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Category Archives: Jon Lester

Sox Hit Four Homers Off Blanton; Snap Phils Win Streak

Boston 1B David Ortiz celebrates after hitting a two-run home run in the 5th inning of Joe Blanton, proving to be the winning runs in the Red Sox 7-5 win over Philadelphia. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Red Sox 7, Phillies 5
WP – Jon Lester (3-3, 3.95)
LP – Joe Blanton (4-4, 3.74)
SV – Alfredo Aceves (9)

PHILADLELPHIA — All winning streaks must come to an end.

The Red Sox got to Joe Blanton early and often, beating the Phillies 7-5 in Philadelphia Saturday night. The loss snapped the Phils six-game winning streak.

It was not Blanton’s day as a pitcher, and even as a fielder. Blanton gave up four homers in five innings, as well as make two errors in the field that extended innings he got shelled in.

It was Blanton’s worst outing of the season, ending a streak of quality starts that has made Blanton a hot topic in this young season.

Boston jumped all over him in the very first at-bat. Mike Aviles led off the game with a solo homer to left field, giving the Sox an early 1-0 lead in the 1st inning.

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Game 41: Chooch está en fuego!

Phillies C Carlos Ruiz. (Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA — There isn’t a single catcher in Major League Baseball hotter than the one they call “Chooch.”

Carlos Ruiz is on a hitting tear that hasn’t been done in almost 20 years. Chooch’s .363 average through the first 39 games is the highest by a Phillie at this point in the season since Jim Eisenreich was at .368 in the first 39 games in 1995.

Ruiz is now hitting .371 after his 2-for-3 game last night, the third highest total in the entire league. His 1.036 OPS his sixth highest in baseball while both numbers are by far the highest among all backstops.

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Bull pen falls apart after Hamels’ early exit

Cole Hamels and Jon Lester were cruising through what appeared to be a pitchers duel.

Cole Hamels left the game after the 4th with a right hand contusion. (Matt Slocum/AP Photo)

But a line drive off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez changed the pace of the game, ending Hamels’ day. The rest was history as Boston won, 5-2, and prevented the sweep in Philadelphia.

Gonzalez’s liner rocketed off Hamels’ glove hand. The left-hander had the presence to finish the play and the inning but was immediately yanked after four innings. He had x-rays during the game which were negative and Hamels was diagnosed with a right-hand contusion. He will make his next start.

David Herndon replaced Hamels and allowed three runs in the next two innings and Boston was able to get themselves out of a pitcher’s duel and get Lester his 10th win of the season.

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Halladay pitched into 8th in win

Starter Roy Halladay warms up before he makes easy work of the Red Sox on Monday. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Roy Halladay went deep into his start today, pitching 7 2/3 in the Phillies 4-1 win over the Red Sox.

Halladay struck out six and allowed a run on five hits and three walks in the win. He will have one more start before Opening Day on Saturday.

Ryan Madson allowed one hit in the remaining four outs.

The Phillies only managed six hits. Josh Barfield hit a two-run single in the sixth inning to give the Phils a 4-1 lead. Raul Ibanez broke the 1-1 tie earlier in the inning.

Jon Lester had a no-hitter going until Halladay broke it up with two outs in the fifth. Lester’s strong start vanished after that as he pitched only 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs, three earned on five hits and four walks while sitting down six.

The Phils had a scary play in the fifth. Shane Victorino crashed into the side of Ibanez on a shallow fly ball after no one called for it. Victorino, after being down for a few moments, laughed off the bloody nose and cut above his left eye and jogged off the field.

WP: Halladay. LP: Lester.

Boxscore.

5 Teams to Watch in the AL

Yankees – They’re the 2009 World Series champions and still kept intact the solid nucleus that got them there. They traded top prospects to land centerfielder Curtis Granderson, a much better defensive asset than Johnny Damon. They also traded Melky Cabrera to the Braves for Javier Vazquez to bolster the starting rotation. With guys like C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Brunett, and Andy Pettitte, the Yankees boast a very good pitching unit. Mariano Rivera is still the best closer in the game and the aging offense led by Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira can still put a ton of runs up on the score board. If things go right, they could have another parade down Broadway.

Red Sox – The pitching is truly phenomenal. Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Daisuke Matsuzaka form the best top-four in baseball. The offense is led by top young stars Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. Marco Scutaro is hoping to end the revolving door at the short stop position and Adrian Beltre is an offensive upgrade at third. Offensive depth is the only thing that should concern the Sox but they have the pitching to get the job done. David Ortiz is a shell of his old self but it still the DH.

Twins – It’s safe to say that Joe Mauer is the scariest hitter in the AL. The reigning MVP is one of the reasons Minnesota is buzzing prior to the 2010 season. Along with a new outdoor park and a very dangerous lineup featuring Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, and Michael Cuddyer, the fans and Twins have high expectations for this year. The only problem with them this year though is pitching. If their starters can have decent years, they could beat out Detroit for the division.

Mariners – Seattle is truly going to be a serious contender in the AL. The addition of Cliff Lee, Chone Figgins, and Milton Bradley will revamp a pitching staff and offense in need of fire power. Lee became a hot pitcher again after his last season transformation with the Phillies and will look to create a formidable 1-2 punch with Felix Hernandez. Figgins will add speed and Bradley will look to add power to a Mariners lineup that hit 160 homer (12th in the AL) last season.

Angels – Surely they make their case for a serious playoff contender every year but there has to be a breaking point. They improved an already solid lineup with Hideki Matsui and bolstered their bull pen with Fernando Rodney but the team still doesn’t jump out at anyone. The core of the offense is aging in Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, and Matsui and they lost Figgins to the division rival Mariners. Jared Weaver, Joe Saunders, and newly acquired Joel Pineiro will need to have season like 2009 to give the Mariners a fighting chance in an AL crowded with contenders.

East: Yankees
Central: Twins
West: Mariners
Wild Card: Red Sox

Pennant: Yankees over Mariners

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