|06.11.15 at 9:45 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — At least the Red Sox have unique ways of landing at their low points.
The latest excursion to the depth of the 2015 season didn’t only include 6-5 loss to the Orioles Thursday night, completing a three-game sweep by the O’s, but also a dugout confrontation between starting pitcher Wade Miley and manager John Farrell.
It was Miley who was at the center of most of the chaos in the series finale, taking the loss after surrounding five runs on nine hits in just four innings.
After finishing off the fourth, in which Miley allowed his third homer of the game (a solo blast by Manny Machado), the lefty began to shout at the Red Sox manager. While it didn’t appear as though Farrell was yelling back, the two did adjourn to the dugout runway.
The lefty, who has routinely shown emotion upon exiting his starts, had thrown just 69 pitches before being replaced by Steven Wright.
Thanks in large part to another solid relief outing by Wright (2 2/3 innings, 1 R), the Red Sox were able to draw within a run heading into the late innings. But the inability to come up with the big hit (going 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position) would haunt Farrell’s team once again.
The game would end with the potential game-tying run, Blake Swihart, standing at first base after Orioles closer Zach Britton struck out Dustin Pedroia.
With the loss, the Red Sox drop to 10-18 against American League East teams, with the red-hot Blue Jays next up for a three-game set at Fenway Park. They fall seven games under .500 (27-34) for the second time this season, previously reaching the mark after being swept in Minnesota.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Orioles defense. Led by stellar first-inning plays by left fielder David Lough and third baseman Manny Machado, the hosts punctuated an excellent defensive series. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
|06.11.15 at 8:32 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — After finishing his half inning in the fourth Thursday night, Red Sox starter Wade Miley evidently was not happy.
Miley, who had just given up his fifth run of the game courtesy a Manny Machado blast in the fourth, could be seen screaming at Red Sox manager John Farrell before the two adjourned into the dugout tunnel.
The fourth would be Miley’s last inning, with the lefty having allowed five runs on nine hits while throwing 69 pitches. He was replaced in the fifth by Steven Wright.
Check back for more after the game …
WADE MILEY: FURY ROAD https://t.co/XwCc7vTC5A
— Red (@SurvivingGrady) June 12, 2015
— Tyler Sullivan (@TylerSully) June 12, 2015
|06.11.15 at 5:38 pm ET|
Farrell explained prior to his team’s series finale against the Orioles Thursday that he had no intention on pinch-hitting for Ortiz despite his struggles against left-handers (8-for-70, .114).
“As far as pinch-hitting for him? I’ve not talked to him about that at all,” Farrell said. “At this point I wouldn’t look to do that.”
Ortiz was in the starting lineup Thursday, hitting fourth against Baltimore righty Chris Tillman.
– There still hasn’t been any timetable set for Shane Victorino executing a minor league rehab assignment.
The outfielder hasn’t played since injuring his calf May 23.
“There’s been no advancement in his running progression, so to give you any sense of if we’re getting closer to a rehab assignment, we’re not there yet,” the manager said. “We’ll get a better read as we get through the weekend.”
When asked if there had been any sort of setback, Farrell responded, “I wouldn’t say he’s hit a wall. It’s been an involved program and stages of programs, and the intensity continues to ramp up. There’s a lot of change-of-direction work being accomplished. How he comes out of the more strenuous days, the medical staff isn’t ready to say, let’s go to the next step, which would be a game.”
– Brock Holt has evidently earned his way into the starting lineup, even if it’s at the expense of Rusney Castillo’s playing time.
With Holt hitting .324 against lefties, while fitting nicely into the lineup’s No. 2 spot, Farrell said it will be a priority to keep the lefty hitter in the starting lineup.
“Right now we’re looking to put the best alignment on the field, and what Brock is doing in the two-hole, he’s got the priority right now,” the manager said.
When asked about Castillo, who has seemingly struggled to pitchers’ adjustments to him (hitting 67 percent ground balls), Farrell said the 27-year-old outfielder is a work in progress.
“There’s good plate coverage away. He’s probably seeing some righthanded sinkerballers a little bit more competent at this level than anytime in the past,” Farrell said. “He’s been pitched there at times. When he stays within the strike zone — at times he’ll expand, but when he stays in the strike zone, he’s got the ability to put a charge into the ball. Right now, he’s offered at some pitches on the fringe at times.”
– Christian Vazquez made it a point to catch up with Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters before Thursday’s game, with the Orioles’ backstop offering advice in terms of coming back from Tommy John surgery.
|06.11.15 at 3:06 pm ET|
Ortiz will be hitting fourth, with Hanley Ramirez going back to left field after manning the DH spot Wednesday.
Here is the Red Sox‘ lineup in their series finale against the O’s, with Wade Miley starting for the visitors:
|06.11.15 at 12:57 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — It was just a seventh inning at-bat in an April 20 game five years ago. But the moment is routinely remembered, particularly these days.
The Red Sox‘ matchup in Toronto against the Blue Jays was memorable because it marked the last time David Ortiz was pinch-hit for in a significant spot. It’s certainly something the man who subbed in for him, Mike Lowell, hasn’t forgotten.
“I felt terrible for him. I wasn’t delighted,” the former Red Sox third baseman by phone Thursday afternoon. “I was the type of person who loved to hit. I loved to get in there. But that was really one moment in my career I preferred not hitting.”
At the time, Ortiz was hitting just .146 (6-for-41) through 11 games, and 1-for-9 vs. lefties. Meanwhile, then-Red Sox manager Terry Francona was attempting to find at-bats for Lowell, who had gone 4-for-12 in limited duty in his role sharing time with third baseman Adrian Beltre and Ortiz.
As Lowell remembered it, the awkwardness of the moment wasn’t hard to find.
“The first thing I remember is thinking I was hoping this wouldn’t happen, not because I wanted anyone to make an out in front of me, but because, first, nobody likes to be pinch-hit for, and secondly, you don’t want to be the person who goes in for the other person, especially in the situation I was in,” he said. “First, he is a very good friend of mine, and, two, you feel for him because you knew he was struggling and you know he’s thinking how is he going to get out of this and start hitting lefties if he doesn’t face lefties anymore.
“It felt like we were going down a weird road because I wasn’t playing. How much are you gaining? I don’t know. But I do think you could be really demoralizing the hitter being pinch-hit for if you expect to lean on him during the season.
“Did I want to do something well? Yes. Did it work out? I guess in the short-term because I got on base. But I didn’t think we won in the long range of setting up a pattern or this was going to help David.”
Ortiz slowly walked back to the Red Sox dugout after being called back, telling WEEI.com in the days that followed, “It was just embarrassing.”
|06.11.15 at 11:34 am ET|
The question is now this: will the Red Sox manager pinch-hit for Ortiz?
At the time, Ortiz was hitting just .146 (6-for-41) through 11 games, and 1-for-9 vs. lefties. Meanwhile, Francona was attempting to find at-bats for Lowell, who had gone 4-for-12 in limited duty in his role sharing time with third baseman Adrian Beltre and Ortiz.
“I felt terrible for him,” Lowell said by phone Thursday afternoon. “I wasn’t delighted. I was the type of person who loved to hit. I loved to get in there. But that was really one moment in my career I preferred not hitting.”
Lowell would draw a walk off Oliver, and Ortiz went on to hit a home run in his next at-bat, three days later.
“It was just embarrassing, getting pinch-hit for,” Ortiz told WEEI.com after the incident. “I understand. I’m not swinging the bat good, with a lefty and whatever. I’ve got to come through and do my thing and get that out of people’s heads. When I’m swinging the bat good that’s not going to happen. Basically it was a wake-up call to say, ‘You better start hitting or you’re going to get pinch-hit for.’
“You saw my reaction. I just came back tot he dugout. Of course, I was embarrassed, but I took it like a man. It wasn’t Tito’s fault that I was pinch-hit for. It was my fault because I’m not hitting. I know it’s not going to get me any confidence, but it’s telling me to work on your (stuff) and start hitting.”
This scenario, however, might be different.
There could very well be the opportunity to make a case for subbing in for Ortiz against the Orioles Thursday night, with lefties Zach Britton and T.J. McFarland waiting once again. (The Red Sox are fortunate that lefty reliever Brian Matusz — a pitcher Ortiz is 3-for-26 against — is still serving an eight-game suspension for using a foreign substance on the ball.)
Farrell cited Britton’s presence as the reason he didn’t pinch-hit Ortiz in the ninth inning of his team’s 5-2 loss to the O’s, Wednesday night.
|06.11.15 at 10:19 am ET|
Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about how the Sox are doing of late, as well as to discuss David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Despite Boston’s recent troubles, Lucchino said it remains too early in the year to condemn the team, though it is not too early to begin individual player assessments.
“[You have] 63 percent of the season left to play, and this season has been a bit of a roller coaster,” Lucchino said. “I would say to you last Sunday [against the A’s], we were all exhilarated. This team showed that it could play some good, smart, aggressive, heart-felt baseball and then what’s happened since then?
“We have a Monday to enjoy the offensive momentum and that dramatic victory, and then we lost a game on Tuesday on a wild pitch, and we lost the game yesterday to a very tough left-hander who’s beaten us with great regularity over the past several years, so I think it’s a little early still to panic but it is not too soon to make some individual player assessments.”
From an upper management’s perspective, Lucchino maintained there is some dissatisfaction with the way the season has gone, but that doesn’t mean he has any less trust in manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington.
“I would say that we are frustrated,” Lucchino said. “I think John [Henry] captured it pretty well when he spoke last week regarding the faith we still have in the people whose role it is to put together this team. There is no questioning of their long term connection to this team, but there is a sense of frustration and disappointment.”
“We’re fans, too,” he added. “We get sick to the stomach when we watch certain games and certain outcomes and we get exhilarated as we were last Sunday. But the hardest thing is to demonstrate some patience with players and with a team that’s having its difficulties this year.”
Lucchino also addressed the criticism Hanley Ramirez continues to face in left field.
“It’s early,” he said. “We’re a couple of months into what is a four-year contract and I think we need to chill out just a little bit. I think Hanley’s style lends itself to some criticism, but that’s not who he is. I think he is an intense and competitive and outstanding baseball player, and I think we should not misread his style.”
|06.11.15 at 9:41 am ET|
The major league baseball draft is all about finding the best player available when making selections and finding a few steals along the way.
The Red Sox may have got a steal with their third-round pick in University of Washington catcher Austin Rei.
Rei, considered one of the top catching prospects in the draft before this spring, suffered a torn ligament in his thumb in the fifth game of his Huskies season. He returned for the team’s final 25 games and put up a slash line of .330/.445/.681 with seven homers and 20 RBIs.
Known for his defense, the right-handed hitter and junior was the fifth catcher selected in the entire draft, but his Washington coach Lindsay Meggs believes the Red Sox got a bargain.
“I think realistically, the Red Sox kind of got a steal in the third-round,” Meggs said via phone this week.
“When he arrived here he was really, toolsy,” he added. “He had a plus-plus arm and that was evident and we saw that in high school, but he had some small detail things to clean up. He became a very good receiver. He blocks as well as anyone I’ve ever had and the arm has just gotten electric. In terms of a catch and throw guy, at the time of the draft he’d become the best catch and throw guy on the West Coast. If he stayed healthy, I think you’re looking at a guy that could’ve gone in the first round.”
Meggs said Rei may have rushed his return back a bit because he wanted to get back on the field to try and help his team. Despite playing in only 25 games while coming off the injury, he was still able to make a huge impact, earning team MVP honors voted by his teammates.
The coach noted not once did he complain about the injury.
“You have to give him credit because I think, based on how well people saw him in the scouting community his first few years here, he probably could have come back a little slower from his thumb surgery without the urgency and sort of played it safe and rode it out and still had been a reasonable draft pick even if he didn’t take the field this year,” Meggs said. “He wanted to get on the field. He missed his teammates. He loves the game. He wanted to help us. He was voted MVP of our team by his teammates and I think he literally played the last month of the season. That’s the type of impact he made in such a short period of time.”
Even in such a short span, Rei had his best season offensively. His average was his best in three years, as he hit .220 and .314 in his first two seasons respectively. He also hit a total of just two homers entering the year, but finished the season with seven.
|06.11.15 at 8:21 am ET|
In the final game of a three-game set from Camden Yards, the Red Sox will send Wade Miley to the hill to face Chris Tillman of the Orioles. Having lost the first two games of the series, the Sox look to avoid the sweep and to not fall further into the cellar of the AL East.
Miley has a 5-5 record with a 4.67 ERA through his first 11 starts. He has posted a pedestrian 1.36 WHIP.
In his last outing, the 28-year-old pushed his record to an even .500 with a victory over the Athletics at Fenway. The left-hander tossed 7 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on six hits. He walked only one and struck out six. Miley threw 69 of 96 pitches for strikes, and induced 13 ground balls.
“Tonight I had good command of the fastball, really got on a good page with [Blake] Swihart,” Miley said after his outing. “We scored some runs early and got the momentum on our side, and I just wanted to keep it that way. We were able to pull that one out.”
Miley’s previous start was a clunker of a loss to the Rangers in which he lasted only four innings, allowing five earned runs.
Aside from that outing, Miley has been very solid over the past few weeks. Dating back to May 13, Miley has thrown 33 innings and worked to a 2.73 ERA. In that time, spanning five starts, Miley has earned a 4-1 record.
Having spent his entire career pre-2015 in the NL, Miley doesn’t have much experience against usual Red Sox foes like the Orioles. His only appearance at Camden Yards was one to forget, as he lasted only 2 1/3 innings and allowed six earned runs in Boston’s 18-7 loss on April 26.
|06.11.15 at 8:16 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:
— After two rehab starts (right shoulder inflammation) in the minor leagues, Boston right-hander Justin Masterson showed clear improvement Wednesday afternoon with the PawSox as he allowed just two hits and one run over six innings, striking out six and walking one. Masterson threw 75 pitches, 47 for strikes, with the sinkerballer causing nine ground outs to just two fly outs. In Masterson’s previous rehab start for Double-A Portland on June 5, he allowed eight hits over 4 2/3 innings, while in his first rehab outing for Pawtucket on May 31 Masterson displayed some wildness as he walked two and had two wild pitches in just 1 2/3 innings.
“He was much more consistent in the strike zone,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Baltimore. “Velocity was still in the mid to upper 80s, but the action to his sinker, he got a number of swings and misses. He used probably the same distribution of fastball and slider that we’ve seen here. So we’ll check with him when we return to Boston and we may have a decision to be made here.”
— The PawSox offense continued to scuffle, but the team managed to scrape out two runs on five hits, including Garin Cecchini’s game-winning walkoff double. A Travis Shaw single started the ninth-inning action for Pawtucket and pinch-runner Deven Marrero moved to second on a Bryce Brentz walk before coming home on the Cecchini two-bagger. Cecchini (Boston’s No. 8 prospect at MLB.com) worked a 3-1 count and ripped a fastball to the right-center wall on a bounce before being surrounded by celebratory teammates. Cecchini has put together a good week at the plate, going 5-for-18 with two homers, including a grand-slam on June 7 at Syracuse.
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