|09.06.15 at 11:48 pm ET|
A month ago, Jackie Bradley Jr. was batting .102 on the season with just one extra-base hit of five total hits, a home run, four RBIs, seven walks and 15 strikeouts. He was 0 for his last 14 and just 1 for his last 19 since the Red Sox called him up from Pawtucket on July 29.
On Aug. 6, Bradley’s season took a significant turn.
As the Sox faced off against the Yankees in New York that Thursday night, the outfielder recorded his first hit in six games, a single to center field in seventh inning, and drew two walks. Only one run crossed the plate for Boston that night, not enough for a win, but from there Bradley got hot fast.
He tacked on another single the following night and, after going hitless in the next contest, rode a six-game hit streak into the middle of August. Within that streak was a 5-for-6, two-home run night in which his seven RBIs accounted for nearly a third of the Red Sox offense in a 22-10 victory over the Mariners.
“It’s been a pretty solid month,” Bradley said. “Just being able to help the team out any way I can and just trying to get better every single day, continuously working and kind of just staying the same person I’ve always been.”
Four of the games yielded multi-hit efforts from the 25-year-old, and of the 14 hits he collected in those six games, 10 were for extra bases. He also raised his batting average by .090 just in that span.
But Bradley’s success continued long after his streak was snapped. Continuing to find his footing offensively really for the first time in his major league career, he’s raised his slash line from .102/.220/.163 to .292/.369/.591 overall in a matter of 27 games. He bolstered his prior stats in other departments too, adding 28 RBIs for a total of 32 and drove 22 of his 35 hits for extra bases.
Of his most recent 26 hits, 19 of them were of the extra-base variety, and in the last 24 games alone, dating back to the beginning of that streak on Aug. 9, Bradley is slashing .418/.465/.899 with 12 doubles, four triples six home runs and seven walks. He’s also in the midst of a seven-game hit streak and has scored at least one run in each of those games as well, going 11-for-22 with a .955 slugging percentage in that time.
|09.06.15 at 4:33 pm ET|
The suspense was taken out of the Red Sox‘ series finale against the Phillies Sunday early.
Not only did the Sox put up six runs in the first two innings against Philadelphia’s rookie starter, Jerad Eickhoff, on the way to a 6-2 win over the Phils, but David Ortiz wasted no time in giving the Fenway faithful what they were hoping to see.
The Red Sox designated hitter took Eickhoff over the right field fence in his first at-bat of the game. It not only led to an early two-run lead for the Sox, but also changed the home run total posted over the left field wall to “497.”
Ortiz now finds himself just three home runs away from becoming 27th major league player to reach 500 home runs, surpassing Dwight Evans for the fourth-most homers at Fenway (200) in the process.
It was Ortiz’s 31st homer of the season, making him one of eight American League hitters to total as many homers.
Ortiz would have to leave the game in the fifth inning, however, due to right calf tightness.
The victory completed a sweep of the Phillies, marking the Red Sox‘ fourth series sweep of the season, and second in a set of three or more games.
|09.06.15 at 3:20 pm ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (58-84): W, 6-2, vs. Buffalo (Blue Jays)
— Right fielder Aneury Tavarez hit his first Triple-A home run in his fourth game with the PawSox, a two-run shot to center field in the sixth that increased Pawtucket’s lead to 4-0. Tavares, 23, went 2-for-3 with two runs scored as he’s started 4-for-12 in Triple-A with hits in three of his four games played. On the season, combined between High-A Salem (39 games), Double-A Portland (67 games) and Pawtucket, Tavarez is slashing .249/.308/.397 with eight homers, five triples, 22 doubles, 35 RBIs and 36 runs scored.
— RHP Zeke Spruill pitched seven scoreless innings to earn his first win as a starter this year (5-10, 3.94 ERA overall) with a final line of: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO (112 pitches, 64 strikes). Spruill, 25, allowed single baserunners in each of the first four innings, but he induced a double play and stranded the other three as he retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced. The 6-foot-5 Spruill has started 14 games this year for Pawtucket, including 10 in a row and 13 of his past 14, for an ERA of 3.81 with 47 strikeouts and 20 walks in those 78 innings. Spruill has seven quality starts in his last nine outings, with 16 earned runs allowed over those 55 innings pitched (2.61 ERA).
— RHP Pat Light (Boston’s No. 22 prospect at MLB.com) relieved Spruill in the eighth and was charged with two runs as he allowed four singles in two-thirds of an inning while recording two fly outs. Light, 24, had made three straight scoreless appearances coming into Saturday’s action.
— RHP Dayan Diaz earned his fourth save as he replaced Light in the eighth and stranded a runner at second, then stayed on to pitch a scoreless ninth as he induced a double play to end the game after a walk and two singles had loaded the bases. Diaz, 26, has made four straight scoreless appearances with back-to-back converted saves as he improved his numbers to 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA over 57 innings of work with the PawSox, striking out 49 and walking 28.
— Shorstop Marco Hernandez (Boston’s No. 23 prospect at MLB.com) reached base four times as he went 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored, batting in the two-hole of the order. Hernandez, 23, has hits in nine of his last 10 games with three multi-hit games in his last five. On the season with Pawtucket over 44 games, Hernandez is slashing .262/.293/.384 with three homers, two triples, eight doubles, 18 RBIs and 25 runs scored.
|09.06.15 at 1:50 pm ET|
Blake Swihart has played just 67 games at the major league level, but in that time, interim manager Torey Lovullo said the catcher has shown an “incredible knowledge and confidence, which is uncanny for a kid of his age to walk up there and have the success the way he’s having.”
“He is extremely intelligent,” Lovullo said. “He’s got a great feel for how to read swings. He gets the initial game plan, combines that with how his pitcher’s working on the mound and then makes those adjustments based on what he’s seen in front of him from each and every approach.”
Swihart also knows what many young players at his position might not, and that’s how important it is to be involved with his battery mate. On Saturday afternoon, he caught and called Wide Miley’s complete game, working with the lefty the whole way through.
“[He is] extremely engaged in between innings, and he is all about sitting next to his pitcher and talking it over,” Lovullo said. “And I think those are things that young catchers don’t understand, how important that is to that starting pitcher on that day, and he was made to understand that that’s part of his job, to take care of his pitcher.”
The 23-year-old also is years ahead of himself offensively, according to Lovullo, who said he and the team knew it and put it on the back burner. Swihart is slashing .288/.337/.393 with 16 doubles, one triple, two home runs, 25 RBIs, 16 walks and four stolen bases this season.
“You’re seeing it come out now,” Lovullo said.
The key is that Swihart knows “who he is and what type of hitter he is,” which is a prime example of that knowledge and confidence.
“He’s not walking up there trying to slug the ball over the fence,” Lovullo said. “Staying with his approach, understanding game plans and how he’s being attacked.”
|09.06.15 at 8:50 am ET|
For the Sunday finale of a meaningless September series between the Red Sox and the Phillies, fittingly it will be two rookies taking the mound, as both teams are looking toward next season. Eduardo Rodriguez will have the ball for Boston and he’ll go up against Jerad Eickhoff, who will be making his fourth career start.
Rodriguez has cooled down and been more what you’d expect out of a rookie after a dominant first three starts. In the month of August, the Venezuelan left-hander went 2-2 with an ERA of 4.06, compared to his 0.44 ERA through his first three starts. He last pitched Monday night against the Yankees and picked up his eighth win of the year, going five innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits and three walks. Rodriguez also had three strikeouts in the 4-3 victory.
For the season Rodriguez stands at 8-5 with an ERA of 4.25, which isn’t bad for a member of the 2015 Red Sox pitching staff. In fact, that is the best of the rotation this year with the exception of Clay Buchholz, who is out for the rest of the season. If Rodriguez can start showing some more consistency, he could have a nice future ahead of him.
The Phillies will send a rookie to face the Red Sox for the third straight game. This time it’s Jerad Eickhoff, a 25-year-old right-hander from Indiana, who, like Saturday’s starter Alec Asher, was acquired from the Rangers in the Cole Hamels deal at the trade deadline. Eickhoff, who is making his first start outside of the National League East, was drafted in the 15th round by the Rangers in 2011.
Eickhoff (1-2, 2.84 ERA) debuted Aug. 21 against the Marlins in Miami, where he pitched six scoreless innings, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out five, and picked up the win. In his last two starts, the 6-foot-4, 240-pounder hasn’t pitched badly, but he received back to back losses vs. the Mets. In his last start on Monday, he went seven innings, allowing four hits — two of which were home runs — and three earned runs in a 3-1 loss.
“Very good,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said after Eickhoff’s last game in reference to the right-hander’s first three starts. “The thing I like about him is that he throws strikes. That’s the first thing. The second thing is, the numbers mean something. You look at his ERA and innings pitched, that’s a good indicator of how he’s doing. But I like his demeanor on the mound. We’re playing a team that we’re trying [very hard] to beat, an he kept us in the game.”
Phillies vs. Rodriguez (LHP)
No Phillies have faced Rodriguez.
Red Sox vs. Eickhoff (RHP)
No Red Sox have faced Eickhoff.
|09.05.15 at 9:06 pm ET|
It was more than just the slide into home plate itself. It was everything that went into the decision to do it.
When Xander Bogaerts doubled to right field with the bases loaded in the fourth inning of the Red Sox‘ win over the Phillies on Saturday, he made a choice that didn’t come from his coaches.
He wasn’t being waved around by third base coach Brian Butterfield, who had his hands on his knees as the shortstop charged in towards home. Bogaerts paused for the briefest of moments by the plate, read the situation and acted accordingly.
Second baseman Cesar Hernandez had thrown the ball to catcher Carlos Ruiz to try and stop any more runs from scoring, but he made an error on the play and left Ruiz scrambling to grab hold of the ball.
“I saw Ruiz kind of looking for the ball like he didn’t know where it was and just kind of I knew I was going to go home,” Bogaerts said.
Bogaerts continued on his trip around the bases in an attempt to wipe them completely clean, diving headlong down the line. He said he knew if he had gone in feet first, there was only one way he could have maneuvered himself — headfirst gave him options though.
The 22-year-old put two hands out over the clay and swung his right arm so that it was out of the way of Ruiz’s tag, extending his left one to touch the plate. He swung his legs away from home as well and ended up rolling over onto his back, waving his arms to notify home plate umpire CB Bucknor that he was safe.
Bucknor mimicked the gesture a moment later to confirm what Bogaerts had thought. He made it all the way around.
The play scored four runs, adding onto the three that the Sox had already scored that inning. David Ortiz‘s 496th career home run capped off the eight-run frame that helped Boston ultimately win by a score of 9-2.
“We’ve done a number of heads-up things on the bases …” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “Xander turns, finds the ball and that’s what we talked about, make a decision on your own. You can’t rely on your base coach. You have to trust your instincts. He found the ball, did a great job. It was the key play that broke open the game. It was a heads-up play by Xander to make it more exciting.”
Lovullo added that Bogaerts is moving around the bases “as good this year as [he’s] seen him in the three years since [he’s] known him.”
|09.05.15 at 6:46 pm ET|
David Ortiz moved within four homers of history, Xander Bogaerts delivered what might have been the slide of the season, and Wade Miley worked at his breakneck best pace to carry the Red Sox to a 9-2 victory over the Phillies on Saturday.
Ortiz blasted career homer No. 496 as part of an eight-run fourth, an inning Bogaerts had already highlighted with a picture-perfect slide to complete a Little League-style inside-the-park grand slam (technically a three-run double and an error), and Miley made it stand from there en route to the complete-game victory.
Five Red Sox hitters recorded at least two hits, led by leadoff man Mookie Betts, who went 3-for-4 with a walk. Ortiz, Blake Swihart, Josh Rutledge, and Jackie Bradley Jr. contributed two hits apiece.
Miley, meanwhile, took a perfect game into the fifth before allowing two runs. He improved to 11-10 with the first complete game of his career, allowing five hits, walking none, and striking out eight. He threw 110 pitches in a game completed in a tidy 2:24.
This game effectively ended in the fourth. Ortiz started things with a single and Travis Shaw flied out to center field before the next six batters reached. Swihart plated Ortiz with an RBI single, and Bradley added a two-run double. But the real fun came when Bogaerts inside-outed a fastball into the right field corner to clear the bases. When the relay to the plate got away, Bogaerts just kept running, contorting himself to slide around the tag of veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz.
The 22-year-old had wiped the bases clean, and after starter Alec Asher was pulled for reliever Jerome Williams, Ortiz followed suit, turning a 1-1 count into career home run No. 496 for the eighth Boston run of the inning.
Shaw flied out to left field for the final out of the frame and was the only member of the team to not record a hit.
The Red Sox will attempt to complete the sweep on Sunday, when left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez takes on righty Jerad Eickhoff in a battle of rookies.
|09.05.15 at 3:31 pm ET|
The move is a little surprising, considering 25-man active rosters have expanded to the full 40 in September, but president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said that having him unavailable removes the temptation to put him back on the field before he’s ready.
And while Ramirez said he’s disappointed, he’s “100 percent” in agreement with the decision and knows he has to get ready before he can come back. Interim manager Torey Lovullo added that there was no push-back from Ramirez regarding the situation.
Ramirez is also confident he will be back on the field before year’s end.
“Oh yeah, you’re going to see me at first base before the season’s over so don’t worry about that,” he said.
However, Dombrowski and Lovullo weren’t quite as quick to give Ramirez’s return the definite go-ahead.
“I’m hopeful, and the doctor seems to think at this point that this will suffice, but I don’t know,” Dombrowski said. “Do I feel confident? I feel good about it, but I wouldn’t sit up here and say 100 percent I know that. But he feels good about it.”
Ramirez said the Sox have a plan in place and want to show him “the way they want to work everything out” going forward.
“We’re really at a point of rehab,” Dombrowski clarified. “And he’s also taken some medication at this point, and he’s not going to hit, and he’s not going to throw until the pain subsides. He can go out on the field and work a little bit with his glove and his footwork, so he can still do that, but we’re not going to do anything with him and that’s why the DL, there’s no temptation, there’s no anything. He’s not going to do that, but we’re not going to get him out there to throw or hit until the pain subsides.”
“I’m just looking forward to being back on the field because the way we’re playing right now is unbelievable,” Ramirez said. “It’s a great feeling when you see those young guys [in the outfield] go out there and the way they’re playing right now.”
|09.05.15 at 11:18 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (57-84): L, 2-1, vs. Rochester (Twins)
— Right-hander Shawn Haviland fell to 5-10 on the season, taking the loss after giving up both Rochester runs on seven hits over 7 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked none. In six starts with the PawSox after being acquired from the White Sox organization, Haviland is 1-5 with a 4.17 ERA. His ERA on the year is 4.18.
— Madison Younginer made his first appearance with the PawSox this year and pitched the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing one hit and recording one strikeout. The 24-year-old right-hander had an 8-4 record with two saves and a 3.05 ERA in 39 relief appearances for Portland this season.
— Center fielder Jonathan Roof drove in the lone Pawtucket run on a single in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Pawtucket offense managed just five hits, as catcher Humberto Quintero doubled and scored on Roof’s single, and third baseman Deven Marrero, designated hitter Carlos Rivero and second baseman Mike Miller all singled.
|09.05.15 at 10:16 am ET|
The Red Sox look to continue their success against the Phillies on Saturday afternoon when they send Wade Miley to the mound opposite rookie right-hander Alec Asher, who is making just his second career start.
Miley struggled in his last two starts, going 0-1 with a 6.39 ERA. In his most recent game, Sunday in New York against the Mets, he went six innings and allowed four earned runs on nine hits, taking a no-decision. Miley had six strikeouts in a game that the Red Sox couldn’t pull out at the end, losing 5-4 after getting the first two batters on base in the top of the ninth but failing to score either of them.
Miley has been up and down all season, with a record of 10-10 and an ERA of 4.57 in 159 2/3 innings. In nine starts since the All-Star break he has a record of 2-2 with five no-decisions. Miley hasn’t always received a ton of support from his teammates, as in three of the five starts since the break that ended without a decision for the left-hander, he pitched at least six innings and allowed two earned runs or less but the Sox lost all three games.
In his last three home starts, Miley is 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA.
Miley will face the Phillies for the first time this season, though he has faced them as a member of the Diamondbacks. In three career starts, Miley holds a 1-1 record with an ERA of 4.24 in 17 innings pitched. Miley has 15 strikeouts in those three starts.
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