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Saturday’s Red Sox-Tigers matchups: Steven Wright vs. Alfredo Simon

07.25.15 at 8:30 am ET
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Steven Wright

Steven Wright

After snapping their eight-game losing streak with Friday’s 2-1 win in 11 innings, the Red Sox will trot Steven Wright to the hill Saturday to take on Alfredo Simon and the Tigers.

Wright enters the day with a 3-3 record and 4.84 ERA on the season. The knuckleballer has a 5.42 FIP and 1.303 WHIP.

Wright has had a roller coaster of a season, making multiple trips to and from Triple-A Pawtucket and pitching as both a starter and reliever for the big league Red Sox. He has made 12 appearances in the majors this season and started five of them.

Due to the elbow injury of Clay Buchholz and the struggles of other pitchers like Justin Masterson and Joe Kelly, the Red Sox rotation has become muddled and disorganized. That has created an opportunity for Wright to rejoin the Sox as a starter.

After being sent to Pawtucket in late June, Wright was called back up to start against the Angels in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader against the Angels. His reintroduction to major league hitters was not a great one.

Wright lasted five innings and allowed six runs on six hits and three walks. He gave up a pair of homers to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols and the Sox ended up taking a 7-3 loss.

“I felt like I was maybe I was overthrowing (the knuckleball) just a little bit, but it was definitely moving more than it has in a while,” Wright said after the loss. “So it definitely gets frustrating, because when you can’t throw it for strikes, it does limit your options.”

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New year, new player: Xander Bogaerts continues to perform in clutch

07.25.15 at 12:25 am ET
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Xander Bogaerts' second career walkoff hit gave the Red Sox a 2-1 win over the Tigers Friday night. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts’ second career walkoff hit gave the Red Sox a 2-1 win over the Tigers Friday night. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

What a difference a year makes for Xander Bogaerts.

Maybe the last player the Red Sox would want up in a key situation last year, he’s now the player they want up the most this year.

Bogaerts continued his impressive season with a walkoff single in the 11th inning in the Red Sox’ 2-1 win over the Tigers, which snapped an eight-game losing streak.

After batting just .153 with runners in scoring position last year, Bogaerts is hitting .410 with runners in scoring position this year, which leads the American League. Furthermore, since June 7 he’s hitting .513.

“He’s grown up a lot,” manager John Farrell said. “He’s learning from the challenges of a year ago, he’s learned about himself and the confidence has certainly come back to allow him to be the player that maybe some lofty expectations last year held over his head. He’s playing a very good game right now.”

Bogaerts stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 11th inning with Mookie Betts at second base and one out with the struggling Pablo Sandoval on deck against Tigers reliever Blaine Hardy.

With the count 2-2, Bogaerts got a changeup that he was able to send up the middle and into center field to score Betts. It was the previous pitch (a changeup) and Bogaerts’ development as a hitter which played a part in the second walkoff hit of his career.

“I thought he wasn’t going to throw me any good pitches,” Bogaerts said. “I was a bit aggressive early on in the count swinging at bad pitches. I mean, with that 2-1 pitch, he told me what he was going to do with the next pitch. I was ready for it.”

Overall for the season, he’s batting .310 with three home runs and 47 RBis.

The 22-year-old has come into his own this season and has some of his teammates marveling.

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Closing Time: Xander Bogaerts’ walkoff single snaps Red Sox’ 8-game losing streak

07.24.15 at 10:51 pm ET
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Rick Porcello gave the Red Sox his best start in quite some time Friday night. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Rick Porcello gave the Red Sox his best start in quite some time Friday night. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Finally.

After eight straight losses and nine of 10, the Red Sox were able to snap the skid with a 2-1 walkoff win over the Tigers in 11 innings Friday night at Fenway Park.

Mookie Betts led the inning off with a walk, Brock Holt bunted him over to second and he scored on Xander Bogaerts’ single up the middle on a close play at the plate, which needed a long review to confirm Betts was indeed safe.

It was the Red Sox‘ third walkoff win of the year.

“The replay even took extra innings, seemingly,” manager John Farrell said. “We put together a very good game from the mound. The fact coming off a road trip that was a bad road trip, to come back home, walkoff a win. Bogey again, right man in the right spot. A big relief for guys who continue to grind away.”

The rally was keyed by a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play to end the top of the 11th when Justin Masterson struck out Victor Martinez and Ryan Hanigan threw out Ian Kinsler trying to steal third.

The Tigers threatened in the eighth against reliever Junichi Tazawa as Kinsler tripled and was the go-ahead run at third, but after a long battle, Tazawa struck Yoenis Cespedes out swinging to end the threat.

“That might be the at-bat of the game,” Farrell said. “[Cespedes] is such a good RBI guy and trying to elevate some fastballs. I think it was an eight or nine pitch at-bat, which they were tied up in. Stayed up with some velocity, couple of foul balls, finally got a swing and miss. Taz has been in so many games with his back against the wall and continues to do a great job for us.”

The Red Sox had their chance to win it in the ninth inning as they had the winning run on second and Mike Napoli smoked one right back up the middle, but it went right into Al Alburquerque’s glove to end the inning.

Red Sox starter Rick Porcello had his best start in quite some time, as the right-hander went seven innings, allowing one run on five hits, while striking out six. He didn’t walk a batter and it was his longest start since going eight innings on June 3 against the Twins.

His six strikeouts were the most since May 16 against the Mariners and his 105 pitches were the most since his second start of the season. The one earned run was the fewest he’s allowed since he shutout the Rays over seven innings back on May 5.

“A lot of strikes by both starters and I thought tonight from the fourth inning on, Rick’s fastball was one of the best he’s had on the entire year,” Farrell said. “He was really good with his extension. I think it showed up with some swing and miss to his changeup. He was down in the strike zone, got a key double play in the fourth inning. He was very good. Even the couple of opportunities where they had runners in scoring position he was able to get a key strikeout. He and [Hanigan] was again went out and matched up and executed well.”

Detroit scored its only run against Porcello in the third inning when Kinsler singled home former Red Sox Jose Iglesias, who had doubled to leadoff in the inning.

The Red Sox responded in the bottom of the third inning when Brock Holt came through with a two-out RBI single up the middle, plating Shane Victorino who had singled earlier in the frame.

Tigers starter Justin Verlander allowed one run over eight innings and was as impressive as Porcello, if not more.

David Ortiz (scheduled off day) and Dustin Pedroia (hamstring) both missed the game.

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

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Report: Red Sox among teams asking on Indians starters

07.24.15 at 7:57 pm ET
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It’s becoming clear the Red Sox will be after top-of-the-line starters at the trade deadline, and one of the teams with some of the best young starters in the game is the Indians.

So it should be no surprise that according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox are one of the teams who have asked the Indians about their starters. Rosenthal says the Indians “aren’t motivated to act” and it would need to be a “very compelling deal.”

One of the starters the Indians would be most likely to deal is Carlos Carrasco. He also fits what the Red Sox want as he is 28 years old and under team control until 2018 with team options for 2019 and 2020. The right-hander is 10-7 with a 3.94 ERA this season.

The Indians also have Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer — all under team control — but it would seem Carrasco would be the player the Indians would be most likely to give up.

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Dustin Pedroia out of lineup with sore hamstring, David Ortiz scheduled off day

07.24.15 at 4:42 pm ET
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Two of the Red Sox‘ premier players are out of the lineup Friday night against the Tigers — Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz.

Pedroia (hamstring) returned from the disabled list last Friday after the All-Star break and played in six games on the road trip, but Friday will be his second straight game missed. The second baseman has gone 1-for-22 since his return.

Thursday was a scheduled off day, but Friday he felt some soreness in the hamstring.

“€œHe’€™s still feeling a little bit in the hamstring,” manager John Farrell said. “Yesterday was a planned off-day. Coming out of that, he still feels some of the same symptoms, not to the severity obviously that he went on the DL with, but there’€™s still a little bit or soreness in the hamstring and we’€™re being cautious right now.”

For Ortiz, who played in all seven games of the road trip, it’s a scheduled off day. He hit .259 on the trip. The designated hitter is a career .370 hitter against Friday’s Tigers starter Justin Verlander.

“David’€™s a little bit sore, but this is a scheduled off-day as we’€™ve rotated other guys through as well,” Farrell said.

The team flew back from Houston earlier in the day Friday, landing in Boston at 1:30 and getting to Fenway Park around 2:25. It’s a much different feel from the last time they were home. Prior to the All-Star break the team entered the series against the Yankees only five games out in the division.

Now, following dropping nine of their last 10 games, they are a season-high 12 games out in the AL East.

“This has been a frustrating and disappointing road trip that we’€™ve come off of,” Farrell said. “We assembled and reassembled back coming out of the All-Star break in Anaheim optimistic, energized. We ran into a hot team. We didn’€™t make a couple of pitches in some key spots. Opportunities we didn’€™t cash in on.

“Ultimately the record is what it is on this road trip. That’€™s been extremely disappointing. There’€™s frustration. I think if you’€™re looking for tangible signs of how the competitiveness is still there, that was evident last night in that game where we take the lead, we give it back, we come right back and tie it. There’€™s no lack of fight, and yet, the wins have not been there.”

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Red Sox lineup: Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino starting vs. Tigers

07.24.15 at 4:25 pm ET
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After his first three-hit game since April, Mike Napoli is back in the Red Sox‘ lineup Friday night for the series opener against the Tigers against right-hander Justin Verlander.

The Red Sox will look to snap an eight-game losing streak, coming off there winless seven-game road trip out of the All-Star break.

Ryan Hanigan will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here. For a series preview, click here.

Here is a complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, CF
Brock Holt, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Hanley Ramirez, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Alejandra De Aza, LF
Shane Victorino, RF
Ryan Hanigan, C
Rick Porcello, RHP

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Red Sox-Tigers series preview

07.24.15 at 1:10 pm ET
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Former Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias is having a stellar season at the plate and in the field, but it hasn't been enough to get the Tigers into contention. (Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias is having a stellar season at the plate and in the field, but it hasn’t been enough to get the Tigers into contention in the AL Central. (Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

After an abysmal road trip and start to the second half, the Red Sox return to Fenway to start a 10-game homestand with a three-game set against the Tigers.

Over the tail end of June and beginning of July, the Sox gained momentum and looked to be putting themselves in a position to make a run in the season’s second half. Instead, the Sox have won just one of their last 10 games and have gone 0-7 since the All-Star break.

All of a sudden the Red Sox, who had gotten as close as five games back in the AL East, own a 42-54 record. The team owns the worst record in the American League and sits 12 games behind the first-place Yankees in the division.

General manager Ben Cherington addressed the media on Wednesday and expressed disappointment with the team’s recent performance but did not indicate any change in the organization’s long-term plan.

“We’re not where we want to be. The last 10 days or so haven’t gone well and not the way we wanted them to go. I don’t think it changes anything in the big picture,” Cherington said. “We’ve still got to pursue things that are going to make us better and continue to try to build a good team as quickly as we can. The last 10 days haven’t gone the way we wanted it to.”

While the Red Sox’ struggles have made all the headlines in these parts, the Tigers have similarly failed to live up to their own expectations. The Tigers are 47-48, placing them third in the AL Central. The team has lost seven of its last 10 games

The Tigers are 10 1/2 games behind the Royals in the division. Because KC owns the second-best record in the majors, the Tigers (and the second-place Twins) face a steep road to being competitive and closing the divisional gap.

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MLB Trade Deadline: Cubs reportedly interested in David Price, Cole Hamels

07.24.15 at 1:00 pm ET
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A week before the non-waiver trading deadline, rumors are starting to swirl throughout baseball about which players may be on the move and where they may go.

Given the Red Sox‘ spot in the standings, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford reported Wednesday that they will not pursue trades for high-profile pitchers in the last year of their contracts. That includes players like Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto or Detroit’s David Price.

Those types of players, however, remain likely to be traded to contending teams that feel an additional pitcher would put them over the top.

The last-place White Sox have yet to wave the white flag on their season. However, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, the White Sox have been actively engaged in trade talks. One player teams may target is starter Jeff Samardzija. The Blue Jays have shown interest in trading for Samardzija, per Jon Morosi of Fox Sports.

The Tigers sit in third place in the AL Central well behind the first-place Royals. According to Morosi, Detroit will wait at least until the end of this weekend’s series in Boston before deciding whether to buy or sell at the deadline.

If the Tigers indeed end up as sellers, the most attractive piece to contenders will be Price, who owns a 2.31 ERA this season. The Blue Jays and Cubs both had scouts at Price’s start on Thursday, and both are in the market for pitchers as the deadline approaches, Morosi reported.

Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels has been consistently in the middle of trade rumors since spring training, and that will only persist in advance of the deadline. CSN Chicago reports that the Cubs have been in discussions about Hamels with the Phillies.

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Mike Napoli bracing himself for possible trade deadline relocation

07.24.15 at 12:48 pm ET
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HOUSTON — Shane Victorino has said he was wants to live out the life of his three-year contract with the Red Sox, using these final days before the non-waiver trade deadline as an opportunity to “go make it hard on [the front office].”

He isn’t alone in his sentiments.

One of the other members of the Red Sox who is living life in the last year of their deal, Mike Napoli, has also started to feel the reality as July 31 draws closer.

“I try not to look too far, but I know this is a business,” Napoli said. “It’s hard for me because I love it here so much. But the way things are going now, it’s pretty rough.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. I really try not to think about that.”

But these days, with the Red Sox residing 12 games back of first place in the American League East, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for Napoli to not think about it.

The first baseman could very well join Victorino, Craig Breslow and Justin Masterson as a piece which will be attempted to be sold off by the Red Sox at the deadline due to their contract status.

With Napoli, the likelihood has gotten a bit more realistic in recent days thanks to somewhat of a resurgence. While the Red Sox would surely have to take on a good chunk of what is left of the $16 million owed this season in any deal, the 33-year-old was shown enough life of late — hitting .389 with a 1.143 OPS on the Sox’ disastrous seven-game road trip — that a team might have interest.

Games like Thursday night’s performance, in which Napoli notched three hits for the second time this season (two doubles, home run), might have distracted potential suitors somewhat from relying solely on a woeful first half.

And even if Napoli isn’t dealt before July 31, his run as a Red Sox still might come to an end prematurely thanks to an August deal. (Remember, he was almost dealt to the Sox after they claimed him on waivers from the Angels in 2010.)

While it is unlikely Napoli would return to the Red Sox beyond this season even if he remained with the team for the duration of his two-year deal, it doesn’t make the prospects of moving on any easier for the 10-year big league veteran.

“I think it’s the best place in the world if you have a winning ball club,” said Napoli, who bought a house in Boston after signing his two-year, $32 million deal prior to the 2014 season. “I think that’s the frustrating thing, to not have a winning ball club. We’re a good team, but we’re just underachieving. We’ll just have to try and make the best of it.”

Read More: 2015 Trade Deadline,

Curt Schilling on D&C: Red Sox ‘not getting fixed this year’

07.24.15 at 10:47 am ET
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ESPN baseball analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Friday to talk about the Red Sox‘ post-All-Star-break struggles. To listen to the interview, go to the D&C audio on demand page.

The Red Sox have lost eight straight, including the first seven contests since returning from the All-Star break. With the Sox now 12 games out of first place in the division, Schilling said that the team will not be able to remedy itself this season.

“I think the first answer is that it’s not getting fixed this year. It’s not. I don’t blame [general manager Ben Cherington] in some ways, but you have to in others. It seems like every single move he’s made since the final day of the season last year has been bad,” Schilling said.

According to Schilling, there needs to be accountability for the team’s disappointing results, but that doesn’t necessarily mean firing anyone in management.

“Somebody’s got to pay. That’s the thing. I think that, if I’m running the team, I don’t know that I fire anybody, but I think there’s some readjustments that need to be made,” Schilling said. “There’s not a Band-Aid to put on this, there’s multiple gaping wounds that need to be healed.”

Schilling was definitive when asked if the Red Sox should fire manager John Farrell: “No.”

“I certainly think he needs to get better as a game-manager,” Schilling added. “I’ve seen situations where I go, ‘In my mind he got outmanaged or he was outplayed.’ But this, to me, is on the players. One hundred percent on the players. You can’t make Joe Kelly suddenly start missing bats, you can’t make guys take extra outfield work off the wall.”

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