Postgame, Yankees 9-4: There remains no amount of panic in the Red Sox clubhouse, but there is a growing sense that this team needs to buckle down. Not that it isn't trying, that's not the case, but there has to be improvements in many areas.
Chief among those is the pitching. The team ERA is now at 7.09. However, the support from the offense remains spotty, particularly due to wasted chances with men on.
After a 1-for-17 effort with runners in scoring position Sunday, the team batting average in such situations is .197 (14-for-71).
With a night game Sunday, many players will be in early for some extra work, trying to find what Terry Francona needs to see.
"Try to be consistent," Francona said when asked what is needed to turn things around. "I think we feel like we're going to have a good team. Sometimes when you don't want to be patient, I think you have to. Carl Crawford is going to hit, Youkilis is going to hit. I hope it starts tomorrow. Those guys have good track records, if they stay healthy, they're going to hit. How many times have you heard me say as cold as guys get they get just as hot?
"It would be nice if it starts tomorrow. We're facing a good pitcher tomorrow."
CC Sabathia is that good pitcher and he opposes Josh Beckett, who has had his fair share of struggles against the Yankees. First pitch is 8:05 p.m. We will be here hours before to bring you all the news and notes leading up to the start.
Thanks for following along today.
Final, Yankees 9-4: Dustin Pedroia finishes his second straight three-hit effort with a leadoff double in the ninth. Kevin Youkilis walked one out later as Mariano Rivera got up in the New York bullpen.
But David Ortiz hits into a 1-4-6-3 double play and the game is over. The Red Sox are 1-7. Heading down to hear how that feels.
Mid 9th, Yankees 9-4: Tim Wakefield does his job in the ninth and we have three outs to go before another quiet clubhouse.
Kevin Millar has left his seat next to the Red Sox dugout (John Henry's seats). That leaves about 20,000 in this place.
End 8th, Yankees 9-4: Two more guys are stranded in the eighth, and this place is dead. Several fans heading for the exits as thoughts of 1-7 dance in their heads, alongside sugar plum fairies, of course.
Tim Wakefield is on for his second inning of work.
Remember, the Yankees get to turn to their ace, CC Sabathia, in the finale, which doesn't make things any easier.
Also, Tampa Bay is winning early in its game in Chicago. If the Rays win and this score holds, Boston will sit in last place on its own for the first time.
Mid 8th, Yankees 9-4: Tim Wakefield puts the first zero on the board for the Red Sox since the third inning. It won't mean much to anyone right now, but Wakefield has been pretty effective in his five innings of relief this year, getting stung by a pair of solo homers and nothing else.
Jeez. Guess the search for positives is getting pretty difficult when you're posting a guy's mop-up stats and giving him credit for them.
Anyway, Luis Ayala is on to pitch the eighth for New York. Eight straight Red Sox hitters have been retired.
End 7th, Yankees 9-4: As the Yankees bullpen rolls along and the Red Sox pitchers continue to receive treatment for whiplash, there is news that New York has signed Carlos Silva, who won 10 games for the Chicago Cubs last year.
It ain't much, but they're adding some depth to what is still a somewhat shaky rotation as long as Phil Hughes struggles and Ivan Nova remains a work in progress.
Thing is, the Red Sox have pitching problems of their own. In fact, they're even more severe from an effectiveness standpoint. But there isn't too much you can do at this point, at least for the starting rotation. Silva wouldn't replace John Lackey or Clay Buchholz. These guys have to get right and get right in a hurry before this becomes insurmountable. If not, something will be done in time. We're just not there yet, as frustrating as it must be for Red Sox fans to watch.
Tim Wakefield will pitch the eighth and perhaps the ninth for Boston.
Mid 7th, Yankees 9-4: Red Sox pitchers have held the Yankees off the board in six of the 16 innings so far this series after Russell Martin goes deep for the second time in this game.
Boston pitchers have been grooving pitches left and right all season. I mean, really grooving them. Mid, maybe high 80s with no movement kind of stuff. Just so little power behind the deliveries, for whatever reason.
That's now 19 home runs in 64 innings, just slightly lower than one every three. Yikes.
Joba Chamberlain is in for the Yanks. Tim Wakefield was up and warming a moment ago for Boston.
End 6th, Yankees 8-4: David Robertson has set down all five men he has faced.
Makes you think about all those missed chances against Ivan Nova. Sure, Boston got four runs off of him in 4 1/3 innings, but the 1-for-13 mark with runners in scoring position just looms over this one.
So, too, does the continued lack of pitching. One quality start all year and it came in a losing effort in Cleveland. A whole lot of ugliness going on.
Mid 6th, Yankees 8-4: Alfredo Aceves was one out from having a scoreless inning against his former team for the second straight day.
That usually means nothing when you are facing the Yankees. Robinson Cano continues his torture of Red Sox pitching by crushing a soft something-or-other from Aceves about 20 rows into the right field grandstand seats.
Cano is now hitting .368 (84-for-228) with 11 home runs in his career at Fenway Park.
Boston pitching has given up 18 home runs this season. No team in MLB has allowed more than 13.
But hey, these new video scoreboards look fantastic!
End 5th, Yankees 7-4: Just as we said the double play Robinson Cano could not turn could be a huge play in this game, so too might the strikeout of Jed Lowrie in the fifth.
Lowrie stepped in with two on and one out against Yankees reliever David Robertson. The eighth pitch of the at-bat was a fastball right down the middle that Lowrie watched go by for a called third strike.
That brought up the struggling Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who grounded weakly to first to fall to .143 (3-for-21) with nine strikeouts.
Boston is now 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Alfredo Aceves is the third Red Sox pitcher of the afternoon.
3:28 p.m.: Ivan Nova will not be given the chance for a win. He is taken out with one out in the fifth inning of a game on pace to end Tuesday.
David Robertson is on to face Jed Lowrie with runners at first and second.
Mid 5th, Yankees 7-4: Red Sox pitchers have given up 17 home runs this season. No other team in all of baseball has surrendered more than 13. With the Yankees in town that number figures to soar past 20 real soon.
Curtis Granderson has been a player for the Yankees in this one. He walked in the second and then again in the fourth to start a three-run rally. The home run he hit was his sixth in 21 career games at Fenway Park.
That might be it for Felix Doubront. Alfredo Aceves is warming in the Red Sox bullpen.
3:11 p.m.: Curtis Granderson has struck a two-run homer down the line in right. Yankees have 11 hits and there are no outs in the fifth.
End 4th, Yankees 5-4: The Red Sox had been 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position before Dustin Pedroia ripped a two-run double with two outs in the fourth.
The key play in the inning, and perhaps the game depending on how things go, was Robinson Cano's inability to make the turn on a potential inning-ending double play.
That allowed Carl Crawford to extend the inning with a hit-and-run single to center. Pedroia then improved to 5-for-7 with five RBIs in the series with a drive off the center field wall to score Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury before him.
Ivan Nova had been flirting with issues. It was just a matter of time before Boston got a hit in a big spot, and there's nobody better at it right now than Pedroia, whose average is up to .345.
Mid 4th, Yankees 5-1: The tone was set in the fourth with a 10-pitch walk by Curtis Granderson. He then had Buchholz throwing over plenty, and as is often the case in those situations, the hitter (Eric Chavez) capitalizes.
Chavez doubled for the second time of the game and Russell Martin followed by hitting a hanging curve into the seats over the Monster.
Nobody else scored but Buchholz continued to labor and the Red Sox only got out of it after Felix Doubront came out of the pen to strike out Robinson Cano.
Buchholz becomes the second Boston starter in eight games to last just 3 2/3 innings, and his effort has pushed the team ERA to 7.08.
Doubront needed just three strikes to get Cano. That was the first guy he has faced in a game all year. He only threw in simulations in spring training, to the best of my recollection.
2:43 p.m.: Clay Buchholz did not have it, and the team ERA has soared back over 7.00. He is still responsible for Derek Jeter at second and Alex Rodriguez at first.
Terry Francona said he was excited to have Felix Doubront back in the bullpen, but he probably didn't want to have to use him in a spot like this. Yanks up 5-1 with two outs here in fourth.
2:35 p.m.: Clay Buchholz struggling mightily in the fourth and the Yankees are doing what they do best, working long at-bats and hammering mistakes. It's 5-1 New York after a three-run shot by Russell Martin.
End 3rd, Yankees 2-1: Kevin Youkilis is 0-for-17 going back to the Texas series but he gets his second RBI on a grounder to short.
Dustin Pedroia came in on the play. He doubled to lead off the inning and is 4-for-6 with a home run and a walk in the series.
Mid 3rd, Yankees 2-0: Two singles give the Yankees another threat, but the only casualty in the third is Clay Buchholz's rising pitch count. It is at 60 through three.
To update the earlier numbers, Robinson Cano is now 9-for-17 against Clay Buchholz.
End 2nd, Yankees 2-0: The Red Sox are getting men on against Ivan Nova but have nothing to show for it. Credit the Yankees' defense with getting him out of the second.
J.D. Drew and Jed Lowrie led off with singles. Following a strikeout of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jacoby Ellsbury lofted a fly to shallow left that was caught by a sliding Brett Gardner.
Carl Crawford then grounded one to Derek Jeter's right. The NY captain had but one play, to third base, as his momentum was entirely in that direction. He flipped it to a retreating Alex Rodriguez, who tagged Drew, even though a touch of the bag would've sufficed. Actually looked like Drew might've had his foot in there.
Still, solid D for the Yanks. Boston is now 13-for-58 (.224) with runners in scoring position this year.
Mid 2nd, Yankees 2-0: The Red Sox ended their winless streak Friday but they kept alive a run of falling behind at some point. That streak is now at eight after the Yankees strike first with the help of a Jed Lowrie error.
Alex Rodriguez led things off with a soft grounder to short that skipped a bit on Lowrie and hit off the tip of his glove. The Red Sox are breaking in a new infield and perhaps that played into it.
In any event, Robinson Cano then smoked a ball off the wall in center for a double that put two men in scoring position with no outs. Nick Swisher's grounder to second got a run in. Cano is now 8-for-16 vs. Clay Buchholz.
New York wasn't done, however. Curtis Granderson worked a walk and Eric Chavez, the Yanks DH today, sent a double off the Green Monster to make it 2-0.
Buchholz got a grounder that cut down Curtis Granderson at home and Brett Gardner was a strikeout victim to end it. Buchholz threw 23 pitches in the inning.
End 1st, 0-0: Among the many things Dustin Pedroia mentioned in a postgame scrum Friday was that the lineup needs to get back to working pitchers and grinding out at-bats, even if the results aren't always there.
Facing the relatively untested Ivan Nova, Pedroia works a one-out walk and Adrian Gonzalez then stares at four out of the zone to give the Red Sox a serious threat.
Until Kevin Youkilis gets going, many of those first-inning threats will be fruitless. Youkilis struck out on a slider to fall to 2-for-21 (.095) with seven strikeouts. He has looked off at the plate for several weeks stretching back to spring training.
David Ortiz followed with a fly to left (wind knocked it down) and Nova had worked out of the mess. Big for the young righty to fight back right there.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Derek Jeter works a one-out walk against Clay Buchholz to immediately put the pressure on Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who has had his share of throwing issues early on.
Jeter goes on the third pitch of the next at-bat, but Salty's throw is right on the money. Easily his best throw of the year.
Buchholz then strikes out Mark Teixeira and the Red Sox have a pretty good start to this one.
12:43 p.m.: Just enjoyed some quality lunch with the great Brian Rabuffetti, a quality individual if ever there was one.
We've gone back to our respective posts and are getting set for the second game of the set. Absolutely perfect conditions for this one.
The word is that UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun is on hand to throw out the first pitch.
11:49 a.m.: The middle of this Yankees lineup will hurt a lot of pitchers this season. Clay Buchholz knows that all too well.
Buchholz has been victimized by the big bats in this order before. The 2-5 hitters — Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano — are a combined 19-for-49 (.388) with three home runs and a pair of doubles vs. the righty.
OK, off to grab some lunch. Back in a bit.
11:31 a.m.: You may have heard about the pregame meeting that the Red Sox had Friday afternoon. The players commented on it a bit after the 9-6 win, saying it helped to get everyone on the same page.
On Saturday, the man who called the meeting, manager Terry Francona, shed light on its purpose and its impact.
"Just seemed like it made common sense. I don't think you ever have a meeting for that day. If you do that, again, it would be like football every Sunday.
"From my point we just wanted to reassure guys that it's 'we.'
When general manager Theo Epstein learned of the get-together, he wanted in, asking Francona for a chance to say his piece and let the players know that there was still plenty of confidence in what they could achieve.
"Theo spoke and I thought he spoke way more eloquently than I ever could," Francona said. "And I thought he spoke from the heart, which is probably more important."
The focus was just to let the players know that an 0-6 start, while disappointing, is not going to change the way the organization feels about the team it has assembled.
Daniel Bard said yesterday that it was important for guys to be reminded to "take a deep breath, do your job and the team will be pretty good."
Francona said Saturday that that was one purpose, but another was to let the players know that they were not separate from the coaches and staff.
"Sometimes everybody just needs to know that it's easy to sit up here and talk about how well guys are doing, but when we’re not doing as well as we would want to do, I want them to understand it's 'we.' And I include myself in that, I feel very responsible.
"I don’t want it to be that when we win it's us and when we lose it's them. That's never how we would do it. I want these guys to know we're with them."
It was just a quick session, but these things have a way of igniting a club. If we're looking at a 96-win team in late-September, some people might point to that session as a catalyst. That's not a prediction, just something to think about.
10:59 a.m.: For those of you wondering about the Jed Lowrie for Marco Scutaro swap, it's just for a day. Nothing to read into it, at least for now.
Terry Francona said he wants Scutaro to be in there when the Yankees throw CC Sabathia on Sunday.
Scutaro is a career .321 (9-for-28) hitter with five walks against Sabathia.
What may have caught the eye of some is that Lowrie is in there against a right-hander today. He figured to get most of his starts vs. left-handers. However, there is the Sabathia matchup with Scutaro, and the fact that the Red Sox are in a run of facing five straight righties. There will be many such stretches this year, but it doesn't mean Scutaro will play all the way through. Lowrie has to get some reps from both sides of the plate.
Another item being discussed the past couple of days is the new infield here at Fenway. The grounds crew installed it after getting complaints from players for a number of years. Early reviews are positive.
"I think it looks beautiful. The texture of the dirt is very good," Francona said.
The problem in the past was the infield's inconsistency. It would play different depending upon the weather conditions and what not, and could frustrate both Red Sox players and visitors.
Francona also spoke to the Manny Ramirez situation, and on the pregame meeting yesterday that seemed to help the club settle down before the opener. Look for more on the site in a bit.
10:20 a.m.: Just heard from Terry Francona and a few of the fellas in the clubhouse. We will have more news and notes in a bit. Here is the Yankees lineup against Clay Buchholz:
Brett Gardner, LF
Derek Jeter, SS
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Curtis Granderson, CF
Eric Chavez, DH
Russell Martin, C
9:19 a.m.: As promised, here is that lineup. Note the new spot for Jacoby Ellsbury:
Carl Crawford, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
J.D. Drew, RF
Jed Lowrie, SS
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
9:09 a.m.: Fenway Park is absolutely sparkling this morning. Just a beautiful day for a game in early April.
We will have the lineups over to you momentarily and then all the pregame news and notes. Figures to be a much different atmosphere than Friday, simply for the fact that the ceremonies are done with and so too is the winless mark, even though the scoreboard in left still says 0-6.
8 a.m. With the monkey off their collective back, the Red Sox get back to business on Saturday when they host the New York Yankees in the second of three straight.
Behind a 12-hit attack and a dominant performance by the bullpen, Boston finally picked up its first win of the season Friday afternoon. It was the team's seventh straight win in home openers.
Clay Buchholz, who had an uneven start in his 2011 debut Sunday in Texas, gets the start. He gave up four runs — all on solo homers — in 6 1/3 innings. Buchholz is 1-2 with a 5.79 ERA in his career against New York.
Ivan Nova will get the ball for the Yankees. He gave up five runs on eight hits and six walks in seven total innings vs. the Red Sox last season.
First pitch is 1:10 p.m.
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