Red Sox Live Blog: Neftali Feliz Closes Off Sox, Rangers Take Series Opener 4-0

Final, Rangers 4-0: The Red Sox made it interesting in the ninth, but in the end, it was a highlight-reel play from Ian Kinsler that sends the Sox to their fourth loss in as many tries at Texas this season.

Feliz walked both Adrian Gonzalez and Ryan Lavarnway to give the Sox some hope. With two down, Carl Crawford tagged a one-hopper to second base, but that was grabbed on a dive by Kinsler who threw from his knees to get Crawford at first. It was an incredible play and really, a fitting end to a frustrating night in the Texas heat for the Red Sox.

End 8th, Rangers 4-0: Franklin Morales turns in an impressive inning in the bottom of the eighth. He struck out a pair and retired the side in order. He's now quietly worked 5 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Nothing to throw a parade over, but hey, it's something.

Anyway, the Red Sox need four runs, and they have three outs to do so. If they can't do that, they'll fall to 0-4 against the Rangers on the season.

Closer Neftali Feliz comes on for the Rangers to try and slam the door shut.

Mid 8th, Rangers 4-0: One of the most overlooked deadline acquisitions may prove to be the Rangers dealing for reliever Mike Adams.

The San Diego exile just tossed a pretty dominant 1-2-3 inning to preserve the four-run lead through eight innings.

He had one real hiccup — he gave up a two-run walk-off against the Angels — a few nights back, but other than he's been as advertised since coming over. If he can continue to be strong, it will shorten the game for an already strong pitching staff.

End 7th, Rangers 4-0: Jed Lowrie tried to atone for an earlier double play with a single in the top of the seventh. In the bottom, he did what he could ot make up for an earlier defensive mistake. 

Lowrie's pick of a hot shot off the bat of Craig Gentry saved a run, and helped allow Matt Albers to work around a leadoff double.

Albers struggled again, though, as he walked a pair of batters with two outs. Michael Young bailed him out, however, popping up the first pitch he saw with two outs following the walk.

With that scoreless frame, Albers' ERA for August goes from 12.38 to 11.00. So there's that.

Mid 7th, Rangers 4-0: No problems for Uehara as he gets Jarrod Saltalamacchia to roll over on a changeup to end the inning.

Top 7th, Rangers 4-0: C.J. Wilson is going to leave this game with a pretty good chance to come away a winner.

He leaves after 6 2/3 innings of scoreless pitching, and he leaves with runners on first and third after a Carl Crawford fielder's choice back to Wilson.

The man forced out at second was Ryan Lavrnway after he walked with one out. It's interesting to note that against one of the better lefties in the game, Lavarnway has seen 19 pitches in his three at-bats. Those are the type of things that will get you AB's at the big league level around here.

Koji Uehara is on to try and finish off the seventh for Texas.

End 6th, Rangers 4-0: Erik Bedard was this close to getting out of a sixth-inning jam unscathed. After giving up one-out singles to both Josh Hamilton and Michael Young, Bedard was able to strike out Nelson Cruz.

Needing just one pitch to get out of the inning, Bedard surrendered a three-run home run to Mike Napoli to give the Rangers the 4-0 lead. It's Napoli's third home run against the Sox this year, and it's his fourth since Aug. 18 of last season.

It should probably go without saying, but a four-run lead is a pretty sizable one with C.J. Wilson on the mound for Texas.

Mid 6th, Rangers 1-0: Josh Hamilton took what could have been extra bases away from Marco Scutaro with a diving catch to lead off the sixth. C.J. Wilson took it from there.

The southpaw tweeted earlier in the day that he was expecting a packed house, and finished the tweet with "#throwstrikes," and throw strikes he has.

Through six scoreless innings, Wilson has thrown 91 pitches, 61 of which have been strikes. That, of course, includes a three-pitch strikeout of Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.

End 5th, Rangers 1-0: Again, it's tough to say too much about the effort Erik Bedard has turned in. He just cruised through the fifth inning, setting the Rangers down in order and making it look easy.

The best news for Red Sox fans is that he continues to look strong, even in the sweltering Texas heat. He's also featured a pretty sharp curveball, one that has kept the Rangers off-balance. He used the 12-6 breaking ball to strike out Craig Gentry for the second out of the fifth.

Mid 5th, Rangers 1-0: The good news from the top of the fifth: Carl Crawford got a base hit.

The bad news: nothing came of it.

Crawford picked up the third Boston hit of the evening, but he was stranded at first.

Once again, it looks like C.J. Wilson has got pretty good control of this Red Sox lineup, especially this Red Sox lineup, one that is more fitted for Fort Myers in March than Arlington in August.

End 4th, Rangers 1-0: Erik Bedard is in the process of turning in a nice little outing right now. He gave up an infield single on a Nelson Cruz swinging bunt, but was able to work around it.

Unfortunately for Bedard, though, the depleted offense that the Sox are going with, hasn't pushed anything across.

He hasn't exactly received John Lackey-like support since arriving in Boston, and this start has been no different.

Mid 4th, Rangers 1-0: Dustin Pedroia lined a one-out single to center to break up a string of eight retired by Wilson, but the lefty was able to work out of things after getting Jed Lowrie to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

That capped a forgettable inning of baseball for Lowrie, who was out of place on what should have been a cutoff on Andrus' RBI single the inning before. Lowrie was out of place and could not cut off Crawford's throw allowing the runner to move up to third. That, as mentioned, was fortunately negated by Andrus' poor baserunning.

End 3rd, Rangers 1-0: Bizarre bottom of the third inning. The Sox fell victim to what appeared to be a bad call on a line drive hit to Josh Reddick. The right fielder seemed to catch it, but it was ruled it was trapped.

That brought Elvis Andrus to the plate, and he hit a ground ball through the left side that brought around the game's first run.

Andrus was then picked off of first place in what could only be described as bone-headed base running. It turned out to be a big play, when Josh Hamilton hit a deep flyball to center that would have scored the runner on third had it not been for Andrus' gaffe

Mid 3rd, 0-0: The heat in places like Texas can become an issue for a pitcher if the guy on the opposite end has a quick inning.

After Erik Bedard threw over 20 pitches in the bottom of the second, C.J. Wilson needed only 11 in the top of the third. He has retired Darnell McDonald on a comebacker twice already.

Let's see if Bedard, a Canada native, can withstand a very quick stay in the dugout (more likely the air-conditioned clubhouse).

End 2nd, 0-0: Michael Young led off the second with a single. He could've called home to say goodnight to the kids and performed his calisthenics — he sat at first base for what seemed like an eternity.

Nelson Cruz followed with a nine-pitch at-bat and Mike Napoli followed with one that lasted six, but it included a lengthy argument after Napoli claimed he was hit by a pitch that home plate umpire Paul Nauert said caught the knob of the bat.

Napoli eventually struck out and Mitch Moreland grounded out.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: Ryan Lavarnway was a strikeout victim to begin the second, but I really like his ability to be patient and work a count, two things we heard about him in the minors.

Lavarnway had a long at-bat in yesterday's game at Kansas City. He saw eight pitches from C.J. Wilson before waving at an outside curveball.

Also, it appears as if the book on Jarrod Saltalamacchia right now is pretty simple. High cheese. Salty chased and missed two high fastballs in strikeouts Saturday and he does so again to end the second.

It was a 91 mph heater, but Wilson has a delivery that can make that seem a few ticks higher.

End 1st, 0-0: Whenever Erik Bedard has a good opening, there's a reasonable expectation for a good start.

He entered this one with a 4.26 ERA in the first inning and a 4.91 ERA. The next four frames are 3.50, 3.00, 2.16 and 1.80.

So, you know, this game's totally over after Bedard throws a 1-2-3 first.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Has there been a league-wide mandate to shrink the strike zone? With scoring down this year, you could almost see something like that ordered from the top.

It just seems as if we have had a lot of games recently with a small strike zone, and it certainly didn't help C.J. Wilson in the first.

After giving up a two-out single to Adrian Gonzalez, Wilson threw two pitches that seemed to catch the plate to Dustin Pedroia, but both were called balls. It was part of a five-pitch walk to Pedroia that made Wilson have to work a bit harder.

He finally escaped on his 22nd pitch by getting Jed Lowrie to tap into a force play at third.

8:07 p.m.: It is 102 degrees as C.J. Wilson delivers his first pitch of the game. Settle in, folks.

7:35 p.m.: Time for just a brief reflection before I plow through dinner.

Personally, I felt as if the MVP talk surrounding Ellsbury, Pedroia and Gonzalez was a tiny bit premature (yes, I contributed to it greatly, including a mention of Ellsbury in the race in early July). Now that they've all predictably cooled off, we don't hear much of it.

But tomorrow presents an interesting opportunity for Ellsbury to stake his claim, if indeed he returns to the lineup. Gonzalez has fallen off in some areas and may not be the overall favorite he was around the All-Star break. Pedroia is still right up there but he's come down from the heavens after that otherworldly July. Neither of those guys has had that get-on-my-back-boys moment since the injuries hit, aside from maybe Pedroia's three-RBI game in Kansas City. Those are the moments that often win such awards, in addition to the numbers.

If Ellsbury can come back and be the sparkplug he was and perhaps lead this team to a few wins in Texas, you might get some more buzz surrounding his candidacy. The club is not desperate for anyone to carry it right now…everybody is chipping in what they can. But it would stand out in the eyes of voters if all of a sudden one guy comes back from a quick layoff and delivers the goods in a dramatic way.

Just something to watch for.

6:47 p.m.: Erik Bedard is 0-1 in his three starts with the Red Sox, but that's just about the only ugly number.

In addition to his 3.38 ERA with Boston, Bedard has struck out 17 men and walked just four in 16 innings. Also, all four of those walks came in one rough inning in Minnesota.

The Rangers will provide a tough test for Bedard. What Rangers? These Rangers:

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Elvis Andrus, SS
Josh Hamilton, LF
Michael Young, 3B
Nelson Cruz, RF
Mike Napoli, DH
Mitch Moreland, 1B
Yorvit Torrealba, C
Craig Gentry, CF

Kinsler is 8-for-24 (.333) with a pair of doubles against Bedard. Cruz is 4-for-13 (.308) with two homers and a double. Andrus is just 1-for-8 but that one hit was one of Andrus' nine career homers. Young is 6-for-33 (.182) against the lefty.

It's worth noting that of the 26 hits this lineup has amassed against Bedard, seven have been home runs and five have been doubles. They've slugged against this guy, for sure.

6:14 p.m.: With a ton of updates and injury-related news and all that, here is an early edition of daily links.

We have a quick look at what this start means to Erik Bedard.

After Bedard, the rotation for the next week or so has been mapped out.

J.D. Drew is getting close to a return, and it could mean a lot for the Sox in September.

We also have an opinion on how important this series is for Boston's chances in October.

There's a look at the Red Sox surviving the absences of three of its big guns, a leftover story from last night.

Finally, if you have a question you want to ask me, feel free to drop it in my mailbag. I will have some answers out there tomorrow.

5:13 p.m.: Plenty of news to pass on. Most of this will be expanded upon on the site in a bit, but for now here is the quick rundown, all based on reports coming out of Texas.

Jacoby Ellsbury is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday, as predicted in this forum 48 hours ago.

The Red Sox will keep Andrew Miller in the rotation for one more turn, at the very least. He will pitch Thursday in Texas with Tim Wakefield getting bumped to Friday at home against Oakland. Click here for more on the rotation beyond that.

David Ortiz is expected to take full batting practice and may be able to shed the walking boot permanently if everything checks out OK. Maybe we'll see Big Papi before the series ends.

Finally, the rehab schedule for J.D. Drew has been laid out. He will play in Lowell for two games beginning Friday and then appear in two games with Pawtucket on Tuesday and Wednesday. He could be activated Sept. 1, and don't rule out him getting the bulk of the starts in right down the stretch. Josh Reddick has had some struggles of late.

3:52 p.m.: As expected, no Jacoby Ellsbury and no David Ortiz in this one.

Here is the lineup against lefty C.J. Wilson.

Marco Scutaro, SS
Darnell McDonald, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Jed Lowrie, 3B
Ryan Lavarnway, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Josh Reddick, RF

The order is a combined 10-for-55 (.182) against Wilson.

If my theory holds true, because wild speculation is the best quality for a reporter, Ellsbury will be available off the bench. I just think Terry Francona would rather bring him back when there isn't a very good southpaw on the mound. But we'll see what Tito and Ells have to say regarding all that.

Back in a bit.

8 a.m. ET: The last time the Red Sox left Texas they were a winless ballclub with little going for it. To borrow a hackneyed cliche, it's a whole new ballgame this time around.

Boston returns to the site of so many recent struggles when it opens a four-game set against the Rangers on Monday. The Sox are just 2-10 in Texas over the last three years, including a season-opening sweep that saw the Rangers outscore Boston by a 26-11 margin.

One man who witnessed none of that debacle was Erik Bedard, who will start the opener for the Red Sox. Bedard remains in search of his first win with Boston, but should be just about at full strength as he continues to work his way back from a left knee sprain.

Bedard is 4-3 with a 3.22 ERA in his career versus Texas.

The Rangers counter with lefty C.J. Wilson. He is 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA against Boston.

Jacoby Ellsbury remains questionable for Boston. If he is in there, he'll face the first pitch of an 8:05 p.m. ET start.