It doesn't get any easier from here. Boston faces Phil Hughes and the Yankees in the first of two Monday night, then hosts the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins before trips to Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.
End 8th, Tigers 5-1: Scott Schoeneweis flies through the Tigers in the eighth. If you want some good news, the Yankees just fell behind the Twins when Mariano Rivera surrendered a grand slam in the eighth. Not sure if that helps, but there you go.
Also, if you want to follow the Celtics action, you can do so on Evans Clinchy's live blog.
Mid 8th, Tigers 5-1: Brandon Inge turns a sparkling double play to end the Sox' half of the eighth. Boston will have its 8-9-1 hitters in the ninth.
End 7th, Tigers 5-1: John Lackey will get some more credit for battling through seven innings after such a rough start to this one. He had given up all five of his runs in the first four frames.
Lackey gets his fourth strikeout on his 123rd and final pitch.
Mid 7th, Tigers 5-1: The Sox get a grand total of three hits in 6 2/3 innings against Armando Galarraga and Jeremy Bonderman, then get two quick ones and a walk to load the bases once Fu-Te Ni comes in. But J.D. Drew strikes out with the bases loaded and a frustrating weekend continues for Boston.
3:15 p.m.: Jeremy Bonderman gets the Tigers out of a jam in the sixth and gets the first two outs in the seventh before Jim Leyland takes him out of the game.
End 6th, Tigers 5-1: Jason Varitek guns down Johnny Damon trying to steal to end the sixth. John Lackey is through six with 108 pitches. It's not out of the realm of possibility to see him head back out there for one more, considering that the Sox are likely shorthanded in the bullpen.
Mid 6th, Tigers 5-1: Jeremy Bonderman comes in for the Tigers and gets Mike Lowell to pop to the catcher and strand a pair of runners.
This figures to be the last inning for John Lackey, who strides to the mound with 100 pitches under his belt.
2:58 p.m.: A nice audition for Armando Galarraga ends when he is relieved with two outs and two on in the sixth.
End 5th, Tigers 5-1: It looked as though John Lackey would finally get a much-needed easy inning, but an infield single on a play in which he was slow to cover first extends things a bit.
Lackey strikes out Alex Avila to end the fifth on his 100th pitch of the afternoon.
Mid 5th, Tigers 5-1: Not a lot of rest between innings for John Lackey. Armando Galarraga mows through the Sox in the fifth.
Coming into this series it appeared as if Boston would have a decided advantage. Clay Buchholz was up against the struggling Max Scherzer. That matchup held true to form, but Jon Lester's outing against the horrendous Dontrelle Willis was wasted, and now John Lackey is getting outpitched by a Triple-A callup, albeit one who won 13 games two years ago.
I guess that's why they play the games.
End 4th, Tigers 5-1: After he gave up six runs in six innings of a win over Toronto last time out, John Lackey got a lot of credit for getting past a rocky second inning, working through six and handing a lead to the bullpen. But he has now given up 11 runs in his last nine innings. That's not always easy to defend.
But I'll try. For one, Lance Barksdale continues to squeeze Lackey, or so it would seem. Two, and this is no knock on Bill Hall, but Dustin Pedroia would've had the Johnny Damon flare that fell in for a hit with two outs in the fourth.
Pedroia has literally made every play humanly possible at second this year, and Hall just seemed a tad slow to react. That hit started the two-out rally.
Damon stole second with ease and scored on Ramon Santiago's two-run homer.
Mid 4th, Tigers 3-1: It seems as if Armando Galarraga is on an every-other-inning sort of thing right now. He has set the Sox down in order in the second and the fourth, striking out Jason Varitek to end the latter of the two.
End 3rd, Tigers 3-1: Marco Scutaro's defensive gem nearly gets the Sox out of the inning unscathed, but they can't quite turn a double play and a run comes in from third.
The Tigers had runners on the corners with one out when Brandon Inge hit a hard shot to Scutaro's backhand. The Boston shortstop made the play with a dive, threw to second for the force and the relay nearly got Inge.
Still, four hits and four walks for Lackey through three. Not what this team needs after burning through much of the bullpen Saturday night.
Mid 3rd, Tigers 2-1: Jeremy Hermida now has 20 RBIs in 30 games (just 23 starts) after lining a run-scoring double to the gap in right-center to drive in Jonathan Van Every.
Van Every had doubled to lead off the inning.
End 2nd, Tigers 2-0: The second inning is an absolute grind for for John Lackey, who walks three (one with the bases loaded) and gives up a pair of hits. Lackey has already matched his season high for walks with four, and he was not pleased with home plate umpire Lance Barksdale's strike zone, which has been very inconsistent so far.
Twice, before the Tigers even scored a run, Lackey started for the dugout thinking he had the last strike, and last out, of the inning. But with the bases loaded and one out, Lackey was beat to first base by Danny Worth for an RBI single and then Johnny Damon drew the third free pass of the frame.
Lackey threw 38 pitches in the second.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Armando Galarraga looks significantly stronger in the second inning. He fans Bill Hall on three pitches to end the perfect frame.
End 1st, 0-0: There have now been 23 walks issued between these two teams in the last 13 innings of play after John Lackey throws four balls to leadoff man Johnny Damon in the bottom of the first inning.
Lackey is unharmed after striking out Ramon Santiago and getting Magglio Ordonez to line into a double play.
But come on, can we just throw some strikes here?
Mid 1st, 0-0: The bases on balls brigade is at it again. Marco Scutaro draws a leadoff walk on four pitches for the second straight game and J.D. Drew also gets a free pass.
You will recall that the Sox drew a season-high 12 walks Saturday night, but managed to get just two of those men in. Both walks go to waste in the first when Kevin Youkilis flies to right and David Ortiz strikes out on a pitch that looked to be about a foot outside.
Where have we seen that before?
1:02 p.m.: Hard to imagine many of you out there ever thought that just over a month into the season you would see a Red Sox lineup with Marco Scutaro leading off, Jeremy Hermida batting second and the final third of the lineup featuring Jason Varitek, Bill Hall and Jonathan Van Every.
But that's what Terry Francona is reduced to with the injuries piling up a bit and a few other guys needing days off. We will see in just a few moments how this makeshift crew responds.
12:28 p.m: After Friday night's loss much of the talk was on the Red Sox bullpen. Certainly, plenty of discussion early on centered on the starting rotation. But the offense, which many thought would cause its own set of problems, keeps chugging along. Consider these numbers:
Among all Major League teams, the Red Sox rank:
- 2nd in hits with 348, one behind Milwaukee.
- 2nd in home runs with 49, 10 behind Toronto.
- 2nd in walks with 157, seven behind Atlanta.
- 2nd in total bases with 583, 22 behind Toronto.
- 3rd in doubles with 84, 17 behind Toronto.
- 3rd in OBP at .351, .014 behind the New York Yankees.
- T-3rd in OPS at .801, .017 behind the Yankees.
- 5th in runs scored, 12 behind the Yankees.
Interestingly enough, the Sox rank 28th in stolen bases with 11 and in triples with two. That's an obvious reflection of not having left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury atop the lineup.
Speaking of Ellsbury, we have word that he will begin his rehab stint at Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday. He will likely need about a week to get going. Mike Cameron, who was targeting a return to the big club by Monday, may not make it for the Yankees series. Look for him to be activated when the team returns to Fenway for two games against Minnesota on Wednesday and Thursday.
11:06 a.m.: Bill Hall is penciled in as Sunday's second baseman as Dustin Pedroia gets the day off.
Also, Mike Lowell is starting at third base while Adrian Beltre joins Pedroia on the bench.
Here are the lineups:
|Marco Scutaro, SS
Jeremy Hermida, LF
J.D. Drew, RF
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Lowell, 3B
Jason Varitek, C
Bill Hall, 2B
Jonathan Van Every, CF
|Johnny Damond, LF
Ramon Santiago, SS
Magglio Ordonez, DH
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Brennan Boesch, RF
Brandon Inge, 3B
Don Kelly, CF
Alex Avila, C
Danny Worth, SS
8 a.m.: Roughly 13 hours after they sauntered back to their hotel with a difficult loss to sleep on, the Red Sox are at it again Sunday afternoon in the rubber game of a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers.
Boston blew a five-run lead and eventually walked in the winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning in a 7-6 loss Saturday. It was just the fourth loss in the last 12 games for the Sox, who saw all three teams ahead of them in the American League East win.
John Lackey puts a perfect 4-0 record at Comerica Park on the line for Boston. He is opposite former 13-game winner Armando Galarraga, who will be making his 2010 debut for the Tigers.
First pitch is 1:05 p.m.