April 15, 2011: Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 6


April 15, 2011: Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 6

By Maureen Mullen

BOSTON The two days off, which the Red Sox had been hopeful would give them a physical and mental break to their dismal start of the season, did little to change their fortunes or lack of such -- as they fell to the Blue Jays, 7-6, in the first of their four-game series at Fenway Park.

Clay Buchholz, who was not involved in the decision, lasted just five innings, giving up three runs on three hits and five walks with three strikeouts. The three runs he allowed all reached base by walks. He threw 94 pitches, 46 for strikes an unhealthy 48.9 percent. Despite his ineffectiveness, Buchholzs ERA dropped, from 7.20 entering the game, to 6.60.

The Blue Jays saved most of their damage for Bobby Jenks (0-1), who took the loss. Prior to the game, Jenks had not allowed a run in four appearances, spanning four innings. In one-third of an inning against the Jays, he allowed four earned runs on four hits, a walk, and a wild pitch, with one strikeout.

The offense fared no better than the pitching. The Sox managed just five hits, dropping their team average from .230 entering the game to .224. Three runs came on second-inning home runs a solo shot into the first row of the Green Monster by Dustin Pedroia, and a two-run blast into the bleachers by Kevin Youkilis, his first of the season, scoring Adrian Gonzalez, who had walked. They added three in the seventh when Youkilis and David Ortiz walked, with Youkilis scoring on Jed Lowrie's pinch-hit infield single. Ortiz and Lowrie then scored on Marco Scutaro's double. The Red Sox were just 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

With the loss, the Sox fall to 2-10, maintaining their record as the worst team in baseball.

Player of the Game: Brett Cecil

Cecil (1-1) earned his first win of the season in his third start. It was also his third straight win against the Red Sox, after losing the first three starts of his career. The Jays left-hander held the Sox to three runs on two hits the second-inning home runs by Pedroia and Youkilis and four walks with five strikeouts over six innings. It was just the third time in his career he has allowed two or fewer hits while going at least six innings.

Honorable Mention: Aaron Hill

Hill went 3-for-4, with an RBI. It was his first multi-hit game of the season, raising his average 46 points from .170 entering the game to .216, while raising his career average at Fenway to .307 (51-for-166) in 43 games. He also had two stolen bases, a career single-game high. In the Jays' four-run seventh inning, with Hill at the plate, a Bobby Jenks wild pitch scored a run, and Hill then drove in Adam Lind for the Jays seventh and decisive run of the night.

The Goat: Bobby Jenks

Although Clay Buchholz had has third ineffective start of the season,lasting just five innings (plus two batters in the sixth), it was Jenks who let it get away. In his first four outings this season, spanning four innings, he had not allowed a run.Jenks entered the game Friday night to start the seventh, with the score tied, 3-3. He allowed the first two batters to reach, walking his first batter, Toronto No. 9 hitter, Jayson Nix, before giving up a single to Yunel Escobar. After striking out Corey Patterson, Jenks gave up consecutive RBI singles to Jose Bautista, Lind, and Hill and a run-scoring a wild pitch to Hill. Jenks was done after that along with the Red Sox' chances for a win. Jenks line: one-third of an inning, six batters, four runs (all earned) on four hits and a walk, with a strikeout and a wild pitch. His ERA jumped from 0.00 to 8.31.

Turning Point: Offensive ineptitude

While Jenks inning may have doomed them, the offenses inability to score runs did not help. The Sox' rally in the eighth inning scored four runs, one shy of tying the game. With hits in the game hard to come by the Sox went 5-for-33, lowering their team average from .230 to .224 the Sox could not capitalize on Toronto pitching struggles in the eighth. The Sox sent seven batters to the plate in the inning, scoring three runs, capped by Marco Scutaros two-out, two-run double off Casey Janssen, the second Jays pitcher of the inning, who entered to face the Boston shortstop. But Jacoby Ellsbury swung at Janssens first pitch, a 90-mph fastball, flying out to right field with the tying run on second base, ending the Sox rally and hopes for just their third win of the season.

The Red Sox were 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the game, and are now nine for their last 60 in those situations, for a .150 average with runners in scoring position.

By the Numbers: 7

Red Sox pitchers gave up seven walks (five by Buchholz, one by Jenks, one by Jonathan Papelbon). The Jays' first four runs were scored by batters who reached base on walks. All three runs Buchholz allowed were scored by runners who walked. That includes a four-pitch walk to Lind to lead off the sixth.

Quote of Note

I just never could find a feel. Made some big pitches when I needed to a couple times. But, yeah, other than that it was a battle all night, just trying to throw pitches where I wanted to throw them at some point. One of the points, I guess it was the fourth inning, trying to throw the ball down the middle and just couldnt find a feel for it. -- Clay Buchholz, on his struggles against the Blue Jays Friday night.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study


Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study

If your team makes a goal-line stop in the fourth quarter, but you can't see it on the All-22 tape, did it even happen? 

Bill Belichick said the fog that hovered above the Gillette Stadium turf on Sunday night didn't impact the play on the field, but it did make its imprint on the game in other ways. First of all, spotters and coaches up at the press level had some difficulty relaying information to coaches on the sidelines. Video on the hand-held tablets for sideline use -- as well as the old-school still-frame pictures Belichick prefers -- was also obstructed. 

Then on Monday, as coaches tried to digest the film, the fog butted in on the process again. 

"It affected us a lot this morning because it’s hard to see the game," Belichick said during a conference call. "The fourth quarter is – I don’t know – pretty close to a white-out on the sideline film. The sideline cameras are at the top of the stadium, so that’s a tough shot.

"The end zone cameras are a little bit lower and they get a little tighter shot, so the picture is a little bit clearer. But, on that shot, a lot of times you’re not able to see all the guys on the perimeter. It’s kind of an in-line shot.

"Yeah, the first half, start of the third quarter, it’s all right. As they get into the middle of the third quarter and on, for those of us with aging eyes, it’s a little strained to see it, and then there’s a point where you can’t really see it at all, especially from the sideline. So, yeah, it affected us."

Belichick re-iterated that the fog didn't do much to the product on the field (other than maybe making life difficult for kick and punt-returners), refuting Julio Jones' claim from late Sunday night. When it came to digesting the film, though, that was another story.

"It was more, I’d say, just tougher for, whether it be our video camera or the fans that were sitting in the upper deck. It’s just there was too much interference there," Belichick said. "It was probably hard to see the game. I know when we tried to look at the pictures in between series – you know, I don’t look at the tablets, so I won’t get into that – but the pictures, it was kind of the same thing. It was hard to really be able to make out exactly what you were seeing."

Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut


Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

WALTHAM -- It appears Marcus Morris’ debut for the Celtics will be when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 30.
The 6-foot-9 forward confirmed to reporters on Monday that, for now, that’s the target date.
Morris spent time after practice playing some one-one-one against rookie Jayson Tatum.
“I’m trying to push on it a little more,” he said. “Felt pretty good beating the rook’s ass one-on-one.”
The addition of Morris to the lineup can’t come soon enough for the Celtics (1-2).  They have already lost Gordon Hayward (ankle) for the season, and Marcus Smart (ankle) missed Friday’s win over Philadelphia. Smart said he would probably be in uniform for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks. 
Those injuries have forced the Celtics to dig deeper into their roster, resulting in several first-year players seeing action. 
Having a veteran like Morris on the floor would bode well for the Celts in their quest to remain among the better teams in the East this season. 
Morris, who went through the non-contact portion of practice on Monday, joined the Celtics on Oct. 5, shortly after he and his brother Markieff (who plays for Washington) were acquitted of assault charges involving an incident in Phoenix in January of 2015. He appeared in one preseason game, scoring seven points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field.

Coach Brad Stevens said Morris was having some knee discomfort when he showed up for training camp. That, combined with showing up late to training camp because of his court case in Phoenix, resulted in him not having the level of conditioning he’s used to at the start of training camp. 
“It’s not that I’m in bad shape,” he told NBC Sports Boston earlier. “It’s just that I’m not where I expect myself to be conditioning-wise, right now.”
Morris echoed similar sentiments on Monday. 
“I’m in great condition,” he said. “I just want to be a little better. My conditioning has never been the problem. It’s the soreness in my [left] knee. It’s gotten a lot better over the past 10 days, so I feel I can play now. But be cautious because it’s a long season.”
Morris was acquired in the summer by Boston from Detroit, in exchange for Avery Bradley. The move was done to not only ensure there was enough salary cap space to sign then-free agent Gordon Hayward, but also for the Celtics to add a versatile player who can play both forward positions.