|05.07.16 at 4:17 pm ET|
David Price’s lackluster start continues. Is it OK to panic yet?
The $217 million left-hander didn’t have it once again on Saturday. He allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings against the light-hitting Yankees, taking his first loss of the season in an 8-2 defeat.
Price may have been squeezed by home plate umpire Chris Conroy on both corners, but that doesn’t explain his diminished fastball (in the 91-93 mph range) or his inability to escape trouble with runners on base. The Yankees undid him with two big hits — a bases-clearing double from Didi Gregorius in the fourth, and a two-run double by Carlos Beltran that chased Price in the fifth.
Price doesn’t know what to make of this.
“I’ve got to be able to flush it,” he said. “My first six or seven starts have sucked. It’s not fun. I don’t enjoy it. I’ve got to get better.”
Though Price and manager John Farrell insisted the pitcher is healthy, the Red Sox must nonetheless ask themselves if there’s an issue with their big free-agent signing. Price’s ERA sits at 6.75, which is third-worst in the American League, trailing only Anaheim’s Matt Shoemaker (9.15) and Kansas City’s Kris Medlen (6.85).
Price has now allowed at least five earned runs in four of his seven starts after compiling just two such starts last year.
“They bunched some hits together in the fourth and fifth inning,” Farrell said. “They ran his pitch count up — I think he threw roughly 60 pitches in those two innings — he had a number of guys where he’d get to two strikes, and the lack of a put-away pitch here today allowed them to get back into a count, or an 0-2 pitch to Gregorius with the bases loaded for three runs in that particular at-bat, but just the number of pitches in those two innings cut his day short.”
Price wasn’t the only culprit on Saturday. The offense managed just two runs off Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi on a seeing-eye single by Brock Holt and a solo homer from Jackie Bradley Jr.
“He was powerful,” Farrell said. “That’s probably the best we’ve seen him. A lot of strikes, a lot of high velocities. Was able to use his split to put a couple of guys away with, but he pitched a very good game.”
Price allowed at least five earned runs for the fourth time in seven starts this season. He only reached that total twice in 32 starts last year en route to a league-leading 2.45 ERA.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
— Bradley continued his productive hitting by blasting a solo homer, his third of the season, in the fifth. He’s now out-slugging Travis Shaw (.505 to .500), ranking second among regulars to David Ortiz, and has compiled 13 extra-base hits, also second to Ortiz.
— Mookie Betts broke out of a slump with his first multi-hit game since April 30.
WHAT WENT WRONG
— Price. See above.
— Reliever Matt Barnes allowed two hits and a run in the sixth to give the Yankees a 7-2 lead.
— Second baseman Dustin Pedroia grounded into his league-leading eighth double play and struck out twice.
|05.07.16 at 1:27 pm ET|
NEW YORK — John Farrell is awaiting word on a possible suspension after being ejected on Friday night and not immediately leaving the dugout.
Farrell was tossed after arguing strike two to David Ortiz in a wild finish. One pitch later, Ortiz struck out and earned his own ejection, prompting Farrell to race back onto the field and try to separate his big DH from home plate umpire Ron Kulpa.
“Great finish to a game,” Farrell deadpanned on Saturday morning. “I didn’t want to miss it.”
Farrell didn’t sound any happier with Kulpa’s strike zone given the benefit of a night’s sleep. But he was moving on.
“The one thing I keep going back to is, the energy that we created as a team,” Farrell said. “I’m proud of the resilience that they showed, the relentlessness to the at-bats that were taken, and it created a number of opportunities. In hindsight, you’d love to think that maybe the ninth inning isn’t even as close as it was, given the opportunities prior to that. But still, tough pill to swallow in the end.”
Farrell made it clear he has no regrets returning to the field. Ortiz was so incensed, he risked a suspension.
“I came out, the players are first and foremost,” Farrell said. “Given what was taking place at the moment, you never want to see any kind of physical contact, as slight as it might be. So I felt it was important to step in again.
“Anytime you see that confrontation, you get a sense of guys’ personalities and how their initial reaction is and if it’s going to escalate fairly quick. That probably had a chance to escalate pretty quick.”
As for the possibility of a suspension, Farrell said he’ll take what comes.
“I’m sure I’ll hear something,” he said. “You always do when you’re thrown out of a ballgame. We’ll see what comes down.”
|05.07.16 at 9:27 am ET|
Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (13-14): L, 7-5 vs. Rochester (Twins)
— It was another extra-inning defeat for the PawSox and a tough one at that. Pawtucket allowed four ninth inning runs and then two runs in the 10th to take the loss. James Beresford drew a bases loaded walk against Pat Light in the 10th that forced in the go-ahead run and then Rochester added a sacrifice fly for the seventh run.
— The biggest story of the game was Joe Kelly making his first start rehabbing his shoulder. He went three innings and allowed one run on two hits, while walking one and striking out three. For more on Kelly’s outing, click here.
— Middle infielders Deven Marerro and Marco Hernandez paced the offense, both going 2-for-5 at the plate with a run scored. Marerro is batting .212 on the year, while Hernandez is up to .358.
— Right fielder Justin Maxwell and third baseman Jantzen Witte also collected two hits in the loss.
|05.07.16 at 7:39 am ET|
David Price gets another chance to straighten things out when he starts for the Red Sox on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium opposite Nathan Eovaldi.
While Price is 4-0, he carries a 6.14 ERA and 1.28 WHIP and repeatedly has failed to protect leads provided by the Sox offense. Six days ago against the offensively challenged Yankees, the left-hander allowed three runs in the third and another three-spot in the fifth, but his teammates picked him up by scoring early and often in Boston’s 8-7 win. Price finished with a line of seven innings, eight hits, six runs, one walk and three strikeouts.
Price did show some positive signs, including lasting into the seventh and, with the game tied in that inning, inducing a ground out from Alex Rodriguez, who previously had driven in four runs via a home run and a double.
“David’s not going to say he doesn’t want to face anyone,” manager John Farrell said afterward. “That was a pivotal moment. He’s a big-time performer, despite some of tonight’s outcomes.”
Said Price: “For them to stick with me then, I definitely appreciate it.”
In 32 career appearances (31 starts) against the Yankees, Price is 14-7 with a 4.17 ERA and 1.29 WHIP.
Eovaldi also pitched in that Sunday night showdown. After taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Rangers in his previous start, Eovaldi surrendered hits to the first Sox batters he faced. He ended up going five innings and allowing six runs on 10 hits and three walks with three strikeouts. He did not factor in the decision.
|05.06.16 at 11:49 pm ET|
NEW YORK — David Ortiz hasn’t flipped out on an umpire in forever, but Ron Kulpa pushed him to the breaking point on Friday night in Yankee Stadium.
Ortiz struck out on two borderline pitches in the ninth inning and was ejected alongside Red Sox manager John Farrell in a wild 3-2 loss that had Ortiz steaming (watch the video here).
“Bad thing about it is the whole world watches these games,” Ortiz said. “The umpire was having a hard time in the game earlier. That’s a situation where the game is on the line. Got to focus better.”
The strikes mattered because Ortiz was batting with the bases loaded and a three-ball count. Miller threw a borderline strike on a 3-1 count that catcher Brian McCann butchered by diving his glove and practically leaving his crouch as it sailed through the zone. Ortiz couldn’t believe it when Kulpa ruled the pitch a strike.
“Look, have you seen Miller’s numbers?” he said. “He don’t need no help. That’s all I can tell you. Just because an umpire has a wide zone, I’m not going to get out of my game. I’m facing one of the best pitchers in the game. You either keep it fair or it’s not going to happen. You’re going to look bad. He looked pretty bad on those pitches”
Manager John Farrell was asked what he expects when a catcher moves his glove as much as McCann did.
“We’ve seen it so many times,” Farrell said. “If a catcher frames a pitch that’s a borderline pitcher’s pitch, it’s probably going to get called a strike,” he said. “In addition to a borderline pitch probably maybe a tick below the zone, that’s pushed down below the zone, that’s a tough one to take.”
|05.06.16 at 11:44 pm ET|
NEW YORK — Ron Kulpa has certainly had some history with the Red Sox, most noticeably when he was head-butted by Carl Everett during a game in 2000.
Add another incident to the list.
With the bases loaded, and the Red Sox trailing by a run to the Yankees with one out in the ninth inning Friday night, David Ortiz came to the plate against New York closer Andrew Miller.
Ortiz worked the count to 3-1 when Miller threw a slider that appeared to be right on the edge of the strike zone, but was made to look worse when catcher Brian McCann’s glove took it well outside the zone.
The call infuriated Ortiz, who started engaging Kulpa in a heated conversation, resulting in both Hanley Ramirez (who was on deck) and manager John Farrell to come out to stand between the two (watch the video here).
Farrell would be ejected for arguing balls and strikes. During the argument with the manager and umpire, the Sox skipper gestured as if he was throwing Kulpa out of the game.
“John was just out there. He was arguing balls and strikes. He was just trying to keep Ortiz in the game and he was doing his job as a manager,” Kulpa said. Asked if he had ever had a manager mimic throwing the ump out of the game, he added, “Not in my career, not with myself. I’m sure you can maybe dig something up from back in the old days with Earl Weaver or something like that.”
|05.06.16 at 10:18 pm ET|
NEW YORK — The Yankees center fielder did in the Red Sox Friday night, and, no, it wasn’t Jacoby Ellsbury.
Aaron Hicks, he of the .091 batting average (3-for-31) coming into the series opener between the Sox and Yanks, spoiled another solid outing by Red Sox starter Rick Porcello by taking the righty over the left field wall for a seventh-inning solo home run. It broke a tie and ultimately gave the Yanks a 3-2 win at Yankee Stadium.
Hicks had moved over to center field from right after Ellsbury exited the game following a first-inning hip injury.
“It was actually just a BP fastball down and away,” Porcello said of the pitch. “Didn’t want to overcook it and leave it middle, so I had thrown a bunch of change-ups the at-bat before and had actually hung one to him that he just missed. I was trying to get ahead with the fastball and something that wasn’t 90 mph in his speed range, and it ended up being his speed range, whatever it was.”
Porcello took his first loss of the season, giving up three runs over seven innings while throwing 102 pitches. He surrendered six hits while striking out five and walking two.
The Sox had staked Porcello, whose ERA stands at 2.95, to an early lead thanks to David Ortiz’s two-run blast in the first inning against New York starter Michael Pineda.
The home run tied Carl Yastrzemski for the second-most homers by a player wearing a Red Sox uniform, claiming No. 452. The round-tripper also tied Ortiz on the all-time list for homers with Gary Sheffield, with both players totaling 510 for their career.
|05.06.16 at 10:01 pm ET|
Rehabbing right-hander Joe Kelly made his first rehab start at Triple-A Pawtucket, tossing three innings and allowing two hits and a run on Friday night against Rochester.
Kelly injured his shoulder on April 19 against the Rays and departed in the first inning with a shoulder impingement. He has been on the disabled list ever since. Pitching at home against the Twins affiliate, Kelly allowed a leadoff homer to Byron Buxton, but no further damage.
“It was a matter of easing back in,” Kelly told reporters in Pawtucket, including the Providence Journal. “I didn’t want to go out there and blow it out and get set back. I felt strong. I wanted to test it in that last inning, knowing it was my last inning, and I wanted to see where my arm was at, sitting down and coming back out. It was good, mentally, to know that my arm feels good.”
Kelly threw only 28 of his 54 pitches for strikes, but walked just one.
“Today the command was better than I thought it would be,” Kelly said. “Obviously, it’s not there yet. I threw pitches where I wanted to throw them and missed on the side where I was going.”
Kelly will see how he feels in the next couple of days, throw a bullpen, and prepare for another start. He’s happy to feel healthy.
“From a mental standpoint, my mind feels clear that the situation, the pain, everything I was feeling is gone,” Kelly said. “The strength work I’ve been doing, I can definitely feel it out there, and now it’s just about continuing to build up and get that total strength back.”
|05.06.16 at 6:21 pm ET|
The Red Sox visit the Yankees on Friday to open a three-game series with their reeling rivals. The weather, which the forecast projected could cancel the game, appears to have held off and we’re expected to get this one in.
The first place Red Sox will run their regular lineup out there, with Christian Vazquez catching Rick Porcello as the latter attempts to improve to 6-0.
Before the game, manager John Farrell discussed the demotion of left-hander Henry Owens and the summoning of right-hander Sean O’Sullivan to replace him.
Owens, who walked six in just three innings against the White Sox on Thursday, will head to Pawtucket with a mandate to improve his command and control. He walked 13 in 12 1/3 innings with the Red Sox.
“Henry needs to go back and look to command his fastball with more consistency,” said manager John Farrell. “He’s got an outstanding changeup to get back into some counts and get him away from some damage. The strike-throwing is the priority here.”
Owens has struggled to crack 90 mph with his fastball, but Farrell ruled out the possibility of injury.
“There’s no health issues at play here,” he said. “I think when a pitchers delivery is not in sync, yeah, he’s not maybe getting the most power out of it. And then with the strike throwing, there becomes a confidence factor where I don’t want to say he was tentative or there was a lack of aggressiveness, but I think when you’re feeling for pitches, to try to get the ball in the strike zone a little more, there might be that tentativeness that takes over.”
Farrell was asked if it’s fair to say Owens hasn’t done enough with his opportunity.
“Based on what he showed at this level last year, yes,” Farrell said.
The Red Sox replaced him with O’Sullivan, a journeyman who has discovered the ability to put hitters away in the minors. The 28-year-old owns a 32-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in Triple-A, where he’s 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA. Farrell said he’s a candidate to start on Tuesday, but for now represents bullpen insurance.
O’Sullivan nearly didn’t get the news of his arrival.
“I’m super excited to be here, to be able to put the jersey on for real, instead of just spring training,” O’Sullivan. “It was 1 in the morning and I missed the first 12 phone calls they made to me. We finally got my daughter to sleep, so we were stone-cold out, and I just happened to hear my phone vibrating on the ground for the 13th time, and rolled over and said, ‘Whoa, I’d better pick it up, because my manager has been trying to call me for 20 minutes.'”
Here’s the lineup:
RF Mookie Betts
2B Dustin Pedroia
SS Xander Bogaerts
DH David Ortiz
1B Hanley Ramirez
3B Travis Shaw
LF Brock Holt
CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
C Christian Vazquez
|05.06.16 at 10:35 am ET|
Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (13-13): Postponed vs. Rochester (Twins). Next at home vs. Rochester on Friday night.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (9-18): W, 2-1, vs. Binghamton (Mets)
— Rainel Rosario and Tzu-Wei Lin had RBI hits in the seventh inning as the Sea Dogs ended a streak of 14 consecutive losses to Binghamton at Portland’s Hadlock Field that dated back to Sept. 5, 2014.
— Tim Roberson (batting .227) went 3-for-4 and started the winning rally with a leadoff double. Rosario followed with an RBI double, and Lin later hit a single with the bases loaded to score pinch-runner Henry Ramos.
— Starter Aaron Wilkerson pitched six scoreless innings and gave up no runs, two hits and one walk with seven strikeouts. It marked the third time he pitched and did not allow a run, and he lowered his ERA to 2.08.
— Simon Mercedes allowed a run in the seventh but pitched out of jams in the seventh and eighth, stranding a total of three baserunners, and picked up the win. He’s now 2-2 with an 8.56 ERA. Chandler Shepherd (1.88 ERA) pitched a perfect ninth inning for his third save. Of his 13 pitches, only three were balls.
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