Jacoby Ellsbury just drove in Jarrod Saltalamacchia with a base hit to center field, Salty scoring with a head-first slide just ahead of the tag.
Great drama, and for once we can avoid the rain delay/extra innings dilemma.
Thanks for following along through all the stuff tonight. We’ll see you again tomorrow as now-45-year-old Tim Wakefield goes up against Carlos Carrasco in a 7:10 p.m. game.
Mid 9th, 2-2: Jonathan Papelbon will not be picking up a save tonight, but he can get the win right here if the Red Sox can muster anything in the bottom of the ninth.
Papelbon just blew away rookie Lonnie Chisenhall with a 96 mph fastball to finish a 1-2-3 frame.
The new Indians pitcher is Vinnie Pestano, who struck out two in an inning of work here last night.
End 8th, 2-2: Boston is now 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position after Carl Crawford popped out to finish the tumultuous eighth.
Marco Scutaro has entered the game at shortstop with Mike Aviles taking over for the ejected Kevin Youkilis at third.
Jonathan Papelbon is your new pitcher.
11:33 p.m.: Dustin Pedroia singled, stole second one out later and then watched as Kevin Youkilis went too far with a swing for a third strike. Youkilis argued all the way back to the dugout with first base umpire Gerry Davis and was promptly tossed.
11:20 p.m.: A leadoff single for Dustin Pedroia has ended the night for Joe Smith.
Tony Sipp, which is what my college buddies would yell at me when we played dainty drinking games, is on in relief for Cleveland.
Mid 8th, 2-2: Franklin Morales picks up two more strikeouts in a perfect eighth. The David Huff-Josh Beckett duel has become the Joe Smith-Franklin Morales duel.
Whoda thunk it?
Dustin Pedroia leads off the bottom half of the eighth.
Smith begins warming up for the bottom of the eighth as people dance and clap and sing that song. So bad, so bad, so bad.
End 7th, 2-2: Joe Smith is not messing around tonight. He has used all of 11 pitches to get four outs, including a strikeout of Josh Reddick in the seventh.
Reddick was hitting for Darnell McDonald and takes over in right field.
By the way, Reddick is 3-for-21 with nine strikeouts in his last eight games, around the time he took over as your starting right fielder.
Franklin Morales remains in the game. Daniel Bard was warming.
Mid 7th, 2-2: Ezequiel Carrera rips a two-out double for the Indians in the seventh. A little more lift and it would’ve been the go-ahead run.
I’m sure you are all aware of the very enjoyable marriage between Red Sox games with rain delays and Red Sox games that go into extra innings.
It’s happened multiple times this year, and it ain’t cool. Not on my end. We need runs, and we need ’em quick.
Jason Varitek, Darnell McDonald and Jacoby Ellsbury will try to revive the old seventh-inning magic for Boston.
End 6th, 2-2: Maybe because he knew I was making fun of him, Joe Smith does his job in very quick fashion.
And for some reason, Josh Beckett has been lifted. After just 85 pitches. It may be nothing, but we will certainly find out if he was bothered by anything physical.
As some colleagues have pointed out, interruptions in his warm-ups because of the rain may have something to do with it.
Franklin Morales is on to pitch the seventh.
10:51 p.m.: The Red Sox get rid of David Huff and immediately take advantage.
Rafael Perez’s fourth pitch of the night is rocketed over the Green Monster by Kevin Youkilis. It’s the 16th of the year for Youkilis and ties the ballgame.
Perez gets the next two before Manny Acta calls on Joe Smith, who has a name you just can’t forget. I mean, how many Joe Smiths are there? Can’t think of any. This guy will always be remembered. Joe. Smith.
Mid 6th, Indians 2-1: Because of the rain delay, it’s late enough that I keep expecting to hear the opening chords of that Neil Diamond crap they play in the middle of the eighth. Just feels like it’s about that time of the night.
Then I remember that it’s still relatively early in the game. For a moment, I’m happy, because I don’t need to hear the song. But then it occurs to me that I’ll hear it eventually, because THEY PLAY IT EVERY NIGHT!
And then I try to remind myself that I’m here to watch Josh Beckett pitch, and to pitch well. He works around a one-out, broken-bat single by Travis Hafner in the sixth. Beckett’s pitch count is 85. He has outlasted David Huff, who gets replaced by Rafael Perez after five innings.
End 5th, Indians 2-1: Again, you have to admire the work of David Huff. His defense hurts him once again, but he finds another way out of a jam.
With one out, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a grounder right at Asdrubal Cabrera. The shortstop, who can make some spectacular highlight-reel plays but I think is overrated as a defender, muffed it and Ellsbury reached on Cleveland’s second error.
Dustin Pedroia followed with a base hit to right and, as Huff pushed his pitch count over 100, there was a sense this was the rally.
But the lefty got Adrian Gonzalez to ground into his ML-leading 24th double play to finish the threat.
There is movement in the Indians bullpen. Someone’s getting ready to get ready.
Mid 5th, Indians 2-1: Josh Beckett has thrown one more inning than David Huff but 18 fewer pitches. Just hasn’t kept the ball in the yard.
Beckett finished his first 1-2-3 inning of the night with a strikeout of Jason Kipnis.
The Red Sox will get their third run through the lineup against Huff starting in this inning. Maybe that, plus his pitch count, will combined to get some runs on the board.
End 4th, Indians 2-1: Give David Huff some credit. That mess in the second wasn’t really his fault, and he did an amazing job of getting out of it by striking out three straight hitters with two runners in scoring position. It was an unearned run.
The Red Sox have made him work (Huff is at 83 pitches), but there hasn’t been a ton of solid contact. Certainly not in the fourth, when Huff struck out Carl Crawford and Jason Varitek and got Mike Aviles to pop to right.
Huff’s ERA is down to 0.54. OK, it’s only two-plus starts, but he’s figuring out ways to put zeroes on the board for a team in a tight divisional battle.
Mid 4th, Indians 2-1: It’s not as if the Indians hitters are reaching for anything and getting lucky or blooping garbage hits over an infielder’s head.
They are seeing some drool-worthy offerings from Josh Beckett, and making him pay.
Lonnie Chisenhall just connected on the second solo shot off Beckett, the fifth hit overall for the Tribe.
Cleveland has six home runs in the last eight innings against Boston pitching. And this is not a team known for power.
End 3rd, 1-1: Adrian Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to a season-high 12 with his first-inning double. During the surge he is batting .521 (25-for-48).
Gonzalez added a walk in the third, the fifth free pass he’s dran during the streak. Just getting on at a ridiculous rate.
The walk leads to nothing when Kevin Youkilis flies to right and David Ortiz lines to first.
Mid 3rd, 1-1: The one thing the whole Clay Buchholz situation does is make the Red Sox one more injury to a pitcher away from disaster.
I know they got Erik Bedard in to take Buchholz’s place, so the manpower is the same. But imagine if Josh Beckett got hurt and your postseason rotation is Lester, Bedard, Lackey.
Not saying they cannot do the job, but that’s not what you envisioned when you dreamt of October, right?
Beckett just avoided a potential injury when a screaming line drive off the bat of Jason Kipnis caught his glove. A foot up or to the left and we might have had a scary moment.
Instead, Beckett works around a two-out double by that guy, Asdrubal Cabrera, by striking out Travis Hafner.
End 2nd, 1-1: U-G-L-Y, the Indians got no alibi.
Walk, error, single, wild pitch. That’s how the Red Sox got the lumbering David Ortiz to travel 360 feet.
Ortiz drew the walk, obviously. He should’ve been out on a force play, but second baseman Jason Kipnis dropped the throw. After Mike Aviles singled to load the bases, Jason Varitek struck out, but the ball got away from the catcher and Ortiz came home.
David Huff rebounded to strike out the next two. He has recorded the last four outs via the strikeout.
Mid 2nd, Indians 1-0: The Indians managed a pair of singles off Josh Beckett in the second, and they look nothing like the team that had struggled to score runs for two months or so.
When they scored nine runs last night is was their highest total since June 1. They are putting together some good at-bats early against Beckett, although he does have three strikeouts.
End 1st, Indians 1-0: We’ve seen Kevin Youkilis throw his gear (bat, helmet and elbow pad) in disgust a few times of late.
He does so after the bottom of the first having struck out on three pitches from David Huff.
Youkilis hated the second pitch. Thought it was inside, and showed his disgust with Todd Tichenor’s call.
The K followed a two-out double by Adrian Gonzalez, who had a nice slide into second to avoid the tag.
Mid 1st, Indians 1-0: Cleveland showed plenty of power last night, and wastes little time getting into the home run act in this one.
Rookie Jason Kipnis, who had one of the club’s four homers Monday, hammers the first pitch he has ever seen from Josh Beckett into the Boston bullpen. Darnell McDonald nearly reached in and grabbed it, but could not come up with the ball.
Beckett had two strikeouts in the inning.
8:45 p.m.: Josh Beckett, who always pitches in this crap, throws a strike to Michael Brantley and we are finally off and running.
8:25 p.m.: Wow, it’s actually been over an hour since we talked. Well, I had a cheeseburger, talked to the lovely Heidi Watney on TV for a bit, wrote a story on Dr. Tom Gill’s assessment of Clay Buchholz (on the site shortly), and also called my father.
So it’s been busy on my end. It’s also busy right now for the grounds crew, which is now peeling off the tarp in anticipation of an 8:45 p.m. start.
7:24 p.m.: The tarp is back on the field, so we will be delayed even longer. It is coming down in waves right now.
6:46 p.m.: OK, first things first. The game will start at 7:30, which will actually give me a chance to have some dinner.
Second, we just spoke with Dr. Tom Gill. He said there is absolutely a chance that Clay Buchholz could return this year. It will simply come down to a baseball decisions if/when he is fully healed, which very well could occur before October. Essentially, will there be enough time for him to get major league ready.
Look for Gill’s comments on the site in a bit. Here are Buchholz’s and Terry Francona’s comments from earlier.
6:22 p.m.: Here is the official statement from Red Sox Medical Director Dr. Tom Gill:
“Clay has a stress fracture in his lumbar spine. He is responding to treatments and his symptoms are improving. We have sent Clay to see three spine specialists, who all agree that the injury is stable and will heal on its own.
“Clay will follow a five-step structured rehabilitation program, which will progress as his symptoms allow. When completed, Clay will be cleared to resume throwing. There is currently no time frame on his return, and his return this season has not been ruled out.”
Gill will meet with the media in a few minutes. We will have some comments from him soon.
5:52 p.m.: This is another one of those days where it’s hard to remember there’s a game to be played. Meeting with Erik Bedard and Clay Buchholz have dominated the pregame, as has the weather.
It has been raining rather hard for about 45 minutes now. Looks as if the storms move out around first pitch, but we could have a slight delay. Keep it here for updates.
Once we get going, here is the lineup against Josh Beckett:
Michael Brantley, LF
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Travis Hafner, DH
Carlos Santana, C
Kosuke Fukudome, RF
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Matt LaPorta, 1B
Ezequiel Carrera, CF
Beckett has not had much success against Cleveland, and it is reflected in a few of the numbers. This lineup is a collective 17-for-54 (.315) against Beckett. Hafner leads the way, going 6-for-17 with a home run, triple, double, six RBIs and four walks.
In other news, Marco Scutaro was given some tests today and was cleared to play. Terry Francona wanted to give him the day off rather than rush things, but Scutaro is available off the bench.
“When you start mentioning heart stuff, there’s no way we can send him back out,” Francona said.
On the subject of shortstops, Jed Lowrie went 0-for-2 with a pair of lineouts last night at Pawtucket, and was 1-for-3 today while serving as the DH. He will return to Fenway tomorrow to work out with the team, and then return to the PawSox for some more rehab games. It has yet to be determined how many he will need, but Francona said they want him to get nine innings in at some point.
Back in a bit.
5:10 p.m.: Sorry for the lack of updates. The internet went down here for awhile, perhaps weather-related stuff going on as there are storms in the area. The tarp is on the field right now.
Clay Buchholz does indeed have a stress fracture in his L2 vertebrae (lumbar 2). He will follow a five-step process of recovery, beginning with two stages of core stabilization. At some point along the way he will be cleared to throw and the Red Sox have not completely ruled him out for this season. That said, he likely would not be able to help until October, and would you use a roster spot on someone who has been out that long?
The positive is that Buchholz has already shown some significant improvement in the symptoms since Dr. Robert Watkins confirmed the fracture.
We will have more on the site in a bit on Clay’s issues, as well as a take on Erik Bedard’s first day in the clubhouse.
3:08 p.m.: The Mike Aviles era begins in earnest tonight. He will be making his first start with the Red Sox tonight in place of Marco Scutaro, who left last night’s game with a bout of dizziness.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Mike Aviles, SS
Jason Varitek, C
Darnell McDonald, RF
2:47 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where we await word from/on two Red Sox starting pitchers, Clay Buchholz and Erik Bedard.
The official word on Buchholz will come in a little over an hour when Terry Francona meets with the media. It seems that the one lingering question is if there is an iota of a chance that he returns this year in some form or fashion. Doubtful, but we’ll see what the timeline is.
We also expect to meet with Erik Bedard, who was still getting things in order as of yesterday.
Lineups over in a few.
8 a.m.: While the Red Sox are expected to provide an update Tuesday on the status of Clay Buchholz, they will turn their attention to another right-hander from Texas in an effort to get back in the win column.
Josh Beckett gets the nod against the Cleveland Indians as he searches for his 10th win. Beckett took a loss in Cleveland in his 2011 debut, but got revenge with 6 2/3 strong innings in a win over the Indians on May 24.
Overall, Beckett is just 4-5 with a 5.04 ERA against the Tribe.
David Huff, a 2-11 pitcher last season in Cleveland, is on the mound for the visitors. He was the losing pitcher in Ervin Santana’s no-hitter last week. The lefty has allowed just one earned run in 12 2/3 innings in the majors this year.
We will have the Buchholz news and everything else for you right here. First pitch by Beckett is due at 7:10 p.m.