Final, Red Sox 18-6: The Red Sox hoped that a day off and a return home would help them find some positives.
It’s hard to imagine a night being any more positive than this one.
Tim Wakefield is the 108th player in major league history to reach 200 wins, the offense produces its best output of the season, just about every starter got to sit a few innings and the Rays lose in Baltimore.
The two teams won’t have long before they get back at it. It will be John Lackey against Ricky Romero in a Wednesday matinee. We will see you bright and early for that one. Look for more coverage of tonight’s game on NESN.com, and thanks for following along.
End 8th, Red Sox 18-5: Well, Dustin Pedroia went for it. He swung for the fences in a bid for his third home run of the game, but it died a few feet shy of the warning track in center.
The man responsible for getting us to the end of this circus will be Junichi Tazawa, whose long road back has him on a major league mound for the first time since Sept. 4, 2009.
Joey Gathright is in left. Lars Anderson is at first. Jose Iglesias is at short. Ryan Lavarnway is catching.
10:01 p.m.: Unless something really wacky is about to occur, Boston’s lead in the wild card will grow to four games. Tampa Bay has lost in Baltimore, blowing a late lead.
The magic number for the Red Sox to clinch that spot will be down to 13.
In the eighth, some more excellent pitching for the Blue Jays led to another run for the hosts. Marco Scutaro got the RBI, his 14th in nine games, on a bases-loaded walk. Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed with a bases-clearing double and Jacoby Ellsbury just drove in the team’s 18th run of the night with a base hit.
The Sox’ previous high for runs scored in a game was 16, also against Toronto. It’s gotten pretty ugly here for the Jays. Some guy named Chad Beck is in with two outs and Dustin Pedroia stepping up.
9:46 p.m.: The Red Sox have now scored in all but two innings, and once again Dustin Pedroia is right in the middle of it.
Pedroia followed a Jacoby Ellsbury walk with a double, his fourth extra-base hit of the game (two homers, two doubles).
Adrian Gonzalez then singled in Ellsbury to make it 12-5. With runners at the corners, sidearmer Danny Farquar is on to face pinch hitter Conor Jackson.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 11-5: Three outs until Tim Wakefield can put this stuff to rest and focus on No. 201.
It would also pull him to within six of tying the Red Sox record, which I imagine is even more important to him.
Obviously he won’t get it this year, but if there’s a one-year deal to be worked out, perhaps in 2012 he works his way past Cy Young and Roger Clemens.
End 7th, Red Sox 11-5: Marco Scutaro has become a run-producing machine.
Scutaro has 13 RBIs in his last nine games after dropping a double down the line in left that scored Carl Crawford from first. It is the 1,000th hit of Scutaro’s career.
Alfredo Aceves will work the eighth, and perhaps the ninth. If so, he could pick up a save.
Mike Aviles is into the game at third base. Kevin Youkilis was 0-for-3 in his first game back.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 10-5: Kevin Youkilis said he is going to gut it out the rest of the season. It may not always look perfect, like in the third when he committed an error, but there will be times when he looks like the guy we’ve all come to know.
Youkilis just ended a 1-2-3 seventh for Alfredo Aceves with a diving stop to his left and a strike across the diamond.
End 6th, Red Sox 10-5: OK, I jumped the gun on ending the sixth in my prior post, but the score remained the same. Joel Carreno got the last two outs of the inning
Alfredo Aceves is the new pitcher. Nine outs needed for Tim Wakefield.
End 6th, Red Sox 10-5: Luis Perez did his job. If his job was to give the Red Sox a few more pitches to hit.
Perez threw three straight balls to Jarrod Saltalamacchia before Salty smacked an RBI single to left on the 3-0 pitch.
Jacoby Ellsbury followed with a single (now needs a triple for the cycle), and Dustin Pedroia cranked his second homer of the night.
Pedroia has 20 homers on the year, joining Ellsbury in the 20/20 club. He is the fourth Red Sox player with 20 dingers and his five RBIs match a career high.
Perez then gave up a single to Adrian Gonzalez before John Farrell decided he had seen enough. Joel Carreno is on to pick up the pieces. Still only one out.
It’s looking more and more like we can finally give Tim Wakefield a tip of the cap.
9:00 p.m.: Carl Crawford doubled and Marco Scutaro bunted him to third. That is enough for Brandon Morrow, who will leave with another ugly line. His only two strikeouts came against Jed Lowrie.
Luis Perez, a lefty, will turn Jarrod Saltalamacchia around to his weaker side and try to keep this a one-run game.
Tampa Bay is up 2-1 in the seventh in Baltimore.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 6-5: The roars are increasing for Tim Wakefield each time he gets through an inning unscathed.
He’s done so three times in a row now, and considering how the rotation has performed of late this is a godsend.
With the first out of the sixth, Wakefield became the first Boston starter in a week to last longer than five innings. That came on his sixth strikeout of the game, one shy of his season high.
The pen is rather quiet right now, although I was just told Wakefield, at 96 pitches, did get some pats on the back and high-fives and even a lollipop when he reached the dugout.
End 5th, Red Sox 6-5: I ripped on the Blue Jays defense earlier in this game, but they’ve made me eat my words. They taste like chicken.
The Jays have made several outstanding plays in the field in the past couple of innings. In the fifth, shortstop Mike McCoy knocked down a hard grounder by Kevin Youkilis on the backhand side, spun and fired one into the dirt that was scooped nicely by David Cooper.
Eric Thames finished the frame with a sliding catch in left.
And with that, we turn our attention to Tim Wakefield once again. He is on to begin the sixth. Looks like Aceves is back up and throwing.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 6-5: Wakefield’s last stand?
Old Timmy allows the first two to reach to begin the fifth, and grumbles are heard in my stomach…I mean in the stands.
Curt Young pays a visit to the mound, and Wakefield buckles down. He strikes out David Cooper and then gets a pair of outs in the air to strand the runners and put himself in position of the win.
Alfredo Aceves was loosening in the bullpen. He isn’t anymore.
End 4th, Red Sox 6-5: The thing is, Brandon Morrow has some good stuff and occassionally dominates some opponents. But holy crap do the Red Sox kill him.
Morrow had actually recorded outs on seven of eight hitters before Jacoby Ellsbury took him the other way for his 27th of the year. That is the second time in Ellsbury’s career he has gone opposite-field for a home run, the first coming just last month.
Ellsbury is now three homers shy of that 30-30 mark and is two behind David Ortiz for the team lead. With several top MVP candidates slumping, Ellsbury may have moved to the head of the pack with the way he keeps doing this kind of stuff. He’s now seven RBIs shy of 100. Amazing.
Oh, and Dustin Pedroia also homered. Sorry to leave you out, Dustin. For Pedroia that’s his 19th and it gives Tim Wakefield a lead. If he gets through the fifth, he’s in line for 200. I’m suddenly having deja vu.
Mid 4th, Blue Jays 5-4: That was a 12-second inning for Tim Wakefield. He gets three straight outs in the air and keeps the pressure on the very shaky Brandon Morrow.
End 3rd, Blue Jays 5-4: Brandon Morrow has a scoreless inning, but not without some drama and plenty of help from his center fielder.
After getting the first two outs, Morrow gave up a bloop single to right by Josh Reddick.
Carl Crawford, not one to work the count, then fought Morrow for 11 pitches. The 11th was hammered to the deepest part of the park, where Adam Loewen made a catch at the side wall of the Red Sox bullpen. It looked as if the ball may have fallen into the pen, so credit Loewen with a lead-saving grab.
Not that there won’t be more scoring in this one.
Mid 3rd, Blue Jays 5-4: The U.S. Open ended yesterday, but we have a nice little tennis match here at Fenway Park. Back and forth. Back and forth.
After a single to begin the third, Jose Bautista hit a ball off the top of the left-field foul pole for a two-run shot. I’m actually surprised the pole is still standing after the ferocity of that one.
Wakefield did not allow anything else, but he did walk a man and also saw Brett Lawrie reach on a Kevin Youkilis error.
Scott Atchison was warming, but has since sat down. Wakefield is at 62 pitches.
Let’s see if Brandon Morrow can hold serve here. Or would be be receiving serve in this analogy?
End 2nd, Red Sox 4-3: First, the update on David Ortiz in case you missed it. He was removed due to back spasms.
Now, onto the latest in a never-ending line of bad innings for Brandon Morrow against the Red Sox.
Marco Scutaro singled off Morrow to begin the second. He moved to second on a wild pitch and third on a grounder to first.
Jacoby Ellsbury then doubled off the Green Monster to drive in the tying run and extend his hitting streak to 17 games. A Morrow balk directly led to the go-ahead run as it moved Ellsbury to third, from where he could trot home on a Dustin Pedroia sacrifice fly.
Even the outs have been hit hard against Morrow, who has given up 16 runs (14 earned) in his last 7 1/3 innings against Boston. That ain’t good.
Mid 2nd, Blue Jays 3-2: You know the old saying about small towns: “If you blink, you’ll miss it.”
That would apply to the duration of Boston’s lead.
Tim Wakefield gave up a double, a single and a three-run homer to J.P. Arencibia in a span of six pitches. The Arencibia homer was reviewed, but it clearly hit upon that shelf at the top of the Green Monster.
Wakefield recovered to get the next three in order, but not the shutdown inning the Sox wanted to see.
End 1st, Red Sox 2-0: That was not your run-of-the-mill two-run inning by any stretch of the imagination. The oddest occurrence was the unexpected removal of David Ortiz, which we’ll get to in a bit.
With one out, Dustin Pedroia doubled to improve to 8-for-16 against Brandon Morrow, who when threw four straight balls (none of them even close) to Adrian Gonzalez.
Up stepped Ortiz….or….wait…Jed Lowrie? For reasons we do not know, Lowrie was sent up to pinch hit for Ortiz. And it wasn’t a pregame replacement. Ortiz is no longer available, from what I am hearing.
Lowrie was a quick strikeout victim, but Morrow got into more of a mess when he welcomed back Kevin Youkilis with a pitch in the thigh. Josh Reddick then grounded one to first that should’ve been the final out of the inning, but David Cooper’s throw to Morrow was high. It goes as a two-run error. The Blue Jays have not been good defensively all year.
Mid 1st, 0-0: There are scoreboard issues here at Fenway, so everyone is scrambling to keep track of the count and what not. And with the speed at which Tim Wakefield works, that’s not easy for a press corps reliant on modern amenities.
Anyway, you don’t care about that. You care about the fact that Wakefield worked around a hit batter to toss a scoreless first.
The hit batter was the 185th of Wakefield’s career, moving him into a tie for seventh on the all-time list.
He recovered by getting Jose Bautista practically swinging out of his shoes for the first K of the night, and then inducing a pop to right off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion.
7:13 p.m.: Tim Wakefield has started his night with a quick out on a grounder to short. Keep it here for all the in-game analysis.
6:43 p.m.: Before we head off for a quick bite to eat (chicken parm tonight!), here are some links to what we’ve been working on.
First, the update on Josh Beckett and the rest of the rotation.
Also, the story on Bobby Jenks, whose medical issues were more severe than we thought.
There is a take on the five new additions to the roster, a rather interesting crew that could offer some assistance in the next two weeks.
Some of this is dated, as a few of the answers are altered based on what has occurred today, but you should check out this week’s version of the Red Sox Mailbag.
Michael Hurley takes a look at the downfall of Manny Ramirez.
That should get you all caught up. Also look for some words from Kevin Youkilis in a story that is about to be posted. I’m starving!
6:17 p.m.: Amid the nuttiness over here, it’s easy to forget that Tim Wakefield is still going for that 200th win.
Here is the lineup he will face in that continued quest:
Mike McCoy, SS
Eric Thames, LF
Jose Bautista, RF
Edwin Encarnacion, DH
David Cooper, 1B
Brett Lawrie, 3B
J.P. Arencibia, C
Adam Loewen, CF
Chris Woodward, 2B
The order is a combined 8-for-53 (.151) against Wakefield. Maybe old pal John Farrell is taking it easy on him.
4:38 p.m.: Loads of news over here. Since I’m just one man, and a very, very weak one at that, I’ll get it over to you in dribs and drabs.
Here’s a brief overview. Look for more on the site in separate stories.
First off, doctors found that Bobby Jenks had a small pulmonary embolism, which could set back his recovery from back issues. He is on medication and doing OK right now, but the team will wait for that to clear up before proceeding with any other procedures on the back.
Kevin Youkilis is definitely not 100 percent, but he simply wants to look like it at this point. He knows nothing is ideal, but he will be able to play through the sports hernia before having surgery after the season. Youkiilis also will wear special padding to cushion the blow with his hips.
Josh Beckett will start either Thursday or Friday. He may want that extra day, but the club has to figure out a few things before it lays out its future rotation. Kyle Weiland is a candidate to pick up another start in the Tampa Bay series and Terry Francona said that there are now enough bodies that they could even start Alfredo Aceves and fill in the back half of a game.
“We honestly don’t know,” Francona said about the rotation.
Meanwhile, Erik Bedard may throw today. With a doubleheader set for next Monday, his return becomes even more pressing, but Francona said that Bedard’s status remains up in the air. Clay Buchholz is scheduled to throw off a mound later this week, although that is not set in stone yet.
We also heard from Joey Gathright, one of the five call-ups today. Look for more on him and the rest of the imports.
Back soon with more.
3:14 p.m.: So we have our Kevin Youkilis update, or at least the basics. He’s well enough to play. Here is the lineup against Brandon Morrow:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Josh Reddick, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Marco Scutaro, SS
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
2:53 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where summer is putting up a great fight. It’s warm and humid. All that suggests that the seasons are changing are some shadows much longer than we are accustomed to at this time of day.
Lineups should be over shortly, and then we will have a boatload to catch up on. We’ll get the rotation going forward based on the condition of Josh Beckett and Erik Bedard, an update on Kevin Youkilis and the introduction of five new call-ups, as has been reported today. They are expected to be Joey Gathright, Jose Iglesias, Trever Miller, Junichi Tazawa and Lars Anderson.
In just a few minutes I’m heading on Sportsnet Radio FAN 590 in Toronto to discuss the series from the Red Sox side of things. See if you can listen in. If not, I’ll just tell you right now it will be special.
8 a.m. ET: As each attempt at career win No. 200 fell by the wayside, Tim Wakefield kept saying that the only thing that matters is that the Red Sox make the playoffs.
If he can finally get that elusive victory, it would do wonders for the team’s postseason chances.
Coming off a 1-6 road trip, Boston sends Wakefield to the mound Tuesday night at Fenway Park in the first of two games with the Toronto Blue Jays. It is also the opener of a 10-game, nine-day homestand for the Sox, whose lead in the wild card race is down to three games.
Wakefield is 0-3 with a 4.79 ERA since his last victory July 24. That includes seven starts and one relief appearance. He was lined up for the win after giving up four earned runs in five innings at Toronto last week, but the bullpen lost the lead.
The knuckleballer is 18-14 with a 3.92 ERA in his career against the Blue Jays.
Toronto counters with Brandon Morrow, which could give the Sox a good chance to snap out of its slump. Morrow has a 13.83 ERA in three starts against Boston this season, although he did get credit for a win in Fenway Park on July 4.
First pitch is 7:10 p.m.