Jon Lester dealingIn a game that featured an almost brawl, the story of the night was Jon Lester. Lester was strong again as he went 7 shutout innings to help the Sox to a 4-0 win over the hapless Orioles. Tempers flared in the 4th inning when Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera threw behind Dustin Pedroia. Nothing really came of it other than a Cabrera ejection. Warnings were issued and I’m guessing you might see some retaliation later in the series from the pitcher from Texas.

The visiting nine from Boston got things going in the second inning. Kevin Youkilis worked a leadoff walk from the Orioles starter and he went to third on a J.D. Drew ground-rule double (yes he actually had a key hit). Jason Varitek brought in Crisp with a single making him 4 for 4 with 4 RBIs in his last 4 abs to this point. Coco Crisp brought in Drew with a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 Sox lead. Cabrera finished off the inning with strikeouts of Julio Lugo and Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Sox had a chance to bust things open a little bit as they had the bases loaded with two outs in the 3rd. Unfortunately, Varitek’s hot streak at the plate came to an end as he struck out on a questionable pitch.

Lester had a reasonably easy first three innings. He only allowed a single to Brian Roberts and a walk to Miguel Tejada in the 1st inning and infield single to Jay Payton in the 2nd. He got his first two strikeouts in the 3rd as he got Melvin Mora and Nick Markakis.

The idiot Daniel CabreraThere was just a wee bit of fireworks in the 4th inning. Coco tried to bunt his way on base but fouled it off. Cabrera gave him a bit of a stare down as to say why are you bunting. Coco ended up reaching on a single. Cabrera then got Lugo to ground out with Coco moving to second. Coco then went to third as Ellsbury grounded out as well. With Dustin Pedroia at the plate, Cabrera was called for a balk as Coco was dancing down the line. Cabrera’s next pitch went behind the back of Pedroia and then words were exchanged. The Red Sox started to emerge from their dugout and someone must have said something “nice” towards the direction of O’s catcher Ramon Hernandez. As the bullpens came into join the fun, Cabrera was yelling at someone to fight with. Cooler heads prevailed and Cabrera was ejected for his stupidity. My best guess would be that Josh Beckett was running his mouth like he did when Joba Chamberlain was ejected last week. Brian Burres came in and after he was ready got Pedroia to fly out for the final out of the inning with his team trailing 3-0.

The Orioles had their best and only chance to score in their half of the 4th inning. Tejada led off the inning with a single and went to second on a Kevin Millar walk. Aubrey Huff reached on a fielder’s choice with Millar retired at second. Lester then got Hernandez to line out to Lugo at short. Lester finished off the inning by getting Payton to ground into a fielder’s choice.

In the 7th, the Sox added an insurance run they wouldn’t need. Ellsbury led off with a single and then Pedroia flew out. With Big Papi at the plate, Ellsbury stole second base easily. Big Papi ended up working a walk. The Orioles went to the bullpen for Fernando Cabrera and he came in and got Mike Lowell to strikeout on some more questionable strike calls. Youk ended up bringing in Ellsbury on a single for a 4-0 Sox lead. Cabrera walked Drew to load up the bases for Varitek. The captain ended up striking out swinging on yet more bad strike calls. It looked like he swung because odds were that pitch would have been called a strike.

Lester was outstanding tonight. He had total command of all his pitches and gave the Red Sox what they needed, a well-pitched game. He has now not lost a game in his last 11 starts. Lester scattered 4 hits in 7 innings while walking 2 and striking out 4.

Javier Lopez and Manny Delcarmen came in and finished off the Orioles for yet another win over them. The Orioles have completely fallen down hill since Dave Trembley got the “interim” tag removed from his job title. It wouldn’t surprise me if he loses his job with the way the O’s played.

Daisuke Matsuzaka will take the ball tomorrow night and will be opposed by the other Jon Lester (Leicester). One thing to ponder is whether or not Dice-K will retaliate tomorrow night.

Notes and Musings:


Jim Palmer emailed Gordon Edes and told him that Clay Buchholz had better stuff last night in his 3 innings than in his no-hitter. Nick Cafardo also reported that Palmer was showing Curt Schilling a few things as well, including the release point on his curveball.

Kevin Youkilis broke the AL record of 177 consecutive errorless games at first base with his 178th last night. Steve Garvey holds the MLB record with 193. Youkilis also holds the season record with 123 straight games without an error at first.

Manny Ramirez was given permission to leave the team and take care of some personal affairs in Ft. Lauderdale. He will return to Boston on Sunday and resume baseball activities shortly after. As of today, Manny has missed 10 games.

Brandon Moss was working out with Terry Francona at first base before the game. I guess the Sox would like Moss to play first to increase his versatility or be a cheaper version of Eric Hinske. Moss will play first in the Dominican Winter League for Santiago.

After his successful bullpen outing yesterday, Eric Gagné will throw another one on Saturday.

Doug Mirabelli will be out indefinitely with a strain in his left hamstring. Terry Francona said he could catch in an emergency.

Tim Wakefield said his back wasn’t bothering him last night and that he just didn’t get comfortable on the mound.

Jon Lester is getting 6.3 runs per game of support in his starts this season for the Sox.

Daniel Cabrera is 1-8 against the Sox in his career.

Red Sox strength and conditioning coach David Page was in the bullpen wearing Mirabelli’s gear. It looked like he was getting ready to warmup Javier Lopez.

This was the Red Sox 13th shutout win of the season, the best in the American League.