Pregame notes: No rest for the lefties

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Pregame notes: No rest for the lefties

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- With the Red Sox having both Wednesday and Thursday off, manager Terry Francona felt it was important to make sure some of his key offensive players didnt get too much rest.Therefore, left-handed hitters David Ortiz, J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury are all in the starting lineup for tonights game against lefty Brett Cecil and the Toronto Blue Jays. Ortiz, Drew, and Ellsbury all started the teams last game Tuesdays 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay on the bench. Each came in to pinch-hit in the ninth, but Francona started Jed Lowrie, Darnell McDonald and Mike Cameron in their place, to face tough lefty David Price. But because sitting Ortiz, Drew, and Ellsbury again would give them four straight nights off, Francona thought that would be too much time for them to sit. Thats too long for not playing a game, said Francona prior to Fridays game at Fenway Park. It ends up being counterproductive. Theyve got another lefty Saturday, its a day game after a night game. We can do some shifting the next couple of days. I didn't want to do it tonight. With multiple lefties taking the mound in several upcoming games with Toronto and Oakland, Francona will have to pick and choose his matchups wisely. Not much has worked out real well yet so I can't sit here and say weve pulled all the right strings, because not much has really gone well, said Francona on his roster management against lefties. And were probably going to see left-handers if at all possible. Thats the way it works. Im trying to find the right days, if were going to face guys in a row, find the right day where it helps ours guys a little bit. If were going to sit somebody, I want there to be a good reason. I think well hit everybody. Francona spoke about a half hour after Adrian Gonzalez press conference ended, which officially announced his seven-year 154 million contract extension. The Red Sox manager strongly supported that extension. I know theres some huge decisions that management and ownership has to make, said Francona. For me thats a pretty low risk. We were talking about a lot of years and a lot of money and I cant think of a guy that . . . he gets it. Hes a solid, solid teammate. Hes a really good hitter. If he loses a little bit of speed over the next five years, nobodys going to know. I think its a pretty good move. Francona also believes that the extension takes some pressure off Gonzalez, and helps him focus strictly on baseball. I think its human nature, said Francona. I think the biggest thing, and all players are different but I remember when Pedey was going through it, the fact that he could just come out and play baseball doesnt give you one more thing to worry about. Its probably hard for the normal person to think that guys are worrying about millions of dollars, but your time can be a littler bit limited and when you're young. Slumps are hard enough, but when you start allowing other things to creep in, it can get harder. With former Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell returning to Fenway as Blue Jays manager, Francona hinted that Farrell will have his team ready for everything the Sox throw their way. He pays attention, said Francona. He paid attention to everything. Nobody ever accused him of that. Hell give them the full scouting report. Farrell, who spoke to the media after Francona, said that while he does know a lot about Bostons current pitching staff, he acknowledged how deep every teams scouting reports are in 2011. Well I know theyre all good, said Farrell on the Red Sox rotation. They all have good stuff. The fact remains that theres a lot of history with guys on our roster and in our lineup that have faced each pitcher in this rotation multiple times. I cant say that, having worked with guys in the past will have that much of an impact on how these games unfold. Its still going to come down to us executing within the game itself. If our pitchers and their pitchers execute, its got a chance to be a well pitched game on both sides. Certainly, theres some personal knowledge, added Farrell. But I cant ay that what I would give them, cant be found either through our own scouting reports or through video. And todays approach that all players take, theres not a whole lot of secrets.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Quotes, notes and stars: Swihart flashes power and speed

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Quotes, notes and stars: Swihart flashes power and speed

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 10-3 win over the Colorado Rockies:

 

QUOTES

"I felt a little cramp. I'm fine. I appreciate John and everybody looking out (for me). We obviously don't want anything to happen like last year, but I'm good.'' - Dustin Pedroia, who left the game in the fifth after experiencing some tightness in his right hamstring.

"It's nice to be able to get deep into the game. That's my goal every time. My goal is nine innings, so if I don't get nine innings, I'm a little disappointed because I want to be able to go out there and pitch as many innings as I can.'' - Steven Wright.

"I think my release point was just a little off. That definitely makes it hard, especially when it's moving, because it's not a consistent release point.'' - Wright on the early-inning unpredictability of his signature pitch.

"Even when I was catching, I pride myself on running. I want to be an athlete back there. I want to run the bases, steal bases, things most catchers aren't known to do.'' - Blake Swihart, who hit two triples.

 

NOTES

* Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 29 games.

* Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 18 games.

* David Ortiz tied Paul Molitor for 12th on the all-time doubles list with 605.

* Ortiz has driven in multiple runs in three straight games

* Dustin Pedroia has a career batting average of .340 in interleague play, the highest ever for someone with 500 or more at-bats.

* Travis Shaw drove in three runs and now has 68 RBI in his first 111 games since Fred Lynn and Jim Rice in 1974-75.

* Blake Swihart became the third Red Sox hitter this season to post two triples in the same game.

* The Red Sox clinched their fifth straight home series win.

* The Sox are 21-8 since April 24 and are 13-2 in their last 15 home games.

 

STARS

1) Steven Wright

Backed by some rare run support, Wright evened his record at 4-4 with seven-plus innings and his eighth quality start this season.

2) Travis Shaw

Shaw produced two hits and knocked in three runs, making him the fourth Red Sox player this season to reach 30 RBI.

3) Blake Swihart

Swihart got to flash both his power and his speed by hitting two triples to the triangle, motoring around the bases.

 

First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 win over Rockies

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First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 win over Rockies

BOSTON- First impressions from the Red Sox' 10-3 win over Colorado:

 

Steven Wright is the very picture of consistency.

In nine starts this season, Wright has pitched at least six innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer eight times. In the one start in which he failed to do so, he was pitching in a mini-monsoon and unable to properly grip his signature pitch.

On Wednesday, he battled some early-inning wildness with the knuckler, resulting in two wild pitches and four passed balls, but eventually settled down.

His 4-4 mark hardly represents how well he's pitched. A more telling stat is the 60 2/3 innings he's pitched in nine outings, just shy of seven per game.

 

It could be a costly night for injuries.

Ryan Hanigan left the game after 2 1/2 innings because of illness. Dustin Pedroia came out in the fifth as a precaution after experiencing some tightness in his right hamstring. And Xander Bogaerts jammed his thumb in the eighth.

Let's assume that Hanigan's illness is a temporary thing, and since Bogaerts remained in the game, that, too, seemed minor.

But the Pedroia hamstring is potentially a red flag, since it was that same hamstring that sidelined him for almost half of last season.

 

For the past 19 home games, the Red Sox have averaged more than eight runs per game.

Nineteen games isn't exactly a small sample size. In fact, it's almost exactly one-quarter of the home schedule. To average more than eight runs per game over that long a stretch, covering parts of three different homestands, is pretty remarkable.

 

Blake Swihart's speed is something else.

Swihart hit two triples to the triangle Wednesday night, and on the second, to see him shift into higher gear as he approached second base was really something to see.

It's difficult to think of another catcher -- and yes, I understand that Swihart has been playing left field exclusively of late; but he remains primarily a catcher -- who ran as well as Swihart does.

When the Sox and other independent evaluators remark about Swihart's athleticism, that's one of the things to which they're referring.