Final, Red Sox 6-0: That, my friends, is a 6-2 road trip capped by three straight wins over the once-vaunted Texas Rangers by a combined score of 30-9.
Pretty impressive stuff, and it’s quite nice to know that Andrew Miller started two of those six wins.
As we turn our attention to a return home, keep in mind the schedule change this weekend. Because of the approaching hurricane, the Red Sox will host Oakland on Friday night, as scheduled, and then play a doubleheader on Saturday. The first game is at noon and the second at 5 p.m.
The series opener features Tim Wakefield’s sixth try at his 200th win. Has to happen this time, right? We shall see. First pitch is 7:10 p.m. and we will be in our usual perch high above home plate to bring you all the action.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 6-0: Dan Wheeler will get a chance to close this one out. One wonders if this will be Boston’s last half inning in Texas this year, or if there will be a return trip in October.
At least it will be cooler. Maybe like 95 or so.
End 8th, Red Sox 6-0: At this rate, the Red Sox will leave the park around 11:30 p.m. Texas time, which means they’ll be on an airplane around 1:30 a.m. Boston time, which puts them into Logan around 4:30, which gets them back to Fenway at 5:00, which gets most of them in bed by 5:30-6:00.
It’s not always the most glamorous job.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-0: Give Scott Feldman credit. He has thrown four scoreless innings of relief. We’ve seen Alfredo Aceves do stuff like this for the Red Sox, and while it might come in a losing effort, it is incredibly valuable down the road.
Texas will be fighting for the AL West division lead this weekend against the Angels. You gots to have all your boys ready to go for that one.
End 7th, Red Sox 6-0: This is working out to perfection. Alfredo Aceves can clean up the next six outs and send this team home with a very rested pen.
Aceves got the last two outs of the seventh to close the book on Andrew Miller: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 6 K.
Strong, strong outing.
10:07 p.m.: Just as I fire off that last post, Andrew Miller gives up a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh, which ends his night.
Alfredo Aceves takes over after what goes into the books as Miller’s longest outing as a Red Sox. Great effort, and you wonder if and when he will be used again.
Miller is next in line Thursday, when the Yankees are in town. But that’s also a day that Jon Lester could pitch on normal rest, and Tim Wakefield will have five days of rest at that time. Decision time for Terry Francona.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-0: I thought it, you thought it, Scott Feldman probably thought the ball was gone. But I bet Adrian Gonzalez knew he didn’t get all of it.
With two outs and two on, Gonzalez hit a shot to center that took Craig Gentry almost to the track.
Gonzalez has never had a three-homer game. The last Red Sox player to do so was Dustin Pedroia last June.
Andrew Miller begins the seventh with a quick out.
End 6th, Red Sox 6-0: If you are a Rangers fan you’re thinking that a great opportunity has just gone by the board.
Josh Hamilton stepped to the plate with runners on the corners and one out. At the very least, Texas needed to get on the board. You would hope for a crooked number in this situation, but it goes away on one pitch.
Andrew Miller struck out Hamilton for the third time in as many encounters and Elvis Andrus was caught stealing on the play. It looked like a hit-and-run and for some reason Andrus just slowed up right at the bag. He was tagged trying to retreat to first.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 6-0: This is the best Andrew Miller has looked since joining the big club, and his line is very much in line (sorry for that) with those he was putting up in Pawtucket. Apples and oranges, I know, but he is a guy that can lock in from time to time.
After Scott Feldman puts up another zero, we’ll see if Miller can keep this up the third time through the lineup, which is when good offenses often get to guys.
End 5th, Red Sox 6-0: After a 10-pitch fourth Andrew Miller has a seven-pitch fifth. At this rate, he will get through the seventh on just one pitch.
Actually, the fact that we can even think of him getting through seven is remarkable. Miller has failed to reach the six-inning mark in each of his last six outings.
At just 57 pitches, he is in wonderful shape.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 6-0: That’s why they call Scott Feldman “The Equalizer.” They being the voices in his head, or perhaps his kids when they play Nerf hoops in the living room.
For now, the nickname I just made up has some merit on the mound. Feldman entered in place of Alexi Ogando and got the 2-3-4 hitters in order.
Adrian Gonzalez, who had homered on three straight pitches, was a strikeout victim.
End 4th, Red Sox 6-0: That is a 10-pitch inning for Andrew Miller, who has a great chance to last beyond six inings for the first time in a Red Sox uniform.
With a doubleheader on the horizon, especially one with very condensed start times, Terry Francona will use Miller as long as he sees fit and spare the pen heading into the Oakland series.
It’s a pretty rested pen anyway, but every little bit helps for guys like Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon.
Speaking of bullpens, the Rangers have already gone to theirs in advance of a huge series with the Angels. Scott Feldman is in.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 6-0: Two nights ago, the Red Sox scored at least once in each of the first four innings, with Adrian Gonzalez hitting two home runs in that span.
Tonight, the Red Sox have scored at least once in each of the first four innings, with Adrian Gonzalez hitting two home runs in that span.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia is the latest to get into the act. He took an Alexi Ogando fastball the opposite field for his 13th of the season.
All four of Boston’s homers have come on fastballs as straight as an arrow. The club has nine in the last three games.
End 3rd, Red Sox 4-0: Andrew Miller has allowed one run on five hits in 8 1/3 innings over his last two starts.
He allowed two to reach in the third, one on a walk and one on an infield hit, but a double play gets him out of trouble.
Just not a lot of good contact against Miller right now.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 4-0: Alexi Ogando has thrown two pitches to Adrian Gonzalez. Both have been fastballs. Both have been crushed.
Gonzalez takes his power surge to a new level with a two-run opposite-field shot into the Red Sox bullpen.
That’s five home runs in three games, all in just 10 at-bats, and it ties him with Jacoby Ellsbury, two behind David Ortiz.
The Sox have scored 15 runs in innings 1-3 over the past three games. That’s a total of nine innings, for you math-challenged individuals.
End 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: We have seen some really nice plays by Red Sox pitchers in this series, some of which look awkward but are remarkably effective.
You may recall the double play John Lackey started from his knees on the mound. There was Josh Beckett catching that screaming line drive last night.
And now Andrew Miller gets into the act. With a man on second and two outs, Yorvit Torrealba nubbed one into that no-man’s land between first base and the mound. Miller raced over, slid as if he was going in feet-first to a bag, picked up the ball with his bare hand and then tossed it from his bum to Adrian Gonzalez.
Miller struck out the previous two hitters. He has three Ks already.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Not to get too caught up in beanbrawl kind of stuff, but the last time the Red Sox put a sustained beatdown on a team like this was in that Baltimore series at home that led to an ugly fight.
And in that set, you could sense something coming.
Let’s hope Texas isn’t thinking about any of that stuff, but would you be surprised if somebody at least got buzzed? Boston hitters are looking very, very comfortable up there.
David Ortiz is no exception. An inning after Adrian Gonzalez goes deep, Ortiz smoked a solo shot to right. That bumped his team home run lead to two over Jacoby Ellsbury and three over Gonzalez. About two weeks ago, we discussed some prior team home run races here. Could be a fun one to watch in 2011.
After the Ortiz blast, Alexi Ogando struck out the next two hitters before giving up a double to Josh Reddick. Ogando then fanned Marco Scutaro to end it.
End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Andrew Miller just walked off the mound after getting Josh Hamilton looking as if he had to get to the dugout before anyone realized it was a ball.
At least that’s what Hamilton thought. As he argued with Kerwin Dailey, Miller turned and smiled a can-you-believe-I-got-away-with that grin.
It ended a quick 1-2-3 inning for Miller.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Adrian Gonzalez is making this team home run race very interesting, if you care about such things.
David Ortiz leads the way with 24. Jacoby Ellsbury has 23. Gonzalez now has 22 after belting his fourth in just three games, a shot to straightaway center field.
It’s also the 100th RBI for Gonzalez, who has powered up in a sudden and dramatic way this series.
8:08 p.m.: Alexi Ogando instantly gets ahead of Jacoby Ellsbury 0-2. We are off and running. Enjoy.
7:47 p.m.: So who has the advantage?
The Oakland A’s will be in Boston within a couple of hours, at the latest. They can get checked in to their hotel in time for a nightcap and an early bed time.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, will probably get into the city just before sunrise, perhaps making it home just in time to get tackled by their kids.
Then there’s a game some 12 hours later.
Saying that, what will Oakland’s mindset be after the whipping it just took in New York. Rich Harden and five relievers combined to give up 22 runs — all earned — on 21 hits and 13 walks. Three grand slams, a major league record, did much of the damage.
One would think that such a beatdown can cause a bit of a hangover. Perhaps the A’s, while much more rested, will be a bit timid taking the field against the game’s other great offense. So much of that depends upon how Boston does tonight. If it rolls, the mental edge will be enough to offset any disadvantages in the fatigue category.
If the Rangers get to Andrew Miller and gain a series split, the Sox could be dragging when they get to the park tomorrow.
7:12 p.m.: Saw a stat regarding the Yankees’ 22 runs today. The last time they did that was June 19, 2000, in Fenway Park.
I was at that game, sitting about 20 rows behind home plate. My recollection, now substantiated by baseballreference.com, is that there was one bad inning involving a no-name and Tim Wakefield.
Indeed, that was Rob Stanifer’s last game in the majors. He entered a 6-1 game in the eighth and proceeded to give up nine runs in just 2/3 inning. However, only one of the runs was earned as the Sox committed two errors behind him.
Wakefield came in to finally get the last out of that inning, but then gave up two home runs in a seven-run ninth. That was a whole lot of ugliness, but I already remember feeling awful for Stanifer.
He actually kicked around in the Cubs, Astros and Expos before finishing up in 2004.
6:50 p.m.: OK, here is the full story on the schedule changes for this weekend. NESN will carry all three games.
We also have a look at some potential September call-ups for both the Red Sox and Yankees, and the impact they could have.
Our own Tom Caron takes a look at the C.J. Wilson-Justin Verlander debate.
Also, Tito’s pretty popular.
6:35 p.m.: It has just was made official by the Red Sox. There will be a doubleheader Saturday in order to avoid any issues Sunday due to Hurricane Irene.
The games will be played at noon and 5 p.m. Those with tickets for the originally scheduled 1:10 game will be able to use them for game one. Those with tickets for Sunday’s game can go to the second game.
Friday’s 7:10 game goes on as planned.
More in a bit.
5:32 p.m.: I find this interesting. Both pitchers have very, very limited experience against the opponents. In fact, each lineup has exactly four combined at-bats against both Andrew Miller and Alexi Ogando.
Maybe that’s not very interesting.
Anyway, only two Texas hitters have ever faced Miller, who is making his first start in this park. They are a combined 0-for-4, so he should dominate tonight.
This is the Rangers lineup for the series finale:
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Elvis Andrus, SS
Josh Hamilton, LF
Michael Young, DH
Nelson Cruz, RF
Mike Napoli, 1B
Yorvit Torrealba, C
Craig Gentry, CF
Omar Quintanilla, 3B
4:18 p.m.: You remember that Seinfeld episode where Jerry kept breaking even, George kept winning at everything and Elaine’s life was spiralling out of control?
Jerry talked about how George used to be down, but was now up, and how the opposite held true for Elaine (only in a much funnier fashion than that).
Anyway, I have little to pass on about today’s lineup, but that episode popped in my head when I saw Jed Lowrie back at the top of the lineup and Marco Scutaro down at the bottom.
Scutaro had hit first or second in each of the last five games, but is back in the ninth spot, despite being the only Red Sox starter with a hit off Rangers righty Alexi Ogando.
Here’s Terry Francona’s latest:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Jed Lowrie, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Josh Reddick, RF
Marco Scutaro, SS
Ortiz is 0-for-2 off Ogando. Scutaro is 1-for-2. That’s about it.
8 a.m. ET: Andrew Miller returns to the mound Thursday night as the Red Sox look to finish off an eight-game road trip on a winning note against the Texas Rangers.
Miller made his first start in nearly three weeks last weekend in Kansas City and showed very little rust. He allowed a run on three hits in 5 1/3 innings, helping Boston to one of its five wins in seven games on the trip so far.
The lefty has never pitched in Arlington, where the Sox have suddenly looked very comfortable. After dropping their first four games at Texas, they’ve won two in a row by a 24-7 margin.
Alexi Ogando is saddled with the task of attempting to slow down the Boston bats. He is 7-2 with a 3.33 ERA at home. Ogando has never made a start against the Red Sox.
First pitch is set for 8:05 p.m.