Final, White Sox 3-1: The Red Sox have dropped two in a row for the first time in a month. Might as well blow this roster up over the next two days, right?
That won’t happen. This was just one of those nights where the opposing pitcher was on his game, which is the way Chicago can beat you.
The White Sox pitch well, and seem to do so often against Boston. Chicago has now won 14 of the last 16 meetings between the two teams. Gavin Floyd is now 6-0 all-time vs. the Red Sox. Tim Wakefield’s 200th win will have to wait.
Boston will try to end its seven-game losing streak against Chicago tomorrow night behind Jon Lester. First pitch is 7:10 p.m.
End 8th, White Sox 3-1: Dustin Pedroia will lead things off for the Red Sox in the ninth.
Remember, Ozzie Guillen said that Pedroia would go 0-for-3 and that he would walk him in his final trip to the plate. Of course, Guillen will not do that, but there will be some drama in the ninth to see if Pedroia can keep the hitting streak alive.
This is almost an identical situation to yesterday, when Pedroia came up in the bottom of the eighth and homered to pull his team within one run, but that was where they stalled. He’ll just be looking to get on any way he can. A walk would make him as happy as anything.
Closer Sergio Santos is on for Chicago.
Mid 8th, White Sox 3-1: And that’s why you bring in Matt Thornton rather than try your hand at Gavin Floyd for one more. What do I know?
Thornton, who struggled mightily earlier in the year, has rediscovered his stellar form and showed it in the eighth. He set down the Red Sox in order and has this one lined up nicely for closer Sergio Santos.
Alfredo Aceves is jogging on to take over for Tim Wakefield.
Wakefield is lined up to face Cleveland his next time out. If Boston acquires a starter, is that a guarantee? That could all come down to how Andrew Miller pitches on Sunday.
End 7th, White Sox 3-1: Unless the Red Sox rally in the eighth, No. 200 may have to wait.
Tim Wakefield lost the lead in the sixth on some little things (two bunts, wild pitch, sac fly). He falls behind in the seventh on one big swing by A.J. Pierzynski.
Pierzynski followed a leadoff walk to Carlos Quentin with a long drive to right-center field, just his fifth of the year.
That got Alfredo Aceves right up in the pen. Wakefield recovered to get the next three in order and finished the inning at 101 pitches.
Surprised that Gavin Floyd isn’t out there to start the eighth. Matt Thornton gets the call instead.
Mid 7th, 1-1: Another perfect frame for Gavin Floyd, his fifth, ends with a strikeout of Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Floyd is at 105 pitches and going strong. He’ll get his shot at eight full.
Wakefield begins the bottom half at just 83.
End 6th, 1-1: The White Sox get nothing more than a bunt single in the hits category in the sixth, but do enough to make it pay off for the tying run.
Juan Pierre, who looked silly against Wakefield his first two times up, dropped down a perfect bunt to start the inning off. Wakefield fielded near the third-base line but didn’t even bother with a throw.
Omar Vizquel then bunted Pierre up a base and then a wild pitch moved him to third. Paul Konerko lifted a sacrifice fly to left for the run.
With Pierre running, Carl Crawford didn’t have a chance. Still, teams will probably test him from time to time knowing his left elbow is barking.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 1-0: Kevin Youkilis did not like the call by home plate umpire Rob Drake which ended the top of the sixth with the bases loaded.
Several players have had a legit beef with Drake, but that was not a pitch to be taking. It was a cutter that either caught the outside corner or was a hair off of it, way too close for Youkilis not to offer.
It stifles the one true rally this game has seen. With one out, Marco Scutaro had an infield hit. He stole second and moved to third on a fielder’s choice that saw Dustin Pedroia reached. David Ortiz walked before Youkilis went down looking.
Gavin Floyd was clearly being careful against Ortiz, who came in 7-for-20 against the righty. Youkilis is now 2-for-14 in their meetings. Good move by Floyd. Paid off well.
End 5th, Red Sox 1-0: All winter long, Red Sox players and management praised Kevin Youkilis as the guy who enabled the team to acquire someone like Adrian Gonzalez.
Youkilis’ ability to move to third base without any problems whatsoever opened the door for the big trade.
Well, his ability to move back to first whenever Gonzalez has a stiff neck has value, too. Youkilis just showed that those first baseman skills have not eroded one bit, making a diving stop for the second out of another scoreless inning.
Youkilis got up with a slight limp, but that’s nothing new for him.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 1-0: Gavin Floyd’s only real indiscretion was the solo homer he gave up to Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Drew Sutton also had a hit, but that was a cheap one caused more by the shoddy ChiSox defense I referred to earlier.
Floyd gets Saltalamacchia back by sstriking him out to finish the fifth, his fourth 1-2-3 inning of the game already.
End 4th, Red Sox 1-0: Tim Wakefield had a three-ball count on each of the first three hitters in the fourth. Finally, one of them put a tiny dent in the armor.
Adam Dunn smoked a two-out single to right (ball actually went to the wall but it was hit so hard and Josh Reddick pounced on it so well that Dunn could not go past 90 feet) for the first hit by the White Sox.
Carlos Quentin followed by popping one to Dustin Pedroia in shallow center.
Prior to the Dunn hit, Wakefield got a gift on a called third strike to Paul Konerko. Konerko should’ve been on with a walk ahead of Dunn’s hit, which might’ve changed the inning a bit.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 1-0: It seemed very unlikely that the Red Sox were still involved in the Hunter Pence dealing. Still, worth mentioning that FOXSports’ Ken Rosenthal has tweeted that Pence will go to the Phillies.
The fact that Boston and Philadelphia could be headed for a collision course in October makes that still mean plenty to us in New England.
In other matters, Gavin Floyd has another quick inning.
End 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: The White Sox got their first man on against Tim Wakefield when Gordon Beckham was hit by a pitch.
But that’s it so far. Wakefield has been dazzling, striking out three in three innings, during which he has thrown a tidy 40 pitches.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: It was almost one year ago when Jarrod Saltalamacchia became a member of the Red Sox.
With Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek in the fold, albeit with uncertain futures, Saltalamacchia’s role with the team going forward was unclear. At least on the surface.
Boston acquired him with a reasonable understanding that Martinez might walk and Varitek might retire. Only one of those scenarios played out, but the team needed Saltalamacchia to step into a starting role, and he has begun to thrive.
It was rocky early on, but Saltalamacchia now has his average up to .259 after a solo homer, his ninth of the year, to lead off the third. Salty is hitting 10-for-27 (.370) with three home runs during a seven-game hitting streak.
The Red Sox catcher has also done a very nice job of handling the knuckleball this season.
End 2nd, 0-0: It’s not always easy to tell from afar just how much the knuckleball is moving, but judging by the swings early on it seems as if Tim Wakefield has the good one going.
He has matched Gavin Floyd with a pair of perfect frames. Wakefield has one more strikeout than Floyd.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Gavin Floyd is one of the reasons, or part of the reason, why Chicago is still afloat in the American League Central.
The White Sox have a solid pitching staff. Their offense has been the issue. The defense is rather suspect as well, but it’s primarily been the bats that have kept a talented team down.
Floyd has retired six straight to begin this one. A nice diving catch by Juan Pierre in left robbed Kevin Youkilis of a hit. Wait, what did I say about defense? Trust me, you’ll see.
End 1st, 0-0: No statistic immediately available for the number of perfect innings in Tim Wakefield’s career, but he just added one.
Juan Pierre was a strikeout victim to begin the game, and in the matchup of the two oldest players in baseball, Wakefield got Omar Vizquel on a pop to shallow center.
Paul Konerko then popped to Kevin Youkilis at first.
Mid 1st, 0-0: There’s a nine-pitch 1-2-3 inning for Gavin Floyd, who has erased one of Dustin Pedroia’s chances for an extension of his hitting streak.
If Ozzie Guillen has anything to say about it, there won’t be many more.
Tim Wakefield steps to the hill for the beginning of what could be a dramatic night.
8:10 p.m.: Gavin Floyd’s first pitch of what figures to be a very interesting series is a strike to Jacoby Ellsbury.
Floyd is 5-0 with a 3.83 ERA against Boston in his career.
7:53 p.m.: The last time the Red Sox were in Chicago they were officially eliminated from playoff contention and Jon Lester saw his bid for 20 wins blow up in a miserable outing.
It simply continued what has been an extremely one-sided series of late.
Chicago has won an astounding 13 of the last 15 games against Boston, including a sweep in Fenway Park earlier this year.
7:11 p.m.: There has been a late change to the Red Sox lineup, and it’s a major one. Adrian Gonzalez is out with a sore neck. Here is the new batting order:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Josh Reddick, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Drew Sutton, 3B
Marco Scutaro, SS
6:48 p.m.: Time for some daily links, just to get you all caught up with things as you settle in for a night of the Sox and Sox.
First, for those starving for all things Patriots, just follow Jeff Howe, who is at Gillette each and every day following that three-ring circus.
For those just interested in baseball, you might want to check out Zachary Cox’s Cape Cod League All-Star Game Live Blog. That game is being played at Fenway Park tonight.
Also, here’s a quick look at some of Tim Wakefield’s other milestone wins.
Some light reading for you leading up to first pitch, just about 75 minutes away.
5:37 p.m.: There is word out of Chicago on a trio of injured players.
Clay Buchholz will see esteemed spine surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins on Monday. The Red Sox will hope for the all clear at that time.
Jed Lowrie is a bit closer. It looks as if he may go on a rehab assignment as early as Monday in Pawtucket.
Finally, Bobby Jenks was the latest Red Sox player (J.D. Drew, Carl Crawford) to receive an injection, getting one in his back. Jenks has not been able to do much of anything. Perhaps this will help him get throwing again soon.
4:33 p.m.: We have the lineup for the guys trying to deprive Tim Wakefield of history. Here it is:
Juan Pierre, LF
Omar Vizquel, 3B
Paul Konerko, 1B
Adam Dunn, DH
Carlos Quentin, RF
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Alejandro De Aza, CF
Gordon Beckham, 2B
Vizquel, the second-oldest player in baseball behind Wakefield, is 21-for-59 (.356) against his elder. Amazingly, Vizquel has been caught stealing in all six of his career attempts with Wakefield on the mound.
Quentin is another guy to watch. He is 5-for-12 (.417) off Wakefield.
4:06 p.m.: One thing everyone in the Red Sox organization, and many of the fans, love about Tim Wakefield is that he is such a steady presence.
His knuckler may dance all over the place and with it his results, but Wakefield is almost always exactly the same. A team guy first and foremost, a family man of the highest order and a rock in the community.
So, it seems rather fitting that as he goes for win No. 200, the Red Sox lineup is the way it should be. No surprises, nobody resting for any strange reason. Just the starters at each and every spot, and each of them in their rightful places in the batting order.
Here is that lineup, followed by a few numbers.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Josh Reddick, RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Marco Scutaro, SS
Everyone has their issues against the top of this order. Gavin Floyd has been hurt my many in the middle and at the end.
Ortiz is 7-for-20 (.350) with three home runs and a double against Floyd. Crawford is 3-for-11 (.273) with two home runs. Marco Scutaro is 7-for-12 (.583) with one home run.
9 a.m.: Tim Wakefield will attempt to join the 200-win club Friday night in Chicago in the opener of a three-game series with the White Sox.
If successful in his first bid at the milestone, Wakefield would become the 111th pitcher in baseball history to reach that mark. Former Angels lefty Chuck Finley and George Uhle, who got the bulk of his wins with Cleveland in the 1920s, are tied at 109th with exactly 200 victories.
Wakefield picked up No. 199 his last time out despite giving up a late grand slam in a 12-8 victory over Seattle. He is 2-0 in four starts this month, although he has a 6.94 ERA in that span.
The veteran right-hander allowed four runs in six innings against the White Sox on June 1 at Fenway Park. He is 7-12 with a 4.97 ERA in his career against Chicago.
Gavin Floyd will be on the mound for the hosts. He was the winning pitcher opposite Wakefield in that encounter in Boston last month, and is 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA in his last two outings.
First pitch for the potentially historic affair is 8:10 p.m.
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