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Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘Numbers don’t match the talent’ for Clay Buchholz

04.15.15 at 10:04 am ET
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ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Wednesday morning to respond to the criticism he’s been facing for his comments about Clay Buchholz. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Schilling has received some backlash for what he said last week about Buchholz lacking the internal drive. The remarks drew criticism from the likes of NESN analyst Steve Lyons, who said Schilling should have taken Buchholz under his wing and told him what to do when they pitched together like Roger Clemens had done with Schilling.

Schilling said he talked to Buchholz but that he noticed a difference between young pitchers and how he came up in the game.

“You can’t force someone to do something they don’t want to do, and one of the things that you do as a veteran pitcher is you try and kind of lay a path of multiple options out for young [pitchers], ’cause there’s no one way to do this thing,” Schilling said. “I obviously was big into preparation and video and all that stuff and I would always pass that stuff along, but the thing that got me, and it wasn’t just Clay, but a lot of the new, younger generation of pitchers, when I was at the end of my career, they didn’t ask questions. It felt like the game stopped at the water’s edge, like, when they went home the game was over and now I have to go do stuff.”

Schilling also wanted to clarify that his initial comments had nothing to do with him rooting against Buchholz.

“I was just obviously giving my opinion,” he said. “But I think one of the things I always had issues with with younger players was the desire to win, to be great, and you don’t have to go throw stuff and yell and cuss and be a tough guy when you lose to want it. It’s just, it’s actions. What do you do between your starts? What do you talk about? And I’m not sure I ever really had a conversation about pitching with him.

“And that doesn’t mean anything,” he added. “That doesn’t mean he didn’t go to somebody else. … And Clay’s not a loudmouth like me. I mean, he wasn’t talkative, he was a young player, and he did right as far as trying to know his place and stuff, but again, I’m trying to think of an example. There are players who come up who the game just consumes them, and they’re grabbing somebody and talking and every piece of advice they can get. I used to ask everybody questions. We’d go to Baltimore, I’d ask Jim Palmer, and we’d be in Cleveland and I’d find [Bob] Feller would be at the park and [Bob] Gibson, everybody, [Sandy] Koufax and [Don] Drysdale and that was I just was trying to figure out why the best were the best.”

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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Nationals matchups: Wade Miley vs. Gio Gonzalez

04.15.15 at 8:16 am ET
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley

The Red Sox will close out a three-game series against the Nationals looking for a sweep as Wade Miley takes the mound opposite Gio Gonzalez at Fenway Park on Wednesday.

In his first outing of the season, Miley got a no decision against the Yankees in a game that would become the longest by time in Red Sox history. The 28-year-old lefty, who came over from Arizona in the offseason, pitched 5 1/3 innings out of 19 that were played before the Red Sox won, 6-5. Miley left the game in position to get a win, but New York tied the game in the ninth. Miley allowed two runs — one of which scored as an inherited runner when Robbie Ross took over in the sixth — on four hits and two walks while striking out six.

Prior to that start, Miley had some good outings in spring training, posting a 3.71 ERA, a 1.35 WHIP and 11 strikeouts over 17 innings.

Miley has faced Washington four times in his career, going 1-2 with a 2.03 ERA and a 1.613 WHIP. In his lone outing against the Nationals last season, Miley threw 6 2/3 shutout innings, allowing eight hits and six walks while striking out four.

Wednesday will mark Miley’s first career start at Fenway.

Miley’s opponent on the mound will be Gonzalez, a two-time All-Star left-hander. In his first outing this season, the 29-year-old Florida native took the loss against the Phillies. Through 6 1/3 innings he allowed three runs on five hits, four walks and a hit batsman while striking out four.

Last season with the Nationals, Gonzalez went 10-10 with a 3.57 ERA, a 1.197 WHIP and 162 strikeouts. He has a 3-1 career record against the Red Sox.

In four career starts at Fenway Park, Gonzalez is 2-0 with a 4.84 ERA, a 1.567 WHIP and 23 strikeouts and 22 1/3 innings.

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Matt Williams sick to his stomach over Nationals terrible start: ‘It doesn’t taste very good’

04.15.15 at 2:32 am ET
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Matt Williams

Matt Williams

Give Matt Williams this much. He sure knows how to weave a metaphor.

The Nationals manager has watched his team – picked by many experts to represent the National League in the World Series – self-destruct in the opening week. The first two games at Fenway Park this week represent a glaring example of all that has gone wrong in Washington’s start.

They allowed two high, lazy fly balls to drop on the outfield grass in a four-run third inning for the Red Sox. They committed one fielding error in the infield, allowed a passed ball and watched as Jordan Zimmerman plunked Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval in back-to-back at-bats. They were humiliated 9-4 in the Red Sox home opener.

Their ace pitcher was on the mound Tuesday to try and stem the tide. Stephen Strasburg instead allowed 10 hits and five runs and lasted just 5.1 innings. Still, he left with the lead after his team scored six in the fifth. But then the National League powerhouse turned into little leaguers in the seventh, committing three errors on routine plays and allowing the Red Sox to steal an 8-7 win.

It’s only eight games in but these Nationals are 2-6 and national nightmare to watch, for fans and manager alike.

“It’s the same recipe,” lamented Williams. “If you put all the ingredients the same way every time, you’re going to get the same meal,” That’s what we’ve been getting. There’s nothing to be said that hasn’t already been said. We got the pitches we wanted to get and didn’t make the plays. That’s the same recipe. That’s all I’ve got for you.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Super sub Brock Holt does it again: ‘I come to the field every day ready to go’

04.15.15 at 1:35 am ET
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Brock Holt

Brock Holt

The irony of the situation Tuesday was not lost on Brock Holt.

When he came to the ball park on Tuesday, he was informed that he was the starting shortstop because Xander Bogaerts was getting the day off to rest his knee, tweaked rounding third base in the home opener Monday.

“Xander gets taken out of the lineup, it’s going to be me playing short,” Holt said. “I just got ready to go. I come to the field every day ready to go. I check the lineup, if I’m in, great. If I’m not, just be ready. Saw that I was playing short and got ready to go. My job is to be ready to play every day and wherever that might be, it’s fine with me. Just be ready to play, play the game. I saw I was in there today and was ready to go.”

But midway through Tuesday’s 8-7 win over the Nationals, third baseman Pablo Sandoval left with a left foot bruise after getting hit by a Stephen Strasburg breaking ball. Hanley Ramirez was called upon to return to his natural position of shortstop. But Ramirez, watching Holt all spring and seeing how comfortable he looked at short, actually deferred to Holt and chose instead to play third.

“It’s huge, especially a guy with his tenure and his stature,” Holt said, with a tone of appreciation. “He could’ve easily said, ‘Nah, I don’t want to do that.’ But he did because we needed it and I think that speaks volumes to the guys we have in this clubhouse. I think everyone is rooting for each other and pulling for each other and everyone wants to win, and that showed tonight.

“I’ve kind of gotten comfortable at all the positions. If I were to have to move over, I don’t think it would’ve been too big of an adjustment. Just move over to third and try to make the plays over there.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Justin Masterson on return to Fenway as member of Red Sox: ‘I was hoping it would be a little bit better’

04.14.15 at 10:47 pm ET
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Justin Masterson allowed seven earned runs in 4 2/3 innings Tuesday night (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Justin Masterson allowed seven earned runs in 4 2/3 innings Tuesday night (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

It had been almost six years since Justin Masterson pitched at Fenway Park in a Red Sox uniform.

After that long period of time he was hoping for a performance a little better than what he gave, but in the end it didn’t matter as the Red Sox came away with an 8-7 comeback win over the Nationals.

Masterson went 4 2/3 innings allowing seven runs (six in the fifth inning) on eight hits, while walking three, striking out four and hitting two batters. He took a no-decision.

“It was great. It was fun,” Masterson said about pitching at Fenway Park again. “I was hoping it would be a little bit better, but it was just good. The fans here are just incredible. The memories of where it all started and able to be back here. Again, what makes it really neat is the fact that you go out, you struggled and don’t do as good as you want and here are the guys getting the credit even though it was kind of handed to us. The guys doing there thing in order to make things happen and here we are with a win.”

It was an up-and-down performance for the right-hander as he didn’t have his best stuff out of the gate, throwing 47 pitches over the first two innings. He settled down retiring eight straight before things finally unraveled for good in the fifth.

Prior to Tuesday, Masterson had never allowed more than six earned runs in a game.

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Pablo Sandoval, Xander Bogaerts may be available for series finale

04.14.15 at 10:42 pm ET
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Pablo Sandoval

Pablo Sandoval

Upon leaving the Red Sox clubhouse after the Red Sox‘ 8-7 win over the Nationals on Tuesday night, Pablo Sandoval peered into the manager’s office and gave a thumbs up.

Considering how things had unfolded during the Sox’ sixth win of the year, that was a huge step (albeit sore one) in the right direction.

After the game Red Sox manager John Farrell reported that both Sandoval (contusion on left foot) and Xander Bogaerts (sore knee) could possibly be in the team’s lineup for its series finale against Washington.

Bogaerts had missed Tuesday’s game after reporting knee soreness from an awkward baserunning turn Monday. And Sandoval was forced to leave the Sox’ latest win in the sixth inning after being hit by a Stephen Strasburg curveball on the left foot in the third.

“Pablo started to continue to get more tight and sore as the night went on after being hit by the pitch, we got him out of there,” Farrell said. “Xander’€™s MRI is clean. He’€™s day to day. Not ruling out his availability for tomorrow.”

With Sandoval out, the Red Sox were forced to turn to Hanley Ramirez to play third base, a position he hadn’t manned since 2012. After the game Ramirez said Farrell gave him the option of playing shortstop or third base, having not worked out at either position in spring training.

“We won the game,” Ramirez said. “If I have to catch, I’ll catch. If I have to pitch, I’ll pitch.”

When asked if he played any third base in spring, Ramirez responded, “Yeah, I did. PlayStation. In reality, no. … We didn’t have anybody else. I had to do it for the team.”

Closing Time: Late Red Sox rally leads to wild come-from-behind win over Nationals

04.14.15 at 9:33 pm ET
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Justin Masterson was inconsistent in the Red Sox' loss to the Nationals Tuesday night. ((Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Justin Masterson was inconsistent in the Red Sox‘ come-from-behind win over  the Nationals. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Five hit batters, four errors, and four lead changes made for a crazy night at Fenway Park.

In the end, the Red Sox were able to come away with a 8-7, come-from-behind win over the Nationals. They’ve now won both games in the series.

The win did come with a cost, as already without Xander Bogaerts (knee), the Red Sox lost Pablo Sandoval in the game after being hit by a pitch on his foot (left foot contusion).

Trailing 7-5 in the seventh inning, the Red Sox were able to load the bases against Nationals relievers. No. 8 hitter Ryan Hanigan hit a slow roller in front of the mound and Nationals pitcher Blake Treinen misplayed it trying to get the out at home. Then, making matters worse he threw the ball into the stands allowing another run to score and the Red Sox to tie the game at seven. He was charged with two errors on the play.

The next batter, Brock Holt recorded an RBI groundout to short, scoring pinch-hitter Allen Craig for the eventual game-winning run.

“Well we got some extra outs,” manager John Farrell said. “We talked about this yesterday. When you give a Major League team an extra out or two, it may end up leading to multiple runs inside of an inning. I thought offensively we did a very good job from start to finish tonight. We didn’€™t give in. Took advantage of some miscues in that seventh inning. Koji [Uehara] comes out and done what he’€™s done so many times for us. Just a good team win here tonight. Clearly, coming back multiple times, it was a sea-saw game, hard-fought, but I like the way our guys responded to challenges.”

Leading 5-1 going into the fifth inning, Red Sox starter Justin Masterson fell apart allowing six runs in the inning, as the Nationals sent 10 batters to the plate. Clint Robinson and Ian Desmond each had two RBI singles, while Wilson Ramos added an RBI ground out and Michael A. Taylor ripped a two-RBI triple.

Masterson was pulled in the inning in favor of reliever Alexi Ogando.

“Didn’€™t have his best stuff overall,” Farrell said. “I thought he threw enough strikes early on to keep away from a big inning and then it seemed like the stuff kind of ran out of gas a little bit with a couple of walks in that fifth inning where multiple base runners and a pitch up on the plate where they’€™re able to start chipping away. Desmond rifles a ball just inside the bag, the two-strike base hit that obviously spelled the night for Justin. Still, the action to two pitches, the fastball-slider is there. Just the walks in to the base hits created some issues here tonight.”

The fifth inning spoiled an impressive first few innings for Red Sox hitters against Washington starter Stephen Strasburg. Through the first two times through the order, eight of the nine Red Sox starters recorded a hit — a pretty impressive feat against a pitcher of Strasburg’s caliber.

But, as good pitchers do, Strasburg battled and despite throwing 41 pitches in the first two innings, grinded out 5 1/3 innings, allowing the five runs, while not walking a batter and striking out five.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox win:

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Dustin Pedroia. The second baseman seems to have found his stroke again. He lined a solo home run into the Monster seats in the fourth inning — his third homer of the year after hitting two on Opening Day. He finished 3-for-4 in the game, and now has three multi-hit games through the first eight of the season.

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Pablo Sandoval leaves with foot injury; Hanley Ramirez plays third base

04.14.15 at 8:25 pm ET
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Pablo Sandoval

Pablo Sandoval

The injuries are starting to pile up on the Red Sox.

After not having Xander Bogaerts available Tuesday night due to right knee soreness, the other part of the left side of the left side of the Red Sox‘ infield, third baseman Pablo Sandoval, was also forced from the lineup.

Sandoval was hit in the left foot by a Stephen Strasburg curveball in the third inning, was taken out of the game to start to the sixth inning with a left foot contusion. Replacing him at third was Hanley Ramirez, who hadn’t worked out at the position at all throughout spring training.

Ramirez last played third base in 2012, when he manned the position for eight games.

Daniel Nava moved over to replace Ramirez in left field, with Shane Victorino coming on to play right field.

The Red Sox were losing, 7-5, to the Nationals at the time of Sandoval’s departure. The third baseman was 0-for-2, grounding out to second base in his only at-bat after the injury.

David Ortiz shares the stage with Tom Brady and world championship hardware

04.14.15 at 6:19 pm ET
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Tom Brady and David Ortiz show off their world championship trophies after Monday’s opening day ceremonies at Fenway Park.

Brady, Ortiz & a couple of world championships.

A photo posted by New England Patriots (@patriots) on

Read More: Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, New England Patriots, Tom Brady

Shane Victorino on sporadic playing time: ‘I get it’

04.14.15 at 4:21 pm ET
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For the fourth time this young season, Daniel Nava got the start over Shane Victorino in right field, hitting seventh against Washington and its righty starter Stephen Strasburg.

Victorino has now started half of the Red Sox eight games, totaling 23 plate appearances. (He did enter the lineup halfway through the Sox’ 19-inning game in New York, resulting in four at-bats.)

The 34-year-old said the approach toward playing time isn’t what he anticipated, but it’s a dynamic he has come to understand.

“We talked about it,” said Victorino regarding conversations with manager John Farrell. “Obviously we discussed what was going on because the first couple of times I did get that call or text that, ‘€˜You’€™re down tonight,’€™ what’€™s my reply? But it was explained to me what was going on. And even from a medical standpoint they’€™ve spoken to me about it. I get it. Every athlete or every human being who wants to play every day is saying, ‘€˜No, no, no. Let me go.’€™ But I’€™m getting to the point in my career where I kind of understand. Of course people are going to think if this is going to be a platoon, or is this going to be a situation. If that is what people want to think … I’€™m not looking at this way.”

The Red Sox had wanted to remain conservative in regards to Victorino’s playing time early on in the season, even with the outfielder showing no ill effects from last season’s back surgery.

Helping that approach has obviously been the production of Nava, who is 4-for-9 against right-handed pitching entering Tuesday.

“They say I’€™m the type of player you have to put the reigns back on, so if they don’€™t do it I’€™m just going to keep going. That’€™s their biggest fear is breaking down,” Victorino said. “Getting my body and back into physical shape slowly but surely, and then riding into the sunset.

“I didn’€™t know what the plan is. Obviously now I have an idea. Going into it it wasn’€™t discussed that this was going to be our plan, this is what we’€™re going to do. That just shows the depth on our team that they’€™re able to say, ‘€˜We’€™re going to play you but we don’€™t want to break you down, have you break down June or July.’€™”

With his health staying steady, Victorino’s biggest concern at this stage is finding the at-bats needed to rediscover his way as a full-time right-handed hitter.

He heads into Tuesday with just two hits and three walks, with both singles off righty pitchers during the third game in Philadelphia.

“It’€™s hard to get in a rhythm, but I’€™m not going to use that as an excuse as a reason why I’€™m not swinging the bat or feeling good at the plate,” Victorino said. “It will happen for me. It’€™s just 20 at-bats, that’€™s all.”

In terms of pitchers approaching him differently now that he’s not a switch-hitter, the outfielder said, “I noticed it last year, so now it’€™s just an adjustment I have to make. My timing’€™s not there. I’€™m still trying to work on that process. I’€™m still trying to work on being comfortable at the plate. I’€™ve been away from the game for a year, so it’€™s just a matter of working on things and feeling comfortable and then seeing it all fall into place. That’€™s important for me. That’€™s the biggest thing is the health. The rest of it I feel is going to come.”

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