Gonzalez not happy to be pulled

752318.jpg

Gonzalez not happy to be pulled

BOSTON -- When manager Bobby Valentine removed Adrian Gonzalez for pinch-runner Che-Hsuan Lin in the sixth inning Saturday night, the move appeared curious to most observers.

Gonzalez had just singled, putting runners at first and second with two outs. Dustin Pedroia, who led off the inning with a walk and went to second on David Ortizs single, was thrown out on Gonzalezs single to center as Rays center fielder B.J. Upton fired a perfect throw to cut down Pedroia trying to score.

Lin then replaced Gonzalez.

One batter later, Will Middlebrooks single scored Ortiz for the first run of the game.

Although Gonzalez has been struggling lately (the single made him 9 for his last 45, .200, with 14 strikeouts, actually raising his average one point to .269), removing his bat from the lineup in favor of an unproven rookie was perplexing.

After the game, it was to Gonzalez, too.

You've got to talk to Bobby, said Gonzalez. He's the boss.

"I thought it was going to be a one-run game, and I didn't want that one run to happen to be a ball that fell somewhere that he wasn't going to get to, Valentine said.

"He's not happy with it. It's a total roll of the dice. We're playing the whole game wondering exactly what we have there. I'm confident, but I don't want to learn the hard way. And the hard way is always with a loss.

"Like we always say, we don't know if they're going to hit it to him, but we always know that he's going to get up.

"And he said, 'That at-bat in the ninth is going to be a big one.' And I said, 'It's probably going to be in the eighth, and you're right. I hope we don't need it. I hope we need it. I hope we win 1-0.' And as it turned out, it was 2-1 when his bat came out."

It all worked out when Jarrod Saltalamacchia, pinch-hitting for Marlon Byrd with one out and Daniel Nava on second in the ninth, hit the first walk-off home run of his career.

Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: Porcello goes for win No. 23

ortiz-fenway-grass.jpg

Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: Porcello goes for win No. 23

The A.L. East-champion Red Sox, still fighting for playoff position, field their usual lineup as they open David Ortiz's final regular-season series tonight (7:10) against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox (92-67) are two games behind the Texas Rangers (94-65) in the race for the best record in the A.L., with the Cleveland Indians (91-67) a half-game behind Boston.

Rick Porcello (22-4, 3.11 ERA), the likely Game 1 starter in the ALDS, will try to add to his Cy Young Award resume tonight. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.53).

The Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles (both 87-72) are tied for the A.L. wild-card lead with the Detroit Tigers (85-73) 1 1/2 games back.

It’s the final regular season series for Oritz, with ceremonies planned to honor the retiring Red Sox DH prior to each of the final three game this weekend. 

The lineups:

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Brock Holt 3B

Mookie Betts RF

David Ortiz DH

Hanely Ramirez 1B

Xander Bogaerts SS

Jackie Bradley CF

Sandy Leon C

Andrew Benintendi LF

Rick Porcello P

 

BLUE JAYS

Eziquiel Carrera LF

Josh Donaldson 3B

Edwin Encarnacion DH

Jose Bautista RF

Russell Martin C

Troy Tulowitzki SS

Justin Smoak 1B

Kevin Pillar CF

Devon Travis 2B

Marco Estrada RHP