ON TO ANAHEIM (4:51, END 9, 12-7)
The 2009 Red Sox regular season is in the books. The Sox closed with a four-game sweep of the Indians to finish 95-67, the same record they had in 2008. David Ortiz fell one RBI short of 100, whiffing on a check swing in his final at-bat. Clay Buchholz struggled over his three-inning start, allowing six runs on five hits and two walks. Jacoby Ellsbury stole his 70th base. Jed Lowrie hit a grand slam, the first of his career, and J.D. Drew added a pair of home runs. Jonathan Papelbon clised it out in the ninth, lowering his ERA to 1.85 for the year.
GOODBYE TO THE CAPTAIN? (4:30, TOP 8, 12-7 SOX)
After the first batter of the inning walked, Dusty Brown came out of the dugout and took over behind the plate for Varitek. Immediately, you could tell what was going on. Terry Francona wanted to give the Fenway Park crowed a chance to appreciate Varitek, the longest tenured position player on the team, the Red Sox captain. Varitek received a loud cheer and tipped his catcher’s helmet before he walked into the dugout and met Francona, standing on the top step, his hand outstretched.
LOWRIE SLAMS ONE (3:59, END 6, 12-6 SOX)
This is a great sign for Lowrie. Batting lefthanded, which sometimes irritates his left wrist, Lowrie mashed a grand slam into the rightfield stands off of Chris Perez. That probably solidifies his spot on the playoff roster, if it wasn’t already. That was also his first career grand slam, on the heels of Martinez’s last night.
TWO FOR DREW (3:38, BOT 6, 8-6 SOX)
J.D. Drew hit his second home run of the game, a lined shot into the right of the Red Sox bullpen off of Rafael Perez. Drew also wrapped a home run around Pesky’s Pole earlier today. The 15th mutli-homer game of his career gives him 24 home runs this season.
PEDROIA PUTS SOX AHEAD (3:25, END 5, 7-6 SOX)
Dustin Pedroia will ride a power surge into the postseason. He belted a two-run home run over the Green Monster off of Tomo Ohka, making this his second consecutive game with a home run. Ellsbury had reached on an infield single, then left for Joey Gathright. Ortiz walked, robbing him of a chance at his 100th RBI.
Jed Lowrie moved from third to second base. George Kottaras went in to replace Pedroia and will play third base. It’s Kottaras’s first appearance anywhere but catcher in his career.
CHANGING SOX (2:51, END 3, 6-4 INDIANS)
There’s a new battery to start the fourth inning, as Ramirez will relieve Buchholz and Jason Varitek takes over for Victor Martinez. Jed Lowrie will also play third for Kevin Youkilis.
ROUGH GOING FOR BUCHHOLZ (2:41, TOP 3, 6-4)
Buchholz is struggling in his final tune-up for the playoffs. He walked Matt LaPorta with the bases loaded to score a run, then gave up a bases-loaded, two-run single up the middle by Jhonny Peralta. Andy Marte, with two outs, smacked a two-run double off the scoreboard. The Indians have scored five in the third.
David Ortiz had smacked a two-run single to give the Sox command and up his RBI total to 99. Buchholz has not done what the Sox had hoped. He’s thrown 66 pitches already, prompting acitivity by Ramon Ramirez in the bullpen. Some of his body language has been negative, too. After he missed with a fastball to Marte, he spun and threw his arms up on the mound. He is not looking like the poised pitcher who grabbed the No. 3 starter role by throat during the second half.
70 (1:52, BOT 1, 1-0 INDIANS)
Another milestone for Ellsbury. He stole his 70th base of the season, sliding in head first and beating Wyatt Toregas’s throw with Victor Martinez at the plate.
ANOTHER BOMB FOR BUCHHOLZ (1:48, BOT 1, 1-0 INDIANS)
For the second straight start, Clay Buchholz gave up a home run to the leadoff hitter. Luis Valbuena rocked a 1-1 fastball into the bullpen. Buchholz settled down and allowed no more hits, but he may want to curb his current trend of bad first innings before his first career playoff start.
Jacoby Ellsbury singled to lead off. He’s 90 feet from his 70th steal this season.