|Tuesday’s Red Sox-White Sox matchups: Felix Doubront vs. Jose Quintana||05.21.13 at 10:26 am ET|
Felix Doubront will look to start a new winning streak for the Red Sox on Tuesday night, as he takes the hill for the middle game of the three-game set against the White Sox. He’ll be matched up against another young lefty, Jose Quintana.
Despite a 3-1 record, Doubront’s performance in 2013 has the Red Sox looking at what other options they have to round out the rotation. They tried skipping his turn in the rotation in favor of rookie Allen Webster, but Doubront ended up pitching 5 1/3 innings out of the bullpen after Webster gave up eight runs in 1 2/3 innings. Doubront’s last outing was good enough to earn him another shot at sticking in the rotation. He allowed two runs on three hits to the Rays, but the red flags still were evident. Doubront walked a season-high six batters, the fourth start this year in which he’s walked four or more. The 25-year-old lefty also failed to go more than five innings for the fourth time in six starts this season.
The dilemma that the Red Sox face with Doubront is a complicated one. In 2012, the starter faced some of the same problems he’s been struggling with this season. Lack of control has been a big issue for Doubront over the course of his short career; he averaged four walks per nine innings in 2012, and that rate has risen to 5.30 through seven games in 2013. He’s also been very inefficient, failing to go more than six innings in 21 of his 29 starts in 2012, while 6 2/3 innings remains his high-water mark for 2013, managing to make it into the seventh in his last two starts in April. Regardless, Doubront remained in the rotation for the entirety of 2012 (except for a brief DL stint in mid-August). But 2013 brings another confusing issue for the young lefty. Doubront has lost more than two mph on his fastball, which averaged 93 mph in the last two seasons. Both Doubront and manager John Farrell insist that the loss of velocity is not being caused by a physical issue, however.
The job still belongs to Doubront as of Monday night, when he’ll take on an underperforming White Sox offense, looking to lower his 6.03 ERA. Doubront has only faced the White Sox twice in his career, making two starts against them last year. He allowed only four runs on nine hits in 12 innings against Chicago, striking out four and walking six.
Doubront will be matched up against the 24-year-old Quintana, who is 2-1 with a 3.97 ERA in his second year in the majors. Quintana has seen the Red Sox only once, back in 2012. The lefty gave the White Sox eight innings of shutout ball, allowing only five hits while fanning two without walking a batter. Quintana got very little run support, however, and the Red Sox took the contest thanks to a three-run walk-off home run from outfielder Cody Ross.
Quintana made his major league debut for the White Sox in May of 2012, throwing 5 2/3 innings in relief, holding the Indians to only one hit without allowing a run. He earned a spot in the rotation after starter John Danks was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. The lefty finished the year with a 6-6 record and 3.76 ERA in 22 starts and three relief appearances. Quintana skipped over Triple-A, making the jump from Double-A to the majors last year.
The young starter doesn’t have overpowering stuff, with his fastball sitting in the low-90s. He’s struck out an average of 6.75 batters per nine innings, while he’s walked 13 in 45 1/3 innings this season. Quintana uses a four-seam fastball and a cutter that sits in the low-80s, as well as a sinker, curveball and changeup.
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Jose Iglesias getting versatile; Jackie Bradley remains under wraps; Brian Johnson flashes promise||05.21.13 at 8:52 am ET|
Shortstop Jose Iglesias collected his first extra-base hit in the month of May, slamming a solo homer — his career-high fourth of the year — in the bottom of the ninth for Triple-A Pawtucket. The homer snapped an 0-for-13 stretch. Iglesias now is hitting .160/.232/.220 in the month of May, with a .204/.263/.306 line on the season.
However, more significant was something that Iglesias did defensively — and outside the confines of the game. As reported by Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, Iglesias took grounders at third base on Monday prior to Pawtucket’s game, the first time in his career that he’s taken grounders at the position, with game exposure to the position expected to come soon — perhaps as soon as Tuesday in Pawtucket. MacPherson also reported that Iglesias has been taking grounders at second base, and that he will see game activity there once PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina is comfortable with the idea that Iglesias is comfortable with the double-play pivot from that angle.
DiSarcina suggested that the move is being made with an eye toward increasing Iglesias’ versatility so that he can serve as a source of depth at multiple positions. For instance, when Will Middlebrooks suffered his recent rib injury, it was Brock Holt — a player capable of playing third, short and second — who was on call to come up from the majors, with Iglesias not in position to offer utility depth. In exposing him to multiple positions, the Sox are laying the groundwork for the 23-year-old to have more roster value.
“He’s a shortstop,” DiSarcina told the Journal. “He’s going to be a major league shortstop. But the goal is just to give him a tool — not just for himself, but for the organization.”
Moreover, as MacPherson notes, increasing Iglesias’ versatility could allow the Sox to sidestep a potential bottleneck if the organization decides it wants to promote Xander Bogaerts to Triple-A. The ability to have both Iglesias and Bogaerts (who played some third in the WBC) play multiple positions would make it easier to get both players into the lineup.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 8-4 LOSS VS. INDIANAPOLIS (PIRATES)
– Jackie Bradley Jr. is heating up, at a time when outfielder Shane Victorino is once again contending with injuries. Bradley went 2-for-4 with a homer (his first of the season) and double. In three games back in the PawSox lineup, he’s now 4-for-11 with one of every kind of hit along with two walks and an HBP, good for a .364/.500/.909 line. Read the rest of this entry »
|Shane Victorino thinks hamstring issue not ‘a really serious matter’||05.21.13 at 12:14 am ET|
CHICAGO – After the Red Sox’ 6-4 loss Monday night, Shane Victorino was trying to come to grips with both a tight left hamstring and the frustration that comes with it.
Victorino surmised the hamstring injury that forced him from the game in the sixth inning wouldn’t be anything too serious. But the notion that it might not be a long-term issue did nothing to temper the uneasiness of dealing with yet another injury.
“It seems like if isn’t one thing, it’s another right now,” said Victorino, who had just returned from a sore back Sunday after missing two games. “They all say it’s all connected. That’s what’s frustrating for me. What is it? I just want to get back to being healthy and being out there and being a healthy player and feeling good. I don’t think this is anything serious, nor do the trainers. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”
Victorino said he has had no issues with his left hamstring, although he did go on the disabled list in 2011 with a right hamstring problem. He said the two aren’t comparable.
The right fielder didn’t feel any discomfort in the hamstring this time until running out an inning-ending fly ball off the bat of Dustin Pedroia. He had reached base by legging out an infield single.
“Going first to third on Pedroia’s deep fly ball, I just felt like my leg was, I felt something grab,” he said. “I tried to keep running, and it felt like my leg didn’t have the strength that it needed to have. I was trying to pull my leg up, and I felt a little something grab. I was a little worried, but after talking with the trainers and having them look at it, it’s to be determined right now. Obviously you can tell the frustration. I just want answers. I don’t know if it’s all connected. Again, just another bump in the road.”
Victorino actually took his place in right field for the home half of the sixth before Red Sox manager John Farrell and trainer Rick Jameyson jogged out to the position to remove the outfielder, moving Daniel Nava over to right field while putting Jonny Gomes in left.
“Given what he’s been dealing with, low back,” Farrell said, “I wasn’t going to take any chances in that situation.”
Said Victorino: “If I had to guess right now, I don’t really think this will be a really serious matter. But I don’t want to make it worse and miss a lot of time for no reason.”
|Closing Time: White Sox put an end to Red Sox’ win streak; Shane Victorino injures hamstring||05.20.13 at 11:03 pm ET|
CHICAGO — As well as things had been going for the Red Sox, they sure went the other way in a hurry Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
Adam Dunn put the Red Sox and their starter, Jon Lester, in a first-inning hole via a three-run home run, and the White Sox never looked back. Chicago went on to claim the series opener, 6-4, snapping the Sox’ five-game win streak.
Lester not only gave up the three runs in the first, but came back and allowed two more in the second. The lefty finished his six-inning outing giving up six runs (5 earned) on seven hits, striking out a pair and walking three. The outing boosted Lester’s ERA from 2.72 to 3.15, while handing him his first loss of the season.
“Felt like I threw the ball OK for the most part with the exception of the pitch to Dunn,” Lester said, adding, “With the exception of the first, I feel like I battled. It was just kind of one of those nights, just a battle.”
Offensively, the best the Red Sox could do against White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod was a two-run, opposite-field home run from Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the third inning. Axelrod had also pitched well in his only other start against the Red Sox, allowing one run over 6 2/3 innings on July 16 of last season.
The White Sox came into the game having won the opening game of a series just three times in 14 chances. The Red Sox, meanwhile, came in tied with the Cardinals for best road record (14-7), having won six of their seven series away from Fenway Park.
Also not helping matters for the Red Sox was the fact Shane Victorino was forced from the game with left hamstring tightness. The right fielder was taken out during warmups leading into the home half of the sixth inning, having just legged out an infield single in the top of the inning.
“If I had to guess right now, I don’t really think this will be a really serious matter,” Victorino said. “But I don’t want to make it worse and miss a lot of time for no reason.”
Here is what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox in their 18th loss of the season (27-18).
WHAT WENT WRONG
– Dunn’s home run was just the designated hitter’s third hit of the season against a left-handed pitcher, two of which have been home runs.
– The White Sox managed their two runs in the second all with two outs. After retiring Jeff Keppinger and Tyler Flowers on groundouts, Lester surrendered three consecutive doubles, from Tyler Greene, Alejandro De Aza and Alexei Ramirez.
– Will Middlebrooks‘ seventh error of the season, coming on a Ramirez grounder to lead off the fifth inning, ultimately led to the White Sox’ sixth run. Ramirez would steal second and eventually come in on Dayan Viciedo‘s single. The seven errors tie Middlebrooks with Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas for most in the American League by a third baseman.
– Jacoby Ellsbury had another tough night, grounding out to second four times.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
– Middlebrooks helped the Red Sox draw within a pair of runs when he lined a double off the top of the left-field wall, just out of the reach of Viciedo. With the ball bouncing back toward the infield after the misguided attempt, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli (both of whom had walked), ran home. Of the third baseman’s 35 hits, 20 have gone for extra bases. Middlebrooks almost tied the game in the ninth, as well, hitting a ball to the wall in center, just shy of what would have been a two-run blast.
“I thought I [tied the game], but the wind was blowing in,” Middlebrooks said of his ninth-inning bid. “I knew it was going to be close. I hit it too high to hit it over the guy’s head and he was playing no doubles.”
– Saltalamacchia continued his solid stretch of late, with the catcher not only hitting the third-inning home run but also singling. He came close to tying the game in the seventh, sending De Aza to the warning track in center, just shy of what would have been another two-run blast. Saltalamacchia came into the game hitting .355 over his previous 10 games.
“The wind was blowing in, I thought it might have had a chance,” Saltalamacchia said of his seventh-inning out, “but unfortunately not. Wind changed on us.”
|David Ross cleared to participate in baseball activities||05.20.13 at 8:45 pm ET|
CHICAGO – Red Sox catcher David Ross, who suffered a concussion after being hit by two foul balls in the mask May 11, has resumed some baseball activities after being re-examined.
“He was cleared by the impact testing, symptoms have resolved,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He threw today. He rode a bike for 30 minutes, no repeat of symptoms. We’ll look to repeat the intensity of the work tomorrow so he’s turning the corner.
“So baseball activities will start to come into play a little bit more. By the end of this road trip, what we’ve got to figure out is it better off for him to go get a game or two (in the minors) just to see some game-speed. He’s moving in the right direction.”
Ross has been on the seven-day concussion disabled list after experiencing the injury
Ryan Lavarnway has been playing in place of Ross, having caught two times (with the Red Sox going 1-1 in those starts).
“[Ross] is throwing and hitting off the tee,” Farrell said. “It’s been initiated. It’s just not full speed yet.”
|Jonny Gomes reveals his career aspirations||05.20.13 at 7:16 pm ET|
CHICAGO – Just moments after John Farrell sang Jonny Gomes’ praises — mostly reminding the collection of media about the outfielder’s intangibles — the player appeared in the dugout on the way to batting practice.
It was at that moment Gomes offered one of the reasons he was the way he was. He wants to be in Farrell’s shoes one day.
“I want to manage one day,” said the 32-year-old. “There’s been a couple of coaches in the minor leagues who have said, ‘When you get to the big leagues, pass on what I tell you.’ I really took that to heart early. For all the info anybody gave me, “Will do. Yes sir. Got it.” Then being underneath Lou [Pinella], Joe [Maddon], Dusty Baker, Davey Johnson, Bob Melvin and Farrell. Two teams in the American League. Three in the National League. Three division titles in five years. Been playoffs in both leagues.
“I just enjoy running the game. Running the bullpen. Running the bench. All of that stuff. I’ve been paying attention to it a lot. And I don’t want to get out of this game, because I love it.”
The way Farrell talks, it appears to be a logical career path.
“Seemingly, he’s been involved in something all the time,” the Red Sox manager said. “In his current situation, I think the batting average is a little misleading. I look at the on-base. He gets on base. He’s got a high number of walks, and it’s been both against righties and lefties. Even though his career strength is against left-handed pitching. But he finds himself in the middle of some kind of rally. He’ll break up a double play at second base. I think he brings a little bit of an intangible and an edge to his game that you feel and that plays out on the field. He’s done what we expected in this role and we know based on track record, those performance numbers will start to come into line a little bit more as we get deeper into the season.”
|Rangers designate Derek Lowe for assignment||05.20.13 at 5:24 pm ET|
The Rangers designated former Red Sox pitcher Derek Lowe for assignment on Monday. Lowe, who has gone 1-0 with an 9.00 ERA this season for Texas, was sent out to make room for Josh Lindblom, who will start Monday’s game against the A’s. The 39-year-old Lowe, who was a part of the Red Sox title team in 2004, went 70-55 with a 3.72 ERA and 85 saves in eight seasons with Boston.
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