Leading Off: Red Sox Hope Home Cooking Can Stop Skid


Jul 24, 2009

Leading Off: Red Sox Hope Home Cooking Can Stop Skid It hasn’t necessarily been a "high-five" for Boston in the last week of action as the Red Sox are in the midst of their longest losing streak of the season at five games. Boston will look for its first win since July 17 – an entire week ago – when they take on the Orioles Friday in the first game of a three-game set at Fenway Park.

When and Where
7:10 p.m., July 24, 2009
Fenway Park
Boston, Mass.

Red Sox (55-39, 2nd place in AL East)
Orioles (41-53, 5th place in AL East)

The Red Sox were one of the hottest teams entering the break, but after winning their first game of the second half, Boston has dropped five straight. Last season, the Sox posted a pair of five-game skids and have lost three straight on three separate occasions earlier this season. During their losing streak, the Sox have scored just nine runs on 21 hits and have put up three errors on defense while starting pitchers haven’t made it out of the sixth inning in three of the five losses.

Thanks to the losing streak, the Yankees have leapfrogged the Sox into first place in the East by 2 1/2 games. New York is hosting the A’s for a four-game series which began Thursday night in the Bronx. The Sox could benefit from this matchup, believe it or not, as Oakland’s offense has put up 32 runs in the last three games entering the series.

Starting Lineup

Red Sox Orioles
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Brian Roberts, 2B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B Adam Jones, CF
Kevin Youkilis, 1B Nick Markakis, RF
David Ortiz, DH Aubrey Huff, 1B
Jason Bay, LF Nolan Reimold, LF
J.D. Drew, RF Luke Scott, DH
Mike Lowell, 3B Melvin Mora, 3B
Jason Varitek, C Matt Wieters, C
Jed Lowrie, SS Cesar Izturis, SS

Pitching Matchup
Brad Penny (6-4, 5.02 ERA) vs. Brad Bergesen (6-4, 3.51 ERA)

Two months ago, this tilt would have been heavily weighted (no pun intended) in the favor of Penny, who was 4-1 entering June, while Bergesen was coming off just his second victory of the year. Fast-forward to today and the O’s have something to smile about heading into this one. Bergesen, a rookie, has won five of his last seven games, lowering his ERA nearly two points in the process. The righty was well on his way to topping the Sox at the beginning of July after holding Boston to one run over eight innings, before his bullpen blew a ninth-inning, four-run lead en route to the Sox' 11-inning 6-5 win.

Penny ran into some trouble in his first and only start against the O’s this season back on April 17. The big righty lasted just three innings and coughed up eight earned runs, but the Sox bats managed a 10-8 win, bailing Penny out with a no decision. Penny is winless in his last five starts and hasn’t lasted more than 6 1/3 innings in any of his 18 starts this season.

Stat Sheet
Red Sox

J.D. Drew is hitless in his last six games, going 0-for-21 with one run, three walks and seven strikeouts.

Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis each notched a pair of two-hit games during the Sox' five-game skid.

Mike Lowell and David Ortiz each had one multihit game apiece.

The bullpen has allowed just six hits and zero runs in 10 2/3 innings of work during the Red Sox' five-game losing streak.

Jason Bay leads the team with 72 RBIs, but he hasn’t knocked in a run since July 9. Bay also leads the team in strikeouts with 94 and has struck out 10 times in his last eight games.

The Red Sox defense has made four errors since returning from the All-Star break.

Jacoby Ellsbury has six steals in his last 10 games but has just one since returning from the All-Star break.

David Ortiz is riding a four-game hitting streak in which he has gone 5-for-15 (333 BA). Papi has struck out just twice since the All-Star break and hasn’t gone down via K in his last five games.

Outfielder Nick Markakis has 12 hits in his last 10 games and leads the O’s with 63 RBIs.

Luke Scott is leading Baltimore in homers with 18, but has just two hits since returning from the break.

Center fielder Adam Jones has a team-best .307 BA and is coming off a four-hit performance against New York on Wednesday. Jones has also struck out the most among the O’s with 72 K’s in 86 games.

Leadoff hitter Brian Roberts leads the team with steals (20), runs scored (69) and doubles (32).

Black and Blue
Red Sox

On Tuesday, right-handed pitcher Tim Wakefield was placed on the 15-day DL (retroactive to July 18) with a lower back strain.

Jeff Bailey was placed on the DL with a high ankle sprain on July 6.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is currently on the DL with weakness in his right pitching shoulder.

Pitcher Chris Ray (right biceps tendinitis), Koji Uehara (right elbow tendinitis) and Dennis Sarfate (numbness, right hand) are all on the 15-day disabled list.

Left fielder Lou Montanez has been on the DL since May 23 after undergoing surgery on his right thumb.

Righty reliever Alfredo Simon is out for the season after having elbow surgery.

This Date in Red Sox History
1978: As part of a four-run sixth inning in the Red Sox' 4-2 win over the Twins in Game 2 of a doubleheader in Minnesota, Carl Yastrzemski drives in Fred Lynn with a single for the 1,500th RBI of his career. On July 24, 1979 — one year later — Yaz belts the 400th home run of his career.

“Unfortunately, from where we stand, it’s the same story it’s been for the last few days. We’re just collectively not putting any runs on the board. We got a Nick Green solo homer, and that’s all we have to show. That’s a hard way to win.”
— Red Sox manager Terry Francona, to the Boston Herald, regarding his team's current losing streak

Press Box
Red Sox

Jim Rice is ready for his day in the sun

Is Theo Epstein setting up for something big?

The Red Sox need some of that home cooking

Lowell knows picking up LaRoche could affect him

It’s a tough tour through the East for the last-place O’s

Burnett and Swisher were too much for Baltimore on Wednesday

O’s on the move: Baltimore moves its spring training location to Sarasota

Mark Buehrle was perfect in ChiTown

Cards are mildly interested in the A’s Holliday

Dodgers have what it takes to swipe Halladay

The Boston bats are set to explode as the Red Sox welcome the O’s into Fenway with a chip on their shoulder after dropping five in a row. The Sox need Penny to pick things up as they most likely want to use the big righty as trade bait leading into the July 31 trade deadline.

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