Notes: No Pedroia, no Ellsbury in lineup

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Notes: No Pedroia, no Ellsbury in lineup

NEW YORK -- In Game No. 159 of the season, with playoff seeds -- not their own, of course -- on the line, the Red Sox will field one of their weaker lineups of the season.

Both Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury are out of the lineup for the first game of the final series of the season.

Manager Bobby Valentine was strangely coy about Pedroia being out, saying only that the second baseman "is not available to play.''

Pressed for details, Valentine said: "God, Id hate to give away secrets like that. The enemy will then be apprised of the situation. Hes ailing today; hopefully hell be better tomorrow. But he hurt himself in the game yesterday.''

Pedroia wasn't so secretive. The second baseman said he jammed his left ring finger while trying to steal second base Sunday in Baltimore and was set to undergo x-rays on the finger early Monday evening.

It's unclear whether Pedroia will be able to rejoin the lineup for the final two games.

Valentine was also circumspect when it came to Ellsbury being out. The outfielder missed six games last week with what is believed to be a lat strain, though Ellsbury specficially instructed the team to not reveal the nature of the injury to the media.

Valentine noted that Ellsbury had been "hasnt played in a long time. Weve got the lefthander (C.C. Sabathia) out there, a big outfield. Hell play the next two days, hopefully, if hes feeling good.

Ryan Lavarnway was 2-for-4 with a double Sunday, but that was a rare good day at the plate for the young catcher who has struggled mightily -- at least offensively -- since being promoted last month from Pawtucket.

Heading into the final series of the year, Lavarnway was hiting just .170 with two homers and 12 RBI with a .272 OBP and a .260 slugging percentage.

"He's working every day,'' said Valentine. "I saw him in spring training and he hit OK, but others said that wasn't quite his swing so I've been waiting. I'm a little surprised he hasn't hit better.

"I want him to feel good somehow, as the season ends, about his approach at the plate. I haven't drawn the picture of what kind of hitter I think he can be. I think he's going to be a major league hitter and major league player.''

Defensively, Valentine said Lavarnway "needs work, but from what I gather, he's improved an awful lot.''

First impressions: Bradley Jr.'s hit streak comes to an end

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First impressions: Bradley Jr.'s hit streak comes to an end

BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 8-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies:

 

Just when you think Clay Buchholz may be close to figuring some things out, you realize he hasn't.

The night began well for Buchholz, who retired the first nine hitters he faced, marking the first time since April 18 that he had the opposition scoreless through the first three innings.

But then Buchholz allowed a single and a two-run homers in the fourth. And then did it again in the fifth. And then again in that same inning. That's been the big tease all season -- a few innings of dominance, more than wiped out by big hits with men on base.

He's got a 6.35 ERA. It's hard to find a reason why he should make his next start.

 

You can't say that Jackie Bradley Jr. didn't go down swinging.

He swung at the second pitch of the first inning and hit to the warning track in right, where it was caught.

After a weak comebacker in the third, Bradley crushed a pitch to the center field wall, close to 400 feet. That, too, was caught.

In his final at-bat, with the crowd on its feet in anticipation, Bradley swung at the first pitch and rolled out to second base.

It was nice -- and plenty of fun -- while it lasted.

Now, the attention focuses on Xander Bogaerts, who has his own streak going at 19 games.

 

David Ortiz has had a nice month this week.

Ortiz was at it again Thursday, slamming a two-run homer into the home bullpen in the first, then doubling off The Wall in the fourth.

He finished the night 2-for-5, but for the homestand was 10-for-23. Of those 10 hits, eight were for extra bases -- six doubles and two homers -- and he knocked in 11 runs in six games.

Also, for the first time in his career, Ortiz has knocked in multiple runs in four straight games.

 

Heath Hembree continues to be an important part of the bullpen.

The Red Sox don't necessarily have a designated long man, but Hembree is the closest thing they have to one.

He came in in the sixth and turned in three innings in which he allowed just one run -- and that one was unearned.

This marked the ninth time in 12 appearances this season that Hembree has pitched more than an inning.

 

Tanguay: Boggs deserved to have his number retired by Red Sox

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Tanguay: Boggs deserved to have his number retired by Red Sox

Wade Boggs gets a bad rap around here.

Yes, he rode the horse at Yankee Stadium. Yes, he wore his Yankee World Series ring as he and his 1986 Red Sox teammates were honored at Fenway Park last night. And there is the whole Margo Adams affair that landed said mistress in Penthouse and Wade on 20/20 with Barbara Walters. My God, he even cried for Barbara. Plus, he was labelled selfish for wanting to hit for a higher average as opposed to hitting home runs.

He was a walking controversy.

But he was also a hell of a player who deserves to have his number 26 (sorry, Lou Merloni) on the right-field facade.

Over his eleven seasons with the Sox he hit .338 with an .890 OPS and averaged 190 hits each season. He was the East Coast Tony Gwynn. Unlike Wade, Gwynn was a media favorite playing in laid-back San Diego who always had a smile on his face. Boggs sported a perpetual scowl, unless he was on the road with Ms. Adams.

While we can reminisce about strange and crazy time Boggs had in Boston off the field, it should be noted that he was a great player. He is, after all, a Hall of Famer – you know, the Cooperstown kind and not just the Red Sox Hall of Fame.

He was stuck in the Sox farm system until he was 24 years old. The book on him said great hitter but so-so fielder. Boggs worked his butt off at becoming a very good third baseman. Eventually, he won back-to-back Gold Gloves with the Yankees in 1994 and' 95.

At the plate his number were staggering. In 1987 he had a OPS of 1.049 and had over 200 hits in each season for seven straight years. In 1985, he had 240 hits! He won five batting titles for Boston. 

It's too bad that Margo Adams and riding the horse at Yankee Stadium has overshadowed his Red Sox career. On the field it was awesome, and to this day is greatly unappreciated by Red Sox fans.

Great guy? Nah. Great player? Yeah.