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Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘Nothing has worked out’ for Red Sox

05.27.15 at 10:40 am ET
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ESPN baseball analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday to talk about the state of the Red Sox and the reasons for the team’s struggles. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Schilling said that, looking at the Red Sox roster back in spring training, expectations and hopes were justifiably high.

“You look at this team and said, ‘They’re going to score, they’ve got a very solid rotation of power arms,’ and nothing has worked out that way,” Schilling said.

However, Schilling does not think that a big trade would be guaranteed to be a difference-maker for the Red Sox. He cautioned against making such a major move just for the sake of making one.

“You don’t want to do something at the deadline that has absolutely zero impact on you other than to give away prospects. … Do you make a move with a Mookie Betts or a Jackie Bradley Jr. or something that brings in that ace, that Cole Hamels, and then you finish seven games under .500 and out of the playoffs?” Schilling said.

Regarding the struggles of both Joe Kelly and David Ortiz, Schilling expressed frustration with Kelly’s disappointing start, considering his ability to throw “98 [mph] pretty much effortlessly.”

“I think you can look at just this eight-week sample and realize that you should be a little concerned. … He hasn’t adjusted, and it’s frustrating as hell to watch because you’re talking about a guy who should be going to the All-Star Game every year, battling to win his 20th in August and looking to put some hardware on his shelf every single season, and instead you’ve got this nightmare,” Schilling said.

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Read More: Curt Schilling, David Ortiz, Joe Kelly,

Wednesday Red Sox Farm Report: 3 Sox prospects in Keith Law’s new Top 25, RHP Joe Gunkel solid for Salem

05.27.15 at 10:22 am ET
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ESPN.com’€™s Keith Law updated his MLB Top 25 prospect list (with players currently in the majors ineligible), and three members of the Red Sox organization made Law’€™s register.

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

11 — Yoan Moncada, 2B (Low-A Greenville Drive). Law writes, ‘€œHe has barely begun to play, but there’€™s broad consensus that he’€™s going to hit for average and power, although he may ultimately be better defensively at third than second.’€

14 — Rafael Devers, 3B (Low-A Greenville Drive). ‘€œDevers is still not that polished at the player,’€ Law writes, ‘€œbut he has explosive bat speed and power, and even if he has to go to the outfield because of his size, he’€™s still a potential middle-of-the-order bat.’€

18 — Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP (Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox). Law says, ‘€œRodriguez has two plus pitches in his fastball and changeup, excellent control (albeit not command yet) and dominates lefties even though he doesn’€™t have a wipeout breaking ball.’€

The other American League East prospects to make Law’€™s Top 25 are:

16 — Aaron Judge, RF, Yankees (Double-A Trenton)
17 — Daniel Norris, LHP, Blue Jays (Triple-A Buffalo)
21 — Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles (Double-A Bowie)

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Read More: eduardo rodriguez, jantzen witte, joe gunkel, rafael devers

Wednesday’s Red Sox-Twins matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Phil Hughes

05.27.15 at 9:14 am ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

The Red Sox will send AL Central veteran Rick Porcello to the hill Wednesday to face longtime AL East pro Phil Hughes and the Twins in the finale of the three-game series.

Porcello has faced adversity during his first year in a Red Sox uniform after coming over from the Tigers, posting a 4-3 record and a 5.07 ERA through nine starts. The right-hander has proven incapable of keeping the ball in the yard this season, allowing nine home runs in 55 innings of work. To put the number in perspective, Porcello allowed 18 dingers in his 204 2/3 innings pitched last season.

An $82.5 million signing meant to stabilize the rotation, Porcello has done anything but that over his last two starts. In 11 innings pitched, he has given up three home runs, nine earned runs and five free passes. Opponents have crushed 24 percent balls in play for line drives, leading to a .273/.360/.545 slash line.

In his most recent outing last Friday, Porcello lasted just 4 1/3 innings against the Angels before Red Sox manager John Farrell pulled the plug.

“I walked those two guys in the fifth, that hurt,” Porcello said after the 12-5 drubbing. “The fourth inning, whatever happened, happened. But those two walks and not being able to get out of that was the difference. I took full responsibility for the loss today. That was completely on me. I’ve got to do better.”

Porcello will look to get back on track vs. a Twins squad against whom he has succeeded against in the past. Porcello has logged an 8-7 record and a 3.91 ERA in 23 starts vs. the Twins.

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Day after disaster, Joe Kelly channeling his closer’s mentality

05.27.15 at 2:23 am ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

MINNEAPOLIS — A day after allowing seven runs over just 1 2/3 innings, Joe Kelly was still the focus of attention prior to the Red Sox‘ Tuesday night tilt with the Twins at Target Field.

Would he be moved to the bullpen? Would he get sent to Triple-A? Would he be staring blankly at a screen, breaking down video of his disastrous outing?

It was none of the above.

First thing, Red Sox manager John Farrell met with the starter, identifying some issues that have plagued Kelly through a season that has seen him give up five or more runs in five of his nine starts.

“We had a chance to sit down and review yesterday’s game with him, and the one thing we continue to try to point out to Joe is that he’s learning himself as a pitcher and what makes him most effective,” Farrell said. “Yesterday there were a number of balls that leaked back to the middle of the plate that he paid for.

“I still contend and strongly believe that his curveball is a major weapon that’s got to be used in his pitch mix. You look back at the Texas game: He made a very tangible adjustment after three innings of work when he went to his curveball more than his slider and slowed them down and had some quick and efficient innings. It’s part of the education process of who Joe is as a pitcher and what makes him most effective.”

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Closing Time: Red Sox offense silenced to spoil another strong Clay Buchholz start in loss to Twins

05.27.15 at 12:07 am ET
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Clay Buchholz pitched well, but was a tough-luck loser Tuesday night against the Twins. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz pitched well but was a tough-luck loser Tuesday night against the Twins. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The Red Sox remain stuck in the mud.

While they make progress in getting out, they then seemingly fall right back in.

After winning the final two games over the weekend against the Angels, the Red Sox have lost their first two games of a seven-game road trip, falling to the Twins, 2-1, Tuesday night in Minneapolis. The game was delayed at the start by 81 minutes due to rain.

Their latest defeat came at the hands of Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who entered with a career ERA just under 4.50. Pelfrey limited the Red Sox to one run on five hits over seven innings. Between the third and seventh inning, he limited the Red Sox to only two hits.

The visitors had a chance to tie, or take the lead in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and two outs for Hanley Ramirez, but the left fielder flew out to right field to end the threat. Over the first 24 games in May, the Red Sox are averaging just 2.75 runs per game.

Mike Napoli drove in the Red Sox‘ only run of the game, a single up the middle in the second inning.

“Not much to get going. A lot of early outs, put the ball on the ground, a couple of ground-ball double plays,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “I’d like to think our approach can be a little bit more concerted, a little bit more concentrated. You never want to take away credit from a guy that’s throwing the ball well this year in Pelfrey. But still, I think we’re capable of more than we showed here tonight.”

Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz continued his season-long trend of starting slow, but settling in. After allowing two first inning runs, and not having his best overall stuff, Buchholz went 7 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, while walking one and striking out four. Over his last four starts his ERA is 2.17, but the Red Sox are 1-3 in those games.

Buchholz continues to struggle in the first inning, as he allowed two runs once again. For the season he’s allowed 13 first-inning runs in 10 starts. It hasn’t just been Buchholz, the Red Sox as a team struggle in the first inning, being outscored 35-14 in the opening frame.

“Yeah, I didn’t have much tonight,” Buchholz said. “I didn’t have command of any one pitch. As the game went on, I found a couple pitches and was able to throw a couple strikes and make some big pitches in some big situations. As far as stuff goes, I feel like that’s the worst that I’ve had. To be able to go out there and have the first inning and pitch out of some jams against a team that’s swinging as well as they are right now, I feel like I did a pretty good job. It seems like we’re running into a lot of guys throwing the ball well right now.”

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Buchholz. The right-hander delivered his fourth straight quality start, but the offense couldn’t help him out, as his record dropped to 2-6. He’s thrown three straight starts of at least seven innings. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, mike napoli, Mike Pelfrey

Red Sox DH David Ortiz dropped to fifth in batting order, seeks inspiration from unlikely source

05.26.15 at 7:26 pm ET
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There aren’t too many big leaguers older than David Ortiz at this point, but the struggling Red Sox designated hitter figures he might as well take inspiration from one of them.

“If Bartolo Colon can get a hit,” Ortiz told reporters in Minnesota on Tuesday afternoon, “I probably can too.”

The portly Mets right-hander, who leads the National League in victories (7) at age 42, actually has two hits this season. That’s 32 fewer than Ortiz, but it doesn’t feel that way with the 39-year-old slugger off to one of the worst starts of his career.

Ortiz is hitting .221 with six homers and a .694 OPS. He’s also mired in a 2-for-23 slump, which prompted manager John Farrell to drop Ortiz to fifth in the order for Tuesday’s game against the Twins, hoping the shift from third and fourth will spark him.

“I’m swinging like [expletive] so once I figure things out, probably I’ll go back to third, right?” Ortiz said.

Ortiz guaranteed he’d find his way out.

“For you guys who always ask me, how much longer I can do it and I make it look easy ‘€“ it ain’t that easy,” Ortiz said. “Baseball players, we have to go through struggles to figure things out. Once again, it shows you guys that I’m not Superman. You know what I’m saying? It’s part of the game, man. I keep on working. I’m going to keep on working as long as I play baseball and I will find a way to get out of it once again.”

Ortiz said he appreciates the chance to step back and re-evaluate from lower in the order. Back in 2009, manager Terry Francona dropped Ortiz to seventh in the order, and he responded by going 4-for-6 with a pair of home runs.

“Actually, I feel like John is trying to give me some breathing room and walk into the groove that I used to be and try to get me out of the attention of everyone and just try to go back to where they need me to be,” he said. “It happened to me before. And it wasn’t nice that feeling, I was going down to seventh or eighth, something like that. But it doesn’t matter where they put me. I’m the one that has to come in and get things done and try to be consistent at what I do when I’m at my best. I have the confidence it’s going to happen at some point.”

Read More: bartolo colon, David Ortiz, Red Sox,

Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz dropped to fifth

05.26.15 at 4:26 pm ET
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MINNEAPOLIS — With righty Mike Pelfrey on the mound for the Twins, David Ortiz slides to fifth in the Red Sox batting order for Tuesday night’s game.

The last time Ortiz hit fifth on a regular basis was 2011, when he filled the spot in 108 games. The Red Sox DH is currently in an 0-for-16 slump.

With Ortiz dropped down, Pablo Sandoval slides up into the No. 3 spot. Also in the lineup will be Rusney Castillo, who mans right field.

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

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Mookie Betts CF
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Hanley Ramirez LF
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Rusney Castillo RF
Sandy Leon C

For all the matchups, click here.

Mike Napoli named AL Player of the Week following monster homestand

05.26.15 at 3:40 pm ET
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Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli’s monster homestand has earned him American League Player of the Week for the week ending May 24.

Napoli batted .429 (9-for-21) with six runs scored, five home runs and 10 RBI over six games to claim his third career AL weekly honor, last winning with the Red Sox on September 8, 2013. Napoli led all major league hitters in home runs, slugging percentage (1.190) and total bases (25).

Among AL batters, he finished first in RBI, tied for first in on-base percentage (.500), tied for second in runs scored and fifth in batting average.

By homering in three straight games, he became the first player since David Ortiz did from July 21-23, 2014 at Toronto (also four homers in three games). No Red Sox player had homered in at least three consecutive home games since Ortiz accomplished the feat from June 10-20, 2012, and he is the first to do so in three consecutive days at home since Jason Bay from August 10-12, 2009.

For the season Napoli is now batting .211 with eight home runs. The first baseman raised his average 41 points during his impressive week.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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Tuesday Red Sox Farm Report: Henry Owens solid in Pawtucket loss, Carlos Asuaje lifts Portland with 2 homers

05.26.15 at 10:04 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:

Henry Owens

Henry Owens

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (24-22): L, 2-0, vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees)

— Left-hander Henry Owens took the loss despite giving up just one run on four hits, although he did allow four walks. The 6-foot-6 southpaw also fanned four in the six-inning effort. Owens fell to 2-3 in nine starts this season, but lowered his ERA to 2.98.

–€” Righty Miguel Celestino pitched two innings of relief, giving up the second Scranton run. He allowed one hit and one walk with three strikeouts. Dana Eveland tossed a scoreless ninth inning despite allowing two hits and a walk.

— Allen Craig, the designated hitter Monday, hit a single to left field in the ninth inning. He has now hit safely in his last four games.

— Shortstop Deven Marrero also singled and has recorded a hit in seven of his last 10 games.

— The PawSox managed just four hits in their fifth shutout loss of the season.

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Read More: carlos asuaje, henry owens, mauricio dubon, yoan moncada

Tuesday’s Red Sox-Twins matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Mike Pelfrey

05.26.15 at 8:28 am ET
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The Red Sox will send Clay Buchholz to the mound Tuesday to face Mike Pelfrey and the Twins at Target Field for the middle game of their three-game set.

Buchholz, who holds a 2-5 record and a 4.58 ERA, comes into Tuesday’s game with a streak of three consecutive quality starts. His latest outing came against the Rangers last Thursday, when he pitched 7 1/3 strong innings, limiting the Rangers to two earned runs. Unfortunately for Buchholz, the Red Sox could not figure out Texas left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, mustering only one run and handing Buchholz the tough-luck 3-1 loss.

“I thought Clay certainly gave us a chance to win this ballgame,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game. “They score a second run on an attempted double play in the first to give them a 2-0 lead and then a cutter that stayed on the outside of the plate to [Mitch] Moreland is the extent of their offense. Going into the eighth inning, kept his pitch count well in check, and through the middle innings I thought he did an outstanding job to get that deep.”

Since his loss to the Rays on May 4, Buchholz has shown the stuff that made him a dark-horse Cy Young candidate back in 2013. Over his last three starts, the 30-year-old has logged 21 2/3 innings, notching 18 punchouts and limiting opposing hitters to a paltry .200/.250/.333 slash line. Buchholz finally has begun to find his swing-and-miss pitch, as 16 percent of his strikes over these three starts have come off of the whiff.

The Texas native has made eight career starts vs. the Twins, posting a 3-1 record and a 4.25 ERA. He has struggled with limiting baserunners against Minnesota, walking 19 batters in 48 2/3 innings pitched. Facing a 2015 Twins team that owns a .308 OBP, 11th in the AL, Buchholz hopes to find better success against Minnesota this time around.

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