Red Sox vs. Rays: Lineup and notes

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Red Sox vs. Rays: Lineup and notes

BOSTON -- Today's Red Sox lineup, courtesy of Sean McAdam, and pregame notes, courtesy of the Red Sox' P.R. department:

THURSDAY'S LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
David Ortiz DH
Kevin Youkilis3B
Josh Reddick RF
Carl Crawford LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Marco Scutaro SS

Kyle Weiland P

VS. THE RAYS
Boston opens its sixth and final series against Tampa Bay in 2011, a four-game set . . . The Sox have lost 9 of 14 against the Rays this year, going 1-4 at Fenway Park and 4-5 while taking 4 of 9 in St. Pete . . . Since the start of 2010, the Sox are just 4-10 against the Rays in Boston . . . The Sox have dropped their last five games with the Rays by a combined 33-13 score, beginning with the second game of an Aug. 16 doubleheader . . . The current five-game drought is the Sox' longest ever against Tampa Bay . . . Since 2002, Bostons only longer single-season slide vs. any team was an 0-8 stretch vs. LAA, (April 23-July 30, 2008) . . . The Sox havent won a season series against the Rays overall since taking seven straight series from 2001-07.

EAST BEASTS
All of Bostons final 24 games, beginning Sept. 5, come vs. A.L. East rivals (2-7 thus far) . . . The Sox lead the A.L. with a 34-23 (.586) mark vs. the A.L. East in 2011, but are 3-11 in their last 14 . . . . Of Jacoby Ellsburys 27 homers, 17 have come against A.L. East rivals, the most for any player this year against that division . . . He also leads the majors in RBI (50) and batting average (.376) against the A.L. East (min. 10 games against the division).

STREAKING AGAIN
Jacoby Ellsbury tripled on Wednesday and has hit safely in his last 18 games, going 29-for-77 (.377) with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 4 homers, 13 RBI, 16 runs, 9 walks and a steal during the stretch . . . The 18-game hit streak is tied for the longest active run in the majors with Texas' Adrian Beltre . . . This is Ellsburys fourth career hit streak of 18 or more games . . . Since 1919, the only other Red Sox with at least four single-season hit streaks of at least 18 games was Nomar Garciaparra.

SEPTEMBER MOMENTS
Marco Scutaro leads the majors (min. 50 PA) with a .429 average (18-for-42) in September and ranks second with 16 RBI in the month, trailing only Detroits Victor Martinez (17) . . . He has driven in at least one run in seven of his last eight games . . . Ellsbury is 22-for-56 (.393) since Sept. 1, leading the majors with 11 XBH (7 2B, 3B, 3 HR) and 29 times on base (tied) . . . He is batting .339 (120-for-354) in 88 career September tgames, his best mark in any month and the best career clip by a Sox in September (min. 250 PA) since Wade Boggs, 1982-92 (.349).

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'a pitch or two from finishing the job' vs. Rays

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'a pitch or two from finishing the job' vs. Rays

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay Rays:

QUOTES:

"Part of that job is, when you miss, you have to miss to the extreme.'' - John Farrell on the role of eighth-inning reliever Clay Buchholz, who mislocated a fastball to Evan Longoria.

"We're putting ourselves in position to close games out and yet we've found ourselves a pitch or two from finishing the job.'' - Farrell on the team's bullpen woes.

"Fastball. I was trying to throw it up-and-away, and I pulled it, more inner-third. That's a spot where he hits the ball a long way.'' - Clay Buchholz on the game-winning homer by Longoria.

 

NOTES:

* The Rays and Sox have played 21 one-run games in the lasr four seasons and four in the last week.

* David Ortiz's sacrifice fly in the sixth was his 26th go-ahead RBI, fourth-best in the A.L.

* Xander Bogaerts collected his 500th career hit, and became the fifth Red Sox player to reach that milestone before turning 24.

* Brock Holt's double in the fifth lifted his average to .337 with two outs.

* Hanley Ramirez's home run was his first against Tampa Bay since May 21, 2011 when he was with the Marlins.

* Ramirez has 19 extra-base hits in the last 27 home games.

* Dustin Pedroia was 1-for-3 and and is now 15-for-his-last-19 at Fenway.

* The Sox dropped to 7-37 when they score three runs or fewer.

* Brad Ziegler was unavailable, suffering from the flu.

 

STARS:

1) Evan Longoria

It wouldn't be a Rays win over the Red Sox without the third baseman doing some damage. Sure enough, he smoked a tape-measure shot over everything in left in the eighth to provide the winning margin for the visitors.

2) Luke Maile

Drew Pomeranz struck him out twice, but Maile more than got revenge in the seventh with a two-run homer into the Monster Seats to tie the game.

3) Hanley Ramirez

The first baseman had a three-hit night, including a solo homer and a run-scoring single, accounting for two of the three Red Sox runs.

 

First impressions: Longoria makes Buchholz pay in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

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First impressions: Longoria makes Buchholz pay in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay:

* There's a steep learning curve for a set-up man, as Clay Buchholz discovered.

Although he's pitched out of the bullpen for the last couple of months, most of those appearances weren't of the high leverage variety. More often than not, the Sox had a sizeable lead, or Buchholz was brought in earlier in the game. Or they were behind and he was mopping up.

But Tuesday was different. The Rays had battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, and after Matt Barnes got the final out in that inning, Buchholz came in to start the eighth.

After getting Kevin Kiermaier on a groundout to lead off the inning, Buchholz threw a four-seamer to Evan Longoria that the Tampa Bay third baseman launched toward the Charles River, clearing everything and putting the Rays up by a run.

It was a reminder that in late innings of close games, one pitch, with missed location, can really hurt.

 

* Hanley Ramirez knocked in two runs. He was sort of lucky.

In the fifth inning, Ramirez hit a twisting opposite-field fly ball down the right field line. It landed just past the Pesky Pole in right, measured at 307 feet, the shortest homer in baseball this season, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

Then, an inning later, Ramirez hit a pop fly that drifted into shallow right. Three Rays defenders converged -- first baseman, second baseman and right fielder -- and somehow the ball dropped in between all three for a run-scoring single.

Two cheap hits, two RBI.

At times, you'll see hitters mash the ball, only to have it hit right at someone for an out. Rotten luck, and all.

Tuesday night, Ramirez got to experience the flip side of that.

 

* Drew Pomeranz had an excellent outing -- until his final pitch of the night.

Through 6 2/3 innings, Pomeranz had allowed a single run on four hits while walking two and striking out eight.

He had retired 10 of the previous 11 hitters he had faced, and while he was approaching his 100th pitch, showed no evidence of tiring.

Then, Pomernaz hung a curveball to No. 9 hitter Luke Maile -- with two strikes, no less -- and Maile hit into the Monster Seats for a game-tying, two-run homer.

It was the first homer on a curveball allowed by Pomeranz in 153 innings this season, and all of a sudden, the outing wasn't so special.

 

Expect Red Sox call-ups to come in two waves when rosters expand

Expect Red Sox call-ups to come in two waves when rosters expand

BOSTON - On Thursday, rosters will expand for major league teams, enabling them to add as many as 15 more players -- if they so choose.

The Sox, of course, won't be adding nearly that many. In fact, they'll probably only promote three or so players by Sept. 1, with additional players added after minor league seasons end on Labor Day.

The Sox call-ups will come in two waves. A look at who might be called up and when.

FOR FRIDAY: (the Red Sox are off Thursday)

* catcher Ryan Hanigan

* reliever Joe Kelly

* outfielder Bryce Brentz.

Hanigan is finishing up a rehab assignment and will provide the Sox with a third catcher, enabling John Farrell to either pinch-hit or pinch-run for one of his two catchers (Bryan Holaday and Sandy Leon) without worrying that he's putting himself in a potential bind.

Kelly would give the Red Sox another swing-and-miss bullpen option, though he's yet to establish himself as big league reliever.

Meanwhile Brentz would give the Sox another outfield option with the injury to Andrew Benintendi and further free up Brock Holt for infield duties.

FOR TUESDAY: (Day after International League season ends):

* reliever Heath Hembree

* infielder Deven Marrero

* reliever Noe Ramirez

Hembree has been effective in spurts and could offer some match-up options against righthanded hitters.

Marrero was a September call-up last year and could be a late-inning defensive replacement for Travis Shaw at third, or spell Xander Bogaerts at short if the Sox want to rest Bogaerts in one-sided games.

In the bullpen, Ramirez would serve as a long man in games in which a starter is knocked out early.