Notes: Crawford delivers grand performance

Notes: Crawford delivers grand performance
September 3, 2011, 7:41 pm
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By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON -- It had been over a year since Carl Crawford last cleared the bases with a grand slam. The old feeling quickly came back on Saturday as he belted his first one as a member of the Red Sox in their eight-run fourth inning against the Texas Rangers.

Its a good feeling when the stadiums cheering for you like that and everybodys happy, he said following the Red Sox' 12-7 win.

Crawford missed Fridays game with a stomach illness but bounced back the following day, finishing the game with two hits (including a double) and four RBI.

His offensive performance was a turnaround from a recent three-game series against the New York Yankees in which he went 3-for-12 and a homestand where he had gone just 3-for-19 prior to Saturdays game.

When you hit a grand slam, it definitely helps your confidence out a little bit, just hoping thats something that can get you going, he said, adding, Ive been feeling all right. Unfortunately I cant go 5-for-5 or something like that but Ive been feeling better.

After a slow start and inconsistent production this season, solid performances like this are often contrasted with previous struggles. Crawford stays looking ahead to the remainder of the season -- and to the postseason -- while leaving the rest behind him.

The games that passed, I dont really worry about them, he said. I just try to take the approach try to do well the next day and the day after that. Everything that happened is pretty much behind me.

The Red Sox plan to do the same.

Said Terry Francona, If his batting average at the end of the year is a little short of what expectations were, that doesnt mean he cant be a force like he was today.

Josh Reddick had a career-high four hits (he also scored three runs) but his night was cut short when he was hit on the left hand by a pitch from Darren Oliver in the eighth inning. X-rays taken after the game came back negative and he will ice his hand for treatment.

We didnt see anything too serious, so luckily missed the bone and just keep icing and covering it up and wrapping it up and reevaluate tomorrow, he said. Its a lot better. The numbing went away about ten minutes after it happened. Its a good sign.

Reddick only recalls being hit in the majors once before, in 2009 -- a 95 mile-an-hour fastball off his ankle. While he does notice a difference in getting hit in the majors and minors, he tries to avoid it either way.

A little bit of a difference, he said. They all hurt but Ive never been a guy who gets hit a lot so I like to get out of the way. But any time I get hit I dont really like it.

Francona, who expects Reddick to be sore on Sunday, offered plenty of praise for the outfielder.

So many times hes given us such a lift, and thats hard for young players to do that, he said. Were in the middle of a pennant race and this kid comes in, like when Carl Crawford wasnt playing, and gave us a lift there. And now hes playing the majority of right field and hes had some pretty good days. He had a little time there when he kind of came back, they made some adjustments, but he still has that ability to put some sock in his bat, not just singles. Theres some production in that bat.

Jed Lowrie, who started at shortstop, also left the game in the fourth inning with left shoulder tightness. Jed is just stiff, I think probably from a little bit of fatigue. Hes played a lot, said Francona. I dont think well play him tomorrow. Hell certainly be available, so were OK there. That might be me overreacting a little bit. Just dont want to lose guys.

Adrian Gonzalez turned two unassisted double plays which, according to Elias, makes him the first Red Sox first baseman in the Divisional Era to do so.

Dustin Pedroia hit his 200th career double in the sixth inning.

Jacoby Ellsbury (1-for-3) extended his hitting streak to eight games. He is batting .323 during that stretch.

Erik Bedard made the start on Saturday, following JonLester on Thursday and Andrew Miller on Friday. That marks the first time sinceMay 18-20, 1995, the Sox have started three lefties in a row. The Sox went 1-2in those games.

Entering August, Matt Albers had an ERA of 2.09.In 12 games since Aug. 1, spanning 12 23 innings, he has allowed 19 earnedruns with eight walks, 11 strikeouts, and four home runs, for a 13.50 ERA. Hehas allowed runs in eight of the 12 outings. He is not hurt, though, Francona said.

No, hes had a tough time, Francona said. Hisvelocitys good. Sometimes his velocitys real good. Theres been times whenhes been behind the count and paid the price and theres been times when hesmade mistakes over the middle of the plate. When hes good hes working aheadand hes allowing that two-seamer to just come through the zone with some life,an occasional breaking ball andrightnow its elevating a little bit.

Francona is not considering giving Albers a mental ofphysical break. No, actually he wants to pitch more, Francona said. Physicallyhes fine so . . . sometimes for whatever reason he goes through ruts or things dontgo well. If you look up at the end of the year and his ERAs a little higherbecause he had that one stretch, that doesnt necessarily mean he can't be thatguy again that hes been for most of the year. Just his ERA might pay the pricea little bit."

With the Sox getting pummeled by the Rangers Friday night, Albersentered with the Sox trailing by seven runs, a lower pressure situation than hehas pitched earlier in the season. He gave up three runs.

Things kind of go hand-in-hand, Francona said. When your startergoes an inning and a third, somebodys got to pitch. Were just trying to lineit up where last night we had it mapped out where Wake was going to come in andhopefully finish the game. So we had right-handers coming up for the most partbefore Wake and it seemed like a good time to just limit Albers to one inning andthen we could bring in Tim Wakefield.

Francona said he is not yet ready to line uphis starting rotation in preparation for the postseason.

When we know were supposed to, he said. Not until. Wecertainly look at things like we always do but we also dont want to get aheadof ourselves. Were trying to do what we do.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA