End 8th, Red Sox 10-3: Well, things got even weirder, and all of a sudden the inning is over.
Because he left third base during the fight, Reddick was apparently doubled off third base to end the inning.
Oh yeah, by the way, he hit an RBI triple. That’s why he was there. That was the biggest development of the inning. Until, you know, there was a brawl.
Bottom 8th, Red Sox 10-3: They’re still sorting things out, but so far we know that both Ortiz and Gregg were ejected. That’ll happen when you throw punches on a baseball field.
Also ejected were Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Orioles reliever Jim Johnson for their roles in coming in from the bullpen.
Bottom 8th, Red Sox 10-3: Well. All right.
David Ortiz and Orioles pitcher Kevin Gregg just started quited the bruhaha.
After the benches cleared one pitch earlier after Gregg buzzed Ortiz for the third time in one at-bat, the benches cleared, as did the bullpens.
Then, after Ortiz popped out on a 3-0 pitch, Gregg said something to Ortiz, which caused the big guy to charge the mound.
Both exchanged punches, but it didn’t look like either got any shots that connected in.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 9-3: Dan Wheeler continues to impress with spotless eighth inning.
Wheeler struck out Nick Markakis and Adam Jones — together, no small feat — before getting Vlad Guerrero to ground out to first.
Quietly, Dan Wheeler is coming along, especially here in early July. With a scoreless fram there, Wheeler’s ERA for the month is down to 1.59.
Top 8th, Red Sox 9-3: While Tony heads down to get ready for his close up, you’re stuck with me for the rest of the night.
Anyway, Rhode Island native Dan Wheeler comes onto pitch the eighth (on Rhode Island Night, no less!), while Josh Reddick comes in to play left and Yamaico Navarro moves to third, giving Kevin Youkilis the rest of the night off.
The more you know.
End 7th, Red Sox 9-3: Yamaico Navarro is the only member of the lineup without at least one run, hit or RBI. Jason Varitek is also hitless, but he scored a run in that first-inning onslaught.
Dan Wheeler will work the eighth for Boston.
I am passing you off to the inimitable Mike Cole, who will handle the remainder of the game while I go kill our ratings.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 9-3: Since he had that one horrible outing against the Cubs on May 21, Matt Albers has given up two runs in 18 innings of work.
Albers has retired all six he has faced tonight, four of them on strikeouts. He has five scoreless frames on the homestand alone. A critical component in the success of this team.
End 6th, Red Sox 9-3: Since taking a day off with a stiff neck (when does mine come, it’s been stiff since ’04?), Adrian Gonzalez is 5-for-7 with a home run and two walks. Not bad.
Gonzalez and David Ortiz are stranded in the sixth after Dustin Pedroia’s leadoff homer.
Matt Albers is back out to throw the seventh. He has thrown exactly two innings of relief seven times already this year.
9:16 p.m.: Dustin Pedroia’s solo shot off that guy with the long name gives Pedroia 10 homers on the year and ends the night for that guy with the long name.
On a more important note, Josh Beckett left this one with a “mildly hyperextended left knee,” according to the Red Sox.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 8-3: Must be odd being on the Baltimore side of things and seeing Matt Albers do what he’s doing this year.
Albers had a 4.60 ERA in three years with the O’s. That mark is down to 2.62 with Boston after he tosses a quick sixth.
End 5th, Red Sox 8-3: Here comes Matt Albers to take over for Josh Beckett.
This may just be a precautionary move with an 8-3 lead. No need to push the issue if Beckett is not quite 100 percent.
Obviously, if we have anything from the Sox PR team during the game we will pass it on, and there will be some updates postgame on Beckett.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 8-3: Derrek Lee has never forgiven Josh Beckett for tagging Jorge Posada to end the 2003 World Series, rather than toss to first so that Lee could be part of that memorable moment.
The two were teammates and on the field together in that upset win. Since then, Lee has made it his mission to destroy Beckett.
That’s sarcasm, folks, but look at the numbers. Lee is now 7-for-11 with three home runs and two doubles against Beckett after unloading on a changeup in the fifth. The ball hit off the Volvo sign high atop the right side of the Green Monster.
One out later, Beckett appeared to slip on the mound, prompting a visit from the trainer and Terry Francona, and elliciting groans from the faithful. The grounds crew came on to manicure the mound before Beckett pressed on, eventually giving up two-out RBI singles to Nick Markakis and Adam Jones.
Beckett finally ended a 28-pitch inning by striking out Vladimir Guerrero. There is no action in the bullpen so Beckett appears to be OK to work the sixth. (Update: Matt Albers is now warming)
End 4th, Red Sox 8-0: Well, you have to at least give the Baltimore bullpen some credit for its work so far.
Chris Jakubauskas finishes the fourth for the injured, or scared poopless, Brad Bergesen. That’s the last time I will write out Chris’ name. From now on he’s just Chris, Baltimore righty.
8:26 p.m.: Brad Bergesen appears to be OK after a David Ortiz line drive catches him with two down in the fourth, but the Orioles are taking him out.
Ortiz smoked one that was ticketed for Bergesen’s head. The righty was able to duck and get part of his glove on it to bat the ball toward the third-base line. I’m not sure yet where it got him, but he bounced back OK and even sprinted after the ball in an effort to make the play.
In any event, Chris Jakubauskas has taken over and will get all the time in the world to warm up. The Sox have men on first and second with two outs.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 8-0: The double play is giving Josh Beckett a nice boost as he coasts through the first four innings.
Marco Scutaro started the DP for the second straight inning. He has four assists already in this one.
Beckett can pitch to contact all night with this lead. He has needed just 40 pitches so far.
End 3rd, Red Sox 8-0: Even when he’s making outs, Jacoby Ellsbury is showing his markedly improved power.
Ellsbury is 1-for-3 but the two outs have been bombs into the triangle in center. Give Adam Jones credit for tracking both down. Jones was inches from the wall on the left side of the Red Sox bullpen when he hauled in the final out of the third.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 8-0: With a light rain falling at Fenway, Josh Beckett works around a leadoff single by Robert Andino.
A double-play ball by J.J. Hardy and a pop to center by Nick Markakis does the trick.
Some of the storms that are around have the potential to be pretty severe. It’s just a matter of staying on the periphery of those cells and we might be OK. They can certainly play all night in what is falling as I type this.
End 2nd, Red Sox 8-0: Could two innings look any more different than the first and the second for the Red Sox?
After sending 13 men to the plate in the first, Boston gets three up there in the second. Two of them — David Ortiz and Jason Varitek — are strikeout victims.
The third, Marco Scutaro, grounds to second.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 8-0: Dustin Pedroia is just doing his job, but you could make a case that he’s showing up the Orioles a bit.
After Baltimore made about four poor defensive plays in the bottom of the first, Pedroia ends the top of the second with a spectacular play.
With a man on second, Pedroia raced in behind the mound to field a chopper that got past Josh Beckett. Pedroia fielded and fired against his momentum to nail Felix Pie at first.
End 1st, Red Sox 8-0: Some sarcastic roars after Mark Reynolds fielded a Kevin Youkilis chopper and fired to first for the final out.
Since the last post, Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy committed an error, extending the inning for Adrian Gonzalez. In his second plate appearance of the frame, Gonzalez lined an RBI single to left.
That was perhaps the worst inning of baseball I’ve ever seen one team have. There was the day after prom my senior year when we had to play a rival at noon in 95 degree heat, and committed four errors in a frame. But we were kids. And it was the day after prom. This was worse.
7:39 p.m.: One can never assume the double play, of course, but the Orioles had at least a chance to turn one and end the bottom of the first with no runs on the board.
Instead, a hot shot by Kevin Youkilis to short scampered past J.J. Hardy and into left field. Dustin Pedroia, who singled and moved to second on a walk to Adrian Gonzalez, scored on the play.
That play, ruled an RBI single for Youkilis, also served to open up the floodgates. David Ortiz followed with a long three-run homer to right, his 19th of the year and the team’s seventh home run in its last seven ups.
Jason Varitek walked and Marco Scutaro singled up the middle on a ball that Robert Andino almost had. Then, in another so-close-but-so-far play for the Orioles defense, Felix Pie dove for but missed Darnell McDonald’s liner to left.
That goes in for a two-run double, Scutaro scoring all the way from first. Not to be left out, Jacoby Ellsbury, who flew to deep center to start the inning, blooped in a single to left to plate McDonald.
Nine out of 10 men reached after Ellsbury’s fly to center. That’s enough for Zach Britton, who lasts two-thirds of an inning. Brad Bergesen is on for Baltimore, which has already lost this game. I think.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Three of the four balls in play against Josh Beckett in the first were on the ground.
Often you will see a pitcher achieve success keeping the ball on the ground. Beckett has actually seen his ground ball percentage plummet this year. His strikeout percentage has gone down as well from career norms, but he’s enjoying a phenomenal season.
What Beckett is doing is getting a lot of weak outs in the air.
After a pair of grounders to shortstop and then a single by Adam Jones, Beckett got Vladimir Guerrero to fly to right.
7:08 p.m.: Josh Beckett throws a strike to J.J. Hardy, and we are off and running under dry (for now) conditions.
7:00 p.m.: Rhode Island Day is bringing out some positive vibes from our many Ocean State beat writers.
After a handful of nods to our tiny neighbor to the south, we are just about set for baseball. Still nothing significant coming down and we will start on time.
How long we last before the first delay is up in the air. It’s almost expected at this point, isn’t it?
6:40 p.m.: There is stirring around the tarp right now. The troops are lined up ready to go to work, it seems.
While we await our fate on that end, please take time to check out our Red Sox Showdown for the Ages, which currently pits the 2003 Sox against the 1946 Sox in a best-of-seven series.
Good stuff, and always a great way to get some debates going.
6:33 p.m.: Can you imagine having a ticket for tonight’s Yankees game, hoping to see history, and then being told the game is postponed?
There has to be some angry people in New York right now.
And if any of them are hoping to at least catch Derek Jeter and teammate Alex Rodriguez next week at the All-Star game, that’s gone by the board as well.
Oh, by the way, it’s begun to sprinkle here. Not much, but enough to make one curse themselves for not bringing a slicker.
6:01 p.m.: Well, the Yankees game has already been rained out and some of that stuff will slide up this way in the coming hours.
Should yield some happy folks in the press box, I’m sure.
The tarp is not on the field right now, but the chance of rain increases closer to first pitch.
If and when Josh Beckett gets to throw, here is the lineup he will face.
J.J. Hardy, SS
Nick Markakis, RF
Adam Jones, CF
Vladimir Guerrero, DH
Matt Wieters, C
Derrek Lee, 1B
Mark Reynolds, 3B
Felix Pie, LF
Robert Andino, 2B
The first six hitters are a combined 41-for-134 (.306) with seven home runs against Beckett.
5:39 p.m.: The notable difference in the Red Sox lineup is Yamaico Navarro in left field.
Navarro came up as a shortstop, was moved to third base in part because of the presence of Jose Iglesias in the system, and now will get a look in the outfield.
The mere fact that he has this chance is almost accidental.
“We saw him run balls down this spring, in BP,” Terry Francona said of the organization’s first glimpse of Navarro’s outfield skills. “A lot of guys do it, but it seemed like, as an organization, we were like, maybe we ought to think about doing this.”
Navarro was given some chances in left and right for Pawtucket and looked pretty good, according to Francona.
The 23-year-old has a cannon of an arm, which he has shown off from the left side of the infield. And Francona feels that his timing and understanding of when to rush and when not to rush has served him well.
“He’s got a good clock defensively,” Francona added. “When the ball’s hit…it helps to have an arm like that, but you never see him rush. He’s got a real good idea of where the runner is. It seems like that’s translated out to the outfield also.”
Navarro is batting .286 (4-for-14) with a home run in six games so far. It’s a small sample, but the staff has seen a more mature approach at the plate as well. Francona said that Navarro “swung at everything” last year when he was up. It showed in the numbers: Navarro was 6-for-42 (.143) with an alarming 17 strikeouts in 2010 with the big club.
What will be interesting to see is how Navarro handles the Green Monster, which has gobbled up many a player in the past who is unfamiliar with the way it plays.
4:45 p.m.: Terry Francona ended the great debate over who should start Sunday for the Red Sox in place of Jon Lester.
Kyle Weiland, who has been very good for Triple-A Pawtucket this year, gets the nod.
We mentioned yesterday in this space that Weiland was scheduled to start Sunday, so he appeared to be the top choice if the club decided to dip in the minors.
Francona said that Alfredo Aceves was considered, but his value in the bullpen over the next couple of days was tough to pass up.
Weiland is 8-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 17 starts for the PawSox. He has 99 strikeouts in 93 innings, good for the second-highest strikeout rate among full-time starters in the International League.
Francona said that he never wants his starters to get hurt, but when they do he is able to find a silver lining in situations like this.
“This is the flip side [to the injuries]. It’s really exciting,” Francona said.
Weiland got knocked around in some games this spring while pitching in the big league camp, but he was like a sponge hanging around with some of the established starters. The 24-year-old has really blossomed this year.
“He’s starting to command, he’s competing,” Francona said. “He’s always had a good arm.”
More in a bit.
3:15 p.m.: The Red Sox have issued their standard statement for when weather is in the region. Please read the following, and plan accordingly if you are coming to the park:
“The current weather forecast (provided by the Red Sox private weather service, Telvent DTN) in the vicinity of Fenway Park calls for showers and thunderstorms during the late afternoon and evening hours.
All Fenway Park gates will open as regularly scheduled at 5:40 p.m. with a limited opening on Yawkey Way at 5:10 p.m. The Red Sox hope that tonight’s game against the Baltimore Orioles, which is scheduled to start at 7:10 p.m., will be played. However, the Red Sox want to alert our fans to the possibility of a delay.
This forecast is of course subject to change as the evening progresses. Additional updates will be provided as necessary.”
3:02 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where the tarp is off the field, a handful of Red Sox players are taking early batting practice and the O’s are throwing a football around in left field.
There is a chance that we could see some wet stuff later on. Let’s cross our fingers on that front.
The Red Sox have another new look to their lineup for this one. Here it is:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Jason Varitek, C
Marco Scutaro, SS
Darnell McDonald, RF
Yamaico Navarro, LF
8 a.m.: A day after hammering six home runs in a rout of the Baltimore Orioles, the Red Sox get to turn to their best pitcher in an effort to keep alive an impressive run.
Josh Beckett gets the ball in the second of four straight games with the O’s, who were beaten 10-4 in the opener Thursday. It was Boston’s seventh win in eight games.
Beckett is coming off a gem in Houston, an eighth-inning, 11-strikeout performance that upped his mark to 7-3 and dropped his ERA to 2.12. He is 6-3 in 15 career starts versus Baltimore.
The Orioles have the worst team ERA in the league, but lefty Zach Britton has been one of the bright spots. He is 6-6 with a 3.47 ERA and limited the Red Sox to one run in six innings in a win at Camden Yards earlier this year.
First pitch is 7:10 p.m.