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David Ross on Bradfo Show podcast: Red Sox on Cubs’ minds, Jon Lester better than ever

09.27.16 at 8:38 am ET
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David Ross (WEEI.com)

David Ross (WEEI.com)

Fans are talking about the possibility, so why not the players.

Appearing on the Bradfo Show podcast, Cubs catcher David Ross isn’t hesitant to admit that the idea of meeting his former club, the Red Sox, in the World Series has been the topic of conversation among at least a portion of the Wrigley Field home clubhouse.

“This season has been a dream come true for me in so many ways, but to end it playing the Red Sox, that would be the storybook,” Ross said. “I love all those guys. I’m rooting those guys on all the time. I’m in constant contact with a bunch of those guys, coaches included. I miss those guys. I’m always pulling for them. Getting me and David in the World Series would be pretty neat.

“For sure, because we’re always following it. We have such a connection with the city and the organization, that comes up all the time. We’re talking about David and what he’s doing and what is going on there and all the success that’s happening in Boston. Heck yeah, we’ve talked about it. I think the storybook is the Red Sox and Cubs. Two of the oldest franchises in the game. The two best stadiums, in my opinion, in all of baseball. We think about it all the time. If that’s the goal there wouldn’t be a better place to be than Boston and Chicago.”

Heading into Tuesday, the Red Sox and Cubs owned the best records in their respective leagues, with Chicago having already clinched the National League’s best record with a 100-56 mark. The Red Sox are 1/2-game up on Texas for the top mark in the American League at 92-64.

The Cubs, of course, are littered with players, coaches and members of the front office who are tied to the Red Sox organization, with Ross joining fellow Cubs Jon Lester, John Lackey, Anthony Rizzo, Tim Federowicz, Eric Hinske, Darnell McDonald among those who had previously worn a Red Sox uniform but now call Chicago home.

Speaking of Lester, Ross had high praise for the Cubs’ lefty.

Lester has totaled a 19-4 record and 2.28 ERA this season, with the Cubs going 24-7 in his starts. In his last eight starts, he has a 0.64 ERA, allowing just four runs in 56 1/3 innings.

“I would say he’s at that spot where he was rolling in Boston,” the catcher said. “He was rolling before we went into the playoffs in ’13 and kept on rolling and dominated just about every outing when he toed the rubber. That’s where he’s at right now. He’s very, very good. He’s got more pitches. He can do more with the baseball, so he’s a more complete pitcher. I would say he dominates the game the same way. I would say he’s better than he was there as far as the complete pitcher goes.”

Among some of the other topics discussed by Ross on the podcast are his retirement tour this season, and the unique tribute given by Cubs manager Joe Maddon Sunday night.

Tuesday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: David Price vs. Luis Cessa

09.27.16 at 8:24 am ET
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David Price

David Price

With their magic number to clinch the AL East at one, the Red Sox head to Yankee Stadium to open a three-game series. David Price will take the ball for Boston, while the Yankees will counter with rookie Luis Cessa.

Price is 17-8 with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.175 WHIP in 33 starts. In his last start on Thursday, the southpaw threw seven innings, allowing three runs, six hits and two walks with five strikeouts in a 5-3 win over the Orioles.

“This is the time of year you want your team to get on a roll in the way we have,” Price said (via MLB.com). “That’s what we’ve done and just continued to bring the same attitude to the field every day.”

Price is 14-9 with a 4.44 ERA and a 1.344 WHIP in 35 career games (34 starts) against the Yankees. In four starts this year against New York he is 1-2 with a 7.71 ERA and a 1.714 WHIP. Price last saw the Yankees on Sept. 17. He went six innings, allowing five runs, nine hits and no walks with seven strikeouts in a 6-5 Sox win.

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Even without playing, Red Sox come out winners Monday

09.26.16 at 11:33 pm ET
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The Red Sox had a good night Monday.

Even though the Sox were enjoying their last off day of the regular season, they came away in a better spot than when John Farrell’s team left St. Petersburg, Fla. As the Red Sox head into their three-game series against the Yankees in the Bronx Tuesday, their magic number now stands at one.

The Red Sox can clinch the American League East with either a win over New York Tuesday, or a Blue Jays loss against the Orioles. That was made possible because of Toronto’s 7-5 loss to the Yankees Monday night.

The matchup between Toronto and New York included two bench-clearing incidents.

Another positive development for the Red Sox was the loss by the Rangers to to Milwaukee, putting the Sox in lone possession of the best record in the American League by 1/2 game, with Texas possessing one more loss.

The Indians did gain a 1/2 game on the Red Sox with their 7-4 win over Detroit and now reside one game behind Boston.

In the Wild Card race, the Blue Jays still possess the top spot, with the Orioles holding onto the other postseason berth. The Tigers are two games in back of Baltimore.

David Ortiz on D&H remembers Jose Fernandez: ‘That hit home for me big time’

09.26.16 at 5:45 pm ET
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Sunday was a tragic day in the world of baseball as Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident early Sunday morning in Miami. Before the Rays-Red Sox game there was a tribute to Fernandez on the video board where Ortiz was seen getting emotional.

On Monday, appearing on Dale & Holley, Ortiz offered how he will remember Fernandez and also explained how difficult Sunday was for him.

“That hit home for me big time,” Ortiz said. “I knew Jose a little bit. Great kid. Unbelievable person. Face of the game, definitely. He had so many years in front of him to do things — special things. Then this tragedy happened. All I could think about yesterday was him and his family. He’s got a baby on the way. His mom, his grandmother. The story behind being from Cuba. Yesterday during the game I couldn’t stop think about that. It’s something that we’re all feeling, especially when a good guy goes down like that. I come back to his family and all his friends around the world, Major League Baseball. I was super sad.

“I started thinking about it and I remember during the All-Star game he came up to me and was like ‘Hey, Papi.’ He was a very happy guy. ‘I’m going to have one jersey at my house and it’s yours. Your my favorite player.’ We started talking: ‘Hey, if I face you in this game, I am going to throw you my best fastball. Let’s see if you can hit it.’ We joked about it and talked about things. Very happy. Very humble kid. Sweet guy. In Miami, I talked to my fiends down there and everyone down in Miami is in absolute shock with his situation. It was hard, man. You know how they had the ceremony for me for the retirement, they asked me and I was like, ‘Man, it’s all about Jose today.’

“… It wasn’t a good day. It wasn’t a good day. By the time we were having the ceremony for Jose and when they were showing the stuff about him on the screen, I couldn’t help it. It was so sad. It was something — man, it hit me.”

Read More: David Ortiz, Jose Fernandez,

David Ortiz on D&H praises John Farrell, talks potentially winning MVP award in final season

09.26.16 at 4:38 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz appeared on the Dale & Holley with Thornton show Monday to talk about a number of things including John Farrell and potentially winning American League MVP in his final season. To hear the interview, go to the D&H audio on demand page.

Throughout the season many have questioned Farrell and his in-game decision making, but Ortiz completely backed his manager, saying he loves the way things are going right now.

“Man, John isn’t wasting time,” Ortiz said. “John, the way he’s managing the bullpen, the way he’s pulling with all of us, it’s perfect. It could get no better. He’s got everything under control really well. We’re so excited. We’re super happy the way he’s doing things right now. He’s not wasting time, any minute. I love the way he’s running this ballclub right now.”

Ortiz is currently tied for second in the American League in batting average, hitting .321, second in RBIs with 124 and leads all of baseball with a slugging percentage of .632. With the numbers he’s putting up, it’s no surprise he’s in the conversation for American League MVP in his final season.

The designated hitter says he doesn’t really care about it, as he’s focused on winning.

“I never really think of it because of all the crap and negativity [it] always brings along with,” Ortiz said. “I have had MVP numbers before and just because I don’t play defense they always down me. They have to always head in a different direction. If it happens, it happens. If it don’t, I’m not really going to go crazy about it. I care about winning and winning another World Series. Those are the things I really care about because personal numbers are always going to be personal numbers.”

Being 40 years old and playing in 145 games, Ortiz admitted he isn’t 100 percent health wise, but is ready for the postseason.

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Why there will be no Dave Roberts, Joey Gathright or Quintin Berry for Red Sox this time around

09.26.16 at 10:02 am ET
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Marco Hernandez may very well be the Red Sox' pinch-running option in the postseason. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Marco Hernandez may very well be the Red Sox’ pinch-running option in the postseason. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

It had been a staple for Red Sox postseason teams.

The guy who not only could come on to pinch-run, but do so in a fashion where you had a pretty good idea a base was going to be stolen in the process. Dave Roberts obviously set the bar in 2004 after being picked up at the non-waiver trade deadline for Henri Stanley, going on to execute the most important steal in Red Sox history.

Then there was Joey Gathright, who the Red Sox signed for the season’s final month both in 2009 and 2011. He would pinch-run for David Ortiz in Game 3 of the ’09 American League Division Series, stealing a base and then coming on to score via Mike Lowell’s RBI single to put the Sox up by two runs.

And, most recently, it was Quintin Berry who got the opportunity, finding his way on to the Red Sox’ postseason roster in all three rounds of the 2013 world championship run following an Aug. 27 trade that pried him away from the Royals in exchange for Clayton Mortensen. Berry went 3-for-3 in steal attempts during the 2013 playoffs, one in each round.

This time around, however, there won’t be that guy.

“We have no other choice,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “We looked at trying to acquire that type of player, and we thought might have been some internal candidates that could serve it as well. But we end up probably not being as proficient in that single kind of player.”

As Farrell noted, the Red Sox tried to find that guy. And one of the players they at least contacted was Berry, who had been released by the Angels. But the 31-year-old outfielder chose to sign with the Blue Jays, who ended up releasing him less than two weeks later.

There was some thought in the organization that Yoan Moncada, he of 94 minor-league stolen bases in 109 attempts, might be the solution. Then came the pickoff in Oakland, and forgetting how many outs there were in Toronto, and it was clear he was not ready to put on such a stage.

So, where does it leave the Red Sox? Marco Hernandez, that’s where.

With the Red Sox typically keeping 11 pitchers on the playoff roster, there will be a spot for that extra position player. And while Hernandez has only stolen one big league bag, while going just 4-for-6 with Triple-A Pawtucket this season, he, along with maybe Brock Holt, will likely be the players Farrell turns to when needing more speed on the basepaths.

It as Hernandez who got the call to pinch-run for Ortiz Sunday in the 10th inning after the designated hitter’s double.

“Here’s the thing, there will be certain game situations where we will have an upgrade in speed as needed. It might not be the pro typical base-stealer to get you 90 feet. But the ability to get from first to third, two bases, that is still present,” Farrell said.

The good news is that because of the athletic lineup the Red Sox possess, there might not be a dramatic need for extra speed. Other than Ortiz and the catcher, virtually every starting player has the ability to swipe a bag. And even Travis Shaw has stolen five bases in six attempts this season.

“We have more team speed, but I can’t say that those single opportunities that arise … We don’t have that one particular guy,” Farrell said.

Closing Time: Red Sox pitchers strikeout franchise record 23 on way to 11th straight win

09.25.16 at 5:13 pm ET
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David Ortiz, and other Red Sox, reflect on death of Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez prior to their game against the Rays Sunday afternoon. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz, and other Red Sox, reflect on death of Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez prior to their game against the Rays Sunday afternoon. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

It’s hard to upstage winning 11 in a row, or knocking the magic number to win the American League East down to two. But the Red Sox’ pitchers and Dustin Pedroia seemingly did that in their team’s 3-2, 10-inning win over the Rays Sunday.

Once again, it was Pedroia’s contribution that meant the most.

With one out and the second baseman standing at first in the 10th, David Ortiz rifled a shot into right-center field in what would be his last Tropicana Field at-bat. Pedroia would be waved in by third base coach Brian Butterfield, with the throw to catcher Luke Maile easily beating the baserunner.

But upon arriving at the plate, Pedroia began dancing around the tag of Maile until the catcher’s over-sized mitt (he was catching knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa) hit off the runner’s left leg. The contact forced the baseball out of the glove, allowing for the eventual game-winning run to score.

Then there were the strikeouts.

Red Sox pitchers struck out a franchise-record 23 batters in the win, including 11 straight at one point. The run of punch-outs was a major league record, surpassing Tom Seaver’s previous mark set in 1970. It was a stretch that started with Eduardo Rodriguez fanning Richie Shaffer to end the fourth inning and ending with Logan Forsythe finally singling off reliever Matt Barnes to leadoff the eighth inning.

Rodriguez ended up allowing a run on three hits over 5 1/3 innings, striking out a career-high 13 batters. He was followed by Heath Hembree, who struck out all five the batters he faced.

For the second time during the three-game series, it appeared Pedroia sealed the deal for the Red Sox via a home run, giving the visitors a lead in the third with a solo shot. But the Red Sox’ one-run lead disappeared in the eighth inning when Fernando Abad allowed an RBI single to Brad Miller.

The hit by Miller was the first allowed to a left-handed hitter by Abad since Aug. 10, and just the second inherited runner allowed to score by Red Sox relievers in September.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, Joe Kelly was able to come on and get out of a first and third jam by inducing a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Nick Franklin to end the eighth.

Kelly went on to earn the win, pitching the last 2 1/3 innings.

For a complete box score, click here.

Closing Time note

The Red Sox set a franchise record for most strikeouts by pitching staff for a season, topping the total of the 2013 staff.

Stunned Red Sox players react to death of Jose Fernandez

09.25.16 at 12:39 pm ET
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The shocking death of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez in a boating accident on Sunday morning swept across baseball, with Red Sox players among the hundreds of players, coaches, and media offering their condolences.

Here’s a sampling of Red Sox reaction, gathered from social media.

Read More: David Price, Jose Fernandez, Jose Fernandez death, Marlins

Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez killed in boating accident

09.25.16 at 9:47 am ET
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Jose Fernandez

Jose Fernandez

Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident early Sunday morning. He was 24 years old.

The game between the Marlins and Braves Sunday has been canceled.

According to multiple reports, three people, including Fernandez, were found dead at the scene of the accident, which took place just off Miami Beach. According to multiple reports, authorities were called to the scene just after 3 a.m. after a call concerning a boat having overturned due to a collision with rocks.

Fernandez was originally scheduled to pitch Sunday, but was pushed back to Monday in order to make room in the rotation for starter Adam Conley, who was coming off the disabled list.

The right-hander was 16-8 with a 2.86 ERA this season, totaling the second-most strikeouts in the National League (253). He was concerned perhaps the best young pitcher in baseball, with a career ERA of 2.58 and 589 strikeouts in 479 1/3 innings.
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Sunday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Jake Odorizzi

09.25.16 at 8:33 am ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

Winners of 10 straight, the Red Sox close out their three-game series vs. the Rays on Sunday afternoon by sending out Eduardo Rodriguez opposite right-hander Jake Ordorizzi.

Rodriguez is 3-7 with a 4.84 ERA and a 1.303 WHIP in 18 games. On Tuesday he went 6 1/3 innings, giving up two runs, four hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in a 5-2 win over the Orioles. It was the southpaw’s first win since July 16.

“When you are capable to stop the Baltimore offense, that means you’ve got good stuff,” David Ortiz said of Rodriguez (via MLB.com). “Those guys can swing the bat. We know what we’ve got in [Rodriguez].”

In three career starts against the Rays, the 23-year-old Venezuelan is 0-1 with a 9.88 ERA and a 2.195 WHIP. Rodriguez’s last start against the Rays was one of his worst of the season. On June 27 he lasted just 2 2/3 innings, allowing a whopping nine runs, 11 hits and one walk with two strikeouts in a 13-7 Rays win.

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