David Ortiz, who started at DH for the AL on Tuesday night, knows that discipline is coming shortly for his altercation with Orioles pitcher Kevin Gregg last Friday at Fenway.
MLB exec Joe Torre hinted today that the punishment could be handed out as early as Thursday, the day before the Red Sox open their second half at Tropicana Field against the Rays.
While missing time is the last thing Ortiz wants to do while his team chases a postseason berth, he seems to know it’s coming.
“I know there’s going to be some discipline going on with myself,” Ortiz said. “Like I say, things get out of hand and I don’t feel like I was the one who started this so we’ll see.”
Ortiz thinks the film and the reports filled out by the umpires will speak for themselves.
“They go through all the video and stuff like that,” Ortiz said. “There’s not too much you have to say. Like I say, it’s a situation that got out of hand and we’ll see – we’ll see how it goes.”
Will Ortiz definitely appeal?
“It all depends what they come with. You can’t do nothing until you see what’s on the table,” he said.
The Red Sox All-Stars will travel home on Tuesday and have a day off on Wednesday. The team will fly to Tampa on Thursday and workout at Tropicana Field at 6 p.m. ET.
The Red Sox moved Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler to the Disabled List on Thursday morning, calling up right-hander Scott Atchison and left-hander Rich Hill to bolster a worn out bullpen. The Red Sox used eight pitchers, including Friday’s scheduled starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, in a five-hour, rain-delayed 5-3 loss to the Angels at Fenway last night.
Manager Terry Francona is expected to detail the official injuries shortly.
– Evan Drellich
After keeping quiet for a couple days, manager Terry Francona has announced the Red Sox rotation for the rest of the week. After Clay Buchholz on Monday and Jon Lester on Tuesday, Josh Beckett is to pitch Wednesday, John Lackey on Thursday and Daisuke Matsuzaka on Friday.
On Dice-K, Francona said: “We were trying to buy him a couple days. He says he doesn’t need it, I think when somebody comes out like that we’d like to make sure they’re OK.”
On Beckett: “We leaned on Beckett pretty hard there a couple games and we don’t have days off coming up. So, not just because of the way he’s pitching, because he’s pitching great, just wanted to try to get everybody situated where they all feel as good about themselves as they can physically. Just to give him that day I think was important.”
Beckett is not hurt, Francona said.
– Evan Drellich
So that’s what a new month feels like. Not that there’s all that many wins to choose from this season, but you’d be hard-pressed to say any was bigger than Sunday’s 3-2 decision over the Mariners.
“I think we needed that,” manager Terry Francona said. “Gotta be good for [Carl Crawford], and it’s really good for us. Seeing him come off the field with that smile, I have a feeling it will come a long way.”
Some notes to wrap up the day …
- Tim Wakefield and Francona said they both knew the knuckleballer would be done if anyone reached base in the sixth, even though Wakefield’s pitch count was at 76 when he left. “I talked to him after the fifth,” Francona said. “I don’t like to get in the way, but he knew he was on a little bit of a short leash. Part of it was because I didn’t want him to lose the game. I thought he deserved to win that game.” Wakefield estimated about 70 of his pitches were knuckleballs, and said Jarrod Saltalamacchia did a fine job catching.
- With his first start of the season in the books, Wakefield has the distinction of being one of just eight pitchers to start a game for one team in 17 consecutive seasons.
- David Ortiz’s two-run double in the third snapped an 0-for-16 skid for the Red Sox with runners in scoring position, and a 16-inning scoreless drought for the Sox stretching to the fifth inning Friday night.
- Crawford was bound to get going at some point, yes. As to whether he’ll turn the game-winning hit into something — who knows. He can’t do much worse than he has all year, so the likelihood is he’ll be better from here on out, even if Sunday isn’t specifically a catalyst. “You never know what’ll get you started,” Crawford said. “Hopefully I can improve on it.”
- If the reaction on the field wasn’t telling enough, the Red Sox players who spoke post-game all talked about how happy they were to see Crawford get going. “He’ll produce, he will,” Wakefield said. “He’s too good not to.”
- They’ve come in bunches for Crawford this season. He has more multi-hit games (6) than he does games where he’s had just one hit (5).
- The Mariners, who still took two of three at Fenway, weren’t a slouching team, even if they don’t finish atop the American League West come season’s end. They came in Sunday with a five-game win streak, and until Jamey Wright allowed the single to Crawford, M’s relievers had thrown 15 scoreless innings.
- Matt Albers and Jonathan Papelbon were both stellar after Bobby Jenks’ implosion. They combined for three perfect innings. “Papelbon had a [seven-pitch] inning, which was tremendous, because if we don’t score, Pap can go back out,” Francona said. “Albers has been really, really good. He had life down in the zone. It’s exciting to watch.”
- Jacoby Ellsbury’s still rolling. His hit streak’s at 10 games after a 1-for-4 performance. He’s 16-for-43 (.372) during.
- Jed Lowrie’s sun-made triple in the ninth was his first three-bagger since Aug. 17, 2008, against the Blue Jays.
– Evan Drellich
- Matt Albers, who relieved an injured Daisuke Matsuzaka in the fifth, said after Boston’s 5-4 loss to the Mariners that he had as much time as he needed to warm up. Albers was just on the DL because of a strained right lat, but said he wasn’t worried about a flare-up. That injury was minor to begin with. Albers threw two scoreless innings and allowed one hit, striking out and walking one.
- Jacoby Ellsbury has a season-high eight-game hit streak after going 1-for-4 on Friday night. The last time he had a hit streak that length was July 31 to Aug. 8, 2009. “Last week or so though, he’s using the whole field, he’s getting on top of the ball when he hits the ball to left field, and he’s hitting a lot of line drives,” manager Terry Francona said before the game.
- Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz both have a hit streak at six games. Gonzalez has multiple hits in four of those games. He went 2-for-4 Friday and is 12-for-27 during the streak (.444). Gonzalez scored the 500th run of his career in the third inning Friday.
- The Red Sox were 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position Friday. Boston entered the day hitting .217 with runners on second and/or third, fourth-worst in the Majors and second-worst in the American League (behind Oakland). “We’ve not been real good at it so far,” Francona said before the game. “That’s something we drastically want to improve on.”
- Bobby Jenks was a stand-up guy when answering questions after he took the loss Friday, waiting by his locker for reporters to return from the media room. In a note possibly related to his performance, and possibly related to nothing, Jenks also appeared to have shaved after the game.
- Comedic line of the night went to Jason Varitek. Asked what Daisuke Matsuzaka said when he went out to the mound to check on the right-hander in the fifth, the captain responded: “Well, he said it in Japanese, so I don’t really know.”
- On a 70-degree day in Boston, Mike Cameron jokingly wore a Red Sox ski hat in the clubhouse before batting practice. He went on to hit two home runs.
Tonight, the Red Sox open a four-game series in Anahiem, where J.D. Drew will lead off, Jason Varitek will catch and the scorching-hot Jed Lowrie will be in the lineup for the sixth straight day.
Varitek and Saltalamacchia will share the catching position this weekend — each guy starting twice.
Prospect Ryan Kalish injured his shoulder today for Pawtucket. At this point, it doesn’t appear to be serious.
Matt Albers is back in the bullpen, activated after a minor lat injury. Alfredo Aceves went back to Pawtucket, where he will be stretched out as a starter.
His previous two seasons marred badly by anemic starts, David Ortiz has come out of the gate swinging this year.
He just clubbed home run No. 2 on the season, a shot to right against Rangers righty Colby Lewis.
Not many teams have a No. 6 hitter with the power potential of Big Papi. Last year, Ortiz didn’t go deep for the first time until April 23. It was far worse in 2009, as he didn’t hit his first homer until May 20 and his second until June 6.
Combined over the last two years, Ortiz hit .196 with one homer and 15 RBIs in April.
As a DH, Ortiz now has 1,003 RBIs, tying him with Edgar Martinez for first all-time among DH’s.
The dawn of another baseball season for the Red Sox brings back memories, a lot of them, on Opening Days past.
I started watching the Red Sox in mid-April of 1980, so this is my 31st year keeping tabs on this team from start to finish of a season. Here are the Openers I remember off the top of my head. I’d be curious to hear all of you chime in on yours.
Opening Day, 1981: Carlton Fisk, playing his first game with the White Sox, stuns and angers everyone at Fenway by belting a game-winning three-run homer against Bob Stanley in the top of the eighth. This one was a crusher.
Opening Day, 1983: This was my first Opening Day as a fan. My mother let my sister and I skip school so we could go to the game. It was freezing. I remember Eckersley got shelled. It was Yaz’s last Opener so it was cool to be there. Blue Jays beat the Sox, 7-1.
Opening Day, 1985: A hyped Red Sox team — they had finished the ’84 season with a great second half — come sout of the gate with a 9-1 win over the Yankees at Fenway. Oil Can went the distance. Rice, Armas and Evans all went deep. They swept the Yankees, but it was not a good season.
Opening Day, 1986: From the late, great voice of Ned Martin: “We are ready for the first pitch of the 1986 season and here it is, flyball, deep left-center, and … GONE !!!” Ned was stunned. Even he had never seen the first pitch of a seaosn hit out of the park. And the pitcher was Jack Morris. But Kirk Gibson dominated this game, belting two homers, including the game-winner against Sammy Stewart on an 0-2 pitch.
Opening Day, 1988: Lee Smith, the prized new acquisition, gives up a two-run homer to Alan Trammell in the 10th. The headline in the next day’s Herald? “Wait till next year”.
Opening Day, 1991: Jack Clark belts a grand slam at SkyDome. Unfortunately, the rest of his time with the Red sox didn’t go as well.
Opening Day, 2003: Tropicana Field. Bullpen by committee. Walkoff homer by Carl Crawford against Chad Fox. Ouch.
So those are the ones that stand out.
Usually an Opening Day lineup is pretty simple for a manager. You put your best nine players out there in the order you expect them to hit in for most of the season. But Terry Francona is faced with a bit of a different situation this year, in that his team is going against Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson.
How good is Wilson against lefties? Well, last year, they hit .144 against him with no homers and 12 RBIs. Yes, that is filthy.
“It’s not just the lefty, it’s who the lefty is,” Francona told reporters today from City of Palms Park. “This is something, that’s why I’ve been so hesitant to talk about the lineup. C.J. Wilson is one of those lefties, where on normal days, if it’s July, that’s the day you give your righties a shot. Now, it’s Opening Day. There’s some thought that needs to go into that.”
Here is a breakdown of Sox lefties lifetime vs. Wilson: Crawford 2-for-12, 1 HR, 4 RBIs; Ortiz 1-for-10, 1 RBI; J.D. Drew 1-for-6, 0 RBIs; Jacoby Ellsbury 0-for-1; Adrian Gonzalez 0-for-1.
So Francona has several dilemmas: Does he hit Ellsbury leadoff or put him at the bottom of the order? Does Drew start, or does Tito insert Mike Cameron?
Even though Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a switch-hitter, is going to be the primary catcher this season, does Francona give Jason Varitek the honor of starting Opening Day? His motive in that situation, aside from Varitek’s strong history with starting pitcher Jon Lester, is that ‘Tek is a stronger right-handed hitter and Salty is better from the left side.
What order do Youkilis and Gonzalez hit in? Does he hit Youk fourth and Gonzo fifth or vice versa?
So the roster is officially set. Hideki Okajima and Alfredo Aceves had options, and were sent to Triple-A Pawtucket. Matt Albers and Dennys Reyes did not have options, and therefore they made the team.
So here is the roster you will see on Opening Day in Texas.
Catchers: Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek. Infielders: Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, Marco Scutaro, Jed Lowrie, Kevin Youkilis. Outfielders: Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron, Darnell McDonald. Pitchers: Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jonathan Papelbon, Daniel Bard, Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler, Tim Wakefield, Dennys Reyes, Matt Albers.
That said, what are your main concerns with the season gets ready to start. Please chime in here with any and all comments.
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