Red Sox vs. Rays: Lineups and notes

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Red Sox vs. Rays: Lineups and notes

BOSTON -- Today's Red Sox-Rays lineups and pregame notes, courtesy of the Red Sox'P.R. department:

FRIDAY'SLINEUPS

RED SOX
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
David Ortiz DH
Josh Reddick RF
Marco Scutaro SS
Carl Crawford LF
Jason Varitek C
Mike Aviles 3B

Josh Beckett P

RAYS
Desmond Jennings LF
B.J. Upton CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Casey Kotchman 1B
Johnny Damon DH
Ben Zobrist 2B
Matt Joyce RF
John Jaso C
Reid Brignac SS

James Shields P

LEADING SINCE JULY
Since July 1, Jacoby Ellsbury leads the majors with 43 extra-base hits and 178 total bases . . . Since the start of July, he is tied for the A.L. lead with 18 homers and 5 triples.

CATCHING RAYS
Tonights starter, Josh Beckett, has pitched 17.0 scoreless innings against the Rays this season over two starts in which he allowed just an infield single in each, both at Tampa Bay (9.0 IP on June 15; 8.0 IP on July 17) . . . According to Elias, he became just the second pitcher in the live-ball era (since 1920) with consecutive starts against an opponent of at least 8.0 IP and no more than one combined hit and walk allowed, joining the Dodgers Dazzy Vance, Sept. 8 and Sept. 15 against the Phillies in 1925.

SEPTEMBER MOMENTS
Marco Scutaro leads the majors (minimum 50 PA) with a .444 average (20-for-45) 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 nine games . . . Ellsbury is 22-for-60 (.367) since Sept. 1, leading the majors with 11 extra-basse hits (7 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR).

SAVINGS ACCOUNT
With 29 saves, Jonathan Papelbon is one shy of becoming the first pitcher ever to record 30 or more saves in each of his first six full seasons (2006-11) . . . He has converted his last 24 chances since May 13, the longest stretch of his career and the second-longest save streak in the A.L. this year, but has gone 28 days without a save chance, the longest single-season span of his career as a closer . . . He has a 21-inning scoreless streak over his last 20 games with 25 strikeouts in that stretch, the longest active scoreless streak in the major leagues and the second-longest single-season run of his career (22.0 IP, 54-62606) . . . As a team, the Sox have gone without a save in their last 25 games, the clubs longest since a 25-game stretch from June 15-July 15, 2004 . . . Prior to that, Bostons last longest streak without a save was a 44-gamer, July 1-Aug. 19, 1987.

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”