Notes: Red Sox still not scoring for Beckett


Notes: Red Sox still not scoring for Beckett

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
HOUSTON -- Every year -- or so it seems -- one starting pitcher in a rotation is the victim of poor run support. When anyone else starts, the runs pile up; when the tough-luck guy takes the mound, however, the offense suddenly dries up.

This year, Josh Beckett is that guy for the Red Sox.

Despite an ERA of 2.20, and 11 quality starts in his first 15 outings, Beckett had just six wins before yesterday. The team was averaging 3.58 runs per outing for him, compared to 7.34 for Jon Lester, 6.30 for John Lackey and 6.16 for Tim Wakefield. Only Clay Buchholz (4.03) was close to Beckett when it came to poor backing.

For eight innings, it looked like Beckett was going to be left with a no decision, despite limiting the Houston Astros to a single run.

The Sox left the bases loaded twice and stranded eight baserunners from the third through the fifth. For the game, they were just 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

But then, in the ninth, came a breakthrough of sorts.

With the bases loaded, Kevin Youkilis drew a bases-loaded walk, forcing in the go-ahead run and giving Beckett his 7th win in a 2-1 victory.

"We like to score runs every night for every pitcher,'' said Youkilis. "And it works vice versa sometimes -- some guys have bad outings when we hit the ball well, so...It's a collective team effort; it's not an individual thing. I don't think the pitchers look at that, either.

"Sometimes, they're going to throw bad and not get any runs scored for them. Sometimes, they're not going to get any scored for them. That's stuff that's out of control and out of their control. All we can do is go out there everyday and do our job. But it was nice to get the 'W' there for him.''

Sunday marked the second time in the last three Josh Beckett starts in which the opposition intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez in the late innings to get to Youkilis.

Both times Youkilis foiled the strategy.

On June 15 in St. Petersburg, FL, the Tampa Bay Rays walked Gonzalez with one out and a runner on third to set up a potential double play. Youkilis then hit a three-run homer off Jeremy Hellickson to account for the only runs in a 3-0 win over Tampa.

Sunday, his at-bat was a little less dramatic, but still led to a victory.

With runners at first-and-third, the Astros elected to walk Gonzalez to load the bases. But then Mark Melancon couldn't find the plate and walked Youkilis on a 3-and-1 pitch to force in pinch-runner Drew Sutton with the go-ahead run.

''When the guy in front of you is hitting .350 with 70-something RBI, it's expected,'' said Youkilis. "I love the challenge, I love going up there and I want to be the guy to bring the run home.''

The Red Sox have reached agreement with at least five international free agents, two industry sources confirmed, including 16-year-oldOF Manuel Marcos from the Dominican Republic who was widely seen as one of the best Latin prospects.

Saturday was the first day that teams could sign players from outside the U.S. and Canada who were 16 years or older. Players from Caribbean countries like the Dominican Republic are not eligible for baseball's entry draft.

The Sox outbid the Yankees -- among others -- for Marcos, who projects as a center fielder.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks


Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

New York’s mistake helped the Red Sox, and they weren’t playing the Yankees.

The Red Sox struck out 20 in a game for the third time in franchise history on Thursday night, and they were able to do so only after MLB’s replay team — based in Manhattan — gave Craig Kimbrel an extra batter to strike out in the ninth inning.

A 6-2 win over the Rangers featured 16 strikeouts for Red Sox pitching heading into the top of the ninth at Fenway Park. Kimbrel came on for a non-save situation because he had five days off previously.

There’s always that outside chance for a four-strikeout inning, and it happened. Even for a four-strikeout inning, however, this was bizarre.

The first batter, lefthanded hitting Nomar Mazara, swung and missed at a back-foot breaking ball for strike 3 — a literal back-foot breaking ball, because it hit him in that foot after he whiffed on the pitch.

On a swing and a miss with a pitch that hits the batter, the ball should be dead. He should not have been able to reach first base. But the umpires didn’t catch the ball hitting Mazara, and instead saw it as a wild pitch. 

Sox manager John Farrell asked for a review and the umpires went for one, but came back empty-handed. The crew was told, erroneously, that the play could not be looked at and the batter was awarded first base.

“It was just a swinging strike three, ball that go away and he obviously reached first base,” crew chief Alfonso Marquez told pool reporter Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “The only thing that I can tell you, and the only thing I will say is, this was a replay issue. New York will come out with a statement.”

You could say it worked out just fine. Kimbrel went on to strike out the next three, and got the Sox to 20 Ks.

Kimbrel and Tim Wakefield are the only Red Sox pitchers to fan four batters in a single inning. Wakefield did it in the ninth inning on Aug. 10, 1999. 

Kimbrel did it once before as well, when he was with the Braves on Sept. 26, 2012.

No one has struck out five in a major league inning, although Kimbrel has as good a chance as anyone.

“The guy strikes out the world,” Matt Barnes said. “It’s ridiculous. … His fastball is seemingly unhittable. Complement that with the breaking ball he’s got, which comes right off that same plane, when he’s commanding it like he is, the numbers kind of speak for themselves. It’s kind of ridiculous. It’s fun to watch.”

The Sox have struck out 20 in a nine-inning game three times since 1913. Roger Clemens' two 20-strikeout games are the other two.

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

BOSTON - Drew Pomeranz pitched six strong innings and tied his career high with 11 strikeouts to lift the Boston Red Sox to a 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Xander Bogaerts and Deven Marrero hit their first home runs of the season helping Boston to their fourth straight win.

Pomeranz (4-3) made it as far as six innings for the third time this season and beat Texas for the first time in nine career outings.

Elvis Andrus homered and Nomar Mazara had two hits and an RBI for Texas, which has lost four of five overall and has lost 15 of 21 on the road.

Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland had RBI singles in the first inning as Boston got to Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez (1-3) early.