Red Sox Live Blog: Red Sox Waste Repeated Scoring Opportunities, Drop Series Opener 5-2

Red Sox Live Blog: Red Sox Waste Repeated Scoring Opportunities, Drop Series Opener 5-2

Final, Yankees 5-2: It didn’t go without a little drama.

Mariano Rivera hit Jarrod Saltalamacchia with a pitch with two outs, prompting a wild ejection of Joe Girardi, who though Salty went around on the swing.

David Ortiz doubled to start the inning, helping to reinforce the dominant theme in this one. The Red Sox end up leaving 16 runners on and go 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

The final result pulls the Yankees even in the loss side.

We will have all the postgame reaction on the site. Look for that, and then rejoin the live blog tomorrow for Josh Beckett against Phil Hughes.

Mid 9th, Yankees 5-2: Another gem by Dustin Pedroia helps Alfredo Aceves fly through the top of the ninth. It took him all of four pitches.

Pedroia one-hopped a Jeter smash on the backhand side.

Here comes Mariano Rivera in pursuit of his 35th save.

End 8th, Yankees 5-2: A few ugly numbers in this one for the Red Sox.

They’ve now left 14 men on base after wasting a one-out single by Jacoby Ellsbury in the eighth.

Adrian Gonzalez, who had one of the outs, is 0-for-5. He has had just three other efforts like that this year, including two this month.

As Alfredo Aceves comes in for Boston, Mariano Rivera lurks.

Mid 8th, Yankees 5-2: Red Sox pitchers threw 33 pitches in the eighth, bending but not breaking.

Matt Albers inherited Franklin Morales’ mess. He got one quick out before hitting Jorge Posada with a pitch to load the bases.

That guy, Francisco Cervelli, then had a long at-bat before grounding to short to end it.

The Yankees have turned to Rafael Soriano here. We mentioned the setup situation they have in their bullpen earlier on, but David Robertson has pitched each of the last two days so probably wasn’t available.

10:28 p.m.: We plod along.

With one out in the eighth, Franklin Morales gives up a single to Robinson Cano and another to Nick Swisher.

Matt Albers, he of the 13.09 ERA in August, is coming on with men on the corners.

End 7th, Yankees 5-2: Looks like we know the storyline for this one. Wasted chances.

Boston has stranded 13 men, including the bases loaded in the seventh.

Boone Logan came on to face Carl Crawford and promptly allowed a base hit to left. David Ortiz, the runner at second, chose to admire the single like it was a 600-foot homer, standing in place for a solid two-count and then trotting to third with no sense of urgency.

Third base coach Tim Bogar was waving him in from the start. He may have eventually put on the brakes, but there was no need.

Anyway, Logan fought back by striking out Jarrod Saltalamacchia on three straight sliders. He then fanned Darnell McDonald on a high fastball with a 3-2 count. Punch in the gut for the packed house.

Francisco Cervelli pumped his fist quite a bit after the inning-ending K. He’s not beloved in this place right now.

10:03 p.m.: Cory Wade gets one man, then walks David Ortiz and gives up a single to Jed Lowrie.

That’s the night for Wade. Here comes Boone Logan to face Carl Crawford and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Mid 7th, Yankees 5-2: The hit batter does turn into a run, although it could’ve been even worse.

A passed ball moved Francisco Cervelli to second and a bunt hit by Brett Gardner moved him to third.

With Derek Jeter up and the speedy Gardner on first, the Yankees had a chance to put on some pressure. John Lackey gets Jeter to ground into a double play. The run scores, but Lackey’s out of the mess one batter later, and likely out of the game, leaving behind a legacy that may see Dustin Pedroia plunked right here.

9:47 p.m.: Francisco Cervelli takes John Lackey deep in the fifth. Lackey hits him to start the seventh. Lack being Lack.

Anyway, the benches empty and both benches are warned. No punches or anything but Larry Rothschild, the Yankees pitching coach, was ejected.

CC Sabathia was as irate as Cervelli was. This may not cause retaliation tonight, but expect more later in the series.

End 6th, Yankees 4-2: That’s called emptying the tank.

You figured Joe Girardi would stick with CC Sabathia through Adrian Gonzalez, who has looked silly tonight against him.

The plan worked, although it pushed Sabathia to 128 pitches, easily his highest mark of the year.

Gonzalez grounded to short with a man on first, ending the night for the Yankees lefty.

John Lackey remains in the game for Boston. This will undoubtedly be his last frame, unless we see three first-pitch outs or something wacky like that.

Mid 6th, Yankees 4-2: John Lackey works around a one-out single by Nick Swisher to get through six.

CC Sabathia will try to match him, although he is 10 pitches shy of matching his season high.

Both teams have had guys up in the pen. It’s just a matter of time before we get someone in there. Cory Wade had been up last inning for New York. Michael Bowden and Franklin Morales have both thrown behind Lackey.

Lackey is at 104 pitches.

End 5th, Yankees 4-2: When the game stories are written, some may make early mention of a line drive that Carl Crawford hit in the fifth.

Crawford’s hard smash with two men in scoring position was caught on a line by a diving Robinson Cano, who saved at least one run (not so sure a slow-footed Jed Lowrie scores from second on that play).

CC Sabathia then strikes out Jarrod Saltalamacchia to strand Lowrie on second and David Ortiz on third. Ortiz had singled and moved to third on Lowrie’s double.

Sabathia finished the inning at 109 pitches. He will get a chance to work the sixth. And since we are looking at one more inning for each pitcher, or thereabouts, it’s worth noting one aspect of these two bullpens.

The Yankees have a seventh-, eighth- and ninth-inning guy. The Red Sox, because of the struggles of Matt Albers, may not.

Now, that means little. Boston can find someone to get the outs (Dan Wheeler? Alfredo Aceves?) and the Yanks’ seventh-inning guy, Rafael Soriano, has not had a pretty campaign. All it means is we have a better idea who gets the ball first for New York.

Mid 5th, Yankees 4-2: Not really the goose egg the Red Sox needed from John Lackey to keep that momentum on their side.

After his team pulls within a run with a nice rally in the fourth, Lackey begins the fifth by serving up a long solo shot to Francisco Cervelli, whose last homer came May 8.

Lackey also issued a walk in the inning, his fourth. That’s the most he has allowed since that disaster of a start against San Diego in the rain here back in June. Remember?

That predicted line I made for Lackey a few innings ago…it probably won’t look all that nice.

End 4th, Yankees 3-2: It’s so hard to explain why some hitters hit some pitchers so well, especially when they defy conventional norms.

Carl Crawford has almost been an automatic out against lefties at times this year, but he hammers one of the best. After smacking a solo homer to right in the fourth, Crawford is now 4-for-4 with a walk in his last five plate appearances against CC Sabathia and is a .324 (22-for-68) hitter lifetime vs. the Yankees ace.

The homer, Crawford’s 10th, seemed to rattle Sabathia some. Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed with a single, as did Darnell McDonald.

Following a strikeout of Jacoby Ellsbury, Marco Scutaro (along with Crawford the only Red Sox starter with a career average over .300 against Sabathia) doubled into the corner in left to pull the hosts within a run.

Sabathia’s at 84 pitches. Lackey is at 79 as he begins the fifth. You figure at least three innings out each pen tonight.

Mid 4th, Yankees 3-0: Leadoff walks can kill. Against the Yankees, that’s even more the case.

John Lackey issued a free pass to Curtis Granderson and you could sense that it was a matter of time before another run came accross throughout Lackey’s long battle with Mark Teixeira.

Although Lackey finally got Teixeira to pop to short, he had to throw every pitch in his arsenal, some multiple times, to win the war.

Robinson Cano, a .355 hitter at Fenway Park, just sat there watching the whole thing from the on-deck circle, and he did what he’s done so often in this place. Cano cranked one off the center-field side of the Green Monster to score a run.

Nick Swisher followed with a walk and Eric Chavez singled up the middle for the second time tonight, improving to 8-for-18 with four RBIs in this park in 2011.

Once again, Jorge Posada bails out Lackey, hitting into a 6-4-3 double play for the second time tonight. If not for those two plays, Lackey might be chased from this one. Michael Bowden was already warming up during the fourth inning.

End 3rd, Yankees 1-0: If you could chart the bottom of the third with a line graph, it would feature a wild up and down look.

Marco Scutaro led off with a base hit to right-center field (up!), but he made a poor decision by trying to stretch it into a double (down!). Nick Swisher isn’t Ichiro Suzuki but Scutaro was a rather easy out at second.

Adrian Gonzalez followed by striking out on three pitches (down!). He has fanned twice on seven total offerings from CC Sabathia.

Dustin Pedroia then singled to left (up!). David Ortiz struck out for the second straight time to end it (down!).

Mid 3rd, Yankees 1-0: You can almost envision John Lackey’s final line right now, can’t you?

6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 or 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K.

And you’ll take it. He may never really be lights out, but Lackey has become very consistent.

As Terry Francona said pregame: “You look up at the end of the year his ERA is not going to be where people would expect. That doesn’t mean we’re not getting what we need.”

The big righty has his second 1-2-3 inning of the game. The second out was a sharp liner off the bat of Brett Gardner hit right to Dustin Pedroia.

End 2nd, Yankees 1-0: The Red Sox do not score in the second, but they do what they’ve done against CC Sabathia all year — make him work.

Sabathia throws 33 pitches in the inning. He gave up a one-out single to Jed Lowrie and walked Carl Crawford and Darnell McDonald.

The lefty got out of it when Jacoby Ellsbury grounded to second, but not before running his pitch count to 50 early on.

Sabathia was not getting the low strike from Ed Rapuano. If that remains the case, for either pitcher, the need to elevate to get a strike could prove fatal at some point.

Mid 2nd, Yankees 1-0: It would be 2-0 if Jorge Posada ran any faster than my grandfather.

The Yankees got a run on a walk, a single by Nick Swisher and then another by Eric Chavez that hit off Dustin Pedroia’s glove up the middle.

That put runners on the corners with one out. Posada then got sawed off and sent a slow roller to short. Marco Scutaro went to second for one and the relay was in time to nail Posada.

End 1st, 0-0: There has been loads of beanball drama in the season series between these teams, but much of it created by chumps like me who sit high above and type about it.

You will recall the stuff in New York a few months ago that led to CC Sabathia hitting David Ortiz after a series of Yanks had been plunked. The last time the teams met here at Fenway saw another one-sided affair in that category.

New York hitters had taken 13 pitches off their bodies from Red Sox pitchers entering this series. Curtis Granderson probably should’ve been No. 14. Boston batters had been hit just five times by Yankees pitchers. That number becomes six after Sabathia nails Jacoby Ellsbury in the arm.

Ellsbury appears to be fine. Everyone will wonder if there is any intent, but think about it for a moment. Sabathia has been knocked around by this team all year. Does he want to put Ellsbury on to start his night? Doubt it, and Sabathia’s reaction indicated that it just got away from him.

Ellsbury was erased on a force play and Sabathia struck out both Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia.

Mid 1st, 0-0: At this rate, John Lackey will be able to throw about 21 innings tonight.

Lackey threw eight pitches in the first inning, two to Brett Gardner, two to Derek Jeter and (I know this because I got a B- in pre-calculus) four to Curtis Granderson.

Lackey may have caught a break. His third offering to Granderson appeared to catch part of the bat and part of Granderson’s hand. The Yankees center fielder certainly acted like it and looked to be in some pain, but home plate umpire Ed Rapuano ruled that it hit off the bat.

Lackey recorded a K with the very next pitch.

7:12 p.m.: John Lackey’s first pitch is a strike to Brett Gardner. It’s a beautiful night at the park. Keep it right here for all the action.

6:12 p.m.: Time for some nightly links to get you in the mood. For baseball, of course.

I made my weekly attempt at answering a few Red Sox questions in the latest edition of the mailbag. Feel free to rip me.

We also provide a look at the rotation going forward. The pursuit of 200 wins will continue in Toronto for Tim Wakefield.

There is still reason to fear CC Sabathia, despite the numbers this year against Boston.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia made an appearance for the Jimmy Fund today. If you haven’t given what you can, please do so here.

Back in a moment.

5:06 p.m.: OK, we’re back with a few updates. Look for more on each of these items on the site, as well as a quick talk with PGA Champion Keegan Bradley, who is a nervous wreck about throwing out the first pitch.

First off, Clay Buchholz threw 25 times from 60 feet today. Terry Francona called it “exciting,” but stressed that this does not mean he will be back anytime soon.

“We’re going to take this very deliberate,” Francona said of a process that will see Buchholz do the same act every other day for a little bit.

While Buchholz waits, others are on their way back. J.D. Drew and Kevin Youkilis will both play tonight and tomorrow with Pawtucket. Drew will then rejoin the team Thursday and Youkilis on Friday. Both are good to go, barring anything in these rehab outings.

In addition to getting those two back, Francona said the club will add one pitcher on Sept. 1 as part of the first wave of call-ups. He did not say who is would be.

Ryan Lavarnway figures to join the Sox by Sept. 5.

As for Bobby Jenks, he is back with the team and is being re-evaluated. You may recall that Jenks was supposed to make a rehab appearance with Salem the other day but fell ill. The club then tried to get him to Scranton to meet up with the PawSox, but the storm prevented that. He will reset and hopefully get some innings in soon.

Finally, the rotation. Andrew Miller will start Friday against Texas, Erik Bedard on Saturday and John Lackey on Sunday.

That does not mean Tim Wakefield is out of the rotation. With 23 games in 23 days (one day off, but one doubleheader), he will be used again, likely in Toronto. Boston opens a series in Canada next Monday. Francona did not say which game Wakefield will start, but pretty much guaranteed it will happen.

We also have the Yankees lineup for you, sans Alex Rodriguez, who is still bothered by a jammed thumb.

Brett Gardner, LF
Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Eric Chavez, 3B
Jorge Posada, DH
Francisco Cervelli, C

Everyone but Swisher is a combined 92-for-296 (.311) against Lackey. The Yankees right fielder is an atrocious 8-for-56 (.143) with 21 strikeouts vs. the right-hander.

OK, back soon.

3:11 p.m.: It’s a pretty standard lineup for the Red Sox in the opener. Take a look, and then read on for a few CC Sabathia-related numbers.

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Marco Scutaro, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Jed Lowrie, 3B
Carl Crawford, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Darnell McDonald, RF

We have made note of the struggles for Sabathia against the Yankees this season. A reminder that he’s still a darn good pitcher, and some of that is reflected in a few of the matchups. Only two starters, Scutaro and Crawford, have career marks better than .300 against Sabathia. The rest of the lineup is .219 (33-for-151) vs. the lefty.

3:00 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where it’s rather fitting that the temperatures have come down a bit from recent weeks. If you close your eyes tonight, you will feel October on the horizon.

Rather fitting that the opponent is the New York Yankees.

We should have lineups over in a matter of moments.

11:47 a.m.: As we hear the courageous stories of those fighting cancer, and those of their loved ones, a reminder that you can do your part to beat this disease.

To donate to the Jimmy Fund go here. It’s the best thing you will do all day, by far.

8 a.m. ET: The race for the American League East title heats up Tuesday night when the New York Yankees make their final trip of the regular season to Fenway Park.

The Red Sox will carry a lead of 1 1/2 games into the opener of the three-game series. They can build upon that advantage if their recent history against Yankees ace CC Sabathia continues.

New York’s top arm is 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA in four starts against Boston in 2011, but 17-3 with a 2.40 ERA against all other opponents.

John Lackey will be on the mound for the Sox. He has won seven of his last eight decisions after getting a win in Texas his last time out.

Lackey may not have to face Yankees stars Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. Both are day-to-day with a bruised knee and a jammed thumb, respectively.

First pitch for the much-anticipated opener is 7:10 p.m.

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