|06.12.15 at 3:13 pm ET|
The Red Sox will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak, while the Blue Jays come in winners of eight straight.
Hanley Ramirez is out of the lineup after appearing to be in obvious pain for much of the series in Baltimore after fouling a pitch off his knee. Brock Holt will take his place in left field, as the Red Sox go up against Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison.
Blake Swihart will catch Red Sox starter Joe Kelly.
|06.12.15 at 10:09 am ET|
After a disappointing three-game sweep at the hands of the Orioles, the Red Sox head back to Fenway for a weekend series with the Blue Jays. The Sox had swept their first series of the season last weekend against the A’s and looked to build momentum down at Camden Yards.
The team failed to do so, losing all three contests and falling back to the cellar of the AL East, now seven games behind the division-leading Yankees. In the month of June, the Sox have gone an even 5-5, pushing their record to an inadequate 27-34 on the season.
The Sox have been unable to sustain momentum all year, and just followed their best series of the year with one of their worst.
While the Red Sox have struggled to the bottom of the muddled AL East, the Blue Jays sit at third in the division. They are three games back of the Yankees, one behind Tampa Bay, and a game ahead of the Orioles.
The Toronto squad comes to Yawkey Way on a hot streak, having won eight straight games. The recent winning streak has put the Jays back on the right side of .500, with a 31-30 record.
Toronto owns the most potent offense in all of baseball, having scored 325 runs. The Jays are a whopping 50 runs ahead of the second-place Yankees. The differential between the Jays and Yanks is more than that between the Yankees and the 25th-place Red Sox (228 runs).
The Blue Jays rank first in team slugging percentage, first in team OPS and third in batting average. With 75 home runs, they have knocked the fourth-most round-trippers in the majors.
|06.12.15 at 9:48 am ET|
ESPN analyst Curt Schilling checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to offer his views on the John Farrell-Wade Miley confrontation from Thursday night. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
During Thursday’s 6-5 loss to the Orioles, Miley — who allowed five runs in four innings — expressed his frustration to the manager in the Red Sox dugout after being told he would not return for the fifth inning. Farrell followed Miley down the tunnel to the locker room and later downplayed the confrontation rather than publicly admonishing the left-hander.
Schilling, who pitched for the Red Sox when Farrell was the team’s pitching coach, said Farrell might have been careful with his words to the media, but he’s sure the 6-foot-4 field general flexed his muscles in private.
“I promise you there was a conversation in which John said, ‘If this ever happens again I’ll break you in half,’ to some degree,” Schilling said. “John Farrell isn’t just a big dude and he doesn’t just have an intimidating presence. He’ll throw down.
“This happens all the time,” Schilling added. “It generally happens a lot of time behind the scenes. With guys that are dumb-asses, sometimes it happens in front of the camera.”
Asked if the postgame conversation would have happened in front of the team, Schilling said that’s not necessary.
“There’s no sound-proof door on the manager’s office, which is about 11 inches away from the clubhouse,” Schilling said. “You don’t need to do it in front of the team to make sure the team knows.”
|06.12.15 at 8:39 am ET|
After their trip down the East Coast to Baltimore did not yield a win, the Red Sox return home to open their third series of the year against the Blue Jays. In Friday’s opener, Boston will send Joe Kelly to the mound while Drew Hutchison gets the start for the Jays.
The pair faced off against one another once already this season on May 9 when Hutchison recorded his third win of the year in a five-inning, one-run effort. Kelly, on the other hand, gave up six earned runs on four hits in 5 2/3 frames and picked up the loss, walking seven and striking out three in the process. Hutchison is still rolling, posting a 5-1 record with a 4.91 ERA on the season, and Kelly has started to make things work for himself recently, too. The Red Sox righty has hurled consecutive starts in which he lasted at least five innings and surrendered just one earned run in each outing.
“Whether it’s the last couple of starts or even going back to when he first arrived here last year, Joe’s got the ability to rise to an occasion inside of a game,” manager John Farrell said after Kelly’s most recent start against Oakland on Saturday. “Whether it’s the ability to reach back and get a little extra velocity, whether it’s making a key pitch as he’s done the last two starts in particular with men in scoring position, he’s got a way about him to keep a moment under control and still execute.”
Kelly, whose season ERA has fallen from 6.24 to 5.40 over the past two games, grabbed his first win Saturday since his very first start of the year back on April 11. Between victories, he had outright lost four times and registered no-decisions in his other five trips to the hill. Kelly’s last 11 innings of work have seen opposing batters slash .222/.286/.289, allowing just two extra-base hits of the 10 total he’s conceded in that time.
Now through three starts vs. the Blue Jays, two of which have come this year already, Kelly has a 0-1 record with a 6.62 ERA in 17 2/3 innings. He has given up 13 earned runs to Toronto and walked 12, logging a 1.42 WHIP. Jays batters have a .190/.325/.365 slash line with Kelly on the mound, and of the 12 hits the right-hander has granted the Blue Jays, five have been for more than one base.
|06.12.15 at 8:19 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (30-31): W, 5-3, vs. Toledo (Tigers)
— Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. drilled his fourth home run of the season to tie the game at 3 in the fifth, pulling a 1-2 pitch over the right-center wall. It was the second time this season Bradley has homered off Toledo right-hander Buck Farmer. Bradley also walked twice. Since returning from a brief Boston stint in late May (after Rusney Castillo’s call-up), Bradley has started 16 straight games for the PawSox, hitting 18-for-61 (.295) with three homers and four doubles. His .325 season average is third best in the International League.
— Travis Shaw (Boston’s No. 21 prospect at MLB.com) stayed hot, perhaps aided by Toledo center fielder Xavier Avery, as Shaw tripled off the base of the wall on a ball that Avery lost in the Pawtucket twilight in the fifth inning. Shaw is 7-for-16 in his last four games and has raised his average from .217 to .248 over an 11-game span.
In an interview with WEEI.com on Tuesday, Shaw admitted he’s had a different feeling at the plate lately.
“Pretty confident the past three or four weeks,” Shaw said. “I’ve felt a lot more consistent at the plate. I’m coming in with a plan every single day, and I’ve been able to execute it. I’m trying not to get too anxious. When you’re pushing for results you tend to swing at a lot of things. Trying to stay within myself, look for a certain pitch in a certain zone, especially early in the count.”
Shaw was a third baseman in college at Kent State, but most of his time in professional baseball has been across the diamond at first base. But this year Shaw has begun to play a lot more at third again, including Thursday’s game.
“They’ve thrown me back over there this year,” Shaw said of getting third base reps back. “I’ve gotten more and more comfortable. Maybe not an All-Star caliber, but I think I’m good enough to play it. I prefer first, but I know third will benefit me more, especially at the big league level.”
— RHP Pat Light, a converted starter and the closer for Double-A Portland before his promotion on Monday, made his Triple-A debut Thursday and retired the heart of the Toldeo order on nine pitches to earn his first Pawtucket save. Light, a first-round draft pick by Boston in 2012 out of Monmouth University, struck out cleanup hitter Steven Moya on a split-finger fastball falling out of the zone, then got two shallow fly balls outs to end the frame. That’s now 18 of 21 appearances on the season for Light without allowing an earned run.
|06.11.15 at 11:16 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — The Red Sox had just been swept by the Orioles, dropping a 6-5 decision Thursday night at Camden Yards. With the loss they fell to seven games under .500 for the second time this season. And David Ortiz hit his first home run since May 19.
But the chief topic of conversation following the game was what transpired after the fourth inning.
Upon entering the dugout following the home half of the fourth, Red Sox starter Wade Miley started shouting at John Farrell, engaging the manager in an animated discussion. While Farrell wasn’t nearly as animated, the two ultimately adjourned to the runway leading into the dugout, with Miley still seemingly shouting.
It was explained by Farrell following the loss that the pitcher’s displeasure stemmed from being taken out after 69 pitches, even though he had allowed five runs on nine hits.
“He’s a competitor,” Farrell said. “You work four days for your start. He doesn’t want to come out of the ballgame. I fully respect that. I thought he had good stuff overall, but where we were on the scoreboard, I felt like we needed a change of contrast, a change of style, and made a move at that point after four innings.”
The manager then added, “He didn’t want to come out of the game. That’s his competitive spirit coming through. While he’s had good stuff, there were some decent swings against him, and I felt like we needed to make a move.”
Farrell also insinuated there had been further discussion between the two following the incident.
“We’ve had a chance to talk,” he said. “It’s a competitive guy on his day to pitch. I fully respect it.” Farrell also later classified it as a “heat-of-the-moment thing.”
After Farrell’s meeting with the media, Miley proved even less information in regards to the issue.
The pitcher’s first comment on the matter was, “I mean, it’s between me and John. It is what it is.”
A few questions later, he added, “It’s fine. It’s over. Everything that happened is over. If you want to talk about the game, we can talk about the game. But that’s it.”
|06.11.15 at 9:45 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — At least the Red Sox have unique ways of landing at their low points.
The latest excursion to the depth of the 2015 season didn’t only include 6-5 loss to the Orioles Thursday night, completing a three-game sweep by the O’s, but also a dugout confrontation between starting pitcher Wade Miley and manager John Farrell.
It was Miley who was at the center of most of the chaos in the series finale, taking the loss after surrounding five runs on nine hits in just four innings.
After finishing off the fourth, in which Miley allowed his third homer of the game (a solo blast by Manny Machado), the lefty began to shout at the Red Sox manager. While it didn’t appear as though Farrell was yelling back, the two did adjourn to the dugout runway.
The lefty, who has routinely shown emotion upon exiting his starts, had thrown just 69 pitches before being replaced by Steven Wright.
Thanks in large part to another solid relief outing by Wright (2 2/3 innings, 1 R), the Red Sox were able to draw within a run heading into the late innings. But the inability to come up with the big hit (going 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position) would haunt Farrell’s team once again.
The game would end with the potential game-tying run, Blake Swihart, standing at first base after Orioles closer Zach Britton struck out Dustin Pedroia.
With the loss, the Red Sox drop to 10-18 against American League East teams, with the red-hot Blue Jays next up for a three-game set at Fenway Park. They fall seven games under .500 (27-34) for the second time this season, previously reaching the mark after being swept in Minnesota.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Orioles defense. Led by stellar first-inning plays by left fielder David Lough and third baseman Manny Machado, the hosts punctuated an excellent defensive series. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
|06.11.15 at 8:32 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — After finishing his half inning in the fourth Thursday night, Red Sox starter Wade Miley evidently was not happy.
Miley, who had just given up his fifth run of the game courtesy a Manny Machado blast in the fourth, could be seen screaming at Red Sox manager John Farrell before the two adjourned into the dugout tunnel.
The fourth would be Miley’s last inning, with the lefty having allowed five runs on nine hits while throwing 69 pitches. He was replaced in the fifth by Steven Wright.
Check back for more after the game …
WADE MILEY: FURY ROAD https://t.co/XwCc7vTC5A
— Red (@SurvivingGrady) June 12, 2015
— Tyler Sullivan (@TylerSully) June 12, 2015
|06.11.15 at 5:38 pm ET|
Farrell explained prior to his team’s series finale against the Orioles Thursday that he had no intention on pinch-hitting for Ortiz despite his struggles against left-handers (8-for-70, .114).
“As far as pinch-hitting for him? I’ve not talked to him about that at all,” Farrell said. “At this point I wouldn’t look to do that.”
Ortiz was in the starting lineup Thursday, hitting fourth against Baltimore righty Chris Tillman.
– There still hasn’t been any timetable set for Shane Victorino executing a minor league rehab assignment.
The outfielder hasn’t played since injuring his calf May 23.
“There’s been no advancement in his running progression, so to give you any sense of if we’re getting closer to a rehab assignment, we’re not there yet,” the manager said. “We’ll get a better read as we get through the weekend.”
When asked if there had been any sort of setback, Farrell responded, “I wouldn’t say he’s hit a wall. It’s been an involved program and stages of programs, and the intensity continues to ramp up. There’s a lot of change-of-direction work being accomplished. How he comes out of the more strenuous days, the medical staff isn’t ready to say, let’s go to the next step, which would be a game.”
– Brock Holt has evidently earned his way into the starting lineup, even if it’s at the expense of Rusney Castillo’s playing time.
With Holt hitting .324 against lefties, while fitting nicely into the lineup’s No. 2 spot, Farrell said it will be a priority to keep the lefty hitter in the starting lineup.
“Right now we’re looking to put the best alignment on the field, and what Brock is doing in the two-hole, he’s got the priority right now,” the manager said.
When asked about Castillo, who has seemingly struggled to pitchers’ adjustments to him (hitting 67 percent ground balls), Farrell said the 27-year-old outfielder is a work in progress.
“There’s good plate coverage away. He’s probably seeing some righthanded sinkerballers a little bit more competent at this level than anytime in the past,” Farrell said. “He’s been pitched there at times. When he stays within the strike zone — at times he’ll expand, but when he stays in the strike zone, he’s got the ability to put a charge into the ball. Right now, he’s offered at some pitches on the fringe at times.”
– Christian Vazquez made it a point to catch up with Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters before Thursday’s game, with the Orioles’ backstop offering advice in terms of coming back from Tommy John surgery.
|06.11.15 at 3:06 pm ET|
Ortiz will be hitting fourth, with Hanley Ramirez going back to left field after manning the DH spot Wednesday.
Here is the Red Sox‘ lineup in their series finale against the O’s, with Wade Miley starting for the visitors:
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