Sox play annual Patriots Day game

Sox play annual Patriots Day game

Patriots Day has long meant two things to Bostonians: a Red Sox game and the Boston Marathon.

Monday is that day, with the Red Sox and Orioles commencing the finale of this four-game series in the late morning. Yes, an 11:05 a.m. ET first pitch is not typically in the vocabulary of a Major League baseball player.

The game can be seen live on MLB.TV.

"I played a 10 o'clock game in 'A' ball about seven years ago or something. There were like 3,000 elementary students. They bussed in for it. It will be a lot like that, I guess," said left fielder Jason Bay.

The big difference, of course, is that Fenway will be packed to capacity yet again. And if the game is played at a normal pace, fans should exit the ballpark at around the time the marathoners are passing through Kenmore Square.

Though the two sports are vastly different, there's a similarity -- baseball is, in fact, a marathon and not a sprint.

No Red Sox player symbolizes that at the moment than David Ortiz, the star slugger who takes a .170 average into Patriots Day, with no homers and four RBIs.

"He's just having a tough time," said manager Terry Francona. "The one thing we'll hang our hat on is that as cold as guys get -- and when they struggle, it looks kind of ugly -- when they get hot, they rise to their level. And we'll jump on his back."

Ortiz isn't a big fan of being scrutinized 12 games into the season.

"I'll be fine," said Ortiz.

Hitting coach Dave Magadan said that it's just a matter of time before Ortiz finds his groove.

"When you're a little bit late getting to the spot where you need to be to put a swing on the ball, 87 [mph] is like 97," Magadan said. "When he gets to that point when he's on time and he's in good position to put a swing on the ball at the right time and the ball is in that right location, 97 is going to seem like 87.

"He gets frustrated like anybody else, but he's still very positive," he continued. "He has the right attitude that it's only going to be a matter of time. We all feel that way. I think he realizes that he's a very important part of our offense. To a certain extent, he gets frustrated with the fact that he's not hitting like he feels like he should be hitting, but we all just feel like it's a matter of time."

And with Monday's unique dynamic, Ortiz might even strike his first home run of 2009 before lunchtime.

"It's going to be early," said second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "I usually wake up around that time."

A victory would give the Red Sox a four-game sweep of the Orioles and a five-game winning streak.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Justin Masterson (0-0, 4.50 ERA)
After coming to the rescue of the bullpen on Tuesday night in Oakland, Masterson makes his first start of the 2009 season against the Orioles. Masterson came on in relief when Daisuke Matsuzaka left after one inning with right shoulder fatigue. Matsuzaka was placed on the 15-day disabled list the next day. Masterson threw 60 pitches over four scoreless innings, the longest scoreless relief appearance for a Red Sox pitcher since Kyle Snyder went 4 1/3 scoreless on July 31, 2006.

BAL: LHP Mark Hendrickson (1-1, 3.00 ERA)
Hendrickson was knocked out early in his last start, against the Rangers on Wednesday, after he allowed 11 baserunners and nine runs. Only two of those runs were earned due to two key errors by Baltimore's defense. The Orioles pushed Hendrickson to pitch this game because of an off-day and an injury in their rotation. When they get home, they'll be forced to make a roster move to flesh out their staff.

Monday will be Boston's seventh day game in 13 games. ... Bay's streak of reaching base in 24 successive games ended on Sunday. ... Kevin Youkilis has reached base in all 12 games, and is hitting .468 with three homers, six doubles, nine RBIs, 12 runs and six walks. ... Red Sox relievers have an 0.86 ERA in the past five games.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WEEI 850, SBN 1150 (Español)

Up next
• Tuesday: Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 1-1, 3.00) vs. Twins (Scott Baker, 0-1, 13.50), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Red Sox (Brad Penny, 1-0, 11.00) vs. Twins (Francisco Liriano, 0-3, 5.09), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Off-day

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.