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I’m alive! (and a new place to follow my coverage)

Posted by Joshua Kummins on April 11, 2011

Hello all! Thanks for coming back!

Sorry I have abandoned this site for the offseason, but my record coverage of Hockey East games has turned me away for the winter. I am back and ready for baseball, but the location for my coverage has changed as some may know from last season. Last August, I joined on to the staff of BostonSportsU18.com as Hockey East beat reporter and baseball correspondent, so that is where you can find the same great baseball coverage — just under a different name. However, this blog will remain open as my baseball archives from the 2010 season.

Also, follow me on Twitter @joshuakummins to follow the latest on all things New England baseball (and Hockey East)!


Posted in Blog News | Leave a Comment »

Rangers earn first World Series trip, beat Yankees in ALCS

Posted by Joshua Kummins on October 23, 2010

By Paul White, USA Today

ARLINGTON, Texas — Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said the road to the World Series in the American League usually goes through New York.

The Rangers have New York in their rearview mirror now — disposing of the Yankees 6-1 Friday in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series — but it was somehow fitting that it was Alex Rodriguez who got New York’s last look as the Rangers roared into the World Series.

“It was appropriate or ironic, I don’t know which,” said Rangers general manager Josh Daniels of the called third strike from Neftali Feliz that clinched the first World Series appearance for a franchise that was born in 1961 as the Washington Senators.

Rodriguez remains the face of Rangers past — a past efficiently exorcised Friday — and easily attracts the most wrath among the Yankees from Texas fans. It was his trade in 2004 from a Rangers team that had finished last four years in a row that began the slow and often painful building process that finally has paid off.

“I’ve only been here nine years,” said Daniels, a New York native. “It’s been a long time for me but it’s nothing compared to our fans.”

The fans — 51,404 of them — were on their feet as Feliz cruised through a ninth that was as dominant as the Rangers were for most of the series but almost anti-climatic thanks to a stifling eight innings from Texas starter Colby Lewis.

Save all that Cliff Lee talk for Wednesday in San Francisco or Philadelphia, when he’ll start Game 1.

Lewis, who pitched the last two seasons in Japan, made sure there would be no need for a Game 7 appearance from Lee, whose post-season effectiveness had been so much the talk of this series though he pitched just once.

The Yankees didn’t get a hit until the fifth, when Rodriguez led off with a double and eventually scored to tie the game 1-1. They had three hits all night and never mounted a threat after Texas’ four-run fifth broke open the game.

The Rangers had a runner on second with two outs when Yankees manager Joe Girardi elected to intentionally walk series MVP Josh Hamilton for the second time in the game. It worked two innings earlier when Yankees starter Phil Hughes got Vladimir Guerrero to pop up for the third out.

This time, Guerrero doubled to the wall in left-center field for a 3-1 Rangers lead. Girardi replaced Hughes with David Robertson and Nelson Cruz greeted him a two-run homer.

From there, it was back to the pitching that shut down the Yankees’ star-studded lineup and turned out to be the theme of the series.

“They were able to control our firepower,” said New York center fielder Curtis Granderson.

Indeed. The Yankees hit .201 in the series. Of their 19 runs, 10 came in three innings. The Rangers hit .304, scored 38 runs.

“You take away one inning (a five-run Yankees eight to win Game 1) and one game (New York’s 7-2 win in Game 5) and it was very one-sided,” Girardi said. “They out-hit us, they out-pitched us, out-played us and they beat us.”

Lewis, who also won Game 2, is a Rangers first-round draft pick from 1999 who had turned into little more than a journeyman before heading to Japan in 2008.

“He reinvented himself (in Japan),” Daniels said. “He shortened his arm action, smoothed out his delivery. He added a good cutter. He used to be a four-seam fastball, big-curve guy and tried to throw it by everybody. He’s almost a completely new pitcher.”

He needed to be.

Daniels remembered the old Lewis. Was he really worth bringing back?

“I asked that question,” Daniels said. “You have to ask that question. But, first, he was healthy. Second, he had matured. It takes a lot to pick up your family and move over there.”

Daniels’ questions were answered by his scouting staff.

Josh Boyd, director of pro scouting, pushed for signing Lewis. The Rangers were thorough, making sure more than one set of eyes saw Lewis pitching for the Hiroshima Carp.

“There was Joe Furakawa, Don Welke, A.J. Preller, Keith Boeck,” Daniels said, rattling through members of his scouting department who were part of the decision.

The Rangers took the chance on him as part of a rotation makeover that also included coverting C.J. Wilson from a reliever and trading for Lee in July.

“These guys came together,” said Washington, referring to his entire roster. “I love this team because all they do is show up and play baseball.”

They’ll show up again Wednesday.

BOX SCORE: Rangers 6, Yankees 1
ALCS MVP: Rangers’ Josh Hamilton wins award
SEASON OVER: Yankees chance for No. 28 ends
RECAP: How Game 6 played out
GALLERY: Images from the 2010 postseason
SCHEDULE: Postseason matchups, times and results

Posted in MLB Playoffs, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers | Leave a Comment »

Sox Notes: Year X Fenway renovations revealed

Posted by Joshua Kummins on October 19, 2010

New video boards, shown in this rendering by the company that will install them, will replace existing monitors in the outfield.

The following is a press release from the Boston Red Sox, regarding the announcement of the final phase of renovations at Fenway Park:

BOSTON, MA — The Boston Red Sox today announced Year X Fenway Park Improvements to “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.” Three new state-of-the-art High Definition video display and scoring systems, upgrades to the Gate D concourse including new and extended concession areas, and the repair, waterproofing and seat replacements of the lower seating bowl in Right Field highlight the 2011 list.

This off-season will mark the final year of major annual improvements to the ballpark, thus completing a ten-year plan. This year’s effort fulfills a pledge made by ownership upon acquisition of the club, and reaffirmed in 2005, to improve every facet of the ballpark, while preserving and protecting the ballpark for future generations. The improvements completed at Fenway Park over the past ten years have been designed to ensure that the park will remain structurally sound, and the home of the Boston Red Sox, for the next 30-40 years.

With a 2010-2011 off-season investment estimated at $40 million, the investment for the 10 year program is estimated to total approximately $285 million, the largest investment in the history of the almost 99-year old iconic ballpark.

“This is the last year of a ten-year series of improvements to Fenway Park that has given this venerable old ballpark new life,” said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. “With more seats and more standing room, wide open concourses, a reinforced structure, new and improved restroom facilities, and many more food and beverage options for our fans, Fenway Park remains vibrant and appealing leading up to its 100th Anniversary in 2012.”

New High Definition Video Display and Scoring Systems

Three new High Definition video display and scoring systems will be installed this off-season at Fenway Park and will represent a significant upgrade over the existing scoreboards. The Red Sox selected ANC Sports to install three new state-of-the-art Mitsubishi Electric Diamond VisionTM light emitting diode (LED) video screens.

The largest of the three screens, measuring approximately 38 feet high by 100 feet wide, will be the main video board in centerfield and replace the existing elements of the structure above the bleachers in centerfield, which was originally constructed prior to the 1976 season. This main scoreboard structure includes a 23 feet high by 30 feet wide video screen installed after the 1999 season, the black and white statistical display, 60 feet of LED ribbon and the static rotational sponsor signs. This screen will have the ability to provide approximately 3800 square feet of dynamic video capabilities in a variety of formats.

Driven by ANC’s patent-pending VisionSOFTTM operating system, the new main video screen above the centerfield bleachers will be able to mimic the look of the old rotational sponsor signs or dissolve into various formats such as full-screen live video, game action accompanied by real-time statistics, sponsor graphics partnered with the box scores or any combination of visuals and game information.

Two additional Diamond Vision displays will also be installed on either side of the main screen. The existing Bank of America hitters and pitchers board in left center field will turn into a 17 feet high by 100 feet wide video screen with a new illuminated Bank of America sign atop the board. A third video screen, 16 feet high by 30 feet wide, will connect the Ford and Dunkin Donuts sponsor signs above the bleachers in right field. These Diamond Vision video systems will prominently feature real-time information such as batter and pitcher stats, pitch speed and type, box scores, promotions, announcements, upcoming schedules and other messaging.

“We are excited to partner with the Red Sox to enhance the fan experience at Fenway Park through our state-of-the-art signage technology,” said Jerry Cifarelli, President and Chief Executive Officer of ANC Sports Enterprises. “ANC’s revolutionary software system combined with Mitsubishi Electric’s Diamond Vision LED displays will entertain Red Sox fans with visuals as clear as their High Definition televisions at home while providing comprehensive and informative game information.”

All three signage positions will feature the Diamond Vision X8 Outdoor Video Screen. This state-of-the-art display features vibrant images through Mitsubishi Electric’s dynamic pixel processing which creates 8mm lines of resolution.

Other sports facilities where ANC Sports has installed Mitsubishi Electric High Definition video display systems include AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA; Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX; Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.; Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD; Turner Field in Atlanta, GA; U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, IL and Yankee Stadium in New York, NY.

Other Improvements Planned for 2011

Additional work being planned for this off-season includes the concrete repair, waterproofing, and seat replacements of the Right Field lower seating bowl originally constructed in 1933-34. This will mark the completion of the repair and waterproofing of the entire lower seating bowl, a project started with the Bleachers in 2007 and continued with the original 1912 bowl in 2008 and the 1933-34 Left Field seating bowl in 2009.

Existing Dugout, Field Box and Loge Box seats will be replaced by new seats with cup holders on a new concrete base. Dugout and Field Box seats will also be padded. As in previous years, Grandstand seats in Right Field will be refurbished and fitted with self-rising mechanisms that enable the seat to retract automatically once a patron stands up. This will allow for more room in the seating rows and improved mobility for fans entering or exiting the rows.

Other projects underway include new and expanded concession and merchandise stands in the Gate D area and a repaired and upgraded ground level concourse stretching from Gate D to Gate C that will include utility upgrades, new concrete concourse flooring and life safety improvements.

All off-season improvements were designed by D’Agostino Izzo & Quirk of Somerville, MA, and overseen by Ipswich Associates of Boston, MA, who will serve as the Program Manager. The concrete repair work will be completed by NER Construction of Wilmington, MA. The General Contractor for the off-season projects will be Walsh Brothers of Boston, MA.

Fenway Park Improvements 2002-2011:

Fenway Park has undergone a series of annual improvements since the New England Sports Ventures (NESV) purchased the team in 2002. The group assembled by John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino was the only candidate vying for ownership of the ballclub that proposed to save and improve Fenway Park, America’s oldest and smallest ballpark. The team has since focused on a series of improvements, with goals of increasing capacity by at least 10%; improving fan amenities such as concessions, restrooms and entry points; ADA accessibility and circulation including elevators and stairs; and, also improving the ballpark exterior with new year-round restaurants, wider sidewalks, street trees and lighting.

Posted in Red Sox, Sox Notes | Leave a Comment »

Sox Notes: NESV announces purchase of Liverpool FC

Posted by Joshua Kummins on October 6, 2010

Statement from New England Sports Ventures:

New England Sports Ventures (“NESV”) can confirm that their bid for Liverpool FC has been selected by the Club’s Board of Directors and agreement has been reached with the Board to purchase the Club. NESV wishes to extend its appreciation to the Board for their diligence and their efforts on behalf of Liverpool FC and its supporters.

NESV wants to create a long-term financially solid foundation for Liverpool FC and is dedicated to ensuring that the Club has the resources to build for the future, including the removal of all acquisition debt. Our objective is to stabilize the Club and ultimately return Liverpool FC to its rightful place in English and European football, successfully competing for and winning trophies.

Since 2001, New England Sports Ventures has made successful investments in sports and entertainment properties. Our portfolio of companies, including the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park, New England Sports Network, Fenway Sports Group and Roush Fenway Racing are all committed to one common goal: winning. NESV wants to help bring back the culture of winning to Liverpool FC.

We have a proven track record, shown clearly with the Boston Red Sox. The team has won two World Series Championships over the past six years. We will bring the same kind of openness, passion, dedication and professionalism to Liverpool FC.

We are hopeful with regard to the pending legal and English Premier League procedures now underway, however, in light of these issues, we will respectfully refrain from comment or further actions at this time.

Background on NESV

Created in 2001, New England Sports Ventures is one of the largest sports, media and entertainment companies in the world with a proven track record of success for each of its subsidiaries. NESV’s portfolio of companies includes: 100 percent of the Boston Red Sox, a Major League Baseball club; 80 percent of New England Sports Network, a regional sports television network; 100 percent of Fenway Sports Group, a sales and marketing company; and 50% of Roush Fenway Racing, a NASCAR racing team.

NESV is led by Principal Owner John Henry and Chairman Tom Werner, who collectively have more than 30 years of experience as owners in Major League Baseball. This ownership group has been voted as the best in MLB by the readers of the Sports Business Journal in each of the past two years, and in 2009 Sports Illustrated selected this group as the number one ownership group in MLB.

Posted in Red Sox, Sox Notes | Leave a Comment »

Roy Halladay tosses second postseason no-hitter

Posted by Joshua Kummins on October 6, 2010

by Rob Maaddi, Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA—Talk about a postseason debut.

Roy Halladay threw the second no-hitter in postseason history, leading the Philadelphia Phillies over the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 in Game 1 of the NL division series on Wednesday.

Don Larsen is the only other pitcher to throw a postseason no-hitter. He threw a perfect game for the New York Yankees in the 1956 World Series against Brooklyn. The 54th anniversary of Larsen’s gem is this Friday.

“It’s surreal, it really is,” Halladay said. “I just wanted to pitch here, to pitch in the postseason. To go out and have a game like that, it’s a dream come true.”

Halladay took the Year of the Pitcher into the postseason. The excitement spread beyond Citizens Bank Park — the last two outs were shown on the video board at Target Field, where the Twins were preparing to play the Yankees, and Minnesota fans cheered.

The All-Star right-hander, who tossed a perfect game at Florida on May 29, dominated the Reds with a sharp fastball and a devastating slow curve in his first playoff start.

Halladay allowed only runner, walking Jay Bruce on a full count with two outs in the fifth, and struck out eight.

Halladay spent 12 seasons with Toronto, far from the postseason. A trade last offseason brought him to the defending two-time NL champions.

With a sellout crowd standing in the ninth and chanting “Let’s Go, Doc!” Halladay got a loud ovation when he jogged to the mound to start the inning.

Ramon Hernandez popped out to second baseman Chase Utley for the first out. Pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo then fouled out to third baseman Wilson Valdez.

Halladay then retired Brandon Phillips on a tapper in front of the plate to end it. Catcher Carlos Ruiz pounced on the ball and threw out Phillips.

Halladay pumped his fist into his glove as Ruiz rushed to the mound. Just like catcher Yogi Berra did with Larsen, Ruiz started to jump into Halladay’s arms. Unlike Berra, Ruiz didn’t wrap up his pitcher in a bear hug.

“I felt like we got in a groove early,” Halladay said. “Carlos has been great all year, he helps me get into a rhythm early, throwing strikes.”

Phillies aces Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels ran out of the dugout side-by-side to congratulate the other member of Philadelphia’s Big 3. Pretty soon, everyone in a Phillies uniform was part of the victory party.

“This is what you come here for,” Halladay said. “It’s a good team, they know how to win. … It’s been a great year, a fun year, we obviously have a ways to go.”

Cincinnati didn’t come too close to a hit. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins made the toughest play, going deep in the hole and making a strong throw to retire Joey Votto in the fourth.

Pitcher Travis Wood hit a sinking liner to right that Jayson Werth caught in the third. Pinch-hitter Juan Francisco hit a hard grounder up the middle in the sixth, but Rollins scooted over and made it look easy.

Halladay became the fifth pitcher to throw two no-hitters in the same year. He joined Nolan Ryan (1973), Virgil Trucks (1952), Allie Reynolds (1951) and Johnny Vander Meer (1938).

The last time a pitcher came close to a no-hitter in the postseason was quite a while ago. Boston’s Jim Lonborg went 7 2-3 innings against St. Louis in the 1967 World Series before Julian Javier broke up the bid with a double.

The Phillies led the majors in wins (97) for the first time in franchise history, captured their fourth consecutive division title and are trying to become the first NL team in 66 years to win three straight pennants.

They are prohibitive favorites in this best-of-five against the NL Central champion Reds, who are making their first postseason appearance since 1995.

Game 2 is Friday at Philadelphia.

The Reds led the NL in average (.272), homers (188) and runs (790). But they couldn’t do anything against Halladay, who won 21 games and is a strong candidate to win his second Cy Young Award.

A determined, intense Halladay got ahead of hitters and worked quickly. He threw first-pitch strikes to 17 of the first 18 batters.

Halladay even did it at the plate. He ignited a three-run, two-out rally in the second with an RBI single.

On the opposite side, 27-year-old Edinson Volquez looked like a postseason rookie. He never seemed to get comfortable on the mound, taking his time between pitches, tugging at his cap and long dreadlocks and breathing deeply. At one point, Hernandez, from his crouched position behind the plate, motioned for him to calm down.

Volquez allowed four runs and four hits in 1 2-3 innings. The hard-throwing right-hander was 4-3 in 12 starts this season after returning from elbow surgery.

Halladay was so eager to join the Phillies that he passed up a chance to test free agency after this season and signed a $60 million, three-year extension to complete a trade. Halladay probably would’ve received the richest contract ever for a pitcher if he held off, but he wanted to play in Philadelphia.

There was much talk down the stretch about Halladay’s inexperience in the postseason. The Phillies also have Oswalt and Hamels. Both pitchers have been dominant in previous playoff games, but Halladay got the ball and didn’t disappoint.

Halladay got his first strikeout in the second, fooling Scott Rolen on an 85 mph changeup. He caught Rolen looking at a fastball on the outside corner to start the fifth, and fanned him again on a 79 mph changeup in the seventh.

The Phillies gave Halladay all the runs he would need in the first.

Shane Victorino sliced a one-out double down the left-field line. He stole third and scored on Utley’s sacrifice fly to right. A fired-up Victorino slid headfirst barely ahead of Bruce’s strong one-hop throw, got up and patted plate umpire John Hirschbeck on the behind on his way to the dugout.

Ruiz drew a two-out walk in the second and Valdez bounced an infield single that shortstop Orlando Cabrera fielded on the second-base side of the infield. Halladay then hit a hard liner to left that fell in ahead of Jonny Gomes’ sliding attempt. Ruiz scored to make it 2-0. After Rollins walked to load the bases, Victorino chased Volquez with a two-run single.

With the crowd waving their white-and-red “Fightin’ Phils” rally towels, Victorino fouled off consecutive 3-2 pitches before lining a hit to left-center for a 4-0 lead.

The Phillies didn’t have their regular lineup for three straight games the entire season, and they probably won’t in this series. Third baseman Placido Polanco was scratched with a sore back.

The Phillies got swept by the Reds in the 1976 NLCS. Philadelphia won a franchise-record 101 games that season to snap a 25-year playoff drought. But the Phillies ran into the Big Red Machine, which swept through the postseason to win its second consecutive World Series title.

It’s a reversed situation now. The Phillies — call them the New Red Machine — are perhaps in the middle of a dynasty, while Cincinnati is the young team on the rise.

Notes: Former Phillies LHP Scott Eyre, a member of the championship team in ’08, threw out the first pitch. … The Phillies swept a tight four-game series in Philadelphia heading into the All-Star break, winning by scores of 4-3, 9-7, 1-0 and 1-0. … Soccer star David Beckham was on the field during Reds batting practice. … Halladay hit .141 (13 for 92) this season. … Rolen got booed by fans who still haven’t forgotten he forced a trade from Philadelphia during the 2002 season

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB Playoffs, Philadelphia Phillies | Leave a Comment »

R.I.P. Ben Mondor, Pawtucket Red Sox owner

Posted by Joshua Kummins on October 4, 2010

It is the end of an era for the Pawtucket Red Sox today, as the club and the baseball community mourn in the passing of beloved owner, Ben Mondor. Ben passed away peacefully on Sunday evening at his home in Warwick Neck, RI at the age of 85.

Our condolences go out to his family, friends, president Mike Tamburro and the PawSox organization, and the state of Rhode Island and anybody associated with this great man.

A statement from the Boston Red Sox:

The Boston Red Sox join baseball lovers everywhere in mourning the loss of Pawtucket Red Sox Owner and Red Sox Hall of Famer Ben Mondor. The club extends its deepest condolences to his beloved wife Madeleine, his family, and his extended PawSox family and friends.

“Ben was a giant among men who saved baseball for the State of Rhode Island. On both a personal and professional level, I am saddened to hear of his passing,” said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. “He was a good friend of many years and was one of the finest people to ever be a part of the game of baseball. When we honored him on ‘Ben Mondor Day’ at Fenway Park in 2004, the sheer number of people who came to join us in the celebrations showed the profound impact that his life had on the game and on the lives of people. His generosity, kindness and compassion will be missed, but what a life he led.”

“Ben Mondor was a legend and made innumerable contributions to the Boston Red Sox, which directly contributed to two World Series Championships,” said Red Sox Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein. “Through Ben’s foresight and determination, he transformed the PawSox into one of the best Triple-A franchises in the country. He played a significant role in developing hundreds of Major League players many of whom contributed immensely to the success of the Boston Red Sox. He treated the players like his own family and his devotion to their development was absolute. We will miss him.”

When Ben Mondor took over the reins of the “Rhode Island” Red Sox in 1977, the franchise was on the brink of bankruptcy and losing its association from professional baseball. A struggling franchise was transformed into one of the most successful Triple-A ballclubs because of his vision, business acumen and dedication, and thanks to him Rhode Islanders have enjoyed the best of baseball and family entertainment.

Ben nurtured the careers of almost 500 Major Leaguers. He transformed beautiful McCoy Stadium from an aging 1942 relic into the “building of dreams” after an extensive renovation in 1999. But Ben was always devoted to his fans and kept baseball affordable for families in Rhode Island, and beyond, during his 33 year tenure.

Ben was a warm and generous man who was loved in the community and well known for his benevolence and philanthropy. Hundreds of non-profit groups and charities benefited from the big heart of a baseball giant.

A statement from Minor League Baseball, regarding the death of Mondor and former International League president Harold Cooper:

“Our game has lost two icons with the recent passing of Ben Mondor and Harold Cooper.  These two men were architects of the modern Minor League Baseball era.  Their tireless efforts in Minor League Baseball are no more evident than the fact they sustained Minor League Baseball through some of our roughest years and completed the task of returning it to the limelight it richly deserves.

Ben Mondor took a Pawtucket franchise from the depths of bankruptcy and led it to prominence in Minor League Baseball’s highest classification.  Ben was recognized by every major industry publication for his executive and ownership successes.  More telling is the love affair Ben had with his team, fans and front office staff.  From first-class operations to a major renovation of McCoy Stadium, Ben handled his ownership with dignity, respect and responsibility.  His gentle, but steady, hand will always be present in the workings of the Pawtucket franchise.  Seldom are we privileged to associate with the likes of Ben Mondor. 

In many respects, Harold Cooper was professional baseball in Columbus, Ohio.  Harold rose from the ranks of a clubhouse attendant to General Manager of the Columbus franchise.  His fierce style and competitive nature made him a giant in our industry.  Harold served our game in many positions, and in many ways.  His knowledge of baseball’s inner workings was rarely matched, and his reputation in the game seldom equaled.  As a childhood fan of the Columbus team, I personally benefitted from Harold’s involvement in the game.  As an organization, we owe him a debt of gratitude.  He will be sorely missed.

Our thoughts and prayers go out their families, friends and colleagues.”

Posted in Minors, PawSox, Red Sox | Leave a Comment »

Sox Summary: All is lost for Red Sox (Boston Globe)

Posted by Joshua Kummins on September 29, 2010

Red Sox left fielder Josh Reddick can’t bring back this blast by the White Sox’ Carlos Quentin, a two-run homer in the fourth.

Red Sox left fielder Josh Reddick can’t bring back this blast by the White Sox’ Carlos Quentin, a two-run homer in the fourth. (Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press)

by Peter Abraham, Boston Globe

CHICAGO — The scoreboard in right field spelled out the grim news throughout the night. The Tampa Bay Rays were first to clinch their spot in the playoffs, beating the Baltimore Orioles at home.

Then came the final blow, delivered by way of Canada like a cruel winter cold front. The Yankees had beaten the Blue Jays and also were in. The Red Sox officially had been eliminated.

For only the second time in the last eight seasons, there will be no postseason baseball for Boston.

Their fate already decided, the Red Sox still had a chance to win a game last night. But it only got worse as they kicked away a lead and fell, 5-4, to the White Sox, giving up three runs over the final three innings.

That the injury ravaged Red Sox did well to delay their elimination until the final days of the season did little to cushion the finality of elimination.

“There’s no fun going home before you want to, regardless of what’s happened,’’ manager Terry Francona said. “I think the world of those guys in that clubhouse and the effort. I want to keep playing.’’

David Ortiz, the center of so many champagne celebrations over the years, spoke bravely about preparing for next season and praised the skill of the young players the team used this season.

But he acknowledged that being on the outside was a difficult emotion to deal with.

“Watching the games on TV, it’s going to feel weird,’’ Ortiz said.

Fittingly, given what transpired so often during the season, it was the bullpen that cost the Red Sox last night. Ahead, 4-2, the Sox gave up a run in the seventh, another in the eighth, and a walkoff single by Dayan Viciedo with two outs in the ninth.

Rookie Michael Bowden took the loss, giving up a one-out single to Juan Pierre. With two outs, Pierre stole second and third while rookie Dustin Richardson was walking Mark Teahen.

Another reliever, Matt Fox, came in and gave up the single to Viciedo.

Daniel Bard blew the save in the eighth inning when he walked Manny Ramirez and allowed an RBI double by Paul Konerko.

The latest bullpen meltdown wasted the effort of John Lackey, who gave up two runs over six innings. His only mistake came in the fourth when a two-strike fastball to Carlos Quentin cut over the plate and was lined to left for a two-run homer.

Quentin is 8 for 12 against Lackey with four home runs in his career.

Lackey shook his head when asked about watching the lead he handed off get wasted.

“It’s been one of those seasons,’’ he said. “Not much you can do.’’

Last night only made official what was six months in the making. The Red Sox won their first game and never spent another day in first place, losing nine of their next 12 and building a trap they were never quite able to fully escape.

Along the way they were only 24-20 against the four worst teams in the American League, the Indians, Mariners, Orioles, and Royals. The Sox also are 5-11 in extra inning games and will finish this season with their fewest wins at Fenway Park since 2003.

Opening Day starter Josh Beckett, signed to a lucrative contract extension in April, has so far pitched in only 20 games and won six of them.

Closer Jonathan Papelbon blew eight saves, a career worst. Outside of Bard, the bullpen was a liability for much of the season.

Lackey, the big free agent acquisition of the offseason, had a lackluster season. A pitching staff expected to be one of the best in the game proved to be below average in the AL.

Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia was lost to injury for all but two games in late June. Fellow All-Star Kevin Youkilis played his final game Aug. 2 because of a thumb injury. Leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury played only 18 games because of fractured ribs.

The Sox had enough to remain competitive but could not catch the Yankees and Rays.

“It’s a testament to these guys’ character that we stayed in it as long as we did,’’ Lackey said.

The Sox didn’t have much trouble getting to White Sox starter Edwin Jackson early in the game.

Adrian Beltre led off the second inning with his major league-leading 49th double. Jed Lowrie followed with a double into the left field corner to make it 1-0. The Sox made it 3-0 in the third, when J.D. Drew homered and Beltre hit a sacrifice fly. Ortiz added a home run in the sixth inning.

Ortiz has 32 home runs and 101 RBIs.

The Sox have two more games against the White Sox then close the season with three home games against the Yankees. The only goal left for the 87-70 Sox is to try to get to 90 wins.

“It’s disappointing, obviously,’’ captain Jason Varitek said. “That’s the biggest thing. You work throughout the season to get an opportunity. All you want is a chance.’’

Posted in Chicago White Sox, Red Sox, Sox Summary | 1 Comment »

Sox Summary: Buchholz pitches eight frames as Red tops White

Posted by Joshua Kummins on September 28, 2010

CHICAGO, Illinois (Monday, September 27, 2010) – Clay Buchholz cruised to his 17th win of the season, allowing five hits and a run over eight innings as the Red Sox beat the White Sox, 6-1, at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday. Mark Buehrle fell to 12-13 as he allowed 11 hits and four runs over six innings for the loss. The Red Sox have now won four of the last five games, while the White Sox break a four-game win streak.

Boston got right to work in the top of the first as David Ortiz as David Ortiz hit a two-out, two-run double to right field for a 2-0 lead.

The lead became 3-0 in the third as Victor Martinez hit a sacrifice fly to center field.

In the top of the fifth, Adrian Beltre’s single to left field made it 4-0. In the bottom half, the White Sox got on the board for their only run of the game as Brett Morel hit a sacrifice fly to left field.

Martinez hit a one-out single to left field in the seventh, while Adrian Beltre capped the scoring with a one-out double to center in the ninth.

The Red Sox look to pull ahead in the second of four games on Tuesday night when John Lackey faces Edwin Jackson.

Posted in Chicago White Sox, Red Sox, Sox Summary | Leave a Comment »

Red Sox Today: September 27 at White Sox

Posted by Joshua Kummins on September 27, 2010

RED SOX (86-69)
16 Marco Scutaro 2B
54 Darnell McDonald RF
41 Victor Martinez C
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
34 David Ortiz DH
20 Mike Lowell 1B
12 Jed Lowrie SS
22 Bill Hall LF
54 Ryan Kalish CF

11 Clay Buchholz RHP

WHITE SOX (83-72)
1 Juan Pierre LF
11 Omar Vizquel 2B
51 Alex Rios CF
14 Paul Konerko 1B
99 Manny Ramirez DH
12 A.J. Pierzynski C
20 Carlos Quentin RF
10 Alexi Ramirez SS
22 Brett Morel 3B

56 Mark Buehrle LHP

* The Red Sox open their final road series of the season tonight as they face the White Sox in the first of a four-game set at U.S. Cellular Field. This series marks the first and only trip to the Windy City for the Sox and must sweep the four-game set to win the season series with the Pale Hose. Since 2007, the Sox have won seven of their last 12 in Chicago. The Sox have won or split each of the last seven season series against the White Sox.

Happy birthday to Red Sox hall of famer Johnny Pesky who turns 91 years young today.

On the road, one last time: The Red Sox continue their seven-game roadtrip tonight with the opener of four against the White Sox in Chicago. Following this series, the Sox conclude the season with a three-game series against the Yankees at Fenway. The Sox have won six of their last seven road games, while the team is 34-25 away from Fenway Park since May 22, the second-best mark in the Majors.

For the Record: The Sox are 86-69, good for third in the American League East, fifth in the A.L. and tenth-best in the Majors. Boston has lost five of the last nine and their playoff hopes can end with a loss or a Yankees win tonight. They sit in third place in the division (7.0 games behind the Rays, elimination number is 1) and second place in the Wild Card (6.5 games behind the Yankees, elimination number is 1).

Thanks, Mike: The Sox have designated Saturday’s game as “Thanks, Mike Night” at Fenway Park to honor Mike Lowell as he retires from baseball after a remarkable 13-year career. The four-time All-Star will be honored during on-field ceremonies before the game.

Spreading the Wealth: The Sox have had 52 players appear in a game this year, most in the A.L. and tied for second in the Majors with the Pirates, behind the Marlins (55). Last season, 52 players also appeared in a game. Boston has used 25 pitchers in 2010, tied for most in the A.L. with the Royals.

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Sox Summary: Sox blow lead, suffer 10-inning loss in Yankee series finale

Posted by Joshua Kummins on September 27, 2010

THE BRONX, New York (Sunday, September 26, 2010) – Jonathan Papelbon blew his eighth save 0f the season and Hideki Okajima walked Juan Miranda with the bases loaded in the tenth inning as the Red Sox fell to the Yankees, 4-3 in 10 innings on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium. The Sox had taken the first two games of the season, but the Yankees clinched no worse than the wild card with the win.

The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the third inning as Victor Martinez hit a two-out single to right field for the game’s first run.

All was quiet until the bottom of the seventh when Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run home run to right-center field to give New York a 2-1 lead on one swing of the bat.

In the ninth, Bill Hall singled to right field and was driven in on a sacrifice fly by Mike Lowell to give Boston the lead, but Robinson Cano singled home the tying run in the bottom of the frame with one out.

Hideki Okajima came in and loaded the bases only to clear them as Juan Miranda drove in the winning run on a walk in the tenth inning. He allowed two hits and that run as he suffered his fourth loss of the season, after Daisuke Matsuzaka threw eight four-hit innings and Jonathan Papelbon blew the save.

Phil Hughes allowed three hits and a run over six innings, while Boone Logan earned his second win of the season.

The Red Sox look to get back on track Monday night as they open a four-game series at Chicago. Monday’s first pitch is at 8:10 as Clay Buchholz faces Mark Buehrle.

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