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Thursday’s Red Sox-White Sox matchups: Henry Owens vs. Erik Johnson

05.05.16 at 9:31 am ET
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Henry Owens

Henry Owens

The Red Sox close out their series with the White Sox on Thursday by sending lefty Henry Owens out against right-hander Erik Johnson, who was just called up from Triple-A.

Owens (0-0, 4.82 ERA, 1.92 WHIP) has made two starts for the Red Sox since his call-up from Pawtucket, and while he has no record to show for it, Boston won both games. After lasting just 3 1/3 innings and allowing three runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts in an April 24 game against the Astros, Owens faced the Yankees last Friday and went six innings, giving up two runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

Owens has not yet faced the White Sox in his 13-game MLB career.

Johnson, a second-round pick of the White Sox in 2011 out of the University of California, was called up this week when the team decided to cut ties with veteran left-hander John Danks.

In four starts this season with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights, Johnson is 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA and 1.38 WHIP.

The 26-year-old has started 16 games for the White Sox split almost equally over the last three seasons, compiling a record of 7-4 with a 4.17 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. Last year he went 3-1 with a 3.34 ERA and 1.40 in six starts, covering 35 innings.

His lone appearance against the Red Sox came on April 15, 2014, when he pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run on three hits and two walks with nine strikeouts but did not factor in the decision. Chicago eventually walked off with a 2-1 win, with the winning run scoring on a throwing error by Xander Bogaerts with two outs in the ninth inning.

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David Ortiz continues defying Father Time with decisive home run against White Sox

05.05.16 at 1:44 am ET
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David Ortiz celebrates a home run on Wednesday in Chicago. (Mike DiNovo/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz celebrates a home run Wednesday in Chicago. (Mike DiNovo/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz continues to amaze.

The 40-year-old designated hitter has already announced this season will be his last, but at this rate, the Red Sox may refuse to accept his retirement.

On Wednesday, Ortiz blasted the go-ahead homer in a 5-2 victory over the White Sox as part of a 2-for-5 night that raised his average to .311 and his OPS to 1.037. He added an RBI single and now has six homers and 22 RBIs on the season.

The home run, his 451st with the Red Sox, moved him within one of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski for second on the club’s all-time list, trailing only Ted Williams.

“You know what happens when that is happening? You’re getting old,” Ortiz told reporters in Chicago. “Like I say, every time they mention your name right next to those legends, that’s an honor. Those guys did those things through their career and were dedicated. I was just a guy who was trying to have a good career and put your family in a better situation. And all of a sudden all these things are happening. It’s a blessing.”

The Red Sox are counting their blessings that Ortiz returned for another season. With the team trailing 2-1 in the fifth, White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon left a fastball over the plate and Ortiz did not miss it. He crushed it nearly 400 feet to right field, driving in Xander Bogaerts and giving the Red Sox the lead for good.

“I tell you what he does it in such big moments — he gives us a lift,” said manager John Farrell. “He gives us the lead with one swing of the bat. They get two quick outs and a walk to Bogey set it up, but we’re 26, 27 games into this and David is in such a good spot offensively. You kind of marvel at how consistent and powerful he is.”

And he’s not slowing down.

(Rob Bradford contributed to this report)

Read More: David Ortiz, Red Sox, White Sox,

Closing Time: Clay Buchholz shines, Red Sox pitching holds White Sox to 3 hits in win

05.04.16 at 10:58 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz recovered from a bumpy start to have his best performance of the season. (Mike Dinovo/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz recovered from a bumpy start to have his best performance of the season. (Mike Dinovo/USA Today Sports)

When Clay Buchholz allowed two runs to the White Sox before recording two outs, it seemed Wednesday would not be the night the struggling starter snapped out of an underwhelming start to his 2016 season.

Yet Buchholz recovered exceptionally from Jose Abreu’s two-run homer in the first inning by allowing just one hit and no runs over the next six innings in a 5-2 Red Sox win. The victory was Buchholz’s first of the season and Boston’s first win in a game started by him in 2016.

Chicago’s other hit off Buchholz came with one out in the second inning, but an inning-ending double play essentially closed the book on any damage the White Sox would do against the Boston starter. He struck out six batters and walked two. Buchholz also retired the last 10 batters he faced as he improved his season record to 1-3.

(For more on Buchholz’s breakout performance — and fans’ frustration with him — check Rob Bradford’s column.)

The win moved the Red Sox back into first place in the AL East, as the Orioles were defeated handily by the Yankees in a 7-0 loss in Baltimore. The Red Sox sit atop the division with a 16-11 record on the season.

Closing Time note

Buchholz’s performance Wednesday was a much-needed departure from an opening month of the season that saw him allow five earned runs in four of his five starts. Wednesday also marked Buchholz’s longest outing of the season, as he pitched into the seventh inning on two prior occasions but never made it out of the inning.

The win for Boston evened this week’s series with the White Sox at a game apiece. The teams will play the rubber game Thursday night, with Henry Owens opposing Erik Johnson.  Read the rest of this entry »

Clay Buchholz turns in 7-inning gem

05.04.16 at 10:49 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

CHICAGO — Has Clay Buchholz reversed course once again?

After heading into his Wednesday night start with a 6.51 ERA after five appearances, Buchholz turned in a much-needed strong performance against the White Sox. The Red Sox starter lasted seven innings, allowing two runs (both coming on a Jose Abreu, first-inning homer), three hits and two walks while striking out six.

Buchholz gave way to Koji Uehara for the eighth inning after throwing 98 pitches, with the Sox holding on to a three-run lead.

Early on, it didn’t look promising for Buchholz thanks in large part to Abreu’s blast.

But the righty settled down to retire 16 of his last 17 batters, lowing his ERA to 5.71. It marks the first time the Red Sox have won this season with Buchholz starting.

The outing resembled the beginning of Buchholz’s turnaround last season, as he started 2015 with a 6.03 ERA after his initial six starts. But starting with a 6 2/3-inning effort in a three-run win over Texas on May 10, the hurler went on to manage a 2.20 ERA in his next 12 appearances.

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Hanley Ramirez scratched from Red Sox lineup with flu-like symptoms

05.04.16 at 8:03 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez

The Red Sox made some last-minute changes to Wednesday night’s lineup against the White Sox, scratching Hanley Ramirez with flu-like symptoms, shifting Travis Shaw to first, and inserting Josh Rutledge at third base.

The various maneuvers left second baseman Dustin Pedroia batting cleanup for the 34th time in his career. Pedroia is a lifetime .397 hitter in 139 plate appearances in the four-hole, with seven homers, 29 RBIs, and a 1.117 OPS. His last start there came in 2012, and he went 2-for-5 with a double and RBI.

Ramirez, who homered in Tuesday’s 4-1 loss, was originally supposed to bat fifth. Here’s the new lineup:

Mookie Betts RF
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Chris Young LF
Travis Shaw 1B
Josh Rutledge 3B
Christian Vazquez C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

 

Red Sox lineup: Travis Shaw dropped in lineup against lefty Carlos Rodon

05.04.16 at 4:38 pm ET
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Carlos Rodon

Carlos Rodon

CHICAGO — The Red Sox will try again against a left-hander.

For the fourth time this season, the Sox face off against a southpaw starter, this time going up against Carlos Rodon.

So far, the Sox have managed just a total of two runs against lefty starters J.A. Happ, Drew Smyly and Jose Quintana. Their .193 batting average vs. left-handers is the worst in the American League.

Red Sox hitters needing improvement against southpaws include Travis Shaw (2-for-20), Mookie Betts (1-for-11) and the catching duo of Christian Vazquez and Ryan Hanigan, who are each 0-for-7.

Here is the Red Sox lineup, with Clay Buchholz on the mound for the visitors:

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Chris Young LF
Travis Shaw 3B
Christian Vazquez C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
For all the matchups, click here.

Tom Werner on OM&F: Red Sox do have insurance on players, but not Pablo Sandoval

05.04.16 at 1:05 pm ET
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Tom Werner

Tom Werner

Appearing on the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show Wednesday, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner discussed a variety of topics, including how the team approached insuring Pablo Sandoval’s shoulder, David Price’s struggles, the NESN broadcast and Derek Jeter’s comments about Boston fans.

Regarding Sandoval, Werner confirmed that the team did not take out insurance on Sandoval when signing the third baseman to a five-year, $95 million deal.

“No, we do not,” said the chairman when asked if the team had insurance on Sandoval’s shoulder. “I’ve been listening on the radio, and the fact is that it’s a case by case basis. We have insurance on some players, not all players. Collecting on insurance is not the easiest thing. You have the debate about how much insurance, and when do you collect? So we do it on a case by case basis, and we did not do it with Pablo.”

The Red Sox have shied away from insurance in the past due to principal owner John Henry’s issues on collecting from Lloyd’s of London when insuring pitcher Alex Fernandez’s deal.

“I’m not sure I know the specifics that carefully, but he did have a hard time collecting on the insurance,” Werner said. “Dave Dombrowski and John and Sam and I and a few other people look at this on a case by case basis, and we did not do it with Pablo. The fact is this guy played in 157 games with the Giants the year before we signed a deal with him, and that doesn’t include postseason. He played in 17 postseason games. You know there is wear and tear. You could look at an MRI on 80 percent of players and there would be something that you would notice. But there as no indication he wouldn’t be able to play. We don’t know what happened. I’m going to surmise that he did something this year that injured it because he woke up one day and he couldn’t lift his arm above his stomach. He’s not saying at the moment. We’ll find out when he thinks this happened, but nobody really knows it.”

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Read More: David Price, Derek Jeter, Pablo Sandoval, Tom Werner

Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘I think I’m going to be doing stuff with Sirius’ after firing from ESPN

05.04.16 at 11:32 am ET
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Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

Former ESPN baseball analyst Curt Schilling checked in with Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Wednesday and said he is nearing a deal to join Sirius XM satellite radio. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

One day after refuting a Deadspin report that his camp had reached out to Fox Sports about joining that network following his dismissal from ESPN for his political commentary on social media, Schilling said he expects to know more about his future very soon.

“I think I’m going to be doing stuff with Sirius,” Schilling said. “I don’t know anything yet. Stuff’s coming together. There’s still a bunch of kind of irons in the fire that I’m talking with. I’m going to meet with some people today face to face and hopefully come to some sort of resolution over what’s going to happen in the next week or two.”

Schilling indicated the Sirius deal would consist of separate appearances — one to talk sports, the other to discuss “stuff” — and would not be a five-day-a-week gig right off the bat, although it could lead to a regular show.

“I think at some point it would get to that,” he said of doing a daily show. “I think that there needs to be kind of a breaking-in period both ways. I need to see if I actually can do it. I need to see if people care that I can do it, and then go that way. … Talking for four hours is one thing, but talking for four hours about stuff that people are actually interested in and want to talk about is another. It’s work. I think there’s a lot of preparation to it, there’s a lot of time to put into it. Because I’m not going to be talking about just sports. And so there’s a lot of time and effort and energy out into preparing to be good at it. Because I sure as hell don’t want to do it just to do it. I’d want to do it to be better than everybody else that was doing it. So we’ll see.”

ESPN was criticized for editing out Schilling’s Game 6 performance from a documentary about the 2004 Red Sox’ comeback against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series that aired before Sunday night’s Red Sox-Yankees game. While the network claimed the move was made due to time constraints after an afternoon softball game ran long, Schilling is convinced the move was rooted in ESPN’s feelings about him after his controversial departure.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I don’t think that there’s any possible explanation otherwise.”

Added Schilling: “I’m uncomfortable saying, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe they cut me out.’ But when you talk about that series, what do you think about? I think about Dave Roberts’ steal, I think about the walk from [Kevin] Millar off [Mariano] Rivera, [David] Ortiz’s [game-winning home runs] and that Game 6. I don’t know. I was waiting for it, expecting exactly what was said in response, when they issued the response, which was, ‘We had to cut the show down to fit into [the time slot].’ … My thought was, somebody in charge — it wasn’t just some dude saying, ‘OK, I’ll just edit this’ — somebody made that actual order: ‘Cut Game 6 out of this, and be very specific.’

“I think the result was exactly the opposite of what they were hoping would happen.”

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Read More: Curt Schilling, David Price, Donald Trump, Pablo Sandoval

Wednesday Red Sox Farm Report: Andrew Benintendi sets Salem Red Sox record with 21-game hitting streak

05.04.16 at 9:37 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (12-13): L, 6-4, at Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

— With the PawSox down to their final strike in the ninth inning, Chris Marrero launched a game-tying home run off the top of the wall in center field. However, Pawtucket ended up suffering the third walk-off loss in the first six games of its road trip when Nick Williams hit a two-run home run in the 10th inning for the Iron Pigs.

— The Marrero cousins drove in all four PawSox runs. Chris Marrero had an RBI double in the fifth inning, and Deven Marrero hit a two-run double in the eighth to draw his team within a run at 4-3. Chris Marrero is 8-for-11 with four doubles and two home runs in three games at Lehigh Valley’s Coca-Cola Park this season.

— Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, making his second rehab start as he gets ready for a return to Boston, surrendered three runs in the first inning but then settled in and allowed just two baserunners (both on singles) over the remainder of his six-inning stint.

— Sam Travis twice came up with two runners on base and two outs in the late innings — including the 10th — but could not deliver.

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, Chris Marrero, eduardo rodriguez, henry ramos

Wednesday’s Red Sox-White Sox matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Carlos Rodon

05.04.16 at 8:39 am ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

For the middle game of the Red Sox-White Sox series in Chicago, Boston will send Clay Buchholz to the mound looking for his first win of the season, and he’ll be opposed by 23-year-old left-hander Carlos Rodon.

Buchholz, who struggled badly in April for the third straight season, is 0-3 with a 6.51 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP. The Red Sox have lost all five games he’s started, including his previous outing last Thursday vs. the lowly Braves. In that game, a 5-3 loss, Buchholz went 6 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on eight hits and four walks with two strikeouts.

Buchholz pinpointed the main problem as his lack of command of his fastball.

“There was a couple of them that got hit hard and they found the holes. They didn’t hit the ball at anybody,” Buchholz said. “It happens like that sometimes. When you do walk guys, you try to minimize the damage. I didn’t do a very good job of that tonight.”

Added Buchholz: “I don’t mind walking guys in situations. But when you’re out there trying to throw a strike — trying to throw the ball down the middle — and you don’t do it, it’s frustrating.”

In eight career starts against the White Sox, Buchholz is 2-3 with a 4.25 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. He did not face Chicago last season.

Rodon carries a 1-3 record with a 4.33 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. In his last outing last Friday against the Orioles, he went seven innings and surrendered six runs (four earned) on eight hits and one walk with seven strikeouts as Chicago dropped a 6-3 decision. It was a 3-3 game when Rodon have up a three-run home run to Nolan Reimold in the seventh inning.

“I felt fine,” Rodon said afterward. “I thought I threw well but sometimes things don’t go your way, and you make a mistake like that late in the game, and you’re going to pay for it against these big league hitters.”

As a rookie last season, the North Carolina State product started 23 games and appeared in three others, compiling a record of 9-6 with a 3.75 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. He has not yet faced the Red Sox.

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Read More: Carlos Rodon, Clay Buchholz,
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