Red Sox saddened by Ramirez news

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Red Sox saddened by Ramirez news

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Manny Ramirez clubbed 274 home runs and won a pair of World Series titles in his prolific Red Sox career, and his long-time teammates saw first hand how diligently the enigmatic slugger worked to become the beloved, quixotic Manny.

Thats why there seemed to be more an air of sadness than anything else when word of Ramirezs retirement filtered through the victorious postgame locker room Friday after the Sox finally secured their first victory of the 2011 season.

Many experienced first-hand the left fielders sour end to a marvelous, star-crossed tenure in Boston in 2008, and it looks like there's another unhappy ending unfolding for Man-Ram. Major League Baseball announced on Friday afternoon that Ramirez was retiring from the big leagues after reportedly failing a spring training drug test.

The failed test was going to carry a 100-game suspension, since he flunked a similar test during the 2009 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ramirez quit his job with the Rays upon learning of the consequences.

One of his closest friends in baseball, David Ortiz, hoped there would be some kind of late-breaking news to help better understand Ramirezs final act of Manny Being Manny as an active player.

Its crazy, man. Thats the last thing I was expecting was for him to retire, and go through all of that situation, said Ortiz. I dont know all of the details. Im like you guys, and just hearing about it. Im just waiting for all of the rest of the stuff to come out. But its sad, man, that a player with that much talent and an unbelievable career . . . to get him out of the game with all of the negativity.

But well see.

Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was a little blunter in his assessment as is within the fabric of his personality. Papelbon felt like Ramirez likely tossed away the 555 career homers, 12 All-Star appearances and .312 career batting average under the specter of performance-enhancing drugs. It would seem any Hall of Fame chances would go away along with the legitimacy of his baseball career unless theres some amazing new evidence thats yet to come to light.

It would seem there will always be a but beside all of Ramirezs accomplishments even those in Boston.

Its kind of sad that one of the best right-handers in the game is going to go down that way," said Papelbon. "Hes worked so hard to put himself into the situation hes in as one of the great hitters, and now hes gonna throw it all out the window.

I dont know much of whats going on with that, but Im not worried or thinking about it right now.

The Sox players clearly had other worries and concerns on their mind after starting the year with an 0-6 record, but the winning Sox locker room had a tinge of bittersweet emotion for a fallen ex-teammate that clearly had one more head-scratching move up his sleeve.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

First impressions of the Red Sox’ 7-2 win over the Orioles

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First impressions of the Red Sox’ 7-2 win over the Orioles

BALTIMORE -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 7-2 win over the Orioles:

* Steven Wright had six 1-2-3 innings among the nine he pitched.

For a brief time in the second, after two were out, Wright battled command. Then, in the fifth, he yielded three straight hits and a sacrifice fly, accounting for the only two runs he allowed.

Otherwise? Wright carved through the Baltimore lineup, facing the minimum number of hitters in six of the nine other innings and one over the minimum in another.

He got a number of weak squibbers - including a couple he fielded himself and of the four hits he allowed, only three left the infield.

* Mookie Betts stole the first Red Sox run with some alert baserunning.

Betts was on second when Xander Bogaerts hit a tapped in front of the mound.

Catcher Caleb Joseph pounced on the ball about 15 feet from home plate, but then stood there after throwing out Bogaerts at first. With home plate unguarded, Betts got to third and alertly kept going, beating the throw home from first baseman Chris Davis.

Betts is the probably the Red Sox' fastest baserunner, but in instances like that one, he showed he's also one of their smartest.

* David Ortiz is a menace at Camden Yards.

There's a reason John Farrell waited to make out the lineup card, hoping that David Ortiz was available after missing Sunday's game with a sore foot. Ortiz usually makes his presence felt here and Monday was no different.

He homered to right to lead off the eighth, giving him seven homers in his last 10 games at Camden Yards and 12 homers in his last 28 games.

If Ortiz played for the Orioles, it's frightening to think what sort of power numbers he could put up playing half the time in a ballpark with an inviting right field porch.

* The Sox have gotten plenty of contributions from bench players.

Josh Rutledge (.830 OPS) has helped out in the infield, with Brock Holt relegated to LF, and more recently, the DL. On Monday, it was Marco Hernandez's turn. Hernandez supplied a three-run homer from the ninth spot in the eighth inning, turning a two-run lead into a five-run advantage.

Their contributions have allowed Farrell to make some moves around the infield, such as Monday's decision to give Hanley Ramirez a day off while shifting Travis Shaw to first.

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter @Sean_McAdam.

Monday's Red Sox vs. Orioles lineups: Ortiz back from sore foot

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Monday's Red Sox vs. Orioles lineups: Ortiz back from sore foot

David Ortiz makes his return to the Red Sox lineup after being a late scratch on Sunday due to a sore left foot is sore after getting hit by a pitch Saturday. However, Hanley Ramirez is getting the day off, with Travis Shaw getting the start at first.

The lineups:

ORIOLES:
Adam Jones CF
Hyun Soo Kim LF
Manny Machado SS
Chris Davis 1B
Mark Trumbo DH
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Nolan Reimold RF
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Caleb Joseph C
--
Tyler Wilson P

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 1B
Blake Swihart LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Marco Hernandez 3B
---
Steven Wright P

Red Sox haven't allowed opponents to break out the brooms

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Red Sox haven't allowed opponents to break out the brooms

Through the first sixteen series of the season, the Red Sox are 9-5-3 (two ties coming from two-game sets) en route to their AL East leading 30-20 record.

Boston’s only mustered up two series sweeps -- taking two in Atlanta and three from the Yankees at Fenway -- but they’ve avoided the dreaded broom in each of their five series losses.

In fact, in four of their five series losses the Red Sox earned their lone victory in the final game, with Sunday being the most recent instance.

None of the series finale, sweep-defying wins were cakewalks either. Three of the four were decided by three runs or less -- the other being decided by four.

Boston’s MLB-leading 5.9 runs per game offense scored below its average each time -- so Red Sox pitching didn’t have the same gigantic cushion it’s used to.

Prior to his injury, Joe Kelly was the first savior, chucking five innings allowing two earned runs against a Baltimore Orioles team that was undefeated at that point in the season’s youth. Fast forward to the series at Yankee Stadium and Steven Wright nearly through a shutout, holding the Yankees to one run through nine innings.

In the two most recent cases, David Price’s turn came in the lineup -- and he’s answered the call. Boston’s ace held down both the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays -- on the road -- limiting both offenses to two runs each. Both starts have come the day after one-run losses, too.

So while Price’s “stuff” hasn’t been at its best, admitting Sunday it usually isn’t against the Blue Jays, he’s displayed the intangible aces are supposed to have – guts.

Now on any other team, they might be in trouble given Boston’s offense is the best in baseball. Because a bad scoring day for the Red Sox is better than almost half the league’s average day. But they aren’t on any other team, so that’s not the issue.

For all the struggles the Red Sox’ starting pitchers have dealt with, they’ve managed to get the job done when they’ve needed it.

Those wins add up, too.

If the Red Sox are swept in these four series, they sit at 26-24 right in the middle of the AL East -- and this season has an entirely different feel to it.

In an age where numbers have become the central focus of the game, Boston’s starting pitchers have managed to lock-in when the club needs it most -- and must continue to do so.

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter @ngfriar.