Red Sox Live Blog: Red Sox Pitching Fuels 2-1 Win Over Yankees

Postgame, Red Sox 2-1: Plenty of positives to take away from this one.

After Alfredo Aceves was solid, if not spectacular, in his three innings of work, five relievers combined on six scoreless innings, striking out four and walking none.

Jonathan Papelbon recovered nicely from his rocky outing a few days ago and Bobby Jenks celebrated his 30th birthday with a victory after tossing one scoreless.

Adrian Gonzalez got three plate appearances and a handful of chances in the field. He finished 1-for-3 with a single to right.

Mike Cameron added another hit in two at-bats and is hitting .409 this spring.

The club will look to maintain this positive vibe Tuesday when it heads north to Lakeland for a meeting with Detroit. I’ll be sitting somewhere high above watching that one and carrying you through all the action, so be sure to check it out.

Final, Red Sox 2-1: The Red Sox take one big step toward clinching the American League East by sweeping their two-game Grapefruit League series with the rival Yankees.

Next up is a two-day trip to the center of the state. The bus leaves bright and early tomorrw morning for Lakeland, where Boston will meet old friend Victor Martinez and the Detroit Tigers. After that is an afternoon affair in Orlando against Atlanta the following day before a return home for St. Patty’s Day.

Back in a bit to wrap this up.

End 8th, Red Sox 2-1: Rich Hill will get a chance to earn a two-inning save in this one. He is back out there for the ninth.

This could be the last time these two teams meet until that opener at Fenway on April 8. My guess is there will be some bigger names on the field than there is in the ninth.

Pawtucket vs. Scranton/Wilkes- Barre here.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 2-1: To update those Rich Hill numbers for you, he has six scoreless frames in the spring. Two hits, two walks and four strikeouts in that time.

To comment on some comments, my head shines brightest when I’m live blogging…it’s like Rudolph’s nose in a storm. Just kinda happens.

And no, I do not have a new laptop. Same one that carried me through last year. Scotch tape holding it together on both sides. You heard Don and Jerry talking about a bare-bones operation here. That goes for us pounding on the keyboard.

End 7th, Red Sox 2-1: One of those candidates to win a bullpen job, Rich Hill, is now jogging in to pitch the eighth.

Hill’s arm slot was dropped to the side this offseason in an effort to make things a bit more natural to him. He says it has helped and the early results are promising.

Hill has yielded just two hits in five scoreless innings this spring.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 2-1: After helping raise $4,600 for Red Cross relief efforts in Japan before the game, Hideki Okajima works around a pair of singles in the seventh. A nice running catch by Juan Carlos Linares helps him escape the jam.

Good to have Theo Epstein in the booth. He touched on a number of subjects, the two singles helping us out with a little more duration there. It will be interesting to see how the battle for the left-handed spots in the bullpen shake out. I would not be surprised to see Dennys Reyes there on Opening Day.

If this score holds, Bobby Jenks gets credit for the win on his 30th birthday. So, there’s that.

End 6th, Red Sox 2-1: As Jerry points out, Juan Carlos Linares’ hard slide into second to break up a double play is the key play of the sixth, and it offers more proof that Linares can do some nice things out there.

We have seen him swing a pretty good bat, he knows how to play defense in the outfield and apparently can get dirty when he needs to.

General manager Theo Epstein is now in the booth. Have a listen.

9:08 p.m.: That’s it for Dellin Betances. He struggles mightily with his command and the Red Sox have the bases loaded with one out in the sixth. Pitching change at City of Palms Park.

One of those who reached was Adrian Gonzalez, who lined a single into right for his second hit in five plate appearances with the Red Sox.

Mid 6th, 1-1: When asked what the biggest difference will be for Bobby Jenks between closing and setting up, Terry Francona said it will be holding runners on.

As Francona points out, teams are less apt to run into outs in the ninth inning. In the seventh and eighth, they will take those chances more often. Jenks helps hold Curtis Granderson on tight in the sixth and he gets gunned out trying to steal second by Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

I’ve been on the road with Don and Jerry a few times and it’s true, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jerry outside of the park and the team plane/bus. Don, on the other hand, is like Waldo…you just find him hanging out in all sorts of places.

Dora floaties were just mentioned here in the booth. Tangent upon a tangent upon a tangent, and all of it a riot.

End 5th, 1-1: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now. If there is one thing that Ryan Kalish needs to brush up on it is his base running.

He showed himself to be too aggressive once or twice last season and has made a couple of mistakes on the paths already this spring. He’ll get it eventually, and he has great speed, but for whatever reason he’s made a few bad outs as a runner.

Good thing for the Red Sox that Dellin Betances was all over the place. He hit Marco Scutaro with his first pitch of the inning, walked Kalish on four pitches and eventually allowed Boston to plate a run on a wild pitch, his second of the inning.

Bobby Jenks, who turns 30 today and celebrated by carving in a nice little mohawk, is on the mound.

Mid 5th, Yankees 1-0: Jonathan Papelbon makes his first appearance since a rough outing at Minnesota on Friday (three runs, three hits, hit batter in 1/3 inning) and has a much better result.

Aside from leaving one pitch up that Jorge Vazquez hits to relatively deep left, Papelbon cruises in the fifth. The highlight was a filthy off-speed pitch to get wonderkid Jesus Montero.

End 4th, Yankees 1-0: If this was a late-August game in Yankee Stadium, the Sox might be kicking themselves for wasting some early chances.

They had runners galore in the first two innings but could not get anyone in. Alas, it’s March 14 and they are facing Steve Garrison. Boston goes 1-2-3 in the fourth.

Mid 4th, Yankees 1-0: Alfredo Aceves threw 49 pitches, 34 for strikes.

Dennys Reyes has now allowed one hit in four scoreless innings this spring. He’s right in the mix for a spot as one of the lefties out of the pen.

End 3rd, Yankees 1-0: Adrian Gonzalez grounds out to end a 1-2-3 third inning for the Red Sox.

To build on what the guys were saying about Mike Cameron, I saw an interesting scene with him the other day.

When the Sox made cuts on Saturday, sending 10 guys to the minor league camp, Cameron was yelling “good luck” and other encouraging words to each of them. It sounds small, but when he’s the one guy doing it out loud in the clubhouse, it means something. He’s a pretty upbeat guy, and incredibly supportive of his teammates. Always setting the right example.

Dennys Reyes is on in relief of Alfredo Aceves. Daniel Nava has replaced Carl Crawford in left. As I said earlier, Crawford is on the 7:30 a.m. bus to Lakeland. He’ll be home by the time this one reaches the sixth inning.

8:07 p.m.: After 2 2/3 scoreless innings from their young, promising lefty, the Yankees are making a change.

Steve Garrison is now on to throw to Adrian Gonzalez.

Mid 3rd, Yankees 1-0: Jacoby Ellsbury makes an early exit from this one as he is replaced by Ryan Kalish after just two innings, but you probably have no need to worry. Ellsbury is on the list for the long trip to Lakeland for a 1:05 start tomorrow.

The only other notable name in the game right now who is going to Lakeland is Carl Crawford. He has missed the last few days to rest so he might get a few more innings.

Good point by Don as I was just thinking about how the last time Alfredo Aceves threw he seemed to tire in the third inning. That goes against what he says about himself. Aceves told reporters he gains strength as the game wears on. Maybe he is still building up that strength.

And a good point by Jerry on the lack of a dive by Adrian Gonzalez on Brett Gardner’s RBI double. That must be a difficult thing in a sport where you must rely on your instincts. If there is one thing that sticks out about Gonzalez early on it is how heady he is, so he seems well prepared to avoid the dives for now. That was his first opportunity to make such a play.

Gonzalez made a heady play moments later for the second out when he knocked down a grounder and shoveled the ball to Aceves at the bag.

End 2nd, 0-0: Plenty of biting sarcasm from the fellas in regards to my soaring popularity. It’s actually a bit premature. I’m huge in Romania and in the Baltics, but my style has been slow to catch on in the states. But you can all help by continuing to follow the live blog throughout the season.

As far as baseball is concerned, David Ortiz and Mike Cameron both singled to start off the second. That gives them a collective .388 (19-for-49) mark this spring, and not many of them have been soft hits.

Marco Scutaro drew a one-out walk to load the bases but a pair of grounouts, one a force at home, keeps the Red Sox off the board. Boston has stranded four runners through two innings.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: Nice and easy for Alfredo Aceves in the top of the second. He seems to induce a lot of easy fly balls, which he does on two of the three outs in the second.

Good point by Jerry in that there really aren’t many secrets between these teams, so keeping Clay Buchholz from making this start is a bit odd. But if it makes the difference on one big pitch in one big situations down the road, why not try it.

David Ortiz leading things off here in the bottom of the second inning.

End 1st, 0-0: Adrian Gonzalez has a non-productive at-bat for the first time in his extremely brief Red Sox career. He grounds to second to strand a pair in the bottom of the first.

The Sox drew a pair of walks off highly rated Manny Banuelos in the first, and Dustin Pedroia stole a base. A very nice play by shortstop Ramiro Pena prevented that from being a more serious threat.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Whoa. Alfredo Aceves snags a liner off the bat of Nick Swisher to end the top of the first inning.

Before that we saw Ramiro Pena get on with a single and steal second easily when Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s throw is way off the mark. Many hoping that Salty is going to be a bit more accurate than that this year.

As Jerry said, ball may have slipped a bit.

6:59 p.m.: Among the treats for you guys this evening is a visit to the booth from Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein.

I’ll be sitting behind Epstein and the fellas listening in and shedding some light, in my own live-bloggy way, on some of the items they discuss.

Just a reminder, here is the info on the team’s efforts to help out those in need over in Japan. Do your part.

6:25 p.m.: The Yankees were rumored to be traveling with Mariano Rivera for this one, but he is not with the team.

Among those worth watching is starter Manny Banuelos, one of NY’s top prospects, and catcher Jesus Montero, the organization’s prize catcher.

4:48 p.m.: Clay Buchholz, the original starter for this one, is throwing a simulated game on the back field right about now. That will suffice for his work this time out and he will be able to stay in line.

Buchholz already faced New York once this spring so they wanted to keep him away.

Tim Wakefield is also throwing a simulated game. Wakefield is going through spring as if he is a starter, getting stretched out and all that. It is very likely he will get a start here and there during the regular season, so he needs to be prepared for that.

4:09 p.m.: The Red Sox are currently working on pickoffs in the infield joking around with Carl Crawford’s son in the outfield.

These night games at home afford the opportunity to get to the park early and get in plenty of practice.

Manager Terry Francona said the other day that the team’s work in these sometimes monotonous drills has been excellent. If you recall, they were sloppy bunch early in 2010. Perhaps a better March in terms of work can turn that around.

Here is your lineup for tonight’s contest. This could be the lineup Francona uses on Opening Day against Texas Rangers left-hander C.J. Wilson:

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Cameron, RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Marco Scutaro, SS

1:57 p.m.: Just settling in to the press box for this one. At around 6:30 or so I will be moving to the booth to live blog from there, complete with insight from Don and Jerry.

Look for the lineups to come your way via Twitter in a matter of moments. Should be a pretty complete batting order for the Sox in this one.

11:50 a.m.: The Yankees have scratched Sergio Mitre (ribs) for Monday night’s game and will instead go with 20-year-old southpaw, Manny Banuelos.

Banuelos is considered the club’s No. 4 minor league prospect. He was bought in 2008 from the Mexican League and was promoted to Double-A Trenton last summer. He earned a trip to the All-Star Futures Game in 2009 and was the starting hurler in the Arizona Fall League All-Star Game in 2010. He has allowed no runs on three hits while striking out eight and walking one in five innings pitched this spring.

8 a.m.: The New York Yankees will invade Fenway Park on April 8 for the Red Sox home opener. The last chance to see the two teams play before then is Monday night in the last of their two Grapefruit League meetings.

The contest at City of Palms Park is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m., and it will be televised on NESN, with yours truly sitting in the booth with Don and Jerry.

The Sox will be starting Alfredo Aceves. Clay Buchholz was originally scheduled to go but has already faced New York once and the club would rather keep him from throwing too many innings against the rivals.
Bobby Jenks is among those slated to appear out of the bullpen.