Red Sox

Notes: Beckett to skip scheduled Monday start

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Notes: Beckett to skip scheduled Monday start

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- After throwing 125 pitches one shy of his career high over eight innings in a win against the Angels April 21, Josh Beckett was limited to six innings and 92 pitches April 27 in a loss to the Orioles. It appears that outing in Anaheim may have taken its toll on Beckett, whose next scheduled start wont be until Wednesday at the earliest.

His regularly scheduled start would have been Monday. Getting pushed to Wednesday will give him six days of rest instead of the usual four days.

Beckett will throw a side Monday, pitching coach Curt Young said. Make sure his bodys feeling good. Get through the side Monday and go from there. Physically, hes been doing everything thats necessary.

With Clay Buchholz under the weather Saturday and with Daisuke Matsuzaka abbreviating his outing Friday because of tightness in his right elbow, manager Terry Francona has been forced to juggle his rotation. Buchholz, who was scheduled to pitch Sunday has been pushed to Monday. He will be followed by Jon Lester. Beyond that is unknown.

We may take this opportunity to tweak our rotation a little bit, Francona said before Sundays game. Thats just kind of where were at. Put everybody in the best position possible. Well get to it.

Wednesday would have been Matsuzakas day to pitch . But with Jason Varitek now catching both Beckett and Matsuzaka, Francona may opt to separate the two pitchers so the 39-year-old Varitek is not catching on back-to-back days. That is, if both right-handers are good to go.

We may rearrange a little, Francona said. Well see. Thats why were kind of holding off a little.

The Angels have also rearranged their rotation. After getting swept by the Sox in a four-game series in Anaheim a little over a week ago, Angels manager Mike Scioscia will start Jered Weaver Monday night at Fenway. Weaver, the American League leader in wins at 6-0, was scratched from his scheduled start Sunday because of illness. The Sox managed to avoid Weaver, who also leads the AL in ERA at 0.99, in their previous series. Weaver is 2-4 with a 4.40 ERA in his career against the Sox. Weaver, who has pitched complete games in each of his last two starts, has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his six starts this season.

Ten of the Angels' 15 wins this season have come on the road.

Crawfords game-winning hit Sunday was the seventh walk-off hit of his career, and the Sox' first walk-off of the season.

Despite the win, the Sox were 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and are now 54-for-255 (.211) in such situations this season.

Only one guy can hit at a time. We have team stats. They are cumulative but its probably different every single at bat, every single time, Francona said before Sundays game. I know they all get shoved in there statistically but its pretty unique every at-bat. And there are times like last night, Adrian Gonzalez lined into a double play with the bases loaded and no outs. If that ball were a foot the other way, were saying great. Dustin Pedroia knifes the ball down the right field line and its this far foul. Sometimes you got to keep some things in perspective,. Thats why I talk about having a consistent approach because those things will even out. Therell be balls that hit fair, therell be balls that find holes.

Third baseman Kevin Youkilis was not in the starting lineupbecause of a jammed left hip, suffered during a slide in the first inningin Baltimore on Thursday.

Hes a little sore, Francona said. I think we thought that unless he wasreally feeling good, we were going to hold him out today . . . After talking to the trainers last night I think they allthought if we could give him a day today, it won't linger.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

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.
 

NLCS: Cubs avoid sweep, top Dodgers 3-2 to cut series deficit to 3-1

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NLCS: Cubs avoid sweep, top Dodgers 3-2 to cut series deficit to 3-1

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez sensed he was ready to bust out of his slump and give the Chicago Cubs the lift they needed.

As breakthroughs go, this was a big one. Just in time to keep the season going for the defending champs.

Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

"We have to be much more offensive," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's got to start happening tomorrow. We're going to do this. Going to pull this off, we have to become more offensive tomorrow."

Baez finally got going with a pair of solo drives .

Jake Arrieta pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning to help the Cubs close their deficit to 3-1. Maddon got ejected for the second time in this series in the eighth, and a packed Wrigley Field crowd watched Davis get Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play.

Maddon was heavily criticized for not using Davis during a 4-1 loss in Game 2. This time, the Cubs closer threw 48 pitches to finish the job.

Willson Contreras also homered for the Cubs. Bellinger and Justin Turner connected for the Dodgers, who had won a team-record six straight playoff games.

Game 5 is Thursday, with Jose Quintana pitching for Chicago against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

"They're the world champs, and you know they're going to fight to the end," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "So today, they did. We got beat today."

Baez hit solo drives in the second and fifth after going hitless in his first 20 playoff at-bats. He had been watching videos and felt his timing was starting to come back in recent trips to the plate.

"I just need to take a step back and see what's going on," he said.

Contreras added a long homer against Alex Wood.

Davis entered with a 3-1 lead in the eighth. He gave up a leadoff homer to Turner, who went 2 for 2 and drew two walks.

Maddon became incensed that a swinging strike three against Curtis Granderson was ruled a foul after the umpires discussed the play. Maddon got tossed, and Granderson struck out swinging at the next pitch.

And after walking Yasmani Grandal to put runners on first and second, Davis struck out Chase Utley , who is hitless in his last 24 postseason at-bats.

All seven of Chicago's runs in this series have come on homers. And long drives in the second by Contreras and Baez made it 2-0.

"Great to have this win, because if not we were going home tomorrow," Baez said. "But I feel like we're still not on track as a team. But I think if we get back on track, everybody as a team, we're going to be the best again."

Contreras' 491-foot homer banged off the left-field videoboard and Baez sent a towering drive out to left.

Bellinger cut it to 2-1 with his drive to right in the third. But Baez got the lead back up to two with a shot to the left-field bleachers in the fifth, the raucous crowd chanting "Javy! Javy!" for the flashy young star who was co-MVP of the NLCS last year.

No Cubs player had hit two in a playoff game since Alex Gonzalez went deep twice in Game 2 of the 2003 NLCS against Miami.

Arrieta exited with runners on first and second in the seventh after walking Chris Taylor on a 3-2 pitch. He tipped his hat as fans gave him a standing ovation, a fitting show of appreciation for a pitcher with an expiring contract.

"Hopefully, it's not a goodbye, it's a thank you, obviously," Arrieta said. "I still intend to have another start in this ballpark. If that's where it ends, I did my best and I left it all out there."

Arrieta turns 32 in March and figures to land a huge deal in free agency. The trade that brought him from Baltimore helped fuel Chicago's rise, with the right-hander capturing the 2015 NL Cy Young Award and contributing to last year's drought-busting championship run.

Limited by a right hamstring injury in the final month of the season, he threw 111 pitches. Brian Duensing retired Bellinger on a fly to end the seventh.

Turner made it a one-run game with his homer off the left-field videoboard against Davis in the eighth.

A career-high 16-game winner, Wood gave up three runs and four hits in 42/3 innings.

"The only frustrating thing is we fell a run short," Turner said. "We played a great game, they played a great game. They just hit one more ball over the fence than we did."

FINISHING UP

Maddon said Davis would not be available on Thursday.

"So other guys got to do it," Maddon said. "We have to be much more offensive. It's got to start happening tomorrow. We're going to do this. Going to pull this off, we have to become more offensive tomorrow."

QUOTABLE

Chicago's Kyle Schwarber on all the Cubs' runs coming on homers in the series: "That's fine. A run's a run, anyway you can get them in. Obviously, we want to manufacture some runs, but we won a ballgame 3-2 hitting homers; I'll take that, too."

UP NEXT

Dodgers: The Dodgers turn to Kershaw to try to wrap up the series. The three-time NL Cy Young winner went five innings in Game 1, allowing two runs, and has a 4.76 ERA in two postseason starts this year.

Cubs: Quintana pitched five innings of two-hit ball in Game 1, one day after his wife, Michel, was taken off the team plane in Albuquerque with a medical ailment.

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