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Closing Time: Red Sox rally comes up short as Indians complete sweep in ALDS

10.10.16 at 9:51 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz allowed two runs over four innings to take the loss in Game 3 of the ALDS. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz allowed two runs over four innings in Game 3 of the ALDS. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

That certainly wasn’t how things were supposed to go.

After entering the postseason as the favorites in the American League, the Red Sox were swept by the Indians in the best-of-five series, concluding with a 4-3 loss Monday night at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox offensive simply couldn’t get anything going all series long, including Monday as they were shut down by starter Josh Tomlin for a second time in the series.

Tomlin held the Red Sox to two runs over five-plus innings in four hits, while walking one and striking out four. After Tomlin, Andrew Miller didn’t allow a run in his two innings of relief, but the Red Sox did make things interesting in the eighth against Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen.

After a David Ortiz walk with two outs against Allen, Hanley Ramirez ripped a single to left scoring Mookie Betts to make it a 4-3 game and the tying run being at second base, which was when Ortiz was lifted for Marco Hernandez as a pinch-runner to a standing ovation. Xander Bogaerts ripped a line drive, but it was right at the second baseman to end the threat and leave the tying run in scoring position.

In the ninth, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-out single and Dustin Pedroia walked, but Travis Shaw flied out to end it.

Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz avoided trouble in the first three innings, but couldn’t get out of a jam in the fourth. Jose Ramirez led the inning off with a single and was followed by a Lonnie Chisenhall walk. Coco Crisp laid down a perfect bunt to set up second and third with one out and catcher Tyler Naquin delivered with hard single to right to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.

Buchholz was lifted after the inning as he went four innings, allowing the two runs on six hits, while walking one and striking out four.

Drew Pomeranz relieved Buchholz and allowed a crucial, two-run home run to Crisp in the sixth inning, putting the Indians ahead 4-1 at the time. It was Crisp’s second postseason home run of his career.

The Red Sox scored their first run in the fifth. After a Bogaerts one-out single, Andrew Benintendi doubled off the wall to score Bogaerts on a close play at the plate. That would be all they would get in the frame as Sandy Leon and Bradley Jr. were both retired, leaving the tying run at the time on second base.

Tomlin was pulled following a leadoff single in the sixth and in came Miller. The Red Sox did get another run as following a Betts double, Ortiz hit a sacrifice fly to center, but Ramirez then struck out to end the inning.

Closing Time note

The Red Sox led for exactly one inning in the entire series.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Drew Pomeranz, xander bogaerts

Rick Porcello desperately wants chance to redeem himself following tough Game 1

10.10.16 at 3:54 pm ET
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Rick Porcello will start a potential Game 4. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello will start a potential Game 4. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello knows his Game 1 start wasn’t who he is as a pitcher, as he allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings to take the loss.

The right-hander desperately wants the Red Sox to win Game 3 so he can redeem himself in a potential Game 4, as he was named the starter prior to Monday’s Game 3. He will take the place of Eduardo Rodriguez.

“Definitely excited to get back out there,” Porcello said. “I don’t think for me the first game and for ourselves as a team the first two games represent who we are as a ballclub and how good we are. For me, I can’t wait to get back out there and throw the ball the way I know I am capable of. Obviously, we have to take care of business tonight, but I am excited to get a start here at Fenway.”

Porcello is 13-1 with a 2.97 ERA at Fenway Park this year, while Rodriguez is 0-4 in nine starts with a 6.02 ERA. Manager John Farrell also pointed to the fact that it’s been awhile since Rodriguez pitched last as the reasons for going with Porcello over the left-hander.

“I think our mindset is to not look beyond today. If we get there tomorrow, Rick is the starter,” Farrell said. “He’s been extremely successful here at Fenway Park and hasn’t gone the 10-12 days in between starts as [Eduardo Rodriguez] has. That’s the plan tomorrow provided we get there.”

Although Porcello allowed three solo home runs in one inning during Game 1 and Indians hitters looked comfortable all game long, he said he won’t change his approach.

“No. Obviously that is something I addressed in thinking it through a different way I need to attack these guys, but I think the biggest thing is getting ahead in the count,” he said. “I didn’t do that in a bunch of scenarios and I didn’t establish that very well from the get-go. The first inning I was able to get out of it basically by throwing my best fastballs, but it wasn’t necessarily how I was setting things up. That was just how it played out. I think it’s more how I establish my game plan and go out there and execute my pitches. That is going to be the difference.

“I am not going to let a couple of swings dictate or alter the things I do well. I just have to get back to doing that. That’s really it. [I] gave up three solo home runs in one inning. Hasn’t happened to me very often. I think if you look at those, it’s just a case-by-case basis on a not very well executed pitch and getting into counts I don’t want to get into. I don’t think you go back and completely revamp the game plan. Just be cleaner with your approach.”

Read More: rick porcello,

Red Sox manager John Farrell won’t rule out starting Eduardo Rodriguez over David Price in Game 5

10.10.16 at 3:27 pm ET
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David Price

David Price

John Farrell was merely answering a question, and he made it clear that before he can think about Games 4 or 5 of the Division Series, he must win Game 3 on Monday.

That said, his response in a pregame session with beat reporters when asked if there’s a scenario by which Eduardo Rodriguez could start Game 5 over David Price certainly was interesting.

“There could be. Yeah, there could be,” Farrell said. “Price has more relief experience than Eddie. Again, to try to forecast that, I don’t know. That’s way ahead of my thinking right now.”

The Red Sox trail the series 2-0 and will only play Game 5 if they can win the next two games in Fenway Park. Starting Price would normally be a no-brainer, but he fell to 0-8 in nine postseason starts on Friday in a listless 6-0 Game 2 loss.

That puts some pressure on Farrell to make a tough call, should the Red Sox reach a decisive Game 5. Faced with a similar decision last year, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons summoned Price for three innings of relief with a 7-1 lead in Game 4 of the ALDS against the Rangers. The Blue Jays won to force Game 5, which youngster Marcus Stroman started and the Blue Jays won, 6-3, to advance to the ALCS.

Farrell said that Price and Rodriguez will both be available in relief for Game 3. Both of Price’s postseason wins have come in relief.

“Hopefully there isn’t a spot where he has to come in in the midst of an inning,” Farrell said. “Depending on how long or how much [Drew] Pomeranz would pitch tonight, that potentially puts Eddie and/or David in that same spot tomorrow. Ideally we’d like to keep the switch-hitters on the right side of the plate, even at Fenway Park. That’ll all be dependent upon game, inning and situation.”

Read More: ALDS Game 3, David Price playoffs, Indians, John Farrell

Joe Kelly leaves Game 3 ALDS tickets for debate star Ken Bone

10.10.16 at 3:19 pm ET
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The biggest star of Sunday night’s debate may not have been either of the candidates, rather one of the people who asked a question, Ken Bone.

Bone asked the second to last question and instantly became an internet star.

Apparently Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly noticed as he tweeted Monday afternoon that he left tickets for Bone to attend Game 3 of the ALDS at Fenway Park.

Read More: Joe Kelly,

Red Sox lineup: Jackie Bradley Jr. batting 9th in Game 3 vs. Indians

10.10.16 at 2:12 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

A day after getting rained out the Red Sox and Indians will play Game 3 of their best-of-five series at Fenway Park with the Red Sox trailing 0-2.

Andrew Benintendi will bat seventh, while Jackie Bradley Jr. will bat ninth as the Red Sox look to avoid elimination.

Sandy Leon will catch Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.

Here’s the complete Red Sox lineup:

Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Brock Holt, 3B
Mookie Betts, RF
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Andrew Benintendi, LF
Sandy Leon, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Clay Buchholz, RHP

Here is the complete Indians lineup:

Carlos Santana, DH
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Francisco Lindor, SS
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jose Ramirez, 3B
Lonnie Chisenhall, RF
Coco Crisp, LF,
Tyler Naquin, CF
Roberto Perez, C
Josh Tomlin, RHP

Read More: Andrew Benintendi, jackie bradley jr.,

Here are 2 statistics you weren’t paying attention to that are dooming Red Sox

10.10.16 at 11:05 am ET
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Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo and manager John Farrell have experienced a fair share frustration so far in the ALDS. (Rich Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo and manager John Farrell have experienced a fair share frustration so far in the ALDS. (Rich Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

You can go down the list of issues that led the Red Sox to this 2-0 hole against the Indians in the best-of-five American League Division Series.

Starting pitching? They have a combined 11.74 ERA. And the Red Sox hitters are batting just .200.

And then there is what has happened when the Red Sox get to two-strike counts, or when the Indians get runners into scoring position.

Forty-four of the Red Sox’ 69 plate appearances in the first two games has seen their hitters face two strikes. The results haven’t been good. Sox batters are hitting just .119 (5-for-42) when getting to the count, striking out a whopping 22 times.

Conversely, the Indians are batting .256 (10-for-39) when getting to two-strike counts

Making the stat even more frustrating is that the Red Sox were the best two-strike-hitting team in the majors during the regular season, hitting .209.

As for the runners in scoring position thing, the Indians have five hits in 10 at-bats in such scenarios. The Red Sox? They’re 2-for-14.

Along those lines, the Red Sox’ relievers have allowed three inherited runners to score in the two games at Progressive Field after letting just one of 24 come across in the first three weeks of September.

It would certainly behoove the Red Sox to start reversing these trends starting Monday night.

Remaining Red Sox-Indians ALDS schedule released

10.09.16 at 10:12 pm ET
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Major League Baseball has released the schedule for the rest of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS series following Sunday’s rainout.

Monday’s Game 3 will begin at 6:08 p.m. as originally scheduled, but then if there is a Game 4, it will be Tuesday afternoon at 2:08 p.m. at Fenway Park. If the Giants-Cubs series is over in three games, then the game would begin at 3:08 p.m. Tuesday was originally an off-day.

A potential Game 5 would be Wednesday night in Cleveland, either at 6:08 p.m. or 8:08 p.m. It would be the earlier time if the Texas-Toronto series needs a Game 5.

All games will be aired on TBS.

Game 3: Monday, October 10 – 6:08 p.m. at Boston
Game 4 (if necessary): Tuesday, October 11 – 2:08 p.m. at Boston (3:08 p.m. if Cubs-Giants series is over)
Game 5 (if necessary): Wednesday, October 12 – 8:08 p.m. (6:08 p.m. if Rangers-Blue Jays series needs a Game 5)

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

How living life as reliever might be different for David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez Monday night

10.09.16 at 7:43 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez might be an option out of the Red Sox' bullpen Monday night. (Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports)

Eduardo Rodriguez might be an option out of the Red Sox’ bullpen Monday night. (Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports)

For Drew Pomeranz, this whole relieving thing wasn’t going to be a problem.

“It was strange because Pom comes down there and I’m figuring he needs six outs to get ready, or wondering how long it’s going to take,” said Red Sox bullpen coach Dana LeVangie of Pomeranz’s first appearance as a reliever, on the final day of the regular season. “But obviously he was used to this situation. He was ready in less than 10 pitches.

“He basically told me, ‘Hey, you guys have to stop babying me. I’m used to this.'”

But Pomeranz — who has appeared out of the bullpen in 59 of his 138 major league outings — may be more the exception than the norm.

With the Red Sox staving off elimination in Game 3 of the American League Division Series Monday, there is a very real possibility that both starters David Price and/or Eduardo Rodriguez would be used as relievers. (This is assuming the Sox choose to go with Rick Porcello as their Game 4 starter, if needed.)

If the situation does present itself, it would mean that four pitchers who have spent extended time in the Red Sox’ rotation this season — Joe Kelly, Pomeranz, Price and Rodriguez — will be watching at least part of Game 3 in the Fenway Park home bullpen.

It’s not out the ordinary by any means, with 2013 starters John Lackey and Ryan Dempster both spending time out of the Red Sox’ bullpen during that postseason run. And Price came on to throw three innings of relief for the Blue Jays in Game 4 of their ALDS series last season.

But for pitchers like Rodriguez, who has never served a reliever as a member of the Red Sox, there is a process to acclimating himself to the role.

“I don’t think I would ever tell them what to do, but I would always want to get a sense for that given day when John might use these options so I can lead them into preparation, stretching. Some might not all be the same,” LeVangie explained. “Some might be used later in the game, some might be used shorter.

“Everyone is going to be different, but I think more than anything most guys can get their heaters ready and they can work off of that. I think the environment kind of gets them geared up sooner rather than later.”

Adrenaline and guidance will have to do. When it comes to preparing for the all-hands-on-deck scenario, there isn’t time for much else.

“It’s a different challenge for them, but those guys, most of them are so competitive that it’s not a problem,” LeVangie said. “And the environment feeds into them getting ready.”

“I just do whatever they want,” Rodriguez said. “If it’s going to be in the bullpen or starting, I’ll do whatever they need me to do.”

Xander Bogaerts clarifies he’s not dealing with injury or exhaustion

10.09.16 at 6:48 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts says he isn't dealing with an injury or exhaustion. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts says he isn’t dealing with an injury or exhaustion. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts hasn’t looked like the same hitter of late than the one the Red Sox saw for much of the 2016 season.

The shortstop did manage a single in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, but he is still just 1-for-8 with four strikeouts in the two games against the Indians. Bogaerts simply hasn’t been the same kind of presence the Sox had become used.

With that in mind, it would be fair to at least inquire if Bogaerts was dealing with any kind of physical issue after playing 159 games this season. So?

“Now, I feel good,” Bogaerts told WEEI.com Sunday afternoon. “I don’t have any problems. We’ve had a lot of time off, in between games. So I feel rested. Physically, I feel really good.”

The only noticeable injury the shortstop has sustained this season came on April 23 in Houston when Bogaerts was hit in the right wrist by a Luke Gregerson pitch.

The 24-year-old did lead all major league shortstops with 719 plate appearances, finishing up hitting .294 with an .802 OPS.

During a late June series in Texas, Bogaerts did admit to being tired. Since that statement Bogaerts has managed just a .249 batting average with a .721 OPS. Yet, the shortstop insisted Sunday fatigue was also not an issue.

“I’ve been past it,” said Bogaerts of the midseason exhaustion. “Physically, I feel really good. I feel good. I feel fresh and ready to go.”

Bogaerts is optimistic the tide will turn when Game 3 rolls around, in part because of his, and his team’s, return to Fenway Park. At home this season, the righty hitter has been appreciably more effective, hitting .323 with an .889 OPS.

“I’m just trying to slow down the game. Timing is starting to come back slowly,” Bogaerts said. “Hopefully playing here will help a lot. This is our home. I feel good about it.”

Will night with pets help Red Sox? Brad Ziegler thinks it might

10.09.16 at 6:10 pm ET
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There was no baseball at Fenway Park Sunday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

There was no baseball at Fenway Park Sunday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

It can’t go any worse for the Red Sox, so obviously the mood coming out their clubhouse Sunday afternoon was one of hope.

Down 2-0 in the best-of-five American League Division Series to the Indians, the Red Sox are banking on coming home, getting an extra day of rest thanks to Sunday’s postponement, and even a reintroduction to their canines as reasons for optimism.

That’s right, pets.

“Not that the hotel beds are uncomfortable or anything like that. There’s something to be said for getting to hang out with your family and your pets,” said Red Sox reliever Brad Ziegler. “We’ve got guys with animals on this team, they go home and play with their dogs all evening. It’s allows you to relax a little more as opposed to feeling cooped up in a hotel room.”

As Ziegler explained, there was an undeniable feeling among the Red Sox that pushing back Game 3 until Monday should work in the favor of the hosts.

Coming off two games in Cleveland in which the Red Sox hitters were held to a .200 batting average, while striking out times, anything to slow down Terry Francona’s club momentum was considered a good thing.

“Maybe it gets Cleveland out of their rhythm a little bit,” Ziegler said. “They were in a pretty good hitting rhythm for the first couple of games. Bottom line, for us, all of our guys get to hang out for a day with their family and another day to relax and watch some football.”

Through it all, one thing that was perfectly clear by the time word came down that there would be no game Sunday was that the anger and frustration which was present with the Red Sox after Friday’s loss was a thing of the past.

“We’ll be good to go,” Ziegler said. “Whatever they need us for, we’re all pretty sitting there thinking Clay is going to go out and throw eight shutout innings tomorrow and we’ll be just fine.”

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