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5 relief pitchers Red Sox could target prior to MLB trade deadline

06.28.16 at 10:50 pm ET
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The Red Sox could target Braves reliever Arodys Vizcaino prior to the trade deadline. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox could target Braves reliever Arodys Vizcaino prior to the trade deadline. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

It seems the Red Sox won’t just be in the market for a starting pitcher at the trade deadline, as they will likely be seeking a reliever or two to bolster the bullpen leading to closer Craig Kimbrel.

Fortunately, the bullpen market appears to be bigger than the starting pitching market, giving the Red Sox more options. It also won’t take as much to acquire a reliever — likely a mid-level prospect or two.

On Monday we listed five potential starters the Red Sox could acquire prior to the July 31 deadline and now here are five relievers the Red Sox could target.

Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, Braves

The 25-year-old right-hander is having a solid season with a 1-2 record and a 1.93 ERA to go along with 10 saves. He also has 45 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings. Vizcaino may demand more than just a mid-level prospect with him being arbitration eligible after this season and not a free agent until 2020. With the Braves being sellers, they could make a big splash by combining both Vizcaino and starter Julio Teheran in the same deal, which likely would yield a big return and in the Red Sox’ case one of Yoan Moncada or Andrew Benintendi.

Sean Doolittle, LHP, Athletics

With Robbie Ross Jr. and Tommy Layne as the only lefties in the bullpen, the team could certainly look to improve that area of the bullpen and the A’s seem willing to deal Doolittle. In 35 games this season, he is 2-2 with a 2.93 ERA and has 35 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings. He has been dominant against left-handers, holding them to a .152 batting average. He is signed through 2018 with team options for 2019 and 2020, so he may too take more than just a mid-level prospect to get.

Fernando Abad, LHP, Twins

Minnesota will certainly be sellers and Abad is the best reliever they have to offer. The left-hander is 1-1 with a 2.16 ERA in 30 games. He may just be a lefty specialist as they are batting just .143 with two extra-base hits against him this year, but right-handers are batting .269. The Red Sox could certainly use another lefty in their bullpen, but they would need to add more than just Abad.

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Read More: arodys vizcaino, Daniel Hudson, Fernando Abad, Fernando Rodney

Closing Time: Rick Porcello, Travis Shaw help get Red Sox turned in right direction

06.28.16 at 10:21 pm ET
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Rick Porcello turned in a solid performance Tuesday night. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello turned in a solid performance Tuesday night. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

It took nearly 30 days, but the Red Sox finally have their 10th win of June.

The Sox claimed an 8-2 victory over the Rays in the penultimate game of what has been an abysmal month.

This one didn’t fall any of the recent patterns. The Red Sox scored first. Starter Rick Porcello pitched well. Travis Shaw homered as part of a five-RBI night. The bullpen wasn’t overtaxed.

It was a refreshingly easy victory in a month when everything has been hard.

David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Shaw each recorded multiple hits. Shaw smacked his first homer in exactly 100 plate appearances. The Red Sox went 5-for-14 with runners on base.

They finally got on the board first, too, improving to 8-1 all-time against Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer.

“We need it. We need it,” Ortiz said. :We haven’t been able to dominate much this road trip, but a win is a win.”

Shaw hit his first home run in a month to put the Red Sox on the board in the second. He later added a two-run double and two-run single for his third five-RBI game of the season. The middle of the lineup each added RBIs of their own, with Ortiz, Ramirez and Bradley plating runs.

Porcello’s quietly impressive 2016 campaign continued, albeit against an unimpressive Rays lineup. The righty went six innings, allowing five hits and one run with eight strikeouts and three walks, improving to 9-2 with a 3.78 ERA. The righty remained unbeaten over his last eight starts, improving to 3-0 in that span.

“We take a lot of pride as a starting rotation in being effective and setting the tone for our team,” Porcello said. “But more important is for our team as a whole. We need to get wins, need to get back on the right page, and that’s the biggest thing, just getting wins however we can get them right now until we start rolling.”

The biggest threat for the Rays came in the fourth, when Porcello allowed the first four batters to reach base, three via walks. Nick Franklin’s free pass forced in a run to put the Rays on the board.

But, with Matt Barnes warming up, Porcello escaped the jam by sandwiching strikeouts of Hank Conger and Brad Miller around Logan Forsythe’s fly out to center field.

While Junichi Tazawa allowed a seventh-inning homer to Brad Miller, he combined with Koji Uehara and Matt Barnes to close out the final three innings. Uehara pitched a perfect frame one game after giving up a two-run homer.

The top six batters in the Red Sox lineup went 11-for-24 with four doubles, a home run and eight RBIs, while the bottom three went 0-for-13 with seven strikeouts.

For a complete recap, click here.

Closing Time note

The Red Sox hadn’t won by more than a run since a 6-2 victory over the Mariners on June 18.


— Bryce Brentz made a great sliding grab in left field to end the sixth inning, completing a 1-2-3 inning.

— Shaw’s home run wasn’t a cheap one, flying 449 feet into the edge of the seats in right-center field. He recorded multiple hits for just the fifth time this month. His last three-hit game came on May 17 in Kansas City.

— Porcello allowed no more than one run for the first time since blanking the Yankees over seven innings on April 30. He recorded eight strikeouts, one off his season high.

— DH David Ortiz went 2-for-4 with a run and RBI and his league-leading 31st double.


— The Red Sox struggled to see pitches on occasion, striking out 11 times. A third of the lineup had at least two strikeouts, with Brentz striking out three times.

— The fourth inning was a frightening one for Porcello, throwing 39 pitches and walking three batters. He got out of it with moderate trouble, however, allowing just one run.

“I couldn’t tell you,” said Porcello regarding his bout of wildness. “I was a little off mechanically. It was really tough for me to regain my focus. I was doing everything I could to slow the game down and step off the mound, think about executing a pitch, and for whatever reason I struggled with a couple of hitters throwing strikes. That was it. Once I could get back into it and get that one strikeout, I was able to regain some confidence and be a little bit more effective.”

— Miller blasted a home run in the seventh off of Junichi Tazawa.

Rob Bradford contributed to this report from St. Petersburg, Fla.

Read More: Rays, Red Sox, rick porcello, travis shaw

Could Pat Light follow in the footsteps of Jonathan Papelbon, Justin Masterson, Daniel Bard?

06.28.16 at 8:32 pm ET
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Pat Light

Pat Light

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It’s a longshot, but it’s worth a conversation, nonetheless.

Could Pat Light actually ultimately be the kind of relief pitcher the Red Sox are looking for to help in the seventh and eighth innings?

For previous Red Sox’ runs toward the postseason, some of their best non-waiver trade deadline additions have come from their own system. Jonathan Papelbon (2005), Justin Masterson (2008) and Daniel Bard (2009) all proved to be the kind of high-leverage arms those teams desperately needed straight through their playoffs existence.

Now, with Carson Smith’s injury leaving Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa perhaps a bit overexposed, the Red Sox find themselves looking for something similar.

Matt Barnes and Heath Hembree have put their hats in the ring, but have been met with somewhat uneven results.

Now it might be Light’s turn.

While it would seem a stretch that the Red Sox might lean so heavily on a pitcher that had such an uneven stretch in spring training and earlier this season, Light might actually represent something much more valuable than the first glance would suggest.

Before his promotion to the big leagues — the second for him this season — Light hadn’t allowed a run in any of his 10 outings with Triple-A Pawtucket. And with the fixing of his pitch-tipping problems, along with an alteration in mindset, the former first-rounder has harnessed his 100 mph to the tune of a 2.05 ERA and .161 batting average against.

“I came up with something in April that I started working on which was not trying to throw the ball as — every time I struggle, it’s my body that’s been leaking and my arm can’t catch up,” Light said. “Me and [Pawtucket pitching coach Bob Kipper] Kip sat down in Triple-A and tried to figure out what the issue was and tried to figure out a solution to it. We kind of figured out something mentally, a little click in my head that gets me going. I was able to work through that, got that started right before I debuted. Wasn’t quite there yet. And then after that, since then it’s gotten better and better and I’ve been able to get on a little bit of a roll down in Pawtucket.”

The performance, and the mindset, certainly seem a long way from when his first go-round with the Red Sox. During that brief sting, Light gave up two runs over an inning against the Braves.

“Last time when I got the call, it wasn’t quite as, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to the big leagues.’ It was more, ‘Let’s go do it, see if I can put together a few outings and start playing well up here,” he said.

“He’s commanding his fastball much better,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “At least he’s had the first adrenaline rush of the big leagues out of the way while in Atlanta. Rather than getting back into a count with his split, he’s been able to put hitters away with it. That’s been the biggest key for him. Looking forward to that being on display here.”

Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi named to 2016 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game

06.28.16 at 3:13 pm ET
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Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

Besides their major league All-Stars, the Red Sox will have other players representing them in San Diego during the All-Star week next month.

Second baseman Yoan Moncada has been selected to the Team World team and center fielder Andrew Benintendi has been selected to the Team USA team for the 2016 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

The game will be played Sunday, July 10 at Petco Park in San Diego — two days before MLB’s All-Star Game.

Both players are currently with Double-A Portland. Moncada is batting .296 in his six games since being promoted, while Benintendi is hitting .264 in his 36 Double-A games.

Last year the Red Sox were represented by Rafael Devers and Manuel Margot in the game.

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

Read More: Andrew Benintendi, yoan moncada,

John Farrell on D&H details team meeting following Monday’s blowout loss to Rays

06.28.16 at 3:01 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

Red Sox manager John Farrell made his weekly appearance on Dale & Holley with Thornton on Tuesday to discuss a number of things surrounding the team, including the team meeting that was held following Monday’s 13-7 loss to the Rays. To hear the full interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

The Red Sox have now lost three straight games and six of their last eight, which made Farrell feel the need to call a team meeting after Monday night’s game.

“I felt like there were some things that needed to be expressed to our team both things that have remained positive, which the way we’ve demonstrated the way to come back probably far too often,” Farrell said. “There were some things highlighted that we’re continuing to do well. I love the effort. I love the energy. I love the work our group is putting in and the way it is showing up offensively in between the lines in game.

“I think there were some obvious things that needed to be addressed and the one thing that we’ll continue to work towards is there is no divide, no split, no pointing of fingers, that we are a team that will win together and lose together. Yes, we have areas that we need to continue to sure up and continue to improve upon. Without getting more specific, those were the things that needed to be addressed.”

Farrell also said Xander Bogaerts will get Tuesday night off as they will go up against Rays right-hander Chris Archer. The manager pointed to facing lefties both Monday and Wednesday for the shortstop playing in those games and not Tuesday. Marco Hernandez will start at shortstop in his place.

The manager also said Steven Wright would not throw a bullpen prior to Tuesday’s game and be available out of the bullpen in relief if need be.

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

Read More: John Farrell, steven wright, xander bogaerts,

Red Sox recall reliever Pat Light to take Eduardo Rodriguez’s spot on roster

06.28.16 at 12:39 pm ET
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Pat Light

Pat Light

Following allowing nine runs in 2 2/3 innings Monday night, the Red Sox sent Eduardo Rodriguez back to Triple-A. To fill the spot on the roster, the team has recalled right-hander Pat Light.

It will be Light’s second stint with the major league club this year as he made his major league debut April 26 against the Braves. Light is a starter-turned-reliever known for his fastball that can reach 100 mph. With the PawSox, Light has not surrendered a run in 10 appearances since May 21, allowing only six hits with 13 strikeouts in 12 innings during that span.

Overall, in 20 relief outings for the PawSox, Light has gone 5-for-5 in save opportunities while posting a 2.05 ERA and a .161 opponent batting average with 32 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings.

Rodriguez has struggled this season as in six starts he is 1-3 with an 8.59 ERA. He has allowed nine home runs in 29 1/3 innings.

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

Read More: eduardo rodriguez, pat light,

Tuesday’s Red Sox Farm Report: RHP Aaron Wilkerson has another strong outing for Pawtucket

06.28.16 at 10:33 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday.

Aaron Wilkerson

Aaron Wilkerson

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (40-38): W, 6-2, at Rochester (Twins)

— In another solid outing, Aaron Wilkerson surrendered two runs on four hits over seven innings, while striking out eight and walking none. Of his 97 pitches 75 were strikes and he retired the first 10 batters he faced. The 27-year-old right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA since his return to Pawtucket from Portland on May 28. For the season, Wilkerson is 6-2 with a 2.00 ERA, and opponents are hitting just .198 against him.

— The PawSox could have won with Henry Ramos’s bat alone. The 24-year-old outfielder went 2-for-5 with a triple and four RBIs. It’s the second game that Ramos has collected four RBIs in his last three games. In the third inning, Ramos hit a two-run triple, his fifth of the season. Then in his next at bat in the fifth, Ramos brought home two more with a single to right field.

Boston’s No. 22 prospect at MLB.com, Ramos has hit safely in nine of his last ten games and is hitting .368 in that span. In 61 total games with Pawtucket and Portland this year, Ramos is slashing .296/.335/.443 with 26 runs scored and 25 RBIs.

— Jantzen Witte went 2-for-5 with two doubles, a run, and an RBI. He plated Pawtucket’s sixth run in the seventh inning on his second double. Witte, 26, is averaging .346 in his last seven games, and his 26 runs tie him for second-best on the team.

— Reliever Kyle Martin threw two hitless frames to end the game, walking one and fanning one in the outing. Drafted by the Red Sox in 2013, the righty is 2-3 with a 3.89 ERA in 22 appearances. Boston’s No.27 prospect at MLB.com is also 4-for-4 in save opportunities.

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Read More: aaron wilkerson, daniel gonzalez, dedgar jimenez, henry ramos

Tuesday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Chris Archer

06.28.16 at 8:44 am ET
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The struggling Red Sox will have Rick Porcello take the mound Tuesday against the Rays, who will send out 27-year-old right-hander Chris Archer.

Porcello starts with an 8-2 record, a 3.93 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. He is just 1-0 in his last six starts, despite throwing at least six innings in five of those outings. Most recently, the veteran righty let up four runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings in an 8-7 win Thursday over the White Sox.

In 12 career games against the Rays, Porcello is 6-4 with a 3.09 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. He last faced Tampa Bay on April 20 of this season, when he allowed three runs on six hits and struck out a season-high nine in seven innings pitched in a 7-3 Red Sox win.

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Read More: Chris Archer, rick porcello,

John Farrell explains bullpen usage at end of blowout

06.28.16 at 12:13 am ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — According to Red Sox manager John Farrell, he was out of options.

With the bullpen having to pitch 18 of the Red Sox’ hurlers 33 innings on the current road trip, with Monday night’s starter Eduardo Rodriguez going just 2 2/3 innings in the what turned into a 12-7 loss to the Rays, the relieving situation got a bit uncomfortable for the Sox’ manager.

Farrell was forced to bring in each of his high-leverage relievers — Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel — for an inning each. Tazawa ended up throwing 17 pitches, while Uehara and Kimbrel each finished tossing 26.

Prior to the trio, Robbie Ross Jr. went 1 1/3 innings, while Tommy Layne also pitched an inning.

“We had five innings, max, out of the bullpen tonight,” Farrell explained. “That’s a game typically when we’re not going to see those guys come to the mound. On a night when [Matt] Barnes was still a little sore, Heath Hembree, there was no way he was able to get to the mound, guys who have been giving us multiple innings, that’s why Eddie [Rodriguez] was still on the mound when he was, trying to get as many innings as possible, even in a situation where we’re down. Unfortunately, we had to turn to everyone to get through the eighth inning.

Farrell added, “Koji and obviously Craig had not pitched since Friday. Three days down, or hadn’t pitched in three days, it was a chance to get him to the mound. Yeah, you don’t like to see him throw 20-plus pitches.”

While Tazawa didn’t allow a run, Uehara surrendered a two-run blast off the bat of Nick Franklin. Kimbrel also gave up a run on three hits.

After the game the Red Sox optioned Rodriguez, who allowed nine runs on 11 hits, to Triple-A Pawtucket, most likely opening the door for the promotion of another reliever for Tuesday.

Dustin Pedroia on conversation with Eduardo Rodriguez: ‘I was talking to him about baseball’

06.27.16 at 11:52 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The conversation was there for everyone to see, and seemingly offered a microcosm of the Red Sox’ frustrations.

During a third-inning mound visit Monday night, Dustin Pedroia could be seen having a pointed conversation with struggling starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez.

After the game, the second baseman predictably downplayed the exchange.

“What did I say to Eddie? Do you honestly think I’m going to tell you that? I was talking to him about baseball,” Pedroia said after the 13-7 loss to the Rays. “I talk to all my teammates, every day. That’s about it.”

When asked about Pedroia’s message to Rodriguez, Red Sox manager John Farrell said, “Well, not getting into the mentality of it, the bottom line is he’s capable of more, we’re capable of more, we need to get better, and we had a chance to share that here after the game tonight. You know what, we collectively have to get better. To continue to fall behind as much as we are of late, we’re more talented than that. We have the capability of executing pitches at a higher rate. We can’t continue to expect our offense to climb out of holes, as we’ve been. We’ve got to set the tone and lead the way from the mound more than we are.”

Pedroia was also asked about the team meeting conducted by manager John Farrell after the game. The message, according to Farrell, that the Sox needed to be better. When asked if he agreed, the second baseman said, “Yeah, absolutely. I can’t really elaborate on that. Yeah, I do think we’re better than this.”

The Red Sox are now 12-18 wince May 26, falling 4 1/2 games out of first-place in the American League East. Their starters have combined for a 13.20 ERA on the current road trip.

Rodriguez lasted just 2 2/3 innings, giving up nine runs on 11 hits. He was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket after the game.

“It’s part of the game. I knew going into the season, you go into every season it’s not going to be an easy,” Pedroia said. “It was you wouldn’t play all the games, you just show up at the end and it would be fun. It’s a grind. That’s part of it. You have to show up every single day prepared and ready to work and that’s how you get through it. You’re going to have good days. You’re going to lose by 10 runs and you’re going to win by 10 runs. You’re going to have days like that. You play a lot of games so the main thing that we’ve always gone about here is that it shouldn’t change how you act day to day. You should pride yourself on showing up and trying to win every single day. Sometimes you’re going to get your ass kicked, but then you’re going to show up the next day and try and give it right back. That’s it.”

He then added, “I think guys are playing hard. Hell, our shortstop ran a 3.9 down the line in the ninth inning down seven runs and then went first to third. So, yeah, that was pretty cool.”

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