Results tagged ‘ Rays ’

Washed away at Roger Dean

JUPITER, Fla. — This is Alden Gonzalez here, filling in for Ian Browne, and it looks like I brought some of that Miami-ish rain from home with me on Friday. Sorry about that.
DSC01617.jpgAnyway, it’s been raining all morning at Roger Dean Stadium — and the night before — so the game was postponed before 11 a.m. ET. Here’s how it affects the Red Sox:
* They’ll play their regularly scheduled game against the Pirates at home on Saturday, at 1:05 p.m. ET (weather permitting). They’ll then play a 5 1/2-inning ‘B’ game against some of the guys from Minor League camp. Clay Buchholz (Friday’s scheduled starter) will start the game against the Pirates, followed by Michael Bowden. 
* Pitching in the ‘B’ game will be Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard, Casey Kelly, Ramon Ramirez and others.

* Boston will now come back here to make this contest up on March 22 as part of a split-squad game. The other half of the squad will be back home playing the Rays. That will mark back-to-back split-squad doubleheaders on the schedule.
* Since the Marlins weren’t here on Friday (they were busy getting rained out in Sarasota, Fla.), Red Sox hitters were able to utilize the batting cages, and a few guys threw off the mound before they headed back to Fort Myers, Fla. 
* Mike Lowell (thumb) is still on track to play in his first exhibition game on Monday, against the Orioles. Daisuke Matsuzaka (upper back) is still scheduled to throw to hitters on Saturday. That will be at 11:30 a.m. in the backfields at City of Palms Park.
* Francona said his “best guess” would be that Jason Varitek, who missed a few days while attending to his ailing father, would play again against the Twins on Sunday, even though he’s itching to play tomorrow.
“I know he’s chomping at the bit, I just don’t think it makes any sense to rush and send him backwards,” Francona added.
* It’s too bad for Jupiter residents that the weather didn’t hold up. Even though Kevin Youkilis was the only everyday player in the lineup for the Red Sox, this contest was sold out.
“If I was the Cardinals, and I had a sellout, I would want to play the game, too,” said Francona, whose squad traveled 2 1/2 hours from Fort Myers. “I don’t blame them. If they want to pay for our dinner last night, we’ll accept it.” 

– Alden Gonzalez

WWJDD?

What will Johnny Damon do? Shocking, really, that he’s yet to find a home. Damon proved last season that he still has a lot to offer on a baseball field. I think he was a huge difference-maker in Game 4 of the World Series, working the pivotal at-bat of the series, and then making that memorable double steal.

Every year, one guy seems to get left out in the cold. Last year it was Bobby Abreu. This year it’s Damon. I think the Rays are the team that makes the most sense for Damon. He would get to stay in the American League East, the division he’s played in the last eight years. Damon lives in the Orlando area, so he could commute to work. Really, it would be a perfect situation. He is exactly the type of player the Rays could use. I’m sure Gabe Kapler will give him a ringing endorsement.

Another one of the lovable “Idiots” from 2004 found work today, with word surfacing through ESPN.com that Kevin Millar will sign with the Cubs, a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training. I think he will be great for that clubhouse, and obviously he knows what it’s like to help relax a team that hasn’t won a World Series for the better part of the century.

Game 8 of the ALCS

Sorry, I couldn’t resist that headline. I’ll never forget the image of Manny Ramirez parading around the home clubhouse at City of Palms Park in March of 2004, when the Red Sox were playing the Yankees again for the first time since the heartbreaking loss in Game 7 of 2003.

“It’s Game 8,” Ramirez howled over and over again.

So here we were today in Port Charlotte for Game 8 of Sox-Rays, coming off that epic ALCS of a year ago.

In actuality, it was a game that meant absolutely nothing, and that was fortunate for the Red Sox in a game they lost 12-4.

But in reality, the matchup gives us reminders of the great series of a year ago, and also the reality that these two teams will be staring each other in the eye again all year.

This was my first trip to Port Charlotte in seven or eight years, back when the Rangers used to train here. They’ve done a great job sprucing up the place. It used to be, um, not so nice.

The Red Sox had  a representative traveling squad today, which will hardly be the case next week after four-ninths of the starting nine goes to the World Baseball Classic.

Ellsbury, Lowrie, Bay and Bladelli all made the trip.

Highly-regarded prospect Michael Bowden had a tough one, giving up five hits and four runs over 1 2/3 innings. Jason Bay had the toughest day of all, chasing down flyballs he couldn’t see all day in a treacherous sun field. And just for good measure, Bay was plunked in the elbow in his final at-bat. He was fine. And also happy to get out of Port Charlotte.

Saturday, there will be a doubleheader at City of Palms. Seven innings against Northeastern, and then nine big ones against the Reds. Until then …

Season On The Brink — Again

Here we go again. The Red Sox fighting off elimination. In manager Terry Francona‘s term as manager, the club has faced elimination in eight postseason games and have won seven of them.

If you stretch it back to 2003, the team is 11-2 in those situations. And if you want to go back to 1999, they are 14-3 when they face elimination. If you really want to stretch it out, the Red Sox are 24-11 all-time on nights they could have been eliminated from a postseason series.

In all honesty, that doesn’t help them win tonight’s game. They need to out-execute the Rays to do that. But it does, as Jason Varitek says, create a “sense of belief”.

I would expect a revved-up Fenway crowd for this one. It’s been strange to see the team play so poorly at home, where they are 1-3 thus far in this postseason and the only win came on that fluky botched squeeze by the Angels.

To get to the World Series, the Red Sox need to win three in a row. An optimist would point out that they’ve done that 15 times this season, and twice against the Rays.

Including the postseason, opponents are 0-for-1 against Dice-K with the bases loaded this season, though I’m sure most Sox players and fans would hope he doesn’t try to stretch that stat out tonight.

And after a dreary day, the sky is brightening. It’s a mystery who will throw out the first pitch. I haven’t seen anything on that yet. Any guesses? I’m sure most people are more preoccupied with what Dice-K and Kazmir’s first pitches are going to look like.

Later,

Ian.

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