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Saturday Red Sox Farm Report: Jose Almonte tosses 6-inning no-hitter with Greenville

05.28.16 at 9:25 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday.

William Cuevas

William Cuevas

TRIPLE-A PATWUCKET RED SOX (23-25): L, 4-2, at Indianapolis (Indians)

— The PawSox allowed three unanswered runs in the late innings to allow Indianapolis to come away with a one-run win. Starter Williams Cuevas took the loss, although he didn’t pitch all that bad. The right-hander went five innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits while walking three and striking out six.

— Anthony Varvaro had a solid outing in relief as he tossed two scoreless innings allowing just one hit.

— Bryce Brentz paced the offense in the loss as the left fielder went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. He’s now hitting .304 with Pawtucket.

— In the lead off spot, Rusney Castillo went 1-for-4 with a double. He’s batting .254 on the season.

— The struggles continue for shortstop Deven Marrero as he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts to see his average dip to .188 on the year.

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Read More: Bobby Poyner, jose almonte, Trey Ball, yoan moncada

Saturday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Marcus Stroman

05.28.16 at 7:51 am ET
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The Red Sox will look to snap a two-game losing streak Saturday afternoon when Rick Porcello takes the mound opposite fellow right-hander Marcus Stroman in the middle game of the Red Sox-Blue Jays weekend series in Toronto.

Porcello has been one of the Red Sox’ most consistent starters this year. He is 7-2 with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. In his last start, Sunday against the Indians, he ran into some trouble in the second inning when Jason Kipnis singled to score two runs. After that, however, Porcello settled down and picked up his seventh win of the season. He ended up lasting 5 2/3 innings and allowing two runs on five hits and one walk with five strikeouts.

“They pressed [Porcello] on a day when he might not have had his best sink,” manager John Farrell said after the game. “But to keep to two runs in that [second] inning and then we come back and take a lead, so the big inning was the shutdown inning in the third. … Rick, on a day where it was a blue collar outing for him, did a very good job.”

The 27-year-old’s first two starts this season were against the Blue Jays, and both resulted in wins for Porcello. On April 9 in Toronto, Porcello went six innings and allowed four runs on seven hits (two home runs) and a walk with seven strikeouts in an 8-4 win. Then on April 15 at Fenway Park he pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on just two hits — both home runs — and one walk with eight strikeouts as the Sox took a 5-3 victory. In his career Porcello is 6-7 against the Blue Jays with a 5.26 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.

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Read More: Marcus Stroman, rick porcello,

Closing Time: Josh Donaldson gets better of Red Sox, Koji Uehara

05.27.16 at 10:04 pm ET
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Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

Concerns might be shifting from the starting rotation to the bullpen.

On the day Red Sox manager John Farrell announced Clay Buchholz would be joining the relievers, the continued possibility that the Sox may need late-inning help as the season unfolds emerged.

After the Red Sox crawled back from a three-run deficit, Sox reliever Koji Uehara allowed the Blue Jays to get the last laugh. Uehara fell victim to a two-run, opposite field home run off the bat of Josh Donaldson in the eighth inning, giving the Blue Jays a 7-5 win over the Red Sox in the teams’ series-opener at Rogers Centre.

With Carson Smith out for the season, the eighth-inning focus has turned to Uehara. The 41-year-old has allowed at least one hit in eight of his nine appearances this month, leading to a 5.19 ERA for May.

It was the third time Donaldson gave the Blue Jays the lead, finishing with a pair of home runs and five RBIs.
For a complete box score, click here.

Closing Time note

This season against the Red Sox, Donaldson is hitting .393 with four home runs, going 4-for-5 Friday night.

WHAT WENT WRONG

– Joe Kelly couldn’t duplicate the 6 2/3 scoreless innings he turned in during his previous start, allowing five runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings. The righty did avoid suffering his first loss since July 22, 2015, with the Red Sox offense taking him off the hook.

– The Red Sox were never able to get David Ortiz’s bat in the game. Once Marco Hernandez failed to reach with one out in the ninth, Farrell opted not to pinch-hit for Christian Vazquez without the possibility of tying the game. Ortiz wasn’t in the starting lineup in an attempt to rest his feet on Rogers Centre’s artificial turf.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

– Xander Bogaerts extended his hit streak to 20 games with a fourth-inning single.

– The Red Sox took advantage of some shoddy fielding from the Blue Jays, particularly when tying the game in the eighth inning. Dustin Pedroia’s routine fly ball to left field dropping after miscommunication between left fielder Michael Saunders and center fielder Kevin Pillar. The end result was Pedroia coming home with the equalizer on Travis Shaw’s grounder, that neither first baseman Justin Smoak or second baseman Devon Travis could handle.

– The inning before they tied it, the Red Sox got back into the game on Christian Vazquez’s two-run single up the middle, scoring both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Hanley Ramirez. As the play unfolded, a spectator ran onto the field, almost interrupting Bradley Jr.’s path to home plate.

– Matt Barnes continued to emerge as a legitimate weapon out of the Red Sox bullpen, not allowing a hit or a run over his 1 1/3 innings, striking out a pair. Coming into the game, Barnes had allowed opponents a .184 batting average.

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Clay Buchholz heading to bullpen, Eduardo Rodriguez to start Tuesday

05.27.16 at 5:17 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

The Red Sox have finally made their move when it comes to Clay Buchholz.

John Farrell announced to the media in Toronto Friday prior to this team’s series-opener against the Blue Jays that Clay Buchholz would be headed to the bullpen. Taking his place in the Sox rotation will be Eduardo Rodriguez, who is slated to start against the Orioles Tuesday.

Buchholz has only pitched two games in relief throughout his career, with the most recent occasion coming in 2008. Farrell noted he will be used for multiple-inning stints out of the bullpen.

“The bottom line is the results, and there’s been a strong precedent set with that,” Farrell told reporters. “I can tell you that Clay understands the decision but probably doesn’t like it, which I can respect, but at the same time, the most important thing as we stand today is how he embraces this decision, how this change will work itself out, but his attitude toward the move has got to be one where you take this as an opportunity to work through some of the issues that have presented themselves, and that’s been the big innings or that’s been the home runs that have come with men on. Maybe in shorter stints, shorter looks, he begins to gain a little momentum and gets back on track.”

The move comes after Buchholz’s latest struggles, with the righty giving up six runs over five innings. It was the sixth time in his 10 starts this season he had allowed five or more runs. Buchholz’s ERA stands at 6.35, the second-highest of any starter in the majors.

Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis surmised that Buchholz’s struggles weren’t a product of physical or mechanical issues.

“We’ve watched a lot of video,” Willis told reporters. “Again, he feels good. Mechanics, we haven’t been able to really pinpoint anything significant that’s different. It’s just, yeah, execution and balls leaking back at the inappropriate count. I think more than anything else, it’s controlling the count.”

Rodriguez, who hasn’t pitched in the majors this season while recovering from a right knee injury, last pitched Tuesday when he allowed one run over seven innings. In five rehab starts for Triple-A Pawtucket, Rodriguez totaled a 3.54 ERA.

Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz starts on bench

05.27.16 at 3:53 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

David Ortiz is getting a breather.

Despite owning Toronto starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez — managing four hits and three walks in his 11 plate appearances against the righty — Ortiz will start the Red Sox’ series opener at Roger Centre on the bench.

The Sox DH is coming off a homestand in which he hit .500 (11-for-22), with an OPS of 1.638. He has multiple-hits in five of his last six games, currently carrying the best OPS (1.126) in the majors.

“All things considered, he’s still 40 years old, and we’ve got to take care of the days when, physically, it’s recommended,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters before the game. “We’re in one of those days right now. He’s had some success against Sanchez. There’s a number of factors that go into this decision. Preserving his health through the remainder of the year is primary.”

Marco Hernandez plays third base, with Travis Shaw moving over to first base, and Hanley Ramirez sliding into the designated hitter spot. Ramirez is 9-for-18 with a 1.471 OPS as a DH this season.

Here is the Red Sox lineup with Joe Kelly getting the start for the visitors:

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts 3B
Travis Shaw 1B
Hanley Ramirez DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Marco Hernandez 3B
Christian Vazquez C
Blake Swihart LF

For all the matchups, click here.

Friday Red Sox Farm Report: PawSox LHP Henry Owens struggles with control; Ryan Court hits 2 triples, 1 HR for Portland

05.27.16 at 11:07 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday.

Henry Owens

Henry Owens

TRIPLE-A PATWUCKET RED SOX (23-24): L, 11-4, vs. Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

— It was a rough day for PawSox starter Henry Owens. In the first inning Owens let up two singles, a double, two walks and a sacrifice fly and he hit a batter before getting out of the inning. Owens was pulled from the game after 3 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on six hits (including a home run) and five walks with two strikeouts, and he hit two batters. Since rejoining Pawtucket after a brief stint with Boston, Owens has had trouble locating the strike zone. In three of his last four starts he has walked five batters. Owens is considered one of the top pitching prospects in the Red Sox farm system, but he has struggled this season. With Pawtucket the 23-year-old-left-hander is 3-2 in seven starts with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP. In three starts with the big league club Owens has not recorded a decision in 12 1/3 innings with a 5.11 ERA and a 2.10 WHIP.

— Rusney Castillo and Ryan LaMarre hit home runs for the PawSox. Castillo finished the day 2-for-5 with a strikeout and two runs scored. He now is hitting .254/.310/.331 in 33 Triple-A games this season. LaMarre went 3-for-4 with a strikeout and now is hitting .313/.358/.434 in 23 games with the PawSox.

— The bullpen was unable to help salvage the game for the PawSox. Robby Scott came on in relief for Owens and lasted 2 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on five hits (two home runs) with three strikeouts. The 26-year-old left-hander has appeared in 11 games for Pawtucket this season, posting a 3.21 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. Wesley Wright followed and allowed two runs on three hits (one home run) with one strikeout in two innings. Noe Ramirez closed things out with a scoreless ninth inning, allowing one hit and recording a strikeout.

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Read More: henry owens, nick longhi, roldani baldwin, Ryan Court

Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Aaron Sanchez

05.27.16 at 8:39 am ET
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On Friday night the Red Sox will be north of the border to start a three-game series with the Blue Jays. Boston will begin the series by sending Joe Kelly to the mound, while Toronto will be depending on the right arm of Aaron Sanchez.

Kelly (2-0) will be making his second start for the Sox after a stint on the DL with a right shoulder impingement. Kelly had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning in his first start back from the DL last Saturday against the Indians. In that start it didn’t appear Kelly needed much time to get used to facing big league hitters again, as he began the contest by retiring 13 straight. Kelly ended up throwing 6 2/3 innings and giving up just one hit, no runs and three walks while striking out seven. Kelly’s stellar comeback outing lowered his ERA from 9.35 to 5.28 to go along with a 1.82 WHIP.

“Overall command of the fastball was very big today,” Kelly said after the start. “I was throwing it to both sides of the plate. I just felt super strong out there. All the work we’ve been putting in since I went on the DL of getting the shoulder stronger in the training room, it’s just good to go out there and not even think about it and get a little more extension on the fastball and all the other pitches with that strong shoulder.”

Kelly currently is enjoying a 10-game winning streak, dating back to last season. It is the 16th time in Red Sox history that a pitcher has a 10-game winning streak, and Kelly’s streak is the longest since 2013 when Clay Buchholz won 11 straight. Over his last eight starts at Fenway, Kelly is 7-0 with a 2.41 ERA. Toronto’s Rogers Centre has been far less accommodating for Kelly, however. Kelly has started three games at Rogers Centre in his career and in those starts he is 0-1 with a whopping 9.20 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP. Kelly has faced the Blue Jays six times in his career, going 1-1 with 6.96 ERA and 1.57 WHIP. The 27-year-old right-hander faced Toronto in his first start of the 2016 season. Kelly didn’t begin the year the way he wanted, as he gave up seven runs, one home run and three walks with four strikeouts in just three innings.

Something to keep an eye on is who will be catching for Kelly. Ryan Hanigan is supposed to get the start, but it is unclear if he is fully healthy after leaving Wednesday’s game with an illness. If Hanigan is unable able to go, Blake Swihart could get the start behind the plate. Swihart came up through the Red Sox system as a catcher, but has been playing left field for the Sox since his call-up from Pawtucket last week.

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Read More: Aaron Sanchez, Joe Kelly,

Closing Time: Clay Buchholz gets crushed, Jackie Bradley’s hitting streak ends in loss to Rockies

05.26.16 at 10:04 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz doesn't know what hit him as Dustin Garneau circles the bases after hitting a homer on Thursday. (David Butler II-USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz doesn’t know what hit him as Dustin Garneau circles the bases after hitting a homer on Thursday. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

It became apparent this wouldn’t be the Red Sox’ night on the first Sox at-bat of the evening.

Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., looking to extend the longest hitting streak in the majors to 30 games, launched a Jon Gray offering deep to right field. What looked like a surefire homer off the bat instead nestled into the glove of Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez.

Bradley would hit another ball to the base of the center field wall later in the game with the same result, bringing to an end one of the most uplifting stretches of baseball in recent Red Sox history and halting his hitting streak at 29 games.

On the flip side, right-hander Clay Buchholz saw a streak of his own continue, and it might cost him his spot in the rotation. Buchholz allowed a trio of two-run homers and got booed off the field, taking the loss in an 8-2 defeat.

The Red Sox didn’t have a chance in this one because Buchholz didn’t give it to them. After David Ortiz gave the Sox a 2-0 lead with his 12th homer of the season in the first, the Rockies tied it on a Carlos Gonzalez homer in the fourth, and then took control with consecutive two-run homers leading off the fifth as Buchholz saw his ERA climb to 6.35.

The only drama thereafter was whether Bradley could extend his streak. He got his last chance leading off the eighth, but grounded out routinely to second on the first pitch. The game ended with Bradley on deck.

Closing Time note

Buchholz has now allowed 28 runs on the 12 home runs he has surrendered. Only two of the 12 have been solo shots.

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, jackie bradley, Jackie Bradley Jr. hitting streak

Clay Buchholz putrid in make-or-break start, allows 3 home runs to Rockies

05.26.16 at 9:17 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

Say goodbye to Clay Buchholz?

Taking the mound with his spot in the starting rotation on the line, the Red Sox right-hander instead imploded against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday, done in by his nemesis — the long ball.

Buchholz allowed three two-run homers in five-plus innings. His final line, not surprisingly, was ugly: five innings, seven hits, six runs, all earned. He walked none, struck out two and saw his ERA climb to 6.35.

With Eduardo Rodriguez nearing a return, Buchholz is easily the odd man out of the rotation based on performance. His only hope was to pitch well and delay E-Rod’s return. Now, barring any physical setbacks for the young left-hander, there’s no point in saving the veteran’s spot.

Buchholz’s night actually started in encouraging fashion. He retired the first nine batters he faced before Charlie Blackmon led off the fourth with a single. And then things got hairy. With two outs, Carlos Gonzalez blasted a game-tying two-run homer to right.

The fifth brought more of the same. Gerardo Parra led off with a single and Trevor Story launched his 13th homer to center to make it 4-2.

Daniel Descalso followed with a single before scoring on the first homer of Dustin Garneau’s career. In the span of four batters, Buchholz allowed two singles and two homers while boos rained down from the very restless fans in attendance.

Manager John Farrell visited the mound with Heath Hembree warming, but not only let Buchholz finish the inning, he sent him back out for the sixth. When Gonzalez led off with an infield single, that was it for Buchholz, who left to a cascade of boos.

Was it his final start for the Red Sox for a while? We’ll find out soon enough, but at this point, there’s no point in arguing he deserves a spot in the rotation.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, eduardo rodriguez, Red Sox,

Jackie Bradley hitting streak ends at 29; Xander Bogaerts extends streak to 19 games

05.26.16 at 7:34 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

Jackie Bradley just missed a home run that would’ve extended his hitting streak to 30 games leading off the game and then did so again two at-bats later, halting his hitting streak at 29 games.

Xander Bogaerts, however, extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a sharp single to left field off of Colorado Rockies starter Jon Gray. He then came around to score on David Ortiz’s two-run homer into the bullpen.

While all eyes are on Bradley, who was attempting to become the first Red Sox hitter since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997 to record a hit in 30 straight games, Bogaerts has quietly compiled an impressive streak of his own.

His 19-gamer is the second-longest in the game behind Bradley. The hit raised Bogaerts’ AL-leading average to .353.

Bradley nearly extended his streak leading off the game in place of Mookie Betts, who got a night off. He ripped a Gray offering to deep right, but it fell just short of the fence in right field. He later flew out to the center field fence before grounding out in his final at-bat in the eighth.

The game ended with Bradley on deck.

Read More: Jackie Bradley Jr. hitting streak, JBJ, Red Sox, xander bogaerts
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