April 15, 2011: Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 6

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April 15, 2011: Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 6

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The two days off, which the Red Sox had been hopeful would give them a physical and mental break to their dismal start of the season, did little to change their fortunes or lack of such -- as they fell to the Blue Jays, 7-6, in the first of their four-game series at Fenway Park.

Clay Buchholz, who was not involved in the decision, lasted just five innings, giving up three runs on three hits and five walks with three strikeouts. The three runs he allowed all reached base by walks. He threw 94 pitches, 46 for strikes an unhealthy 48.9 percent. Despite his ineffectiveness, Buchholzs ERA dropped, from 7.20 entering the game, to 6.60.

The Blue Jays saved most of their damage for Bobby Jenks (0-1), who took the loss. Prior to the game, Jenks had not allowed a run in four appearances, spanning four innings. In one-third of an inning against the Jays, he allowed four earned runs on four hits, a walk, and a wild pitch, with one strikeout.

The offense fared no better than the pitching. The Sox managed just five hits, dropping their team average from .230 entering the game to .224. Three runs came on second-inning home runs a solo shot into the first row of the Green Monster by Dustin Pedroia, and a two-run blast into the bleachers by Kevin Youkilis, his first of the season, scoring Adrian Gonzalez, who had walked. They added three in the seventh when Youkilis and David Ortiz walked, with Youkilis scoring on Jed Lowrie's pinch-hit infield single. Ortiz and Lowrie then scored on Marco Scutaro's double. The Red Sox were just 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

With the loss, the Sox fall to 2-10, maintaining their record as the worst team in baseball.

Player of the Game: Brett Cecil

Cecil (1-1) earned his first win of the season in his third start. It was also his third straight win against the Red Sox, after losing the first three starts of his career. The Jays left-hander held the Sox to three runs on two hits the second-inning home runs by Pedroia and Youkilis and four walks with five strikeouts over six innings. It was just the third time in his career he has allowed two or fewer hits while going at least six innings.

Honorable Mention: Aaron Hill

Hill went 3-for-4, with an RBI. It was his first multi-hit game of the season, raising his average 46 points from .170 entering the game to .216, while raising his career average at Fenway to .307 (51-for-166) in 43 games. He also had two stolen bases, a career single-game high. In the Jays' four-run seventh inning, with Hill at the plate, a Bobby Jenks wild pitch scored a run, and Hill then drove in Adam Lind for the Jays seventh and decisive run of the night.

The Goat: Bobby Jenks

Although Clay Buchholz had has third ineffective start of the season,lasting just five innings (plus two batters in the sixth), it was Jenks who let it get away. In his first four outings this season, spanning four innings, he had not allowed a run.Jenks entered the game Friday night to start the seventh, with the score tied, 3-3. He allowed the first two batters to reach, walking his first batter, Toronto No. 9 hitter, Jayson Nix, before giving up a single to Yunel Escobar. After striking out Corey Patterson, Jenks gave up consecutive RBI singles to Jose Bautista, Lind, and Hill and a run-scoring a wild pitch to Hill. Jenks was done after that along with the Red Sox' chances for a win. Jenks line: one-third of an inning, six batters, four runs (all earned) on four hits and a walk, with a strikeout and a wild pitch. His ERA jumped from 0.00 to 8.31.

Turning Point: Offensive ineptitude

While Jenks inning may have doomed them, the offenses inability to score runs did not help. The Sox' rally in the eighth inning scored four runs, one shy of tying the game. With hits in the game hard to come by the Sox went 5-for-33, lowering their team average from .230 to .224 the Sox could not capitalize on Toronto pitching struggles in the eighth. The Sox sent seven batters to the plate in the inning, scoring three runs, capped by Marco Scutaros two-out, two-run double off Casey Janssen, the second Jays pitcher of the inning, who entered to face the Boston shortstop. But Jacoby Ellsbury swung at Janssens first pitch, a 90-mph fastball, flying out to right field with the tying run on second base, ending the Sox rally and hopes for just their third win of the season.

The Red Sox were 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the game, and are now nine for their last 60 in those situations, for a .150 average with runners in scoring position.

By the Numbers: 7

Red Sox pitchers gave up seven walks (five by Buchholz, one by Jenks, one by Jonathan Papelbon). The Jays' first four runs were scored by batters who reached base on walks. All three runs Buchholz allowed were scored by runners who walked. That includes a four-pitch walk to Lind to lead off the sixth.

Quote of Note

I just never could find a feel. Made some big pitches when I needed to a couple times. But, yeah, other than that it was a battle all night, just trying to throw pitches where I wanted to throw them at some point. One of the points, I guess it was the fourth inning, trying to throw the ball down the middle and just couldnt find a feel for it. -- Clay Buchholz, on his struggles against the Blue Jays Friday night.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Pedroia (knee) out of lineup again after leaving game early Thursday

Pedroia (knee) out of lineup again after leaving game early Thursday

Dustin Pedroia is out of the lineup again tonight after leaving the Red Sox game Thursday night with knee pain in the fifth inning.

Josh Rutledge will start at second base as the Sox open a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.  

The weather and sloppy field conditions were a factor in John Farrell deciding to get Pedroia out of the game Thursday and conditions haven’t improved significantly Friday. 

Pedroia (.288, two homers, 21 RBI) had surgery on that knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked the plunking war between the Orioles and Red Sox.

The full lineups: 

MARINERS
Jean Segura SS
Guillermo Heredia CF
Robinson Canó 2B
Nelson Cruz DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Danny Valencia 1B
Taylor Motter LF
Ben Gamel RF
Mike Zunino C

Yovanni Gallardo RHP

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Andrew Benintendi LF
Xander Bogaerts SS
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Josh Rutledge 2B
Jackie Bradley Jr CF
Christian Vazquez C
Deven Marrero 3B

Eduardo Rodriguez LHP


 

Source: Celtics offseason focus is an All-Star frontcourt addition

Source: Celtics offseason focus is an All-Star frontcourt addition

WALTHAM, Mass. – No matter how an NBA team’s season ends, change is inevitable.
 
And while there’s no doubt that the Celtics are on the right track in terms of their ascension in the NBA, it's too soon to tell how many players on the Celtics’ 15-man roster that Danny Ainge, the president of basketball operations, will bring back next season.

MORE CELTICS

 
“One thing I do know. He’ll make the best decisions for the team and if players don’t end up being back here, I wish the best for them,” said Avery Bradley.  “Those are my brothers. We all had a special year. I appreciate everything, all the time I had with them. I’d love for all those guys to be back. We’ll see.”
 
And with Boston coming off its first trip to the Eastern Conference finals since 2012, adding just any player won’t cut it.
 
The Celtics’ mindset now isn’t just to improve, but get good enough to where they can better compete with the likes of Cleveland, which just ended the Celtics’ season with a Game 5 thumping.
 
The most significant move made by the Celtics last offseason was the signing of Al Horford to a four-year, $113 million contract.
 
Like most of his Boston teammates this season, Horford is eager to see what changes are in store this summer.
 
“We just have to wait and see,” Horford said. “We had such a good year. A lot of positive things. It’ll be interesting to see what Danny, the organization feels is going to be the next step.”
 
Multiple league sources have told CSNNE.com in recent weeks that the Celtics are focused on landing an All-Star caliber talent in the frontcourt.
 
That makes sense when you consider how guard-dominant the Celtics were this season and how that had a negative impact on the team’s rebounding and, to a lesser degree, their defense as a whole.
 
Gordon Hayward has emerged as a target, but all indications – for now at least – point toward him returning to Utah.
 
The Celtics may pursue Los Angeles Clippers big man Blake Griffin. Although like Hayward, he too is expected to re-sign with his current team for a max contract (for Griffin that would be five years, $175 million).
 
While trades are certainly in the cards for Boston, at this point the Celtics seem more inclined to improve their overall talent base via the draft and free agency.
 
“It’s always a good thing when you have the opportunity to add value to your team and don’t have to change your team too much,” said Celtics’ reserve Gerald Green, who will be a free agent this summer. “I’m going to be very interested to see what they do as far as building a team. We’re in a good place right now as far as being where we want to be organization-wise. I feel like we’re one or two steps away from actually being at the Finals. I think Danny has some things to think about, but I’m sure he’s going to do the job. I’ve seen Danny go to work in these situations. He always makes the team better. I’m pretty sure he’s got something planned that, at the end of the day, is going to make this organization better.”
 
Indeed, the Celtics could very well strengthen their position for next season by simply locking up some of their core players who may hit the free agent market soon.
 
Boston may look to work out an extension with Isaiah Thomas before the start of this season. Because if he hits free agency in the summer of 2018, he will be poised to command a salary that in year one would be worth more than the entire four-year, $27 million deal he signed with Phoenix in 2014.
 
“Boston’s changed my career, changed my life,” Thomas said. “I would love to be here long-term and win championships here. But as you guys know, it’s a business and anything can happen. I know that and understand that. But I would love to be here. This has been everything to me. This city, this organization … it’s been good.”