Postgame, Red Sox 5-1: Monday presents another day of waiting for an injury update, a task we've become accustomed to of late. At the very least, it is the first of several days off that the Sox get over the next three weeks, days which will allow guys like Victor Martinez to heal.
On the six-game road trip Boston wins three, loses three and suffers three injuries to potential All-Stars. But the constant bang-ups have yet to seriously hurt the team's chances.
"We're still winning and that's what we're set up to do," said manager Terry Francona.
For those of you wondering who would be called up in the event Martinez is placed on the disabled list, it would likely be Dusty Brown, who toils for Triple-A Pawtucket and has been with the big club before.
Look for the live blog to be back in action Tuesday night from Fenway Park when John Lackey faces Tampa Bay's James Shields.
Speaking of Tampa Bay, they have their own issues.
7:51 p.m.: The Victor Martinez updates keep on coming. We have seen more footage of him taking a foul tip off his thumb again in the third inning. So the injury may not have come on the play in the second when he was also hit in the left foot.
Anyway, much more will come of this on Monday when the team gets home and he can get checked out again. Here is Terry Francona's early take on things:
"We have tomorrow off. We'll get him looked at. We gotta get the swelling out of there to see, we don't know the severity of it yet. There's a chance that maybe if he can get the swelling out of there he can handle it. Now, maybe he can't. Maybe that's premature. But it's not an automatic DL."
Martinez echoed the words of his skipper.
"I don't think I'm gonna have to be on disabled list. Obviuosly it's pain but we'll see tomorrow. We have an off day tomorrow and I'm gonna have it checked out again and we'll see what happens."
More updates to come when we get them.
7:29 p.m.: When you hear fractured thumb and you're talking about a catcher and his catching hand, you think disabled list is likely. But Red Sox manager Terry Francona and then Victor Martinez himself said there is a chance he can avoid the DL.
7:15 p.m.: The hits keep coming, and we're not talking about the Red Sox' league-leading offense. What we thought was a foul ball off Victor Martinez's left foot actually clipped the thumb of his catching hand, causing a fracture in the thumb, according to NESN's Heidi Watney. More on this in a bit. Martinez will most certainly be put on the DL.
Final, Red Sox 5-1: The very first batter Jon Lester faced singled and came around to score. Nobody else even sniffed home plate as Lester was excellent, locking down his sixth career complete game in just 103 pitches.
The lefty even had to work with two different catchers as an injured Victor Martinez was replaced midway through with Jason Varitek.
The effort by Lester caps off a series that could've been disastrous for the Red Sox. Dustin Pedroia was lost Friday night, Clay Buchholz on Saturday and the bullpen was put through the ringer.
But Boston still manages to take two out of three in a tough place to win and can head home feeling pretty good about a 3-3 road trip. The Sox get a day off before beginning a two-game series with Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Back in a bit to sum things up.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 5-1: It's doubtful that he needs it, but Jon Lester gets a little more room to work with when Adrian Beltre crushes his 12th home run of the season. After a little head-rubbing in the dugout, Lester's pursuit of career complete game No. 6 can continue.
Speaking of Lester, the one "issue" with him during what is shaping up to be his best season yet were the high walk totals. His 3.7 walks-per-nine innings (entering the game) was the highest ratio since 2007, when he was not yet a full-time starter.
But he has made strides in that area of late, taking his dominance to a new level. Lester has walked just six batters in 33 1/3 innings entering the ninth. He walked nine in his last two starts of May.
End 8th, Red Sox 4-1: Jon Lester has thrown 32 pitches in the last three innings and is in great shape to pick up his second complete game in a span of eight starts, all this a day after the Sox bullpen needed seven pitchers to get through eight innings. That's clutch.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 4-1: The Red Sox' offensive production in the Colorado series in terms of runs scored: 1, 6, 13. Against San Francisco: 4, 4, 4 (so far). They've also set a team season high with 13 strikeouts in this one.
Unless something nutty happens, Jon Lester finishes his day at the plate by going 0-for-2 with a walk and a huge sacrfice fly that snapped a 1-1 tie back in the second.
He still has six outs to get on the mound.
End 7th, Red Sox 4-1: Jon Lester has retired 11 of the last 12 men he has faced after another perfect inning in the seventh. He has thrown 90 pitches and is due up fourth in the top of the eighth.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 4-1: Among the many oddities of this series has been the Red Sox' tendency to score everything early on. They have scored five first-inning runs, five second-inning runs and one run in the third in this series. Frames four through nine have yielded just one.
Boston batters have struck out 11 times in this one.
David Ortiz has left the game with Kevin Youkilis moving from third to first and Adrian Beltre takes over at the hot corner. De-fense! De-fense! De-fense!
End 6th, Red Sox 4-1: Two more strikeouts for Jon Lester, who has eight through six and has thrown just 81 pitches. With the bullpen pretty well used up Saturday night, he will have every chance to go the distance.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 4-1: Nice to see J.D. Drew legging out a triple in the sixth. First of all, he showed no problems with the right hammy. Also, it came leading off the frame, giving the Sox a near certain run. Certain, that is, if you just get a groundball in a good place or a flyball to a reasonable depth. Neither came, and Drew was stranded.
Let's see if that comes back to haunt the visitors.
We did see Jon Lester work out a nine-pitch walk, which continues a quality effort for Sox pitchers, who are 5-for-16 with two RBIs and a pair of bases on balls.
End 5th, Red Sox 4-1: Jon Lester is through the fifth inning in eight pitches, or about the time it took me to take a sip of my Coke. The real stuff, none of this diet or Zero or whatever they offer.
We will get you the latest on Victor Martinez when we hear. Again the foul ball struck his left big toe, or thereabouts, which was bruised back in May and which he also hurt back in his Cleveland days. Seems to me they could fashion something to pad that area, no? This is 2010.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-1: I was looking up a statistic last inning that I never found and failed to mention that Jason Varitek had replaced Victor Martinez behind the plate. My apologies, first for that and for the fact that the Sox have another banged up star.
Martinez did appear to be in a great deal of pain when he was hit with that foul ball a few innings ago. It is not a shock that the swelling would make it tough to go on. He missed four starts the last time this happened.
Meanwhile, Varitek is one of three strikeout victims in the fifth for Dan Runzler, who has kept the Sox at bay for the time being.
End 4th, Red Sox 4-1: Jon Lester is bending, but has yet to break. He has allowed three singles and a walk in the last two innings but the Giants have nothing to show for it.
San Francisco had runners on the corners and just one out in the fourth. Lester got Pablo Sandoval swinging at a curve in the dirt and Nate Schierholtz to pop to Marco Scutaro in shallow left.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 4-1: The Sox get at least one run in all three innings against the great Tim Lincecum, but none in the fourth against the unknown Dan Runzler. Go figure.
Marco Scutaro was caught stealing on a pitch that Daniel Nava struck out on. Nava is hitless in his last 11 at bats and has finally had a major league slump. Don't expect to see him batting second too much longer if this continues.
With Tim Lincecum throwing only 79 pitches, one has to wonder if an injury caused his departure. He was hit on the shoulder by a line drive a few starts ago, but showed no effects in dominating Houston his last time out.
End 3rd, Red Sox 4-1: It seems as if every start he has, Jon Lester throws a few pitches that see him slip on the mound or plant awkwardly. After his follow-through he glances down to the mound to see what happened. Lester had a few such deliveries during a walk to Freddy Sanchez in the third, but came right back to fan Aubrey Huff on high heat, stranding a pair of runners.
Aaron Rowand hit for Tim Lincecum in the third, ending the afternoon for the Giants ace. Dan Runzler, who does not have two Cy Young Awards to his credit, surprisingly, is the new San Francisco pitcher.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 4-1: Tim Lincecum is looking more like a September call-up than a two-time Cy Young Award winner, clearly not himself in this one. Bill Hall's RBI single with two outs and two strikes continues the misery for the Giants ace.
The Sox have five hits and three walks already. Denny Bautista was up and warming in the San Francisco bullpen.
End 2nd, Red Sox 3-1: I would be interested to see if Terry Francona has made more trips to the field to check on injured players or to make pitching changes/argue calls. It's gotta be pretty close. The latest trip sees him check out Victor Martinez, who took a foul ball off his already injured left big toe and was in a lot of pain.
Martinez stayed in the game and Jon Lester helped him get back to the dugout very quickly by striking out Pablo Sandoval on the next pitch to finish a 1-2-3 inning.
We will see if Martinez is able to continue. He is due up third in the third.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 3-1: When the Red Sox pitchers were taking batting practice at Fenway Park in preparation for this trip, I watched Jon Lester showcase a pretty fluid lefty swing and put a handful of balls into the bullpen or the other way over the Green Monster. He was able to showcase a pretty good stroke in the second, hitting a long sacrifice fly to highlight a two-run rally.
Lester entered the at bat 0-for-13 in his career. The Giants elected to have Tim Lincecum intentionally walk Darnell McDonald to pitch to Lester with the bases loaded and one out, and the lefty made them pay with a ball that sent Nate Schierholtz almost to the track in cavernous right-center field.
Marco Scutaro followed with an RBI single, helping to drive Lincecum's pitch count over 50 already.
If you take out a handful of starts against some weak Oakland lineups over the years, Lincecum's ERA in five-plus interleague outings is 6.37 and rising.
End 1st, 1-1: Speed kills. Well, that may be a bit harsh, but it can lead to a run, as was the case for the Giants in the first inning.
Speedster Andres Torres led off with an infield single and promptly stole second and third base before scoring on an RBI grounder by Aubrey Huff.
It's doubtful many of you looked at the pitching matchups and thought the score would be 1-1 after one.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 1-0: David Ortiz makes a kayaker a very happy man, unless said kayaker is a big Giants fan. Ortiz takes a hanging splitter from Tim Lincecum and jumps all over it to send a souvenir into McCovey Cove. The home run ball has been huge for the Sox the last two games.
Boston scored all of its runs Saturday in the first two innings on home runs by Darnell McDonald and Mike Cameron. It set the tone for a great team win, and when you're facing a guy like Lincecum it can have an affect on the entire dugout.
Before and after Ortiz's 16th home run of the year, Lincecum recorded two strikeouts. Daniel Nava, in particular, looked overmatched. Nava is now hitless in his last nine at bats and has seen the average finally fall below .300.
Here is the Giants lineup against Jon Lester:
Andres Torres, CF
Freddy Sanchez, 2B
Aubrey Huff, LF
Buster Posey, 1B
Edgar Renteria, SS
Bengie Molina, C
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Nate Schierholtz, RF
Tim Lincecum, P
3:48 p.m.: When your everyday lineup is constantly in flux and you have starting pitchers coming in and out of the rotation due to various ailments, the safety net is often the bullpen. Consider it the last line of defense.
The one fortunate thing for the Red Sox is that the bullpen has, for the most part, avoided the injury bug. Jonathan Papelbon did have a stint on the bereavement list and Manny Delcarmen had the sore back a little while back, but there has been a good degree of health and stability out there.
What there has not been among the corps of relievers is consistency. There have been stretches where the pen has been dominant, as evidenced by the recent 8-1 homestand in which the bullpen gave up three runs in 30 innings.
There have been other days when the pen was clutch, including two of the last three Saturdays when a starter was forced out due to injury and a stable of relievers has stepped up to get the outs. Yesterday's effort, which saw seven releivers go eight innings, is a great example.
And then there have been periods like those we saw in the first four games of this trip. In going 1-3, Boston's bullpen gave up 14 runs in 10 innings.
Hard to figure what you have out there on some days.
Overall, the bullpen has a 4.50 ERA, 11th in the American League. It is tied for the league lead with 12 blown saves and has given up 33 home runs, the most in the AL.
Now, with Saturday's group effort in the books, we may have another thin corps out there. Scott Atchison certainly will not be used, and Terry Francona may stay away from Hideki Okajima (three appearances in first five games of trip) if he can.
It'll be a case-by-case scenario with all others.
3:15 p.m.: We've talked about how the key for the Red Sox going forward will be the starting pitching, which sounds so obvious but does get amplified with the various injuries. The one guy who will carry a heavy burden is Jon Lester.
If the Clay Buchholz injury prevents him from making a few starts, then you're looking at Lester, the definitive ace, and a trio of guys (John Lackey, Tim Wakefield, Daisuke Matsuzaka) which won't dominate all that often, as well as whoever takes that fifth starter spot, if the club needs it.
Fortunately, the Sox may not need it. After Sunday's meeting with the Giants, Boston has six of the next 17 days off, including the All-Star break. A four-man rotation will do the job some of those weeks.
After that the schedule has the team playing 31 games in 32 days, which makes that three-day break in mid-July somewhat of a milestone. If certain guys do not get healthy by then, or at least have a rough return date in sight, then you might see the Sox become active early on the trade market. They already made the one move by picking Eric Patterson on Saturday, but that would not be the big move if there are any delays in getting some players back.
1:35 p.m.: J.D. Drew is finally back in the starting lineup and David Ortiz is getting another start at first base as the Red Sox finish up their road trip in San Francisco on Sunday. Here is the lineup:
Marco Scutaro, SS
Daniel Nava, LF
David Ortiz, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Victor Martinez, C
J.D. Drew, RF
Bill Hall, 2B
Darnell McDonald, CF
Jon Lester, P
9:15 a.m.: An up-and-down road trip for the Red Sox ends with a dynamite pitching matchup, as Boston's Jon Lester takes on Tim Lincecum in the rubber game of a three-game set Sunday afternoon.
Lester and Lincecum both have eight wins and both rank in the top three in their respective leagues in strikeouts.
The balance of the series rests on their shoulders after the Sox rebounded from a difficult setback Friday to claim a 4-2 win Saturday, despite more bad news on the injury front.
Hours after second baseman Dustin Pedroia was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken left foot, starter Clay Buchholz left in the second inning with a hyperextended left knee.
We will have all the updates on Buchholz and all the in-game analysis for you as Lester and Lincecum lock horns, beginning with the first pitch at 4:05 p.m.
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