|08.16.14 at 2:59 am ET|
It seemed as if everything was in place for a Red Sox victory Friday night.
Clay Buchholz gave his team a chance to win, holding the Astros to just two earned runs over seven innings of work, while Brock Holt‘s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh gave Boston a late 3-2 lead.
However, both the lead and the game quickly changed course in the top of the eighth, all due to a head-scratching and bizarre series of defensive mistakes.
With runners on first and second for Houston with two outs, Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez hit a liner that jumped up in front of Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts, looking to end the inning, attempted to get the out at second, but Dexter Fowler beat the force out.
Dustin Pedroia then immediately threw to home in an attempt to nab Gregorio Petit, who was attempting to score on the play. Christian Vazquez caught the ball and attempted to tag out Petit in a rundown, but took an odd angle that allowed Petit to avoid the tag and sneak past the Sox catcher on the basepaths.
“It’s a tough play. … [Pedroia] threw the ball to home plate and I was running to the runner to do a rundown and he came on the other side,” Vazquez said.
Vazquez then flipped the ball to reliever Burke Bandenhop at home, who fumbled the throw, allowing Petit to score and tie the game at 3 runs apiece.
“A strange play with two outs,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell after the game. “Fowler, at first base, does a good job of getting to second base in short order, but Dominguez hits a little bit of a humpback liner that Xander’s got to lay back on, and if the anticipation might have been where the speed of Fowler doesn’t give him a shot at the feed at second base, then does he possibly take the throw across the infield to get Dominguez, who is probably a little bit of a below-average runner.”
“But then I think [Pedroia] makes a heads-up play, even after the safe sign is called, and Christian’s aggressiveness to run him back to third base, his momentum takes him inside the third-base line and gives Petit enough room to elude a tag, and unfortunately that’s a tie ballgame in that spot.”
|08.16.14 at 12:05 am ET|
The second baseman left what resulted in the Sox’ 5-3 loss after running out a ground ball in the bottom of the eighth inning.
‘He fouled a ball off the right foot. He came out, obviously, he’s sore,’ said Red Sox manager John Farrell. ‘We’ll check him in the morning to see, or when he reports tomorrow, to see if he’s available. He’s a little bit sore after [Saturday night].’
After the game, Pedroia underwent a Fluoroscan that proved negative. In 2010, he underwent surgery after fouling a ball off his left foot.
|08.15.14 at 10:58 pm ET|
Entering Friday night, the Astros had a career record of 0-8 at Fenway Park, while the Red Sox possessed a bizarre mark of 0-14 on actor Ben Affleck‘s birthday dating back to 1997 – the same year that “Good Will Hunting” was released in theaters.
Something had to give.
In the end, the Astros were able to come away with the win, as Houston right fielder Jake Marisnick drove in two runs on a ground-rule double in the 10th inning to give the Astros a 5-3 victory at Fenway Park. The loss snaps Boston’s brief four-game win streak.
Starter Clay Buchholz put together another encouraging outing, holding Houston to seven hits, two earned runs and two walks over seven innings while striking out nine Astros batters.
‘Clay was outstanding once again,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell after the game. “He was crisp, he had a very good curveball to put hitters away with, to lead guys off with strikes. A lot of strikes overall. He was very efficient.’
Houston starter Dallas Keuchel got off to a good start against the Red Sox lineup, striking out four and only surrendering an infield single through the first three innings.
Boston was finally able to get on the board in the fourth inning, as Yoenis Cespedes laced a slider from Keuchel into the Green Monster seats for a two-run homer, giving Boston a 2-0 lead.
Houston left fielder Robbie Grossman almost single-handedly helped the Astros get back into the game, collecting an RBI single off Buchholz in the fifth before jumping on a first-pitch cutter from the Sox starter in the seventh and driving it into the right-field seats for a solo home run, knotting the game at two runs apiece.
Boston would quickly regain the lead in the bottom of the seventh, as Holt singled home Christian Vazquez to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead, but a bizarre defensive breakdown involving Xander Bogaerts, Vazquez and reliever Burke Badenhop in the eighth allowed the Astros to once again tie the score, 3-3. Vazquez, who was attempting to tag out an advancing Gregorio Petit at home, received a throwing error on the play after botching a throw to Badenhop at home, allowing Petit to cross the plate.
The game would remain tied until the top of the 10th. After Craig Breslow allowed the first three Houston batters to reach base with no outs, the Astros capitalized, as Marisnick lofted a 2-0 fastball from Junichi Tazawa into right field that bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double, scoring two and giving the Astros a lead that they would not renounce.
‘You can’t defend a bloop double on the line,’ Farrell said. ‘Tazawa comes in, we’re trying to stay away from him for the third consecutive day and being forced to use him. ‘¦ Marisnick dumps a double just inside the line for the difference.’
With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 55-66 on the year.
|08.15.14 at 9:23 pm ET|
Allen Craig‘s eventual return to the Red Sox lineup draws closer and closer.
In his debut with the Red Sox on Aug. 1, Craig tweaked his ankle in his final at-bat while attempting to run out a grounder at first. Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Friday’s game against the Astros that he expects Craig to begin an assignment down in the minors within the next few days.
“We’re hopeful that he goes out on a rehab assignment early this coming week - possibly as early as Monday,” Farrell said. “He came out of yesterday’s work of full BP, some running in the outfield, in good fashion. He’ll go through three more days of work prior to heading out.”
While Farrell said that it’s looking more and more likely that Ross will not need to take part in a rehab assignment, he added the veteran catcher still has some big milestones to reach before he is able to return behind the dish.
“We’ve still got to get some steps accomplished with David,” Farrell said. “He’s set to catch a bullpen or two today. He started to do a little bit more running yesterday and came out of it feeling OK, so he’s making adequate progress as well.”
|08.15.14 at 7:10 pm ET|
The Red Sox announced their first eight official international amateur signings of the year, headlined by a pair of right-handed pitchers who rank among the most impressive in this year’s class. Both Anderson Espinoza and Christopher Acosta represent pitchers with the arsenals to suggest potential big league starters, with the projectability to suggest the possibility of pitchers capable of making a considerable impact in a rotation.
The Sox regard the pair so highly that they were willing to blow past their allocated pool of approximately $1.9 million to do so. The team has signed Espinoza for $1.8 million and Acosta for $1.5 million. Not only will the team pay a 100 percent tax on its overage beyond the recommended bonus pool, but it will likewise punt on the opportunity to sign any international amateurs to bonuses in excess of $300,000 in both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 signing seasons. That decision underscores the high regard in which the Sox hold Espinoza and Acosta, along with other players who have either signed or whose agreements are expected to become official once approved by Major League Baseball in the coming months.
Anderson Espinoza: RHP, Venezuela
16 years old, 6-foot-1, 165 pounds
Considered perhaps the best 16-year-old international amateur in this year’s class, Espinoza is a strike-thrower who works fast, shows good feel for pitching and was ultra-competitive in games. He features an advanced three-pitch mix of a low-90s fastball, curveball and changeup.
Christopher Acosta: RHP, Dominican Republic
16 years old, 6-foot-3, 220 pounds
Acosta was also viewed as one of the top arms in this year’s international amateur class, with a heavy 88-92 mph that has considerable movement from his low three-quarters arm slot. Like Espinoza, he’s a strike-thrower who shows a feel for how to use his three-pitch mix. His changeup grades as above average, while his slider flashes potential.
Roniel Raudes: RHP, Nicaragua
16 years old, 6-foot-1, 160 pounds
Jhosmer Cortez: RHP, Nicaragua
16 years old, 6-foot-0, 160 pounds
Raudes and Cortez are the Sox’ first signings out of Nicaragua in recent years. Both are 16 with lean, projectable frames and quick arms. Raudes has a mid-80s fastball and a very good breaking ball with formidable mound presence. Cortez has a mid-80s fastball with sink from a three-quarters arm slot; hitters simply couldn’t square up the offering.
Nicolo Clemente: RHP, Italy
16 years old, 6-foot-0, 170 pounds
Clemente is believed to represent the Sox’ first signing in Italy. He’s a six-footer with a quick arm.
Luis Colmenares: LHP, Venezuela
16 years old, 6-foot-0, 175 pounds
Colmenares came on late in the signing season, showing an 87-88 mph fastball and athleticism. While he’ll likely enter the system as a starter, his likeliest long-term projection is as a reliever.
Elwin Tejeda: 3B
16 years old, 6-foot-2, 155 pounds
A lean, athletic third baseman who shows an advanced feel for hitting, squaring the ball up and using the whole field. He has an average arm at third, good hands and solid game makeup.
|08.15.14 at 1:00 pm ET|
Former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar joined Middays with MFB to discuss Roger Clemens‘ Hall of Fame candidacy and Rob Manfred being elected commissioner. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Red Sox inducted Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra and Joe Castiglione into the team’s Hall of Fame Thursday. The induction of Clemens sparked debate over whether or not he deserves to be in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame despite his link to performance-enhancing drugs.
Millar is one of those who would like to see Clemens inducted in Cooperstown.
“Who knows is the ultimate question. We can assume, but at the end of the day nobody knows and it’s one of those places where we’re trying to say, ‘Who morally did right?’ There’s guys in there that drank alcohol, that did other things that are in the Hall of Fame. I don’t know.”
He added: “In my opinion, I just want to take my kids and show them the best players of our generation. That was an era that we lived in and there’s questions. If you want to put an asterisk, fine. But my goodness gracious, there’s some great players there, whether there’s questions or not, it’s a museum and I want to take my kids there to show them.”
Red Sox president Larry Lucchino was hesitant to say whether or not he believes former Sox slugger Manny Ramirez deserves to make the team’s Hall of Fame when asked about it on Dennis & Callahan Friday morning. Millar, on the other hand, thinks Ramirez is deserves to be in both the team Hall of Fame and Cooperstown despite the sour end to his tenure in Boston. Read the rest of this entry »
|08.15.14 at 10:17 am ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox system on Thursday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-1 WIN AT GWINNETT (BRAVES)
– Right-hander Matt Barnes tossed a career-high eight innings, scattering seven singles, walking none and striking out three. After entering the All-Star break with a 5.06 ERA in 15 outings, the 24-year-old has gone 2-1 with a 1.95 ERA in five starts since the season resumed, lowering his ERA for the year to 4.12. His strikeout totals have remained relatively modest throughout the run, sitting at 7.0 per nine innings (up a tick from 6.9 per nine prior to the break), but his walk totals have been trimmed from 3.7 per nine innings to 2.8 per nine and hitters are managing just a .161 average against him, down from .297 before the All-Star break.
PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur, in this episode of Minor Details, explained that Barnes has been working to remain compact in his delivery, rather than “getting really long and tilting his back,” in an effort to keep his arm in a higher slot with better direction to the plate. Those efforts have been paying off in recent outings for the 2011 first-rounder, with the results to show the improvement.
– Feats of Mookie: Streaking (again). Mookie Betts went 2-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. He has three multi-hit games in his last four contests to improve his line in 42 games in Pawtucket this year to .339 with a .423 OBP and .509 slugging mark.
– First baseman Travis Shaw was 2-for-4 with his first homer since July 28, his 10th in 69 games since his promotion to Pawtucket. He now has a career-high 21 homers along with 50 extra-base hits through 116 games in Portland and Pawtucket this year, forging a .286/.358/.497 line.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 4-2 LOSS, 1-0 LOSS VS. AKRON (INDIANS)
– Outfielder Keury De La Cruz continued his strong August run, going 3-for-5 with a homer and a walk in the double header. In 12 games this month, he’s hitting .333/.408/.524 with six walks in 12 games. The walk total is double the number of free passes (3) the 22-year-old had negotiated in 43 games in June and July. He’s now hitting .289/.315/.408 for the year.
– Right-hander Justin Haley, 23, tossed six shutout innings before permitting a solo homer in the seventh for the lone run he allowed. He delivered 6 1/3 innings allowing the one run on six hits and five walks (his second straight five-walk outing after he hadn’t permitted more than three in any of his first 20 starts) while punching out three. Though Haley has walked more (12) than he’s struck out (11) in his three starts since moving up to Portland, and is winless in Double-A, he has a 0.98 ERA at the higher level, with three straight outings of at least six innings and one or no runs.
– Right-hander Luis Diaz had his third straight outing of four or more runs allowed, permitting that number in 5 2/3 innings. He has now given up 13 runs in his last three starts spanning 16 innings, a run in which he’s had nine and seven days off between starts, at a time when he’s blown past previous career innings highs. He is up to 128 1/3 innings this year after not ever throwing more than 101 innings in a season.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 2-1 WIN, 3-1 WIN AT POTOMAC (NATIONALS)
– Right-hander Simon Mercedes tossed six shutout innings, allowing four hits (all singles), walking two, punching out three and recording eight groundball outs. The six innings matched a season-high for the 22-year-old, who has been a groundball machine this year, with 52.2 percent of balls put in play against him having been on the ground (according to MLBfarm.com). The combination of that groundball rate with his 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings and mix of mid-90s velocity with a changeup and curveball suggest that Mercedes has prospect status that exceeds his 3-9 record and 4.64 ERA.
– Outfielder Kendrick Perkins rebounded from a three-strikeout game in the first contest of the double header by launching his first homer in High-A in the nightcap. In 10 games with Salem, the 22-year-old is hitting .194/.242/.323 after posting a strong .296/.353/.473 line in 51 games in Greenville.
– Right-hander Heri Quevedo, in his first start of 2014 in High-A (the level where he spent nearly all of 2013), tossed five scoreless innings with seven punchouts and two walks while allowing five hits. The seven strikeouts matched his highest total in High-A, and fell one short of the career high he had four weeks ago in Lowell.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 4-0 LOSS AT SAVANNAH (METS)
– Outfielder Manuel Margot extended his hitting streak to 13 games this month by going 1-for-4. He’s hitting .446/.492/.696 in August to boost his season line to .286/.355/.449 with 10 homers and 39 steals. According to multiple industry sources, Margot will be promoted to High-A Salem for the duration of the season.
The promotion underscores what has been an impressive developmental year. Margot has shown a fairly complete skill set, with strong center field defense (including a strong arm), a good approach that has netted a 9.0 percent walk rate and a modest 11.9 percent strikeout rate, the ability to impact the baseball for average with some power (35 extra-base hits, including eight in 13 games in August), and the ability to influence the game on the bases (his 39 steals rank 17th in the minors).
His speed/power combination as a teenager is rare. He is one of seven players in all of minor league baseball who has at least 10 homers and 30 steals. No other player in that group is younger than 21. Indeed, the Red Sox have two of the three players who are 21 or younger in all of minor league baseball (Margot and Mookie Betts) to have the 10/30 double (the other is Astros prospect Teoscar Hernandez).
Margot will be the third youngest position player in the Carolina League, with his promotion underscoring the notion that he is one of the top handful of position prospects in the Red Sox system.
– Right-hander Ty Buttrey had his best start of the season, tossing six shutout innings in which he allowed two hits, walked three and punched out six. In four outings since his return from the DL, the 21-year-old has a 3.66 ERA with 18 strikeouts and 10 walks in 19 2/3 innings. Prior to his hand injury, he had an 11.91 ERA with eight strikeouts and eight walks in 11 1/3 innings.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 5-1 LOSS AT BROOKLYN (METS)
– Shortstop Mauricio Dubon had his third multi-hit game of the week, going 2-for-4 to boost his average to .297, eighth in the New York-Penn League. The 20-year-old has a .297/.322/.380 line that suggests the ability to make contact with a line drive stroke that, in tandem with his solid shortstop defense, makes him an intriguing position prospect.
– Center fielder Joseph Monge went 2-for-4 for his first multi-hit game since July 28. The 19-year-old is hitting .280/.345/.320 in 15 games with the Spinners since his promotion from the GCL.
ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: SUSPENDED (RAIN) AT GCL ORIOLES
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 13-7 WIN AT DSL REDS
– Luis Alejandro Basabe, who entered the game with one extra-base hit in 24 games, went 2-for-3 with a double, triple and walk. He now has 23 walks and 20 strikeouts on the year, giving the 17-year-old a .421 OBP despite a .244 average.
– Catcher/third baseman Roldani Baldwin went 2-for-5 with a triple and a walk, boosting his line to .281/.362/.406.
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Cup of Coffee: Wilkerson keeps rolling, GCL wins semifinal
- Cup of Coffee: Gonzalez leads combined no-hitter in DSL Playoff opener
- Cup of Coffee: Asuaje leads Salem to doubleheader split
- Players of the Week, 8/18-24: Brian Johnson & Mike Miller
- Cup of Coffee: Speier helps GCL Sox clinch division title
- Marrero and Coyle headed to Arizona Fall League
- Cup of Coffee: Chavis rips first career home run in GCL Sox win
- Weekly Notes: Battle for CF heats up with new addition
- Cup of Coffee: Asuaje leads the way, Wilkerson keeps rolling
- Cup of Coffee: Johnson dominates NH, Coyle hits 14th