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Youkilis was sent to Chicago for right-handed pitcher Zach Stewart, Brent Lillibridge and cash (via Sporting News). Stewart is 3-8 with a 5.92 ERA during his MLB career. In his minor league career, Stewart is 18-14 with a 3.07 ERA. He was 1-2 in 2012 for the White Sox with an ERA of 6.00. Lillibridge is a utility player who is only hitting .175 this season with no home runs and two RBI. For his career, he is a .215 hitter with 16 homers and 58 RBI.
Youkilis was struggling this season for Boston, hitting .233 with four homers, 14 walks and 14 RBI. Youkilis is a .286 hitter who is just six walks short of 500 for his career. With Youkilis being traded, only David Ortiz is left from the 2004 Boston Red Sox World Series team.
For more on the Boston Red Sox, be sure to head over to Over the Monster and join the discussion.
The Red Sox defeated the Braves 9-4 Sunday afternoon to secure their fourth straight series win.
The difference between the two teams Sunday all came down to one player: Cody Ross. At first, though, it was the pitchers who took center stage. Despite having Aaron Cook and Mike Minor on the mound, neither with impressive numbers and Cook only making his second start (and first in the majors) since his knee injury on May 5, both men were solid through the first three innings. With Cook adding a 1-2-3 fourth, the Sox and Braves headed into the bottom half of the inning in a scoreless tie.
That's when things turned around for the Boston lineup. Walks to Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks put two men on with nobody out, and when Cody Ross got a flat breaking ball over the plate, he didn't miss it. A high fly ball fell onto the ledge over the Monster for a home run, giving the Sox a 3-0 lead. Two pitches later, and it was Adrian Gonzalez making his mark, knocking his first homer since June 8 down the left field foul line and into the Monster seats to make it 4-0.
The Braves got to Aaron Cook for three runs in the top half of the fifth thanks to a couple unlucky ground balls and a loud triple from Erik Hinske into the triangle, but the Sox responded instantly. With Kelly Shoppach reaching second on an error and Daniel Nava blooping him to third, the Sox were able to add a run on a Will Middlebrooks sacrifice fly, but it was Cody Ross who once again provided the big hit. With Minor offering up a curveball almost identical to the first, Ross hit a homer quite a bit louder than the first, clearing the AAA sign on the Monster and leaving Fenway entirely with a moon shot that put Boston up 7-3.
The Sox would again exchange runs in the sixth, with a homer off Matt Albers being made up for by a Daniel Nava RBI double off the wall. The eighth was not terribly eventful either, with only one run scoring, but the situation made it all the more impactful. Coming to bat for possibly the last time as a Red Sox with Adrian Gonzalez at first, Kevin Youkilis launched a high fly ball to right field that dropped between Jason Heyward and Michael Bourn, perhaps due to a lack of communication. With Gonzalez scoring all the way from first, Youkilis slid into third with the first Red Sox triple in 43 games, and came off to a tremendous ovation as Bobby Valentine gave him a chance for what might be a final individual send off by lifting him for a pinch runner.
With Scott Atchison and Mark Melancon finishing off the game with a pair of scoreless innings, the Sox head home four games above .500 for the first time this season.
|Final - 6.24.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||0||0||4||3||1||1||0||X||9||11||1|
|WP: Aaron Cook (1 - 1)
LP: Mike Minor (3 - 6)
According to Rob Bradford, a clubhouse source has indicated that Kevin Youkilis has been traded to the Chicago White Sox.
There's no word yet on the details of the deal, but the writing has been on the wall for a while now with Youkilis, and with Bobby Valentine giving him a sentimental send-off in today's game based on word from Ben Cherington that a deal was in the works, it seems like the time has finally come.
Who the Red Sox will get in return remains to be seen, but earlier in the week the name Matt Thornton was being tossed around plenty. The Red Sox are not in need of a reliever, but the White Sox have a barren farm system and, if Thornton is coming over, that likely opens the Sox up to making trades with their overstocked relief corps, and relievers are always gold at the deadline.
We'll keep you up-to-date as we learn more.
Boston Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis probably made his last at-bat for the team in Sunday's game against the Atlanta Braves. Youkilis received a standing ovation from the crowd at Fenway Park following what was likely his last hit, an RBI triple in the seventh inning. Youkilis was lifted for pinch runner Nick Punto as a precaution.
No trade partner has yet been confirmed, but it is looking more and more like the team might be the Chicago White Sox and not the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to a report (via Jon Heyman's Twitter).
Youkilis is hitting .233 on the season with four home runs, 14 walks and 14 RBI. The triple on Sunday was the first of the season for Youkilis and the 16th of his career. For his career, Youkilis hits .286 with 133 home runs, 563 RBI and 494 walks.
For more on the Boston Red Sox, be sure to head over to Over the Monster and join the discussion.
The Red Sox are in search of their fourth straight series win Sunday afternoon as they send Aaron Cook to the mound against Mike Minor and the Atlanta Braves.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.
Red Sox 9, Braves 4, End 8th -- Nothing doing in the eighth, as Darnell McDonald's single is erased by Daniel Nava's double play, but with a five-run lead the Sox won't sweat it headed to the ninth.
Red Sox 9, Braves 4, Mid 8th -- Scott Atchison makes very quick work of the braves in the eighth, sitting down Jason Heyward with a slider over the outside part of the plate to end the 1-2-3 inning.
Red Sox 9, Braves 4, End 7th -- Kevin Youkilis may have just had his farewell moment at Fenway Park. After a two-out bloop single from Adrian Gonzalez, Youkilis hit a long fly ball to right-center, and with neither outfielder fully committing, the ball fell in, allowing Gonzalez to score and Youkilis to reach third. With Bobby Valentine calling for a pinch runner in Nick Punto, Youkilis left the field to a long standing ovation, tipping his cap and, after what looked like a farewell in the dugout, came back for a final curtain call before heading to the clubhouse. No word on a trade yet, but if that's his last moment, it was just about perfect.
Red Sox 8, Braves 4, Mid 7th -- In the first scoreless half-inning since the top of the fourth, Andrew Miller works around a pair of singles by getting Michael Bourn to swing over a slider down-and-away and then inducing a pop fly off the bat of Brian McCann to end the frame.
Red Sox 8, Braves 4, End 6th -- And once again, the Sox match the Braves perfectly in the bottom half of the inning to pull back to a four-run lead. This time it's the work of Kelly Shoppach, who singles solidly up the middle, and Daniel Nava, who plants a double high off the Monster, just missing a homer but doing enough to get Shoppach home with two outs.
Red Sox 7, Braves 4, Mid 6th -- One bad pitch troubles Matt Albers in the sixth, as he gives up a homer to Jason Heyward nearly identical to Ross' first, dropping just barely into the Monster seats in left field to bring the Braves slightly closer.
Red Sox 7, Braves 3, End 5th -- And just as quickly the Sox undo all the damage from the top half of the fifth. This time, the greater part of the damage is not his fault, as Kelly Shoppach reaches first when Andrelton Simmons air mails a throw well over Freddi Freeman's head and into the Boston dugout. Daniel Nava follows him onto the basepaths with a bloop single, and while Dustin Pedroia can't get Shoppach in from third, Will Middlebrooks hits one deep enough for the sacrifice fly behind him.
That proves to not matter much, however, as Cody Ross proves he's having one of his days. A flat curveball is dangerous to anyone, but to a dead pull hitter like Ross, coming from a lefty, it's a gimme. Ross hits the ball well over the Triple-A sign on the Monster and all the way out of Fenway for a two-run shot that makes it a 4-run lead once again.
Red Sox 4, Braves 3, Mid 5th -- The Sox' lead is almost instantly cut to one in the fifth, as a combination of bad luck, bad pitching, and bad defense--all on the part of Aaron Cook--costs them three.
The bad luck comes with the first two at bats, which see a pair of ground balls go for hits. The first comes on a broken bat and doesn't even make it to the infield dirt, but it takes long enough for Dustin Pedroia to get to it that Jason Heyward is able to reach first. The second is a basic seeing-eye single placed perfectly to get through the right side of the infield.
With two on and no out, Cook gives up his bad pitch, and is treated to a long fly ball from Erik Hinske that nearly gets out into the stands near the triangle. Instead it ricochets off the wall, and allows Hinske to reach third with both runs scoring. Frankly, though, it would have been just as well if the ball had gotten out, as after he snags a come-backer, Cook proceeds to throw the ball away trying to catch a wandering Hinske,letting the third run come in. Thankfully, Cook manages to keep the lead from there, with three more ground balls finding gloves and ending the frame.
Red Sox 4, Brave 0, End 4th -- And the Red Sox finally make Mike Minor look like Mike Minor. Both Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks are content to watch Minor throw them balls to lead off the inning with a pair of walks. Up comes Cody Ross, whose solid return has been overshadowed a bit by the likes of Middlebrooks and Nava, and reminds fans why he was missed, jacking a high fly ball to left field that drops just barely into and out of the Monster seats for a three-run shot.
Two pitches later, and the excitement from grabbing the lead is ratcheted up a notch as the long wait for Adrian Gonzalez to break out of his power slump comes to an end--at least for now. Getting an outside fastball, Gonzalez turned to the swing that's served him so well in recent years and even picked up a couple of hits yesterday, lifting a high fly ball of his own down the left field line and into the Monster seats to give the Sox back-to-back shots and a 4-0 lead.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, Mid 4th -- Ross enjoys his first completely clean inning in the fourth, with a fly ball to shallow right the hardest hit ball allowed. This is much closer to what the Sox were hoping for when they got him than his first start. Just goes to show you what a healthy knee can do.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, End 3rd -- This game is starting to look a lot like Friday's. Up against a pitcher with terrible numbers in Mike Minor, the Sox have done absolutely nothing to him. A long fly ball from Kelly Shoppach is all they can lay claim to in this inning, but it dies on the track for Michael Bourn to make the easy grab, and Daniel Nava strikes out swinging weakly at a bad pitch to end the frame.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, Mid 3rd -- Leadoff trouble for Aaron Cook does not end in any runs for the Braves, thanks at least in part to a controversial call on a low line drive to Kevin Youkilis. After a leadoff double and a ground out, Youkilis had to drop his glove flat to the ground to make the grab on Michael Bourn's hard hit ball. Youkilis had the ball knock off the heel of his glove, but at least in his mind not out of the fingers, leaving Bourn out even without a throw to first. Initially the third base umpire--who had his view largely blocked by Youkilis--disagreed. But after some consultation, Bourn was called out, and one ground ball later Cook was out of the inning.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, End 2nd -- With the fans giving him a long standing ovation, Kevin Youkilis just had to get a hit in his first at bat in three days. While it wasn't the most solid of knocks--a ground ball back to the mound which Mike Minor deflected towards second base and couldn't chase down in time--he was at first all the same. Unfortunately, Mike Aviles quickly struck out behind him, leaving the Sox without anything to show for it.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, Mid 2nd -- There is some cause for concern despite two scoreless innings from Aaron Cook. Between a loud fly ball to left field and a two-out double from Jason Heyward, there's been some mediocre Sinkers thrown so far today. Two more ground balls, however, are still enough to get the Sox out of the inning without damage.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, End 1st -- Mike Minor has a very similar inning to Aaron Cook in the first. While the fly ball he induces leads off the inning, and comes a lot closer to being damaging as Daniel Nava drove it towards the track in dead center, Michael Bourn gets underneath it and makes the grab in the sun none-the-less. Dustin Pedroia matches Michael Bourn's single by slapping a base hit into left field, but then just like Cook, Minor gets the ground ball for a double play off the bat of Will Middlebrooks.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, Mid 1st -- Aaron Cook is off to a very Aaron Cook start in Fenway Park. Michael Burn again proves a distraction to the Red Sox early in the first, as he hits a ground ball single and then draws Aaron Cook's attention over to first base for much of the ensuing at bat against Martin Prado. Bourn doesn't take off until the pitch Prado puts in play, however, and has to head back to first on a lazy fly ball. That keeps him in position for Cook to do what he does best: get a double play. Throwing five straight sinkers to Brian McCann, Cook got the ground ball he wanted and picked up the easy twin killing.
Clay Buchholz was pulled from his scheduled start earlier in the week, and it was announced earlier today that he had entered the hospital. We have now learned that that the internal bleeding is likely caused by anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen and Buchholz will likely need 10-14 days to recover (via Joe Amorosino of WHDH).
The condition can be serious, even life threatening, if not treated properly. This kind of thing can leave a player at less than full strength for an extended period of time. Red Sox fans hope that Buchholz caught things early enough that quick treatment will see him make a full and speedy recovery.
After previously announcing he would miss his scheduled start, the Boston Red Sox have placed Clay Buchholz on the disabled list with an injury unrelated to throwing, according to a report from the Boston Herald. The starter has checked into the hospital with an undisclosed illness. Buchholz has been a bright spot for the Sox this year, going 8-2 and posting a 5.53 ERA.
In his absence the Red Sox will turn to Aaron Cook, who was previously on a rehab assignment in Triple-A Pawtucket. Cook suffered a left knee laceration in early May that left him on the DL. He pitched four innings in his last Pawtucket start, giving up three runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking one. Cook has made one appearance this year for the Red Sox, where he gave up 7 runs in 2.2 innings.
As Will Middlebrooks trotted from second to third after his third-inning home run, the FOX color commentator could only say "I'm telling you right now, this kid...he ain't coming out of that lineup."
No, no he's not.
Though Kevin Youkilis trade rumors are flying fast and furious these days, the Sox' long time corner infielder remains with the team, but that's not about to affect Will Middlebrooks' playing time--at least not seriously. When put in the same category as Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis, it was hard to imagine Will Middlebrooks even being able to keep pace in his rookie season. Now, as much because of his own excellence as their mediocrity, he now stands atop the pile.
In just 142 at bats this year, Middlebrooks has put himself on the map. A line of .331/.368/.592 is a perfect representation of the controlled aggression at the plate that is Will Middlebrooks. No, he's not the classic super-patient Red Sox hitter who will work a 10 pitch walk, but he is a guy who knows what pitches he wants to hit, and what pitches he doesn't. Aside from a recent period where curveballs in the dirt seemed to have him fooled, Middlebrooks has shown that he's not going to bail pitchers out by going outside the zone; he's just also not willing to let their mistakes pass him by. The result: nine homers and plenty of wallball doubles.
Mike Trout may be pulling away in the Rookie of the Year conversation thanks to his ridiculous mix of talents, but in any other year Will Middlebrooks might be the runaway candidate. And when you've got a potential future fixture off to a start like this, you don't derail him with a benching or a demotion.
Will Middlebrooks is here to stay.
The Red Sox will go four a fourth straight series win Sunday afternoon as they take on Mike Minor and the Atlanta Braves in Fenway Park. First pitch is set for 1:35 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN, TBS, and WEEI.
After a disastrous night at the plate against Jair Jurrjens, the Sox bounced back Saturday with a consistent attack against Randall Delgado and the Atlanta bullpen, eventually good for eight runs. The assault was led by Dustin Pedroia (3-for-4 with a double and a walk) and Will Middlebrooks (3-for-4 with a double and a home run), who make up the core of Sunday's lineup as Middlebrooks takes over at designated hitter for David Ortiz and bats third for the first time in his career.
Another hitch in the usual order will be Cody Ross hitting fourth, as the Sox stack the core of their lineup with right-handed hitters against lefty Mike Minor. Minor has had a tough time in general this year, but has given up an especially high .851 OPS to right-handers so far. That explains the Sox' desire to get Kevin Youkilis into the lineup, but perhaps not the decision to sit David Ortiz instead of Adrian Gonzalez. Perhaps it's about advertising his abilities at third, where potential trade suitors need help. Of course, that would require Youkilis to actually look good fielding the position.
Boston Red Sox (37-34)
Atlanta Braves (38-33)
The Red Sox knocked off Randall Delgado and the Atlanta Braves behind strong performances from Will Middlebrooks and Dustin Pedroia, who picked up three hits a piece in an 8-4 win Saturday night.
After surprising in his first start of the year with five innings of two-run ball against the Cubs, Franklin Morales got off to a very shaky start in the first. Surrendering a line drive single, a walk, and a ground ball that glanced out of a fully-extended Dustin Pedroia's glove, Morales faced a tough situation with two men on and a run in before he recorded a single out in the first.
He would quickly recover, however, striking out the next two batters on seven pitches before getting a line out from Chipper Jones to send the game to the bottom of the first, where the Sox backed him up offensively. With Dustin Pedroia on first via a single, the Sox put together some two-out hits to get to Randall Delgado early. Jarrod Saltalamacchia slapped a single through the right side of the infield, Adrian Gonzalez evened the score at 1-1 with a low line drive to right, and Will Middlebrooks made it 2-1 by bouncing a double off the Monster.
The Sox would not ease up on Delgado, scoring two more runs when Dustin Pedroia doubled to left with one out in the second. With Delgado then loading the bases, Fredi Gonzalez made a quick decision not to let this one get away from him, yanking Delgado for Cristhian Martinez, who managed to escape the inning.
Martinez would not manage to escape the scorching Will Middlebrooks, however, who took him deep on the first pitch of the third to make it 5-1.
Franklin Morales, meanwhile, had kept his momentum from the end of the first inning, rolling through the next three frames with relative ease, striking out four more batters in the process. While a leadoff bunt single would cost him a run in the fifth, the Sox managed to grab it right back in the bottom half with hits from Gonzalez, Middlebrooks, and Ross to make it 6-2. Only in the sixth would he show any real difficulty, allowing Chipper Jones an RBI double before getting Jason Heyward to ground out and end the inning.
The game would get uncomfortably close in the seventh, as Scott Atchison let a fourth run come in and left runners on the corners for Andrew Miller, but a soft line drive found Adrian Gonzalez' glove, turning into a quick double play to wipe out the threat in an instant.
The Sox would really put the game away in the bottom half of the frame. With two out and two on, Daniel Nava went out of the zone to hit a sinker, and managed to get enough of the bat on the ball to squeak a grounder past Dan Uggla to score both runners. With an 8-4 lead, the Sox turned to Vicente Padilla and Alfredo Aceves, who came through with six scoreless outs to end the game.
|Final - 6.23.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||2||2||1||0||1||0||2||0||X||8||14||1|
|WP: Franklin Morales (1 - 1)
LP: Randall Delgado (4 - 8)
The Red Sox are out to get back on a winning track as they take on Randall Delgado and the Braves in game two of their three-game set.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.
Red Sox 8, Braves 4, Final -- After two quick outs in the ninth for Alfredo Aceves, Michael Bourn again tries to beat out a ground ball to first. This time Adrian is first to the bag, however, ending the game and putting the Sox back to three games over .500.
Red Sox 8, Braves 4, End 8th -- Fredi Gonzalez finds his most effective relief performance of the night too late, as Kris Medlen strikes out Saltalamacchia and Adrian Gonzalez in a 1-2-3 eighth.
Red Sox 8, Braves 4, Mid 8th -- Vicente Padilla has a fun inning, dropping some Eephus pitches for a strike to Dan Uggla, a single from Freddie Freeman, and a ground ball out from Jason Heyward that ends the inning. Given that he's also throwing 92-93 MPH fastballs, that's quite the change of pace.
Red Sox 8, Braves 4, End 7th -- Atlanta has chased this game like it's Game 7 of the World Series, but it might have finally gotten away from them in the seventh. Cody Ross gets things started with one out, hitting a loud fly ball that sounds like it's going to go for a homer but ends up just catching some wall in left-center field for a double. A walk to Ryan Kalish puts two men on, and spells the end to Anthony Varvaro's night.
In comes Jonny Venter, and you can just tell that it's not his night. While he does strike out Mike Aviles, it comes with two pitches spiked directly into the dirt--we're talking Cricket bowling here. With one of the two lawn darts bouncing up and well away from home plate, both runners advance, putting two men in scoring position for Daniel Nava, who does what he does best and knocks a single into right field on a sinker low-and-away that just doesn't get far enough from Nava. Both runners score, and all the good work of the last couple innings is undone for Atlanta in an instant.
Red Sox 6, Braves 4, Mid 7th -- The Braves are the ones who get to feel the sting of an inning falling short after early promise, and it comes appropriately enough on a well-hit double play ball, reminiscent of David Ortiz' from back in the fourth. After Scott Atchison surrendered a bunt single, double down the left field line, and walk to bring a run in and put men on the corners with just one out. This prompts Bobby Valentine to turn to Andrew Miller, and Miller comes through with--if not a great pitch--then at least some great luck. A soft line drive off the bat of Dan Uggla goes straight to Adrian Gonzalez, who touches first in stride to wipe out the threat in a hurry.
Red Sox 6, Braves 3, End 6th -- The Braves finally get a solid run of lockdown pitching. After walking Dustin Pedroia to start the frame, Varvaro quickly induces a pop up from David Ortiz and then gets both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Adrian Gonzalez on strikes to end the frame.
Red Sox 6, Braves 3, Mid 6th -- Perhaps tiring a bit late, Franklin Morales finally looks vulnerable again in the sixth. After striking out Brian McCann to start the inning, Morales sees a ground ball get through the left side of the infield for a single. Another strikeout, this time of Freddi Freeman, gets Morales one out away from a scoreless frame, but he can't keep Chipper Jones down. An 0-1 fastball catches too much of the plate, and Jones doesn't miss it, coming just about a foot short of a homer as he plants it off the short bullpen wall in right. Uggla comes around to score the third Braves run in what is still very much a game.
Red Sox 6, Braves 2, End 5th -- Just as soon as the Braves score, the Red Sox take it right back. And, much like in the second, it's only due to a timely call to the pen from Fredi Gonzalez that this is still a game. With Adrian Gonzalez, Will Middlebrooks, and Cody Ross leading off the inning with two singles and a double respectively, the Sox have a run in and two men in scoring position with zero outs. Martinez manages to get a strikeout of Ryan Kalish, then Gonzalez goes to Anthony Varvaro, who strikes out Mike Aviles and gets a ground ball from Daniel Nava to strand both runners.
Red Sox 5, Braves 2, Mid 5th -- The Braves strike for the first time since the first inning, but Morales can't really be blamed. Jason Heyward leads off the inning with a nearly perfect bunt, and is given second when Morales throws the ball past Adrian Gonzalez. A gutsy decision to move to third on a pop fly caught by Adrian Gonzalez over the tarp works out for Heyward, and Bourn gets the first really solid hit off of Morales in four innings by hitting a sharp ground ball into left to score Heyward.
Red Sox 5, Braves 1, End 4th -- Some bad luck keeps the Red Sox off the board for the first time tonight. After Dustin Pedroia laces his third hit of the night back up the middle, David Ortiz quickly hits a rocket that makes its way right to Freddi Freeman, who picks it in the air and steps on first for the double play. Jarrod Saltalamacchia also gets excellent contact, but hits it right to Jason Heyward. That's one of the worst 1-2-3 innings you'll ever see pitched in the MLB.
Red Sox 5, Braves 1, Mid 4th -- After getting yet another ground ball from Dan Uggla, Morales decides he's bored of that sort of thing and goes back to the strikeouts. This time it takes him slightly longer to get the job done, needing eight pitches rather than seven, but sure enough Freddie Freeman and Chipper Jones each fail to catch up to Morales' mid-90s fastball.
Red Sox 5, Braves 1, End 3rd -- At some point pitchers may realize they can't try and get one by Will Middlebrooks. So far, however, that hasn't happened. Martinez tries to get ahead with the first pitch of the inning, and the scorching hot third baseman makes him pay, launching a high fly ball that quickly gets into the second row of Monster seats to make it 5-1. Only a pair of impressive catches, robbing at least three total bases from a combination of Ryan Kalish and Daniel Nava keeps the Braves from suffering further damage.
Red Sox 4, Braves 1, Mid 3rd -- How often does a first baseman have to charge a routine ground ball just to make the play at first? Michael Bourn forces the issue by bolting from the box and getting down the line at incredible speed, leaving Gonzalez and Morales both rushing to get to the bag. Despite neither one getting a late break, Bourn wins the race with a head-first slide.
It's an impressive bit of athleticism from the Braves' outfielder, but it doesn't end up having the least impact on the inning. Four pitches later, and the Sox have two outs as Franklin Morales utilizes the changeup to get a double play ball from Martin Prado before ending the inning with another ground ball from Brian McCann.
Red Sox 4, Braves 1, End 2nd -- Fredi Gonzalez is not going to let this one get away without a fight. Just two innings into the game, and starter Randall Delgado is already out of the game after a bad start to the second inning. After receiving a perhaps generous strikeout call against Ryan Kalish, Delgado gives up a single into center field to Mike Aviles, and then catches Daniel Nava square on the knee with a misplaced breaking ball to put two men on.
What happens next is something Sox fans have been dying to see more of, as Dustin Pedroia reaches down and away and still makes good contact, dropping a double into the gap to score both baserunners with his second hit of the night.
Unfortunately, the other beleaguered superstar on the team cannot deliver. After walks to David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (the former intentional) load the bases, Fredi Gonzalez turns to Christhian Martinez to take on Adrian Gonzalez, and gets all he could have hoped for: an easy double play ball that gets the Braves out of the inning.
Red Sox 2, Braves 1, Mid 2nd -- Franklin Morales is well-and-truly settled in now, it seems. After getting Jason Heyward to lift a lazy fly ball to right field, Morales once again needs just seven pitches to strike out two batters, with both David Ross and Andrelton Simmons finding themselves blown away by mid-90s challenges from the southpaw.
Red Sox 2, Braves 1, End 1st -- After being shut down for the better part of eight innings Friday, the Sox waste no time at all getting on the board against Randall Delgado. A one-out single up-the-middle from Dustin Pedroia provides the first Boston baserunner of the night, and a base knock through the right side of the infield by Jarrod Saltalamacchia provides the second. Adrian Gonzalez works a long battle, but on the eight pitch cranks a low line drive just past the infield dirt for another single.
Not only does Gonzalez' hit score Pedroia, bringing the Sox equal at 1-1, but it also brings the hottest man on the team to the plate in Will Middlebrooks. Getting ahead 3-1, Middlebrooks gets the pitch he was looking for, and turns on a hittable fastball, planting it off the Mosnter for an RBI double that gives Boston the 2-1 lead.
Braves 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 1st -- Franklin Morales manages to settle down after a very ugly start, keeping the score from getting too bad in the first. It took until just the second pitch of the game for the Braves to create strong contact, with a line drive to center field getting Michael Bourn to first base. Walking Martin Prado on five pitches immediately thereafter, Morales quickly saw the situation get worse as both runners advanced on a double steal.
While the run would end up coming in on a ground ball which Dustin Pedroia could only snag in a snow cone, unable to make the transfer cleanly and allowing Brian McCann to reach, it was arguably the start of Morales' rebound. Changeups get both Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman to go down swinging on a combined seven pitches, and Aviles makes up for Morales' bad luck with Pedroia by snagging a line drive to end the threat.
The Boston Red Sox will be forced to adjust their pitching rotation as Sunday's starter Clay Buchholz has been scratched with an illness. Early indications are that Buchholz's spot might be filled by veteran right-handed starter Aaron Cook.
Aaron Cook has been told he's not starting tonight in Pawtucket, so he's obviously being considered to start in Buchholz' spot.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) June 23, 2012
Cook has made one start for the Red Sox this season and gave up six earned runs in 2-2/3 innings. He has been on the disabled list with a left knee laceration since May 6. He made his first rehab start on June 18 and gave up three runs and seven hits in four innings.
The Red Sox will look to get back on a winning track Saturday night as they take on Randall Delgado and the Atlanta Braves. First pitch is at 7:15 p.m. with broadcasts on FOX and WEEI.
After a completely inept offensive night against Jair Jurrjens, Bobby Valentine has made some small adjustments to the batting order, particularly to the middle of the lineup, where Jarrod Saltalamacchia is now batting cleanup with David Ortiz taking over the third spot and Adrian Gonzalez moving to fifth.
Will Middlebrooks is once again in the lineup as Kevin Youkilis trade talks approach a fever pitch. He'll bat sixth behind Gonzalez, moving up in the order as he continues to produce at the plate night after night. Cody Ross will drop down to the seventh spot to make space.
Boston Red Sox (36-34)
Atlanta Braves (38-32)
The Red Sox fell to the Atlanta Braves 4-1 Friday night as they were thoroughly dominated by a heretofore ineffectual Jair Jurrjens for nearly eight innings.
The difficulties for the Sox lineup were apparent from the get go, as Daniel Nava struck out in their first at bat of the game. Adrian Gonzalez would pick up a hit in the first, but it was an opposite-field single against the shift as he swung late on a fastball and jammed it past a vacant third base.
That would be the only hit the Sox would get until the eighth inning. Meanwhile, the Braves were nickle-and-diming Jon Lester to a high pitch count, but not to death, with no runs coming across despite three straight innings with hits to start the game. It wasn't until the leadoff hitters started reaching that Atlanta started getting on the board. The Braves would pick up a leadoff baserunner in every one of the last six innings, and they saw immediate dividends, as Freddie Freeman reached on a single, moved to second on a one-out double from Jason Heyward, and then scored the first run of the game on a ground ball out. Heyward would follow in his footsteps on a double from Andrelton Simmons to make it 2-0.
The Braves would add another run in the sixth, but they wouldn't even need it. The Sox wouldn't score until the eighth inning, when Will MIddlebrooks and Daniel Nava finally broke the team's hit drought with a pair of wall ball doubles to center and left field respectively. Middlebrooks would score, but with Dustin Pedroia grounding out behind him, the rally ended there. Craig Kimbrel came in for a quick ninth inning to close the Sox out and end their night of frustration.
|Final - 6.22.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||3||0|
|WP: Jair Jurrjens (1 - 2)
SV: Craig Kimbrel (21)
LP: Jon Lester (4 - 5)
After a lengthy rain delay, the Red Sox and Braves are finally ready to go head-to-head in the first of their three-game set.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.
Braves 4, Red Sox 1, Final -- Craig Kimbrel being shutdown is not quite the surprise that Jair Jurrjens was. The Sox go down in order, and the winning streak is dead at five.
Braves 4, Red Sox 1, Mid 9th -- Just when the Red Sox finally put a run on the board, the Braves match it in the top of the ninth thanks to their sixth straight leadoff baserunner. It's an insane number even taking into account their 13 hits on the night. The run is the first to score off of Mark Melancon in five innings since he returned from Pawtucket, and given that it came in his second inning of work after a bobble by Will Middlebrooks that may have cost the Sox a double play, it's probably not something to read into.
Braves 3, Red Sox 1, End 8th -- At the very least the Sox will not be shut out tonight, and it's thanks in large part to two of Thursday's heroes. Will Middlebrooks gets the second hit, and first really convincing contact of the night off of Jair Jurrjens, as he smashes a ball to the wall in center field for a leadoff double. Ryan Kalish gets some good contact as well, but has MIchael Bourn run down the line drive in center to keep him off the basepaths, and with a ground ball from Mike Aviles not finding a hole, the Sox find themselves with just one out left to bring him home. Luckily, the man at bat is Daniel Nava, who just does not get out very often these days. A wall ball double plates Middlebrooks from second and brings the tying run to the plate, but Dustin Pedroia can only hit a weak ground ball to short. It's less clear by the day why he and his thumb aren't on the disabled list.
Braves 3, Red Sox 0, Mid 8th -- Mark Melancon follows in Lester's footsteps by giving up (you guessed it!) a leadoff baserunner as Chipper Jones hits a line drive to center. He doesn't let the trouble develop, however, getting a fly ball from Jason Heyward, elevating to strike out Matt Diaz, and ending the frame with a ground ball out.
Braves 3, Red Sox 0, End 7th -- It's just one of those inexplicable nights where the Sox take a struggling pitcher and turn them into a Cy Young candidate. There may be nothing more frustrating to watch for Sox fans.
Braves 3, Red Sox 0, Mid 7th -- Jon Lester manages to escape another jam caused by a leadoff baserunner, as the decision to intentionally walk Dan Uggla with a man on third and one out pays off when he turns to the curveball to pick up an important double play that keeps the Braves from adding to their total. Still, it won't matter if the Sox can't get to Jurrjens.
Braves 3, Red Sox 0, End 6th -- The Sox are the victims of another 1-2-3 inning in the sixth, as Jair Jurrjens is now through six innings with just three baserunners allowed. If things don't turn around soon, this may go down as the most pitiful display by a Boston lineup this year, given the competition.
Braves 3, Red Sox 0, Mid 6th -- Another leadoff baserunner, another run for the Braves. This time it's a leadoff double from Jason Heyward which gets Lester in trouble, and all that Atlanta needs to bring the outfielder home is a couple of long fly balls to right field.
Braves 2, Red Sox 0, End 5th -- Jurrjens is rubbing salt in the wound right now. The only baserunner the Sox get in the fifth comes when Will Middlebrooks is plunked with one out. A rather terrible strikeout call on Ryan Kalish has put some controversy into the game, however, as Nauert's zone has perhaps started to lean towards one team rather than the other.
Braves 2, Red Sox 0, Mid 5th -- Jon Lester runs into more trouble after another leadoff single and a two-out hit batsman, but does pick up a couple of weak outs and a fifth strikeout to escape the inning unharmed.
Braves 2, Red Sox 0, End 4th -- The second time through the lineup doesn't seem to be any more difficult for Jair Jurrjens than the first, as the heart of the order goes down 1-2-3, with only Cody Ross really getting any decent wood on the ball--a long fly out to center field that died as it approached the track.
Braves 2, Red Sox 0, Mid 4th -- The hits finally pile up in the fourth inning for Jon Lester, and they cost him a pair of runs. Freddie Freeman gets the inning started with a single ripped down the first base line past the glove of a diving Adrian Gonzalez, and things don't get much better from there. A double to center brings Freeman to third, allowing him to score on a ground ball out. Unfortunately, the trouble didn't end there for Lester, who threw a looping curveball that ended middle-in to Andrelton Simmons, who cleaned it out for an RBI double to left to make it 2-0.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, End 3rd -- Three innings into this one, and it's all the Sox can do to build up Jurrjens' pitch count. This for the guy who entered with an ERA over 9.00. Daniel Nava at least manages to draw the walk--something he's proven quite good at this year--but Dustin Pedroia hits into what would have been a double play if there weren't already two outs in the inning.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, Mid 3rd -- It's starting to look like the Braves are sitting on pitches away from Jon Lester, as both Martin Prado and Brian McCann reach out for pitches on the outside part of the plate and knock singles into the outfield, putting runners on first and third with two outs. Even Dan Uggla goes away, hitting one of those dangerous looking bloopers to the opposite field, but it stays up for plenty long enough for Cody Ross to settle underneath it for the out.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, End 2nd -- The ugliness at the plate continues for the Red Sox, probably in part due to a generous strike zone from home plate umpire Paul Nauert. Cody Ross managed to put on a good show at the plate, but had his seventh pitch line drive go right to Michael Burn in center field. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was a victim of the zone on a changeup low-and-away, while Will Middlebrooks finished out the inning with a two-pitch groundout.
The good news is that Nauert seems to at least be consistent so far tonight. It'll be a down game offensively, most likely, but so long as it's even to both sides, that's all you ask for.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, Mid 2nd -- A similar second inning for Jon Lester, right down to the strikeout of Chipper Jones coming on a cut fastball on the outside edge--almost identical to the Uggla K. Unfortunately, between a Jason Heyward single and some more long at bats, Lester's pitch count is at an unhealthy 39. The strikeouts are nice, but the Sox would prefer Leter get some quick outs before long.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, End 1st -- Not the best of starts for the Red Sox against a pitcher who couldn't record outs in Triple-A, as Daniel Nava swings through a 2-2 pitch and Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz surround an Adrian Gonzalez hit with a pair of relatively lazy fly ball outs. That Gonzalez was behind a fastball on his single and just found the left side of the infield with the shift on does not help appearances, either.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, Mid 1st -- The top of the first ends up being perhaps a little more difficult than Jon Lester deserved. After striking out Michael Bourn on four pitches, ending encouragingly on a cut fastball, Lester ended up surrendering a long fly ball to Martin Prado, but one that stayed in the park and proved little trouble for Ryan Kalish in center. A pitch that could have earned Lester a second strikeout against Brian McCann instead gave the Braves their first baserunner, as the Atlanta catcher did an excellent job of reaching out and catching a cutter low-and-away for a single, but Lester managed to make that the end of things as he battled back from a 3-1 count to strike out Dan Uggla looking as he painted the outside edge of the plate.
The Red Sox and Braves, currently stuck in a rain delay, are expected to start their three-game series at 8:20.
With heavy rains in the area mixed with lightning, the rain delay was announced about 20 minutes before the scheduled start time of 7:10. Now, however, the weather is breaking and officials have determined that play will start at 8:20 p.m. EST. Even though local weather reports expect precipitation to continue throughout the night, the grounds crew has already begun the process of removing the tarp and touching up the water-logged field.
Jon Lester will take the mound for the Red Sox with Jair Jurrjens in opposition for the Braves.
We'll keep you up-to-date if there is any further change to the scheduled start time.
Minor transaction: The Red Sox activated Jason Repko from the disabled list and outrighted him to Triple-A Pawtucket.— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) June 22, 2012
Repko, a 31-year old outfielder, has managed just one hit over 11 at-bats with the Red Sox this season.
Jon Lester takes the mound for the Red Sox on Friday night as they look for their sixth consecutive victory. The left-hander has struggled this season, taking a pedestrian 4-4 record and 4.53 ERA into the outing. His last two starts were encouraging if not dominant, as he struck out a combined 17 batters over 13.2 innings while keeping the Red Sox in both games.
The Red Sox will look to keep their five-game winning streak alive Friday night as they kick off a three-game series against the Braves in Fenway Park. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN, the MLB Network, and WEEI.
After last night's game, Bobby Valentine was asked how he could possibly keep Will Middlebrooks out of the lineup. On the back of three impressive performances, it seems that he couldn't find a good answer. For the second straight game it will be Middlebrooks getting the start in place of Kevin Youkilis, batting seventh against the right-handed Jair Jurrjens while Adrian Gonzalez mans first base.
In fact, the entire lineup will remain the same for what seems like the first time in weeks. No shuffling of the outfield or infield, Jarrod Saltalamacchia still behind the plate, and with the Sox at home, no need to make accommodations for David Ortiz. Not even a change in the order. Is this stability at last? Not likely, but it's nice to have if only for a day or two.
Boston Red Sox (36-33)
Atlanta Braves (37-32)
The Red Sox are finally back on track, riding a five-game winning streak into their series against the Braves.
With a series win against the Cubs sandwiched between five straight wins over the Marlins, the Sox are back to being three games over .500, tied for their highest mark on the season. Just two games back of the second wild card spot in an incredibly crowded race, there's renewed hope for a Sox team that was in desperate need of the 7-1 run.
Now they'll need to take advantage of their momentum in a three-game set against an Atlanta Braves team that kicked an eight-game slump with a series win over the New York Yankees.
Friday, June 22, 7:10 p.m. EST
NESN/MLB Network, WEEI
Jon Lester (4-4, 4.53 ERA) vs. Jair Jurrjens (0-2, 9.37 ERA)
Jon Lester really hasn't been himself this year, but he has kept the Red Sox alive in his last few starts. And, with rising strikeout numbers and declining walks, it's possible he's on track for a breakthrough sometime soon. His cutter has looked better recently than in previous starts--which is to say it's actually been useful--and while he's not faced the best of lineups, the Braves are not especially potent against southpaws, either.
Jair Jurrjens has fallen a long way from his impressive 2011. Showing no control or ability to get outs in his first four starts of the season, leading to a quick demotion. With no great improvement being shown in Triple-A, the Braves have nonetheless had to call him up to make the start against the Red Sox, who are playing nothing like a Triple-A team right now despite the presence of players like Will Middlebrooks, Ryan Kalish, and Daniel Nava in the lineup. This is not a game the lineup should struggle in.
Saturday, June 23, 7:15 p.m. EST
Franklin Morales (0-1, 3.14 ERA) vs. Randall Delgado (4-7, 4.12 ERA)
Nobody was quite sure what to expect from Franklin Morales in his first start in years, but even taking into account his successful long-relief appearances, nobody was expecting the nine strikeouts in five innings he provided. Had it not been for some unfortunate sequencing, he might have even gotten out of it without the two runs, but unfortunately the four baserunners he allowed managed to ground together for a pair of runs. It would be...optimistic to expect more of the same, but Morales has certainly provided some reason to get excited about Saturday rather than apprehensive.
Patience is the greatest of virtues against Randall Delgado, who is very prone to the walk but makes up for it by inducing ground balls with plenty of changeups. If the Sox let Delgado hang himself with balls and bad counts rather than playing into his style with too much aggression, they could see some reasonable success.
Sunday, June 24, 1:35 p.m. EST
Clay Buchholz (8-2, 5.53 ERA) vs. Mike Minor (3-5, 6.04 ERA)
Clay wasn't as impressive in his last start as he had been in his four preceding outings, but he still had a lot of the aspects to his game that had made him so successful in those games. So long as he doesn't lose the positives and revert to the wreck from the first two months, and so long as the Braves don't suddenly acquire Logan Morrison, Sox fans shouldn't worry too much about Buchholz.
Mike Minor is not going to like Fenway Park. A left-handed fly ball pitcher with big home run trouble? Against a lineup that can be specifically tailored to hit home runs off of left-handed pitchers? It's a train wreck waiting to happen.
The Boston Red Sox start a three game series against the Atlanta Braves this Friday at Fenway Park