Tito's back in business

904983.jpg

Tito's back in business

And you thought last year was awkward. Just imagine how weird it will be next season, when the media walks into Boston's clubhouse, only to find Terry Francona sitting backwards on a chair, in full Indians uniform holding court with Dustin Pedroia and the Sox.

There's no way that manager Larry Lucchino will be happy about that.

"When Ben Cherington begged me to take this job last winter," Lucchino will say, "we made a pledge to turn the page on all the craziness of the last two seasons. We just can have this kind of thing happen anymore. I'm disappointed that Tito finds this kind of behavior to be appropriate. Frankly, it makes you wonder if he's fallen back off the wagon . . ."

In all seriousness, though: It's great to see Francona back in the big leagues, and I think everyone or at least everyone outside of the Sox owner's box wishes him well on his new life with Cleveland Indians.

On one hand, it's hard to top winning two World Series in four years, but even with all that success, Francona has always had his doubters. Those who cite Boston's ridiculous pay roll as an unfair advantage, or point out that Francona was a Dave Roberts stolen bases and JD Drew grand slam away from being remembered as a failure with the Sox.

But if he can turn things around in Cleveland where they've been to the playoffs only once since 2002 no one can or ever will say a word. Over his time with the Sox, Francona earned the reputation as one of the best manager's in the game. In Cleveland, he'll have a chance to erase any doubt.

So, set the iCal for May 23, Tito's return to Fenway. And if you're in the media, get to the clubhouse early that day. We might have some fireworks.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Quotes, notes, and stars: "No sign" of Ortiz slowing down

snc_mcadam_0428161461991411716_3450k_1280x720_676770371564.jpg

Quotes, notes, and stars: "No sign" of Ortiz slowing down

Quotes, notes, and stars from the Red Sox' 4-2 win over the Yankees.

QUOTES:

* "He gathered himself and got a little rhythm as the night went along.'' - John Farrell on Henry Owens.

* "That's a rarity for Betances to leave his breaking ball up like he did. Once David saw it up, he attacked.'' - Farrell on David Ortiz's game-winning homer.

* "There's no sign of him slowing down. Tonight is a prime example of it. Key moment, big hit when we need it. There's a long resume there and it's continuing to build.'' - Farrell on Ortiz's ability to deliver in the clutch.

* "There were some mechanical adjustments that I made. I came out a little erratic, trying to do too much, maybe focusing too much. But as game went on, I kind of got into a rhythm.'' - Owens on his start.

* "I saw him throw a lot of breaking pitches to Mookie. The one they hit stayed up a little longer than usual. He's the kind of pitcher that, if you go up there looking for everything he's got, you're done.'' - Ortiz on his game-winning homer off Dellin Betances.

NOTES:

* Over his career, David Ortiz has hit 29 go-ahead homers from the eighth inning on.

* Ortiz has eight homers in his last 24 games against the Yankees.

* The win was the first this season for the Red Sox in a game in which they were tied or trailing after seven innings.

* The Red Sox have won five of their last six and seven of their last 10.

* The Yankees have been limited to three runs or fewer in their last six games.

* In 21 games, the Yankees have faced 10 lefty starters; in 22 games, the Red Sox have faced two.

* Masahiro Tanaka has issued just one walk in his last three starts.

STARS:

1) David Ortiz

With one swing of the bat, Ortiz untied a 2-2 game in the bottom of the eighth with a game-winning two-run homer.

2) Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley's penchant for delivering a big hit continued as he rapped a two-run double to left in the seventh to erase a 2-0 Yankee lead.

3) Masahiro Tanaka

He shut the Red Sox for six innings before allowing three hits and two runs in the seventh.

First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 win: Ortiz has flair for the dramatic

snc_mcadam_0428161461991411716_3450k_1280x720_676770371564.jpg

First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 win: Ortiz has flair for the dramatic

First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 win over New York Yankees...

* David Ortiz still has a flair for the dramatic.

Matched against Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, Ortiz cracked a two-run homer into the Monster Seats to snap a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning. Ortiz now has 18 RBI in 23 games -- he didn't start in four of those games - and at 40, remains the one hitter opposing teams want to face with the game on the line.

Before the homer, Ortiz was 0-for-7 against Betances, with four strikeouts.

* All things considered, Henry Owens did OK.

Owens didn't fool anybody. He couldn't command his fastball, and when the Yankees did hit it, they hit it pretty hard. He walked three and hit another. But Owens managed to limit the damage in a big way, allowing just two hits in six innings despite 10 baserunners.

Occasionally, he would get bailed out by his changeup, which seems to be the lone pitch he has that is better than average by major league standards.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. continues to hit when it counts.

Bradley got the Red Sox offense going with a two-run, two-out double off Masahiro Tanaka, when the Sox were down to their final seven outs.

In the last week along, Bradley hit an extra-inning homer; a solo homer that represented the only run of the game; a ninth-inning triple; and Friday's big two-base hit.

That he has 10 RBI from the bottom of the order suggests he can provide some sock from that spot.

* Matt Barnes continues to make strides.

Since allowing a homer to Kevin Kiermaier on the last homestand, Barnes has allowed just one run in his last four appearances, covering 6 1/3 innings, while holding opposing hitters to a .208 batting average (5-for-24).

* The Yankees bullpen gets all the attention, but in relief of Owens, Barnes, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel faced nine hitters and retired them all.

McAdam: Gordon suspension is proof MLB testing works

sncmlbpeds0429161461971039874_3450k_1280x720_676636227699.jpg

McAdam: Gordon suspension is proof MLB testing works

Kevin Millar, John Farrell and Sean McAdam talk about Dee Gordon’s 80-game suspension for PED violations.