Red Sox Live Blog: Red Sox Hand Jered Weaver First Loss of 2011, Improve to 14-1 Vs. Angels Since Start of 2010

Red Sox Live Blog: Red Sox Hand Jered Weaver First Loss of 2011, Improve to 14-1 Vs. Angels Since Start of 2010

Postgame, Red Sox 9-5: Look for more on the site in a bit on a variety of items (Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz, the pregame ceremonies). We will end the live blog with a quick update on Jacoby Ellsbury, who banged his left knee in a collision with catcher Jeff Mathis in the seventh.

Ellsbury bruised the knee and was seen with a slight limp in the clubhouse, but did not immediately meet with reporters. Manager Terry Francona said he does not know yet whether Ellsbury will be able to play Tuesday or not. The center fielder will have to see how he feels after a night of sleep.

“He’s real stable,” Francona said of Ellsbury’s knee, perhaps the one negative from this patriotic, winning night for Boston.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Sox, who have to face Dan Haren for the second time this year tomorrow night. Jon Lester goes for Boston in a wonderful pitching matchup that begins at 7:10 p.m.

Thanks for following along tonight. See you all tomorrow.

Final, Red Sox 9-5: It was around this time last year when the Red Sox, then 11-14, limped home from a rough road trip to face the Angels four straight at Fenway.

The Sox swept ’em, kicking off a 38-18 surge that got them within a half-game of first place, the closes they would ever get.

Clay Buchholz got the win in the opener of that one, and does so again tonight. Both times, the offense gave him plenty of support. Perhaps this will start a similar run.

We’re off to the clubhouse for some reaction. Back soon.

10:32 p.m.: Terry Francona still has some managing to do. With one out and one on in the ninth he is calling on Hideki Okajima to face the top of the lineup.

Jonathan Papelbon is warming up and will be brought in if this one gets to Howie Kendrick with less than two outs.

End 8th, Red Sox 9-4: The Red Sox are three outs from improving to 14-1 against the Angels over the last two seasons. Or, another way to put it, all since the Anaheim sweep in the 2009 playoffs.

Boston has outscored the Angels 97-45 in that run of dominance.

Dan Wheeler and his 9.31 ERA steps to the mound to pitch the ninth. He could use a clean inning.

Jacoby Ellsbury left this game with a bruised left knee. Must’ve happened on that play at the plate in the seventh when he ran into catcher Jeff Mathis while scoring on Adrian Gonzalez’s three-run double.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 9-4: Terry Francona turned to Dan Wheeler with the hope that he can avoid having to use any of the big guns (aside from Daniel Bard, who already got a big out).

But Wheeler added a tiny bit of intrigue by serving up a two-run homer to Vernon Wells. May not be an issue, but it gets the Angels closer to at least making Jonathan Papelbon stir a bit.

By the way, the six-run seventh was Boston’s biggest output of the year for one inning.

End 7th, Red Sox 9-2: Perhaps the loudest roar of the night came on a lazy fly to Peter Bourjos to end the seventh. He had dropped an almost identical one moments earlier, his second drop against the Sox this year.

The error didn’t do any damage. Boston’s bats did before that, though. Single, single, walk, double, double, homer was the progression in the six-run outburst.

By the way, Boston has yet to score in double figures this year. It is the team’s longest stretch to start a season in team history, from what I can gather through some crude research. They’ll have one more inning to try to end it, in all likelihood.

Dan Wheeler is on to pitch the eighth.

10:00 p.m.: The Red Sox have broken it open here in the seventh. After Francisco Rodriguez came on with two in scoring position, he loaded the bases with a walk to Dustin Pedroia.

Adrian Gonzalez followed by unloading a three-run double off the extreme center-field side of the Green Monster. Kevin Youkilis then added an RBI double of his own and has moved to third on a wild pitch.

It didn’t much matter where Youkilis was standing, for David Ortiz launched a two-run shot into the Monster seats. It’s now 9-2 and Boston is still batting.

9:52 p.m.: Hisanori Takahashi was brought on to face some of the lefties in the Sox lineup. He got Carl Crawford, but a single by Jason Varitek and a double by Jacoby Ellsbury chases Takahashi.

Boston has two in scoring position with one out and Dustin Pedroia up. Francisco Rodriguez is the new pitcher.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 3-2: Daniel Bard does his job. We are to the stretch and it is time for God Bless America.

Hisanori Takahashi, a lefty, is on to face the Sox in the seventh.

The book on Clay Buchholz is as follows: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. He threw a season-high 107 pitches, 66 for strikes.

9:38 p.m.: Daniel Bard is called upon regularly to put out fires. He will have a runner on third, two outs and Bobby Abreu, who has reached base three times, to contend with after coming on for Clay Buchholz in the seventh.

Still not dominant by any stretch of the imagination, but this is the first quality start of the season for Buchholz, regardless of what happens with the inherited runner.

End 6th, Red Sox 3-2: It takes Jered Weaver 118 pitches to finish six. I would say he’s done, but he has surpassed that total twice already this season.

That said, there is plenty of action in the Angels bullpen. Same goes for Boston’s, which has Daniel Bard up. Should be a battle of the bullpens in a matter of moments.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 3-2: We gave Adrian Gonzalez a little grief for grounding out on the first pitch he saw in the fifth after Dustin Pedroia provided a 13-pitch masterpiece.

But one of the aspects of Gonzalez’s game that makes him so special is what he does on defense. After Torii Hunter doubled to lead off the sixth, Gonzalez turned a chopper to first into an out at third by firing across the diamond to nail Hunter.

That is a huge play in this game, preventing the Angels from getting the tying run 90 feet away with less than two outs. Could transform the way this game is played over the final three innings.

Jered Weaver will try to get his team to those last few frames. He jogs to the mound with a pitch count of 107.

End 5th, Red Sox 3-2: Dustin Pedroia has the tiniest limp as he walks out to second base to begin the sixth. It came when he fouled a pitch off his left foot in much the same fashion as he did last year in San Francisco, thus breaking the foot.

This time, that was just one of nine foul balls in a remarkable battle with Jered Weaver, a remarkable battle won by Pedroia, who singled up the middle to score two runs.

It may be an at-bat like that one that gets the Red Sox offense going. It also might be enough to get Weaver out of the game. He has thrown 107 pitches. Perhaps he has another inning in him, but no more than that.

Adrian Gonzalez made the last out on the first pitch. Seemed appropriate, actually. Nothing more needed to be said about the fifth.

Mid 5th, Angels 2-1: Two walks, a wild pitch and a single adds up to a run for the Angels, but it could’ve been much more if not for the glove of Dustin Pedroia.

With the bases loaded and one out, Bobby Abreu hit a comebacker that caught a piece of Clay Buchholz. Pedroia was moving toward second base when the ball was hit and had to dive back to his left to field it before flipping to second to get one.

The play saved one run and allowed Buchholz to escape with just one more out, a grounder to third.

Buchholz had to work hard in that inning. He has thrown 87 pitches.

End 4th, 1-1: Seven in a row and 10 of the last 11 retired by Jered Weaver.

Perhaps more importantly, we get some more shots of U.S. soldiers on the video board, and this place has erupted. Another loud U-S-A chant breaks out.

Seems like a good time to remind you of the Run to Home Base, which still has some spots open in its effort to raise money for veterans with traumatic brain injuries. I had the fortune to profile many of those veterans in a series of pieces last year, and their trials are very real. Sign up or support the cause if you can.

Mid 4th, 1-1: Another quick frame for Clay Buchholz and this one is settling into a bit of a tennis match. Serve to Jered Weaver.

End 3rd, 1-1: Jered Weaver has settled in nicely. Just one infield hit since the RBI single by Kevin Youkilis in the first.

We had our first “U-S-A” chant in the third. Didn’t do much for the Sox bats, but it’s always nice to hear on a day like this one.

Mid 3rd, 1-1: Slightly spotty night so far for second base umpire Wally Bell, and both of the calls in question involve Angels second baseman Maicer Izturis.

Izturis led off the game with a single that he tried to stretch into a double. He overslid the bag and was called out trying to get his foot back in there, but replays showed it to be very close. (The original safe call may have been wrong in the first place)

Izturis did the same thing in the third, only this time with two outs, which makes a lot more sense if you are on Anaheim’s side of things. The throw and Dustin Pedroia’s tag seemed to be there in plenty of time, but this time Bell called Izturis safe. Terry Francona went out for a discussion with Bell.

Moments later, Bobby Abreu singled to right to drive in the tying run.

End 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: It’s not much, but Carl Crawford is now 8-for-28 (.286) over his last eight games after beating out an infield hit in the second.

Crawford’s average is up to .176. It was in the 130s the last time these two teams met.

He is left at first base when Jason Varitek strikes out to end the inning. Varitek (.108) has some work to do to get into the 130s.

Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: A tidy 1-2-3 inning for Clay Buchholz gets him through two innings.

Buchholz’s pitch count has gone up in each of his starts this year, topping out at 104 his last time out. For whatever reason, it seems as if he has taken more time to build up his strength than some of his colleagues.

This methodical increase in work should get him to where he needs to be, for he hasn’t been the same guy that he was in 2010. Not yet, at least.

End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: No issues with Kevin Youkilis’s hip, apparently.

In his first at-bat since departing the game Saturday with a sore hip, Youkilis singles to left to drive in Jacoby Ellsbury, then races to second on the throw home and slides in safely.

Ellsbury, meanwhile, had a few notables in the first. His single extended his hitting streak to 11 games, during which he is batting .386. Ellsbury’s steal of second base, his third during the hit streak, moved him into fourth place on the team’s all-time list. It is the 142nd of his career.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Clay Buchholz gives up three singles to the first three hitters and nobody reaches third base. It’s not a riddle, folks, just something that occurs when you get a baserunning blunder and a double play.

Maicer Izturis led off with a hit toward the right-center field gap. J.D. Drew fielded and fired to second, where Izturis slid in safely but then beyond the bag. He was tagged out by Jed Lowrie attempting to get his foot back on safely. One out.

Bobby Abreu and Howie Kendrick followed with base hits before Torii Hunter hit into a 5-3 double play.

7:06 p.m.: Several nice moments here at Fenway on a special day for the country.

We had a moment of silence for the victims of 9-11 and all those who lost their lives in the ensuing wars.

The giant flag was draped over the Green Monster as the Brockton High School marching band played our national anthem.

Finally, Satch Sanders and Derek Sanderson flanked an army sergeant from Southie in the three-pitch first pitch. Each of them bounced their offering, which brought a few smiles to the faces of those on hand.

The Red Sox will take the field in a matter of moments.

6:42 p.m.: The lights have just been turned on and we are just minutes away from pregame ceremonies. Satch Sanders and Derek Sanderson will be throwing out the first pitch, in honor of the C’s and B’s and their playoff pursuits.

Just a reminder that you can catch some of the Bruins pregame on NESN right now, and then the Sox after that. The B’s game is on Vs. tonight, but you can also follow along with Doug Flynn’s live blog throughout the night. I suggest you do.

5:30 p.m.: A couple of personal notes. Some (likely very few) may have noticed I was away for a bit. It was a family reunion out of state that was planned years ago, and since I’m the fun uncle, it wouldn’t be a party if I wasn’t there.

As nice as it was, it’s great to be back on a night when the pride in the park should be something special. I recall coming to the first game at Fenway after 9-11, and sitting down the third-base line. You would’ve been hard-pressed to find someone NOT signing “God Bless America” at the top of their lungs that night, and tears were still in the eyes of some, this a week after the horrific events. We should see more of the same tonight. Be sure to tune in early to catch it all.

On that note, we will be sorely missing Jerry Remy once again, but he hopes to be back soon as he battles a bout of pneumonia. We hope to see Jerry at the park soon. Not the same without him.

5:03 p.m.: I know you are all hoping for some big nights from the bats, but it might have to wait. This is a pretty incredible run of “aces” that the Sox are running into.

Felix Hernandez on Sunday, Jered Weaver tonight and Dan Haren on Tuesday. That’s last year’s Cy Young Award winner and the two early favorites for the honor this year in consecutive games. Pretty remarkable, and one reason why Boston’s offense may remain very average for a few more days.

With Weaver, however, there is some history on the side of the Sox. He has been roughed up at Fenway Park over the years, and comes into this one sporting an unhealthy 7.76 ERA in the cozy confines. His last start hear, coincidentally, was also opposite Clay Buchholz. The Sox scored six off Weaver in five innings while Buchholz tossed seven scoreless in a 6-0 win.

Terry Francona talked a bit about the process in preparing for a guy throwing as well as Weaver is right now.

“There are nights you go into games knowing you have to battle to win this,” he said. “This guy’s good tonight. He’s feeling pretty good about himself. He’s leading the league in almost everything. You might not knock the ball out of the ballpark, but it’s satisfying if you find a way to beat him.”

Essentially, it’s a grind, but if you wind up on the right end of the score, you’ve done your job. So much of that will depend upon Buchholz, the one starter (including Tim Wakefield) who has yet to really get into this run of dominance. Boston starters have held opponents to five runs or less in 15 straight games, sporting a major league-best 2.15 ERA in that stretch. Time for Buchholz to join the party, don’t you think?

4:43 p.m.: Josh Beckett’s side session today went just fine. He was under the watchful eye of pitching coach Curt Young and manager Terry Francona and is prepared for his start Wednesday.

That outing will be on six day’s rest, as will Daisuke Matsuzaka’s on Friday. Francona explains the reasoning for the shuffle:

“Dice came out of the game the other night. Trying to buy him a couple of days. He says he doesn’t need it. I think when somebody comes out like that we’d like to make sure they’re OK.

“[Buchholz] was sick, which we talked about. We leaned on Beckett pretty hard there a couple of games and we don’t have days off coming up, so just wanted to try to get everybody situated where they all feel as good about themselves as they can physically.”

There isn’t a day off for the Sox until next Thursday, and after that comes 20 games in 20 days, a critical stretch for a last-place team, even if it is only by five games. Making sure that a guy like Beckett is fully prepared to tackle the stretch is rather important. Can you imagine where the team would be without him doing his thing.

Francona cannot, or at least would rather not get to that point.

“Just want to monitor the workload so he can go out and be Beckett,” he said.

4:24 p.m.: The sign in the Red Sox clubhouse said it all: “Everyone in dugout for the national anthem.”

Indeed, there will be a heavy dose of patriotism in the park tonight, complete with a moment of silence for 9-11 victims. If you are heading to the park, come early and get in your seat to feel the pride.

There are baseball matters to which we need to attend. Let me transcribe a few quotes and get back to you regarding the rotation shuffle and what not.

3:35 p.m.: Heading down to clubhouse and to hear from Terry Francona in a moment. Just wanted to pass along the Red Sox rotation for the next few days.

Jon Lester will go Tuesday, followed by Josh Beckett and then John Lackey in the finale of the four-game series.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, who left his start Friday night vs. Seattle, will likely draw the assignment on Friday again when Minnesota rolls into town. We should get all the info from Francona soon.

3:21 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where the flag is flying a bit higher today, it seems.

Actually, the giant American flag normally unfurled for special events is being laid out in left field in preparation for its use in whatever pregame ceremonies we receive. Should be plenty of pride in the park tonight.

Here is the Red Sox lineup for this one:

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
J.D. Drew, RF
Jed Lowrie, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Jason Varitek, C

8 a.m.: The Red Sox will look to continue their dominance over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim when they begin a four-game series at Fenway Park on Monday night.

In sweeping the Angels four straight last week in Anaheim, the Sox improved their mark in the rivalry to 13-1 over the last two years. Boston took four from the Angels in Fenway last May.

The most recent sweep came on the strength of the starting rotation. The Red Sox held Anaheim to five runs in the four wins. A shuffled rotation gives Clay Buchholz, who was scratched from his scheduled start Sunday with an illness, the chance to keep that run going on Monday.

Buchholz was the one starter who did not appear in the series last week. He is 4-2 with a 4.17 ERA against the Angels in his career.

Jered Weaver was the one Anaheim pitcher to miss the four-game set. He is expected to get the start opposite Buchholz after also being scratched Sunday with an illness. Weaver is 6-0 with a 0.99 ERA this year.

First pitch for this one is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.

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