RED SOX- Gotta say- actually going to some of the games makes it difficult to find some time to blog them after the fact.
After an explosive weekend versus the Yankees, the Red Sox kicked off their week-long California road trip on Monday night in San Francisco against the defending World Series champion Giants. John Lester threw 8⅓ innings of shutout baseball in Monday night's 7-0 win. However, the Red Sox allowed a golden opportunity to fall by the wayside and a bases-loaded walk off walk to Giants SS Marco Scutaro in the bottom of the 9th cost Boston the game.
Tuesday afternoon was the rubber game of the series- Felix Doubront was scheduled to go up against Chad Gaudin, but Gaudin was placed on the night before and Barry Zito got the start in his place. The Red Sox basically took batting practice off of Zito, with the Red Sox jumping out to a 6-1 lead before the Giants starter got the hook after 3⅔ innings. Meanwhile, Doubront allowed 5 hits- including a Joaquin Arias solo homer- in 8 complete innings of work as the Red Sox offense exploded for 6 more runs against the Giants bullpen- including a 3 run homer from Stephen Drew in the 7th and Koji Uehara had a 1-2-3 inning to close out the 12-1 Boston win.
The Red Sox take two out of three from the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants. Will Middlebrooks went 1-3 with a homer and two RBI while Stephen Drew went 1-3 with a homer and 3 RBI in Wednesday afternoon's rubber game.
David Ortiz left the 5th inning of Wednesday's game due to tightness in his lower back while shortstop phenom Xander Bogaerts went 0-3 in his MLB debut during Tuesday night's game after getting called up from Pawtucket.
The Red Sox California road trip will continue Friday night when they travel to LA to take on the scalding-hot Los Angeles Dodgers. LA has gone 18-3 in the month of August. John Lackey [8-10; 3.22 ERA] is scheduled to get the start against Ricky Nolasco [9-9; 3.60 ERA] with first pitche scheduled for 10:10 ET from Dodger Stadium. The game will be televised on NESN.
OTHER RED SOX NEWS- Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster received a 5-game suspension and was fined an undisclosed amount after intentionally hitting Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez with a pitch in Sunday night's nationally televised game. Surprisingly, Dempster wasn't ejected from the game, which prompted irate Yankees manager Joe Girardi to come out of the dugout and argue with one of the umpires before getting thrown out of the Sunday night game.
With two off days within a week, Dempster will miss- at most- one start as a result of the suspension.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS- The Dodgers have activated former San Francisco Giants pitcher and Londonderry, NH native Brian Wilson from the DL earlier this week. Wilson was signed to a one year contract by LA back in July after undergoing a second Tommy John surgery.
OTHER DODGERS NEWS- Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully announced that he will return to the Dodgers' broadcast booth for a 65th season in 2014. There was speculation that Scully might retire at the end of the 2012 season, but the veteran announcer who cut his teeth with the Dodgers in Brooklyn announced his plans to return for the 2013 season on a limited basis, citing his enthusiasm for the new ownership group spearheaded by LA Lakers Hall-of-Famer Magic Johnson.
In recent years, Scully limited himself to calling home games at Dodgers Stadium as well as road games against the San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Angels or Arizona Diamondbacks- this is expected to be the case for 2014 as well.
MLB- Major League Baseball announced a proposal that would dramatically expand the use of instant replay in baseball, including a 'challenge' system similar to the NFL where managers could contest the umpire's ruling on a certain play. Currently, the league uses instant replay to determine whether a home-run ball is fair, foul or is still in play.
The expanded replay and challenge system would include:
• A review will be initiated when a manager informs the umpire that he wants to challenge a play. He will be allowed one challenge in the first six innings and two more from the seventh through the end of the game.
• If the manager wins his appeal, he retains the challenge. The challenge from the first six innings does not carry over.
• Not all plays are reviewable.
• If a manager disagrees with a reviewable call, his only recourse would be to use a challenge. Managers would not be able to argue a reviewable call in a bid to get it overturned without the use of replay. A manager could still argue in situations not open to review, such as when defending a player or questioning an improper substitution.
MLB owners are expected to vote on the revised rules at the upcoming meetings in November.
PATRIOTS- Well, about the only positive from last night's preseason game against Detroit was that it was a preseason game and, thus, didn't count in the standings.
The Lions forced no less than four turnovers in the first half in their 40-9 rout of New England and Tim Tebow spent then entire game on the bench, speculating that the Heisman winning QBs days in New England and the NFL are coming to an end. In fact, up until a Ryan Mallet TD with 32 seconds remaining in the game, the only ponts for New England came off the foot of Stephen Gostkowski in the second quarter.
The final preseason game is set to take place next Thursday at Foxboro against the New York Giants.