Starving for a Win, Red Sox Hope Home Cooking Will End Losing Streak

by

Aug 10, 2009

Starving for a Win, Red Sox Hope Home Cooking Will End Losing Streak The stumbling Red Sox are hoping some home cooking is all they need to stop their current six-game skid, but crashing their homecoming party are the first-place Tigers, who have won four of their last five games.

Boston has been swept in its last two series — both to AL East foes. In the six defeats, the Red Sox have been outscored 35-14, scoring six of those 14 runs in the Yankees’ 13-6 blowout thumping on Thursday night in the Bronx, meaning they plated just eight total runs in the five other losses. In addition to falling 6 1/2 games back in the East, the Sox also lost their AL wild-card lead and begin the week tied for first with the Texas Rangers.

When and Where

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

Records

Boston Red Sox (62-48, 2nd place in AL East, T-1st AL wild card)
Detroit Tigers (59-51, 1st in AL Central)

Skinny

The Tigers have clawed their way to a three-game lead in the Central as they continue their back-and-forth battle with the Chicago White Sox. Despite Detroit's overall success, the Tigers have had their fair share of problems with both the AL East and road games. Detroit has gone just 7-14 against the East this season and are 23-33 on the road – the worst road record among first-place teams in the MLB. The Red Sox swept the Tigers in the first June series in Detroit, outscoring them 21-9. In that three-game set, Dasiuke Matsuzaka kicked off the sweep with his first win of the season, followed by wins from Tim Wakefield and Josh Beckett.

Starting Lineups

Tigers
Red Sox
Curtis Granderson, CF Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Placido Polanco, 2B Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Marcus Thames, LF Victor Martinez, C
Miguel Cabrera, 1B Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Carlos Guillen, DH David Ortiz, DH
Magglio Ordonez, RF J.D. Drew, RF
Brandon Inge, 3B Jason Bay, LF
Gerald Laird, C Casey Kotchman, 1B
Adam Everett, SS Nick Green, SS

Pitching Matchup

Edwin Jackson (8-5, 2.62 ERA) vs. Brad Penny (7-6, 5.20 ERA)
Edwin Jackson, the 25-year-old former Rays hurler, is coming off one of his finer starts of the season. Jackson picked up his eighth win last Wednesday, allowing just three hits and two runs over eight innings against the Orioles. That win was just his second in almost two months, as the righty had notched six no-decisions since a complete-game victory on June 6. In his two losses since then, the Tigers' offense scored just four runs combined.

Run support has been an issue for Jackson. The Tiger bats have produced five runs or more just six times in his 22 starts this season. Jackson, who spent three seasons in Tampa, is 2-4 with a 5.44 ERA in 11 career games (eight starts) against the Sox. He is winless in all six career appearances at Fenway Park.

Brad Penny owns just two wins in his last 12 starts and is 1-4 in his last five decisions. The right-hander picked up his sixth loss of the season in his last start, going just six frames while allowing five runs on six hits against the Rays. In his last two starts combined, Penny has coughed up 12 earned runs on 13 hits in 11 innings. Penny is winless against the Tigers in two career starts and owns a 7.59 ERA.

Stat Sheet

Red Sox
Boston is 35-17 at Fenway this season and 13-5 against AL Central teams this year.

The Red Sox were shut out for 31 straight innings over the weekend – a streak snapped by Victor Martinez’s two-run, eighth-inning homer on Sunday night.

The homer was Martinez’s 17th of the season and second as a member of the Red Sox. He now has two 75 RBIs, tied with teammate Jason Bay for seventh-most in the AL.

Brad Penny is 5-2 with a 4.72 ERA this year at Fenway Park.

David Ortiz drew a pinch-hit walk on Sunday night, his only at-bat of the evening. Papi has just two hits and four walks in his last 27 at-bats (.071 BA) with one RBI and four strikeouts. The Sox slugger has grounded into three double plays and has lowered his season batting average from .231 to .219 in that span.

Kevin Youkilis ranks second in the AL with a .421 OBP, behind only Joe Mauer’s .434.

Dustin Pedroia is tied for second in the AL in runs with 81.

Leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury has swiped 50 bags this season and is second only to Tampa’s Carl Crawford for the MLB lead. The Red Sox record for most steals in a season is 54, set by Tommy Harper in 1973. Harry Hooper owns the most steals in club history with 300 in 1,647 games – Ellsbury has 109 through his first 281 career games. For those counting, Ellsbury is just 1,297 shy of Rickey Henderson’s all-time record.

Tigers
Detroit has the fourth-lowest batting average (.260) in the American League and the fewest doubles (166) and stolen bases (54).

The Tigers are tied with the Red Sox, White Sox and Rays for the fourth-best ERA in the AL at 4.19.

In 11 career at-bats against Brad Penny, Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera has spanked three homers while knocking in seven runs. Cabrera is hitting .330 this season – the fourth-highest batting average in the AL.

Placido Polanco has faced Penny the most among current Tiger hitters, going 8-for-22 (.364) with a homer and four RBIs.

Curtis Granderson has six triples this year — one shy of sharing the AL-lead.

All-Star Brandon Inge leads the Tigers with 112 strikeouts but is second on team with 22 homers.

The Tigers have just four players with 10 or more home runs.

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.

Left fielder Jason Bay (leg) returned to the lineup Sunday night – his first start since Aug. 5.

Tigers
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

Knuckler Tim Wakefield strikes out four Royals batters in the ninth inning on Aug. 10, 1999, the only Red Sox pitcher ever to do so. After striking out both Chad Kreuter and Scott Pose to start the inning, Wake struck out Johnny Damon swinging, but Damon reached first on a passed ball. With two down and the Red Sox up 5-3, Carlos Febles smacked a game-tying, two-run homer before Wakefield stuck out Carlos Beltran. Boston ended up winning the game 9-6, and Wakefield picked up the win.

Overheard

"We’re playing hard, we’re playing the game the right way, and we’re fighting to the last out. If this team continues to do that, I think we’re going to turn it around, and win more than we lose.”
Pitcher Jon Lester in the Providence Journal

Press Box

Red Sox
Tito’s pregame meeting Sunday wasn’t enough.

The weekend proved that the Yankees are simply a better team.

Daniel Bard made a couple of costly mistakes in the Bronx on Sunday night.

Tigers
The Tigers squeezed out series-finale win against the Twins

Jim Leyland says people who care about the steroids issue probably don't like baseball.

MLB
Shane Victorino got tossed from center field.

MLB COO Bob DuPuy believes in Big Papi.

Watch out wild- card contenders. Here come the Rangers.

Nomar is feeling some brotherly love?

Outlook

Boston's bats need to come alive if the Red Sox want a taste of some postseason pie. Time is winding down, teams are heating up, and the local nine know this. Forget what happened in Gotham. Expect an onslaught of offense as Terry Francona’s bunch are going to turn things around against Edwin Jackson, who has had all sorts of trouble pitching in Fenway in his career.

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