Six In A Row? The Red Sox won six consecutive games on April 23-29. They have a chance to match that nice, but relatively modest, streak tonight. With Derek Lowe showing his best sinker of the season in his last start, confidence is high.
Anaheim beat the Yankees 4-3 (Percival retired the side on 4 pitches in the 9th to complete the sweep), so Boston is now only 6 games back. The Red Sox are tied with Texas for the wild card, but the Rangers trail the Royals 8-0 in the 5th. Tampa Bay beat Oakland 2-1.
Bronson Arroyo said he "felt really sluggish, like I was throwing underwater" against the White Sox Saturday. He said that during one mound visit, pitching coach Dave Wallace "asked me if I wanted him to smack me in the side of the face. He went, 'You need to wake up and get things going.'"
Gordon Edes on the Sox-claiming-Clemens story: The Astros "never discussed a trade with the Sox or Yankees involving either pitcher, according to a source with direct knowledge of the process." Edes says the Yankees claimed Andy Pettitte when the Astros placed him on waivers the same day. "As for reports that the Clemens 'trade talks' broke down over Kevin Youkilis, the Sox did indeed throw out Youkilis's name to the Astros, but that was last year when the target was lefthanded closer Billy Wagner."
Bob Hohler reports that Jason Varitek will serve his four-game suspension "within the next couple of days". His appeal is scheduled for Thursday the 26th and the Red Sox begin a nine-game stretch against the Angels, Rangers and A's beginning August 31. Hohler believes Varitek will catch Pedro on Monday in Toronto, miss the next 4 games and return on Saturday to catch Pedro again at home against Detroit. ... Varitek has been hot, hitting .371 since the All-Star break and .444 in August. But the team has scored 10 runs in each of its last two games without David Ortiz's bat (0-for-15 with eight strikeouts in the last 4 games), so the slack should be picked up.
Manny Ramirez's first-inning home run was his 379th tying Orlando Cepeda and Tony Perez for 50th all-time.