Red Sox Turn to Tazawa in First Major League Start


Aug 11, 2009

Red Sox Turn to Tazawa in First Major League Start The sound you heard after the Sox’ 6-5 win over the Tigers last night was likely a very large, collective sigh of relief. With the win, the Sox ended their six-game losing streak, putting up a W for the first time in over a week. 

After getting swept in four games by the Yankees and two games by the Rays, a return to Fenway, where the Sox have the second-best home record in baseball, was just what this team needed.

When and Where

7:10 p.m., ET (NESN), Aug. 11, 2009
Fenway Park, Boston, Mass.


Boston Red Sox (63-48, 2nd place in AL East, T-1st AL wild card)
Detroit Tigers (59-52, 1st in AL Central)


The Sox have won five straight games over the Tigers, dating back to May 8, 2008. Boston swept a three-game series in Detroit in June, its first three-game sweep in the Motor City since Sept. 17-19, 1996, and first over a first-place Tigers team since June 25-27, 1993. The Sox and Tigers play three more games in this series, their second and final meeting of the season.

Starting Lineups

Red Sox
Curtis Granderson, CF
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Placido Polanco, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Clete Thomas, LF
Victor Martinez, 1B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Carlos Guillen, DH
David Ortiz, DH
Magglio Ordonez, RF
Jason Bay, LF
Alex Avila, C
J. D. Drew, RF
Brandon Inge, 3B
Jason Varitek, C
Ramon Santiago, SS
Nick Green, SS

Pitching Matchup

RHP Junichi Tazawa (0-1, 10.80 ERA) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (10-7, 4.30 ERA)

This game features a matchup of much heralded rookies, whose combined ages add up to 43.

Tazawa, 23, the Sox’ high-profile, off-season acquisition from Japan, began his season in Double-A Portland, was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket, and made his big league debut Friday in Yankee Stadium, taking the loss in the Sox’ 15-inning marathon, giving up a 2-run walk-off homer to Alex Rodriguez. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Tazawa was the first Sox pitcher to make his big league debut in extra innings against the Yankees. This is his first big-league start.

Tazawa was 0-2 with a 2.38 ERA (three earned runs, 11 1/3 innings) in two starts with the PawSox. With Portland, he was 9-5 with a 2.57 ERA (28 earned runs in 98 innings) in 18 starts.

The 20-year-old Porcello, the Tigers first-round pick in the 2007 draft, made his major league debut April 9. He started against the Sox June 2 in Detroit, going 4 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on eight hits and a walk with two strikeouts in the Sox’ 6-4 win. In his last five outings, he has posted a record of 2-2 with a  5.46 ERA. This is his first appearances at Fenway.

Stat Sheet

Red Sox
Entering the series, Kevin Youkilis was batting .337 (33-for-98) with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs in 27 career games against the Tigers. It is the most home runs he’s hit against an opponent not in the AL East.

Entering Monday’s games Youkilis was second in the league with a .421 on-base percentage and third with a .565 slugging percentage.

Dustin Pedroia entered Monday’s game fifth in the league with a .343 average with runners in scoring position and third in the league as the toughest to strikeout with an average of 14.6 plate appearances per strikeout.

Jason Varitek entered the series hitting .311 (75-for-241) in 68 career games against the Tigers, his best mark against an AL opponent. In two games against the Tigers this season, he has gone 3-for-7.

Jacoby Ellsbury has hit safely in all four games against the Tigers this season, and in each of his last six going back to May 7, 2008.

Ellsbury stole his 51st base Monday night. He is the first player in Sox history with 50 or more stolen bases in multiple seasons, and the eighth American Leaguer since 1988 to do so in consecutive seasons, joining Carl Crawford (2003-04, ’06, ’07), Chone Figgins (2005-06), Tom Goodwin (1995-97), Rickey Henderson (1988-91), Kenny Lofton (1992-96), Otis Nixon (1995-96), and Luis Polonia (1992-93).

Pedroia, who scored a run Monday, entered the series second in runs scored in the AL with 81.

After recording just 25 hits over 42 innings in four games in New York, the Sox notched 12 hits Monday night against the Tigers, the most they’ve recorded since a season-high 23 against the Orioles Aug. 2.

Jason Bay entered the series tied for the league lead in walks with 71 and second in outfield assists with 10.

David Ortiz’s second-inning RBI single Monday night snapped an 0-for-23 streak with runners on base. It was his longest career stretch without a hit with runners on. The hit also snapped an 0-for-15 slump with runners in scoring position.

Nick Green set a single-season career high with his sixth home run Monday night.

The Tigers entered the series batting .182 (22-for-100) combined against Sox pitching this season, with no home runs.

The Tigers are 7-15 against the AL East.

Curtis Granderson entered the series batting .500 (6-for-12) with three RBIs against the Sox this season, .274 (26-for-95) with three home runs and nine RBI against the Sox in his career.

Granderson is two home runs shy of 200 for his career.

Brandon Inge entered the series batting .455 (5-for-11) with two RBIs this season against the Red Sox, .223 (41-for-184) with four home runs and 20 RBIs in his career.

Granderson entered Monday’s game leading all AL batters with 16 home runs on the road. He was batting .281 (62-for-221) with six doubles, two triples, 16 homers, and 26 RBIs in 55 road games. He was sixth in the league with a .543 slugging percentage on the road.

Granderson recorded his 20th stolen base of the season Sunday against the Twins. This is the second time (2007) he has reached the 20/20 mark in stolen bases and home runs. He is the third Tiger player to reach those marks in multiple seasons, joining Kirk Gibson, who did so four times, and Alan Trammel, who reached those marks twice.

With his first-inning single Monday, Placido Polanco extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Entering Monday’s game, he was batting .396 (19-for-48) with four doubles and six RBI in the streak. He was fourth in the AL with a .400 average (14-for-35) in eight games this month.

Entering Monday’s games, Polanco was the toughest to strikeout in the AL, with an average of 16.1 plate appearances per strikeout.

Reliever Brandon Lyon has not allowed a run in his last 11 appearances, spanning 12 2/3 innings. Over his previous 25 appearances he posted a record of 4-1 with a 0.82 ERA, allowing three earned runs in 33 innings, and 27 strikeouts. He held opponents to a .164 average (18-for-110) in that stretch.

Magglio Ordonez went 3-for-4 Monday night with two doubles, a triple, an RBI, and a run scored. He is hitting .347 (109-for-314) with 28 doubles, 14 home runs, and 58 RBIs in 84 career games against the Sox. He is second among all active players in batting average and on-base percentage (.409), and fourth in slugging percentage (.561)  against the Sox. He is hitting .384 (57-for-164) with 17 doubles, seven home runs, and 24 RBIs in 42 career games at Fenway. 

Tigers catchers have combined to throw out 35.4 percent (28-for-79) of runners attempting to steal, second best in the AL. Gerald Laird leads all AL catchers, throwing out 42.1 percent (24-for-57) of would-be stealers.

Miguel Cabrera entered the series fourth in the AL with a .330 average.

Black and Blue

Red Sox
Shortstop Jed Lowrie was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 7 due to numbness in his left forearm.

Rocco Baldelli is on the 15-day DL with a left ankle bruise. The outfielder fouled a ball off his ankle during batting practice late last week.

Catcher George Kottaras (lower back strain) was placed on the 15-day DL on July 30.

Tim Wakefield is currently sidelined with a lower back strain. The knuckler is due to come off the 15-day DL, which he has been on since July 18. Wakefield has experienced a setback in his rehab as he felt soreness in his calf during side sessions.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is currently conducting throwing exercises as he prepares to return from a right shoulder injury. He plans to pitch his first bullpen session Tuesday, before the Red Sox take on the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park.

Releiver Joel Zumaya is set to undergo season-ending surgery to remove the bone fragment from the stress fracture in his ailing right shoulder.

Rookie starting pitcher Alfredo Figaro has been on the 15-day DL since June 28 with a sprained right wrist.

Pitcher Nate Robertson hasn’t pitched since June 26 due to elbow surgery. Robertson has been rehabbing in Triple-A Toledo.

This Date in Red Sox History

In 1979 Jim Rice becomes just the third Sox player to hit 30 home runs in three consecutive seasons, joining Ted Williams and Jimmy Foxx. Despite Rice’s first-inning homer, the Sox lose to the Brewers at Fenway, 9-6.


“There was a lot of persistence on both sides, I thought. Our side, but theirs, too. Not everything went our way, but we found a way to win a game and, stating the obvious, we desperately needed to find a way to win a game and we did because they were every bit as persistent as we were.”
–Sox manager Terry Francona after Monday night’s 6-5 win over the Tigers.

Press Box

Red Sox
The Sox ended their losing streak.

It was home, sweet home for the Sox.

Tim Wakefield tested his aching back.

The Tigers extended their losing streak against the Sox.

Manager Jim Leyland was encouraged with recent rehab reports.

Gerald Laird is not worried about sharing playing time.

Troy Tulowitzki had a night to remember.

Aaron Hill and the Blue Jays finally stopped the Yankees.

The Dodgers extended their lead over the Giants.


The Sox will look to take as much advantage of their home-field advantage as possible Tuesday night. With Tazawa making his major league debut in his first season of professional baseball, the Sox would do well to duplicate their offensive effort of Monday night, getting on the scoreboard early, giving themselves and their rookie pitcher some breathing room. Although the bullpen has been worked hard in the last week, it is unlikely to get a day off tonight, with the Sox monitoring the rookie’s pitch count.

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