Postgame, Red Sox 1-0: Since this is our closing post of the night, why not a little talk about the closer.
Jonathan Papelbon did give up a leadoff double in a one-run game, but what he did after that was the latest example of him being locked in.
Papelbon got a weak grounder to third and then blew away consecutive hitters on fastballs. It was his eighth save and improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio to 23:2, a phenomenal figure.
“I feel like my mechanics are where they need to be,” he said. “I’m able to switch gears and put a little more intensity behind my pitches. My mechanics, my delivery. The ball’s coming out of my hand the way it should be, and if I can stick with that, I should be allright.”
The heaters he threw by Alex Avila and Ryan Raburn to end it were both clocked at 96 mph.
“My fastball has life at the plate, and for me that’s obviously a big key,” Papelbon said.
Considering what Papelbon went through in a down year in 2010, his early efforts are notable.
“He looks really focused and his stuff is really good,” Terry Francona said. “And what’s nice is it’s consistently good.”
That’s exactly what the Red Sox have been for a solid week now. They have won five in a row for the second time this year and will enter Thursday’s series finale two games above .500 for the first time all year.
It will be a great matchup on the mound when Justin Verlander goes for Detroit against Boston’s Josh Beckett. Make sure to stop in and see what we have to say about it.
Final, Red Sox 1-0: The Tigers finish 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and the last two of those outs had to painful on their side of things.
Detroit got a runner to third with just one out in the ninth. Jonathan Papelbon struck out Alex Avila with a 96-mph fastball and Ryan Raburn on one that clocked in at an identical speed.
Phenomenal pitching night for the Sox.
Heading down to get some feedback. See you soon.
End 8th, Red Sox 1-0: This is the first time all year that Jarrod Saltalamacchia has had extra-base hits in consecutive games. The Sox don’t need him to be Johnny Bench at the plate, but a little more pop like that will suffice.
Jonathan Papelbon is on to get the last three outs, or die trying.
10:23 p.m.: I’ve been telling anyone who will listen (few do) that Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been stinging the ball of late, even if the results aren’t always there.
He just tattooed a Daniel Schlereth offering off the Green Monster to score Carl Crawford all the way from first base. Saltalamacchia’s average is up to .221. It was at .194 on May 5.
Schlereth then hit Jacoby Ellsbury with a pitch, prompting Jim Leyland to make another pitching change. Here comes Al Alburquerque and his band of outlaws.
10:11 p.m.: No surprise here. The Tigers go to a lefty to face Carl Crawford with two outs in the eighth. It is Daniel Schlereth.
And yes, the rain is coming down rather hard once again.
Mid 8th, 0-0: Well, I didn’t see the fly ball off the bat of Miguel Cabrera. Neither did Mike Cameron, who battles through the fog and rain drops to find it and make the grab at his hip to finish the eight.
The bleachers are shrouded from our view up here. The outfielders look like ghosts. The scoreboard just flashed Moonlight Graham’s lifetime stats.
Ryan Pepsi…I mean, Perry, is on in relief of Phil Coke.
9:58 p.m.: We are under way. Again.
9:55 p.m.: A righty is up in the Tigers bullpen. Through the fog, it looks like Jack Morris.
That means Phil Coke may be done.
9:47 p.m.: The Red Sox have announced that the game will resume at 10 p.m. Daniel Bard is facing Scott Sizemore with a 1-0 count.
It will be interesting to see if Phil Coke comes back. It might depend on how long the top of the eighth lasts.
9:32 p.m.: Well, we knew another wave was coming. It is pouring here. The tarp is on the field. Keep it here for all the updates. It looks like there is a let-up at around 10 p.m.
Daniel Bard threw one pitch in the top of the eighth. Probably have him on some IVs right now, and oxygen.
End 7th, 0-0: A fantastic catch by Scott Sizemore to end the seventh, but a bit troubling that Kevin Youkilis forgot how many outs there were.
Youkilis was on first following a two-out walk. David Ortiz popped one into shallow right-center field. Sizemore, heading back into a driving rain, made a sliding grab looking back over his shoulder.
Had it fallen, Youkilis would’ve only been at second. If he was running the whole way, he’s on third. Might not matter much with two outs, but you never know when a passed ball or wild pitch comes your way.
Anyway, Phil Coke needs only 10 pitches for that inning and has thrown 78 overall. He may go 16 in this one.
Mid 7th, 0-0: Good drama at Fenway Park in the seventh.
After plunking two men and giving up a single (not in that order), Clay Buchholz is given a chance to get out of his own mess, despite having a pitch count higher than any in his career.
Naturally, a long duel ensues with Austin Jackson. Buchholz finally wins it with a strikeout on his 127th pitch.
Buchholz has left a runner in scoring position in four straight innings and a runner on base in five straight. He is done after an effort that lowers his ERA to 3.42. Just two runs allowed in his last three starts.
End 6th, 0-0: This is why the Red Sox cannot move Carl Crawford up anytime soon — he is an automatic out against left-handers right now.
Even if he gets a hit or two against a righty early in a game, that’s a big hole amid your best hitters once the opposition goes to a southpaw out of the pen.
Crawford is 0-for-2 with two strikeouts against Phil Coke, and 7-for-50 (.140) with 10 Ks against lefties on the year.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed by striking out and Jacoby Ellsbury lined to second. A quick 1-2-3 for Coke, who has thrown only 68 pitches. Talk about economical.
Mid 6th, 0-0: Escapability is often a term reserved for running backs or wide receivers. It can apply to Clay Buchholz over the past few innings.
Buchholz gave up a leadoff double to Austin Jackson in the sixth. Jackson was pushed to third on a sacrifice bunt, and with the Nos. 3 and 4 hitters coming up, the Tigers were set up to finally break through.
Buchholz won another long fight with Brennan Boesch, who popped to second for a big second out. Miguel Cabrera then grounded to third. Inning over. Buchholz will head to the seventh having thrown 100 pitches. Nobody is warming.
End 5th, 0-0: Jed Lowrie upped his average against left-handers to .444 (20-for-45) with a two-out single in the fifth.
Mike Cameron followed with a drive that got a little rise out of the wet and weary, but it died in left-center field. Easy catch for Austin Jackson.
And with that, Phil Coke is through five scoreless. He has a 3.03 ERA on the road this year.
Mid 5th, 0-0: With the windows down in the press box, the fog envoloping Fenway and the crowd noise minimal, it feels as if this game is being played in a fish bowl.
The pitching has a lot to do with that. Not much doing for either side.
Clay Buchholz survived a one-out double by Alex Avila to post another zero.
Over his last 18 2/3 innings, Buchholz has given up only two runs, both of them coming on Russell Martin’s two-run homer in New York on Friday. Other than that, nothing.
End 4th, 0-0: Adrian Gonzalez has now hit into nine double plays after a 1-6-3 job ends the fourth. Only two players in all of baseball had hit into more DPs entering the night.
Obviously, Gonzalez is a bust.
Clay Buchholz takes the mound to start the fifth with a pitch count of 71. The bullpen is very rested for when Buchholz hits his limit.
Mid 4th, 0-0: Mike Cameron has not been involved in much, outside of his two-homer game a short time ago.
But you have to give him credit for always showing his leather when he gets in there. He rarely misses a beat defensively, and saved Clay Buchholz in the fourth.
Buchholz gave up a double to Miguel Cabrera with two outs, the first hit of the night for Detroit. Victor Martinez, who was the man behind the plate for almost all of Buchholz’s phenomenal 2010 campaign, then lined one toward the corner in right.
We’ve made mention of how tough it is on the outfielders tonight with the fog. Cameron picked up the drive right off the bat and made a sliding grab on the track near the pole.
End 3rd, 0-0: Clay Buchholz has yet to allow a hit, but Phil Coke is the only one to still have faced the minimum.
Coke slices through the bottom third of the lineup in the third. Mike Cameron grounds to short, Carl Crawford strikes out and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hits a fly to right that gives Brennan Boesch a few issues due to the fog/mist.
Boesch caught it falling to the ground after turning himself around a couple of times. Not an easy night to get a good read off the bat.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: Clay Buchholz had 10 strikeouts and 14 walks through his first 21 1/3 innings this year.
Since then? Try 24 strikeouts and seven walks.
Of course, one of the free passes came with two outs in the second to No. 9 hitter Brandon Inge, so that ain’t great. But you understand the point — his command has been excellent.
Dustin Pedroia may have saved Buchholz a bit by following up the walk with a spectacular diving stop of a one-hop hot shot off the bat of Austin Jackson.
End 2nd, 0-0: In saving his own life, Miguel Cabrera also stifled a potential Red Sox rally in the second.
Kevin Youkilis led it off with a single. David Ortiz then hit a bullet that was ticketed for Cabrera’s face.
The Tigers slugger snagged it and stepped on first for the double play. There was nothing Youkilis could do.
Jed Lowrie flew to right for the final out.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Perhaps the weather had something to do with it, but that was an extremely tepid reaction for Victor Martinez’s return to Fenway Park.
Someone joked in the press box that maybe the fans couldn’t see him through the fog and didn’t even know who it was. Regardless, not much noise for a guy that just called his days in Boston the best in his career!!!
Anyway, Martinez grounded to second for one of the three straight outs in the second. Clay Buchholz picked up his third strikeout to end the inning.
End 1st, 0-0: Long at-bats seem to be the rule of the day.
After Clay Buchholz goes to a full count on each of the three men he faced in the top of the first, Phil Coke does the same on the first two he sees in the bottom half.
Dustin Pedroia won his war with Coke (rehab helped) by dropping a single through the fog into center field. Adrian Gonzalez grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end it.
Mid 1st, 0-0: And then there’s Clay Buchholz, who has barely been mentioned amid the injury and weather news all day.
Buchholz was electric in his prior outing against New York, easily the best he has looked all year. He picked up right where he left off with a pretty good opening frame, pumping in plenty of fastballs in the mid-90s. The Tigers did make him work, however.
Buchholz did go to a full count on all three hitters. He finished the first two off with heaters and then survived an 11-pitch battle with Brennan Boesch by inducing a long fly to center.
Buchholz had to throw 26 pitches.
7:09 p.m.: The Red Sox have taken the field and the radar looks pretty good right now, so we are good to go. For now.
There is a pretty notable fog, making the bleachers a bit hard to see from the press box.
Also, if anyone is a major player on Twitter and interested in all things Red Sox, you might want to attend the Red Sox TweetUp tomorrow afternoon at the park. I will be making an appearance, autographs going for $500, photos for $1,000.
In all seriousness, it would be a great time to meet some Red Sox and NESN personalities and to talk about how Twitter can further our Red Sox experience. Hopefully the rain holds off. If so, see you there!
6:21 p.m.: The tarp is being peeled off the field, although this may just be that “dump the water” maneuver that gets everyone all giddy, only to break their heart when it goes back on. The dark side of me finds it hilarious.
6:01 p.m.: As expected, the rain has intensified. Unlike last night, they won’t call it ahead of time. Detroit doesn’t come back to Fenway again all year, and has to play at Pittsburgh on Friday.
It is possible there will be a doubleheader tomorrow, but it will be wet then as well. Basically, you can’t win. Unless you somehow get this game in. That’s why we could be here for a long time tonight.
5:28 p.m.: A light rain fell as we got a chance to catch up with Victor Martinez in the Tigers dugout. Martinez called his time with Boston as “the best time in his career” and he said he did want to come back, but it was part of the business of baseball.
We will have more from Martinez after some transcribing. His son, Victor Jose, and David Ortiz’s son, D’Angelo, have been all over the place tonight in their respective fathers’ uniforms. They played toss in front of the Red Sox dugout earlier in the day, and Victor Jose was called into Terry Francona’s office for a “scolding,” a common occurence last year when he and D’Angelo were a constant presence in the clubhouse.
4:49 p.m.: Nothing has really changed on the weather front. If a game can be called on account of fog, this one would be in jeopardy.
Terry Francona said he heard encouraging reports and there is a general sense that we will get this game in. I’ve said that before and God has decided to unleash his wrath just moments later, so who knows.
The news on Daisuke Matsuzaka is that he has a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and a strain to his common flexor mass. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks, but there is no expectation he will be able to pick up a ball at that point. In all likelihood, Matsuzaka will begin throwing in four weeks or so, then go to a rehab assignment a few weeks after that.
We’re probably looking at 45-60 days before he is in the conversation again. Of course, that could all change if he has improvement at the next examination.
Look for more from Matsuzaka in a separate story on the site.
Here is the Detroit lineup against Clay Buchholz:
Austin Jackson, CF
Scott Sizemore, 2B
Brennan Boesch, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Alex Avila, C
Ryan Raburn, LF
Brandon Inge, 3B
3:29 p.m.: About to head down to the clubhouse and then Terry Francona’s briefing. Not much has changed with the weather.
Bobby Jenks was just out throwing on flat ground, his second straight day of that. We may have news on a rehab assignment for him pretty soon.
Also, you are aware of the return of Victor Martinez. He is speaking with all of us a little after 5:00, so we will have his reaction on coming back to Boston.
The Red Sox PR team released a weather statement moments ago, calling for “a chance of scattered light rain showers during the late afternoon and early evening hours.” Make of that what you will. Gates still scheduled to open at 5:40 p.m.
2:58 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where the tarp is on and a heavy fog sits over the area. Still noting falling from the sky, but give it some time.
Following is a quick glimpse at the Red Sox lineup against left-hander Phil Coke. We’ll remove it later and then have a quiz.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Jed Lowrie, SS
Mike Cameron, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
1:52 p.m.: About to head into Fenway and it remains somewhat dry outside. The latest hourly forceast shows some heavy stuff arriving around 6 p.m., and then providing a pretty constant presence through the night.
With Clay Buchholz on the mound against Phil Coke, and no Bruins on the old tube, the Sox will probably try a bit harder to get this one in.
I’ll have the updates as I get them from the park.
8 a.m.: More rain is in the forecast for when the Red Sox get set to open a two-game series with the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night.
Boston’s meeting with Baltimore on Tuesday was rained out. The wet stuff is expected to stick around for a few more days, making this one an uncertainty as well.
If and when they begin play, it’ll be Clay Buchholz against lefty Phil Coke. Buchholz is coming off his finest effort of the year Friday night in New York. He limited the Yankees to two runs in seven innings.
Buchholz is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in his career against Detroit.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Keep it here for updates on the weather throughout the day.
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