12:00 a.m.: Just to rehash the scenario one last time. The suspended game will be completed at 7:10 p.m. Saturday night. The second game will commence 30 minutes after the first one ends. We will be here bright and early and leave here dark and late, bringing you updates along the way.
11:25 p.m.: After a rain delay of just over an hour the game has been suspended. It will resume on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. Back in a bit with more details from the clubhouse.
10:53 p.m.: For those of you still paying attention and wondering if there are any updates, there are none. But we are preparing for the possibility that this game will be suspended and resume either tomorrow or at another date. The problem is, more rain is in the forecast for Saturday and that game could be in doubt. Can you say Patriots Day doubleheader?
Take a look at the maps here to get an idea of how long this rain system really is.
10:32 p.m.: As we wait for some sort of conclusion to this mess, the Sox have been kind enough to show the highly anticipated Athletics-Orioles game on the big screen in center. Instantly, 37,084 fans returned to their seats to catch the action.
10:21 p.m.: With the Sox potentially a swing away from winning this one, the tarp has gone on the field. Boos rain down upon the grounds crew, many of them from the press box.
Mid 9th, 1-1: It seems only fitting that David Ortiz is up to start the bottom of the ninth. Rain falling, crowd dying for something to scream about. The backdrop is there for Ortiz to win back a few fans.
The DH’s opportunity comes after Jonathan Papelbon worked around a two-out walk (his fifth walk in 5 1/3 innings this year) by striking out B.J. Upton.
End 8th, 1-1: Eight straight Red Sox batters have gone down in order since David Ortiz’s double in the sixth, the play which saw Kevin Youkilis thrown out at home.
Jonathan Papelbon is on for the Sox to face Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena. The last time Papelbon came into a tie game was the April 7 loss to the Yankees in which he gave up two runs in 1 1/3 innings.
9:56 p.m.: Randy Choate gets his one and only man, J.D. Drew. Dan Wheeler will be the fourth Rays pitcher of the game.
Mid 8th, 1-1: A perfect eighth for Hideki Okajima and we’re just waiting for somebody to crack here. Eleven of the last 12 Rays have been retired by Red Sox pitching.
Randy Choate is on in relief for Tampa Bay.
It has been raining again here for a couple of innings and slowly more seats are being exposed as fans decide to head somewhere warm to watch the end.
End 7th, 1-1: Hideki Okajima is running on to relieve Josh Beckett, as expected.
Beckett gave up an unearned run on four hits and a walk. He struck out eight. The ace did his job but will not get a decision.
Mid 7th, 1-1: Just to reiterate, of the four hits that Josh Beckett has given up, only two were legit. Adrian Beltre lost one in the lights and Jeremy Hermida another in who knows what.
Otherwise, Beckett has dominated. He has struck out eight and walked just one.
Hideki Okajima was warming up earlier in the Red Sox bullpen. As I type this nobody is.
End 6th, 1-1: It’s that kind of season for David Ortiz. He rips a hard double into the corner in right, but Kevin Youkilis is thrown out at home on the play. Third base coach Tim Bogar never hesitated in waving in Youkilis, but he was out easily.
With nobody out in the inning, Bogar’s decision will come into question.
Ortiz moves up a base but is left there when Jeremy Hermida strikes out looking, and the Sox waste a golden opportunity.
Mid 6th, 1-1: Josh Beckett has thrown 95 pitches, many more than he would have if the defense behind him was up to snuff. He strikes out two in the sixth and gets Carlos Pena to ground out and end it.
Pena is now 3-for-28 (.107) with 16 strikeouts in his career against Beckett.
Grant Balfour has relieved Wade Davis for Tampa Bay.
End 5th, 1-1: Jason Varitek’s line for the 2010 season: 3-for-6 with three home runs. Perhaps spacing him out a bit will yield some nice results whenever he’s in, as Terry Francona alluded to earlier Friday.
Varitek drives one into the Monster Seats to tie things up. It is the first run for Boston since Jeremy Hermida’s big three-run double the other day in Minnesota.
Mid 5th, Rays 1-0: The Sox defense giveth. The Sox defense taketh away. After Jeremy Hermida lets a lazy fly to left fall in for a “double” Marco Scutaro snags a liner and doubles off Reid Brignac.
That ought to make Josh Beckett feel a bit better about things. Boston has been charged with one error and two of the three hits against Beckett came on plays that should’ve been made.
Beckett has six strikeouts, giving him 117 in 100 1/3 lifetime innings against Tampa Bay.
End 4th, Rays 1-0: Wade Davis lost the plate for much of the fourth, even issuing the first walk of the year for free-swinging Adrian Beltre. He will still carry a shutout into the fifth, thanks in large part to a David Ortiz strikeout.
Davis fanned Ortiz with a man on second and one out. Ortiz now has 15 Ks in 28 at bats.
The Sox have failed to score in their last 14 innings.
Mid 4th, Rays 1-0: Josh Beckett looks very strong. It’s a shame his defense failed him and the offense cannot get anything going.
Beckett has struck out five men, including three to end innings.
End 3rd, Rays 1-0: J.D. Drew hits into a shift for the final out of the third, falling to 4-for-30 (.133) on the season.
Manager Terry Francona said that Drew has not complained of any neck issues or anything else physical, but is getting caught in between a bit. According to Francona, Drew is being a bit too passive and the pitches he is letting go are getting called strikes and putting him in tough counts.
In Drew’s defense, there were a few questionable called third strikes against him on the road trip.
Mid 3rd, Rays 1-0: Remember Minnesota? The 8-0 loss Thursday? If you don’t, then the third inning of this one might serve as a reminder. Marco Scutaro makes an error (the team’s fourth in 11 innings) and Adrian Beltre loses a little flare in the lights to allow a run to score. Both plays came with two outs. Just ugly.
The Rays also stole two bases in the inning, including Carl Crawford’s 28th straight against Boston.
Josh Beckett got angry and threw one past Evan Longoria to end it. The run is unearned. Beckett has four Ks.
End 2nd, 0-0: This strikeout race between J.D. Drew and David Ortiz has really become something. Entering the night, they were two of the four American League hitters with 13 strikeouts. Both have 14 after just two innings.
Adrian Beltre also goes down swinging before Jeremy Hermida stays hot with a single off the Green Monster.
Hermida is now 6-for-18 and continues to show the kind of swing that can yield a ton of wall-balls at Fenway.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Evan Longoria is the first Rays runner to steal a base. He takes second with one out in the second without drawing a throw. It appeared as if Jason Varitek did not get a good grip on the ball.
Now Longoria is no speed demon, but he is now 18-of-19 in stolen base attempts in his career. Pretty impressive. Five of them have come against the Sox.
Longoria eventually gets to third and B.J. Upton to first when he walks with one out. But Beckett gets out of the inning by striking out Reid Brignac.
As far as I can tell, only Adrian Beltre is without long sleeves. The temperature at first pitch was 41 degrees and the breeze is enough to do some damage.
End 1st, 0-0: We mentioned earlier Terry Francona’s hope that moving J.D. Drew in front of Dustin Pedroia would get the Red Sox right fielder going. Not yet. Drew fans in the first and is now 4-for-29 (.138) with a team-high 14 strikeouts.
Pedroia manages a four-pitch walk but Kevin Youkilis grounds out to end the first.
Mid 1st, 0-0: There is no denying the Red Sox want to keep Carl Crawford off the bases at all costs (see numbers below). Josh Beckett gets locked into a great duel with Crawford in the first before blowing him away with a 94 mph fastball on the ninth pitch of the at bat. It’s part of a 1-2-3 first for Beckett.
In case anyone is wondering, the Rays are all wearing No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day because they didn’t have a game yesterday. The Sox were among the many teams that sported the number yesterday.
7:04 p.m.: We are moments from first pitch, and just to strike fear into you, here is a reminder of what the Rays did to the Red Sox last year.
Tampa Bay successfully stole 31 of 35 bases on Boston, an 89 percent success rate.
It was in Tampa on May 3 when left fielder Carl Crawford stole six bases against the Sox to tie a major league record.
Jason Varitek is up against it.
6:41 p.m.: The weather update from Red Sox officials is promising. They said they expect to start on time as the latest radar reading shows a “period of relatively dry conditions” that will move on through.
6:37 p.m.: The crew is pulling the tarp up off the field and the smattering of fans go crazy. There may still be a minor delay to get the field ready, but it looks as if we will have baseball soon. Josh Beckett is warming up in right field.
5:55 p.m.: Just an update on the weather, in case you don’t have any windows. It is coming down pretty hard right now, the puddles building on the tarp. The wind is still significant, blowing out to left right now. There are also heat issues in parts of the press area, so those of you thinking we are all toasty and warm up here, we’re not. At least I’m not. No updates on any planned delays.
Here are a few numbers you might find interesting:
–Rays left fielder Carl Crawford has stolen 27 consecutive bases against the Red Sox since he was last caught back in 2005.
–Boston is 74-28 all-time against Tampa Bay at home.
–Adrian Beltre needs one double to join Vladimir Guerrero as the only active players with at least 175 doubles and 100 home runs in both leagues.
And for those of you who just saw my debut on Friday Night Fenway, my apologies for stumbling on the last question. I was apparently thrown off by the return of the rain and the 40 degree temperatures in Don and Jerry’s booth. Just to rehash, Terry Francona insists (for now) that having Josh Beckett and Jason Varitek paired together for the second straight time is not by design.
Francona said that Martinez simply needed a day off. The Red Sox backstop had played in all nine of the team’s games, once as the designated hitter. We’ll take Terry’s word.
5:10 p.m.: Mike Cameron was just seen doing some light jogging in the outfield and Jacoby Ellsbury was in the clubhouse in uniform, but still unable to play. Manager Terry Francona said that the club will not need to put either on the disabled list right now, and Cameron, who has passed his kidney stone, may play as soon as Saturday.
As for Ellsbury, the club has to choose whether to DL him now and risk having him get healthy in a few days and be stuck on the sidelines, or let it run its course and hope he can come back soon.
“We talked to Ellsbury a couple of times, and because we are short we tried to pinpoint with him where he thought he was,” Francona said. “I think we’re being a little ambitious to think that he is going to play in the next few days. At the same time, if you put him on the DL, I think we all feel like we might be losing four, five, six days of Ellsbury.
“We’re trying to balance that, and because we think Cam is coming we’re not going to make a move tonight. We’ll play [Bill Hall] in center and hope that nothing goes wrong.”
Francona provided a few more updates. Daisuke Matsuzaka will throw Wednesday in Lehigh Valley. He is with the club now and took the news that he will stay in the minors well, according to Francona.
Boof Bonser is scheduled to be examined by the team before Friday’s game. We will let you know if we hear anything on that end.
As for J.D. Drew, it was a conscious move to put him in the No. 2 hole.
“I was trying to get J.D. a bump, get him going a little bit,” Francona said. “And getting him in front of Pedroia is a good way to do that. [Pedroia’s] swinging the bat as well as anyone right now. Get J.D. in a situation where hopefully he can get some fastballs, get him on track.”
3:28 p.m.: Red Sox officials just released a statment on the weather, saying the gates to Fenway Park will open at the scheduled time of 5:10 p.m., and the team is “hopeful” that the game will be played. They did want to alert fans heading to the park that the forecast calls for “light to moderate rain showers” into the evening and that delays are possible.
We will provide updates as we get them.
3:02 p.m.: With Jacoby Ellsbury still out and Victor Martinez getting a day off, the Red Sox starting lineup is unlike any we have seen thus far in 2010. Take a look:
Marco Scutaro SS
J.D. Drew RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Kevin Youkilis 1B
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jeremy Hermida LF
Jason Varitek C
Bill Hall CF
Maybe this is the type of move that will get J.D. Drew going. In case you’ve missed the numbers, Drew is 4-for-28 (.143) with 13 strikeouts, tied with David Ortiz and two others for the most in the American League.
2:35 p.m.: The rain is coming down pretty steady right now at Fenway Park. The tarp is on the field. The wind is whistling outside the press box. And I have heard the word “snow” thrown around a few times already. If you are coming to the park, bundle up.
We will head to the clubhouse in a bit to get some updates on the Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron fronts. If the report on Cameron is verified and Ellsbury remains a few days away, we will have a roster move or two. The Sox simply cannot go much further with only two guys on the bench and three total outfielders, one of whom, Bill Hall, is more suited for the infield. Darnell McDonald and/or Josh Reddick could be driving up I-95 as we speak.
12:11 p.m.: It’s just after noon, and it’s not raining in Boston. The forecast still looks iffy, though, with Weather.com expecting an 80 percent chance of rain from 4-6 p.m., a 50-60 percent chance from 6-9 p.m. and a 70-80 percent chance throughout the rest of the evening.
Check back to the live blog, and we’ll have the latest updates, including any official announcements from Fenway, as soon as they are available.
8 a.m.: The Red Sox’ amazing run of nice April weather may end on Friday, when they begin a 10-game home stand against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The forecast calls for temperatures near 40 degrees and rain as the Sox and Rays renew a rivalry which seems to get better every year. They split 18 games last season, the first since 2000 in which Boston did not win the series.
Josh Beckett gets the call for the Sox, looking to building on his win in Kansas City on Saturday. Tampa Bay gives the ball to 24-year-old Wade Davis.
Keep an eye on the weather, your TV on NESN and your computer open to this page. We’ll give you all the updates you need leading up to what could be a wet night.