The New York Yankees continue to dominate the league in the 2nd half of the 2009 season. After last night’s 11-1 drubbing of the Seattle Mariners the Yankees lead the AL East by 6.5 games over the Boston Red Sox. Hideki Matsui provided almost half of New York’s production with 2 homers and 5 RBI. The Yankees also got a solo homerun from Derek Jeter.
It wasn’t all offense for the Yankees however. C.C. Sabathia had one of his best outings of the year, striking out a season high 10 batters. With their loss at home vs the Tigers, New York’s rival Red Sox dropped another game back in the AL East. The Yankees got the best of Boston last week in New York, sweeping the Red Sox in four games. The two rivals will next meet in Boston for a 3 game set starting 8/21 at Fenway Park.
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Nick Green was in the Sox lineup on Sunday afternoon because of his offensive capabilities. Unfortunately, Green’s late defensive error set up the Mariners’ walk-off win. Ronny Ceneno hit a grounder to Green that should have ended the inning and sent it to extras, but Green’s throw over to first sailed over Jeff Bailey’s head. The play was scored a single and an error, which would prove costly. Sox pitcher Ramon Ramirez intentionally walked Ichiro Suzuki, and gave up a single that glanced under the glove of Mike Lowell to give the M’s the walkoff win. The run was only Ramirez’s second in 20 1/3 innings, and the loss was his first with the Sox.
“It just … happens,” Green told the AP’s Gregg Bell. “Obviously it happened at the wrong time. I tried to slow things down. I slowed it down too much. Was lazy.”
The Sox have an off day Monday before hosting the AL East-leading Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. Boston Red Sox tickets are available now for all games!
The Seattle Mariners recently announced that they will be signing back past Mariners legend Ken Griffey Jr. to a one-year $2 million dollar deal plus incentives. Seattle fans are anxious to see Griffey back in a Mariners uniform, as he is one of the most talented players to ever be apart of the franchise. He is the Mariners career leader in home runs (398), slugging percentage (.569), and is second to Edgar Martinez for total games played. He is currently in fifth on baseball’s career home run list with 611.
The 2009 Mariners will plan to keep the DH position open for Jr. If he is able to stay healthy left field will also serve as an option. Griffey first came into the league as a Mariner in 1989 and eventually was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2000. After agreeing to a contract with the Chicago White Sox in 2008 he is already back on the move but this time to where his career started. He has struggled with injuries lately and is just healing from an arthroscopic knee surgery following the 2008 season.
Griffey is thrilled to be back in Seattle and has always stated that he would like to finish his career as a Mariner. If he can stay injury free the recent acquisition will show as very promising for the Mariners.
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It’s been an ugly couple of months for Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, but the captain has battled through his recent struggles to make sure that his teammates are ready to play day in and day out. In the eyes of manager Terry Francona, this leadership alone will make up for a slump any day of the week and that is why Varitek has consistently been in the line up.
“I won’t hit for him. We need him. I believe in him. I will always believe in him. When times are tough, you don’t waver from that,” Francona said. “If we want to get where we ultimately want to get, the faith in him will bear itself out.”
Francona’s faith paid off Monday night as Varitek connected on his eight homerun of the season off of Seattle’s starting pitcher Jarrod Washburn (4-9) to give Boston a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning. The Sox would tack on two more runs in the eighth inning behind a Jed Lowrie single to left that drove home Coco Crisp and Kevin Youkilis to make the score 4-0, which would be the games final.
“I had a good first two months, then a horrendous month and a half. I mean, some of the toughest time of my career,” Varitek said. “It’s there—I’ve already shown it’s there. I’ve just got to keep stringing it together.”
One player that certainly appreciated the lift from his captain was battery-mate Jon Lester who pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings en route to his eighth victory on the season. Coming into the game, Lester had never pitched very well in his hometown of Seattle. In his two previous starts vs. the Mariners, Lester had allowed nine earned runs in only 10 innings of work for an 8.10 ERA, his worst against any AL opponent.
“Unlike the last couple times here, I didn’t have the distractions or anything,” Lester said after being able to sleep in his own bed and then notching his fifth start of the season without allowing a run, including his May 19 no-hitter against Kansas City.
Lester was able to locate all of his pitches for strikes and was able to get a lot of groundball outs which is always a good sign. He struck out seven, allowed three fly outs and the rest were on the ground.
“It’s nice to come back home and pitch halfway decent,” he said.
With one out in the eighth inning, Willie Bloomquist laced a line drive right off of Lester’s right shin for an infield single that would end his night on the mound. The bases were loaded when he was taken out of the game and he was relived by Jonathan Papelbon who was able to get Raul Ibanez to ground into a double play to end the threat. Papelbon would go on to record his 29th save of the season retiring the side in order in the ninth. This was Papelbon’s first five out save of the 2008 season.
The win keeps Boston 1 ½ games behind the Tampa Bay in the AL East. The Rays also were victorious Monday beating Oakland by the score of 4-0 as well.
Looking ahead, Boston has a big home series coming up this weekend against the New York Yankees. New York has been playing much better baseball as of late, winning their last eight games at Yankee Stadium and are now only 4 ½ games behind the Rays and 3 games behind the Sox in the division standings.
Another reason why the series will be hyped is the return of Red Sox DH David Ortiz. After spending over six weeks on the DL for a wrist injury he suffered on May 31, Ortiz will be ready to go barring any setback in his minor league rehab assignment this week in Double-A Portland. In his four minor league games this week (three in Pawtucket and one in Portland), Ortiz has gone 5-12 (.417 average) connecting on three homeruns and seven RBI’s. The Big Papi is definitely ready to rejoin the Red Sox this weekend.
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Arthur Rhodes woke up with a sore arm. Brandon Morrow pitched four out of the last five days. Carlos Silva threw a side session on Sunday. R.A. Dickey threw over 100 pitches in his last start. With no one left in the bullpen, who would the Mariners pitch in the 15th inning of a 1-1 game?
Third-string catcher Jamie Burke.
Burke was not a complete stranger to the mound. He had thrown 4 innings in the minors, and had the ability to keep the ball over the plate. Unforunately for the Mariners, he did not have that much velocity. Miguel Cabrera hit a double and was replaced on the basepaths by Michael Hollimon. Marcus Thames’ sac fly in the next at bat sealed the win for Detroit. Burke was able to retire Ivan Rodriguez and Edgar Renteria, leaving to a standing ovation from the tired home crowd.
Ichiro Suzuki, Willie Bloomquist, and Adrian Beltre also offered to pitch if the game went past 15 innings.
Three days after firing the General Manager Bill Bavasi, the 25-47 Seattle Mariners fired coach John McLaren. The ’08 Seattle squad’s payroll of $117 million has not translated to success on the field. Despite signing Eric Bedard and Carlos Silva, as well as re-signing Richie Sexson, and the presence of former MVP Ichiro Suzuki; the team has underachieved. Just two weeks ago coach McLaren’s profanity-laden postgame tirade made headlines as he railed against team’s level of play.
Bavasi’s vacancy will be filled by associate GM Lee Pelekoudas. McLaren’s spot will be filled by Jim Riggleman. Riggleman racked up a 486-598 record during the 90′s as skipper of the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs. The M’s will look to end their current losing streak on Friday against the Braves.
Having already lost one series to the Seattle Mariners this season, the Boston Red Sox made sure to even the score with yesterdays 2-1 win at Fenway Park. The victory also helped the Sox win the three game set 2 games to 1, avenging their 2 games to 1 series defeat in Seattle in late May. The Sox have won 8 of their last 10 games and currently sit atop the AL East ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays by 1 1/2 games.
Justin Masterson pitched another gem for Boston tossing 6 strong innings allowing only 1 run on 3 hits. The victory improves his record to 3-0 on the season with an ERA of only 2.59. These numbers are certainly good enough for the Sox to consider keeping him on their active roster even after Clay Buchholtz and Dice-K Matsuzaka return from the DL.
“Anytime you get called up, you want to do your best,” Masterson said. “I am just trying to give us a chance to win.”
So far, mission accomplished for the rookie right hander.
“Every time he takes the ball, the organization’s got their chest out a little, as they should,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “This isn’t a fluke. He’s been prepared very well how to pitch, how to act and how to compete. It’s exciting.”
J.D. Drew blasted the go-ahead home run in the 6th inning, giving the Sox the 2-1 lead for good. The homer was Drew’s 8th of the year. Since DH David Ortiz was placed on the DL, Drew has continued to produce day in and out since being moved into the 3rd spot in the line up. Over the past 8 games, Drew is hitting .519 (14-27) and has hit safely in all 8 of the games.
Once Masterson exited the game, Boston’s bullpen continued its recent dominance. Craig Hansen issued a walk to the first battered he face but then retired the next three batters recording 2 strike outs. Hideki Okajima worked a perfect 8th and Jonathan Papelbon came in to pitch a perfect 9th recording his 18th save of the season.
Some good news was announced to Red Sox nation before the game when Francona publicized in a press conference that Jacoby Ellsbury would return to the lineup on Tuesday evening. Ellsbury suffered a wrist sprain against Tampa Bay making a diving catch in center-field and had not played since but will be available for the Baltimore series.
Tuesday’s starting pitching match up features Josh Beckett going against the O’s Daniel Cabrera. Beckett is coming off a 5-1 win over Tampa Bay while Cabrera suffered a 7-5 loss to Minnesota in his previous outing. The two met in Boston’s 5-2 win a week ago that went 13 innings. Both pitched well but neither factored into the decision.
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For the Boston Red Sox, the 2008 campaign thus far has been a tale of two cities. At 21-5, the BoSox own the best home record in MLB but after last nights 1-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners, Boston’s road record drops to 11-19 which is 2nd worst in the American League.
Eric Bedard pitched 7 shutout innings allowing only 2 hits while striking out 8 Sox to earn his fourth win of the season. His stuff was downright filthy and had Boston hitters guessing all night. During the off season, Seattle traded away 5 prospects to acquire the staff ace and last night everyone got to see the pitcher the Mariners had hoped to be getting all year long.
Bedard was relieved by Brandon Morrow in the 8th and after recording all three outs for his 3rd hold of the year, closer J.J. Putz entered the game for the 9th and notched his 6th save on the season.
For Boston, Tim Wakefield pitched an almost equally as impressive game going the distance in hurling 8 innings of 5 hit ball, walking none while recording 8 strike outs as well. The one pitch he wishes he could have back was a hanging knuckleball to Yuniesky Betancourt that he drove over the left field wall into the Sox bullpen in the 3rd inning for his 3rd homerun of the season.
“Unfortunately Bedard pitched great,” Wakefield said. “And once they got to the bullpen—Morrow and Putz—it’s pretty tough.”
In a game that only took 2 hours and 11 minutes, the Sox never really got things going offensively against the M’s pitching staff. They were only able to get two runners past first base against Bedard and their only real scoring threat in the 4th inning was killed by an inning ending double-play ball hit by Mike Lowell.
“It keeps me in rhythm. Without that defense tonight, I probably wouldn’t have made it out of the fifth inning,” Bedard said.
This outing follows up Bedard’s worst performance of the year when he allowed 9 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings against the New York Yankees last Friday in the Bronx. When asked about what adjustments he made from then to yesterday he was very frank with his response.
“Location,” was all he could muster up to interested reporters.
But he certainly had a point. He painted the outside corners of the plate with his pitches, creating problems for Red Sox hitters all night. By establishing the outside of the plate he was then able to set up his inside fastball, which jammed Sox batters and took away a lot of their powerful cuts.
“This was the game plan we talked about in spring training,” Mariners manager John McLaren said.
The Sox continue their 10 game road trip with a four game series in Baltimore. They have now lost 10 of their last 12 games away from Fenway Park and have already dropped two games to the Orioles at Camden Yards less then 2 weeks ago. The team has today off to travel and will resume play tomorrow at 7:05 EST.
Josh Beckett will take the hill against the O’s Daniel Cabrera and try to stop the hurt as much as he can. Beckett is 5-4 on the season and coming off a solid effort that resulted in a loss. He hurled 7 innings and allowed 2 runs against Oakland earlier in the road trip. Cabrera boasts a 5-1 mark and has won his last three decisions.
- The Red Sox are going to send RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka back to Boston for an MRI on his right shoulder, which the team said is “fatigued”.
- Manny Ramirez is one homerun shy of reaching the career milestone of 500. He will be the 24th player in MLB history to accomplish the feat.
- Kevin Youkilis is expected to start on Friday after sitting out the three game series in Seattle nursing a sore right hand.
Through Dice-K Matsuzaka’s first 10 starts of the 2008 season, the Boston Red Sox were a perfect 10-0 and the Japanese ace boasted an 8-0 record to lead all pitchers in the majors. Tuesday night not only did Matsuzaka not pick up the victory but the Sox fell for the first time in one of his starts, losing to the Seattle Mariners 4-3 at Safeco Field.
After pitching 4 innings and allowing 3 runs, only 2 earned, Matsuzaka came out to warm up for the 5th inning but after two warm up pitches appeared to wince and grab an area in his lower back.
“Even before I went on the mound, I felt things were a little bit off in the bullpen,” Matsuzaka said. “I wasn’t at my best. After pitching the fourth inning, I definitely felt there was something wrong, and I had a conversation with the coaching staff.”
Manager Terry Francona immediately popped out of the dugout and joined his star pitcher on the mound. After a short conversation through a translator, Francona had heard enough and called for David Aardsma from the bullpen to replace the injured starter. Matsuzaka is scheduled to pitch next on Sunday in Baltimore but is unsure if he will be able to make the start.
“We’ll certainly keep an eye on him,” Francona said. “They are going to ice it, let it cool down. … You just always have to err on the side of caution.”
The team has already been without former staff ace Curt Schilling who has been sidelined on the DL with shoulder problems all season. Recently they also lost Clay Buchholtz to the DL with a broken fingernail on his pitching hand, so losing Matsuzaka would be a huge loss at this point in the season.
When Matsuzaka left the game the Sox were trailing 3-0 and his perfect record looked to be in jeopardy.
Manny Ramirez picked up his teammate and belted a 3-run homer in the 6th inning to even the score at 3-3. The blast was Ramirez’s 499th career homerun, putting him just one shy of the 500 milestone. With his next round-tripper, he will become only the 24th player in MLB history to accomplish the feat.
The Sox bullpen held the Mariners scoreless through the 8th inning allowing only 2 hits over the 4 innings of work after Matsuzaka departed. The combination of Aardsma, Manny Delcarmen and Hideki Okajima were very effective in keeping the game tied.
Boston was able to put runners on base in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings but couldn’t advance them past first. They would strand 6 runners on base over the game and besides Ramirez’s homerun couldn’t seem to muster a clutch hit against Seattle’s pitching.
Mike Timlin came on to pitch the 9th for the Red Sox and his season struggles continued. After allowing a leadoff single to Wladimir Balentien, the M’s played some small ball having Miguel Cairo sacrifice Balentien to second base with a sac bunt. Jeremy Reed then took the ball the other way on a ground out to Dustin Pedroia at 2nd base, advancing the runner to third. Timlin intentionally walked Ichiro Suzuki to face Jose Lopez with two outs, and on a 1-2 pitch Lopez lined a single over the glove of Mike Lowell at 3rd, driving in the game winning run for a Mariners 4-3 victory. Timlin is now 2-3 on the season with a 6.89 ERA.
While the Sox continue to struggle on the road, the victory breaks a 7-game losing streak for Seattle. Boston is now 11-18 away from Fenway Park for the season.
In tonight’s rubber game of the series, Tim Wakefield will hurl against Eric Bedard at 10:10 EST. Wakefield is coming off of a rough outing allowing 8 earned runs over only 5 innings of work against Oakland on the first game of the road trip. Bedard is also coming off of his worst outing of the season where he allowed 9 earned runs over 4 1/3 innings or work against the Yankees last Friday.
Following the game the Sox will ship out to Baltimore for a four game series while the Mariners will welcome Detroit into town for a three game set.
They call it Friendly Fenway for a reason. The Boston Red Sox haven’t had any problem winning at home this season; their troubles have just been everywhere else. Victories on the road have been hard to come by for this years’ club but they managed to find a way to win last night, beating the Seattle Mariners 5-3 at Safeco Field.
Bartolo Colon pitched 7 strong innings allowing only 1 run on 5 hits while striking out 5 Mariners batters. His fastball topped 97mph on the radar gun and the former Cy Young Award winner looked to be back in old form. Now all the veteran needs to do is lose 30 lbs and it will be the Colon of old.
Manager Terry Francona was impressed by Colon’s second outing since being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to take Clay Buchholtz’s roster spot. Buchholtz continues to nurse a broken fingernail on his pitching hand while rehabbing in the Sox farm system.
“I thought his movement, his life on his fastball was good and he got strong,” Francona said. “He made a lot of good quality pitches with life.”
Colon out pitched Felix Hernandez, who in the past, had owned Red Sox hitters. The 22nd year old one-hit the Sox last season at Fenway and while Sox hitters had not forgotten the stellar performance, they still knew that the young fireballer was beatable.
“We hit the ball really hard early in the game and they made some great plays. When he pitched against us last year, we didn’t hit any balls hard,” Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia said.
David Ortiz got things going for the Sox in the 4th inning by blasting his 12th homerun of the season over the centerfield fence. After Seattle tied the game in the 6th on an RBI groundout by Raul Ibanez that plated Ichiro Suzuki, Colon pitched his way out of the inning to keep the game knotted at 1-1.
The Sox would do all the damage they would need in the top of the 7th, plating 4 runs on 5 hits all with 2 outs. Pedroia, Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell would all connect on RBI hits while Jason Varitek walked with the bases loaded to drive in Boston’s final run on the night.
“With him [Hernandez] you’re just trying to get a pitch out over the plate to hit,” Pedroia said. “You don’t get many so you’ve got to make sure you hit them.”
Hideki Okajima relieved Colon and pitched a scoreless 8th inning, lowering his season ERA to 0.86. Jonathan Papelbon came on in the 9th to close the door and recorded the final 3 outs. He allowed two unearned runs but was able to record 2 strike outs in his inning of work.
Before the win, the Sox had lost their previous 7 road games but look to build off the effort for the rest of the road trip. They are now 11-17 on the road for the year.
Tonight, Dice-K Matsuzaka puts his perfect 8-0 record on the line against Seattle’s Miguel Batista. Batista sports a 3-6 record on the year with a 6.47 ERA while Matsuzaka remains unbeaten with a 2.25 ERA. With tonight’s outing, Matsuzaka will attempt to match Josh Becket’s 9-0 start of the 2007 season.
“I’m very grateful that I’ve been given the chance to get these wins under these circumstances,” Matsuzaka said through a translator.
Against Seattle in 2007, Matsuzaka was 1-1 with a 4.33 ERA. He dominated fellow Japanese star Ichiro Suzuki. The Seattle right fielder was only 1-for-12 with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts versus Matsuzaka.
First pitch of tonight’s game will be at 10:10 EST.