|08.12.15 at 8:37 am ET|
The Red Sox will send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound Wednesday for what could be one of his last starts of the season against fellow rookie Adam Conley and the Marlins.
The 22-year-old Rodriguez has dazzled at times in 2015, posting a 6-4 record and 4.17 ERA. He’s logged quality starts in eight of his 13 outings, four of which have produced game scores of 70 or higher, more than stars like Stephen Strasburg (one) and James Shields (two). He’s been nothing but a breath of fresh air among other, more pedestrian veteran rotation mates.
However, Rodriguez is just a rookie. He represents a young arm whose future is more valuable to the Red Sox than they ever could have imagined after watching a comedy of errors strike their pitching staff in 2015. With that in mind, his season could be coming to close if the Red Sox give him an innings limit. Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis discussed the idea with WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford in mid-July.
“We’ve looked into it, really just scratching the surface, looking at his innings, looking at the schedule going forward to kind of be prepared when that time starts to present itself,” Willis said. “Knowing how to manage it, whether it be moving him back in the rotation, or utilizing off days.
“Obviously how we’re playing as a club factors in, but the most important part of the equation is Eddie and keeping him going through the end of the season, wanting him to pitch through to the end. Collectively John [Farrell], myself, Ben [Cherington], we’ll look at that. But his best interest takes precedence.”
Innings limit or not, Rodriguez has proven he belongs in the bigs for good with each successive start this season. After becoming prone to pitch-tipping by his fourth major league start, Rodriguez dealt with the issue over a month-long span, displaying a veteran approach to adversity. Since addressing the problem for good with his July 26 start against the Tigers, he’s gone 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in 19 innings, boasting a .205 opponent average.
Rodriguez’s latest start was especially impressive. Pitching at Yankee Stadium last Thursday, he hurled 103 pitches, making his way through the seventh inning while allowing just two runs. Though he received a loss in the 2-1 affair, Rodriguez silenced the Yanks’ big bats, providing a glimpse into the future of a potential ace in an offensive-minded AL East.
|08.12.15 at 8:30 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (44-73): L, 5-2, at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees)
— RHP William Cuevas made his second Triple-A start and fell to 0-2 (3.00 ERA) with a final line of: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO (99 pitches, 58 strikes). Cuevas was perfect through two innings before allowing a run in the third after loading the bases with no outs on two walks and a single. The 24-year-old nearly escaped the third unscathed but one run crossed after a two-out, bases-loaded wild pitch, a low changeup that trickled off the glove of catcher Sandy Leon and rolled just far enough away from the plate for a run to score. The 6-foot Cuevas recovered to get a pop-up and strand two in scoring position. He then retired the side in order in the fourth before allowing a fifth inning run on a walk and an RBI double that sailed over the head of center fielder Jemile Weeks.
Signed by Boston during the 2008 international signing period out of Venezuela, Cuevas was an Eastern League All-Star for Double-A Portland this season posting an 8-5 record with a 3.40 ERA in 19 starts while holding opponents to a .233 average with only four home runs allowed. Cuevas made his Triple-A debut on Aug. 6 and took the loss despite allowing just two runs and four hits over seven innings.
— LHP Robby Scott relieved Cuevas to start the fifth with Pawtucket trailing 2-1, but it soon was a 5-1 game as Scott promptly allowed two singles and a three-run home run. The 25-year-old Scott, who has shuttled back and forth between Triple-A and Double-A Portland this season, was coming off a stint on the disabled list from August 4 through 10 with a right calf strain. All told in Scott’s four appearances with the PawSox since his most recent promotion from Portland, the 6-foot-3 southpaw has allowed 17 earned runs in just nine innings, with 19 hits and three homers against.
— The PawSox offense had just six hits on the night, with a solo home run from right fielder Quintin Berry in the fifth and a bases-loaded walk from DH Humberto Quintero in the eighth to score new Pawtucket third baseman Carlos Rivero, who had led off the inning with a single.
The 27-year-old Rivero, a righty bat, was reacquired by Boston from Seattle this week for cash considerations. In 96 games this season with Triple-A Tacoma, Rivero hit .256 with eight home runs, 13 doubles and 40 RBIs after signing a minor league deal with Seattle in December. Rivero was Boston property in 2014, splitting time between Portland and Pawtucket as he hit .264 with seven homers and 53 RBIs in 105 games last season, also getting a four-game showcase in the majors in late August when he went 4-for-7 with a homer and two doubles.
|08.11.15 at 10:45 pm ET|
MIAMI — This Koji Uehara-free closer thing has never really worked out too well over the past three seasons, and Tuesday night was no exception.
Carrying a one-run lead into the ninth inning, the Red Sox turned to Junichi Tazawa to pick up his second career save. But the reliever couldn’t get the job done, allowing the Marlins to score a game-tying run in the ninth.
“It’s something that we talked about pregame,” Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo said of the decision to use Tazawa as a closer. (Lovullo was subbing in for John Farrell after the manager’s hernia surgery). “With lineup construction, depending where we were in the lineup with certain matchups. We didn’t have a closer with certainty. We just figured based on where we were in the lineup, the way we wanted to construct it and have the right matchups. The way it lined up was with [Jean] Machi in the eighth and Tazawa in the ninth.”
The move didn’t quite work out despite a strikeout of Derek Deitrich. With one out, the lefty-hitting Justin Bour rifled the game-winning hit into left-center field to score Gordon.
|08.11.15 at 7:10 pm ET|
Farrell was late arriving to Marlins Park due to hernia surgery, performed Monday in Detroit. After staying overnight, the Red Sox manager made his way to Florida for the series opener, seemingly walking with a good deal of discomfort.
“I’m here,” Farrell said with a chuckle when asked how he was feeling. “This was something that reared its head on Friday. After some tests on Saturday, it was determined that it was needed to be taken care of yesterday morning, Monday. And overnight in the hospital, come down here. I won’t win a sprint race right now, I can tell you that, but we’re here.”
Having to conduct his pregame media session while standing up, Farrell explained that he already went through how maneuvering during the game would be handled with bench coach Torey Lovullo.
Just before game-time, however, it was determined that Farrell would spend the game resting back at the team hotel, with Lovullo taking over the managing duties.
“Here’s a guy that wants to be here,” said Lovullo after the Red Sox‘ 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Marlins. “I know he really, really wants to be a part of this but it was a little too much to ask his body to be here. The doctors talked to him and asked him to get some rest.”
Lovullo added, “John wanted to be here and at a certain point Doc [Larry] Ronan saw a couple of symptoms that told him he better go home and get some rest. You get to a certain spot where you have to sit back and listen to a professional. John went back and wisely got some rest.”
Farrell explained the injury came out of nowhere.
“It just kind of cropped up,” he said. “I actually tossed my equipment bag in New York, so any kind of rotational burst of movement is typically what causes it. It seems to be the culprit late Thursday night.”
– Dustin Pedroia, who hasn’t played since July 22 due to the re-aggravation of his hamstring injury, doesn’t have a timetable for his return. Farrell said the hope is that Pedroia could resume baseball activities at the end of the month.
“We’ll take him through another precautionary MRI at that point just to see how the injury has healed up and where he’s at, the strength testing that he’ll go through,” the manager said. “That’s where we’re at with that.”
According to a team source, the plan is to have Pedroia conduct what would be his second MRI when the Red Sox return home from their current road trip.
Farrell did note the importance of Pedroia returning to action prior to the end of the season.
“I think it would be beneficial to everyone, particularly for Pedey,” he said. “Keeping in mind we don’t want to jeopardize anything, if he can go into the offseason knowing he got back on the field and feels like there’s no restrictions, that would be helpful to everyone.”
– Mookie Betts was back in the Red Sox‘ lineup Tuesday, coming off the seven-day concussion disabled list. Also joining Betts on the active roster were relievers Tommy Layne and Ryan Cook.
The Red Sox’ roster spots vacated where due to the DFA of Justin Masterson, Koji Uehara going on the 15-day disabled list (broken wrist), and the demotion of shortstop Deven Marrero to Triple-A Pawtucket.
– Farrell elaborated on the diagnosis of Uehara, who had been struck in the right wrist with an Ian Kinsler line drive Friday night.
“I think everybody who saw the line drive, you hold your collective breath,” Farrell said. “Unfortunately, the fracture shows up. I know Koji is such a competitor, he doesn’t want to just shut down completely but his health is primary or the priority. After Friday night, and then to come in and have the CT-scan revealed as a fracture, it’s disappointing but we have to take care of Koji.”
For the remainder of the season, it appears as though the Red Sox might be reverting to closer by committee.
“Well, we’ve got a couple of candidates to close,” Farrell said. “I said the other day that Taz [Junichi Tazawa] would be one. Possibly [Jean] Machi. We’ll get Ryan Cook’s feet on the ground here. We’ll see where things go. We’ve got multiple options from which to choose from right now.”
– Rick Porcello threw 50 pitches Tuesday without any discomfort in his injured right triceps. He is slated to participate in game action Friday or Saturday.
|08.11.15 at 9:52 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (44-72): L, 2-1, at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees)
— Heath Hembree gave up a walkoff inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre center fielder Ben Gamel as the PawSox lost their eighth consecutive game. Hembree took the loss, falling to 0-4, after recording two strikeouts in the eighth inning before allowing Gamel’s inside-the-parker to leadoff the ninth.
— Matt Barnes started for the PawSox and tossed 4 2/3 innings. The right-hander allowed one earned run on six hits, while walking three and striking out five. Barnes has pitched in 16 games for Pawtucket this season, including five starts, and is 1-1 with a 5.16 ERA.
— The Pawtucket offense struggled once again, totaling just four hits. Right fielder Jonathan Roof scored the only run after leading off the sixth inning with a double. He crossed the plate on a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt by Jeff Bianchi. Roof and Bianchi both finished the day 1-for-3, shortstop Marco Hernandez went 1-for-4 and left fielder Garin Cecchini went 1-for-4 with a double.
|08.11.15 at 9:36 am ET|
The Red Sox will open up a two-game set with the Marlins for the second time this season when they take the field Tuesday in Miami. In the two teams’ last series at Fenway Park on July 7 and 8, the Red Sox swept, winning by scores of 4-3 and 6-3.
Facing the Tigers in the latest installment of their road trip, the Sox had what can only be considered one of the most promising series of their season. They took two out of three in Detroit, with the victories coming on the arms of Joe Kelly and Henry Owens. Kelly was impressive Friday, striking out seven of the first eight batters he faced and finishing with 5 1/3 innings pitched while allowing just two earned runs. Meanwhile, Owens was just as effective on a limited pitch count Sunday. He hurled five innings, giving up three hits and four walks along with a run. Both of these efforts resulted in 7-2 Red Sox wins.
“I think, probably these last two starts, looking back, I can kind of trust myself in the zone more, rather than tinker around the strike zone,” Owens said of his first career major league win. “It’s good to get these first two out of the way, and the first zone, set my shoulders back, take a deep breath and move on.”
It wasn’t just the pitchers who provided a ray of sunlight for the Red Sox this past weekend, Rusney Castillo and Jackie Bradley Jr. showed why they belong with the big league club with their performances as well. Castillo went 3-for-5 on Friday, scoring three runs and driving in one more during the win. He’s slashed a solid .333/.375/.444 since being recalled on July 27. Bradley also had himself a day this weekend when he clubbed a long ball and a triple on Sunday. He closed the game with five RBIs and a spectacular Willie Mays-esque catch.
“Today was a flash of what Jackie’s capable of,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of his 25-year-old center fielder. “And when he swings the bat like that, it’s certainly the potential for an outstanding player. The defense has clearly been the carrying tool for him. It always gives him the opportunity to find at-bats for him.
“Today, a big day for him. But as a young player, both on the amateur level and the lower levels, he’s been a very good offensive contributor. It’s taken some time for him to get his feet on the ground here, but today is a glimpse of what that potentially could be.”
The Red Sox head into the Marlins series Tuesday with baseball’s 12th-best offense and fourth-worst pitching staff. However, the Sox’ struggles will be muted Tuesday when they take the field against the worst team in baseball.
The Marlins only wish they could erase 2015 from memory. They own a 44-68 record and, of Saturday, have fallen behind the Phillies for last place in the NL East. This year, they are 26-30 at home, far better than their road split, which sits at a lowly 18-38.
|08.11.15 at 8:56 am ET|
The Red Sox will continue to ride the knuckleball of Steven Wright Tuesday when he takes the mound against rookie southpaw Justin Nicolino and the last-place Marlins.
Wright’s signature pitch has proven its worth time and time again over his last two starts, as he’s drawn a .185/.241/.296 opponents’ slash line in those two outings. The right-hander has gone 15 innings over these two outings and allowed just three runs. Perhaps most impressive about his recent performance are the swings and misses he has generated — 10 against the White Sox on July 30 and a whopping 16 against the Yankees last Wednesday.
Wright used the knuckleball on 97.4 percent of his pitches last Wednesday and his season-high usage rate on the pitch came against the White Sox when he tossed it 98.2 percent of the time.
“Early on I thought he mixed his fastball in well,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after his team’s 8-2 win over the White Sox. “Not exclusively to the use of his knuckleball. I think he needed it because he didn’t have a real good feel for it the first couple innings. Once he did get the feel for it — the consistency, the violence, the action in the strike-throwing ability improved across the board. Slowed him down. As they came into this series, we saw for three nights what they did. Started things off the same way, but he settled in and pitched a very solid outing for us.”
In eight starts this season, Wright has given up more than three earned runs just once and he sports a 5-4 record and a 4.12 ERA in 15 total appearances.
Though he should be helped out by the vast expanse of outfield in Marlins Park, Wright has struggled on the road this season. In nine games away from Fenway Park, he’s logged a 4.42 ERA with eight home runs allowed. He’ll try to push the Red Sox out of the AL’s cellar when he takes the bump Tuesday.
|08.10.15 at 6:27 pm ET|
Koji Uehara’s season is over.
The Red Sox closer, who was hit with a line drive on the final out of Friday’s 7-2 victory over the Tigers, suffered what the team termed a non-displaced distal radius fracture. He will be placed on the disabled list and he will not pitch again this season, but is expected to make a full recovery, the team announced on Monday.
Uehara shouldn’t even have been in the game, but reliever Justin Masterson loaded the bases with one out and the Red Sox leading 7-2, requiring manager John Farrell to signal Uehara for the rare five-run save. He struck out Jose Iglesias before Ian Kinsler ripped a 1-2 offering up the middle.
Instead of scoring two runs, it became the final out of the game when Uehara reflexively blocked it with his right arm, the small catching him flush on the back of the wrist.
Initial tests showed no break, but that diagnosis changed on Monday.
Uehara, 40, finishes with 25 saves and a 2.33 ERA. He is signed through next season, when he will make $9 million.
In other Red Sox news, the team signed left-hander Rich Hill, a Milton native, to a minor-league deal, according to a source. Hill had been pitching for the independent Long Island Ducks, and on Sunday set a franchise record with 14 strikeouts over six shutout innings in a loss to Camden.
Hill, 35, spent parts of three seasons with the Red Sox from 2010-12. He has pitched for six other clubs in the big leagues during his 10-year career, including the Yankees last season.
News of Uehara’s injury was first reported by the Boston Globe, while the Hill signing first appeared at SB Nation.
|08.10.15 at 10:00 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (44-71): L, 3-1, vs. Syracuse (Nationals)
— Right-hander Zeke Spruill lost his fifth consecutive start after allowing three earned runs on eight hits and one walk with five strikeouts over seven innings of work. Spruill now has a 4-9 record and a 4.48 ERA after nine starts and 21 relief appearances for Pawtucket this season.
— Pat Light tossed two innings of relief, walking three but allowing no hits and no runs. He also struck out four. The 24-year-old right-hander has appeared in 18 games for the PawSox this season and holds a 1-2 record with a 5.32 ERA.
— Third baseman Jonathan Roof accounted for the lone Pawtucket run, hitting a solo home run to left center in the bottom of the third inning. The homer was the first in a PawSox uniform for Roof, who is hitting .197 with three RBIs through 23 games with Pawtucket.
— Including Roof’s solo shot, the PawSox offense mustered just three hits, as center fielder Jemile Weeks and catcher Humberto Quintero singled.
|08.10.15 at 12:22 am ET|
A great look (thanks to StatCast) at Jackie Bradley Jr.’s over-the-shoulder catch Sunday afternoon …
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