April 9, 2011: Yankees 9, Red Sox 4


April 9, 2011: Yankees 9, Red Sox 4

By ArtMartone

BOSTON -- TheRed Sox' Era of Good Feeling lasted a little less than 24hours.

Instead of being able to build on theirOpening Day win over the Yankees, the Sox on Saturday got yet anotherhorrific performance from their starting pitcher -- Clay Buchholz(right) wasthe culprit this time -- along with less-than-airtight relief fromFelix Doubront and Alfredo Aceves. In addition, they returned to theirwasteful ways at the plate (1-for-15 with runners in scoring position).

The result? A 9-4 loss that dropped their recordfor the season to 1-7.

As bad asthe hitting numbers may seem, it was Buchholz who dug the hole. Heallowed 11 baserunners (eight hits, three walks) in 3 23 innings, andleft the game trailing 5-2.

The horse had long sinceleft the barn, but TimWakefield worked two perfect innings at the end, and -- consideringBoston's pitching woes so far -- raised questions as to whether or nothis role will be enhanced going forward.

Player of the Game: RussellMartin

Rebuffed by Cliff Lee and never in the hunt for CarlCrawford, the Yankees' signing of the ex-Dodger star was regarded asone of their consolation prizes (Rafael Soriano was the other) in lastwinter's free-agent market. But he was no consolation to the Red SoxSaturday, as he had the second two-homer game of his career and tiedhis career high with four RBI.

His first homer, inthe third inning, was a three-run shot off Clay Buchholz that increasedthe Yankee lead from 2-1 to 5-1. And he provided the baseballequivalent of spiking the ball in the end zone with a solo blast offAlfredo Aceves in the seventh for the game's final run.

Honorable Mention:

Hard to find much honor in aloss as lopsided as Saturday's, but Pedroia continues to sparkle inwhat has been a dim Red Sox season to this point. He cracked threedoubles Saturday (lifting his average to .355), scored a run, drove intwo, and turned in defensive gems like the one at left on MarkTeixeira's sixth-inning grounder.

Pedroia got hisfirst double leading off the third and came around to score ongroundouts by Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis, cutting the Yankees'lead to 2-1. In the next inning, he ripped a two-out, two-run doubleoff the center-field wall -- the Sox' only hit with runners in scoringposition all afternoon -- that again brought Boston to within one run,this time at 5-4. The Sox bullpen couldn't hold it there, so by thetime Pedroia got his next double, leading off the ninth, the outcomehad long since been decided. But nothing bad that happened Saturdaycould be blamed on him.

The Goat: ClayBuchholz

Red Sox starters have thrown a grand total of 21 scorelessinnings in eight games so far this season -- 9 by Jon Lester, 5 byBuchholz, 3 each by Josh Beckett and Daisuke Masuzaka, and 1 by JohnLackey -- and Buchholz continued that disturbing trend Saturday. (Statcourtesy of Bill Chuck of billy-ball.com.)

He held the Yankees scoreless in order in thefirst, thanks in large part to a laser throw by Jarrod Saltalamacchiathat nailed Derek Jeter on a steal attempt. But he gave up two runs inthe second on an RBI grounder to Nick Swisher and run-scoring double byEric Chavez. Then, after the Sox had cut the Yankees' lead to 2-1, hestarted the fourth by walking Curtis Granderson, allowing anotherdouble to Chavez and surrendering the first of Russell Martin's twohome runs, making it 5-1.

Buchholz' final pitchingline: 3 23 innings, 8 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 3 walks, 2 strikeoutsand 92 pitches thrown.

The Turning Point

Despite their generalinability to get hits with men in scoring position, the Red Sox werehanging with the Yankees through three innings. When the Yanks wentahead, 2-0, they cut it to 2-1. When New York made it 5-1, they cameback and cut it 5-4.

But after Nick Swisher led off the top of the fourth with asingle, Curtis Grandersonwrapped a two-run homer around Pesky's Pole (left), putting the Yanksright back in front by three at 7-4. And that seemed totake the wind out of Boston's sails. The Sox didn't score another runthe rest of the way, and the Yankees got solo home runs from RobinsonCano in the sixth and Russell Martin in the seventh for the 9-4 final.

Stat of the Day: 385

That's how many homeruns the Red Sox are on pace to allow this year. (Stat courtesy of BillChuck of billy-ball.com.)

Impossible,you say? Do the math. They've allowed 19 in 8 games, a pace of 2.375homers per game. Multiply by 162, and you get 385. (Okay, okay, 384.75.Close enough.)

(The team record for most homerssurrendered in a year, incidentally, is 190, set in the juiced-ballseason of 1987.)

It would make scenes like the oneat right from yesterday -- fans in the Monster Seats reacting to a homerun -- pretty familiar.

Quote of Note

"Id probably have to say the RedSox. I would like towin a World Series in the National League, so the Phillies are inthere, too. But for the time Im going to be playing, I think Boston ismore suitable so that I can retire with the Boston Red Sox and go tothe Hall of Fame with the same hat."

-- Pedro Martinez, tellingthe New York Times he'd like to come back and pitch for a contender in2011. He says he'll be ready in "a month, amonth-and-a-half," and that the Red Sox are his firstchoice.

And, you know, the notion isn't asridiculous as it might have seemed eight gamesago.

Art Martone can be reached at amartone@comcastsportsnet.com.

Drellich: Why David Ortiz should hang around the Red Sox more often

Drellich: Why David Ortiz should hang around the Red Sox more often

BOSTON — David Ortiz should stop by Fenway Park more often. 

There may be no tangible gain for his old teammates. At this point, it defies logic to think there’d be tangible harm.

On Thursday evening before Ortiz’s charity roast at House of Blues, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy recalled how it was a no-brainer to plan Friday’s jersey retirement so soon after Ortiz’s exit from the game. 

Kennedy said he was the one who actually broached the question with team management last year. Basically, everyone looked at him sideways because of the implication any other time but right away made sense.

“No person has meant more to the [John] Henry-[Larry] Lucchino-[Tom] Werner era than David Ortiz,” Kennedy said.

Let’s accept the premise wholly: that because Ortiz is so special, the timing for his ceremony deserved to be just as unique. The design of the day was centered on how much Ortiz means to people: fans, the team.

Why, then, has Ortiz been staying away from the ballclub? Dustin Pedroia has been a leader for years. Ortiz is a positive influence. The idea that having Big Papi swing by Fenway sometimes would actively stunt the development of the Red Sox’ identity is a stretch. 

There’s been a grace period of nearly three months. 

“Well I, I could never entirely walk away. I have been around,” Ortiz said Friday night in a press conference. “I have been watching the games and I have been in touch with my teammates. I have been in touch with the organization. You know, I just don’t like to, you know, be in the way of anything. 

“I know that, me retiring, it was going to have a big impact on what we do around here. So I don’t — I tell myself, give everybody their space and I don’t want to, now that I’m not playing, I don’t want to be a distraction. And I know that coming to the field sometimes, it can cause a distraction or something, so. I have been able to keep my distance so I’m not in nobody’s way. But I stay in touch with everybody and I have been pretty busy also, doing a lot of things. 

“But me and the organization, we’ve been talking for a while about me working with the organization. Probably Sam Kennedy can give you guys more info about it. But it’s going to happen, and at some point I’m going to be able to help out somewhere, somehow some way.”

It’d be ridiculous to say Ortiz is the reason Rick Porcello pitched well and Hanley Ramirez homered Friday. It’d be a flat-out lie.

But Ortiz’s presence shouldn’t somehow be a distraction, if leadership and the mentality in the Red Sox clubhouse is as the Red Sox describe it.

"Pedey has been a leader of this team for the entire time he's been here,” manager John Farrell said Friday. “To me, the clubhouse has been a place where guys have felt comfortable. They've been able to come in and be themselves. They have rallied around one another when times have called for that. When you remove an individual, there are going to be other people who step up. I firmly believe that has taken place.”

If that’s the case, then how does what Farrell said in the same pregame press conference yesterday make sense?

“[Ortiz] has a keen awareness that he could potentially keep others from flourishing with the potential thought and the question always being there,” Farrell said. “Well, he is around, is he ever coming back? All the things that I think have been reported on to a certain extent. I think David's keen awareness of himself and how a team works, I wouldn't be surprised if that is at the root of his decision to keep the space that he's done.”

But that decision seems flawed. No one in that room should be hurt or confused by Ortiz coming by occasionally — absolutely not now that the jersey’s hanging. (A little speculation he could un-retire was throwing the Sox off their game? Really?) 

If anything, the team should find comfort in seeing such an important, charismatic man with ties to the group.

Ortiz is special. The team has adapted well without him. If those are facts, the need for Ortiz to stay away doesn’t make sense.

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

BOSTON - David Ortiz became one of the most celebrated players in Red Sox history during his storied 14-year run in Boston.

On the night he returned to Fenway to have his No. 34 take its place among the franchise's other legends, his former teammates did their part to make sure it was a memorable one.

Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon hit two-run homers and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 on Friday to cap a night in which Ortiz's number became the latest retired at Fenway Park.

It was the 250th career home run for Ramirez, a good friend of Ortiz who was also born in the Dominican Republic. Leon finished with three hits and four RBIs.

Ramirez said he played with Ortiz on his mind.

"He's my mentor, my big brother. He's everything," Ramirez said. "Today when I saw him on the field crying, it made me cry."

He said his home run was in Big Papi's honor.

"Definitely, definitely, definitely," he said. "I was going to do his thing (pointing his hands in the air) but I forgot."

The homers helped provide a nice cushion for Rick Porcello (4-9), who gave up four runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory. It was the 13th straight start Porcello has gone at least six innings.

"It was vintage Porcello," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "A couple of pitches that cut his night short, but he was crisp throughout."

This could serve as a needed confidence boost for Porcello, who had been 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in his previous five starts, allowing 47 hits and 27 earned runs.

He had command of his pitches early, holding the Angels scoreless until the fourth, when a catching error by Leon at home allowed Albert Pujols to cross the plate.

Porcello said he isn't sure if he has completely turned a corner yet after his slow start, but he has felt better in his recent starts.

"Today was a step in the right direction," he said.

Alex Meyer (3-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Los Angeles scored three runs in the seventh, but cooled off after Porcello left.

Boston got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on an RBI double by Xander Bogaerts and then getting two more runs off wild pitches by Meyer.

Ramirez gave Porcello a 5-1 lead in the fourth with his two-run shot to right field.