Longtime Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield threw five solid innings for Boston, letting up four runs with seven walks and two strike outs in the heavy rain. The Kansas City Royals waited until the later innings to really get their offense going, scoring six runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to pull ahead 12-9.
In less than ideal weather conditions, the Sox and Royals combine for a total of 23 hits. Billy Butler, Mike Jacobs, Miguel Olivo, and Josh Anderson all contributed multiple hits for Kansas City. Jason Bay led Boston’s offense with two hits including a homer in the third off the left-handed Lenny DiNardo.
Even though the Red Sox couldn’t come out with the win it was good to see Wakefield back in action. Players and coaches alike were thrilled to see him on the mound once again last night. “Gutsy performance again,” said Bay. “Obviously, you can tell Wake is not 100 percent out there, no question. He still wants to go out there and help out as much as he can. Given the circumstances and the runs we put up, I think that he did an admirable job and did enough to warrant a win.”
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The Red Sox defeated the Royals in their last game heading into the all star break. With the Sox taking three of four from Kansas City and the Angels completing a three-game sweep of the Yankees, Boston extended their lead in the AL East to three games. Pitcher Josh Beckett threw a complete game shutout, allowing only three hits and no walks. With the win, he became one of only two pitchers in the AL with 11 wins, accompanied by teammate Tim Wakefield. Kevin Youkilis opened the game with anRBI single and rookie Aaron Bates hit an RBI double in the fourth inning. David Ortiz and Jason Varitek also hit rbi’s in the 4th inning. The Sox added two more runs by Ellsbury and Rocco Baldelli to make the game 6-0. Beckett earned his 100th career win and it couldn’t have come in a much better fashion.
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In an absolutely improbably turn of events, Cleveland Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo got a walk-off hit off of a seagull in centerfield. The chaotic scene resulted in a bird crashing to the ground, the ball zooming past a dejected Coco Crisp, and the Indians having a celebration in the middle of the infield. Destined for jumbotron blooper reels for years to come, the video is already one of the most-watched clips on the MLB’s website.
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The Boston Red Sox were able to free up some money, move an outfielder and pick up a solid reliever via a trade with the Kansas City Royals today. Centerfielder Coco Crisp will be heading to the Royals in a deal for right handed reliever Ramon Ramirez. Crisp split time in the outfield with Jacoby Ellsbury but was owed $5.75 million in 2009, too rich for a part time player. The move also helps the Red Sox free up cash for a very good free agent market this off-season.
Ramon Ramirez appeared in 71 games in 2008 with a 2.64 ERA in 71 1/3 innings. He was 3-2 with one save.
The Jacoby Ellsbury of 2008 seems like a completely different player from the beast that hit .353 in September and .438 in the World Series. Despite an impressive 32 stolen bases, Ellsbury is only hitting .266 this season. On Wednesday night, he looked like the Jacoby of 2007. Ellsbury went 3-4 with a 2-out three-run homer off of Royals reliver Ron Mahay. Jason Bay continued to be a run machine, scoring two runs and going 2-5. Jed Lowrie and JD Drew drove in 2 runs each, and David Ortiz drove in another.
Wakefield tossed 6 stellar innings, racking up 6 k’s and giving up only 1 earned run. With the win Wake improves to 7-8 on the season. Scoreless innings from Delcarmen, Masterson, and Papelbon shut the door on the Sox second consecutive win.
Youkilis left the game after bing hit on the hand by a pitch by Hochevar in the first inning. The Sox say it’s just a contusion, and the Youkilis could be back in the lineup on Friday night. Dustin Pedroia was given the game off so he could get 2 in a row with the off-day Thursday. Jed Lowrie’s consistent production raises questions about what to do when Julio Lugo comes off of the disabled list.
With Tampa Bay, Boston, and New York all winning last night, the picture in the AL Pennant Race remains the same.
The fairytale story-like year for Jon Lester continues to roll on as the 24-year old left hander added another feat to his list of remarkable accomplishment by hurling a no-hitter in Boston’s 7-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals yesterday evening. What’s most amazing about this achievement is it probably ranks 3rd on his all-time list. (more)
A week ago the inaugural game for the 2008 season was played in Tokyo, Japan between the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics. While the two teams enjoyed the trip and media hype, the rest of Major League Baseball could only watch and wait for their first regular season games. Well after yesterday, the wait is over and baseball is back in season! Thirteen games graced ballparks across the country and fans returned from their winter hibernations, awaking to the sounds of sausage and beer vendors roaming the stands. For 26 teams yesterday was a new slate, a fresh start and chance to show everyone that this is their year.
It’s too early to make any predictions, but the only thing that really matters right now is that its baseball season and fans couldn’t be happier.
AL Round Up
The last opening day at Yankee Stadium will have to wait at least one more day due to rainstorms in the Bronx, NY that forced the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays to postpone yesterday’s scheduled afternoon game. The Yankees have already announced that 2008 will be their final season in the 76 year old stadium, and at years end will be moving to a brand new park that has cost the team over 1 billion dollars to construct.
In Detroit, the Kansas City Royals spoiled the Tigers home opener with a 5-4 victory in 11 innings. Tony Pena Jr.’s tiebreaking RBI single with two outs in the 11th would prove to be the game winning hit for the Royals. Mark Grudzielanek had three hits and a stolen base in the win. Justin Verlander pitched the first six innings for the Tigers allowing 4 earned runs on 4 hits over 6 innings. He stuck out 6 batters and walked one in the performance and came away with a no decision. Right-handed pitcher Leo Nunez threw two hitless innings of relief and picked up the victory. Over the off-season the Tigers were one of the teams who hit the market hard for new players and currently have a pay-roll of $138 million dollars compared to the Royals $57 million.
C.C. Sabathia struggled in his opening day performance but the Cleveland Indians were still able to hold on for a 10-8 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Jacobs Field. Chicago 1B Jim Thome welcomed Sabathia, the 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner, back home with two monster home runs to center field in his first two plate appearances. Still, the Sox could not overcome a 7 run 2nd inning by the tribe that was led by a Franklin Gutierrez three-run homer and a solo shot by Grady Sizemore. Gutierrez went 3-3 on the day. The knock out punch for the Indians came in the bottom of the 8th inning when Casey Blake hit a two-out double with the bases loaded to break a 7-7 tie. Octavio Dotel took the loss for the White Sox while Rafael Betancourt logged the win with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless work.
With ace pitcher Scott Kazmir on the 15-day DL to start the season, the Tampa Bay Rays handed the ball to James Shields to open the year and it turned out to be a great move. Shields pitched 7 strong innings and picked up the win in Tampa Bay’s 6-2 opening day victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. After allowing two runs on a Kevin Millar 2 RBI double in the 1st inning, Shields settled down and did not allow another run in his outing. The Rays received three hits from C Dioner Navarro and a solo home run from OF Eric Hinske. Jeremy Guthrie suffered the loss for Baltimore, allowing all 6 runs (5 earned) over 5 1/3 innings while scattering nine hits and 1 walk.
The Seattle Mariners have high hopes for the 2008 season, and a lot of that is based on the off-season acquisition of new ace pitched Erik Bedard. In his first outing with his new team, Bedard pitched 5 innings while allowing 1 run on 3 hits that helped lift the Mariners past the Texas Rangers 5-2 last night. Bedard struggled at times finding the plate and throwing strikes, and in return walked 4 batters. 2B Jose Lopez went 2-4 and had 2 RBI’s in the win for Seattle. In the losing effort, SS Michael Young went yard in the 1st inning off Bedard and losing pitcher Kevin Millwood pitched well allowing only 2 unearned runs on 4 hits through 6 innings.
Torri Hunter returned to Minnesota for his debut with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim only to be welcomed with an 0-4 performance at the plate and a 3-2 loss from his former Minnesota Twins. Livan Hernandez hurled 7 innings for to earn the win allowing 7 hits and 2 runs. Hunter’s replacement in CF for the Twins, Carlos Gomez, scored two runs in the game, including the eventual game winner in the 5th on a Michael Cuddyer RBI single. Joe Nathan pitched the 9th inning and earned the save, striking out Hunter during his effort.
While everyone’s eyes, ears, and …. imaginations have been focused on where Johan Santana would end up, the American League hot stove has been quietly churning. Here is a quick recap of some moves to date. (more)