice plays at third base.

"Not much fun. He’s been killing us this year," Derek Jeter said. "His last at bat, the ball is almost on the ground and he gets a hit. He enjoys playing us."

• Jon Lester had a career-worst seven walks. But his five strikeouts gave him 1,044 for his career, passing Bruce Hurst for the most by a lefthander in Red Sox history. Lester is seventh overall.

• Andrew Bailey pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the victory, his first with the Red Sox. It came with some valuable assistance from Ryan Lavarnway.

Nick Swisher singled with one out and was replaced by Eduardo Nunez. With Alex Rodriguez up, Nunez tried to steal second and was thrown out by Lavarnway. The rookie catcher had caught only one runner in 21 previous tries this season.

“Andrew did a great job of giving me a chance,” said Lavarnway, who started his third consecutive game in place of an injured Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “If he’s 1.5 [seconds] to the plate, I’m not throwing Nunez out. He gave me a chance. I handled the pitch well and [Pedroia] made a great tag on him.”

Bailey then ended the inning by striking out an overmatched Rodriguez with a 96-mph fastball.

• Bailey, Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief. The bullpen allowed one hit and struck out four, giving the Sox a chance for only their third walk-off this season.

Final: Red Sox 4, Yankees 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff September 11, 2012 07:07 PM

Game over: Jacoby Ellsbury's walk-off single off Dave Robertson scored Pedro Ciriaco with the winning run. It was the third walk-off of the season for the Red Sox. Sox players poured out of the dugout as if they'd won the World Series. The game was played in 3:11 before 37,437.

Top 9th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 3 Andrew Bailey came on. He retired Derek Jeter with a fly to right, but the Sox may have revived Nick Swisher who lined a single to right, his second hit of the game after snapping an 0 for 28 in the first inning. But Bailey bore down with an assist by Ryan Lavarnway who made a great throw to nail pinch-runner Edwardo Nunez trying to steal (nice tag by Dustin Pedroia also). Bailey then struck out A-Rod.

Bottom 8th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 3 Loney, Ross and Lavarnway strikeout against Dave Robertson.

Top 8th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 3 Nice inning for lefty Craig Breslow as Yankees are down without a fuss.

Bottom 7th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 3 Bases loaded one out, no runs. Daniel Nava and Dustin Pedroia couldn't get it done with sacks full. Nava hit into a fielder's chopice to first base and the run was cut down at the plate. And Pedroia popped up against Joba Chamberlain.

Top 7th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 3 Junichi Tazawa provides the most optimism from relievers going into next season. He's been terrific and he retired the Yankees again.

Bottom 6th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 3 Dustin Pedroia lined one just over the Green Monster to tie it up.

Top 6th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 2 It just felt as if it was a matter of time before Lester's wildness caught up to him. He issued his seventh walk to open the sixth to Curtis Garnderson and then a single to Andruw Jones. After a successful sacrifice bunt by Jayson Nix, Jeter got jammed but punched a ground-rule double down the line in right that kicked into the stands. Lester was out after 102 pitches. Junichi Tazawa then did a nice job keeping things where they were, striking out Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez.
Bottom 5th: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1 Scott Podsednik has looked awful in three at-bats - two pop ups and a strikeout. The Sox have allowed Kuroda to settle in.

Top 5th: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1 Lester struck out the side and also allowed a double to Russell Martin. Lester also broke Bruce Hurst's franchise strikeout record for a lefty.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1 Kuroda mows down Sox. Kuroda has had a heck of a year for the Yankees and their most consistent pitcher. Interesting, he'll pitch at 38 years old next season. Wonder if anyone will bite on a multi-year deal.

Top 4th: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1 Lester sharp again as he gets out of fourth without losign the lead.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1 Pedro Ciriaco doubled and scored on Jacoby Ellsbury's single up the middle. After Ellsbury stole second, Pedroia singled him to give Boston the lead.

Top 3rd: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0 The Yankees had a chance to get a big inning going when Alex Rodriguez and Robin Cano drew walks from Jon Lester to open the inning. But the Yankees looked more like the Red Sox, and got nothing to show for it, as Lester struck out Martina nd Pearce and got Granderson to ground out to first base.

Bottom 2nd: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0 There are actually a good number of fans here. They're very quiet, but they're here. The Sox went down in order. No surprise.

Top 2nd: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0 The Yankees waste a one-out double by No. 9 hitter Jayson Nix as Lester pitches out of a jam.

Bottom 1st: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0 The Sox get more laughable by the minute. Jacoby Ellsbury doubled down the right field line and Scott Podsednik attempts a bunt? Really? First inning? He popped it out to Russell Martin. After Dustin Pedroia's pop up fell into short left for a hit, the slow-footed James Loney knocked into a double-play to end the inning and allow Hiroki Kuroda to skate free.

Top 1st: Yankees 1, Red Sox 0 Staff ace Jon Lester was touched for a run when he walked Derek Jeter to open the game and then allowed a double to Nick Swisher, who broke an 0-for-28. Alex Rodriguez grounded out to third, but Robinson Cano's grounder to first allowed Jeter to score the first Yankee run. After Russell Martin and Steve Pearce walked to reload the bases, Curtis Granderson fouled out to James Loney to get Lester out of further peril.

Pregame :Nice 9-11 tribute to open the evening here. Certainly the normal Red Sox-Yankee buzz is nowhere to be found. Fans are trickling in, but half the seats are not occupied at this point.

Paw Sox coverage on Boston.com

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 11, 2012 06:59 PM

The Triple A Pawtucket Red Sox are hosting Game 1 of the International League Governor's Cup tonight against Charlotte.

Craig Forde has a preview on our On Deck blog and will have updates all night.

Valentine: 'I'm the best man for the job'

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 11, 2012 06:14 PM

Rich Shertenlieb of the Toucher and Rich Show on 98.5 The Sports Hub was at Fenway this afternoon and asked Bobby Valentine what he would say to fans about why he should remain as manager next season.

“I’m the best man for the job,” he said. “Was that a tough question, by the way?”

Valentine said later that speculation about his job status has not bothered him.

“I haven’t lost any sleep only because when I get to bed, I’m worn out,” he said. “These games have worn me out, to tell you the truth, very often.”

Valentine said he thinks he will return next season because he hasn’t been told otherwise.

“This is a continuous question,” he said. “It’s like one of those things. Is something going to happen? Well, until it doesn’t.”

Would Valentine like to know what will happen sooner or later?

“Much later,” he said. “Four or five years from now, I would say. At least.”

Matsuzaka stays in Red Sox rotation

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 11, 2012 05:34 PM

Just when you thought the Daisuke Matsuzaka era had ended . . .

He will stay in the rotation and start on Friday in Toronto. Bobby Valentine said that Matsuzaka found a mechanical flaw in his delivery from the stretch and should pitch better as a result.

Good luck with all that. As for other matters:

• The Red Sox will hold a ceremony to remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001 before the game. Several families of victims of the attacks will be recognized, including the loved ones of Amy Sweeney, the heroic American Airlines flight attendant who alerted Logan Airport to the hijacking of Flight 11 and relayed information about the terrorists.

The first pitch will be thrown out by Susan Retik, whose husband was on Flight 11. She founded the non-profit organization "After the 11th" to provide support for widows in Afghanistan who have been affected by war, terrorism, and oppression.

The Boston Fire Department will present the colors with the department's a cappella quartet performing the national anthem.

Valentine, who was managing the Mets at the time, was profoundly affected by the attacks.

"For people who are still healing who were personally grieved by this tragic event, every day is an anniversary, every day is another day that they’re reminded that their lives have changed,” Valentine said.

“All can I say is that I thank all the people who, without a doubt, gave more than others. People stepped up and did a yeoman’s job of filling voids in people’s lives, filling voids in that community of New York and D.C. and Pennsylvania and filling the voids in the country. I’m grateful that worked side by side with a lot of people who gave a damn.

“I think they made a little bit of a difference. I think that we should never forget and I don’t think it’s ever going to be the same. All I can say is that I continue to try to do everything I can and I don’t think it’s enough.”

• Will Middlebrooks is out of the hard brace he was wearing on his fractured right wrist. He has range of motion but is very sore. Middlebrooks, who has been taking grounders, said he hopes to start swinging a bat to some degree before the season ends.

• Franklin Morales had an MRI on his left shoulder on Monday and was waiting to hear from the doctors. Valentine indicated it was unlikely that Morales would pitch again this season.

• Jarrod Saltalamacchia (back spasms) is out of the lineup for the third straight game. He did play catch on the field at 3:20 for a few minutes with head athletic trainer Rick Jameyson.

•Felix Doubront threw a bullpen on Monday and remains set to start on Thursday.

• The Red Sox are planning a ceremony to pay tribute to Johnny Pesky after the Sept. 23 game against Baltimore.

Game 142: Yankees at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 11, 2012 03:10 PM

Here is a preview of the game:

RED SOX (63-78)
Ellsbury CF
Podsednik DH
Pedroia 2B
Loney 1B
Ross LF
Lavarnway C
Kalish RF
Ciriaco 3B
Aviles SS
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (9-11, 4.99)

YANKEES (79-61)
Jeter SS
Swisher RF
Rodriguez DH
Cano 2B
Martin C
Pearce 1B
Granderson CF
Jones LF
Nix 3B
Pitching: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (13-10, 3.14)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, MLB Network / WEEI, WCBS

Red Sox vs. Kuroda: Ross 6-25, Podsednik 2-14, Pedroia 2-9, Salty 2-8, Ellsbury 2-8, Ciriaco 0-7, Nava 2-5, Kalish 1-3, Aviles 1-3, Gomez 1-3, Lavarnway 1-3.

Yankees vs. Lester: Jeter 19-57, Cano 12-53, Swisher 13-41, Teixeira 12-45, Rodriguez 7-37, Jones 7-27, Suzuki 10-34, Granderson 8-28, Nix 6-19, Martin 2-11, Ibanez 4-12, McGehee 1-7, Nunez 1-6, Cervelli 1-4, Stewart 1-2, Pearce 0-2.

Stat of the Day: Lester enters the game with 1,039 career strikeouts, four shy of tying Bruce Hurst (1,043) for the most ever by a lefthander in franchise history. Lester is eighth overall.

Notes: The old rivals meet again with much on the line for the Yankees and nothing at stake for the Sox. ... The Yankees are a game ahead of the Orioles in the division and two ahead of the Rays. They have lost seven of their last 11 games and are 27-28 since the All-Star break. ... The last-place Sox, who are 16.5 games back, have lost four straight, 11 of 12 and 16 of 20. They are 23-41 since July 1. ... The Yankees lead the season series 8-4, outscoring the Sox 78-55. The Yankees are 5-1 at Fenway Park this season and have won seven of their last nine games in Boston. ... The Sox are 32-41 at home. Their last losing record at Fenway came in 1997 (39-42). ... The Sox are 1-7 in September and 20-31 against the AL East. ... Lester is 4-3, 3.70 in his last seven starts, a vast improvement from his first 21 starts (5-8, 5.49). Lester is 3-3, 4.15 in six career starts against the Yankees. He has faced them twice this season, allowing 10 earned runs over 17.1 innings. ... Kuroda is facing the Sox for the fourth time this season. He has given up nine earned runs over 21.2 innings. ... Ciriaco is 15 of 32 with four extra-base hits and seven RBIs in eight games against the Yankees this season. ... Ellsbury turned 29 today. he has hit .327 (146 for 446) in 109 career September games, the best batting average in any month of his career and the top mark among American Leaguers with at least 450 plate appearances in September since 2007.

Song of the Day: "Backs Turned Looking Down The Path" by Warren Zevon.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 11, 2012 07:52 AM

The Red Sox hope to be inspired by the presence of the Yankees as a three-game series important to New York gets started at Fenway tonight.

The notebook has Scott Podsednik building up an impressive batting average in Boston.

Teixeira out at least 10-14 more days

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 10, 2012 05:13 PM

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, who has driven in 18 runs in nine games against the Sox this season, won’t be playing in the series that starts on Tuesday at Fenway Park.

Teixeira, the Yankees said, was examined by team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad in New York on Monday and found to have an irritation of a Grade 1 strain in left calf.

Teixeira will miss at least 10-14 days. He has played one game since Aug. 27, going 1 for 4 against Baltimore on Saturday and re-injuring is leg on the final play of the game.

Castiglione advances in Frick Award voting

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 10, 2012 03:11 PM

This from the Hall of Fame:

Baseball fans around the world have chosen their 41 favorite broadcasters from among the more than 200 eligible for the 2013 Ford C. Frick Award. But the work is just getting started, as the second round of the online voting for fan selections started earlier today.

Fan voting began Aug. 20.The top 41 vote-getters (the top 40 plus ties) advanced to the Fan Finals, with voting at the Hall of Fame’s Facebook site running through 5 p.m. ET on Oct. 5.

The top three vote-getters among the 41 finalists will be placed on the final 2013 Frick Award ballot, with the other seven finalists determined by a Hall of Fame committee. The final ballot will be announced Oct. 9.

The award is presented annually by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for excellence in baseball broadcasting. The 2013 Frick Award winner will be selected by a 21-member electorate, with the winner to be announced at the Winter Meetings in December.

The finalists include Red Sox radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione.

Go here to vote via Facebook.

Dodgers 6-9 since trade with Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 10, 2012 11:43 AM

The Red Sox are 3-12 since they gave up on the season and traded Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto to the Dodgers.

The Dodgers, it may comfort you to know, aren't a whole lot better.

Los Angeles is 6-9 since the deal and has fallen 2.5 games further back in the National League West. The Dodgers are 5.5 games out of first and 1.5 games out in the wild card race.

Here's a look at how the ex-Sox are faring:

Beckett: He is 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts. He has struck out 18 over 18.2 innings in the National League. His walk rate has gone up a bit, which seems strange. But three starts aren't much to judge.

Gonzalez: It's only 15 games, but Gonzalez has so far been a disappointment in Los Angeles. He is hitting a modest .242/.304/.371 — .226/.288/.321 in the last 13 games. He homered in his first game for the Dodgers and hasn't had one since. The Dodgers are averaging 3.2 runs since Gonzalez joined their lineup.

James Loney is hitting .273/.289/.364 for the Red Sox, by the way. He also has one home run.

Punto: He has pretty much been the same player he was in Boston. Punto is 2 of 13 without an RBI for the Dodgers and started two games.

Pitching matchups for the Yankees series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 10, 2012 11:15 AM

Tuesday: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (13-10, 3.14) vs. LHP Jon Lester (9-11, 4.99), 7:10 p.m., NESN, MLB Network

Wednesday: RHP David Phelps (3-4, 3.55) vs. RHP Aaron Cook (3-9, 5.17), 7:10 p.m., NESN, YES, ESPN

Thursday: RHP Phil Hughes (14-12, 4.13) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (10-8, 5.21), 7:10 p.m., NESN, YES, MLB Network

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 10, 2012 10:09 AM

Clay Buchholz couldn't finish off a good effort as the Red Sox were swept by the Blue Jays.

David Ortiz looks done for the season. Michael Vega has the story.

The notebook has the Sox ready to take Daisuke Matsuzaka out of the rotation.

PawSox start IL finals on Tuesday at home

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 9, 2012 06:56 PM

You want to see some baseball games that count? Head to McCoy Stadium this week.

Triple A Pawtucket starts the International League Governors’ Cup Championship series at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday at McCoy Stadium against Charlotte (White Sox). Game 2 will be at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday.

The best-of-five series shifts to Charlotte on Thursday at 7:15 p.m.

Omar Vizquel says farewell to Fenway in style

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 9, 2012 06:51 PM

Toronto infielder Omar Vizquel played his final game at Fenway Park, going 0 for 2 with two sacrifice flies.

The 45-year-old Vizquel has 2,870 hits and has scored 1,443 runs in his career. He played 87 games at Fenway in his career.

“A lot of great memories in this place, a lot of playoffs,” Vizquel said. “I remember when I was with the Cleveland Indians how great the games were and the most special moment was when I was an All-Star [in 1999] and Ted Williams was on the mound and all the players gathered around him and it was a very emotional moment for me. It was very nice.

“Boston has a lot of history about the game and a lot of great players have played in this park and it was a special moment for me to be here, too.”

Final: Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 3

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff September 9, 2012 01:25 PM

Game over: Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 3: Mike Aviles popped up to catcher Yorvit Torrealba to strand pinch-runner Ivan De Jesus at first as the Red Sox sunk further into the American League East cellar after getting swept by the Jays before a Fenway Park crowd announced at 37,226.

Middle of the 9thL Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 3: Omar Vizquel broke up a 3-3 tie when he stroked a sacrifice RBI fly to left with the bases loaded, scoring Rajai Davis from third with the go-ahead run. It chased Sox starter Clay Buchholz from the game.

Bottom of 8th: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 3: Brandon Lyon entered the game with two out in the eighth to face Pedroia, who grounded to third and was brought to his knees when he was called out by first base umpire Chris Guccione.

Bottom of 6th: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 3: Dustin Pedroia clobbered an 0-and-1 pitch from Villaneuva, launching it into the Green Monster seats for a solo homer (his 14th overall of the season) to help the Sox tie the game with one out in the sixth.

Villanueva departed the game at the end of the inning after going six innings and allowing three runs on seven hits, including a pair of home runs, and two walks while striking out two batters. He threw 97 pitches (59 strikes).

Steve Delabar was summoned to relieve Villanueva in the seventh.

Top of 4th: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 2: The Jays rallied for three runs with one out, getting an RBI single from Jeff Mathis, an RBI sacrifice fly by Omar Vizquel and an RBI single to left by Adeiny Hechavarria (trying say his name fast three times), who was thrown out at second trying to stretch it into a double.

Bottom of 2d: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 0: Jacoby Ellsbury gave the Sox a 2-0 lead when he launched a 2-and-1 changeup from Toronto lefthander Carlos Villanueva pitch into the Red Sox bullpen for a two-run homer. Ellsbury's third homer of the season scored Cody Ross, who drew a one-out walk.

Pregame Welcome to Fenway Park where there was a definite feel of fall in the air. The Red Sox (63-77) will look to avert suffering a sweep against the Blue Jays (63-75) in the finale of this three-game set. RHP Clay Buchholz (11-5, 4.47 ERA) will take the mound in opposition of RHP Carlos Villanueva (7-5, 3.42).

As always, please feel free to post your comments here. Enjoy the game.

Red Sox may dump Dice-K from rotation

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 9, 2012 11:44 AM

At long last, are the Red Sox ready to pull the plug on Daisuke Matsuzaka?

Matsuzaka couldn't get out of the second inning on Saturday night against Toronto and may not make his next start. The Red Sox are considering replacing him in the rotation with Alfredo Aceves.

"I'm not sure," manager Bobby Valentine said. "Going to see. Have some meetings here with him, too. He was very disappointed yesterday. So was I."

Matsuzaka has been unable to get through the fourth inning in three of his last four starts. He has allowed 16 earned runs on 21 hits (five home runs) and nine walks over his last 13 innings. Matsuzaka is 1-5 with a 7.20 earned run average on the season.

Matsuzaka is 17-20 with a 5.29 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP over the last four seasons. That has cost the Sox $70 million, counting the percentage of the $51 million posting fee they paid the Seibu Lions simply to negotiate with him.

Also:

• Whatever flickering hope existed that David Ortiz (right Achilles tendon) would play again this season has pretty much been extinguished.

"I would assume that,” said Valentine, noting that Ortiz was back in a walking boot to take weight of his foot. “Unless David decides he’s totally pain free [he’s not going to play]. As of our last conversation, he says he feels much better and the shot seems to have really worked. But I think it takes a couple of weeks for that to totally set in.”

Ortiz has a PRP shot in his foot last month.

"We’ll see. We’ll see what the doctors say and how I’m feeling. Right now, I’m just focused on doing the right thing," Ortiz said. "The doctors are looking forward to make sure that I don’t have to worry about this anymore. I think that’s the goal right now and we don’t see the point of coming back and not being ready yet

"This whole PRP thing is a whole process. It’s not just doing it and waiting a couple of weeks and go out afterwards. After that, it’s about how it’s healing and what the next step is going to be like and just making sure everything’s in the right way."

Does Ortiz think he will be shut down?

"I think it all depends on the doctors, what they think will be the right thing to do. Like I told them, I just don’t want to have any more setbacks. I want to make sure that I resolve this problem. Last time, I had that setback," he said.

"I basically [asked] them, `Do I need surgery for this?’ They went like, `No, you don’t need surgery.' So I was like, `OK, let’s fix this,’ and that way I don’t have to worry about it anymore. That’s what they’re doing right now. I’m pretty sure that our doctors are going to do whatever it takes to get me to where I was."

• Felix Doubront is scheduled to start against the Yankees on Thursday. The Sox want to see how he looks when he throws in the bullpen on Monday.

"He feels really good. He says he feels healthy," Valentine said. "If Felix is healthy, he’ll go back out there."

• Franklin Morales will get a exam on his sore left shoulder. It looks like he's done for the season, too. "He’s a little hesitant right now because he doesn’t feel 100 percent strength wise," Valentine said. "So he’s on a real holding pattern."

• Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting sixth for the first time since 2009. He is hitting .257/.300/.353 on the season and is 5 of his last 36 with no extra-base hits, no RBIs and one walk.

• Jarrod Saltalamacchia (back spasms) is getting another day off. The hope is with the team's day off on Monday, he'll be ready to go on Tuesday.

• Daniel Nava was activated off the DL. He has a ganglion cyst in his left wrist that might require surgery in the offseason. But for now, he can play.

• Scott Atchison (right elbow) has rejoined the team but isn't eligible to come off the 60-day DL until Wednesday.

• Will Middlebrooks turned 24 today.

• Omar Vizquel, who could be headed for the Hall of Fame, may be playing his last game at Fenway Park today. The 45-year-old shortstop spent 24 seasons in the majors and hit .272 with 11 Gold Gloves.

He is playing second base for the Jays.

Game 141: Blue Jays at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 9, 2012 10:00 AM

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

RED SOX (63-77)
Kalish CF
Podsednik LF
Pedroia 2B
Loney 1B
Ross DH
Ellsbury CF
Aviles SS
Lavarnway C
Ciriaco 3B
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (11-5, 4.47)

BLUE JAYS (63-75)
Lawrie 3B
Rasmus CF
Encarnacion DH
Lind 1B
Davis LF
Mathis C
Vizquel 2B
Hechavarria SS
Pitching: RHP Carlos Villanueva (7-5, 3.42)

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Villanueva: Pedroia 2-7, Ellsbury 2-5, Ross 2-4, Salty 1-5, Loney 1-4, Podesdnik 0-4, Ciriaco 1-2, Aviles 0-1.

Blue Jays vs. Buchholz: Lind 10-29, Escobar 2-9, Mathis 1-9, Arencibia 0-11, Encarnacion 1-11, Davis 0-7, Johnson 0-5, Vizquel 1-5, Lawrie 0-4, McCoy 0-4, Rasmus 1-3.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 32-40 at home with nine games left. They have not had 45 losses at home since 1980. Their last losing record at home came in 1997 (39-42).

Notes: The Sox have lost three straight, 10 of 11 and 15 of 19 and start the day in last place in the AL East ... The Jays, who have won three straight and six of 10 ... Buchholz is 0-2, 6.52 in his last three starts. He faced the Jays on June 1 and pitched very well, allowing two runs over eight innings in a 7-2 victory. Buchholz is 8-2, 2.55 in 13 career appearances against Toronto ... Villanueva beat the Sox on July 21, allowing three runs over 6 1/3 innings. He is 1-5 in his last seven starts depite a 4.12 ERA. Villanueva is 2-1, 4.50 in seven career appearances against the Sox, two of them starts ... The Sox are off on Monday then host the Yankees for three games. The Yankees have lost seven of 10 and are 26-28 since the All-Star break.

Song of the Day: "Deep Eddy Blues" by The Flatlanders.

Could these be Matsuzaka's last days in a Sox uniform?

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff September 9, 2012 01:21 AM

The opportunities to demonstrate he deserves to return to the Red Sox are becoming far and few between as the end of the season draws near for Daisuke Matsuzaka.

The Sox righthander, who becomes a free agent at season's end, got drubbed in Saturday night's soggy 9-2 loss to the Blue Jays after allowing five runs on five hits, including a lead-off homer to Yunel Escobar, all in a second-inning debacle from which he was unable to extricate himself.

While he was uncertain about his future with the team, it appeared that, given his subpar pitching performances of late, these could very well be the last days anyone sees of Matsuzaka in a Red Sox uniform.

"Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll be wearing this Red Sox uniform next year,’’ Matsuzaka said through his interpreter, Jeff Cutler. “As I’ve said before, it’s an honor to be able to wear this Red Sox uniform, but it hasn’t been an added stress for me."

What did prove stressful was the mighty struggle Matsuzaka waged to get out of the second inning Saturday night, resulting in a truncated 1 1/3-inning performance in which he threw 42 pitches, marking the second shortest outing of his career after throwing 28 pitches in 1.0 innings in a 6-1 loss at Oakland July 2.

As a consolation, Matsuzaka did not have to hang around long enough to get drenched from the windswept sheets of rain that pelted the players and the announced Fenway Park crowd of 37,107, causing a pair of rain delays totaling 2 hours and 3 minutes.

When Mike Aviles struck out to end the game at 12:09 a.m., it brought a merciful conclusion to a game that lasted 2 hours 55 minutes, but took nearly five hours to complete as the Sox (63-77) tumbled out of a fourth-place tie with Jays to the bottom of the American League East standings

"He had a good first [inning],’’ Sox manager Bobby Valentine said of Matsuzaka, who had two strikeouts in the first as he retired the Jays on 19 pitches. "But the first [pitch] of the second inning goes over the fence. After that he made decent pitches ... but he didn’t pitch well enough."

Matsuzaka (1-5 since coming back from Tommy John surgery last June) left it to five relievers to piece together the remaining 7 2/3 innings.

"It’s tiring,’’ Valentine said. "Guys are tired of playing from behind, I’ll guarantee that. Bullpen’s tired of just eating up innings. It’s tough.’’

Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Miller and Mark Melancon combined to throw 5 2/3 scoreless frames from the third through the seventh innings, retiring 14 of 16 batters they faced including the last 13 in a row.

Vicente Padilla snapped the bullpen's scoreless inning streak when he gave up a run on three hits in the seventh.

Then Andrew Bailey served up a 3-run homer in the ninth to Anthony Gose, who clobbered the first of his Major League career homer 12 rows into the stands in right to put the game out of reach.

"I’m real disappointed that I haven’t been able to be there for the team the past two games,’’ said Matsuzaka, who showed much promise in a 5-1 triumph over the Royals Aug. 27 at Fenway by going seven innings and allowing one unearned run on five hits and two walks while ringing up six strikeouts.

He followed that up with a poor outing Sept. 2 at Oakland, where he gave up six runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings in a 6-2 loss.

"It’s really stressful that I haven’t been able to be consistent whenever I go out there,’’ Matsuzaka said. "It’s been a struggle every day, in between starts.’’

Matsuzaka's next start, though, could be his last with the Red Sox.

Final: Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 2

Posted by Staff September 8, 2012 07:00 PM

Game over: Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 2: After five plus hours — thanks in large part to two rain delays totaling two hours and five minutes — the Red Sox come up with yet another loss and fall into sole possession of last place in the American League East. They have won only five times in their last twenty games and are 10-26 since the beginning of August.

The Blue Jays move to 63-75 with the win and take a one game lead over the Red Sox (63-77) in the race for fourth place in the East.

The announced “paid attendance” for the night was 37,107, bringing consecutive sell-out streak to 784 games.

Bottom 9th: Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 2: Jason Frasor on to try and turn off the lights for Blue Jays.

Ross strikes out on the thirteenth pitch of the at-bat to lead off. Gomez finds the space between second and third for a single. Lavarnway grounds out 6-3 and Aviles ends the game swinging at a pitch in the dirt.

Top 9th: Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 2:Sox go the pen once more, this time for Andrew Bailey, their sixth pitcher of the night.

Arencibia singles back through the box to start the frame. Hechavarria draws a walk to put runners at first and second with no outs.

Anthony Gose unloads on the first pitch he sees and hits a bomb into the right field seats. This thing landed about twenty rows up for his first career Major League home run. Yes, the same Gose I was ripping on for being sub-.200 at the plate.

Davis flies out to right field for the first out of the inning. Rasmus then goes down looking and Encarnarcion lines out to left.

Bottom 8th: Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 2: Jose Iglesias picks up his second hit since being called up, a single. He was then move over on a dribbler back to the pitcher by Ciriaco.

Ellsbury (1-4, 2 Ks) followed with his second strikeout of the night and Pedroia (0-4, K) goes 5-3 to end the inning.

Top 8th: Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 2:Vincente Padilla becomes the fifth Red Sox pitcher of the night.

Rasmus ends the Jays slump right away with a single to right. Encarnarcion follows with a "hit 'em where they ain't" blooper between Iglesias and Ellsbury in mid-center field. Rasmus with some heady base running on the play gets all the way to third to put runners at the corners with no outs.

Lind yanked a single past the drawn-in infield to plate Rasmus. Escobar grounds one right at Ciriaco who steps on third and fires to second to double up the Jays.

Padilla strikes out Johnson before any more runs can cross the plate, and Neil Diamond begins to sing and the remaining crowd still loves it ... still. No further comment.

Bottom 7th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2: Lavanway strikes out to start things off in the bottom of the seventh. It's the third Sox strikeout in their last four batters.

Aviles hits a moon shot about thirty feet up the first base line that Lind caught in foul ground for out number two and Podsednik grounds out to second to end the inning.

Brad Lincoln has now sat down all seven batters he has faced since coming into the game after the second rain delay.

Top 7th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2: Melancon with another 1-2-3. Hecavarria grounds out to Ciriaco, Gose Ks once again and Davis grounds out to Gomez at first.

These rain delays have really affected the Blue Jays bats as they have not gotten on base since a fielder's choice in the third by Kelly Johnson. Sox relievers have put down thirteen straight batters.

Bottom 6th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2: Pedroia comes up taking some big hacks, but he misses on the one that counts the most, the third strike.

Ross takes a 1-2 curveball and puts it on a straight line to Hechavarria at third for out number two. Gomez goes down looking to end.

Top 6th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2:Mark Melancon comes in to pitch for the Red Sox and puts the Jays down in order with a strikeout of Escobar, a forced ground out to third by Johnson and a strikeout of Arencibia.

The Red Sox have retired ten straight batters.

Bottom 5th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2: Brad Lincoln is the new pitcher for Toronto coming out of the rain delay. He inherits a 2-0 count on Ellsbury with Ciriaco on first base and two outs.

The first pitch comes at 10:51, giving us a one hour and five minute rain delay that time around.

Ellsbury is retired on a grounder to second base to end the inning and make this an official game should the rains return.

UPDATE - Game is now scheduled to restart at approximately 10:50 p.m...that would put us over two hours in rain delays tonight. Of course, the assumption is that the rain returns shortly after we get underway. The tarp is being rolled off and the field relined.

SIDE NOTE (while we wait): The Pawtucket Red Sox have defeated the Scranton/Wilkes-Barres Yankees, 7-1, to win their best-of-five first round series, three game to one.

The PawSox advance to the International League finals for the first time since 2003 and will be looking for their first Governor's Cup since 1984.

They will face either the Charlotte Knights (White Sox) or Indianapolis Indians (Pirates) in the finals. Charlotte currently has a 2-1 lead in that series and a 5-0 lead in their game this evening.

UPDATE - The grounds crew is putting down bag after bag of quick dry, the rain has subsided for the time being, so they seem to be doing everything in their power to get this one in...granted if they got one more out, it may have been called by this point, but we trudge on into this good night! No time yet for a restart, stay tuned.

Bottom 5th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2: Lavarnway leads off the inning with his second walk of the game. Aviles pushes one past Hechavarria on the left side of the infield to put runners on first and second with no outs. And Podsednik rips a single into right that brings Lavarnway around for the first Sox run and puts runners at the corners.

Iglesias hits a weak blooper that Lind catches at the apex of his reach, then falls down and tags first to double off Podsednik.

Ciriaco plates Aviles with a single and the Sox showing a little life here off of Laffey.

Annnnnd the rain returns...in a big way...and another delay begins.

Top 5th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0: Aceves does not return to the hill for the Sox after the delay, instead Andrew Miller steps to the bump for his 47th appearance of the year.

Miller promptly retires Rasmus by way of the K for the first out of the inning.

Encarnacion follows with an easy fly out to Ross in right and Lind also flies to Ross to end the inning, the second straight 1-2-3 for Boston.

Aceves' line - 2 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks

Bottom 4th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0: With Ellsbury on first base, Pedroia steps to the plate and the game resumes at 9:23 p.m., 58 minutes later.

Lind fields Pedroia's foul pop-up in front of the Sox dugout for out number one.

Ross gets plunked on his left thigh to put runners on first and second with an out.

And Gomez ends the Sox first threat of the game with a 6-4-3 double play.

Speaking of threats...expect more rain!

UPDATE - The game is scheduled to resume at 9:25 p.m. The tarp is currently being yanked away and field preps have begun.

RAIN DELAY -The skies have officially opened up and the umps have called a delay to this one with on and no out in the bottom of the fourth inning. Tarp is on the field. We will keep you updated about any restart times or additional delays.

The weather has been strange here as the rain stopped as quickly as it started. Tarp being removed.

More rain, tarp back on. Delay is currently at twenty minutes and counting. Sox would be blessed if this one gets called.

Bottom 4th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0: Ellsbury gets the Sox first hit of the night, a solid, lined single that was just out of the reach of Escobar at shortstop.

Top 4th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0: Aceves gets Hechavarria looking at a 3-2 slider on the back door for the first out of the inning.

I want to keep giving rain updates, but then I keep getting the Eurythmics stuck in my head and I don't want that at all...but yeah, a little more rain is falling.

Gose, who had worked himself up to .207 after his second inning single, strikes out to inch back towards the Mendoza line.

Davis grounds out to Pedroia to end the inning, the first 1-2-3 by the Red Sox tonight.

Bottom 3rd: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0: Laffey gets the Sox 1-2-3 for the second time tonight. Pods grounds out to first, Iglesias grounds out to second and Ciriaco flies out to center. Still no hits for Boston as Laffey has thrown 38 pitches thus far.

Top 3rd: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0: Lind gets a lead off single for the Jays but never advances past first. Escobar flies out to center, Johnson grounds into a fielders choice 5-4 and Arencibia goes down on a 5-3 ground out.

Bottom 2nd: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0:Laffey makes short work of the Sox once again, inducing Cody Ross to ground out to short, then striking out Mauro Gomez before allowing a base on balls to Ryan Lavarnway.

Mike Aviles, who is tonight's designated hitter for Boston...let that one soak in for a moment...he hit a foul pop down the right field line that looked like it may go foul, but Gose tracked it from a long way out in right and made a spectacular diving catch in front of the wall to end the inning.

Top 2nd: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0:Yunel Escobar smokes the first pitch of the inning, a 90-mile-per hour fastball, into the first row of Monster seats for his fifth home run of the year, and the Jays fourth home run in two days. He took advantage of the strong winds to left field here tonight.

Kelly Johnson follows up with a solid single up the middle as the rains started to pick up once again. With his 27th pitch of the game Dice-K plunks J.P. Arencibia to put men on first and second with no out. Adeiny Hechavarria makes him pay with a bounding chopper over the outstretched glove of Pedro Ciriciaco at third base, scoring Johnson to make it 2-0, putting runners on second and third with no outs. Anthony Gose, of .198 batting average fame, laces a single into center that plates Arencibia and Hechavarria. It is clearly not Matsuzaka's night.

Davis sends a line-drive missile to Ellsbury in center for the first out of the inning, but Gose (who stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error) tags and scores.
Rasmus rips a single down the first base line, prompting Bobby Valentine to make the move to the bullpen for Alfredo Aceves.

Matsuaka's line - 1 1/3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, HR, 2 K, HBP, 42 pitches

Aceves is helped out in a big way by the absent-minded Rasmus who sprinted around second on a lazy fly to Ellsbury who made the catch and doubled Rasmus off of first to end the bleeding.

Bottom 1st: Blue Jays 0, Red Sox 0: Pedro Ciriaco rips a grounder right back at Aaron Laffey who is able to make the play for out number one. Then the rains picked up again and Ellsbury almost gets plunked with Laffey's first offering before striking out. Dustin Pedroia ends the inning with a shallow fly to center that Rasmus handles with ease.

Laffey was not throwing a hard fastball (high 80s), but it seems to be heavy on the hitters thus far.

Top 1st: Blue Jays 0, Red Sox 0: Matsuzaka needs 20 pitches to retire the Jays without harm . Rajai Davis missed an outside slider for strike three, Colby Rasmus grounded one right down the line to Loney who played it to Dice-K for our number two and

A good mix of fastball and break Edwin Encarnarcion walked on five pitches and Adam Lind struck out on a 90 mile-per-hour cut fastball.

The first pitch of the game from Dice-K came at 7:11 p.m., a 90 mile-per-hour strike to Davis. Game time temps are 77 degrees with a stiff wind coming out of the south at 19mph.

Also, the rains have started up here at Fenway, and the crowd is heading to the nearest dry spot. The umpires have gathered after the end of the inning.

Pregame: Good evening folks, Craig Forde here on fill-in duty tonight. I will be providing you with live updates throughout the evening. Heavy cloud cover keeps quickly rolling over Fenway, but we have had only a small spitting of rain thus far. Nothing nearly as threatening as last night and hopefully things remain dry here and we get underway at 7:10 p.m. as planned. We’ll have more updates as we get closer to game time. It’s Dice-K versus Aaron Laffey in a battle of the two last place teams in the American League East.

Doubront would resist early shutdown of his season

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff September 8, 2012 04:54 PM

Felix Doubront, who absorbed his eighth loss of the season on Friday night, said before Saturday's game that he would resist any urge to prematurely shutdown his season, saying he felt fine and that he was in no way fatigued from having thrown a career-high 134.2 innings in 25 starts this season.

"I feel good, man,'' Doubront said. "I just want to keep going and finish the season strong and healthy. That’s more important.''

Although he was not available to speak to reporters after he gave up five runs on six hits, including a pair of home runs, after four innings of work, Doubront addressed speculation about a possible shutdown of his season, saying he had not had any discussions on the matter with Sox manager Bobby Valentine or with anyone in the front office.

"No, not at all,'' he said. "I think what affects me now is confidence. It’s not because I’m tired. The arm feels good.''

Doubront said his issues revolved around his inability of late to "finish hitters,'' he said.

He is 0-4 in his last seven starts with an ERA of 8.27 over that stretch, in which the Sox have gone 2-5. He has allowed 30 runs on 45 hits, including seven homers, while walking 20 and striking out 37 in 32.2 innings pitched. It is a stretch in which opposing batters have hit .326 against him.

"It’s a couple of things, but control is one,'' Doubront said. "The mechanics are good. But finishing the hitter is more important. I have no confidence about that.''

Concentration, or his lack thereof, was another issue that's complicated matters for Doubront on the mound of late.

"Yeah, sometimes, I try to be too perfect, too much,'' he said. "It's one thing I can't control right now. I just want to get the hitter out and throw as many pitches as I can. That's the only thing I can control, finishing the hitter in three or four pitches.

"I'm throwing too many pitches to get one hitter out.''

Doubront's elevated pitch count has resulted in laborious outings which have now totaled a career-high 134.2 innings, almost 100 more than he compiled in his first two seasons as a professional (35.1 IP). The most he'd ever thrown before this season was 129.1 innings in Single A ball with the Red Sox in 2008.

Asked if there was any concern about the mounting innings leading to creeping fatigue, Valentine said, "You’d have to consider it. But, you know, if he comes in next season and he gets to this high-water mark and everyone starts thinking about shutting him down again, it’s probably best -- if he feels good – to let that bar be as high as possible, so he can extend it as long as he’s not going to be injured.

"You take that from him and the medical room, and we’ll see,''

Said Doubront: "When I feel tired, I’m going to let them know. But I’m not. I’m just going to keep pitching. Like I said, I’ve just got to figure out how to pitch my way out of it.’’

In other matters:

• John Lackey threw off the mound at Fenway for the first time since coming off Tommy John surgery last November 1. Lackey threw 15 pitches in a live batting practice against stand-in hitters Daniel Nava and Ivan De Jesus.

"First step in the new world for him after a real hard summer of rehab,'' Valentine said. "Better than how he looked was how he felt and he said he felt great afterwards, and that is what’s really important.''

Valentine said Lackey would likely go through the normal routine of rest and recovery before getting back on the mound in 4-5 days.

"I wish I could have that little magic crystal ball that told me the future,'' Valentine said. "But if he continues to work hard all winter, which I believe he will. He’ll give us and himself the best chance. Now, whether or not it has to be Opening Day, I can tell you right now I don’t think that’s necessarily the goal. To get him back healthy would be the key, 100 percent."

• Jarrod Saltalamacchia was given the night off after he suffered back spasms in Friday night's game, prompting Valentine to start Ryan Lavarnway Saturday night.

"Salty’s going to rest today and not take batting practice,'' Valentine reported. "He had a pretty good spasm. We talked about the situation and the situation is let’s make sure it’s perfect before he gets back in September. He said he wants to play, so it’ll probably only be a day or two.''

Game 140: Blue Jays at Red Sox

Posted by Leonard Neslin September 8, 2012 03:00 PM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of tonight's game at Fenway Park.

RED SOX (63-76)
Ciriaco 3B
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Gomez 1B
Lavarnway C
Aviles DH
Podsednik LF
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-4, 6.15)

BLUE JAYS (62-75)
Davis LF
Rasmus CF
Encarnacion DH
Lind 1B
Escobar SS
Johnson 2B
Arencibia C
Hechavarria 3B
Gose RF
Pitching: LHP Aaron Laffey (3-5, 4.46)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN/WEEI

Red Sox vs. Laffey: Aviles 3-13, Pedroia 3-10, Saltalamacchia 4-10, Ellsbury 1-8, Ross 1-6, Podsednik 0-4, Ciriaco 0-3.

Blue Jays vs. Matsuzaka: Lind 4-28, Escobar 3-13, Mathis 1-11, Encarnacion 2-8, Johnson 0-8, Davis 3-8, Vizquel 2-6, Arencibia 0-5, Lawrie 1-3, Rasmus 0-3, Torrealba 1-2.

Stat of the Day: Pedroia drove in the 400th run of his career on a fielder's choice in the fifth inning last night.

Notes: Dice-K will make his eighth appearance of the season tonight after allowing six earned runs to the Athletics in his last start ... This is Laffey's first start since Aug. 22 after making two relief appearances. He has lost four of his last five starts ... Mauro Gomez's pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning last night made him the first Red Sox rookie to homer on his birthday since Jacoby Ellsbury on Sept. 11, 2007 ... Aviles stole his 14th base of the season last night, tying his career high for the third time ... Saltalamacchia needs three home runs to tie Carlton Fisk's record for home runs in a season by a Red Sox catcher. Salty has 23. ... The PawSox lead the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees 2-1 in their International League semifinal series after losing 4-3 last night. Game 4 of this best 3 out of 5 series is tonight.

Saltalamacchia suffers back spasms

Posted by Staff September 8, 2012 12:17 AM

Jarrod Saltalamacchia left tonight's game after the seventh inning due to back spasms.

Bobby Valentine said that Saltalamacchia developed the spasms due to the long delay, but did not address if he thought it would affect the catcher's availability.

Ryan Lavarnway played the eighth and ninth innings and had one at-bat, a grounder to shortstop.

Before leaving the game, Saltalamacchia had hit three fly balls to left field in the second, fourth and sixth innings.

Final: Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 5

Posted by Staff September 7, 2012 06:37 PM

Game over: Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 5 After going 1-8 on the road trip, the Sox continue their slide and have now dropped four straight games to the Blue Jays for the first time since 2007. Even worse, they have lost four straight games to the Blue Jays at home, a first since going 0-6 in 1989. The game was played in front of a "paid attendance" of 37,156 for the 783rd consecutive sellout at Fenway in three hours and eight minutes.

At 63-76, the Sox are virtually tied for last place with the 62-75 Blue Jays.

Bottom 9th: Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 5: Gomez celebrated his birthday by launching a two-out, two-run homer over the Monster seats, bringing the Sox within two runs. But it wasn't enough as the next batter, Posednik, struck out to end the inning.

Top 9th: Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 3: Daniel Bard has now given up a home run in each of his three appearances since returning to the majors.

Sierra led off with a walk and then left the game for pinch runner Anthony Gose, who promptly stole second and third. Bard then struck out Davis. Gose got caught in a rundown between third and home that left Lawrie standing at third. Lawrie then scored when Rasmus made up for missing out on the earlier home run, hitting one to right field.

Bard then struck out Encarnacion, but the damage had been done.

Bottom 8th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 3: Steve Delabar pitched the eighth for the Blue Jays, relieving Oliver (two-thirds an inning, one hit) and immediately gave up a home run, as Pedroia slammed one over the Monster seats and onto Lansdowne.

The Sox, however, had nothing to follow that. Ellsbury struck out, Ross walked and Loney hit into a double play.

Top 8th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2: Rich Hill relieved Carpenter (who gave up one walk and threw one strike out in one inning) and retired the Blue Jays in order. Lind grounded out to second and Arencibia to shortstop and then Johnson flew out to right.

Also, Lavarnway came into the game for Saltalamacchia.

Bottom 7th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2: Alvarez left the game after getting Aviles to pop out to shortstop and walking Ciriaco. He pitched 6.1 innings, giving up two runs on four hits, walking two batters and striking out one.

Darren Oliver came in to face Mauro Gomez, pinch hitting for Kalish. Ciriaco showed off his speed stealing second and then scoring on a Gomez's single to center.

Davis then robbed Posednik of a hit with a nice catch against the wall and doubled up on Gomez who had rounded second, for the third out.

Fun fact: today is Gomez's 28th birthday.

Top 7th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 1: The Sox have now retired the last eight Toronto batters.

Chris Carpenter came in for the top of the seventh and got Lawrie to ground out to shortstop, struck out Rasmus and induced a groundout to third from Encarnacion.

Mortensen left the game after pitching two scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and striking out four batters.

Bottom 6th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 1: The Sox also went down in order. Ross and Loney both grounded out to shortstop and then Saltalamacchia hit his third fly out to left of the night.

Top 6th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 1: Mortensen struck out the side: Johnson, Sierra and Davis. He has struck out four of the seven batters he has faced tonight.

Bottom 5th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 1: Pedroia recorded his 400th career RBI as the Sox finally got on the board in the fifth inning.

Ciriaco started the inning with a groundout to third. Kalish bunted and just beat out the throw for a hit, then advanced to third on a grounder into right field by Posednik. Pedroia almost hit into a double play as Lawrie got the ball over to Johnson at second to get Posednik, but Encarnacion couldn't dig out the ball at first. In the meantime, Kalish sprinted home, giving Pedroia his 400th RBI. Ellsbury followed all of that by striking out looking - the first of the game for Alvarez.

Top 5th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0: Rasmus almost started the inning off with another homer, but fell just short in the triangle and had to settle for a triple. That hit knocked Doubront out of the game after throwing 88 pitches, giving up five runs on six hits (two of which were home runs), striking out four batters and walking two.

(For the record, Bobby Valentine was met with a few boos on his way to the mound.)

Clayton Mortensen entered the game and got Encarnacion to hit a broken-bat line drive to second. Escobar, however, followed that with a soft line drive into short right field to score Rasmus. Mortensen then struck out Lind and got Johnson to ground out to third.

Bottom 4th: Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 0: The Sox started out with some excitement as Ross hit a double off the wall and then advanced to third on a grounder to second by Loney. But then he got stuck there as Salty flew out to left and Aviles grounded out to second. Henderson Alvarez has now induced nine ground ball outs and three fly outs.

Top 4th: Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 0: Doubront started off strong, inducing pop flies from Adam Lind and Arencibia but then walked Johnson and then gave up a bomb to Sierra. Davis followed that with a single, advancing to second on an error by Ciriaco, before Doubront struck out Lawrie to get out of the inning.

Bottom 3rd: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0: Posednik has Boston's first hit of the game, a line drive into left, but nothing comes of it as Pedroia follows with a fielder's choice to shortstop. Ellsbury hit a grounder to second to end the inning just as Ryan Kalish started it.

Top 3rd: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0: Toronto expands its lead with a home run from Encarnacion, his 38th of the season and the 20th Doubront has given up.

Bottom 2nd: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0: Sox don't have a hit in the second inning either. James Loney grounded out to first, Jarrod Saltalamacchia flew out to left, Mike Aviles walked but then was left on base when Pedro Ciriaco flew out to short left field.

Top 2nd: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0: Feliz Doubront struck out two in the second: J.P. Arencibia to lead off and Rajai Davis for the third out. In between, Kelly Johnson grounded to second (Pedroia again flashing some leather) and Moises Sierra walked.

Bottom 1st: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0: The Red Sox can't get a hit in the first. Scott Posednik grounded out to shortstop, Pedroia reached on Escobar's error, Jacoby Ellsbury flew out to left, Ross almost hit the hot dog guy with a foul ball and then grounded to shortstop and Pedroia was out at second.

Top 1st: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0: Brett Lawrie hit a double up the first-base line, advanced to third on a dribbler up the middle (on which Dustin Pedroia made a nice play) by Colby Rasmus, then scored on Edwin Encarnacion's sac fly.

Both Pedroia and Cody Ross had a chance on a goofy-looking blooper to short right by Yunel Escobar - Ross slid and tipped the ball up then Pedroia got a bit of glove on it but didn't really have a chance. The hit ended up being inconsequential as Escobar was stranded at first.

Pre-game update: The game is now scheduled to being at 8:25.

Pre-game update: The tarp is coming off the field, but a start time has not yet been announced.

Pre-game: It's a rainy evening at Fenway and the start has been delayed. We don't have a new start time yet, but will let you know when we do.

I'm Diana C. Nearhos and I'm filling in at the Globe tonight and will be bringing you updates all game long, and all delay long for that matter. Follow along and feel free to comment below, I'll address your comments as much as I can.

John Farrell's focus squarely on the Blue Jays

Posted by Staff September 7, 2012 06:28 PM

Toronto manager John Farrell, the former Red Sox pitching coach, faced a large group of reporters in the dugout before the game to address speculation about his possible return to Boston as manager.

With Bobby Valentine in the hot seat, attention has turned to Farrell, who was the Red Sox management's first choice after Terry Francona was fired last season. Farrell said no fewer than eight times that his focus is entirely on the Blue Jays.

"I’m under contract; that’s obvious because if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be sitting here today," Farrell said. "I can understand the natural connection because I’ve worked here in the past, but my focus is clearly with the Blue Jays.

"I don’t look at other situations because my focus is here. I tell you, we’ve got a lot of challenges ourselves, getting people back on the field. I can tell you this, knowing what the Red Sox have gone through – knowing the number of players they’ve lost to injury – I can empathize with Bobby in having to deal with a lot of changes to the roster.

"My focus is right here in this dugout and on this uniform."

Farrell has managed Toronto for two seasons and has a record of 142-156.

Lackey 'excited' to face live hitters Saturday

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff September 7, 2012 05:54 PM

John Lackey, who has been sidelined all season recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, said he will throw to live hitters for the first time on Saturday and expressed guarded optimism about taking the next step in his ongoing recovery and, perhaps, getting into a live game by the end of the season.

"I'm excited, because it just means I'm moving forward,'' Lackey said before Friday night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. "I haven't had any real setbacks and it feels good, so I'm definitely excited.''

Lackey, who underwent surgery last November 1 to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbowy, threw about "five or six'' bullpens in preparation for his next step. "This will be the first time someone is someone is actually going to be standing in there taking whacks at me,'' he said.

"I'm going to throw everything,'' he said. "I'm not throwing my cutter yet, I'm just throwing curveball and changeup. Just trying to throw mostly four-seamers and getting my arm speed and getting my arm strength back.''

Asked what he hoped to achieve his first time facing live hitters since going 12-12 with a 6.41 ERA in 28 starts last season, Lackey said, "Mostly just locating. I'm just building my arm strength right now, but I just need the reps more than anything.''

Lackey did express some surprise that he had progressed as quickly as he had to this point to face live hitters. "It feels like it's been forever,'' he said. "It's been 10 months of rehabbing. It's exciting stuff, but it's just another part of it. Should be able to get into a game by the end of the month, somewhere, hopefully.''

Said Sox manager Bobby Valentine: "I don't know if he's fully recovered but he sure is close. He's really thrown the ball well.''

The Sox have said that Lackey can get into a "competitive situation" before the end of the season. That could be an Instructional League game.

In other matters:

• Valentine said there was "nothing earth-shattering'' to report on the progress of DH David Ortiz, who underwent a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection before the team embarked on its West Coast swing.

"I haven't heard anything about any baseball activities that are planned,'' he said. Asked if it was unlikely that Ortiz would return before the end of the season, Valentine said, "Ben [Cherington] mentioned that to me the other day, but I'm not sure that's the official word yet. He just said to be prepared just in case he's not going to come back.''

Is it prudent to shut Ortiz down at this point? "It's not really my call,'' Valentine said. "I mean, if he's healthy and he loves to play the game of baseball, he could always go out there and bat it around a little. But I'd hate to jeopardize his career, that's for sure.''

• Valentine lauded the effort of Scott Atchison in Triple A Pawtucket's 2-0 victory over Scranton/Wilkes Barre in the second game of the best-of-five International League playoffs on Thursday.

Atchison, who has been on the DL since July 14 with right forearm tightness, earn the win during his rehab assignment after tossing 1-1/3 scoreless frames. "Atch got the win last night and he threw the ball well,'' Valentine said. "That's really good news."

Atchison could return to the Sox within a few days.

Game 139: Blue Jays at Red Sox

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff September 7, 2012 11:31 AM

Good afternoon. Here's a preview of tonight's series opener at Fenway Park.

RED SOX (63-75)
Podsednik LF
Pedroia 2B
Ellsbury CF
Ross RF
Loney 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Aviles SS
Ciriaco 3B
Kalish DH
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (10-7, 5.03)

BLUE JAYS (61-75)
Lawrie 3B
Rasmus CF
Encarnacion 1B
Escobar SS
Lind DH
Arencibia C
Johnson 2B
Sierra RF
Davis LF
Pitching: RHP Henderson Alvarez (7-12, 5.04)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN/WEEI

Red Sox vs. Alvarez: Pedroia 4-12, Saltalamacchia 1-11, Ellsbury 3-9, Aviles 2-7, Ross 2-7, Podsednik 0-3, Kalish 1-2.

Blue Jays vs. Doubront: Johnson 3-10, Encarnacion 4-8, Escobar 3-8, Davis 0-8, Rasmus 3-8, Lind 0-4, Mathis 2-3

Stat of the Day: At 4.77, the Red Sox have the second-worst team ERA at home. Only the Colorado Rockies are worse, at 5.88.

Notes: The Red Sox begin a six-game homestand tonight. After three games vs. Toronto, the Yankees are at Fenway Park starting Tuesday. ... Doubront has not won a game since July 18 ... Pedroia is batting .367 over the last 30 days with 40 hits (including 11 doubles) and 15 RBIs ... The presence of former Sox pitching coach John Farrell, the Blue Jays' manager, at Fenway will be a hot topic throughout the weekend. The Red Sox were interested in Farrell as manager prior to hiring Bobby Valentine, and his name is frequently brought up in speculation about next season ... Saltalamacchia needs three home runs to tie Carlton Fisk's record for home runs in a season by a Red Sox catcher. Salty has 23. ... The PawSox lead the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees 2-0 in their International League playoff series with Game 3 tonight.

Q&A with Tim Wakefield

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff September 6, 2012 03:53 PM

Former Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield joined Boston.com readers on Friday to answer questions on the Red Sox and on the Boston premiere of the movie "Knuckleball." The movie is being screened at Regal Fenway Stadium 13 on Tues., Sept. 18th at 7 p.m. There will be a VIP party at the Royal Rooters Room/Nation’s Archives at Fenway Park that same evening at 9:30 p.m.

For more information about the movie and to purchase tickets, go here. You can watch the official movie trailer here.

Review Wake's discussion in the chat window below.

Pitching matchups for the Blue Jays series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 6, 2012 10:15 AM

Friday: RHP Henderson Alvarez (7-12, 5.04) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (10-7, 5.03), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Saturday: LHP Ricky Romero (8-13, 5.85) vs. RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-4, 6.15), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Sunday: LHP J.A. Happ (3-2, 4.46) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (11-5, 4.47), 1:35 p.m., NESN

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 6, 2012 09:47 AM

For Bobby Valentine the strain of this season is showing in his words.

Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox are focused again on John Farrell.

The notebook has the Red Sox ending their road trip with another loss.

'It's time to go home' for the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 6, 2012 01:31 AM

SEATTLE — It wasn't the worst road trip in franchise history. But it sure felt that way to the Red Sox. They lost, 2-1, against Seattle on Wednesday night to finish a 1-8 trip to Los Angeles, Oakland and Seattle.

“It’s time to go home,” said Aaron Cook, who took the loss despite giving up two runs over six innings. “Bad, bad trip.”

Consider these horrifying statistics from the trip:

• The Sox were 67 of 300 (.223) with 21 runs. They managed only 12 extra-base hits and walked only 17 times.

“We’re on the bases trying to create stuff there. I just think our pitch selection right now has to get a little better and I believe it will,” Bobby Valentine said. “They’re taking strikes early and swinging at balls. They’re not getting that right pitch to hit.”

• The Sox were 9 of 60 (.150) with runners in scoring position.

• The pitchers had a 7.45 earned run average and allowed 15 home runs.

“Not a very good road trip, obviously,” Valentine said. “One of the worst I’ve ever experienced.”

The Sox start a six-game homestand on Friday against John Farrell and the last-place Toronto Blue Jays. Then the Yankees come in. The 63-75 Sox have 24 games remaining — 13 on the road and 15 against teams competing for a playoff spot.

"I’d like us to play together and show that we’ve got a lot of pride," Valentine said. "I think we do and I think we’ll grind it out. Be a spoiler on that way, that would be fun, too."

Final: Mariners 2, Red Sox 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff September 5, 2012 10:14 PM

Game over: Red Sox went 1-8 on the West Coast trip by virtue of the loss tonight. The Red Sox couldn't handle flamethrower Tom Wilhelmsen in the ninth except for a lead off walk by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The game was played in 2:47 before 13,037. The Sox have an off-day Thursday and then take on Toronto for the battle of last place in the AL East.

Bottom 8th: Mariners 2, Red Sox 1 Strong inning for Alfredo Aceves and another gem by Loney at first.

Top 8th: Mariners 2, Red Sox 1 James Loney takes a weak swing for strike three against Lucas Luetge stranding Jacoby Ellsbury (single) at second base.

Bottom 7th: Mariners 2, Red Sox 1 A combo of Andrew Miller and Alfredo Aceves offset the M's. Cook, who did a nice job, was out after six.

Top 7th: Mariners 2, Red Sox 1 Mike Aviles walked and stole second base, but Scott Podsednik flied to left to end the threat. Aviles walked with one out. Bobby Valentine had sent out Ryan Kalish to pinch hit for Pedro Ciriaco, but M's manager Eric Wedge brought in lefty Charlie Furbush and Valentine countered with Mauro Gomez. But Gomez struck out for the second out.

Bottom 6th: Mariners 2, Red Sox 1 James Loney made a nice diving stop of Dustin Ackley's inning-ending grounder. Loney may not be quite Adrian Gonzalez at first, but he's not far behind.

Top 6th: Mariners 2, Red Sox 1 Sox pulled closer when Cody Ross doubled into the right field corner scoring Jacoby Ellsbury, who reached on a fielder's choice. Sox, however, couldn't get the tying run in with one out.

Bottom 5th: Mariners 2, Red Sox 0 Cook allowed a two-out single up the middle to Eric Thames, but held the status quo.

Top 5th: Mariners 2, Red Sox 0 Sox offense not getting it done against Kevin Millwood, who has not had a win in his last six decisions. But the Red Sox offense make kings of these types of guys. They went down 1-2-3.

Bottom 4th: Mariners 2, Red Sox 0 Good times didn't last long for Aaron Cook, who allowed two runs. The first three M's reached with a pair of singles and a walk. After Cook got Brendan Ryan to pop out to second base, Dustin Ackley singled up the middle to score two runs.

Top 4th: Red Sox 0, Mariners 0 Bases loaded, two outs and Ryan Lavarnway grounded out to end the inning. Sox loaded them up with two gone when Ross singled, Loney reached on an infield hit and Salty walked.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, Mariners 0 Aaron Cook struck out the side, giving him a season-high five for the game. He also walked two in the inning.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Mariners 0 Sox go three-up, three-down as their offense, which enjoyed a little spark in one inning of Tuesday's 4-3 win over the M's has recoiled once again.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Mariners 0 Aaron Cook gave up a couple of singles that found holes to Jesus Montero and Mike Carp, but secured the final out on a Brendan Ryan fly to right to keep the game scoreless.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Mariners 0 Sox had two runners on with one out after a Cody Ross single and a walk by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, But Ryan Lavarnway knocked into a 6-4-3 double-play.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Mariners 0 Kyle Seager singled to right with two outs vs. Aaron Cook, who has not won in his last four decisions. Cook, who is 3-8 with a 5.35 ERA, is pitching for a job next season but hasn't made a convincing case of late. He got out of the first, however.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Mariners 0 Kevin Millwood retired the Red Sox in order in the first. Scott Podsednik flew out to center, Dustin Pedroia lined out to shortstop and Jacoby Ellsbury flew out to right field.

Valentine defends his integrity, work ethic

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 5, 2012 08:16 PM

SEATTLE — Suffice it to say, Bobby Valentine did not appreciate his integrity being questioned by WEEI's Glenn Ordway.

But the Red Sox manager said he was joking about punching Ordway in the mouth.

"Didn't I go, 'Ha ha?' I think I did," Valentine said. "I don't think physical violence is necessary for 60-year-old people. I think it made the point that there are lines that should be drawn in the sand when someone's trying to be professional and sounding unprofessional. Sometimes it's better to be abrupt and then let everyone know you're kidding."

Ordway asked Valentine if he has "checked out" on the season. Then he asked Valentine why he was "late" to the game on Oakland last Friday when he arrived in the clubhouse at 4:19 p.m. for a 7:05 p.m. start.

Valentine, as was reported in the Globe the next day, was delayed by traffic after picking up his son at San Francisco International Airport.

"When you talk about someone's family, when you talk about someone's integrity, you draw the line of what should be done in the workplace. I think he's working for a living, whoever asked that question. I think you all work for a living also. So I'll just tell you in case you don't know, that's where I draw the line."

Valentine then explained what happened last Friday.

"If you said I was late, you're wrong," he said. "If you didn't want to reach out and get the details of the facts, I'll tell you what the details were. It was a simple 9:30 (a.m.) arrival or about that at San Francisco Airport. I was going to see my son for the second time this year. I wanted to spend some quality time with him being he had one day in San Francisco.

"So I went out to pick him up and the plane was late. I had all my information for the game at the hotel and instead of going right from the airport to the [Oakland] Coliseum I stopped at the hotel. That was a mistake because I got in traffic leaving the town and then there's was an accident on the highway, so I got to the stadium a little later than normal.

"Not late. My workday starts at 4:30 as far as I'm concerned and I got to the stadium about 4:04. A little later than normal. But if anybody cared about it and thought it was important to write seriously about it, they could have asked me what the situation was and I would have been happy to tell you."

Valentine was questioned about 4:30 being the start of his workday given that he almost always arrives much earlier in the day.

"My duties prior to that are to get a lineup in and check with the training staff, which I did while I was in the car. I put the lineup in about 2 o'clock that day. That's what the responsibilities to the guys who are waiting are.

"If anybody wants to know about my work habit, I can tell you this, that I took the job about Dec. 3, I started working Dec. 4. I took an apartment [in Boston] Dec. 10. I worked every day in the winter except for two for Christmas. I went to spring training early by two weeks. I had one off day in spring training and that day was a charity day, I did a charity event.

"Since the season started, I've had two off days that I've taken for myself and none of them I've been lucky enough to go home to my home in Connecticut. One day that I spent there, I was doing things related to the Boston Red Sox, OK? So if that's enough work for anyone who's writing about my commitment, it's all I have. Every day, all day.

"To see my son for a couple of hours more I think is more than worth the tradeoff of sitting around in my underwear for two hours here in the clubhouse. So that's that."

Valentine was then asked about some of his comments in the last few weeks that some in the media have interpreted as "bizarre" or unusual.

Valentine said, for example, that hitting Scott Podsednik third one day was a mistake. Another day he said that "nobody cared" about the upcoming pitching rotation.

"I've tried to make light of some situations," he said. "Again, I don't understand why, if someone is trying to report what I say, and you don't understand what I say, you don't ask what I meant? I don't get that. ... Just ask me the question, because I don't think everyone in the room is smart enough to figure out what I mean and that's not my fault."

Valentine said the season has been "very trying" for him.

"There's been a lot of obstacles in my way and I think I've jumped them and sometimes been knocked down by them. Just doing as good as I can do, all day long," he said. "I'll say 'miserable' because it's turned out to be not what's expected. It's been a little misery, yeah."

Can this work out for Valentine and the Red Sox moving forward?

"Trying just means what it has been. It doesn't mean it's so tough that you can't do it," he said. "What the hell? You have a tough pitcher and it's trying, it's difficult. Doesn't mean you can't get a hit against him or beat him."

Game 138: Red Sox at Mariners

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 5, 2012 06:15 PM

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

RED SOX (63-74)
Podsednik LF
Pedroia 2B
Ellsbury CF
Ross RF
Loney 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Lavarnway DH
Aviles SS
Ciriaco 3B
Pitching: RHP Aaron Cook (3-8, 5.35)

MARINERS (66-71)
Ackley 2B
Robinson LF
Seager 3B
Jaso C
Montero DH
Thames RF
Carp 1B
Wells CF
Ryan SS
Pitching: RHP Kevin Millwood (4-12, 4.38)

Game time: 10:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Millwood: Podsednik 9-30, Pedroia 4-19, Ellsbury 3-13, Aviles 3-11, Loney 4-7, Kalish 1-3, Ross 1-3.

Mariners vs. Cook: Figgins 0-10, Ryan 1-6, Olivo 1-3, Ackley 0-3, Jaso 1-3, Montero 0-3, Seager 0-3, Smoak 0-3, Wells 0-3.

Stat of the Day: Red Sox pitchers have a 1.48 ERA in eight games against Seattle this year. Since 1921, it is their lowest mark in a season series of at least six games against any opponent.

Notes: The road trip comes to an end tonight for the Sox, who snapped a seven-game losing streak on Tuesday with a 4-3 win. ... The Sox are 1-7 on the trip, getting outscored 61-20. ... Cook is 1-7, 5.67 in his last 10 starts. But he pitched perhaps the best game of the year for a Red Sox starter when he beat Seattle on June 29 at Safeco. Cook threw a two-hit shutout without a walk and struck out two. He threw 58 of 81 pitches for strikes. Seattle hitters are an aggregate 3 of 39 against Cook in their careers. ... Millwood is 0-4, 5.97 in his last six starts and hasn't won since July 28. ... Pedroia has a 14-game hit streak. He is 24 of 61 in the streak with nine extra-base hits.

Song of the Day: "Street Fighting Man" by The Rolling Stones.

Valentine gets punchy in radio interview

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 5, 2012 04:39 PM

SEATTLE — Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is fighting back.

During an interview earlier today on WEEI, Glenn Ordway asked Valentine if he has "checked out" of the season.

"What an embarrassing thing to say. If I was there I’d punch you right in the mouth. How’s that sound? Sound like I checked out? What an embarrassing thing," Valentine said. "That’s something that a comic strip person would write."

Valentine let out a laugh as he delivered the "punch you right in the mouth" line.

Valentine was then asked about his arriving "late" at Oakland Coliseum last Friday. Valentine arrived in the clubhouse at 4:19 p.m. for a 7:10 p.m. game. As the Globe reported, Valentine was stuck in traffic after picking up his son from the San Francisco Airport.

"I shouldn't have to explain that. That pisses me off," Valentine said "Because whoever wrote that knew what happened, they knew that my son was coming to see me for the first time in this lousy season and I got to see him on the road. His flight was late and I was waiting at the airport for his flight to come in.

"I came in and sent the lineup in and reported to my coaches that I was going to be a little late. For someone to say that I was late is an absolute disgrace to their integrity if they have any. ... I wasn't late. When you call in and say that you're delayed in traffic coming from the San Francisco Airport to the stupid Oakland Coliseum and that there's a traffic jam, then you're not late, no."

Valentine then told Ordway that he should apologize for that accusation. The manager went on to say that Tampa Bay's Joe Madden regularly arrives at the ballpark around that time.

According to writers who cover the Rays, Maddon gets to the park at 2:45 for home games, a little later on the road.

"Apologies to the writers for being late to today's pregame session. My pedicure appointment ran a little late," Maddon wrote on Twitter this afternoon.

Later in the contentious interview, Valentine was asked if he regretted becoming manager of the Sox.

"I think it’s been miserable but it’s part of my life’s journey," he said.

Bailey secures a big win for the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 5, 2012 02:39 AM

SEATTLE — When Andrew Bailey took the mound in the ninth inning on Tuesday night, all the Red Sox players in the dugout were on the top step, leaning over the railing and getting as close to the game as they could.

They were watching so intently that it was easy to imagine, if just for a second, that something important was at stake.

And maybe something was. The Sox had lost seven straight and all involved were embarrassed. A win on Tuesday would give them a chance to take the series and return home feeling like something other than doomed.

"The last couple of weeks have been hard. But winning is natural. It's that feeling that everybody wants, to win. No one wants to lose. It stinks, losing," Bailey said after picking up the save in a 4-3 victory against the Mariners.

Even Bobby Valentine seemed relaxed afterward.

"The guys looked happy after the game. It's great to see them with smiles," the manager said. "Coming from behind, getting Jon Lester a win. ... it was a good win. Maybe it'll get something started. We're due."

Lester (9-11) put the Sox in a hole, giving up three runs in the first three innings. Franklin Gutierrez and Kyle Seager hit back-to-back homers in a span of three pitches in the third inning.

But Lester went six innings and left with a 4-3 lead after the Sox scored four runs in the sixth off Blake Beavan (9-9). His 111-pitch effort did not get wasted.

"It's good," Lester said. "It wasn't easy, a bit of a grind. But that's big for us to score those runs in that inning and have a shutdown inning. The bullpen did a good job after that."

Down 3-0, the Sox came to life in the sixth inning, scoring four runs on four hits.

Dustin Pedroia (2 for 4, now hitting .292) extended his hit streak to 14 games with a lead-off single to right field. Jacoby Ellsbury, who was 4 for 26 on the trip, followed with a single to right.

Cody Ross jumped on the first pitch he saw, a slider, and drove it into the stands in left field. It was his 20th home run of the season, the first in 42 at-bats dating back to Aug. 23.

"I was just looking for something out over the plate to drive to get something going," said Ross, who has 72 RBIs. "Fortunately I got some good wood on it and some air under it."

With two outs, Ryan Lavarnway drove a high fastball off the scoreboard in left. That gave the Sox a lead they held.

Lavarnway came into the game hitting .174 over 69 at-bats since being called up. That swing was a long time coming.

"This is the first time I've had any sort of sustained struggles with my offense probably since high school," Lavarnway said. "Trying to keep a positive attitude and obviously hitters are going to hit. You go up there and it's only a matter of time."

Craig Breslow started the seventh inning with the Sox up 4-3. Dustin Ackley reached on a bloop single and Kyle Seager on a single to left with one out.

The Sox went to rookie righthander Junichi Tazawa in the critical situation and he delivered. Jesus Montero, who had been 3 for 3, lined to James Loney at first base. Justin Smoak then fouled out.

Tazawa has a 1.15 WHIP and has struck out 31 in 33 innings over 25 appearances. He is showing himself as a viable option for 2013.

"Tazawa was excellent," Valentine said. "I'll guarantee you I've been trying to get him in that high leverage, after the sixth inning situation, for weeks. We've had to use him early and haven't had the games that are set up. Hopefully we'll see more of that before the year's over."

Said Bailey: "That game was won in the seventh inning when a couple of guys got on and Taz came in an got out of it. He was the MVP out of the bullpen for sure."

Vicente Padilla walked pinch hitter John Jaso to start the eighth inning. Travon Robinson popped up a bunt. Pinch hitter Mike Carp grounded to first and Loney started a double play to end the inning.

Rookie shortstop Jose Iglesias made a nice play to dig out a low throw then made a strong throw back to Loney.

Bailey got two quick outs in the ninth before Eric Thames tripled to the gap in right. But Bailey calmly got Seager on a fly ball to Ross in right.

"It was nice to get back in that situation and I love that," Bailey said. "Obviously you don’t like guys on third as the tying run. But just that inning in general and the intensity that brings, you’ve got to live off that."

Final: Red Sox 4, Mariners 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff September 4, 2012 10:05 PM

Game over: Boston's long seven-game losing streak is finally over after their comeback win over the Mariners. They were down 3-0 at one point, but a three-run homer by Cody Ross and Ryan Lavarnway's solo shot, all in the sixth inning, was the difference. Jon Lester (9-11) pitched the first six, but the Sox got excellent relief from Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, Vicente Padilla and Andrew Bailey to close out the win. Bailey allowed a two-out triple to Eric Thames, but got Kyle Seager to fly out to right to end the game. The game was played before 12,754.

Top 9th: Red Sox 4, Mariners 3 Sox had a chance to add some wiggle room here but came up short. Ciriaco beat out an infield hit and went to second on Jose Iglesias's sacrifice bunt. After pinch-hitter Mauro Gomez's fly ball to right moved Ciriaco to third, the M's decided to walk Dustin Pedroia intentionally and pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury with finesse specialist lefty Oliver Perez on the mound. Ellsbury took three of the weakest swings you'll ever see and the M's escaped.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 4, Mariners 3 James Loney started a 3-6-3 double-play on Mike Carp's grounder. Jose Iglesais dug out a low throw at second and quickly threw to first to convert the twin-killing.

Top 8th: Red Sox 4, Mariners 3 Loney, Salty and Lavarnway got down in order.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 4, Mariners 3 Nice work by Junichi Tazawa escaping a jam created by Craig Breslow, who allowed two hits and left the game with one out. Tazawa retired the dangerous Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak.

Top 7th: Red Sox 4, Mariners 3 The Red Sox rallied again when Dustin Pedroia singled and Jacoby Ellsbury walked with two outs, but Cody Ross struck out.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 4, Mariners 3 In his final inning, Lester retired the bottom of the M's order. Lester went six innings, allowed three runs, nine hits, walked two and struck out four. He threw 111 pitches.

Top 6th: Red Sox 4, Mariners 3 The long ball returned to the Red Sox arsenal as Cody Ross banged a three-run homer, his 20th, to tie and Ryan Lavarnway homered off the left field scoreboard to take the lead. All four runs came against righty Blake Blevan. The Sox strung together back-to-back hits by Dustin Pedroia (extending his hitting streak to 15 games) and Jacoby Ellsbury. Ross now has 72 RBIs.

Bottom 5th: Mariners 3, Red Sox 0 Lester got out of a two-on, one out jam by striking out Justin Smoak and Miguel Olivo.

Top 5th: Mariners 3, Red Sox 0 Jose Iglesais broke a 0-for-17 with double over third baseman Kyle Seager's head with two outs. Per usual, he didn't score.

Bottom 4th: Mariners 3, Red Sox 0 Nice catch by Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a foul pop on which he reached into the first row of the stands to the left of home plate to retire Dustin Ackley for the final out. earlier in the inning, Saltalamacchia threw out Trayvon Robinson trying to to steal.

Top 4th: Mariners 3, Red Sox 0 James Loney stroked his second hit in as many at-bats, but the pathetic Boston offense couldn't get him in.

Bottom 3rd: Mariners 3, Red Sox 0 Boston's ace, Jon Lester, allowed back-to-back homers to Franklin Gutierrez and Kyle Seager. Jesus Montero followed with a single. Pedro Ciriaco started a nice 5-4-3 double-play to get out of the inning.

Top 3rd: Mariners 1, Red Sox 0 The Red Sox are retired in order by Blake Bevan.

Bottom 2nd: Mariners 1, Red Sox 0 Jon Lester got out of a situation where Jarrod Saltalamacchia committed a throwing error on an attempted steal and then Jacoby Ellsbury got off another weak throw in trying to make a play at third base. Lester retired Dustin Ackley anyway for the third out.

Top 2nd: Mariners 1, Red Sox 0 Typical Red Sox inning. A leadoff double by James Loney did not yield a run. Jarrod Saltalamacchia moved the runner to third on a ground out, but DH Ryan Lavarnway grounded out as the runner had to stay put, and Pedro Ciriaco flew out.

Bottom 1st: Mariners 1, Red Sox 0 The M's got on the board first (no surprise), but Red Sox fans should be excited Jon Lester allowed only one run. Dustin Ackley reached on an infield single, and after two outs and a stolen base, Jesus Montero singled to right field to drive in the run. Justin Smoak followed with a broken bat single to center, but Lester retired Miguel Olivo on a force play at second to end the M's threat.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Mariners 0 Scott Podsednik led off with a single and got to second on a stolen base with two outs, but Cody Ross grounded out to end the threat.

Red Sox acquire a backup catcher

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 4, 2012 08:18 PM

SEATTLE — The Red Sox purchased 30-year-old catcher Guillermo Quiroz from Seattle. He was with Triple A Tacoma.

He has played in 101 big league games, the last in 2010 with Seattle. Quiroz hit .278/.362/.483 in Triple A this season.

The Red Sox wanted some insurance on the roster for those days, like Tuesday night, when both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway are in the lineup.

Also:

• The oft-called up Clayton Mortensen was called up again. This time they probably will keep him around until the end of the year.

• LHP Franklin Morales played catch Tuesday. He is hoping to build back up to make another start or two. He is on the DL with a tired shoulder.

Game 137: Red Sox at Mariners

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 4, 2012 05:15 PM

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

RED SOX (62-74)
Podsednik LF
Pedroia 2B
Ellsbury CF
Ross RF
Loney 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Lavarnway DH
Ciriaco 3B
Iglesias SS
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (8-11, 5.01)

MARINERS (66-70)
Ackley 2B
Gutierrez CF
Seager 3B
Montero DH
Smoak 1B
Olivo C
Robinson LF
Wells RF
Ryan SS
Pitching: RHP Blake Beavan (9-8, 4.95)

Game time: 10:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Beavan: Pedroia 3-9. Ellsbury 2-8, Aviles 2-4, Salty 3-5, Ross 0-1, Loney 0-1.

Mariners vs. Lester: Figgins 7-25, Gutierrez 4-20, Olivo 2-12, Montero 3-9, Smoak 2-7, Ryan 2-6, Saunders 3-6. Thames 1-6, Ackley 1-4, Seager 0-4.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 52 of 233 (.223) on the road trip with seven extra-base hits. Players not named Dustin Pedroia are 41 of 208 (.197) with four extra-base hits.

Notes: Is tonight the night? Lester has pitched well in his last four starts (3-1, 3.21) and is 3-2, 3.48 in eight career starts against the Mariners. He also had a strong start against them on May 14 at Fenway (9 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K). ... But can the Sox get him a few runs? They have scored 16 runs in the last seven games, five in the last three. ... The Sox are 7-23 against the AL West. ... The seven-game losing streak is the longest since a nine gamer in 2001. ... Ellsbury (4 of 24) and Ross (4-23) have three runs and two RBIs in the losing streak. ... Beavan faced the Sox on May 15, allowing three runs over four innings.

Song of the Day: "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons.

Podcast: Fact-finding mission

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff September 4, 2012 03:31 PM

Tony Massarotti and Chad Finn discuss Bobby Valentine's status, what Dustin Pedroia means to the franchise, and stunning success of the Orioles in the AL East race.

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

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Observations from a losing streak

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 4, 2012 10:15 AM

SEATTLE — Just thinking . . .

• The Sox were 83-53 (.610) after 136 games last season and were a half-game in first place. They are 69-93 (.425) since. That doesn't seem possible.

• A lot of fans and plenty of people in the media have mentioned the idea of the Red Sox working a deal to bring John Farrell back as manager. Have they noticed that the Jays are 60-74 and in last place in the division?

Farrell was a very good pitching coach. But he's 141-155 as a manager in two seasons. What leads you to believe he will be better with the Red Sox?

• Jose Iglesias is 0 for 16 since being called up. In 18 plate appearances, he has hit two balls out of the infield. It's only 18 plate appearances, but whatever improvements he made at the plate in Triple A haven't translated to the majors.

• David Ortiz's value to the lineup seems even more apparent when he's not playing. The Sox are 45-43 when Big Papi starts, 17-31 without him. How about two years, $22 million?

• In Anaheim, Scott Boras was peddling the idea that Jacoby Ellsbury is a franchise player and should be paid as such. Based on 2011, he sure is. He hit .321/.376/.552 with 32 homers and 105 RBI over 732 plate appearances.

But in the other five years of his career, Ellsbury has hit .287/.338/.399 with 22 homers and 146 RBIs over 1,753 plate appearances. That's fairly good. But that's not a franchise player.

• Jarrod Saltalamacchia has played in only four of the last seven games, getting 14 at-bats. With the Red Sox getting a better look at Ryan Lavanway, Salty is getting some time on the bench. Salty is a hard player to evaluate. You love the 22 homers by a catcher and cringe at the .286 OBP. But Lavarnway hasn't really impressed, either.

• The only reason the Sox continue to give starts to Aaron Cook and Daisuke Matsuzaka is that there is nobody better in Triple A. That's on the scouting and player development people. The Sox need to spend some of that money saved in the Dodgers trade on scouts and coaches who are experts in pitching.

Any organization would benefit greatly by sinking $2 million into salaries to get the best scouts and coaches instead of throwing it away on some scrub who gets 15 starts.

• Haven't given up on Ryan Kalish, whose season can't really be evaluated given that he is less than a year removed from shoulder and neck surgery. But he needs to show up at spring training with the same athleticism he showed in 2010.

• The Yankees were six games up on Aug. 17. They are 5-10 since and now lead the Orioles by a game. The Yanks are 29-28 since July 1.

The last time the Sox and Yankees missed the playoffs in the same year? 1993. The Sox play the Yankees six more times, by the way.

• Speaking of which, the Sox close the season with three games in New York. Assuming Bobby Valentine is still the manager (and the Red Sox swear he will be), that will be a three-ring media circus.

• One good reason to keep Bobby V as manager at least through the end of the season is it doesn't reward those players and coaches who were disloyal throughout the season. Valentine made plenty of mistake along the way. But he didn't deserve being treated like an unwelcome house guest simply because he took a job that was offered to him.

In the real world, try treating your boss like that and see where it gets you.

• Alfredo Aceves doesn't have a screw loose, he has three or four. But the guy can pitch, let's not forget that. The question is whether loose screw syndrome becomes too much to take, which was the case for the Yankees when they released him.

• If you've never seen the Sox play on the road, you might be surprised to what degree fans in places like Oakland and Seattle love watching them lose. For some teams, this is like watching the neighborhood bully finally get his nose bloodied and they're loving it.

• Read in several places that John Henry "flew across the country" to Seattle on Monday to see his team. Guess that sounded better. He was actually on the West Coast all week and was in Vancouver before he went to Seattle.

• Pending free agents that seem interesting: Mike Napoli, Nick Swisher (as a first baseman?), Edwin Jackson.

• Pending free agents that should left alone: Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke.

Buchholz good, just not good enough

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 3, 2012 09:41 PM

SEATTLE — That Clay Buchholz pitched seven innings and allowed three earned runs against the Seattle Mariners on Monday afternoon seemed worthy of a celebration given how poorly the Red Sox have pitched in the last week.

But the strong effort was wasted in a 4-1 loss. Buchholz gave up six hits, walked one, and struck out eight, including the last four batters he faced. A poor fourth inning was his only problem.

“Clay did what he had to do,” Bobby Valentine said.

The inning started when Franklin Gutierrez reached on a broken-bat single. Buchholz then hit Kyle Seager before John Jaso singled to right to drive in a run.

Justin Smoak’s single to right scored Seager. Then the inning really fell apart.

When Eric Thames popped to center field, Jaso held at third base. Jacoby Ellsbury’s throw was short and to the right of the plate. Ryan Lavarnway was unable to block it and by the time Buchholz tracked the ball down near the Seattle dugout, Jaso scored without a play.

Ellsbury was given an error. But Lavarnway felt it was his fault for not moving up and handling the bad throw.

“I wish they had given me that error,” he said. “Jacoby was trying to get the guy out and I played it into an in-between hop and I need to go out and smother that ball. I need to keep it front of me. I need to go get it and be more aggressive.”

When Carlos Peguero grounded to shortstop for what looked like a possible double play, Jose Iglesias lost his grip on the ball. After looking at second, he threw late to first as another run scored.

“I was trying to be too quick,” he said. “A bad play.”

Brendan Ryan followed with a grounder into the shortstop hole. This time, Iglesias made a quick throw across his body to start a double play to end the inning. But the Sox had given up four runs.

Meanwhile:

• Dustin Pedroia’s double in the first inning was the 1,000th hit of his career. It also extended his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest active streak in the majors.

Pedroia is the 31st player to reach 1,000 hits with the Red Sox. The only other second baseman was Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr.

Pedroia got to 1,000 hits in 833 games. Only five Red Sox got there faster: Nomar Garciaparra (746 games), Wade Boggs (747), Johnny Pesky (774), Ted Williams (814) and Jim Rice (827).

• Ivan De Jesus Jr. made his Red Sox debut when he pinch hit in the seventh inning for Iglesias and grounded into a force.

Righthander Chris Carpenter, summoned from Triple A Pawtucket earlier in the day, also made his debut. He walked two batters in the eighth inning before Justin Smoak lined into a double play. The Red Sox have used 55 players this season, their most since 55 were used in 1996.

• Righthander Scott Atchison, who is trying to pitch with a torn elbow ligament, pitched a perfect inning for Pawtucket on Monday. He could join the Sox later this week.

• Ben Cherington said the organization remains hopeful that David Ortiz will play again this season. He is on the disabled list for a second time with a strained right Achilles tendon. Ortiz had a PRP injection last week to try and speed the healing process.

• Franklin Morales, on the DL with a shoulder strain, may start throwing tomorrow. He said he hopes to pitch in at least a few games before the end of the season.

• Iglesias was 0 for 2 and is hitless in 16 at-bats since being called up.

• Seattle is 30-19 since the All-Star break; the Sox are 19-31.

Final: Mariners 4, Red Sox 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 3, 2012 04:10 PM

Game over: Red Sox 4, Mariners 1: At least they were competitive today. But that's seven losses in a row, the longest skid since a nine-game losing streak from Aug. 25 - Sept. 4, 2001.

The Sox have been outscored 58-16 on the trip.

Tough loss for Buchholz (11-5). Vargas (14-9) was the winner. Pedroia was 2 for 3 with a walk.

Top of the 9th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 1: Pedroia walked and stole second in the eighth but Ross grounded back to the mound. Rich Hill and Chris Carpenter worked the bottom of the inning.

Top of the 8th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 1: Buchholz struck out the side. He has fanned eight. The errors have killed him in a game he otherwise has pitched very well in.

Vargas is done and Josh Kinney is in.

Top of the 7th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 1: Buchholz has held the line and, in fact, has a quality start. But the Red Sox haven't scored since the first inning,

Top of the 6th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 1: The Sox wasted a leadoff single by Aviles. Buchholz then retired the Mariners in order.

Top of the 5th: Mariners 4, Red Sox 1: So much for the good times.

Gutierrez singled before Buchholz hit Seager. Jaso then singled in a run, as did Smoak. When Thames popped to center, Jaso held at third. But Ellsbury made a wild throw to the first base side of the plate that Lavarnway let get past him and a run scored. Ellsbury was charged with the error.

Olivo singled. When Peguero followed with a grounder to first, Iglesias held onto the ball after looking at second and threw late to first. He got an error as another run scored.

Ryan grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Iglesias ranged deep into the hole and made a quick throw across his body to start it. Great play after an inning full of terrible ones by the Sox.

Top of of the 4th: Red Sox 1, Mariners 0: Buchholz has retired seven straight.

Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 1, Mariners 0: Buchholz blew away Smoak and Thames then got Olivo to pop to left. He looks pretty sharp so far.

Middle of the 2nd: Red Sox 1, Mariners 0: The Red Sox still have a lead. This is amazing.

OK, enough jokes. Kalish made a nice running catch in left to end the first inning. He then singled in the second but was stranded when Iggy struck out looking.

Middle of the 1st: Red Sox 1, Mariners 0: Pedrioa doubled to center with two outs and scored on a single by Ross. That's 1,000 career hits for Pedroia and a a 14-game hit streak. The Sox have their first lead since Tuesday.

Glory be.

Pre-game: Good afternoon from beautiful Safeco Field. It's a sunny day in Seattle as the Red Sox try to break their losing streak.

Hope you are enjoying Labor Day. We'll have updates all game long. Feel free to follow along and leave your comments.

Henry meets with Valentine; no change imminent

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 3, 2012 03:56 PM

SEATTLE — Bobby Valentine had breakfast with John Henry this morning. This afternoon, Valentine remains the manager of the Red Sox.

Henry did not hold a press conference. But he spoke to several reporters individually and made it clear that he is not here to fire Valentine. It appears for now that Valentine will remain on the job at least through the end of the season.

"For any of you who are sorry that I didn’t get fired, I’m sorry that you’re sorry. But I don’t think I did this morning, if that’s what you thought was going to happen," Valentine told reporters.

Valentine was asked what he and Henry talked about

“You know you don’t go there. What do you think, we talked about art? Liverpool? We talked about baseball and our team, obviously. Things that he’s concerned with are the things that I deal with.”

Was the meeting a good one?

“I always feel good after breakfast,” Valentine said. “It’s one of my favorite meals.”

Ben Cherington, who did meet with reporters, said the losing streak was a product of the roster and the team's desire to evaluate young players.

"It’s hard to watch. It’s a reflection on all of us when things aren’t going well. I think we knew when we made the trade that we weren’t helping our team in games the rest of this year. But, that said, its still been hard to watch," he said.

Cherington said that while wins and losses are the bottom line, it's hard to use the team's record to evaluate the team or Valentine. He is looking at how the team prepares for games, how the roster is utilized and other factors.

Cherington feels the losing streak is at least partly the result of the Aug. 25 trade that sent Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers. The Sox, he said, are showing enough effort. It’s talent they lack in the wake of several trades and myriad injuries.

“A lot of that is just simply because the team, the roster, is at a different point than it was earlier in the year [and] in past seasons and it’s different then it will be down the road,” he said.

“We’re trying to learn some things about guys and sometimes that doesn’t put us in a position to be as competitive as we’d like to [be] to win games. It’s hard to watch. It’s a reflection on all of us, mostly me. It’s the painful part of the process. We made a big deal because we like it would give us the best chance to build the next really good team. We’re in that painful part of the process where things aren’t going well right now.

"There are things that we need to accomplish the rest of the year we can accomplish. There are things we need to do to learn more about players, get players healthy and put guys in the best position so that we can be well-informed on them in the offseason. It is harder to do that when you’re staring at a loss at the end of every day. It’s harder for everyone to get the work done that needs to get done. But the only choice we have is to do it. To show up the next day and make sure the work gets done I believe that will happen.

Cherington said wins and losses are “certainly not” the best way to evaluate Valentine given the state of the roster.

Cherington was asked what criteria he would consider in that case.

“How well the team prepares,” he said. “The evaluation of players on the roster, how well we’re utilizing the roster. Those [are] things Bobby does well. And then there’s things that are probably more subtle, things that happen throughout the day throughout the course of the season with players on the field, off the field that are part of creating that team dynamic that we want."

Also: The Red Sox called up RHP Chris Carpenter to bolster their battered bullpen. ... Cherington said that the organization remains hopeful of David Ortiiz returning to action this season.

Game 136: Red Sox at Mariners

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 3, 2012 12:15 PM

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

RED SOX (62-73)
Ciriaco 3B
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Gomez 1B
Lavarnway C
Aviles DH
Kalish LF
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (11-4, 4.50)

MARINERS (65-70)
Ackley 2B
Gutierrez CF
Seager 3B
Jaso DH
Smoak 1B
Thames RF
Olivo C
Peguero LF
Ryan SS
Pitching: LHP Jason Vargas (13-9, 3.90)

Game time: 4:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Vargas: Pedroia 2-12, Ellsbury 2-7, Ross 3-7, Aviles 1-6, Loney 2-5, Salty 0-2.

Mariners vs. Buchholz: Figgins 3-12, Jaso 1-9, Gutierrez 0-2, Olivo 1-3, Saunders 0-2.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox are 21-36 since July 1. The Mariners are 31-24.

Notes: Buchholz has faced the Mariners only twice in his career and not since Sept. 15, 2010. He is 1-0, 2.92 against them. ... Vargas has faced the Sox twice this season, allowing 11 runs on 18 hits over 12.1 innings with four walks and eight strikeouts. ... The Sox have lost six straight and 11 of 14. They are 4-2 against Seattle this season, going 2-2 at Safeco Field in a series that ran from June 28 to July 1. ... The Sox have been outscored 54-15 on their road trip. ... Sox pitchers have a 7.08 ERA in the last 13 games. ... The Sox have lost 19 of their last 28 road games. ... Pedroia starts the day with a 13-game hit streak (20 of 54) and hits in 26 of his last 27 games.

Song of the Day: "Even The Losers" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Cherington: 'Nothing is up' with Valentine

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 3, 2012 10:40 AM

SEATTLE — Principal owner John Henry and general manager Ben Cherington have joined the Red Sox here. But both said their trips were arranged before the team's six-game losing streak.

"Nothing is up," Cherington said via email when asked if his visit involved the status of manager Bobby Valentine.

Cherington and the owners have said several times that Valentine will finish out the season and then be evaluated. They seem to be sticking to that plan.

There are 27 games remaining in the season.

Pitching matchups for the Mariners series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 3, 2012 10:00 AM

Monday: RHP Clay Buchholz (11-4, 4.50) vs. LHP Jason Vargas (13-9, 3.90), 4:10 p.m., NESN

Tuesday: LHP Jon Lester (8-11, 5.01) vs. RHP Blake Beavan (9-8, 4.95), 10:10 p.m., NESN

Wednesday: RHP Aaron Cook (3-8, 5.35) vs. RHP Kevin Millwood (4-12, 4.38), 10:10 p.m., NESN

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 3, 2012 09:45 AM

The losing streak reached six games as the Red Sox were beaten again in Oakland.

Nick Cafardo writes that these are perilous times for Bobby Valentine.

The notebook has Dustin Pedroia shining through the gloom.

As Red Sox sink, what of the manager?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 2, 2012 10:44 PM

OAKLAND, Calif — Red Sox team president Larry Lucchino said a few weeks ago that Bobby Valentine would “unequivocally” manage the team for the remainder of the season.

The strength of that promise is being tested to the greatest degree, as the Sox were uncompetitive again on Sunday in a 6-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics.

That’s six losses in a row, the longest skid of the season, and losses in 11 of the last 14 games. At 62-73, the Red Sox are 11 games under .500 for the first time since midway through the 1997 season.

“It’s unacceptable,” Cody Ross said.

But it’s reality. The Red Sox were outscored, 33-5, in the series against the Athletics

Valentine, who has been feisty after losses all season, was asked how all the losing has affected him.

“What difference does it make?” he said quietly. “Don’t mean to be rude.”

General manager Ben Cherington will join the team in Seattle for the final series of what so far has been a winless road trip. Team officials said that was his plan right along.

As of yet, there are no signs the Sox will return to Boston with a new manager. But that could change if there is not some flicker of life.

Red Sox pitchers have allowed 54 runs over 48 2/3 innings on the road trip. The offense has scored 15 runs while hitting .231. There have been only six extra-base hits and nine walks.

Valentine, in word and deed, seems resigned to his fate. He is not the sort to resign, but with Cherington in Seattle you have to wonder if some sort of move will be made.

The mood around the team is funereal at this point. The Sox aren't going to accomplish anything tangible before the end of the season. But Arnie Beyeler or Tim Bogar might at least get the team to play a respectable brand of ball.

Valentine bears only a small percentage of blame for what has happened, given the poorly constructed rotation, record-setting injuries, and other events that were out of his control. But it's safe to say that it's not working out for anybody.

Meanwhile:

• At least Dustin Pedroia is showing up.He was 3 for 4 with a double and has hit safely in 13 straight games at 20 for 54 (.370) with 8 extra-base hits and 8 RBIs. He also has hits in 26 of his last 27 games, hitting .372 in that stretch with 17 extra-base hits, 20 runs, and 16 RBIs.

“I’m impressed every day I’ve seen since the first day of the season,” Valentine said. “There’s nothing like him. He’s a very special player.”

Pedroia is 9 for 22 in six games on the road trip. The rest of the team is 37 for 177 (.209).

• Jacoby Ellsbury missed the game with a sore right wrist. He is 4 for 20 on the road trip.

• The Red Sox called up infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr. from Triple A Pawtucket to provide some insurance in the event that Pedroia leaves the team for the birth of his second child back in Boston. He is one of the prospects obtained from the Dodgers.

• Scott Atchison, who went on the disabled list July 14 with an elbow injury, will start a rehab assignment with Pawtucket Monday. The 36-year-old has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow but was advised by Dr. James Andrews in July to try rest and rehab instead of Tommy John Surgery.

• The Athletics won the season series, 8-1, and beat the Sox in the last eight games (by a combined 61-26). It’s their longest win streak against the Sox since the Philadelphia A’s won eight straight in 1932.

• Alfredo Aceves did not pitch Sunday. He had appeared in four of the previous five games, throwing 143 pitches over 7 2/3 innings. Valentine’s aim is to prepare Aceves for a start or two before the end of the season. But his use of late has seemed reckless.

• The Sox are 69-93 in their last 162 games.

Final: Athletics 6, Red Sox 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 2, 2012 04:00 PM

Game over: A's 6, Red Sox 2: That's six losses in a row for the first time since the 2011 team started the season 0-6.

The Sox have dropped 11 of 14 and are basically in shambles, getting outscored, 54-14, on this road trip so far.

Pedroia was 3 for 4 and is now hitting .288. He doubled in the ninth and scored on a sac fly by Gomez.

Anderson (3-0) was the winner and Matsuzaka (1-4, 6.15) the loser.

The crowd of 25,314 was chanting "sweep, sweep" as the game ended.

Top of the 9th: A's 6, Red Sox 1: The Sox have five hits, two by Pedroia. Melancon just threw a scoreless inning. The bullpen (4.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K) has done a nice job today.

Top of the 8th: A's 6, Red Sox 1: The Sox continue to get good work from the their bullpen as Tazawa struck out two. Pedroia also made a terrific play to rob Donaldson of a hit. He has played his heart out despite the mess around him.

Top of the 7th: A's 6, Red Sox 1: The Sox scored! The Sox scored!

With Ciriaco on first, Podsednik and Pedrioa singled to load the bases. Ross followed with a single to left. Ciriaco singled but when Podsednik tried to score, he was gunned down by Cespdes. The Cuban has shown a terrific arm in this series.

Breslow pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning.

Top of the 6th: A's 6, Red Sox 0: The Sox are getting two-hit by Anderson. They have been outscored, 33-3, in this series.

Top of the 5th: A's 6, Red Sox 0: Matsuzaka is done after 3 2/3 innings and 97 pitches. The A's have left the bases loaded twice. Miller fanned pinch hitter Chris Carter to avoid further damage. Like it matters given how inept the Red Sox lineup is.

Matsuzaka's line: 3 2/3 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 2 HR.

Top of the 4th: A's 5, Red Sox 0: Since the Sox are already on the West Coast, can they sent Dice-K back home now and save time?

Two walks, three singles, and a sac fly accounted for two more runs. He is already at 78 pitches, as well.

Top of the 3rd: A's 3, Red Sox 0: Dice-K allowed another rocket, this one from Stephen (brother of J.D.) Drew.

Top of the 2nd: A's 2 Red Sox 0: Pedroia extended his hit streak to 13 games with a two-out single in the first. Then Matsuzaka walked Crisp before allowing a bomb to center by Smith.

The Red Sox have trailed in every game on this trip.

Pregame: Good afternoon from sunny Oakland. The Red Sox have Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound as they try to snap a five-game losing streak.

Oakland has won eight straight. The Sox have been outscored, 48-13, on the road trip. It has to change eventually, right?

The left side of the diamond should be interesting today. Pedro Ciriaco is starting in left field for the first time. And the third baseman is Mauro Gomez, whose natural position is DH.

When asked about Gomez playing third, Bobby Valentine said the scouting report is that he'll make the plays in front of him. Well, that's comforting.

Apparently the comments actually work. Click on the "comments" link on top of the post. I apologize for the tech issues lately. They're installing a new system.

Pre-game notes from Oakland

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 2, 2012 01:50 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. — A few pre-game tidbits from Oakland Coliseum . . .

• The Sox have called up infielder Ivan DeJesus from Pawtucket. With Dustin Pedroia's wife close to having their second baby, the second baseman could be called away for a few days before the road trip is over.

DeJesus is one of the prospects obtained from the Dodgers in The Trade. He can play second and shortstop.

• Yes, Pedro Ciriaco is starting in left field. No, he has never started in the outfield before.

• Ryan Kalish is having problems with his shoulder, which explains why he hasn't been playing.

• Jacoby Ellsbury is out of the lineup with a sore right wrist.

• RHP Scott Atchison is scheduled to pitch for Pawtucket on Monday.

Game 135: Red Sox at Athletics

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 2, 2012 12:15 PM

Here is a preview of the game:

RED SOX (62-72)
Ciriaco LF
Podsednik CF
Pedroia 2B
Ross RF
Gomez 3B
Lavarnway C
Aviles DH
Loney 1B
Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-3, 5.10)

ATHLETICS (75-57)
Crisp CF
Smith DH
Reddick RF
Cespedes LF
Moss 1B
Donaldson 3B
Drew SS
Norris C
Pennington 2B
Pitching: LHP Brett Anderson (2-0. 0.64)

Game time: 4:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Anderson: Salty 3-15, Pedroia 2-12, Ellsbury 0-11, Podsednik 3-6, Aviles 1-3, Kalish 2-3, Ross 0-1.

Athletics vs. Matsuzaka: Gomes 2-13, Pennington 1-5, Rosales 1-6, Smith 3-3, Crisp 0-4, Drew 1-3, Cespedes 0-1, Moss 1-1, Norris 0-0 (BB), Reddick 1-q.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 21-35 since July 1.

Notes: The Sox have lost five straight and 10 of 13. They have been outscored 27-3 in this series and have lost seven straight against Oakland this season. ... The A's have won eight straight. ... The Sox are 15 games out of first place for the first time since Sept. 29, 2001. ... The Sox are 69-92 in their last 161 games. ... Matsuzaka is 4-2, 4.73 in eight career starts against Oakland. He faced them July 2 and didn't get an out in the second inning, giving up five runs on four hits and two walks. He went on the DL the next day with a strained trapezius muscle. ... Anderson has pitched brilliantly in two starts since coming off the DL on Aug. 21 following a season-long rehab of Tommy John surgery. He is 4-2, 2.86 against the Red Sox in his career. ... Sox pitchers have a 7.11 ERA in their last 12 games. ... Pedroia takes a 12-game hit streak into the game.

Song of the Day: "Hate & War" by The Clash

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 2, 2012 10:45 AM

The Red Sox lost again in a game that featured a mid-game dispute between Alfredo Aceves and Dustin Pedroia.

Nick Cafardo writes that Cody Ross still loves playing for the Sox.

The notebook has Josh Reddick at the center of Oakland's resurgence.

In the Sunday Baseball Notes, Nick looks at the challenges for the Red Sox and Phillies. (Subscription only).

Another loss for the bickering Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 2, 2012 01:02 AM

OAKLAND, Calif. — What the 2012 Red Sox have become was perfectly illustrated in the fourth inning on Saturday night when Jonny Gomes of the Oakland Athletics hit a shallow foul popup along the first base line.

Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a play, but suddenly pitcher Alfredo Aceves barged in to try and make the catch and dropped the ball.

After the inning, second baseman Dustin Pedroia confronted Aceves in the dugout and their conversation became heated. Manager Bobby Valentine and third base coach Jerry Royster had to calm the situation down.

When Valentine tried to speak with Aceves, the pitcher waved him off.

The error did not cost the Red Sox a run in a game they lost, 7-1. But it demonstrated just how sloppy and divided the team has become as this lost season winds down.

Valentine said the discussion between Aceves and Pedroia was about where the second baseman was positioned behind the pitcher, not the botched popup. During the inning, Aceves seemed to catch Pedroia by surprise when he tried two pickoff throws to second base.

Pedroia at one point was several feet behind the bag as this video shows.

“It’s Alfredo being Alfredo and Dustin being a baseball player,” Valentine said.

Pedroia wasn’t interested in talking about it.

“That’s none of your guys’ business,” he said. “It’s between teammates.”

Aceves claimed he was not upset with Pedroia.

“It was about our team. It’s all good,” said the pitcher, who on Aug. 25 was suspended for three games for conduct detrimental to the team. “It’s something we have to communicate about that’s between us.”

The Sox have lost five straight and 10 of their last 13 games. They have been outscored, 48-13, on the first five games of their road trip. At 62-72, they are a season-worse 10 games under .500

“Yeah,” Pedroia said when asked if the Red Sox had reached the point of embarrassment.

That about sums it up.

Final: Athletics 7, Red Sox 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 1, 2012 09:03 PM

Game over: A's 7, Red Sox 1: The Sox have lost five straight and 10 of their last 13 games. They have been outscored 48-13 on the first five games of their road trip.

The Athletics have won eight straight for the first time since 2006. Rookie righthander A.J. Griffin came off the disabled list and held the Sox to one run on three hits over seven innings. He had a perfect game into the fifth inning.

Griffin (4-0) struck out five without a walk. He has faced the Sox twice this season and given up three runs over 13 innings.

Top of the 9th: A's 7, Red Sox 1: Rich Hill, fresh off the DL, whiffed two. Then Andrew Bailey returned to the Oakland mound as a member of the Sox and fanned Cespedes.

14 strikeouts by Sox pitchers tonight. OK, seven runs on 11 hits, too. Trying to stay positive.

Middle of the 8th: A's 7, Red Sox 1: Carter’s home run off Daniel Bard in the seventh inning extended Oakland’s lead to 7-1. Bard allowed a single by Pennington then bounced back to strike out Norris and Brandon Hicks.

Rich Hill now coming in Griffin held the Sox to one run on three hits over seven innings. He struck out five without a walk. He has faced the Sox twice this season and given up three runs over 13 innings.

Top of the 7th: A's 6, Red Sox 1: Ciriaco reached on a fielder's choice and scored on a single to left by Pedroia, who extended his hit streak to 12 games. Ciriaco looked out at the plate in a great throw by Cespedes.

Top of the 6th: A's 6, Red Sox 0: Pennington singled, stole second and scored on a single by Norris. Sox have been outscored 47-12 on this trip so far.

Middle of the 5th: A's 5, Red Sox 0: Salty broke up the perfect game with a bunt single against the shift. Crowd didn't like it. That's a little bush depending on your view.

Top of the 5th: A's 5, Red Sox 0: The Sox are getting perfect gamed and Griffin has thrown only 46 pitches. Aceves started the fourth inning and left two runners on.

Aceves had a brutal error when he tried to catch a foul pop and dropped the ball after pushing Salty out of the way.

After the inning, second baseman Dustin Pedroia confronted Aceves in the dugout and their conversation became heated. Third base coach Jerry Royster had to step between them.

Top of the 4th: A's 5, Red Sox 0: Here we go again. Crisp led off with a single and was thrown out at the plate when he tried to score on a double by Gomes. With two outs, Cespedes singled in Gomes.

Cespedes then stole second and third before Carter walked. Inge followed with a blast over the head in Ross in right. He caught up to the ball and tried to make a backhanded catch over his shoulder. The ball hit his glove and bounced away for a two-run double. Ross banged his right shoulder hard into the wall but stayed in the game.

Norris followed with an RBI single.

Top of the 3rd: A's 1, Red Sox 0: The Sox haven't put anybody on base yet. Doubront worked around an E-5 and a walk in the second.

Bottom of the 2nd: A's 1, Red Sox 0: I am told by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that Coco Crisp has some sort of postgame victory dance related to a song from "Weekend at Bernie's" and that's why Terry Kiser ("Bernie") threw out the first pitch tonight.

Hey, at least they're having fun.

Top of the 2nd: A's 1, Red Sox 0: Coco Crisp had a leadoff homer. A's players who were once Red Sox now have 10 homers against the Sox this season.

Middle of the 1st: Red Sox 0, A's 0: Easy inning for Griffin, who retired the Sox in order on 12 pitches.

Pre-game: Good evening from Oakland Coliseum, where it's actually "Weekend at Bernie's" Day. Yes, that movie came out in 1989.

The Sox have lost six straight against the Athletics for the first time since 1969. It'll be Felix Doubront against rookie A.J. Griffin.

Follow along with the updates. It seems like the comments still aren't working. Hopefully it will be fixed soon.

Bobby Valentine: 'We’re going to win a lot of games this last month'

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 1, 2012 07:27 PM

OAKLAND, Calif — The Sox are on a pace to lose 86 games, which hasn’t happened since 1992. Bobby Valentine was asked what his expectations were for the final month of the season.

“Good play,” he said. “Hoping for guys to keep building the individual statistics and hope that they collectively build the team statistics. I think we’re going to win a lot of games this last month.”

Valentine was asked why he believes that, given the way the team has played to date.

“Why shouldn’t I think that?” he said. “I’m the manager of the team and we get paid to play and win and we’re going to win.”

Meanwhile:

• Scott Podsednik is hitting third. That seemed a little unusual, so Valentine was asked about it.

“Just a mistake,” Valentine said. “Is that what it says on the lineup? ... Just switch it up. Who knows, maybe it will look good? Haven’t seen it."

Nobody has ever seen it. In 902 previous career starts, Podsednik has never hit third before.

• Red Sox starters have a 5.00 ERA, one of the worst in baseball. But Valentine said he isn’t planning on any changes to the rotation.

"No," he said. "Have any suggestions?"

Aaron Cook, who gave up six runs in 2.2 innings on Friday, remains scheduled to face the Mariners on Wednesday. Cook is is 1-7 with a 5.67 ERA in his last 10 starts.

• Dustin Pedroia has 995 hits. He would be the 31st player in Sox history to reach 1,000. … Saturday is the five-year anniversary of Clay Buchholz’s no-hitter against Baltimore. … The Sox were 9-20 in August despite leading the majors with 290 hits and ranking fourth in the American League with 139 runs. Their pitchers had a 5.54 ERA in August. That may have had something to do with it.

Game 134: Red Sox at Athletics

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 1, 2012 05:15 PM

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

RED SOX (62-71)
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Podsednik LF
Ross RF
Loney 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Aviles SS
Lavarnway DH
Ciriaco 3B
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (10-6, 4.79)

ATHLETICS (74-57)
Crisp CF
Gomes DH
Reddick RF
Cespedes LF
Carter 1B
Inge 3B
Norris C
Hicks SS
Rosales 2B
Pitching: RHP A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.42)

Game time: 9:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI

Red Sox vs. Griffin: Gomes 1-3, Kalish 0-3, Salty 1-3, Aviles 0-2, Ross 0-2.

Athletics vs. Doubront: Cespedes 1-2, Gomes 0-2, Pennington 1-2, Reddick 0-1.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 7-20 against teams from the AL West this season. They have been outscored 157-105.

Notes: The Sox have lost four straight and nine of 12. They are 21-34 since July 1. ... Oakland has won seven straight. The A's are 6-1 against the Sox this season, winning six in a row. They haven't done that since 1969. ... Doubront is 0-2, 7.01 in his last five starts. ... Griffin is coming off the DL to make the start. He last pitched Aug. 4. The 24-year-old rookie faced the Sox on July 4 and allowed two runs on four hits over six innings. ... Pedroia has hits safely in 11 straight and 24 of 25. ... Loney has hit safely in all six games he has played for the Sox. ... Four former Red Sox — Reddick, Crisp, Kottaras and Moss — are 27-69 (.391) with five doubles, a triple, nine homers and 27 RBIs for the Athletics against the Red Sox in this season. ... Sox starters are 45-53, 5.00. ... The Sox have been outscored 41-12 on the road trip so far.

Song of the Day: "Something Is Not Right With Me" by Cold War Kids.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 1, 2012 10:01 AM

Red Sox chairman Tom Werner discussed the state of team and other topics in an exclusive interview with the Globe.

The Sox were embarrassed 20-2 by Oakland on Friday night.

Nick Cafardo writes that only evaluation matters now.

The notebook has Rich Hill making his latest comeback.

More humiliation for the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff September 1, 2012 01:53 AM

OAKLAND, Calif — The Red Sox flipped a switch when they traded Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers. Their record ceased to become important at at that point.

But not being competitive? That is never acceptable.

Tonight's 20-2 humiliation at the hands of the Athletics probably closed the door on the idea of Bobby Valentine returning next season. Had the Sox showed some life after the trade, you might have been able to buy into the idea of Valentine being a good manager for a team not built around high-priced stars.

Instead the Sox are 2-4 since the trade and are in complete "get this over with" mode. Overall, they have dropped 9 of 12. At 62-71, the Sox are on a pace to lose 86 games. That hasn't happened since 1992.

These stats will make you cringe:

• Tonight was the worst loss for the Sox since the Yankees beat them, 22-1, on June 19, 2000.

• The Sox had not allowed 20 runs since Aug. 21, 2009, also against the Yankees.

• Former Red Sox players Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss and George Kottaras combined to go 9 of 15 with four homers and 13 RBIs.

"That was a blast. “Everyone is running to the bat rack and ready to bat and you can’t wait to get in the batters’ box," Reddick told the Oakland writers.

• The Sox are 0-4 on their road trip and have allowed 41 runs.

• The Sox finished August 9-20. They were actually 53-51 on July 31 and 3.5 games out in the wild card.

• The Sox are 1-6 against Oakland this season. One team started the season with a payroll of $175 million and the other at $52 million.

• Aaron Cook (3-8, 5.35) was done after 37 pitches. Of the eight outs he recorded, four were hard-hit fly balls.

• The Sox hadn't allowed nine runs in an inning since 2006.

• The Sox have allowed 13-plus runs six times this season and 10-plus runs 11 times.

• The Sox have a 7.04 ERA in 11 games since they fired pitching coach Bob McClure and replaced him with Randy Niemann. It's not Niemann's fault, he's basically the guy who got shoved in front of a train rolling downhill.

• The Sox are 69-91 since last Sept. 1. Happy anniversary.

• But take comfort in this, perhaps: The Dodgers are 2-5 since The Trade. Adrian Gonzalez is 6 of 29 (.207) and Josh Beckett goes on Saturday.

If you stayed up late, thanks for reading.

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