|07.12.15 at 5:59 pm ET|
CINCINNATI — It was a fairly uneventful day for Manuel Margot and Rafael Devers — the Red Sox‘ two representatives in the Sirus XM Futures Game, both members of the World Team.
Margot, currently with Double-A Portland, started the game in center field and played five innings, as he was removed for prior to the bottom of the sixth. At the plate he went 0-for-2.
In his first at-bat he struck out on a weak swing on a full count on a pitch up and away and in his second at-bat he was robbed of a base hit by shortstop JP Crawford with a leaping catch. Crawford is in Double-A in the Pirates organization.
Margot did make a nice catch on the warning track in the deepest part of the ballpark in the second inning off the bat of Richie Schaffer.
“It’s been a really great experience,” Margot said through a translator following the game. “I’m really proud to be here. The fans have been great. I thank God and everyone else for giving me the opportunity.”
Devers, who is just 18 years old and with Low-A Greenville, entered the game in the bottom of the sixth inning at third base. In his first at-bat he hit a weak chopper to first base to end the top of the seventh and then in the ninth he struck out looking for the final out of the game.
“I’m really proud,” Devers said through a translator. “It’s such an important event because there are so many great players. To be the one representing this team is really special.”
Team USA beat the World Team 10-1. They are now 11-6 lifetime in the 17-year history of the game.
|07.12.15 at 5:19 pm ET|
It was looking like the Red Sox were going to punctuate their recent resurgence. They carried a one-run lead over the Yankees into the fifth inning, with starter Wade Miley seemingly in the midst of a solid outing.
Then the wheels came off, sending the Red Sox into the All-Star break with an all too familiar bad taste in their mouths.
With one run in the fifth inning and three more in the sixth, driving Miley from his start, the Yankees would go on to claim a 8-6 win over the Sox Sunday. It send the Sox into the season’s second half 6 1/2 games in back of New York for first-place in the American League East, residing five games under .500 (42-47).
A win would have been huge for the Red Sox, who had won four straight series prior to the three-game set with the Yankees.
Instead, John Farrell‘s team was left with a familiar feeling, dropping their sixth game in nine tries against the Yankees this season.
Prior to the fifth inning — which saw the Yankees score the game-tying run via only the second balk of Miley’s career — it appeared as though the Sox starter had been in control. His only miscue had been a first-inning, two-run homer off the bat of Brian McCann. That was deficit the Red Sox erased with a three-run third inning against Yankees hurler Nathan Eovaldi.
The Red Sox had a few chances in the later innings, but Mookie Betts came up on the short end in key spots on two separate occasions. In the sixth, with runners on second and third and two outs, Betts flew out sharply to deep right field. Then, in the eighth with the potential game-tying run at first base, the center fielder fanned against New York reliever Dellen Betances.
Following the eighth-inning Red Sox squander, the Yankees pulled away for good thanks to a ninth-inning, two-run home run from rookie Rob Refsnyder off reliever Alexi Ogando.
The Sox did bring the potential tying run to the plate in twice the ninth inning against Yankees reliever Andrew Miller, scoring twice thanks in large part to two key New York errors. But Shane Victorino‘s pop up into shallow left field ended the threat and the game.
The Red Sox did finish with 12 hits, with Xander Bogaerts, Hanley Ramirez and Alejandro De Aza each claiming multiple-hit games. They did, however, go just 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
|07.12.15 at 3:13 pm ET|
CINCINNATI — Most Boston fans fondly remember the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park, featuring Pedro Martinez starting and striking out the side of the National League batters in the first inning and five altogether in the American League‘s 4-1 win.
But the previous night, it was Ken Griffey Jr. stealing the thunder from Mark McGwire and capturing the Home Run Derby. That was the night that McGwire put shot after shot onto the mobbed Lansdowne Street, only to have Junior beat McGwire in the final round.
Turns out, Junior’s dad was also a big fan of Fenway, too.
“It was one of the best places to hit in my career,” Ken Griffey Sr. said, before managing Team USA in the Futures Game here at Great American Ball Park. “I hit there toward the end of my career and really, really enjoyed it.”
Griffey has very good reason to have fond memories of Fenway. He doubled to left-center off Dick Drago with two out in the top of the ninth, scoring Dave Concepcion with the go-ahead run in a 3-2 Reds’ win that evened the series, 1-1, headed back to Cincinnati.
Then in the top of the ninth of Game 7, he worked a walk and scored the series-clinching run with two out when Joe Morgan blooped a single to center off Jim Burton.
Griffey then played for the Yankees from 1982 to midway through 1986, before being traded to the Braves. He finished his career playing in Seattle with his son in 1990-91. Overall, Griffey Sr. hit .411 in 23 regular season games (99 plate appearances) at Fenway, his best average at any MLB park.
“I hit well at Dodger Stadium, Yankee Stadium and of course Riverfront, too,” Griffey recalled Sunday.
His son, by comparison, hit .297 with eight homers in 73 games at Fenway. On Feb. 10, 2000, Junior was traded to the Reds for pitcher Brett Tomko, outfielder Mike Cameron, and minor leaguers Antonio Perez and Jake Meyer. Griffey signed a nine-year, $112.5M contract with the Reds after the trade was completed, with a club option for a tenth.
“People forget that the biggest reason he came home here to Cincinnati was that it was his hometown,” Griffey said of Junior agreeing to the trade in early 2000 that paved the way for his exit from Seattle. “He could’ve been a free agent and taken a lot more money from New York or Boston but he really wanted to play here.”
|07.12.15 at 2:34 pm ET|
“The way he’s feeling swinging the bat right now, and I know it’s BP and we’ve done some things in the cage to emulate a little bit more velocity, want him back in the lineup as soon as he’s available,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell.
Pedroia was eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Friday, but was held back from the active roster in order to ensure there weren’t any setbacks heading into the Sox’ four-game series against the Angels.
The second baseman is hitting .306 with an .819 OPS.
The Red Sox entered Sunday with a 10-5 mark since Pedroia went on the DL, with Brock Holt hitting .260 during the span while manning second base.
|07.12.15 at 12:09 pm ET|
Minus Ortiz, the Red Sox will start Travis Shaw at first base. Hanley Ramirez, meanwhile, gets the start at DH, with Alejandro De Aza in left. Here is the lineup in this matchup of Wade Miley vs. Nathan Eovaldi.
1. Mookie Betts, CF
2. Brock Holt, 2B
3. Xander Bogaerts, SS
4. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
5. Hanley Ramirez, DH
6. Alejandro De Aza, LF
7.Shane Victorino, RF
8. Travis Shaw, 1B
9. Ryan Hanigan, C
|07.12.15 at 9:31 am ET|
The job of saving the Red Sox‘ late first-half surge from being rendered obsolete will go to Wade Miley as he takes the mound Sunday against Nathan Eovaldi for the final game before the All-Star break.
The break could be much needed for the Red Sox as staff ace Clay Buchholz headed to the DL Friday with elbow tightness. The injury could’ve been much worse than it is, however, losing Buchholz puts the rotation in a bind. Someone will need to step up in his stead.
One of the prime candidates to do so is Miley, the 28-year-old left-hander who has played host to a multitude of ups and downs on the campaign. For the season, he is just 8-7 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. Yet he had a terrific month of June, going 3-2 with a 3.30 ERA and 27 strikeouts over 30 innings pitched.
“I’m just trying to go out and give us a chance to win,” Miley said after his June 27 start, adding: “Just going out there and competing when it is my turn to pitch and that is it.”
Of late, Miley has struggled, allowing seven earned runs over his last two starts and walking nine batters in 11 2/3 innings. He has come under a fair bit of bad luck, however, as opponents have clubbed a .389 BABIP against him, which has produced a .298/.411/.383 slash line. Oddly enough, opponents’ BABIP against Miley has risen along with his ground ball rate. Usually more ground balls equate to less hard contact and therefore less baserunners. but Miley is bucking the trend.
In two starts against the Yankees this year, Miley has been quality, putting up a 3.65 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. His first start of the year was in New York on April 10, when he shut down the Yanks’ big boppers to the tune of two earned runs over 5 1/3 innings, as the Red Sox emerged the victors in the contest, 6-5. This time around, he has much more at stake as he squares off with Eovaldi.
|07.12.15 at 7:26 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (39-51): W, 7-2, vs. Lehigh Valley (Phillies).
— Pawtucket snapped its 12-game losing streak behind a three-RBI night from Daniel Nava, who is continuing to rehab from a left thumb strain. Nava, who led off and played right field, finished 3-for-4 with a double.
— First baseman Allen Craig hit four singles, going 4-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, while third baseman Garin Cecchini went 2-for-5 with a fourth inning solo shot and two runs scored. Center fielder Rusney Castillo also had a two-hit day, finishing 2-for-5.
— Keith Couch earned the win with a six-inning effort. The right-hander started in place of lefty Brian Johnson, who was called up to Boston Saturday, and allowed two earned runs and scattered nine hits. He walked none and struck out three. Couch improved to 4-8 with a 5.59 ERA.
|07.11.15 at 10:27 pm ET|
Now that’s how you bounce back.
They instead gritted out a 5-3 victory behind another solid outing from rookie Eduardo Rodriguez and a timely two-run homer from slugger Hanley Ramirez.
It was exactly what the Red Sox needed after Buchholz’s injury left them momentarily unable to catch their breath, and it gives them a chance to win the series on Sunday when left-hander Wade Miley opposes Nathan Eovaldi.
“It was a big win,” said manager John Farrell. “We walk into that dugout knowing where full well where we are when we look out to left field. And knowing that we have to continue to improve within our division, particularly against New York, tonight was a key win for us with a chance to win the series tomorrow.”
This one didn’t get off to a great start, with Yankees villain Alex Rodriguez blasting a solo homer in the first for the second straight night. But instead of imploding, Rodriguez bore down en route to 6 1/3 solid innings. He allowed five hits and two runs, walking one and striking out two.
“One of the things that really stood out, a couple times he gives up solo home runs and he executes a first-pitch strike to the next hitter,” Farrell said. “He didn’t fear the strike zone. He attacked the strike zone with quality stuff. A lot of stuff and for the most part was in command of the count.”
Working mainly off his fastball — all but 16 of his pitches were heaters — Rodriguez kept the Yankees off balance, helped by a nice diving catch from Alejandro De Aza in right field.
“I just tried to do the best I could do, tried to control my pitches, around the strike zone with my fastball and the changeup, and make big pitches and try to get ground balls, strikeouts and fly balls,” Rodriguez said.
Speaking of De Aza, he drew the Red Sox even in the third by manufacturing a run. De Aza singled, stole second, advanced to third when the throw got away, and scored on a Ryan Hanigan groundout.
Ramirez untied the game in the fourth after a David Ortiz single by ripping an Ivan Nova offering into the bullpen for his 19th homer of the year.
“The biggest thing tonight was the first time in a while he’s driven the ball the other way like he did,” Farrell said.
With the victory, the Red Sox improved to 42-46, five and a half games behind the Yankees in the AL East.
“Tomorrow’s a huge game going into the All-Star break,” said shortstop Xander Bogaerts. “I know everyone in this clubhouse is going to come in and give it their all, for sure. . . . Hopefully we all just join together and take off in the second half.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME: The Red Sox gave Hanley Ramirez $88 million to be a difference-maker at the plate, and he filled the role perfectly by ripping the game-winning two-run homer the other way.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
— Rodriguez allowed no more than two runs for the seventh time in nine career starts, silencing the Yankees without overpowering them.
— David Ortiz went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk, and was also robbed of a hit by a leaping Brett Gardner against the left field wall.
— Right fielder Alejandro De Aza continues to contribute. In addition to his diving catch, he went 2-for-4 with a steal and two runs.
— Leadoff man Mookie Betts went 2-for-4 with a triple that drove in an insurance run in the seventh.
WHAT WENT WRONG
— Mike Napoli went 0-for-4 with a strikeout to drop his average to .192, and also grounded into a double play with runners on the corners to end the second.
|07.11.15 at 5:28 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell noted before his team’s game against the Yankees Saturday that it would make little sense to put Pedroia back in the lineup for one day instead of allowing the second baseman to continue his rehab all the way up until after the All-Star break.
“Probably not and yet today was in a pretty intense sprint,” said Farrell when asked if there was a chance Pedroia could return Sunday. “He’s feeling good with the increase in intensity. But we want to be careful, too, if he gets in an awkward position we don’t want a setback here so there’s the balance of one day vs. the remainder of the season.”
Seemingly the only question regarding Pedroia’s path to a return is whether or not he would be getting at-bats in a brief rehab assignment before returning to the Red Sox’ lineup in Anaheim.
Pedroia hasn’t played since June 24, when he injured his hamstring rounding first base. He is currently hitting .306 with an .819 OPS.
“He’s going through all baseball activity right now,” Farrell said. “The one thing we haven’t addressed or really talked specifically is how does he feel about facing live pitching right away or do we get him live pitching in a rehab assignment. That’s something we’ll talk further about before we break this weekend.”
|07.11.15 at 4:59 pm ET|
It appears Clay Buchholz has dodged a major bullet.
The Red Sox right-hander, who left Friday’s start against the Yankees in the fourth inning with elbow tightness, was diagnosed with a flexor strain and will go on the disabled list, where the hope is that he can heal simply through rest.
“As much of a relief as it is, it’s probably more frustrating,” Buchholz said on Saturday. “At least it’s not going to be a long stay as far as the DL goes.”
“It’s always a relief,” Buchholz added. “You never want to be out 16-18 months with the surgery. That was a relief, knowing that. But along the same lines, the team was on a pretty good run and I felt like I was doing pretty good out there, too, so it always stinks whenever something comes up.”
Buchholz said an initial MRI revealed no damage to his ulnar collateral ligament, an injury which could have required season-ending Tommy John surgery. He said doctors will re-examine him in 24-72 hours, after he cools down.
He also said the doctors told him his UCL was intact.
“The doctor told me it looks like a doctor’s ligament, somebody’s that’s never played baseball before,” Buchholz said. “And that’s what I’ve been told the last three times I’ve had an MRI on my elbow.”
Buchholz left in the fourth after throwing a cut fastball to Stephen Drew, but he first noticed something amiss while striking out Brett Gardner in the third on what was supposed to be an elevated fastball, but instead darted down for strike three.
“And then we got out of that inning, when I got out for the next inning, I probably shouldn’t even have started that inning,” Buchholz said.
With Brian Johnson summoned to replace him, Buchholz will now rest and hope that his arm heals on its own. He’s fortunate the injury didn’t turn out worse. He has already missed time in his career with a torn hamstring, a bad back, and a sore shoulder.
“From an injury standpoint, that’s what you always think about,” he said. “I went through the same thing with my shoulder. You always think the worst right when it happens. I started running through in my head, how did it happen? It wasn’t one pitch, it wasn’t a pop. That sort of makes you feel a little bit better about the situation, but until you get images of it, you don’t really know. Obviously after they read the images, it’s not necessarily a good thing, but it’s the best thing that could’ve come out of it.”
Buchholz (7-7, 3.26) doesn’t believe he’s snakebitten.
“The other things weren’t even really baseball-related,” he said. “I was hitting for the first time in six years and running the bases and tore my hamstring. By doing that and starting to pitch probably a little bit before I was ready, I hurt my back. And then the shoulder came, and the stomach issue with the medicine I was taking. Only the last two times have been baseball-related or arm-related.”
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