Boston Red Sox

Beckett continues domination of Yankees, 6-0

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Beckett continues domination of Yankees, 6-0

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

NEW YORK -- A year ago, Josh Beckett couldn't do anything right against the New York Yankees. This year, it's all changed around.

Beckett dominated the Yankees for the second time in 2011 Saturday night, tossing six shutout innings to help the Red Sox blank the Yankees, 6-0. In 14 innings this year, the Yankees have yet to score a single run off Beckett and have struck out 19 times.

The win was the second straight for Boston and fourth in five tries against the Yankees.

Adrian Gonzalez broke the game open with a three-run homer in the seventh, chasing CC Sabathia. For Gonzalez, it marked the fourth straight game in which he's homered, with five homers in that stretch. The first baseman has eight homers in his last 11 games.

A two-run double by Jacoby Ellsbury had opened the scoring for the Sox in the fifth, providing Beckett with a least a little run support.

Beckett, 3-1, won for the first time since April 16. He had been stuck with no-decisions in his previous two outings. Beckett is unscored upon in his last 17 13 innings.

STAR OF THE GAME -- Josh Beckett

Beckett was masterful again, limiting the Yankees to four hits over six scoreless innings.

His biggest test may have come in the first when the Yankees nicked him for half of the four hits before Beckett could retire a hitter. But he settled down and got the next three, stranding two.

He later worked himself out of two other mini-jams: two on and two out in the third, then two on with one out in the fifth.

Beckett now has a scoreless streak of 18 13 innings.

HONORABLE MENTION -- Adrian Gonzalez

Ho hum -- another game, another homer for the white-hot Red Sox first baseman. He has eight homers in his last 11 games.

His four other at-bats resulted in a strikeout, a broken-bat grounder and two double plays, but in the seventh, he broke the game open with a three-run homer to right, giving him 34 RBI in 39 games.

GOAT OF THE GAME -- Alex Rodriguez

ARod's troubles began in the first inning when he popped up to first with two on and one out. They continued in the third when he fanned for the final out, stranding two more baserunners.

Finally, in the fifth, he ended another inning -- this one with a strikeout, too, and coming with two more teammates on base.

He added a meaningless single in the eighth when the game was out of reach, but when it counted, he was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts while stranding six.

TURNING POINT --

The Red Sox had gone up 2-0 on Jacoby Ellsbury's two-run double in the top of the fifth, but the Yankees were threatening with two on and one out in the bottom of the inning.

Beckett, however, dug in and got Curtis Granderson to pop-up and struck out Mark Teixeira to end the threat and preserve the lead.

BY THE NUMBERS --

Josh Beckett's six shutout innings marked the 10th time this season that a Red Sox starter had held the opposition scoreless, tops in the majors

QUOTE OF NOTE --

"The Yankees are doing that guy wrong.'' David Ortiz on Jorge Posada's dispute with the Yankees.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Eduardo Rodriguez's delivery wasn't the same after knee injury, until recently

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Eduardo Rodriguez's delivery wasn't the same after knee injury, until recently

BALTIMORE — If you suspected Eduardo Rodriguez’s knee created a residual effect with his mechanics as he struggled in the second half, you were correct. 

It was here in Baltimore on June 1 that Eduardo Rodriguez hurt his right knee, suffering another subluxation, which he’s prone to. Once he came back — a month and a half later, after the All-Star Break — his performances didn’t match the competency he’d shown pre-injury.

Through the first nine starts back, Rodriguez had a 5.47 ERA. He appeared clearly outside of the playoff rotation picture.

The last three outings have left a different impression, and are a product of improved mechanics. The Red Sox feel Rodriguez is lifting  right leg, his lead leg, higher now.

“I think Eddy’s regained more confidence physically over his last three starts,” pitching coach Carl Willis said. “We’ve seen a better delivery. Really since he had come back the injury here, a little bit of abbreviated leg lift. He finally got a little more confidence in picking that knee up and getting a little more drive from his lower half. I think that’s made a huge difference. He’s using his changeup more which is also a huge difference, but I think that lower half has allowed him to do that.”

Rodriguez has a 2.55 September ERA. He has strikeout ability that could be appealing in a postseason setting, but he’s young and inexperienced compared to Rick Porcello and Doug Fister. The fact he’s had confidence issues with his delivery could factor into how the Sox decide their playoff rotation, but his upside and strikeout potential are undeniable.

Rodriguez had a knee subluxation in 2016 that affected his mechanics for a time as well.

Branch on reduced role vs. Saints: "Ask Bill"

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Branch on reduced role vs. Saints: "Ask Bill"

FOXBORO - If Alan Branch is worried about his spot with the Patriots, he isn’t acting that way. A notorious slow starter, Branch played just six snaps in Sunday’s win at New Orleans. And to hear him talk, it’s business as usual.

“It’s not like you can practice 3 technique on a store clerk,” said Branch late Wednesday afternoon. When informed that he probably could if he wanted, Branch smiled and noted “you’d probably get arrested for that.”

All kidding aside, it was stark to see Branch’s ample behind stapled to the bench. He earned a two-year contract this offseason, and his presence on the interior has been critical to the defense’s success. But after getting pushed around a bit too often in that opening night loss to the Chiefs, Branch spent a lot more time watching then playing. Did he know that he wasn’t a big part of the plan?

“That’s another question you gotta ask Bill, man” said Branch. “That’s not something I can talk about.”

Branch has - at times - come off as nonchalant about the game. Wins, losses, big plays, no plays, none of it seems to change his demeanor. Knowing that, I asked him if he was frustrated by his lack of playing time.

“I mean every player wants to be on the field so it is what it is,” he responded. 

Does he think that he’ll be more involved Sunday against the Texans?

“I don’t know what they plan to do with me,” he said. “i just need to go in there and keep my head to the grindstone and work.”

That may be Bill Belichick’s plan: sitting the player to motivate him. It would also seem to be potentially the last resort, and with someone who clearly marches to the beat of his own drum, it’s unclear how he’ll respond.