Red Sox, Penny Hope to Split Series, Cool Off Rays, Price


Aug 5, 2009

Red Sox, Penny Hope to Split Series, Cool Off Rays, Price Evan Longoria was the Red Sox’ kryptonite Tuesday at Tropicana Field, belting the game-tying and game-winning home runs in a 4-2 Rays victory. Daniel Bard blew the save in the eighth, giving up Longoria’s first homer, which tied the game at two. The Red Sox will look to salvage a series split Wednesday in this short two-game series before heading to New York for a pivotal four-game set against the first-place Yankees, who now sit 1 1/2 games in front of the Sox in the AL East.

When and Where

7:08 p.m, Aug. 5, 2009
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.


Red Sox (62-43, 2nd place in AL East)
Rays (59-48, 3rd place in AL East)


Tuesday night’s Red Sox loss, coupled with a Yankee win over Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays, gives the Yankees a little breathing room before heading into the weekend series in the Bronx. Luckily for the Sox, the Texas Rangers have lost two straight, keeping Boston’s wild-card lead at a mildly comfortable three games. But just one game behind the Rangers loom the Rays, and another Tampa Bay win Wednesday would make them only three games behind the Sox before heading to Seattle for the weekend.

Starting Lineups

Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Jason Bartlett, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Victor Martinez, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Ben Zobrist, 2B
Jason Bay, LF
Pat Burrell, DH
Mike Lowell, DH
Carlos Pena, 1B
Rocco Baldelli, RF
B.J. Upton, CF
Jason Varitek, C
Gabe Kapler, RF
Jed Lowrie, SS
Michel Hernandez, C

Pitching Matchup

RHP Brad Penny (7-5, 5.07 ERA) vs. LHP David Price (4-4, 5.10 ERA)
Penny is coming off perhaps his worst outing of the season, a five-inning performance against the A’s at Fenway in which he gave up seven earned runs on seven hits (two home runs). He gave up five first-inning runs, including a leadoff shot to Adam Kennedy. That simply won’t cut it.

Last week’s implosion came just one start after one of Penny’s finest starts, a 6 1/3-inning performance against the Orioles in which he gave up only one unearned run on just five hits.
When Penny takes the mound, the Red Sox know what they’re going to get inning-wise, but his effectiveness remains inconsistent. All of his last 10 starts have gone at least five innings, none lasting longer than 6 1/3.

With the No. 3 spot in the rotation wide open behind Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, some consistency down the stretch would certainly help Penny’s chances of starting in the postseason, should the Sox get there.

Like Penny, Price has been very inconsistent for the Rays of late. He’s 3-3 in his last seven starts, and has given up one earned run and six earned runs twice each during that stretch. His last start, Friday against the Royals, was one of his best outings of the year, as he lasted seven innings, giving up just one earned run on five hits for the win. But in his previous start, Price lasted only three innings, giving up six earned runs on nine hits, including three home runs against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

Price is a much different pitcher at Tropicana Field. He’s 3-0 with a 1.40 in his last three starts at the Trop, while going 0-3 with a 10.90 ERA in his last four road starts.

This will be Price’s first appearance against the Sox since last year’s ALCS. He earned a win and a save in that series, without allowing a hit or a run, while striking out four in 2 1/3 innings of work.
The Sox have never faced him during the regular season.

Stat Sheet

Red Sox
Victor Martinez is the only current Red Sox who’s faced Price this season. He went 0-2 against him with a strikeout while in an Indians uniform. Martinez is batting .471 in his first three games for the Sox.

Kevin Youkilis’ solo home run Tuesday night off Rays starter Matt Garza was his 20th of the season. Youk has caught fire, batting .533 (16-for-30) in his last seven games, bringing his season average to .313.

Dustin Pedroia’s solo homer Tuesday was his seventh of the season. He’s batting .308 (12-for-39) in his last eight games.

J.D. Drew has quietly gotten hot of late, batting .353 (12-for-34) in his last 10 games. But he has no home runs and only five RBIs during that stretch.

Mike Lowell is batting .412 (14-for-34) in his last 10 games. He has one home run and 12 RBIs during that span.

Daniel Bard’s home run allowed to Longoria on Tuesday was the first run he’s allowed since giving up two to the Royals on July 11. Tuesday was the first blown save of his career.

Takashi Saito pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief Tuesday, earning the loss in the bottom of the 13th. His bullpen role remains unknown with the recent success (excluding last night) of Bard and the departure of Justin Masterson via trade to Cleveland. Before Longoria’s two-run, walk-off blast Tuesday, Saito had not given up a run since July 6 against Oakland. But he had only made six appearances since then.

Longoria’s home runs were the 22nd and 23rd of the year. He now has eight home runs and 30 RBIs against the Red Sox lifetime.

Carl Crawford stole a pair of bases Tuesday against the Sox. He now has a major league-leading 51 total thefts.
Jason Bartlett had a pair of hits at the top of the Rays’ order in the series opener. He’s now batting .339 on the season.

Grant Balfour pitched two innings of scoreless relief Tuesday. But he still has 4.44 ERA and 1.38 WHIP, a far cry from his 1.54 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 2008.

Matt Garza continued his dominance over the Red Sox, despite earning a no-decision. He’s 5-1 with a 2.93 ERA lifetime against Boston.

Black and Blue

Red Sox
Left fielder Jason Bay has not played since Aug. 1, as he’s battled a sore left hamstring.

Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka was transferred to the 60-day disabled list  on July 31 with a right shoulder strain. He has been working out at the team’s complex in Ft. Myers, Fla. and is expected to throw a side session next week.

Right-hander Tim Wakefield was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 18 with a lower back strain.

First baseman/outfielder Jeff Bailey was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 5 with a left ankle sprain. He began a rehab assignment with the PawSox on Monday, serving as the DH and batting first. He went 0-for-3.

Right-hander Chad Bradford is on the 15-day DL with lower back tightness.

Right-hander Jason Isringhausen is on the 60-day DL after right shoulder surgery.

Right-hander Troy Percival is on the 60-day DL with right shoulder tendinitis.

Second baseman Akinori Iwamura is on the 60-day DL after left knee surgery.

Outfielder Fernando Perez is on the 60-day DL after left wrist surgery.

This Date in Red Sox History

August 5, 1940: Jimmie Foxx hits a two-run home run off of impressive Yankees rookie Tiny Bonham in a 4-1 Red Sox win.


“It’s one of those games where nobody deserves to lose. It seems like whoever makes the first mistake ends up taking a bump.”
Jonathan Papelbon, in the Boston Globe, after the Sox’ extra-inning loss Tuesday night

Press Box

Red Sox
Terry Francona wouldn’t walk Longoria for fear of Ben Zobrist.

The Sox wasted a quality start by Jon Lester.

The Red Sox could only play with fire for so long.

Longoria was glad to end such a long game.

B.J. Upton would rather be at the top of the Rays’ lineup.

Carl Crawford is just the eighth player in history to have five 50-plus-steal seasons before turning 28.

The Yankees hit three home runs off Roy Halladay.

Yusmeiro Petit took a no-hitter into the eighth inning for the Diamondbacks.

Tom Gorzelanny won in his Cubs debut.


With the Yankees surging, the Red Sox do not want to fall 2 1/2 games behind them in the division, after making up some much-needed ground over the past two weeks. With the lefty Price on the hill, the offense will look to rattle the young pitcher and send him to the showers early. The addition of Victor Martinez now gives Boston more pop and should help with that mission.

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