For the time being (or the Angels series, at a minimum), Francona is using a tandem of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek behind the plate. Varitek caught Josh Beckett and will get Daisuke Matsuzaka on Saturday, while Salty will catch Jon Lester tonight and John Lackey on Sunday. Because Tito was talking only about the LAA series, he did not mention Clay Buchholz, but Salty has caught three of his four starts.
Saltalamacchia has not looked sharp behind the dish, and is slugging .222 at the plate, with an on-base percentage of .256. But Salty is swinging a big stick compared to Varitek, who is 1-for-23 (.043) in nine games, and has yet to drive in a run, despite a total of 26 men on base for his at-bats.
Oh, I'm freaking locked in. ... It can't get much worse. I don't mean that in a funny way. It can't. I've never hit this bad. I need to use my eyes a little better.Beckett threw 125 pitches last night, one fewer than his career-high set on May 20, 2004, with the Marlins. It was the highest pitch count for a Red Sox starter in 456 games, since Jon Lester (130) pitched his no-hitter on May 19, 2008. Beckett's previous high for Boston was 121 (in only 5.2 innings), on August 19, 2006.
It's nice to have confidence in your pitches. That's something that I definitely have right now. I'm throwing three or four pitches, all of them for strikes when I need them for strikes and for balls when I need them for balls. ... I felt like I made pitches when I needed to, except for one. And the one pitch that Torii hit [game-tying home run in the eighth] actually wasn't the worst pitch I threw that inning.Dustin Pedroia reached base five times (three singles, two walks) and was the middle man on the 9-4-5 play that gunned down a bone-headed Erick Aybar, who tried to stretch a leadoff double into a triple in a 2-2 game in the bottom of the eighth. Mike Scioscia said he did not mind the aggressiveness.
I'm good with his effort on going to third base. But rounding second, it looked like he hesitated a little bit and looked back to see the ball, and that ended up being the difference and was what cost him. That's what was unfortunate, but the play was as close as you could get.Pedroia:
Three chances with a runner on third is better than two. I know the rule is never make the first out at third, but the guy's got great speed and it took a perfect play to get him. That's why in spring training ... I don't ever go 50 percent in those drills. It's going to come down to three or four games a year that if we make a good throw we win. Tonight was one of those games, so practice pays off.Beckett:
They always talk about how exciting a triple is, but it's pretty exciting when you see someone get thrown out at third as well.The Red Sox drew 11 walks, were 2-for-18 with runners at second and/or third, and left 15 men on base. Adrian Gonzalez: "It doesn't matter how many you strand as long as you win."
Matt Albers was activated from the disabled list before last night's game. Alfredo Aceves was optioned to Pawtucket. ... PawSox outfielder Ryan Kalish injured/jammed his left shoulder last night on a diving catch. Kalish was taken to a hospital and later has his arm in a sling. PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler: "It didn't look real serious, but you never know."