Red Sox, Rangers experience bizarre night at Fenway

Updated: August 12, 2008

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Kevin Youkilis, left, hit two home runs in Tuesday's 19-17 win against the Rangers at Fenway Park.

ONE STRANGE NIGHT

WEDNESDAY NIGHT BASEBALL

Rangers at Red Sox, 7:05 p.m. ET, ESPN

Around this time last season the Rangers came out on the right side of a history-making game with the Orioles when they won 30-3 on Aug. 22. On Tuesday, Texas was the losing team in what was perhaps the strangest game of the 2008 season.

That's saying something, considering this season has already had an 18-17 game and a 22-inning game. (Oddly enough, the Rockies won both those contests.) Still, this Red Sox-Rangers game had all sorts of bizarre twists.

Look at everything that happened. The Red Sox scored 10 runs in the first inning. David Ortiz hit two home runs … in the first inning. Kevin Youkilis struck out twice … in the first inning, but later hit two homers, including the decisive three-run shot in the eighth. And Hideki Okajima, who has struggled this season, picked up the win, which was fitting because he was the only Red Sox pitcher who didn't allow a run on this wild night.

A few highlights

• The game tied the AL record for combined runs (36, 1950).

• Ortiz became the fifth player in baseball history to hit two or more home runs in the first inning. He also tied the AL record of six RBIs in the first inning.

• Youkilis became the first player to strike out twice in a 10-run inning since Scott Rolen in 2002.

Kevin Cash (0-for-3) was the only starter who didn't record a hit. Hideki Okajima (1 2/3 IP) and Warner Madrigal (1 IP) were the only pitchers who didn't give up a run.

Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: Aug. 11 | Aug. 10 | Aug. 7 | Aug. 6 | Aug. 5 | Aug. 4

SIT BACK AND ENJOY

Tuesday was one great night to be involved with "Baseball Tonight." The Red Sox jumped out to a 10-0 lead, and right away Buck Showalter said, "Hold on to your horses boys, this one's not over." What was he talking about? Well, lo and behold, the combination of the best offense in baseball (the Rangers) facing a Triple-A knuckleballer (Boston's Charlie Zink) made for a wild night in Boston.

Here in Bristol, Conn., it's the beauty and the curse of parity. You have to try to keep your eyes on six different games, all of which impact pennant races, while a producer is telling you something in your ear, John Kruk is talking about the time his Phillies rallied from a 10-run deficit against the Pirates and Showalter is saying, "It's a good thing John didn't play for the Beaneaters." In 1895, the starting pitcher for the Boston Beaneaters, Bill Banks, got 12 runs of support in the first inning of his debut, and won that game, but never another one after that.

As many of you shut down for the night, we geared up for the midnight ET show, and Mariano Rivera just gave up a three-run, game-tying shot to Delmon Young. The beauty and curse of parity are what make "Baseball Tonight" so fascinating.

FORWARD THINKING: WEDNESDAY

Darell Rasner Yankees at Twins, 1:10 p.m. ET: Darrell Rasner was recalled from the minors to take the place of Ian Kennedy, who was shipped to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. In his past four starts, Kevin Slowey (8-8, 4.07 ERA) has followed one good start with a bad one and has gone 2-2.

Jon Lester Rangers at Red Sox, 7:05 p.m. ET: Jon Lester (10-4, 3.23 ERA) is 7-1 in his past 12 starts. He has permitted three or fewer runs in nine of those outings. Luis Mendoza (3-5, 7.50 ERA) hopes to fare better than Scott Feldman, who gave up 10 runs in the first inning Tuesday. Don't count on it -- Mendoza gave up seven runs in three innings when he faced the Red Sox on April 18.

Andy Sonnanstine Rays at A's, 10:05 p.m. ET: Andy Sonnanstine (11-6, 4.40 ERA) is 1-3 in his past five starts. But his ERA has dropped 18 points from 4.58 during that stretch. Justin Duchscherer (10-7, 2.51 ERA), meanwhile, is 0-2 in his past five starts, and his ERA has climbed from 1.78.

Complete list of pitching probables for Wednesday's games

TOUCH 'EM ALL

Touch 'Em AllWho went deep? Keep track of all the home runs hit each day on "Baseball Tonight" and on the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page.

Click here to find out who hit the longest home run. For more, check out the Home Run Tracker page.

NAME HR OPPPITCHER SITUATION
B. Phillips, Cin18PitKarstensTop 1: 1-1, 2 Outs. 1 on.
D. Ortiz, Bos15TexFeldmanBot 1: 0-1, 0 Outs. 2 on.
A. Lind, Tor6DetMinerTop 2: 0-1, 2 Outs. None on.
D. Ortiz, Bos16TexFeldmanBot 1: 0-0, 2 Outs. 2 on.
G. Sheffield, Det11TorBurnettBot 2: 3-2, 2 Outs. None on.
H. Ramirez, Fla26StLLohseBot 2: 2-0, 2 Outs. 2 on.
J. Valentin, Cin2PitKarstensTop 4: 1-2, 1 Outs. None on.
J. Damon, NYY8MinBlackburnTop 1: 1-0, 0 Outs. None on.
J. Dye, CWS28KCBannisterBot 1: 0-0, 1 Outs. 1 on.
M. Ordonez, Det15TorBurnettBot 6: 0-0, 0 Outs. None on.
G. Sheffield, Det12TorBurnettBot 6: 3-1, 2 Outs. None on.
I. Kinsler, Tex16BosAardsmaTop 5: 1-1, 2 Outs. 2 on.
K. Youkilis, Bos21TexRupeBot 5: 2-2, 0 Outs. 1 on.
N. Swisher, CWS17KCBannisterBot 5: 3-2, 2 Outs. None on.
R. Langerhans, Was1NYMSantanaBot 7: 2-0, 0 Outs. None on.
C. Tracy, Ari7ColJimenezTop 2: 2-2, 0 Outs. 1 on.
A. Pierzynski, CWS10KCBannisterBot 6: 1-0, 1 Outs. None on.
C. Iannetta, Col14AriJohnsonBot 2: 0-0, 0 Outs. None on.
C. Utley, Phi30LADKershawTop 1: 2-2, 1 Outs. None on.
K. Kouzmanoff, SD18MilSuppanBot 2: 0-2, 1 Outs. None on.
B. Crosby, Oak7TBKazmirBot 2: 3-2, 0 Outs. 1 on.
M. Cameron, Mil19SDBaekTop 3: 0-0, 0 Outs. None on.
L. Berkman, Hou24SFTaschnerBot 7: 3-1, 1 Outs. Gr. Slam.
T. Wigginton, Hou13SFEspineliBot 7: 1-1, 1 Outs. 1 on.
K. Youkilis, Bos22TexFranciscoBot 8: 2-0, 2 Outs. 2 on.
P. Fielder, Mil27SDBaekTop 4: 0-0, 0 Outs. 2 on.
H. Pence, Hou17SFEspineliBot 8: 3-2, 0 Outs. None on.
D. Young, Min6NYYRiveraBot 8: 0-2, 1 Outs. 2 on.
A. Rowand, SF11HouByrdakTop 9: 3-2, 2 Outs. None on.
J. Rivera, LAA7SeaWashburnBot 5: 3-2, 0 Outs. None on.
V. Guerrero, LAA22SeaWashburnBot 5: 1-0, 2 Outs. 1 on.
J. Gerut, SD12MilSuppanBot 6: 1-1, 0 Outs. None on.
A. Rodriguez, NYY27MinGuerrierTop 12: 1-0, 1 Outs. None on.
X. Nady, NYY6MinGuerrierTop 12: 1-0, 1 Outs. 1 on.
G. Anderson, LAA13SeaLoweBot 8: 0-0, 1 Outs. 1 on.

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BBTN ON THE AIR: WEDNESDAY

TIME WHO'S ON?
10 p.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: Buck Showalter,
John Kruk
12 a.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: Buck Showalter,
John Kruk

SPORTSNATION: ALL-TIME FRANCHISE PLAYERS

Rose/Bench"Baseball Tonight" wants to hear from you. Click here to vote for the all-time franchise players for all 30 big league teams.

"Baseball Tonight" and SportsNation agree: Randy Johnson is the greatest Diamondbacks player in franchise history. Watch Wednesday when the Padres' best is revealed at 10 p.m. ET on "Baseball Tonight."

BASEBALL TONIGHT MINUTE: FENWAY CLASSIC

RYAN READY TO RESHAPE RANGERS

Every season, Major League Baseball has one team (this year it's the Tampa Bay Rays) that comes from nowhere and surprises the rest of the league. Although I don't expect the Texas Rangers to reach the postseason in 2008, they could be that surprise team in 2009.

And it starts at the top, with Nolan Ryan. The team's new president plans to implement a new pitching philosophy in the minors starting next year. In a recent visit to the broadcast booth during the Rangers' Aug. 6 game with the Yankees, Ryan said he wants to see pitchers start throwing batting practice between starts -- which is something Ryan and I did when we came up in the big leagues. He thinks that if a pitcher has a problem that needs to be worked out, the only way to resolve the issue is if he faces live hitters. Ryan, who threw 222 complete games in his career, also said he'd like to extend his starters an extra inning. A quality start in today's game requires a pitcher to go only six innings and allow three or fewer earned runs. Ryan would like to see his starters go seven innings. Otherwise, the bullpen just gets overworked. Ryan said he was disappointed when he went only six innings and allowed three runs in a start. Those will be the biggest organizational changes going forward.

Texas also has a starting pitcher in Kevin Millwood who can be a great role model for the Rangers' young rotation. He has the ability to go out and show his teammates what's called "inning management" -- instead of giving up four or five runs in an inning, a pitcher works through it and ends up giving up one or two runs. Also, Millwood goes after hitters from the first pitch; you don't worry about walking a hitter when the count is 3-2, you worry about it from the moment he steps in the batter's box. I learned a lot more with my eyes than with my ears when I first came up with the Dodgers, and the Rangers have a chance to do that by watching Millwood.

Also, look at what the Rangers did in the 2007 draft -- seven of their first 10 picks were used on pitching. (Five of their first seven picks in 2008 also were used to draft pitchers.) The draft picks might not be expected to contribute in 2009, but they show the team's commitment to getting better on the hill. We know what the Rangers can do offensively, and I don't think manager Ron Washington has received enough credit for the work he's done with this team, especially after the Rangers got off to a 10-18 start. If the Rangers get results from Ryan's new philosophy, they may be more than just an offensive juggernaut in years to come.

TUESDAY'S NOTEWORTHY PERFORMANCES

GOOD
Javier Vazquez• Call this the non-Red Sox/Rangers edition, because all three categories could be filled with participants in the Red Sox's slugfest with the Rangers. Javier Vazquez struck out 10 through eight shutout innings in the White Sox's 9-0 win against the Royals.
BAD
Mariano RiveraMariano Rivera served up a three-run homer to the Twins' Delmon Young in the eighth inning to tie the score. Rivera blew his first save of this season, but the Yankees still won the game in 12 innings.
UGLY
Jack TaschnerJack Taschner couldn't get an out. He gave up four of the eight runs the Giants' bullpen permitted in the seventh inning of a 12-4 loss against the Astros.

STAT OF THE DAY

Inside EdgeAccording to Inside Edge's scouting data, Orioles reliever-turned-starter Dennis Sarfate, who throws a fastball 82 percent of the time, likes to work above the hitters' hands. Among major league pitchers who have thrown at least 400 fastballs up in the zone this season, Sarfate has allowed the lowest batting average against. Here's the short list of elevated fastballs that hitters are having the hardest time catching up to:

High fastballs (through Monday)
Pitches BA
Dennis Sarfate 410 .137
John Danks 417 .156
Jake Peavy 441 .163
Rich Harden 480 .178
John Maine 557 .180
Matt Garza 571 .183

FANTASY: PREVIEW OF WEDNESDAY'S GAMES

FantasySean Allen examines the pitching matchups in store for the 15 games on Wednesday's schedule.

Allen also looks at injuries and details player reports that could help shape the way you put together your roster for Wednesday. Daily Notes