Postgame, Rangers 4-2: They are slowly dismantling the pitching mound at Fenway Park in preparation for Football at Fenway. Somewhere, C.J. Wilson weeps.
On that mound Wilson became the latest pitcher to get the best of the Sox, who were held to a grand total of 11 runs in the four-game series.
To counter-balance the sudden lack of pop, Boston will bolster its own rotation this week with the return of Clay Buchholz on Wednesday and the likely return of Josh Beckett on Friday.
Manager Terry Francona said Sunday that Beckett will throw an extended side session Tuesday and if all goes well he will pitch against Seattle on Friday. If that's the case then the rotation to start the trip looks like this: Matsuzaka, Wakefield, Buchholz, Lackey, Beckett, Lester.
In other news:
– Victor Martinez said he still felt pain when playing catch before Sunday's game. "It was still sore trying to squeeze the glove but at least I was able to put my hand in the glove," he said. Francona called it a "baby step."
– Francona said home plate umpire Gary Darling said simply that Elvis Andrus was safe on the close play in the eighth. "His explanation didn't seem to correspond with what I saw," Francona said.
– On his emotions entering the upcoming 10-game trip, Francona said this: "I feel like I always feel. Pack our bags and go play. I don't think it ever changes. I don't know if I really feel any different than ever. Hope they have good food on the plane."
With that we turn our attention to the opener of the trip, set for Monday at 10:07 p.m. ET. Daisuke Matsuzaka opposes Ben Sheets and we'll follow the action right here.
Final, Rangers 4-2: Mike Cameron's solo homer leading off the ninth is not nearly enough for the Sox, who are held to five hits and strike out 14 times in losing for the eighth time in 11 games.
Ten straight games on the road begins Monday night in Oakland.
Heading to the clubhouse. See you in a bit to sum up a rough series to start the second half.
Mid 9th, Rangers 4-1: Not a lot of positives in this one, but Michael Bowden's quality debut has to qualify. He strikes out two of three in a perfect ninth.
Neftali Feliz is on to try to pick up his 24th save for the Rangers.
End 8th, Rangers 4-1: Aside from a Kevin Youkilis single, nothing doing in the eighth. The Sox are now three outs from dropping three of four at home to start the second half. Ten straight on the road await them, all without a day off.
Michael Bowden is making his 2010 debut out of the Boston bullpen.
Mid 8th, Rangers 4-1: Home plate umpire Gary Darling got an earful from the 600th consecutive sellout at Fenway Park for ruling Elvis Andrus safe on a close play at home. The issue isn't with Darling, however, but Jon Lester, who gave up a double, a walk and a single to start the inning.
Replays showed the Sox may have had Andrus on what was a nice throw by Darnell McDonald, but it was only by a hair, if at all.
It was clear Terry Francona was trying to get Lester through to Josh Hamilton so he could have his lefty-lefty matchup, even though Lester seemed to be losing some steam.
Paid off in the end. Hamilton hits into a 1-2-3 double play on what figures to be Lester's last pitch of the afternoon.
Frank Francisco is in for the Rangers to pitch the eight.
End 7th, Rangers 3-1: When all you can muster through seven innings is three hits, you have to take advantage of scoring chances. The Sox have left two on each of the last two innings.
Marco Scutaro flies to left after back-to-back walks in the seventh. The Rangers have things set up quite nicely with a quality back end of the bullpen.
Michael Bowden is warming in the Red Sox bullpen.
3:41 p.m.: C.J. Wilson departs with two down in the bottom of the seventh, but not before setting a new career high with 10 strikeouts. He positively owned the Sox in this one.
Darren O'Day is on to face pinch hitter J.D. Drew with a man on first.
Mid 7th, Rangers 3-1: Two more strikeouts and another perfect inning for Jon Lester. He has retired eight batters in a row and his pitch count remains under 100.
End 6th, Rangers 3-1: As great as the comeback win was Saturday night, it doesn't take away from the fact that the Red Sox' offense remains in a funk. Adrian Beltre strikes out with two on in the sixth to waste a rare scoring chance.
Entering Sunday, Boston had been held to five runs or fewer in nine out of 10 games. Remember, this is a team that averages OVER five runs a game.
Lineup cards ending with names like Hall, Nava and Brown are starting to catch up to the club. No disrespect meant to those guys, but we went into the year thinking that would be Beltre, Cameron, Scutaro, or some similar configuration.
Mid 6th, Rangers 3-1: Jon Lester has his first 1-2-3 inning. Nelson Cruz made him wait it out by getting a visit from the trainer after fouling a ball off his leg with two outs. The next pitch by Lester was a 95 mph fastball at the letters that Cruz foul tipped into the mitt of Dusty Brown.
Lester has four strikeouts.
And can we stop with the marriage proposals? By my count that is four this weekend, but there may have been more. I believe they have all said 'yes' but this latest one didn't get the usual round of applause, so perhaps she came to her senses and turned down another unoriginal effort.
End 5th, Rangers 3-1: Daniel Nava has hit into one double play to end an inning and was on base when Dusty Brown hit into another, this time finishing the fifth. C.J. Wilson also picked up his seventh strikeout in the inning.
By the way, this is the 600th consecutive sellout at Fenway Park. It is also "Maine Day".
As a toddler, my family moved from Vermont to Maine for about two years, so, you know, it's a pretty special occasion for me. Nevermind the fact that we moved back to Vermont.
Mid 5th, Rangers 3-1: Texas gets a double when left fielder Daniel Nava slipped, an infield single when a ball dies in between first and second (Jon Lester was slow to cover) and then an unlikely run on a steal of home by Julio Borbon. It's not going well for Lester in the middle innings here.
With Elvis Andrus on first and Borbon on third, Lester struck out Michael Young for the second out. Andrus broke on the pitch and Dusty Brown threw down to second, where Marco Scutaro took the throw and came home, but it was too late.
Two of the Rangers' three runs came on close plays at home and the third when Adrian Beltre's error in the fourth allowed Nelson Cruz to scamper home.
Borbon is the first Texas player to steal home since Ricky Ledee on Sept. 23, 2001.
End 4th, Rangers 2-1: C.J. Wilson has six strikeouts through four after finishing off Mike Cameron to end the fourth. He has definitely won the duel with Jon Lester so far.
Mid 4th, Rangers 2-1: I began to type something about how Jon Lester had begun to settle in after retiring Vladimir Guerrero for the second out of the fourth, retiring his sixth straight. It was a premature notion.
Josh Hamilton followed with a hard hit to left and Nelson Cruz doubled him in before an Adrian Beltre error helped the Rangers get a second run.
Cruz took off toward third on the throw home and when Dusty Brown threw to third to try to get him, the ball got away from Beltre, allowing Cruz to score. Beltre has tied Miguel Tejada of Baltimore for the most errors in the American League with 15.
This is pure speculation, but Beltre's hamstring issues could be affecting him in the field, too. He has made several bad throws in this series and appeared a little hesitant on that play in the fourth.
End 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: Lefties are now 9-for-96 (.094) against C.J. Wilson, who has struck out David Ortiz to end both the first and third innings. Wilson struck out the side in the second, working around a two-out walk to Darnell McDonald.
Also, it's hot. Dusty Brown told me earlier that he will lose more than 10 pounds of water weight in this one. Rough day for those bearing the tools of ignorance.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: For Jon Lester to walk light-hitting backup catcher Matt Treanor to lead off an inning, you know he is not on his game. But Lester continues to survive despite allowing five of the first eight men he faced to reach base.
Lester struck out Julio Borbon on a letter-high heater, got Elvis Andrus on a chopper to third (another nearly errant throw to first by Adrian Beltre, his third or fourth in the last two games) and then made a spectacular stab of a Michael Young comebacker to strand Treanor at second.
End 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Here's the good: Adrian Beltre improves to 6-for-14 lifetime against C.J. Wilson with an RBI double in the second. The bad: Beltre was limping heavily as he went into second, something we have seen almost every time he has to leg anything out. You wonder if he is just one bad step away from really hurting himself or if that is the way it will be going forward.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Four of the first six Rangers reached on three singles and a walk against Jon Lester. Two double plays and a caught stealing have prevented them from scoring.
Lester has not been at his best early, but he may settle in. If he does, Texas will rue those wasted opportunities.
End 1st, 0-0: Terry Francona talked about how "drastic" C.J. Wilson's numbers were against lefties. He entered having held them to a .096 average, and that goes down a bit after David Ortiz fans to end a 1-2-3 first.
Wilson has now tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings at Fenway Park this year, and has given up just three runs in 18 1/3 innings against the Sox in his career.
Mid 1st, 0-0: It's been a rough stretch for Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus. He was hitless in 26 at-bats before singling off Jon Lester to start this one. Seconds later Andrus was caught stealing when Lester threw over. The old 1-3-6-3-4 did the trick. A 5-4-3 double play ended the inning after Michael Young had a single. Put it all together and you might have my social security number.
Texas has made a handful of bad mistakes on the base paths in this series. Andrus' is the latest.
12:58 p.m.: An encouraging sign below us on the field as Victor Martinez is playing catch with head trainer Mike Reinold in front of the Red Sox dugout. Until Sunday he had not been able to put on a mitt.
The next step will be swinging from the right side and then perhaps some game action in a rehab stint not long after that.
12:39 p.m.: We mentioned this in our lineup analysis, but Sunday marks Vladimir Guerrero's first career game in left field after playing exactly 1,600 in right and hundreds more at designated hitter.
The move by Ron Washington can only mean that Josh Hamilton's calf/knee issues make him more of a risk out there than Guerrero. Of course, Washington wants both of their bats in the lineup so Hamilton will DH.
Guerrero did play left in two All-Star games, but it's amazing he's been around all these years and never once stepped to that side of the outfield.
A further note on Josh Beckett. The club was going to talk things over pregame and perhaps make a call on his next step, but Terry Francona said there is a possibility that the decision will be made after Beckett throws his side session in Oakland in a couple of days.
11:58 a.m.: The move of the day brings Michael Bowden up from Pawtucket, where he was converted to a reliever in recent weeks in preparation for this move. It's great to hear how eager and excited he is for the role, especially when you consider how hard he worked to stay on the team's radar as a starter. We will have more from Bowden in a bit.
Gustavo Molina was the casualty as he was designated for assignment.
– Terry Francona and others, including Theo Epstein, were still waiting to sit down with Josh Beckett and determine whether he needed another rehab start. We should know for certain after the game. Beckett gave up three runs on five hits in four innings for Pawtucket on Saturday. He struck out three and walked one.
– Jeremy Hermida is back with the club to get checked out after playing a few rehab games for Portland. He will play the outfield once and DH once for Pawtucket before rejoining the team in Seattle later in the week. Obviously, there is no word yet on whose spot he would take.
– This is just a regular day off for J.D. Drew and a good time for it. Rangers starter C.J. Wilson has held lefties to an unreal .096 average this year, a result Francona called "drastic". David Ortiz will be the lone lefty in the lineup.
More in a bit. Look for a separate Bowden piece.
10:48 a.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where there would still be some jubilation surrounding Saturday night's walk-off win, if not for the heat that's dragging people down a bit. It is going to be a scorcher again, only unlike the last two nights the sun will not disappear during the game. We have the lineups for you and will be back a bit later with more updates.
Marco Scutaro, SS
Darnell McDonald, RF
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Mike Cameron, CF
Bill Hall, 2B
Daniel Nava, LF
Dusty Brown, C
Elvis Andrus, SS
Michael Young, 3B
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Vladimir Guerrero, LF
Josh Hamilton, DH
Nelson Cruz, RF
Chris Davis, 1B
Matt Treanor, C
Julio Borbon, CF
10:15 a.m.: With a dramatic victory in their pocket, the Red Sox turn to ace Jon Lester to try to get a split of a four-game series with the Texas Rangers on Sunday afternoon.
The Sox, in danger of losing their fourth straight game at home Saturday night, rallied to tie the Rangers in the ninth on a Kevin Youkilis single and then win in the 11th on a sacrifice fly by the same man.
With Lester on the mound they have a great chance to enter a 10-game road trip with some serious momentum. The lefty has won three straight starts and has allowed two runs or less in 13 of his last 15 starts.
C.J. Wilson, who beat the Sox in Fenway back in April, gets the nod for Texas.
First pitch is 1:35 p.m. on what figures to be another hot, humid day at Fenway.
Powered by WordPress.com VIP