Red Sox Live Blog: Jon Lester Dominates as Red Sox Rout White Sox 10-2

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July 30, 2011

Red Sox Live Blog: Jon Lester Dominates as Red Sox Rout White Sox 10-2

 

Final, Red Sox 10-2: The Red Sox acquire a quality starter and a veteran infielder on the same day they rout the White Sox.

May go down as a huge day for the club. However, the biggest positive was the work of Jon Lester, who was extremely good in his second start off the disabled list

Boston wins for just the third time in its last 17 meetings with Chicago. It will finish the night with a two-game lead in the AL East.

But, as the saying goes, you're only as strong as your next day's starting pitcher. That would be Andrew Miller, who has been very inconsistent and is coming off a disastrous start at home against Kansas City.

Miller will toe the rubber opposite veteran lefty Mark Buehrle in a 2:10 p.m. affair on Sunday. Tune in to NESN at 1 p.m. for our Trade Deadline Special, and follow our Trade Deadline Live Blog, as well as the Red Sox Live Blog, from the moment you wake up.

Thanks for following along tonight.

Mid 9th, Red Sox 10-2: Matt Thornton has to come on to get Jacoby Ellsbury.

Jon Lester will have his 11th win once Dan Wheeler finishes this one off. Wheeler has Mike Aviles as his third baseman, marking the infielder's debut in a Red Sox uniforms.

9:56 p.m.: Adrian Gonzalez had not homered since July 7 and had just one since June 25 before he completely crushed a Brian Bruney offering in the ninth.

It was a two-run shot (Dustin Pedroia had singled), and it came in advance of a solo shot by Kevin Youkilis.

Gonzalez is an eye-popping 21-for-37 (.553) during his nine-game hitting streak. There hadn't been a lot of power in the run, but that one was a no-doubter.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia later added an RBI double and Marco Scutaro just singled him in, chasing Bruney.

This one be ovah.

Then we can start talking about Rich Harden, who would be on track to pitch Tuesday at Fenway Park.

End 8th, Red Sox 5-2: Two mistakes all game for Jon Lester, as he gives up a solo homer to Gordon Beckham and figures to pass this one off to the bullpen.

And it looks as if Lester will soon be getting a new teammate on the mound. Multiple reports are saying that Rich Harden is on his way to Boston in exchange for Lars Anderson.

We will have full analysis on the postgame, and on the site, when it is made official.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 5-1: Alex Rios baseball, folks.

The overpaid, underachieving White Sox outfielder just gifted a run to the Red Sox, although credit should be given to Josh Reddick and third base coach Tim Bogar for taking note of Rios' laziness.

After Reddick walked with two outs, Marco Scutaro singled to the right-center field gap.

Rios came over to cut it off but was nonchalant in his footwork as Reddick motored toward third. Noticing that Rios was taking his time getting set, Bogar waved in Reddick, who scored without a throw.

Rios was recently benched for poor play, and for stuff like this. That won't win him any friends.

End 7th, Red Sox 4-1: Despite the fact that he had yet to be scored upon, it was less shocking that Jon Lester gave up a solo homer than the fact that he issued a walk in the seventh.

Why? The matchups.

Paul Konerko has always hit Lester, so when he took him deep to center to get the White Sox on the board, it wasn't particularly shocking. Just a good hitter getting the best of a good pitcher. Konerko is now 7-for-18 with three home runs off the southpaw.

But to walk Adam Dunn?!?!?

Dunn entered his at-bat 2-for-70 (.029!!!) against lefties this year. It was actually alarming he was even in the lineup, but to have him be Lester's only walk so far is odd.

Anyway, Lester retired the next two men to get back to the dugout. His eighth strikeout of the game ended the inning.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 4-0: Kevin Youkilis got a hit his last time up, but it probably should have been caught.

Even with that hit, he's 2-for-20 since a home run against Seattle a number of days ago.

Youkilis struck out with two on and one out, staring at a slider. David Ortiz followed with a grounder to the pitcher.

9:00 p.m.: Will Ohman did a nice job of settling things down after that mess in the fifth. But he just allowed Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez to reach on consecutive singles.

That's enough for Ozzie Guillen. Former Blue Jay Jason Frasor is coming on to face Kevin Youkilis.

End 6th, Red Sox 4-0: Even the White Sox' two hits had some bloop to them. Just nothing getting struck with any authority against Jon Lester.

In the sixth, it was two lazy fly balls and a soft little comebacker that gave Lester enough time to shower, call Mom, cook a meal and then throw to first.

The lefty is cruising. His pitch count is 64.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 4-0: The Ubaldo Jimenez situation remains a mystery. He is starting in San Diego, but Esmil Rogers is warming in the pen, presumably to take his spot at some point.

It still seems like Cleveland is the destination. If Boston has swooped in, this will be the most discussed trade deadline scenario of all time.

And I blame Twitter for that. If not for the medium, we wouldn't have had 7,583 tweets saying Jimenez to Cleveland was as good as done.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox wasted a one-out walk by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Jon Lester heads back to the hill looking as good as he has all year.

End 5th, Red Sox 4-0: We mentioned many posts ago about how dismal Jon Lester's last start at U.S. Cellular Field was.

He is pitching as if he's out for revenge.

Looking like a guy who is back to 100 percent, Lester has seven strikeouts and has thrown just 52 pitches in five innings. That, my friends, is efficiency.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-0: Will Ohman gets David Ortiz to finish the fifth. That one changed in an instant, didn't it?

Five hits (two of the infield variety), one error and two sacrifice flies do the damage.

8:22 p.m.: The first crooked number in some time comes with a little help from Chicago — and a little luck.

Carl Crawford led off with a hit. On a stolen base attempt, shortstop Alexei Ramirez flailed at an A.J. Pierzynski throw in the dirt, allowing Crawford to get to third. Bad play by Ramirez.

It probably didn't matter since Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove one into the gap in right-center field, knocking in the first run of the game and extending his hitting streak to eight games.

Josh Reddick followed with a bunt attempt that died in a perfect spot, allowing Salty to get to third. That turned Marco Scutaro's fly to right into a sacrifice fly.

Jacoby Ellsbury then singled, setting up another sacrifice fly for Dustin Pedroia. Then, after an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis hit a broken-bat looping liner to third. Third baseman Brent Morel may have been distracted by the flying bat, as the ball went off his glove, allowing another run to score.

Now, take a breath.

Will Ohman is on to face David Ortiz.

End 4th, 0-0: Jon Lester has thrown just seven pitches in each of the last two innings.

He actually allowed a man to reach in the fourth (Alexei Ramirez leadoff single), but erased him by starting the old 1-5-3 double play.

With the Red Sox in a shift, Adam Dunn bounced one back to the box that Lester leaped high for. He came down and fed third baseman Kevin Youkilis at second, and the relay to first was made with perfection.

Mid 4th, 0-0: That's now two runs in 19 innings for the Red Sox, who wasted an infield hit from Adrian Gonzalez.

Philip Humber held Boston to just one run in seven innings his first time against them this year, before the Red Sox got to him for three in the eighth.

I must be getting old fast. Just checked out my junk mail folder just to make sure there wasn't anything that had snuck in. The only two emails featured one offer to join a seniors dating site and another offering up arthritis facts.

It's these live blogs. They speed up the aging process.

End 3rd, 0-0: You half expect Kevin Youkilis to break into about 16 pieces on a play like the one he just pulled, charging on a bunt by Brent Morel, fielding with the bare hand and throwing as he dives into the grass.

As he so often does, Youkilis just gets his man and rises to his feet, pressing on despite pain he is probably feeling…somewhere.

It's part of another 1-2-3 inning for Jon Lester, who has four strikeouts and no walks.

Mid 3rd, 0-0: Jacoby Ellsbury stared at a fastball called strike three in the first inning. In the third, he watches a pretty breaking ball from Philip Humber go by.

It's only the first time Ellsbury has struck out more than once since July 17, which was that 16-inning affair at Tampa Bay.

The K stranded Boston's first baserunner. Marco Scutaro had walked with two down.

Josh Reddick grounded to first in the inning. He is hitless in his last 10 at-bats.

End 2nd, 0-0: The list of starting pitchers linked to the Red Sox is shrinking at a rapid rate.

Hours after Erik Bedard had a rough return from the disabled list, Hiroki Kuroda announced he will stay in Los Angeles.

And now, it seems like Cleveland will be the landing spot for Ubaldo Jimenez, according to various reports circulating.

That leaves the pickings somewhat slim, although Boston has been known to make some slightly surprising moves around this time. The club will find someone if they really want to; otherwise, it will focus on a waiver-wire move in August.

Good thing Jon Lester is looking like himself. He did give up a bloop double in the second, but has allowed just one run while striking out nine in 7 1/3 innings since returning from the DL.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: I made sure to point out the White Sox' below average defense during yesterday's game.

It would be tough to make such an argument after the second inning of this one. Brent Morel made two sparkling plays to help Philip Humber get through his second straight perfect inning.

Morel first robbed Kevin Youkilis of a hit with a dive to his forehand side and a strong throw to first. Then, with the White Sox in a shift against David Ortiz, Morel backed up from where the shortstop normally plays and caught a sinking pop while falling to the grass.

End 1st, 0-0: Two strikeouts and a foul pop to first gets Jon Lester through the first inning in a jiffy.

Lester figures to have no pitch counts hanging over him tonight. He was supposed to be limited to 80 or 85 his last time out, but the Red Sox kept him in for 89.

Shouldn't see any limitations in this one. He won't throw 128, but he will be allowed to hit the century mark and go past it.

Mid 1st, 0-0: The White Sox pick up right where they left off by getting an easy inning from Philip Humber.

Jacoby Ellsbury struck out, and both Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez were retired on lazy flies.

Boston has scored two runs in its last 17 innings. Jon Lester time!

7:10 p.m.: Philip Humber has thrown strike one to Jacoby Ellsbury. Sox vs. Sox is off and running.

6:49 p.m.: Before we get to the game, let's recap where the Red Sox stand on the trade front.

We know about the Mike Aviles acquisition.

We know they lost out on Hunter Pence.

And we continue to hear the names Ubaldo Jimenez, Rich Harden, Erik Bedard and Hiroki Kuroda.

Tweets are flying around furiously, but one from LA Times beat writer Dylan Hernandez just said that Kuroda will be staying with the Dodgers.

Also, White Sox general manager Kenny Williams has given indication that his team is not looking to sell. That means Carlos Quentin and Matt Thornton, both rumored to be on the Red Sox list, will not be coming to Boston.

One figures a starter will still come this way, but it's not a guarantee. Jimenez is scheduled to start later tonight in San Diego. Maybe his fate rests in part on what occurs in that outing.

6:09 p.m.: All this dizzying trade talk makes one forget there's still a game to be played. We are about an hour from first pitch, with Boston looking to turn around a slide that has seen it lose 14 of its last 16 games against Chicago.

4:58 p.m.: A few other things to consider with the Mike Aviles deal.

Aviles is under team control for three more seasons before becoming a free agent, and he has options remaining. So this isn't a rental by any means. He will factor into things in 2012 and beyond.

The same was true, in a way, with Yamaico Navarro, but again, he was still in the development phase. Simply put, the Red Sox have a quality system but there really isn't a huge supply of major-league ready position players.

Jose Iglesias may not be ready for 2012. Ryan Kalish may not come back this year. Josh Reddick is already a replacement in the bigs. Will Middlebrooks is doing well at Portland, but the organization likes guys to get their feet wet at Triple-A. Ryan Lavarnway is right there, but he's a catcher. As far as the infield and outfield goes, the supply of quality, ready depth was lean. There is plenty of positional talent at lower levels.

Aviles gives the bench/depth another immediate option, without having to worry about buzzwords like "development" and "upside" and "potential." He, along with Drew Sutton and Darnell McDonald and eventually Jed Lowrie, will provide some stable choices for Terry Francona.

That said, Sutton and McDonald are the only backup outfielders on the roster. Aviles has never played an inning of outfield in the pros, but there are early whispers that he will be given an opportunity to do so at some point.

With Navarro the Red Sox had someone that figures to start, and maybe star, in the big leagues at some point in time. But this is a team that wants (needs?) to win now. Developing players and having them provide valuable depth at the same time is not ideal. With Aviles, they only need to worry about one of those scenarios.

3:19 p.m.: It may not be the move you all anticipated, but the Red Sox have comfirmed that they have traded Yamaico Navarro and minor league pitcher Kendal Volz for infielder Mike Aviles.

Here is a quick hit on the trade, and here is a little more analysis of some of the thought behind it.

3:12 p.m.: Adrian Gonzalez has returned. That's all you really need to know for now. Here is the lineup for the Sox, the red ones:

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

Ellsbury and Pedroia are a combined 0-for-5 against White Sox starter Philip Humber. The rest of the group is a collective 6-for-17 (.353). None have more than one hit.

Here is the crew that will take on Jon Lester:

Juan Pierre, LF
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Paul Konerko, 1B
Adam Dunn, DH
Carlos Quentin, RF
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Alex Rios, CF
Gordon Beckham, 2B
Brent Morel, 2B

Konerko is 6-for-15 (.400) with a pair of homers off Lester.

8 a.m.: The last time Jon Lester pitched in Chicago, it was a disaster. Lester will look for a better result when he steps to the mound Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

In his final start of 2010, Lester paid a visit to the White Sox with a chance to nail down his 20th victory. He was done after just four innings having given up eight runs on nine hits and five walks.

That was just a small portion of Chicago?s recent dominance in the series. The White Sox have won 14 of the last 16 meetings between the teams dating to 2008. They?ve taken seven in a row after a 3-1 victory in the series opener Friday night.

Philip Humber will try to keep the run going for Chicago. He is 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA over his last two starts but earned one of his eight wins this season at Fenway Park back in May.

Humber?s first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.

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