Red Sox Live Blog: Red Sox Finish Best July in Franchise History With 5-3 Win Over Chicago

Final, Red Sox 5-3: Jonathan Papelbon strikes out the side and at 20-6 this is the best July the Red Sox have ever had. Ever.

It is their first 20-win month since May 2007. Boston maintains a two-game lead in the division as August dawns.

It’s time to hop a flight back home for four straight against Cleveland, followed by three big ones against the Yankees.

It’s John Lackey against Josh Tomlin in the opener Monday night. We will be there to welcome in the new Red Sox players, and give you an update on Clay Buchholz on what should be a busy day at Fenway Park.

Thanks for following along today.

Mid 9th, Red Sox 5-3: Insurance came from the league-leader in RBIs, as Adrian Gonzalez lines a run-scoring double into the corner in right.

Jonathan Papelbon, who hasn’t had a save in eight days, is jogging on in a quest for No. 24.

5:20 p.m.: Oh my goodness. This is excrutiating. In the last 28 minutes or whatever it’s been since this inning began, the Red Sox have put two on with one out.

Ozzie Guillen, who has lost his DH due to some shuffling, is out to make his fourth pitching change. Adrian Gonzalez will face Will Ohman while I try to remind myself that I like this sport.

End 8th, Red Sox 4-3: The Daniel Bard scoreless streak is at 26 1/3 innings, but there was a minor threat in the eighth.

A two-out double by Alexei Ramirez preceded a high chopper to third by Juan Pierre. Backing up a step, Kevin Youkilis waited for the ball to fall and then fired a missile to first to nail the speedy Pierre.

Inning over.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 4-3: Holy cow this game is just plodding along. Jason Frasor needs 14 pitches to get two outs to finish the top of the eighth.

You know Daniel Bard is due to give up a run. You just hope it doesn’t happen in a one-run game but rather in a less-pressing situation.

4:53 p.m.: Chris Sale strikes out Carl Crawford and is removed in favor of Jason Frasor.

Josh Reddick will hit for Darnell McDonald.

I don’t know if it is because of all the deadline stuff or the heat in Chicago, but this game is just kinda blah.

End 7th, Red Sox 4-3: The details are flying all over the place, but it appears as if Erik Bedard and Josh Fields are on the way to Boston.

Tim Federowicz is the main prospect, out of four, who gets sent elsewhere in a three-team deal.

While all of that gets ironed out, Daniel Bard gets the last out of the seventh on a strikeout of an overmatched Gordon Beckham.

4:44 p.m.: Alfredo Aceves couldn’t quite get through the seventh. He walks Tyler Flowers with two down.

That’s the signal for Daniel Bard to come in and put an end to things.

Bard’s scoreless streak is at 25 innings.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 4-3: Chris Sale gets out of the mess, but Boston has things lined up now.

It can go Alfredo Aceves (Matt Albers if any trouble comes in the seventh), Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon, all three of whom are rested.

Randy Williams is also warming.

Aceves is lined up to improve to 21-2 if this score holds up.

4:23 p.m.: There’s some quality relief for you.

Jesse Crain is brought in to protect a one-run lead in the seventh and departs one run down.

Two singles, a wild pitch and then a two-run hit for Dustin Pedroia does the trick. Here comes Chris Sale to face Adrian Gonzalez with Pedroia at second.

End 6th, White Sox 3-2: Seems as if we can safely call Erik Bedard a member of the Red Sox. It may be a three-team deal.

Not so sure I love the move, but when you consider that there are two good young catchers in the organization (Salty, Lavarnway), Federowicz was expendable, and Boston feels strongly as if it needs to do something to get an arm.

We will have more analysis of this on the site a little later on.

Alfredo Aceves just got the final out of the sixth. This one plods along into the seventh.

Jesse Crain has replaced Mark Buehrle.

4:07 p.m.: All in all, not the worst outing for Andrew Miller, who departs after giving up a single with two outs in the sixth.

Here comes Miller’s piggyback pitcher, Alfredo Aceves.

Mid 6th, White Sox 3-2: With the passing of 4:00 p.m. here in the East, the trade deadline has come and gone with the Red Sox limiting their action to the acquisition of Mike Aviles.

We think. Tim Federowicz has been removed from his game in Portland and Erik Bedard may be on the way to Boston.

As mentioned before, moves that were made at the buzzer might not be known for a few more minutes.

In the meantime, Mark Buehrle works around a one-out single by David Ortiz to get through six at 105 pitches.

Andrew Miller will begin the bottom half, but the leash is short.

End 5th, White Sox 3-2: Saw a few people giving Marco Scutaro some grief for a bad error with two outs in the fifth. That’s his seventh error in over 250 chances. Jed Lowrie has nine errors in 164 chances at short this year.

Scutaro has been a pretty steady glove at the position. Not spectacular, but steady.

Andrew Miller uncorked a wild pitch to allow that runner to get to second. On his 98th pitch, Miller got Brent Morel to chop to third to end the inning.

Mid 5th, White Sox 3-2: There were 13 hits, four walks and a hit batter between the two pitchers through the first four innings.

Lot of baserunners.

That made Mark Buehrle’s 10-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth stick out like a sore thumb.

Buehrle is at 90 pitches, but he is known for some lofty totals in that department.

End 4th, White Sox 3-2: What a grind that was, for both sides.

Andrew Miller threw 29 pitches in the fourth, but managed to keep the damage to a minimum.

Two singles and a sacrifice bunt to start the inning put two men in scoring position with one out. Alexei Ramirez then singled in a run before Miller hit Paul Konerko with a pitch.

That loaded ’em up for Carlos Quentin, who struck out looking. Adam Dunn was retired on a soft flare to first base.

Miller has given up nine hits and thrown 81 pitches through four. On the plus side, he does have six strikeouts against just one walk.

Konerko has been removed from the game. He was hit on the leg/foot, so it likely swelled up and forced Ozzie Guillen’s hand.

Mid 4th, 2-2: The Red Sox got a pair of one-out walks against a guy who just doesn’t walk very many people.

Nothing comes of it, other than Darnell McDonald boosting his numbers against Mark Buehrle.

McDonald is 6-for-9 with two walks against Buehrle.

Tick. Tock.

End 3rd, 2-2: Both pitchers are struggling with two outs to get out of innings.

Andrew Miller had the first two set down in the third before three straight singles led to a run. Included in that was the third hit in 72 at-bats against lefties for Adam Dunn, and an RBI hit for the struggling Alex Rios, not the guys you want to beat you right now.

Miller has thrown 55 pitches on a hot, muggy day in Chicago.

Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: As we approach the final hour before the deadline, the Red Sox waste a leadoff infield hit by Dustin Pedroia.

Adrian Gonzalez then hit into his American League-leading 22nd double play and Kevin Youkilis was an easy out.

Doesn’t seem as if the Red Sox or the Yankees are close to anything new. Remember that you may not know that everything is complete until about 5 p.m. or so, even though the deadline is an hour earlier.

This just in. The Tigers will not be trading Justin Verlander. His latest no-hit bid is through seven.

End 2nd, Red Sox 2-1: Although he gave up a two-out RBI double, Andrew Miller is showing some things that have to make the Red Sox feel good.

He has hit 95 on the gun, including on a called strike three to Gordon Beckham. That kind of velocity has been missing for Miller, but with it he’s a different pitcher.

The double by Brent Morel sailed over a leaping Jacoby Ellsbury in center. It looked a bit like Ellsbury may have taken too shallow a route, but it’s tough to tell.

Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Two-out walks will kill you. If you’re Mark Buehrle, it’s two-out walks and Jason Varitek.

After losing Darnell McDonald on a 3-2 pitch, Buehrle serves up a two-run shot to Varitek, who is now 13-for-35 (.371) with three homers against the White Sox lefty.

Varitek has four home runs in his last 11 games.

Mike Adams, a right-handed reliever, is being traded from San Diego to Texas, according to reports. Love what the Rangers have done in adding Adams and Koji Uehara.

They needed to upgrade their bullpen and did so in a big way.

End 1st, 0-0: If you’re a lefty, and you ever get into a little trouble, just wait for Adam Dunn to come around.

Andrew Miller gave up a walk and a single with two outs and it looked as if his first-inning struggles might resurface.

But up stepped Dunn, who entered an astounding 2-for-70 (.029) against southpaws. And down went Dunn four pitches later, the first strikeout victim for Miller.

Mid 1st, 0-0: This is a torrid pace for Adrian Gonzalez.

After a two-out double in the first, he has a .564 (22-for-39) mark during a 10-game hitting streak. And while much of the run involved single after single, he has begun to power up a bit with a home run and a double in his last two trips to the plate.

Gonzalez is stranded when Kevin Youkilis pops to left.

2:10 p.m.: Mark Buehrle’s first pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury is a strike. We are under way less than two hours before we can move on from this circus.

1:30 p.m.: There is still a half hour left in NESN’s Trade Deadline Special, so tune in if you haven’t already.

Once the deadline comes and goes, look for my winners and losers column. It’s roughly mapped out right now, but so much can happen over the next two-plus hours.

Once the game begins, that will be the focus of this blog, but a reminder to keep a page connected to the Trade Deadline Live Blog.

1:07 p.m.: We are hearing more and more that with the dearth of quality starters out there for the right price, the Red Sox are shifting their focus to the bullpen, perhaps with the intent of making Alfredo Aceves a starter.

Aceves can handle it, but one guy who probably wouldn’t go gaga over the shift is Terry Francona. He loves being able to utilize Aceves out of the bullpen in a variety of roles, lately as an insurance plan in event of a short start.

Of course, many of those short starts involve guys like Andrew Miller and Tim Wakefield, one of whom Aceves would replace if he was made into a full-time starter. Still, the unheralded catalyst for the Red Sox’ recent success has been the bullpen, which has been very stable for a number of weeks now in terms of personnel. The offense gets all the attention for its gaudy numbers, but Francona is being made to look like a genius every time he goes to the pen.

That might not always be the case if Aceves is pulled away.

If/when Bobby Jenks can ever come back strong, it would make this mild argument against the Aceves shift moot. That’s a mammoth if.

12:16 p.m.: Just as a reminder, there’s an actual game to play today, and for Andrew Miller it’s a very important one.

Let’s just say, hypothetically, that the Red Sox do not acquire another starter. And let’s say that Clay Buchholz eventually comes back but it is not for another four weeks.

That means the club presses through the intensity of the August schedule with a back end consisting of John Lackey, Tim Wakefield and Miller.

That is, if Miller can establish himself against stiff competition. In his five starts against losing teams, Miller is 3-0 with a 4.50 ERA. In two starts against winning teams (Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, not exactly juggernauts) he is 1-1 with an 8.31 mark.

Chicago is actually a game below .500 but Miller is lined up to face the Yankees in Fenway Park on Friday night as long as he remains in the rotation.

Depending on what Boston does at the deadline, today marks what could be his last-gasp effort to do so.

11:56 a.m.: In just a short while, morning will turn to afternoon in Chicago. That’s when the Red Sox find their groove.

Boston is 24-9 in day games this year, including wins in 17 of their last 21.

Amazingly, it’s still a bit distanced from the best day record in baseball. The Yankees are 30-7 in such situations and just 33-35 at night.

Postseason games are almost always at night now, so New York will want that trend to reverse.

Speaking of the Yankees, they are one of the few teams out there to not make a move yet. Rumors have popped up in recent minutes that they are interested in Wandy Rodriguez and Heath Bell. Surely, there will be several more names thrown about, and the moment they arise you can read about it at the Trade Deadline Live Blog.

11:11 a.m.: The White Sox will start with a Brent and end with a Brent today. Nice bookends in a lineup that looks like this:

Brent Lillibridge, LF
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Paul Konerko, 1B
Carlos Quentin, RF
Adam Dunn, DH
Alex Rios, CF
Tyler Flowers, C
Gordon Beckham, 2B
Brent Morel, 3B

Andrew Miller has limited experience against these guys. He has a healthy 9.58 ERA in three games against Chicago in his career, 7.11 at U.S. Cellular Field.

10:19 a.m.: Josh Reddick gets a day off with a solid lefty on the mound. Here is the Red Sox lineup:

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Darnell McDonald, RF
Jason Varitek, C
Marco Scutaro, SS

A reminder, please make sure to follow our Trade Deadline Live Blog all afternoon. That will be your source for all the updates coast-to-coast. We will certainly discuss all the moves that impact the Red Sox right here, and everything is on the docket for the Trade Deadline Special on NESN at 1 p.m.

Safe to say we have you covered today.

7:27 a.m: Andrew Miller gets the nod in a matinee against the White Sox in a game that will begin less than two hours before the non-waiver trade deadline.

The lefty has been very up and down, but mostly down, of late. He gave up seven runs — five earned  — in just 3 2/3 innings his last time out against Kansas City. Miller has an ERA of 9.00 over his last three starts, during which he has walked 13 and struck out just four.

Miller might’ve been making one of his last starts with Rich Harden coming aboard and Tim Wakefield coming off another fine start, but the Harden deal has reportedly fallen through.

Chicago counters with a lefty of its own, but one far more established. Mark Buehrle is 8-5 with a 3.22 ERA. He has produced five straight quality starts and is 5-1 with a 2.25 ERA at home.

Buehrle’s first pitch is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. The trade deadline is 4 p.m. Keep it with for all the updates, and make sure to catch the hour-long Trade Deadline Special on NESN, beginning at 1 p.m.