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This time it’s the Rays’ starting pitcher who leaves after getting just 3 outs

04.15.17 at 4:40 pm ET
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After a week which saw Steven Wright go just 1 1/3 innings, with Rick Porcello not making it through five frames Friday night, the Red Sox’ opposition finally suffered a similar fate.

After throwing his first pitch in the second inning, with Mitch Moreland at-bat, Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi pulled up lame, pulling his left hamstring. After throwing a warm-up pitcher with Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash and the training staff looking on, the righty walked to the dugout.

Odorizzi gave up a leadoff single to Dustin Pedroia, but went on to retire Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez without giving up a run.

Moreland would jump on the first pitch from reliever Erasmo Ramirez for a solo home run, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.

The Rays starter was coming off a solid outing in his last start, giving up two runs over six innings against Toronto. Odorizzi had kicked off his season allowing four runs in six innings while taking the loss against the Yankees.

Why David Price wasn’t throwing any breaking balls in his latest bullpen session

04.15.17 at 4:04 pm ET
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David Price (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

David Price (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Saturday morning, David Price continued to move in the right direction.

The Red Sox pitcher executed another bullpen session, this time implementing a few breaks in the routine to further simulate actually pitching. All of a sudden, Price isn’t far away from throwing to actual hitters.

“I haven’t had any setbacks yet. It’s going pretty smooth,” Price said.

But there is one aspect of Price’s game that he hasn’t surfaced when throwing off a mound: throwing breaking balls. On flat ground? Yes. Yet not when participating in these bullpen sessions.

Both Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis and manager John Farrell relayed, however, the reason behind the lack of anything but fastballs and changeups so far.

“We’re just building arm strength. He’s spun a few balls on the flat ground and in the throwing program. It’s building arm strength and maintaining arm strength before we go to that,” Willis said. “It’s no different than a throwing program preparing for spring training. I think we are approaching the time where we will see those breaking pitches on the mound.

“I don’t necessarily think that once we get to the point where we are facing hitters in a batting practice setting that it’s necessary to already have your breaking ball in play. You can go out and face those hitters in a BP situation with a fastball and changeup and then you progress forward because your breaking pitch comes off your fastball and release point with the arm speed.”

“The one thing that we’re trying to do is not throw a number of variables in at the same time so there’s a progression,” Farrell added. “You go from the long toss to the flat ground to spinning a breaking ball. Then incorporate the angle of the mound. Incorporate some ups and downs, and then also at that point, start to add in a full assortment of pitches. So there’s a little bit more of a systematic approach toward the addition of each variable going forward.”

And then there’s Price’s take.

“Didn’t want to push it too much, with it being the first time I’m throwing pitches and then taking a break and getting back up and throwing more,” the pitcher said.

When Price will throw again is still yet to be determined, although it will likely be at Rogers Centre with the team in Toronto. He is also waiting on something else — the birth of his first child.

“Count the days down until my son gets here, that’s about it,” Price said.

Xander Bogaerts: ‘It’s pretty hard to hit in the cold’

04.14.17 at 11:48 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts seems to have found his swing. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts seems to have found his swing. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox offense hasn’t been as advertised to start the season.

Though the first 10 games, the Red Sox are averaging 4.4 runs a game, but have scored three runs or less in three of them.

While 4.4 runs isn’t all that bad, there have been games where they should have had more and several players are getting back into a rhythm after being out with the flu, or for other reasons.

Following Friday’s 10-5 loss to the Rays, Xander Bogaerts admitted it’s not easy hitting in April, especially home runs.

As a team, the Red Sox have just four so far this season.

“I mean in April it’s not easy to hit home runs,” Bogaerts said. “You’re playing in Boston. I know the wall is right there but it’s pretty hard to hit in the cold in general. We’ll hit some home runs, especially when it starts warming up. Looking forward to a lot of home runs from a lot of guys.”

Personally, Bogaerts has seemed to have found something at the plate after a slow start, as he went 3-for-4 with a walk in the loss. It was his third straight multi-hit game.

“I mean the cold is good and bad for me,” he said. “The good part is that it helps me do a little bit less. My effort level goes down because it’s kind of cold. But when it warms up I start swinging a bit bigger. You feel stronger because of the sun and whatever. The cold is good because I just try to do more contact, don’t want to get jammed or off the end for my hands to feel pretty bad.”

While for many players they are not where they want to be at the plate, fortunately the weather is warming up and with that they hope are their bats.

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Rays 10, Red Sox 5: Why Rick Porcello’s poor outing was even more surprising than you think

04.14.17 at 10:47 pm ET
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Rick Porcello had a tough outing on Friday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello had a tough outing on Friday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello was not the pitcher who was supposed to struggle on Friday night.

Coming into the game, Porcello had won five straight decisions against the Rays, while Rays starter Chris Archer entered the game with a 1-11 record and a 5.38 ERA in 16 starts vs. the Red Sox, including a 7.30 ERA at Fenway.

It turned out Porcello looked like the pitcher who had the 7.30 ERA at Fenway, as the right-hander allowed eight runs on eight hits in just 4 1/3 innings, while walking two and striking out five to take the loss. He also allowed four home runs, which were were a career-high.

Ultimately, the Red Sox fell to the Rays, 10-5.

In addition, Porcello had several streaks come to an end (regular season only, not including ALDS vs. Indians last year).

His MLB-leading 20th straight start of going six or more innings came to an end, as well as his AL-leading streak of going five or more innings in 43 straight starts. He also saw a streak of 15 quality starts come to an end. It was the longest active streak in the majors.

“You can live with singles,” Porcello said. “I don’t think it’s so much the number of hits. I’m attacking guys with the fastball. It’s just about location. That’s it. I’ve got to get better with my sinker and four-seamer command and using those two fastballs. That’s really the bottom line. There’s no secret to it. It’s pretty simple. Execute the ball better.”
Added Porcello: “I feel fine. Mechanically I’m pretty much the same. It’s just pinpointing the fastball. I’m not locating it well enough to get in advantage counts and it’s causing me to leave pitches over the plate when I fall behind.”

On the other hand, Archer went 5 2/3 innings and allowed one run on six hits, while walking two and striking out five to pick up the win.

(For a complete recap of the game, click here.)

Porcello is coming off his Cy Young season, but also has dominated the Rays over the course of his career, which made the poor outing even more surprising.

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Jackie Bradley Jr. could see live at-bats against David Price as both work way back from injuries

04.14.17 at 5:05 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr. could face David Price next week. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

Jackie Bradley Jr. could face David Price next week. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

The earliest Jackie Bradley Jr. (knee) can return from the disabled list is Wednesday, and by all accounts that remains a distinct possibility.

The center fielder did some on-field work Friday afternoon at Fenway Park, including some running with a brace he has been fitted for.

“I think there is [a chance he returns the day he’s eligible],” manager John Farrell said. “I wouldn’t rule it out at this point, particularly with his comments with how he feels coming out of the strength tests that he’s going through and the work they are putting him through. He’s been upbeat. He feels good. I think the brace gives him added confidence and stability as he gets acclimated to it. I wouldn’t rule it out.”

Bradley Jr. suffered the knee injury last weekend in Detroit, but has made progress each day since.

“Good day again today from a rehab and agility standpoint,” Farrell said. “Swung the bat in the cage to determine his on-field ability to take BP, which he will today. He’s wearing a brace and will continue to advance the baseball activities.”

Farrell also said Bradley Jr. might not need a rehab game or two because he could get some live at-bats against David Price.

Price is making steady progress working his way back from an elbow injury and could be ready to face live hitters early next week, which would work out nicely for Bradley Jr. and the team.

“Well, we’re hopeful by the time that comes around, David Price is facing some live hitters at that point so we can get some at-bats in that scenario,” Farrell said.

As for Hanley Ramirez, he’s yet to play a game this year at first base and his throwing program was slowed down because he had the flu last weekend.

According to Farrell, the team isn’t boycotting him playing first base, but know Ramirez prefers to DH.

“I think he does [want to play first base],” Farrell said. “I know for a fact he thrives in the DH slot. That’s probably his preference overall, but in conversations throughout the winter, once we acquired Mitch to the conversations throughout spring training, he understands how our roster is built. He’s not boycotting it, but I know where his preference lies. What is best for our team too has him going over to first base on occasion.”

Read More: David Price, hanley ramirez, jackie bradley jr., John Farrell

Red Sox lineup: Pablo Sandoval, Sandy Leon, Chris Young return in series opener against Rays

04.14.17 at 3:34 pm ET
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Pablo Sandoval (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

Pablo Sandoval (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox are banking on a slightly different lineup as they rolled out Thursday, and a similar result as they’ve had against Chris Archer.

Coming off their come-from-behind victory over the Pirates, the Red Sox begin the first of a four-game series against the Rays, with Archer starting for the visitors. The Tampa Bay righty, who has allowed two runs while going at least seven innings in each of his first two outings, struggled at Fenway Park last year, totaling a 9.58 ERA in two starts.

The only changes in the Red Sox batting order from Thursday will be the addition of Pablo Sandoval at third base, Chris Young in left field and Sandy Leon getting the nod at catcher. Here is their lineup with Rick Porcello on the mound for the hosts:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Andrew Benintendi CF
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Chris Young LF
Sandy Leon C

To follow all the goings on with the Red Sox, go to the team page by clicking here.

Coolest Play of the Week: Xander Bogaerts’ go-ahead RBI single helps Red Sox complete sweep

04.14.17 at 11:05 am ET
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Each week, we will be picking the F.W. Webb “Coolest Play of the Week.” This week’s highlight is from Thursday afternoon. With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Xander Bogaerts drove in Hanley Ramirez with a single to right to help the Red Sox complete a (delayed) sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Relive the play below:

F.W._Webb_Company_logo200Enter to win the Coolest VIP Baseball Experience including the chance to watch batting practice and visit the WEEI Broadcast Booth at Fenway! Click here to enter to win.

Hanley Ramirez on Red Sox role: I can’t be like David Ortiz

04.14.17 at 10:08 am ET
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Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez sits in David Ortiz’s old locker, fills his old position of designated hitter, and bats in his old cleanup spot. On Thursday, he even made like his retired teammate by clubbing the game-tying double in the eighth inning to spearhead a 4-3 comeback victory over the Pirates.

But Ramirez wants to make one thing abundantly clear: he’s not Ortiz.

“Not at all,” Ramirez said. “Not at all. I’m one of those students from David. I learned a lot from him, that’s it, but I don’t try to be like him. What he did in the game and off the field is something hopefully somebody one day can do, but it’s got to be far because David is David. David is David, and much love that I have for him and respect, but at the same time, it’s not easy to be him. You just have to be you and, like I say, let things go out there and learn from him.”

One aspect of Ortiz’s persona that Ramirez is willing to try to fill — sounding board for younger teammates.

“This is going to be my 13th year in the big leagues, so I learned a lot through all those years,” he said. “I just try to pass it out. I got a couple of guys asking me already — I don’t want to throw names out there — what are you trying to do against this pitcher? What are we going to try to do today? That’s good. That’s exactly what I did when I was young. Always ask Manny [Ramirez] when I was here, and David, what are you trying to do in this situation, and what are you trying to do against this pitcher? So that’s how you learn.”

Read More: David Ortiz, hanley ramirez, Red Sox,

Friday Red Sox Farm Report: PawSox walk-off with win on Deven Marrero hit; Sea Dogs lose despite Rafael Devers’ rally attempt

04.14.17 at 9:51 am ET
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Here is what happened in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (5-3): W, 2-1 vs. Chiefs 

— The PawSox won in the ninth on a walk-off hit from Deven Marrero at McCoy Stadium Thursday afternoon. Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Matt Dominguez each has two hits in the win.

— Brian Johnson pitched 6 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts and only one walk and one run. Reliever Brandon Workman also shined, pitching 2 1/3 hitless innings and striking out four of the first six batters he faced.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (5-2): L, 6-4 at Trenton 

— The Sea Dogs fell to the Thunder in Trenton on Wednesday night after scoring five runs in the fourth and another in the sixth against Portland. Jalen Beeks gave up four runs and Taylor Grover gave up one.

— Rafael Devers led the Sea Dogs’ comeback attempt when he drove in two runs on a double in the sixth. Nick Longhi also hit an RBI ground-out. Portland scored another in the ninth on a Joseph Monge extra-base hit but it was not enough for a win.

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Read More: deven marrero, Jalen Beeks, Mike Shawaryn, rafael devers

Adam Jones puts the unpopular baseball player problem in perfect perspective

04.14.17 at 9:21 am ET
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Adam Jones (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Adam Jones (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Much was made of the recent Luker by Trends poll (which was thankfully surfaced by ESPN’s Jayson Stark) identifying the 50 favorite pro athletes.

The big takeaway? Not a single active major league player cracked the list.

Derek Jeter finished at No. 13. No. 30 was Babe Ruth. And Pete Rose slid into the group at No. 50. But when it came to players still playing, MLB had to settle for Anthony Rizzo one spot behind Rose.

Of the Top 10, four were basketball players, while three played in the NFL.

It caused everyone to once again run to their opinion machine and surface all the things that are wrong with baseball. Time of games. Not enough flare from the stars. Too many regulations limiting individuality.

Well, Adam Jones, one of the more outspoken stars in today’s MLB, doesn’t seem concerned. And after listening to him, it’s hard to argue.

“No,” Jones told WEEI.com when asked if anything needs to be changed to bump some of the MLB stars up on the list. “I think having a nine to 10 billion business is pretty thriving. It’s doing fair.”

While Jones clearly isn’t losing sleep over the dynamic, he did offer a little surprise when learning his sport had been completely shut out.

“With Jeter, obviously winning and the market that they’re in is so bigs. I’m amazed guys like like [Buster] Posey, [Mike] Trout, [Bryce] Harper, [Manny] Machado, some of them aren’t on that list. Even just the New York guys because they get a lot of attention,” Jones explained. “It’s somewhat surprising just because of the big market.

“Baseball isn’t as recognizable in that fashion. For attention, they look more to the NBA and the NFL.”

And that’s hard to argue.

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