Red Sox Seek Four-Game Sweep of White Sox Behind Tazawa

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August 27, 2009

Red Sox Seek Four-Game Sweep of White Sox Behind Tazawa Tim Wakefield returned to the mound on Wednesday as the Red Sox once again. Now it's up to Junichi Tazawa to carry the torch and lead the Red Sox to a four-game sweep of the White Sox.

With the Yankees defeating the Rangers in the Bronx, the Red Sox were able to gain a game in the wild card standings against the Rangers and increase their lead to 2 1/2 games.

When and Where

7:10 p.m. ET (NESN), Aug. 27, 2009
Fenway Park, Boston, Mass.

Records

Red Sox  (73-53, 2nd  place in AL East)
White Sox  (63-64, 2nd place in AL Central)

Head to Head

With three of their eight down-the-stretch meetings out of the way, it appears the White Sox are not going to play spoiler for the Red Sox playoff hopes. With Wednesday?s 3-2 win, the Red Sox improved to 14-3 against the White Sox since July 20, 2007, and 25-9 since Aug. 20, 2004. Boston has taken eight of its last nine home games from Chicago.

Starting Lineups

White Sox Red Sox
Scott Podsednik, CF Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Gordon Beckham, 3B Dustin Pedroia, 2B
A.J. Pierzynski, C Victor Martinez, C
Paul Konerko, 1B Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Jim Thome, DH David Ortiz, DH
Carlos Quentin, LF Jason Bay, LF
Mark Kotsay, RF Mike Lowell, 3B
Alexei Ramirez, SS J.D. Drew, RF
Jayson Nix, 2B Alex Gonzalez, SS


Pitching Matchup

RHP Junichi Tazawa (2-2, 3.57 ERA) vs. LHP John Danks (11-8, 3.85 ERA)

Tazawa is making his fourth start of the season and first appearance against the White Sox. In his last start, Aug. 22 against the Yankees at Fenway, Tazawa earned his second win of the season and the only win by the Sox in the three-game series. He pitched six scoreless innings, allowing eight hits and two walks with two strikeouts. Tazawa gave up at least one hit in each inning, but stranded nine runners, including leaving a runner on third base in four innings.  

Danks is making his 25th start of the season, the 13th on the road and first against the Red Sox. He is 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA (four earned runs in 21 2/3 innings) in his last three starts. Left-handed batters are hitting .233 (35-for-150) against him, 11th-lowest in the AL among starters with a minimum of 85 at-bats. He earned the win in his last start, Aug. 22 against the Orioles, allowing one run on three hits over 6 1/3 innings, while matching a season-high with six walks.  

He is 0-3 with a 6.06 ERA in three career starts against the Red Sox, while receiving just three runs of support in those starts.

Stat Sheet

Red Sox
On Sunday, the Sox snapped their franchise-best streak of eight games with two or more home runs in a game, one shy of the major league record. With three homers Wednesday night, they have multiple homers in  10 of their last 12 games, 13 of their last 16, and 19 of 25 since July 31, with a total of 48 homers in that span to lead the majors.

The Sox have 45 homers in August, their most in that month since 46 in 2003.

The Sox have 10 or more hits in eight of its last nine games.  

Since the ninth inning of Friday?s game against the Yankees, 32 of the Sox? total 41 runs have been scored with two outs. They lead the majors in 2-out RBI with 271. They are batting .276 with two outs, second in the majors, behind the Angels (.283).

Since trading for Alex Gonzalez on Aug. 14, the Sox are second in the majors with a .992 fielding percentage, making four errors in that span. In 114 games prior to that, the Sox ranked 17th overall and eighth in the AL with a .984 fielding percentage.

The Sox are 19-6 against the AL Central this season, winning 13 of their last 15 games. Their single-season best record vs. the Central is 24-10 (.706) in 2008.

David Ortiz has 22 home runs against the White Sox. He has eight straight seasons with 20 or more home runs, including seven seasons with the Sox. He is the sixth player in team history with at least seven 20-homer seasons, joining Ted Williams (10 seasons), Dwight Evans (nine) and Manny Ramirez (eight) as the players with seven or more consecutive 20-homer seasons.

The Sox are batting .232 (13-for-56) with three home runs, nine RBI, eight walks, and 12 strikeouts against Danks.

Victor Martinez has faced him the most, going 2-for-11 (.182) with two home runs, three RBI, and one strikeout.

Kevin Youkilis has had the most success against Danks, going 3-for-7 (.429) with a walk and a strikeout. 

David Ortiz is 1-for-2, a home run, against Danks with two RBI.

White Sox
The White Sox have lost eight of their last nine games at Fenway Park, allowing eight or more runs in six of the losses.

The White Sox are 7-7 on Thursdays, and are 2-4-1 in four-game series, including losing this series to the Red Sox.

The White Sox fell under .500 Wednesday night for the fist time since June 28.

Paul Konerko hit his first triple of the season Wednesday and seventh of his career.

Scott Podsednik hit his first career pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning Wednesday, in his first pinch-hit appearance of the season.

The White Sox bullpen has allowed 65 of 182 (36 percent) inherited runners to score.

The White Sox have lost 32 games this season after holding a lead, and 17 of the their 39 games in the second half have been decided by one run, with the White Sox going 7-10. Just 22 of their first 88 games were decided by one run.

The White Sox having losing records against all three AL divisions ? 14-17 vs. the East, 26-28 vs. the Central, 12-13 vs. the West ? but are 11-6 vs. the NL.

The White Sox have made 95 errors, most in the AL, and a .980 fielding percentage, lowest in the league.

They have allowed an AL-high 59 unearned runs, including six Monday against the Red Sox, and have given up three or more unearned runs in a game six times this season.

Manager Ozzie Guillen is four wins shy of the 500-win mark, which would tie him for fourth with Jerry Manuel on the White Sox all-time list.

Jim Thome has 564 career home runs and needs five to tie Rafael Palmeiro for 11th all-time.  

With 88, the White Sox have scored more runs in the fifth than any other inning, including three on Monday. At 82, they have allowed more runs in the fourth than any other inning, but held the Sox scoreless in that frame Monday.

Jermaine Dye has 161 career home runs and needs 10 to tie Robin Ventura for 6th on the White Sox all-time list.

Alex Rios needs two doubles to reach the 200-mark in his career.

In the last 27 games, the White Sox bullpen has a 2.51 ERA, lowering its season mark from 4.14 to 3.76, fourth in the AL.

Black and Blue

Red Sox
Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 20 with a mild right shoulder strain. He started for the Sox? Gulf Coast League team in Fort Myers Monday, going three innings, throwing 37 pitches. He was at Fenway Tuesday in preparation for his next rehab start.

Right-hander Tim Wakefield was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 18 with a lower back strain. He is expected to be activated Wednesday.

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 Aug. 3.

Catcher George Kottaras is on the 15-day DL with a lower back strain. He is on a rehab stint with the PawSox.

Shortstop Jed Lowrie was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to Aug. 7 with ulnar neuritis of the left wrist. He began a rehab assignment with the PawSox Monday.

White Sox
Right-hander Bartolo Colon has been on the DL since July 25 with a right elbow inflammation.

Infielder Chris Getz has been on the DL since Aug. 12 with a strained right oblique.

Right-hander Jake Peavy has been on the DL since June 13 with a strained right ankle tendon. He is rehabbing with AAA Charlotte.

Outfielder DeWayne Wise has been on the DL since Aug. 15 with a strained right AC joint.

This Date in Red Sox History

In 1977, the Sox tied a major league record when Tommy Helms and Butch Hobson hit back-to-back home runs, on their way to a 7-5 win over the Twins. It was the 15th time the Sox hit back-to-back home runs that season.

Overheard

?We needed him. Their guy was so good. He?s got velocity. He?s got a great breaking ball. Changeups right out of the fastball. He locates. We didn?t get a ton of good swings. David got one into left field and then the walk-off. That was two really well-pitched games on both sides.?
— Sox manager Terry Francona, on White Sox starter Gavin Floyd, Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield, and David Ortiz

Press Box

Red Sox
David Ortiz? second home run saved the game for the Sox.

It was a very different David Ortiz before the game.

Kevin Youkilis clarified some comments.

White Sox
The White Sox? late rally wasn?t enough.

Jake Peavy?s throwing session was cut short.

Ozzie wants more intensity.

MLB

An appeals court ruled on The List.

The Yankees beat the Rangers, dropping Texas farther back in the wild card race.

This season is Michael Young?s best shot at the playoffs.

Outlook

The Red Sox would like to see the return of the Tazawa who stifled the Yankees over six innings on Saturday.  Are Wednesday?s two home runs a sign that ?Big Papi? is returning for the stretch run?  The Red Sox go for the four-game series sweep, against a left-hander, likely meaning some more lineup  juggling.

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