Josh Beckett and Red Sox Prepare to Battle Pirates

by

March 24, 2010

Bitter rivals since 1903, when the Red Sox defeated the Pirates five games to three in the first World Series, the two clubs are back at it when Boston travels to Bradenton to meet Pittsburgh in the last of three Grapefruit League meetings.

The Sox are 1-9 in their last 10 games and have given up an average of 7.2 runs in that span, even including a shutout win over Baltimore.

They will look for some degree of normalcy with Josh Beckett on the mound. He had a rough outing at McKechnie Field on Friday as he returned from an illness.

WHEN AND WHERE

1:05 p.m. ET, March 24, 2010
McKechnie Field, Bradenton, Fla.

RECORDS

Red Sox (9-12)
Pirates (5-12)

HEAD TO HEAD

The teams have split a pair of previous Grapefruit League meetings. Clay Buchholz put forth a strong start in Boston’s 3-2 win at City of Palms Park on March 13.

The Bucs slugged four homers in a 9-7 victory over Beckett and the Red Sox last Friday.

LINEUPS

Red Sox
1.    Jacoby Ellsbury, LF
2.    Mike Cameron, CF
3.    Victor Martinez, C
4.    Mike Lowell, 1B
5.    Jeremy Hermida, DH
6.    Bill Hall, SS
7.    Tug Hulett, 2B
8.    Josh Reddick, RF
9.    Jorge Jimenez, 3B

Pirates

1.    Aki Iwamura, 2B
2.    Ronny Cedeno, SS
3.    Lastings Milledge, LF
4.    Garrett Jones, RF
5.    Bobby Crosby, 1B
6.    Ramon Vazquez, 3B
7.    John Raynor, CF
8.    Jason Jaramilo, C
9.    Paul Maholm, LHP

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Josh Beckett (0-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (0-1, 2.70 ERA)

Beckett’s last outing against the Pirates was simply a matter of getting some work in after having one start scratched due to an illness that left him in bed for days.

He surrendered a home run among six hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings on a breezy day in Bradenton.

Paul Maholm was opposite Beckett that day, allowing three runs — one earned — in four solid frames.

STAT SHEET

Red Sox
Buchholz threw three wild pitches in 1 2/3 innings Tuesday against Minnesota.

Reliever Daniel Bard has allowed just two hits in 7 1/3 Grapefruit League innings.

Catcher Gustavo Molina is 5-for-5 this spring.

Pirates
He has cooled off just a tad since we last saw him, but Delwyn Young is still batting .324 with five home runs and 14 RBIs in 15 Grapefruit League games.

Former Red Sox outfielder Brandon Moss is 1-for-28 this spring. His one hit came against Boston on Friday.

One-time Sox reliever Javier Lopez has yielded just three hits in six scoreless innings.

BLACK AND BLUE

Red Sox
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia will get X-rays Wednesday on his left wrist. He hurt it when he landed awkwardly diving for a ball in the first inning Tuesday.

Boof Bonser‘s sore groin may keep him out of action for a few days, but manager Terry Francona did not put a timetable on his return, saying he did not want to rush a guy coming back from shoulder surgery.

Jed Lowrie has not come close to resuming any baseball activities as he wrestles with mono. Francona said he has not done much more than walk.

Pirates

Octavio Dotel, signed to be the Pittsburgh closer, pitched against minor leaguers Monday as he tries to come back from left side pain.

Reliever Joel Hanrahan threw batting practice Sunday. He is out until mid-April with an elbow strain.

OVERHEARD

“The last few days have been a blur.”
–Francona, on the wild Sunday and Monday that the Sox experienced, losing three split-squad games and watching another get rained out

PRESS BOX

Red Sox
Here’s a look at Adrian Beltre’s work ethic.

The Sox are analyzing their final pitching spots.

Pirates

Zach Duke was named Opening Day starter for the Pirates.

Here are some news and notes from around Pirates camp.

MLB
Mets shortstop Jose Reyes takes a step forward.

Bob Uecker was elected into the Hall of Fame … just not the one in Cooperstown.

OUTLOOK

Francona insists the wins and losses don’t mean much, but there’s no denying it feels a bit better to be on the winning end of the final score. Boston could use a few breakout performances by the bats and, for once, a smooth start.

Expect Beckett to be much stronger than the last time he was out and to give the club a chance to end the slide.

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Red Sox Live Blog: Sox Beat Pirates 6-4 Behind Josh Beckett

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