"It's going to be weird playing against him," Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek
admitted. "The guy wore this uniform with his heart and soul his whole
career. He's a tough one to see wearing a different uniform."
While lacked of durability proved to be Nixon's downfall, it was his unquestioned
desire and determination that made him so respected by teammates and beloved
by Red Sox fans. Varitek said he expects Nixon to receive a rousing welcome
from the Fenway faithful.
"He brought everything," Varitek said. "He played the game right, left it on
the field. He was a very good player and a great teammate -- a guy you'd
want in your foxhole. He was a guy that exemplified wearing this uniform.
"He made it well known that he wanted to stay here. That didn't come to
fruition, but I'd imagine nothing less than a standing ovation for him."
Boston manager Terry Francona said he understands the mixed emotions that
will accompany Nixon's return to Fenway.
"He'll go through that wall, trying to be a good player for your team, and I'll
always respect that," Francona said. "Everybody remembers the dirty hat, the
dirty helmet. He's an easy guy to like, not just for me and the coaches and
his teammates, but for the fans. He's a pretty neat guy. He's a
down-and-dirty, play-hard type of guy."
Francona intimated, however, that Nixon's Red Sox career might have been
prolonged had he learned when it would be judicious to ease his foot off the
"He always plays the game real hard and gives it everything he has.
Sometimes, too much," Francona said. "Sometimes he'd play himself onto the
DL, because he didn't want to tell you he was hurt and would still run
through the wall. But, even though you don't want to lose good players, you
appreciated his attitude, always."
Charged with stopping Nixon from having a storybook night Monday is Red Sox
right-hander Curt Schilling, who has won just one of his last five
starts and is coming off an 8-3 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday. In that
game, Schilling gave up six runs (five earned) on 12 hits in six innings,
the most hits he has allowed in a single start since April 2004. He spent
the past few days tinkering with his delivery in an attempt to get back on
"I don't think Schill needs to reinvent himself, he just has to locate his
fastball better," Francona said. "He's not going to show up throwing like
[Luis] Tiant or anything. He just needs to locate his fastball."
BOS: RHP Curt Schilling (4-2, 3.94 ERA)
Schilling is 1-2 with a 4.40 ERA in six career games (four starts) against
the Indians. He is facing Cleveland for the first time this season. Last
year, he gave up five runs on nine hits and struck out eight in 6 2/3
innings in an April 25 start at Jacobs Field, but had a no-decision in
Boston's 8-6 win.
CLE: LHP Cliff Lee (2-1, 5.93 ERA)
Lee is coming off an 11-7 loss to Kansas City in which he gave up seven runs
in the first two innings. He allowed a season-high eight runs in 4 1/3
innings in that loss to the Royals, his fifth start of the season. Lee is
2-1 with a 3.45 ERA in five career starts against Boston.
Player to watch
Red Sox outfielder Wily Mo Pena is 2-for-5 with two homers and five RBIs in his
career against Lee.
Buy tickets now
to catch the game in person.
On the Internet
Official game notes
WRKO 680, WROL (Español)
Tuesday: Indians (Jeremy Sowers, 1-4, 6.29) at Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 7-0, 2.66), 7:05 p.m. ET
Wednesday: Indians (Paul Byrd, 5-1, 3.81) at Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 7-2, 4.43), 7:05 p.m. ET