JULY 12th BUFFALO (46-45) at PAWTUCKET (51-41) 7:05 pm
Buffalo Bisons RHP Jeremy Hefner (4-2, 2.50) vs. Pawtucket Red Sox RHP Doug Mathis (6-6, 4.05)
Welcome Back – The Pawtucket Red Sox return to action following the three-day All-Star break as they begin an 8-game home stand tonight with the opener of a 4-game series against the Buffalo Bisons at 7:05 pm at McCoy Stadium (live on NESN). Starting tonight the PawSox will play their final 52 games of the regular-season in 54 days through Labor Day September 3. They begin this busy stretch with a 4-game series against Buffalo with games tonight & tomorrow at 7:05 pm, Saturday at 6:05 pm and Sunday at 1:05 pm. This 8-game home stand will continue next Monday with a 4-game series against the Syracuse Chiefs (the first three games at 7:05 pm with the series and home stand finale one week from today – Thursday, July 19 at 12:05 pm).
Well Positioned for Another Run – The PawSox resume play tonight with a 51-41 record and in 2nd-place in the IL North (-1½ GB of 1st-place Lehigh Valley). Last year at the All-Star break the PawSox were 50-41 and in 2nd-place, – 3½ GB of 1st-place Leigh Valley. The PawSox presently own the IL wild car by 2½-games over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 4-games over Norfolk, and 4½-games over these Buffalo Bisons (winners of 4 in a row – the longest current winning streak in the IL. Last year at the All-Star break the Sox were tied for the wild card (with Gwinnett) before eventually taking over 1st-place on August 11 – remaining in 1st-place for the rest of the season with the exception of one day in 2nd-place (August 24). Pawtucket went 31-20 the rest of the way after the break last year en route to winning the IL North by 2-games over the IronPigs.
Familiar Foes –Pawtucket is playing exclusively against their IL North rivals for the remainder of their home schedule (since the start of July actually). Their 27-17 record within the IL North is the best any team in the league has inside their own division. The Sox do have road trips outside the division as they go to Louisville and Indianapolis of the IL West from July 20-27 and to Charlotte and Gwinnett of the IL South from August 23-30.
Carl Crawford to Rehab With PawSox – The Boston Red Sox will send OF Carl Crawford to Pawtucket for an injury rehab assignment beginning tonight when the PawSox host the Buffalo Bisons at 7:05 pm at McCoy Stadium. This will be a new 20-day rehab assignment as Crawford originally started a rehab from June 23-30 with the Gulf Coast Red Sox and continued from July 3-5 with the Portland Sea Dogs before suffering a left groin strain while running out a triple on July 5 inPortland’s game that night in New Hampshire. He has not played for the past six days and thus is eligible to begin a new rehab assignment with the PawSox on Thursday. He was 3-for-14 with 5 BB in 5 games for the Gulf Coast and 4-for-10 with a 3B, RBI, 2 BB in 3 games for Portland.
Carl has not played for Boston this season initially because of off-season surgery on his left wrist but more recently due to a sprained ligament in his left elbow. His rehab stint with Pawtucket starting Thursday comes almost exactly a year to the date he made a 2-game rehab appearance with the PawSox at McCoy last July 15 & 16 while recovering from a left hamstring strain. He went 1-for-5 with a BB, RBI, run in two games vs.Durhamlast July 15 & 16.
Crawford hit .255 in 130 games for the Red Sox last season with 29 2B, 7 3B, 11 HR, 56 RBI and 18 SB. Signed by the Red Sox as a free agent in December of 2010, he has a .293 career average with 244 doubles, 112 triples (most of any active Major League player) 115 home runs, 648 RBI, 830 runs in 1,365 games over parts of 10 Major League seasons with Tampa Bay(2002-10) and Boston(2011).
Crawford, who turns 31 on August 5, was originally chosen by Tampa Bay in the 2nd round (#52 overall) of the 1999 draft. He was promoted to Tampa Bay almost ten years ago – on July 20, 2002 – and had been with the Rays ever since until signing with Boston after the 2010 season. Carl was a four-time All-Star with Tampa Bay in 2004, 2007, 2009, and 2010. He is just the 8th player since 1900 to reach 100 HR, 100 triples, and 400 stolen bases joining the likes of Cobb, Speaker, Brock, and Molitor among three others.
A Hall of Fame List of Rehabbers – Crawford is part of an illustrious group of Major League stars who have spent time with the PawSox on an injury rehab assignment over the years. The list includes (in part): Rocco Baldelli (2009), Marty Barrett (1989), Josh Beckett (2010), Clay Buchholz (2010 & 2012), Ellis Burks (1989), Mike Cameron (2010), Jose Canseco (1995 & ’96), Sean Casey (2008), Roger Clemens (1993 & ’95), J.D. Drew (2010), Dennis Eckersley (1998), Jacoby Ellsbury (2010 & 2012), Nomar Garciaparra (2001), Mike Greenwell (1995 & ’96), Bobby Jenks (2011), Mark Kotsay (2009), John Lackey (2011), Mike Lowell (2008 & 2010), Ramon Martinez (1999), Daisuke Matsuzaka (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012), Darnell McDonald (2011 & 2012), Willie McGee (1995), Kevin Mitchell (1996), Trot Nixon (2004), David Ortiz (2008), Dustin Pedroia (2010), Manny Ramirez (2002), Cody Ross (2012), Bret Saberhagen (1997 & 2000), Curt Schilling (2005 & ‘07), Marco Scutaro (2011), John Smoltz (2009), Bob Stanley (1988), Mike Timlin (2007 & ’08), John Valentin (2001), Jason Varitek (2006 & 2010), Tim Wakefield (2009), and Kevin Youkilis (2009, 2011 & 2012).
Back-to-Back on Track –Pawtucket has won two in a row (last Saturday and Sunday vs.Syracuse before the break) for the first time in exactly three weeks (since a 5-game winning streak from June 12-17). The PawSox sweep of their most recent series (2-games vs.Syracuse) was the first time they have won a series since a 4-game sweep in Buffalo from June 14-17. Immediately after that sweep in Buffalo nearly four weeks ago, the Sox lost four consecutive series, split a 2-game set, and then lost 2 of 3 before the sweep of Syracuse.