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Closing Time: Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley power Rick Porcello, Red Sox to victory over Mariners

06.18.16 at 7:00 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts (right) celebrates a homer with David Ortiz Saturday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts (right) celebrates a homer with David Ortiz Saturday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

It was only a matter of time.

The Red Sox offense has struggled at times recently, but Adrian Sampson was only going to keep it down for so long.

Held in check for their first two turns through the order, the Red Sox broke through against Sampson during a three-run fifth, driving the rookie from his first big league start and cruising to a 6-2 victory.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts stroked two more hits, including his ninth home run of the season to give the Red Sox an insurance run and make a winner of right-hander Rick Porcello who scattered eight hits over six innings in a solid performance that bordered on terrific after a rough start.

Slumping catcher Christian Vazquez also contributed a pair of hits, while outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. added his 12th homer of the season.

The game started poorly, with the first three Mariners recording singles before Porcello settled down and coaxed a double play grounder out of the dangerous Nelson Cruz with the bases loaded.

Porcello would repeat that pattern throughout his six innings, weaving in and out of trouble, but ultimately only allowing two runs in six innings.

He gave the offense enough time to get untracked. Consecutive singles by Chris Young, Vazquez, and Mookie Betts tied the game before a Dustin Pedroia double play grounder gave the Red Sox a 3-2 lead. Bogaerts followed with a two-out homer to give the Red Sox some breathing room, and an inning later, Vazquez added an RBI double.

Closing Time note

A year after going 5-7 at Fenway Park, Porcello improved to 6-0 here this season.


— Porcello effectively managed trouble, scattering eight hits over six innings, the only other damage an Adam Lind solo homer. He didn’t walk anyone and induced a pair of double plays.

— Bogaerts just continues to mash. He went 2-for-4 to raise his league-leading average to .352. He also now has two more homers than the seven he managed all of last season.

— Hustlin’ Hanley Ramirez scored from second after an errant throw on a grounder rolled into short left. He ran straight through the stop sign of third base coach Brian Butterfield before sliding home safely and celebrating with a karate pose.

— Vazquez recorded his first two hits since June 10 after extensive work with hitting coach Chili Davis.


— Second baseman Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-4 and grounded into a pair of double plays, giving him 12 on the season.

Read More: christian vazquez, Dustin Pedroia, jackie bradley, Mariners

Pedro Martinez tweets his desire for Jose Fernandez to become member of Red Sox

06.18.16 at 12:36 pm ET
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Not a lot of pitchers in Major League Baseball can claim to possess the same kind of potential Pedro Martinez did in his early-to-mid-20’s. But one of them is Miami’s Jose Fernandez. And don’t think Martinez hasn’t taken notice.

The 23-year-old Fernandez is having spectacular year, going 9-3 with a 2.57 ERA. In 80 2/3 innings he has struck out 118 batters while walking just 25.

Recently, the Miami Herald reported the Marlins are pessimistic about signing Fernandez to a long-term deal. He is slated to become a free agent after the 2018 season.

Red Sox lineup: Travis Shaw hitting in front of Chris Young

06.18.16 at 12:23 pm ET
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With Seattle sending out right-hander Adrian Sampson to make his major league debut, the Red Sox are moving Travis Shaw — who had two hits Friday night — up ahead of Chris Young in the lineup.

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup with Rick Porcello getting the start for the hosts:

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young LF
Christian Vazquez C

For all the matchups, click here.

Red Sox promote outfielder Ryan LaMarre, infielder Deven Marrero

06.18.16 at 12:08 pm ET
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Ryan LaMarre

Ryan LaMarre

With the John Farrell announcing after his team’s loss that the Red Sox would be sending Roenis Elias and Rusney Castillo to Triple-A Pawtucket, the club filled its spots Saturday morning.

The Red Sox announced they were recalling outfielder Ryan LaMarre and infielder Deven Marrero.

LaMarre can play all three outfield positions, having hit .313 with six homers and 11 stolen bases with the PawSox this season. The 27-year-old made his major league debut with the Reds last season. (For more on LaMarre’s background, click here.)

Marrero served as Pawtucket’s primary shortstop this season, starting 54 games at the position, while manning second base twice. He was hitting .216 with the PawSox. The 25-year-old played in 25 games with the Red Sox in 2015.

Saturday’s Red Sox-Mariners matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Adrian Sampson

06.18.16 at 8:38 am ET
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In the middle game of the Red Sox-Mariners series on Saturday afternoon, the Red Sox will hand the ball to Rick Porcello, while Seattle is calling up right-hander Adrian Sampson to make his major league debut.

Porcello is 7-2 with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.077 WHIP in 13 starts this season. The Sox defense was unable to give Porcello a boost in his last outing. Last Sunday against the Twins, Porcello allowed four runs but only one earned run on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in seven innings of work in Boston’s 7-4, 10-inning loss. Furthermore, the one earned run was scored in the first inning when Eduardo Nunez got a single, stole second base and advanced home on two ground outs. This outing was the fourth consecutive time that Porcello has not gotten a decision.

“He put a number of balls on the ground, he [worked] to both sides of the plate,” manager John Farrell said (via the Providence Journal). “He pitched very well.”

Porcello has faced the Mariners nine times in his career. In those outings he is 5-3 with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.182 WHIP. The last time Porcello faced the Mariners he guided the Red Sox to a 4-2 victory. In that start the 27-year-old right-hander threw 6 2/3 innings, allowing just two runs — both on home runs — five hits and two walks while recording six strikeouts.

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David Ortiz after tying Ted Williams on all-time home run list: ‘I’m a bad ass’

06.17.16 at 11:26 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

David Ortiz keeps climbing up the statistical ladder, with Friday night’s accomplishment including a fairly significant name.

With his fourth-inning solo home run, Ortiz tied Ted Williams, Willie McCovey and Frank Thomas for 19th on the all-time list with 521 homers.

“It means a lot,” said Ortiz after the Red Sox’ 8-4 loss to the Mariners. “It means a lot. Historically, all you guys know how great Mr. Ted Williams was. Like I always say, whenever they throw your name out there with those legendary [players], it kind of tells you what kind of career you’ve had through the years. It’s not over. We’re going to continue just trying to do whatever we’re doing right now. My main focus right now is just trying to win ballgames. … It’s wonderful. You’re talking about some of the greatest hitters in the history of the game. Your name is being mentioned right next to them. It’s all good.”

The homer also was Ortiz’s 1,700 career RBI, passing Jim Thome for 25th on the all-time RBI list. He also has 1,501 RBI as a designated hitter, more than any other DH.

Ortiz got the ball back from the fan who caught the home run, trading an autographed bat for the memento.

“It’s a good ball to keep, trust me,” he said.

Ortiz is now hitting .347 with a major-league best 1.147 OPS, having also hit 18 home runs this season.

Upon leaving the clubhouse Friday night, Ortiz offered punctuation for his latest achievement.

“I’m a bad ass,” he jokingly said.

Clay Buchholz to get start Wednesday for Red Sox; Roenis Elias sent to Triple-A

06.17.16 at 11:12 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

Next up will be Clay Buchholz.

After his team’s 8-4 loss to the Mariners, Red Sox manager John Farrell announced that Roenis Elias and Rusney Castillo were being sent to Triple-A Pawtucket, with Buchholz getting the start against the White Sox Wednesday.

The move was a product of Elias’ struggles Friday night, with the lefty giving up seven runs over four innings.

Buchholz last started May 26, having turned in five outings in relief (9 1/3 innings) in which he allowed three earned runs and a .182 batting average against. His last appearance, Thursday night, the righty threw three shutout innings.

Buchholz was pulled from the starting rotation after succumbing to a 6.35 ERA over 10 outings.

Outside of David Price, Steven Wright and Rick Porcello, the Red Sox starters have now totaled a 6.85 ERA.

“We didn’t anticipate the number of guys we’ve gone through for 65-plus games, wherever we’re at right now,” Farrell said. “We’ll continue to search. Right now it’s internal. Right now that would put Clay back in the rotation. That’s the approach we’re going to take, and hopefully he continues to build on the three innings he pitched last night, which might be the most crisp he’s thrown so far. That’s the approach we’re going with right now.”

Michael Kopech throws 4 1/3 scoreless innings with Lowell Spinners, but not completely satisfied

06.17.16 at 10:52 pm ET
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Michael Kopech didn't allow a run in 4 1/3 innings with Lowell Friday. (WEEI.com)

Michael Kopech didn’t allow a run in 4 1/3 innings with Lowell Friday night. (WEEI.com)

LOWELL, Mass. — While Michael Kopech didn’t allow a run in his 4 1/3 innings Friday night, it wasn’t the greatest of outings.

The hard-throwing right-hander didn’t have the best command as he needed 79 pitches to get through the 4 1/3 innings, which included four walks.

“It was obviously big getting out there in front of a crowd under the lights,” Kopech said. “I was a little worked up in the first couple of innings. Kind of had to settle down. Didn’t have the stuff I wanted to have, but it’s the first outing back. Should have thrown more strikes is the best I can put it. Off-speed stuff wasn’t what it has been, but I was still able to miss some bats. They made weak contact and my team was able to pick me up.”

Kopech got the start in the Spinners’ season opener after throwing in a few extended spring training games as he comes back from a broken hand suffered in an altercation with a teammate during spring training. He also missed the last 50 games of the 2015 season when he was with Single-A Greenville as he was suspended for using a performance-enhancing drug.

“It’s a big step,” he said. “It’s been almost a year. Huge step. Glad to get one of my belt so I can go out there and compete the rest of the year.”

The Red Sox organization viewed him pitching in a stadium atmosphere and under the lights as being better than extended spring training games, which are typically late in the morning with no crowds. It remains to see how long he’ll be with Lowell, but it shouldn’t be for long.

Overall, Kopech went 4 1/3 scoreless innings, scattering four hits, walking four and striking out four. Of his 79 pitches, 43 were for strikes and he finished with nine swing and misses. He left the game in a scoreless tie.

The 2014 first-round pick allowed the first runner of each inning to reach except the fifth, but then he went on to walk the second batter and then be removed from the game. Known for his fastball, Kopech was touching the high-90s in the first, but may have been a bit pumped up as that dropped down to the low-to-mid 90s after the first.

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Closing Time: Roenis Elias puts Red Sox in hole they can’t dig out from

06.17.16 at 9:59 pm ET
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Roenis Elias has a rough outing in his first start of the season for the Red Sox. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Roenis Elias has a rough outing in his first start of the season for the Red Sox. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Cue up the trade talk talk.

The need for some certainty in regards to the final two spots in the Red Sox rotation only grew Friday night after Roenis Elias’ outing. The lefty allowed seven runs in just four innings in what turned into an 8-4 Red Sox loss to the Mariners, at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox have now lost four of their last five games, and nine of their previous 14. They fell to 4-20 when scoring four or fewer runs.

Red Sox starters not named David Price, Steven Wright or Rick Porcello now carry a 6.85 ERA.

After the game, Red Sox manager John Farrell announced that Elias was being sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket (along with outfielder Rusney Castillo), with Clay Buchholz getting Wednesday’s start against the White Sox.

“We didn’t anticipate the number of guys we’ve gone through for 65-plus games, wherever we’re at right now,” Farrell said. “We’ll continue to search. Right now it’s internal. Right now that would put Clay back in the rotation. That’s the approach we’re going to take, and hopefully he continues to build on the three innings he pitched last night, which might be the most crisp he’s thrown so far. That’s the approach we’re going with right now.”

This time Elias put the Red Sox in a 7-0 hole they had little hope of digging out from, with Seattle Hisashi Iwakuma doing just enough — giving up four runs over seven innings — to earn the win.

Elias’ night was bad from the get-go, with Ketel Marte notching a first-pitch single in the first inning, which was followed by the first of two home runs from Franklin Gutierrez two pitches later.

Gutierrez, who the Red Sox had some interest in signing this past offseason, finished with 10 total bases and six RBI after his two homers and bases-loaded double. It was the second straight game at Fenway Park he has claimed a multiple-home run game.

“I think his pitches were over the plate,” said Gutierrez of Elias. “So when you leave some pitches over the plate you can do whatever you want with those pitches, and that’s what happened.”

The highlight for the Red Sox was David Ortiz’s fourth inning solo home run, tying Ted Williams with his 521st career home run.

Ortiz has now reached base in each of his last 21 home games, with 23 extra-base hits. He has hit in 19 of those games, including his last 12.

Sandy Leon did continue to amaze at the bottom of the batting order, coming away with three more hits to put his batting average at .692 (9-for-13). Travis Shaw was the other multiple-hit performer in the Sox’ 11-hit attack, coming away with a pair of singles.

For a complete box score, click here.


Seattle went 3-for-4 with runners in scoring position, while the Red Sox only managed a 1-for-13 clip. The Red Sox are now seven for their last 44 with runners in scoring position and have been held scoreless in the first three innings of seven of their last 10 games.

Eduardo Rodriguez, Carl Willis, explain why pitcher is reverting back to his old delivery

06.17.16 at 9:23 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez hopes a return to his old mechanics will fix what has ailed him. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Eduardo Rodriguez hopes a return to his old mechanics will fix what has ailed him. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox have seen enough of 2016 Eduardo Rodriguez. They’d like the return of 2015 Eduardo Rodriguez, and the pitcher agrees.

One day after allowing five runs in a loss to the Orioles that pushed his ERA to 6.97, Rodriguez and pitching coach Carl Willis explained why he plans to scrap the delivery and mechanics he developed in response to his spring training knee injury in favor of the delivery he featured last year en route to a breakout rookie season.

“I feel like all my life I’ve been pitching like I pitched last year, and this year I changed a little bit, because I was scared with the knee,” Rodriguez said on Friday. “But now it’s normal, so now I go back to my normal mechanics.”

The most obvious change will be how Rodriguez toes the rubber. Last year, he faced the catcher while getting the sign. This year, he has turned sideways and faced first base. Also, where his drop step once took him towards shortstop, this year it has been towards third, robbing him of some power and extension.

“We talked about it last night after the game,” Willis said. “He’d gone with a different delivery, which from the outset it was like, ‘You were really good,’ but you have to take into consideration the physical side, him returning from an injury. He’s more comfortable with the old delivery, he feels like now there is no issue there and both he and we feel his delivery last year is a better delivery for him, so we started working on that today.”

Willis said it was Rodriguez’s idea to revert back to his old mechanics.

‘I think the best part of it was when we asked him his thoughts, before we gave him our thoughts he wanted to do it,” Willis said. “‘I want to go back.’ That’s a really good thing. It wasn’t us convincing him to do something different. He was on the same page.”

Rodriguez never would’ve needed a new delivery, except he injured his right knee in spring training and didn’t feel comfortable landing on the leg when he returned.

“Just working to get back to the mechanics I had last year from the windup and keep throwing strikes,” Rodriguez said. “Throw the ball where I want it, and that’s it.”

As for the secondary issue of Rodriguez tipping pitches, which WEEI’s Lou Merloni highlighted during and after Thursday’s start, neither Rodriguez nor the Red Sox labeled it a priority.

“I don’t think they see what pitch I’m going to throw,” Rodriguez said. “It probably wasn’t [a factor]. It was just pitches missing right in the middle of the plate.”

Read More: Carl Willis, eduardo rodriguez, Red Sox,
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