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Lester trending down after strong start

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 31, 2013 11:58 PM




NEW YORK — Should there be concern about Jon Lester after a 4-1 loss against the Yankees Friday night?

He allowed four runs on six hits with four walks and a hit batter over 6 1/3 innings. By the time the lefthander was done, he had thrown only 67 of 116 pitches for strikes.

It was not necessarily a poor effort for Lester, particularly on the road against a team like the Yankees. They had lost five straight (four against the Mets) and the wolves were at the door. But it was part of a downward trend.

Lester was 6-0 with a 2.71 earned run average in his first nine starts but 0-2 with a 6.05 ERA in the three starts since.

John Farrell thought Lester did a better job of locating his pitches against the Yankees but conceded, “the numbers are what they are.”

Lester said it’s a matter of getting the ball down in the strike zone. Several of the hits he allowed were on pitches that stayed high.

“I feel at times I’ve thrown the ball really well, then at times the ball elevates on me a little bit for whatever reason,” Lester said. “Maybe trying too hard or trying to make a perfect pitch.”

Also:

• When Daniel Nava was called out on strikes in the eighth inning, he stayed at the plate and demonstrably argued with umpire Lance Barksdale. Farrell had to intercede or Nava might have been ejected for the first time in his career.

The second pitch that was called a strike by Barksdale was high and well outside the strike zone based on replays.

“I’ve never done that,” Nava said. “I can’t comment because I’ll get in trouble. But [Barksdale] cannot comment and that’s fine. There were multiple pitches. It’s unfortunate that was the case but that’s what he called.”

• Jose Iglesias was 2 for 3 with a double. He is 20 of 46 (.435) in 14 games this season. The infielder has hit safely in 13 games and has had multiple hits in all four games he has played against the Yankees.

This is the same player who hit .202 in 33 games for Triple A Pawtucket after being optioned early in the season.

“He’s been confident both times he’s been with us this year. He believes in himself and feels he can excel at this level,” Farrell said. “He’s doing that. He’s doing a very good job defensively and at the plate for us.”

Iglesias has been playing third base with Will Middlebrooks on the disabled list. Middlebrooks is expected to return next Saturday, the day he is eligible. Iglesias is making a good case to remain on the roster as a utility player in place of Pedro Ciriaco.

• Clay Buchholz, who faces the Yankees on Sunday night, will be pitching on 10 days of rest. But he doesn’t expect the long break to adversely affect him.

“Outside of three days, I’ve been throwing the whole time,” said Buchholz, who had a start skipped because of tightness in the AC joint in the front of his shoulder. “I actually feel pretty good with what I’ve been throwing.”

• Shane Victorino and Middlebrooks are scheduled to take batting practice on the field on Saturday and remain on track to be activated from the disabled list when they are eligible. For Victorino, that would be Wednesday.

• The Red Sox traded Triple A righthander Graham Godfrey to the Pirates for cash considerations. Godfrey was 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 14 games for Pawtucket, four of them starts. Godfrey appeared in 10 games for Oakland from 2011-12. The Red Sox obtained him in November.

• The Sox were 15-15 in May after an 18-8 April.

• Model Kate Upton, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and comedian Garry Shandling ventured out in the hot weather to catch the game.

Final: Yankees 4, Red Sox 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 31, 2013 07:32 PM

Game over Dustin Pedroia singled up the middle against Mariano Rivera, his first career hit off the iconic reliever. David Ortiz also singled passed first base, but with one out, Rivera struck out Mike Napoli and then got Stephen Drew to roll out to Rivera for the final out. The game was played in 2:53 before 45,141.

Bottom 8th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 1 - Mortensen has his slide ball working in a 1-2-3 inning. Mariano comes on for the Yanks.

Top 8th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 1 - Red Sox down 1-2-3. Poor Daniel Nava replacing Jacoby Ellsbury in the leadoff spot went 0-for-4, three strikeouts and a GIDP.

Bottom 7th: Yankees 4, Red Sox 1- Yankees tack on on Brett Gardner's single scoring Ichiro. Chris Stewart also singled in the inning, an infield nubber toward third. Andrew Miller avoids further damage with a strikeout of Cano.

Top 7th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 1 - Mike Napoli doubled to right scoring Dustin Pedroia, who led off the inning with a double. Sabathia settled back down striking out Drew and gettign Ross to ground out to second base.

Bottom 6th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 0 - The Yankees managed a walk to Robinson Cano, but Lester secured three straight outs. We'll see if he comes back out for the 7th, well over 100 pitches.

Top 6th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 0 - Jonny Gomes knocked into a double-play to take Boston out of an inning.

Bottom 5th: Yankees 3, Red Sox 0 - The Yankees tacked on an additional run when Adams was hit with a pitch, Chris Stewart walked and the run scored with a single by Youkilis. Nava gunned Youkilis down at second.

Top 5th: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0 - Sabathia struck out Drew, Ross and Bradley.

Bottom 4th: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0 - Lester got three ground ball outs by Teixeira, Wells, Nix.

Top 4th: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0 - So far looks like Sabathia has fully recovered from his last outing vs. Tampa Bay when he allowed seven runs on right hits over seven innings. The Red Sox went down in order and finished it off with a Napoli strikeout.

Bottom 3rd: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0 - An easy inning for Lester who struck out Robinson Cano looking to end the frame.

Top 3rd: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0 - Jose Iglesias continued his Yankee-killing ways with a single, but he was part of 5-4-3 double-play by Daniel Nava. Iglesias seemd to roll his ankle running to first on his basehit, but was still in the game.

Bottom 2nd: Yankees 2, Red Sox 0 - Walks will kill you. Lester walked leadoff man Mark Teixeira in his first at-bat of 2013. Vernon wells doubled over centerfielder Jackie Bradley's head, sending Tex to third. Jayson Nix singled in Tex. After Dave Adams struck out, Ichiro Suzuki stroked a single to left, scoring Wells before Lester got Chris Stewart to knock into a double-play.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 - David Ross provided a two-out double down the left field line, but Jackie Bradley Jr.couldn't drive in the run.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 - Jon Lester walked leadoff man Brett Gardner, but then a series of events went Boston's way. Gardner was caught stealing as Kevin Youkilis was striking out on a 3-2 pitch. Robinson Cano grounded out to 3rd.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Yankees 0 - CC Sabathia struck out the first two batters he faced - Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes - before Dustin Pedroia laced a ground-rule double to right. But David Ortiz flew out to end the threat.

Ask Nick: Who is the Red Sox' shortstop of the future?

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff May 31, 2013 06:50 PM

Have a
question?

100x150asknickmugshot.jpg Submit your question here to be considered for the next edition of Ask Nick.
Writing to you after a 9-2 win over the Phillies as we head to New York.

The bag this week is a Jose Iglesias lovefest. Funny how it works. I was getting lit up by a few for touting him. Now lots of people have joined the Iglesias force.

Of course Iglesias is the best shortstop on the Red Sox. Who wouldn’t know that? He’s doing a good job at third base as well. He’s very athletic. I’m sure he would be an excellent third baseman over time, but he doesn’t have the offensive power to play there full-time.

He definitely adds an energy to the team, so when Will Middlebrooks returns, the Red Sox will either make Iglesias a utility player and be rid of Pedro Ciriaco or send him back to Pawtucket so he can play every day.

Many of you are wondering about trades. Not sure the Red Sox feel they need to improve any aspect of their team at this point. They would love Cliff Lee, but I doubt he’s going to be available.

Here are your questions:

I have anxiety over the shortstop of the future. I'm excited about everyone: Iglesias, Bogaerts, and Marrero, but something has to give. I know the safe answer is to say these things sort themselves out and injuries or performance will make the decision. What's your take?
Kevin, Glendale, Ariz.

I’m thinking Bogaerts will be playing a different position. He can be a third baseman, center fielder, corner outfielder. Not sure if Jose Iglesias is the shortstop of the future, but he’s the best defensive shortstop I’ve seen in years.

Why are the Red Sox players wearing a black band on their uniform sleeve?
Mary, Bangor, Maine

For Boston Marathon bombing victims.

We faithfully watch the Sox on NESN and are worried about Jerry Remy. He has been missing for the last several games. Do you know if he is OK?
Bill, Kennebunk, Maine

All we know is what they’re saying at NESN – allergies.

Two months into the season, Gomes is still really struggling. I am confused why the Sox haven't replaced him, especially considering he is there to hit lefty pitching. Can't they find somebody better?
Dave, New York City

Right now, they’re content with his ability to come up with the big hit. He’s not had a good year, but he’s contributing as a leader. Homered on Thursday vs. Philly.

How can Salty still be the catcher with his awful rate on throwing out runners? Not to mention the errors are poorly thrown balls.
Ray, Lancaster, Pa.

He’s been much better lately. He’s having a good offensive season.

FULL ENTRY

Ellsbury out with groin strain

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 31, 2013 05:09 PM

NEW YORK — Jacoby Ellsbury stole second base with two outs in the eighth inning Thursday night and the Red Sox leading the Philadelphia Phillies by five runs. It gave him five steals in the game, a new team record. But it also left him with an injury.

Ellsbury was scratched from Friday night's lineup with tightness in his left groin, the result of the final steal.

"It tightened up on me," he said. "I just want to play it safe today."

Ellsbury said he felt pain when he broke for second base. He stole the base easily and then went to third when the throw from Phillies catcher Erik Kratz went into center field.

Ellsbury was walking cautiously in the clubhouse. He said he wasn't sure about playing Saturday.

"We'll go day-to-day, we'll see how it is tomorrow," he said. "I got in here early and got all the treatment and everything. It stayed tight. I want to do the right thing so it doesn't get worse."

Jackie Bradley Jr. will replace Ellsbury in center field in tonight's series opener against the Yankees. Daniel Nava will take Ellsbury's spot as the leadoff hitter.

Manager John Farrell said Bradley would play center field for as long as Ellsbury is out.

"We're expecting this to be a day-to-day and hopefully not too long of a situation," Farrell said. "We'll treat it accordingly."

Ellsbury is 16 of 40 (.400) in his last 10 games with eight walks.

"I always want to be in there, especially a game like this," said Ellsbury. "It's always fun to play. Take care of it and shouldn't be a problem."

Game 56: Red Sox at Yankees

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 31, 2013 03:00 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (33-22)
Nava LF
Gomes RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Drew SS
Ross C
Bradley Jr CF
Iglesias 3B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (6-1, 3.34).

YANKEES (30-23)
Gardner CF
Youkilis DH
Cano 2B
Teixeira 1B
Wells LF
Nix SS
Adams 3B
Suzuki RF
Stewart C
Pitching: LHP CC Sabathia (4-4, 3.96).

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, YES, MLB Network / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Sabathia: Ortiz 13-52, Pedroia 13-46, Ellsbury 7-31, Gomes 6-26, Napoli 5-25, Salty 4-16, Ross 4-13, Ciriaco 2-7, Nava 2-7, Carp 0-5, Iglesias 2-6, Drew 2-3, Bradley 0-1.

Yankees vs. Lester: Cano 14-60, Teixeira 12-48, Suzuki 12-38, Overbay 9-25, Nix 7-23, Hafner 3-14, Boesch 3-13, Gardner 2-9, Youkilis 2-5, Stewart 1-2.

Stat of the Day: Sabathia is 2-5 with a 6.12 earned run average in eight starts against the Red Sox since the start of 2011 season. He is 8-10, 4.33 in 23 career starts against the Sox.

Notes: Ellsbury was in the original lineup the Red Sox announed. That was then changed minutes later. No reason has been given yet for his absence. ... The Red Sox have a two-game lead in the division on the Yankees as the rivals meet for their second series this season. The Sox took two of three from April 1-4 in the Bronx. ... The Yankees have lost five straight, including a four-game Subway Series sweep at the hands of the Mets. ... The Sox are 11-6 in a stretch of 20 games in 20 days that ends on Sunday. ... Lester is 10-4, 4.08 in 22 career starts against the Yankees, 7-2, 4.14 in 12 starts at the latest version of Yankee Stadium. Lester faced the Yankees on Opening Day and allowed two runs on five hits over five innings. ... Ellsbury is 16 of 40 (.400) in his last 10 games with eight walks. ... Pedroia has hit safely in 20 of the last 22 games at 32 of 86 (.372). Pedroia has 13 RBIs in the last 13 games. ... Iglesias is 9 of 23 since getting called back up. ... The Sox are 13-8 against the AL East.

Song of the Day: "Girls In their Summer Clothes" by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Pitching matchups for the Yankees series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 31, 2013 11:32 AM

Friday: LHP Jon Lester (6-1, 3.34) vs. LHP CC Sabathia (4-4, 3.96), 7:05 p.m., NESN, YES, MLB Network.

Saturday: LHP Felix Doubront (3-2, 5.29) vs. RHP Phil Hughes (2-3, 4.97), 7:15 p.m., FOX.

Sunday: RHP Clay Buchholz (7-0, 1.73) vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda (6-3, 2.39), 8 p.m., ESPN.

Man of steal: Ellsbury swipes team-record five bases

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 31, 2013 12:15 AM

PHILADELPHIA — Jacoby Ellsbury left Citizens Bank Ballpark tonight with an unexpected souvenir — second base.

The Red Sox center fielder stole a team-record five bases in a 9-2 victory against the Phillies. When he returned to the clubhouse, he learned the Phillies sent over a base as a memento.

“It’s pretty neat. I wasn’t expecting that,” Ellsbury said. “I’ll put it in the house.”

What a turnaround. If Shane Victorino had been healthy 10 days ago, John Farrell might have hit him leadoff and dropped Ellsbury down. Ellsbury was struggling to get on base and had become a detriment to the offense. But without a suitable replacement, Ellsbury remained where he was.

“There was a lot of talk of getting him out of the leadoff spot,” Farrell said. “But felt like we started to see some signs of it coming. We stayed with him.”

Ellsbury had three hits and a walk on Thursday. The five steals were the most for a major league player since Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford stole six bases against — you guessed it — the Red Sox on May 3, 2009.

Ellsbury did not score after any of his steals. But the runs will pile up if he continues to get on base.

“It brings our offense to another level, that speed factor,” Dustin Pedroia said. “He can run at will. It’s a pretty big part of our offense when he’s playing like that.”

The 33-22 Sox split the four-game home-and-home interleague series against the Phillies. With the Yankees getting swept in four games by the Mets, the Sox take a two-game lead into the Bronx on Friday and the start of a three-game series against their rivals.

Ellsbury was 0 for 4 against the White Sox on May 20, grounding to second base four times. That dropped his batting average to .241 and his on-base percentage to .303.

He is 16 of 40 (.400) since with eight walks, six runs scored, and eight stolen bases. Ellsbury is now hitting .268 with a .337 OBP.

“The biggest thing is my work ethic, how much time I put,” Ellsbury said. “With that builds confidence. I knew it was just a matter of time before hits start falling.”

Ellsbury’s 21 stolen bases (on 23 attempts) lead the majors.

Ellsbury was so unstoppable against Phillies catcher Erik Kratz that he even used his speed to gain vengeance.

Teammate Jonny Gomes homered off Philadelphia reliever Jeremy Horst in the sixth inning and the next pitch was a fastball that drilled Ellsbury in the back. He stole second and third, glancing back at the pitcher each time.

“Definitely lit a fire a little bit,” Ellsbury said. “I was going to try to get to third as quick as possible.”

In case you were wondering, bases are left dirty when they’re framed and hung on a wall.

“Looks better,” Ellsbury said.

Also:

• The Red Sox had 14 hits off four Philadelphia pitchers. Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled twice and drove in three runs. Jose Iglesias was 2 for 5 with an RBI double. He is 9 of 23 since getting recalled from Triple A Pawtucket.

• Franklin Morales allowed two runs over five innings in his first appearance for the Sox since Aug. 22. Morales have up four hits with two walks and two strikeouts. He has allowed three earned runs in 14.1 career innings against the Phillies, all at Citizens Bank Park.

• David Ortiz had a towering solo home run in the seventh inning. Since 2005, Ortiz has hit 20 home runs in 40 games and 171 at-bats as a first baseman. Ortiz had an uneventful night at first base, too.

"Nobody hit the ball to me. I was out there saying to myself, 'Come on (expletives), give me a shot. I want to make a play,' " Ortiz said.

Final: Red Sox 9, Phillies 2

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 30, 2013 07:17 PM

Game over: Red Sox 9, Phillies 2 The Red Sox pounded 14 hits, Jonny Gomes and David Ortiz homered, Jacoby Ellsbury stole a team-record five bases and Jarrod Saltalmacchia drove in three runs as the Red Sox snapped a two-game losing streak.

The Red Sox will go into New York for a three-game series with a two-game lead over the slumping Yankees who have lost five straight. The game was played in 3:15 before 40,083 at Citizens Bank Park.

Top 9th: Red Sox 9, Phillies 2 - Jackie Bradley, a defensive replacement, comes up and snaps an 0-for-21 with a single. He eventually scored on Stephen Drew's groundout as he's pushed around the bases with a double by Mike Napoli, who came on to replace Ortiz defensively. Back to-back doubles by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jose Iglesias produced two more runs.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 6, Phillies 2 - There was a Cesar Hernandez base hit, but the Phillies are asleep tonight.

Top 8th: Red Sox 6, Phils 2 - Jacoby Ellsbury singled and stole his fifth base, advanced to third on an error by the catcher on the throw. The five steals (which give him 21) are a club record.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 6, Phillies 2 - Erik Kratz hit with a pitch by Clayton Mortensen. No action by the umpire who issued a warning to both teams after Jacoby Ellsbury was hit in the back with a pitch back in the sixth.

Top 7th: Red Sox 6, Phillies 2 - David Ortiz, playing first base tonight, homered to right. Ortiz has now hit 20 homers in 171 at-bats as a first baseman.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 5, Phillies 2 - Craig Breslow comes on to pitch a rocking chair inning.

Top 6th: Red Sox 5, Phillies 2 - Jonny Gomes goes deep to give Boston a 3-run cushion.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 4, Phillies 2 - Morales gets a 1-2-3 inning in his final inning. He threw 79 pitches, allowed two runs, two walks, four hits with two strikeouts.

Top 5th: Red Sox 4, Phillies 2 - David Ortiz walked but he was erased on an inning-ending double-play by Stephen Drew.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 4, Phillies 2 - Huge chance for Phillies gone by the board. They loaded the bases on two walks and a single by Domonic Brown, but slow-footed catcher Erik Kratz knocked into a double play to end the threat. A key moment in this game.

Top 4th: Red Sox 4, Phillies 2 - Jacoby Ellsbury remains red hot with a single, his second hit and also stole second base. The Sox couldn't drive him in.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 4, Phillies 2 - Morales gets the side in order.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 4, Phillies 2 -Pettibone strikes out Carp and Salty, walks Drew, but gets out of the inning unharmed.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 4, Phillies 2 - Morales has a strong, efficient 1-2-3 inning.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 4, Phillies 2 - The Red Sox flirted with more runs, but came up short. Jacoby Ellsbury stole his 17th base and moved to third on Dustin Pedroia's infield hit, but David Ortiz flew out deep to center to end the inning.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 4, Phillies 2 - The Phillies get a pair back off starter Franklin Morales when Delmon Young hit an opposite-field homer to right with Cesar Hernandez aboard. It was Hernandez' first major league hit and Young's fourth homer.

Top 1st: Red Sox 4, Phillies 0 - With the Phillies starting youngster Jay Pettibone, the Red Sox cleaned up. Ellsbury and Nava combined for singles to put runners at the corners. The first run scored on Dustin Pedroia's single. After David Ortiz walked, Mike Carp singled to right scoring a run. After Stephen Drew struck out, Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled to right scoring two runs.

Buchholz now lined up to pitch on Sunday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 30, 2013 05:36 PM

PHILADELPHIA — Clay Buchholz threw in the bullpen at Citizens Bank Park this afternoon and felt no pain in the AC joint of his right shoulder. John Farrell said Buchholz is tentatively scheduled to start against the Yankees on Sunday.

Buchholz has not pitched since May 22. He faced the Yankees on April 3 and allowed one run over seven innings.

"It's pretty much gone," Buchholz said. "Now it just feels muscular and in the bullpen threw pretty much max-effort. The ball came out of my hand a lot better today."

Buchholz is 7-0 with a 1.73 earned run average in 10 starts.

"That's what stinks about it," he said. "You're going out there and feeling good with everything you're doing and you hit a little bump in the road. But I feel pretty confident I haven't lost the touch of any pitches. If I have, I've got some days to tinker with it. I'm ready to get back out there."

Buchholz will throw a short bullpen session on Saturday as a final tune-up.

Barring changes, the Red Sox will start Jon Lester, Felix Doubront and Buchholz against New York. The Yankees list CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Hiroki Kuroda as their starters.

Buchholz is 7-8 with a 4.67 ERA in 16 career starts when he has had six or more days of rest between starts. Buchholz had six days of rest before his start against the Twins on May 17. He held them to two runs over seven innings.

Also:

• Farrell said five innings and/or 80 pitches is the expectation for Franklin Morales tonight.

• Shane Victorino will accompany the team to New York. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Wednesday. Farrell said the right fielder would start a rehab assignment on Sunday or Monday.

• David Ortiz on his plan for playing first base tonight: "I tell Pedroia that everything he can catch, go and get it." Makes sense.

• The Yankees will be getting Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis off the disabled list on Friday. Teixeira has been out all season with an arm injury. Youkilis played only 17 games before going out with a back injury.

High-tech head protection for Ross

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 30, 2013 03:06 PM

David Ross helmet[1].jpg

PHILADELPHIA — Vendors pitch their wares to teams throughout spring training. But Rob Vito, the CEO of Unequal Technologies, made a memorable presentation this season.

Vito took a bat to his midsection from one of the team’s athletic trainers while wearing a chest protector manufactured by his company. It was to demonstrate a composite material containing Kevlar that Unequal developed for equipment used to protect soldiers and athletes.

When Sox backup catcher David Ross took two foul balls off his mask on May 11 and suffered a concussion, he asked the medical staff to find a way to better protect him. They called Unequal and Ross was given a skullcap made of the material that he wore under his helmet when he returned from the disabled list.

On Wednesday, Ross met with Unequal vice president of research and product development Michael Foerster at Citizens Bank Park and had an extra layer of protection added inside his helmet.

The timing was perfect with Unequal located in Kennett Square, Pa., about 45 minutes away.

“I wanted something in the front of the helmet to protect my head. I don’t want to get another [concussion], obviously,” Ross said. “The technology is pretty amazing.”

Ross will soon get a custom-made helmet with the material built in. Unequal also has worked with several other major league catchers along with NFL quarterbacks Michael Vick and Tony Romo, who needed rib protectors.

If you look at the photo of the inside of Ross' helmet, the green material is the Kevlar composite. One possible use would be to create a cap for pitchers to protect them from injuries.

"It's lightweight and it gives you that extra security," Ross said. "I think you're going to see more of this kind of thing."

Game 55: Red Sox at Phillies

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 30, 2013 02:30 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (32-22)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Daniel Nava RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz 1B
Mike Carp LF
Stephen Drew SS
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Jose Iglesias 3B
Franklin Morales LHP (season debut)

PHILADELPHIA (26-27)
Ben Revere CF
Cesar Hernandez 2B
Jimmy Rollins SS
Delmon Young RF
Domonic Brown LF
Kevin Fransden 1B
Erik Kratz C
Freddy Galvis 3B
Jonathan Pettibone RHP (3-0, 3.21).

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN, MLB Network / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Pettibone: No history.

Phillies vs. Morales: Howard 0-8, Rollins 2-7, Young 2-4, Frandsen 2-2, Revere 1-2, Brown 0-1, Galvis 1-1, Mayberry 0-1, Nix 0-1.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox are 162-124 in interleague games, 117-66 since the start of the 2003 season.

Notes: Morales hasn't pitched in a major league game since Aug. 23. He was shut down then because of shoulder pain. Then a back injury caused him to start the season on the disabled list. Now he enters the rotation after making five starts in the minor leagues. Morales could be limited today. The longest he went in the minors was five innings and 77 pitches on May 23. Morales is 1-0, 0.96 against Philadelphia in his career, all at Citizens Bank Park. But that encompasses only 9.1 innings and seven of those were from 2007-09. ... Pettibone is a 22-year-old rookie making his eighth start. Tonight marks the sixth time this year that Boston has faced a rookie starter. The previous five have combined for an 11.65 ERA (22 ER/17.0 IP), allowing 38 hits. None of the five lasted longer than five innings and two failed to pitch out of the third inning. But the Sox were only 3-2 in those games. ... Ortiz is making his first start in the field since last June. He played seven games at first base last season. Since the start of 2005, David Ortiz has 19 homers in 169 at-bats while playing first base. ... Ellsbury's last nine games: 13 of 36 (.361) with five walks and six RBIs. That has raised his batting average from .241 to .260 and his on-base percentage from .303 to .325. ... Iglesias is 7 of 18 since returning to the majors. ... Brown is 4 for 12 with four home and five RBIs in three games against the Red Sox this week. ... The Sox have allowed 10 home runs in the last four games.

Song of the Day: "Over and Over Again (Lost and Found)" by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

A meaningful save for Papelbon

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 30, 2013 01:38 AM

PHILADELPHIA — As Ryan Howard stepped on first base to finally end the game after an eventful ninth inning, Jonathan Papelbon turned toward the Red Sox dugout and wildly pumped his right fist twice.

It was not a celebration on par with dancing a jig on the Fenway Park infield clad in his underwear, but it was far more than is usually required for a game played in late May.

Papelbon gave up a run but left two runners stranded on Wednesday night as the Phillies beat the Red Sox, 4-3.

It was Papelbon’s second save in as many nights against his former team and clearly it had meaning for him.

The Red Sox did not share Papelbon’s vision of making him one of the highest-paid relievers in the game. They allowed him to walk away as a free agent without making an offer and Papelbon got the contract he wanted from the Phillies.

When he pitched at Fenway Park on Tuesday for the first time since his departure, Papelbon was booed when he came out of the bullpen. He responded by setting down the Sox in order and hitting 96 miler-per-hour with his fastball for the first time all season.

It was a struggle on Wednesday but ultimately produced the same goofy smile.

Papelbon came in with a two-run lead and struck out an overmatched Jackie Bradley Jr. Stephen Drew then walked on the eighth pitch he saw.

Sox manager John Farrell played his best card, sending up idled designated hitter David Ortiz as a pinch hitter. Ortiz popped to right field, chasing a low fastball.

“I was ready, man,” Ortiz said. “I was ready. You just try your best and what happens, happens. It was a good pitch, a pitcher’s pitch. Good location.”

Jonny Gomes kept the game going with a single to right field. Jacoby Ellsbury then popped a ball down the line in left field. Domonic Brown should have made the play but wasn't able to.

The double scored only one run, Gomes being stopped at third base despite running with two outs.

Daniel Nava, who earlier homered, swung at the first pitch he saw and tapped the ball to Howard. Papelbon allowed his first run since April 3 but picked up his 11th save.

The Red Sox have lost two straight but remain in first place as the Yankees lost to the Mets again. There’s one more against the Phillies on Thursday before a weekend series in the Bronx.

Also:

• The game drew 38,831at Citizens Bank Park. It was the smallest crowd the Red Sox have drawn in 22 interleague games as the visiting team.

• Clay Buchholz said his shoulder felt tight at first then he threw before the game but improved over the course of his session in the bullpen. “Everything felt pretty much normal, just a little bit dead arm. Ball was coming out of my hand as good as it usually does,” Buchholz said.

The Sox initially had Ryan Dempster listed for Sunday. Now they’ll wait to see how Buchholz feels after throwing on Thursday.

“I want to pitch Friday. But we’ll give it a little more time to feel 100 percent like I have all year,” Buchholz said.

• Shane Victorino, who played for the Phillies from 2005-12, was shown on the scoreboard in the middle of the fourth inning and came out of the dugout to tip his cap to the fans. He received a loud ovation. “That made me feel good,” he said. “The fans were always great to me here.”

Final: Phillies 4, Red Sox 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 29, 2013 07:07 PM

Game over: Phillies 4, Red Sox 3: A one-out walk by Stephen Drew set set up a little drama with Jonathan Papelbon against David Ortiz. But Ortiz flew out to right for the second out. Jonny Gomes kept things alive with a single to right. That brought Jacoby Ellsbury to the plate with two on and two out. He looped a double to left field that Domonic Brown dove for and couldn't reach knocking in the third Boston run.

Daniel Nava grounded to first base for the final out. The game was played in 3:08 before 38,831.

Bottom 8th: Phillies 4, Red Sox 2 - Little insurance for the Phillies came in the form of a Domonic Brown homer off Koji Uehara.

Top 8th: Phillies 3, Red Sox 2 - Red Sox go down in order as Mike Adams strikes out two -Napoli and Salty in an effective set-up inning.

Bottom 7th: Phillies 3, Red Sox 2 - So many squandered chances by both teams. But the Phillies had a whopper here. They had the bases loaded, one out. Andrew Miller couldn't find the plate until he met up with Ryan Howard. After Miller walked two batters, Howard swung at the first three pitches and struck out. Koji Uehara replaced Miller and he got John Mayberry to pop out.

Top 7th: Phillies 3, Red Sox 2 - Great opportunity for the Red Sox went by the boards. Jose Iglesias doubled to left field and pinch-hitter (for John Lackey) Jonny Gomes was hit by a pitch. But Ellsbury struck out on a questionable called third strike on a pitch low and outside and Daniel Nava grounded out to second.

Bottom 6th: Phillies 3, Red Sox 2 - Lackey escaped a potentially damaging inning when he he got Freddy Glavis to knock into a double-play after being ahead on the count 3-0. All the Phillies wanted here was to add to their lead. Delmon Young walked and pinch-runner John Mayberry stole second base. He was advanced to third on a ground ball out. After Erik Kratz walked and runners at the corners, Galvis made Lackey's dream come true.

Top 6th: Phillies 3, Red Sox 2 - Daniel Nava socked his seventh homer off the Budweiser sign in right. The inning continued on a bad error by Howard at first when he dropped Freddy Galvis' throw which would have secured the out on Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia reached and advanced to second base on Mike Napoli's walk. After Salty lined out, Mike Carp knocked into a 1-6-3 double play. .

Bottom 5th: Phillies 3, Red Sox 1 - Lackey strikes out Frandsen and Howard in a strong 1-2-3 inning.

Top 5th: Phillies 3, Red Sox 1 - Stephen Drew walked. John Lackey executed a nice sacrifice, but the Red Sox could not execute the most important part - driving in the run.

Bottom 4th: Phillies 3, Red Sox 1 - Back-to-back homers by Domonic Brown and Erik Kratz give Phils a two-run advantage.

Top 4th: Red Sox 1, Phillies 1 - Kendrick retires the side. Napoli lined to left, Salty struck out and Carp grounded out to first with the pitcher covering.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 1, Phillies 1 - Ryan Howard stranded two runners with two outs after Kevin Fransden singled and Jimmy Rollins drew a walk with two outs.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 1, Phillies 1 - Kendrick retired the first two batters - John Lackey and Jacoby Ellsbury - but he walked Daniel Nava, who worked a nice hit and run with Pedroia who singled to center as Nava went to third. Napoli was up when Pedroia was caught stealing to end the game.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 1, Phillies 1 - Ryan Howard hit an opposite-field solo homer to lead off the inning. Delmon Young followed with a single but was erased on a fielder's choice. Domonic Brown stole second, but Lackey managed to limit the damage.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 1, Phillies 0 - Lighter load for Kendrick this inning, facing three middle-to-bottom of the order batters (Carp, Drew and Iglesias) and retiring them all.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 1, Phillies 0 - John Lackey has been nothing but efficient lately and the first inning was no exception. Two ground ball outs and a called third strike to Jimmy Rollins

Top 1st: Red Sox 1, Phillies 0 - Jacoby Ellsbury tripled over Ben Revere's head in center when Revere broke in on Ellsbury's smash which was hit to the straight away centerfield expanse. He scored on Dustin Pedroia's sacrifice fly to center. Mike Napoli had continued the inning with a single, but that's as much as the Red Sox could muster.

We're underway here at Citizens Bank Park. Game started at 7:07. Game time temperature is 88 degrees.

Bradley returns to majors, confidence intact

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 29, 2013 06:33 PM

PHILADELPHIA — Jackie Bradley Jr. started the season with the Red Sox and played well at first, contributing to three victories. But when he was optioned to Triple A Pawtucket on April 20, Bradley was 3 for 31 with 12 strikeouts.

The 23-year-old returned said Wednesday his confidence was not bruised by the experience.

"It's OK to crawl before you start walking and running," he said. "Just learning from that aspect. I learned that you're going to fail. You've got to make the small adjustments that you need to do to get to where you want to be."

Manager John Farrell said Bradley would be used off the bench in Philadelphia. But he could return to the lineup in New York.

"Now when we get into New York, that could change based on the matchups that we have there. Certainly left field in New York takes a different look, particularly the ground to cover out there," Farrell said.

Also:

• Shane Victorino, out since May 21 with left hamstring and back injuries, could start a minor league rehabilitation assignment this weekend. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Wednesday and is on track to do that. “We like to get at least a couple of days in games,” Farrell said.

• Will Middlebrooks, who went on the disabled list May 24 with a back strain, is feeling better. He did some running for the first time since the injury on Wednesday and felt better. He also took some practice swings.

“He would be three days behind [Victorino], but a similar program that we’ve laid out,” Farrell said.

Said Middlebrooks: “I’m a lot better. My back isn’t completely healthy yet but it has improved a little every day.”

• Mike Napoli was at first base with David Ortiz on the bench for the interleague road game. Ortiz is expected to start at first base on Thursday. It would be his first game in the field since last June 17.

• Victorino played for the Phillies from 2005-12, was shown on the scoreboard in the middle of the fourth inning and came out of the dugout to tip his cap to the fans. He received a loud ovation.

Pedroia tried to keep thumb injury quiet

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 29, 2013 06:11 PM

PHILADELPHIA — Dustin Pedroia tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb on Opening Day when he slid head-first into first base in the ninth inning against the Yankees. But he has started every game since.

Pedroia decided against surgery or a stint on the disabled list and kept on playing. The story broke in the Herald, which quoted owner John Henry about the situation.

On Wednesday, Pedroia seemed annoyed that the news came out, saying he was trying to keep it hidden from the public.

"We want medical stuff to stay private," he said. "Players are playing. No reason to talk about injuries and stuff like that."

Pedroia claimed the injury does not bother him.

"I'm fine," he said. "I told you guys that from the beginning."

On April 26, Sox hitting coach Greg Colbrunn told the Globe that Pedroia had been dealing with a thumb injury all season. But the second baseman denied that at the time, as did manager John Farrell.

"I think if you miss time, you should be able to reveal it to everybody," Pedroia said Wednesday. "But guys who are playing, there's no point to talk about anything."

Red Sox pitcher Andrew Bailey had surgery for a torn UCL in his thumb last season. But Farrell made out Pedroia's torn ligament to be little more than an annoyance.

"I would categorize Pedey's situation much like other players that are dealing with some physical ailment that they manage through treatment," he said. "It becomes very cut and dry in his mind. To be honest, there's never a doubt coming into the ballpark whether he's going to be available on a given day."

Pedroia did not give a direct answer when asked whether surgery was an option in April.

"I just talked about some things with our training staff and our team doctor, things like that," he said. "It wasn't a very long discussion. Got checked out and made sure everything was fine and went and played."

Pedroia said he now "feels normal."

Pedroia went into Wednesday's game hitting .332 with a .422 on-base percentage. But only in recent weeks has his slugging percentage climbed. Pedroia had eight extra-base hits in the first 37 games of the season, one of them a home run. He had nine in the 17 games after that, two of them homers.

"I know a lot of people have asked, 'Well, why are his power numbers what they are?' " said Farrell. "To me that's been more circumstance, where pitchers have consistently pitched him."

Farrell said Pedroia has a high pain threshold.

"He'll fight you tooth and nail to stay in the lineup even if there's things he's dealing with," Farrell said. "He sets a tone, not only performance but of grit and determination, and other guys feed off of that."

Farrell was asked whether hiding injuries was now something the team encourages.

"I don't think we're looking to hide anything ... but you have to respect what the player wants," he said.

Buchholz pushed back again; Lester starts Friday against Yankees

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 29, 2013 05:41 PM

PHILADELPHIA — The Red Sox have changed their rotation again because of lingering shoulder soreness for righthander Clay Buchholz.

Franklin Morales will start against the Phillies on Thursday with Jon Lester pushed up to Friday in New York against the Yankees. Felix Doubront is scheduled for Saturday.

Buchholz is a possibility for Sunday. If not, it is likely Ryan Dempster would start.

Buchholz has not pitched since last Wednesday because of soreness in his AC joint, which is in the collarbone area. Buchholz claimed the soreness developed when he fell asleep holding his daughter.

"Clay went and threw a bullpen today. He feels improved but he still feels some symptoms in that AC joint. When he mentioned that, this is something I took out of his hands," manager John Farrell said. "Made the decision to give him another couple of days. He's still a possibility in the New York series. But while he's feeling improved, felt like it would be best to give him a couple of more days as well."

Buchholz will throw in the bullpen again on Thursday. That will determine when his next start comes. Farrell said the Sox are "not there yet" in terms of putting Buchholz on the disabled list.

Farrell downplayed the idea of Buchholz having more than a minor injury.

"The encouraging thing through this is that while he's thrown his bullpens, his arm slot is the same; his delivery is the same, there's no issues with that," the manager said. "There's nothing. This is located in the AC joint. There's nothing in the rotator cuff. All the strength tests are very strong, they're good, they're consistent with spring training. This is just something we want to quiet down completely before we run him out there."

Morales, who came off the disabled list on Tuesday, will be making his first appearance of the season. He started five games in the minor leagues, going 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA. Morales started nine games last season, going 3-3 with a 4.14 ERA.

Morales went on the disabled list in spring training with a back injury.

Buchholz is 7-0 with a 1.73 ERA in 10 starts.

Red Sox recall Bradley, option Wilson to Pawtucket

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 29, 2013 02:54 PM

PHILADELPHIA — The Red Sox this afternoon recalled outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. from Triple A Pawtucket and optioned righthanded reliever Alex Wilson to Pawtucket.

The Sox had been carrying an extra reliever this week and needed to balance their roster for the two interleague road games.

Bradley started the season with the Red Sox and was instrumental in helping them take two of three from the Yankees to start the season. But he was 3 for 31 over 12 games and was hitless in 20 consecutive at-bats before being optioned back to the minors.

Bradley hit .354 with a 1.001 OPS in 20 games for Pawtucket and had a 12-game hit streak at the time of his promotion. Bradley was 21 of 48 (.438) in his streak with nine extra-base hits, seven RBIs, and 11 runs.

Wilson pitched well over 16 appearances — 18 IP, 19 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 9 BB, 15 K — but was a victim of roster management. Wilson has options remaining, something Clayton Mortensen does not. Once Franklin Morales returned from the disabled list Tuesday, Wilson was sure to be squeezed out.

The Sox were keeping an extra pitcher because of concerns about inclement weather last weekend and Clay Buchholz missing a start. The extra reliever, as it turned out, was not needed.

Game 54: Red Sox at Phillies

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 29, 2013 02:45 PM

Good afternoon from Philadelphia. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (32-21)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Daniel Nava RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Mike Napoli 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Mike Carp LF
Stephen Drew SS,
Jose Iglesias 3B
John Lackey RHP (3-4, 2.72)

PHILLIES (25-27)
Ben Revere CF
Kevin Frandsen 2B
Jimmy Rollins SS
Ryan Howard 1B
Delmon Young RF
Domonic Brown LF
Erik Kratz C
Freddy Galvis 3B
Kyle Kendrick RHP (4-3, 3.29)

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Kendrick: Drew 3-14, Ross 1-8, Gomes 0-7, Pedroia 1-7, Ellsbury 2-5, Ortiz 1-3.

Phillies vs. Lackey: Young 33-93, Nix 4-20, Young 5-15, Rollins 1-9, Howard 2-7, Brown 0-3.

Stat of the Day: Pedroia has hit .333 in 104 interleague games (139 of 417) with 45 extra-base hits, 54 RBIs and 82 runs scored.

Notes: The teams meet again, this time at Citizens Bank Park after splitting two games at Fenway Park. ... The Sox have won four of their last five games, five of seven and 10 of 14. ... Lackey's last two starts have been tremendous: 13 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 13 K. Lackey is 2-2, 3.12 in four career starts against Philadelphia. ... Kendrick is 0-3, 10.80 in four appearances against the Red Sox, two of them starts. He has not faced Boston since 2010. In Kendrick's last two starts (against Cincinnati and Washington), he allowed nine runs on 16 hits over 11 innings. ... Hot Sox: Ellsbury has reached safely in eight straight, going 11 of 31 with five walks and five RBIs. ... Pedroia has hit safely in 18 of 20 games at 30 of 78 (.385). He has 11 RBIs in the last 11 games. ... Salty has reached base safely in 16 consecutive games. ... Iglesias is 6 of 15 in five games since being recalled.

Song of the Day: "Johnny Strikes Up The Band" by Warren Zevon.

Despite tough loss, Dempster improves

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 29, 2013 12:56 AM

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Knowing he was facing Cliff Lee, who was coming off a three-hit shutout against the Marlins a week ago, Ryan Dempster knew his margin for error was thin.

“You can’t make mistakes,” he said.

Having given up 20 hits and 15 runs over his past three starts, Dempster was staggering into an obvious pitchers' duel. But for most of the Red Sox 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday night at Fenway Park, he went round-for-round with Lee, coming closer to finding the fastball command that had recently eluded him while using his secondary pitches to keep the Phillies off-balance.

He threw seven solid innings, giving up just six hits and striking out four. He fanned Ryan Howard with his splitter and slider for two of his four Ks. Those became his out pitches as the game progressed.

“I feel better,” Dempster said. “Threw the ball a little bit better tonight, but just got out-pitched by the other guy. Cliff Lee's tough. When you're going to go out there and match up against him, you can't make many mistakes. I made a couple tonight, it cost us a couple runs, and he did a good job pitching against us.

Dempster gave up a first-inning home run to Mike Young, who had been in an 0-for-21 slump prior to hitting his second homer of the season. But for the next five innings, Dempster didn’t allow a runner past second, pitching to contact and working around the three walks he issued.

“I thought Ryan Dempster was much improved over his previous three starts,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Much like we saw prior to that three-start stretch where he was down in the strike zone, he had good secondary stuff. But we ran into a very good pitcher tonight. Cliff Lee was outstanding.”

Still, Dempster (2-6) had to swallow another tough loss. Farrell's takeaway, though, was that against an aggressive lineup, Dempster was able to work his way out of some recent struggles.

"He was able to go to good location early in the count with his fastball," Farrell said. "Saw a lot of early outs with his split and his slider both. But it was very encouraging to see. Despite the outcome here tonight, his seven solid innings of work was needed and good to see him do that."

For the fourth time this season, he went seven innings, but it was the first time he went that long without surpassing 100 pitches, throwing just 98 and keeping the Phillies in check most of the night. Between starts, he said, he put an emphasis on keeping the ball down in the strike zone.

“I felt like I was up in the zone a lot the last few games,” he said. “Still walked a few too many guys tonight. Just keep working hard and go out there and get the next one. I worked hard in-between starts and tried to get it back. Still not quite there, but better tonight.”

Prior to the game, Farrell mentioned that a groin issue might have been hampering Dempster.

When asked about it, Dempster seemed as if it was something he was hearing for the first time

"What groin issue?” he asked.

When told that Farrell had made mention of it, he said, “Oh, yeah, it’s fine.”

Papelbon gets the best of his 'brothers'

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 28, 2013 11:02 PM

Jonathan Papelbon described it as playing with his brothers in the backyard. That’s the feeling he got retiring the Red Sox in order in the ninth inning to preserve Cliff Lee’s 3-1 win over the Red Sox at Fenway.

“I loved it,” Papelbon said after securing his 10th save. “I loved the fact that I had to self-talk ‘Cinco’ (Papelbon’s Cinco-Ocho alter-ego) there. His ego was getting in the way little bit there. Went inside with Ortiz (on a long foul ball to right) one too many times maybe. But I mean that was his ego getting in the way. It’s what I have to deal with. It’s how it is man.”

“I would say it was more fun than strange, like playing against your brother in the backyard. Those guys are some of my best friends in the world. But at the same time it was fun. They’ve got a really good lineup and so I had to stay focused on task at hand. I knew at a given moment game could be tied up,” he said.

Papelbon received mostly boos as he took the mound. The Red Sox never made Papelbon an offer two years ago, but fans still booed his presence on the field.

“I wasn’t really wasn’t thinking about it,” Papelbon said about making his first appearance back at Fenway. “I was just approaching it like any other game. Whether it was the Red Sox or Marlins or anything else. Just prepare to get ready to pitch in a big league ballgame.”

With Lee breezing along it was touch and go as to whether Papelbon would even appear.

“I’ve never been a closer who felt like I deserved to be in there. I always trust the pitching coach and manager to make that decision. Cliff was throwing the ball well and I’m sure Cliff wanted to go back out there as well. That’s just the way we go about it. At the same time, we won the ballgame and that’s all that matters.”

Papelbon said he didn’t mind the boos. He felt it was a sign of respect.

“Felt like the first time I got booed at Yankee stadium I felt like I had made it. I’ve always enjoyed this city and pitching off the mound here. It felt like old times with all the visuals you get. Old times but in a different uniform,” Papelbon said.

Said Ortiz: “I was trying not to look at his face, man. I tried hard — hard! But he's looking good, man. Looks like he's having a good year, and that's Pap, man.”

Ortiz thought he had gone deep against him.

“Oh, yeah [I thought I had him]. He got lucky this time,” Ortiz said. “He's always been good, man. When it comes down to closing games, Pap has been one of the best beside Mariano [Rivera] and those guys. I always saw that in him. He closed games for a long time for us. He was the guy."

Dustin Pedroia, who grounded out to third against Papelbon, said the Phillies closer will always be one of his dear friends.

“It was different,” Pedroia said. “Pap's always going to be family to me. We've been through a lot together. He did great things for us here. It was a little different. I hope he does bad the next couple games but he saves every game for the rest of his life.”

“My at-bat against Pa, he located all three pitches so those guys know what they're doing. He works. He's smart. He puts in the time. Tonight he was 96 or whatever he was. He knows how to pitch. He watches hitters. He watches the game. I know everyone thinks he's insane, but he's a pretty intelligent pitcher and there's a reason why he's been so good,” Pedroia said.

Final: Phillies 3, Red Sox 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 28, 2013 07:16 PM

Game over: Phillies 3, Red Sox 1: Jonathan Papelbon came on to earn his 10th save retiring Jonny Gomes (strikeout), Dustin Pedroia (grounder to third) and David Ortiz (grounder to short in shift). The Red Sox could do very little against Cliff Lee tonight. Game was played in 2:30 before 33,463.

Top 9th: Phillies 3, Red Sox 1 - Domonic Brown lined a home run into the Red Sox bullpen on the first pitch from Junichi Tazawa. After Tazawa secured two outs, he allowed back to back singles to Erik Kratz and Ben Revere then struck out Young to end the inning.

Bottom 8th: Phillies 2, Red Sox 1 - Cliff Lee gave up an infield single to shortstop to Jose Iglesias after retiring the first two batters. Stephen Drew hit a long out to center, but Lee struck out Ellsbury to end the inning.

Top 8th: Phillies 2, Red Sox 1 - Craig Breslow replaced Ryan Dempster (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K). The one Phillies batter who owns Dempster is Chase Utley (8 for 12) and he is on the disabled list. Jimmy Rollins struck out. Ryan Howard struck out. And Delmon Young grounded out against Breslow.

Bottom 7th: Phillies 2, Red Sox 1 - Cliff Lee has thrown 80 pitches and retired the side again. Lee had entered the game 4-1 with a 2.26 ERA in seven starts following a Phillies loss.

Top 7th: Phillies 2, Red Sox 1 - John Mayberry started the go-ahead rallly with a single to center. He was advanced to second base on a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt by Freddy Galvis and scored on Kratz' single to center. With Kratz on second base and two outs, Dempster got Michael Young to ground out on a slow roller to shortstop.

Bottom 6th: Phillies 1, Red Sox 1 - Ellsbury, Gomes and Pedroia retired by Lee.

Top 6th: Phillies 1, Red Sox 1 - Dempster allowed a walk to Jimmy Rollins and a single to Ryan Howard with one out. But this is a situation that would have spiraled out of control for Dempster of late. But tonight he was resilient and got the next two batters (Young and Brown) to flu out to right field.

Bottom 5th: Phillies 1, Red Sox 1 - Daniel Nava singled to open the frame and was advanced to second base on David Ross' sacrifice bunt. Stephen Drew couldn't get the go-ahead run in, however with a pop out to the thrid baseman Jose Iglesias also had a shot, but he struck out.

Top 5th: Phillies 1, Red Sox 1 - Dempster retired the first two batters in the inning but then resorted to a walk to No. 9 hitter Erik Kratz. he managed to retire Ben Revere on a ground ball out.

Bottom 4th: Phillies 1, Red Sox 1 - Pedroia, Ortiz and Napoli (strikeout) go down. Ortiz' out was a long ride into the triangle that Ben Revere ran down.

Top 4th: Phillies 1, Red Sox 1 - Dempster allowed an infield single, but also recorded two strikeouts (Ryan Howard and Dominic Brown). Dempster is certainly better in this outing, but still laboring at times.

Bottom 3rd: Phillies 1, Red Sox 1 - Lee seems to have it going right now. he retires the Red Sox in order once again. Ellsbury fouled a ball off his foot. Something to keep an eye on.

Top 3rd: Phillies 1, Red Sox 1 - An Erik Kratz double-play grounder erased a leadoff walk by Dempster to Freddy Galvis. After Ben Revere singled, he stole second base, but didn't advance as Michael Young grounded out to third.

Bottom 2nd; Phillies 1, Red Sox 1 - Cliff Lee strikes out Daniel Nava and David Ross, while Stephen Drew popped out.

Top 2nd: Phillies 1, Red Sox 1 - Dempster had a strong inning retiring the side in order and culminating with a strikeout of John Mayberry.

Bottom 1st: Phillies 1, Red Sox 1 - Jacoby Ellsbury kept his hot streak rolling with a leadoff single to left. After stealing his 16th base, he rode home on Dustin Pedroia's single to right to tie it.

Top 1st: Phillies 1, Red Sox 0 - Michael Young struck with a line rive homer that just scaled the Monster in left center to give the Phillies the early lead off Ryan Dempster, who has really struggled in his last three outings.

Bombing victim, rescue hero throw out first pitches at Fenway Park

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff May 28, 2013 07:14 PM

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Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Boston Marathon bombing victim Jeff Bauman and Carlos Arredondo, whose actions in the aftermath saved Bauman's life, threw out the first pitches at Tuesday night's Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

Bauman, who lost both of his legs in the bombing, threw to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia from his wheelchair, while Arredondo pitched to slugger David Ortiz. They also met Red Sox players and other team officials at the park.

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Buchholz to start Friday; Morales activated, Aceves demoted

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff May 28, 2013 05:45 PM

Clay Buchholz will be back in the rotation Friday, when the Red Sox travel to New York to face the Yankees, after being scratched Monday against the Phillies with irritation in his collarbone.

He initially felt the pain upon returning to Boston after his most recent start in Chicago May 22. It was determined to be irritation in his right AC joint. The decision to scratch Buchholz was precautionary, the Sox not wanting to turn a minor early-season issue into something that lingered throughout the season.

He threw his normal bullpen session Saturday and played catch and long toss Monday.

“He continues to improve,” said manager John Farrell. “Right now we have every intention of him starting Friday in New York.”

Franklin Morales, who has been out since spring training with injuries to his back and a pectoral muscle, was activated, and Alfredo Aceves, who pitched six one-run innings in Monday’s 9-3 win over the Phillies, was sent back to Triple A Pawtucket.

After going five innings in his rehab start with the Portland Sea Dogs last Thursday, Morales will work out of the bullpen.

“It would have been his normal day to start on rehab today, and given the last three starts that Ryan [Dempster] has gone through, we felt like we needed a multi-inning reliever out there in the pen,” Farrell said. “That's where Franklin comes in.”

Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks are both on track to be activated once their respective stints on the disabled list are up. Victorino (hamstring) will be available June 5 and Middlebrooks (low back spasms) will be available June 8. Both will go on rehab assignments before they return. Victorino’s could start as soon as this weekend,

“Everything's trending the right way as far as their recovery," said Farrell, "and we'll look to get each on a rehab assignment before that.”

With the Sox headed into a National League ballpark Wednesday for the first time this season, they will likely make another move Tuesday night, adding an extra position player. Jackie Bradley Jr. is the likely candidate for the call-up for the games in Philadelphia, though Farrell said it hasn't been finalized.

Since being sent to Triple A, Bradley has hit .360 with two home runs and nine RBIs, playing all three outfield positions. He was placed on the disabled list May 4 with biceps tendinitis, but since returning May 17, he has hit .438 (14 for 32) with a home run and six RBIs in eight games.

“Once he got past the shoulder tendinitis and got back on the field, he's been swinging the bat pretty well,” Farrell said. "If he were to come back, it would be as an extra outfielder."

Game 53: Phillies at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 28, 2013 02:45 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (32-20)
Ellsbury CF
Gomes LF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava RF
Ross C
Drew SS
Iglesias 3B
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster (2-5, 4.69).

PHILLIES (24-27)
Revere CF
Young 3B
Rollins SS
Howard 1B
Young DH
Brown LF
Mayberry RF
Galvis 2B
Pitching: LHP Cliff Lee (5-2, 2.48).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Lee: Gomes 2-29, Ortiz 6-29, Napoli 5-16, Pedroia 5-18, Ellsbury 1-12, Ross 3-11, Drew 1-9, Salty 2-6, Ciriaco 2-4, Nava 0-2, Dempster 0-1.

Phillies vs. Dempster: Rollins 11-42, Quintero 3-21, Howard 5-14, Revere 1-6, Nix 0-6, Lee 1-3, Brown 0-1, Martinez 2-2, Frandsen 0-1.

Stat of the Day: Via the Red Sox: Monday marked the fifth time an opposing starter has gone 2.1 innings or less against the Red Sox this season. That is tied with Tampa Bay for the most such opponent starts in baseball.

Notes: The Sox are 4-1 on a homestand that ends today. They face the Phillies in Philadelphia on Wednesday and Thursday. ... The Sox are 22-9 against the Phillies since 2004 and 30-20 overall. ... Dempster had a 2.93 earned run average and a 1.09 WHIP in his first seven starts. He has a 10.66 ERA and a 2.45 WHIP in his three starts since. ... Pedroia is 39 of 101 (.386) at Fenway Park, 18 of his last 38 (.474) in the last 10 games with eight RBIs. ... Lee is one of the few high-priced Phillies performing to expectations this season. He is 3-5, 3.81 against the Red Sox in 12 career starts. He faced the Sox last May 20 and allowed five runs on nine hits over seven innings in a game Boston won, 5-1. Lee attended Meridian Community College in Meridian, Miss. Astute Red Sox fans will recall that Meridian is the hometown of one Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd. ... Micheal Young is hitless in his last 21 at-bats for the Phillies.

Song of the Day: "Stagger Lee" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Pedroia looks Golden, and some other random thoughts on the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 28, 2013 09:30 AM

It seems like a good time for some random thoughts related to the Red Sox . . .

• Robinson Cano is the reigning Gold Glove winner at second base in the American League. He has won it two of the last three seasons and deservedly so. But Dustin Pedroia should wrest that trophy away this season if the first 52 games are any sort of indication.

Pedroia's defense at second base is stunning on almost a nightly basis, particularly on plays where he ranges to his right. This is highly unscientific and subject to personal whims under the influence of Red Bull, but there are 17 plays this season that merited a little star drawn in my scorebook.

• Who could have guessed last August when that big trade was made that the Red Sox would be 32-20 and the Dodgers 21-28? Adrian Gonzalez had 24 home runs over 492 at-bats since the start of the 2012 season. He's an excellent player and still hits for average and gets on base. But a first baseman without power is not a player worth $21 million a year.

• The Sox are 10th in attendance in baseball, averaging just under 32,991. They were eighth last season, averaging 37,567. That certainly seems like a significant drop. But given last season's performance and the diminished expectations over the winter, it doesn't seem all that bad.

There were 33,627 fans at Fenway on Monday. That was more than what the Yankees and Mets drew in Queens, where 32,911 showed up.

• Speaking of which, Memorial Day should be mandatory day games. You're supposed to sit outside, drink a beer, grill some food and listen to Joe and Dave on the radio.

• Jose Iglesias looks very comfortable at third base. It'll be interesting to see what happens once Will Middlebrooks returns. Iggy could stick as the utility guy and Pedro Ciriaco could go. Here's the question: Does Iglesias get better at the plate playing every day in Pawtucket or by being around the MLB team and playing less? Probably in the minors. But there's something to be said for Iglesias being around Pedroia, David Ortiz and other older guys, too.

• Monday night was a great example of why the Red Sox have shown so much patience with Alfredo Aceves. There is a finite number of human beings who can successfully pitch in the major leagues and he is one of them.

But Aceves certainly does things his way. Dan Roche of WBZ told a great story on Toucher and Rich this morning. He attended the game with his son on Monday and saw Aceves come into the park at 6:08 p.m. for the 7:10 p.m. start.

• Jacoby Ellsbury has started playing well and it came at the same time John Farrell gave some candid responses to questions about the center fielder's poor performance and mentioned he was considering dropping him down in the order. That doesn't seem like a coincidence. Motivation comes in many forms and some guys need a reminder they can be replaced.

• It's only 19 games because of an arm injury, but Jackie Bradley Jr is hitting .360/.461/.547 at Pawtucket.

• Let's say the Red Sox are in contention in late July, which seems like a safe bet. Would you trade prospects for a starting pitcher or a big hitter for left field?

The Red Sox have trade chips galore. There have pitching (Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo, Brandon Workman, Henry Owens, Drake Britton), bats (Bradley, Bryce Brentz, Garin Cecchini, Xander Bogaerts) and catchers (Ryan Lavarnway, Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart).

Obviously some guys are untouchable. But not all 14 names mentioned are going to be good big leaguers, either. Half the reason for assembling good prospects is to have something to trade.

• The amateur draft starts on June 6. One name to keep an eye on is Mike Yastrzemski, the grandson of Carl Yastrzemski. Tyler Kepner of the Times wrote a great piece on the Vanderbilt outfielder. For the young man's sake, here's hoping the Red Sox do not take him.

• The Red Sox pick seventh in the draft. They haven't picked that high since 1993 when they snared Trot Nixon.

Big leaguers picked seventh in recent years: Matt Harvey (2010), Mike Minor (2009), Yonder Alonso (2008), Matt LaPorta (2007), Clayton Kershaw (2006), Troy Tulowitzki (2005), Homer Bailey (2004) and Nick Markakis (2003).

So, yeah, this is kind of a big deal.

• If you are reading this Red Sox blog, you probably hate the Yankees. But you have to be impressed they're 30-20. Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez have not played and CC Sabathia hasn't won a game since April.

Chris Stewart (catcher), Lyle Overbay (first base), Jayson Nix (third base), Eduardo Nunez (shortstop), Vernon Wells (left field) and Travis Hafner (DH) have the most starts at their respective positions.

• Pedroia is very good at being at his locker for the media after the Red Sox lose games. He often disappears when they win. That's being a good teammate.

• Speaking of media matters, Jon Lester deserves a lot of credit. The lefty was, frankly, a difficult guy to deal with in recent years. He was impatient and even short-tempered at times. You've probably seen that on the field, too. Lester wasn't afraid to scowl at umpires while on the mound.

Who can blame him? It was tough sledding for Sox players for a long time in the court of public opinion and the media in Boston can be brutal.

But since the start of spring training, Lester has tried hard to be pleasant and cooperative and he now laughs off silly questions instead of grimacing. Last week, after we finished up an interview in Chicago, Lester chatted amicably with a few of us and left saying, "See you tomorrow."

It may not sound like a big deal, but it's part of the job of a big leaguer to deal with the media in some reasonable manner and Lester is better at that part of his job.

Lester always seemed like a good guy, even when he was grumpy. It's good that he's letting that show.

• It's only seven games. But John Lackey has a 2.72 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and an ERA+ of 160. He's also striking out 9.1 batters per nine innings. Those numbers wouldn't seem sustainable. But then again, pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery usually get better over time, too. A 3.50 ERA is not unreasonable for Lackey.

• It's kind of funny how little 2012 is mentioned around the Sox. It's like a movie where somebody woke up and realized it was all just a bad dream.

• Mark Melancon has pitched 27 innings for the Pirates. He has allowed three runs on 20 hits with one (one!) walk and 27 strikeouts. Holy cow. Melancon has a 2.43 ERA as a NL pitcher and a 5.79 ERA as an AL pitcher in his career, so who is to say what he would be doing had he not been traded. But those are eye-popping numbers.

• Alex Wilson is not afraid to throw strikes to big league hitters, which is not something you can say about every rookie reliever. He's had a few stumbles, but there is a lot to work with there.

• My favorite stat of the season so far: David Ortiz went 1,859 games over parts of 17 years without stealing third base. Then he did it twice in five games.

• Finally, a request: Enjoy what is going on. The Sox were one of the worst teams in baseball last season and now they're one of the best. They have a fun team to watch. They play hard, they generally play the game right and they seem to care about each other. There's a plan in place that starts in the front office, goes through the manager and coaches and gets to the players. This organization staggered around for a bit and now it's back going in the right direction.

It's the default position for Boston fans to grouse about their teams, that's a given. But don't worry about the future for a change. Enjoy the present.

Alfredo Aceves is solid in spot duty

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 28, 2013 12:16 AM

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Not once over the course of Alfredo Aceves’s six innings of one-run ball did the mercurial pitcher shake off a sign from his catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

“Which is a little different than what we're used to,” Saltalamacchia said.

All throughout the Red Sox' 9-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, they were on the same page.

Aceves was making a spot start in the place of Clay Buchholz, who was scratched late Sunday night with irritation in his collarbone.

It was his first major legaue start since being optioned to Triple A Pawtucket more than a month ago after a disastrous outing against the Oakland Athetics that saw Aceves give up eight runs (seven earned), seven hits, four walks, balk twice, and making comments after the game that were equally puzzling and candid before being demoted.

But with the Sox needing a reliable arm, Aceves was steady. He scattered seven hits, including a solo home run to Erik Kratz in the third, striking out four against three walks, pitching to contact with his fastball, cutter, and changeup.

“He's always been pretty good [with command],” Saltalamacchia said. “He's always been able to throw the ball over the plate. But tonight, he never shook me off, he was throwing strikes to both sides of the plate and was able to work a lot quicker and more effective.

“The curveball wasn't as sharp, other pitches were still good. His fastball still had good velocity, cutter was still good. The changeup offsets all that. But when you're able to throw the ball over the plate and throw on the corners and just get some contact, hit the ball right at our guys, that's the name of the game.”

With the Sox looking to activate Franklin Morales on Tuesday, the likely move would be to option Aceves back to Pwtucket after calling him up on Friday. However, no move was announced.

“There's no move at this point,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “We did talk about Franklin being available for us tomorrow. That move has not been finalized yet. So there’s some things coming in the next day or so.”

Between his start today and a solid appearance in relief against the Indians, Aceves was able to provide the Sox with stability in a pinch.

“Ace is a different guy,” Saltalamacchia said. “Nothing really bothers him too much. So he looked the same. His temperament was the same. It wasn't like he was overanxious or not ready. He looked like he was out there with a purpose and he did a good job.”

Ellsbury flashes defense, hitting in win

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 28, 2013 12:11 AM

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Jacoby Ellsbury was shading Freddy Galvis to left field, playing him to go the opposite way, but when Galvis shot a ball to the gap in right-center with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Ellsbury knew he had no choice but to get on his horse and make the grab.

“If I don't catch that ball, probably three runs score,” he said. “Fortunately I was able to track it down.”

He ran a mile to make a grab that would preserve a solid one-run, six-inning performance in spot duty by Alfredo Aceves in the Red Sox' 9-3 win over the Phillies, adding a gem in the field to his 3-for-5 day at the plate and continuing to work himself out of a sluggish start to the season.

“I take pride in all facets of the game,” Ellsbury said.

After me made the snag, Aceves tried to hide his ear-to-ear grin with his glove. Between Ellsbury's catch, three double plays the Sox turned, and his own self-preservation grab on a come-backer, the Sox’ glovework helped Aceves pick up his second win of the season.

“We all take great pride in our defense and that's one thing that we feel we can always do well at is defense,” Ellsbury said."Tonight we were able to flash the leather a little bit.”

Over the past week, Ellsbury has seen his bat come to life. He’s gone 10 for his last 25 (.400) as he has patiently waited for some of his hard-hit outs to start dropping in.

“Just got to stick with the approach -- always talking about that -- and the game plan and I just know it's just a matter of time before things start falling and getting some results.

“Everybody goes through a little something where maybe it's not falling, but I look at everything. Everything looks good. The swing's there. So it's just a matter of time. The results are going to come in bunches.”

Throughout his career, Ellsbury has generally gotten off to lukewarm starts (.278 in March and April, .275 in May) and heated up as the season chugged along (.290 in June, .315 in July).

In the meantime, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said Ellsbury has found other ways to leave his mark on games.

“Ells has been doing a great job,” Saltalamacchia said. “His numbers aren't showing what he's been doing for us. Defensively-wise, he's been doing an unbelievable job. When he gets on base, things happen. It's a whole different ball game. Tonight he was able to put some hits together, and hopefully that gets him going. But he's been hitting the ball hard, just right at people and it gets frustrating sometimes.”

After coming through with the game-winning double Sunday and a three-hit night on Monday his average for the season ticked up to .257.

“It's good to see, especially at the top of the lineup,” said shortstop Stephen Drew. “He's swinging the bat good and taking good swings at good pitches and driving the ball. He's got a lot of power and I think it's coming around for him.”

Final: Red Sox 9, Phillies 3

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 27, 2013 07:00 PM

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With Clay Buchholz scratched from his scheduled start, Alfredo Aceves made his first start since being optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket a month ago after a puzzlingly disastrous start against the Oakland As. He was strong in spot duty, allowing just one run over six innings and got plenty of help from a Red Sox offense that banged out 14 hits in an 9-3 win.

Dustin Pedroia (2 for 3) got the Sox on the board early with a two-run home run, his third of the year. Mike Napoli followed up two batters his eighth home run of the year, snapping out of a 9 for 42 dry spell with his first extra-base hit in nearly two weeks. After coming through with the game-winning double, Jacoby Ellsbury went 3 for 5 with a pair of doubles. Stephen Drew, who had been 0 for 17 before getting an off-day Saturday, went 2 for 3 with a pair of walks, including one with the bases loaded in the eighth.

The Sox were able to take sole possession of first place as the Yankees fell to the Mets 2-1.

FULL ENTRY

Jonathan Papelbon returns to Fenway Park

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 27, 2013 07:00 PM

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It had been two years since Jonathan Papelbon last pitched at Fenway Park, and his most immediate concern upon stepping into the visitors dugout Monday night was a simple one.

“I wonder if [visiting clubhouse manager] Joe Cochran has the Dubble Bubble that I like,” he said.

Beyond that, Papelbon was excited to return to Boston after leaving in 2011 as a free agent for Philadelphia and anxious about how a fan base that fell in love with him as the face of the 2007 World Series team would welcome him back

“It's an absolute thrill to be here, to play in this park again, and to hopefully get on the mound here and pitch,” Papelbon said before the game. “I think this is one of my all-time favorite mounds to pitch off of and, obviously, you know the crowd will be intense tonight. It's fun to play here.

“Obviously our championships we won here, the memories of pitching in so many situations where the game was on the line and having fun with it. I think every time I took the mound here it was fun.”

In seven seasons with the Red Sox, Papelbon amassed 219 saves, the most in team history. His wildflower personality was front and center in the run to the world championship in 2007, when his champagne-soaked Riverdance became the signature image of the season.

But after a tumultuous 2011 season, Papelbon signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies.

“Hopefully, I'll be received well,” he said. “But I will also accept the fact that I might not.

"Hopefully, the fans understand that what I did here was come here and help win. That's the only thing I really wanted to do here. Hopefully they'll understand that while I was here, that's all I wanted to do was help the ball club win, and we won.

"So, hopefully, they'll recognize that. But if they don't, I understand it and I get it and I'll welcome it with open arms."

Papelbon has sustained his success in Philadelphia, recording 30-plus saves for the seventh straight season a year ago. Currently, he’s on a streak of 17.2 scoreless innings, the second-longest active streak among National League relievers. He says he feels more evolved as a pitcher.

“I think a lot has changed in the last couple years for me," said Papelbon. "I think for me, I've become more of a complete pitcher and not just a thrower. Last year and a half in Philly, I'm really starting to become more of a complete pitcher in my mind and not just a thrower that goes out there and tries to go out there and blow it by everybody.”

What’s also changed is his theme music — from the Dropkick Murphys' “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” to Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” The Dropkicks' power chords still pulse through Fenway whenever there’s a save opportunity, only now it’s Andrew Bailey coming out of the bullpen.

The playlist is Papelbon-approved.

“I like it, I really do,” he said. “I think it's for a good cause and it has become a song that's been notorious for this city when we won in '07 and the Dropkicks are a huge thing here in Boston. I think it's cool, man.”

Buchholz does some throwing, feels fine

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 27, 2013 06:11 PM

Clay Buchholz, who was scheduled to start Monday night's game before being skipped because of pain in his AC joint, had a lengthy throwing session in the outfield before batting practice.

Buchholz made some pitches from the windup, did some long tosses, and finished with a few more pitches that he let go at full speed.

“Felt fine, better as I went along,” Buchholz said. “It’s not going to be a problem.”

The Red Sox have not scheduled a day for Buchholz to pitch. But manager John Farrell said it would not be before Thursday. Buchholz's next step would be to throw from a mound in the bullpen.

“We don’t anticipate this being more than a couple of days extended before he’s back on the mound for us,” Farrell said. “A positive day for him.”

Also:

• The teams will wear special Memorial Day caps and jerseys. The caps feature US Marine Corps digital military camouflage. All proceeds from sales of the caps and jerseys will be donated to Welcome Back Veterans.

The Red Sox will have in-game and pre-game military tributes, including honoring veterans within the Sox organization. There will be a moment of silence before the game.

• Pedro Martinez is at Fenway today and was in uniform for batting practice.

• Ryan Dempster has allowed 15 runs on 20 hits and 11 walks over 12.2 innings in his last three starts. He takes the mound again Tuesday.

"It's basically keeping the ball down," he said. "I've got to stop leaving it high and I've been making the adjustments."

Farrell was a bit more expansive on the topic.

“He hasn’t not only worked downhill, it’s taken away from the shape and execution of his secondary pitches,” the manager said. “When he was right or when he was throwing well, he’d be able to got that slider [or] cutter at any time in the count, particularly 3-2, for a number of strikeouts. It shows that he’s been pushing the ball."

Ortiz preparing for return to first base

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 27, 2013 06:11 PM

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David Ortiz dusted off his glove Monday and took some grounders at first base for the first time since spring training. He will start his first game in the field Wednesday or Thursday in Philadelphia.

With no designated hitter in interleague road games, the Red Sox plan to start Ortiz at first base in one of the games at Citizens Bank Park and Mike Napoli in the other.

“We’ll be able to use it to our advantage as far as a rest day for either guy,” manager John Farrell said.

Ortiz played seven games at first base last season.

With 15 teams in each league now, the number of interleague games for the Sox has climbed from 18 to 20. The Sox have a six-game road trip against the Giants and Dodgers in August and two games at Colorado in September.

“I think it’s a pretty distinct disadvantage,” Farrell said. “Our team isn’t built like a National League team. While we’ve used our bench in certain matchups, we certainly don’t use it to any extent to which a National League team does. That’s not to make an excuse. That’s just to know there’s two different styles of play and teams are built to reflect that style.”

Farrell said one break is that the interleague road games are spread out over the season.

“From that standpoint, the schedule works in our favor,” he said.

Ortiz did not commit any errors in the field last season. While he lacks range, Ortiz does have good hands around the bag.

"The one thing that people may overlook is that he’s a pretty darned good first baseman," said Farrell, "and we have no issue at all putting him at first base."

Daniel Bard getting a break

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 27, 2013 04:49 PM

Daniel Bard hasn't pitched in a game for Double A Portland since May 15 when he walked five batters in one inning. He has 17 walks in 12.2 innings for the Sea Dogs this season.

Asked if Bard had been shut down, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington responded via text, "No. Just giving him a little break."

Cherington said Bard is working on things away from the games.

How long this "break" will be is anyone's guess. Cherington indicated that Bard is not being shut down for the remainder of the season.

Game 52: Phillies at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 27, 2013 02:47 PM

Good afternoon. Hope you're enjoying Memorial Day. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (31-20)
Ellsbury CF
Nava RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Drew SS
Carp LF
Saltalamacchia C
Iglesias 3B
Pitching: RHP Alfredo Aceves (1-1, 8.20).

PHILLIES (24-26)
Revere CF
M. Young 3B
Rollins SS
Howard 1B
D. Young DH
Brown LF
Mayberry RF
Galvis 2B
Kratz C
Pitching: RHP Tyler Cloyd (1-0, 2.70).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Cloyd: No history.

Phillies vs. Aceves: M. Young 3-5, Revere 1-5, Mayberry 0-1, Rollins 2-2, D. Young 0-1, Galvis 0-1.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox are 96-48 (.667) in interleague games the last eight seasons, 21-9 against the Phillies.

Notes: The Sox have won three straight and four of five. ... The Phillies have lost two of three. ... Cloyd, a 26-year-old rookie, is facing the Red Sox for the first time. This is the ninth start of his carer, the third this season. ... Aceves faced the Phillies twice in relief last season. This is his first start this season since April 23. ... The Sox are 29-20 against the Phillies, 13-7 at Fenway. ... Ellsbury in the last six games: 7 of 22 with two runs scored, four RBIs and five walks. His OBP has climbed from .303 to .319. ... Saltalamacchia has reached base safely in 15 straight games and is 15 of 50 (.300) in that stretch. ... The Sox are 3-1 on a homestand that has two games left. They are 16-11 at Fenway.

Song of the Day: "Make My" by The Roots.

Pitching matchups for the Phillies series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 27, 2013 09:30 AM

Monday at Boston: RHP Alfredo Aceves (1-1, 8.20) vs. RHP Tyler Cloyd (1-0, 2.70), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

Tuesday at Boston: RHP Ryan Dempster (2-5, 4.69) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (5-2, 2.48), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

Wednesday at Philadelphia: RHP John Lackey (3-4, 2.72) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (4-3, 3.29), 7:05 p.m., NESN.

Thursday at Philadelphia: LHP Jon Lester (6-1, 3.34) vs. RHP Jonathan Pettibone (3-0, 3.21), 7:05 p.m., NESN, MLB Network.

Clay Buchholz scratched from Monday start

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 26, 2013 05:41 PM

Red Sox righthander Clay Buchholz has been scratched from Monday's start against Philadelphia due to an irritation in his right AC joint in the collarbone area.

John Farrell and Buchholz said the area started getting sore after his last start. Buchholz said he slept the wrong way while his young daughter slept on the right shoulder. Buchholz said he threw in the bullpen yesterday and felt it but expects not to miss a full turn in the rotation and that he would like to pitch later this week.

Alfredo Aceves will make the start tomorrow against the Phillies.

Buchholz is 7-0 with a 1.73 earned run average and a 1.05 WHIP. The Red Sox are 9-1 in his starts. Aceves is 1-1, 8.20 and will be making his fourth start.

"The night we got back from the road trip, just got in bed and had the little girl with me and I fell asleep like this [with her crooked in his arm] instead of on my back like I usually do. When I woke up the next morning it felt a little tight," Buchholz said. "So I came in here and been getting treatment on it. I could pitch tomorrow if I had to, but I don’t have to. So take my time and get it all the way out and pitch in a couple more days," he said.

Buchholz said it was his call to miss the start, but that he's rather go out there when he's 100 percent rather than be held back. He said if he had to pitch tomorrow night he would have, but the Red Sox seem to have options in the form of Aceves.

"I want to make sure I’m 100 percent every time I go out there, rather than 80, 85 percent," Buchholz said. "Just want to cut it (risk of it lingering) right now and hopefully a couple more days, two, three more days, I’ll be back where I was at."

Buchholz had never faced the Phillies before.

"It doesn’t make me alter my delivery at all. It’s just something that’s there and the doctors have all said I can go out and throw and I’m not going to hurt anything. It’s just that joint, where it’s at, it has a little bit of cartilage in the middle and they said I irritated the cartilage by sort of laying on it and pinching it," he said.

Buchholz said it's tough to sit out because of the way he's been pitching.

"Yeah, that’s what’s hard about it. I want to be out there every day. I think I would be doing the team an injustice if I’m not 100 percent like I have been all year. yeah, that was the tough part, on my half side of it. But fortunately enough we got a couple of guys that can fill in for that one start so it’s not going to hurt anybody."

Buchholz said he's had this before.

"Yeah, in minor leagues, it feels like just a bone bruise, basically. It’s right on top of the bone so it’s not a ligament. It’s just a piece of cartilage in between those bones of that joint, that sort of flared up a little bit. Had x-rays and everything on it. So came back [good]. So it’s fine."

Buchholz said he threw a full bullpen on Saturday.

"A little bit," he said when asked whether it bothered him. "It's just I don’t want to go out there, feeling something and feel like I have to alter my delivery to do something and end up hurting something else. I’ve never had to pitch with any kind of ill feelings as far as arm and I don’t think now’s a good time to start that. So it is what they say it is and it’s only going to take a couple more days, what’s two days more?"

Buchholz said he would play catch on Monday. He expects to start later in the week.

"Yeah, that’s sort of what we’re looking at right now. I don’t know an exact day, but yeah. I don’t think I’ll miss a full turn in the rotation," he said.

Final: Red Sox 6, Indians 5

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 26, 2013 01:37 PM

Game over: Red Sox 6, Indians 5 The Red Sox took three out of four against the Indians with a walk-off win when Jacoby Ellsbury doubled to center scoring two runs with the bases loaded to give the Red Sox their second dramatic come-from-behind win before 37,041 at Fenway.

The Red Sox bench exploded off the bench when Ellsbury came through. It was after Cleveland closer Chris Perez had a rough time of it and finally came out of the game with an injury, leaving Smith in a tough spot with the bases loaded and down on the count, 2-1.

The Red Sox were shut down for the better part of seven innings by Indians starter Corey Kluber who allowed three hits and run and struck out 10 over 6.2 innings. The Red Sox got a Daniel Nava RBI single in the third, a Jose Iglesias' sacrifice fly in the eighth after a Stephen Drew triple.

In the ninth, after a walk to Dustin Pedroia by Perez, David Ortiz doubled. The first run came when Mike Napoli ground out. Ortiz moved to second and then stole third base when nobody was looking.

Ortiz scored on Jarrod Saltalmacchia's ground out. Jonny Gomes then extended the inning with a walk. Drew, who had already doubled and tripled, singled to right. Runners were now at first and third and Iglesias came up.

Iglesias had a nice at-bat before walking to load the bases for Jacoby Ellsbury, who got to 2-1 on Perez before the closer had to come out of the game.

Felix Doubront started and allowed four runs, two of them earned, over six innings. Ellsbury was charged with an error when he dropped a shallow fly ball to center after a long run and with Drew about to collide with him. Philadelphia comes in for two games starting Monday night.

Top 9th: Indians 5, Red Sox 2: Breslow retires the side in order. Iglesias makes a nice play on a slow hit ball and one-hopped a throw to first with Napolo scooped up for the out.

Bottom 8th: Indians 5, Red Sox 2: Stephen Drew tripled over Drew Stubbs' head in right and came in on Iglesias' sacrifice fly to left center.

Top 8th: Indians 5, Red Sox 1: With Craig Breslow on, Jason Kipnis doubled to right on a ball that drifted away from Daniel Nava with a strong wind blowing toward field. After Asdrubal Cabrera singled, a run scored on Nick Swisher's sac fly to left. Gomes' throw to the plate was way in front of the plate where Jarrod Saltalamacchia caught it and threw out Cabrera, who was way off the the first base bag.

Bottom 7th: Indians 4, Red Sox 1: Kluber out after first two outs of the inning (112 pitches). The Sox must be glad to see him go. Kluber K'd 10 and allowed three hits and one run. Rich Hill came on and he couldn't get Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who walked. Jonny Gomes came on to pinch-hit for Mike Carp and he flew out to the shortstop in short left field.

Top 7th: Indians 4, Red Sox 1 - The line on Felix Doubront: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. He threw 112 pitches. He's been replaced by Alex Wilson, who walked Michael Bourn but then was caught stealing. Bourn argued the call but to no avail. Terry Francona spent an eternity out there arguing with Tom Hallion. Funny scene as the three of them had their hats off, and still arguing while God Bless America was sung.

Bottom 6th: Indians 4, Red Sox 1: Kluber allowed a one-out single to Ellsbury, but struck out Nava and Pedroia.

Top 6th: Indians 4, Red Sox 1: No cheapie for Nick Swisher. Hit a solo homer over everything in left. Doubront gets himself through six with 112 pitches.

Bottom 5th: Indians 3, Red Sox 1: Red Sox can't do much against Kluber as they go down in order again.

Top 5th: Indians 3, Red Sox 1: Jason Kipnis hit a homer inside the Pesky Pole on on 0-2 pitch by Doubront.

Bottom 4th: Indians 2, Red Sox 1: Sox go down in order.

Top 4th: Indians 2, Red Sox 0: Doubront has seven strikeouts and has retired 11 straight batters. He's up to 81 pitches.

Bottom 3rd: Indians 2, Red Sox 1: Daniel Nava's two-out single off the wall scored Stephen Drtew with the first Red Sox run. Drew started the inning with a ground-rule double to break an 0-for-17 slump. After Jose Iglesias was hit with a pitch, Jacoby Ellsbury knocked into a 4-6-3 double-play, but Nava came through. Nava was thrown out trying to stretch the hit to a double.

Top 3rd: Indians 2, Red Sox 0: Good inning for Doubront who struck out two and retired all three batters. The Red Sox employed a righthanded shift on Mark Reynolds.

Bottom 2nd: Indians 2, Red Sox 0: Red Sox can't clobber Kluber. The Indians righty has struck out four through two innings.

Top 2nd: Indians 2, Red Sox 0: Doubront had learned to economize of late, but not so much in this game. He walked two after the first out. with runners at first and third and two outs, struck out Jason Kipnis to end the inning. Fifty-four pitches in two innings. Bullpen, get ready.

Bottom 1st: Indians 2, Red Sox 0: -Corey Kluber struck out the first two Red Sox batters — Jacoby Ellsbury and Daniel Nava — but then walked Dustin Pedroia. But Ortiz grounded out into the the shift.

Top 1st: Indians 2, Red Sox 0: It didn't start well for Felix Doubront with leadoff hitter Michael Bourn stroking a single to right. He stole second base. Jason Kipnis then reached when his short fly between short and center was dropped by Jacoby Ellsbury, and he was charged with an error. But he had to run an eternity for the ball while Stephen Drew was running backward and blocked Ellsbury as he tried to make the catch. Don't be surprised if this gets changed to a hit.

With runners at first and second, Doubront struck out Asdrubal Cabrera, but Nick Swisher singled into the 5-6 hole to load the bases. Mark Reynolds had the count 2-0, but wound up string out. That left things up to catcher Carlos Santana. He singled to left field scoring a pair of runs, but then got himself caught in a rundown between first and second base and was thrown out 8-5-4.

Farrell says Franklin Morales due back Tuesday

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 26, 2013 11:58 AM

Good morning from Fenway. Let’s get to topics from John Farrell’s press conference:

1. Stephen Drew is back in there at short after a day off and Jose Iglesias shifts to third. Why would you play the better shortstop at third? It’s a veteran thing. The Red Sox believe the rookie moves, not the veteran.

2. Farrell said that lefty Franklin Morales will be activated Tuesday. His rehab stint is over. Morales will be used in the bullpen. At that point another move has to be made. We’ll see if Alfredo Aceves goes right back to Pawtucket. Alex Wilson maybe? It will likely depend on the state of the team at that point with injuries. The Red Sox are still playing a little short in the outfield with the Jonny Gomes/Mike Carp platoon providing the backup. Pedro Ciriaco can also back up.

3. Farrell on Carp/Gomes: “In the absence of Shane (Victorino) the combination of he and Jonny have been productive. I think there is a flow with both guys where there’ll be a spot in the game or against certain starters. To their credit, the guys who have come off the bench or spot starting have contributed. Every guy on this roster has. In Mike’s situation there have been situations in the game that have been more focal or against a good righthanded starter like (Justin) Masterson or in situations in the game He’s given us a huge lift coming off the bench.”

4. On Daniel Nava playing right field with Victorino injured: “Shane has shown us exceptional range and very good play in right field, but we don’t compare Daniel vs. Shane. Daniel is going to give us the best of his abilities on any given day. All around though, when you look at the way he’s swung the bat, the way he’s played defensively, he’s had a very good year.”

5. On today’s starter Felix Doubront’s recent success: “Prior to the last two starts he and (pitching coach) Juan (Nieves) did some work in the bullpen just to get his lower half on line as far creating more arm speed and better finish to his stuff in the strike zone. He just built upon what started in Tampa. The best part is the way he speaks when we ask questions and the confidence he shows is an insight on how he feels about himself and the adjustments that have been made. He and Juan are onto something here and hopefully that continues to build.”

6. On Will Middlebrook’s status: “He‘s feeling less stiff. But until we get a bat in his hand and he does some baseball activities we’ll have a better read.”

7. Farrell’s success in pushing the right buttons with his bench: “More than anything is to get to know the strengths of guys on the roster We strive our best to put guys in position to succeed. It’s ultimately their abilities that allows them to do that, but I think there’s been some continuity with the use of the guys on the bench so they can anticipate mentally when a spot is coming up for them. I think that pertains directly to Jonny and Mike Carp and their roles and how they’ve been able to produce. It’s no different than guys in the bullpen. You put them in a situation to have success.”

8. On Iglesias responding better in the majors than the minors: “Everyone’s burning desire and goal is to play at this level. I’d hate to think the major leagues is the sole motivator in all of this but it’s clear there’s a greater level of energy, there’s a greater level of consequence, there’s a greater level of reward that goes with playing here. The one thing Iglesias shows is a lot of self confidence being at this level. Whether that’s because he’s gone through the struggles of last year and he’s grown from those. he comes off a solid spring and gets off to a great start. I thought he handled the decision to go back to Pawtucket as a true pro. He understood. Deep down it’s clear he saw himself as a major league player. The fact he comes back here he handles himself in a way you can sense when he walks passed you. He believes himself. That’s not trash talking or anything else. He just goes about his actions in a mature manner."

Game 51: Indians at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 26, 2013 09:45 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (30-20)
Ellsbury CF
Nava RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Carp LF
Drew SS
Iglesias 3B
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (3-2, 5.61).

INDIANS (27-21)
Bourn CF
Kipnis 2B
Cabrera DH
Swisher 1B
Reynolds 3B
Santana C
Brantley LF
Aviles SS
Stubbs RF
Pitching: RHP Corey Kluber (3-3, 5.19).

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Kluber: Drew 0-3, Pedroia 1-3, Ellsbury 1-2, Salty 0-2, Napoli 1-1, Nava 1-1.

Indians vs. Doubront: Swisher 5-15, Cabrera 2-9, Reynolds 1-8, Santana 2-9, Brantley 2-7, Raburn 1-5, Kipnis 1-3, Stubbs 0-1, Aviles 0-1.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox are 5-1 against the Indians this season, outscoring them 37-24. They are 10-4 against the Indians the last two seasons.

Notes: The Sox won two of the first three games of the series. ... Cleveland has dropped three of four overall. ... Doubront has allowed four runs on eight hits over 11 innings in his last two starts, a vast improvement over the 6.40 ERA he posted in his first six outings. Doubront faced Cleveland on April 16 and allowed two runs over five innings in a 7-2 victory. ... Kluber faced the Sox in relief on April 17, allowing one run on three hits in one inning. His last two starts (against Philadelphia and Detroit) were quality ones. He allowed six runs over 12.1 innings. ... Pedroia is 38 of 96 (.396) at Fenway. ... Drew is hitless in his last 17 at-bats. ... Ortiz has reached base safely in 14 games in a row.

Song of the Day: "Always A Friend" by Alejandro Escovedo.

Carp comes through again for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 25, 2013 08:36 PM

From his seat on the bench in the Red Sox dugout, Mike Carp has become adept at deciphering when manager John Farrell will put him into the game.

It requires thinking a bit like a manager, projecting how the game will unfold, and when the opposition will have a righthander on the mound in a critical spot.

Carp, a lefthanded hitter, has hit righthanders well all season and is rarely overmatched by a fastball.

On Saturday, the puzzle was easy to solve. The Cleveland Indians had a one-run lead on the Red Sox in the eighth inning and were trying to get the ball to their closer, Chris Perez, in the ninth.

Manager Terry Francona seemed sure to use righthander Vinny Pestano, his usual set-up man. Carp knew that if at least one of his teammates got on base, he would likely hit for Jonny Gomes.

Once Pedro Ciriaco doubled with one out, Carp grabbed a bat. He lined a two-out double off the wall in left field to tie the game.

He then scored the go-ahead run on a double by Dustin Pedroia. By the time the inning was over, the Red Sox had scored four runs and went on to a 7-4 victory.

The Sox, at 30-20, are of to their best start through 50 games since the 2008 team was 31-19.

“These kind of wins are fun,” said Carp, who has become one of the most productive part-time players in the game.

Carp is 15 of 50 (.300) over 25 games with 11 extra-base hits and 12 RBIs. That includes being 3 for 10 as a pinch hitter with three RBIs. Against the Indians, he is 6 for 12 with three doubles, a triple, a home run, and six RBIs.

Daniel Nava, who has been a bench player in his career, understands the challenge.

“It's tough. You're sitting three hours, three-and-a-half hours and all of a sudden it's time to go up there and you've got the game on the line,” he said. “That's not an easy thing to do. [Carp] did a great job of coming up there, being relaxed, and sticking with a good approach on a good pitcher."

See the Globe tomorrow for much more from Carp.

Also:

• Jose Iglesias and Pedro Ciriaco were 6 for 8 with three runs scored and an RBI at the bottom of the order.

Iglesias is 13 of 27 in eight major league games and the Sox are 7-1 when he starts. He's making a nice case for himself to play more. It'll be interesting to see how long he can keep this up. Six of the 13 hits are infield hits and Iglesias is a wholly unsustainable 13 of 22 (.591) on balls in play. The average is around .300.

• David Ross wore his usual goalie-style catcher’s helmet on Saturday against the Indians. But in his first game back after suffering a concussion on May 11, Ross took extra precautions. Ross wore a Kevlar skullcap under his helmet, a stretchy material fitting around his head like a beanie. The device, designed for pitchers, was an extra layer of protection. The trainers also attached some gel padding inside his helmet in the front.

“The two balls that got me hit my mask right where forehead is and that scared me,” Ross said. "I was willing to do anything to get a little more protection.”

Ross sent one of his masks out to get fitted with an interior layer of Kevlar. Until it comes back, he’ll wear the black skullcap.

• Jon Lester threw 124 pitches, matching the third-most in his career. He allowed a season-high 10 hits but also struck out eight.

• The Indians had been undefeated (21-0) when leading after seven innings. Today marked their first loss by a reliever all season. Vinnie Pestano (1-1) allowed four runs on four hits and two walks.

• The Red Sox have played 50 games and 444.2 innings this season. Dustin Pedroia has started every game and played 441.2 innings. He has reached base safely in 45 of the 50 games and had hits in 39 of them. Today was his 22nd game with two or more hits.

Jose Iglesias confident at big-league level

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 25, 2013 08:03 PM

iglesias.jpg

Jose Iglesias hasn't necessarily been shy about how much he wants to be on the big league roster.

"I feel comfortable here," he said. "I feel really comfortable here."

With Stephen Drew taking the day off to rest, Iglesias took the opportunity to shine, going 3 for 4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored as the Sox rallied to beat the Indians 7-4. After starting the season with the with the parent club, he had been in Pawtucket since April, when Drew returned from a concussion.

There were signs that he wasn't altogether happy about being there. He was benched earlier this month by PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina for not hustling down the line on a ground ball. But called back up on Friday with a Sox in a pinch after putting third baseman Will Middlebrooks on the disabled list, he could possibly be playing himself into a position as an extra infielder.

"It's clear he's extremely confident and he believes in himself," Sox manager John Farrell said. "You see it in his actions, the way he carries himself. It's not in a disrespectful way. He is very sure of himself. We saw it as spring training unfolded. It was reinforced in the time he was here through the time he was here before Stephen [Drew] returned to us. He comes back to us again and he's a strong believer in himself and his abilities to play at this level."

The major league atmosphere has an impact on Iglesias's performance. He now has 13 hits in 27 major league at-bats compared 24 in 119 in the minors.

"You've got the motivation here to win the game," Iglesias said. "We've got a reason to play 100 percent, for the fans, for you guys, for the team, for the organization. Up there [in Pawtucket] it's kind of difficult. You still want to win. You still try to do your best but you go to the field and you see three people in the stands, it's cold weather, it's kind of tough. You've got to push yourself a little harder."

There's also a comfort level in the clubhouse, where he's locker neighbors with slugger and leader David Ortiz.

"I think that comes from being around these guys and getting along with everybody and being consistent with my workouts and my routine," Iglesias said. "That's basically what I've been doing. That's where my confidence comes from."

Final: Red Sox 7, Indians 4

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 25, 2013 01:30 PM

Lester052513.jpg

With a four-run eighth inning, the Red Sox rallied to take their second straight game from the Cleveland Indians 7-4.

After smashing a three-run homer in Friday night's win, Mike Carp came on to pinch hit and roped an RBI double to left. Then Dustin Pedroia (2 for 4) followed up with an run-scoring double of his own to put the Sox ahead.

On an afternoon when rainy conditions made things difficult in the field, the Sox caught a break. After David Ortiz was intentionally walked, Daniel Nava popped one up to shallow left but both shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and left fiedler Michael Brantley lost it. It dropped in allowing Pedroia and Ortiz to score, giving the Sox insurance.

Jon Lester struck out eight in seven innings, but didn't factor into the decision. Junichi Tazawa (4-2) picked up the win after throwing a scoreless eighth, and Andrew Bailey earned his sixth save, pitching pitched a clean ninth.

FULL ENTRY

A slumping Drew gets a day off

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 25, 2013 12:08 PM

A day after he started at third base, Jose Iglesias is shifting to shortstop for the Red Sox. Pedro Ciriaco is starting at third base and Stephen Drew is on the bench against lefthander Scott Kazmir.

"Day game after a night game, trying to get another righthanded bat in there," John Farrell said. "Feel like Stephen probably can use a day [off]. As we've been rotation our positions players through, kind of normal scheduling situation."

Drew is hitless in his last 17 at-bats since wrenching his back on an awkward slide in Minnesota on May 17.

"He's felt some soreness from it. But it hasn't been to the point of keeping him out of the lineup once he returned," Farrell said. "Just managing it as everyone else manages what they're banged-up with."

Has the injury affected his swing?

"I can't say it hasn't. Whether it's the aggressiveness in which he's swung the bat. Just in talking with Stephen, I can't say it's restricted his swing or the extension to it. It might just be the overall aggressiveness. All things considered that's why today was a natural down day for him."

Also:

• The Sox will discuss Franklin Morales today. The lefty has been on the disabled list all season and is now ready to pitch after going through a minor league rehab assignment. So what now?

"One of two things. Either he's activated and put in the bullpen here or he makes one more additional rehab start. Those are ongoing conversations," Farrell said. "I think we'll come to probably a more clear direction by the end of the day."

Because Morales had his original 30-day rehab assignment stopped and started up again, the Sox could keep him on the disabled list until June 5.

Morales went five innings on Thursday, so he would not be available until Tuesday at the earliest if the Sox wait four days.

Part of the issue is that the Red Sox kind of like their bullpen the way it is. Morales would give them three lefties. Clayton Mortensen is out of options and Alex Wilson has pitched well.

• Dustin Pedroia has yet to get a day off. Don't expect that to change any time soon.

"I'll probably look and he'll probably continue to be in the lineup," Farrell said. "As we know, he's not a guy who's looking to come out of the lineup. Whether it's 162 [games], there may be a time along the way that we give him a break. But right now he's still going strong."

Red Sox hope game will start as scheduled

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 25, 2013 11:55 AM

The tarp is down at Fenway Park. But the Red Sox think they're going to play at 1:35 p.m. The latest information from the team is:

The current forecast for today's game calls for the chance for intermittent light rain showers and mist at Fenway during the afternoon hours. All Fenway Park gates will open on time at 12:05 p.m. and we hope to begin today's game as scheduled at 1:35 pm.

The Indians have a day game in Cincinnati on Monday, so a day/night doubleheader on Sunday would not suit them very well.

If and when this changes, we will post updates here.

Game 50: Indians at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 25, 2013 09:50 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (29-20)
Ellsbury CF
Gomes LF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava RF
Ross C
Iglesias SS
Ciriaco 3B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (6-1, 3.15).

INDIANS 27-20)
Stubbs CF
Aviles 2B
Cabrera SS
Swisher 1B
Reynolds 3B
Santana DH
Gomes C
Brantley LF
Raburn RF
Pitching: LHP Scott Kazmir (2-2, 6.35).

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Kazmir: Ortiz 10-52, Pedroia 20-42, Ellsbury 7-26, Salty 0-7, Napoli 0-4.

Indians vs. Lester: Swisher 15-49, Cabrera 4-19, Reynolds 5-15, Raburn 2-9, Santana 2-7, Aviles 1-7, Brantley 1-8, Bourn 2-7, Giambi 2-6, Gomes 1-3, Phelps 0-2, Stubbs 0-2.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are +43 in run differential in 24 games played on the road (15-9) and -7 in 25 games played at home (14-11). They are averaging 5.25 runs on the road and 4.52 runs at home.

Notes: Lester is 6-1, 3.27 in 12 career starts against the Indians, 3-0, 1.04 in the last four. That includes a victory on April 18 in Cleveland that saw him allow two runs over seven innings. ... Kazmir is facing the Red Sox for the first time since Aug. 10, 2010 when he was with the Angels. He is 8-8, 4.06 in 25 career starts against the Sox, 6-5, 3.90 in 15 starts at Fenway. Kazmir allowed nine runs in eight innings in his last two starts. ... The Sox are 2-6 in their last eight home games. ... Ellsbury has hit in four straight at 5 of 14 with two runs scored and three walks. ... Andrew Miller's last 6 outings: 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K. ... Pedroia is hitting .391 at home and has hit safely in 24 of 25 games at Fenway Park. ... Drew is 0 for his last 17 since returning from a two-game absence with a back injury. That has dropped his average from .238 to .205. ... Koji Uehara's last 7 appearances: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 12 K. He has not allowed a run in 18 of his 21 outings. ... Saltalamacchia has started six straight games. He has reached base safely in 14 consecutive games, hitting 15 of 47 (.319 in the process).

Song of the Day: "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk (featuring Pharrell Williams). Download now, it'll be the big hit of the summer.

Final: Red Sox 8, Indians 1

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff May 24, 2013 07:40 PM

Final: Red Sox 8, Indians 1: After absorbing a 12-3 beatdown in the first game of this four-game series against the Indians, the Red Sox bounced back in a huge way Friday night before a rain-soaked Fenway Park crowd of 34,074.

After a rain delay of some 44 minutes, the Sox took the field and got seven strong innings from John Lackey and a four-run eruption in the seventh inning that broke the game wide open.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 8, Indians 1: Vinnie Pestano entered the game in the frame in relief of Matt Albers and retired the Sox in 1-2-3 fashion.

Alfredo Aceves, the recalcitrant reliever who was banished to Pawtucket then summoned Friday to bolster the bullpen, was summoned to start the ninth to close it out for the Sox.

Top 8th: Red Sox 8, Indians 1: Yeoman's effort by Lackey, who submitted his fourth quality start of the season. Lackey handed it over to Koji Uehara, who gave up a lead-off double to Michael Brantley, but stranded him at third to keep the Indians in check.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 8, Indians 1: Jose Iglesias, called up from Triple-A Pawtucket Friday after the Sox placed third baseman Will Middlebrooks (low back strain on the 15-day disabled list, came through with a single to left that loaded the bases for Jacoby Ellsbury.

Ellsbury, who had hit .500 (2-for-4) this season with the bases loaded, came up and delivered a clutch 2-RBI single to right off left reliever Rich Hill, who entered the game after Justin Masterson gave up a lead-off double to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Hill then hit pinch-hitter Johnny Gomes on the leg before striking out Stephen Drew (swinging) with a 72 slider.

Iglesias set the table for Ellsbury, whose two-run hit gave him 5 RBIs for the season with the bases loaded.

After Daniel Nava popped to third base for the second out of the inning, Indians manager Terry Francona drew a rousing cheer (for the second time in as many pitching changes) when he went out to summon Matt Albers from the bullpen.

Dustin Pedroia greeted Albers with a hard-hit, 2-RBI single to right that drove in Iglesias and Ellsbury for a seven-run lead.

Uehara entered the game in the top of the eighth in relief of Lackey (7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K).

Top 7th: Red Sox 4, Indians 1: John Lackey departed to a thunderous ovation after he struck out Mark Reynolds with an 86 cutter to retire the side. It was Lackey's eighth strikeout of the game after throwing a season-high 109 pitches.

It was probably Lackey's last inning of the night, especially when Koji Uehara began warming up for the Sox in the bottom of the seventh.

Bottom 6th, Red Sox 4, Indians 1: Sox pushed across an insurance run on Mike Napoli's bases-loaded fielder's choice that scored Daniel Nava, who reached after getting hit by a pitch. David Ortiz, who loaded the bases with his bloop single to shallow left, was forced out at second and Dustin Pedroia, who singled to left, wound up getting thrown out at home by Nick Swisher for the inning-ending 6-4, 3-2 double play.

Top 6th, Red Sox 3, Indians 1: Lackey showcased his ability to field his position when he made the first putout of the inning -- from his knees, no less -- when he chased down Michael Bourn's infield dribbler and threw him out at first.

After walking Jason Kipnis, snapping his string of eight consecutive retired batters, Lackey got Asdrubal Cabrera to line out to first and then struck out Nick Swisher (swinging) with a 93 fastball that illicited a show of emotion from Lackey, who pumped his fist as he left the mound.

Top 5th: Red Sox 3, Indians 1: Lackey continues to cruise, despite having to contend with inclement conditions. He sandwiched a pair of strikeouts of Mark Reynolds (93 fastball) and Drew Stubbs (86 cutter) around a Michael Brantley ground out to short to make quick work of the Indians.

Lackey has five strikeouts through the first five innings.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 3, Indians 1: No heavy lifting for Masterson in this 1-2-3 inning as he retired David Ortiz (ground out to first), Mike Napoli (strikeout looking), and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (ground out to third) in order.

Masterson threw 66 pitches, 40 strikes, through the first four innings, nearly matching his Boston counterpart, Lackey, who threw 65 pitches (42 strikes) over that same stretch.

Top 4th: Red Sox 3, Indians 1: Quick inning for Lackey, who needed only 10 pitches to retire the side in order.

Bottom 3d: Red Sox 3, Indians 1: Masterson kept the Sox in check after giving up a one-out single to right by Daniel Nava. Dustin Pedroia came up and helped Masterson's cause by hitting into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Top 3d: Red Sox 3, Indians 1: Mark Reynolds, who reached on a lead-off single to left, got one back for the Indians when he went to second on Michael Brantley's base hit and then stole third, drawing an errant throw from Saltalamacchia, who air mailed it into left field. Score Salty with an error and the Indians with an unearned first run.

Lackey, who labored in the inning after throwing 27 pitches, wound up getting Asdrubal Cabrera to ground out to first to end the inning.

Bottom 2d: Red Sox 3, Indians 0: Left fielder Mike Carp belted a three-run homer to the Sox bullpen, driving a 1-and-1 slider from Masterson deep to right field. Carp snapped an 0-for-21 slump with his third homer of the season.

Carp pushed across David Ortiz, who drew a lead-off walk, went to second on Mike Napoli's single to center. Ortiz tagged up and went to third on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's flyball out to right, setting the stage for Carp to clear the bases.

Top 2d: Indians 0, Red Sox 0: Nice glove work by Dustin Pedroia, who made a diving stab of Jason Giambi's sharply-struck groundball up the middle. Pedroia made the stop, then flipped the ball to short stop Stephen Drew for the force out at second on Carlos Santana, who drew a one-out walk. Drew turned the 4-6-3 double play on Giambi at first to end the inning.

Bottom 1st: Indians 0, Red Sox 0: Justin Masterson (why can the Sox get guys like him?) was equally as efficient as he retired the Sox in 1-2-3 fashion, striking out lead-off hitter Jacoby Ellsbury before inducing both Daniel Nava and Dustin Pedroia to hit ground outs to first base.

Top 1st: Indians 0, Red Sox 0: After a 44-minute delay of the scheduled 7:10 p.m. start, Lackey was first out of the Red Sox dugout to take the field at 7:54 p.m. Lackey worked quickly and efficiently in poor conditions, retiring the top of the Indians order in 1-2-3 fashion with a pair of strikeouts.

Pregame: Greetings from a rain-soaked Fenway Park where Friday night's game between the Red Sox and the visiting Indians has been delayed until 7:50 p.m. The Sox will send RHP John Lackey (2-4, 3.31 ERA) to the mound to oppose RHP Justin Masterson (7-2, 2.83 ERA). We're up in the press box at Fenway, trying to dry out after a soaking walk from the media lot to the park, hoping you stay warm and dry.

As always, please feel free to post your comments here. Enjoy the game.

Red Sox place Shane Victorino, Will Middlebrooks on disabled list

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff May 24, 2013 03:37 PM

The Red Sox placed third baseman Will Middlebrooks and outfielder Shane Victorino on the 15-day disabled list, the team announced Friday.

Infielder Jose Iglesias and pitcher Alfredo Aceves were called up from Triple A Pawtucket, and Iglesias is slated to start Friday night's game vs. the Indians at third base.

Iglesias, who started the season as the Red Sox shortstop while Stephen Drew was on the disabled list, had been practicing at third and second base in anticipation of a potential utility role in Boston. Iglesias played third for Pawtucket Tuesday.

Middlebrooks left Thursday's game at Fenway because of back spasms. The injury initially cropped up in his last at-bat against the White Sox in Chicago Wednesday, though he made no mention of it.

After Middlebrooks had an MRI, the team's medical staff determined that in the best-case scenario, it would take "a minimum three to five days just to get ahead of it," said manager John Farrell. And being a position player short, Farrell said it made sense to send Middlebrooks to the DL.

"He felt a little bit of a stretching sensation or something awkward on that final swing that he took when he grounded the ball out to third base and he was running down the line," said Farrell. "Then in the two at-bats last night, it continued to tighten up on him.

"The MRI showed inflammation in the muscle that surrounds either side. So given where we are with the roster position player-wise, we had to make a move and really [it's] precautionary to Will."

Victorino, whose move to the DL was retroactive to Tuesday, left Monday's game against the White Sox with a left hamstring injury and has missed the three games since. He has dealt with back and rib injuries already this season, and the hope is that two weeks off will allow him to get back to 100 percent.

"I'm frustrated, but I think the overall understanding is it's probably better," Victorino said. "I don't want to be that guy and play half a game and have something resurface and then somebody else has got to go and play for me. I'm just not that kind of player and that kind of stuff frustrates me. I never want to have to put somebody in that situation."

Catcher David Ross was activated from the seven-day concussion disabled list, and Ryan Lavarnway was sent down to Pawtucket. Ross played in a rehab game for the Double A Portland Sea Dogs Thursday. He had been placed on the concussion DL May 12 after being hit in the mask by foul balls twice.

"We're just going through a rough patch in general right now," Ross said. "Guys are getting nicked up and dinged up. Just part of this game.

"These guys, they play hard, they go hard, they're busting it down the line every time. These guys go out there and put their hearts and their bodies on the line. It's just part of it."

Some other notes:

• Iglesias played third base for the first time Tuesday, with about three days of preparation, but Farrell called him the team's "best candidate internally."

He said Iglesias was "a guy we'll feel confident will come up and play and play well enough at the position."

There were obvious nerves for Iglesias playing at the corner for the first time for Pawtucket.

"Everything is new," he said. "I don't even know little things like where I should throw, where I should be."

He booted the first ball that came his way, but fielded his next four chances cleanly.

"That was my first game at third in my life," Iglesias said. "It was fun. I was able to make some plays. It's different. It's a lot different. Just see the ball, catch the ball, make the throw and help the team, that's the bottom line.

In the Boston clubhouse, Iglesias talked with infield coach Brian Butterfield, learning as much as he can on the fly.

"There's going to be different angles we know that he'll take at third base versus in the middle of the diamond at shortstop," Farrell said. "There was three and a half, four days of work prior to his first game in Pawtucket. But yeah, but I think it speaks volumes to he's an infielder and he's got very good instincts and reactions."

• Aceves will likely be used as a multi-inning reliever, Farrell said.

"Given the short start last night, we needed a pitcher in the short term," Farrell said. "At some point, we'd like to get back to a balance of 12 pitchers and 13 position players."

Game 49: Indians at Red Sox

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff May 24, 2013 03:00 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups.

RED SOX (28-20)
Ellsbury CF
Nava RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Carp LF
Drew SS
Iglesias 3B
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (2-4, 3.31)

INDIANS (27-19)
Bourn CF
Kipnis 2B
Cabrera SS
Swisher 1B
Santana C
Giambi DH
Reynolds 3B
Brantley LF
Stubbs RF
Pitching: RHP Justin Masterson (7-2, 2.83)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN/WEEI

Red Sox vs. Masterson: Napoli 5-18, Pedroia 3-16, Ortiz 3-13, Ellsbury 4-13, Saltalamacchia 3-11, Drew 1-8, Carp 3-7, Victorino 2-4, Middlebrooks 2-6, Nava 2-4, Gomes 0-1.

Indians vs. Lackey: Swisher 1-11, Giambi 3-14, Cabrera 0-4, Reynolds 1-8, Santana 1-5, Brantley 1-3, Kipnis 1-3, Jimenez 1-2.

Stat of the Day: Masterson, whom the Red Sox drafted in 2006 and traded to the Indians in 2009, brings a 19-inning scoreless streak into tonight's start.

Notes: The Red Sox placed Will Middlebrooks (back strain) and Shane Victorino (hamstring) on the disabled list and called up Jose Iglesias and Alfredo Aceves. David Ross was activated from the concussion DL and Ryan Lavarnway was sent to Pawtucket ... The Red Sox who have faced Justin Masterson have a combined batting average of .277 against him ... The Indians who have faced John Lackey are batting .228 against him ... Jarrod Saltalamacchia has reached base in 13 straight games ... Michael Bourn is 13 for 33 in his last seven games with two doubles, six runs, and four RBIs ... Mike Napoli is second in the majors with 66 strikeouts. Houston's Chris Carter leads with 70 ... The Red Sox have won 9 of 15 series this season. Only Baltimore and St. Louis have won more, with 10 each.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 24, 2013 11:14 AM

Francona gets warm reception in return

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 24, 2013 03:17 AM

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Knowing the inevitable attention that would come with his return to Fenway Park as manager of the Cleveland Indians, Terry Francona wanted to be careful not to let the spotlight burn to brightly.

The Indians came in as hot as any team in baseball over the past month. Francona was feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Coming back to face the team he led to two World Series titles would be emotional, obviously, but those feelings couldn't supercede the game.

At the end of the night, the Indians ran away with a 12-3 win, but for a moment after the first inning the Red Sox honored Francona and the handful of Sox-turned-Indians with a video tribute that allowed Francona to soak in a warm reception from the crowd as well as his former players.

"I tried really hard as we talked before the game that I didn't want to make it harder on our players," Francona said. I thought that was unfair. I tried to keep my emotions inside. When they did that thing after the first inning I was honored, and I was also thrilled that they showed Cashie [bullpen coach Kevin Cash], Mike Aviles, Matt [Albers], Rich Hill and then Millsie [third base coach Brad Mills] standing next to me, who is maybe my best friend in life. So, to share that was pretty awesome."

Across the field, John Farrell watched. He, too, is close friends with Francona.

“That video probably could have gone on for quite a while longer,” Farrell said. “Obviously he's in a good place right now.”

Francona was showered with an ovation. The Sox expected nothing less.

"He's one of the best managers that every managed the Red Sox," said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "He brought a couple World Series titles and I don't think the people are going to forget that. He's well respected and he earned and deserved every bit of it."

Some other quick notes:

• Over his last three starts, Ryan Dempster has thrown 312 pitches. In three innings, he gave four runs on five hits and four walks, but more alarming, he threw 85 pitches.

After putting up a 2.93 ERA in his first seven starts, the number over his past three outings is a bloated 10.66

• David Ortiz's breakdown of his three-run homer was short but sweet.

"Fastball in," he said. "Fastball out."

He blasted a first-pitch fastball from Zach McAllister over the Indians bullpen to give the Sox their only runs of the night.

In the past week, he's hitting .429 with three homers and 12 RBIs.

• Jacoby Ellsbury's bunt single in the third was his first since 2009, when he had eight bunt singles.

In the end, he was thrown out at home, trying to score from second on a Dustin Pedroia single up the middle. He got the green light from third base coach Brian Butterfield.

"He was waved home," Farrell said. "In a situation, with David coming up, you can debate whether that was over-agressive, but Jake's our fastest baserunner. Based on putting pressure on Bourn to throw a strike for 200 feet away, he did. So I've got no problem with the aggressiveness on our part and the decision to made by Butter."

• After throwing out two runners Wednesday night against the White Sox, Jarrod Saltalamacchia nearly cut down Mike Aviles in the fifth inning. His throw got to second in time, but shortstop Stephen Drew couldn't handle it cleanly.

Baserunners had been 19 for 20 against Saltalamacchi before Wednesday.

Saltalamacchia also extended his on-base streak to a career-high 13 games with a walk in the second.

Final: Indians 12, Sox 3

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff May 23, 2013 07:00 PM

Final: Cleveland 12, Red Sox 3 That's it from Fenway Park, where the Indians made Terry Francona's return as an opposing manager a triumphant one in a 12-3 romp over the Red Sox before a crowd of 35,254.

Bottom 7th: Indians 12, Red Sox 3: Scott Barnes entered the game in relief of Cody Allen and retired the Sox in 1-2-3 fashion. The skies opened up. The Bruins lost in New York in Game 4. And the Sox were hopelessly out of this one. Not a good night in Beantown.

Junichi Tazawa was summoned in the eighth to relieve Craig Breslow.

Top 7th: Indians 12, Red Sox 3: Craig Breslow helps turn a 1-6-3 double play to help his cause after hit puts runners on the corners with a one-out walk to Carlos Santana, who drew his fourth walk in as many at-bats, and a single to left by Mark Reynolds (3-for-3 with a walk and 3 RBIs).

Bottom 6th: Indians 12, Red Sox 3: Indians righty reliever Cord Allen retired the Sox in 1-2-3 fashion, striking out the first two batters he faced: Mike Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

A loud boo erupted in the stands at 9:46 p.m., but it wasn't aimed at the Red Sox. It was a reaction to the Bruins' 4-3 overtime loss to the Rangers in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden.

Alex Wilson (1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 K) gave way to Craig Breslow in the top of the 7th.

Top 6th: Indians 12, Red Sox 3: After Carlos Santana drew his third walk in his third consecutive at-bat, it spelled the end of Clayton Mortensen's night, who handed the baton to Alex Wilson with none out and the bases loaded in the top of the sixth.

The Indians broke out the whuppin' stick on Wilson, who gave up an RBI single to Mark Reynolds (giving him 3 RBIs for the game) and a two-run double to left by catcher Yan Gomes that gave the Indians a six-run lead.

Drew Stubbs rifled a two-run triple over the head of Sox centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, making it 11-3 before Michael Bourn ripped an RBI single to right, scoring Stubbs to make it 12-3.

Wilson struck out Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera to extricate himself from the messy sixth.

Cody Allen relieved Zach McAllister in the bottom of the sixth. McAllister went five innings, allowed three runs on five hits (including a three-run homer) and three walks while striking out five batters. He threw 96 pitches, 61 strikes.

Bottom 5th: Indians 6, Red Sox 3: McAllister struggled in this frame, walking Daniel Nava after recording a punchout of lead-off hitter Jacoby Ellsbury, then throwing a wild pitch to David Ortiz to put Nava on second.

McAllister, whose pitch count rose to 96 pitches after five innings, ended the inning when he induced Ortiz to ground to third. Seemed to be McAllister's last out of the night with all the action going on in Cleveland's bullpen.

Top 5th: Indians 6, Red Sox 3: Michael Bourn hit an RBI single to right, scoring Mike Aviles, who hit an infield single that ricocheted off Mortensen and stole second.

The biggest cheer of the inning came when the Bruins scored their third goal of the night to break a 2-2 tie in the third period in Game 4 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Bottom 4th: Indians 5, Red Sox 3: Very economical inning for Mr. McAllister. Three up. Three down. Though four innings, McAllister has thrown 78 pitches, 51 strikes.

Defensive change for Sox: Pedro Ciriaco replaced Will Middlebrooks at third base in the top of the fifth. Middlebrooks struggled at the plate, going 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts.
Update: 9:14 p.m. The Sox announced Middlebrooks left the game with low back spasms.

Top 4th: Indians 5, Red Sox 3: Asdrubal Cabrera's RBI single to left scored Michael Bourn, who reached on a lead-off double off the wall that greeted reliever Clayton Mortensen.

Mortensen got Michael Brantley to fly to center, walked Carlos Santana, then induced Mark Reynolds to ground to short for the inning-ending force out on Santana at second.


Bottom 3d: Indians 4, Red Sox 3: With one mighty swat of his bat, Sox DH David Ortiz pulled the Sox within one run after belting a three-run homer to the bleachers in right. Ortiz clobbered a first-pitch fastball from Zach McAllister for his eighth homer of the season.

Big Papi might have tied it had Jacoby Ellsbury not been thrown out at the plate by center fielder Michael Bourn after Dustin Pedroia laced a single up the middle with two men on. Ortiz made McAllister pay, though.

Clayton Mortensen was summoned to relieve Ryan Dempster (3 IP, 4 runs, 5 hits, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts) in the top of the fourth.

Top 3d: Indians 4, Red Sox 0: Mark Reynolds came to the plate with the bases loaded and ripped an 2-RBI single to left off Ryan Dempster, giving the Indians a three-run lead.

Carlos Santana, who reached on the second of three walks Dempster issued in the inning, made it 4-0 when he scored on Mike Aviles' hard grounder to short that wound up erasing Yan Gomes at second on the force out. Dempster got out of the jam when he struck out Drew Stubbs (looking, 81 splitter). Clayton Mortensen was up in the pen warming up as Dempster walked toward the dugout after throwing 85 pitches through the first three innings.

Bottom 2d: Indians 1, Red Sox 0: Sox threaten when Mike Napoli reaches on a lead-off single to left, goes to second when Jarrod Saltalamacchia draws a walk, and reaches third on Stephen Drew's sacrifice fly to center, putting men on the corners with two outs.

Sox unable to push across tying run, however, when Mike Carp grounds to short.

Top 2d: Indians 1, Red Sox 0: With two men aboard, No. 9 hitter Drew Stubbs hit a stubby pop fly to shallow right that eluded the outstretched glove of diving second baseman Dustin Pedroia. It dropped for an RBI double that scored first baseman Carlos Santana, who reached on a leadoff bunt single that did a tight-rope walk down the third base line.

Dempster, who threw 45 pitches (29 strikes) through the first two innings, minimized the damage when he got Michael Bourn to ground to first to end the inning.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Indians 0: Nice video tribute for the former Sox players on Cleveland's roster -- Matt Albers, Mike Aviles, Rich Hill, all of whom received some warm applause. But real ovation broke out -- along with chant's of ``Tito! Tito!'' -- when former Boston manager Terry Francona was shown on the board. It was the highlight of an inning in which the Red Sox only mustered a (well-struck) one-out double to right by Daniel Nava.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Indians 0: Ryan Dempster allows a single up the middle by Jason Kipnis after recording a game-opening strikeout of Michael Bourn. Kipnis wound up getting stranded at first when Dempster induced Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Brantley to fly to left. Sox left fielder Mike Carp made the last out look a little dicey when the 20-mile-per-hour winds played a trick on him as he made the inning-ending catch.

Pregame Greetings from Fenway Park where the Red Sox will welcome the return of former manager Terry Francona, now manager of the Cleveland Indians. Francona held forth with the media before the game in the visiting dugout (has got to be a weird feeling for Tito, no?). He will send RHP Zach McAllister (3-3, 2.65 ERA) to the mound to oppose RHP Ryan Dempster (2-4, 4.27), who will be looking for his first victory since May 2 in the opener of this four-game series against the Tribe.

As always, please feel free to post your comments here. And enjoy the game.

Terry Francona returns to Fenway recharged

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 23, 2013 06:40 PM

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There wasn’t enough time for Terry Francona’s mind to wander. Not after sitting through two rain delays Wednesday night in Cleveland that stretched his Indians' 11-7 loss to the Tigers out over 3 hours and 33 minutes.

He then was headed to Boston for the first time as a manager since leaving the Red Sox in the aftermath of a woebegone 2011 season that is still painful in some ways.

He could have spent the flight daydreaming about how the fans would embrace him, what it would feel like to return to the place where for years he was soaked in success. But he didn’t.

“I fell asleep on the plane,” he said.

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By the time the Indians arrived at their hotel, it was 4 a.m.

“I was so grumpy it didn't even matter,” said Francona, addressing the media Thursday before the Indians and Red Sox began a four-game series at Fenway Park.

Since leaving the Red Sox, Francona has worked as an ESPN analyst and written a book. But he also took the time to recharge and reevaluate, before ultimately accepting the job to manage the Indians, who are the surprise of the season’s early stage with an AL Central-leading 26-19 record.

Looking relaxed and rejuvenated as he met the media in the visitors dugout, Francona said he was enjoying his present situation too much to let his thoughts drift far into the past or the future.

“I don't spend any time thinking about that,” Francona said. “It's just not the way I'm built. These were really special years here and sometimes they're tough.

"But these are some of the best fans in the world and they care about their team more than ... it's unbelievable. If you like baseball, this is a good place to be, and I got to be a part of that. I feel very fortunate for that.”

Francona got to Fenway Park early in the afternoon, knowing how busy the day would be. So many things were the same.

“Whether you come into the ballpark and make a right or a left, the people are still the same,” he said.

He set up shop in the visitors clubhouse and quickly remembered how close the quarters are.

“It hit me in a hurry,” he said.

He was able to speak to Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who made sure to let Francona know how hot he has been at the plate.

“And when he's not hot, he still worries me,” Francona said.

Pedroia knew as well as anyone how Francona would approach the day.

"Knowing him, it's probably just another day," Pedroia said. "This place is very special to him, but I'm sure he just wants to go out there and manage the game."

Francona also touched base with close friend John Farrell, the first-year Sox manager, though they spared the trash-talking text messages.

“But the four days have just begun,” Farrell said. “I’m sure they’ll be floating back and forth at some point.”

Francona seemed immersed in his new job, leading a Cleveland team that has won 18 of 24 and has the best record in the majors since April 20. He acknowledged that the bitter ending in Boston -- despite mostly fond memories overall -- is still painful.

He also said that he loves being in the dugout and has benefited from a clean slate in Cleveland.

“When you're the manager of the Red Sox, it can take a toll on you,” Francona said. “I was here eight years. Like I've said, it's one of the greatest jobs in the world but also one of the hardest, and towards the end there, it was taking a toll on me.

"I think I caught myself maybe not being as patient as I would've liked to have been or maybe getting stubborn.

“So you take a year away and it allows you to kind of recharge, not just evaluate things but you can almost reevaluate yourself, too. Then you get a new, fresh start and you try to be the person where the positives are coming out.

“I like where I'm at, and maybe for where I'm at in my life and baseball, this is a really good place for me. I'm really comfortable with where I'm working and who I'm working with.

"It doesn't mean we're not going to have challenges, because we are. But I am enjoying the idea of tackling them with the people I'm with.”

Red Sox sign reliever Rafael Perez, pending physical

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 23, 2013 05:54 PM

The Red Sox have signed lefthander reliever Rafael Perez to a minor league deal, pending a physical, a team source has confirmed.

Perez, who was spotted at Fenway Park this afternoon, was non-tendered by the Indians in November after being limited to eight appearances in 2012 because of a shoulder injury.

He had surgery in September. He was signed by the Twins in February but wasn't back to what he used to be in his brief time with them.

For five seasons with the Indians, Perez was considered one of the best set-up men in baseball. He has a career 3.64 ERA, and three times he made 70-plus appearances in a season.

The Red Sox are expected to assign Perez to either Portland or Pawtucket after results of his physical are known.

Shane Victorino still 'day to day'

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff May 23, 2013 05:28 PM

Red Sox manager John Farrell said right fielder Shane Victorino continues to improve but was not available for the opener of the four-game home series against the Indians.

Victorino, who experienced tightness in his left hamstring and departed in the sixth inning of Monday night's 6-4 loss to the White Sox in Chicago, did sprints and other drills under the supervision of Dan Dyrek, the team's coordinator of sports medicine service, and Rick Jameyson, the head athletic trainer.

"As we continue to ramp up the physical work and the physical activity, the information that we get back and how he responds to that is certainly helpful as far as our decision-making going forward,'' Farrell said.

"He's still day-to-day. He's unavailable tonight. So, I think, we've used as a general rule of thumb, as we get to that halfway point of the potential of putting Shane on the [disabled list], we'll make a decision at that point, but we're no closer today to making a roster move.''

* Farrell also reported on the rehab stints of lefty Franklin Morales, who has been on the DL since March 31 with a low back strain, and catcher David Ross, who has missed 10 games since going on the seven-day concussion DL May 12. Both made appearances Thursday for Double A Portland in an 8-4 victory over Manchester.

Morales started and earned the win, going five innings and allowing one earned run.

"Franklin had five innings and 77 pitches and threw the ball well,'' Farrell said. "David Ross was 1 for 3 and was fine as far as any kind of activity on the field.''

Farrell said Ross returned to Boston to be examined.

"He'll probably get examined [Friday] when he comes in and that point we have the ability to make a roster decision,'' Farrell said.

As for Morales? "Well, with him pitching today, he's not available to pitch the next 4-5 days, minimum, so that'll be taken into account over the next couple of days in our discussions of what potential moves we might make.''

* Farrell confirmed that he had indeed given David Ortiz the steal sign Wednesday night, when the lumbering designated hitter stole third for the first time in his career.

"It was a 3-and-2 count, and you put runners in motion,'' Farrell said. "With his speed, he got it right and stole.''

Asked if that meant Ortiz (12 career steals) now has the green light to go at his discretion, Farrell chuckled and said, "I wouldn't go that far. It'd have to be a big green light.''

Asked if Ortiz's ability to stay on the field had met his expectations, Farrell said, "Once we got past those first 10 days of activity when he returned to us, the consistency of daily activity probably exceeded our initial thoughts.

"He's responded, physically, in a good way. It's not just because he's jogging to first and coming back to the dugout. He's run the bases quite a bit. So the overall durability has been a little bit better than I anticipated this year.''

* With former Red Sox manager Terry Francona in town with the Indians, Farrell was asked if he agreed with Francona's assertion that Boston was one of the toughest places to manage.

"Well, I've only had one other managing job to compare it to,'' Farrell said. "I think the individual expectations are higher than the external ones. We're just 47 games into this. After 162, I might have a different answer, but right now it's a great place to be.''

Game 48: Indians at Red Sox

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff May 23, 2013 03:00 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups.

RED SOX (28-19)
Ellsbury CF
Nava RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Drew SS
Carp LF
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster (2-4, 4.27)

INDIANS (26-19)
Bourn CF
Kipnis 2B
Cabrera SS
Brantley LF
Santana 1B
Reynolds DH
Gomes C
Aviles 3B
Stubbs RF
Pitching: RHP Zach McAllister (3-3, 2.65)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN/WEEI

Red Sox vs. McAllister: Pedroia 3-9, Saltalamacchia 2-8, Ellsbury 3-6, Gomes 0-6, Nava 3-5, Carp 1-4, Drew 0-3, Ciriaco 0-3, Lavarnway 0-3, Middlebrooks 0-3, Napoli 1-3, Ortiz 1-3, Victorino 1-3.

Indians vs. Dempster: Bourn 2-10, Stubbs 4-21, Reynolds 3-14, Swisher 3-8, Aviles 2-6, Brantley 1-5, Kipnis 0-5, Santana 2-5, Cabrera 0-3.

Stat of the Day: Dempster is 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA in four career starts vs. the Indians.

Notes: The Red Sox swept the Indians in Cleveland April 16-18 ... The Indians have lost two straight after winning five in a row ... Carp's only hit vs. McAllister was a home run ... Brantley is 7 for 16 with nine RBIs in the Indians' last four games ... The Red Sox play four games against the Indians, then four vs. the Phillies (May 27-28 at Fenway Park, May 29-30 in Philadelphia).

Ross catches five innings for Portland

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 23, 2013 02:39 PM

David Ross caught five innings and was 1 for 3 with an RBI double for Double A Portland Thursday in an 8-4 victory against New Hampshire at Hadlock Field.

Ross doubled his first time up. He then struck out twice.

Ross was making an injury rehab appearance for the Sea Dogs. He has been on the concussion disabled list since May 12.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday that the plan was to have Ross play one rehab game before being activated.

Lefthander Franklin Morales went five innings for Portland. He allowed one unearned run on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He threw 77 pitches, 52 for strikes.

Morales has been on the disabled list all season, technically because of a back injury he suffered in spring training. He made a rehab start April 17 and strained a pectoral muscle. That led to his 30-day rehab assignment being stopped.

Morales started another minor league assignment May 8. He has made four starts in that assignment, working up to five innings. The Red Sox wanted to prepare Morales as a starter to improve their rotation depth.

At this point, the Red Sox could activate Morales and use him in the bullpen. Or they could continue to use him in the minors for up to another 16 days.

Pitching matchups for the Indians series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 23, 2013 10:00 AM

Thursday: RHP Zach McAllister (3-3, 2.65) vs. RHP Ryan Dempster (2-4, 4.27), 7:10 p.m., NESN, MLB Network

Friday: RHP Justin Masterson (7-2, 2.83) vs. RHP John Lackey (2-4, 3.31), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

Saturday: LHP Scott Kazmir (2-2, 6.35) vs. LHP Jon Lester (6-1, 3.15), 1:35 p.m., NESN.

Sunday: RHP Corey Kluber (3-3, 5.19) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (3-2, 5.61), 1:35 p.m., NESN.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 23, 2013 06:53 AM

Clay Buchholz was in the groove as the Red Sox finished their road trip with a 6-2 victory against the White Sox.

Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox should do everything they can to retain Jacoby Ellsbury.

The notebook has Terry Francona returning to Fenway Park in a different uniform.

Buchholz in tune again as Red Sox end a successful road trip

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 23, 2013 12:47 AM


CHICAGO — It has become a tradition in baseball that the starting pitcher gets to choose the music playing in the clubhouse before the game on the day he pitches.

Red Sox righthander Clay Buchholz puts some thought into what is usually an eclectic playlist. His selections on Wednesday included some of Journey’s greatest hits, a few top 40 hip-hop tunes and even a selection from the soundtrack of the old Broadway hit “Grease.”

Buchholz brought the same variety to the mound. He threw six different pitches against the Chicago White Sox over seven innings, getting weak swings on all of them over the course of the game. The result was a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox.

The White Sox scored one run on five hits against Buchholz. He walked three and struck out four to improve to 7-0. Buchholz has been more overpowering in some starts this season but he never let the White Sox string hits together.

Buchholz threw a four-seam fastball, a sinking two-seam fastball, a cutter, a split-finger fastball, a changeup and a curveball

“The biggest thing is that no one can really sit on any one pitch in a given count,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “That’s what really defines who Clay is.”

The Red Sox are 9-1 when Buchholz has started this season. He has gone at least seven innings nine times.

“When any starter is throwing the ball well and getting deep into games, good things are going to happen,” Buchholz said. “You’re going to take your lumps and bumps in the road. But it’s been fun. Hopefully just keep on striding.”

David Ortiz was 2 for 4 with two RBIs, a run scored and a stolen base for the Red Sox, who were 6-3 on their road trip. They were two games behind the Yankees when the trip started and they return home a half-game out.

Also:

• Jacoby Ellsbury was 2 for 3 with two walks and a run scored. He got on base six times in the final two games of the series and may be working out of what has been a long slump. His on-base percentage climbed from .303 to .318.

Ellsbury rarely speaks to reporters and initially passed on answering questions before a team official interceded.

"It's nice to get on base and score a run," Ellsbury said. 'It feels good. Same approach that I've had, same game plan. Everything is pretty much the same. It's just nice to get on base and create havoc."

Despite his poor statistics, among the worst for leadoff hitters in all of baseball, Ellsbury didn't acknowledge that he was slumping.

“I feel like I’ve been having good at-bats,’’ Ellsbury said. “Fortunately tonight, I found some grass in the outfield. I’ve had quite a few swings that have been the same. ... I just have to stick with the plan, have a good approach, have a good plan and it’s a matter of sticking to the plan.’’

Ellsbury also made a nice running catch in the fifth inning to take a hit away from Alexei Ramirez.

• Ortiz stole third without a throw in the first inning. It was no fluke, either. The Sox called for the steal. It was the first stolen base for Ortiz since June 21, 2011 and the first time in his 17-year career he stole third.

“I was like, ‘Are you sure?’ ” Ortiz said about getting the steal sign. “But it happened. I don’t have a zero in that category any more.”

Ortiz was asked why he waited 17 years to steal third.

"Talk to the coaches," he said.

Maybe Ortiz will get the green light on the bases now.

"Let's not go that crazy," he said.

Joking aside, the fact that Ortiz is physically able to run hard 90 feet and steal a base is clearly a sign that his Achilles tendon injury is either fully healed or close to it.

"I've been running well lately. I've been feeling better," he said. "You guys know me, if I feel good I'm going to run. Not stealing bases, but taking advantage of whatever is happening."

• Jarrod Saltalamacchia threw out two runners stealing. Opponents had been 19 of 20 against him.

Final: Red Sox 6, White Sox 2

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 22, 2013 08:25 PM

Game over: Red Sox 6, White Sox 2: : Clay Buchholz improved to 7-0 and his ERA went to 1.73 with a seven-inning, five-hit, one run performance. The Red Sox scored twice in the first on David Ortiz' bloop single scoring two, added two more in the eighth and a two-run bases-loaded single by Daniel Nava finished things off. Andrew Bailey pitched the ninth inning and allowed a two-out solo homer to Paul Konerko. The game was played in 3:15 before 21,298.

Top 9th: Red Sox 6, White Sox 1 - Daniel Nava added to Boston's lead with a bases-loaded two-run single. Nava has 29 RBI on the season. The hit came righthanded against Chicago lefty Donnie Veal.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 4, White Sox 1 - Koji Uehara replaced Buchholz and struck out two (Flowers and De Aza) in a 1-2-3 inning.

Top 8th: Red Sox 4, White Sox 1 - David Ortiz and Mike Napoli stroked back-to back singles with one out against reliever Brian Omogrosso, who then walked Daniel Nava. With the bases loaded and Nate Jones on to pitch, Will Middlebrooks got Ortiz in with a sacrifice fly to right. Stephen Drew walked to reload the bases. A wild pitch scored Napoli with the fourth run. Saltalamacchia fouled off a ball on his right ankle, but stayed in to complete the at-bat and struck out.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 2, White Sox 1 - Clay Buchholz has once again pitched a fine game. He's thrown 113 pitches through seven allowing five hits, one run, three walks and four strikeouts. He currently has a 1.73 ERA.

Top 7th: Red Sox 2, White Sox 1 - Jacoby Ellsbury reached base for the third time with a single to center sending Jarrod Saltalamacchia (single) to second base, but Gomes grounded out to end the inning.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 2, White Sox 1 - Salty guns down his second runner of the night as Alex Rios singled and was caught stealing for the third out.

Top 6th: Red Sox 2, White Sox 1 - Ortiz, Napoli and Nava, all retired.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 2, White Sox 1 - Jeff Keppinger reached on an infield hit to third base, but Buchholz retired the nest three batters.

Top 5th: Red Sox 2, White Sox 1 - An Ellsbury walk erased by Jonny Gomes double-play grounder.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 2, White Sox 1 - After a Paul Konerko single and one out, Conor Gillaspie knocked into a double-play to end the inning.

Top 4th: Red Sox 2, White Sox 1 - The last four batters in the Red Sox lineup have all struck out. That's 8 strikeouts by Nava, Middlebrooks, Drew and Saltalamacchia by lefty Hector Santiago..

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 2, White Sox 1 - The White Sox put on when Tyler Flowers reached on an infield hit and Alejandro De Aza walked, but calmly Buchholz minimized the damage with Alex Rios' grounder scoring the run.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 2, White Sox 0 - Papi knocks into another double-play after a Pedroia walk.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 2, White Sox 0 - Buchholz got a couple of ground outs and a fly ball out for his first 1-2-3 inning.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 2, White Sox 0 - Ellsbury managed to reach on an infield single off Alexei Ramirez' glove at short, but the Sox couldn't add to their lead.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 2, White Sox 0 - Not an easy inning for Clay Buchholz. He allowed a leadoff single to Alejandro De Aza, who was gunned down by Jarrod Saltalamacchia trying to steal. Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios both walked, but Buchholz got Adam Dunn to strikeout and Paul Konerko to line to left.

Top 1st: Red Sox 2, White Sox 0 - Sometimes David Ortiz hits rockets that get caught. This time he blooped a single to left off White Sox starter Hector Santiago that scored two runs. Jonny Gomes was hit by a pitch and Pedroia had doubled down the line in left. After Ortiz struck, he actually stole third base while Daniel Nava struck out. Ortiz had never stole third base for the Red Sox.

Victorino still out, but making progress

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 22, 2013 07:21 PM

CHICAGO — Right fielder Shane Victorino (left hamstring) is out of the Red Sox lineup for a second straight day. But he has improved and ran on the treadmill.

"There's increased looseness in the hamstring but still unavailable tonight," manager John Farrell said.

There is no timetable in terms of when Victorino might play.

"Today was a big day as far as his status and improvement that he's showing," Farrell said. "Our plan was to kind of re-evaluate where he's at tomorrow and then go from there."

Farrell said the Sox are hopeful Victorino avoids the disabled list. But it remains a possibility.

Also:

• David Ross, out with a concussion, will catch for Double A Portland Thursday. The Sea Dogs have an 11 a.m game at Hadlock Field. Franklin Morales, who is on a rehab assignment, will pitch the game and is scheduled for 80 pitches and/or five innings.

Farrell said that is the only rehab game planned for Ross. So he could be activated as soon as Friday.

• Ryan Dempster flew back to Boston to get a full night of sleep in advance of his start Thursday against Cleveland. Dempster threw 127 pitches in his last start and decided to skip his usual bullpen session on Tuesday in favor of making some throws from flat ground.

"As far as how his arm felt coming out of his last start, he didn't feel like there was any changes or lingering effect from the pitches he did throw," Farrell said.

• Northwestern RHP Luke Farrell, a second-team All-Big Ten selection and the son of the Red Sox manager, was at the park Wednesday and played catch with his dad. The younger Farrell is expected to be picked in the first 5-10 rounds of the draft.

• Colorful White Sox announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson visited the Red Sox clubhouse this afternoon. Harrelson played for the Red Sox from 1967 until he was traded early in the 1969 season.

Harrelson had 35 home runs and 109 RBIs in 1968 and finished third in the AL Most Valuable Player voting behind Detroit's Denny McLain and Bill Freehan.

All McClain did that season was go 31-6 with a 1.96 ERA. He made 41 starts and threw 336 innings.

Farrell eager to see Francona at Fenway

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 22, 2013 06:37 PM

CHICAGO — Terry Francona hasn't managed against the Red Sox at Fenway Park since July 17, 1999, when he was with the Philadelphia Phillies. He returns to the third base dugout Thursday when the Indians arrive in Boston for a four-game series.

"I think it will be a special day when the series kicks off tomorrow," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "I would fully expect he'd get a great welcome and a great ovation and deservedly so. That was eight incredible years that he spent [in Boston]. Looking forward to playing against him."

The Indians, who host the Tigers Wednesday night, have won 19 of 27 games since being swept by the Red Sox April 16-18 in Cleveland.

"They're playing exceptionally well," said Farrell. "They're playing with a lot of confidence, and [Francona] has a lot to do with that. They've got a very good team."

Francona was 4-4 managing the Phillies at Fenway from 1997-99. He had a 411-237 record at Fenway managing the Red Sox.

''I'm sure I'll have a lot of emotions,'' Francona told reporters in Cleveland. ''The one thing I want to remind myself — and I have — is that this game is tough enough to play and I don't want our guys having extra baggage during that series. I need to be very cognizant of that, that whatever feelings I'm having, I'll deal with 'em. It's hard enough to play this game.''

Francona was fired by the Red Sox after the 2011 season. He was around the park several times last season working for ESPN and to participate in a ceremony marking Fenway's 100th anniversary,

''I'm proud to go back there as an Indian,'' Francona said. ''I don't want that to ever get lost in the shuffle.''

The Red Sox are planning to recognize Francona at some point Thursday. He has had a somewhat rocky relationship with the owners since his firing, but is close to many people within the organization.

"He knows what people think of him," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "It'll be good to see him. But we played against them already. That part is not a big deal."

Said Farrell: "I'm sure this is a unique situation, his coming back. Knowing Tito, I think he looks at every game as being important and every series as being important. This will be a different setting I'm sure. I'm sure in a lot of ways he'll reflect on the time spent [in Boston] and hopefully all good thoughts."

Game 47: Red Sox at White Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 22, 2013 03:45 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (27-19)
Ellsbury CF
Gomes LF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava RF
Middlebrooks 3B
Drew SS
Saltalamacchia C
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (6-0, 1.78).

WHITE SOX (21-23)
De Aza CF
Ramirez SS
Rios RF
Dunn DH
Konerko 1B
Viciedo LF
Gillaspie 3B
Keppinger 2B
Flowers C
Pitching: LHP Hector Santiago (1-2, 2.78).

Game time: 8:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Santiago: Ciriaco 0-2, Ellsbury 0-1, Middlebrooks 0-1, Napoli 0-1, Nava 0-1.

White Sox vs. Buchholz: Rios 2-13, Konerko 6-12, Ramirez 3-12, Keppinger 3-11, De Aza 1-5, Dunn 0-3, Viciedo 0-3.

Stat of the Day: Mike Carp is hitless in his last 17 at-bats. His batting average has dropped from .500 (13 of 26) to .302 (13 of 43).

Notes: The Red Sox are 5-3 on a road trip that ends tonight. They have lost two straight. ... The White Sox have won six of eight. ... The Red Sox are 14-9 on the road. ... Buchholz hasn't had a decision in his last three starts despite a 3.43 ERA. The Red Sox are 8-1 in Buchholz's starts. Buchholz is 1-2, 5.02 in five career starts against the White Sox, but has allowed only four runs over 21 innings in his last three starts. ... Santiago has faced the Red Sox in his career, pitching three innings of relief last July 18. ... The Red Sox have scored five runs in the series and hit 10 of 62 (.161). They are 2 of 11 with runners in scoring position. ... Red Sox relievers have allowed two runs over 22 innings on the road trip. ... Andrew Miller has thrown 4.2 scoreless innings in his last five appearances.

Song of the Day: "Born In Chicago" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Memorial Day caps, Ortiz bats available for charity

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 22, 2013 10:30 AM

memdaycap.jpg

CHICAGO — Major league baseball teams have worn special caps for Memorial Day since 2008. This year, instead of the stars and stripes, the caps will feature authentic military digital camouflage.

The caps will be available at neweracap.com, MLB.com, and clubhouse stores, with proceeds going to the Welcome Back Veterans Fund.

David Ortiz is working with Marucci Sports to raise money for The One Fund. Go to BigPapi.com to buy a Marucci bat inscribed with either "This is our (bleeping) city" or "Nobody's going to dictate our freedom!"

Bats are $125 or $500 if signed by David.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 22, 2013 08:00 AM

Felix Doubront showed improvement, but the Red Sox were beaten by the White Sox.

Nick Cafardo spoke to White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper to get some insight into Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves.

The notebook has Jacoby Ellsbury staying at the top of the order for now.

Doubront takes a loss but continues progress

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 22, 2013 01:06 AM

CHICAGO — Brian Cashman, the general manager of the Yankees, once said his team plays 162 one-game seasons because of all the scrutiny they receive.

The same is true of the Red Sox, maybe even to a greater degree because there isn't a second major league team in the city. Everybody — fans and media — tends to overstate the importance of one game, one series or even one week.

The story tonight at U.S. Cellular Field was that the Red Sox lost, 3-1, against the White Sox. The Red Sox didn't get a hit until the seventh inning and were held to four overall.

That's the quick and dirty version: The Sox didn't hit, so blame the offense.

But if the Red Sox are in contention three months from now and Felix Doubront is a productive member of their rotation, what happened tonight might be looked back on fondly.

Franklin Morales long ago recovered from the spring training back injury that landed him on the disabled list. But the Red Sox have kept the lefthanded reliever on a minor league rehabilitation assignment building up the durability necessary to work as a starter.

Left unsaid was whom Morales would replace in the rotation, but it was clear the Red Sox were concerned about the viability of Doubront. The 25-year-old lefthander reported to spring training in poor condition and his performance reflected that when the season started.

His velocity was down, his location erratic. The Sox skipped one of Doubront’s starts earlier this month and embarked on a program to rebuild his skills and confidence.

Doubront took the loss tonight. But the long-term implications were positive ones. Doubront went six innings, giving up two runs on five hits. He walked two, struck out three and averaged an efficient 14 pitches an inning.

As the Red Sox were being no-hit into the seventh inning by Jose Quintana, Doubront kept them within a few swings.

“I think he’s onto something with the adjustments he’s made,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “I thought today was another positive step for him.”

Doubront (3-2) has allowed four earned runs on eight hits over 11 innings in his last two starts and struck out 10. That dropped his earned run average from 6.40 to 5.61. His velocity has trended up, too.

“Working every day. I’m seeing the results,” Doubront said. “Everything is going in the right direction right now. Just looking forward to my next outing.”

Also:

• The White Sox have nine runs on 15 hits in the two games of this series. All nine runs and 13 of the hits have come with two outs.

• Dustin Pedroia's hit streak ended at 12.

• Jacoby Ellsbury walked and had a single in his last two times up. Maybe that's the start of something.

• Two of the best starters in the American League were scheduled to meet in the series finale on Wednesday. But only Clay Buchholz will make the game. White Sox ace Chris Sale was scratched because of shoulder tendinitis. Chicago will go with lefthander Hector Santiago instead.

Sale is 5-2 with a 2.53 ERA.

Final: White Sox 3, Red Sox 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 21, 2013 08:20 PM

Game over The Red Sox have dropped two to the White Sox as Jose Quintana no-hit the Red Sox for 6-1/3 innings before the Sox scored their only run in the seventh. The Red Sox squandered chances in the seventh and eighth innings. Heavy rain started in the 8th inning and continued through games end. Felix Doubront (6 innings, 2 runs) took the loss. The game was played in 2:45 before 21,984 at US Celluar.

Bottom 8th: White Sox 3, Red Sox 1 - More two out problems for the Red Sox. Alex Wilson allowed a single to Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios knocked him in with a double to leftcenter for an insurance run. As a the rain started and got heavier as the inning progressed, Wilson simply lost it after it appeared he was going to finish two scoreless innings. After walking Paul Konerko, he exited for Andrew Miller who had to face Adam Dunn and struck him out.

Top 8th: White Sox 2, Red Sox 1 - The Red Sox finally scored. Salty walked, Jacoby Ellsbury singled. The runners advanced on a wild pitch. Pedroia's grounder wnet through Alexei Ramirez' legs at shortstop, scoring Salty. But Ortiz knocked into a double-play to end the threat.

Bottom 7th: White Sox 2, Red Sox 0 - Alex Wilson replaced Felix Doubront, who went 6 IP/5H/2ER/2BB/3K. Doubront threw 85 pitches. Wonder why he was taken out with such an economical outing underway. The White Sox went down in order against Wilson.

Top 7th: White Sox 2, Red Sox 0 - David Ortiz' broken-bat single to center broke up Jose Quintana's no-hit bid. Napoli and Nava followed with singles to load the bases. That was it for Quintana. Righty Jesse Crain came on to strikeout Will Middlebrooks and Stephen Drew, stranding the bases loaded.

Bottom 6th: White Sox 2, Red Sox 0 - The White Sox put two runners on base with two outs when Rios singled and Konerko walked. But Adan Dunn flew out out to right to end the threat.

Top 6th: White Sox 2, Red Sox 0 - Ellsbury draws a walk, but Quintana has not allowed a hit through six.

Bottom 5th: White Sox 2, Red Sox 0 - Jeff Keppinger, hitting .199, homered to left with Viciedo (single) aboard with two outs. Tyler Flowers doubled after the home run to left center. Tyler Greene grounded out on a nice play by Middlebrooks.

Top 5th: Red Sox 0, White Sox 0 - Just mentioning that the Red Sox don't have a hit against Jose Quintana yet. Napoli, Nava and Middlebrooks go down.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 0, White Sox - Doubront issued a walk, but no more.

Top 4th: Red Sox 0, White Sox 0 - Fast moving game so far. Only one infield hit by the White Sox. Gomes and Pedroia grounded out to third and David Ortiz, who popped to third base in his first at-bat against the lefty, ran the count to 3-2 before grounding out to second base.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, White Sox 0 - Doubront mowed down the last third of the White Sox order. He's pitched to nine batters in three innings.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, White Sox 0 - Quintana has matched Doubront well so far. The Red Sox went down in order.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, White Sox 0 - Doubront has been sharp early on. He struck out Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo in a 1-2-3 inning.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, White Sox 0 - With two outs, Daniel Nava drew a walk, but Will Middlebrooks grounded into a fielder's choice.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, White Sox 0 - Felix Doubront allowed an infield single to third to Alexei Ramirez, but he got the 6-4-3 double-play from Alex Rios to get him out of the inning.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, White Sox 0 - Jose Quintana struck out Jonny Gomes and Dustin Pedroia in a 1-2-3 inning.

Farrell sticking with Ellsbury for now

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 21, 2013 06:39 PM

CHICAGO — Red Sox manager John Farrell is sticking with Jacoby Ellsbury at the top of the order. But he has given thought to dropping the struggling center fielder down.

"I've considered it, yes," Farrell said. "We're sticking with him to hopefully give him the opportunity to come out of the situation he's in right now. I can say this: Whether he's hitting first or somewhere else in the lineup, there's still things he has to address."

As for other news:

• Shane Victorino (left hamstring, back) is out of the lineup. "We think this is a short-term thing," Farrell said.

Farrell said the organization has discussed whether it would make sense to put Victorino on the disabled list to get fully healthy. "We're not any closer than we were last night to make a roster move at this point," he said.

Farrell indicated that he would use Victorino as a leadoff hitter if a change were made because he would want speed at the top of the order. So his being out is a factor in Ellsbury not being moved.

• David Ross (concussion) had a full day of working out back in Boston. He'll play in a rehab game or two this weekend before he is activated.

• Daniel Bard has not pitched for Double A Portland since May 15. He remains on the roster but has been shut down and is throwing in the bullpen.

"Once there's some repetition to the bullpens," Farrell said when asked when Bard will pitch in a game again.

• Jose Iglesias played nine innings at third base today for Triple A Pawtucket in a 9-8 victory against Indianapolis. He committed an error.

The Sox are preparing Iglesias for use as a utility infielder should a need arise. Pedro Ciriaco, who has the job now, has played poorly in the field and not hit.

"It's in the event that something might happen to someone," Farrell said. "Just to prepare as best we can if [Iglesias] comes to us in a role that might call on the versatility."

Iglesias has played only shortstop since signing with the Red Sox in 2009. The Sox will try him at second base, too. Farrell said there are no plans in place in terms of how many games he will play those positions.

"We still view him as an everyday shortstop," Farrell said. "In the interim, we're trying to prepare for the potential of him coming and filling that role."

Ask Nick: Too early to talk trade possibilities?

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff May 21, 2013 05:00 PM

Have a
question?

100x150asknickmugshot.jpg Submit your question here to be considered for the next edition of Ask Nick.
There’s been an uptick in the Red Sox' play of late, as they won five straight before losing to the White Sox, 6-4, Monday night at US Cellular Field. Still, many of you have concerns.

One fellow believes I spend way too much time “shouting from the rooftop” about my undying and unwavering loyalty to Jose Iglesias now that Stephen Drew has performed so well offensively. (Notice I didn’t hear from this fellow until Drew emerged from his April slump.)

Then we have Randy in Albuquerque calling Fenway a “touristy sports bar” and saying he did not enjoy his Fenway experience. I must say, I don’t understand why fans do the wave when the home team is up. You’re supposed to distract the OTHER team.

Within Randy’s question, he mentioned “Sweet Caroline” in a negative way. I think "Sweet Caroline" lives forever now because of the Boston Marathon bombings and the fact that the song became a symbol of Boston. For a while earlier this year, I thought the song might go the way of the team’s 10-year sellout streak. But it’s on solid footing again.

Yes, I think John Farrell has done an excellent job preparing the team to play its best every day.

And so, here’s this week's mailbag:

The season is one-fourth over, and the Red Sox are on the cusp of playoff contention. I see us as buyers vs. sellers. Two things we need: nail down a closer and another good bat. The kneejerk answer at closer is Papelbon with the Phils still down; he is reliable health-wise and lights out so far this year. Would he be willing to come back? As for big bat, Giancarlo Stanton now a question mark with hamstring. How about LF Alex Gordon at K.C. or RF Alex Rios with White Sox; the latter would mean moving a couple of folks around. What say you?
Mike, Hendersonville, Tenn.
All terrific choices. I think the Royals think they’re going to contend so I’d rule out Gordon. Rios is the most realistic, especially if the White Sox are selling off by the deadline. Rios played for Brian Butterfield in Toronto and he might get a recommendation there. I’ve had people in baseball suggest the team could be interested in reacquiring Papelbon, but the Red Sox will test Andrew Bailey and see if he can handle it before they do anything drastic.

When Franklin Morales is ready to return, I think it should be to the rotation. I thought he was great in that spot last year. When/if that happens, I don't see Felix being good out of the pen, as he throws a lot of pitches and has trouble with his control. Thoughts?
Marc, Bristol, Conn.
I think Franklin Morales will be motivation for Felix Doubront to get his act together. They don’t want to give up on Doubront. They think he’s too talented to keep messing with, so my best guess is that Morales stays a reliever for the time being.

Got to attend my first game in 10 years last week (I was a regular in the '70s and '80s) and was astounded that most of the crowd showed up in the third inning and left in the seventh. What is this, San Diego? They started the wave during critical parts of the game and in general paid little attention to the game at all. They were standing up to be photographed with the field in the background. Basically treating Fenway like the touristy sports bar it has become. And this was in the bleachers, where the real fans used to congregate. Don't even get me started on "Sweet Caroline." Is there a solution, or should I just stay home? I didn't enjoy the experience. I thought I was going to watch a baseball game!
Randy, Albuquerque

The late arrivals and early departures are partly due to the enhanced drinking establishments in the area. The area has really added some interesting watering holes and eateries. Until the Red Sox prove they’re completely back from the downturn of the last two seasons, that’s the way it’s going to be. It’s that way at Wrigley now as well.

Click the Full Entry button for more Q&A.

FULL ENTRY

Game 46: Red Sox at White Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 21, 2013 03:59 PM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (27-18)
Ellsbury CF
Gomes LF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava RF
Middlebrooks 3B
Drew SS
Saltalamacchia C
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (3-1, 6.03).

WHITE SOX (20-23)
De Aza CF
Ramirez SS
Rios RF
Konerko 1B
Dunn DH
Viciedo LF
Keppinger 3B
Flowers C
Greene 2B
Pitching: LHP Jose Quintana (2-1, 3.97).

Game time: 8:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN/WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Quintana: Ellsbury 0-4, Ciriaco 1-3, Middlebrooks 0-3, Pedroia 1-3.

White Sox vs. Doubront: Keppinger 3-8, De Aza 2-6, Dunn 0-4, Konerko 2-4, Rios 0-6, Ramirez 0-4, Viciedo 3-5, Wells 0-2.

Stat of the Day: This one via the Red Sox: Andrew Miller, who turns 28 today, is averaging 15.4 strikeouts per nine innings. That is third among MLB relievers.

Notes: The Sox are 5-2 on their road trip ... Doubront is 2-0, 3.00 in two starts against Chicago. Both were last season ... Quintana has one career appearance against the Sox. He threw eight scoreless innings last July 19. That was the game the Sox won on a Cody Ross walk-off homer off Addison Reed ... Pedroia has hit in 12 straight (22 for 49) with six extra-base hits and eight RBIs ... Saltalamacchia is 13 of his last 34 with six extra-base hits ... The Red Sox bullpen has allowed one earned run over 22 innings on the road trip ... Ellsbury is 3 for 24 on the trip ... Victorino is out with a left hamstring strain he suffered Monday night.

Song of the Day: "Riders on the Storm" by The Doors (Rest in peace, Chicago native Ray Manzarek).

Futures at Fenway game is July 27

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 21, 2013 02:43 PM

The eighth annual Futures at Fenway game will be July 27 when Double A Portland plays Harrisburg.

Tickets start at $5 for the noon game and go on sale to the general public Wednesday via redsox.com or by calling 877-733-7699.

The event will include a postgame concert by “The Kidz Bop Kids,” and fans will be allowed to take their dogs to the game. Sections of seats will be available to owners and their pets where rest areas, water bowls, and activities will be provided. There will also be a photo station for dogs and their owners and the opportunity to participate in a pregame dog parade around the warning track.

Also:

• The Red Sox are sending Jason Varitek as their representative to the draft on June 6 in Secaucus, N.J. The Sox have the seventh overall pick.

• In the On Deck blog, Craig Forde has the story of reliever Chris Martin and his unlikely path to Triple A.

What to do about Jacoby Ellsbury?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 21, 2013 02:40 PM

CHICAGO — Among the 18 qualified leadoff hitters in baseball, Jacoby Ellsbury has the fourth-lowest on-base percentage (.303), second-lowest OPS (.638), and second-lowest batting average (.241).

Outside of Desmond Jennings (Rays) and Juan Pierre (Marlins), Ellsbury is the worst leadoff hitter in baseball through 45 games.

Let's pause here to consider that the Marlins aren't really trying to win this season. So among teams that are trying, the Red Sox have the second-worst leadoff hitter.

History does not suggest a major change. Ellsbury has been a little better in the second half of the season in his career (.300/.346/.463) than the first (.285/.346/.406), but not remarkably so.

His batting average on balls in play is .273, which is below his career mark of .318 but not to such a point as to suggest he has been a victim of incredibly bad luck.

Ellsbury did have a transcendent second half in 2011 (.328/.375/.625) that included 21 home runs. But since then he has had only five home runs in 494 at-bats while hitting .259/.309/.356.

It's fair to say that 2011 was the outlier season of all outlier seasons for him. Ellsbury had an OPS+ of 146 that season. He has otherwise never been above 98 for a full season. The average OPS+ is 100.

When you look at his spray chart, you see a lot of ground balls to second base.

Ellsbury looks to be trying to pull the ball most every time up and isn't getting much return for it. That's a puzzle for the Red Sox to solve. The amateur analysis is that he's trying to muscle up and hit for power instead of going the other way, taking singles, and getting on base.

Ellsbury will be a free agent after the season, so it's fair to wonder whether the pressure of that is affecting him. This slump would theoretically cost him millions, although one should never underestimate the power of Scott Boras to manipulate the free agent market. Perhaps there's a one-year "pillow contract" out there for Ellsbury or a team still entranced by those 2011 statistics.

The Red Sox could have that pillow. They're paying Ellsbury $9 million this season. How about a one-year deal for $10.5 million to try again? Boras took an average annual value of $12 million for Michael Bourn from Cleveland, albeit for four years.

The other side of this issue — the far more pressing one — is how long the Red Sox will continue to bat Ellsbury at the top of their order. The other options would seem to be:

Shane Victorino: He has had a nice bounce-back season at the plate. But nagging injuries have dogged him.

Dustin Pedroia: He seems like the obvious choice. But he doesn't much like hitting leadoff and is producing bunches of hits at No 3. Why mess with that?

Daniel Nava: He would be an unconventional choice but he does have a .382 OBP. But if the idea is to use Jonny Gomes against lefties, Nava may not be in the lineup every day.

John Farrell has been a calm hand at the tiller so far, immune from making rash decisions. The Red Sox are 27-18 and solidly in contention, so perhaps they can give Ellsbury another two weeks to figure it out.

But at some point, you can't keep running a leadoff hitter out there who doesn't get on base. That's about as simple as baseball analysis gets.

White Sox get to Lester again

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 21, 2013 12:51 AM

CHICAGO — Jon Lester is 4-5 with a 5.43 earned run average in 10 career starts against the White Sox. That’s more than half a run higher than it is against any other team in the American League.

“I don’t know,” Lester said when asked what it was about the White Sox after a 6-4 Red Sox loss Monday night. “I don’t know. It’s just one of those teams. You have those teams.”

Even when Lester played it smart in the first inning, it backfired. With a runner on second and two outs, Lester pitched carefully to Paul Konerko, a righthanded hitter who was 10 for 23 against him with three home runs.

Konerko walked on five pitches. Lefthanded hitting Adam Dunn, 1 for 6 against Lester, was next. Lester fell behind him and left a pitch over the plate that was crunched deep into the stands in right field.

“Just didn’t do a good job there. Ended up leaving a guy who’s got stupid pop a cutter that’s down the middle. He did what he was supposed to do with it,” Lester said.

Lester (6-1) left after six innings trailing 6-2. He allowed seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts. The two strikeouts, naturally, were his fewest of the season. The five earned runs matched Lester’s most for a start this season.

Lester knows the White Sox hit him hard. But he can’t change the way he pitches for one team.

“I’m not going to shy away from me. That’s what they want me to do,” Lester said. “They want us to overthink things and get us even more then. You just have to ... see what happens.”

A few other notes:

• Dustin Pedroia extended his streak to 12 games. He is 22 of 49 in the streak.

• Jarrod Saltalamacchia is 13 of 34 with six extra-base hits in his last 11 games. He is up to .270

• Jacoby Ellsbury grounded to second base four times and accounted for five outs. He is 3 for 24 on the road trip and is now hitting .241 with a .303 on-base percentage. He has gone 162 at-bats without a home run.

Victorino leaves with 'mild' hamstring injury

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 21, 2013 12:31 AM

CHICAGO — Shane Victorino came out of Monday night's game in the sixth inning with a tight left hamstring. He reached on an infield single and then felt the muscle grab when he went from first to third on a deep fly ball hit by Dustin Pedroia that was the third out.

Victorino moved slowly out to right field after the inning but came out of the game after manager John Farrell and a trainer went to speak to him.

“I was a little worried. But after talking with the trainers and having them look at it, it’s something mild,” Victorino said.

Victorino missed two games earlier in the road trip because of a back injury. That came after missing seven games with a back injury that occurred on April 24. The hamstring injury is not necessarily a result of that, but there could be a connection.

“You can tell the frustration,” Victorino said after sighing. “I just want answers why.”

It is unlikely Victorino will play on Tuesday.

“Given all he is dealing with, we’ll stay on the cautious side of this,” Farrell said.

Final: White Sox 6, Red Sox 4

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 20, 2013 08:13 PM

Game over: White Sox 6, Red Sox 4: The Red Sox' five-game winning streak came to an end. Red Sox starter Jon Lester lost for the first time this season, allowing all six runs (five earned) over six innings. Adam Dunn blasted a three-run homer in the first inning to pace the White Sox attack. Jarroid Saltalamacchia belted his fifth homer, had two hits and nearly tied the game when his drive to center was caught near the wall by Alex Rios.

Mike Napoli singled to open the ninth inning off White Sox closer Addison Reed, but the Red Sox were unable to sustain a rally. Middlebrooks hit long drive to the 400 foot market in center, but it was caught.Paul Konerko made a great diving stab of Stephen Drew's hard grounder and throw to the pitcher covering to end the game. Reed earned his 15th save. The game was played in 2:52 before 21,816 at US Cellular Field.

Bottom 8th: White Sox 6, Red Sox 4 - White Sox threaten but do not score off Craig Breslow. Viciedo walked and Keppinger doubled, but Breslow got the next two batters to escape.

Injury update: Shane Victorino left the game with tightness in his left hamstring.

Top 8th: White Sox 6, Red Sox 4 - Shane Victorino walked with one out and Pedroia did his best to avoid a double-play when he beat the relay to first on his ground ball to second base. Ortiz popped out.

Bottom 7th: White Sox 6, Red Sox 4 - White Sox can't muster anything off Clayton Mortensen.

Top 7th: White Sox 6, Red Sox 4 - Will Middlebrooks knocked in a pair with a double to left field after Ortiz and Napoli drew walks. Line on Lester: 6 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K. He threw 109 pitches.

Bottom 6th: White Sox 6, Red Sox 2 - Jon Lester retired the side.

Top 6th: White Sox 6, Red Sox 2 - Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled to lead off the inning, but Jacoby Wllsbury knocked into a double play. After Shane Victorino reached an infield hit to the pitcher, Dustin Pedroia flew out to end the ining.

Bottom 5th: White Sox 6, Red Sox 2 - Ramirez reached on an error by Will Middlebrooks, stole second. Alex Rios walked, but Konerko knocked into a double play. After Dunn walked, with runners now at the corners, Viciedo got the count to 3-2, before shooting a single up the middle to score the sixth White Sox run.

Top 5th: White Sox 5, Red Sox 2 - Nava, Middlebrooks and Drew retired.

Bottom 4th: White Sox 5, Red Sox 2 - Lester has his first 1-2-3 inning.

Top 4th: White Sox 5, Red Sox 2 - Dustin Pedroia reached on an infield hit to third base, but was doubled up on David Ortiz' GIDP. Mike Napoli, who entered the game hitting .214 with 19 strikeouts in 56 career at-bats at US Cellurlar, struck out.

Bottom 3rd: White Sox 5, Red Sox 2 - Lester allowed a single to Viciedo with two outs, but rebounded to get Jeff Keppinger to ground out for the third out.

Top 3rd: White Sox 5, Red Sox 2 - Jarrod Saltalamacchia hits his fifth homer to leftcenter batting lefthanded to chip away at the ChiSox lead.

Bottom 2nd: White Sox 5, Red Sox 0 - Jon Lester often talks about there are those five or starts when you have nothing. This might be one of them. Three straight doubles by Tyler Greene, Alejandro De Aza and Alexei Ramirez produce two runs,

Top 2nd: White Sox 3, Red Sox 0 - The first six Red Sox hitters have been retired by Dylan Axelrod.

Bottom 1st: White Sox 3, Red Sox 0 - Rough start for Jon Lester who gave up a three-run homer to Adam Dunn on a 2-0 pitch with Alex Rios and Paul Konerko aboard after he'd retired the first two White Sox batters.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, White Sox 0 - The Red Sox couldn't muster a lot against Dylan Axelrod as he got outs with ground balls from Jacoby Ellsbiry and Shane Victorino and a fly ball out to right by Dustin Pedroia.

Ross cleared to start working out

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 20, 2013 07:40 PM

CHICAGO — Backup catcher David Ross, who is out with a concussion, was cleared to start working out. He then threw, hit off a tee, and rode an exercise bicycle.

"The symptoms have resolved," manager John Farrell said. "We'll look to increase the intensity of the work tomorrow. So he's turning the corner."

When the Sox get back to Fenway on Friday, they'll decide whether Ross gets activated or plays in a minor league game or two.

• Farrell played and coached at Oklahoma State and he was following the news of the tornadoes there the last few days. "Our thoughts are with all the people," he said.

Will Middlebrooks also was following the news. His sister, Lacey, is a recent graduate of Tulsa University and his father, Tom, is from Oklahoma.

• Ryan Dempster played for the Cubs from 2004 until he was traded to the Rangers last July. This is his first time back in uniform in Chicago.

Dempster's children live in Chicago and he had his son, Brady, with him in the clubhouse.

• The Cleveland Indians are 26-17 under Terry Francona after beating Seattle today. Has Farrell heard much from his old friend?

"He's too busy winning," said Farrell. "I think everybody in baseball is watching. They have a very good team. They're playing with a heck of a lot of confidence."

The Indians arrive at Fenway Park on Thursday for four games.

Bailey activated from DL; De La Torre optioned

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 20, 2013 04:31 PM

CHICAGO — The Red Sox, as expected, activated Andrew Bailey off the disabled list today. Righthander Jose De La Torre was optioned back to Triple A Pawtucket.

Bailey has been out since April 29 with a biceps strain. Bailey was pitching well before the injury. He had a 1.46 earned run average through 13 games and 12.1 innings. Bailey had allowed only six hits with four walks and 20 strikeouts.

De La Torre appeared in two games.

Game 45: Red Sox at White Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 20, 2013 03:15 PM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (27-17)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava LF
Middlebrooks 3B
Drew SS
Saltalamacchia C
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (6-0, 2.72).

WHITE SOX (19-23)
De Aza CF
Ramirez SS
Rios RF
Konerko 1B
Dunn DH
Viciedo LF
Keppinger 3B
Flowers C
Greene 2B
Pitching: RHP Dylan Axelrod (1-3, 4.27).

Game time: 8:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Axelrod: Ciriaco 3-3, Ellsbury 0-3, Middlebrooks 0-3, Ortiz 1-3, Salty 0-3, Napoli 0-1, Pedroia 1-1.

White Sox vs. Lester: Rios 9-38, Konerko 10-23, Ramirez 5-22, Wells 0-10, Dunn 1-6, De Aza 2-7, Viciedo 3-8, Flowers 1-3, Keppinger 1-2.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox are averaging 5.47 runs in 21 road games.

Notes: The Red Sox have won five straight and are 5-1 on a road trip that has three games left. ... The Red Sox were 6-2 against the White Sox last season and are 5-2 at U.S. Cellular Field the last two seasons. ... Lester is 5-5, 5.20 in nine career starts against the White Sox. That's his highest ERA against an American League team. ... Axelrod made one start and one relief appearance against the Sox last season. He allowed two runs over nine innings. ... Pedroia has hit in 11 straight at 21 of 45 (.467) with six extra-base hits and eight RBIs. He has had multiple hits in eight of those games. ... Ellsbury has gone 158 at-bats since his last home run. ... Ortiz has hit in seven straight at 12 of 28 with 12 RBIs. ... Middlebrooks is 11 of his last 40 (.275) with nine extra-base hits. ... Lester and Buchholz are 12-0, 2.21. The Sox are 15-3 in their starts. ... The Sox have a 2.83 ERA on the road trip. Their relievers have allowed one run over 21 innings in six games.

Song of the Day: "Midwestern You" by The Susan Constant.

Red Sox dressed for success?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 20, 2013 10:15 AM

CHICAGO — When he managed the Red Sox, Terry Francona's only rule when it came to a dress code on road trips was that a player shouldn't look any worse than he did.

A few of the players would wear suits — Jonathan Papelbon was a snazzy dresser, believe it or not — but most of the guys wore pants and a decent shirt. There were plenty of jeans, cowboy boots and untucked shirts.

It was generally the same last season under Bobby Valentine. The Sox weren't sloppy by any means. But it was fairly rare to see a suit on the road.

That has changed this season. John Farrell changed the dress code to require a jacket but not necessarily a tie. Then a few of the older players got together and decided that the Sox should step it up beyond that.

Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, and Jon Lester now dress like hedge fund managers on road trips. Ryan Dempster has custom-made suits he gets in Montreal. Jonny Gomes cleans up real nice in suits that would work in any boardroom. Mike Napoli has jackets with distinctive patterns. There are Burberry ties, cuff links and starched collars everywhere you look.

Dustin Pedoia rocks a pocket square these days. Seriously.

"Pretty sick, huh?" he said in Tampa when he slipped on a dark jacket.

"It's kind of a fun thing," Lackey said. "Farrell mentioned it spring training but I think it was something we wanted to do anyway."

On Sunday, as the team left Minnesota, the players were talking a lot about their clothes. It's not really a competition, but it's evident the players are taking pride in how they look on the road.

"I think it's part of being a big leaguer," Gomes said. "I really do. We're supposed to be at the top of our profession. We should try and look like it."

Is that why the Sox are 27-17? Certainly not. If it was that easy, every team would dress up. The Rays have been an excellent for several years now and Joe Maddon has theme road trips where all the players dress in football jerseys or like nerds. That hasn't affected their play.

But it is yet another sign that the Red Sox are going in the same direction again after several years of discord. If they believe dressing up helps team unity and that team unity leads to playing well on the field, that's all that really matters.

In the end, it comes down to talent. But if that talent is well-tailored, maybe that's worth a little something, too.

Pitching matchups for the White Sox series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 20, 2013 09:15 AM

Monday: LHP Jon Lester (6-0, 2.72) vs. RHP Dylan Axelrod (1-3, 4.27), 8:10 p.m., NESN.

Tuesday: LHP Felix Doubront (3-1, 6.03) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (2-1, 3.97), 8:10 p.m., NESN.

Wednesday: RHP Clay Buchholz (6-0, 1.78) vs. LHP Chris Sale (5-2, 2.53), 8:10 p.m., NESN.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 20, 2013 08:13 AM

John Lackey had his best performance in recent memory as the Red Sox outlasted the Twins and the rain, 5-1.

Nick Cafardo writes the Red Sox bullpen has been a quiet success story.

The notebook has Jacoby Ellsbury getting his first day off.

Final: Red Sox 5, Twins 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 19, 2013 02:24 PM

Game over: Red Sox 5, Twins 1: - Junichi Tazawa put a couple of runners on base but managed to protect the lead as the Red Sox won their fifth straight game and swept the Twins. John Lackey improved to 2-4 with six one-hit innings. The game was played in 3:15 with a 3-hour rain delay before 33,042 (but about 300 of the Twins' intimate friends) at the end.

Top 9th: Red Sox 5, Twins 1 - Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run homer off Josh Willingham's forearm (the ball bounced over the fence) with Jonny Gomes (walk) aboard. David Ortiz followed with a single.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 3, Twins 1 - Twins loaded them up vs. Koji Uehara but he struck out Joe Mauer swinging to get out of the inning.

Top 8th: Red Sox 3, Twins 1 - The Red Sox offense had to dust off the cobwebs of a long rain delay. After Nava and Middlebrooks whiffed, Salty drew a walk before Pedro Ciriaco flew out to right.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 3, Twins 1 - After a 3-hour rain delay, play resumed. Andrew Miller replaced John Lackey, who went six innings, allowed one hit, no runs, no walks and five strikeouts. Miller retired Justin Morneau (grounder to first), Trevor Plouffe (K) and Oswaldo Arcia (grounder to third).

UPDATE When we resume (and yes 6:25 central has come and gone), Andrew Miller will be the new Red Sox pitcher. He's warming up right now. The Sox have taken the field here in the bottom of the 7th.

UPDATE: Anticipate a 6:25 (central) restart. Tarp is off. Field is being worked on.

RAIN DELAY The delay began at 3:30 p.m. and it's really coming down. It's very dark and gusty winds. The latest forecast says that the rain may move through at about 5:30 central time and play could resume as early as 6, but don't hold us to that. There seems to be clearing after that. The Twins are trailing 3-1.

To review. John Lackey pitched six very strong innings and was on the mound to start the seventh, but presumably the Red Sox will now go to their bullpen to finish it off, if and when play resumes.

The Red Sox are scheduled to fly to Chicago tonight for the start of a three-game series with the White Sox.

We'll have more soon.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 3, Twins 1 - Shortly after God Bless America was sung, heavy rain halted play at 3:30 p.m. central time. John Lackey had not thrown a pitch.

Top 7th: Red Sox 3, Twins 1 - With thunder in the distance, the Red Sox made some quick outs.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 3, Twins 1 - Lackey gets through the inning, strikes out Joe Mauer to end the inning. Very dark here. Looks like a downpour at any time.

Top 6th: Red Sox 3, Twins 1 - Looks rain is heading our way. But for now its cloudy and the Red Sox went down in order, holding on to their two-run lead.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 3, Twins 1 - Trevour Plouffe provided Minnesota's first hit,a double. Arcia was then hit with a pitch and the Twins' first run scored when Pedro Ciriaco threw wide of first base while trying to complete a double play. He was charged with an error.

Top 5th: Red Sox 3, Twins 0 - Pedroia, Ortiz and Napoli all hit singles to produce a run. Daniel Nava also singled in a run.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 2, Twins 0 - Twins are making contact, but none of them have resulted in a basehit vs. Lackey over the first 12 batters.

Top 4th: Red Sox 2, Twins 0 - Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia each singled with one out, but the Sox were unable to add to their lead.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 2, Twins 0 - Lackey has retired all nine batters he's faced.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 2, Twins 0- Sox added to their lead when leadoff man Shane Victorino walked and asvanced to third on Jonny Gomes' single to left. The run scored when Dustin Pedroia's grounder to third was thrown wide of second by third baseman Trevor Plouffe.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 1, Twins 0 - Lackey continues his strong start mowing down the Twins in the second. Lackey lasted only 4-1/3 innings, allowing nine hits and five runs in is last start vs. Tampa Bay in a 5-3 loss. Lackey is 1-4 with a 4.05 ERA.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 1, Twins 0 - Will Middlebrooks hit No. 8 off Pedro Hernandez to rightcenter. Sox take the early lead.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Twins 0 - When you can retire Joe Mauer on a strikeout and Justin Morneau on a weak ground ball, you're doing something right. John Lackey has started out strong.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Twins 0 - Today is an exercise at trying to beat the rain. It's 80 degrees and partly cloudy right now. Leadoff hitter Shane Victorino started the game with a hard single to right, he stole second base, but he was stranded there when David Ortiz tapped back to the pitcher.

Ellsbury gets a day off

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 19, 2013 01:03 PM

MINNEAPOLIS — Jacoby Ellsbury has played every inning of every game this season. But he was given today off day to rest. Shane Victorino is starting in center field.

“Just wanted to make sure in this stretch of 20 games [in 20 days] that we get everybody involved and give every one of our normal regular guys a day off,” Farrell said.

Ellsbury is hitting .246 with a .309 on-base percentage from the leadoff spot.

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia is the only player on the roster to have started every game. Does Farrell have the temerity to sit him down?

“That’s a good question,” he said. “Pedey will fight that one tooth and nail. He’s the last man standing right now and that’s probably just the way he likes it. If it comes to it, he and I will sit and talk. As well as he’s playing, as good as he feels, as headstrong as he can be, all that’s taken into account.”

Pedroia has never played all 162 games. The closest he came was 159 games in 2011.

“I don’t really think about that stuff,” he said. “I go day-to-day. Whatever John wants is fine.”

Also:

• Stephen Drew has missed the last two games with a back injury, he result of an awkward slide into second base on Friday night. But he hopes to play on Monday. “Obviously day-to-day. But we don’t think this should be a prolonged situation,” Farrell said.

• Backup catcher David Ross, who is on the concussion disabled list, told Farrell that his symptoms are subsiding. Ross is scheduled for an examination on Monday and hopes to start working out after that.

“There’s improvement to the point where he was making requests [on Saturday] if he could throw. But we’re still holding back any kind of physical activity,” Farrell said. “Everything projects that after the re-exam on Monday he’ll start to go through some exertion testing.

“He was in much better spirits. In his own words he felt like he was turning the corner.”

• Andrew Bailey is set to come off the disabled list on Monday after pitching an inning for Triple A Pawtucket on Saturday night. The righthander has been out since April 29 with a biceps strain.

Farrell will use Bailey as a closer but does not plan to use him on consecutive days right away. Still, his addition will give the Red Sox more options for the late innings.

“To slide guys back a little earlier, it gives us that flexibility with Junichi [Tazawa] a little bit more than holding him back to close out games,” Farrell said. “I think just getting guys back one slot earlier in the game certainly makes us stronger.”

Rookie Jose De La Torre would likely be optioned to Triple A Pawtucket. He has appeared in two games since being called up.

• David Ortiz hit two home runs on Saturday, the 38th time he has done that for the Sox. It broke a tie with Ted Williams and gave Ortiz the team record for games with multiple home runs. Since 2003, only Albert Pujols (44) has had more in the majors. Ortiz has never hit three homers in a game. Williams did that three times. Ortiz is 49th in career home runs with 408, having passed Duke Snider on Saturday.

Game 44: Red Sox at Twins

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 19, 2013 10:20 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (26-17)
Victorino CF
Gomes LF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava RF
Middlebrooks 3B
Saltalamacchia C
Ciriaco SS
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (1-4, 4.05).

TWINS (18-21)
Carroll 2B
Mauer C
Morneau 1B
Plouffe 3B
Arcia DH
Ramirez LF
Parmelee RF
Hicks CF
Florimon SS
Pitching: LHP Pedro Hernandez (2-0, 5.79).

Game time: 2:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Weather report: Scattered thunderstorms are predicted for the area, some potentially severe. The Sox do not return to Minnesota this season, so every effort would be made to play the game.

Red Sox vs. Hernandez: Elllsbury 3-5. Ciriaco 1-3. Middlebrooks 1-3. Ortiz 0-2, Pedroia 2-2, Victorino 2-2, Drew 1-1, Gomes 1-1, Napoli 0-1, Salty 1-1.

Twins vs. Lackey: Morneau 9-35, Mauer 11-27, Willingham 0-6, Carroll 0-4, Dozier 0-4, Arcia 2-3, Doumit 0-2, Florimon 1-3, Hicks 1-3, Plouffe 0-3.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox are 4-1 on their road trip with four games to play. The bullpen has allowed one run over 18 innings and struck out 15.

Notes: The Sox have won four straight and the Twins have lost four straight. ... The Sox have the third best record in the American League behind the Rangers (28-15) and Yankees (27-16). ... The Sox are 13-7 on the road, outscoring their opponents 110-71. ... Lackey faced the Twins on May 9 at Fenway, allowing one earned run in seven innings. That was the game his throwing error cost the Sox four runs and the game. ... Lackey is 7-6, 3.53 in 16 starts against the Twins. ... Hernandez has faced the Sox twice in his career with bad results: 6 IP, 19 H, 14 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 5 HR. He started at Fenway on May 8 and allowed six runs on seven hits in two innings. ... The Sox have played eight consecutive games without an error. ... Every game on the road trip so far has lasted at least three hours and 14 minutes. ... The Sox are 27-18 against the Twins since the start of the 2007. A victory today would give the Sox the season series for seven consecutive years. ... Ellsbury has played every inning of every game. Farrell has said he wants to give all the regulars a day off on this road trip.

Hot Sox: Pedroia has hit in 10 straight at 19 of 40 with five doubles, 11 runs and five RBIs. His batting average has climbed from .299 to .341. ... Ortiz has hit in six straight at 10 of 23 with 12 RBIs. He is 19 of 38 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 10 games at Target Field. ... Jonny Gomes in his last three games with a plate appearance: two hits, four runs, three walks, one sacrifice fly. ... Nava has reached base safely in 28 of 36 games. He has 27 RBIs in 142 plate appearances. He had 59 RBIs in 505 plate appearances in the first two seasons of his career. ... Salty is 10 of his last 28 with five extra-base hits. ... Alex Wilson has allowed only two earned runs over 14.1 innings since being called up.

Song of the Day: "You Love The Thunder" by Jackson Browne.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 19, 2013 08:37 AM

David Ortiz homered twice and drove in six runs as the Red Sox beat the Twins, 12-5.

Nick Cafardo writes that Dustin Pedroia is having a superlative season.

The notebook has Mike Napoli looking to make more contact. There are updates on Andrew Bailey and Franklin Morales, too.

Dan Shaughnessy has some picked-up pieces

In the Sunday Baseball Notes, Nick looks at the winners and losers with the season 25 percent in the books.

Looking at Farrell's decision to leave Dempster in

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 19, 2013 12:39 AM

MINNEAPOLIS — Red Sox manager John Farrell does not go to the mound to counsel his pitchers. That is the job of pitching coach Juan Nieves.

When Farrell goes to the mound, it's to take the pitcher out of the game.

So when Farrell walked out on the field in the fifth inning on Saturday night, Ryan Dempster looked like a goner. The righthander had thrown 122 pitches to that point and was clinging to a 7-4 lead. The Twins had a runner on base and two outs.

But Farrell did not raise his right arm to call in Clayton Mortensen from the bullpen. He let Dempster convince him to stay in the game.

"He kind of talked his way into it," Farrell said. "In hindsight probably should have [made] the move at the time. But, still, it’s a veteran guy who’s fine physically in terms of his arm. Trying to get him the last out in the fifth to get give him a chance to get a win.”

Dempster got ahead of Jamey Carroll 0-and-2 but could not finish him. Carroll dumped a 2-and-2 pitch into right field and Farrell came to the mound again.

Dempster gave up five runs on eight hits and six walks.

“I wasn’t very good tonight,” he said. “Throwing strikes, that was a big problem. I just didn’t have anything going tonight. But at the end of the day we won the game and that’s all that matters.”

Dempster, 36, threw 127 pitches. That's the most for a Red Sox pitcher this season and tied for the fourth-most in the majors this season. Dempster had not thrown that many since the 2011 season. Before that you have to go back to 2001.

"You want to give a guy every opportunity to record a win," Farrell said "It's a delicate balance but at some point that decision had to be made."

Dempster threw 128 pitches on Sept. 13, 2011. On regular rest in his next two starts he allowed four earned runs over 13 innings. One difference: Those 127 pitches came over seven innings, not 4 2/3.

"I'll be fine," Dempster said. "I know my body and I know what I need to do."

Assuming the Red Sox do not shift their rotation, Dempster will pitch against Cleveland on Thursday at Fenway Park.

Dempster said he appreciated Farrell giving him a chance to get the win. So did Clay Buchholz.

"It didn't work out. But I know all the starters liked that [Farrell] did that. You want the manager to trust you and he trusted Demp there," Buchholz said. "The guy had earned that chance with his experience."

Had the Red Sox lost the game, Farrell would have been justifiably roasted for chasing a player's individual statistic at the expense of the team. Leaving Dempster in was obviously a mistake.

But within the clubhouse, loyalty to a veteran player commands respect. Farrell is building a base of support that will serve him well down the road. Compare that to last season and the disdain the Red Sox had for Bobby Valentine.

"The fact he was given that opportunity will make Demp feel better about the whole situation," Buchholz said. "It's huge. It's been good what has happened with this team. Everybody on this gets along and supports each other. That's the coaches and the players.

"It didn't work out for John this time. But I bet that pays off down the road in other ways."

Ortiz reminds the Twins what they've been missing

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 19, 2013 12:21 AM

MINNEAPOLIS — It has been said that living well is the best revenge. For David Ortiz, that has meant reminding the Minnesota Twins what a big mistake they made.

The Twins released David Ortiz after the 2002 season. He was a .266 hitter over six seasons and entering free agency. The organization thought they could do better at the time. The Red Sox signed Ortiz and you're probably familiar with what transpired.

Ortiz has delighted in making the Twins regret their decision ever since, no more so than on Saturday night.

Ortiz drove in six runs with three hits, two of them thunderclap home runs to right field as the Red Sox beat the Twins, 12-5, before a crowd of 36,967.

Ortiz is 66 of 199 (.332) against the Twins since they let him go with 15 home runs and 43 RBIs over 53 games. He is 19 of 38 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 10 games at Target Field.

“I try to do well against everyone sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It worked tonight,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz admitted he once had extra motivation against the Twins.

“But not any more,” he said. “I just try and go about my business. Guys see me trying to hit the moon every time I hit anyway. So it’s nothing new.”

Ortiz is 6 for 8 with two walks and seven RBIs in the first two games of the current series. The Sox have won four straight.

Ortiz is hitting .362 on the season with seven home runs and 29 RBIs in 24 games since coming off the disabled list.

Final: Red Sox 12, Twins 5

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 18, 2013 07:19 PM

Game over: Red Sox 12, Twins 5: Alex Wilson finished things off for the Red Sox. The story was David Ortiz with two homers and 6 RBIs. Daniel Nava drove in three. Another fine all around game by Dustin Pedroia, who reached base four times and made a spectacular defensive play turning a pop up into a double-play.

The Red Sox remained a game behind the Yankees, overcoming a poor outing by starter Ryan Dempster who couldn't get out of the fifth and walking six and throwing 127 pitches. The game was played before 36,967 at Target Field in 3:53.

Top 9th: Red Sox 12, Twins 5 - The ReD Sox loaded the bases with two walks by Ortiz and Napoli and a single from Daniel Nava (3 RBI an 2 hits). After Will Middlebrooks struck out, Ryan Lavarnway's sac fly made it an even dozen for the Sox.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 11, Twins 5 - The Twins are retired in order by Alex Wilson. We've just been informed by the official scorer that Craig Breslow will be the pitcher of record.

Top 8th: Red Sox 11, Twins 5 - The top of the Sox order are retired in order.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 11, Twins 5 - Jamey Carroll managed a single against Craig Breslow, but the Twins couldn't advance him.

Top 7th: Red Sox 11, Twins 5 - David Ortiz, again. Big Papi belted a two-run blast with Dustin Pedroia aboard. Ortiz has driven in 6 runs tonight ewith a three-run homer, RBI single and a two-run homer. Daniel Nava also got into the act with a two run blast.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 7, Twins 5 - The pitching is brutal. But Dustin Pedroia keeps you watching (check out my On Baseball column in the Globe tomorrow on Pedroia). He made a over the shoulder catch on a pop to short right by Aaron Hicks and then threw out the runner (Doumit) at the plate who tried to tag and score.

Top 6th: Red Sox 7, Twins 5 - Red Sox went down in order.

Rehab update from Pawtucket - Andrew Bailey pitched an inning for Triple A Pawtucket. He allowed a run on two hits — one a home run — and struck out two. He threw 14 of 17 pitches for strikes. Bailey, who is on the disabled list with a biceps strain, hit 96 miles-per-hour with his fastball and is expected to be activated on Monday.

Franklin Morales started that game and was hit hard, giving up five runs in four innings. He gave up two home runs. It was the fourth rehab start for Morales, who has been out all season recovering from a spring training back injury. The Sox are preparing the lefthander to work as a starter in case one is needed.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 7, Twins 5 - John Farrell stuck with Ryan Dempster for a long time (127 pitches) on a night when it was obvious he didn't have it. Ryan Doumit doubled and eventually came in on a ground ball out by Plouffe. After another walk, Pedro Florimon drove in a run witha single to right. Jamey Carroll then blooped a single to right tp score the fifth Twins run. Clayton Mortensen then came on.

Top 5th: Red Sox 7, Twins 2 - The Red Sox piled on three more runs. A Dustin Pedroia double knocked in Jonny Gomes (double). Later in the inning, Daniel Nava's sacrifice fly scored the second run and Ryan Lavarnway's hard single to center scored the seventh Red Sox run.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 4, Twins 2 - Justin Morneau drove in Joe Mauer (double) with a single.

Top 4th: Red Sox 4, Twins 1 - Red Sox go down in order.

Justin Morneau drove in Joe Mauer (double) with a single.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 4, Twins 1 - Dempster got into some more trouble allowing a double to Josh Willingham, who went to third on a wild pitch. Oswaldo Arcia and Trevor Plouffe walked to load the bases. With two outs, Aaron Hicks flew out to right.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 4, Twins 1 - David Ortiz is hot again. He scorched an RBI single to right driving in Jonny Gomes (walk). A key play was Dustin Pedroia beating out an infield hit to get the runner into scoring position.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 3, Twins 1 - Dempster almost escaped this inning without any damage, but not quite. After Dempster walked Doumit and Arcia, Trevor Plouffe advanced the runners to scoring position with a grounder to third. Lefthanded hitter Aaron Hicks then sent a grounder down the third base line which Middlebrooks fielded and threw to the plate where Doumit got caught in a rundown. He was nailed on a play scored 5-2-6-1 with Dempster making the tag. No. 9 hitter Pedro Florimon singled to center scoring the first Twins run. With the bases loaded, Dempster struck out Joe Mauer on a nasty splitter.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 3, Twins 0 - Will Middlebrooks continued his good spell with a leadoff single, but he was erased on Ryan Lavarnway's double-play grounder.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 3, Twins 0 - The best thing the Twins did that inning against Ryan Dempster was having Justin Morneau beat the shift and singled to left field.

Top 1st: Red Sox 3, Twins 0 - David Ortiz hit a three-run homer to right with two aboard (Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia). Ortiz is now 17-for-35 with four homers and 13 RBI at Target Field.

Victorino and Drew sit out with sore backs

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 18, 2013 06:10 PM

MINNEAPOLIS — Shane Victorino and Stephen Drew are out of the Red Sox lineup with sore backs.

Victorino was injured in the eighth inning against the Rays on Thursday when he crashed into a wall making a catch in right field. He came out of the game before the ninth inning and did not play on Friday.

Victorino took batting practice in the cage and on the field and said he hopes to play on Sunday.

“Shane feels better than he did last night. But still there’s probably a little too much risk running him out there today when another day might just get him over the hump somewhat,” manager John Farrell said.

Once Victorino is ready to go, he could be starting a game in center field.

Farrell wants to get all of his regulars a day off in this stretch of 20 games in 20 days. Jacoby Ellsbury has started every game and through Friday had played in every inning.

Victorino has not played center field this season, even in spring training, but has been a center fielder for much of his career.

Drew was injured in the eighth inning on Friday night when he doubled and contorted his body when he slid into the base. He stayed in the game.

Drew’s pain is in the middle of his back and affects his throwing more than his hitting. Farrell said his absence was more of a precaution.

Also:

• Jonny Gomes is starting for the fourth time in last five games and will probably be getting more time with the Sox facing lefthanders on Sunday (Pedro Hernandez), Tuesday (Carlos Quintana) and Wednesday (Chris Sale).

Farrell said his intent was to start the righthanded hitting Gomes against all of those lefthanders.

Through Friday, Gomes was hitting .183 with a .333 on-base percentage thanks to 16 walks.

“He’s had good at-bats against righthanders,” Farrell said. “The base hit against James Wright down in Tampa [on Wednesday]. He’s taken some walks; he’s laid off some breaking balls that have been to the edge or off the plate.”

Farrell feels that more regular at-bats will help Gomes become more productive.

“We could sure use what he’s capable of and getting him involved in the mix,” Farrell said.

• Jarrod Saltalamacchia heard the Powerball lottery jackpot was over $600 million and he purchased some tickets via one of the clubhouse attendants. Saltalamacchia joked that he would keep playing if he won but his daughters would sit in the dugout with him to watch the games.

• David Ortiz has played in 1,401 games for the Sox, moving past Dom DiMaggio for 10th place in team history. Jason Varitek is ninth with 1,546 games.

• More Papi: Ortiz is a career .323/.421/.610 hitter in 52 games against the Twins since they released him in 2002 and he joined the Red Sox. Ortiz did not hit well at the old Metrodome as a member of the Sox (.214/.353/.314 in 19 games). But he enjoys Target Field (.471/.550/.824 in nine games).

• Perhaps you’ve noticed the Red Sox are on the field for the national anthem this season. Farrell made it a team rule. In recent years, under both Terry Francona and Bobby Valentine, there were rarely more than two or three players on the field. Farrell also cleaned up how the team dresses on the road, mandating at least blazers. Many of the players now wear suits, a change from past seasons.

Game 43: Red Sox at Twins

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 18, 2013 03:00 PM

Good afternoon Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (25-17)
Ellsbury CF
Gomes LF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava RF
Middlebrooks 3B
Lavarnway C
Ciriaco SS
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster (2-4, 3.75).

TWINS (18-20)
Carroll 2B
Mauer DH
Morneau 1B
Willingham LF
Doumit C
Arcia RF
Plouffe 3B
Hicks CF
Florimon SS
Pitching: LHP Scott Diamond (3-3, 4.08).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Diamond: Victorino 0-6, Gomes 0-4, Ellsbury 1-3, Napoli 0-3, Ortiz 1-3, Pedroia 0-3, Drew 1-2, Middlebrooks 0-2, Salty 0-1.

Twins vs. Dempster: Doumit 7-29, Carroll 6-18, Willingham 1-14, Mauer 1-10, Morneau 4-9, Plouffe 1-9, Dozier 0-6, Escobar 0-3, Parmelee 0-3, Ramirez 1-3, Florimon 1-1.

Stat of the Day: Pedroia is 61 of 174 (.351) against the Twins in his career. For players with a minimum of 150 plate appearances since 1961, only Mark Teixeira (.375) and Will Clark (.355) have higher batting averages against the Twins.

Notes: The Sox have won three straight and the Twins have lost three straight. ... Dempster and Diamond is a rematch from May 7 at Fenway, a game won 6-1 by the Twins. Dempster went seven innings and allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. Diamond went seven shutout innings, allowing three hits. He struck out two without a walk. ... The Sox are 26-18 against the Twins since the start of the 2007 season. ... Pedroia has hit in nine straight at 17 of 37. ... Ellsbury and Pedroia are the only Sox to play in every game this season. Ellsbury is the only player to play in every inning. ... The Sox are 15-3 in games started by Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester and 10-14 in games started by others. They are 3-5 in games Dempster has started.

Song of the Day: "Too Close Together" by Peter Wolf.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 18, 2013 10:04 AM

The Red Sox beat the Twins in extra innings as Jonny Gomes executed in a big spot.

Nick Cafardo writes that the Sox are getting good at winning close games.

The notebook has Stephen Drew playing strong defense at shortstop.

Miller bonked on the head but keeps chucking

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 18, 2013 01:28 AM

MINNEAPOLIS — Andrew Miller pitched the top of the eight inning for the Red Sox on Friday night and was in the dugout looking to grab a piece of gum.

"I heard this whistling noise behind me," he said. "Then it happened."

What happened was that teammate Jarrod Saltalamacchia had fouled a ball into the Red Sox dugout. It struck a padded wall and ricocheted off Miller's forehead.

"I was like, 'What just happened?' But I was OK," Miller said.

Miller stayed in the game and got two outs in the ninth before coming out of the game. He came away without a scratch.

Miller is 6-foot-8. This was one time his height worked against him.

"I couldn't duck," he said.

Red Sox manufacture a win in Minnesota

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 18, 2013 12:42 AM

MINNEAPOLIS — On Thursday night, Will Middlebrooks doubled in three runs to help the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Bays.

On Friday night, about 24 hours later, he came to the plate with runners on first and second against the Minnesota Twins and no outs. This time Middlebrooks was asked to bunt.

How unusual is that? Middlebrooks had bunted once in his professional career and that was in 2008, his first year with the Sox when he played for Rookie League Lowell.

Middlebrooks does not remember that bunt. He thought his last sacrifice came when he was in high school. But he assured third base coach Brian Butterfield that he could do it.

"It's the ideal situation to bunt," Middlebrooks said. "My number was called and I was just trying to get the job done."

Middlebrooks took a pitch and then tapped the ball down the first base line. The Twins had one play and it was to first. Minnesota then intentionally walked Stephen Drew to load the bases for Jonny Gomes and he delivered a sacrifice fly.

That was enough for a 3-2 victory.

Middlebrooks enjoyed the idea of helping his team in two such disparate ways on successive nights.

"I love them both. We won," he said.

A few other notes, quotes and observations from this game:

• Clay Buchholz, Andrew Miller, Alex Wilson and Koji Uehara retired the final 17 Twins in order, eight by strikeout. Wilson, a rookie, got his first career win by retiring the final batter of the ninth inning.

"Funny how it comes that way," he said. "I threw two pitches."

Wilson had the ball after the game. "I'll be keeping this one," he said.

Said John Farrell: "Every guy who came to the mound tonight really pitched well."

• Dustin Pedroia had a weird night. He was 0 for 4 his first four times up, leaving six men on base. He ended three innings and twice grounded into double plays. It was only the second time in his career that he grounded into two double plays. The last time was April 12, 2009 against the Angels.

But Pedroia singled to start the 10th inning and eventually scored the winning run. He also had a terrific night at second base, making several diving stops including a backhanded gem in the seventh inning to take a hit away from Pedro Florimon.

"Pretty sick," he said.

• Under Ron Gardenhire, the Twins have been a fundamentally sound team. But they really botched up the sacrifice fly. Rookie center fielder Aaron Hicks was lined up to make the play and he might have had a chance to throw Pedroia out. But left fielder Oswaldo Arcia came over and tried to make the catch for a second before backing off. His presence caused Hicks to double-pump his throw.

• Buchholz allowed two runs over seven innings. He's how good he has been: that raised his ERA from 1.69 to 1.78 after nine starts. He has struck out 69 in 65.2 innings.

• Red Sox pitchers fanned 14. They have had 23 games with at least 10 strikeouts this season. They had 35 all last year.

• Jacoby Ellsbury was 6 of 49 with one RBI over 12 games before that RBI single in the seventh inning.

• Gomes said the Red Sox don't want to be the "heart-attack kids" and win games like they have the last two nights all the time.

"But it's a good character check for us," he said. "It's huge. It says a lot about the different ways we can win."

Drew knew it would come down to him once Middlebrooks got that bunt down.

"I wanted to stay off the ground as much as possible. Get a pitch to elevate and it happened," he said. "Something you can drive. That situation right there, worst-case scenario is a groundball. Every once in a while it's good to have a little uppercut."

Fun game to watch. Thanks for reading and we'll catch you tomorrow.

Final: Red Sox 3, Twins 2 (10 innings)

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 17, 2013 08:09 PM

Game over: Red Sox 3, Twins 2 (10 innings): The Red Sox held on for the win as Koji Uehara strikes out two batters in the ninth to preserve the win. Alex Wilson threw two pitches and won the game. Clay Buchholz gave up two runs in hits even innings. David Ortiz went 3-for-3 and Jonny Gomes' sacrifice fly won the game in the 10th.

Top 10th: Red Sox 3, Twins 2 - Jonny Gomes' sacrifice fly to center scored Dustin Pedroia with the go-ahead run after the Red Sox loaded the bases with one out. Pedroia singled to right, Ortiz walked, Middlebrooks sacrificed bunted the runners over. Stephen Drew was walked intentionally. Gomes got enough wood on the ball to get the run in as Hicks double-clutched before throwing to the plate after he fought off left fielder Oswaldo Arcia for the ball. Mike Carp grounded out to first base to end the inning.

Bottom 9th: Twins 2, Red Sox 2 - Andrew Miller got the first two batters with a ground ball out and a strikeout and pitched 1.2 innings with three strikeouts. But with Trevor Plouffe due up, John Farrell went to Alex Wilson. Ploufffe flew out deep to center.

Top 9th: Twins 2, Red Sox 2 - The Red Sox struck out twice (Salty and Nava) against closer Glenn Perkins and enter the bottom of the ninth in a tie.

Bottom 8th: Twins 2, Red Sox 2 - Effective inning for Andrew Miller who strikes out two in setting the Twins down in order.

Top 8th: Twins 2, Red Sox 2 - Stephen Drew doubled to the right center gap with two outs and then grabbed his back after a slide. Her remained in the game but wouldn't be shocked to see a back tightness issue. After Jonny Gomes walked, Carp took a called third strike on a borderline 3-2 pitch.

Bottom 7th:Twins 2, Red Sox 2 - Nothing doing for Twins.

Top 7th: Twins 2, Red Sox 2 - Sox tie it with a rally after Vance Worley was replaced after six innings. with Brian Duensing on the mound, Gomes walked, Salty singled and Ellsbury, who had been 0-for-3, singled off the shortstop's glove to drive in the tying run. Ellsbury also stole his 13th base. Sox had a chance to add, but Daniel Nava struck out swinging and Pedroia popped out to second base.

Bottom 6th: Twins 2, Red Sox 1 - Buchholz retires the side.

Top 6th: Twins 2, Red Sox 1 - The Red Sox knocked into their third double-play - this one by Will Middlebrooks after David Ortiz singled up the middle for his third hit. Stephen Drew flew out to center for the final out.

Bottom 5th: Twins 2, Red Sox 1 - The Twins had a great chance to extend their lead, loading the bases with one out against Buchholz. Aaron Hicks singled, Brian Dozier walked and Chris Parmelee singled with one out to load them up, but Buchholz buckled down to strike out Josh Willingham and got Justin Morneau to fly out to left field.

Top 5th: Twins 2, Red Sox 1 - The Red Sox had a pair of hits in the inning from Salty and Nava, but for the second time Pedroia knocked into a double play to end the threat.

Bottom 4th: Twins 2, Red Sox 1 - With two outs, Clay Buchholz allowed a pair of walks before striking out Plouffe.

Top 4th: Twins 2, Red Sox 1 - David Ortiz singled and Stephen Drew walked with one out, but they couldn't get this game even.

Bottom 3rd: Twins 2, Red Sox 1-- After five straight strikeouts, Clay Buchholz lost it a little. Trevor Plouffe doubled to right center to break the string and rode home on Pedro Florimon's two run homer which he pulled to right field.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 1, Twins 0 - After a one-out walk by Daniel Nava, Dustin Pedroia knocked into a 4-6-3 double play. Boy did Pedroia run hard down the line. Almost beat it.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 1, Twins 0 - Buchholz struck out the side and five straight batters. Absolutely dominating.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 1, Twins 0 - Mike Carp, playing first base for the resting Mike Napoli, drew a walk with two outs, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out to end the inning.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 1, Twins 0 - Clay Buchholz looks like he has great stuff - two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 first

Top 1st: Red Sox 1, Twins 0 - David Ortiz loves to beat up his old team. He singled to right scoring Daniel Nava who singled and advanced to second on an error by second baseman Brian Dozier, who threw his grounder into the stands.

Mike Napoli gets a night off

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 17, 2013 06:56 PM

MINNEAPOLIS — Mike Napoli had started every game for the Red Sox this season. But he's out of the lineup tonight.

The Sox are in the middle of a stretch that will see them play 20 games in as many days, and manager John Farrell hopes to get every regular a day off before the next scheduled day off June 3.

Napoli also has been slumping, with 10 hits in his last 52 at-bats.

"I don't think that's the only factor," Farrell said. "Certainly that's one of them. But you also look at when the guy who steps in for him might have a matchup that's advantageous to him. There's a few things you take into account."

Also:

• David Ross, who is on the seven-day concussion disabled list, had been scheduled to join the team this weekend. But he remained in Boston because of his symptoms and will not be examined until Monday.

As a result, Ross is not expected to be back for any games on this road trip. The Red Sox have the option of putting him on the 15-day DL backdated to Sunday. Ross was concussed on Saturday when he took two foul balls off his mask while catching.

"Much like we've seen with many other concussions, these things take on a life of their own," Farrell said. "He's still experiencing some lightheadedness and fatigue. So we've got to give it time."

Although nothing has been scheduled, Farrell expects that Ross will meet with concussion expect Dr. Michael Collins at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Collins was the doctor who treated Stephen Drew for his concussion in spring training.

• Farrell has spoken to righthander Joel Hanrahan, who had Tommy John elbow surgery Thursday along with surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon. Hanrahan, who will be a free agent after the season, will be out for at least a year.

Dr. James Andrews did the surgery in Pensacola, Fla.

Farrell said that Hanrahan will be in Dallas for the initial stages of his rehab and will check in with the team periodically.

"He can rest with some peace of mind [knowing] that everything that could have been done has been done by the best in the business," Farrell said.

Our On Deck blog takes a look at the price the Sox paid for Hanrahan.

Victorino out with sore back

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 17, 2013 06:34 PM

MINNEAPOLIS — Shane Victorino made two terrific catches in right field in the eighth inning Thursday night against the Rays, the first coming when he crashed into the wall to take at least a double away from Jose Lobaton.

The price he paid was a sore back and being left out of the lineup against the Twins Friday night.

"Precautionary stuff," Victorino said. "It's minor."

Victorino was clearly shaken up after the catch, to a point where John Farrell and assistant athletic trainer Masai Takahashi came onto the field. But he waved them back into the dugout.

Victorino then ended the inning with an over-the-shoulder grab of a deep fly ball off the bat of Desmond Jennings. His defense kept the score 3-1 and the Sox scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to win the game.

Victorino missed seven consecutive games earlier this month with inflammation in a disk in his lower back. This problem, he believes, is not related.

"It stiffened up," he said. "But I think that's all it is. I should be able to play tomorrow. It's not anything that I'm worried about. This isn't what I had before. At least I'm hoping not."

Said Farrell, "We're hopeful that it's a one-day thing where he's off his feet today and he's able to rejoin the lineup tomorrow. As hard as he plays — and I'm not going to say with reckless abandon — but obviously he doesn't fear the wall. He's been banged up the last couple of games."

Game 42: Red Sox at Twins

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 17, 2013 04:30 PM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (24-17)
Ellsbury CF
Nava RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Middlebrooks 3B
Drew SS
Gomes LF
Carp 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (6-0, 1.69).

TWINS (18-19)
Dozier 2B
Parmelee RF
Willingham DH
Morneau 1B
Doumit C
Arcia LF
Plouffe 3B
Hicks CF
Florimon SS
Pitching: RHP Vance Worley (1-4, 7.15).

Game time: 8:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN/WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Worley: Ellsbury 1-6, Pedroia 3-6, Ortiz 0-5, Saltalamacchia 1-4, Victorino 3-3, Carp 0-1, Drew 1-2, Middlebrooks 0-2, Napoli 0-2, Nava 1-2.

Twins vs. Buchholz: Morneau 8-16, Mauer 5-13, Carroll 1-6, Plouffe 0-7, Dozier 1-6, Parmelee 1-4, Willingham 4-6, Arcia 1-3, Doumit 1-3, Escobar 0-3, Florimon 0-3, Hicks 1-3.

Stat of the Day: Napoli has struck out 57 times in 41 games, a pace that would give him 225 on the season. The Red Sox record is 177 by Mark Bellhorn in 2004.

Notes: The Sox have won two straight and trail the Yankees by a game ... The Sox were 1-3 against the Twins at Fenway from May 6-9, getting outscored, 31-18 ... Buchholz is 3-1, 4.54 in six career starts against the Twins. He faced them May 6 and allowed four runs in six innings ... Buchholz has allowed six runs on 13 hits over 14 innings in his last two games. He allowed five runs over 44.2 innings in his first six games ... Worley is 1-0, 3.00 in two starts against the Twins. He faced the Sox May 6 and allowed three runs on nine hits in five innings ... Pedroia is 20 of his last 43 (11 games) and 16 of 32 in the last eight. ... Middlebrooks is 8 of his last 27 with seven doubles and a home run ... Ellsbury is 6 of his last 46 (.130) with four runs and one RBI. His batting average has dropped from .290 to .249. As Bill Chuck of Billy-Ball.com points out, Ellsbury leads the majors with 137 outs ... Napoli is out of the lineup for the first time this season ... Victorino is out after crashing into a wall making a catch in right field in the eighth inning Thursday night ... Carp is hitless in his last 12 at-bats ... The Sox are 11-7 on the road.

Song of the Day: "Minneapolis" by Bill Janovitz.

Pitching matchups for the Twins series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 17, 2013 09:30 AM

Friday: RHP Clay Buchholz (6-0, 1.69) vs. RHP Vance Worley (1-4, 7.15), 8:10 p.m., NESN.

Saturday: RHP Ryan Dempster (2-4, 3.75) vs. LHP Scott Diamond (3-3, 4.08), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

Sunday: RHP John Lackey (1-4, 4.05) vs. LHP Pedro Hernandez (2-0, 5.79), 2:10 p.m., NESN.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 17, 2013 07:17 AM

willmiddlebig.jpg

Getty Images

Will Middlebrooks stuck in the Red Sox lineup and it paid off in the ninth inning on Thursday. His three-run double produced a 4-3 victory.

Nick Cafardo writes that Shane Victorino is toughing it out in right field.

The notebook has the Sox wrestling with what to do with Daniel Bard.

The minor league notebook checks in with Jose Iglesias and his recent issues. Julian Benbow has that story.

Mixed results for Doubront against Rays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 17, 2013 01:02 AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Red Sox starter Felix Doubront had a wildly inconsistent five innings. On the positive end, he allowed two runs on just three hits and struck out seven. But he also walked a career-high six and threw 105 pitches, 54 for strikes.

“Much improved,” John Farrell said after a 4-3 victory against the Rays. “The work he and Juan [Nieves, the pitching coach] have been doing between outings seemed to pay off. He was on the plate with his stuff, all three pitches. I thought he had better conviction to the stuff that he threw tonight.”

About those walks . . .

“We have to take one step at a time,” Farrell said.

Also:

• The Sox had not won a game when trailing after eight innings since July 19, when they beat the White Sox, 3-1, on a walkoff home run by Cody Ross. Dustin Pedroia was base for that, too.

“These kind of wins are big ones,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who it’s against. We had good quality at-bats in a row and Will gets the big hit. It’s uplifting for everybody. We’re all excited.”

• Pedroia has been on base 79 times this season, second in the AL to Miguel Cabrera.

• The three-run double for Will Middlebrooks was the first go-ahead RBI in the ninth inning of his career.

• It was the worst-case scenario for righthander Joel Hanrahan, who went in for surgery by Dr. James Andrews on Thursday in Pensacola, Fla.,

In addition to flexor tendon surgery, Hanrahan required Tommy John reconstruction surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He also had bone spurs removed according to one his agents, Mike Dillon.

Hanrahan is expected to miss 12-15 months. The 31-year-old will be a free agent after the season.

Hanrahan, who was obtained from Pittsburgh in December, appeared in only nine games for the Red Sox.

• Former Boston College and Patriots quarterback Doug Flutie was at the game, wearing a Sox jersey.

• There was a heartwarming moment before the game. The Rays had 9-year-old Alayna Adams of Dunedin, Fla., throw out the first pitch with her mother, Dana, also on the mound. The catcher proved to be Army Lt. Colonel William Adams, home after a one-year deployment to Afghanistan. Lt. Colonel Adams had on a Rays uniform with full catchers gear and surprised his family. His wife and daughter ran to the plate to hug him. The crowd then gave the family a standing ovation.

Perseverance pays off for Middlebrooks

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 17, 2013 12:55 AM




ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Will Middlebrooks missed only one game after he collided with Red Sox teammate David Ross while chasing a foul ball May 7 and bruised several ribs on his right side.

But that didn’t mean the pain went away. Middlebrooks had trouble catching his breath in one game last week and called time to get that under control. He also had trouble sleeping for several nights.

“It was one of those moments in the career of a young player when you have to earn some stripes and stay out there,” said Jonny Gomes, the veteran outfielder. “You can’t win a game sitting on the bench.”

Perseverance paid off for Middlebrooks Thursday night. His three-run double in the ninth inning gave the Sox a 4-3 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The two-out, two-strike hit off closer Fernando Rodney was perhaps the biggest of the season for the Sox. After losing three series in a row, they took two of three from the Rays and moved into second place, a game behind the Yankees.

After losing nine of 11, the Sox have won two straight and may be going back in the right direction.

With the Sox down, 3-1, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz drew walks. With Pedro Ciriaco running for Ortiz, Mike Napoli struck out. Daniel Nava then walked to load the bases.

Middlebrooks was on deck watching closely when Rodney struck out Stephen Drew with three straight changeups for the second out of the inning. He figured he would get the same.

“I was up there looking changeup,” Middlebrooks said. “It surprised me. In the past when I’ve faced him it’s changeup, changeup, changeup. It’s his best pitch.”

Instead Rodney threw three consecutive fastballs. The first was 97 miles per hour, the second 98, and the third 100. Middlebrooks took a strike on the first, fouled off the second, and took the third for a ball.

Rodney probably should have stayed with his fastball given how unsure Middlebrooks looked against it. But he threw a changeup that stayed up in the strike zone.

“Maybe the only pitch I threw bad,” Rodney said.

Middlebrooks is 8 of 27 with eight extra-base hits in seven games since bruising his ribs. A .211 batting average is nothing to get excited about. But it beats the .190 it was.

“I got frustrated a little bit. But I never changed my plan. I never changed routine at the field and my teammates, they had my back the whole time,” Middlebrooks said.

Farrell believes Middlebrooks is more relaxed at the plate since the collision.

“If he chases a pitch, he regroups. He doesn’t expand the [strike] zone consistently,” Farrell said. “When he was going through a little bit of a spell, that was the case.”

Once Middlebrooks got over the initial shock of the injury, he was determined to play.

“I wasn’t going to get any better sitting out,” he said. “You need reps, you need to get out there and fix stuff on your own and not just say, ‘I’m going to go sit down.’ That’s the selfish way to go about it I think. I wanted to do anything I could do to help my team win.”

Final: Red Sox 4, Rays 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 16, 2013 07:12 PM

Game over: Red Sox 4, Rays 3: Junichi Tazawa preserved the one-run lead in his first strong outing as the team's closer. He allowed a single to right to Luke Scott, but then got Ben Zobrist to line out to shortstop. The biggie was striking out Evan Longoria. He went 1-2 to Yunel Escobar, before the temperamental SS singled through the 5-6 hole. James Loney, 0-for-3 coming into the at-bat, got behind 0-2 quickly and then grounded out to shortstop to end the game. The game took 3:43 to play before 16,055. The Red Sox took two out of three and now head to Minnesota.

Top 9th: Red Sox 4, Rays 3 - Fernando Rodney didn't have it. He walked Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz to start the ninth. But he found his composure in striking out Mike Napoli. Daniel Nava walked to load the bases. With one out, Stephen Drew was fooled on three pitches, two of them change-ups and struck out. That left it up to Will Middlebrooks.

After showing him a 100 mph fastball for a ball, Middlebrooks cleared the bases with a double to left center on a change-up that rolled to the wall, scoring all three runs to give the Red Sox the lead. After Rodney walked Saltalamacchia, Joe Maddon had to pull his closer. Lefty Alex Torres, just called up from Durham to replace the injured David Price (triceps strain), came on to retire Ellsbury (0 for 5).

Bottom 8th: Rays 3, Red Sox 1 - Rays just want to get to Fernando Rodney.

Top 8th: Rays 3, Red Sox 1 - Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-for-4 as the Sox go down in order.

Bottom 7th: Rays 3, Red Sox 1 - Three-up, three down for the Rays vs. Craig Breslow.

Top 7th: Rays 3, Red Sox 1 - Mike Napoli started the inning with a leadoff walk, but the Sox couldn't do much especially when hatrd-throwing lefty Jake McGee came on to get Drew and Middlebrooks.

Bottom 6th: Rays 3, Red Sox 1 - After issuing his sixth walk to James Loney on four pitches, Doubront exited the game. Clayton Mortensen induced a fielder's choice grounder by Matt Joyce, pinch-hitting for Sean Rodriguez with the runner eliminated at second base. Lobaton walked and after a passed ball by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Roberts also walked. Desmond Jennings singled in a run. This brought Andrew Miller in. He singled to right, driving in the second run.

Top 6th: Red Sox 1, Rays 1 - With two outs, Dustin Pedroia singled, but David Ortiz grounded out into the shift.

Bottom 5th: Rays 1, Red Sox 1 - The Rays draw a pair of walks against Doubront, but he's able to keep it tied, getting Yunel Escobar to pop out to shorstop in short rightfield ending the potential threat.

Top 5th: Rays 1, Red Sox 1 - Will Middlebrooks drew a walk, but Alex Cobb still seems very much in control.

Bottom 4th: Rays 1, Red Sox 1 - Doubront has his best inning yet with a pair of Ks to Sean Rodriguez and Jose Lobaton, and a ground ball out by Ryan Roberts. What ever Doubront worked on on the side with Juan Nieves this week seems to be working.

Top 4th: Rays 1, Red Sox 1 - David Ortiz roped a single to right field which bounced against the wall on a hop scoring Shane Victorino who had doubled.

Bottom 3rd: Rays 1, Red Sox 0 - Evan Longoria managed a single vs. Doubront, but the lefty got the next two hitters to stop any momentum.

Top 3rd: Rays 1, Red Sox 0 - Stephen Drew and Will Middlebrooks especially, both struck the ball well toward center but both balls were caught for outs and Cobb has now pitched to nine batters in three innings.

Bottom 2nd: Rays 1, Red Sox 0 - Ryan Roberts took Doubront deep on a 2-0 pitch to left-center to give the Rays the early lead. Doubront had retired the first two batters, but left the 2-0 pitch too far out over the plate. It was the third homer for Roberts.

News update via Pete Abraham: Closer Joel Hanrahan had Tommy John surgery: It was the worst-case scenario for righthander, who went in for surgery by Dr. James Andrews on Thursday. In addition to flexor tendon surgery, Hanrahan required Tommy John reconstruction surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He also had bone spurs removed.

Hanrahan is expected to miss 12-15 months recovering from the surgery. The 31-year-old will be a free agent after the season. Hanrahan, who was obtained from Pittsburgh in December, appeared in only nine games for the Red Sox.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 - Cobb, with a nice changeup/sinker combo, struck out Napoli and Nava on route to a 1-2-3 inning. He's retired all six batters he's faced.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 - Luke Scott reached on an infield single to shortstop in the shift. Felix Doubront, for whom this was an important start, then walked Ben Zobrist, got Evan Longoria to fly out to center. he lost a real battle with Yunel Escobar who fouled off a few pitches on 3-2 before Doubront thought he had the SS struck out with a nice curveball, that was just a little bit high called Ball Four by home plate umpire Joe West. With the bases loaded and two out, James Loney, the league's top hitter, took a called third strike to end the threat.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 - Alex Cobb, who became the first major league pitcher to strike out 13 batters in less than five innings in his last start vs. San Diego (4-2/3 innings), struck out two (Ellsbury and Pedroia) of the three Red Sox batters he faced.

Bailey expected back on Monday, will close

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 16, 2013 05:38 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Andrew Bailey threw 15 pitches in a simulated game at Tropicana Field this afternoon. Facing teammates Mike Carp and Ryan Lavarnway, Bailey got three fly balls.

"I felt good. Was throwing all my pitches," Bailey said. "My arm feels good."

The next step will be for Bailey to pitch an inning for Triple A Pawtucket on Saturday at McCoy Stadium against Indianapolis. He would then rejoin the Red Sox in Chicago on Monday.

Sox manager John Farrell said Bailey would return to closing once he is activated off the disabled list, Bailey has not pitched since April 28 because of a strained biceps muscle.

Bailey would have preferred to be activated right away. But he complied with the team's desire for a brief rehab assignment.

"We kind of discussed that. What we talked about is that I missed enough time to warrant just at least one inning. Kind of getting sharp. But everything feels great. It's just kind of getting back baseball-wise. We agreed to go one inning and I'll be fine," Bailey said.

Farrell believes a one-game rehab stint makes the most sense.

"The fact is he's 19 days from his last game. He's a guy that pitches with a lot of adrenalin in that role. The next progressive step would be in a game situation against a different uniform and all the other things that we can't reproduce here in a sim game situation," the manager said.

Bailey was pitching well before his injury. In 13 appearances, he allowed two earned runs on six hits over 12.1 innings with four walks and 20 strikeouts.

Bailey said the biceps is no longer an issue.

"Once everything calmed down in there, it was pretty normal," he said. "The trainer said there would be one day when I come in here and feel great. That's kind of what happened. As soon as we were able to cross that bridge, it was getting back on the mound and the routine of things."

Farrell said he has spoken to Bailey at length about making sure he keeps the team informed about his physical condition after each outing.

Also:

• Farrell said the Red Sox have not discussed the idea of moving Daniel Bard out of Double A Portland to extended spring training.

The righthander has struggled mightily since he was optioned back to Portland on April 28. In five appearances, Bard has pitched 3.2 innings and allowed six earned runs on five hits and 13 walks. He has struck out only two. Of Bard's last 109 pitches, 37 have been strikes.

For the season, counting the majors, Bard has walked 19 and thrown eight wild pitches in 13.2 innings.

"He's going through a pretty tough stretch right now," Farrell said.

Game 41: Red Sox at Rays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 16, 2013 02:30 PM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (23-17)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava LF
Drew SS
Middlebrooks 3B
Saltalamacchia C
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (3-1, 6.40).

RAYS (20-19)
Jennings CF
Johnson DH
Zobrist RF
Longoria 3B
Escobar SS
Loney 1B
Rodriguez LF
Molina C
Roberts 2B
Pitching: RHP Alex Cobb (4-2, 3.09).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN/WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Cobb: Pedroia 2-9, Saltalamacchia 1-6, Drew 2-5, Ellsbury 2-7, Nava 1-6, Ciriaco 0-6, Napoli 2-5, Lavarnway 1-4, Victorino 1-3, Carp 1-3, Middlebrooks 1-3, Ortiz 0-1.

Rays vs. Doubront Johnson 3-11, Zobrist 3-12, Escobar 2-6, Longoria 2-6, Rodriguez 3-9, Jennings 2-5, Scott 2-6, Joyce 1-2, Loney 1-3.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox lead the majors with 145 extra-base hits. Napoli is the individual leader with 26, 18 of them doubles.

Notes: The Sox and Rays play the rubber game of a three-game series. The Sox have lost three series in a row ... The Sox have dropped three of four and six of their last eight ... The Sox are 4-1 against the the Rays this season, outscoring them, 22-10 ... Doubront is 2-1, 3.91 in seven career appearances against the Rays, four of them starts. Six of those appearances have been at Tropicana Field ... Doubront is coming off two dispiriting performances, one start and one long-relief appearance. The numbers: 9 IP, 23 H, 12 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 202 pitches ... Cobb is 2-2, 3.18 in four starts against the Sox. He faced the Sox April 14 at Fenway and allowed four earned runs on seven hits in 6.2 innings ... In his last start, he struck out 13 Padres over 4.2 innings ... Pedroia is 17 of his last 37 and is now hitting .340 ... Middlebrooks is 7 of his last 24 with seven extra-base hits ... Ellsbury has gone 143 at-bats without a home run, the longest drought on the team. He has a .366 slugging percentage since the start of the 2012 season ... The Sox are 10-7 on the road.

Song of the Day: "Cool For Cats" by Squeeze.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 16, 2013 10:24 AM

The Red Sox busted out with a big inning and beat the Rays, 9-2, on Wednesday.

Nick Cafardo writes that John Farrell's patience was rewarded with a big offensive night.

The notebook has Felix Doubront facing a big start against the Rays.

Big inning comes at right time for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 15, 2013 09:49 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Sox hit .189 with runners in scoring position in the first 13 games in May. Going into Wednesday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, they had four hits in their previous 40 at-bats in such situations.

The trend continued for two innings as the Sox stranded runners at second base in each inning.

Then Dustin Pedroia had an RBI single in the third inning and David Ortiz did the same, punching a ball the other way against Rays ace David Price.

The Sox scored eight runs before the inning was over, four coming on Stephen Drew’s grand slam. The result was a 9-2 victory before a crowd of 15,767 at Tropicana Field.

Every Red Sox starter except Shane Victorino scored at least one run and reached base via hit or walk. Will Middlebrooks doubled and homered in support of Jon Lester (6-0).

The Sox finished with 10 hits and were 5 of 11 with runners in scoring position.

“We needed a game like that,” Middlebrooks said. “It feels nice.”

The Sox had lost three straight, six of seven and nine of their last 11 games. But manager John Farrell didn’t call a team meeting or change the lineup. He kept faith in the idea that a roster he genuinely likes would return to form.

“We had the same lineup that won all those games,” Drew said. “It’s a matter of baseball being a funny game sometimes. When things don’t go your way you keep grinding. It’s a long season and it’s still May.”

Also:

• Drew is 20 of 63 (.317) with eight extra-base hits and 17 RBIs in 18 games since April 24.

• Jon Lester (6-0) went an efficient seven innings. He allowed two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and no walks.

Lester’s has 1,110 strikeouts for his career. That passed Josh Beckett for fifth place in team history. Only Roger Clemens (2,590), Tim Wakefield (2,046), Pedro Martinez (1,683) and Cy Young (1,341) have more.

“That’s pretty cool,” Lester said. “It’s not something that you play for. I play to win games and hopefully win a World Series. It just so happens along the way that your name moves up those lists. It’s great. Obviously it’s an honor to be with those names.”

Lester was 0-4 with a 6.11 ERA in his last five starts against the Rays. The victory was his first against Tampa Bay since Aug. 16, 2011. Lester is 4-0 with a 1.94 ERA in six starts following a Red Sox loss this season.

• Felix Doubront will start for the Sox on Thursday night. But there he was at Tropicana Field on Wednesday afternoon throwing 21 pitches to bullpen catcher Mani Martinez.

It’s not completely out of the ordinary for a pitcher to throw in the bullpen the day before his start. Clay Buchholz is one pitcher who does. But it is unusual for Doubront.

But these are difficult times for the 25-year-old lefthander. Doubront has a 6.40 earned run average in six appearances. In his last two outings, he has allowed 12 earned runs on 23 hits over nine innings.

Doubront was taken out of the rotation after a poor start on May 3 at Texas. He was then forced into a long relief appearance on May 8 when the starter who temporarily replaced him — rookie Allen Webster — couldn’t get through two innings against the Twins.

Doubront labored through 5.1 unexpected innings of relief, giving up six runs on 11 hits.

Doubront has not pitched since and used the time to work on fundamentals with pitching coach Juan Nieves.

Velocity is an issue too. Doubront’s fastball has averaged 90.2 miles-per-hour this season, down from 92.8 last season. A pitcher who once peaked at 96 now only hits 94 on occasion.

Doubront said his concern is for location, not velocity. His confidence also has improved during the extra time off.

“I feel comfortable. I’m not trying to do too much,” he said. “I’m comfortable on the mound. That’s going to help. Everything is going to come back.”

Doubront has some unusual statistics. Opponents are hitting .420 on balls they put in play, an unusually high number. With two outs and runners in scoring position, opponents are hitting .474 with a 1.197 OPS.

“That’s, to me, the biggest area that he has lacked. He’s been able to get ahead of guys and yet hasn’t put guys away,” Farrell said. “I think you create your own luck and create your own situations to put up a zero and shut an inning off after you’ve recorded two outs.”

Doubront said the game Thursday is a big one for him.

“I’m good now. The work I’m doing now, I know that I’m going to get better results,” he said. “Looking forward to pitching tomorrow and just put everything I’ve been working on into being a pitcher again.”

• The bad times contines for Daniel Bard on Wednesday. Pitching for Double A Portland against New Hampshire, Bard walked five of the nine batters he faced and threw two wild pitches. Of his 30 pitches, eight were strikes.

In five appearances since being optioned back to Portland following a two-game promotion to the majors, Bard has walked 13 in 3.2 innings.

Final: Red Sox 9, Rays 2

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 15, 2013 07:02 PM

Game over The Red Sox had one outstanding inning - an 8-run 3rd - and that propelled to an easy win over the Rays who lost David Price to triceps tightness in the third inning. Stephen Drew had a big night - a grand-slam in the third inning, which he also started with a walk. Drew also doubled. Jon Lester improved to 6-0 with the easy win. He went 7 innings and allowed 8 hits and 2 runs with no walks and 5 strikeouts. Jose de la Torre finished off the 9th for Boston and recorded 2 Ks in his 1-2-3 innings. The game was played in 3:31 before 15,767 at The Trop.

Top 9th: Red Sox 9, Rays 2 - Ellsbury drew a walk. but nothing else.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 9, Rays 2 - Rays had two on against Koji Uehara and Matt Joyce just missed a home run on a foul ball, but Uehara got out of the jam.

Top 8th: Red Sox 9, Rays 2 - Will Middlebrooks slams his 7th home run to right field. He's also doubled.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 8, Rays 2 - Rays get a leadoff single by Ryan Roberts vs. Lester, but Lester got the next three batters. Thinking he's done in what's turned into garbage time here.

Top 7th: Red Sox 8, Rays 2 - Sox go down in order.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 8, Rays 2 - Yunel Escobar doubled with one out and Sean Rodriguez was hit by a pitch, but the Rays couldn't break Lester.

Top 6th: Red Sox 8, Rays 2 - Jarrod Saltalamacchia gets robbed of extra bases on a great catch by Desmond Jennings. Stephen Drew continued to hit well with a double to left, but the Sox couldn't put another run on the board.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 8, Rays 2 - Lester makes quick order of the top of the Rays order.

Top 5th: Red Sox 8, Rays 2 - Sox go down in order.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 8, Rays 2 - Rays sting a couple of back-to-back singles (Rodriguez and Molina) with two outs off Lester, but Lester fans Ryan Roberts to end the threat.

Top 4th: Red Sox 8, Rays 2 - Red Sox go three-up and three down vs. Wright.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 8, Rays 2 - The Rays still have time to chip away. Ryan Roberts reached on an infield hit toward third base and was driven in on Desmond Jennings' triple to right. The second run came in on Ben Zobrist's grounder to third.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 8, Rays 0 - The Red Sox, silent for so long, busted out in a big way with their best inning of the season scoring eight runs. Bad turn of events for Rays as they lose David Price to some sort of forearm or elbow injury. Price walked No. 9 hitter Stephen Drew, allowed a single to center to Jacoby Ellsbury and a run-producing single by Dustin Pedroia. After David Ortiz singled in a run with a hit to shallow left, Price was flexing his left forearm area and then came out of the game. Veteran reliever Jamey Wright certainly couldn't stop the bleeding, greeted with an RBI double to right-center by Mike Napoli and a single to center by Jonny Gomes, driving in the fourth run. Gomes was 0-for-13. Drew, who lead off the inning with a walk, topped off the inning with a grand slam off Wright who is obviously taking one for the team.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 - Lester allows a hard-hit single by James Loney to center, but then Loney makes a bad base-running blunder when he gets caught off second base bag on a Sean Rodriguez grounder and gets erased from the basepaths.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 - Two innings, two runners stranded in scoring position. Will Middlebrooks doubled with two outs, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia, hitting .105 right-handed entering the at-bat, struck out to end the inning. Price underwent testing for allergic reactions he's been having. One problem may have been the detergent used in the Rays clubhouse which was causing soreness in his eyes.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 - Rays got lead-off man Desmond Jennings to second after he singled and stole second, but the rest of the Rays couldn't do much with Lester. Jennings was stranded there as Ben Zobrist struck out and Evan Longoria lined out to Lester.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 - David Price hasn't been David Price yet. He's 1-3 with a 4.78 ERA in eight starts. He's given up eight leads in six of those starts. The 2012 AL Cy Young winner was looking to rebound against the Red Sox. He got two quick outs before Dustin Pedroia doubled to left, but David Ortiz was positioned perfectly in left when he lined out to Sean Rodriguez to end the threat.

We'll be underway shortly, great match-up - David Price vs. Jon Lester.

Farrell: Not the time for a Red Sox shake-up

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 15, 2013 06:12 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A few notes from under the white roof of the Trop:

• John Farrell said now is not the time for the Red Sox to shake up the lineup. He wants to stay consistent with his players and be mindful that the roster was 20-8 before the current malaise set in.

"We believe in our guys. We like this team," said the manager. "It's our job to help support them and get them back on track and the track they've been very successful on."

• Farrell said the latest Andrew Bailey would be activated off the disabled list is Monday. Bailey is scheduled for a simulated game Thursday afternoon.

The plan is for Bailey to throw a normal warmup and then throw 12-15 pitches on the mound against hitters. The righthander has not pitched in a game since April 28 because of a biceps strain.

Farrell said the Red Sox would decide Friday whether Bailey’s next step would be to pitch in a minor league game before being activated. It appears that will be the case.

• Remember Franklin Morales? The lefthander has been on the disabled list all season with a lower back strain that occurred in spring training and has since healed. But he remains on a rehabilitation assignment because the Red Sox want to prepare him as a starter.

Morales has pitched in three games and gone eight innings so far. His latest stint, on Monday for Triple A Pawtucket, lasted three innings.

Morales will start for Pawtucket again Saturday and is scheduled for four innings.

“If we don’t change course with his role, we’d like to get him to a minimum of five [innings] before we look to do something back here,” Farrell said.

At this point, Farrell said, Morales is healthy enough to pitch out of the bullpen. But the Red Sox want to build up their starter depth, and they see Morales as a good option for that given the nine games he started last season. If Doubront continues to struggle, Morales would be a candidate to replace him in the rotation.

Farrell said that if a need were to arise in the bullpen, activating Morales sooner would be a consideration.

“We’re staying the course as of right now on him starting,” Farrell said.

• The Sox has a large group on the field for optional early batting practice. Coaches Torey Lovullo and Brian Butterfield then worked with Will Middlebrooks and Mike Napoli on defense ... Jon Lester has 1,105 strikeouts. He needs four to pass Josh Beckett for fifth place in team history. Cy Young is fourth with 1,341 ... The Sox hit .310 with runners in scoring position in April. They're at .189 (20 for 106) in May. That's the lowest in the AL.

Game 40: Red Sox at Rays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 15, 2013 02:45 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (22-17)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Middlebrooks 3B
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (5-0, 2.73).

RAYS (20-18)
Jennings CF
Johnson DH
Zobrist RF
Longoria 3B
Escobar SS
Loney 1B
Rodriguez LF
Molina C
Roberts 2B
Pitching: LHP David Price (1-3, 4.78).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN, ESPN/WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Price: Pedroia 10-33, Ortiz 5-25, Ellsbury 6-25, Napoli 6-20, Nava 1-18, Gomes 3-10, Ciriaco 1-10, Saltalamacchia 1-8, Victorino 2-8, Middlebrooks 4-9, Lavarnway 2-7, Drew 0-2.

Rays vs. Lester: Longoria 11-47, Zobrist 8-38, Escobar 8-26, Rodriguez 3-18, Molina 6-18, Jennings 4-15, Scott 0-11, Johnson 0-8, Lobaton 0-7, Fuld 1-6, Joyce 2-5, Roberts 1-5.

Stat of the Day: The Sox were 18-8 in April and are 4-9 in May.

Notes: The Sox have lost three straight, six of seven, and nine of 11 ... The Rays have won six in a row, coming from behind in every game ... Lester and Price faced each other at Fenway Park on April 13. Lester (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) had a no-decision, as did Price (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) in a game the Sox won, 2-1, in 10 innings ... Lester is 10-8, 4.14, in 23 career starts against the Rays, 0-4, 6.11 in his last five. He has not beaten the Rays since Aug. 16, 2011 ... Lester is 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA in five starts this year following a loss. ... Price is 8-4, 2.99, in 16 career starts against the Sox ... Lester is coming off a one-hit shutout of the Twins. Price has been hit hard (13 ER, 17 H over 14.2 IP) in his last two starts ... The Rays bullpen is riding a streak of 16.2 consecutive scoreless innings ... The Sox are 4 of their last 40 with runners in scoring position ... Pedroia is 15 of his last 32 with four extra-base hits ... The Sox were 111-58 (.657) against the Rays in Tampa's first 10 years of existence. The Rays are 52-42 against the Sox in the six years since ... The Sox have struck out an average of 8.43 times a game. The Astros lead baseball with 10.0 strikeouts per game.

Song of the Day: "Price of Gasoline" by Bloc Party.

Time to reshuffle Red Sox lineup

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 15, 2013 09:32 AM
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Words with Friends has a “reshuffle” key. The Red Sox need to press that now.

Sure, you’re basically taking the same players and putting them in different spots in the order, but given the Red Sox’ recent offensive malaise, it’s about that time.

One obvious reshuffle should be Dustin Pedroia going from the No. 3 to the No. 2 hole. Pedroia is a No. 2 hitter. He can move runners along, has excellent bat control. This also moves your power hitters up a notch.

There are two other pockets of concern.

One is Jacoby Ellsbury. He’s not having a bad year, and he leads the league with 12 stolen bases, but he’s just been inconsequential. Ellsbury needs to be more of a factor in the Red Sox lineup for the whole lineup to work. Will he ever be the player we saw two years ago, with an abundance of speed and power? He certainly has the speed part still and he makes things happen on the basepaths when he’s on them. But we need to see more.

Then there’s Will Middlebrooks.

The Red Sox counted on Middlebrooks to be one of their righthanded power hitters. He needs to be a threat in the middle of this lineup, but so far this season, save for three home runs in one game against Toronto, that hasn’t been the case.

The Red Sox shouldn’t have lost Tuesday night’s game on a pop up lost in the roof. They lost because they had no offense to speak of after David Ortiz popped his three-run homer in the first inning against Matt Moore.

Ortiz is right when he said that over the last two seasons when things go bad they go bad for everyone. The Red Sox can’t seem to keep two or three guys hot enough to carry the load for a while.

Why is that?

It’s because the lineup is void of another impact hitter, which is why Ellsbury and Middlebrooks need to step up their game. They can both be impact hitters. This just can’t fall on Pedroia, Ortiz and Napoli. Pedroia has been Boston’s most consistent hitter, Ortiz and Napoli are the power sources. Napoli will always have his dips and he’ll always strikeout a lot. That’s when you need someone like Middlebrooks to provide the thump.

As colleague Peter Abraham points out, the Sox have been held to five or fewer hits in eight of 39 games (20 percent) this season. It happened 16 percent of the time last season. Imagine that. With that injury-filled and, at the end, Triple-A lineup in 2012, they were held to fewer than five hits in a game less than this season?

In their last 40 at-bats with runners in scoring position, they have only four hits and over their last 11 games they’re 14 for 83, at .169.

There’s never a whole lot a manager can do in these situations except hope things turn around quickly. As the Yankees keep winning and the Orioles stay so consistent, as the Rays rise and the Blue Jays start to come out of their doldrums, it’s going to be a pretty tough division.

Time to reshuffle. Maybe it won’t do a thing. It just looks like the right thing to try.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 15, 2013 09:15 AM

A popup that wasn't caught led to the Red Sox taking a 5-3 loss against the Rays.

Nick Cafardo writes that David Ortiz is dealing with an injury, not a column.

The notebook has Andrew Bailey on the comeback trail.

James Loney is fulfilling his potential with the Rays. He showed little of that with the Red Sox last season. Nick has that story, too.

Red Sox find a new way to lose: a lost popup

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 15, 2013 12:34 AM
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Getty Images

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Several Red Sox players were in the dugout on Tuesday afternoon waiting for the start of batting practice when the topic of playing at quirky Tropicana Field came up.

Mike Napoli said he enjoyed hitting at the domed stadium but didn’t like playing in the field.

“Stuff always happens here,” he said.

A few hours later, his words proved prophetic. Napoli lost a popup in the roof and it fell in for a two-run single in the fourth inning. That was the difference for the Tampa Bay Rays in a 5-3 victory against the Sox.

“I didn’t make the play,” Napoli said. “Saw it up, saw it, and overran it.”

It was the latest blow for the sliding Red Sox, who have lost three straight, six of seven, and nine of their last 11 games. The momentum built from a 20-8 start has nearly been cast away.

At 22-17, the Red Sox are now three games behind the Yankees. The Rays have won six straight.

With one out and runners on first and second in a 3-3 game, John Lackey got Desmond Jennings to hit a fly ball to center field. Both runners tagged up on the weak arm of Jacoby Ellsbury.

Matt Joyce was next and he hit a fastball up in the air. Napoli came in and the ball landed behind him untouched. Both runners scored.

Napoli was playing first base at the Trop for only the fourth time in his career, the first time since June 1, 2011. The stadium, with its concentric rings of catwalks, spotlights, and off-white fabric roof can be difficult for an experienced fielder.

“I’ve played here before,” Napoli said. “It’s a white roof. But I saw the ball. I just overran it.”

Dustin Pedroia, who was a few feet from Napoli, tried to claim responsibility.

“I’ve played lot of games at this field. Maybe I ran to it, took my eye off it, and tried to find it again. I couldn’t find it. It’s probably an easier play for me than Nap because a lefthanded hitter hit and I had a better angle. I just took my eye off it and I know better than to do that.”

Napoli wasn’t buying it.

“It’s a long way for him to run,” he said. “It’s a play I should have made and I didn’t. I feel bad because John’s out there, he gets guy to pop up in a tie ballgame.”

Said Lackey: “It’s frustrating, for sure. I made a pitch and we didn’t get an out.”

The Rays have learned how to make their park work to their advantage. Jose Molina and Yunel Escobar were running hard on the popup and scored without the Red Sox having a play.

“We benefited from the roof again,” manager Joe Maddon said. “How about that?”

Lackey left the game in the fifth inning having allowed five runs on nine hits. Five starts is not a big percentage of a full season. But opponents are 16 of 69 (.231) against Lackey from the windup, 15 of 42 (.357) when he pitches from the stretch.

“You can’t just look at numbers,” he said. “You’ve got to actually look at the hits and look at the results a little bit, you know?”

Lackey, for the first time this season, grew irritated at some of the questions he was asked, especially ones that seemed to make light of the situation.

It was a tough loss in the first game of a nine-game road trip. Now the Sox face David Price on Wednesday.

"We've got to start playing better," Pedroia said.

Offensive woes continue for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 15, 2013 12:22 AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A few notes:

• The Sox did not have a single tonight. Amazingly, it's the third time this season that has happened. Prior to that it had not happened since June 19, 2009.

• The Sox have been held to five or fewer hits in eight of 39 games (20 percent) this season. It happened 16 percent of the time last season.

• Rays pitching retired 26 of the final 31 Sox batters. None advanced beyond second base.

• The Sox are 4 of their last 40 (.100) with runners in scoring position. Over 11 games it's 14 of 83 (.169).

• Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino, who ran into a wall in right field at Fenway Park on Sunday, sent a text message of support to Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who went face-first into a wall at Dodger Stadium on Monday night.

Harper left the game and needed 11 stitches. Victorino stayed in the game for three more innings. X-rays on his ribs were negative and he played on Tuesday.

Victorino said it’s a fine line between playing hard and playing reckless.

“You can’t run into walls for the sake of running into a wall,” he said. “You have to feel like you can make a play. I thought I was pretty close.”

Right field at Fenway is sometimes difficult because of the chest-high fences, Victorino said.

“When you go back and look up, you can usually see a wall and prepare yourself,” he said. “Your peripheral vision doesn’t really see the wall when it’s that short. And the wall comes up on you fast at the bullpen.”

• Felix Doubront threw in the bullpen before the game and will start on Thursday against Alex Cobb. The lefthander has been hit hard in his last two outings, giving up 12 earned runs on 23 hits over nine innings.

The Red Sox had Doubront skip a start to give him some time to work on his mechanics. John Farrell said Doubront has “direction issues” in his delivery.

“We felt like there are times when he starts going to home plate, he can be a little bit off line,” Farrell said. “That’s affected, I think, some of the overall consistency with location to his stuff. That’s what ‘s been worked on with the multiple bullpens that he and Juan Nieves have gone through.”

• David Ortiz has only been to one Bruins game in person. But he is friendly with several of the players, Shawn Thornton in particular, from charity events.

Like so many others, he was captivated by their comeback and overtime victory on Monday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ortiz is a man who can appreciate a team coming back after the events of 2004.

“That was nice. It was great to see,” Ortiz said. “It reminded me of what we did.”

• David Ross, who went on the seven-day concussion disabled list on Sunday, remained back in Boston recovering. He hopes to join the team in Minnesota on Friday. Ross was concussed with he struck with two foul tips on Saturday.

• Major League Baseball changed a scoring call from Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays and awarded Dustin Pedroia a single and an RBI in the eighth inning. The play was originally ruled an error for Toronto shortstop Munenori Kawasaki.

• Ever-creative Rays manager Joe Maddon invited a four-piece Latin band, Sol Caribe, to play in the clubhouse before the game. He also had plantains hung in the lockers.

• Ortiz's first-inning home run was his 27th Tropicana Field for Ortiz, the most by a visiting player. His 67 RBIs are second for a visitor behind Manny Ramirez’s 72.

• Ortiz said after the game that he has been dealing with a strained oblique muscle on his left side.

"Hopefully it can't get any worse. But it bothers me on some swings that I take," he said.

The injury, Ortiz said, has caused him to hook balls he has been trying to pull.

"I've got to play," he said. "I have enough time off."

On Sunday, Farrell said Ortiz had a planned day off. But tonight he admitted it was an attempt to manage the oblique issue.

Final: Rays 5, Red Sox 3

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 14, 2013 07:14 PM

Game over: Rays 5, Red Sox 3: A first-inning three-run homer by David Ortiz is all the Red Sox could manage against the Rays pitching staff. Matt Moore improved to 7-0 while John Lackey took the loss.

The Red Sox lost this one on a missed pop up hit by Matt Joyce in the infield near first base in the fourth inning which Mike Napoli lost. It scored two runs. The winning runs. Fernando Rodney closed it out (struck out the side) for the Rays. The Red Sox have now lost nine of 11 and 10 of 14 games. It's Jon Lester vs. David Price tomorrow night. There were 15,227 on hand at The Trop in a game played in 3:14.

Bottom 8th: Rays 5, Red Sox 3 - Jose Molina stroked a double over Jonny Gomes' head in left and then barely made it to second base. Molina has three hits and sacrifice bunt tonight. That came off Craig Breslow. Alex Wilson got the final out.

Top 8th: Rays 5, Red Sox 3 - Nothing doing for the Red Sox, who can't seem to get untracked at the plate, Napoli struck out for the third time in a three-up, three down inning.

Bottom 7th: Rays 5, Red Sox 3 - Great running catch on a pop by James Loney to short left by Jonny Goems to end a 1-2-3 inning by Craig Breslow.

Top 7th: Rays 5, Red Sox 3 - Joe Maddon keeps saying that sooner or later his bullpen will be the best in baseball. Not quite there yet. The Red Sox rallied off hard-throwing left Jay McGee who amping it up to 97 mph. But he walked two. He came out for righty Josh Lueke, who retired Shane Victorino on a hard liner to first base.

Bottom 6th: Rays 5, Red Sox 3 - Busy inning with Andrew Miller allowing a single to Kelly Johnson before exiting for Clayton Mortenson. Jose Molina lay down a sacrifice bunt before Yunel Escobar walked. Mortensen then got two key outs on fly balls to right field by Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce to escape the potential damage.

Top 6th: Rays 5, Red Sox 3 - A leadoff Dustin Pedroia walk didn't yield much off Matt Moore, who got the next three batters including the final two - Napoli and Gomes on strikeouts.

Bottom 5th: Rays 5, Red Sox 3 - Loney doubled to the right field corner and was thrown out trying to steal third with Luke Scott up.

Top 5th: Rays 5, Red Sox 3 - Stephen Drew smacked a double to rightcenter, but the Red Sox couldn't drive him in even after Jacoby Ellsbury walked with two outs.

Bottom 4th: Rays 5, Red Sox 3 - It all fell apart for Lackey who has thrown 56 pitches the last two innings. Three straight singles by Longoria, Loney and Scott produced one run. After Kelly Johnson struck out , Jose Molina stroked a two-run single to right. Escobar followed with a single and both scored on Matt Joyce's pop up to first that was misjudged by Mike Napoli. It was a ruled a hit, but what a huge mistake. Some here are thinking the ball may have hit a wire, but hard to tell.

Top 4th: Red Sox 3, Rays 0 - The Red Sox went down in order, 11 straight by Moore.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 3, Rays 0 -Busy inning for John Lackey as he loaded the bases allowing a single to Jose Molina, a double to Yunel Escobar, a walk to Matt Joyce, but Lackey got two key outs - a liner to third baseman Will Middlebrooks and and grounder to third by Ben Zobrist to end the inning and strand the bases full.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 3, Rays 0 - Moore retires the top of the Red Sox order 1-2-3 and has now retired eight straight.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 3, Rays 0 - Lackey's rolling along. He's retired the first six batters he's faced. Lackey entered the game 1-3 with a 2.82 ERA.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 3, Rays 0 - Moore, 6-0 with a 2.14 ERA entering the game, has settled down. He struck out the side - Will Middlebrooks, Stephen Drew and Ryan Lavarnway.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 3, Rays 0 - John Lackey made quick order of the Rays, striking out Desmond Jennings and getting Matt Joyce (fly to center) and Ben Zobrist (ground out).

Top 1st: Red Sox 3, Rays 0 - David Ortiz smacked his fifth homer, on an inside fastball from lefty Matt Moore with Jacoby Ellsbury (HBP) and Dustin Pedroia (double) aboard, into the rightfield bleachers. The ball went out in a hurry..

Welcome from the Trop. The Red Sox are up in the first inning.

DiSarcina discusses Iglesias benching

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 14, 2013 06:53 PM

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PAWTUCKET, R.I. — When Jose Iglesias was pulled in the middle of Pawtucket's 4-1 loss to the Durham Bulls on May 4 for not running out a ground ball and subsequently left out of the lineup for three games, it led to questions about the attitude of the flashy young shortstop. Iglesias started the season in the majors and was sent down to Triple A on April 10 when Stephen Drew came off the disabled list.

PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina, who initially called it a "manager's decision," said sitting Iglesias was intended for the shortstop to get his head together and refocus on the areas the major league club wanted him to emphasize when he was sent down last month.

DiSarcina told the Globe:

"Manager's decision is just that. It wasn't just one thing. We can sit here and talk about multiple things that were going on, but basically it came down to whatever John Farrell told him that he needed to do down here, he's not doing.

iglesias051413.jpg

"I don't want to get all into that or expand on it, but I believe if somebody wants to know what's going on, they'll come down and they'll ask. They won't just make assumptions that he's a discipline problem. He's never been a discipline problem. He's on time. He does his work. He's a good teammate, all those things. But there's some things that need to be addressed.

"How it works here with me is it's addressed like this. I'll talk to you about it and we'll sit a couple days and you move on. You can't hold grudges. You've got to have their confidence. I can't be walking around saying, 'I'm not going to put you in the lineup tomorrow' or not put them in the lineup tomorrow because we're here to build them up. I'm here to get him to the big leagues. I'm not here to bring him down. I'm not here to sit him on the bench and punish him. That's not what we're all about. It's, 'Hey, take a break, watch how the game is played and remember what John told you.' "

When Drew returned, Iglesias was sent down, even though he was hitting .450. After 25 games with Pawtucket, DiSarcina said, he could see reality setting in for Iglesias that this wasn't temporary, this was where Iglesias would be for the foreseeable future.

"I think that's part of the struggle of he did so good up there, then he got sent down and he feels like, 'What more can I do?' " said DiSarcina. "But I'm here to help him. I'm here to get him back up there. I'm not here to hold him down, I'm not here to sit him on the bench. I'm here to get him what he needs to get back up there."

Bailey makes progress with bullpen session

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 14, 2013 06:13 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Andrew Bailey threw 20 pitches in the bullpen at Tropicana Field on Tuesday afternoon and felt fine. Bailey has been on the disabled list since April 29 with a biceps strain.

"I mixed in curveballs, cutters changeups, couple of everything. ... Moving in the right direction," Bailey said. "I felt good the last few days."

Bailey will pitch in a simulated game on Thursday afternoon. The Sox will decide then whether he will go on a brief minor league rehabilitation assignment before being activated.

Bailey made it clear he would prefer to come back after the simulated game. But the Sox seem to prefer he pitch at least one inning in the minors first.

"It’s to get additional adrenalin into some kind of game activity,” manager John Farrell said. “It’s going to be somewhat sterile here at 2:30 in the afternoon on Thursday. To take it for a test run, I think, would be helpful. And to answer any questions that Andrew might have when he steps on it with the adrenalin inside a given game.”

Bailey has the right to refuse a rehab assignment. But that is fairly rare.

"The one thing that he’s been great about in this whole situation is giving the feedback on how he feels [and] having input into the overall plan going forward. So far it’s been positive and he’s responded to every progressive step favorably," Farrell said.

Said Bailey: "I feel great, bicep feels great. It sucks that it happened. But you have to move past it and keep moving forward."

With Joel Hanrahan lost for the season, getting Bailey back would add much-needed depth to the bullpen. He had pitched well before the injury.

"I've said a number of times, they brought me over here to do a job last year. I've missed a hell of a lot of time," Bailey said. "The way I was throwing the ball, I'm confident I can get back to that and do that for the remainder of the season. It's important, especially with Joel gone now, that I get back and do my thing."

Game 39: Red Sox at Rays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 14, 2013 02:35 PM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (22-16)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Middlebrooks 3B
Drew SS
Lavarnway C
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (1-3, 2.82).

RAYS (19-18)
Jennings CF
Joyce LF
Zobrist RF
Longoria 3B
Loney 1B
Scott DH
Johnson 2B
Molina C
Escobar SS
Pitching: LHP Matt Moore (6-0, 2.14).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN, MLB Network / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Moore: Pedroia 1-9, Ortiz 4-7, Gomes 2-6, Napoli 0-4, Drew 1-3, Middlebrooks 0-3, Nava 0-3, Ellsbury 0-1, Saltalamacchia 0-1.

Rays vs. Lackey: Longoria 7-25, Zobrist 8-20, Scott 6-16, Escobar 5-11, Joyce 4-13, Molina 0-11, Johnson 2-10, Loney 2-10, Jennings 0-5, Rodriguez 2-5, Fuld 0-3.

Stat of the Day: First baseman James Loney is hitting .376/.429/.560 for the Rays. He has driven in 20 runs in 109 at-bats. Loney hit .230/.264/.310 in 100 at-bats for the Red Sox last season.

Notes: The Sox have lost two straight, five of six, and eight of 10 ... The Rays have won five straight ... The Sox hit .273/.352/.457 and averaged 5.28 runs in their first 28 games. They have hit .254/.315/.408 in the 10 games since and averaged 3.30 runs. The Sox are 13 of 79 (.165) with runners in scoring position in the last 10 games ... Sox pitchers have a 5.52 ERA in the last 10 games ... The Sox also have 12 errors in the last 10 games ... Lackey has pitched well (22.1 IP, 22 H, 7 ER, 24 K) so far, although the team is 1-3 in his starts ... Lackey is 12-6, 4.09, in 19 career start against the Rays ... Moore is 0-2, 5.87, in three career appearances against the Sox, 0-2, 6.57, in two starts last season ... Hot Sox: Pedroia is 14 for his last 29 with three extra-base hits and three RBIs. Saltalamacchia is 8 for his last 18 with five extra-base hits and three RBIs. His batting average has climbed to .263. Victorino has hit in five straight at 8 for 19 with four runs.

Multiple man: Pedroia has multiple hits in each of his last five games. His multi-hit streak is tied for the longest by an AL player this year and ties the longest of Pedroia’s career for the sixth time, the first since July 30-Aug. 3, 2011. With at least two hits tonight, Pedroia would become the first Red Sox second baseman with six straight multi-hit games since Wil Cordero in 1996. Pedroia’s 17 multi-hit games overall this season are second in MLB behind Kansas City's Alex Gordon (18). He is the first Red Sox second baseman with multiple hits in at least 17 of the club’s 1st 38 games since Jerry Remy in 1979.

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

Shane Victorino tested and cleared to play

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 13, 2013 04:20 PM

The Red Sox announced Monday afternoon that right fielder Shane Victorino has been cleared to play after running into the right field wall Sunday.

Victorino stayed in the game at the time but was later taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for X-rays on his ribs and back. They came back negative.

Victorino is 12 of 35 since returning from a seven-game absence to a strained back.

Manny's slide comes up just a bit short

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 13, 2013 04:13 PM

Enjoy this clip from Taiwan, where Manny Ramirez is playing these days.

Ask Nick: Rough stretch for the Sox

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff May 13, 2013 02:50 PM

Have a
question?

100x150asknickmugshot.jpg Submit your question here to be considered for the next edition of Ask Nick.

It’s certainly been a rough stretch here for the Red Sox, who have suffered their first downturn of the season after a hot April. And it doesn’t get easier starting Tuesday night against the Rays in St. Petersburg. The Rays have been hot.

With injuries to Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey, the Red Sox bullpen is somewhat depleted -- or at least the pitchers are out of their normal roles. Big Papi is obviously slumping, which doesn’t help matters in the middle of the lineup. It might be time for a lineup change where Dustin Pedroia returns to his familiar No. 2 spot.

We addresses your comments and concerns in the mailbag.

The long list of useful players acquired by the Yankees over the past two years is impressive. The Red Sox sign players like Gomes (.188 against lefties this year and a poor defender). The Red Sox had the money to get a Vernon Wells or a Torii Hunter or (gulp) an Overbay, so it would not seem to be just money. Are the Yankees that much better at evaluating players by talent/skill?

Random thoughts:

Middlebrooks. We used to call his early second-year results the sophomore jinx, which is of course just pitchers making adjustments. I believe he will be fine in time. What has really impressed me is that he charges the ball as well as any Red Sox third baseman I have seen since Frank Malzone. He has better range than I thought and a strong arm.

LOB and RISP. It could get ugly. It is noteworthy that the Red Sox starting right and center fielders have 1 home run. The worst in baseball. Looking ahead, Jackie Bradley Jr. is not the kind of player who is going to contribute power, so they will need to get power elsewhere. I am hoping Brentz can help in this area when he is ready.
Appreciate your thoughts.
Mike


Interesting thoughts, Mike. On the evaluation part, you can’t argue with the Yankees' success identifying players who suit their ballpark and who can contribute legitimate roles. Brian Cashman is a master at that. Brian Sabean is tremendous at it. Dan Duquette is good at it. Kevin Towers as well. So I wouldn’t go as far as to say Ben Cherington doesn’t know how to do it, because I think he hit on Mike Napoli and Victorino, David Ross, and I like the Ryan Dempster pickup. The Red Sox would have loved Torii Hunter, but the Tigers were going to offer more. They kept Mike Carp over Overbay because Carp could play the outfield and he was already on the 40-man roster and that’s always a real issue.

This is the same operational department that found Daniel Nava. No question, there are wins and losses in personnel. But that holds true for anyone. Cashman traded for Michael Pineda and he immediately had major shoulder surgery. Cherington traded for Joel Hanrahan and there’s an immediate elbow surgery.

I think we react on things differently depending on how the team is doing. The Red Sox are in a rut right now so we look at things differently than we did in April when they were on that great run. On Middlebrooks, I thought his play Saturday on those slow rollers was excellent. He will be a good one. On the RISP, ask the Dodgers how that can kill you. It’s a problem lately. You’re right about the power shortage. Ellsbury is very talented but quite a disparity from the guy two years ago and the guy we saw second half of last year and now. Have no idea what to expect there. As for Brentz, Gary DiSarcina said he reminded him of Jay Buhner, and Buhner hit for power.

I may have missed it, but I am puzzled at not having seen anyone question Farrell's failure to have Drew bunt Middlebrooks to third in the ninth inning of Saturday's game. It seemed to me exactly the right thing to do. You'd have one out and a man on third, one run behind. Still a chance for a sac fly to tie the game. Still two chances to get the run in with a hit or an error. And, maybe most important, the batter now knows that the pitcher is far less likely to send something into the dirt, thus giving the hitter the advantage. Wasn't this a bad managerial blunder that may have affected the outcome of a critical game?
Gordon, White Plains, N.Y.

It was asked of Farrell, and the feeling he had was Drew has swung a hot bat lately, so why not let him swing away? I understand your point, but I also understand Farrell’s. Sometimes you want a hot hitter to swing away and do some damage. Just didn’t work out in that situation.

FULL ENTRY

Pitching matchups for the Rays series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 13, 2013 11:45 AM

Tuesday: RHP John Lackey (1-3, 2.82) vs. LHP Matt Moore (6-0, 2.14), 7:10 p.m., NESN, MLB Network.

Wednesday: LHP Jon Lester (5-0, 2.73) vs. LHP David Price (1-3, 4.78), 7:10 p.m., NESN, ESPN.

Thursday: LHP Felix Doubront (3-1, 6.40) vs.RHP Alex Cobb (4-2, 3.09), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

Greetings from Gate C-29

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 13, 2013 10:25 AM

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Good morning from Logan Airport. We're here waiting for a flight to Tampa. The Red Sox start a nine-day road trip on Tuesday night.

There's a nice new feature in Terminal C. In the room where you wait to go through security, they hung up all the Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics and Patriots championship banners in order.

(Took a photo of the '86 Celtics banner. That was a great season.)

A few other thoughts:

• You probably would have signed up for 22-16 through 38 games on April 1. That's a pace to win 93 games. The problem is they're 2-8 after a 20-8 start.

• The Sox are 13 of their last 79 (.165) with runners in scoring position including a somewhat ridiculous 3 of their last 36.

• If you sincerely believe that David Ortiz went into a slump because of a column Dan Shaughnessy wrote, then you also believe that David Ortiz is a simple-minded moron.

Ortiz would seem to be a pretty resilient person given the length of his career and accomplishments over that time. The idea that a column threw him off kilter is pretty dumb.

There are two things at play here: Ortiz obviously wasn't going to hit .414/.444/.776 all season and Ortiz also likes some media-based drama once or twice a season. That's all this is.

Beyond that, Ortiz was 6 of 22 (.273) before Shaughnessy talked to him. The cooling off had started.

• The Sox really need Will Middlebrooks to be good enough to hit sixth and not eighth. That changes the lineup considerably.

• Jacoby Ellsbury (.257/.311/.365) needs to review the free agent walk-year playbook. He has gone 139 at-bats without a homer.

• The Cleveland Indians are 15-6 since the Red Sox swept them. Turns out Terry Francona knows what he's doing. They play two against the Yankees today in a makeup doubleheader.

• Think the Red Sox are rooting for the Bruins tonight? The longer the B's are kicking, the longer the Sox can operate out of the spotlight a bit and fix their issues.

• The closer by the end of the season: Rubby De La Rosa.

• It would be hard to give up on Felix Doubront, a lefty who is 25. But he needs to show the Sox something pretty soon. You get the idea he burned some bridges showing up for camp out of shape. If you were a new manager, how would that make you feel?

The flight is being called. Catch you from Florida tomorrow.

Watch: Injuries and losses continue to mount for Red Sox

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff May 13, 2013 07:48 AM




Watch Michael Vega's postgame report after the Red Sox lost to the Blue Jays 12-4 on Sunday to conclude their homestand. The Red Sox are off on Monday before beginning a road trip in Tampa on Tuesday.

Final: Blue Jays 12, Red Sox 4

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff May 12, 2013 01:47 PM

Final: Blue Jays 12, Red Sox 4: That's it from Fenway Park, where the Sox lost their second in a row vs. the Jays and for the fifth time in this seven-game homestand. Boston was clobbered by Toronto's 12-hit attack, which included five homers, two by Jose Bautista, who went 2-for-4 with a walk and 3 runs scored and 3 RBI.

Top 9th: Blue Jays 12, Red Sox 4: The Blue Jays tacked on a pair of insurance runs on the Sox, scoring two runs on two hits against Jose De La Torre
Bottom 8th: Blue Jays 10, Red Sox 4: Pedro Ciriaco, who came into the game in the seventh as a defensive replacement for Mike Carp at first base, stroked his first homer of the season, a lead-off solo shot off Esmil Rogers, who started the inning in relief of Aaron Loup (2 IP, 3 K).

Rogers loaded the bases with one out when Mike Napoli singled, Daniel Nava drew a walk, and Johnny Gomes reached after getting hit by a pitch on his (heavily padded) left elbow. Brett Cecil relieved Rogers and got Jarrod Saltalamacchia to hit a (broken-bat) grounder to short. Gomes was forced out at second but broke up the double play with a hard slide into the bag. It second, enabling Saltalamacchia to reach base and Napoli to score from third.

With men on the corners, Will Middlebrooks came up and hit a groundball to Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie, who relayed it to second for the force out on Saltalamacchia.

Jose De La Torre, who was called up last Thursday when the team transferred closer Joel Hanrahan to the 60-day DL, was summoned in the ninth to make his first Major League appearance.

Top 8th: Blue Jays 10, Red Sox 2: Craig Breslow came into the game to relieve Clayton Mortensen (1.2 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) and retired all three batters he faced, striking out Munenori Kawasaki (looking) on an 89-m.p.h. fastball.

Bottom 7th: Blue Jays 10, Red Sox 2: Aaron Loup retires the Sox in 1-2-3 fashion, as well. No hits. No runs. No walks. No drama. Just what the Sox didn't need against Loup in the bottom of the frame.

Top 7th: Blue Jays 10, Red Sox 2: Nice 1-2-3 inning. No hits. No runs. No walks. No drama. Just what the Red Sox needed from Mortensen.

Bottom 6th: Blue Jays 10, Red Sox 2: The Sox knocked Toronto starter Chad Jenkins (5+ IP, 7 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 2 K, 1 HR ) out of the game when Dustin Pedroia singled to left and Mike Napoli doubled to right, advancing Pedroia to third. Aaron Loup came into the game in relief of Jenkins to face Daniel Nava, who hit a sacrifice fly to right that scored Pedroia.

But Loup got out of the inning when he struck out pinch-hitter Johnny Gomes and induced Jarrod Saltalamacchia to pop up to shallow right.

Top 6th: Blue Jays 10, Red Sox 1: The Blue Jays bust out the whuppin' stick on the Red Sox, erupting for four runs on three hits, including a pair of homers by Brett Lawrie and Jose Bautista (his second of the game). Lawrie greeted reliever Andrew Miller with a lead-off solo homer, ripping a 2-and-0 offering high over the Monster seats for his fourth homer of the season. After getting Colby Rasmus to fly to center, Miller wasn't long for the game when he handed the baton to Clayton Mortensen after giving up a single to Bonifacio (who was a triple short of the cycle) and walking Munenori Kawasaki.

After Melky Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly to make it 8-1, Bautista came up to face Mortensen and unloaded on a 0-and-1 pitch, sending it sailing over the Monster for a two-run homer and a 10-1 lead. It was his 18th multi-homer game of his career and first since hitting a pair of dingers last June 19th at Milwaukee.

Hope the Leafs don't treat the Bruins this rough in Toronto tonight.

Bottom 5th: Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 1: Stephen Drew reached on a one-out walk, then stole second (marking his first stolen base of the season), and wound up stranded there after Jenkins struck out Jacoby Ellsbury (swinging) and got Shane Victorino to pop up to shallow left.

Andrew Miller was summoned from the bullpen to relieve Dempster in the sixth.

Top 5th: Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 1: Dempster continued to scuffle, giving up a solo homer to Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion's 11th homer of the season gave the Blue Jays a five-run lead. Dempster responded by striking out J.P. Arencibia (swinging) and Adam Lind (looking) to end the inning. Through five innings, Dempster had allowed six runs on seven hits, including three homers, and one walk while ringing up six strikeouts. He's thrown 100 pitches (66 strikes), a total that was inflated by the 48 pitches he threw after the first two innings.

Bottom 4th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 1: Mike Napoli got one back for the Sox when he launched a lead-off solo homer to center off Chad Jenkins. It was Napoli's eighth homer of the season.

Top 4th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0: Emilio Bonifacio hit a 2-run homer off Dempster into the visitor's bullpen, causing Sox right fielder Shane Victorino to make a frightening collision with the wall as he sprinted toward the warning track in an attempt to snag the ball. Victorino hit the wall with an awful-sounding thud that reverberated through the park and immediately crumpled to the ground, favoring his left side. Members of the Blue Jays bullpen immediately ran to the fence to offer assistance, as did the Sox medical staff. Amazingly, Victorino stayed in to finish the inning when Munenori Kawasaki popped up to second.

Bottom 3d: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 0: Dustin Pedroia grounded into a 6-4-3 double play with two men aboard and two out in the bottom of the third. It extinguished a threat after Jacoby Ellsbury reached on a lead-off single to right and Shane Victorino hit a nubber that did a tight-rope walk on the third-base line and, amazingly, stayed fair.

Top 3d: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 0: Jose Bautista launched a lead-off solo homer over the Green Monster seats off Dempster's first-pitch, 90-mile-per-hour fastball. Bautista's eighth homer of the season expanded Toronto's lead to 3-0. Dempster retired the next three batters he faced on a pair of groundball outs to second before getting Adam Lind to fly to center to end the inning. Through three innings, Dempster has labored, throwing 64 pitches (43 strikes) while giving up three runs on five hits.

Bottom 2d: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0: Jarrod Saltalamacchia ripped a ground-rule double to right off Chad Jenkins to give the Sox some life with two out in the second. Middlebrooks came up, however, and grounded to short to extinguish the potential rally.

Top 2d: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0: Munenori Kawasaki stepped to the plate with two out, two men aboard at first and second and having faced Ryan Dempster only once before in his career. Kawasaki made his first career hit off Dempster count as the Blue Jays shortstop hit a 2-RBI single to right that scored Adam Lind (leadoff single to right) and Emilio Bonifacio (double to right).

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: Dustin Pedroia ripped a two-out double to left off Toronto starter Chad Jenkins, but wound up getting stranded there when Mike Napoli came up and grounded to short.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: The Blue Jays stranded Edwin Encarnacion at third after Toronto's DH reached on a base hit to third and went to second on Will Middlebrooks's throwing error to first and then to third on a passed ball. Ryan Dempster got out of the inning when he induced J.P. Arrencibia to ground to second.

Pregame: Greetings from Fenway Park where the Red Sox will host the Blue Jays in the finale of this three-game series and seven-game homestand. RHP Ryan Dempster (2-3, 2.93) will oppose RHP Chad Jenkins.

As always, please feel free to here to post your comments here. Enjoy the game.

Sox place C David Ross on 7-day concussion DL; Ryan Lavarnway called up

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff May 12, 2013 01:36 PM

The Red Sox placed catcher David Ross on the seven-day concussion disabled list, the team announced shortly before the 1:35 p.m. start of Sunday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

Ross, 36, suffered the injury during Saturday's 3-2 loss against the Blue Jays.

To fill Ross' spot on the 25-man roster, the Red Sox called up Ryan Lavarnway, 25, from Triple-A Pawtucket.

David Ortiz gets a scheduled off day

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 12, 2013 12:40 PM

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With an open date on Monday as the Red Sox head south to face the Tampa Bay Rays, manager John Farrell said it made sense to schedule the series finale with the Blue Jays as an off day for David Ortiz to get the slugger off his feet for a couple days.

He's played 19 games after starting the season on the disabled list with a right Achilles injury, and the plan was always to tread carefully to make sure a persistent injury doesn't cost him any more games than the 15 he's missed already.

But taking a couple of days to get away from the 1-for-17 slump he's fallen into will likely do Ortiz some good as well. He came out of the gates scorching, hitting .414 with four home runs and 17 RBIs in his first 15 games.

Farrell said it was only logical that that he would cool off eventually.

"He gets off to a great start, goes into a bit of a three or four game [stretch] where he might be pulling off the ball a little bit more than he did when he first rejoined us," Farrell said. "There's nothing abnormal here. We'd love to think that he's going to hit .500 for the whole year, but that's probably going to tail off at some point.

A single on Saturday against the Jays snapped a stretch of 17 straight hitless at-bats

"When he was in that good stretch when he first started, he was driving balls to straightaway left, left-center and he got back to that yesterday with the base hit that he had yesterday," Farrell said. "He's squared some balls up that haven't either found a whole or carried as they had when he first rejoined us. So I can't say that there's any one major issue that he's dealing with mechanically.

A few more things:

• Andrew Bailey will likely throw off a mound on Tuesday and pitch to hitters, possibly in a simulated game or an early batting practice session, shortly thereafter, Farrell said. the team will decide from there whether he'll need to make a rehab appearance.

• Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara have made 34 appearances between the two of them, and though he attributes much of that to being ahead late in several of their April games, Farrell wants to keep those numbers down as much as possible, saying, "We'd like to think we'd keep any one of our relievers out of the top 10 in the league."

• Jacoby Ellsbury's triple Saturday was his first extra-base hit in six games. He's hitting .129 over the past seven (4 for 31) and Farrell said the main issues is timing because of a closed stance. "There's been some times where it seems like he'll get tied up a little bit, whether that's because of him being a little bit closed-off with his lower half that's caused him to kind of be a little late through the hitting zone," Farrell said. "I know it's the one area he's trying to adjust right now, work on, just trying to keep him a little more square."

Game 38: Blue Jays at Red Sox

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 12, 2013 09:30 AM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (22-15)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Napoli DH
Nava LF
Carp 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Drew SS
Pitching: Ryan Dempster (2-3, 2.93 ERA).

Blue Jays (14-24)
Cabrera LF
Bautista RF
Encarnacion DH
Arencibia C
Lind 1B
Lawrie 3B
Rasmus CF
Bonifacio 2B
Kawasaki SS
Pitching: Chad Jenkins (0-0, 0.00).

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI-FM.

Red Sox vs. Jenkins: Nava 1-1, Ciriaco 0-1, Ellsbury 0-1.

Blue Jays vs. Dempster: Bonifacio 3-18, Encarnacion 1-4, Bautista 3-12, Rasmus 2-13, Cabrera 3-11, Blanco 0-6, DeRosa 0-6, Arencibia 1-3, Lawrie 1-3, Lind 0-2, Kawasaki 0-1, Izturis 0-1

Stat of the Day: Dustin Pedroia is error-free in his last 252 chances dating back to Aug. 30, 2012.

Notes: The Sox have scored three runs or less in seven of their last 10 games. They’ve left 27 runners on base the past three games … The Blue Jays are 3-3 on their current road trip. Thirteen of their last 15 road games have been decided by one run … Dempster is 1-0 with a 4.12 ERA in four career games against the Jays. He’s gone at least six innings in each of his past five starts … After going eight straight games without an extra-base hit, Middlebrooks has five in the past three games. He’s hitting .364 with six doubles four home runs and six RBIs against Toronto this season … Pedroia has reached base in 21 of the Sox 22 home games this season … Ellsbury hit his fourth triple yesterday. No Red Sox had more than three last year.

Song of the Day: "Littlest Things," by Lily Allen.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 12, 2013 08:47 AM

• Despite several opportunities, the Sox couldn't come through with runners in scoring position in their 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays.

Joel Hanrahan will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the muscle flexor in his right arm.

• The Sox have been searching for a closer ever since letting Jonathan Papelbon leave, and Nick Cafardo says maybe the should've bit the bullet and paid him.

• With the Sox falling for the seventh time in nine games, Dan Shaughnessy calls it a bit of market correction for their 20-8 start but says they're very much in the AL East race.

Final: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 2

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 11, 2013 02:16 PM

Game over: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 2: Red Sox lose it as they rally back to tie it 2-2 and than watch Junichi Tazawa allow the go-ahead homer to Adam Lind in the ninth. The game was played in 2:42 minutes following a 51 minute rain delay before 36,543. Clay Buchholz went eight innings and allowed two runs.

Top 9th: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 2 - Junichi Tazawa served up a solo homer to Adam Lind on a 2-2 pitch that Lind drove onto the black tarp in center field. lawrie singled but was thrown out by Ross as Rasmus struck out.

Bottom 8th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 1 - Buehrle came out after walking David Ross. Darren Oliver in. Probably not a great decision. Ellsbury knocked him in with a triple to center. Ellsbury then rode home when a rope hit by Dustin Pedroia ate up shortstop Munenori Kawasaki and went passed him into left field. It was ruled an error, but a tough one.

Top 8th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0 - Buchholz allowed a Bautista single to center with one out finished the inning by securing the next two outs including a strikeout of Arencibia to leave a runner stranded at second. Buchholz finished the eighth with 101 pitches.

Bottom 7th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0 - Buehrle has retired 13 straight.

Top 7th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0 - This has become a very fast game.Buchholz, who has really settled in, got a another 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 6th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0 - Another 1-2-3 inning for Buehrle, who is also economizing with his pitches. His best outing was April 15 vs the White Sox when he allowed two runs and nine hits over 6-1/3. On April 20 vs. New York, he went seven innings and allowed two earned runs. But that's two of out seven starts before today.

Top 6th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0 - The Blue Jays go down 1-2-3 in the sixth. Buchholz certainly pitching well enough to win, but Buerhle is better so far.

Bottom 5th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0 - Red Sox go down in order.

Top 5th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0 - Buchholz walked Bautista with two outs, but got Encarnacion to ground out to third. Really overcast here. Wouldn't be shocked to see some rain soon.

Bottom 4th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0 - Buehrle, who entered the game with a 7.02 ERA, has looked more like the Buehrle of old in this game. Very confident, working fast, the Sox have not been able to get good swings against him. Gomes, Middlebrooks (strikeout) and Drew all went down.

Top 4th: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0 - Adam Lind started the rally with a single to left field and scored on Colby Rasmus' single to right after Lind advanced on a ground ball out by Lawrie.

Bottom 3rd: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0 - Never a good idea to test Melky Cabrera's arm and that's what Dustin Pedroia did trying to stretch a single into a double. Out.

Top 3rd: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0 - Colby Rasmus scores on Melky Cabrera's single. Jays work on Buchholz pitch count as they draw three walks in the inning. Buchholz gets Arencibia to pop out to Pedroia in short right to leave the bases loaded.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - A ground-rule double by Will Middlebrooks with one out goes by the board as the Sox can't score him.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Adam Lind singled but was erased on a 4-6-3 double-play.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 Shane Victorino reached on a bunt single to third. Dustin Pedroia singled between the 5-6 hole, but the Sox rally fizzled as Mark Buehrle got David Ortiz and Mike Napoli to fly out. Ortiz is now in an 0-for-17 funk. Napoli is now 4-for-20 on the homestand.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - with Jack Morris watching from the broadcast booth, Clay Buchholz struck out Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista to start the game and got Edwin Encarnacio to fly out to right field.

What a wonderful tribute to Heather Abbott of Newport, R.I. who threw out the first pitch. She lost her leg in the Boston Marathon bombings.

The tarp is off the field. The game was supposed to start at 1:35 p.m. It looks like we'll restart at 2:25 p.m.

The rising cost to replace Jonathan Papelbon

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 11, 2013 11:39 AM

In retrospect, perhaps the Red Sox should have just held their nose and paid Jonathan Papelbon.

The team's quest to replace their All-Star closer, who left the Sox has a free agent following the 2011 season, has been one of various twists, turns and missteps. Consider:

December 21, 2010: The Red Sox signed Bobby Jenks to a two-year, $12 million deal to be Papelbon's set-up man. The hope at the time was that Jenks would be available as a cost-efficient closer in 2012 if Papelbon were to leave as a free agent.

Jenks ended up pitching in only 19 games (to a 6.32 ERA) before injuries ended his career. He never appeared on the roster after July 7, 2011 and was released a year later following a contract settlement.

November 14, 2011: Papelbon signed a four-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies with a vesting option for 2016. The Red Sox never made him an offer.

December 28, 2011: The Red Sox obtained Oakland righthander Andrew Bailey to be their closer. They also picked up outfielder Ryan Sweeney in the deal. The Sox sent the Athletics outfielder Josh Reddick, minor league infielder Miles Head and minor league righthander Raul Alcantara.

Bailey spent the first four and a half months of the 2012 season on the disabled list after tearing a thumb ligament in a spring training game. He pitched poorly upon returning.

Bailey pitched very well this season before a strained biceps muscle landed him on the disabled list. Given his frequent trips to the DL in recent seasons, projecting his value moving forward is difficult. He is under team control for next season.

Bailey has been paid $8 million over two seasons. Sweeney received $1.75 million in 2011.

Sweeney hit a pedestrian .260/.303/.373 over 63 games in 2012 before being lost for the season in July when he punched a metal door and broke a knuckle. He was then released in spring training and is now with the Cubs.

Reddick had a productive season for Oakland in 2012 given his 32 home runs and 85 RBIs. He also won a Gold Glove for his play in right field. Those achievements masked a .242 batting average and .305 OBP.

Reddick got off to a poor start this season (.152/.266/.250) before going on the disabled list with a wrist injury.

Head showed promise in Double A last season. He has struggled so far this season. Alcantara is in Single A ball.

December 26, 2012: The Red Sox obtain Joel Hanrahan from Pittsburgh to be their closer. They also received infielder Brock Holt in the deal in exchange for RHP Mark Melancon, minor league RHP Stolmy Pimentel, minor league infielder Ivan De Jesus and minor league OF/1B Jerry Sands.

Hanrahan was then signed to a one-year, $7.04 million deal. He pitched in nine games before suffering a season-ending injury.

Melancon has been stellar for the Pirates, posting an 0.50 ERA in 18 appearances. He has struck out 18 in 18 innings with no walks. Pimentel is 2-0, 1.99 in seven starts at Double A. At 23, he remains a promising prospect.

DeJesus, Sands and Holt are fringe big leaguers. Their value is minimal at this point.

Financial cost to replace Papelbon (so far): A total of $22.79 million to pay Jenks, Bailey, Hanrahan and Sweeney over the last two seasons. The team saved roughly $1 million not paying Reddick in 2012 and Melancon this season.

Papelbon has made $24 million in that time. He is signed for two more years at $13 million each with a vesting option for 2016. Only time will tell whether that proves cost-effective for the Phillies.

Papelbon has been, well, Papelbon since he left Boston. He has appeared in 83 games and has a 2.28 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 83 innings. He is 43 of 47 in converting saves.

Player cost to replace Papelbon: The Red Sox have traded Reddick, Head, Alcantara, Melancon, Pimentel, Sands and DeJesus for the two closers.

At face value, none are franchise-altering losses. Reddick, after a star turn in the first half of last season, hit .215/.256/.391 after the break. Melancon is having a strong first few weeks for Pittsburgh. Based on his career, he may be better suited for the National League.

Head and Pimentel are at least somewhat intriguing prospects. Sands and DeJesus were spare parts.

Players gained: The Sox picked up two draft picks for Papelbon. They selected LHP Brian Johnson with the 31st overall pick in 2012 (that had been Philadelphia's) and RHP Pat Light with a compensatory pick, No. 37 overall.

Johnson has made nine starts in the minors in his career and is with Low Single A Greenville this season. (1-1, 2.18). Light is 1-4, 3.39 in 17 games. He is 1-2, 5.09 in five starts for Greenville. He has struck out 19 in 17.2 innings.

Holt is a potential bench player in the majors.

What's comes next: Bailey, ostensibly, can still become the closer and is arbitration eligible another year. But he's on the disabled list for now. Junichi Tazawa has the gig at the moment but has not been called on to save a game yet.

Rubby De La Rosa could emerge as the closer in time. There's at least some small chance that Daniel Bard could solve his woes and gain the job that he once seemed sure to get. Maybe Alex Wilson has the moxie to do the job.

One thing seems certain, the Red Sox will probably not be trading for another closer this winter.

Then again, what would the Phillies take for Papelbon?

Joel Hanrahan out for season

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 11, 2013 11:01 AM

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Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan confirmed that he will have season-ending surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon muscle in his right arm. He's also not out of the woods for possible Tommy John surgery, either.

Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery. It will be determined then if Hanrahan also needs Tommy John surgery for his ulnar collateral ligament. The recovery time is about 6-9 months for the flexor surgery. Tommy John surgery would mean a year away.

"Initially, I thought there might be a decision to make, then after talking with him (Andrews), he basically walked in, looked at my arm, touched it and said it really wasn't a decision. I think the flexor pretty much tore right off the bone. So it wasn't really a decision, it was just a matter of what kind of surgery it was going to be and as of now, it's going to be the flexor," Hanrahan said.

"When he gets in there and takes a look, it could be worse, it could be not as bad, but that's kind of where we're at right now."

He added, "On the MRI, he said it looked pretty good. Obviously, nobody wants to just do Tommy John for fun. So he's going to go in and look and see if that's something that needs to be done or not, but as of now it doesn't need to be. But once he gets his eyes on it, he'll have a better idea.

The 31-year-old will be a free agent after the season. The Sox acquired Hanrahan and infielder Brock Holt from the Pirates in December for RHP Mark Melancon, RHP Stolmy Pimentel, INF Ivan De Jesus and OF/1B Jerry Sands.

Manager John Farrell said he had a lot of conversations with Hanrahan, but he knew in the end Hanrahan had to make the decision on his own.

"I’ve had many conversations since he walked off the mound. Out of respect to any player, when you're faced with something like that, they have to walk through it and gather information and come to grips with what’s taken place and and get the information on the procedure and the rehab and all of those answers. It’s a major situation he's dealing with. He’s gone about it as you would expect."

Did Hanrahan's free-agent status after this season have anything to do with his decision to have surgery now?

"In a situation like this you set aside a person's contract status," Farrell said. "You try to get the information on how the injury occurred and what’s the best course to take long term. He’s 31 years old, and yes, free agency is pending. You have to do what’s right for the guy and that’s gathering all the information need. In those conversations you don’t want a short-term solution or quick fix. This is something that hopefully can be taken care of once and that he has a long, productive career following."

Asked about Hanrahan's mindset, Farrell said, "All things considered, very realistic. He’s come to grips with what’s happened and what’s been recommended, so he’s working through that."

Hanrahan said he'd felt soreness in the arm before the injury escalated.

"It's something I dealt with before and it felt pretty good. Sometimes I was a little sore here and there, but I was still able to pitch and throw hard so it wasn't something that was decreasing my velocity, then the other night against the Twins, I think it progressed that game."

Hanrahan wasn't ready to speculate on his future with the Red Sox.

"It's still pretty new, so we haven't gotten to that point yet. We're just kind of trying to figure out the details of when and where and what's going to happen after that. Hopefully I get another chance here, maybe try to show the fans here what kind of pitcher I really am. This year had kind of been a wash, now it's definitely a wash. So we'll see where it takes me from there."

Game 37: Blue Jays at Red Sox

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 11, 2013 09:30 AM

Good morning. Here are today's lineups;

RED SOX (22-14)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Middlebrooks 3B
Drew SS
Ross C
Pitching: Clay Buchholz (6-0, 1.60).

BLUE JAYS (13-24)
Cabrera LF
Bautista RF
Encarnacion DH
Arencibia C
Lind 1B
Lawrie 3B
Rasmus CF
Bonifacio 2B
Kawasaki SS
Pitching: Mark Buehrle (1-2, 7.02).

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI-FM.

Red Sox vs. Buehrle: Ortiz 24-68, Pedroia 7-24, Gomes 6-15, Ellsbury 5-14, Napoli 3-13, Victorino 4-11, Middlebrooks 4-7, Ross 2-8, Drew 1-3, Nava 1-3, Buchholz 0-2, Saltalamcchia 0-3.

Blue Jays vs. Buchholz: Lind 11-37, Bautista 7-28, Izturis 9-25, Encarnacion 1-18, Davis 2-14, Lawrie 1-13, Arencibia 0-14, Cabrera 2-12, Rasmus 1-8, Buehrle 0-2, Kawasaki 1-2.

Stat of the Day: For his career, Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting .325 against the Jays with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs.

Notes: Pedroia boosted his average to .324 after going 2 for 3 on Friday. Over the past six games, he’s hitting .478. He’s reached base in all but one home game. … Buchholz is making his second start of the year against the Jays and his first since being accused of cheating by Toronto media. His career 2.42 ERA against the Jays is his second lowest against any American League team. The Jays have hit .207 against him. He’s 9-2 in his last 13 starts against since July 2009, with the Sox winning 10 of those starts … This is Mark Buehrle’s 21st start against the Sox, who have hit .299 against him in his career, the fourth best average among all major league teams … Along with going hitless in his past 16 at-bats, Ortiz is 5 of 29 since May 3, grounding into four double plays .. After going 18-8 in April, the Sox are 4-6 in May. They’re 11-5 against AL East opponents … No Jay has seen Buchholz more than Adam Lind (11 of 37) … Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie is 2 for his last 31.

Song of the Day: “The Zone” by The Weeknd.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 11, 2013 09:00 AM

Jon Lester took a perfect game into the sixth, retiring 17 Blue Jays in a row in the Red Sox's 5-0 win.

• In all likelihood a tear in his flexor muscle will require Joel Hanrahan to undergo surgery.

• Between a slump at the plate and a collision that left him aching in his right side, a 2-for-4 day was right on time for Will Middlebrooks.

Saltalamacchia solving things at the plate

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 11, 2013 05:10 AM

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The nerves are almost as awful for the person catching a perfect game as they are for the one throwing it. As Jon Lester carved up the Toronto Blue Jays over the course of a complete-game, one-hit shutout, Jarrod Saltalamacchia had to manage as much as he could, from the range of pitches Lester had working to the free-swinging Blue Jays lineup.

“As a catcher, there's some anxiety just because you know they're aggressive,” Saltalamacchia said. “You can't control where the ball goes. You're just calling a pitch that you think's a good spot. But with this pitching staff, the anxiety kind of goes away because you know those guys can go out there and compete. Even the last time he faced them, he didn't have his best stuff, but he still threw the ball pretty well. He kept us in the ballgame, we were able to put some runs on the board. But tonight, I don't think whoever we were facing could have hit him.”

Lester sat down the first 17 Blue Jays he faced in the Red Sox’s 5-0 win, and Saltalamacchia said it was as easy as putting his finger down to signal the pitch he wanted and watching Lester hit his glove.

“My job was easy,” he said. “I put the glove there and he hit it. He's just been working really hard, focusing on trying to get on top of the ball and I don't feel like he was really trying hard tonight.”

The work started once Saltalamacchia stepped to the plate.

He had been trying to figure out his swing for a while. In the 18 games after he went to 3 for 4 against April 10 against the Orioles, Saltalamacchia hit .193 (11 for 57) with two home runs, five RBIs and five extra-base hits. But over the past five outings, he’s worked with the Red Sox’s hitting coaches to figure out the best approach at the plate. In the five games since that dry spell, he’s 7 for 14, feeling more comfortable at the plate after working with the Red Sox’s hitting coaches.

“There was probably not one game leading up to about a week or a week and a half ago where I felt comfortable,” he said. “I was still searching but I was still able to get a couple hits here and there. I've really kind of been working ... just trying to stay through the ball, not trying to pull too much. And I was able to take that into the game.”

Going 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI helped the Sox pull away from the Jays in the later innings and allowed Lester to take the mound relatively worry-free to close out the game.

More than his day at the plate, what stayed on Saltalamacchia’s mind was the one call he made that kept Lester from achieving perfection, a change up to Maicer Izturis in the sixth. But in the larger scheme, it was irrelevant.

“As soon as the game was over I started thinking about it,” Saltalamacchia said. “ Changeup first pitch, I'm going to have nightmares about it to be honest with you. But it was a good-hitting ballclub. You know they're going to be aggressive. We kind of waited them out at their place and we couldn't throw a strike. So it worked in their favor. Tonight, they hit a couple balls had. Lawrie hit some balls hard that were right at people that went in our favor, but I mean, when Jonny's throwing the ball like he is, you've got to expect that.”

Nava piling up the RBIs for Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 11, 2013 01:21 AM

A few postgame notes:

Daniel Nava has 23 RBIs in 30 games. That's second on the team to Mike Napoli. Nobody saw that coming when spring training started. He's hitting .297/.398/.515.

• David Ortiz was 0 for 3 with an intentional walk. He is hitless in his last 16 at-bats, leaving 16 runners on base and getting only three balls out of the infield.

• The Sox are now 5-2 against the Blue Jays, outscoring them 44-20. Toronto has been shut out four times this season. The Jays have lost three straight, seven of 10 and 11 of 15.

• Hanrahan update: The righthander's first season pitching for the Red Sox is about to be over.

Hanrahan returned to Fenway Park during the victory against the Blue Jays. He is expected to meet with team officials on Saturday to make a final decision. Several team sources said there was little choice but to have surgery.

The non-surgical approach option would mean at least 10-12 weeks on the disabled list with no guarantee of success.

Most pitchers, teammate Ryan Dempster and Yankees lefthander Andy Pettitte being two examples, have come back and pitched well after the surgery. The rehabilitation period is six months.

The injury could not be more poorly timed for the 31-year-old Hanrahan, who will be a free agent after the season. He avoided arbitration in January, agreeing to a one-year contract worth $7.04 million.

Lester one pitch away from perfection

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 11, 2013 12:21 AM

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AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Jon Lester threw a no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals in 2008. But he was admittedly far more of a thrower than a pitcher back then.

“The best way to put it is 'effectively wild,' ” the Red Sox lefthander said. “Trying to go down and away, we’d go up and in and they’d hit a fly ball somewhere. Not really understanding what was going on. Just throwing the ball.”

What transpired at Fenway Park on Friday night was something else entirely even if it wasn’t quite as historic.

Lester was a pitch away from perfection against the Toronto Blue Jays in a 5-0 victory. His only blemish was a double in the sixth inning by Maicer Izturis.

The Jays sent 28 batters to the plate and 27 went back to the dugout. Lester threw six of his 118 pitches out of the stretch. He was a craftsman far removed from that 24-year-old who no-hit Kansas City.

Lester’s maturity was evident after the game, too. He laughed when asked whether he was disappointed about losing the perfect game and no-hitter.

“All that’s stuff, the stars got to be perfectly aligned for you,” Lester said. “It’s got to happen. … You can’t pitch to that. You’ve got to pitch your game.”

His game was to induce contact and use the aggressiveness of the underachieving Blue Jays against them. Lester struck out only five but got 12 outs on ground balls.

Toronto hitters saw three pitches or fewer in 12 plate appearances. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said it was a little nerve-racking, knowing the Jays were willing to swing at almost anything he called.

Lester (5-0) has three shutouts in his career and 10 complete games. His was the first one-hit shutout for the Sox since Josh Beckett beat the Rays on June 15, 2011.

See the Globe tomorrow for more on Lester.

Final: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 0

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 10, 2013 07:00 PM

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With his fastball still hitting 92 miles per hour in the ninth inning Jon Lester put the finishing touches on the longest outing of the Red Sox Sox season, throwing the pitching staff's first complete game one-hit shutout and pushing the Sox to a 5-0 win.

Lester took a no-hitter into the sixth retiring the first 17 batters he faced before giving up a two-out double to Maicer Izturis, but that's as generous as he would get.

He struck out four and walked none, looking as sharp as he has all season in a year that's been a return to form for the left-hander.

He got a lift from the the Sox offense, which was sluggish to start but flourished late. Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia both with 2 for 3. Will Middlebrooks went 2 for 4 and Daniel Nava went 1 for 3 with a big two-run double.

FULL ENTRY

Hanrahan weighing decision on surgery

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 10, 2013 06:14 PM

Joel Hanrahan may be done pitching for the Red Sox.

Dr. James Andrews examined the righthander Friday and found damage to the flexor muscle tendon. Hanrahan now has to decide whether to have surgery or try a course of rest and rehabilitation.

“At some point, there’s got to be a decision as to which course he’s going to take to rectify the situation,” Sox manager John Farrell said.

Hanrahan will meet with team officials in the next day to determine his next step. Trying the non-surgical approach would still mean at least 10 weeks on the disabled list with no guarantee of success.

Also:

• Felix Doubront has been pushed back to Thursday. The Sox will use the day off on Monday to skip the struggling lefthander.

• Clay Buchholz and Blue Jays broadcaster Jack Morris chatted before the game. It was Morris who made the still-unproven claim that Buchholz was doctoring the baseball.

• The game against the Yankees on June 2 was shifted to 8 p.m. for ESPN.

Game 36: Blue Jays at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 10, 2013 03:00 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (21-14)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava LF
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Drew SS
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (4-0, 3.30).

BLUE JAYS (13-23)
Davis DH
Cabrera LF
Bautista RF
Encarnacion 1B
Arencibia C
DeRosa 2B
Lawrie 3B
Rasmus CF
Izturis SS
Pitching: RHP Ramon Ortiz (0-0, 5.40).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN Plus/WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Ortiz: Ortiz 6-18, Victorino 4-8, Ross 3-5, Gomes 0-3, Drew 0-2, Napoli 0-1.

Blue Jays vs. Lester: Bautista 11-47, Arencibia 7-32, Cabrera 9-30, Encarnacion 5-27, Davis 6-25, Lind 3-27, Izturis 6-21, Lawrie 3-17, Rasmus 3-12, DeRosa 2-8, Bonifacio 1-8, Blanco 1-3.

Stat of the Day: David Ortiz hit .500/.513/.917 in nine games in April with 15 RBIs. He is hitting .188/.235/.375 in eight games in May with two RBIs.

Notes: The Sox have lost three straight and six of seven ... The Jays have dropped two straight, six of nine, and 10 of 14 ... Lester is facing the Jays for the third time already this season. He is 1-0, giving up five earned runs on 11 hits over 13 innings with two walks and 11 strikeouts ... Lester had a 1.73 ERA in his first four starts. He has a 5.60 ERA in his last three ... Ramon Ortiz, who turns 40 in two weeks, is making his first major league start since 2011 and is facing the Sox for the first time since Aug. 31, 2004, when he was with the Angels. The pitcher once known as "Little Pedro Martinez" is 86-84 in his 12-year career over 297 games with eight teams. His only prior MLB appearance this season was a relief stint April 17 ... The Sox have committed 11 errors in their last seven games, leading to seven unearned runs ... The Sox are 4-2 against the Jays this season, outscoring them, 39-20 ... As Toronto and Boston meet at Fenway, Toronto and Boston will be meeting at the Garden about 3 miles away in Game 5 of their NHL playoff series. The Bruins have a 3-1 lead in the series.

Song of the Day: "Pressure Drop" by The Clash.

Pitching matchups for the Blue Jays series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 10, 2013 09:30 AM

Friday: RHP Ramon Ortiz (0-0, 5.40) vs. LHP Jon Lester (4-0, 3.30), 7:10 p.m., NESN Plus.

Saturday: LHP Mark Buehrle (1-2, 7.02) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (6-0, 1.60), 1:35 p.m., NESN.

Sunday: RHP Brandon Morrow (1-2, 4.69) vs. RHP Ryan Dempster (2-3, 2.93), 1:35 p.m., NESN, TBS.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 10, 2013 09:17 AM

A throwing error cost John Lackey as the Twins beat the Red Sox.

Shane Victorino is keeping a positive attitude through the losing streak. Mike Vega has the story.

The notebook has Joel Hanrahan possibly facing surgery.

The minor league notebook checks in on Matt Barnes and his progress. Julian Benbow has the story.

Ask Nick: Pitching issues crop up

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff May 10, 2013 07:00 AM

Have a
question?

100x150asknickmugshot.jpg Submit your question here to be considered for the next edition of Ask Nick.

Pitching issues have begun to crop up with the Red Sox, and our mailbag reflects it this week with a lot of concerns about Felix Doubront, who was bumped from his start Wednesday in favor of Allen Webster. There are concerns about Doubront’s drop in velocity. He did report to spring training with a sore arm, but worked through it slowly.

As we all witnessed, Webster is not ready for prime time after allowing eight runs over 1.2 innings in a 15-8 loss to the Twins. Webster might be more mature and ready at some point this season, but clearly the time isn’t now.

This presents an interesting situation for general manager Ben Cherington, who suddenly may have to be out looking for a starting pitcher. The depth the Red Sox seemed to have has disappeared, and they don’t seem to trust Alfredo Aceves.

Lots of factors will come into play over the next couple of months, but you can’t rule out the Red Sox going after a Jake Peavy or Cliff Lee (if available) if they’re in the hunt by late July.

Will the Sox look to acquire a pitcher at the deadline if Doubront or Lackey falters? Maybe Cliff Lee?
Spencer, Quebec

I would say yes. I think the Red Sox believed they had enough starter depth, but I think the recent struggles of Webster give rise to speculation that perhaps the Red Sox aren’t as strong in secondary starter depth as they thought. Obviously, we’ll have to see where the Red Sox are by the time the trading deadline comes. But they are a team that does its due diligence, and I’m sure they’ll look into the Cliff Lee, Jake Peavy, Bud Norris, or whoever might be available at the time.

In light of Doubront's recent struggles and loss of velocity, would the Red Sox consider stretching out Franklin Morales as a starter during his rehab assignment and slotting him into the starting rotation when ready?
Tuck, Boston

I think they will stretch him out, but it appears there may be a need for him to be strictly a reliever given their recent string of injuries.

Click the Full Entry button for more Q&A.

FULL ENTRY

Defense springs a leak for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 9, 2013 11:59 PM

Pitchers go through fielding drills nearly every day in spring training, a routine that usually ends once the season starts. But the Red Sox had their pitchers on the field before a game during their last homestand to brush up on fundamentals.

John Lackey, who was starting that day, was excused.

Still, Lackey knows better than to make the kind of mistake he did on Thursday night. His throwing error in the sixth inning led to four unearned runs and a 5-3 victory for the Minnesota Twins.

The Sox have lost three straight and six of their last seven games and for the first time this season have dropped into second place in the American League East. The slide has coincided with sloppy defense. The Sox committed two errors on Thursday and have 11 in their last seven games.

“We’ve got to take care of the ball. That’s a big part of winning ballgames, pitching and defense,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said.

The Sox committed three errors in their first 17 games. They have 19 in 18 games since.

Lackey (1-3) handled the pitching part pretty well, going a season-best seven innings and striking out eight. He walked one and allowed six hits.

“Felt I reached really well,” Lackey said. “It’s not real complicated. Just got to make that one play and win the game.”

Also:

• David Ortiz was 0 for 5, ending five innings and leaving five runners on base. He is hitless in his last 13 at-bats, stranding 10 runners. Regression was inevitable after Ortiz hit .440 with 17 RBIs in his first 13 games off the disabled list.

But Ortiz believes his cold streak will end soon because he hit the ball hard in his last two at-bats. He ended the game with a line drive right at first baseman Justin Morneau.

“Baseball gods take cover,” he said. “You know what I’m saying? Nothing much you can do. I can tell you one thing, that ball found Morneau. He was right there.”

• Mike Napoli has 16 doubles, the most in the majors.

• Lackey has allowed three earned runs or fewer in all four of his starts. He also has struck out 24 in 22.1 innings.

• Stephen Drew has 11 RBIs in his last 11 games.

Final: Twins 5, Red Sox 3

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff May 9, 2013 07:00 PM

Final: Twins 5, Red Sox 3: That's it. Game over. Red Sox were unable to hold a 2-0 lead and John Lackey, despite going seven innings, was unable to pick up the victory as Boston (21-14) lost for the third time in as many games against the Twins (16-15), and for the sixth time in its last seven overall games.

Top 9th: Twins 5, Red Sox 3: Craig Breslow pitched a scoreless ninth which got off to an interesting start when leadoff hitter Ryan Doumit grounded to third and reached when Will Middlebrooks was charged with an error when his throw pulled first baseman Mike Napoli off the bag.

Breslow remained unfazed and retired the next three batters he faced on three groundball outs to third, short, and the mound.

Bottom 8th: Twins 5, Red Sox 3: After Jared Burton entered in relief of Brian Duensing (1.2 IP, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts) and led off the inning by striking out Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava drew a walk and Will Middlebrooks reached on a fielder's choice to short. Twins shortstop Eduardo Escobar, in the game for Pedro Florimon who left in the sixth with a tight hamstring, booted the attempt at a double play, snapping the Twins' streak of 11 consecutive games without an error.

It allowed Nava to reach second and Middlebrooks to reach first.

But Burton got out of the inning when he struck out Stephen Drew (looking) and fanned Mike Carp (swinging) after he had been summoned to pinch hit for David Ross. Craig Breslow relieved Uehara in the ninth while Jarrod Saltalamacchia replaced Ross behind the plate.

Top 8th: Twins 5, Red Sox 3: Koji Uehara entered the game in relief of Lackey and, just as Lackey did at the outset of the game, struck out the side. Uehara fanned Josh Willingham on an 81 splitter, Justin Morneau on an 89 fastball, and Trevor Plouffe on a 91 fastball.

Bottom 7th: Twins 5, Red Sox 3: The Sox were unable to muster a response after Dustin Pedroia drew a two-out walk. David Ortiz, who flew to center, grounded to second, and lined to first in his three previous at-bats, came to the plate with a chance to tie the game and wound up driving a fly ball to center for the last out of the inning.

Koji Uehara entered the eighth in relief of Lackey, who went seven innings and allowed five runs (one earned) on six hits, including a two-run homer, and one walk while striking out eight batters. Lackey threw a season-high 102 pitches (74 strikes).

Top 7th: Twins 5, Red Sox 3: Lackey kept the Twins in check with a return to form in the seventh, which resulted in a 1-2-3 inning. Lackey punctuated the frame with a strikeout of Joe Mauer to end the inning.

Bottom 6th: Twins 5, Red Sox 3: The Sox got one back in this frame and chased Twins starter Kevin Correia (5.1 IP, 9 hits, 3 runs, 1 strikeout) out of the game in the process. Mike Napoli, who reached on a double to left off Correia, scored when Daniel Nava followed with an RBI single to right.

After Will Middlebrooks' ground ball to short resulted in the force out on Nava at second, Brian Duensing entered the game in relief of Correia and got Stephen Drew to fly out to left and David Ross to strike out swinging at an 84 slider.

Top 6th: Twins 5, Red Sox 2: The Twins pushed across four unearned runs against Lackey, who likely would have been out of the inning had Justin Morneau been called out on Shane Victorino's throw to the plate as Morneau attempted to score on Ryan Doumit's sacrifice fly to right.

Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale called Morneau safe after he slid beneath the tag of Sox catcher David Ross. As a result, Morneau gave the Twins a 3-2 lead, which grew exponentially when Oswaldo Arcia came up and belted a two-run homer off Lackey into the Sox bullpen, making it 5-2.

Lackey committed a self-inflicted mistake when he was charged with a fielding error on Trevor Plouffe's comebacker to the mound. With men on first and second and one out, Lackey stabbed Plouffe's hit, spun around and misfired to second, allowing Morneau, who walked, to reach second safely and Joe Mauer, who singled to center, to advance to third and score the tying run, making it 2-2.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Sox threatened with two out when Dustin Pedroia hustled down the line to reach on an infield basehit, beating out Trevor Plouffe's throw from third. David Ortiz, however, lined out to first base to end the inning.

Top 5th: Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Lackey gave up a pair of one-out, extra-base hits on consecutive at-bats by Oswaldo Arcia (triple to center) and Aaron Hicks (RBI double to right) to pull the Twins within one run. Lackey appeared to run out of steam as his pitch count crept up and the velocity on his fastball dipped from a high of 94 to a low of 86, but that was before he struck out the last two batters he faced -- Pedro Florimon on a 91 fastball and Brian Dozier on a 92 fastball -- to end the inning.

Lackey has now thrown 74 pitches (54 strikes) and allowed one run on four hits while striking out seven batters.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 2, Twins 0: Stephen Drew ripped a two-out RBI single to center, scoring Daniel Nava, who reached on a single to right, giving the Red Sox a two-run lead. Through four (laborious) innings, Twins starter Kevin Correia threw 71 pitches (42 strikes) and allowed two runs on six hits while striking out one batter, Sox catcher David Ross, to end the fourth.

Top 4th: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: The Twins again put a runner on base when Justin Morneau singled to left with two out. But Lackey, again, prevented the runner from advancing when he induced Trevor Plouffe to fly to right to end the inning. Through four shutout innings, Lackey has allowed two hits while ringing up five strikeouts.

Bottom 3d: Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Red Sox claimed a 1-0 lead when Dustin Pedroia ripped an RBI single up the middle, driving in Shane Victorino, who reached on a hustling double to right off the glove of leaping first baseman Justin Morneau. Victorino reached in his first two at-bats (single to right, double to right). At this pace, Victorino will probably triple to right in his third at-bat.

Top 3d: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: After Lackey retired the first eight batters he faced, the Twins finally got a runner aboard when the immortal Pedro Florimon, the No. 9 hitter in Ron Gardenhire's lineup, ripped a single up the middle. The hit came after Lackey made a spectacular stab on Aaron Hicks' line-drive out to the mound. Dozier ended the inning when he grounded to first.

Bottom 2d: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Sox strand another runner after Will Middlebrooks laced a two-out double to left. J.D. er, Stephen Drew grounded to first to end the inning.

Top 2d: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Another 1-2-3 inning for Lackey, who sandwiched a pair of flyball outs to right around a strikeout of Trevor Plouffe (swinging, 93 fastball). Through two innings, Lackey has thrown 21 pitches, 17 for strikes and has recorded four strikeouts.

Bottom 1st: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Red Sox managed to get just one runner aboard when Shane Victorino laced a one-out single to right. He wound up getting stranded at first when Dustin Pedroia flew to right and David Ortiz flew to center.

Top 1st: Twins 0, Red Sox 0: Niiiice start for John Lackey, who struck out the side. Lackey fanned leadoff hitter Brian Dozier on an 88-mile-per-hour cutter, got Joe Mauer swinging on an 84-m.p.h. slider, and blew a 93-m.p.h. fastball past Josh Willingham.

Pregame: Torrential downpours pelted the Fenway area about 1-1/2 hours before the start of Thursday night's game between the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. The Sox (21-13) will send John Lackey (1-2, 3.52 ERA) to the mound for his 299th career start to oppose RHP Kevin Correia (3-2, 2.83). Lackey will be looking to put a halt to the team's skid after the Sox dropped their five out of their last six games Wednesday night in an abominable 15-8 loss to the Twins.

As always, please feel free to post your comments here. Enjoy the game.

Middlebrooks and Ross return to lineup

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 9, 2013 06:39 PM

The Red Sox can't keep their closers healthy. But they seem to have caught a break with Will Middlebrooks and David Ross

Both players are in the lineup tonight after missing Wednesday's game with injuries sustained when they collided Tuesday night while chasing a foul ball.

Middlebrooks bruised the right side of his rib cage and Ross bruised his left quadriceps. But they recovered quickly.

"I still feel like I got hit by a truck," Middlebrooks said. "It was the wall that got me the best. I'm good enough to play. I wanted to play [Wednesday.]"

Teammate Shane Victorino stood among the reporters at Will's locker and asked a question.

"Do you think if you were a good athlete that you would have made the play without your catcher having to go over there?" he said.

"I did make the play," Middlebrooks said. "That was his fault."

How you feeling otherwise?" Victorino said.

"Good. Who cut your hair?" said Middlebrooks, taking note of Victorino's mohawk.

Middlebrooks said he was hit harder Tuesday than he ever was playing high school football in Texas.

"I was so fast then," he said.

Also:

• Jose De La Torre was surprised that he got called up. The 27-year-old has spent parts of seven seasons in the majors without getting called up.

"I wasn't expecting it," he said. "I'm just really excited being here and happy that I got the opportunity."

De La Torre put himself on the radar with a good performance in the World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico. He pitched well in six games, striking out 12 and walking one over 5.2 innings.

"I think I opened some eyes," De La Torre said. "I think it helped me pitching on a bigger stage and doing what I did. I think it helped me a lot."

Facing major league hitters — particularly those from the Dominican Republic and United States — was a confidence booster.

De La Torre is a fastball/slider pitcher with good strikeout numbers (17 in 17.1 IP for Pawtucket) and occasional control issues. He has improved his fastball command this season, throwing a two-seamer to both sides of the plate.

"Very good breaking ball that he's showed since spring training," said manager John Farrell. "He's got the ability to get an above-average fastball at times. We'll pick our spots for him. We needed the arm, obviously, in the bullpen."

De La Torre is a smallish (5 feet 10 inches, 185 pounds) righthander with power stuff that belies his size.

"There are certain pitchers you watch and you say, 'OK, that's good stuff,' but inside the game, the performance really stands out," said Farrell, "and that's been the case with De La Torre throughout his career."

• LHP Franklin Morales will continue his rehab assignment Monday with Triple A Pawtucket. He is scheduled for three innings. Morales went two scoreless innings for Double A Portland Wednesday and showed good velocity. He is being prepared as a starter.

Farrell said Morales would need at least two more rehab appearances before being ready. That would get him to five innings.

• RHP Andrew Bailey is eligible to be activated off the disabled list Tuesday. But Farrell didn't seem to think that was likely. Bailey was expected to start a throwing program today. Once he gets back on the mound, he should progress quickly.

• Kyle Kaminska, a 24-year-old righthander, retired after pitching for Single A Salem on Tuesday. Kaminska was 0-3 with a 7.19 earned run average for Double A Portland and Salem this season.

But he pitched well in the Arizona Fall League last year and was considered at least a mid-level prospect. The Sox obtained Kaminska from the Pirates in December as the player to be named later for righthander Zach Stewart.

Joel Hanrahan placed on 60-day disabled list; season in doubt

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 9, 2013 04:50 PM

The Red Sox placed Joel Hanrahan on the 60-day disabled list today to make room on the 40-man roster for righthanded reliever Jose De La Torre.

Hanrahan had been placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a flexor muscle strain. He is now on his way to Birmingham, Ala., to be examined by Dr. James Andrews Friday.

Regardless of the diagnosis, Hanrahan will be out at least two months and likely more.

"Once we got the initial MRI, it seemed that was a possibility," Sox manager John Farrell said. "Not knowing the extent or total number of days, we felt it was still going to require some recovery time. Then when you factor in the build-up back from that, it felt like it was going to be a couple of months total at a minimum."

There is concern that Hanrahan could have a torn ulnar collateral ligament. That would require Tommy John surgery.

"We can't rule it out," Farrell said. "But yet I don't know that there's information that's in hand to date that says it's definite ligament issues. That's where tomorrow's exam will be valuable in that area."

Hanrahan also could have surgery to repair the flexor muscle.

"That's been part of the discussion," Farrell said. "That's where he's got to get his arms around the situation with as much information as possible and make the decision at that point."

But even if surgery can be avoided, Hanrahan will not be back for at least two months — if then.

"Best case is the conservative treatment," Farrell said. "That is rest, rehab, recovery, and return to action. That's the best I can tell you right now."

Is there any hope that Hanrahan pitches again for the Red Sox this season?

"At this point, yes," Farrell said. "If everything were to respond favorably to that conservative course of action then, yes, that's a possibility."

The Sox are also without backup closer Andrew Bailey, who went on the disabled list Monday. Junichi Tazawa now has the job.

"A healthy Joel Hanrahan getting injured is a blow for anyone," said Farrell. "A guy that's been a very successful pitcher, I don't know that you can just necessarily replace a guy of his abilities and talents.

"But regardless of the injuries that we're dealing with right now, our expectation and our level of play shouldn't be compromised by that.

"That's the expectation here, to go out every night, to prepare and put a game together to win."

Game 35: Twins at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 9, 2013 02:45 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (21-13)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava LF
Middlebrooks 3B
Drew SS
Ross C
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (1-1, 3.52).

TWINS (15-15)
Dozier 2B
Mauer C
Willingham LF
Morneau 1B
Plouffe 3B
Doumit DH
Arcia RF
Hicks CF
Florimon SS
Pitching: RHP Kevin Correia (3-1, 2.23).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN/WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Correia: Drew 12-52, Victorino 6-14, Ross 3-13, Gomes 1-6, Saltalamacchia 0-3, Pedroia 0-1.

Twins vs. Lackey: Morneau 8-23, Mauer 10-23, Carroll 0-4, Willingham 0-3.

Stat of the Day: Ellsbury had 32 home runs in 660 at-bats in 2011. He has five home runs in 451 at-bats since.

Notes: The Sox have lost two straight and five of six. But they are tied with the Orioles and Rangers for the best record in the American League ... Lackey is facing the Twins for the first time since April 14, 2010. He is 7-5, 3.68, in 15 career starts against Minnesota ... Correia has one career inning against the Sox. That came on June 16, 2007, at Fenway when he pitched the eighth inning for the San Francisco Giants ... The Sox have nine errors in the last six games ... Hot Sox: Saltalamacchia is 6 of his last 15 with four extra-base hits ... Drew is hitting .389/.439/.639 in his last 10 games with 10 RBIs ... Andrew Miller has thrown 5.2 scoreless innings and struck out 11 in his last eight outings ... Cold Sox: Ortiz has 2 RBIs in his last seven games ... Napoli is 5 of his last 26 with one RBI and no extra-base hits.

Song of the Day: "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" by Bob Dylan.

Red Sox call up RHP Jose De La Torre

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 9, 2013 10:34 AM

The Red Sox have added depth to their battered bullpen by calling up righthander Jose De La Torre. The news came from general manager Ben Cherington on WEEI this morning.

De La Torre, 27, has appeared in 10 games for Triple A Pawtucket. He has allowed three earned runs on five hits with 10 walks and 17 strikeouts over 17.1 innings.

De La Torre has no major league experience. He was acquired from the Indians for infielder Brent Lillibridge last July 24.

The Red Sox invited De La Torre to spring training. He appeared in five games, pitching six innings and striking out six with three walks.

De La Torre joined Puerto Rico for the World Baseball Classic and pitched well in six games there, striking out 12 and walking one over 5.2 innings.

Via email, Cherington said he was working on the 40-man roster move to make room for De La Torre.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 9, 2013 10:03 AM

It was a rough night for Allen Webster and Felix Doubront as the Twins pounded the Red Sox, 15-8.

Christopher Gasper writes that the Red Sox are being tested.

Nick Cafardo writes that pitching is hurting the Red Sox these days.

The notebook has Will Middlebrooks and David Ross avoiding injuries.

Hanrahan seeking a second opinion

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 9, 2013 01:12 AM

Joel Hanrahan is on the disabled list with what the Red Sox are calling a flexor muscle strain. But the righthander is concerned enough to be seeking a second opinion and will visit Dr. James Andrews on Friday.

Hanrahan told ESPN Boston that the results of his MRI were sent to Andrew in advance of his visit.

If Hanrahan has a torn ulnar collateral ligament, he could require Tommy John surgery.

Hanrahan, sources told the Globe, has bruising and swelling around his elbow that could indicate a more serious injury than a simple muscle strain.

Hanrahan has already been on the disabled list twice this season, the first time with a strained right hamstring.

The Sox have had little luck in obtaining high-profile closers in recent years:

• Bobby Jenks was signed to a two-year, $12 million deal before the 2011 season. He appeared in only 19 games and had a 6.32 ERA before a series of injuries ended his career. He was later treated for alcohol abuse is now out of baseball at the age of 32.

• Andrew Bailey was obtained from Oakland before the 2012 season. He has appeared in only 32 games for the Sox because of two stints on the disabled list. Bailey missed much of last season with a torn thumb ligament and is now out with a biceps strain. He has a 4.55 ERA with the Sox.

• Hanrahan, obtained from Pittsburgh in December, has pitched in nine games and has a 9.82 ERA.

Streak ends for Ortiz, who then takes to Twitter

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 9, 2013 12:58 AM

David Ortiz was 0 for 5, snapping his career-best hit streak at 27 games. His last game without a hit came on July 1, 2012.

Ortiz had a chance to extend his streak in the ninth inning and struck out.

Ortiz did not speak to reporters after the game. But he did react on Twitter.

“End of my hitting streak tonight the season stil [sic] going strong,” he wrote after a 15-8 loss against the Twins.

Ortiz also wrote that he hoped Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy “is a happy man now.”

On Tuesday, Shaughnessy asked Ortiz about the perception that he could be using performance-enhancing drugs. Ortiz denied it.

Also:

• Felix Doubront’s 105 pitches were the most in relief for a Red Sox pitcher since Vaughn Eshelman threw 106 over 3 2/3 innings against the Twins on July 25, 1996. It was only the third time since at least 1916 that a Red Sox reliever threw 100 pitches.

• Ryan Pressly, whom the Twins selected from the Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft, got his first major league victory in relief. He went four innings and allowed two hits with two walks and three strikeouts.

• Lefthanded reliever Franklin Morales started and went two scoreless innings for Double A Portland. He allowed two hits and struck out three against Reading, throwing 24 pitches. Morales has been on the disabled list all season because of a back injury suffered in spring training. He returned to pitch in a game for Single A Greenville April 17 and strained a pectoral muscle.

• Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, the first designated hitter of the Red Sox, was recognized before the game. Cepeda hit .289 with 20 homers and 86 RBIs for the Sox in 1973. Ron Blomberg, the first DH of the Yankees, was on hand, too. Ortiz presented Cepeda with a framed photograph.

• Shortstop Jose Iglesias was back in the Pawtucket lineup and went 1 for 5 after being benched for three games for disciplinary reasons. “He handled the initial option back to Pawtucket as a pro, and he continued to get his work in,” John Farrell told WEEI. “But I think as time has gone on, he’s kind of feeling like he should be in a big-league uniform. Yet, that time isn’t now.”

• The Red Sox returned to Fenway on Monday to find new leather chairs in front of their lockers in place of their old padded folding chairs.

Webster optioned, but what of Doubront?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 9, 2013 12:44 AM

The Red Sox optioned Allen Webster back to Triple A Pawtucket after he was rocked by the Minnesota Twins for eight runs over 1 2/3 innings. Manager John Farrell indicated that was the plan all along.

Felix Doubront, Farrell said, would stay in the rotation. That despite Doubront giving up six runs on 12 hits over 5 1/3 innings against the Twins.

“We haven’t come off that initial plan, which is Felix starting the next time through,” Farrell said. “Physically everything checks out.”

The Red Sox are off Monday, which would allow them to skip Doubront. They would not need a fifth starter until May 18 in Minnesota.

Doubront’s fastball was 88-89 miles per hour against the Twins, hitting 92 once. That’s a significant drop from last season, when he averaged 92.8 m.p.h and topped out at 95.

“The one thing that’s a little concerning with Felix is that while he’ll get ahead of certain hitters, [he'll[ still lack the ability to put some guys away. We’ve seen that the last two outings from him,” Farrell said.

Of the 12 hits Doubront allowed on Wednesday, five came on two-strike pitches. Three were after Doubront was ahead 0-and-2. The Twins started the night 13th in the American League in runs scored and had a team batting average of .239.

Doubront has a 6.40 earned average after giving up 12 earned runs on 24 hits over nine innings in his last two outings.

There are two issues at play here:

• It would be foolhardy to give up on a 25-year-old lefty who showed vast potential last season. Doubront has indeed pitched poorly this season and did not help his career by showing up for spring training out of shape. But the Sox have a longer leash than that.

• Doubront is out of options. So sending him to the minors would mean placing him on waivers and he is unlikely to clear.

The alternative would be to pitch Doubront in relief and use another pitcher in the rotation. The Sox will have some choices to make if he continues to throw what amounts to batting practice.

Clay Buchholz: 'I haven't done anything wrong'

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 8, 2013 11:56 PM

Clay Buchholz said tonight that he's sick of the ongoing story that he's doctoring the baseball.

"It's getting old and I'm not going to talk about it anymore," he said. "I'm sick of talking about it. I haven't done anything wrong. I'm doing things within the rules of the game."

The latest accusation came in a Yahoo! Sports story in which it was alleged that many pitchers in baseball and on the Red Sox use Bull Frog brand sunscreen in conjunction with sweat and rosin to create a sticky substance that allows them to grip the ball better.

"I haven't used that [sunscreen] all year," Buchholz said. "I've used in the past when I need to use sunscreen on a sunny day on the mound. Is there anything wrong with that? Isn't that when you're supposed to use it?"

Major League baseball has not accused Buchholz of any wrongdoing, and neither have the teams he's faced or the umpires who have worked his games.

"That's all that matters. It means I'm doing things the right way. I'm not breaking any rules," said Buchholz, who is 6-0 with a 1.60 earned run average.

Final: Twins 15, Red Sox 8

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 8, 2013 07:26 PM

Game over: Twins 15, Red Sox 8: The Red Sox have dropped into a first place tie with the Baltimore Orioles with a 21-13 record, marking the first time they have shared first place since April 12. The Red Sox have lost six of their last nine games.

Rookie Allen Webster was blasted for eight runs in 1.2 innings while Felix Doubront came into relieve him and allowed six runs over 5.1 innings. A terrible pitching night all around for Boston, which allowed 19 hits.

David Ortiz' 27-game hitting streak came to an end as well. The game was played in 3:42 before 29,969.

Top 9th: Twins 15, Red Sox 8 - Junichi Tazawa is supposed to pitch the ninth but not trailing by six runs. But to get in some work, Tazawa got the call. He allowed a single to Jamey Carroll, single to Joe Mauer, hit Josh Willingham with a pitch and got Morneau to hit a sacrifice fly to score the 15th run.

Bottom 8th: Twins 14, Red Sox 8 - A Stephen Drew infield hit and walk by Pedro Ciraico got the Red Sox another run when Daniel Nava's sac fly put another score on the board for the Sox.

Top 8th: Twins 14, Red Sox 7 - Andrew Miller replaced Doubront who pitched 5.1 innings, allowed 12 hits, six runs with two walks and four Ks and threw 105 pitches in relief. Miller pitched a scoreless eighth.

Bottom 7th: Twins 14, Red Sox 7 - The Red Sox moved a touchdown and extra point away from the Twins when Dustin Pedroia scored on a Jonny Gomes' sacrifice fly. Pedroia singled and moved to third on Mike Napoli's single.

Top 7th: Twins 14, Red Sox 6 - Willingham was safe at first on a throwing error by third baseman Pedro Ciriaco. Justin Morneau flied out to center. Terry Plouffe singled to left. Doumit then singled to deep center (the hit was later changed to a fielder's choice by the official scorer) into a double play first to shortstop to second to first. Strange play as Twins runners were frozen while watching Ellsbury field the ball off the wall. Plouffe passed Willingham and the Red Sox had an easy double-play, 8-6-4-3.

Bottom 6th: Twins 14, Red Sox 6 - Three-up, three down for Sox.

Top 6th: Twins 14, Red Sox 6 - Hark! Doubront pitches a 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 5th: Twins 14, Red Sox 6 - Mike Napoli singled to lead off the fifth, but the next three batters were retired as the Sox just can't seem to claw their way back.

Top 5th: Twins 14, Red Sox 6 - Horrible pitching by the Red Sox. Doubront struggles again. he allowed a leadoff double to Mauer (how many doubles would Mauer hit in 81 games here?) and after securing two outs, Plouffe singled Mauer in. Doumit singled and Arcia doubled in the second run of the inning.

Bottom 4th: Twins 12, Red Sox 6 - Sox draw two walks (Ciriaco and Ellsbury) but can't get a run in.

Top 4th: Twins 12, Red Sox 6 - The twins loaded the bases off Doubront with a single by Doumit, a single by Arcia and a walk to Hicks. The run scored on Florimon's double-play grounder.

Bottom 3rd: Twins 11, Red Sox 6 - A two-out single by Salty, but no more.

Top 3rd: Twins 11, Red Sox 6 - Doubront allowed a two-out single to Morneau, but has settled down.

Bottom 2nd: Twins 11, Red Sox 6 - Shane Victorino homered on a 2-0 pitch as Boston attempts to chip away.

Top 2nd: Twins 11, Red Sox 5 - Pedro Florimon sent a 3-2 pitch by Webster into the Twins bullpen for a home run, tying the score. The Twins put runners at second and third on a Jamey Carroll walk and Joe Mauer double off the wall. After Webster retired Willingham with a pop out to Pedroia, Morneau's long sacrifice fly scored the sixth Twins run. With two outs, Plouffe's double went off the wall scoring the seventh run. Mercifully, that was the end of Webster's night. he was replaced by Felix Doubront. This folks was just as ugly. Doubront, who was demoted to the bullpen in favor of Webster showed just why. He walked Doumit on four pitches. He allowed a single to Arcia. Aaron Hicks roughed him up for a two-run single and Florimon also knocked in a pair with a double.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 5, Twins 4 - Wow. Action packed first inning. Jonny Gomes' grand slam was the highlight, but leading up to it the Sox loaded them up on a bunt single by Shane Victorino, a single off the wall by Dustin Pedroia, a two-out walk to Mike Napoli and then Gomes struck with a bomb off Twins starter Pedro Hernandez. Jarrod Saltalamacchia continued it with a double to the left field corner and he rode home on Stephen Drew's single to right. Drew was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double.

Top 1st: Twins 4, Red Sox 0 - Rough start for rookie phenom Allen Webster who allowed four runs. It started out so well by striking out Jamey Carroll and ended well with a K of Aaron Hicks. But the middle was difficult. He walked Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham, allowed a run-scoring ground-rule double to right to Justin Morneau. After Trevor Plouffe's sacrifice fly scored the second run, Ryan Doumit blasted a two-run homer on a 1-2, 97 mph right down the middle of the plate.

Injuries not serious for Middlebrooks, Ross

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 8, 2013 05:28 PM

The Red Sox will have a short roster again tonight as Will Middlebrooks (ribs) and David Ross (left quad bruise) recover from the injuries they suffered in the fifth inning Tuesday night.

Middlebrooks and Ross collided while chasing a foul ball and ended up leaving the game. Ross lasted a few pitches and Middlebrooks an inning.

Ross received treatment all night and said he woke up feeling much better. He is available in an emergency tonight and expects to be playable in a day or two. Middlebrooks had X-rays and an MRI that came back clean. Middlebrooks swung a bat in the cage before getting his MRI.

"He's sore, he's day to day," said manager John Farrell. "He's banged up a little bit."

For both players, it will be a matter of pain tolerance. The Red Sox do not believe any roster moves will be needed.

Also:

• RHP Andrew Bailey, who is on the disabled list with a biceps strain, is expected to start throwing Thursday. He is eligible to be activated May 14.

"To get him through the range of motion and initiate a throwing program," Farrell said.

The Sox have not decided whether Bailey will need a minor league rehabilitation assignment.

• LHP Franklin Morales is scheduled to pitch for Double A Portland tonight. Morales has been on the disabled list all season because of a back injury suffered in spring training. He returned to pitch in a game for Single A Greenville April 17 and strained a pectoral muscle.

The Red Sox have said they want Morales to get stretched out in case he is needed as a starter. But that could change depending on the status of the bullpen.

• Jose Iglesias is back in the Pawtucket lineup. He was taken out of Saturday's game by manager Gary DiSarcina for disciplinary reasons and did not play in the three games that followed.

Middlebrooks is day-to-day

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 8, 2013 02:47 PM

In his weekly interview with WEEI this afternoon, Red Sox manager John Farrell said third baseman Will Middlebrooks does not have any rib fractures and is day to day.

Middlebrooks is not in the lineup this evening.

Catcher David Ross, who bruised his quad, also is day-to-day. Middlebrooks and Ross collided chasing a foul ball Tuesday night.

No roster moves are imminent, Farrell said.

Game 34: Twins at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 8, 2013 02:45 PM

Good afternooon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (21-12)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Ciriaco 3B
Pitching: RHP Allen Webster (0-0, 3.00).

TWINS (14-15)
Carroll 2B
Mauer C
Willingham LF
Morneau 1B
Plouffe 3B
Doumit DH
Arcia RF
Hicks CF
Florimon SS
Pitching: LHP Pedro Hernandez (1-0, 3.92).

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN Plus, ESPN/WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Hernandez: Ellsbury 3-3, Middlebrooks 1-3, Ciriaco 1-2.

Twins vs. Webster: No history.

Stat of the Day: The errors are mounting. The Sox had three in their first 17 games. They have committed 16 in the last 16, including eight in the last five.

Notes: The Sox have dropped four of their last five and now have a one-game lead on the Orioles in the division ... Webster is making his second major league start. He went six innings against the Royals on April 21, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits and one walk. He struck out five. Webster was 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four starts at Triple A Pawtucket ... Hernandez, 24, made his major league debut against the Sox at Fenway Park on July 18, 2012, when he was with the White Sox. It didn't go well, as he allowed eight runs on 12 hits over four innings. The Sox hit three home runs (one by Adrian Gonzalez and two by Cody Ross). It proved to be the only game Hernandez pitched in the majors last season. He was traded to the Twins later that month for Francisco Liriano. Hernandez has appeared in five games this season, three of them starts ... The Red Sox have scored 11 runs over the last five games, going 39 of 168 (.232) with 42 strikeouts. They're 4 of 28 with runners in scoring position in those games ... Ortiz has hit safely in 27 straight games at .423 with 17 extra-base hits and 23 RBIs. He is hitting .414 this season with 17 RBIs in 15 games, two in the last six games ... Napoli is 3 of his last 23 with one RBI and one run.

Song of the Day: "Don't Think Twice" by Susan Tedeschi.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 8, 2013 08:30 AM

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• Between costly errors, bad breaks, and a stalling offense, it was a frustrating 6-1 loss for the Sox.

In the notebook, a collision in foul territory added Will Middlebrooks and David Ross to the list of wounded Red Sox.

• With David Ortiz's hot start promting cheers of "steroids" from fans in Toronto, Dan Shaughnessy asks Ortiz if it's too good to be true.

• Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey hitting the disabled list means Junichi Tazawa gets the nod as closer. Nick Cafardo asks if he can handle the ninth inning.

Pedro Ciriaco putting errors behind him

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 8, 2013 04:11 AM

ciriaco08.jpg

The two costly errors Pedro Ciriaco committed in the eighth inning of the Red Sox's 6-1 loss to the Twins, when he replaced starting third baseman Will Middlebrooks who was dealing with pain in his right side after colliding with catcher David Ross in the process of making a sliding catch in foul territory, weren't because of lack of preparation.

The work Ciriaco puts in before games is constant. It's also all over the place. On Tuesday, he took reps on the left side of the infield at short and third. He's never played first base a day in his major league career, but Sunday in Texas he was there taking ground balls just in case. His job as a utility infielder demands that he be ready to play almost everywhere on the field.

"Every position is different," Ciriaco said. "I just have to adjust to every position I play. You don't know when, what position you're going to play. But I just try to work. One day at third and second, the next day work at third and first, and a little bit in the outfield, too."

With seven games under his belt this year, he's already been charged with half as many errors as the eight he committed in 35 games last season. He's thrown a ball over the Sox dugout. He's fired one too low for his first baseman to pick out of the dirt. And after Tuesday night, he booted two balls the fueled a four-running inning for the Twins.

On the first, playing regular depth, chased a Brian Dozier bouncer toward the third base line, but couldn't cleanly snag it on a high bounce. On the second, he was playing in on the grass, took his eyes off a Jamey Carroll bouncer, and watched it get over his glove and skip into the outfield.

"I just missed the ball, that's it," he said. "I come everyday with the mentality to play and practice and be ready and I just missed the ball. I work every day and I feel like I'm a good player, I just missed the ball. I've just got to be more ready and next time make those plays."

Sox manager John Farrell was confident that the errors wouldn't continue to be an issue for Ciriaco.

"That was uncharacteristic of Pedro tonight," Farrell said. "He’s shown to be a very capable defender. Two miscues are unlike him."

Before last night, Ciriaco had played 39 games at third in his four major league seasons. The bulk of them came last year, his first season in Boston. He'd played there twice before with the Pittsburgh Pirates two years ago. He's played twice there this year. Where he plays on a given day is always up in the air, but Ciriaco said he would continue working to make sure he makes the grabs the next time they come his way.

"I think I'm comfortable this year, because last year was the first time I played third," he said. "I played earlier this year and last year and I just have to continue working. I just have to make the plays."

Ryan Dempster wiggles out of tight spots

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 8, 2013 03:45 AM

If it was a number -- good or bad -- Ryan Demspter wanted no part of it.

“Keep that one to yourself,” he said. “Tell me at the end of the year.”

It happened to be good. This season, he’s been absurdly effective with runners in scoring position. Coming into the Red Sox’s 6-1 loss to the Twins, opponents were hitting .113 off of him with men on and .143 with runners in scoring position. It’s something he’s been relatively strong at his entire career (.260 RISP, .263 with men on).

Dempster08.jpg

The Twins were 4 of 10 with runners in scoring position Tuesday night, but just 1 for 4 against Dempster. In the third, he got a Justin Morneau double-play ball and an inning-ending Trevor Ploufe ground ball with Joe Mauer in scoring position.

In the fifth, after giving up an leadoff double to Ryan Doumit, he got Chris Parmelee to pop up in foul territory (a play that left third baseman will Middlebrooks and catcher David Ross licking their wounds) before giving up and RBI single to Wilkin Ramirez.

The success Dempster’s had in tight spots, Ross said, has more to do the way he pitches when the bases are empty.

“He likes to be more aggressive with nobody on,” Ross said. “Make the hitter commit. Establish a fastball. He does a good job of that. He makes them hit. He's given up some homers, but they've been solo homers.

“So that's his MO. He's going to attack you and that stuff pays off when you're in the stretch and those guys you've made them commit to the heater. It pays off.”

As well as Clay Buchholz has pitched this year, his numbers with runners on (.211 RISP, .143 men on) trail Dempster’s. Jon Lester’s as well (.182, .203). At 2-2 through his first six starts, it hasn’t always translated to wins for Dempster, but it adds another layer to his effectiveness so far this season.

They're all numbers, and Dempster will gladly ignore them for the next few months, but with seven-plus innings, he gave the Sox their longest start since Buchholz went seven against Toronto last week and would’ve gone longer had it not been for errors. His 55 strikeouts are second most on the team and third in the American League.

“I was happy with that,” Dempster said. “I just wish I could've pitched a little bit better and given us a chance to win the ballgame."

Injuries starting to mount for Red Sox

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 7, 2013 11:25 PM

Following a 6-1 loss against the Twins, some notes from the clubhouse:

• The Red Sox injury bug has arrived. With two closers – Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan on the disabled list – Will Middlebrooks was undergoing a CT scan for pain on his right side. David Ross, with whom Middlebooks collided near the third base railing in the fifth inning, hoped Middlebrooks didn’t hurt his ribs.

The third baseman exited the game before the seventh while Ross couldn’t continue in the fifth inning as the area above the left knee started to swell making it difficult to squat. He suffered a left quad contusion and Ross was limping out of the clubhouse.

“Obviously I’m a little sore, but I think I just jammed the top of knee. The top of my kneecap’s pretty sore, some swelling in there. But if I wasn’t a catcher I think I’d be fine. But the squatting is a little sore. I couldn’t get up there in case a ball was in the dirt and stop it from going to the backstop or anything. So it was best Salty got in there. A tough night,” Ross said.

Asked how it happened, Ross said, “It happened so fast, I didn’t even watch the replay, everybody told me my shin guard as I hit the ground, kind of folded over and my knee hit the dirt pretty hard. So it was right on top of my knee. I don’t know. It was kind of funny. They said there was no real angle where you could actually see it. But probably just jammed it into the ground pretty hard. I might need to watch what I eat a little bit. There’s a lot of weight going down on these knees.”

Ross talked about how he hoped Middlebrooks wasn’t dealing with a rib cage issue.

“Ribs in this game, you throw, use your obliques for everything, you hit. I just hope it’s the same kind of thing, some kind of bruise. We’re a little banged up right now, kind of weathering this storm as far as the team goes. Just doing our best to get out there. The one thing you got to credit to everybody we go hard when we go out there and just try and play as hard as we can. That’s the MO of this team. So we’ll be fine. Get some rest, get healed up and get back out there as soon as we can,” Ross said.

• John Farrell commended Ryan Dempster for a strong outing. Dempster did his job allowing two runs over seven innings and saving the bullpen, despite the loss.

“A very good outing by Ryan Dempster,” Farrell said. “Unfortunately, nothing to show for it. And that’s not taking anything away from (Twins starter Scott) Diamond who lived on the edge, stayed away from the middle of the plate. I don’t think we had a guy past first base. Other than that, a solid outing by Ryan Dempster.”

Farrell was asked about the third base depth, especially after Pedro Ciriaco committed two consecutive errors in the eighth inning.

“Short term it’s not a concern,” Farrell said. “That was uncharacteristic of Pedro tonight. He’s shown to be a very capable defender. Two miscues are unlike him. Long term, we don’t think Will’s situation is more than day to day at this point. We’ll certainly get a better read when test results come back.”

• Ciriaco on his errors: “I just missed two balls. I've just got to be prepared and be ready and just make the play. I just missed those balls. That's it. I work every day and I feel like I'm a good player. I just missed those two balls. I've just got to be more ready and next time make those plays.”

• Farrell, who has been tossed five times in his career, almost made it a sixth when he got into it with home plate umpire Jeff Nelson when he felt Ryan Doumit was out of the baseline when the Sox were trying to complete a 3-2-3 double play in the eighth inning.

“We executed the out at home, and the return throw is low because he’s trying to avoid the runner. And damn it, he steps on Napoli’s foot, clearly indicating he was inside the basepath. The explanation to me…I’m still trying to figure out the explanation…I’ll leave it at that… but that 45-foot lane is there for a reason he wasn’t in it. By the rules, you’re out.”

Ross, Middlebrooks suffer injuries diving for foul ball

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 7, 2013 08:46 PM

Looks like the Red Sox have suffered more injuries, this time to catcher David Ross and third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who dove for the same foul ball in the fifth inning.

Ross left the game with a leg quad contusion in the fifth inning while Middlebrooks left the game before the seventh inning with "right side pain."

The ball, hit by Minnesota Twins' right fielder Chris Parmelee in the fifth inning, drifted toward the railing where Middlebrooks crashed into the railing along third base while Ross also dove and crashed into Middlebrooks.

Ross tried to continue, but came off the field and replaced by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Ross was flexing his leg, but had problems squatting behind the plate.

Middlebrooks stayed in the game, but came out for Pedro Ciriaco in the top of the 7th.

Final: Twins 6, Red Sox 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 7, 2013 07:16 PM

Game over: Twins 6, Red Sox 1: The Red Sox, who hadn't had a base runner since the third inning, finally scored in the ninth on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's solo homer on a 2-0 count off Josh Roenicke, who also walked two in the inning. The game was played in 3:01 before 30,549.

Ryan Dempster (2-3) took the loss while Scott Diamond pitched seven excellent shutout innings to improve to 3-2.

Top 9th: Twins 6, Red Sox 0 - Alex Wilson allowed a walk, but kept the score status quo leading into the bottom of the 9th.

Bottom 8th: Twins 6, Red Sox 0 - The Red Sox were rid of Scott Diamond (7IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 2K) after seven, but reliever Josh Roenicke also retired the side in order.

Top 8th: Twins 6, Red Sox 0 - Ciriaco committed two consecutive errors in relief of Middlebrooks, who was injured while diving for a foul ball in the fifth. That spelled the end for Dempster who was replaced by Craig Breslow. Mauer greeted Breslow with a double to the opposite field (left) scoring the third Twins run. Morneau ran the count to 3-1 with the bases full before delivering a single passed a diving Dustin Pedroia with the infield in. Breslow was also scorched for a single by Trevor Plouffe scoring the fifth Twins run.

Still with nobody out, Breslow was replaced by Alex Wilson. On Ryan Doumit's grounder to first, Napoli got the lead run at the plate, but Saltalamacchia's throw back to first in a an attempt to convert a double-play hit the runner scoring the sixth Twins run. John Farrell argued the call (runner out of the baseline) and actually came out a second time, to no avail as home plate umpire Jeff Nelson held his ground. Farrell was not ejected.

Bottom 7th: Twins 2, Red Sox 0 - Pedroia, Ortiz and Napoli go down against Diamond.

Top 7th: Twins 2, Red Sox 0 - Umpires reviewed Ryan Doumit's solo homer against Ryan Dempster, which was caught by a fan in the Monster seats. Umpires stayed with the home run call.

Bottom 6th: Twins 1, Red Sox 0 - Red Sox just aren't getting good swings at Scott Diamond as he retired the side in the sixth.

Top 6th: Twins 1, Red Sox 0 - Dempster retired Mauer, Willingham and struck out Morneau.

Bottom 5th: Twins 1, Red Sox 0 - Right now there's no solving Scott Diamond who has allowed three hits and has Red Sox hitters all tied up.

Top 5th: Twins 1, Red Sox 0 - Interesting inning. The Twins took the lead when Ryan Doumit doubled after Shane Victorino misfired on an attempted diving catch in right. He was balked to third by Dempster. Then came the Chris Parmalee play on which he fouled off a ball near the railing beyond thid base. Will Middlebrooks and David Ross converged and both dove for the ball near the railing. Middlebrooks came up with it as his body crashed against the railing. Ross crashed into Middlebrooks and eventually had to come out of the game, suffering what appeared to be a leg injury. He was replaced by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. dempster got out of the inning without further harm.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 0, Twins 0 - Pedroia, Napoli and Ortiz go down.

Top 4th: Red Sox 0, Twins 0 - Demspter wiggled out of quite a jam. Mauer singled and Wilingham walked, but Morneau knocked into a 1-6-3 double-play before Trevor Plouffe ended the threat with a ground out.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, Twins 0 - Stephen Drew continued his hot ways with a single to right field, but Diamond retired the next three batters as the Red Sox can't see to muster much vs. Diamond.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Twins 0 - Dempster throws another efficient inning, with a pair of ground ball outs to second base and a strike out (against Brian Dozier).

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 0, Twins 0 - David Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 27 games with a single to left field, but the Red Sox could not do much else against Twins starter Scott Diamond, who retired the next three batters.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Twins 0 - Dempster allowed a leadoff single to Justin Morneau, but then buckled down to retire Trevor Plouffe (fly to right), Ryan Doumit (fly to left) and Chris Parmalee (strikeout).

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Twins 0 - Jacoby ellsbury reached on an infield single to the shortstop hole, but Dustin Pedroia hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Twins 0 - Strong start for Ryan Dempster, who briefly warmed up in the Red Sox bullpen in Monday night's 11-inning win. Dempster struck out two in a 1-2-3 inning.

Joel Hanrahan goes on DL, Red Sox call up Allen Webster

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff May 7, 2013 04:21 PM

Webster.jpg

Relief pitcher Joel Hanrahan has been placed on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this season, the Red Sox announced Tuesday, and pitcher Allen Webster has been called up from Triple A Pawtucket.

Hanrahan, who left Monday's game vs. the Twins in the ninth inning, missed 15 games in April because of a hamstring strain, then appeared in three games before this injury.

"After the MRI, it was clear there was inflammation in the right forearm," said Sox manager John Farrell. "There's a strain to the right forearm. It's probably going to be a period of time for a shutdown and a recovery for him. That's where Joel's at right now."

Webster will start Wednesday night's game vs. the Twins, and scheduled starter Felix Doubront has been moved to the bullpen. Webster made his major league debut in April against the Royals (6 IP, 5 K, no decision) and has also made four starts for the PawSox (1-0, 2.70 ERA).

"I think everyone looks forward to seeing that guy on the mound," Farrell said. "He's got great stuff. He's showed he's got very good poise in the first outing he made for us and we'll see it again [Wednesday night]."

Doubront will only be in the bullpen through this turn in the rotation, Farrell said.

"As we're going through this couple-day period to somewhat regroup and get our pitching back on track, this was the one way that we could communicate to everyone involved -- pitchers -- that this would be a concrete plan over the next couple days.

"We didn't want Felix going down and either getting loose or possibly being available -- he is available tonight -- but potentially coming into that game with the thought of him starting tomorrow as well. This was the way to be clear-cut about it."

Some more notes:

• Franklin Morales will throw two innings Wednesday in Portland. Farrell said the plan was still to stretch out Morales so he could be a starter if needed, though it may change in the next few days. "We've got to get his first outing under his belt and then we'll go from there," said Farrell.

• The noticeable decline in Doubront's velocity could change should Doubront come out of the bullpen, Farrell said. The average speed on his fastball has dropped from 92.8 miles per hour last season to 90.3 this year. "You see pitchers' velocity spike a little bit when they feel like they don't have to go out and conserve or pace themselves," Farrell said. "So that's a possibility. We'll see if he enters the game in that role."

• Jose Iglesias has been out of the PawSox lineup the past two days after going 3 for his last 19 over six games. "Just in the reports from the Triple A staff is that they felt it was best that he needed some days to regroup," said Farrell. "Kind of get back to what it is that's allowed him to be a very good player, experience success. He's dealing with some things."

Game 33: Twins at Red Sox

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff May 7, 2013 03:00 PM

Here are today's lineups:

RED SOX (21-11)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B,
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Middlebrooks 3B
Drew SS
Ross C
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster (2-2, 3.00)

TWINS (13-15)
Carroll SS
Mauer DH
Willingham LF
Morneau 1B
Plouffe 3B
Doumit C
Parmelee RF
Ramirez CF
Dozier 2B
Pitching: LHP Scott Diamond (2-2, 3.97)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN / WEEI

Stat of the Day: The Twins have an AL-best 2.56 bullpen ERA, compared with a 4.87 ERA from starters (10th in AL). That 2.31 difference is the largest of any AL team.

Notes: Monday's 6-5 win over the Twins was the Red Sox' third walkoff win of the season. It just so happens that it snapped the team's season-long three-game losing streak … Monday's win also made sure the Red Sox kept the best record in baseball at 21-11 … The Sox are on a six-game home winning streak, their longest since a nine-game stretch in 2011 … Dempster has allowed two or fewer runs in four of his last five starts. He was 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Twins last year for the Cubs … This will be Scott Diamond's first appearance against the Sox.

Song of the day: "Carry On" by Fun.

Farrell: Tazawa is latest Sox closer

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 7, 2013 01:28 PM

Red Sox manager John Farrell told MLB Network Radio that Junichi Tazawa would be the closer now that Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan are injured. Koji Uehara would remain as a set-up man.

"I think what we’d love to do is close Tazawa. We’d keep Koji in that eighth inning role that he’s been in," Farrell said. "Fortunately we do have some depth to turn to internally and we know that we’ve got to get through these next couple of days to kinda regroup. ... So we’re kind of breathing a little thin ice down there right now and just trying to manage the best we can to get through these next couple of days to regroup.”

Bailey was placed on the disabled list on Monday retroactive to April 29 with a biceps strain. Hanrahan then left Monday's game with what was described as forearm tightness.

No move has been announced with Hanrahan. But a return to the disabled list seems likely given how beat up the Red Sox bullpen is.

Clayton Mortensen will need a few days off after throwing 62 pitches the last two days. The Sox also have Felix Doubront starting Wednesday and John Lackey on Thursday, two starters unlikely to go deep into games. For Lackey, it's a matter of it being only his fourth start of the season. For Doubront, it's an issue of performance.

The only available relievers on the 40-man roster are Alfredo Aceves and Daniel Bard, although Steven Wright is a possibility. Aceves has not pitched since Thursday, when he went six innings.

Tazawa has one career save. But the 26-year-old would seem better suited for the physical demands of closing than Uehara, 38. Farrell has been saying for months that the Sox would prefer to give Uehara at least one day off between appearances. Closing would make that difficult.

Tazawa has pitched extremely well all season, allowing 11 hits over 14.1 innings with three walks and 18 strikeouts.

"Tazawa has a little bit more fastball which, whether I’m siding to the traditional approach with a little bit more power late in the game, that’s there," Farrell said. "So, right now that’s the initial approach that we’d take to closing things out.”

Bailey would not seem to have a serious injury and is eligible to be activated on May 14. In theory, the Sox may only need Tazawa to close for 7-10 days. But given Bailey's extensive history of injuries, predicting his return is difficult.

Hanrahan was scheduled for an MRI today. He left the mound in the ninth and there was swelling in his arm along with the tightness. Farrell said there was no "popping" sensation, however. Forearm tightness is often a sign of an injury around the elbow.

Check back later for more on this.

Final: Red Sox 6, Twins 5 (11)

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff May 6, 2013 07:00 PM

Final: Red Sox 6, Twins 5, 11 innings Stephen Drew went 4 for 5, hit a solo homer and belted an RBI double to the base of the wall in left field in the bottom of the 11th to lift the Red Sox to a walk-off victory, 6-5, over the Minnesota Twins Monday night minutes before the clock struck midnight, bringing a merciful conclusion to a game that lasted 4 hours, 44 minutes.

The victory snapped the Red Sox three-game losing streak as Drew recorded his third walk-off hit of his career to deliver Boston its third walk-off victory of the season, making a winner of Clayton Mortensen (1-2), who pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and a pair of walks and one strikeout.

Top 11th: Twins 5, Red Sox 5 Clayton Mortensen submitted another yeoman's effort, holding it down for the Red Sox after allowing a two-out single to Eduardo Escobar. Mortensen stranded Escobar when he got Justin Morneau to fly to left.

UPDATE, 11:52 p.m.: Sox announce Joel Hanrahan left game with right forearm tightness.

Bottom 10th: Twins 5, Red Sox 5 Anthony Swarzak answered Mortensen with a 1-2-3 inning which including a pair of strikeouts of Dustin Pedroia and Mike Carp, both of whom went down swinging to send it to the 11th.

Ryan Dempster began warming up in the Sox bullpen.

Top 10th: Twins 5, Red Sox 5 Clayton Mortensen held it down for the Sox, walking a pair of batters, but stranding both when he induced Ryan Doumit to ground to first, where Mike Napoli made a diving stab and got to his feet to flip the ball to Mortensen for the inning-ending out.

Bottom 9th: Twins 5, Red Sox 5 We're going to extra innings. After Will Middlebrooks struck out swinging, Stephen Drew reached on a sharply-struck single to right.

Anthony Swarzak ended the threat when he got Jacoby Ellsbury to ground into a rally-killing, 4-6-3 double play. It marked the third extra-inning affair of the season for the Red Sox, who split their first two such games.

Top 9th: Twins 5, Red Sox 5 Brian Dozier belted a solo homer off Sox closer Joel Hanrahan to tie the game, 5-5. Dozier drove a 3-and-2 pitch into the Green Monster seats near left-center field. It was his first of the season.

After striking out Joe Mauer, then walking Josh Willingham, Hanrahan departed the game when he appeared to injure himself on a high first-pitch fastball to Justin Morneau, prompting manager John Farrell and a trainer to rush out to the mound.

With Andrew Bailey on the 15-day disabled list, and Hanrahan hors de combat, Clayton Mortensen was summoned to fill-in as the emergency replacement at closer. With two out and an inherited runner at first, Mortensen got out of the jam by getting Morneau to hit a slow roller that third baseman Will Middlebrooks barehanded and fired to first for a close play that resulted in an inning-ending ground out.

Bottom 8th, Red Sox 5, Twins 4 Dustin Pedroia put on a Laser Show with a towering leadoff solo homer off Casey Fein, giving the Sox a one-run lead. It was Pedroia's first homer of the season and first since he belted one on Sept. 11, 2012, in New York.

David Ortiz followed by ripping a double down the line to right off Anthony Swarzak, extending his hitting streak to 26 games. After Mike Napoli lined out to first, Pedro Ciriaco entered the game to pinch run for Ortiz.

Swarzak got out of the inning when he struck out Daniel Nava (looking) and Joe Maurer threw out Ciriaco as he attempted to steal third after Jarrod Saltalamacchia drew a walk.

Top 8th: Twins 4, Red Sox 4 Craig Brelow relieved Andrew Miller (.2 IP, 2 K) to start the eighth. He submitted a 1-2-3 inning with a flyout to right, a strikeout (swinging), and a deep flyball to center.

Joel Hanrahan came into the game to close it out in the ninth.

Bottom 7th: Twins 4, Red Sox 4 Stephen Drew greeted Twins reliever Casey Fien, who started the seventh in relief of Brian Duensing, by taking him yard with a one-out solo homer to right field, tying the game, 4-4.

It was Drew's second homer of the season after belting his first May 1 in a 10-1 romp at Toronto. Clay Buchholz, no doubt, pumped his fist at the sight of Drew's homer disappearing into front row of the right field bleachers. It allowed the righthander to remain unbeaten seven starts this season.

Top 7th: Twins 4, Red Sox 3 Alex Wilson, we barely knew ye. Wilson entered the seventh in relief of Clay Buchholz and gave up a single, a walk before striking out Josh Willingham and handing the baton to Andrew Miller.

With inherited runners on first and second, Miller came in and struck out Justin Morneau with an 86-m.p.h. slider and Chris Parmalee with an 85 slider to extinguish the threat. Craig Breslow, who was called up Monday from Pawtucket after Andrew Bailey (bicep) was placed on the 15-day disabled list, was summoned to begin warming up in the bullpen.

Bottom 6th: Twins 4, Red Sox 3 Vance Worley was done for the night after he gave up sharply struck singles to Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia, putting two men aboard for David Ortiz. It prompted Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to make a pitching change, bringing in Brian Duensing to face Big Papi.

Duensing got Ortiz to ground into a 3-6-1 double play which wiped out Pedroia at second and enabled Victorino to advance to third. Mike Napoli came up and laced an RBI single to right, scoring Victorino to pull the Sox within one run. Daniel Nava walked to put two men aboard for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who fanned on Duensing's 84-mile-per-hour slider.

Alex Wilson was summoned to replace Buchholz on the mound in the top of the 7th.

Top 6th: Twins 4, Red Sox 2 Buchholz retires the Twins in 1-2-3 fashion, needing only 12 pitches to do the job. It was likely Buchholz's last inning after he went six innings and allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks while ringing up nine strikeouts. He threw 116 pitches (78 strikes) over that stretch.

Bottom 5th: Twins 4, Red Sox 2 Daniel Nava led off with a towering double off the wall against Vance Worley, who struck out the next two batters he faced before giving up an RBI single to Stephen Drew, who knocked in Nava to pull the Sox within two runs.

After Jacoby Ellsbury hit a scorched single to center, Drew wound up getting thrown out at the plate on a relay from center fielder Aaron Hicks to short stop Pedro Florimon. Drew appeared to slide beneath catcher Joe Maurer, but home plate umpire Cory Blaser called Drew out.

Top 5th: Twins 4, Red Sox 1 Justin Morneau hit an RBI sacrifice fly to left, scoring Joe Mauer, who led off the inning with a ground-rule double to right-center. Buchholz retired the next two batters he faced, which was a good thing since his pitch count had climbed to 104 (69 strikes). He had thrown 42 pitches in the last two innings, and 62 in his first three combined.

Bottom 4th: Twins 3, Red Sox 1 Shane Victorino hit his first homer as a Red Sox -- and first at Fenway -- when he wrapped a 3-and-2 pitch from Worley around the Pesky Pole in right.

After Dustin Pedroia singled to center, David Ortiz grounded to the mound for a 1-6-3 double play. Worley atoned with his defense, though, fielding his position well when he nabbed a hard comebacker to the mound by Mike Napoli for the easy 1-to-3 putout.

Top 4th: Twins 3, Red Sox 0 Buccholz scuffled after striking out Trevor Plouffe to lead off the inning, giving up back-to-back doubles to Oswaldo Arcia and Aaron Hicks, who drove in Arcia with his drive to right, giving the Twins a 3-0 lead.

Buchholz got out of the inning by getting Pedro Florimon looking at a 94 fastball for a called third strike and inducing Brian Dozier to ground to short. Through four innings, Buchholz has thrown 86 pitches, 57 for strikes, and has allowed three runs on five hits and two walks while ringing up eight strikeouts.

Bottom 3d: Twins 2, Red Sox 0 The Sox threaten to push across a run when Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off with a Wall Ball double off Vance Worley. But Saltalamacchia wound up getting stranded at third when Worley got Will Middlebrooks to ground to short, Stephen Drew to strike out looking, and Jacoby Ellsbury to ground to short.

Top 3d: Twins 2, Red Sox 0 Clay Buchholz put down the Twins in 1-2-3 fashion, striking out Justin Morneau and Chris Parmalee to end the inning. Buchholz has retired eight in a row since walking Trevor Plouffe to load the bases in the first.

Bottom 2d: Twins 2, Red Sox 0 Sox are unable to muster any kind of response after Worley cobbled together another 1-2-3 inning.

Top 2d: Twins 2, Red Sox 0 Buchholz kept the Twins in check when he rang up back-to-back strikeouts of Pedro Florimon and Brian Dozier before getting Joe Mauer to ground to first for the inning-ending out.

Bottom 1st: Twins 2, Red Sox 0 Shane Victorino reaches on a one-out single to center, but Dustin Pedroia grounds into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. It was an easy, breezy inning for winless Vance Worley, who threw 11 pitches (seven for strikes).

Top 1st: Twins 2, Red Sox 0 After he induced Brian Dozier to fly out to center, Clay Buccholz gave up back-to-back Wall Ball doubles to Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham, who drove in Mauer. Justin Morneau hit an RBI single up the middle to drive in Willingham to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.

Buchholz continued to scuffle when he walked Chris Parmalee and Trevor Plouffe to load the bases for Oswaldo Arcia, who fanned on a 92-mile-per-hour fastball on a 3-and-2 pitch. Buchholz got out of the jam when he struck out Aaron Hicks on three pitches, punching him out with 89 cutter. Buchholz wound up throwing 36 pitches in that frame, including 23 for strikes.

Pregame Greetings from Fenway Park where the Red Sox (20-11) will host the Minnesota Twins (13-14) . The Sox will send undefeated righthhander Clay Buccholz (6-0, 1.01 ERA) to the mound to oppose winless righthander Vance Worley (0-4, 7.22) in an attempt to snap Boston's three-game losing skein.

As always, please feel free to post your comments here. Enjoy the game.

Bailey heads to DL; Breslow activated

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 6, 2013 03:32 PM

The Red Sox today placed closer Andrew Bailey on the 15-day disabled list and activated lefthander Craig Breslow.

Bailey has experienced soreness in his right biceps and had an MRI today. Bailey said the MRI showed inflammation but no structural damage, according to Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Joel Hanrahan will be the closer in his place, Farrell said.

Bailey was disappointed about going on the disabled list.

“Yeah, of course,” he said. “One of my personal goals, I’ve told you a thousand times, was to stay healthy. Obviously, a 15-day stint isn’t great, but it’s a little blip in the radar.

"Ultimately I’ll be back out there shortly, and we've still got a job to do, get to the playoffs and all that. So all of those goals stay the same. So for me it’s just getting that thing calmed down and I’ll be back out there.”

Farrell believes Bailey will miss about another week or so, since he is in his eighth day of shutting it down, and the DL assignment was backdated.

“Just shut it down, take care of the inflammation, do some work, extra work in the training room, just getting things moving properly," said Bailey. "I just kind of felt something on one pitch. Just thankful I didn't go out there and try and do something stupid or else I’d be out longer.”

Bailey is glad he had the MRI.

“Obviously as a player, that part of the body is very delicate, but I know now that it’s just a strain," he said. "I guess it's peace of mind but it's something that really happened and we’re just going to find out answers. It is what we thought it was and we’ll just go from there.

"For me it’s hopefully just a couple of days of rest and hopefully get back and start throwing. Not too far away, hopefully. I know they can backdate it and all that stuff, so hopefully it’s not too long."

Farrell said Breslow would be used in a variety of different ways.

"Not so much a specialist or a matchup," Farrell said. "Obviously he’s had some success against lefthanders, but he’s also been a guy that takes almost a starter’s approach, shorter outings, and that’s what’s allowed him to be successful against righthanders as well.

"One thing, we’ve got a fresh arm in our bullpen, which given a lot of the usage of Junichi [Tazawa] and Koji [Uehara], hopefully will take some of the workload and the pressure off those two guys, but it won’t be just a straight-up matchup situation."

Hanrahan feels he's back on track after a hamstring injury derailed him. The injury, he said, threw off his mechanics.

"When you feel a pinch and grab at the front and back of your delivery," it affects performance, he said.

Game 32: Twins at Red Sox

Posted by Robert Burgess May 6, 2013 03:26 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (20-11)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava LF
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Drew SS
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (6-0, 1.01 ERA)

TWINS (13-14)
Dozier 2B
Mauer C
Willingham LF
Morneau 1B
Parmelee RF
Plouffe 3B
Arcia DH
Hicks CF
Florimon SS

Pitching: RHP Vance Worley (0-4, 7.22 ERA)

Game time: 7:10 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN Plus/ WEEI.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox are coming off a sweep at the hands of Texas, including a 4-3 loss Sunday in which their batters match a season high with 16 strikeouts.

Notes: This will be the first time Buchholz gets the ball since an allegation of cheating clouded his last start against Toronto ... Buchholz can match the best start by a Boston pitcher since 2007 as he tries to become baseball's first seven-game winner in the opener of this four-game set ... Fenway is the last stop on a 10-game road trip that will match a season long for the Twins (13-14), who started their travels 1-4 before a 4-2 win at Cleveland Sunday ... David Ortiz owns a 25-game hitting streak dating back to last season and has recorded an extra-base hit in 11 of his 12 games this year, including his fourth homer Sunday ... Ortiz is also hitting .335 in 47 career games against Minnesota, his original team ... Twins first baseman Justin Morneau is batting .500 with four doubles over his last five games against the Red Sox and .342 for his career ... Worley won his only career start against Boston, allowing one run, five hits, and two walks over seven innings for Philadelphia on June 29, 2011.

Buchholz will be watched closely in start vs. Twins

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 6, 2013 01:46 PM

Lights, camera, action!

Clay Buchholz will know the extent of that phrase by the end of his outing against the Twins Monday night. According to a major league source, Buchholz will be watched closely by umpires, the MLB office, and by every network carrying the game and highlights of it.

Last week in Toronto, Buchholz was accused of doctoring the ball by two Blue Jays announcers. This will be his first start since those allegations.

MLB reviews every game, and it's evident that Buchholz's outing vs. the Blue Jays was reviewed as well. Considering that no action was taken against Buchholz in terms of a fine or suspension, it appears that those who watch these matters in the MLB office found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing.

Pitching matchups for the Twins series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 6, 2013 09:30 AM

Monday: RHP Vance Worley (0-4, 7.22) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (6-0, 1.01), 7:10 p.m., NESN Plus

Tuesday: LHP Scott Diamond (2-2, 3.97) vs. RHP Ryan Dempster (2-2, 3.00), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Wednesday: LHP Pedro Hernandez (1-0, 3.92) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (3-1, 5.67), 7:10 p.m., NESN Plus, ESPN

Thursday: RHP Kevin Correia (3-1, 2.23) vs. RHP John Lackey (1-1, 3.52), 7:10 p.m., NESN

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 6, 2013 08:29 AM

The Red Sox were swept by the Rangers over the weekend and now they're being tested.

Jon Lester was worn down by the Rangers in his last two innings. Julian Benbow has the story.

The notebook has Clay Buchholz taking a 6-0 record against the Twins.

A test failed, now how do the Sox respond?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 5, 2013 08:56 PM

ARLINGTON, Texas — Are the Red Sox actually a contending team or merely an improved team that had a good first month? We’re about to get a much clearer understanding of that.

The Red Sox faced a test over the weekend with three games against the Texas Rangers and failed. The Rangers won, 4-3, on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Adrian Beltre’s walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth sent the Sox back to Fenway Park to deal with their first real predicament of the season.

They arrived in Texas with the best record in the American League. They left having scored four runs. At 20-11, it's hardly a crisis. But the Sox had their swagger revoked by the Rangers.

Now comes a seven-game homestand starting Monday night against Minnesota.

“There’s no panic in here. We can play better and we know that,” said Mike Napoli, who was 1 for 10 against his former team. “You’re going to have your ups and downs during the year. We’ll get out there tomorrow and get after it and let this series go. We’ll respond.”

A few notes, quotes, and observations:

• With Andrew Bailey unavailable because of a sore bicep, the Red Sox were a man short in the bullpen. Long reliever Clayton Mortensen started the ninth inning as John Farrell kept closer Joel Hanrahan back for extra innings.

With two outs, Elvis Andrus singled. He advanced on a wild pitch when Mortensen threw a changeup in the dirt to Lance Berkman.

Mortensen was trying to throw the pitch low so that Berkman would swing over it. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who entered the game after David Ross was pinch run for in the top of the inning, let it bounce away.

Red Sox pitchers have been charged with 12 wild pitches in the 169 innings Saltalamacchia has caught and three in the 105 innings caught by Ross, who is a strong defensive catcher.

The Sox intentionally walked Berkman to set up a force play at any base. Farrell also preferred the righthanded Mortensen to face the righthanded hitting Beltre.

Mortensen, throwing all sliders, got ahead 1-and-2. His fourth pitch was down but stayed over the plate and Beltre lined into right field.

“Threw him some good pitches,” Mortensen said. “Had a pretty good slider down and he stayed on it.”

• The Sox were 18 of 96 (.188) in the series, 1 for 16 with runners in scoring position. Texas leads the league with a 3.02 earned run average. “We knew this would be a tough series as well as they have pitched all year and the way their team is built,” Farrell said.

• Yu Darvish is pretty fun to watch pitch. He was down 3-0 after home runs by David Ortiz and Ross in the first two innings. Darvish allowed one other hit and struck out nine of the final 13 batters he faced.

Darvish threw pitches from across the spectrum of possibilities. There was a 53 mile-per-hour curveball to Napoli followed by a 95 mile-per-hour fastball. Darvish threw five different pitches for strikes over the course of the game.

“He’s capable of throwing breaking pitches hard or soft for strikes. He had no clue about what his fastball was doing,” Ortiz said. “He can throw his off-speed pitches for a strike a lot. He’s got good command of a slider, two different breaking balls.”

Darvish threw 127 pitches, his most since joining the Rangers from Japan last season. He leads the majors with 72 strikeouts and has already had two games with 14. The last American League pitchers with multiple games of 14 or more strikeouts in a season were Pedro Martinez (three times) and Mike Mussina (twice) in 2000.

• Ortiz’s home run in the first inning extended his hitting streak to 25 games. He is hitting .438 (39 of 89) with 10 doubles, 6 home runsm and 23 RBIs in that stretch.

Ortiz has reached base safely in 33 consecutive games, the longest streak of his career. It’s the longest such streak for a Red Sox player since Dustin Pedroia reached in 37 straight games during the 2011 season.

Ortiz is hitting .440 (22 for 50) with a .473 on-base percentage and a .840 slugging percentage in the 13 games he has played this season since coming off the disabled list. He has 12 extra-base hits, 17 RBIs, and 11 runs.

• Ross gave the Red Sox a 3-0 lead with a deep blast to left field in the second inning. The ball landed in the club level, the third deck of the stadium.

Only 18 home runs have reached that level since Rangers Ballpark opened in 1994 — four by opposing players. Ross joined Mark McGwire (1997), Evan Longoria (2008), and Mark Trumbo (2012) on the list.

“Not many people are as good as I am,” Ross deadpanned. “Close my eyes and swing hard, that’s my approach.”

The truth?

“He threw me a good slider and I didn’t see it real well. I told myself to slow down,” Ross said. “I felt well-connected the next one.”

It was only the second time in 36 career starts Darvish allowed two home runs in a game.

Final: Rangers 4, Red Sox 3

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 5, 2013 03:00 PM

darvish3.jpg

With Red Sox ace Jon Lester and Rangers phenomenon Yu Darvish expecting to get into a pitching prizefight, both teams knew runs would be at a premium.

In the final frame, the Rangers were able to put together a two-out rally to win it.

With runners on first and second, Adrian Beltre belted a single to right that scored Elvis Andrus and gave the Rangers a 4-3 win that completed the series sweep of the Sox.

The pitcher's duel lived up the the billing.

For the second time this season, Darvish struck out 14 batters. Using his entire arsenal, he completely blew by his previous career-high of 123 pitches (set last year at Fenway). He fanned everyone in the Red Sox lineup at least once except for Jacoby Ellsbury. Outfielder Mike Carp was a three-time strikeout victim.

After giving up a two-run home run in the first inning to to David Ortiz (who flipped his bat dismissively as he admired his work) and a solo shot in the second to David Ross (four or Ross’s 9 hits are homers), Darvish seemed to get strong the more pitches he threw.

It worked the other way around for Lester.

For most of the afternoon, Lester was typically steady. He was the picture of efficiency through his first four innings, throwing just 55 pitches and facing just three batters over the minimum. Keeping the Rangers quiet outside of a solo Mitch Moreland homer in the second.

But he labored in his final two frames, throwing 60 pitches over the course of the fifth and sixth innings. By the time he ran into Nelson Cruz in the sixth, Lester had thrown 99 pitches. With a runner on, Cruz shot his 100th to the batter’s eye in center field to even things up.

With the win the Rangers evened up with the Sox for the best record in baseball. The Sox, though, have been at least tied for first place every day of the season so far.

FULL ENTRY

Bailey set for an MRI on Monday in Boston

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 5, 2013 01:02 PM

ARLINGTON, Texas — It's a beautiful morning here in Texas. A few notes for you:

• RHP Andrew Bailey (bicep) will get an MRI in Boston on Monday morning. "As much to give him some peace of mind with what he's dealing with," manager John Farrell said. "It's in that last 10 percent of intensity when he feel some of the symptoms that's going through.

"For our own information and his peace of mind, we've got to get that looked at."

Bailey will not pitch today and that will make seven consecutive days he has not been used. The Red Sox could retroactively place him on the 15-day disabled list and he would miss only eight more days.

"Tomorrow we'll probably have more information on that," Farrell said.

• If Bailey were to go on the DL, activating LHP Craig Breslow would seem like the obvious move. Farrell said the Sox have not yet decided whether to activate Breslow. He has been on the disabled list all season recovering from shoulder soreness. Breslow's last few minor league outings have been solid.

"The way Craig feels coming out of [Saturday's] game, the number of appearances that he's had, we're getting closer to that for sure," Farrell said.

• 3B Will Middlebrooks is just getting a day off. "We planned on this road trip to try to rotate some guys through, get some guys off their feet," Farrell said. "Today is that day for Will."

Middlebrooks is hitting .159 (14 of 88) in his last 23 games with 30 strikeouts and only six RBIs. He made three errors in the last two games.

Middlebrooks has been chasing balls out of the strike zone. He also isn't getting much in return when he does make contact (a .222 batting average on balls in play). There is frustration but also a sense of determination.

"I've had these kind of periods before," Middlebrooks said Saturday night. "I'm not going to do anything crazy. I need to stick to my routine and work hard. I'll get there."

The Red Sox do not have another third baseman who is better at this point and will give Middlebrooks a long leash to get out of his slump. Third base is not a deep position in the organization, particularly at the higher levels.

• RF Shane Victorino is getting a day because the Red Sox want to be cautious with his back injury. "Planned day down. He feels fine physically," Farrell said. "Coming back from what he's been dealing with, didn't want to run him out there for too many consecutive days."

• RHPs Junichi Tazawa (15 games) and Koji Uehara (14 games) are among the league leaders in appearances. It's something the Red Sox need to keep an eye on, Farrell acknowledged.

Uehara, who is 38, appeared in 37 games in 2012 and only 22 in 2011 because of injuries.

"We've got to be careful of certain guys," Farrell said. "Innings by starters are key."

• The Red Sox don't have a day off until May 13, so skipping LHP Felix Doubront isn't really an option unless some sort of roster move is made. He has been working on ways to improve his arm strength with pitching coach Juan Nieves.

"There's been a little bit more emphasis on the long toss in terms of the intensity. Can't say that we're going to ramp up the volume of it much more," Farrell said. "We're trying to stay consistent with the work."

Doubront had a big spike in innings last season but Farrell doesn't feel that's an issue. If anything, he said, that should have made Doubront stronger.

"A guy that's of his age, you would think that would be a stepping stone into a similar type of performance and a further increase in innings," Farrell said.

Doubront did arrive at spring training in poor shape. Whatever offseason program he had was not an effective one.

"I can't say no to that," Farrell said when asked if that might be an issue. "But the one thing that's a little puzzling is that in spring training, when he got back up to game speed, there was good power to the fastball. Whether or not this is the effects of innings starting to mount and maybe the recovery time isn't there, that's probably more speculation."

Farrell said, as he did on Friday, that Doubront does not have any sort of injury.

Game 31: Red Sox at Rangers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 5, 2013 11:00 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (20-10)
Ellsbury CF
Nava RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Carp LF
Ross C
Drew SS
Ciriaco 3B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (4-0, 3.11).

RANGERS (19-11)
Kinsler 2B
Andrus SS
Berkman DH
Beltre 3B
Cruz RF
Pierzynski C
Baker lLF
Moreland 1B
Gentry CF
Pitching: vs. RHP Yu Darvish (5-1, 2.33).

Game time: 3:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Darvish: Caro 0-4, Ellsbury 2-4, Middlebrooks 0-3, Pedroia 3-4, Saltalamacchia 0-3.

Rangers vs. Lester: Kinsler 5-23, Andrus 5-19, Beltre 6-19, Cruz 9-17, Pierzynski 4-13, Murphy 3-11, Baker 6-7, Berkman 0-3, Soto 1-3, Gentry 1-1.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox committed two errors in their first 15 games. They have 11 in 15 games since. Middlebrooks has three in the last two games.

Notes: The Sox have lost two straight. They have yet to lose three in a row this season ... Lester is 3-3, 4.57 in 10 starts against the Rangers in his career. But he is 0-3, 11.42 in his last three, allowing 16 earned runs on 20 hits and seven walks over 14 innings. Four of the hits were home runs ... Darvish has faced the Sox once, last Aug. 6. He allowed six runs on 11 hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings and struck out nine ... Ortiz has hit safely in all 12 games he has played this season and 24 straight going back to last season. That is the longest active streak in the game and the longest of his career ... The Sox have scored one run in their last 21 innings ... The Sox are 13 of 64 (.203) in this series with two extra-base hits.

Song of the Day: "Ain't Got You" by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 5, 2013 10:56 AM

The Red Sox have hit a lull in back-to-back losses in Texas.

Jon Lester faces Yu Darvish today as aces collide. Julian Benbow has a preview.

For John Lackey, it was was another tough loss in Texas. Julian has that story, too.

The notebook has Andrew Bailey experiencing a setback.

In the Sunday Baseball Notes, Nick Cafardo takes a closer look at the cheating allegations made about Clay Buchholz.

Kevin Paul Dupont is all atwitter with some sports thoughts.

Pedroia: 'Everything is going to be OK'

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 5, 2013 12:28 AM

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Red Sox were trailing the Texas Rangers by two runs in the seventh inning on Saturday night. But they had runners at second and third and Dustin Pedroia at the plate.

Pedroia grounded a ball into the hole at first base. First baseman Mitch Moreland ranged over to make the play and fed pitcher Tanner Scheppers for the final out of the inning.

The Sox went on to lose, 5-1, before a sellout crowd of 47,173 at Rangers Ballpark. They have scored one run on 13 hits in the last two games.

For the first time all season, the team with the best record in baseball is wobbling.

Pedroia is hitless in his last 14 at-bats and has six extra-base hits all season. The Red Sox are the only team in the American League without a home run out of the No. 3 position in the order.

“I’m OK. Good hitters gets hits, man,” said Pedroia, who has hit third in every game. “We’ll be all right.”

The Rangers have the lowest earned run average in the league at 3.02. They have shown why against the Sox. A night after they were shut out by Derek Holland and Derek Lowe, the Sox had seven hits against Alexi Ogando (3-2) and three relievers.

Now the Sox face Texas ace Yu Darvish on Sunday. But Pedroia wasn’t buying into the idea that the Sox should be concerned.

“It’s a couple of games. We’ll be all right. Everything is going to be OK. Calm the you-know-what down, OK?” he said.

Texas is not a treat for the Sox. They are 6-15 at Rangers Ballpark over the last five seasons, 2-8 in the last two years.

Red Sox will get Bailey examined on Monday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 5, 2013 12:18 AM

ARLINGTON, Texas — Red Sox manager John Farrell said before batting practice on Saturday that Andrew Bailey would be available for the game. That changed an hour later after Bailey did some throwing.

The righthander felt continued discomfort in his bicep and was not cleared to pitch. A team doctor will examine Bailey on Monday in Boston. He has not pitched since last Sunday.

Bailey was concerned that after feeling good on Friday, there was more discomfort.

“I went out, and played catch normally and I guess it's not ready yet," Bailey said after a 5-1 loss against the Rangers. "I'm very frustrated, got a lot of different notions. Just have to wake up tomorrow and see how it goes.

“Yesterday it was good, and we wanted to give it another day to make sure and today, it just wasn't ready."

Farrell and GM Ben Cherington do not believe that Bailey re-injured his arm.

“It wasn’t maybe as improved as we had hoped,” Farrell said. “We determined he wasn’t going to be available just to give it another day of rest.”

Final: Rangers 5, Red Sox 1

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 4, 2013 08:00 PM

Lackey.jpg

In all the years that John Lackey’s come to Arlington, the Rangers have never been the greatest hosts. From the moment Ian Kinsler smacked Lackey’s first pitch of the night over the fence in left field, it was obvious things wouldn’t be much different this time around. Lackey went gave up three runs on three hits and four walks, never getting a chance to get remotely comfortable in a 5-1 Red Sox loss.

Mitch Moreland and Craig Gentry both went 2 for 4. Gentry’s two-run home run in the eight gave was insurance as the Rangers pulled off back-to-back wins In two games the Rangers have outhit the Red Sox 28-13.

With the win, the Rangers are a game back for the best record in the majors.

FULL ENTRY

Andrew Bailey not cleared to pitch

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 4, 2013 06:31 PM

ARLINGTON, Texas — Red Sox manager John Farrell said before batting practice that Andrew Bailey was available tonight. But that changed after Bailey went through his pre-game routine and still felt sore.

Bailey has not pitched since Sunday because of a sore bicep.

GM Ben Cherington said that Bailey did not re-injure himself. It's lingering soreness.

Farrell was non-committal when asked whether tefthanded reliever Craig Breslow would be activated on Monday. Breslow pitched a perfect inning for Triple A Pawtucket against Durham. He struck out one and threw nine pitches, six for strikes.

“Getting closer,” Farrell said. “Certainly we’ll review that internally and determine if that’s when we return immediately on the homestand or if there’s a need for an additional [rehab] appearance. But the most important thing is with each outing he’s gotten more crisp with all his pitches and moving in the right direction.”

The Red Sox have been operating with one lefty reliever, Andrew Miller, all season. The return of Breslow will allow Farrell to matchup earlier in games.

The Sox like what they have seen from rookie righthander Alex Wilson in eight appearances (9.1 IP, 2 ER) but he would probably he optioned to make room for Breslow when the time comes.

Also:

• Infielder Pedro Ciriaco, who plays second base, third base and shortstop, was working on the field at first base with coaches Brian Butterfield and Torey Lovullo before the game. The Sox are getting him ready in the event of an extra-inning game.

• The fourth annual Run-Walk To Home Base raised $1.8 million on Saturday for the clinical care of veterans and their families at Massachusetts General Hospital. The event started and ended at Fenway Park.

NESN's Tom Caron covered the nine-kilometer course in 48:56. Jenny Dell finished in 56:19.

Game 30: Red Sox at Rangers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 4, 2013 03:45 PM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (20-9)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava LF
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Drew SS
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (1-1, 2.61).

RANGERS (18-11)
Kinsler 2B
Andrus SS
Berkman DH
Beltre 3B
Pierzynski C
Cruz RF
Moreland 1B
Gentry CF
Martin LF
Pitching: RHP Alexi Ogando (2-2, 3.38).

Game time: 8:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN Plus / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Ogando: Ellsbury 0-5, Ortiz 1-4, Carp 1-4, Napoli 0-4, Pedroia 0-4, Drew 2-3, Gomes 0-2, Salty 1-2, Ciriaco 0-1, Nava 0-0, BB.

Rangers vs. Lackey: Beltre 11-56, Pierzynski 10-46, Kinsler 14-32, Cruz 6-24, Andrus 4-22, Murphy 7-16, Moreland 2-7, Berkman 1-3, Gentry 0-1.

Stat of the Day: This will be Lackey's 37th career start against Texas, his most against any team. Other than Angel Stadium (114) and Fenway Park (45), he has pitched more games at Rangers Ballpark (18) than any other stadium. Lackey was born 165 miles from Rangers Ballpark in Abilene.

Notes: The Sox looked a step behind on Friday night after traveling from Toronto and were beaten, 7-0. They'll try again tonight with Lackey making his third start. ... Lackey is 12-14, 6.16 against Texas in his career, 7-6, 6.68 at Rangers Ballpark. ... Lackey has pitched very well in two starts this season (10.1 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 12 K). ... Ogando is 1-2, 5.11 in eight career appearances against the Sox, one of them a start in 2011 when he got hit hard (4 IP, 4 ER, 4 HR). ... The Sox have lost seven of their last nine games against Texas. ... Ortiz has hit safely in all 11 games he has played this season and 23 straight going back to last season.

Song of the Day: "Indian Cowboy" by The Flatlanders.

Breslow rehab update: perfect inning today

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 4, 2013 03:29 PM

ARLINGTON, Texas — Lefthanded reliever Craig Breslow pitched a perfect inning for Triple A Pawtucket this afternoon against Durham. He struck out one and threw nine pitches, six for strikes.

Breslow, who is on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, has now appeared in five minor league games and thrown 3 2/3 innings. After a couple of rocky outings, he has improved in his last two.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said earlier this week that Breslow would be evaluated after his appearance over the weekend. If he is ready, Breslow could join the Red Sox on Monday and give the team a second lefty in the bullpen.

Check back for an update later once we speak to Farrell.

David Ortiz and the hitting streak of 10 months

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 4, 2013 03:20 PM

ARLINGTON, Texas — David Ortiz has gotten a hit in every game he has played since July 2, 2012.

His 23-game hit streak, a personal best, has spanned 305 days. It's the second longest streak of at least 20 games (in terms of the calendar) since 1900 according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The longest streak was 21 games by Nomar Garciaparra from Sept. 10, 2000 to July 29, 2001. That was 322 days.

Doubront in search of his lost fastball

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 4, 2013 12:47 AM

ARLINGTON, Texas — Felix Doubront consistently threw his fastball 92-93 m.p.h. last season with occasional flashes of 96. The velocity helped make his curveball more effective and stamped the lefthander as a starter the Red Sox could rely on.

After only five starts this season, it’s evident that something is wrong with Doubront. He says it’s not an injury, which may actually be bad news. At least then the Red Sox would know how to proceed.

Doubront didn’t get through four innings against the Texas Rangers Friday night in a game the Red Sox lost, 7-0. The 12 hits he allowed were the most of his career. Doubront was charged with six of the runs.

When Doubront reached back to put something extra on a pitch, his body betrayed him. His best fastballs hit 91. Far more were 88-89. Seven of the nine Texas starters had hits against Doubront.

Half of the hits Doubront gave up came on two-strike counts. He could not put hitters away.

“You want a little bit more velocity and it’s not there,” Doubront said. “Sometimes I find I don’t have that power to get the swing and miss and go in hard with the hitters.”

Doubront insisted it’s not a physical issue.

“It’s weird, man. It’s nothing that’s bothering me,” he said. “It’s so weird. I can’t explain it.”

It may not be that much of a mystery. Doubront threw 161 innings last season, 73.1 more than he did in 2011. The 25-year-old then reported to spring training out of shape and had his first start delayed.

It’s not atypical for young pitchers who dramatically increase their innings to pay for it a year later. That combined with a lack of offseason conditioning work could account for the dip.

Sox manager John Farrell acknowledged that Doubront’s fading velocity is a concern.

“Physically he doesn’t express any restrictions or any tightness, any soreness,” Farrell said. “When he tries to get his better velocity, that’s when he starts to really lose command.”

Farrell said Doubront lacks the arm speed he once had.

“You really tell it on his curveball. The curveball gets kind of big and loopy and lacks the consistent shape to it, as well as the finish to his fastball,” Farrell said. “We continue to search.”

Farrell said Doubront is doing the expected work between starts. But Doubront suggested he might try more arm-strengthening exercises, such as throwing longer distances, to try to get his fastball back.

“I know it’s pretty much down like 5 miles per hour,” Doubront said. “I have to do something about that. Start working, playing catch, long toss. Do something about it.”

If he can't, the question becomes whether Doubront can pitch effectively with less zip.

If not, the Red Sox have Allen Webster waiting in Pawtucket. The righthander allowed one run on two hits over six innings against Durham Friday night. He struck out nine without a walk.

Final: Rangers 7, Red Sox 0

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 3, 2013 08:07 PM

Beltre.jpg

ARLINGTON, Texas -- All the trouble that Red Sox starter Felix Doubront got himself into over the course of his 3.2 innings against the Texas Rangers seemed to come with two outs. Eventually, in a five-run fourth inning that all but buried the Sox, it caught up him.

In his shortest outing of the season, Doubront allowed six runs on 12 hits and the Sox were hammered 7-0. Fueled by Adrian Beltre’s four-hit night, three-RBI night, the Rangers bounced back after dropping two of the first three-games on their six-game home stand.

Going to his slider whenever he needed a strikeouts, Derek Holland had the Sox on a string, fanning nine socks in eight shutout innings.

FULL ENTRY

Mike Napoli is thriving as he returns to Texas

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff May 3, 2013 08:00 PM

NapoliRangers.jpg

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The funny, familiar feeling that came over Mike Napoli Thursday in Toronto when he picked up some catcher’s equipment and went to warm up starting pitcher Ryan Dempster was actually excitement.

It had been so long since he was behind the plate that he nearly forgot how fond he was of it.

“I squatted down, I was catching, and everyone was looking at me like, 'Hey!' " said Napoli. “I looked at them and was like, 'Nah, let's not get too excited about that.’ ”

This is the first time in Napoli’s eight-year career that he isn't playing the majority of his games at catcher. He caught at least 60 games each of the previous seven summers. This season, he has played almost strictly first base (25 games) with the occasional cameo as a designated hitter (three games).

The switch was part of the reason Napoli signed with the Red Sox in late January. With a degenerative condition, avascular necrosis, present in both hips, it would be difficult for him to spend every night in a nine-inning crouch. When the decision came down to staying in Texas, where he hit .320 with 30 home runs in 2011, or coming to Boston, he made the choice based on health and longevity.

“Just the opportunity here to play first every day, not being behind the plate,” Napoli said. “Still wasn't sure how my hips were going to respond. I thought it was the best fit for me, my career, health-wise. Everything's worked out, my hip's been fine.”

The season he is having is a testament to that. His 31 RBIs and 22 extra-base hits are both major league highs. His six home runs have traveled nearly a half-mile. He set a club record for the month of April with 13 doubles.

“I just try to grind it out and do the little things,” Napoli said.

Back in Texas for the first time, Napoli exchanged the obvious pleasantries with former teammates during batting practice and reminisced about his two years here, saying they allowed him to come into his own as a ballplayer after five seasons with the Los Angeles Angels.

“They were important,” Napoli said. “I came over here and just how it was in the clubhouse, my personality, I could really … get out here and be myself and be the player I could be.

"Not taking anything away from Anaheim, it's just it was different there than it was over here in Texas. It was awesome for me. It helped out my career. I got to play a lot more and I did good things.”

The chemistry in this year’s Red Sox clubhouse is part of the reason the team is off to a 20-8 start -- best record in the majors -- and Napoli said it has helped him excel as well.

“We all are here for each other, we play for each other, we want to do good for each other,” Napoli said. “So you get nine guys out there playing for each other, good things are going to happen.”

Andrew Bailey making progress

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 3, 2013 06:27 PM

ARLINGTON, Texas — Andrew Bailey, who was unavailable Thursday because of a sore biceps, is available in an emergency tonight for the Red Sox.

Bailey played catch this afternoon and threw some pitches from flat ground.

"Each and every day it's feeling better," said Bailey, who first felt something on Sunday and hasn't appeared in a game since. "It's a positive sign we have it going in the right direction.

"We're doing the right thing by being smart and not trying to push it so early on. That way take a day or two. Better than taking a long time later on."

Red Sox manager John Farrell was very pleased with the development.

"He's much improved over yesterday and the last couple of days," said Farrell. "He would be available in kind of an emergency situation. Ideally we can give him another day to stay away from him. Good news nonetheless."

Joel Hanrahan, who closed the game Thursday in Toronto, said he feels fine and is ready to go tonight if needed. He came off the disabled list Tuesday after missing 16 days with a strained right hamstring.

Also:

• Shane Victorino is back after missing seven games with a strained lower back.

"It's good to have Shane back on the field," Farrell said. "He's done such a good job, not only in the 2 hole but defensively. He gives some speed at the top of the order."

Farrell said the Red Sox do not intend to play Victorino every day now that he is back. They want to make sure the injury will not flare up again. But he has no physical restrictions in terms of stealing bases, switch hitting, etc.

• With the Red Sox facing their third lefty in a row, Stephen Drew is on the bench and Pedro Ciriaco is getting a chance to start. Farrell said he would be looking to give other regulars a day off in the days to come. The Sox do not have another off day until May 13.

• Mike Napoli warmed up Ryan Dempster between innings at one point Thursday. It was the first catching he's done all season. "Like riding a bike," he said.

Napoli was a catcher for the Rangers the last two seasons. One reason he signed with the Red Sox was the chance to play more first base because he felt that would improve his offensive statistics.

• Farrell remains more bemused than angry at the cheating accusations hurled at Clay Buchholz by two Toronto broadcasters. In that vein, nice sentiments from Tampa Bay ace David Price, even if his spelling needs work:

pricetweet.jpg

Game 29: Red Sox at Rangers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 3, 2013 03:30 PM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (20-8)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Middlebrooks 3B
Saltalamacchia C
Ciriaco SS
Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (3-0, 4.24).

RANGERS (17-11)
Kinsler 2B
Andrus SS
Berkman DH
Beltre 3B
Cruz RF
Pierzynski C
Baker LF
Moreland 1B
Gentry CF
Pitching: LHP Derek Holland (1-2, 3.38).

Game time: 8:05 p.m.

TV/radio: NESN, MLB Network / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Holland: Ellsbury 3-11, Pedroia 2-14, Ortiz 2-8, Napoli 3-6, Carp 1-4, Gomes 0-5, Ciriaco 2-4, Drew 1-3, Middlebrooks 2-3.

Rangers vs. Doubront: Andrus 1-6, Kinsler 3-5, Cruz 2-4, Pierzynski 1-4, Beltre 1-3, Murphy 0-2, Gentry 1-2, Moreland 1-2, Berkman 0-1.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 12-25 against the Rangers the last four seasons, 6-13 at Rangers Ballpark.

Notes: The Sox have won two straight and 8 of 10. They have the best record in baseball ... The Sox are second in the AL with 148 runs (the Athletics have 162) and third in runs allowed with 99 (the Rangers have allowed 94 and the Royals 98) ... Doubront is 0-2, 10.32, in five career appearances against Texas, two of them starts. He faced the Rangers once last season, on July 23, and allowed six runs over five innings ... Holland is 4-1, 3.00, in five starts against the Sox, 2-0, 3.07, in two last season ... Three Red Sox — Ryan Dempster, Mike Napoli, and Koji Uehara — played for the Rangers last season ... Shane Victorino missed the last seven games with a lower back injury and nine of the last 12 ... David Ortiz has hit safely in all 10 games he has played this season at 19 for 39 with 10 extra-base hits and 15 RBIs. He has a 22-game hitting streak dating back to last season ... The Sox are 9-3 on the road.

Song of the Day: "Dallas" by Joe Ely.

Pitching matchups for the Rangers series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 3, 2013 09:15 AM

Friday: LHP Felix Doubront (3-0, 4.24) vs. LHP Derek Holland (1-2, 3.38), 8:05 p.m., NESN, MLB Network.

Saturday: RHP John Lackey (1-1, 2.61) vs. RHP Alexi Ogando (2-2, 3.38), 8:05 p.m., NESN Plus.

Sunday: LHP Jon Lester (4-0, 3.11) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (5-1, 2.33), 3:05 p.m., NESN.

Greetings from Gate A-17

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 3, 2013 05:54 AM

TORONTO — Good morning from the Mats Sundin International Airport. We're waiting for a flight to Dallas and the next stop on the Red Sox road trip.

It was 43 degrees at first pitch at Rangers Ballpark on Thursday night. The decision to pack short-sleeved shirts is starting to look like a bad one.

It was quite a wild night at the ballpark on Wednesday as the broadcasters of the respective teams faced off like the Jets and the Sharks. Jack Morris and Dirk Hayhurst of the Blue Jays said that Clay Buchholz was cheating. Then they accused Junichi Tazawa of the same thing.

In Toronto, Jerry Remy defended the Sox. Then Dennis Eckersley went high cheese on Morris from the NESN studios in Watertown. Gotta love Eck.

I don't know enough about how to throw a baseball to tell you whether Buchholz is cheating. I do know that he needs humidity to get a grip on his off-speed pitches and is always dumping water on himself. That is not cheating, however.

Buchholz is 6-0, 1.01 and people who haven't followed him over the years — like Morris — could be suspicious of that. But Buchholz has always had good stuff. It's consistency and health that have been his biggest issues. Nobody on the Sox has more natural talent than he does.

That Tazawa could be cheating is beyond silly. As Jon Lester mentioned to me last night, pitchers of his generation have no idea how to use a scuff on a ball to their advantage.

"I always throw them back," Lester said. "I'd be afraid to try and do something with it because I have no idea where it would go."

I think a lot of this comes from the anti-Red Sox, anti-John Farrell sentiment in Toronto. Mix in how terrible the Jays are this season and accusing a Red Sox player of cheating plays well with the audience.

If the Sox were in last place and the Jays in first, none of this comes up.

Anyway, time to get on the plane. Catch you from Dallas.

Oh, and if you're ever in Toronto and flying back to the States in the morning, give yourself time. It was 90 minutes from walking in the airport to getting to the gate. And that was with getting here at 4:45 a.m.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 3, 2013 04:25 AM

The Red Sox beat the Blue Jays again as the roles have been reversed in the American League East.

Nick Cafardo writes that Clay Buchholz had to defend himself against allegations of cheating.

The notebook has shortstop Stephen Drew getting his timing down. Shane Victorino is ready to return, too.

The minor league notebook has Sean Coyle and Garin Cecchini at the start of what they hope is a long relationship. Julian Benbow has the story.

This time, Hanrahan replaces Bailey

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 3, 2013 12:15 AM

TORONTO — Joel Hanrahan pitched the ninth inning for his fourth save Thursday night. It was the 100th of his career.

Hanrahan allowed a leadoff single before disposing of the Jays on seven pitches. He hit 97 miles per hour with his fastball and ended the game with a double play.

“It’s nice to finally feel like a part of it again,” said Hanrahan, who pitched for the second time since coming off the disabled list.

Andrew Bailey, who became the closer when Hanrahan was out with a strained hamstring, was not available because of a sore bicep. He felt pain during his last outing on Sunday and again when threw in the bullpen on Wednesday.

“We’re not going to take any chances with that, particularly with Joel being back healthy,” Farrell said.

Bailey doesn’t believe the injury is serious.

“Felt a little something the last time I pitched,” he said. “We’re just being very [cautious] with it.”

Said Hanrahan: “We’re a better team when both of us are healthy. Whatever they’re going to go, they’re going to do. That’s not really up to us. Our goal is to go out there and get people out.”

Dempster enjoys return to Canada

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 3, 2013 12:10 AM

TORONTO — Ryan Dempster, a native of British Columbia, pitched in Toronto for the first time in his 16-year career. He last pitched in Canada in 2002 when he started the first game of the season for Florida at Montreal.

“I always enjoying pitching back here,” Dempster said after going six strong innings in a 3-1 Red Sox win. “Coming home and pitching in your country is always a fun thing."

Rogers Centre was the 41st major league stadium Dempster has pitched in and he liked it just fine, allowing one run on four hits over six innings to improve to 2-2. He is 6-0 in nine career appearances in Canada.

“I’m looking for more expansion teams in Canada,” Dempster said. “That’s kind of the goal. Maybe Vancouver will get a team.”

Dempster’s night didn’t start well. Toronto’s leadoff hitter, Brett Lawrie, hit a fastball over the fence in left field for his third home run.

With the Red Sox up, 2-1, in the third inning, Dempster walked the bases loaded with one out. That prompted a visit to the mound by pitching coach Juan Nieves.

Dempster fell behind the dangerous Edwin Encarnacion, 2-and-0. The power hitter was impatient and swung at the next pitch, a slider off the outside corner. That produced exactly what Dempster needed, a double play to end the inning.

“He finds a way to navigate through those situations,” John Farrell said.

The Blue Jays didn’t advance another runner into scoring position against Dempster as he retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced including the final seven in a row.

Final: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 2, 2013 07:15 PM

Game over: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1: The Red Sox took two out of three against the Blue Jays. Surprisingly, Joel Hanrahan came on to earn the save. Andrew Bailey was tabbed by John Farrell as the closer upon Hanrahan's return, but Hanrahan got the nod tonight and earned the save, his fourth. Ryan Dempster (2-2) got the win pitching six innings and allowing one run. The game was played in 3:22 before 25,851.

Top 9th: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1 - Dustin Pedroia reached on an error, but a double-play grounder by Mike Napoili wiped it out. Daniel Nava walked. But Will Middlebrooks fouled out to first base.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1 - Edwin Encarnacion singled but that was all as Koji Uehara came on to get the Jays out.

Top 8th: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1 - The Red Sox haven't been able to get much out of the Jays pen. David Ross took a walk, but that was all.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1 - The Jays put two men on against Andrew Miller who relieved Ryan Dempster after six innings. Rasmus singled and Kawasaki walked before Miller was replaced by Tazawa, who got out of the inning.

Top 7th: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1 - Red Sox go down in order against Steve Delabar.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1 - Dempster has another effective inning as he pieces together a a very good game.

Top 6th: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1 - Jacoby Ellsbury's bloop single to left scored David Ross, who walked.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1 - Dempster strikes out two and retired the side in order.

Top 5th: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1 - A Daniel Nava double was wasted as the Sox couldn't add on.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1 - Jays can't do much against Dempster, who settled down after a tough third inning.

Top 4th: Red Sox 2, Jays 1 - J.A. Happ walked two before being bailed out by a double-play but then walked three more before being removed from the game. The Red Sox didn't wind up scoring.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1 - Ryan Dempster avoided a heap of trouble. he walked the bases loaded with one out, but got Edwin Encarnacion to swing at a 2-0 pitch and knocked into an inning-ending double-play.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1 - Jonny Gomes hit a leadoff double and Daniel Nava walked with two outs, but the Red Sox failed to add to their lead.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1 - J.P. Arencibia led off the inning with a single, but Ryan Dempster retired the next three batters with fly ball's.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1 - Mike Carp drove in Mike Napoli (double) with the first Boston run. Both Will Middlebrooks and David Ross drew walks in the inning and the go-ahead run scored on Stephen Drew's sacrifice fly.

Bottom 1st: Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0 - Brett Lawrie homered on a 1-1 pitch from Ryan Dempster to give the Jays the lead.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0 - Three fly balls to right by Sox in the first inning.

Clay Buchholz denies accusations

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 2, 2013 07:10 PM

TORONTO - Clay Buchholz defended himself against allegations made by a Toronto broadcaster that he cheated while shutting out the Blue Jays for seven innings in a 10-1 victory over the Blue Jays Wednesday.

Blue Jays broadcaster Dirk Hayhurst accused Buchholz of rubbing his fingers on a white substance that he had on the sleeve of his undershirt, guessing the substance was Crisco.

Asked if he were upset by the allegations, Buchholz said, “Not at all. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I definitely don’t think if I’d given up nine runs in two and third innings it would have been an issue. That’s my guess. I don’t know. It is what it is.”

Hayhurst, a former major league pitcher told Sportsnet 590 The Fan, that Buchholz was “absolutely” cheating.

The radio station website also provided photos of Buchholz wiping his first two fingers across his forearm, which appeared to be partially covered with a white substance.

“Before every start, I pat rosin on my arm, go up and get stretched,” Buchholz said. “They said I had something in my hair? It’s the bottle of water I pour over me between each inning. They don’t want you licking your fingers on the mound so it’s a way to have moisture. I wipe it off every time I touch my hair."

“Every pitcher puts rosin on,” Buchholz explained. “That’s why it’s there. It is what it is.”

Asked if he was annoyed at Hayhurst he said, “I don’t have any ill feelings against anybody. That’s the way it works. I didn’t do anything wrong.”

There was also mentioned of a discolored sleeve on his undershirt.

“I’ve been wearing the same red shirt under my uniform for three years,” Buchholz said. “So it probably has a lot of stains on it. The water is dripping off my hair onto my uniform and I’m sweating. It makes the red color turn to a darker red. I really don’t know how to solve that problem, if it is a problem.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell was dealing with the issue since Hayhurst spoke about Buchholz in the morning.

"It bothers me immensely when someone is going to make an accusation,'' said Farrell, "and in this case cheating, because they've seen something on TV. He's got resin on his arm. I think resin was designed to get a grip. But the fact is, he's got it on his arm. I've seen some people who have brought photographs to me. They're false.

"The fact is the guy's 6-0. He's pitched his tail off. If people are going to point to him cheating? Unfounded."

Red Sox analysts Jerry Remy and Dennis Eckersley all took the opposite view on NESN.

"I have faced guys that have thrown spitballs before and you know it right away. It's mostly on a fastball that's going to dip and do all kind of crazy things, strange rotation on the baseball, and what's the first thing you do? You ask the umpire to check the baseball. There was none of that going on here last night," Remy said.

Eckersley, who was the analyst on NESN's pre-game show said, "First of all, why are we giving this guy any play who said this, these accusations, to me is tired to begin with. He's a lifetime minor league pitcher that's watching the video and I don't know what he saw. … To me, it's a joke.

"The guy's so nasty, to take anything away from the way the guy is throwing the ball right now is absolutely ridiculous. Like you said Jerry -- you saw Gaylord Perry and everybody in the house knew he was cheating, and so did the umpires and they never really did anything about it. To take that away from this kid right now is a crime because this is as good as I've seen anybody start a season off and he doesn't need to cheat, Jerry,” Eckersley said.

Victorino set to return on Friday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 2, 2013 05:42 PM

TORONTO — Shane Victorino is available to the Red Sox tonight and John Farrell expects him to start on Friday in Texas.

Victorino has been out of the lineup seven straight games with a strained lower back. He took optional early batting practice and then regular BP before the game. Victorino was moving around pretty well.

David Ortiz is getting what Farrell said was a planned day off. He has played in seven consecutive games and the Sox do not have a day off until May 13.

Ortiz was running a bit gingerly on Wednesday night. The Red Sox are trying to be proactive with his injury. Plus it gets Mike Napoli off his feet for a night.

Also:

• Clay Buchholz was named the American League pitcher of the month.

• LHP Craig Breslow is pitching an inning for Pawtucket tonight. He will stick with the PawSox through the weekend and pitch again. Then he will be evaluated.

• Jarrod Saltalamacchia turns 28 today.

Game 28: Red Sox at Blue Jays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 2, 2013 02:38 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (19-8)
Ellsbury CF
Gomes LF
Pedroia 2B
Napoli DH
Nava RF
Middlebrooks 3B
Carp 1B
Ross C
Drew SS
Pitching: RHP Ryan Dempster (1-2, 3.30).

BLUE JAYS (10-18)
Lawrie 3B
Lind 1B
Bautista RF
Encarnacion DH
Arencibia C
Cabrera LF
Rasmus CF
Bonifacio 2B
Kawasaki SS
Pitching: LHP J.A. Happ (2-1, 3.86).

Game time: 7:07 p.m.

TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI.

Red Sox vs. Happ: Gomes 0-10, Ellsbury 3-9, Drew 2-6, Victorino 1-3, Pedroia 3-5, Ciriaco 0-2, Ortiz 0-2, Salty 0-2, Middlebrooks 0-2, Napoli 0-2, Ross 0-2.

Blue Jays vs. Dempster: Bonifacio 3-16, Encarnacion 1-11, Bautista 2-10, Rasmus 1-11, Cabrera 3-9, Blanco 0-6, DeRosa 0-6, Davis 0-1, Izturis 0-1.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox are 13-0 when they score first. The Yankees are 9-0. They are the only teams undefeated when scoring first this season.

Notes: The Sox, 8-3 on the road, seek to win the series with Dempster pitching in Toronto for the first time in his 16-year career. Rogers Centre will be the 41st major league stadium Dempster has pitched in, 42 if you count Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. ... Dempster last faced Toronto on June 8, 2005 when he was a closer for the Cubs. A Canadian, Dempster is 5-0, 3.29 in eight appearances in Canada, all in Montreal. ... Dempster has struck out 43 in 30 innings. ... Happ beat the Red Sox on April 6, throwing 5.1 shutout innings. He gave up one hit, walked three and struck out six. Happ is 1-1, 4.91 in four career appearances against the Sox. ... The Sox have hit .286 with 36 runs and 28 extra-base hits in fives games at Rogers Centre this season. ... The Sox are 3-2 against Toronto, outscoring the Jays 36-19. ... Ortiz has hit safely in all 10 games he has played this season at 19 of 39 (.487) with 10 extra-base hits and 15 RBIs. He has a 22-game hit streak going back to last July 2. Ortiz is 36 of 78 (.461) in the streak with 13 extra-base hits and 21 RBIs. ... Ortiz has 31 homers at the Rogers Centre. Alex Rodriguez, with 34, is the only opposing player with more. ... Pedroia has an eight-game hit streak. ... Carp is 12 of his last 22 with nine extra-base hits and seven RBIs. ... Drew is 7 of his last 22 with three extra-base hits, five walks and seven RBIs.

Song of the Day: "Complete Control" by The Clash.

More progress for Victorino; more trouble for Bard

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 2, 2013 02:36 PM

TORONTO — Shane Victorino was on the field for optional early batting practice Thursday. The plan is for him to take full BP on the field before the game. It would seem he's making progress with his back injury.

It would be a surprise at this point if Victorino isn't in the lineup Friday against Texas.

Meanwhile, in Reading Thursday afternoon, Daniel Bard had a rough ninth inning for Double A Portland.

He inherited a 7-3 lead and walked the first batter. A wild pitch moved that runner to second. Bard got a strikeout before throwing another wild pitch. He was then taken out of the game after a four-pitch walk.

In all, Bard threw 15 pitches, four of them strikes.

In two outings for Portland since Bard was optioned there, he has walked three, thrown three wild pitches, and thrown strikes on 13 of 33 pitches.

If you go back to his last outing with the Red Sox, Bard has walked five of the last 10 batters he has faced.

'Hacksaw' Mike Napoli?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 2, 2013 09:45 AM

If you're of a particular age (and, sadly, lack of intellect like me) you will remember a wrestler named Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

Hacksaw used to carry around an American flag and a 2 x 4. His general strategy was to take a beating and come back at the end to win, often with the help of the aforementioned 2 x 4.

Hasksaw's signature expression was, "Hoooooooooo!"

On Wednesday, after Mike Napoli hit two long home runs, a fellow by the name of William St. Jean hopped on Twitter and noted that the Red Sox first baseman bears a resemblance to Duggan. Dustin Pedroia saw the Tweet and loved it.

hacksaw.jpg

Pedroia has encyclopedic knowledge of three things: baseball, the Sacramento Kings and wrestling. That Napoli somewhat looks like Hacksaw Jim Duggan is gold for him.

Then Napoli saw Pedroia's tweet and took to Twitter himself. He wrote, you guessed it, "Hoooooooooo!"

Hence, there's a fairly good chance that Hacksaw Mike Napoli could take root. That he has 21 extra-base hits and 31 RBIs makes it a decent nickname. Plus he carries around a wooden club.

Team chemistry is a great mystery, my friends. But it's all good for these Red Sox.

Also:

• Stephen Drew was 4 for 35 (.114) in his first 11 games this season. Combine that with his rehab assignment with Double A Portland and that's roughly the equivalent of a normal spring training in terms of at-bats.

He is since 7 of 22 (.318) with three extra-base hits, seven RBIs and five walks.

"I'm just working on things. A lot of it is timing," Drew said Wednesday night after going 3 for 5 with a home run. "Like I said before, I'm getting there. I'm having great at-bats. I'm swinging at the pitches that I want to swing at and hitting the ball hard."

Drew suspected it would take him some time to get in gear after starting the season on the disabled list with a concussion.

"I had 18 at-bats in spring [training] or whatever plus the concussion. That was no fun," he said. "Kind of didn't know when that was going to end. ... There's no excuse. I've put good ABs on and worked the counts really well. I think the timing is starting to get there."

• Josh Beckett lost to the Rockies last night. He is 0-4, 5.24 in six starts for the Dodgers.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 2, 2013 09:00 AM

Clay Buchholz was brilliant again, but Mike Napoli stole the show with two long home runs as the Red Sox pounded the Blue Jays, 10-1.

Nick Cafardo writes that Buchholz looks like the best pitcher in baseball.

The notebook has Shane Victorino hoping to play on Friday.

In business news, the Sox are trying to get a permanent street-lease deal from the city. Callum Borchers and Colman M. Herman have that story.

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As you surely have noticed, the Red Sox coverage on Boston.com does not consist of complete stories by Globe staff writers any more. Those stories are now on BostonGlobe.com, which is a subscriber site.

If you get home delivery of the daily Globe or Sunday Boston Globe, you can sign up for BostonGlobe.com for free. If not, you can get a digital subscription. It's 99 cents for the first four weeks.

Speaking from experience, the iPad application is tremendous. It's like reading the actual paper. The site also conforms seamlessly to any other device. Hopefully it's something that you will consider.

Thanks.

Napoli's two long home runs lift Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 2, 2013 01:05 AM

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AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette

As good as Clay Buchholz was on Wednesday, Mike Napoli’s two mammoth home runs were the talk of the clubhouse.

The first was a solo shot in the fourth inning off Mark Buehrle that landed in a standing room area in straightaway center field. ESPN’s Home Run Tracker estimated it at 472 feet.

The Blue Jays intentionally walked David Ortiz to get to Napoli with two runners on in the seventh inning. Righthander Esmil Rogers fell behind 3-and-0.

Napoli looked over to third base coach Brian Butterfield, who relayed a signal from manager John Farrell that he was clear to swing at the next pitch.

“I like doing it. You’re mostly going to get a fastball you can try to drive,” said Napoli, who has hit five home runs on 3-0 counts in his career.

Rogers threw a 95-mph fastball that was over the plate and a little high. Napoli hit the ball into the third deck in left center field, the ball coming to rest in the front row of a section of club seats.

The crowd of 21,094 actually applauded, they were so impressed with the feat.

“There aren’t many human beings who can hit a fastball to center field that far,” Jonny Gomes said. “I think I saw [former Jays slugger] Carlos Delgado do it once.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen one up in that area at Rogers Centre,” said NESN’s Jerry Remy, who has been calling Red Sox games for 26 years.

ESPN had it at 467 feet, which all of the Red Sox scoffed at.

“The second one was longer,” Will Middlebrooks said.

Napoli thought the second one was longer, too. Not that he cared.

“It wouldn’t matter to me if it goes just over the fence,” he said. “It’s just the same thing.”

Napoli stuck out each of the four times he came up on Tuesday.

“How did you bounce back?” a radio reporter asked him.

“Obviously pretty good,” Napoli said, drawing laughs. “I go day-by-day. I’m able to let things go. I had a rough night but today was a new day. I hit them pretty good.”

It was the 11th time Napoli has hit two home runs in a game. He has five on the season to go along with 31 RBIs in 27 games.

Mike Carp, Stephen Drew and Daniel Nava also homered for the Red Sox, who had 15 hits in all. The Sox are 19-8, the best record in baseball, and have won seven of nine.

The Red Sox have hit 16 home runs in five games at the Rogers Centre. They have 15 in their other 22 games.

Final: Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 1

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff May 1, 2013 07:18 PM

Game over: Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 1: Clay Buchholz improved to 6-0 with seven shutout innings as his ERA dropped to 1.01, the lowest since Roger Clemens' 0.73 after six starts in 1991. Buchholz got plenty of help offensively as the Red Sox ripped Blue Jays pitching for five home runs, two by Mike Napoli and the others by Stephen Drew, Daniel Nava and Mike Carp. Fifteen hits in all. The series is now tied 1-1. There were 21,094 on hand at Rogers Centre in a game played in 2:52.

Top 9th: Red Sox 10, Jays 1: Mike Carp pinch-hit for David Ortiz and homered to right. Big night for Napoli with a ground-rule double after two homers. Nava, who homered earlier, singled in the run.

Bottom 8th: Red Sox 8, Jays 1: -Alex Wilson replaced Buchholz, who went seven innings, allowed two hits, no runs with three walks and eight strikeouts. Wilson allowed a leadoff single to Maicer Izturis who came in on Brett Lawrie's triple to center.

Top 8th: Red Sox 8, Jays 0: The Red Sox threatened with a Drew single and David Ross ground-rule double. But they did not score.

Bottom 7th: Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 0: Buchholz walked a batter and allowed a single to Melky Cabrera who made a stupid base-running mistake by trying to stretch it to a double. He was thrown out at second by five feet by Nava.

Top 7th: Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 0: The rout is on. Mike Napoli hit a three-run homer after a run scored on a wild pitch. Napoli, who was making fun of himself for the number of strikeouts he's had this season, was hoping the roof would stay closed because he liked the way the ball was carrying. He's hit two homers tonight for the 11th time in his career. He has 31 RBIs.

Bottom 6th: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 0: -Buchholz has this game under complete control. He's retired nine straight Blue Jay batters.

Top 6th: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 0: - David Ortiz doubled to left and Mike Napoli drew a walk. With one out, Will Middlebrooks singled to load the bases, but Stephen Drew knocked into an inning-ending double-play.

Bottom 5th: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 0: Buchholz continues to be dominant against a tough Jays lineup. Retires the bottom of the order.

Top 5th: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 0: Buehrle's first 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 4th: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 0: - A leadoff walk by Jose Bautista, but Buchholz retires the next three batters including a strikeout of Edwin Encarnacion. Buchholz is so good at mixing pitches and locations. Drives hitters crazy.

Top 4th: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 0: Mike Napoli homered to straight center in the second deck on a 1-1 pitch from Buehrle. It was followed immediately by Daniel Nava's solo shot to left field on a 1-1 pitch.

Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 0: Three strikeouts for Buchholz, who allowed a one-out single to Munenori Kawasaki.

Top 3rd: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 0: Jonny Gomes walked, but that was all against Buehrle.

Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 0: Three ground ball outs for the Blue Jays against Buchholz.

Top 2nd: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 0: After two long outs by Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava, Will Middlebrooks was hit by a pitch from Mark Buehrle, who then surrendered a two-run homer to Stephen Drew who put a sweet swing on a 1-0 fastball and sent it into the second deck in right field.

Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: Clay Buchholz got through the inning with the exception of a walk to Colby Rasmus.

Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0: Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an infield single to third on a slow roller that Brett Lawrie couldn't make a play on. Ellsbury eventually advanced to second base when Mark Buehrle's pickoff throw hit Ellsbury. Dustin Pedroia flew out to center and David Ortiz lined out to right to end the threat.

Victorino hopeful of returning Friday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 1, 2013 05:42 PM

TORONTO — Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino took batting practice in the cage again Wednesday afternoon and is set to take BP on the field Thursday.

If Victorino's strained lower back handles that step well, he could play Friday in Texas.

"That's the tentative plan," manager John Farrell said. "Whether or not he's coming out of BP tomorrow and he's available for tomorrow night's game remains to be seen. But optimistically we're looking at Friday at Texas."

Victorino has been out of the lineup for the last six games and eight of the last 11 because of the injury. It seems unlikely the Red Sox would send him out to play on the AstroTurf of Rogers Centre Thursday.

"I've progressed every day," said Victorino. "Tomorrow we're going to add to the workload. My goal is if everything goes accordingly, I'd like to play the first game in Texas. That's obviously how my body reacts and how my body feels. Every day it's progressed in a positive direction. No setbacks when I get up in the morning."

Victorino is guarding against a setback. If he were to come back for a day or two and get injured again, the Sox would lose the ability to backdate his stint on the disabled list.

"The frustrating thing for me is never having a back problem and having this all of a sudden occur," Victorino said. "Things are going good, the team is going well. I tip my hat to the guys. They're doing a great job. It's been fun to watch."

In terms of other news:

• LHP Franklin Morales has started a long-toss program and could throw off a mound this weekend. He is on the disabled list with a back injury and was shut down for five days because of a strained pectoral muscle on his left side.

At one point, the Red Sox were hoping to prepare Morales to work as a starter in case a need arose.

• LHP Craig Breslow, who has made three rehab appearances, is scheduled to pitch for Triple A Pawtucket Thursday.

Game 27: Red Sox at Blue Jays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 1, 2013 02:52 PM

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (18-8)
Ellsbury CF
Gomes LF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava RF
Middlebrooks 3B
Drew SS
Ross C
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (5-0, 1.19).

BLUE JAYS (10-17)
Lawrie 3B
Rasmus CF
Bautista RF
Encarnacion 1B
Lind DH
Cabrera LF
Arencibia C
Izturis 2B
Kawasaki SS
Pitching: LHP Mark Buehrle (1-1, 6.35).

Game time: 7:07 p.m.

TV, radio: NESN Plus / WEEI. You can find NESN Plus channel listings here.

Red Sox vs. Buehrle: Ortiz 23-65, Pedroia 7-21, Gomes 6-13, Napoli 2-11, Victorino 4-11, Ellsbury 4-10, Middlebrooks 2-5, Ross 2-5, Salty 0-3.

Blue Jays vs. Buchholz: Lind 11-35, Bautista 7-26, Izturis 9-23, Encarnacion 1-15, Davis 2-14, Lawrie 1-10, Arencibia 0-11. Cabrera 1-7, Rasmus 1-6.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox have hit 11 home runs in four games at Rogers Centre. They have 14 home runs in 16 games at Fenway Park.

Notes: Buchholz has been outstanding all season and is pitching against a team he usually handles well. The righthander is 8-4, 2.60, in 15 career appearances against the Jays, 6-2, 1.67, in nine starts at the Rogers Centre ... Buehrle is 6-8, 4.64, against the Red Sox in his career. He was 0-2, 6.00, in two starts last season for Miami, giving up eight runs on 12 hits over 12 innings ... Encarnacion is 10 of his last 30, with seven home runs. He is 1 for 15 against Buchholz, however ... Ortiz is 18 of 36 with nine extra-base hits and 15 RBIs in nine games since coming off the disabled list. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Ortiz is just the third player to hit .500 with at least 15 RBIs over his first nine games of a season. Hall of Famers Dave Winfield (17 for 34, 16 RBIs for 1988 Yankees) and Willie Mays (17 for 34, 17 RBIs for 1964 Giants) are the others ... Pedroia is 11 of his last 23 with four doubles and five RBIs ... Napoli is 2 of his last 12 with eight strikeouts.

Song of the Day: "The Big Money" by Rush.

Looking back on decisions made a month ago

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 1, 2013 11:15 AM

On the final days of spring training, the Red Sox had assorted choices for the final few spots on their bench.

One went to Mike Carp and he has provided an unexpected lift, hitting .458/.508/.959 in 26 plate appearances. He has eight extra-base hits and six RBIs. Carp's strong play in Shane Victorino's absence could earn him additional playing time against righthanders down the road.

Daniel Nava has been so good (.289/.385/.500) that he has taken over a starting spot and bumped Jonny Gomes to the bench. The Sox now regard Nava as a regular and trust him to play right field at Fenway Park.

Jackie Bradley Jr. helped the Sox win two games in New York then slumped mightily. Then, as was expected, he was optioned back to Pawtucket when David Ortiz was activated. If Victorino ends up on the disabled list later this week, Bradley could return.

Lyle Overbay, who was released, is hitting a modest .241/.267/.446 for the Yankees but has eight extra-base hits and 12 RBIs. He has been far better than what New York expected.

Ryan Sweeney, who turned down a spot in Pawtucket, signed with the Cubs and agreed to go to Triple A Iowa. He has mashed there (.356/.413/.685) but has yet to be called up to Chicago. Given that the Cubs are 10-16 and have scored only 92 runs, Sweeney can't be thrilled with that.

Mitch Maier, who did stick with the Red Sox organization, was hitting .321/.424/.500 in eight games for Pawtucket before returning to the disabled list with a wrist sprain.

A few minor league notes: Double A Portland righthander Brandon Workman was perfect for six innings against Reading on Tuesday night before allowing a single. Workman allowed a run on two hits over 6.2 innings with one walk and six strikeouts. The 24-year-old was a second round pick in 2010. … Daniel Bard allowed two runs on two hits and a walk for Portland in his first game with the Sea Dogs after being demoted by the Sox. … Infielder Jonathan Hee, who was drafted by the Red Sox in 2008 and reached Pawtucket last season, has retired from baseball. ... Alfredo Aceves starts for Pawtucket on Thursday.

Red Sox coverage in today's Globe

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 1, 2013 11:03 AM

The Red Sox had plenty of regrets after a 9-7 loss against the Blue Jays.

The notebook has Joel Hanrahan coming back and taking a secondary role in the bullpen.

Nick Cafardo writes that the Blue Jays were desperate for the victory.

Some odd moments in a loss for the Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff May 1, 2013 01:08 AM

TORONTO — It was a strange night at the ballpark for the Red Sox, who lost, 9-7, to the Toronto Blue Jays. Consider . . .

• Jon Lester, who came in 5-0 with a 2.27 ERA, allowed six runs, five of them earned on six hits and two walks over six innings. It was a struggle from the start for him as he allowed a run in the first, three in the third and two more in the fifth.

“It was one of those nights from pitch one,” said Lester, who has given up eight earned runs in his last 11 2/3 innings. “I wasn’t able to repeat … I had to grind it out. I never felt good.”

• Edwin Encarnacion had the big hit for Toronto, a two-run homer to center field off Junichi Tazawa in the seventh inning. It was his second of the game and gave the Blue Jays an 8-7 lead. Tazawa had not allowed more than one earned run in a game since his rookie year in 2009.

• John Farrell was left questioning the judgment of home plate umpire Clint Fagan, a replacement called up from Triple A for the series.

The Blue Jays had the bases loaded with no outs in the third inning when the Red Sox called a play to try a pickoff at first base. Farrell, who managed Toronto for two seasons, knew that Jose Bautista tended to drift off the bag. With Encarnacion up, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was supposed to snap a throw to Mike Napoli.

As the play developed, Saltalamacchia thought he had Bautista, who was just turning to go back to first. But his elbow struck Fagan’s mask and the throw went into right field. Two runs scored.

Fagan, according to Farrell, claimed the contact came during the Saltalamacchia’s follow-through.

“Which was kind of impossible,” Saltalamacchia said. “I told him that.”

Farrell spoke to Fagan after the inning.

“That should have been a dead ball,” Farrell said. “He didn’t see the way we saw it.”

According to the Major League rulebook, the Sox had a case. Rule 5.09 (b) states that runner may not advance when the plate umpire interferes with the catcher’s throw.

Saltalamacchia did not protest at the time. Had he done so immediately and gotten other umpires involved, there could have been a different call.

Saltalamacchia said umpires have made contact with him in the past and he didn’t realize the rule. He regretted not arguing.

“Every run counts,” he said. “Obviously, like tonight, that could have been a big part of the game.”

• Then there is David Ortiz, the hottest hitter in baseball at the moment. He drove in four more runs with a home run and a double. In nine games since coming off the disabled list, Ortiz is 18 of 36 with nine extra-base hits and 15 RBIs. Oh, and he didn't play in spring training.

Ortiz was 4 for 18 in his rehab assignment with Pawtucket. Apparently stats in rehab assignments don't mean much.

• Jacoby Ellsbury has a terrible base-running blunder in the fifth inning. He was on second with two outs and Mike Napoli up. Jays starter Brandon Morrow was struggling.

Ellsbury was picked off second by Morrow to end the inning. Given Ellsbury’s speed and the fact there were two outs and a run producer at the plate, his straying off the base made little sense.

“At the time, over-aggressiveness on our part. Felt like we had Morrow coming to the end of the night. Unfortunately he got picked off second,” Farrell said. “Not a real good heads-up play given the game situation.”

• After the game, there was some weirdness from Shane Victorino. He left the shower and hid in a hallway to avoid reporters, none of whom were at his locker. Victorino actually sent a clubhouse attendant to get his clothes and he dressed in the back before leaving.

Apparently he wanted to avoid questions about his injured back. Why that would be a big deal isn't clear.

The Sox finish April 18-8. But if not some weird moments under the dome of the Rogers Centre, they could well have had a franchise record 19 wins in the month.

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