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Everything is coming together, it seems, for the Red Sox. David Ortiz has won the DH job, and he's flourished. The bullpen's roles have solidified, and they've flourished. Johnny Damon's been dropped in the order, and he's played better with less pressure. Can the Jays take them down a notch with a big weekend?

It'll be tough, and trotting out John Wasdin in the very ballpark where he earned his infamous nickname seems almost gratuitous. Similarly, Pedro Martinez against Kelvim Escobar (we'll call this edition "Rested Kelvim") will obviously also be a tough matchup. But I do like Halladay and Lowe this evening, provided the hitting switch can be flipped back on.

Meanwhile, the Jays get to trot out their shiny new outfielder/DH this weekend. It'll be interesting to see Carlos Tosca's lineup construction over the weekend.

On to the Advance Scout!

* The Red Sox have hit back-to-back homers on seven occasions already this season ...
* Tigers' Rule V pickup Wilson Ledezma, plucked from Boston, shut out the heavy-hitting Red Sox on Sunday ...
* Since being removed from the rotation and put back in the bullpen -- a much-maligned move -- Byung-Hyun Kim has allowed only one run: an unearned run at Yankee Stadium ... That's over a span of eight appearances, which include five saves in five chances ... He's being used as a conventional closer -- is Bill James' dream dead? ... We'll see what happens if the Jays stage a rally in the seventh or eighth innings this weekend ... As a reliever, BK has allowed six hits in 9 1/3 innings, with two walks and twelve strikeouts ... Kim talked Grady Little out of intentionally walking Carlos Delgado on Wednesday with a runner on second and one out in a one-run game ... Kim: "It was a situation where you probably needed to walk him, but as a closer I wanted to face him" ... Kim got the K ... Doug Mirabelli on Kim: "He's so confident he almost has an arrogance, and that's what you want on the mound" ...
* Meanwhile, believe it or not, Mike Timlin has seven shutout appearances in his last eight, with one walk and eight strikeouts ...
* And Chad Fox hasn't allowed a run since coming off the DL ... "We've all settled down to our roles and everybody is pitching lights-out," said Fox after the Jays series ... John Burkett on the emergence of the 'pen: "Everything is in place now" ... The bullpen went on a fourteen-inning shutout run that included the Jays series ...
* But Alan Embree gagged up a lead (and Pedro victory) on Saturday ... "[Pedro is] 6-2, but he could easily be 12-2," admitted Embree ...The Red Sox beat the Tigers anyway, in 11 innings ... Embree characterized the year-long criticism of the Boston relief staff as "tough but just" ... Todd Jones saved the bullpen from completely throwing the game away by pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the 10th ... After a leadoff triple, the Sox walked the next two intentionally (BP recently recommended that you walk one under those circumstances). Jones struck out the next three ... Jones: "I'm a former closer, so I've been in tough situations" ...
* Manny Ramirez has hit in 12 of his last 13 ... Although his power numbers still aren't as gaudy as they were from 1999-2002, most hitters will take 319/413/571 ... Interestingly, his counting stats should be comparable or even better this year -- but that's due to health, not slugging percentage ... Ramirez nursed a sore hamstring on Sunday and through the All-Star break ... But Manny came under conspiracy-theorist fire from the Boston Globe when he begged out of Sunday's game, citing a family emergency involving his mother ... Some speculated in print that it was to get a "head start on his All-Star break," after a "fuzzy" grandmother-related excuse in skipping out for the break early in 2001 ... But those close to the Ramirez family said that Manny's mother did indeed faint from heat exhaustion ... She's OK now ...
* Tonight's opponent, Derek Lowe, got tagged for 11 Blue Jay hits last Wednesday, raising his opposition batting average to .284 ... That number is virtually identical to 2001 (.283), but obviously a far cry from last year's stellar season (.211) ... He also needs just six more walks to equal his total from the entire 2002 season (48) ...
* As Johnny Damon trade rumours have heated up, so has he ... He's 8 for his last 16 with three steals in his last four starts ...
* All-Star Jason Varitek has also gone 8 for his last 16 ... He won the "32nd Man" internet vote ...
* Friday's opponent, Tim Wakefield, has put together three consecutive nice starts ... The Jays didn't walk once against the knuckleballer last week ... He lost a pitcher's duel to Ledezma on Sunday, but took his lack of run support in stride: "It was just one of those days where we didn't score any runs, but that's OK. I know we're going to score plenty later" ...
* Trot Nixon keeps chugging along at 315/404/553 ...
* Is Ramiro Mendoza a fluke? ... Saturday's opponent has made two straight solid starts against the Yankees and Jays after being horrid all season in relief ... Despite his recent starting success, the Red Sox continue to actively search for starters so they can return Mendoza to the setup role at which he's flopped ...
* The Sox are interested in Sidney Ponson, but the buzz is he's headed to the National League ... Baltimore would want Trot Nixon for Ponson, which would enable the O's to dump Tony Batista and move Melvin Mora to third ... But the Sox aren't interested in that deal ... The Sox would, however, move Nixon for Odalis Perez -- but the Dodgers balked at that price ... The Boston Globe reported that J.P. will not move Cory Lidle to Boston -- on principle ... The Red Sox have recently been rebuffed when asking for Brian Lawrence, Mike Maroth and Chris Reitsma ... In an even more racy rumour, Boston reportedly discussed offering Freddy Sanchez and Kevin Youkilis to Texas, should they be able to pry Jeff Weaver away for Juan Gonzalez and others ... But the Yankees would surely prohibit any Weaver suitor from flipping him to Boston ... Jeff Suppan is a more likely candidate for a trade to Fenway ...
* For additional bullpen help, Steve Kline's name has been mentioned ...
* No-maah finally snapped out of his July funk with a three-hit afternoon on Sunday ...
* Johnny Damon missed Thursday and Friday's games with a bruised left hip, but returned Saturday ... He homered and later drove in the winning run on Saturday in the 11th ...
* Pedro goes Sunday. His line from the last three starts: 21 IP, 15 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 26 K ... Like a big-league Jamie Vermilyea! ... He retired 15 consecutive Tigers during one stretch last Saturday ... Martinez had a Manny-like controversy over the weekend, when he flew out to the Dominican Republic to start his break after Saturday's game, instead of remaining with the team on Sunday ... For his part, John Henry didn't mind: "Any time we can get them an extra offday that does not adversely affect the team's chances to win, well, we absolutely have to do that. I applaud Grady for being sensitive to that" ...
* Gabe Kapler is 0 for his last 10 after starting his Boston career like gangbusters ...
* Freddy Sanchez has been not-quite-ready-for-prime-time at 235/235/294 ...
* Damian Jackson, spelling Todd Walker at second on Sunday, made a spectacular diving stop of a hard-hit ball on Sunday ... Although he's mostly been used as a backup in centre, he insists that he's capable of playing second ... Grady Little: "He's been telling me ever since spring training it's his best position, and the few times he's had the chance to play second base he's proven himself right" ...
* Casey Fossum, rehabbing from left shoulder inflammation, and Jeremy "Ooh, Look At My Walks And Power" Giambi, rehabbing from left shoulder bursitis, are both expected back shortly ... The Red Sox are no doubt eager to get his delightful 173/331/355 line, his doltish baserunning and his bungling fielding back into the lineup ...

Probable Batting Orders

*Note: No lefthanders are expected to start for the Jays this series.

vs. RH

9 Nixon
4 Walker
6 Garciaparra
DH/7 Ramirez
3/DH Ortiz
7/3 Millar
5 Mueller
8 Damon
2 Varitek

Pitching Probables

Thursday: RH Lowe vs. Halladay
Friday: RH Wakefield vs. Wasdin
Saturday: RH Mendoza vs. Lidle
Sunday: RH Martinez vs. Escobar

Bullpen Usage

Long: Shiell R
Short: Fox R, Lyon R, Jones R
Setup: Timlin R, Embree L
Closer: Kim R
Advance Scout: Red Sox, July 17-20 | 11 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Pfizer - Thursday, July 17 2003 @ 03:46 PM EDT (#97247) #
I have to say, I've only been coming to this site for a couple of monthes now, but I love the advance scout. Sometimes, it's the highlight of my day and I don't know why I didn't mention it earlier. So thanks guys, your site is a vital part of my killing-time-at-work day!
_Pfizer - Thursday, July 17 2003 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#97248) #
Oh, and for all the hassle the Boston relievers has gotten, I'd trade Toronto's entire bullpen for Boston's. Even sans BK.
_Jurgen - Thursday, July 17 2003 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#97249) #
And thank you, Pfizer, for all those antidepressants that keep me even keeled. Yea Kielty!
Coach - Thursday, July 17 2003 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#97250) #
It'll be interesting to see Carlos Tosca's lineup construction over the weekend.

More interesting when Phelps is activated. For now, until they meet a lefty, Cat's the obvious DH with Kielty in LF. Remember, the Jays were 16-6 with Reed Johnson leading off when Stewart was out. To me, the main question is whether to bat the switch-hitting, lefty-mashing new guy sixth or seventh.

Given the pitching matchups, the opener is the only game of the series the Jays can reasonably be expected to win. I would have matched Wasdin against Pedro as a sacrificial lamb, and tried to get Escobar into an easier spot.
_Shrike - Thursday, July 17 2003 @ 05:37 PM EDT (#97251) #
Isn't Lidle going to match up with Mendoza in the third game of the series?

If he's regained some of his lost confidence, there's no reason not to favour the Jays in that contest. Besides, it's the second half. Lidle is bound to give his Cy Young impersonation for the second straight year, right? ;)
Gitz - Thursday, July 17 2003 @ 06:02 PM EDT (#97252) #
I do not understand why the Sox are so keen to trade Trot Nixon. He's the superior all-around player to Jeremy Giambi, and while Giambi's hitting can't get any worse (can it?), he makes Shannon Stewart look like Bonds at his prime in left field. Granted, Nixon has some trade value, but what's the point? The guy plays hard, he'll take a walk, he's got a good arm, etc. I could be wrong, but don't you kind of need having players like that around? Chemistry, at best, is a nebulous item, but if I was in the BoSox clubhouse and suddenly I turned around to see that Nixon had been dealt, to be replaced by that blow-hard Little G., I'd be ticked.
_Lurch - Thursday, July 17 2003 @ 08:03 PM EDT (#97253) #
I want to know how Johnny Damon has kept his decline from the mass media. Does he have Jeter's PR guy or what?
Coach - Thursday, July 17 2003 @ 09:21 PM EDT (#97254) #
I would have matched Wasdin against Pedro as a sacrificial lamb, and tried to get Escobar into an easier spot.

Another wish granted; must be careful not to abuse this power. The radio crew says Escobar starts tomorrow and Wasdin will be thrown into Pedro's den.

The Advance Scout wasn't the only one to get the rotation "wrong", as ESPN had Lidle pitching Friday and Saturday. There wasn't much information available.

Shrike, based solely on the last couple of starts by both pitchers, Mendoza should be favoured to beat Lidle. I wouldn't make that trade, mind you; Cory's just in a funk. Maybe he will cement his "second half" reputation, and Saturday would be a good time to begin.
Mike D - Thursday, July 17 2003 @ 09:52 PM EDT (#97255) #
Man...One of these days I'm going to get either the lineup or the pitching matchups right on the Advance Scout.
robertdudek - Thursday, July 17 2003 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#97256) #
Seeing as Escobar is the #2 starter right now, it's not surprising that he would pitch on Friday on normal rest.
_Donkit R.K. - Friday, July 18 2003 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#97257) #
It'd be the third straight year, Shrike. I had him on my fantasy teams last year based on the second half of 2001 (and, of course, dropped him before '02's second half).
Advance Scout: Red Sox, July 17-20 | 11 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.