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For the second straight night the Sox’ bats produced double digit hits, but not the runs to match them. Despite Adrian Gonzalez’ 4-for-4 night being surrounded by a 2-for-3 performance from Dustin Pedroia and two more hits from Kevin Youkilis, the Sox collected only one run from the trio.
One of the biggest problems was David Ortiz, who seems to be entering into something of a slump. Ortiz grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and one out in the first inning to end the threat, and then lined out to short with more men on in the third. All told, he left seven men on base.
The Red Sox would need a good few runs, too, thanks to a dismal outing from starter John Lackey. After being made to wait a half hour for the game to start, Lackey put a 2-2 slider over the middle of the plate to Wil Venable, who took it out of the park to give the Padres a 1-0 lead after the first at bat.
After a couple of shaky innings, during which Lackey had to wait through another delay, he came out in the fourth with nothing left. After loading the bases, Lackey gave up a walk to Wil Venable and then hit Jason Bartlett with a pitch, allowing two runs to walk in much like Alfredo Aceves had the night before.
Unlike Aceves, however, Lackey was unable to hold the Padres to just two in the inning, throwing a ball over Jason Varitek’s head and allowing a single before being pulled from the game with a 5-0 deficit.
The Sox finally got on the board in the fifth after a third rain delay, but were unable to add any more. With the rains returning in the eighth, everyone had seen more-than-enough, and the game was finally—even mercifully—called.
For the second straight day, a Red Sox pitcher has walked in two runs. This time around it was John Lackey, who loaded the bases in the fourth, and then allowed a one-out walk to Wil Venable, and then hit Jason Bartlett, bringing in a run both times.
The Padres scored again without a hit as Cameron Maybin touched home when Lackey airballed a delivery to Jason Varitek, sending it to the backstop and letting another run come across. Finally the beleaguered righty was chased from the game on a single from Chase Headley, putting the Padres up 5-0.
The two teams sat through another rain delay, but with the umpires determined to get the fifth inning again, were back out on a soggy Fenway infield for an inning where it seemed like the Red Sox were almost going to break out. With singles from Mike Cameron and Adrian Gonzalez, and walks to Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, the fifth could have been a turning point. But Mike Cameron was immediately picked off of first before any others reached, and outs from Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz ended the threat with just one run on the board.
The teams traded scoreless frames in the sixth, and the Red Sox are nine outs away from losing their first series in the month of June.
In many ways, Wednesday’s game is looking a lot like Tuesday’s so far. The Red Sox are out-hitting the Padres 6-to-2, but thanks to an untimely double play and an unlucky lineout—both off the bat of David Ortiz—have failed to push any runs across.
The lone run for the Padres came in the first at bat, when Lackey grooved a 2-2 slider middle-middle to Wil Venable. The ball left the yard, and the Padres took the lead. Oddly enough, Varitek seem to have set up right around where the ball ended up. Regardless of whether it was due to miscommunication, or just puzzling decision making, that is not a pitch that should be thrown.
The rain seems to be sticking around, but not heavy enough to call out the tarp just yet. There’s no telling when it will be back in force, though, so if the Sox are planning to score today, they’d best be quick about it.
For a third straight series, the Red Sox face a rubber game. Unlike with the Rays (David Price) and Brewers (Yovani Gallardo), however, they won't have to beat an ace to take this one.
Which is probably a good thing, since every time Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald make an appearance, Red Sox fans die a little on the inside--especially with Josh Reddick proving himself every time he's given an opportunity. One wonders if Terry Francona is going to let the promising young outfielder actually get a shot against a lefty, or if he's just decided platoons are in this year.
Boston Red Sox (44-29)
Pitching Matchup: John Lackey (5-5, 7.02 ERA) vs. Clayton Richard (2-9, 4.35 ERA)
While the name John Lackey still strikes more fear in the hearts of Red Sox fans than the opposing team, the veteran righty has actually been a lot better since returning from the disabled list. A 5.03 ERA belies much-improved peripherals. So far, Lackey has mostly faced some of the tougher offensive teams in the league, so hopefully a start against the Padres will do him some good.
On the one hand, Clayton Richard is exactly the kind of lefty the Sox don't want to see: one with big splits and a strong slider to explain them. More than any other pitch Sox lefties seem to have issues laying off sliders breaking away from them. On the other hand, Richard is exactly the kind of lefty the Sox do want to see: not a terribly good one. Richard rarely strikes batters out, and walks more than his fair share too. After leaving 11 men on base last night, the hope is that they'll be out for a little bit of vengeance against Richard.
The Red Sox fell to the Padres 5-4 Tuesday night thanks largely to a difficult outing from Alfredo Aceves.
Getting the start for Josh Beckett, Aceves escaped a difficult situation in the first inning before running into real trouble in the second. Throwing twelve straight balls at one point, Aceves walked the next five batters he faced to bring in a pair of runs for the Padres. They would double that score in the fifth thanks to three straight hits, all again coming with two outs.
The Sox fought back, however. Having already scored a run in the first on an RBI double from Kevin Youkilis, they picked up another in the third when Josh Reddick tripled to lead off the inning. Unfortunately, the Sox would miss an opportunity for a big inning when Adrian Gonzalez hit a hard line drive right off of Mat Latos' glove with two men on and zero outs, allowing the pitcher to turn a double play.
This kind of missed opportunity would become a trend in the game. The Sox would score again in the fourth, but left the bases loaded and couldn't score Marco Scutaro from third with just one out. Kevin Youkilis led off the fifth with a single, but that run, too, was stranded. When they scored again in the sixth inning to tie the game, it came only after Jacoby Ellsbury made a nonsensical steal attempt that left him out at second.
Eventually, it was a ground-rule double over the head of Jacoby Ellsbury in the seventh with a man on first that set up the Sox for a loss. The run would score on a ground ball out when Adrian Gonzalez bobbled the ball, forcing him to go to first instead of taking a shot at home. But really, this game was lost due to Aceves' wildness, and the Sox failing to cash in on earlier opportunities.
So far, this has been a game of missed opportunities for the Red Sox. At least now it's a tie.
After a 1-2-3-4 inning from Alfredo Aceves, the Sox pulled within one run in the bottom of the fourth when Josh Reddick doubled off the wall in center to bring Marco Scutaro all the way home from first. Once again, though, Adrian Gonzalez ran into some tough luck when he was rung up on a pitch that appeared to be outside.
The fifth was filled with surprises for both sides. First there was Alfredo Aceves striking out two batters in his first clean inning of the night--hardly what one would expect after his difficult second and third innings. But what happened in the bottom of the frame was much more unusual.
With David Ortiz on first, Mat Latos was paying little attention to anything other than the man at the plate. So when David Ortiz broke for second way too early, he didn't notice it. He also didn't notice when David Ortiz skidded to a stop halfway, and by that point, it was too late. Latos came home, Ortiz started running again, and was in safe at second.
The Sox wouldn't score in that inning, but the story would be different in the sixth, thanks to a ground ball single with runners at the corners which made it 4-4. The Sox could have had more, but Jacoby Ellsbury made a curious call to try to steal second with one out and a man at third, and was caught while Marco Scutaro stood idly 90 feet from home, presumably unaware that the steal was on in the first place.
After recording two quick outs in the second inning, Alfredo Aceves lost all semblance of control. Starting with balls three and four to Cameron Maybin, Aceves threw 12 straight pitches without finding the zone, loading the bases and eventually walking in two runs as he allowed five straight free passes.
Now leading 2-1, the Padres again struck with two outs in the third, but this time actually making use of their bats. Anthony Rizzo started things with a loud double off the Monster, and was followed up by a single from Cameron Maybin and a double by Nick Hundley to add two more runs.
The Sox showed signs of life in the third, with Josh Reddick leading off the inning with a triple. The next two batters each reached, but Adrian Gonzalez ran into some tough luck, lining a ball hard off of Mat Latos’ glove. Latos picked the ball up, and fired to third to start a double play and put a damper on what could have been a very big inning.
After delivering a 14-run beating to the Padres last night, the Red Sox are out to score big again to back up Alfredo Aceves in his brief return to starting.
Amazingly, though, the Red Sox' lineup wasn't anywhere near full strength Monday, With Darnell and Mike Cameron getting the call against left-handed Wade LeBlanc. That will not be the case today, as the Sox will return to the still-struggling J.D. Drew, but also Josh Reddick, the young call-up who has collected seven hits in his first seventeen at bats. With Carl Crawford out on the DL and three of the other outfielders on the roster providing little production, this is Reddick's opportunity to leave a good impression with Terry Francona and the Red Sox.
Boston Red Sox (44-28)
Pitching Matchup: Alfredo Aceves (3-1, 3.30 ERA) vs. Mat Latos (4-8, 4.06 ERA)
Alfredo Aceves will be making an unexpected return to a starting role thanks to Josh Beckett's illness. The last time we saw him there was not a pleasant experience, as he allowed eight runs (six earned) to the White Sox back on May 31.
He's not exactly gone light on his arm since then, however, carrying the Sox through four innings to an extra-innings win against Oakland, and then piggybacking with Tim Wakefield to account for the whole of a win against New York. His last two appearances have been rather less stressful, however, and so he should be ready to go for a while against San Diego. He should fair reasonably well against the Padres, too, given his reliance on off-speed pitches. San Diego has never done particularly well against anything but fastballs.
Mat Latos is going through something of a sophomore slump after his first full season in 2010. After missing the start of the year with bursitis, Latos hasn't had quite the same velocity as he did last year, and has been having trouble with his curveball, which has been hammered around quite a bit. Still, he's yet to have any really bad outings this year, he's just had a lot more mediocre ones than in the past.
Some proposals for realignment in Major League Baseball include doing away with divisions entirely. If so, could the greatest rivalry in sports be in danger?
The last thing the Red Sox need is another health setback, but it looks like that's exactly what they're facing, as Josh Beckett has reportedly been scratched from his start on Tuesday due to illness against the San Diego Padres at Fenway Park.
Alfredo Aceves, who is 3-1 with a 3.30 ERA and 24 strikeouts, will start in place of Beckett, according to CSNNE's Sean McAdam.
Beckett is 6-2 with a 1.86 ERA, 79 strikeouts, 30 walks and a 0.92 WHIP in 14 games.
The Red Sox scored 14 runs, including 10 in the seventh inning, en route to a 14-4 blowout of the San Diego Padres.
The scoring got started early for Boston, as the Sox loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning, but could only push one run across when David Ortiz singled following a 14-pitch at bat. They would score another run in the third on back-to-back hits from Kevin Youkilis in the third, but again missed out on a big chance in the fourth, again scoring just a solitary run after loading the bases with nobody out.
Meanwhile, the big attraction for Boston fans coming into the game was the Red Sox debut of Andrew Miller. Miller impressed early on, striking out the first batter of the game on three pitches, and heading into the sixth with the shutout intact and five strikeouts. It was then that he ran into trouble, however, giving up single and a walk before delivering a high-inside fastball to Orlando Hudson. The Padres' second baseman swung big, and tied the game at three-all, rocketing the ball into the Monster seats.
The tie would hold for another inning thanks to the efforts of Cory Luebke, but Adrian Gonzalez doubled high off the Monster to bring Dustin Pedroia home in the seventh, and the floodgates suddenly opened. After Kevin Youkilis flew out to left, the San Diego bullpen elected to give David Ortiz the intentional walk, gave up one of the unintentional variety to J.D. Drew, and then hit Marco Scutaro and Jason Varitek back-to-back with the bases loaded to bring in two more runs.
The Padres would give up another walk and four more two-out hits before finally closing out the inning with the score sitting at 13. The Sox would tack on another run, and both Michael Bowden and Tommy Hottovy allowed a run in their innings of work, but the game was entirely over by that point. The Sox scored 14 runs utilizing not a single long ball, with Adrian Gonzalez striking three times for three RBI against his former team.
Things had been going so well for Andrew Miller. Having escaped a leadoff triple unscathed in the fourth, he even had Sox fans wondering just who would get the boot from the rotation once Clay Buchholz made his inevitable return.
But, with Chase Headley singling and Ryan Ludwick walking, it took just one swing of the bat for Orlando Hudson to tie the game at three-all, taking an inside fastball and shooting it into the Monster seats.
The Red Sox haven’t had nearly as much luck against Cory Luebke as they had been having against Wade LeBlanc. Right now Bud Black is looking like the smartest guy in the park for electing to go to Luebke to keep the game close. With the bases loaded and nobody out in the fourth, it must have been tempting to just throw in the towel. Instead, the Padres gave up only the one run, and now find themselves in a tie game.
The Sox will enter the seventh inning with Matt Albers on the mound, and hoping desperately that Luebke will not return.
The biggest story so far is Andrew Miller, who has been impressive so far in his Red Sox debut. While Miller has given up two walks—something of a red flag given his previous troubles—it’s not really been indicative of a greater inability to throw strikes. Miller’s stuff has shone through, resulting in a great many weak ground balls. Two of the Padre’s three hits haven’t even left the infield.
Offensively, the Red Sox looked very much like the team that’s put up double digit runs on so many teams this month. Padres starter Wade LeBlanc didn’t really pitch a single good at bat through the first five batters. He gave up a line drive to Jacoby Ellsbury that happened to find Cameron Maybin’s glove, followed by a double from Dustin Pedroia and a single from Adrian Gonzalez to left to put runners on the corners. Youkilis walked to load the bases, setting up one of the best at bats so far this year.
David Ortiz stepped into the batter’s box and quickly found himself down 0-2, visibly frustrated with his failure to crush a hanging breaking ball. Ortiz took the next two pitches to even the count, fouled off a couple more, and then took a breaking ball that seemed like a strike to just about everyone but the man in black behind the plate.
Unfortunately for LeBlanc, that was the last time he’d get Ortiz to take a pitch. The next six offerings were all wasted, but the fourteenth of the at bat was not, as Ortiz flared it up well over the shortstop’s head and into left field for the RBI single. That was all the Sox would get, though, as Darnell McDonald popped out and Marco Scutaro grounded to third to end the inning.
Another run would come in the third on a two-out groundball single from Kevin Youkilis and a double smashed into the corner by David Ortiz that brought him all the way around from first.
The Red Sox will get their first look at Andrew Miller with the Major League club Monday, as the project righty enters Boston's rotation against the San Diego Padres.
With lefty Wade LeBlanc on the mound for the Padres, Miller will be backed by a Red Sox lineup featuring the right-handed bench outfielders in Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald joining the usual bunch, with Jason Varitek providing a steady veteran presence behind the plate.
Boston Red Sox (43-28)
With control having always been his biggest problem, the Red Sox went about fixing his delivery in Triple-A Pawtucket. While early returns showed no real change--Miller gave up 32 walks in his first 40 innings--his last four starts have resulted in just three walks in 25 frames. He's allowed five runs in the period, striking out an impressive 26 batters in the process. With his opt-out date coming last week, the Red Sox decided to give him the opportunity to prove himself in the major leagues.
Wade LeBlanc hasn't exactly been a regular fixture in the Majors this year either. Spending most of the season in Triple-A Tucson, LeBlanc received the call thanks to a number of injuries in San Diego's rotation. LeBlanc is a lefty, which is usually bad news for Boston, but lacks major splits, and has been far from lights out in Triple-A. LeBlanc made his first start since being recalled on June 14, giving up three runs without escaping the fifth.
The Red Sox are aiming for their sixth straight series win as they welcome the Padres to Fenway Park for the first matchup between the two teams since the Adrian Gonzalez trade.
So far, there are no complaints from the Red Sox. Adrian Gonzalez has been everything promised, sitting at third in the American League in Ops, Gonzalez trails only Jose Bautista and Miguel Cabrera, and has the most RBI of any player in the game.
San Diego has also seen early returns, as Anthony Rizzo proved to be too much for the Triple-A PCL, clubbing 16 home runs in his 52 games with the Tucson Padres. Now, with just 10 games under his belt in the Majors, Rizzo is headed to Fenway to play in the park that could, in another world, have been his own.
Still, when the Padres traded away Adrian Gonzalez, they knew they were also dealing away the success they had found in 2010, and through the first 70-or-so games of the season, that has certainly proved to be the case. Sitting at 30-43, the Padres will be approaching the midway point of the year looking ahead not to October, but to 2012 and beyond while the 43-28 Red Sox fix their sights firmly on the road to the 2011 World Series.
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