|BOSTON ( LESTER )|
BALTIMORE ( TILLMAN )
|915||BOSTON||-115||Ov 8.5,-110||-115||Ov 8.5,+100|
|916||BALTIMORE||+105||Un 8.5,-110||+105||Un 8.5,-120|
|3/31/2014||LESTER(L)||@ BALTIMORE||TILLMAN(R)|| |
|4/2/2014||LACKEY(R)||@ BALTIMORE||JIMENEZ(R)|| |
|4/3/2014||DOUBRONT(L)||@ BALTIMORE||CHEN(L)|| |
|4/7/2014|| ||TEXAS|| || |
|4/4/2014||GONZALEZ(R)||@ DETROIT||PORCELLO(R)|| |
|4/5/2014||TILLMAN(R)||@ DETROIT||SMYLY(L)|| |
|4/6/2014||NORRIS(R)||@ DETROIT||VERLANDER(R)|| |
|4/7/2014|| ||@ NY YANKEES|| || |
|BOSTON: BOSTON (AP) - Last season was one to remember for fans of the Red Sox - and one to forget for the players.|
Soon after Boston's third World Series championship in 10 years, that bearded bunch decided to put it behind them and focus on what they must do to keep winning.
''It was a dream come true last year,'' pitcher Jake Peavy said. ''It's a new year. I think that's been a slogan of ours on the text messages that we've been exchanging with the guys, `Hey turn the page, it's a new year, it's 2014.' We haven't done anything and, obviously, some teams in our division got awfully better.''
The Red Sox won't be sneaking up on them, not after rebounding from a 69-93, last-place finish in the AL East to a 97-65 record, a 28-win improvement.
''You've got the bull's-eye on your back,'' second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. ''You want to get everybody's best, so I think it's going to be a fun challenge for everybody.''
John Farrell's disciplined, businesslike approach worked in his first year as Boston's manager. That, and the influx of players to improve the toxic clubhouse chemistry, made the one season under the animated Bobby Valentine seem like a distant memory.
Those players, including Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino, return. The Red Sox lost center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to the New York Yankees then signed Grady Sizemore as a possible replacement. Sizemore missed the last two seasons with knee and back injuries that required surgery but has had a healthy, productive spring training.
''In this group, no one's going to let anybody sit back and relax,'' Pedroia said. ''We're always going to push each other and make sure that we're respecting the game and playing the game the right way. If we do that, we should be all right.''
|BALTIMORE: BALTIMORE (AP) - The transformation of the Baltimore Orioles clubhouse under manager Buck Showalter is complete.|
No longer do the Orioles hope to win. They expect it.
When Showalter took over in July 2010, he inherited a team with the worst record in the majors. Having gone without a winning season since 1997, Baltimore could only hope Showalter's knack for orchestrating quick turnarounds would take hold in a town that had switched its allegiance from baseball to football.
By 2012, the Orioles were back. Baltimore won 93 games, beat Texas in the wild-card matchup and took the New York Yankees to the limit before falling in the AL division series.
After missing the postseason last year, the Orioles are poised for a return. They maintained the nucleus of a team that went 85-77 and was in contention to the final week, then added right-handed starter Ubaldo Jimenez and slugger Nelson Cruz to an already potent lineup that led the majors in home runs in 2013.
''When you have talent, you have confidence,'' right fielder Nick Markakis said. ''Put them together and good things usually happen. We've got that right now. We know we have a good team and we're going to roll with it.''
Although Jimenez and Cruz didn't come aboard until after the start of spring training, Showalter never wavered in his belief that the Orioles would challenge the defending champion Boston Red Sox and retooled Yankees in the AL East.
''I felt that way whether or not we added Nelson and Jimenez,'' he said. ''That's a poor reflection on me and my staff if we thought we needed more to win.''
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER AL PREVIEW (BOSTON-BALTIMORE) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
*Red Sox-Orioles Preview* =========================
By DAVID GINSBURG AP Sports Writer
Boston (0-0) at Baltimore (0-0), 3:05 p.m. EDT
BALTIMORE (AP) - The Boston Red Sox won't have the luxury of easing into a new season as defending World Series champions.
Boston will be tested right off the bat Monday, opening on the road against the improved Baltimore Orioles and Chris Tillman (16-7, 3.71 ERA). At 11-8, the Orioles were the only team in the AL East with a winning record against the Red Sox (97-65) last season, and Baltimore expects to be even better in 2014.
"This is always a challenge to come into Baltimore, or playing them in Fenway," Red Sox manager John Farrell said Sunday. "This is a very good team. We've had a chance to see their regular lineup in spring training, and it's deep and powerful. Just another example of how difficult this division can be. This will be a good test for us right out of the gate."
It's also a barometer of sorts for the Orioles (85-77), who missed the postseason in 2013. A sellout crowd will fill Camden Yards to see how Baltimore stacks up against the defending champs.
"We wouldn't have it any other way," center fielder Adam Jones said.
Baltimore recently added pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who will start Wednesday night, and slugger Nelson Cruz joins a lineup that led the majors in home runs last season.
"One through nine, obviously very powerful. A lot like the rest of the East," said Boston left-hander Jon Lester (15-8, 3.75), who will make his fourth consecutive opening day start. "One of the biggest things with this club is you try to keep them in the ballpark as best you can. That's where they do a lot of their damage."
A year ago, Lester got the win as the Red Sox thumped the New York Yankees 8-2 in the season opener. It was an uplifting start for a team coming off a last-place finish, and now Lester hopes to provide a similar boost for a squad opening defense of its title.
"It's like we talked about last year during the playoffs - you want to set the tone for the rest of the guys," said Lester, who is 15-3 lifetime against Baltimore. "You don't want to be that weak link in the chain. You want to go out there and get these guys off on the right foot."
Since beating St. Louis in the World Series, the Red Sox lost center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and shortstop Stephen Drew in free agency. It's also quite possible that right fielder Shane Victorino will miss the opener with a strained right hamstring. Victorino returned to Boston on Sunday for an MRI and will undergo an exam Monday morning before the team decides whether to put him on the disabled list to start the season.
Center fielder Grady Sizemore and catcher A.J. Pierzynski will make their debuts with the Red Sox, further proof that this season is not to be confused with 2013.
"We recognize fully that last year is behind us, and everyone is looking forward to (Monday) and beyond," Farrell said. "Shane's situation is going to be one of the challenges thrown our way. We don't know what's going to come up against us. As long as we remain resilient and face those challenges as we did a year ago - as a team - I feel like we'll be in a very good place as we go through this journey in 2014."
The Orioles might have to play Monday without leadoff hitter Nick Markakis, who has been bothered by a sore neck.
"I've got two lineups - one with him in it, one without him in it," manager Buck Showalter said.
Showalter scoffed at the notion that the Orioles could make a statement by beating the reigning champs. And since Baltimore usually sells out the opener and regularly draws huge crowds against Boston, he wondered why someone scheduled the Red Sox to launch the season.
"Statements are made at the end of 162 games," Showalter said. "And no, I don't know why we're wasting a good gate on opening day."
|Last Updated: 9/22/2014 9:20:50 PM EST|