Bruins

April 3, 2011: Rangers 5, Red Sox 1

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April 3, 2011: Rangers 5, Red Sox 1

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Capping their worst start to a season in 16 years, the Red Sox were swept by the Texas Rangers Sunday, absorbing a 5-1 loss for their third straight setback.

Texas launched four homers to complete a sweep of the Sox. The Rangers hit 11 homers in the three-game set, the most allowed by the Sox in the first three games of a season since at least 1919.

Clay Buchholz was tagged with the loss. He allowed only five hits over 6 13 innings; four of the five, however, were homers.

The Sox' only run came in the seventh when Carl Crawford, who had collected his first hit of the season back in the second inning, singled to left, scoring Kevin Youkilis. The Sox would leave the bases loaded that inning when Texas starter Matt Harrison struck out Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Rangers, who are 16-6 against the Sox since the start of the 2009 season, outscored Boston 26-11 in the series.

Player of the Game: Matt Harrison

Harrison limited the Red Sox to a single run over seven innings. His eight strikeouts tied a career high.

The left-hander drew good reviews from both clubhouses . . . but none better than the one he gave himself.

"I knew if I hit my spots and mixed the speeds up, I was going to be able to keep them under control," he said. "I'm definitely going to take this one and look back on it next time out . . . It was just a good mix of everything. They really couldn't sit on anything. I was able to throw three or four pitches for strikes today."

Honorable Mention: Ian Kinsler

At last: The Red Sox prevented Ian Kinsler from leading off the bottom of the first inning with a home run.

Alas: He simply waited two innings before going deep.

For the third straight game, Kinsler homered off the Red Sox. He was also on base in all four plate appearances with two walks and a hit-by-pitch.

"It's fun, man," said Kinsler, in the lineup at designated hitter instead of second base. "We're swinging the bats excellent right now."

The Goat: Clay Buchholz

Buchholz pitched far better than either of the Red Sox starters who preceded him, but still surrendered four homers in 6 13 innings pitched.

"I don't think these guys missed a mistake in 27 innings," marveled Buchholz of the Rangers, who crushed 11 home runs in the three-game series.

And the amazing thing?

It was only 24 innings. The Rangers, of course, didn't have to bat in the bottom of the ninth in any of the three games.

Turning Point:

Trailing 3-0, the Red Sox' offense finally began to stir off Matt Harrison in the seventh. Kevin Youkilis drew a full-count walk to lead off the inning, and David Ortiz -- 4-for-12 with two home runs in the series -- singled to right. After Jed Lowrie grounded into a fielder's choice, Carl Crawford delivered the first Boston run with a single to center.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia flied out for the second out but Darnell McDonald walked on a disputed 3-and-2 pitch, loading the bases.

That brought up Jacoby Ellsbury. After a first-pitch ball, Harrison was able to get swinging strikes on a pair of fastballs. Down in the count 1-and-2, Ellsbury managed to foul off two more fastballs. But Harrison then threw a cutter that Ellsbury swung at and missed, ending the inning with the bases loaded and Texas still ahead, 3-1.

And that, as it turned out, was the Red Sox' last chance. Nelson Cruz got the run right back with a home run into the upper deck in right field in the bottom of the inning, and the Rangers went on to the 5-1 win.

By the Numbers: 11

The Rangers outhomered by the Red Sox in the three-game series, 11-3. As near as the Sox' P.R. staff can tell, the 11 homers are the most allowed by the team in the first three games of a season since 1919.

Quote of Note: Dustin Pedroia

"They kicked our butt -- that's it. We'd better show up and play better Tuesday than we've been playing.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Rask out tonight as he recovers from practice collision

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Rask out tonight as he recovers from practice collision

BRIGHTON, Mass – The string of injuries for the Bruins continues as Tuukka Rask (upper body) is out for tonight’s game against the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden after getting trucked by Anders Bjork in practice Wednesday.

Rask was wobbly-legged while being helped off the ice after the violent collision and the 21-year-old Bjork looked like he’d also needed a couple of stitches on his chin after bloodying his practice jersey.

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The big concern is Rask still being evaluated by Bruins medical personnel for a possible concussion. It will be Anton Khudobin stepping in place for him against the Canucks with Providence Bruins netminder Zane McIntyre serving as his backup.

“Tuukka is out tonight. He’s going to get reevaluated today and we’ll have a better idea tomorrow,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Anton will start [against the Canucks].”

Clearly, Khudobin didn’t like seeing his goaltending partner get drilled in a spirited practice, but the 32-year-old is clearly feeling confident after a strong camp and a winning season debut last week against the Arizona Coyotes.

“You don’t want to see that, but at the same time we’ve got to keep moving forward and hopefully he’s going to get better soon,” said Khudobin, who stopped 29-of-31 shots in the win over Arizona last weekend. “I feel good. Camp was good and everything is fine, and I’ve started better than last year. My role is just day-to-day. Today is a game day and hopefully, you get a good result, and then tomorrow is another new day.”

Otherwise, it looks like the Bruins will at least be getting some of their healthy bodies back with David Backes in the lineup and Patrice Bergeron a game-time decision against the Canucks. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings based on Wednesday’s practice:

Marchand-Bergeron-Bjork
DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak
Schaller-Kuraly-Backes
Beleskey-Nash-Agostino
 
Chara-McAvoy
Miller-Carlo
Krug-McQuaid

Khudobin 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Are Red Sox playing a waiting game before naming their new manager?

Are Red Sox playing a waiting game before naming their new manager?

BOSTON — As soon as the American League Championship Series ends, the Red Sox could make a move for their manager.

Industry sources continue to expect Astros bench coach Alex Cora will be the Sox’ pick. No offer had been officially made as of midday Wednesday, one source close to the situation said. But the belief is such an offer waits out of respect to the Astros-Yankees ALCS that can end no later than Saturday if the series goes a full seven games. 

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“Not a doubt it is him,” the source said.

Sunday and Monday would both be off days ahead of the Tuesday night start of the World Series. That leads to the potential for at least a Red Sox announcement of Cora, if not a press conference, before the Fall Classic begins. (If the Astros advance to the World Series, it may be harder to have Cora in Boston for any length of time.)

All those who know Cora praise his ability to connect with players. The former Red Sox infielder is good friends with Dustin Pedroia. Cora’s previous knowledge of the Boston market works in his favor, as well, as does his mettle handling the media. Some question his readiness as a first-time manager, considering he would be taking over a team with great win-now expectations and complicated clubhouse dynamics.

Nothing takes the place of experience and there is such a thing as being too close to players. Ultimately, if the Sox do land Cora, 41, they would be adding the hottest up-and-coming managerial prospect who’s available on the market. The everybody-wants-him reputation could give Cora added cachet with players and certainly becomes a public-relations win for those fans following the search.

The Sox interviewed Ron Gardenhire on Wednesday. Gardenhire was the third candidate the Sox talked to and could well be the last. Cora met with the Sox on Sunday, followed by Brad Ausmus on Monday.