Weiland helps fill a twinbill
It took a few days to figure it out, but the Red Sox have rounded up enough starters to pitch four games against the Orioles this week.
Rookie Kyle Weiland and John Lackey will start today’s day/night doubleheader. Erik Bedard is scheduled to make his return to the rotation tomorrow and Josh Beckett is set for Wednesday.
With the Sox clinging to a two-game lead in the wild-card race after yesterday’s 8-5 loss against the Rays, the series will be crucial. The Orioles have won seven of their last 11 games, handing losses to several contenders including the Yankees, Rays, and Angels.
Weiland has a 7.58 earned run average in five career appearances. He faced the Orioles twice in July, allowing nine earned runs over 10 innings.
Weiland started Thursday and will be working on three days’ rest. But because he threw only 61 pitches over three innings, the Sox aren’t concerned.
Lackey is 0-3 with a 7.52 ERA in his last four starts.
Bedard has not pitched since Sept. 3 because of a strained left knee that led to a strained left lat behind his shoulder. He has a 3.66 ERA in six starts since being obtained from the Mariners July 31.
Bedard threw in the bullpen on Saturday and declared himself ready to return. Manager Terry Francona isn’t sure what to expect.
“There was some thought to pitching Bedard in the first game [today], but we really wanted to talk to him a little bit more and see if another day after throwing that side would be in his benefit, which he thought it was.’’
The belief is that Bedard can be effective. The question is how long he can go.
“I don’t know about staying out there for 100 pitches. I really don’t know,’’ Francona said.
Gonzalez struggling Francona was asked about the Fox Sports report on Saturday that Adrian Gonzalez is playing with a weak right shoulder, an aftereffect of his surgery 11 months ago.
“You know what? Maybe. I don’t know,’’ Francona said. “I don’t feel the need to announce every single bump, bruise, or inadequacy that we have. That’s not going to help us win at all.’’
But clearly something is going on with Gonzalez. He was 0 for 12 in the series against the Rays with six strikeouts and is 4 for 28 in the last nine games. Gonzalez is hitting .250 in September with eight RBIs in 16 games.
Plan for Buchholz Clay Buchholz is scheduled to throw a simulated game tomorrow, the Sox having decided there would be no opportunity to do it today because of the doubleheader. If that goes well, he would throw again on Thursday.
In theory, Buchholz might be able to pitch in the series in Baltimore that starts next Monday.
Reeling vs. Rays The Sox were 6-12 against the Rays this season, their most losses against Tampa Bay in history. Tampa Bay was 7-2 at Fenway Park and won eight of the last nine games between the teams overall . . . Johnny Damon has played in 140 games for 16 straight seasons, joining Hank Aaron, Brooks Robinson, and Pete Rose as the only players to accomplish that feat. Damon recently joined Paul Molitor as the only players in history with at least 200 homers, 400 stolen bases, and 100 triples. He is one of nine players with at least 200 homers and 400 steals. Despite being booed by the crowds at Fenway, Damon was 4 for 13 in the series.
No walk in park The Sox have lost 11 of their last 17 games at Fenway Park and are 44-33 at home with four games left. The Sox have won at least 46 games at home for eight years in a row . . . Tampa Bay stole 26 bases in 31 tries against the Sox this season. The Rays were 4 for 5 yesterday . . . Sox pitchers have hit 86 batters this season, seven off the team record . . . Tim Wakefield pitched his 3,000th inning with the Sox. He is the first pitcher in franchise history to do that . . . The four passed balls by Jarrod Saltalamacchia were a career high and the most for the Sox since Josh Bard had four (also catching Wakefield) April 26, 2004. “I did the best I could with it,’’ Saltalamacchia said . . . The Rays arrived at the ballpark yesterday wearing letterman sweaters designed by manager Joe Maddon. The sweaters featured the team logo and the players’ initials. The Rays have fun on road trips, often wearing unusual outfits. Maddon also has promised to wear his hair in a ponytail if his team makes the playoffs.