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Clay Buchholz reveals big change he’s making when starting Saturday

08.12.16 at 10:51 am ET
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Clay Buchholz says he will be taking a different approach to Saturday's start. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz says he will be taking a different approach to Saturday’s start. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz is realistic about his start Saturday.

“I think it is what it is,” he said. “The biggest part is because of Steven [Wright]. It’s not like I would be pitching Saturday if he hadn’t gone through what he’s going through.”

True. If Wright doesn’t dive back into the base as a pinch-runner in Los Angeles, jamming his right shoulder, Buchholz continues to live his life as a reliever without interruption.

But Buchholz is getting another chance to revisit life as a starting pitcher, which he hasn’t experienced since serving as the Red Sox’ first pitcher in their horrific 21-2 loss on July 2 to the Angels.

So what’s he going to do differently this time around? Embrace the lessons he has learned in the bullpen.

“I’m going to take it and simplify it, treat it like an extended relief appearance,” Buchholz explained. “I’ve actually gotten pretty comfortable coming out of the pen. I feel good. I’m not eliminating pitches. Sometimes as a starter you have five days to prepare for the team you’re going to face and you’re going over scouting reports. You start reading up on them. Things like guys hitting .400 against the changeup so you eliminate the changeup out of the equation. I haven’t been looking at anything like that. I’ve been getting some side notes from Dana in the bullpen when I’m warming up. But I’m not eliminating pitches and I’ve been able to go out and throw a lot of strikes.

“It”s more what I want to do rather than letting the hitter determine what I’m going to throw him. I battled that early in my career and I let that get to me early in my career. The years I’ve gone out and had good years are years I’m going out knowing what I want to do and I’m throwing the pitches I want to throw regardless of who’s hitting.”

Buchholz has been noticeably more effective of late, pointing to an adjusted arm angle along with the aforementioned approach. In 13 relief outings, hitters are batting just .186 against him, with the righty allowing just two baserunners over his last five appearances (6 1/3 innings).

It remains to be seen how long Buchholz will be able to go considering he hasn’t thrown more than 35 pitches since that July 2 start. (“I feel good. It’s going to be their call,” he said. “I guess it all depends on the situation that comes up. I feel like I can give them whatever they want me to give them.)

But the idea of getting a chance to showcase his adjustments in the form of a start has left Buchholz with a new wave of optimism, even if it is just a quick visit back to the rotation.

“I’m in a little bit better place right now as far as the delivery and the things I’ve been trying to tweak,” he said. “I think everything is coming to a head as far as the stuff I’ve been working on, not really having to think about it. I’m just going out and pitching rather than going out and thinking about mechanical issues or fixes. Right now it’s becoming second nature for me.”

Do you think Clay Buchholz will turn in a quality start Saturday?

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Friday’s Red Sox-Diamondbacks matchups: David Price vs. Patrick Corbin

08.12.16 at 8:38 am ET
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The Red Sox will welcome the Diamondbacks to Fenway on Friday night, with Sox ace David Price opening the series against left-hander Patrick Corbin.

In 24 starts, Price is 9-8 with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.278 WHIP. Price’s disappointing season continued last Sunday when he threw only five innings, allowing six runs (three earned) and five walks with three strikeouts in an 8-5 loss to the Dodgers.

“I thought he had really good stuff and cruised through the first three,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Any time you give a team an extra out and in back-to-back innings it is going to come back to haunt, and today it did.”

The 30-year-old left-hander’s last win came on July 10 against the Rays. Price started the year going 7-2 in his first 12 starts, but since June 8 he has gone 2-6.

“I always expect to win. That’s part of it. The first 10 starts of the year I was terrible and still won a lot of games,” Price said. “Then I start throwing the ball better and things weren’t happening. I’m going to continue to work and do everything I can to get good results.”

Price faced the Diamondbacks once in 2010 as a member of the Rays. In that start, Price threw eight innings, allowing two runs, seven hits and one walk with a season-high 11 strikeouts.

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Read More: David Price, Patrick Corbin,

Andrew Benintendi explains how lights got in way of Red Sox win

08.11.16 at 11:13 pm ET
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Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

It was just two nights ago when Andrew Benintendi stood in front of the television in the middle of the Red Sox’ clubhouse answering questions after his team’s win. It is the spot usually reserved for players who have had the biggest impact on the game’s outcome, a description that certainly fit the rookie after his three-hit game.

This time, the get-together was under entirely different circumstances.

Benintendi offered 54 seconds of explanations for what was the pivotal play in the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Red Sox Thursday night in the same very spot he stood 48 hours before.

“It went in the lights, but that’s no excuse,” he said. “I should have caught it.”

What the Red Sox’ left fielder was referencing was the Jacoby Ellsbury line drive hit virtually right at him in the eighth inning, bringing in two runs and giving the visitors a lead they wouldn’t surrender. (To see the play, click here.)

The play came with one out, the bases loaded, the Red Sox leading by a run, and reliever Brad Ziegler on the mound. On a 2-0 pitch, Ellsbury hit a ball that Benintendi had to move slightly to left. But at the last moment, the 22-year-old had the ball skip past his outstretched glove, resulting in what was ruled a double.

“I think it was just one of those things. Not much you can do about it,” Benintendi said. “I tried to put my glove up where I thought it was going to be. It just went right over my glove.”

He added, “I saw it off the bat, but as I made my way to the left the ball is coming back to me and it went into the lights.”

Read More: Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox, Yankees,

Closing Time: Red Sox spoil Eduardo Rodriguez’s great start, suffer 2nd straight brutal loss to Yankees

08.11.16 at 10:14 pm ET
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Alex Rodriguez (right) celebrates a 4-2 win over the Red Sox on Thursday. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Alex Rodriguez (right) celebrates a 4-2 win over the Red Sox on Thursday. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

After suffering through one of their worst losses of the season, the Red Sox needed a bounce-back win more than anything.

However, what they got instead was yet another crushing blow.

After starter Eduardo Rodriguez pitched seven innings of one-run ball, the Yankees came back to score three runs in the eighth off of reliever Brad Ziegler — including two on a crucial Andrew Benintendi misplay in left — to escape with a 4-2 victory at Fenway Park on Thursday night.

The loss left the Red Sox only a half-game ahead of the Tigers for the second spot in the American League wild card race. They trail the Blue Jays in the American League East by three games. The Red Sox have not won a series since sweeping the Giants at home on July 19 and 20.

Five of the Red Sox’ last six losses have seen the team lose by no more than three runs. After the game, manager John Farrell said the missed chances to score on offense have been the biggest reason for failing to win these close games. The Red Sox stranded nine men on base Thursday.

“Once again, with men in scoring position, that has been a little bit of a missed opportunity at this point,” Farrell said.

Rodriguez kept the Red Sox in front for most of the game, holding the Yankees to one run on three hits while striking out six. He outdueled Yankees starter Michael Pineda, who allowed two runs on eight hits in six innings.

“The velocity was good,” Rodriguez said. “The slider was working, the two-seamer was working … Everything was pretty good tonight.”

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, Brad Ziegler, David Ortiz, eduardo rodriguez

Jacoby Ellsbury offers advice for Andrew Benintendi: ‘Enjoy it because it happens quick’

08.11.16 at 8:49 pm ET
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Jacoby Ellsbury's call-up in 2007 was a key ingredient in the Red Sox' World Series run. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

Jacoby Ellsbury’s call-up in 2007 was a key ingredient in the Red Sox’ World Series run. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

Jacoby Ellsbury was Andrew Benintendi.

Back in 2007, Ellsbury was the 22-year-old outfielder dropped into the middle of a pennant race while experiencing his first foray into Major League Baseball.

As the Yankees’ outfielder said before Thursday night’s game, “it’s a third of [his] lifetime” ago. But he can still offer Benintendi some advice when it comes to living such a life.

“Enjoy it because it happens quick,” said Ellsbury in regards to what he might suggest to the new Red Sox’ left fielder. “Just enjoy it. Listen to the veterans. Just enjoy the whole proess. Go out there, prepare, play hard and be yourself.

“It just happens so fast. You get called up and you’re just trying to play hard, help the team win and do everything you can. It happens quick. For him it’s 1 1/2 months and if they make the postseason we’ll see. You can’t look ahead or think about if they’re going to put you on the postseason roster. Even on the minor league roster, you can’t look ahead. If you’re in A ball, you play ball in A ball. That’s all you can do in the environment you’re in.”

Ellsbury — who, like Benintendi, wasn’t in major league spring training leading into his rookie year — first reached the majors on June 30, 2007. One of the Sox’ first-round picks from the 2005 draft spent only about a week in the big leagues before being sent to Triple-A.

Ellsbury returned to the Red Sox for one game in August before returning for September, when he spent the final month of the regular season all of a sudden playing on an everyday basis due to an injury to Manny Ramirez. By the end of September, the Oregon State product had hit .353 with a .902 OPS in 33 major league games. In four World Series starts, he hit .438 with a 1.188 OPS.

“I just looked at is as I’m a ballplayer and I was coming here to play and help the team win, even in the major leagues,” he said. “It’s the same game. Obviously as a young kid coming into the clubhouse, I’m sure he’s watched these guys play his whole life. Watched them on TV. Watched David. Watched Dustin. It’s an exciting time for him. When I got called up I was in awe of the players.

“It was such a veteran team. I knew every single player. It wasn’t like they had to introduce themselves to me. I knew everybody from being a fan of baseball in general. I’m sure it’s the same way for him. But it’s still the game, so you go and try and help the team win.”

While the two outfielders’ scenarios are slightly different, with Benintendi not having the luxury of full year in the minor leagues before being called up like Ellsbury did, the path from the minors to the postseason in one year appears to be potentially lining up.

When it was all said and done in 2007, Ellsbury found himself as the starting center fielder throughout the Red Sox’ 2007 World Series sweep of Colorado, having begun his season in Double-A Portland.

“The goal as a kid is to get to the big leagues. That’s really it. You work hard and you just want to do well. I didn’t look beyond it,” Ellsbury said. “I was just in the moment, just trying to play as well as I could. It was the same game. Have fun, play hard.”

Red Sox pregame notes: David Ortiz ‘good enough’ to start against the Yankees; Mookie Betts still hurting

08.11.16 at 5:57 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

Prior to Thursday’s matchup between the Red Sox and the Yankees, manager John Farrell gave the latest injury updates on both David Ortiz and Mookie Betts.

Farrell said he got a text from Ortiz this morning saying that the slugger was good to go after fouling a ball of his shin at the end of Wednesday night’s 9-4 loss to New York. Farrell said it was a “pleasant surprise” to know that his designated hitter would be able to play in Thursday’s game.

“David being available to us is obviously big for our offense, for our team,” Farrell said. “He reached out to me probably around mid-morning to say that he was good to go for tonight. The way he came off the field last night, it was certainly in question. I think he understands where we are in the season, in the standings, the time of the year, the necessity of him being in our lineup. He’s good enough.”

Farrell went on about the toughness shown by Ortiz, who has been hobbled with injuries almost all season.

“I think not only do you appreciate it, but it speaks volumes,” Farrell said. “This is someone who’s been here a long time, he understands what winning is, he understands the expectations that we and our fans have. The ability to get on the field when he’s been less than 100 percent which has been almost every game this year says a lot about David Ortiz.”

The news was not as positive for Betts, who came out of Wednesday’s loss after dealing with calf soreness. Farrell said Betts would not play at all Thursday and remains day-to-day.

“Mookie’s still day-to-day, he’s got some soreness, still in a cast, he would need today to just have a full treatment day.” Farrell said.

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Read More: David Ortiz, John Farrell, mookie betts, steven wright

David Ortiz on playing despite shin injury: ‘Right now, you’ve got to bring to the table everything you’ve got’

08.11.16 at 5:55 pm ET
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David Ortiz kneels after being injured in Wednesday's loss to the Yankees. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz kneels after being injured in Wednesday’s loss to the Yankees. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz dodged a bullet.

The Red Sox designated hitter shed some light on what he was feeling after fouling a ball off his shin on Wednesday night and needing to be helped off the field. The injury, which initially looked serious, subsided enough for Ortiz to rejoin the lineup for Thursday’s series finale with the Yankees.

“This morning I called [manager] John [Farrell] and I told him, ‘Don’t take me out of the lineup,'” Ortiz said.

Ortiz explained that after fouling balls off his leg twice this week, he felt swollen and numb.

“The thing is, the night before, I fouled off a ball off my calf and then last night, the same thing, right on the same spot, and last night I kind of lost feeling in my leg so that’s why I had to be carried off the field,” Ortiz said. “X-rays were negative. I was pretty swelled up. But I took some medication last night, some stuff, and it went down, I’d say, 30 percent.”

Ortiz didn’t consider sitting out, especially since he has already announced this will be his final season.

“We’ve got 50 games,” he said. “We’ve got to grind out there. We’ve got to keep on fighting. . . . Right now, you’ve got to bring to the table everything you’ve got. I know I’m a big person in the lineup and you guys know me, if I can go, I go.”

Ortiz is thankful he didn’t break anything. X-rays on Wednesday night came back negative.

“You don’t want to find out you have any broken bones or anything like that,” he said. “It would be the end of the season if you had a broken bone at this time. Thank God that wasn’t the case.”

Read More: David Ortiz, Red Sox,

Red Sox Lineup: David Ortiz to play despite injuring shin Wednesday night, Mookie Betts gets the night off

08.11.16 at 3:44 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

After giving Red Sox fans a scare when he fouled a ball off his shin in the ninth inning of Wednesday night’s 9-4 loss to the Yankees, David Ortiz will remain in the lineup for Thursday’s matchup with New York.

Mookie Betts, however, has been giving the night off after dealing with soreness in his right calf during Wednesday’s loss. Betts is currently listed as day-to-day.

Here is the Red Sox’ batting order against New York right-hander Michael Pineda:

Pedroia 2B

Bogaerts SS

Ortiz DH

Ramirez 1B

Bradley Jr. CF

Shaw 3B

Holt RF

Leon C

Benintendi LF

Click here for the matchups with Eduardo Rodriguez on the hill for the Red Sox.

Read More: David Ortiz, mookie betts, Red Sox,

Red Sox recall LHP Roenis Elias, option OF Bryce Brentz, will play short a bench player against Yankees

08.11.16 at 3:30 pm ET
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With Clay Buchholz scheduled to start on Saturday and the bullpen depleted, the Red Sox made a pair of roster moves before Thursday’s series finale with the Yankees.

The Red Sox recalled left-handed pitcher Roenis Elias from Triple-A Pawtucket and optioned outfielder Bryce Brentz to Triple-A.

Elias is 8-4 with a 3.72 ERA in the minors in 17 appearances (15 starts). He went 0-1 with a 15.88 ERA in two appearances with the Red Sox.

Brentz, meanwhile, hit .279 with a .690 OPS in 25 games with the Red Sox. His departure makes Andrew Benintendi the full-time left fielder.

The Red Sox will likely be playing with a short roster against the Yankees. DH David Ortiz (shin) and right fielder Mookie Betts (calf) each left Wednesday’s loss with injuries and are considered day to day.

Read More: Andrew Benintendi, bryce brentz, Red Sox, Roenis Elias

Why one hat tip reminded me what’s wrong with Alex Rodriguez

08.11.16 at 1:29 pm ET
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It was the moment most were looking forward to at some point this week, when Alex Rodriguez entered a game at Fenway Park. Hence, the chants of “We want A-Rod!” throughout the first 15 innings of the three-game series against the Yankees.

And here it was: Rodriguez entering the game as a seventh-inning pinch-hitter.

Rodriguez predictably looks the part of a pinch-hitter just trying to do his part. He warms up like any other hitter. Consults teammate Brett Gardner before facing Matt Barnes. And then takes his .204 batting average to the right-handed hitters’ batter’s box.

Then he did it. The adjusting of the batting helmet.

Who adjusts their batting helmet that way? Our good friend Batting Stance Guy has made a career of pointing out that everybody has their idiosyncracies. Derek Jeter called timeout with his wrists. Jacoby Ellsbury nods in agreement to strike calls. David Ortiz spitting on his hands. The list goes on.

But this just seemed like something not done by a baseball player I enjoy watching play baseball.

I’ve always believed Rodriguez to be one of the most talented players we’ve ever watched a participated in Major League Baseball, performance-enhancing drugs or not. But even on the field there was always something. He was always just a little off.

Slapping Bronson Arroyo’s glove. Calling for a pop-up in Toronto when running the bases. Sliding in late for no apparent reason. It’s like he purported himself as the ultimate instinctive human being, and then was just the opposite.

We know about the lying. We know about the behind-the-scenes drama. We know about his love affair with his mirror. For me, all of that didn’t quite punctuate things until we were struck with that daintiest of helmet adjustments Wednesday night.

But that’s just me.

What bothers you most about Alex Rodriguez?

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