Credit to Aceves there for throwing 2 1/3 innings, and redeeming himself after giving up the tying single in the bottom of the eighth. He clearly wanted to keep the ball, the Red Sox allowed him to do so and he rewarded their faith.
With the win, Boston (51-51) gets back to the .500 mark, and takes its first series of the year from the rival Yankees (60-41). Aceves (2-6) picks up the win, while David Robertson (1-4) gets saddled with the loss. Time of the game was 3:42, another long one between the Sox and Yanks.
The Red Sox will immediately board a plane and head for home, where they will take on the Tigers Monday at Fenway Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET and we'll be back with another live blog, but you can also tune into NESN for all your regular pregame programming beginning at 5:30.
Mid 10th, Red Sox 3-2: What a bizarre half inning.
For all the talk about how the Red Sox clubhouse is potentially fractured and Valentine isn't doing a good job communicating, that was certainly a dugout which was vehemently behind its manager as he argued Will Middlebrooks' non-hit by pitch.
That was clearly a calculated move by Valentine, who knew he would get tossed eventually and likely did so to galvanize his team. If that was the intention the mission was a success, as the Red Sox pushed the go-ahead run across and saw the team get behind its manager in a big way.
End 9th, 2-2: And we're on for bonus baseball in the Bronx.
This should be interesting to see how the bullpen matchups shake down, as the Yankees definitely have a couple guys capable of throwing multiple innings, but the Red Sox likewise have Vicente Padilla and Franklin Morales — who was recently stretched out as a starter — who can give you multiple frames.
For now, on to the 10th inning!
Mid 9th, 2-2: The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham had an interesting tweet during that last half inning.
With Crawford leading off the inning with a hit by pitch, it was very, very surprising to not see him try to take second base. Granted, he may have been going when Rafael Soriano caught him in between strides and nearly picked him off first, but otherwise it didn't appear that he was really preparing to run.
That's a situation where it could have been huge to have a man in scoring position, particularly one with the speed of Crawford. Of course it's a risk to get thrown out and kill the rally, but in that situation — with the Red Sox as desperate as they are — you have to go for it.
If Crawford is not stealing here, when he is stealing?
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) July 30, 2012
End 8th, 2-2: Well, folks, we have a brand new ballgame.
After we had previously spent some time in this live blog lauding Valentine's decision-making with his bullpen, it was a bit of a curious decision to leave Andrew Miller in to face Jones, who, even in his poorly-aged body, still kills lefties.
Aside from that, Orel Hersheiser made an interesting point about the Red Sox' chemistry in the ESPN telecast. However, his argument that the Sox shouldn't be laughing in the dugout at that point in time doesn't seem to hold weight. What's the connection between what's going on in the dugout and Alfredo Aceves throwing a fat fastball to Russell Martin?
Mid 8th, Red Sox 2-1: We've made the joke here around the NESN offices that we're nervous every time Crawford tries to put anything on a throw into the infield.
Well, that was a little too literal, as Crawford did make a brilliant throw into Saltalamacchia to hold Ichiro at third base in the bottom of the seventh, but he also appeared to be wincing after doing so. While there's still some debate whether or not Crawford will absolutely need Tommy John surgery after the season, after a play like that it's hard to doubt that fact.
It's not too often you have a player in danger of blowing out his elbow every time he throws the ball with any gusto.
End 7th, Red Sox 2-1: Many things can be said about Bobby Valentine, but one of them is also that he's been a master of deploying his bullpen troops throughout the year, and that last half inning was a great example.
As frustrating as it may be for a fan to watch multiple pitching changes in the same inning, it's a method Valentine has repeatedly used this season — being fairly obsessive about lefty-righty matchups — to slow down the pace and put the opponent's offense out of sync.
Aside from that, this game really shouldn't even be 2-1, as the joke that is New Yankee Stadium continues to rear its head. That ball off the bat of Martin likely wouldn't have left any other ballpark in baseball.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 2-0: It's been kind of a flukey night for the Sox, hitting into four double plays. Kuroda really isn't a sinkerball pitcher, so there's little else to attribute this to except dumb luck for the Yankees.
That being said, Boston's had some runners on and failed to drive them home since the second inning, giving Doubront very little cushion to work with. It's been said before, but it's hard to hold the New York bats down for an entire game, so the Sox will definitely be hoping their wasted opportunities don't come back to haunt them.
End 6th, Red Sox 2-0: Nervous moment there as Pedroia drops to one knee to make that catch, but it's been quite a remarkable evening for Doubront. Through six innings he's through 93 pitches, so it will be very, very interesting to see if Bobby Valentine allows him to go to the hill for a seventh frame.
Aside from that, the lefty has yielded just two hits on the night, but has also walked five and struck out seven. Usually pitchers who issue five free passes aren't pitching well, but Doubront is working around the expertly, showing a kind of wild command that isn't often seen. C.J. Wilson is the only analog that comes to mind in terms of a pitcher who issues calculated walks.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 2-0: Big wasted opportunity there for the Red Sox. That was really an instance where you'd like to see them plate a couple insurance runs. Instead, Pedroia just misses his pitch and flies out to Jones in left (and if you were watching the ESPN broadcast, how awesome was the lack of a censor on Pedroia's audible cursing back in the dugout?) and Gonzalez bounces into the double play.
The safe bet says the Yankees' bats don't stay quiet all evening, so that could end up being an important point in the game.
End 5th, Red Sox 2-0: Doubront continues to sport very good stuff on the hill, it just looks like he's trying to be too fine with it. He's currently at 83 pitches through five innings, so we would bet that he'll again be done after six, but we'll see.
The way he's throwing the ball tonight, overall, squeezing an extra inning out of the lefty might be a boon.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 2-0: Kuroda has really only thrown one bad pitch on the evening, and Ryan Sweeney just happened to smack it for a two-RBI double.
Aside from that, the Japanese right-hander has been basically untouchable, having thrown just 60 pitches through five innings of work. Felix Doubront, take notice. That's the kind of efficiency you should be trying to emulate.
End 4th, Red Sox 2-0: Doubront, once again, exhibited the main issue at this point in his development in that last half inning, walking Jones and Martin with two outs.
The lefty could have gotten out of the inning through four in under 60 pitches, but now he finds himself at 71 and looking at yet another six-inning start. The Sox better hope their bullpen is up to the task this evening.
End 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: We mentioned Doubront's inability to work deep into games earlier in this live blog, and with three walks already on the evening, it's not difficult to see the reason for the left-hander's relatively brief outings.
Coming into the evening, Doubront had yielded 41 walks over 107 innings, which isn't a great ratio, but it also isn't horrendous. However, the generally high number of pitches Doubront throws is the reason he isn't able to work deeper into games. Getting more efficient and finging early-count outs is something he'll have to work on going forward.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: Of course Crawford won't be staying there once David Ortiz returns and Pedroia reclaims the second position in the Red Sox batting order, but it is a nice look pairing Crawford with Ellsbury at the top.
It's a different kind of look from the Red Sox than in recent years, just a lot of pure speed. Given time together, here's guessing that duo could wreak a lot of havoc on the basepaths.
Crawford also natually sets up well as a No. 2 hitter, insofar as he doesn't strike out much, and generally puts a lot of balls in play.
End 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Ciriaco has been a mixed bag defensively. On the one hand, his glovework at second has been mostly solid, and he's given far more at shortstop than could have ever been expected, given that he's out of position there.
However, he's also had trouble with his footwork in turning the double play, often times taking an extra step or towards the bag — particularly while shoveling the ball to his right while playing second — while getting the ball out of his glove. It may not sound like a big deal, but it's cost the Red Sox a couple double plays on the year.
Nonetheless, it was a great play on Jones' ground ball, there.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: At the beginning of the season, Ryan Sweeney was slated to platoon with Cody Ross in right field. Well, clearly that didn't go according to plan, as Crawford and Ellsbury missed significant time on the DL, Sweeney spent some time injured, himself and Cody Ross earned an everyday role with his big bat.
So it's not exactly clear what Sweeney's role is going forward, but he's certainly showed he can produce when he's in the lineup, such as with that two-run double off of Kuroda there. With Crawford's mysterious four-day plan, the Sox are definitely going to need backup outfielders to be able to contribute.
End 1st, 0-0: We wouldn't say the chances are high, but what a change of pace it would be to see a legitimate pitching duel between the Sox and Yankees. Both starters looked on their games in the first inning, but with such powerful lineups on both sides, we're bound to see some offense at some point.
One storyline to keep an eye on: can Doubront do better than six innings? For all his consistency this year, the left-hander hasn't been able to work deep into games, and at this time in the year that would be taking the next step in helping the team in 2012.
8:07 p.m. ET: We have first pitch! And for those wondering, the temperature in New York City is 81 degrees.
7:20 p.m. ET: Well, Carl Crawford is back in the lineup, right in line with the mysterious four-day plan that had him riding the pine Saturday evening.
But not only is Crawford back, he's hitting in the No. 2 hole, as Pedro Ciriaco heads to shortstop after his game-winning triple in Boston's 8-6 win Saturday. That means Cody Ross is the designated hitter and Ryan Sweeney takes over in right field.
For the Yankees, it's mostly business as usual, except that Nick Swisher is back in the lineup as the DH for the first time since July 20, a span covering six games, after injuring a hip flexor.
Check out the lineups for both teams below.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Ryan Sweeney, RF
Pedro Ciriaco, SS
Felix Doubront, LHP
Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, DH
Andruw Jones, LF
Russell Martin, C
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Jayson Nix, 3B
Hiroki Kuroda, RHP
8 a.m. ET: It feels like the Red Sox (50-51) have been hovering around the .500 mark forever.
On July 2 the Red Sox woke up five games over .500 and just 6 1/2 games back of the American League East lead. That represents the high water mark for the Sox in 2012, but they've also haven't been worse than six games below .500 since losing to the Indians all the way back on May 11, so it is indeed true that this is a season that hasn't seen the Red Sox break the tether from .500 and start to move in either direction.
While that may seem like a good thing insofar as the Sox aren't losing terribly, at least, and still do have a prayer in the wild card race, it's also the kind of situation that makes decisions more difficult for the front office. Is the team a contender or is this a wash of a season? Is Boston buyers or are they sellers?
Whatever the case may be, the Red Sox on Sunday look to do something they haven't been able to do all season — take a series from the Yankees (60-40). A win would give them two out of three this weekend in the Bronx, and also get the team back to that ever-present .500 mark, and, perhaps, a new lease on the season.
Felix Doubront (10-5, 4.54), arguably the Red Sox' most consistent starting pitcher, will take the hill on Sunday, and he'll be opposed by Hiroki Kuroda (10-7, 3.34). First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET, but we'll have the lineups and any relevant information to pass along to you here in our live blog in the hours beforehand.
Powered by WordPress.com VIP