1. Josh Beckett -- Sucking yet again (6-6-5-4-6, 104).
2. Terry Francona -- After a perfect 7th from Seanez (on 6 days rest), he let him pitch the 8th, where he got one out, but allowed 2 singles, 2 walks and 2 runs. Enjoy your nap, Tito?
3. 3B Coach DeMarlo Hale -- For sending Manny in the 8th. Three singles loaded the bases for Lowell with one out, Sox down 7-3. Lowell lined a single to center, Manny waited at second base to make sure it wasn't caught, then ran to third. Hale was waving him in, Ramirez looked back to the outfield in disbelief, but kept going. Granderson was lobbing the ball in to the infield -- of course, Ramirez would be held at third -- but when catcher Vance Wilson began jumping up and down and waving his glove, shortstop Carlos Guillen made a strong throw home and Manny was dead. Then -- after being screwed on a check swing strike 2 call -- Pena struck out and the rally (and Boston's chances for the night) were gone. (Hale also sent Pena home in the 5th, another questionable decision, but the Tigers botched the relay and Pena was able to score.)
Yankees won 7-2 (Sox 2 GB); White Sox winning big against the Royals (Sox would be 3 GB in WC).
Nate Robertson (3.82) / Josh Beckett (4.92), 7 PM
Granderson, CF Crisp, CFAlso: the Red Sox recalled LHP Craig Breslow from Pawtucket and sent down catcher Corky Miller.
Monroe, LF Loretta, 2B
Young, DH Ortiz, DH
Ordonez, RF Ramirez, LF
Guillen, SS Youkilis, 1B
Casey, 1B Lowell, 3B
Infante, 2B Pena, RF
Inge, 3B Lopez, C
Wilson, C Gonzalez, SS
Facing the four worst teams in the American League -- Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and Baltimore -- the Red Sox went an unimpressive 6-7. And that included a three-game sweep of the Orioles.
But Boston has closed the gap in the AL East to one game, and now the fun begins.
Before we can obsess on the upcoming five-game series against the Yankees, the Red Sox have three games against the Tigers. Detroit still has the best record in baseball (76-41, 7.5 games better than Boston), but has lost five straight games (including three to the White Sox over the weekend). The Tigers have lost 4.5 games to the White Sox in the standings in the last six days -- from 10 games to 5.5.
Mark Loretta on the Tigers games: "I don't know that they're any more vital than these last three games were. I think if this was September 15, I think you look at it a little bit differently." ... The Red Sox have 46 games left on the schedule.
Michael Rosenburg, Detroit Free Press notes:
In the next three days, the Tigers face Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling and David Wells ... Sounds daunting. Yet for every game of this Boston series, the Tigers' starting pitcher will have a lower earned-run average than his Red Sox counterpart.Tonight's pitchers were roommates when Robertson was first called up to the Marlins in 2002. (Both pitchers were drafted by Florida in 1999.)
Robertson gave up eight runs and nine hits in 5.1 innings in his only start at Fenway Park last year. ... David Ortiz (batting .229 (8-for-35) in his last 10 games) is 1-for-11 with three strikeouts against Robertson; Manny Ramirez is 2-for-8, Kevin Youkilis is 3-for-7 and Coco Crisp is 6-for-22, with two homers.
Only three Tigers have faced Beckett: Placido Polanco (3-for-16), Sean Casey (2-for-4) and Vance Wilson (1-for-4).
This is the 1,931st time the two teams have played against each other. Boston has a 995-935 edge. ... Boston won two of three games in Detroit in early June.
The Yankees (Johnson (5.03)) host the Angels (Lackey (3.33)), at 7 PM.