|10.03.15 at 12:54 pm ET|
Ensured of a losing season following Friday’s loss in Cleveland, and back in a tie for last place in the American League East, the 78-82 Red Sox take the field for the penultimate game of 2015 on Saturday night with Craig Breslow on the mound against Corey Kluber, who has been unable to duplicate last year’s AL Cy Young season.
Breslow (0-3, 4.22 ERA) made his first career start last Saturday against the Orioles, allowing just two hits in four innings as the Sox cruised to an 8-0 victory.
“Now that it’s done and it went pretty well, it was a lot of fun,” the 35-year-old left-hander said. “I don’t know how many guys make 500-some odd career relief appearances and then get a chance to start their first big league game.”
Breslow, who again will be limited to 50-60 pitches Saturday, has not faced the Indians this season. In his career vs. Cleveland, spanning 26 games and 26 innings, he is 1-3 with a 2.42 ERA.
|10.02.15 at 10:12 pm ET|
David Ortiz just keeps making history.
The Red Sox designated hitter isn’t letting age slow him, not by a long shot. On Friday night against the Indians, Ortiz blasted his 37th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the fourth that accounted for all of the Red Sox scoring in an 8-2 loss in Cleveland.
Ortiz had already become just the second player ever to hit 30 homers and drive in at least 100 runs at age 39 or later. Barry Bonds, who went 45-101 in 2004, is the other.
He simply added to those totals on Friday, with his season numbers now standing at 37 homers and 107 driven in. If Ortiz can hit three more home runs over the final two games of the season — a tall order, to be sure — he’ll join Bonds and Hank Aaron as the only 39-year-olds to hit 40 homers. He also needs six RBIs to tie Paul Molitor’s record for most RBIs (113) for a player 39 or older.
Ortiz wasn’t even necessarily supposed to play on Friday. A night earlier, interim manager Torey Lovullo had suggested that Ortiz wouldn’t play again this season. He certainly had nothing left to prove. But Ortiz had other ideas.
“It really wasn’t anything pressing, to be honest with you,” Lovullo told reporters in Cleveland before the game. “I just asked him how he felt, he said, ‘I’m ready to go.’ That was really it. Maybe I gave you guys the wrong impression, which I apologize for. All along, we were going to re-evaluate where he was at today and just talk it over and see how he felt.
“Obviously, he wants to play. The best part about David are the things nobody knows about. He wants to play for all the right reasons. He wants to play to win a game. He wants to play to do well. He wants to play to show his younger teammates that this is what a championship-style player does. It speaks volumes about his character, that he is here to play.”
The rest of the game didn’t go so well for the Red Sox or rookie left-hander Henry Owens, who got knocked around before being knocked out in the fifth. Owens allowed 10 hits and seven runs in 4 1/3 innings, walking four, striking out four, and struggling with his command.
Owens finishes his rookie campaign with a 4-4 record and 4.57 ERA.
The Indians put this one away with four in the third and three in the fifth. Carlos Santana struck the big blow, a three-run double with one out in the third.
With the loss, the Red Sox (78-82) are guaranteed to finish the season with a losing record.
|10.02.15 at 4:27 pm ET|
Owens (4-3, 3.84) is coming off a tremendous outing against the Orioles on Sunday, going 7 2/3 scoreless innings while allowing just three hits and one walk with five strikeouts in an outing worthy of an ovation as he exited the game in the 2-0 victory.
“Another solid outing,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “He just had one little hiccup — it was a 29-pitch sixth inning — but outside of that, it was an outstanding effort. He held a very good team in check and preserved a lead. Command of his fastball was very good, the secondary stuff even better.”
Added catcher Blake Swihart: “He’s just attacking guys. He’s got a four-pitch arsenal and he’s just going after guys and getting outs.”
The 23-year-old left-hander is 2-1 in his last three starts with a 1.59 ERA, while holding opposing batters to just a .198 ERA. Of the five runs (four earned) that he’s allowed during that stretch, all of them came in his Sept. 22 outing against the Rays.
Friday will be Owens’ first career start against the Indians. He is 2-1 on the road with a 1.99 ERA over four starts.
|10.02.15 at 3:09 pm ET|
According to a source, Yoan Moncada is dealing with a bruised hand after being hit by a pitch in the Fall Instructional League on Thursday. He came out of the game as a precaution and didn’t play Friday.
The source said the second baseman is day-to-day, but it didn’t appear to be serious.
Moncada is coming off his first professional season in the Red Sox organization where he batted .278 with eight home runs and 38 RBIs in 81 games with Single-A Greenville, while also stealing 49 bases. He was named the Red Sox minor league base runner of the year and was honored last weekend at Fenway Park.
The Cuban was also recently tabbed Baseball America’s best prospect in the South Atlantic League.
|10.02.15 at 1:56 pm ET|
Rich Hill was an afterthought earlier this summer, when he was released by the Nationals and out of work. However, since his resurgence as a starter with the Red Sox — a 1.55 ERA through 29 innings over four starts — the left-hander appears to be in good position to get some interest as a free agent.
“I’m looking forward to it,” the 35-year-old told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford of the upcoming offseason. “It’s just that body of work. You can’t look at that and deny what’s going on. Anybody in baseball who knows the game, if you’re looking at it you have to acknowledge there’s a lot there. I think for me, I have to be a proponent of myself and go out there and continue to fight off the field as much as I did off the field.
“The four games I pitched aren’t four games you look at and say, ‘That was just dumb luck.’ I faced the best hitters in the American League, and doing it in the American League East is something that can’t be denied.”
Hill, a native of Milton, is making the big league minimum this season, his 11th in the majors. But he has a newfound confidence following his incredible September.
“I’ve never spoke like this before in the past because for me to be humble is extremely important. But in this part of the game you have to go out and stand up for yourself and that’s something I’m looking forward to doing in the offseason,” Hill said.
“It’s confidence. It’s going out there and saying, ‘I can pitch for anybody, against anybody, anytime, anywhere.’ I feel very [full of conviction].”
For more from Hill, check out Rob Bradford’s column. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.
|10.01.15 at 10:22 pm ET|
Barely two months ago, Hill was toiling with the independent-league Long Island Ducks. Now, after making his first four starts in the big leagues since 2009, the Milton native has forced himself into the discussion to at least get a shot at somebody’s rotation next spring — maybe even with the Red Sox.
Dominant in his first three starts this season (2-0, 1.17 ERA, 30 Ks in 23 IP), Hill finished the season on a solid note, allowing two runs and six hits in six innings against the Yankees. He struck out six, including his final three batters of the season — Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, and Chris Young.
Hill’s only mistakes came in the second, when Beltran led off with a homer, and a pair of walks set up Brendan Ryan for a two-out RBI single to left. Otherwise, the Yankees managed virtually nothing off Hill.
The only problem is the Red Sox could do even less with Yankees counterpart CC Sabathia, who allowed six hits and a run in five innings before yielding to Adam Warren, who shut down the Red Sox over three scoreless innings of relief.
The Red Sox’ best chance at doing some damage came in the seventh, when Josh Rutledge led off with a single and Mookie Betts sent Chris Young back to the left field fence to haul in his long drive. Betts had been bidding for his fourth homer of the series.
With the victory, the Yankees clinched a wild card berth and booked passage to the postseason for the first time since 2012, when Derek Jeter broke his ankle during a sweep by the Tigers in the American League Championship Series.
|10.01.15 at 8:19 pm ET|
A couple of playing time notes with the Red Sox concluding their penultimate series in New York on Thursday night.
Interim manager Torey Lovullo doesn’t expect to move shortstop Xander Bogaerts into the leadoff hole in a bid to help him reach 200 hits for the season. Bogaerts, who began the night with 194 hits, hasn’t hit anywhere other than third since Aug. 6.
“We have such good lineup continuity, I wouldn’t want to put one guy before the team at this point,” Lovullo said before the game. “I know this team would step aside for him and do that, it’s the kind of group we have right now. But I feel like it’s moving in a really good direction right now and we probably need to stay away from that.”
Also, no determination has been made on the playing time of veteran David Ortiz during the final weekend, though Lovullo intimated that Ortiz has basically given more than enough with the season drawing to a close. He didn’t start on Thursday because of general soreness.
“He’s had a really, really good season,” Lovullo said. “And I don’t want to put him in a situation where he’s going to run up against an injury, out of fairness to him. I’ve been saying all along, he’s played through days off, he played through a lot of days off in that little run that he was on.
“Chasing 500 home runs was bigger than any day off for me and I just wanted to make sure the medical team would sign off on it, David wanted to play, and just kept playing him through those days. So he deserves this time down.”
Lovullo said that if Ortiz plays again, he’d likely be replaced at some point during each game for a pinch runner or pinch hitter.
“I think it’s fair to him, to get him off his feet,” Lovullo said.
(Rob Bradford contributed to this report from New York.)
|10.01.15 at 11:54 am ET|
File this under Mystifying Feuds: CC Sabathia vs. Jackie Bradley Jr.
When the Red Sox played the Yankees in New York earlier this summer, the YES Network ran a fascinating montage of Sabathia basically losing his mind every time Bradley finished an at-bat — gesturing at him, swearing at him, and in one instance, drilling him before mockingly asking, “Are you OK?” as he took first base.
As competitive as Sabathia is, it certainly looks like there’s something more there, so what is it?
“I don’t know,” Bradley told WEEI.com recently. “I don’t. I wish I did. I know he’s a competitor, and I’m a competitor as well. Maybe it’s just his way of competing, but I don’t think anything against it. I’m still trying to do my job, make it hard on him, and he’s trying to make it hard on me.
“I’ve noticed it, but I don’t feed into it or give it any attention. That’s something you’ll have to ask him. I don’t have any animosity or anything. He’d be the person to ask if he has something against me.”
OK, then. How about it, CC – what do you have against Bradley?
“I don’t have anything to say about that,” Sabathia told WEEI.com recently. “I have nothing against him. I don’t.”
Told that Bradley thought maybe it had something to do with competitiveness, Sabathia nodded.
“That’s exactly what it is,” Sabathia said. “I want to beat you. I don’t have nothing against him, no.”
The next hit Bradley gets off Sabathia will be his first. He enters the game 0-for-9 with six strikeouts and three walks against the big left-hander. Two of those walks came in Bradley’s very first game, on Opening Day in 2013, when the Red Sox beat Sabathia and the Yankees 8-2. Bradley fell behind 0-2 in his first plate appearance before working a walk to load the bases in the second inning, later scoring as part of a four-run frame.
Who knows if that set Sabathia off, but future encounters have proven strangely hostile, with Sabathia yelling, “Sorry-ass [expletive],” at Bradley after a 2014 strikeout (link title is NSFW), and sarcastically asking if he was OK after hitting him that same year.
|10.01.15 at 8:31 am ET|
After extending their season-high winning streak to six games Wednesday night via a 9-5 win in 11 innings, the Red Sox have the opportunity to complete a sweep at Yankee Stadium for the first time since June 2011 and again keep New York from clinching a postseason berth.
Hill (2-0, 1.17 ERA) has proven to be a remarkable comeback story since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Sept. 8. The left-hander, who had not started a major league game since 2009, has yet to lose in his three outings, holding batters to a .127 average.
Hill is the first pitcher since 1900 to make a debut in September or later and have 10 or more strikeouts in each of his first three starts that season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Milton native most recently saw the Orioles last Friday, throwing a complete-game shutout. He allowed just two hits and one walk during Boston’s 7-0 win.
“For a guy that has resurrected his career in the way that he has, it’s very, very impressive,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said following the game. “You’re starting to get the feel that this is a little bit of a habit.”
Hill has yet to see the Yankees this season, but has faced them nine times (one start) over the course of his career, going 0-1 with a 8.31 ERA over 8 2/3 innings.
|10.01.15 at 1:42 am ET|
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has told the media, Clay Buchholz and his agent that if the pitcher is deemed healthy at the conclusion of the 2015 season, picking up Buchholz’ ’16 team option for $13 million would be the team’s likely course of action.
Well, it appears as though Buchholz has done his part.
Buchholz threw what was likely his last bullpen session of the season prior to Wednesday night’s Red Sox win, coming through the exercise without incident.
“I feel good,” Buchholz said. “I had the same conversation (regarding picking up the option) with Dave a while back so I completely understand where they’re coming from on the business side of it. Whenever I’m healthy and in the field, the last couple years haven’t been a full season, but I feel I give the team a good chance to win. Whenever I’m able to follow a certain pattern and stay on schedule with the bullpens.
“I feel good and I’ll talk to Dave again before we head out for Cleveland and go from there.”
Option or no option, Buchholz has already achieved what he set out when he started coming back from his right elbow issue.
“Even when I started playing catch I felt the difference from the last game I was in,” he said. “Going forward I followed the protocol laid out and that was going to be everything was going to be fine. It’s always good going into the offseason knowing you’re not nursing anything and sort of treat it like a regular offseason rather than having to start rehab at a certain point. And then you get to that point it makes everything sort of monotonus and dry in the offseason. Looking forward to getting going into a normal time period off.”
Now, Buchholz can plan on a normal offseason, one which paves the way to a return to Fort Myers in early February.
“I’ve talked to our doctors and that’s what they’ve told me,” said Buchholz of having the same sort of offseason training regimen as a year ago. “It should be a normal run start throwing in November. I feel like when you start throwing then I’ll go to spring training a couple weeks early to throw a bullpen down there with our guys rather than throw them anywhere else.”
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