Red Sox Live Blog: Red Sox Complete Rain-Soaked Doubleheader With 4-0 Win

Red Sox Live Blog: Red Sox Complete Rain-Soaked Doubleheader With 4-0 Win

 

Final, Red Sox 4-0: That’ll do it. Nearly 11 hours from the first pitch of the day to the last, roughly four hours of rain delays and two Red Sox wins, one of which gives Alfredo Aceves a 23-2 record. Phew.

Boston is in first place by two games and playing some very good baseball, but boy could this team use a break. That’s what they will get with a day off tomorrow, albeit a stormy one, and then another Monday.

The next time the live blog comes your way it will be Tuesday night, when the Yankees roll into town. Look for more coverage of this wild day and some look-ahead pieces on the New York series in the coming days. For now, we sign off after a long day at the park. Thanks for following along and be safe.

End 8th, Red Sox 4-0: Jonathan Papelbon has a 15-inning scoreless streak over his last 15 games. That is his longest streak in innings and games since a 16-game, 15 2/3-innings run around in 2007.

Obviously, with a clean inning here he matches one and surpasses the other. The longest scoreless streak of his career is 21 2/3 innings, which came in 19 games in 2006.

Again, this is just remarkable we are going to finish two games. And perhaps even more remarkable that I haven’t cussed yet in this forum. It’s just fu…I mean…um…really remarkable.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 4-0: Boston is now three outs away from the 495th doubleheader sweep in its history.

They’ve split 828 of them and been swept 444 times.

So, there’s that. There’s also the chance to improve to 30-13 in series finales and 68-0 when leading after eight innings.

End 7th, Red Sox 4-0: Provided the Red Sox hang on here, there will be an interesting development in the standings.

Because the Yankees had their doubleheader Irene-ed out, and the Sox won twice, Boston moves four games ahead in the win column, but the teams remain tied in the loss column.

Obviously, the Yanks will be a much busier team with four more games to play, another plus for the Sox.

That effort to make it a four-game deficit in the win column takes shape with Daniel Bard entering the game. With no games for two days, Terry Francona can treat this just like a one-run game.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 4-0: Leadoff walks often lead to bad things, except when you’re Alfredo Aceves. He spits on leadoff walks and then gets three straight easy outs in the air.

We press on. You still with me, folks? Because I’m not with myself. My soul left with the last rain delay.

End 6th, Red Sox 4-0: We mentioned earlier that the weather would have an impact on individual plays in the field at some point. It seemed to on several plays in the sixth.

With one out, Jed Lowrie hit a routine chopper to third but the throw to first was extremely high. Perhaps Scott Sizemore just made a bad throw, but it’s also quite likely that he never had a good grip.

With two outs and Lowrie on third, Jarrod Saltalamacchia lifted a lazy pop down the line in right. Brandon Allen, who’s been involved in a ton of odd plays today, went back on the ball but had to stare up into a driving rain. It was not an easy play to make, and it showed as the ball fell to Allen’s side, allowing Lowrie to score.

The very next pitch by Josh Outman sailed over his catcher’s head. That made Outman request a towel to dry off.

The rain has slowed a tiny bit since that little burst, but it remains significant.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 3-0: I’ll be frank. There’s a six of Bud bottles in the fridge, so every quick inning Alfredo Aceves can muster gets my lips that much closer to the ultimate prize.

Hey, it’s the little things, right?

Aceves worked a 1-2-3 sixth, getting two strikeouts and a pop to Adrian Gonzalez. If things continue like this, Aceves will be 23-2 in his career. That just gets more and more remarkable each time he finds a way to grab a win, whether on the cheap or not.

End 5th, Red Sox 3-0: Jacoby Ellsbury doubled in the fifth but was stranded at third when Adrian Gonzalez whiffed and Dustin Pedroia’s liner was snagged by lefty Josh Outman, the new A’s pitcher.

Nice scene in the inning when the Marco! Scutaro! chant broke out and Scutaro acknowledged the love between pitches.

Weird things happen when there’s like 29 people in the park. A much more personal place, despite some of its large, empty portions.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 3-0: OK, it is official now, but with nothing coming down from the sky we will play on into the night.

Have to admit. I didn’t think there was a chance in heck that two games would go into the books today. Give credit to the grounds crew, too. They did a fantastic job, as always.

A reminder in case you’re meandering around the neighborhood checking this out on your NESN iPhone app, you can enter the park through Gate C for free. Come on in. It’s only $86 for a beer and a pretzel, too.

9:27 p.m.: Isn’t it just like Alfredo Aceves to pick up a win here? He just might depending on how things go.

We are playing ball again after Aceves gets the first out of the fifth.

9:19 p.m.: It will be Alfredo Aceves inheriting Erik Bedard’s situation in the top of the fifth. There is a relative degree of limited rain for maybe an hour or so, enough to make this official, at the very least.

9:08 p.m.: The game is scheduled to start back up at 9:25 p.m., just like the headline said, all right?

8:28 p.m.: With every second that ticked by in the top of the fifth we just wanted Erik Bedard to throw a pitch. And for whatever Oakland hitter was up to swing the bat.

It never amounted to an out, and this one is in a delay just three outs from becoming official. The A’s have a man on first and there’s a 2-2 count on Jemile Weeks.

Stick with us for updates.

End 4th, Red Sox 3-0: Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz are both 2-for-2 in this one.

They opened the fourth with singles and moved up 90 feet on Jed Lowrie’s base hit.

Graham Godfrey, who sounds like a 1970s British rocker, was in a pile of doo-doo. Nice job on his part to give up just one run on a Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounder to first.

Well, it wasn’t just a simple grounder but a hot shot that Brandon Allen dove for and fed to Godfrey, just beating the head-first slide of Saltalamacchia.

Mid 4th, Red Sox 2-0: The early control problems are a thing of the past, it would seem.

Erik Bedard has now struck out five after punching out the last two men in the top of the fourth. He’s showing some pretty good zip on the heater and that beautiful breaking ball has begun to freeze a few folks.

There was a tiny chance that today’s weather could impact the rotation going forward. With each passing pitch, it seems as if they will stay in order just fine for the Yankees series. We still don’t know the New York probables as that team’s series in Baltimore is a mess.

End 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: We may see some Red Sox hitters start to speed things up here. Took a look at the radar and there are some wet times ahead.

Don’t know if you knew about that. There’s this hurricane. Headed right for us.

Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: The rain has pretty much come to a stop right now. So too has Erik Bedard’s issues with walks.

He doesn’t give out any free passes in a quick third third. Bedard owns a 2.77 ERA against Oakland as we sit here this moment.

We’ve been sitting here (this moment) since 9 a.m.

End 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: David Ortiz missed nine games this month and still has seven home runs, six doubles and 18 RBIs.

Ortiz just hammered a two-run shot into the Monster seats, making him 3-for-5 with four RBIs today.

The DH is never mentioned among the trio of AL MVP candidates on this team, in large part because of his position. But he’ll finish with better numbers than all of them in many categories if he keeps this up.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: Jon Lester said that every time he took the ball out of his glove while warming up before the seventh inning of game one, his hands were soaked. That’s right before the first delay of the day.

One wonders if Erik Bedard is experiencing any issues with the grip after walking his fourth man in the second inning. Then again, Ted Barrett has been keeping a pretty tight strike zone.

Bedard also gave up a two-out single to Jemile Weeks that put runners on the corners. He then picked up his second strikeout by getting Coco Crisp to end it.

Bedard’s walking a tightrope, but he’s upright so far.

There have already been about three or four plays in the field impacted by the weather. Balls dying in the grass, players slipping on the muddy infield…stuff like that. It will be a major factor as there doesn’t appear to be any letup.

End 1st, 0-0: Just called up from the minors, Graham Godfrey has a 1-2-3 first. He made a nice stab of a Marco Scutaro comebacker for the second out.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Erik Bedard walked the bases full in the first, not what we want as the rain continues to fall. At least he had enough to get out of the mess. The inning, not the rain. That’s going to be here all night.

In case anyone is wondering about the game one scenario, that was all MLB. They dictated that the teams had to finish the first game before playing the second, even though in the past at Fenway they have banged out the first after seven and then started the second when the weather window emerged.

That happened in 2009.

Crew chief Tim McClelland: “That was an aberration. I talked to Joe Torre and he said that was an aberration. According to the rules, that can’t happen or shouldn’t happen. They didn’t want that. They wanted this game to finish.”

McClelland said he has never experienced a scenario in which the first game is called short and the second is played. He called it “bizarre.”

As for tonight, McClelland said it will be played in a steady but light rain and they’ll just have to deal. “Infield’s terrible, everything. It’s no fun for anybody.”

Amen, brother.

Terry Francona said that all he knew was that MLB ruled on it.

6:53 p.m.: We are under way in the second game. Yeeeeehawww.

6:33 p.m.: We heard briefly from Terry Francona, Jon Lester and Jason Varitek. Look for more on the site from them in a bit.

We have a 6:50 start so here are the lineups for game two:

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Marco Scutaro, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Jed Lowrie, 3B
Carl Crawford, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Josh Reddick, RF

Jemile Weeks, 2B
Coco Crisp, CF
Hideki Matsui, DH
Josh Willingham, LF
Brandon Allen, 1B
Scott Sizemore, 3B
David DeJesus, RF
Cliff Pennington, SS
Anthony Recker, C

Final, Red Sox 9-3: A double, a walk and two singles off Michael Bowden gave the Athletics a run in a lengthy ninth and caused many in an already weary press box to sigh repeatedly like 5-year-olds who are told to go to bed.

The final out was made when Josh Reddick caught a ball at the wall in right, just a few feet from making this a two-run game.

Still no announcement on a game two start. Look for that to be updated here as I may be downstairs when the info is passed on.

Back soon.

End 8th, Red Sox 9-2: A couple of great defensive plays by the A’s in the eighth make the press box pretty happy. I mean, we all like seeing nice plays, but we also like seeing quick innings in a situation like this.

There is still no start time announced for game two. I will pass that along the second I hear.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 9-2: Michael Bowden gives up a hit to the first man he sees, but then motors through the next three hitters to get the Sox to the cusp of a win here. He’ll pitch the ninth as well.

Looking ahead at the radar, it’s very possible that game two begins during this window, then gets delayed by another round of wet stuff and then gets finished during another window from about 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.

If that occurs, I’ll finish this night in prison. Not sure what the charge will be, but I’ll do something.

5:35 p.m.: Michael Bowden is about to throw his first pitch to Cliff Pennington. It is still lightly sprinkling, but that’s all.

5:05 p.m.: The game will resume at 5:35 p.m.

5:00 p.m.: Contrary to popular assumption, game one will be finished before game two can begin.

So we will wait for the conditions to clear, play two innings and then have a turnaround before the second game, a time period that has yet to be determined.

If you have a ticket for game two, you can come into the park now. Believe me, there are plenty of seats to go around so don’t get in any fights if that “game one jerk” is in your assigned seat.

4:54 p.m.: Still raining, but we have a tiny bit of news to pass on. According to Evan Lepler, the voice of the Salem Red Sox, Bobby Jenks was scratched from a rehab “start” tonight due to an illness.

Seems like Jenks just cannot get right.

4:45 p.m.: Still raining.

4:27 p.m.: Still raining.

4:02 p.m.: It appears as if game one has been called, although we are awaiting official word.

As one astute colleague pointed out, there is a cleaning crew picking up garbage in the bleachers, an indication they are getting it ready for the second game.

Again, I’m passing on nothing official right now, just what I’m seeing in the park. As of this very second, the rain is as heavy as it has been.

3:46 p.m.: There is talk, and precedent for, a scenario which would see the first game get called after seven and the second one started when a window presents itself.

That window emerges in about an hour and could last up to two hours, so perhaps they get in five innings of a second game then.

It would represent one of the bigger surprises of my life, right next to that day when all my hair fell out, but the way they’re clinging to hope here means there is a shot to play more baseball.

As I type that the rain has let up a bit here. Once 7:00 p.m. rolls around it looks like things will be pretty steady from then on.

3:32 p.m.: It’s four hours or so until sunset and dark as night here. Hey, I have an idea. Let’s call the bleepin’ game and let us go home. This just seems a tad absurd to wait for anything to improve. As it is, the exposed portions of the field will be completely saturated, if they aren’t already.

End 7th, Red Sox 9-2: The skies opened up once more as the Red Sox went quietly in the seventh.

At this rate of an inning every hour or so we will finish game one some time after the scheduled first pitch of game two.

Love how Josh Reddick stepped to the plate with a new walk-up song, the ultra-dramatic theme to “2001: A Spade Odyssey,” and proceeded to tap a 20-footer back to the mound on the first pitch. Cracked me up.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 9-2: There doesn’t appear to be anything falling from the sky.

Dan Wheeler’s ERA, however, continues to tumble. He works around a one-out single to lower his August ERA to 0.96.

Wheeler should get a chance to improve upon that number with another inning.

3:10 p.m.: Dan Wheeler has taken the hill and thrown his first pitch. We are under way…again.

2:42 p.m.: Much to the chagrin of L.L. Bean reps, who love when their name is displayed for all of Fenway Park to see during rain delays, the sponsored tarp has been removed.

The crew is working on the field right now. No start time has been announced. It would seem likely that Jon Lester will not be the pitcher, but we shall wiat to make any announcements on that end.

2:26 p.m.: It just kept coming as the Red Sox tried to warm up for the seventh inning and finally they made the decision to put on the tarp.

We are in a delay, starting at 2:24 p.m. Seems unlikely that two games will be played, but they will try to finish this one if there is a window in the next few hours.

Fun.

End 6th, Red Sox 9-2: Including a meaningless run in the ninth inning last night, the Red Sox had scored at least once in six straight innings before finally being kept off the board in the sixth.

Jon Lester is about to begin the top of the seventh in a rather steady downpour. There will be standing water soon, and Lester just threw one to the backstop. Not good, but they’ll do all they can to get this one in without stopping, because why stop and wait for a hurricane to pass.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 9-2: Jon Lester is in great shape here with 87 pitches through seven.

Two things to consider in terms of his duration. The bullpen was used up a bit, at least the guys you would pitch in a blowout. But the mound is going to start getting sloppy.

Terry Francona may get Lester through seven if he can but with the rain coming down pretty good right now, does he get Michael Bowden in there a bit earlier than normal and team him with Dan Wheeler and Franklin Morales to end this?

End 5th, Red Sox 9-2: Just after Jason Varitek lined an RBI single to left, the skies opened up here at Fenway Park.

The rain has subsided a tiny bit, but we’re in it now. I imagine it will be off and on for the next few hours before we get the cow-pissing-on-a-flat-rock kinda stuff.

Of course, the game is official so we know that they at least got one in. Given the circumstances and how much some other series down the seaboard have been impacted, that’s not bad.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 8-2: Jemile Weeks, a fine-looking young player for the A’s, has three stolen bases today after walking and swiping second in the fifth.

Jon Lester kept Weeks on second base this time and is now in line for what figures to  be his 14th win of the year.

The A;s are into their bullpen. Craig Breslow is on in relief of Guillermo Moscoso.

It has become extremely dark here in the last 10 minutes or so.

End 4th, Red Sox 8-2: Marco Scutaro has 15 RBIs in his last 20 games after an RBI single with one out in the fourth.

The hit drove in Mike Aviles, who is 2-for-2 with a stolen base in this one.

Aviles is now 16-for-51 (.313) with four stolen bases in as many attempts since joining the Sox. Not a bad little pickup.

If internet slowness is a sign of an oncoming storm, then this one will wipe New England off the map. Can’t do a thing over here.

Mid 4th, Red Sox 7-2: Jon Lester freezes Kurt Suzuki to end the third, picking up his first strikeout since the game’s opening hitter.

That is Lester’s first 1-2-3 inning.

It was on this very date last year that Lester began one of his best runs as a major leaguer, going 6-0 with a 1.76 ERA in six starts, including four road wins and an absolute beauty in the Bronx on Sept. 25 that gave the Red Sox a tiny pulse in the final week of the season (five back in the loss column with eight games to play)

End 3rd, Red Sox 7-2: At this pace, the first game will end at around 3:50 p.m. Should be an interesting scene trying to kick 37,000 fans out and usher in 37,000 more in a 70-minute window.

The Red Sox aren’t concerned with that right now. They’re content just smacking the ball all over the yard.

Adrian Gonzalez started the third off with a wall-ball double and Dustin Pedroia walked.

David Ortiz then doubled them both in with a shot to center. He advanced to third when the throw home got all the way to the backstop and scored on Carl Crawford’s sac fly to deep left.

The A’s bullpen was busy with no outs in the inning. Guillermo Moscoso finally escaped but he’ll be safe  and sound in the clubhouse real soon.

Mid 3rd, Red Sox 4-2: You build a man up, he just tears himself back down.

A couple of innings after giving Marco Scutaro some props for swinging a hot bat, he commits an error to begin the third and it results in an unearned run against Jon Lester.

Lester allowed a walk later in the frame and then a double steal (three stolen bases in the inning against Jason Varitek, who couldn’t get a throw off) put two men in scoring position.

Coco Crisp eventually drove in Jemile Weeks with a long fly to center.

End 2nd, Red Sox 4-1: Jason Varitek doesn’t get a ton of hits, but he has made those rarities count in a major way of late.

After hitting his ninth home run of the year in the second, a two-run shot to right, Varitek has produced extra bases in 11 of his last 17 hits (six home runs, four doubles and a triple).

His average has remained somewhat steady for the past couple of months, but the slugging percentage keeps dancing up.

Funny moment later in the inning. Mike Aviles followed Varitek’s homer with a single and Jacoby Ellsbury came up. Guillermo Moscoso threw a fastball that Ellsbury looked at for strike two, but home plate umpire Marvin Hudson got a little ahead of himself and rang Ellsbury up with a dramatic strike three call.

Hudson immediately realized his mistake and Ellsbury promptly knocked the next pitch off the Green Monster for an RBI double, which I called by the way.

I haven’t proven this yet, but I have suspicions that my employer has made some arrangements to cut about 15 seconds out of each commercial break in an order to move things along today. If that’s the case, I’m all for it, but will need to type like a mad man.

Mid 2nd, 1-1: One reason for Oakland’s impressive offense of late has been the emergence of first baseman Brandon Allen.

After hammering an opposite-field home run off Jon Lester to start the second, Allen is batting .367 since joining the A’s in a trade with Arizona on July 31.

It’s just the third home run by a lefty off Lester this year.

End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Marco Scutaro has very quietly been one of the better Red Sox hitters lately.

In his last 12 games, Scutaro is batting .340 (16-for-47) with 11 RBIs and nine runs scored.

One of those runs just came after Scutaro won an eight-pitch battle with Guillermo Moscoso (all fastballs) with a double to left and then came in on Dustin Pedroia’s single.

Pedroia was thrown out trying to stretch that into a double. Is it me or has that happened about a dozen times in the last two months for the Sox?

Mid 1st, 0-0: Said this before but it bears repeating. It’s just a strange day here. You can sense that everyone is thinking of matters other than baseball.

Jon Lester is as focused and intense an individual as you will find, so he may not even know there’s a storm coming. And he won’t have to worry about it as long as he puts up zeroes and moves this thing along.

With the lights on and the conditions becoming more grey by the minute, Lester survived a two-out single by Coco Crisp to get through the first unscatched.

12:02 p.m.: Jon Lester gets us started with a strike to Jemile Weeks. The lights are on.

11:50 a.m.: Jon Lester could be starting one of those rolls, but there are a few things to be wary of.

For one, he keeps hurting himself with walks, even if it’s just lifting his pitch count. Lester has 22 strikeouts and 14 walks in his last four starts.

Also, he is just 2-3 with a 4.95 ERA against the A’s, who have quietly been one of the better offenses in baseball over the last month or so.

If the lefty can cut down on those free passes, he should be fine.

I have five minutes to get some lunch, so that’s my limited thought. Back in a second.

11:03 a.m.: A strange, abbreviated pregame today, but we are back upstairs with some updates.

Michael Bowden has arrived to take Scott Atchison’s spot on the roster. No suprise there, the team just needed to make sure Bowden could get here since Pawtucket was on the road. He rolled his luggage in around 10:30 a.m.

In other news, Clay Buchholz will be examined again in the next couple of days with the hope of mapping out a throwing program. However, there is no chance he throws before Sept. 1, and throwing will just be casual toss to start out.

More importantly, for the immediate future of the team, is the rotation going forward. It will be John Lackey, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester in the three-game series against the Yankees. That means the Texas series will involve some combination of Erik Bedard, Andrew Miller, Tim Wakefield and Lackey, with just three of them getting starts.

Everyone wants to know if it will be Miller or Wakefield or both, with Lackey getting bumped to Monday in Toronto, but Terry Francona is not ready to make any announcements yet. Stay tuned on that budding drama.

It’s sunny but humid as a fan-less bathroom after a scalding shower. Back in a bit with more.

9:16 a.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where baseball is secondary in the minds of many, but we will forge ahead as if that’s all that counts.

With that in mind, here are the lineups for the opener:

Red Sox

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Marco Scutaro, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Josh Reddick, RF
Jason Varitek, C
Mike Aviles, 3B

Athletics

Jemile Weeks, 2B
Cliff Pennington, SS
Coco Crisp, CF
Josh Willingham, DH
Bruce Allen, 1B
Conor Jackson, LF
Kurt Suzuki, C
Ryan Sweeney, RF
Scott Sizemore, 3B

Jed Lowrie will probably play the second game somewhere, but no surprise he is sitting the opener. It was a rough night for Lowrie on Friday, and he seemed pretty dejected after the four-strikeout, one-error performance.

There is almost no significant experience against A’s starter Guillermo Moscoso to speak of.

Just four Oakland hitters have ever faced Jon Lester. They are a combined 7-for-26 (.269) against him.

I know…we’re really bringing it with the stats here early on. Have patience, folks. Be back in a little bit with some more, which may include a roster move involving Scott Atchison. With him throwing three innings last night, there may be a need for another pitcher to get through the doubleheader.

6 a.m. ET: After a disastrous opening to their condensed three-game set, the Red Sox will attempt to get back on track in a doubleheader with the Oakland A’s on Saturday, during which everyone will be monitoring the weather.

The twinbill was scheduled to avoid any major issues with the approaching Hurricane Irene, but rain is expected to start at some point during the day as the massive storm moves into the area.

As long as the rain is not a major issue, the first game will begin at noon with Jon Lester opposing right-hander Guillermo Moscoso. The second game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Erik Bedard goes for Boston opposite Graham Godfrey.

NESN will televise both games live.

The A’s used 16 hits and five walks in a 15-5 rout of the Red Sox in the opener Friday night.
Stick with the live blog throughout the day for all the weather-related updates from the park, as well as all the action on the field.

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