Red Sox Start Second Half on a Sour Note With Loss to Rangers

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July 15, 2010

Red Sox Start Second Half on a Sour Note With Loss to Rangers Postgame, Rangers 7-2: Tim Wakefield said his bullpen session before the game was one of the best he has had all year and he was "as dumbfounded as anyone" with the way the Rangers batted him around in the first inning.

The knuckleballer said the strike three call that went against him on the second batter of the game had no bearing on things, but his skipper felt otherwise.

"I don't think he fouled it," Francona said of Michael Young, who seemingly struck out but the umpire ruled a foul tip. "I don't think he would've run [if he did]. Most guys don't run when they foul it."

After Young was given a second chance with one out in the top of the first inning, the floodgates opened and by the time Wakefield left two innings later it was 7-0.

Nothing to do but move on, and when they do the Sox can hope that Victor Martinez takes a step forward with them. An exam on his broken left thumb revealed that it has not gotten any worse, which was a fear of the team's medical staff as Martinez was slow to heal.

Knowing that, he just hopes to get rid of the pain, which persists.

"Definitely it shows that it got a lot better," Martinez said of the scan conducted Thursday. "I think from this point it's just seeing how it feels every day. Hopefully I can wake up tomorrow with no pain."

Martinez said that swinging right-handed is the biggest issue right now, but that he can swing lefty with no real issues.

In other news, Jeremy Hermida (2-for-4) and Manny Delcarmen (one scoreless inning) had good nights in Portland as they rehab their way back.

The Sox hope to have Adrian Beltre back Friday when they take on Colby Lewis and the Rangers. Felix Doubront makes his third start with Boston. First pitch is 7:10 p.m.

Final, Rangers 7-2: This one was essentially decided by about 7:30 p.m. The Rangers score six in the first off Tim Wakefield and ride a strong start by Tommy Hunter to a series-opening victory, snapping their own four-game losing streak and handing Boston its sixth loss in eight games.

That is two rough starts in a row for Wakefield, who figures to be on the outs again if/when Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz return to the rotation.

That's something for down the road, though. The Sox will have to regroup for a Friday night affair against another quality right-hander in Colby Lewis, who is followed up by Cliff Lee on Saturday.

We're on our way to the clubhouse to get reaction on Boston dropping the first game of the second half of the season. Back in a bit.

Mid 9th, Rangers 7-2: That is seven shutout innings for the bullpen. While that sounds all well and good, the Sox still had to burn through 21 outs with their relievers. Everyone should be pretty rested due to the All-Star break but if another starter has an abbreviated outing in this series, Boston could find itself in some trouble.

I may not have time to look it up but the difference in the results between the Red Sox' bullpen at home and on the road has to be astounding. It had a remarkably successful homestand during the club's 8-1 stretch at Fenway back in June but has had some hiccups on the road of late.

Someone let me know if they see that number somewhere. I don't ask for much.

End 8th, Rangers 7-2: Aside from two great swings by J.D. Drew and Bill Hall, the Sox' bats are absolutely silent. They have just three little singles in addition to the two solo shots and just saw their 3-4-5 hitters go down with barely a whimper.

Ramon Ramirez is on to pitch the ninth for Boston.

Mid 8th, Rangers 7-2: Give the Red Sox' bullpen some credit — it's been one of the few bright spots. Scott Atchison just completed a 1-2-3 eighth that lasted about 1-2-3 seconds. He has allowed just a hit in three scoreless innnings and the bullpen has combined for six scoreless.

End 7th, Rangers 7-2: Quite a night for Bill Hall. He makes his first start of the year and second since 2008 at third base and promptly commits an error that leads to a run in the third. He follows the miscue up with two outstanding defensive plays and then a towering solo homer for the Red Sox' second run.

I guess when you play a different position on an almost daily position you are bound to have some up-and-down performances. Hall has had plenty this year, the end result being a pretty solid contributor.

Attention fantasy baseball players, Texas left fielder Josh Hamilton left this one with sore right knee.

9:40 p.m.: Bill Hall takes Tommy Hunter deep to pull the Sox to within 7-2. Two outs later, Hunter's night is done. Darren Oliver is on in relief.

Mid 7th, Rangers 7-1: The middle of the Rangers' lineup has destroyed the Sox in this one. Josh Hamilton's double in the seventh made him 3-for-4. He, Vladimir Guerrero and Nelson Cruz are a combined 8-for-12 with five RBIs.

End 6th, Rangers 7-1: Tommy Hunter has thrown 101 pitches through six so he may have one more inning or so. It may not matter. The hill is a steep one and the Rangers' bullpen a quality one.

Texas' relief corps leads the AL with 28 saves and 19 wins and ranks fourth with a 3.37 ERA.

Mid 6th, Rangers 7-1: Bill Hall has had a bunch of games like this one. Just when he makes an error at one of his many positions he balances it out with a handful of spectacular plays. He has a pretty 5-3 double play to help the Sox escape trouble in the sixth.

9:08 p.m.: Dustin Richardson retired one batter and walked three in his short stint. Scott Atchison is on with runners on first and second and nobody out in the sixth.

End 5th, Rangers 7-1: Dustin Richardson is out to begin the sixth for the Red Sox, who see the top of their order go in order in the fifth.

Mid 5th, Rangers 7-1: It took some time but Dustin Richardson finally retired Julio Borbon to strand Josh Hamilton at third.

To update Robert Manuel's line, he went 2 2/3 innings without allowing a run (not three innings like I said earlier). Pretty good job by him but the Sox need to make some noise soon to make it mean anything.

On another note, Manny Delcarmen threw a scoreless inning in Portland on Thursday. He may be activated at some point during the series, possibly sending Manuel packing.

8:45 p.m.: Bill Hall's diving grab of a Bengie Molina liner saves a run for the Sox. With two down in the fifth Robert Manuel is yanked in favor of Dustin Richardson.

If Richardson can get the last out and leave a runner at third, Manuel will have thrown three scoreless.

End 4th, Rangers 7-1: It's gotta start somewhere, and J.D. Drew's homer is as good a starting point as any if the Sox want to mount a comeback. Drew goes opposite field off Tommy Hunter for his 11th of the year, a blast which may have unnerved the Rangers' righty for a moment.

Daniel Nava followed with an infield hit and Mike Cameron was hit by a pitch. Bill Hall then worked a 3-0 count and sent a drive toward the triangle in center that was caught by Julio Borbon for the second out.

Kevin Cash was retired for the third out, giving the Sox five men left on base over the past three innings.

Mid 4th, Rangers 7-0: Robert Manuel navigates the top of the Rangers' order and has, at the very least, calmed things down here. The last time Tim Wakefield faced the Rangers here back on April 20, Texas held a 5-1 lead before the Sox stormed back to win 7-6.

That was the game that featured Darnell McDonald's remarkable debut. He is sitting on the bench, biding his time until a walk-off hit is needed.

End 3rd, Rangers 7-0: Tommy Hunter's first start at Fenway Park resulted in a disastrous outing (1 2/3 innings, nine runs). He is through three scoreless in this one. The big blow in that 2008 outing was a three-run homer by David Ortiz. Hunter ends the third by fanning Ortiz for his first strikeout of the game.

Hunter, who entered with a 5-0 record, now has a 2.18 ERA. People will start to notice if he keeps this up a bit more.

Mid 3rd, Rangers 7-0: If the Sox ever get back in this one they can give some credit to Robert Manuel for the job he did in the top of the third. With a grounder to third, fly to left and a strikeout, he strands runners at second and third after taking over for an ineffective Tim Wakefield.

The lone run to come in during the third was unearned, thanks to an error by Bill Hall at third. It leaves Wakefield with the following line:

2+ IP, 8 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Vladimir Guerrero, who singled and scored in the third, is now 12-for-25 with five homers and nine RBIs against Wakefield.

7:47 p.m.: Tim Wakefield goes two-plus innings before getting the hook. He is responsible for runners at second and third as Robert Manuel comes on to try and keep the Sox in this one. The Rangers have scored one in the inning already and there are no outs.

End 2nd, Rangers 6-0: Tommy Hunter had retired the first five Red Sox hitters in order before Daniel Nava walked and Mike Cameron singled with two outs in the second. A grounder by Bill Hall spoils the rally.

Hall is making his first start at third base for the Sox this season. It is the sixth position he has started at this year, but he should be back at second base on Friday night.

Adrian Beltre looked pretty good taking grounders and running this afternoon. Here is Beltre speaking before the game:

"I was ready to play, but he didn't let me," Beltre said pregame."We'll see how it feels tomorrow. Who knows? I might be playing tomorrow."

Mid 2nd, Rangers 6-0: How does Elvis Andrus feel right now? His team is up 6-0 after two innings and he's already 0-for-2. Tim Wakefield gets Andrus to start the second and then retires the next two for an easy frame.

End 1st, Rangers 6-0: Tommy Hunter gets the Rangers' bats back up there with a quick 1-2-3 inning. The only excitement came when David Ortiz was given a nice ovation for his work during the All-Star festivities.

For those of you worried what the Home Run Derby will do for Ortiz's swing, we dug up some numbers to prove that he might be just fine. Here is a link.

Mid 1st, Rangers 6-0: Tim Wakefield entered with a 6.09 ERA against the Rangers, higher than any mark against an AL team other than, you guessed it, the Red Sox (gave up four runs in five innings against Boston back in the day). That'll only go up after Texas takes advantage of a missed call and unloads on the knuckleballer.

Wakefield got into trouble after a call that went against the Sox. It appeared as if he had fanned Michael Young for the second out of the inning but home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman said it was fouled at the plate.

Replays showed that Young missed the pitch, and since he reacted by running to first you would have to think he did. But the call went against Wakefield and Young soon ripped the first of six straight Rangers hits, the last being a two-run homer by Bengie Molina.

Vladimir Guerrero drove in the first run with a single, Josh Hamilton the second with a double and Nelson Cruz the next two with a base hit to center.

Young was seen in the dugout laughing with teammates. He knows he got away with one.

Robert Manuel was up and warming in the bullpen. He has since sat down.

7:01 p.m.: We reminded you earlier about this, but keep an eye on the Rangers when they reach base. Perhaps no other team has exploited the Red Sox' difficulties in limiting opponents' running games than Texas, which set a team record with nine steals against Tim Wakefield and Victor Martinez on April 20 and has stolen 34 straight against Boston.

Wakefield, by the way, would not become the oldest Red Sox pitcher to claim a win if he is victorious in this one, but he will get a chance to claim that honor in his next start. At 43 years, 347 days old, Wakefield is two days younger than Dennis Eckersley was when he got a win in relief against Baltimore on September 17, 1998.

6:10 p.m.: There will be a moment of silence before Thursday's game in memory of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 80, and longtime Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard.

The Yanks and Sox do notplay again until the first weekend of August, but they are never far removed from one another.

Terry Francona was asked about both.

"It seemed like when somebody was in need of help, whether it was a person or an organization, he was always first and he wrote the biggest check," Francona said of Steinbrenner. "There were parts of him that were very admirable. That kinda stuck with me."

Francona said he never really paid attention to how Sheppard said his name. In Yankee Stadium he usually noticed the fans in the first few rows heckling him after his name was announced more than anything.

"I don't sit around to see how my name comes out, especially there. There are usually about two or three people in the second row who follow up [the announcement] with 'You [stink],'" Francona joked.

"I was glad I still had a name that was on a uniform."

4:58 p.m.: The Red Sox clubhouse resembles a September scene, which always sees extra lockers placed in to accommodate for the late-season call-ups. That's what happens when you have so many guys on the DL who are still with the team, yet so many others who need a locker. Guys like Felix Doubront and Daniel Nava are thrust into makeshift cubicles wrapped around a pillar. That tells the tale as much as anything.

As for some of those injuries, here are a few updates:

  • Adrian Beltre was given a night off by Terry Francona, but he may be able to pinch hit Thursday and possibly will be back in the lineup Friday. Preliminary results on an MRI were positive, but Francona just felt one more night might be a good thing.

"With the travel and…I just didn't have a real good feeling running him out there, knowing the way he plays," Francona said. "I don't want to let him hurt himself."

Beltre is taking grounders at third base as I type this and was out running earlier on. Good signs.

  • Dustin Pedroia's broken foot will be scanned Friday at noon and Jason Varitek will get the same treatment at 12:30 p.m.
  • Victor Martinez will have his thumb looked at Thursday evening and there may be more on his timetable after the game.
  • Josh Beckett's rehab start Saturday in Syracuse may or may not be his last. Depending on how he responds, Beckett could need one more before returning just before the end of the month.

"If he's ready to come back and pitch for us he will, if he's not he'll get another one," Beckett said. "If all goes terrific he'll come back and take his slot with us."

Beckett, for his part, said he feels 100 percent and seemed to suggest he will be ready to go after Saturday's outing.

  • Manny Delcarmen will pitch one inning for Double-A Portland on Thursday.
  • Jeremy Hermida will DH for Portland on Thursday, then play the outfield and then DH again Saturday. After that he'll play three games with Pawtucket and may rejoin the team in Seattle (July 22-24). As for who would go if Hermida is activated, Francona said that is too far off.

"That's a full week off, it's a full three or four players," Francona said, perhaps thinking about how many guys could go down before then. "When guys aren't ready we'll put them where they belong."

  • Mike Lowell is back with the team and was hitting in the cage and taking grounders. "We'll ramp him back up, too," Francona said.

We will be back in a bit with a few more items.

3:15 p.m.: The first Red Sox lineup of the second half of the season gives us another surprise, just like the first half did on a daily basis. Adrian Beltre is out. Bill Hall will take his place at third base.

Here are the complete lineups for both teams:

Red Sox

Marco Scutaro, SS
Eric Patterson, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
J.D. Drew, RF
Daniel Nava, LF
Mike Cameron, CF
Bill Hall, 3B
Kevin Cash, C

Rangers

Elvis Andrus, SS
Michael Young, 3B
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Vladimir Guerrero, DH
Josh Hamilton, LF
Nelson Cruz, RF
Bengie Molina, C
Chris Davis, 1B
Julio Borbon, CF

8:30 a.m.:There were six teams in the majors that entered the All-Star break with at least 50 wins. Two of them will square off Thursday at Fenway Park when the Red Sox host the Texas Rangers.

Despite the lofty win totals, both teams limped into the break a bit. Boston lost five of its last seven before the three-day respite to fall a full five games out in the American League East, and Texas dropped all four games in a miserable series with Baltimore at home.

Tim Wakefield gets the start for the Sox. The Rangers stole a team-record nine bases against him in a game at Fenway Park back in April.

Tommy Hunter, who is 5-0, goes for Texas, which leads the AL West by 4 1/2 games.

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