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It's hard not to categorize Boston's weekend in Seattle as a disappointment. Two losses in four games to a team batting around the Mendoza line with a 34-47 record? Excusable given the role of Felix Hernandez in their first loss, but still a difficult pill to swallow when you consider all their wasted opportunities in the third game.
Still, thanks to some good luck, the Sox were able to enter this week in a better position.
On June 27, the Sox were down 6.5 games in the East, 1.5 games back of the Orioles, and even with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Today? They're still 6.5 back of the Yankees, but just half-a-game back of the Orioles and their coveted wild card spot, and one game up on the Rays. Even the Angels are still just two games ahead.
As bad as a weekend as it was for the Red Sox, it wasn't exactly a party for the rest of the American League's contenders either. The Rays ran into a resurgent Tigers team pushing to get back to .500, scoring just 11 runs in losing three-of-four.The Orioles have dropped seven-of-ten, their most recent struggles coming against an Indians team that scored 36 runs in their four games. Meanwhile the Angels and Blue Jays played to a stalemate, as did the New York Yankees and White Sox.
The Sox certainly had it easiest competition wise, so maybe it's to be expected that they came out ahead on the whole. Still, with a West Coast trip always a battle, that they've done more than simply survive is a very big positive. If they can take a couple from the Athletics before heading home, they should be in good position for their four games against the Yankees.
The Red Sox took their first extra-innings win of the season thanks to a big day from Dustin Pedroia, a Ryan Kalish double, and a David Ortiz sacrifice fly, downing the Mariners 2-1 in ten frames.
While the Red Sox were once again held down for an extended period of time, the Mariners didn't wait too long to score against them. Felix Doubront was no better against a weak Mariners lineup than he had been in the past month. Battling wildness and a specific inability to hit the inside part of the plate against lefties, Doubront would manage to keep the Mariners from putting up big numbers with some significant defensive help, but failed to provide much in the way of innings, as his pitch count ballooned under the strain of numerous long at bats and five walks. Exiting in the fifth with the bases loaded and one run having scored back in the third, Doubront was only saved from an ugly line by a timely double play induced by Matt Albers.
Jason Vargas suffered from none of the pitch count problems while benefiting from all of the defensive advantages Doubront did. Three times Kyle Seager snared line drives to third, once with the bases loaded, while the outfield ran down everything hit in its direction. The Red Sox offense was hitting him well enough, it just wasn't showing up in the box score.
Things would finally change for the Red Sox in the eighth inning, and it took just one pitch. A fastball over the plate to Dustin Pedroia was sent on its way out of the park to left, tying the game up at 1-1.
The Mariners would end up putting two runners on in the ninth against Vicente Padilla before Brendan Ryan flew out to right on the first pitch he saw to send the game into extras. That's when the Sox struck again. A shaky Brandon League left a fastball up to Ryan Kalish, who planted it off the top of the wall in right field for a one-out double. Dustin Pedroia moved him to third with a single into right field, and while David Ortiz missed homer no. 400 against Lucas Luetge, his fly ball to the track was plenty deep enough to bring Kalish in from third. Alfredo Aceves finished it off with a 1-2-3 save, sending the Sox to Oakland with a win.
|Final - 7.1.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||2||7||1|
|WP: Vicente Padilla (2 - 0)
SV: Alfredo Aceves (19)
LP: Brandon League (0 - 5)
Boston Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey was throwing pregame on Sunday from 150 feet to test his arm out (via ESPN Boston). Bailey has missed the entire 2012 season so far after having thumb surgery in Spring Training.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that he watched most of Bailey's throws and that his pitcher looked good. "I saw all but the last five throws of it, and he looked pretty good. Tomorrow is going to be a good test for him, to see how he feels. He was stretching it out pretty good.''
When Bailey returns, is there a possibility that he won't be the closer after all? When Boston traded for Bailey in the offseason, they anticipated him being their closer. Since the injury, Alfredo Aceves has assumed the closer role and has made 18 saves (5th in the AL) in 21 opportunities. Bailey is 7-10 in his MLB career with a 2.07 ERA and 75 saves in 84 opportunities.
The Sox can only hope for a series split against the Mariners Sunday as they send Felix Doubront to the mound opposite Jason Vargas.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Safeco.
Red Sox 2, Mariners 1, Mid 10th -- A shaky Brandon League lets the Red Sox finally take the lead. After a Nick Punto ground out, League left a fastball up and over the plate to Ryan Kalish, who nearly put the Sox ahead on his own, doubling off the wall in dead center to get the Sox another RISP opportunity. Dustin Pedroia follows by lacing a hit into right field, but Kalish is only able to move to third, leaving it up to David Ortiz. While the Sox only need a ball to medium depth, Ortiz nearly gives them so much more, just barely getting under a Lucas Luetge sinker, sending the ball all the way to the track before Ichiro can come up with it, plenty deep to score Kalish from third.
The Sox just need to hold on for one inning in this very light-scoring series now to leave with a tie and gain on both the Rays and Orioles.
Red Sox 1, Mariners 1, End 9th -- For the second straight night, the Sox and Mariners are ready to offer up some bonus baseball. Vicente Padilla has to work around a 1-out double and a 2-out walk, but gets Brendan Ryan to hit a lazy fly to right on the first pitch he sees, ending the ninth with the 1-1 tie intact.
Red Sox 1, Mariners 1, Mid 9th -- The Sox can only hope that they're headed to extra innings again, as a one-out walk and stolen base from Will Middlebrooks is wasted.
Red Sox 1, Mariners 1, End 8th -- With another 1-2-3 inning, Scott Atchison sends the game into the ninth in a 1-1 tie. It's the third time a game has been tied heading to the ninth so far this series, with the Sox 0-2 in said games. Hopefully this time things end differently.
Red Sox 1, Mariners 1, Mid 8th -- It's been a long time in coming--both for the Sox and their second baseman--but Dustin Pedroia chose a pretty good time to unload his first homer in well over a month. It's a fastball over the outside part of the plate from Jason Vargas that's to blame, with Pedroia putting a long swing on it and pulling it just over the lip of the wall in left field to tie the game up.
Mariners 1, Red Sox 0, End 7th -- Scott Atchison continues his stellar season and keeps the Mariners close with a 1-2-3 seventh, but it's all up to the offense now if they're going to make something of this.
Mariners 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 7th -- Kyle Seager snags his third line drive at the hot corner in an otherwise uneventful seventh inning. The Sox are down to six outs to avoid their second time being shut out in this series.
Mariners 1, Red Sox 0, End 6th -- Dustin Ackley picks up a two-out walk, but Kelly Shoppach guns him down trying to steal second, ending the inning.
Mariners 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 6th -- An amusing misplay by Casper Wells has him sliding to the grass as a Cody Ross fly ball falls behind him to give the Sox a one-out baserunner. But with a pop-out from Adrian Gonzalez and another strikeout from Will Middlebrooks, the inning ends without further incident. 35 innings into this series and the Sox are stuck on seven runs.
Mariners 1, Red Sox 0, End 5th -- Felix Doubront's night has ended with just the one earned run, but it's hardly been an impressive night. A single, walk, and hit batsman surrounding an Ichiro fly ball to the track loads the bases in the fifth, making Bobby Valentine turn to Matt Albers. His first pitch is a sinker that stays perhaps a bit too high for comfort over the middle of the plate, but Jesus Montero's struggles against righties continue, leaving him--and the Mariners--the victim of the double play as Will Middlebrooks steps on third and fires to first.
Mariners 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 5th -- The Sox trade a solid hit for a weak one, as Kyle Seager again robs the Sox of a line drive--this time off the bat of Kelly Shoppach--but then can't make the play on a Nick Punto bunt in time. Brent Lillibridge pops up behind him, however, and Dustin Pedroia's fly ball is an easy out for Casper Wells in center.
Mariners 1, Red Sox 0, End 4th -- Doubront has to survive another long, shaky inning. Starting the inning with two walks, the southpaw immediately finds himself in a jam. Dustin Ackley can't get the bunt down, however, and then finds himself rung up on a fastball, and a ball in the dirt provides a free out when Miguel Olivo gets stuck in no man's land between second and third, allowing the Sox to tag him for the second out. With Chone Figgins grounding out to third, the deficit stays at just the one run.
Mariners 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 4th -- 1-2-3 go the Red Sox, who are really not doing what they should against a pitcher like Vargas. They've yet to score before the fifth in this series.
Mariners 1, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- Another long inning lets Seattle open the scoring in the third. Like the Sox in the top of the second, the Mariners put men on the corners with no outs. Unlike the Red Sox, however, they can produce at least the situational out necessary for the run. It comes from Ichiro, who lifts a fly ball deep enough to bring Chone Figgins in from third. A walk from Kyle Seager is all that follows, leaving Seattle with just the one run, but Doubront's pitch count is back up to untenable levels as a result.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 3rd -- David Ortiz gives the Sox their only baserunner of the inning by drawing a two-out walk from Vargas before Cody Ross gets underneath a 2-0 fastball, lifting a lazy fly ball to right field.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 2nd -- Felix Doubront enjoys a much quicker second inning, getting a Miguel Olivo fly ball out with his first pitch and a ground ball from Justin Smoak with his third. Four more pitches earns him a strikeout against Dustin Ackley, leaving him with a fairly normal count headed into the third.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 2nd -- Frustration continues for the Red Sox, who get leadoff singles from Cody Ross and Adrian Gonzalez to put runners at the corners but just can't push the run across. Will Middlebrooks goes down swinging at a changeup low in the zone for the first out, Daniel Nava manages just a weak pop-up, and while Kelly Shoppach draws a walk to load the bases and Nick Punto puts good wood on the ball, his line drive is grabbed in the air by a diving Kyle Seager to save at least one run.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 1st -- Ichiro Suzuki fouls off three straight two-strike pitches, Casper Wells adds another pair before striking out, and Kyle Seager works an eight-pitch walk. While Jesus Montero goes down on two pitches, it's still an incredibly long inning for Doubront, who has often had problems with pitch counts.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 1st -- With Mike Aviles a late scratch, Brent Lillibridge inexplicably takes over in the leadoff role despite a career .709 OPS and .282 OBP against left-handed pitchers. It's no great surprise that this lets Jason Vargas get off to a hot start, striking him out on five pitches to start a 1-2-3 frame. Vargas' low arm angle may have given David Ortiz troubles to finish the inning, as he too struck out, looking a bit foolish on some of the pitches.
The Red Sox can only hope to salvage a tie against the Seattle Mariners as they wrap up their series in Safeco Sunday afternoon. First pitch is at 4:10 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
The Sox will have a new lineup against the left-handed Vargas, maintaining the same basic structure as their previous lineup against southpaws, but with some necessary modifications now that Darnell McDonald has been designated for assignment. Both Daniel Nava and Brent Lillibridge will now feature in the outfield in addition to the staple of Cody Ross, batting seventh and ninth respectively.
Otherwise, it's the same as before, with Cody Ross shifting up to the cleanup spot and Kelly Shoppach taking over behind the plate and batting eighth.
Boston Red Sox (41-37)
Seattle Mariners (34-46)
One of the greater complaints against Bobby Valentine has been his willingness to use the sacrifice bunt in situations that do not truly call for it this year. With 21 of them on the season, the Sox come in second in the American League, giving away outs at a rather distressing pace.
But even the staunchest opponent of bunts will usually acknowledge that there are some situations that call for it. Which makes it all-the-more confusing why Bobby Valentine did not elect to play for a run in the tenth inning of last night's game against the Mariners.
With the game locked in a 2-2 tie, the Sox picked up leadoff singles from Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz two put two men on with no outs in the inning. Up stepped Jarrod Saltalamacchia, needing just to move the runners along. Unfortunately, Salty is exactly who you don't want in that situation. A free-swinging power bat, Salty can bring in a run at any time, but is inconsistent in his ability to put the bat on the ball. Had the bunt been on, that would not have been nearly so much of an issue, and Adrian Gonzalez could have stepped up to the plate knowing he needed just a fly ball to make the 1-2-3 bottom of the tenth a game-ender. The ground ball eventually booted by Dustin Ackley would even have been enough.
Instead, Saltalamacchia struck out, as he is wont to do, and Gonzalez' ground ball only moved Dustin Pedroia to third. With another ground ball from Will Middlebrooks, the inning was over.
It was a game ruined by Boston's lack of clutch hitting, but one that probably could've been salvaged had Bobby V simply stayed true to his worst strategies in the rare situation where they actually made sense. Instead, he bafflingly went off-script, and the Sox dropped another game as a result.
The Red Sox fell to the Mariners 3-2 in extra innings Saturday, as they lost for the second time in the series to a walkoff.
As with the last two games, this one started with a lengthy scoring drought for both sides. Unlike Friday's game, however, this time it was the Mariners' starter in Erasmo Ramirez looking strong and Boston's in Josh Beckett getting by on hard-hit outs. Still, through the fourth Beckett was tossing a no-hitter, while Ramirez had left in the third inning after apparently injuring himself fielding a comebacker.
The no-hitter would end, however, in the fifth, and the shutout in the sixth, as Beckett seemed to tire late into his first outing after coming off the disabled list. Despite working with a very low pitch count, Beckett saw the bases loaded with a single, a walk, and then a pop-up behind third that dropped in past a lost Mike Aviles for a hit. John Jaso, the hero from the first game of the series came to the plate, and once again came up big. A double to the wall in right field brought home two runs to score, giving the Mariners the first lead of the game.
It didn't last long at all. In the very next inning, the Sox loaded the bases with three straight singles and then scored a pair on a ground ball and a passed ball. Just like that, the game was tied again.
And tied it would stay! With both bullpens now into the game, the Sox and Mariners traded out after out. While the Sox would pick up a fair few opportunities to score, they would fail each time, stranding runners time and again, as had been their penchant for most of the game.
The fateful inning would prove to be the ninth. With the Red Sox having wasted an opportunity in the tenth with two leadoff baserunners, the Mariners did not waste the opportunity with two on and one out in the eleventh. With Dustin Ackley having gone first-to-third on the second single, the Mariners needed just a sacrifice fly to right from Chone Figgins to win the game, with the throw from Cody Ross skipping in too hot and too close for Jarrod Saltalamacchia to record the out.
|Final - 6.30.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||11||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||2||11||0|
|WP: Shawn Kelley (2 - 2)
LP: Alfredo Aceves (0 - 5)
The Red Sox and Mariners are underway in Safeco field. We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Seattle.
Red Sox 2, Mariners 2, Mid 10th -- As the clock back out east approaches 2 AM, it's no surprise that the Sox are slowing down offensively. 1-2-3 goes the bottom of the Red Sox lineup, with strikeouts to Ryan Kalish and Mike Aviles putting an exclamation mark on the frame for Shawn Kelley.
Red Sox 2, Mariners 2, End 10th -- The Sox and Mariners keep trading scoreless innings, with the Sox again threatening and the Mariners not really responding. A quick 1-2-3 frame for Alfedo Aceves leaves him with just 14 pitches on his arm and the two teams facing another inning
Red Sox 2, Mariners 2, Mid 10th -- And another wasted chance. This time the singles come before any outs, but the Sox can barely even move the runners along, with a strikeout and two groundouts finishing the frame before either runner could score.
Red Sox 2, Mariners 2, End 9th -- And we're headed to extra innings! Though Vicente Padilla gives up a one-out walk, Alfredo Aceves comes in to record the double play and end the ninth in a hurry.
Red Sox 2, Mariners 2, Mid 9th -- The Sox let yet another scoring opportunity go to waste. Despite putting two men on with just the one out, the Sox have Mike Aviles strike out and Daniel Nava hit a fly ball which Chone Figgins made the play on for the out.
Red Sox 2, Mariners 2, End 8th -- Andrew Miller grabs another two outs before letting up a two-out single. Vicente Padilla does Miller's job from the inning before, striking out Miguel Olivo to send the game into the ninth.
Red Sox 2, Mariners 2, Mid 8th -- A two-out hit is wasted by the very man who produced it, as Adrian Gonzalez runs into the out as second to end a possible rally before it so much as started.
Red Sox 2, Mariners 2, End 7th -- Mark Melancon allows a pair of hits in between a couple of outs, but Andrew Miller comes in to close the door by getting lefty Kyle Seager swinging.
Red Sox 2, Mariners 2, Mid 7th -- Or the Sox could grab the same pair in the very next inning. Three leadoff singles from the Red Sox from Adrian Gonzalez, Will Middlebrooks, and Cody Ross loads the bases against Brandon League. While Boston doesn't manage to fully capitalize on their opportunity, a ground out a passed ball bring two in to tie the game.
Mariners 2, Red Sox 0, End 6th -- The scoring finally breaks open in the sixth, as the bases are loaded against Josh Beckett thanks to a one-out single, walk, and a pop-up behind third that Mike Aviles loses and Daniel Nava can't make a play on, allowing it to drop just barely in fair territory. It is again John Jaso, however, who deals the real hammer blow with a double to the wall in right. A couple of ground balls gets him out of the inning, but with the low-scoring nature of the game, the two runs are a lot.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 6th -- Lucas Luetge enters the game for Furbush and gets a strikeout and two groundouts to keep the Sox down yet again.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 5th -- The no-hitter comes to an end for Josh Beckett when Miguel Olivo shoots a line drive into left field. With Chone Figgins going down behind him, however, the Mariners remain scoreless.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 5th -- Another Sox RISP goes by the wayside when, after a leadoff walk from Cody Ross, the 8-9-1 hitters go down 1-2-3, with Daniel Nava hitting a line drive right to the shortstop for the final out. It's been a game of hard-luck outs for both sides at this point, with a legitimate rally not particularly far away.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 4th -- More hard contact against Josh Beckett, but still no damage, as Ryan Kalish ranges back nicely to grab a long fly ball and Adrian Gonzalez fields a line drive smoothly to keep the Mariners off the base paths yet again.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 4th -- The Sox get another couple of baserunners with hits from Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Adrian Gonzalez, but Will Middlebrooks strikes out to end the threat and keep the game scoreless.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 3rd -- The first two outs are easy for Josh Beckett, with a strikeout of Chone Figgins and a ground out from Munenori Kawasaki. The final out, however, requires Cody Ross to go to extraordinary lengths, making a leaping grab and smacking into the wall to rob Ichiro Suzuki of extra bases.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 3rd -- Erasmo Ramirez makes an early surprise exit, suffering some sort of injury in the process of fielding a comebacker from Ryan Kalish. Charlie Furbush enters in his place with two down, gives up the first hit of the night to the Red Sox--a line drive to left field by Mike Aviles. Daniel Nava is caught watching a pitch too close to take with two strikes, however, and the Mariners are out of the inning.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 2nd -- Josh Beckett allows the first baserunner of the game on a walk, but strikes out John Jaso with a high fastball and earns a couple of ground balls to end the threat. Once again things are moving quickly in Safeco, if perhaps not at the ridiculous speed maintained by Cook and Noesi on Friday.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 2nd -- Erasmo Ramirez' momentum carries over cleanly into the second, albeit with some luck this time as Jarrod Saltalamacchia hits a hard line drive to first before a couple of lazy fly balls end the inning.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 1st -- Josh Beckett has a bit of a mixed bag in the first. While the Mariners go down 1-2-3, and Casper Wells is the victim of Beckett's first strikeout of the night, both Ichiro Suzuki and Kyle Seager hit some worryingly loud fly balls.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 1st -- A loud leadoff line drive out to right field for Daniel Nava gives the impression that runs may be forthcoming, but Erasmo Ramirez quickly extinguishes any hopes of that by striking out Dustin Pedroia swinging at a high-and-inside fastball, and then gets Ortiz to chase a changeup for his second K of the night.
The Red Sox and Mariners will face off in the third game of their four-game series as Josh Beckett returns to the mound for the first time in weeks. First pitch is at 10:10 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN, the MLB Network, and WEEI.
While the Sox will stick with the same lineup they've used for the first couple of games, the Mariners will once again make changes. Jesus Montero will be out for the first time, as John Jaso starts at DH and Miguel Olivo plays catcher.
Boston Red Sox (41-36)
Seattle Mariners (33-46)
After a little more than two weeks off due to inflammation in his right shoulder, Beckett will make his return start on Saturday night against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Beckett hasn't exactly had a career year thus far, posting a 4-7 record with a 4.14 ERA.
Per Cafardo, it's unclear to this point whether McDonald will be optioned down to Triple-A or simply designated for assignment. Of course the latter option would end his time with the Red Sox for all intents and purposes.
McDonald is in his third year with Boston, and is only hitting .209 with two home runs and nine RBI on the campaign.
There had been 37 complete game shutouts thrown in the 2012 season before Aaron Cook held the Mariners down for nine straight innings Friday night.
In their shutouts, pitchers have averaged 7.21 strikeouts, 3.16 hits, 1.22 walks, and 111.16 pitches.
Aaron Cook's was rather different.
On the "negative" side, Cook picked up just two strikeouts. On the other hand, he gave up just two hits (one an infield single), no walks, and needed a remarkably low 81 pitches to do it. Only five of the 37 previous shutouts had come in under 100 pitches, and the previous low had been 88.
Only Matt Cain and Phillip Humber, the authors of perfect games, faced fewer batters than cook, who could have faced the minimum thanks to two double play balls were it not for an error from Mike Aviles.
This sort of ridiculous efficiency was Aaron Cook at his best. Pounding the zone, with 72 percent of his pitches going for strikes, Cook threw sinker after sinker, kept them low, and got opposing batters to hit the ball on the ground. The Mariners would not manage so much as a fly ball out in fair territory until the sixth.
It was not domination in the traditional sense, but that's not what Cook is here to do. He's here to give the Sox winnable games if they're willing to play defense. Last night he did his part by earning tons of ground balls, and the defense did theirs by turning them into outs.
All according to plan.
The Red Sox defeated the Mariners 5-0 thanks to an amazing start from Aaron Cook and four homers against Hector Noesi.
The match got underway at a rapid pace, with two 1-2-3 innings going by in just twenty minutes. The difference was how the outs were coming. Where Aaron Cook was getting groundouts--his bread and butter--Noesi was living on line drives and long fly balls that found gloves. It was not the kind of performance that was sustainable, and in the fifth, the Red Sox showed why.
With the game entering the inning in a scoreless tie, the Sox did not waste any more time in finally breaking through against Noesi. Will Middlebrooks started the carnage by taking a slider that didn't quite break enough and hooking it into the left field stands for a solo shot. Four pitches later, and Noesi delivered a fastball over the middle of the plate to Cody Ross. Bad idea. Cody put his traditional swing on the ball, and found the upper decks to make it 2-0. The next two outs came quickly enough, but then it was Daniel Nava, showing quick wrists and slapping a line drive over the right field wall for the third bomb of the inning.
The sixth didn't go much better for Noesi. A double to Ortiz was followed quickly by Jarrod Saltalamacchia hitting a two-run shot to left-center, leaving the Sox up by five. An Adrian Gonzalez single would chase Noesi from the game, bringing in the Seattle bullpen, which managed to hold the Sox down for the rest of the game.
Their performance would go unrewarded, however, because Aaron Cook wasn't about to let up. The Mariners would grab only two more baserunners on the night--one on a Mike Aviles error, and another on a John Jaso ground ball single that was followed up by a double play not long after. All-in-all, Cook needed just 81 pitches to close out his complete game shutout, putting the Sox back up to five games over .500.
|Final - 6.29.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||0||0||0||3||2||0||0||0||5||9||1|
|WP: Aaron Cook (2 - 1)
LP: Hector Noesi (2 - 10)
The Red Sox and Mariners are set to face off in the second game of their three-game series, with Aaron Cook taking on Hector Noesi.
We'll keep you night owls (or Fenway exiles) up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Safeco.
Red Sox 5, Mariners 0, Final -- Eight pitches lets Aaron Cook finish the inning in rapid fashion, and the game in an incredible 81 pitches. The complete game shutout keeps the Sox level with the Rays and Orioles, and gains them ground on the Yankees.
Red Sox 5, Mariners 0, Mid 9th -- Will Middlebrooks second hit is a quick ground ball--not quite so convincing as the first, but it does get the Sox started positively in the ninth. A double from Mike Aviles and a Daniel Nava walk load the bases with two outs, but Dustin Pedroia's line drive hangs up in the air long enough that Ichiro settles underneath it for the out.
Red Sox 5, Mariners 0, End 8th -- Aaron Cook gives up his first solid hit of the night, on a quick ground ball into right field, but once again doesn't let it increase his total batters faced. A Dustin Ackley ground ball goes to Dustin Pedroia, and the double play is started to keep Cook at 25 batters faced through eight innings.
Red Sox 5, Mariners 0, Mid 8th -- Oliver Perez is the one to hold the Sox in check this time, getting a couple fly balls and a strikeout, but Aaron Cook doesn't seem ready to give this one up anytime soon.
Red Sox 5, Mariners 0, End 7th -- Seven innings into his outing, Aaron Cook has thrown a total of 64 pitches. He's allowed just the one hit--an infield single to Ichiro Suzuki which was quickly erased by a double play ball. The one batter he's faced over the minimum came thanks to Mike Aviles' error. 13 groundouts, four fly ball outs. It's been an unbelievable night.
Red Sox 5, Mariners 0, Mid 7th -- Kelley continues to keep things quiet in the top of the seventh, picking up three quick outs as the lineup turns over, including a strikeout of Mike Aviles.
Red Sox 5, Mariners 0, End 6th -- A fielding error keeps Cook from having another 1-2-3 inning, but he has no trouble stranding the leadoff baserunner at first.
Red Sox 5, Mariners 0, Mid 6th -- More hard-hit fly balls, more runs for the Red Sox, as David Ortiz doubles to Ichiro and Jarrod Saltalamacchia makes it four homers off of Noesi, jacking a two-run shot to dead-center. Noesi is given one more batter, but when Gonzalez grabs a base hit to right, he's pulled for Shawn Kelly, who grabs the three outs needed in a hurry.
Red Sox 3, Mariners 0, End 5th -- Cook doesn't have any problem maintaining Boston's momentum in the bottom half of the fifth, striking out Jesus Montero and getting a couple more quick ground balls to send it to the sixth.
Red Sox 3, Mariners 0, Mid 5th -- Those long fly balls? They finally leave the park. Will Middlebrooks starts it out by taking an outside slider and hooking it well into the stands in left. Cody Ross immediately follows it up with a shot into the upper deck of the same location on a middle-middle fastball. The next two outs came quickly, but trying to get the third, Noesi ran into a third homer, this time from Daniel Nava to right field. Just goes to show that sort of pitching won't keep producing resutls forever.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 4th -- Aaron Cook has a five pitch inning, even with an infield single by Ichiro as Casper Wells immediately follows with a ground ball that turns into a double play. A third ground ball makes it three outs, and eight ground ball outs for Cook on the whole.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 4th -- Dustin Pedroia gets hit to lead off the inning, but once again Noesi lives by the skin of his teeth, with David Ortiz flying out to deep left field and Adrian Gonzalez flies out to center to end the inning.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 3rd -- Aaron Cook enjoys another quick inning, with two ground balls and a strike out. Not a bad day at the office so far.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 3rd -- The Sox get another baserunner as Ryan Kalish shoots a quick ground ball through the hole to left field. Another line out--this time from Mike Aviles--and a ground ball from Daniel Nava keeps them from making anything more from it.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 2nd -- Unlike Noesi, Cook's balls-in-play serve as a good sign. Three quick ground balls have the Sox and Mariners through two innings in all of twenty minutes.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 2nd -- Three straight hard-hit fly balls are a good sign for the Red Sox, with Will Middlebrooks even getting to the back of the track in dead center. Unfortunately, nothing gets out or down, leaving the Sox still scoreless.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 1st -- Aaron Cook responds in kind with a quick bottom of the first, earning a pop-up from Ichiro and ground ball from Casper Wells before Kyle Seager hits a lazy fly to the left field foul line, where Daniel Nava makes a nice basket catch for out number three.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 1st -- The Red Sox get off to a relatively slow start against Hector Noesi, though it's not entirely to his credit. A one-out walk from Dustin Pedroia ends up unfortunately wasted as David Ortiz' hard-hit line but low line drive goes right to the second baseman, leading to a double play.
The Red Sox are out for revenge Friday night after being felled by a Felix Hernandez gem and a walkoff single from John Jaso. First pitch is at 10:10 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
There is, of course, no shame in being shut down by Felix Hernandez, which is perhaps why the Red Sox have decided to stick with the same lineup they had last night against the far-less-impressive Hector Noesi. That means Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate and hitting cleanup, Adrian Gonzalez batting fifth, and the still-struggling Ryan Kalish in center field batting eighth.
As for the Mariners, John Jaso's walkoff single as a pinch-hitter has earned him a start. Well, that and the .840 OPS he's put up in limited at bats this year. He'll bat fifth behind Jesus Montero and ahead of Justin Smoak.
Boston Red Sox (40-36)
Seattle Mariners (33-45)
Ellsbury was 1-4 with a walk and an RBI while Crawford was 0-2 with two walks. Ellsbury was the designated hitter in the lineup as he is trying to work his way back from a partially dislocated right shoulder which he injured on April 13. Crawford played seven innings in left field. Crawford is recovering from a sprained ligament in his left elbow.
Ellsbury was hitting .192 with three RBI and four walks in seven games this season before the injury occurred. Crawford has not played at all for Boston this season. He had wrist surgery during the offseason and was expected back at the beginning of the season before the elbow sidelined him in late April.
Aaron Cook (1-1, 9.39 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Red Sox tonight, looking to build off his last start against the Atlanta Braves. Cook gave up six hits and two earned runs in five innings of work in Boston's 9-4 win over the Braves on June 24.
The Mariners will counter with Hector Noesi (2-9, 5.50 ERA), who has had his struggles in his first season with the Mariners. Even when he has had a quality start like he did against the Padres last week, the Mariners offense has failed to give him the run support needed to improve his record.
Take a look here at the game schedule and broadcast information:
Date/Time: Friday, June 29, 10:10 p.m. ET
Location: Safeco Field
TV: NESN, ROOT Sports
Online streaming: MLB.tv
Times certainly have changed in baseball, and that became even more evident after Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz attended a charity event (but did not drink) after recently getting out of the hospital for intestinal bleeding.
The Red Sox fell to the Mariners 1-0 in walkoff fashion Thursday night thanks to Felix Hernandez, Casper Wells, and John Jaso.
While the game would end in the ninth after the departure of Franklin Morales, the story really belonged to him and Hernandez. With neither pitcher surrendering a baserunner in the first two innings, the stage was set early on for a pitchers' duel of the highest order.
The two locked-in starters would trade scoreless innings back-and-forth, with Hernandez racking up strikeouts at a torrid pace--he finished the night with 13--and Morales matching him step-for-step. Hernandez would face some third-inning trouble, as Mike Aviles and Daniel Nava produced back-to-back singles and Dustin Pedroia hit a long fly ball only to have Franklin Gutierrez run it down for the out in left-center field.
Gutierrez would end up leaving the game after providing the first hit of the night for Mariners in the fourth. Trying to pick the center fielder off at first, Morales ended up hitting Gutierrez in the head as he returned to the bag. It was a scary moment, but does not seem to have resulted in any serious injury.
Morales would escape the fourth unscathed, and pitch into the seventh before facing anymore significant trouble. In the top half of the inning, Hernandez had allowed a Adrian Gonzalez to reach second with one out after a hit and wild pitch, but struck out the next two batters to finish the frame. While the inning started the same way for Morales, with a hit, wild pitch, and strikeout, a ground ball to the mound ended up in an error as Gonzalez failed to glove the easy toss from Morales. Luckily, another ground ball immediately followed, allowing Morales to end his night with seven shutout innings to his name.
After a quick eighth inning from Andrew Miller, Felix Hernandez returned to the mound for the ninth with a very high pitch count, and once again found himself in trouble after a one-out single from David Ortiz back up the middle and walk from Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Adrian Gonzalez worked an excellent at bat, but ended up only able to hit a long fly-ball to left-center, where Michael Saunders was able to track it down for the out. With Will Middlebrooks popping up the next pitch to center, Hernandez finished his ninth scoreless inning.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, a weak link would finally appear in the pitching staff come the ninth. With one out, Scott Atchison left a slider up in the zone and over the plate to Casper Wells, who doubled to the wall in center. After an intentional walk to Justin Smoak, it was another bad slider that stayed over the plate, and John Jaso ripped it into right field. Cody Ross' throw home was nearly perfect, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia simply could not come up with it, letting Wells tag the bag for the walkoff win.
|Final - 6.28.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||1|
|WP: Felix Hernandez (6 - 5)
LP: Scott Atchison (2 - 1)
The Red Sox and Mariners are set to kick off their four-game series with a matchup between Felix Hernandez and Franklin Morales.
We'll keep those of you still awake up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Seattle.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 9th -- In attempting to win the game, the Sox may have just shot themselves in the foot. After a one-out single and walk from David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia respectively, the Sox pull Ortiz from the game for a pinch runner in Brent Lillibridge as Adrian Gonzalez steps to the plate against a worn-down Felix Hernandez. After getting ahead 3-0, Gonzalez has the count run full swinging at two pitches on the outside edge of the plate, and then fouls off a series of good pitches before sending a long fly ball to left-center. Unfortunately, it stays in the air for just barely too long, allowing Michael Saunders to run it down for the out. On the very next pitch, Will Middlebrooks pops out, and Felix Hernandez is through nine scoreless.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 8th -- Andrew Miller enjoys a 1-2-3 eighth on just seven pitches, without a single ball leaving the infield. He seems to really be finding his niche in the pen this year.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 8th -- Facing Felix Hernandez is hard enough. Facing Felix Hernandez when he's got Casper Wells looking for all the world like the best fielder ever is something else entirely. Coming in on a Mike Aviles line drive, Wells robs the Sox of a one-out hit, then almost immediately thereafter ranges all the way to the foul line and makes a sliding grab on a slicing liner from Daniel Nava, crashing into the wall but holding on all the way for the out. Unbelievable stuff.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 7th -- Much like Felix, Morales gets in trouble with a line drive single, exacerbates said trouble with a wild pitch, and then manages to escape the inning unharmed. He even gets the foul tip strike three for the second out, though Miguel Olivo is right to protest that the ball hit the dirt before the glove. Things get a little dicey when Adrian Gonzalez can't handle an easy toss from the mound for what would have been the third out, but another ground ball, this time to third, gets Morales out of the inning.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 7th -- The Red Sox actually get one-and-a-half at bats with a runner in scoring position, as Adrian Gonzalez singles to left field and then moves to second on a very wild pitch. Unfortunately, the rest of Hernandez' pitches are not so wild, leaving Will Middlebrooks and Cody Ross both the victims of the strikeout.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 6th -- Back and forth we go. The Mariners get their second hit of the night, but of course even that is just an infield single, with Mike Aviles making a good play to keep a well-aimed ground ball from getting through, but not having any play at first afterwards. At 90 pitches, the recently-converted Morales is likely not long for this game, but he's done one hell of a job of keeping up with Felix, even if it did come against the Mariners' lineup.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 6th -- Unfortunately, not only is Felix Hernandez rolling, striking out Dustin Pedroia in between ground balls from Daniel Nava and David Ortiz, he's also rolling efficiently. The Sox are not simply failing to score, they're going down in a hurry, leaving Hernandez shy of 80 pitches six innings into the game. That means Boston will have to go to its bullpen first barring a big shift in Felix' momentum.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 5th -- Franklin Morales allows another baserunner, walking Dustin Ackley with two outs, but a ground ball from Brendan Ryan is fielded smoothly by Mike Aviles, who makes the throw to second for the out.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 5th -- No question: Hernandez and Moralez are dueling. With the benefit of a wide strike zone, neither one seems ready to give up anything significant through the first four-and-a-half innings. Cody Ross is a victim of an inside strike call, Ryan Kalish has to expand the zone with two strikes and goes down chasing a pitch away, and Mike Aviles pops out to end the fifth in a hurry. Quite the performance from both starters so far.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 4th -- Scary moments at Safeco in the fourth. After the Mariners pick up their first hit of the game--a ground ball single into center--an errant pick off throw ends up smashing into the side of Franklin Gutierrez' face. Gutierrez stays on the ground for a while before being helped to the dugout, where he now appears to be chewing gum (a good sign, one has to imagine). Morales manages to get the three outs he needs without giving up the run, but he does take a good few pitches to do so, undoing the good of the short-order first-through-third.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 4th -- The Sox pick up another baserunner when Jarrod Saltalamacchia hits a bloop single by effectively throwing his bat at a pitch low-and-away. But Adrian Gonzalez quickly strikes out on a very low pitch, and while Will Middlebrooks got his bat on the ball, it went straight to first base for a line drive out.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 3rd -- Franklin Morales shows only the smallest sign of slowing down, walking Brendan Ryan with two outs. Ichiro is once again made to play the fool, however, going way out of the zone to ground a weak ball to Dustin Pedroia to end things.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 3rd -- The Sox get a big opportunity in the third, but just can't quite take advantage. A sof two-out line drive for Mike Aviles breaks up Hernandez' run of eight straight Sox retired, and Daniel Nava quickly puts a runner in scoring position with a ground ball that finds the hole between second and first. Now with two on and two down, Dustin Pedroia gets a pitch to hit, and hits it a long way. Unfortunately for the Sox, the ball doesn't tail far enough away from Franklin Guttierez, who runs it down in deep center for the out.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 2nd -- Step-for-step goes Morales with Hernandez. A fly ball, pop-up, and strikeout get him out of the second without a baserunner allowed, the K coming on a mean curve heading back into the zone that had Justin Smoak swinging through it for the out.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 2nd -- King Felix needs no help from the umps in the second; the Sox are content to swing at his breaking balls all night long, wherever they may land. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is, unsurprisingly, the first victim, hacking at a slider in the dirt. And after an easy Adrian Gonzalez ground ball, it's Will Middlebrooks being taken for a ride on a changeup away.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, End 1st -- If you had to compare them, Franklin Morales has now out-pitched Felix Hernandez through one inning. It takes Morales just four pitches to strike out Ichiro swinging at an off-speed pitch that ends up low-and-away, two more to get a fly ball out to center from Franklin Guttierez, and then another five to catch Kyle Seager watching a pitch on the corner. Quite the start.
Red Sox 0, Mariners 0, Mid 1st -- The Red Sox receive an ill omen on the very first at bat of the night. After falling behind 3-0, Felix Hernandez battles back to work the count full, and then delivers a pitch will off the plate. As Daniel Nava gets ready to head down to first, however, the ump rings him up. If Felix gets that call, it could be a long night. Or perhaps a very short one, as demonstrated by Dustin Pedroia, who hits a ground ball back to Felix Hernandez just two pitches later. David Ortiz does manage to get good wood on the ball, but for all that it looks like a homer swing, it produces just a line drive which Ichiro can field in his tracks.
The Boston Red Sox are out to start their West Coast schedule on a positive note Thursday night, as they send Franklin Morales to the mound against the Seattle Mariners and perennial Cy Young candidate Felix Hernandez. First pitch is at 10:10 p.m. EST, with broadcasts by NESN and WEEI.
It's becoming more and more clear that Bobby Valentine intends to use a platoon to fill the cleanup spot for the time being. With Adrian Gonzalez only just now really beginning to find his form again, Kevin Youkilis gone to Chicago, and Will Middlebrooks an inexperienced rookie, Valentine has been turning to Cody Ross against left-handed pitchers, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia against righties.
Tonight, with the right-handed Hernandez on the mound, it will be Saltalamacchia's turn to take the big at bats after the top three. So far, that's worked out just fine for the up-and-coming catcher, who has responded with a 1.021 OPS in his limited appearances in the fourth spot.
Whether or not Saltalamacchia--or anyone else in the Red Sox lineup, for that matter--can produce against the likes of Felix Hernandez tonight is another matter entirely.
Boston Red Sox (40-35)
Seattle Mariners (32-45)
The Red Sox are in hot pursuit of a wild card spot as they head to the West Coast to take on Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners.
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