|08.18.15 at 3:31 pm ET|
Despite swinging the hottest bat on the team, Jackie Bradley Jr. will get the night off as the Red Sox go up against right-hander Trevor Bauer in Game 2 of a three-game series with the Indians.
Blake Swihart will catch Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez.
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
Here is a complete look at the Red Sox’ lineup:
|08.18.15 at 1:25 pm ET|
Red Sox utility player and Jimmy Fund co-captain Brock Holt checked in with Merloni & Fauria, along with Tom Caron during the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to talk about what the Jimmy Fund does and also to discuss manager John Farrell‘s recent cancer announcement. To hear the interview, go to the Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.
Farrell told the team last Friday during an unexpected meeting he has stage 1 lymphoma. Holt said it shocked everyone and felt like the team was going through it with its manager.
“When he told us we all kind of sat there and jaws were dropped, like what do we do, what do we say? You’re not really ready for something like that to be told to you,” Holt said. “It was a difficult day for everyone I think, but part of our job is to go out there and play every night and fortunately we were able to do that put some runs on the board and play a good game.”
Farrell’s first day of chemotherapy is Tuesday and Indians manager and close friend Terry Francona accompanied him to Mass General Hospital for his treatment.
“That kind of shows the kind of man that Terry is,” Holt said. “I have never met him, but obviously he was the manager here for a long time and Dustin played for him and Dustin says nothing but good things about him. It just kind of shows what kind of man he is and that is a pretty cool thing that he’s doing.”
Despite the team being 14 games below .500, Holt has seen some positives, although he did admit it’s been a disappointing year for everyone.
“I think our job is to come out and play regardless of how things have gone in the past,” Holt said. “The season obviously hasn’t gone the way we wanted it to go, or anyone else for that matter. We’ve done some good things. Younger guys are starting to play. Obviously [Xander Bogaerts] has had a tremendous year for us. He plays one of the main positions on the field for us, shortstop, so that’s been big for us. Our pitching has been better of late. We’ve been banged up, man — [Clay] Buchholz, [Rick] Porcello now, but Porcello is coming back. I think we have a good group. We just have to keep going on the path we’ve been on of late.”
Personally, Holt struggled a bit following the All-Star break, which he attributed to possibly fatigue coming out of the break. He’s performed better of late, as he’s batting .276 in August. He attributed the better performance to using a lighter bat.
“I think so. I was tired there for awhile,” he said. “I wasn’t getting to some pitches I usually get to and I was confused — I wasn’t doing anything different, my swing is pretty simple. I wasn’t able to square anything up. I was fouling pitches off or just missing them — pitches I usually get to. That’s part of the learning process of playing so many games. I didn’t get the All-Star break this year, but I think I’m starting to catch a second wind and I’ve started to switch to a lighter bat too, which has probably helped. I think I was just tied for awhile. It’s a long season. It’s a grind.”
|08.18.15 at 8:53 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (48-76): W, 6-1, vs. Syracuse (Nationals)
— LHP Edwin Escobar (Boston’s No. 26 prospect at MLB.com) pitched five scoreless innings to pick up the win (1-2, 5.51 ERA) in his third start of the season, with a final line of: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO (87 pitches, 53 strikes). Escobar, 23, loaded the bases in the third and fell behind the Syracuse cleanup hitter with a 3-1 count, but recovered for his first strikeout of the game on a fastball to escape the jam. The 6-foot-2 Venezuelan allowed leadoff singles in the second, third, and fourth, but was able to navigate the action as he stranded seven total runners in the outing.
Acquired by Boston in July of 2014 from San Francisco along with RHP Heath Hembree in exchange for RHP Jake Peavy, Escobar has started three of his last four games and in his last three appearances has allowed just one run over 13 innings of work, with nine strikeouts and seven walks. Escobar began the season on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation, and allowed at least a run in nine of his first 14 appearances after coming off the DL on June 18.
— RHP Jorge Marban pitched 2 1/3 innings of relief in his second PawSox appearance since his promotion from Double-A, allowing a run on an RBI-double in the seventh inning but getting a strikeout on a breaking ball to limit further damage and strand a runner at third.
Marban was replaced by RHP Pat Light (Boston’s No. 22 prospect at MLB.com) with one out and a man aboard in the eighth, and Light struck out the next two batters to end the frame, one on a 97 mph fastball and another on a split-finger fastball. The 6-foot-5 Light stayed on and worked a perfect ninth, getting three groundouts to end the ballgame.
Selected by Boston in the first round of the 2012 draft (37th overall) out of Monmouth University, the 24-year-old Light has allowed just one earned run over his last six appearances, a span of 12 1/3 innings with just five hits allowed. Over that span, Light has struck out 17 and walked 11. Light’s last seven outings have been of the multi-inning variety.
— Five different Pawtucket batters had multi-hit games, with first baseman Allen Craig, third baseman Carlos Rivero, left fielder Chris Marrero, catcher Sandy Leon, and right fielder Jonathan Roof all collecting two hits. Leon and Roof also walked, while center fielder Quintin Berry reached base twice with a hit and a walk.
|08.18.15 at 8:37 am ET|
With another rough start in the books, Eduardo Rodriguez will still get the nod from acting manager Torey Lovullo on Tuesday. He’ll face a similarly struggling Trevor Bauer and the Indians.
To say Rodriguez has had an up-and-down year is cliche at this point. However, it’s still applicable.
After compiling a 2.84 ERA in his previous three starts, Rodriguez fell apart last Wednesday against the Marlins. He was tagged with nine hits and eight runs in five innings. Dee Gordon got the onslaught started with a leadoff home run in the first inning, setting the tone for the rest of the outing, which ended in a 14-6 Marlins victory and a fifth loss for Rodriguez on his ledger.
For Rodriguez, Wednesday marked his fourth start in which he’s allowed six earned runs or more, tied for most on the team with Wade Miley and Rick Porcello, both of whom have logged at least 10 more starts. His bout with the Marlins raised his ERA from 4.17 to 4.83 and it recirculated speculation that he could still be tipping his pitches. Manager John Farrell was quick to address this charge after the game, arguing that Rodriguez’s troubles harken back to his command.
“I thought today when they show a replay after a base hit, he pulled some pitches across the plate. Missed to his arm side on a couple of occasions,” Farrell said. “To say this is all the result of tipping, I’m not going there. And I know that becomes kind of the common theme that everybody will look to seek out. But to me it was more he got behind in some counts, fastballs found some of the plate and they squared them up.”
On the season, Rodriguez owns a 6-5 record and a 4.83 ERA, along with a 1.29 WHIP. The rookie southpaw has pitched better than his standard numbers indicate, though. He sports a 4.31 FIP and an even better 4.12 xFIP, a version of FIP that assigns each pitcher the league average HR/FB ratio. Rodriguez shouldn’t have to worry about the long ball against the Tribe, a team that has generated just 93 all season, the second-worst mark in the AL.
|08.17.15 at 10:23 pm ET|
The Hanley Ramirez experience continues to disappoint.
When the Red Sox signed Ramirez to play left field this offseason, it was considered a coup. Only four years and $88 million for a middle-of-the-order thumper who projected to get a $150 million deal in free agency prior to the 2014 season? What a steal.
But as Monday night reminded us yet again, Hanley hasn’t worked out at all.
With rookie right-hander Matt Barnes trying to escape his first real jam in the fourth inning against the Indians, he induced Lonnie Chisenhall to hit a medium line drive to left.
Off the bat, the ball looked like no worse than a running catch at the base of the left field wall, but Ramirez froze, then couldn’t get back on the ball in time. It sailed over his head for a two-run double. The Indians added two more runs as part of a five-run frame.
Instead of potentially being out of the inning down 2-1, Barnes saw the Tribe grab a 5-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish in an 8-2 victory that once again called into question what exactly the Red Sox plan to do with Ramirez not so much this year, because it’s already over, but in 2016 and beyond.
“Hanley is a work in progress,” said interim manager Torey Lovullo. “He’s made improvements in the outfield. That was a tough play tonight. As we continue moving forward with Hanley, I think that’s going to be a play he’ll feel comfortable making. We have to understand where he’s come from and where he’s at right now. He’s missed a number of games. I think all things being said, it was a tough play.”
We’ve heard the “work in progress” refrain all season, and as much as fans might want Lovullo to tee off on another lackluster play, the interim manager probably isn’t in a position to be ripping his players publicly, at least not this early in his tenure.
The real question is what the Red Sox do next year. Is Ramirez going to remain in left field? Does he move to first base? Could the Red Sox somehow find a taker and move him, a la Edgar Renteria after the 2005 season?
It’s a question without an easy answer. Making matters worse, the Red Sox boast four above-average defensive outfielders in Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Alejandro De Aza, and Rusney Castillo.
“We do have three really talented gifted outfielders, but we wanted Hanley in that lineup tonight,” Lovullo said. “He was a guy that was going to potentially change the game for us. That was the decision and unfortunately it didn’t work out.
|08.17.15 at 6:51 pm ET|
On Tuesday morning, Terry Francona won’t be John Farrell‘s former teammate or manager. He’ll be his friend.
With Farrell facing the start of chemotheraphy at Mass. General, Francona will be there for the man he considers his closest friend in baseball.
“We were just talking and I was just asking questions and the normal questions and he mentioned that he was going to start Tuesday,” Francona said on Monday afternoon before his Indians faced the Red Sox. “I was like, ‘Man, I’m right there. I’ll meet you there, I’ll go with you, whatever.’ I may not do anything other than get in the way like normal. But being a friend, the only thing I know how to do is be a friend. Like, probably the rest of us, we all don’t know exactly how to handle those things or what to do. But I do know how to be a friend and I care about him a lot, so that’s what I’ll try to do.”
Farrell was diagnosed with Stage 1 lymphoma one week ago, and the news hit everyone hard across baseball, but particularly Francona, who played alongside him in 1988, and hired him as his pitching coach nearly 20 years later.
Francona struggled to find the words on Monday to describe his feelings for Farrell and his plight.
“I don’t know, it’s not an easy thing to explain,” Francona said. “I think, like everybody else, it’s a little bit unsettling. I was worried about him because of the hernia and all of a sudden you get the unexpected news of something more serious. It kind of unsettles you a little bit. I do know that if well wishes and lots of people caring, if that has anything to do with the outcome, he’s going to be in good shape because there’s a lot of people that care about him, myself included.”
Getting the news left him stunned.
“My first reaction was, I knew people were probably wanting to get at him but I wanted to talk to him because in this game, we run into so many good people and have so many friends,” Francona said. “But then there’s a handful of people who are friends not just through baseball but outside of baseball, and he’s certainly one of those for me.”
|08.17.15 at 5:57 pm ET|
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Red Sox and Dodgers have engaged in trade discussions revolving around outfielder Alejandro De Aza.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 17, 2015
De Aza could play all three OF positions, freeing Hernandez to remain in infield while #Dodgers await return of Kendrick at second base.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 17, 2015
De Aza, who is eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season, is hitting .313 with an .882 OPS in 53 games. For the year the 31-year-old has a batting average of .273 with a .782 OPS.
|08.17.15 at 10:24 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (47-76): W, 7-1, at Lehigh Valley (Phillies)
— William Cuevas earned the win with a six-inning effort. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed one earned run on six hits and one walk and struck out six. Cuevas has started three games for Pawtucket and is 1-2 with a 2.50 ERA. He went 8-5 with a 3.40 ERA in 19 starts for Portland earlier this year.
— Left-hander Robby Scott pitched three scoreless innings of relief to record his first save of the season. He allowed two hits, walked none and struck out one. Scott has a 1-1 record and an 8.18 ERA after nine appearances in a PawSox uniform this season.
— First baseman Allen Craig led the offense, going 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, an RBI and a run scored. Craig has hit safely in his last four games and is batting .275 on the season. Right fielder Jonathan Roof also recorded a two-hit game for Pawtucket, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
— Marco Hernandez hit his third Pawtucket home run, a fourth-inning solo shot, and finished the day 1-for-4. Hernandez, who was the designated hitter Sunday, is hitting .248 with 14 RBIs through 28 games with Pawtucket.
|08.17.15 at 10:16 am ET|
While the Red Sox sit 12 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East and 8 1/2 games back of the wild card, their next opponent, while also last in its division, has a bit of a jump on them. The Indians are farther behind the AL Central-leading Royals than the Sox are the Yankees, but they’re 2 1/2 games closer to a playoff spot than Boston.
The Sox capped off their weekend series with the Mariners on Sunday afternoon, dropping the final game of the set to take two of three from Seattle. In those three days, the Sox scored a total of 45 runs, putting them second in the league for total runs scored since the All-Star break (151) and first in the month of August (95). The team is leading the majors in batting average (.284) since the break with a league-high 284 hits. Boston’s .317 batting average, .374 on-base percentage and .516 slugging percentage this month also are best in the big leagues.
“It’s just a bunch of guys going up, having a great approach, not missing their pitch,” acting manager Torey Lovullo said of the team’s offensive success Saturday. “We were having some really, really loud contact throughout the course of the game and throughout the course of [Friday’s] game. Against arguably one of the best pitchers in baseball [Felix Hernandez], there was no letup by us.”
The Red Sox have gotten some scattered good starts from their pitchers recently, but not nearly enough to keep them on the up and up. Since the break, the Sox’ 5.39 team ERA is second worst in the league and worst in the American League. They’ve also issued the fourth-most walks since then and given up the most home runs.
The Indians have a bit of a different situation going for them. They have the same record as the Sox in their last 10 games, 5-5, but their pitching is significantly better while their offense has struggled at times.
On the year, Cleveland is in the bottom third in the majors for runs scored with 463 while the Red Sox are third with 527. The Indians have collected the 17th-most hits in the majors with 998 compared to the Sox’ fifth-best 1,070. Still, they draw the third-most walks in the majors (397), most in the AL, and have the sixth-fewest strikeouts.
|08.17.15 at 8:16 am ET|
Barnes spent time in the big leagues this year as a reliever, appearing in 21 games and 22 1/3 total innings for a 3-2 record with a 5.64 ERA. The right-hander had just one outing longer than two innings this season but started five games for the PawSox, two of which came on Aug. 5 and 10. He began the season as a starter in the minors, posting three outings that left him with a 4.50 ERA and a trio of no-decisions. Barnes allowed six earned runs over 12 innings in that time but was then transitioned to reliever. After getting scratched from his scheduled Monday start in Pawtucket, the 25-year-old instead will make his first MLB start for Boston.
“We’ve asked a lot of him, moving back and forth in the rotation and the bullpen. But he’s very capable of that,” acting manager Torey Lovullo said Saturday. “His last start, the word we got from player development was that it was aggressive. He was throwing a lot of his pitches in the zone and doing a good job. He’s been stretched out well enough that he can go out there and give us close to 100 pitches.”
That last start Lovullo referenced lasted 4 2/3 innings and Barnes was able to hold the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders — the Yankees‘ Triple-A affiliate — to just one earned run on six hits. He threw 91 pitches, 56 for strikes, and struck out five while walking three.
Barnes has never faced the Indians in his career, even in relief, but he has seen two of their division rivals in the Royals and Twins. Against those teams he has a 3.86 ERA, having given up two earned runs in an inning vs. Kansas city and none in 3 2/3 frames vs. Minnesota.
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