July 25, 2006

Sox Pop Zito; Wells Making Progress

After Barry Zito had retired seven of the first eight Red Sox, the Boston bats erupted.

The next 15 batters collected three singles, two doubles, three home runs, one walk, and one HBP, and scored seven runs. It was enough to give Josh Beckett (6-5-3-2-4, 95) his 13th win of the year. ... Good thing, too, since after that outburst, only one of Boston's last 16 batters reached base.

In the third, Alex Gonzalez homered with one out. Singles by Kevin Youkilis and Mark Loretta preceded a three-run home run from Manny Ramirez. Doubles from Mike Lowell and Coco Crisp and a sac fly from Youkilis brought in two fourth-inning runs. David Ortiz hit a line drive home run (his 34th of the year) to start the fifth.

It was the 41st time Ramirez and Ortiz have homered in the same game and the 11th time this season, one shy of the team record they set in 2004. Ortiz has hit 11 home runs in July (team record: 13, by Jimmie Foxx, 1939 and Clyde Vollmer 1951). Tiz also has a good shot at breaking the Sox's single-season record of 50 HR (Foxx, 1938).

Beckett and Curt Schilling will stay on their regular schedule and pitch this weekend in Anaheim. Jon Lester will start the series on Friday, meaning that Kason Gabbard's spot will be skipped with the off-day Thursday.

Schilling is adamant -- he's retiring at the end of next season:
I won't revisit the decision. Ending it next year has nothing to do with baseball. It has nothing to do with on the field. It centers around my family, missing the stuff I'm missing. ... Throwing BP to my 11-year old son [Gehrig] is the highlight of my life now. He's so into baseball. We're having so much fun. I'm looking forward to being at home, being a dad.
It's hard not to be encouraged by all the positive news about David Wells (the team has been so impressed, they may not have him make a minor league rehab start). Yesterday, he threw a simulated game of five innings. But seeing video clips of him -- it looks like he's gained another 20 pounds. He's huge. That can't be good for his knee.

Keith Foulke threw two innings of a simulated game -- about 30 pitches -- and said he was satisfied with the quality of his pitches and their velocity. ... Peter Gammons was sent home from a rehab center yesterday.

Gordon Edes presents some career splits for Manny Ramirez:
Pre-ASG .314 .409 .598
Post-ASG .314 .411 .601
Home .313 .413 .608
Road .314 .407 .591
Throughout his years in Cleveland and Boston, he has been the very definition of consistent.

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