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Red Sox lineup: Travis Shaw starts at third base in series opener against Blue Jays

09.09.16 at 3:20 pm ET
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Travis Shaw (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Travis Shaw (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

TORONTO — Travis Shaw has worked his way back into the Red Sox’ lineup.

With righty Marco Estrada on the mound for the Blue Jays Friday night, Red Sox manager John Farrell starts Shaw at third and Brock Holt in left field. Shaw’s presence is no surprise considering he is coming off a performance Wednesday in which the 26-year-old notched a pair of hits, including his 16th homer of the season.

Shaw had been sidelined with the presence of Yoan Moncada. But with the rookie striking out 10 times in his 17 at-bats, including his last seven plate appearances, the Sox’ Opening Day starter gets another crack at holding down the position against right-handers.

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup with Rick Porcello on the mound for the visitors:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Sandy Leon C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Brock Holt LF

For all the matchups, click here.

What’s Yoan Moncada going through? Former top prospect Wil Myers can relate

09.09.16 at 10:49 am ET
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Wil Myers

Wil Myers

TORONTO — Wil Myers lived the life Yoan Moncada has found himself in.

Like Moncada, Myers was once classified as one of the top minor leaguers in baseball, climbing to No. 4 on Baseball America’s 2012 list of best prospects. He remembers the pressures, the talk and, finally, the moment the dream became a reality.

Myers’ introduction to the big leagues came on June 18, 2013, getting the start for the Tampa Bay Rays in right field against the Red Sox.

“I remember before my first at-bat, which happened to be at Fenway,” Myers told WEEI.com. “Everybody was like, ‘Oh, just because you’re the No. 1 guy doesn’t mean you aren’t going back after this game.’ That comes with it. That’s that added pressure. You just embrace it. This guy [Moncada] right here has played five games in the big leagues and everybody knows about him. That’s right where you want to be. Good for him.”

Moncada obviously was in the crosshairs from the minute he made his major league debut a week ago, having been proclaimed as Baseball America’s No. 1 prospect earlier this season. A $31.5 million signing bonus and gaudy minor league numbers will do that.

Myers was no different, having not only been slotted one spot ahead of Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez on the 2012 Baseball America list (hitting 37 homers in ’12), but also being identified as the guy the Royals surrendered prior to 2013 to secure top of the rotation starter James Shields.

Myers didn’t struggle out of the gate like Moncada has, managing a .331 batting average and .990 OPS in his first two months in 2013. But, now with his third big league organization, the Padres first baseman understands the value of continuing to keep the pressure on, no matter the initial results.

“There’s definitely pressure that comes with [being a top prospect], but as a competitor you want that pressure,” Myers said. “As good as [Moncada] is, you want that pressure on you. You don’t want to be a guy who doesn’t have any expectations. If you’re that good you’re going to have a lot of expectations and those are the ones you want to exceed. I think there’s definitely some pressure there, but if you look at in a good way it can only help.”

Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Marco Estrada

09.09.16 at 9:20 am ET
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The Red Sox and Blue Jays will battle for first place in a three-game series in Toronto, and in Friday night’s opener Rick Porcello will try to become the first Red Sox pitcher since Josh Beckett in 2007 to win 20 games, as he goes up against veteran right-hander Marco Estrada.

Porcello leads the majors in wins as he sits at 19-3 with a 3.23 ERA and a 1.023 WHIP in 28 starts. Propelling Porcello’s dominance this season is his 5.50 strikeouts per walk, which is the best in the majors, and the 6.75 runs per game the Sox bats have been scoring for him. The 27-year-old has accumulated a career record of 104-81, which inserts his name among the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia as the only active pitchers to reach 100 wins before turning 28. If Porcello is able to keep up his success he could end the year with the most wins by a Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez went 23-4 in 1999.

In Oakland on Saturday, Porcello pitched seven innings and allowed two runs, four hits and no walks with two strikeouts in an 11-2 Sox win. Porcello had a perfect game going into the sixth inning before it was broken up by a Jake Smolinski double.

“I obviously knew the situation,” Porcello said (via MLB.com). “Five innings, you still have a lot of baseball to be played. My whole mindset was once we had that big inning in the third was to throw strikes and get outs as quick as I can.”

Said Red Sox manager John Farrell: “For the second consecutive night, in tonight’s case it was Rick, to go out and set the tone for us. I don’t know if you anticipate 16 consecutive batters to be retired when you start a ballgame. But once again, a lot of strikes. Quality pitches.”

In 15 games (14 starts) against the Blue Jays, Porcello has posted a 5.27 ERA and a 1.242 WHIP. Porcello has two wins and a no-decision in three starts against the Jays this season, posting a 5.21 ERA and 1.000 WHIP in 19 innings. He most recently faced them on May 28 in Toronto, leaving after allowing four runs in 6 2/3 innings in a game the Red Sox would go on to lose 10-9 on a Hanley Ramirez error with two outs in the ninth inning.

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Friday Red Sox Farm Report: LHP Trey Ball leads Salem to playoff win; LHP Jason Groome pitches well in Lowell’s season-ending loss

09.09.16 at 8:58 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system Thursday.

Trey Ball

Trey Ball

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: W, 5-1, vs. Myrtle Beach (Cubs)

— In Game 2 of the best-of-three Carolina League South Division championship series, Trey Ball pitched 5 2/3 quality innings to lead the Red Sox to the series-tying win, forcing a decisive Game 3 on Friday night in Salem, Virginia.

Ball allowed one run on three hits and two walks with three strikeouts. A 22-year-old left-hander who was Boston’s first-round pick in 2013, Ball went 8-6 with a 3.84 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 23 regular-season starts.

— After Mario Alcantara relieved Ball and pitched two shutout innings, allowing two hits and a walk with a pair of strikeouts, fellow right-hander Jamie Callahan finished up with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless ball, striking out two. In the ninth inning Callahan loaded the bases with two outs on a walk and two singles, but he induced a fly out to get out of the jam.

— Third baseman Rafael Devers went 2-for-4 with three RBIs on a run-scoring single and a two-run home run. The 19-year-old Devers, MLB.com’s No. 3 Red Sox prospect (behind Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi), batted .282/.335/.443 with 11 home runs and 71 RBIs in 128 regular-season games.

— Left fielder Jayce Ray went 2-for-3 with a walk and a solo home run that opened the scoring in the second inning. The 26-year-old hit .343/.452/.419 in 33 games with Salem during the regular season.

— Right fielder Joseph Monge and center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe each went 2-for-4, with Monge scoring a pair of runs.

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David Ortiz’s one request for his final few games? Make sure Dan Dyrek is close by

09.08.16 at 6:35 pm ET
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Dan Dyrek and David Ortiz will be inseparable for the season's final month or so. (John Tlumacki/Getty Images)

Dan Dyrek and David Ortiz will be inseparable for the season’s final month or so. (John Tlumacki/Getty Images)

TORONTO — Want to know who will be one of the most important people in that Red Sox clubhouse for the final three weeks of the regular season?

Hint: He’s a 63 year old, former championship collegiate swimmer from the suburbs of Buffalo, who was the reason Larry Bird was able to play on the “Dream Team” back in the 1992 Olympics.

His name is Dan Dyrek, and he is he man in charge of getting David Ortiz to the finish line.

How important is the Red Sox’ Director of Sports Medicine Services? For the final regular season month of his career, Ortiz had one request of the Sox’ owners. It wasn’t another car, more money, or any other kind of retirement gift. It was Dyrek.

“Huge. Huge,” said the Red Sox’ designated hitter when asked about the importance of the physical therapist. “When he’s not around I’m not feeling comfortable. My feet hurt when he’s not around, more than usual. I swear.

“He started traveling everywhere because everybody wanted a piece of him. But this last month I told the owner we need him around 24-7 [24 hours a day, 7 days a week] because he’s incredible.”

The impact Dyrek has had on not just one, but two, of the greatest icons in Boston sports history is truly remarkable. First it was managing Bird’s balky back for the final few years of his career, having been told by the Hall of Famer that he wouldn’t be punctuating his career with the ’92 trip to Barcelona if Dyrek didn’t come along.

And now, Ortiz.

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Red Sox minor league notebook: Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi at top of 2016 power rankings

09.08.16 at 4:21 pm ET
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Yoan Moncada still has plenty of room to grow. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

Yoan Moncada still has plenty of room to grow. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

With the Red Sox minor league season pretty much wrapped up (Salem and Lowell are still in the postseason), we decided to do an end of the year power rankings of players in the minor league system.

Note, we still included Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi given their limited major league experience and chance they don’t start on the major league roster next season.

1. Yoan Moncada

Although Moncada has struggled in his limited major league action this month, the future is still very bright. The No. 1 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com, has recently transitioned to third base, which will continue in the Arizona Fall League. In 106 minor league games between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland this season, the switch-hitter batted .294 with 15 home runs and 62 RBIs. Of the 15 homers, 11 were hit in Double-A over the final 45 games of his minor league season before skipping Triple-A and going right to the majors. He can also steal bases as in his two seasons in the minors, he’s stolen 94 bases on 109 attempts.

There is still room to grow for the 21-year-old, especially from the right side of the plate as in Double-A he batted just .167 against lefties. Then obviously just transitioning from second base to third base will require some improving as well, which he will do in the offseason. Moncada has unbelievable upside, which is why he’s considered the best prospect in baseball. He could start the season in Triple-A next year before getting an early call-up to the majors.

2. Andrew Benintendi

Benintendi quickly rose through the minor league system this season being promoted to Double-A Portland after just 34 games in High-A Salem where he hit .341. After initially struggling in the first few weeks in Portland, he got his feet under him and ended up by batting .295 over 63 games with the Sea Dogs before his promotion to the big leagues in August.

The No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 draft does everything well. As a left-handed hitter he isn’t afraid to go the other way and makes things look effortless for a 22-year-old, especially transitioning to left field roughly two weeks before getting the call to the majors. He’s likely the Red Sox’ starting left fielder next season.

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, Jason Groome, michael kopech, rafael devers

Thursday Red Sox Farm Report: Michael Kopech allows 6 runs; Salem, Lowell fall in playoff openers

09.08.16 at 11:40 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: L, 8-1, at Myrtle Beach (Cubs)

Michael Kopech

Michael Kopech

— In Salem’s playoff opener, starter Michael Kopech struggled for the second straight outing. Kopech got chased from the game after just 2 1/3 innings, allowing six runs, all earned, along with five hits and as many strikeouts with a pair of walks. He’s now allowed 12 earned runs in his last three innings pitched.

— Anyelo Leclerc allowed five hits over 1 2/3 innings of relief, surrendering a pair of runs — one a solo home run — with three strikeouts. Following Leclerc, the bullpen was stout for the remaining four innings, with Jake Cosart, Bobby Poyner and Trevor Kelly combining to not allow a run with one hit and walk as well as a pair of strikeouts.

— Offensively, Salem managed just six hits with 11 strikeouts while not collecting a single extra-base hit.

— Designated hitter Jose Sermo was the only player with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3. Red Sox No. 3 prospect Rafael Devers went 1-for-3, driving in Salem’s lone run with a single in the sixth to plate Luis Alexander Basabe.

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Closing Time: Resurgent Travis Shaw, solid David Price lift Red Sox past Padres and into 1st place

09.08.16 at 12:15 am ET
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Red Sox third baseman Travis Shaw watches his two-run homer against the Padres on Wednesday. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox third baseman Travis Shaw watches his two-run homer against the Padres on Wednesday. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

Travis Shaw didn’t lose his job for long, and good thing for the Red Sox, because now they’re back in first place.

Shaw, seemingly buried by the arrival top prospect Yoan Moncada last week, returned to the starting lineup on Wednesday night and made an impact, homering and driving in three runs to key a 7-2 victory over the Padres that vaulted the Red Sox back into sole possession of first place in the American League East.

The Red Sox passed the Blue Jays, who lost to the Yankees. The Red Sox and Jays open a three-game series in Toronto on Friday, kicking off the final 23 games of the season, which will all be played against division rivals.

The Red Sox needed to take care of business against the Padres first, and they did so in large part on the back of Shaw, who ripped a mammoth two-run homer to right in the second and added an RBI single as part of a three-run fourth.

“I think I’ve played my whole career that way, trying to prove something, kind of a back against the wall type of thing,” Shaw said. “It seems like it brings out the best in me. You just try and keep that edge as long as I can. There’s always that little bit of an edge there, trying to get back to where I was earlier in the year.”

Those hits made a winner of Red Sox left-hander David Price, who improved to 15-8 by winning his sixth straight start. Price went seven innings, allowing six hits and two runs and striking out eight.

“I knew it was going to happen. I knew good things were going to happen to me,” Price said. “I’ve had a lot of good things over the course of how many starts it has been. Whether it’s hard-hit balls going at guys or soft-hit balls not finding the holes, whenever I make a really good pitch, having good things happen, that’s what’s going on for me my past couple of starts. I just want to keep it going.”

The Red Sox tacked on runs with late home runs from Hanley Ramirez and Brock Holt before Koji Uehara returned with a scoreless eighth and Brad Ziegler and Craig Kimbrel combined to close out the ninth.

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Read More: David Price, Padres, Red Sox, travis shaw

Andrew Benintendi may be ready for return during next homestand

09.07.16 at 8:05 pm ET
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Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

SAN DIEGO — Andrew Benintendi is getting close.

The rookie outfielder, who has been sidelined with a left knee sprain since Aug. 24, continues to progress ahead of schedule, as was evident by his work prior to Wednesday night’s game. Using his new knee brace, Benintendi has picked it up to a pace where a return to the big leagues is now in sight.

“A good work day today,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “The work in the outfield, the change of direction, the increase in running, the intensity continues to climb, he’ll go through his normal BP here today. And I would suspect that once we get to Toronto and we get another work day under our belt, we may be at the point where if there’s at-bats to be had somewhere, that’s a possibility if a team is still in playoff activity. He’s responded very well to the work so far.”

Ideally, the Red Sox would like to get those minor league at-bats with either Single-A Salem or Lowell. But there are no certainties in using those organizations to get the lefty hitter at-bats.

But, no matter how he continues the rehab process, Benintendi appears to be on target for a return to the lineup before the next road trip comes around.

“Yeah, based on what’s transpired over the last three, four days, we would anticipate that he would be available at some point when we get off the road,” said Farrell, whose team starts a seven-game homestand Monday against the Baltimore and the Yankees.

In 21 games before his injury, Benintendi was hitting .324 with an .850 OPS.

John Farrell on D&H: Clay Buchholz’s resurgence ‘couldn’t come at a better time’

09.07.16 at 3:57 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 Wednesday to discuss the team — Clay Buchholz and Yoan Moncada in particular. To hear the full interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Buchholz exited to a standing ovation from a San Diego crowd littered with Red Sox fans on Tuesday night after allowing one run on eight hits with six strikeouts and a walk over 6 2/3 innings. Since slowly reentering the rotation, Buchholz has been one of the Red Sox’ most reliable starters.

“It’s not an easy task to go back and forth, but I think what it speaks to is … Clay’s willingness to do what’s asked,” Farrell said. “And let’s face it, early on he makes 13 starts or thereabouts and the performance kind of put him in the bullpen. But to his credit, he’s made some subtle adjustments. I think pitching out of the stretch exclusively has helped with his consistency. But given where we are right now this time of year he’s pitching at his best this season and it couldn’t come at a better time.”

Suffice to say that the past handful of seasons have been forgettable at times for 32-year-old, but just when all hope seemingly had been lost, Buchholz found his way back into the Red Sox’ good graces.

“He’s never pitched or consistently pitched over 200 innings as you would expect of a top of a top of the rotation guy,” Farrell said. “I can tell you this, he give you what you have, or he gives you what he has. So when he’s been healthy, when he’s performed as he’s doing now and he’s got the ability to spin the baseball and manipulate multiple types of pitches. And because there’s a creative side in there, and I think it was on display again last night, where a hitter can never really sit in one count on one particular pitch.

“So that creativeness, the touch and feel that he has to execute different types of pitches, there are large stretches of individual seasons where he goes out and pitches like he is. And that is like a top of the rotation type of guy. Sure we’d all love it to be 200, 220 innings every single year. But you know what? I think we’re all glad we didn’t part ways at some point earlier in the season.”

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, eduardo rodriguez, Joe Kelly, John Farrell
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