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Tag:Playoff race: AL wild card
Posted on: September 20, 2011 7:00 pm
 

Francona bats away Schilling comments

SchillingBy Evan Brunell

Curt Schilling told WEEI Tuesday morning and said he doesn't think the Red Sox will make the playoffs, adding that there has been a significant momentum shift that now falls in the Rays' favor.

“It’s kind of crashing down around them,” Schilling added. “Somebody asked me last night about them making the playoffs and I said, ‘You know how I feel about these guys, you know how I feel about [manager Terry Francona] … I don’t want them to make the playoffs because I don’t think they have a chance to go anywhere.’”

Well, Francona has a response to Schilling, even though he did not hear his former ace's (photo: 2007) comments until being told.

"I don’t give a [expletive]," he said.

Francona didn't have much else to add, but Schilling did. He took to Twitter to deflect criticism, saying, "What I think, not what I want. I want them to get in and win it all, if they need someone like me motivating that's an entirely diff chat."

Francona also addressed David Ortiz's remarks that it was time to convert Alfredo Aceves to a starter. Aceves has served as a long reliever for the Red Sox the entire year and has been incredibly successful in doing so. As the Red Sox rotation stands in tatters, the call for Aceves to make some starts is growing.

"Believe it or not, I haven’t read a paper," said Francona. "There’s so many [media members] here that if you ask questions and someone gives an answer, I’ll be answering them all day. For Schill and for David, I’d rather just do the game."

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Posted on: September 20, 2011 6:19 pm
 

Buchholz tosses simulated inning, eyes return

BuchholzBy Evan Brunell

Clay Buchholz took the next step towards returning to the Red Sox pitching staff by throwing to hitters for the first time since hitting the disabled list on June 16, WEEI reports.

"Location wasn’t what it should be, which is expected, but ball's coming out of my hand and no problem with the back. It feels good," Buchholz said. "[There was] no pain. Everything was fine. Trying to not compensate for anything and finish my delivery like I normally would."

Buchholz has been sidelined since June with a balky back and the team has missed him severely. His 3.48 ERA in 14 starts would be much welcome for a team that has struggled to fill the gap behind Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, but if Buchholz returns, it will be as a reliever, and may not even get into a game during the regular season. Buchholz doesn't mind either way, but hopes he can contribute in October at a minimum.

"That’s the team’s call if they want me to come back, get some innings in [against Baltimore]. Gotta see how this postseason run is going to be and go from there," said Buchholz. "[Pitching in the playoffs is] what I want to do. Today was a first step in that direction and everything felt good."

The righty threw 25 warmup pitches in the bullpen then simulated an inning against Jose Iglesias, Lars Anderson, Ryan Lavarnway and Joey Gathright, throwing 32 pitches in all. He said he was throwing at 85 to 90 percent intensity, afraid of harming a hitter. The Red Sox likely prefer that Buchholz doesn't go max effort in his first time throwing to hitters anyways. He was able to throw all his pitches which includea fastball, curveball, changeup and cutter.

His next simulated game could come on Thursday or Friday in New York provided his body responds well to Tuesday's outing. He believes that as long as his back holds up, he can make an impact in the postseason despite his arm being sidelined from game action for three months.

"I’ve been throwing pretty much the whole time, playing catch, not necessarily pitching. My arm doesn’t feel near as not ready as it does in the offseason going into spring training," said Buchholz. "Obviously, nobody wants to sit out two and a half months, three months. It’s been tough watching the guys go out there. Even when we’re playing good, I want to go out there. It’s tough right now. like I said, I’m trying to get to the point where I can come back and help this team win."

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Posted on: September 19, 2011 11:39 pm
 

Playoff race: Red Sox split, keep 2-game lead

Connor Jackson

By C. Trent Rosecrans


I have a saying at the blackjack table -- pushing ain't losing. And that's about how the Red Sox feel after splitting a doubleheader with the Orioles while the Rays were idle. It wasn't pretty, that's for sure, but Boston entered Monday with a two-game lead in the American League wild-card standings and finished the day with a two game lead in the wild-card race.

Boston dropped its first game of the day, 6-5 to the Orioles, before rebounding to beat Baltimore 18-9 in the nightcap. Boston starter John Lackey was awful again, allowing eight runs on 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings, but he was better than Baltimore's Brian Matusz, who didn't get out of the second inning, allowing six runs on six hits.

Boston trailed 3-0 after the top of the first, but came back with four in their half of the inning and had an 11-2 lead after three innings. Baltimore got as close as 11-0 before the Red Sox pounded out seven runs in the seventh.

Boston plays Baltimore five more times to try to hold on to their lead.

Here's the rest of the particulars: 

Boston Red Sox
88-65
Remaining schedule: 2 vs. BAL, 3 @ NYY, 3 @ BAL
Coolstandings.com chances of winning Wild Card: 86.1 percent

Tampa Bay Rays
85-67, 2 GB
Remaining schedule: 4 @ NYY, 3 vs. TOR, 3 vs. NYY
Coolstandings.com chances of winning Wild Card: 8.5 percent

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
83-70, 4.5 GB
Remaining schedule: 3 @ TOR, 3 vs. OAK, 3 vs. TEX
Coolstandings.com chances of winning Wild Card: 0.6 percent

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 17, 2011 7:30 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2011 10:04 pm
 

Playoff race: Rays take another from Red Sox

Dustin Pedroia

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Tampa Bay won't sweep in Boston, but they could win three of four against the Red Sox and head to New York just two games behind the current American League wild card leaders. With Saturday's 4-3 victory over Boston, the Rays moved to within three games of the Red Sox with a seeming mismatch of David Price against Tim Wakefield on tap for Sunday.

Ben Zobrist's two-run homer in the first set the ton for the Rays, who were able to get to Red Sox starter Jon Lester for four runs on five hits in seven innings.

Jeff Niemann lasted just five innings for the Rays, but gave up only two runs, while rookie Matt Moore -- in just his second big-league appearance -- went three big innings in relief, allowing a run on two hits. Moore, manager Joe Maddon told CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler, may just be the Rays' "wild card" in the wild card race.

Tampa Bay finishes its four-game series in Boston on Sunday before heading to New York for four more games against the Yankees. It should be noted, the Yankees' lead over the Red Sox is just 4.5 games, so things could get interesting in that race as well, if the Rays continue to play tormentor against the AL East powers.

The Angels' already slim chances seemed to be dashed with another loss in Baltimore

Boston Red Sox
87-64
Remaining schedule: 1 vs. TB, 4 vs. BAL, 3 @ NYY, 3 @ BAL
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 85.8 percent 

Tampa Bay Rays
84-67, 3 GB
Remaining schedule: 1 @ BOS, 4 @ NYY, 3 vs. TOR, 3 vs. NYY
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 5.1 percent 

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
82-69, 5 GB
Remaining schedule: 1 @ BAL, 4 @ TOR, 3 vs. OAK, 3 vs. TEX
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 0.6 percent

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 16, 2011 10:55 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2011 11:21 pm
 

Playoff race: Beckett, Red Sox top Rays

Josh Beckett

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Josh Beckett wasn't great, but he was good enough, as the Red Sox took Game 2 of the series with the Rays, 4-3. With the loss, Tampa Bay can't leave Boston any closer than two games out of the wild card race before heading to New York for four games with the Yankees.

Making his first start since suffering a sprained ankle on Sept. 5, Beckett went six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits, striking out seven and walking one.

It was a much-needed win for the Red Sox, who had lost six straight to the Rays since beating them Aug. 16.

Meanwhile, the Angels' hopes of a a wild card berth took a series shot with an 8-3 drubbing in Baltimore.

Boston Red Sox
87-63
Remaining schedule: 2 vs. TB, 4 vs. BAL, 3 @ NYY, 3 @ BAL
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 80.6 percent

Tampa Bay Rays
83-67, 4 GB
Remaining schedule: 2 @ BOS, 4 @ NYY, 3 vs. TOR, 3 vs. NYY
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 3.1 percent 

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
82-68, 5 GB
Remaining schedule: 2 @ BAL, 4 @ TOR, 3 vs. OAK, 3 vs. TEX
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 1 percent

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 15, 2011 10:52 pm
 

Playoff race: Breaks going Rays' way

Evan Longoria

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Things are certainly breaking the Rays way right now -- especially B.J. Upton's bat.

Thanks in small part to the flying end of Upton's bat, the Rays took the opening game of their crucial four-game set at Fenway Park, beating the Red Sox 9-2.

WIth two outs in the third inning and runners on first and second, Upton's bat splintered on a slow roller to shortstop. Just as Boston shortstop Marco Scutaro was about to field the grounder, the barrel of Upton's bat reached him and he had to dodge the piece of the bat, allowing the ball to go between his legs and John Jaso to score the game's first run and extend the inning. The next batter, Evan Longoria, homered to give Tampa an early 4-0 lead -- all thanks to the bounce of a bat.

The win pulls the Rays to within three games of the American League Wild Card, with three more games agains the Red Sox. A sweep here and it's a whole new ballgame.

Boston Red Sox
Remaining schedule: 3 vs. TB, 4 vs. BAL, 3 @ NYY, 3 @ BAL
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 80.6 percent

Tampa Bay Rays
83-66, 3 GB
Remaining schedule: 3 @ BOS, 4 @ NYY, 3 vs. TOR, 3 vs. NYY
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 7.8 percent 

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
82-67, 4 GB
Remaining schedule: 3 @ BAL, 4 @ TOR, 3 vs. OAK, 3 vs. TEX
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 2.5 percent

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 13, 2011 10:24 pm
 

Playoff race: Red Sox power way to 4-game lead

By Evan Brunell

On the backing of an offensive explosion from Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox gave Tim Wakefield his 200th career victory as Boston stomped on the Blue Jays 18-6.

Combined with 4-2 loss by the Rays, the Red Sox have now moved to four games ahead in the wild card, adding significant breathing room to the proceedings for the Red Sox. The Rays and Red Sox still have a four-game set coming up on Thursday that can still turn the wild-card race on its ear, but a four-game deficit this late into the season is a tough task. The Red Sox and Rays both have 15 games left. If the Sox go just 7-8, the Rays need to go 15-3 the rest of the way to win the wild card. That's a lot to ask, especially with the grueling schedule the Rays have the rest of the way.

After Wednesday's series finale against the Orioles, the Rays have seven games against the Yankees, four against the Red Sox and three against the dangerous Jays. That's a lot of competition to go up against. The Red Sox also face the Rays and Yankees, but only seven times combined with an additional seven against the Orioles. Suffice it to say that unless the Rays can really shake the Red Sox in the upcoming series, this race is effectively over.

Boston Red Sox
85-61
Schedule remaining: 1 v. TOR, 4 v. TB, 4 @ BAL, 3 @ NYY, 3 @ BAL
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 79.5 percent

Tampa Bay Rays
82-65, 4 GB
Schedule remaining: 1 @ BAL, 4 @ BOS, 4 @ NYY, 3 v. TOR, 3 v. NYY
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 8.5 percent

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com