|08.04.14 at 8:09 am ET|
Even after putting together a strong performance at the plate Sunday night against the Yankees, Dustin Pedroia – always looking at the big picture — was more focused on the pitch he wasn’t able to capitalize on.
Down by one run with two outs in the ninth, Pedroia stepped up to the dish to face off against Yankee closer David Robertson. After a lengthy battle, Pedroia drove the eighth pitch of the at-bat deep into left field, only for it to hook left of the foul pole before clearing the Green Monster.
“It started out fair and then it kind of hooked foul, it’s just one of those things, and it was kind of up and in, so I hooked it a little bit,” Pedroia said.
Pedroia grounded out on the next pitch to seal the 8-7 Yankees win, giving New York its third series win of the year against Boston.
Despite his frustrating final at-bat, Pedroia compiled another great batting line against New York, finishing the night 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs. It was the fifth multi-hit game in a row for the Red Sox second baseman, tying a career-high mark that Pedroia has already reached seven times in his career.
“I think over the last seven, eight days, you’re seeing much better bat speed, he misses another one there in the ninth inning, just foul,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Just better bat speed and more freedom in the swing.”
“I feel good. I’ve got to build on it and continue to work and try to get better,” Pedroia said.
While the Red Sox‘ chances of continuing their season in October are essentially null at this point, Pedroia has done his part to keep his team in games over the last two weeks, energizing a lineup that has underwhelmed for most of the 2014 campaign.
|08.04.14 at 7:16 am ET|
“I know you’re not supposed to look up at the board and look at numbers, but everybody sees it, so it’s a constant battle when you’re trying to throw up zeroes,” Buchholz said. “When it doesn’t happen it’s more frustrating, and that’s part of the game. That’s why the game is hard. Got to find a way to get through it. “
Sunday’s five-inning, seven-run, eight-hit, five-walk, five-strikeout performance in an 8-7 loss to the Yankees represented the hurler’s fourth straight game in which he allowed more than four runs and his third straight start in which he walked more than four batters. Things have gotten to the point for Buchholz where even the 29-year-old is short of answers on why he continues to struggle.
“I don’t know,” the Red Sox starter said. “I don’t know how to explain it.”
For a while, it appeared that Buchholz’s stint on the disabled list had done him well. After struggling with command prior to his stint on the DL, Buchholz seemed to regain his form, walking no batters in four of his five starts since returning on June 25.
Buchholz’s command has seemingly evaporated. At a time when Buchholz is now the senior member of the Red Sox pitching rotation, things are trending downward. Buchholz, the de facto leader of the Red Sox rotation, possesses the highest ERA among starting pitchers in the league with at least 100 innings pitched at 6.20.
|08.04.14 at 5:54 am ET|
Outside of that, the designated hitter is just sitting back and waiting.
“We’ll see how it goes,” Ortiz told WEEI.com regarding the Red Sox‘ recent trade of Lester and Jonny Gomes to the Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes. “It’s a game you have to prepare for whatever and go from there. We’ll see. You never know what can happen in the offseason … I’ve got to come in still and do what I’ve got to do, right?”
He added, “It’s part of the game. It’s not what you want to see, but I’ve seen it happen before. What can you do about it?”
This one might be a bit different for the slugger, however.
Lester was, along with Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz, one of the holdovers from the Red Sox‘ last two World Series championship teams, having teamed with the DH to help carry last year’s club to its title.
The dynamic was such a unique one — with the key players in the clubhouse expressing unbridled loyalty toward Lester — that the front office offered at least some communication on the edges of the deal.
“We had some conversations, but they didn’t have to explain to me exactly what they were trying to do,” Ortiz said. ” ‘We’re going to make this move …’ and afterwards, ‘We did this move because of this or that.’ It’s not like I’m going to be all depressed of that. You win as a group. You don’t win as one person.”
Now comes the plea for patience.
Will the likes of Cespedes and Allen Craig give Ortiz more pitches to hit?
“I don’t know,” the DH said. “We’ll see.”
Will the Red Sox be able to find the necessary pitching?
“It’s going to happen. I think it’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of time,” Ortiz said. “The offseason is going to be interesting to see how it goes, because you’re not going to get anything for free in today’s game. You’re going to have to pay.”
And, most importantly, might Lester return?
“He’s going to be a free agent, and I know for a fact Oakland isn’t going to be able to pay him,” Ortiz explained. “So it’s going to be either here, L.A., Yankees. One of those. One of the big teams.”
|08.03.14 at 11:51 pm ET|
It was an ideal scenario for Clay Buchholz.
Taking the hill Sunday against the Yankees for the first time as the new de-facto leader of a gutted Red Sox rotation, Buchholz was given seven runs of support from a normally listless Red Sox lineup.
And yet — as its been for most of the 2014 season — Buchholz found a way to hand a win to an opposing team, surrendering seven runs on eight hits while walking five in five innings en route to an 8-7 Yankees victory at Fenway Park.
Buchholz labored throughout his outing, repeatedly failing to hold leads. After Boston jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in the first inning, Buchholz responded by giving up three runs of his own in the second to knot the game at 3-3.
A similar scenario occurred in the top of the fifth inning. After the Red Sox tacked on an additional two runs in the bottom of the fourth to push the score to 7-4 in favor of Boston, Buchholz allowed three runs in the next frame to once again tie the score at seven runs apiece.
Buchholz has allowed 14 earned runs over his last 10 innings while his usual strong command has withered — walking 13 batters over his last three outings.
“I think there’s maybe a little bit of a tendency to pitch a little bit too fine that’s caused him to fall behind in the count,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game. “Mechanically, he may be running away from his arm a little bit where it’s causing some pitches to be missed up to the arm side, but still, it’s the overall pitch mix and command to each.”
Buchholz spoiled an impressive showing from a Boston lineup that scored at least seven runs for the first time since the team doled out 14 runs against the Blue Jays on July 21.
“We swung the bats pretty good the last few days, so we’ve got to build on that, we’ve just got to find a way to score more than the other team,” Pedroia said.
While the score tied entering the top of the sixth inning, Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner crushed an offering from Craig Breslow into the seats behind the Red Sox bullpen, giving New York a one-run lead that it would not relinquish.
With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 49-62 on the season and have lost 10 of their last 12 games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– Buchholz did little to instill confidence in those doubting his ability to take over as ace of the Red Sox rotation going forward, allowing seven earned runs for the second start in a row while walking five batters. After allowing just five runs over 22 1/3 innings from July 1-13, Buchholz has surrendered 23 runs over his last 22 innings of work.
|08.03.14 at 9:38 pm ET|
In the aftermath of a whirlwind of roster moves that saw the Red Sox gut their pitching staff and ship off Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront over a span of five days, Clay Buchholz holds the uneasy title of “Last Man Standing.”
“He has the experience and the success in a role and in this division and certainly here in Boston to be in that position, to share the experiences that he’s gone through,” Farrell said. “I think he’s seen all sides of it – the injured side, the successful side, the World Series - that he can impart a lot of those experiences on guys and I think he’ll relish the opportunity to do just that.”
Farrell said that Buchholz, who has underwhelmed this season with a 5-7 record and a 5.87 ERA, has the chance to improve himself mentally by taking on the role as leader of the rotation.
” I think anytime that you offer or help teach others, it kind of help you learn as well,” Farrell said. “He now, being in that role, hopefully he’s open-minded and open enough to share those experience that we talk about and I think he now looks around and sees the many guys that he looked up to or took that information from are gone, and it’s now his opportunity to pass that baton onto others.”
– Red Sox outfielder Allen Craig is absent from the Red Sox lineup for the second-straight game after turning his ankle in the ninth inning of Friday’s match against New York. Despite the setback, Farrell said that the team expects Craig back in the lineup to face his former team – the Cardinals - starting on Aug. 5.
“Still day to day,” Farrell said. “He still feels the soreness of when he crossed the bag the other night, so we’re hopeful he’s back in the lineup here when we get to St. Louis.”
|08.03.14 at 9:31 pm ET|
According to a major league source, despite the strong interest from the Marlins regarding Jon Lester leading into the non-waiver trade deadline, the Red Sox never engaged Miami in talks for outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
Along with Baltimore, Miami extended the best package of prospects to the Red Sox for Lester before the Sox decided to go with Oakland offer of Yoenis Cespedes for the pitcher and outfielder Jonny Gomes.
With Miami’s motivation for acquiring Lester clearly appearing to be built from a desire to convince the Marlins’ fan base they were making a run at the playoffs this season, there was no indications that Stanton was going to be made available.
Talking to WEEI.com at the All-Star Game, Stanton said when asked about rumors circulating a trade to the Red Sox, “Rumors are rumors, but then again the route of all truths could be some rumors, so you never know.”
|08.03.14 at 5:55 pm ET|
It didn’t take long for another team to reel in disgruntled first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp.
Carp was claimed off waivers by the Rangers, just two days after being designated for assignment Friday.
Carp could never get settled in at the plate during his second campaign with Boston, posting a .198/.320/.279 line with no home runs and nine RBIs in just 86 at-bats in 2014. Upset with his lack of playing time, Carp requested a trade after the All-Star break.
Making the move down to Texas will help remedy Carp’s current situation, as both Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland are out for the season with injuries, creating a revolving door at first for the Rangers.
While his tenure in Boston ended on a rough note, Farrell expressed his appreciation in what Carp brought to the team off the bench.
“I don’t think you can ever underestimate the roster depth,” Farrell said. “Those players that fill those roles, it starts with their accepting of the role first and foremost and then the ability to perform inside it.”
With Carp’s departure, Kelly Johnson, acquired from the Yankees in the July 31 deal involving Stephen Drew, is expected to take over as the team’s go-to utility man in the infield.
“Kelly Johnson is one that’s familiar as well with that same role, he might provide a little bit more versatility defensively with the ability to play around the infield, so we’ve got a similar player in that role,” Farrell said.
Carp was a key contributor off the bench during Boston’s World Series run in 2013, hitting .296 with nine home runs and 43 RBIs in just 216 at-bats.
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