|09.27.15 at 4:06 pm ET|
The Red Sox began the season without an ace. They’re ending it with hope for the starting rotation.
The latest starter to step up with an outstanding effort was Henry Owens, who dominated the Orioles into the eighth inning on Sunday, lifting the Red Sox to their third straight shutout en route to a series sweep in the 2015 Fenway Park finale.
Owens was outstanding, attacking the strike zone into the eighth inning. He allowed just three hits in 7 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking one.
Owens improved to 4-3 and lowered his ERA to 3.84 and continued a run out of scoreless starts against the Orioles, who entered the series with an outside chance of sneaking into the wild card conversation, and ended it without managing a run.
The Red Sox didn’t manage much offensively themselves, with the lone highlight the third home run of the season from Blake Swihart, a solo shot into the bullpen in the third inning.
The Red Sox are now 23-14 in their last 37 games.
The game also provided an opportunity to say goodbye to two longtime employees, with outgoing CEO Larry Lucchino honored on the field before the game, and popular NESN broadcaster Don Orsillo earning a standing ovation after appearing on the scoreboard between the seventh and eighth innings.
Orsillo, broadcasting his final game at Fenway Park, is reportedly in the mix for the San Diego Padres announcing job.
|09.27.15 at 12:49 pm ET|
With the Red Sox preparing to host the Orioles on Sunday in their home finale, interim manager Torey Lovullo took a moment to commend the team on what it has accomplished over the last six weeks to head into the offseason on a positive note.
Since Dave Dombrowski took over on Aug. 18, the Red Sox have gone 22-14 (.611), which projects to a 99-win pace over a full season.
“It’s given us a lot of hope for next year,” Lovullo said. “It’s given us a lot of confidence internally. It’s given each player confidence individually to say, ‘We’re ready to turn the page and contend for a championship next year.’ All along we have not overlooked today’s game. That’s a hard balance at times. That’s just a tribute to these young players and the veteran players. Because David Ortiz is forcing his way into the lineup to be a great example to the younger players.
“Dustin Pedroia is fighting his days off so he can let everybody know what it takes to play here in Boston. Those veteran players are setting a great tone, the younger players are following, and it’s just timing well. There’s energy, there’s focus, there’s concentration, and we’re playing really good baseball. And I think everyone expects that to happen on a daily basis. When you think about the future, it’s very bright. We feel really good about what direction this organization is going in.
“There was a period of time about two and a half months ago when we were all depressed. We weren’t feeling so good about things. They deserve so much credit for picking themselves up and making this happen.”
In pregame news, Clay Buchholz will throw a bullpen on Monday, but it’s unlikely he’ll appear in a game this season, Lovullo said.
|09.27.15 at 9:07 am ET|
Owens (3-3, 4.41 ERA) is making his second career start against the Orioles. He earned the win the first time around, throwing 7 2/3 scoreless innings with six hits and four strikeouts in a 10-1 trouncing on Sept. 16.
The 23-year-old left-hander is coming off his third loss of the season on Tuesday as the Sox fell to the Rays, 5-2. He went 7 1/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits and two walks with five strikeouts. The rookie did not surrender a hit until the fifth inning, but he struggled after that. He was allowed to start the eighth inning of a 3-2 game and promptly allowed a double and a two-run homer to Mikie Mahtook.
“The consistency was definitely there early,” Owens said after the game. “We came out with the two run lead early, so I was trying to keep the momentum on our side and get them back in the dugout. I thought we put together some good at-bats. I think I just did a poor job those last few innings. There was definitely positives from the outing I will take. There’s negatives I want to work on beginning tomorrow.”
Added interim manager Torey Lovullo: “When a young pitcher understands how to touch late innings, he’s going to grow up a little quicker. He’s pitched deep into games. Overall, I think he’s going to be in a pretty good place moving forward.”
Since making his debut against the Yankees on Aug. 4, Owens has only been chased from a game after throwing less than five innings just once. Owens has made five starts at Fenway, putting together a 1-2 record with a 6.35 ERA over 28 1/3 innings. The Sox are 4-5 with him on the mound this season.
|09.27.15 at 6:00 am ET|
Williams Jerez pitched just one inning during his high school career.
According to him, it was a perfect frame, but the Grand Street Campus standout from Brooklyn enjoyed patrolling center and right field much more than standing on the mound.
“When I was younger I was a pitcher, but then I transitioned to outfield,” Jerez said. “Outfield was good for me because it was more activity for a young guy. I just wanted to be out in the field, hitting and stuff, and I decided to play outfield.”
Jerez was selected by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2011 draft and played three professional seasons with Short-A Lowell and the Gulf Coast League hitting .221 over those three years as an outfielder.
Before the 2014 season began, Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett sat down with Jerez during extended spring training and suggested a position change.
“Ben Crockett, last year, made a meeting with me and he told me, ‘I want you to try pitching. I think you have a good arm, let’s see how you can do,'” Jerez said. “And that day I said, ‘OK, let’s try, lets do it,’ and from that day on I’ve been doing a really good job.”
Jerez helped the Red Sox capture the GCL championship in 2014, pitching in nine games. He went 3-1 with one save and a 2.22 ERA.
This year marked Jerez’s first full season as a pitcher. The 23-year-old left-hander from the Dominican Republic began his 2015 campaign in Single-A Greenville and finished the season with Double-A Portland, making 41 total relief appearances.
He posted a combined 5-3 record with four saves and four holds between Greenville, High-A Salem, and Portland. He finished the year with a combined 2.54 ERA, striking out a total of 86 batters with 31 walks.
On Saturday, Jerez was named the 2015 Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year, a testament to the southpaw’s dedication to his new position.
“I didn’t expect anything like this,” Jerez said of the honor. “At the end of the season I was at home with my dad and my boss, Ben Crockett, called me and told me, ‘Hey, you’re pitcher of the year,’ and I was surprised that day. I was happy, too, because that was something I didn’t expect.”
Jerez and the other 2015 minor league award winners were honored pregame at Fenway Park Saturday afternoon before the game against the Orioles. The on-field ceremony was extra special for the former outfielder, who said he has always been a Red Sox fan despite living in New York.
|09.26.15 at 7:54 pm ET|
It looks like we’ve seen the last of Pablo Sandoval this seasons.
Following Saturday’s 8-0 whitewashing of the Baltimore Orioles, interim manager Torey Lovullo said the third baseman will not make the final trip of the season, because of pneumonia.
“He’s not going to be making the trip with us, and it’s very doubtful that he’ll play again this season,” Lovullo said.
Sandoval, who signed a five-year, $95 million contract this winter, hasn’t played since going 0-for-4 in a win over the Blue Jays on Sept. 20. He left that game in the eighth inning. He has appeared in only 11 of a possible 23 games this month.
If his season is indeed over, and it certainly looks like it is, then Sandoval will finish his first campaign in Boston with disappointing numbers across the board: .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBIs, all career-lows since he became a full-time player in 2009. His WAR of negative-0.9 rates among the worst in baseball.
“I just had a small interaction with him before the game, he was being seen by the doctor,” Lovullo said. “I think he’s a little disappointed that he can’t play and contribute and be with his teammates. He’s one of the guys. He’s with his teammates, wanting to contribute and help this team win games. That’s been a pretty consistent thought that he’s had all year long. So I know there’s a little bit of disappointment.”
|09.26.15 at 7:03 pm ET|
The Red Sox didn’t know what to expect Saturday when they didn’t have a starting pitcher available and needed to use their bullpen for the entire game, but what they got exceed any expectations.
Seven pitchers combined to allow five hits and no runs in a 8-0 win over the Orioles at Fenway Park. Six of the eight Red Sox runs were unearned. It was their second straight win, as they won Friday’s game in dramatic fashion.
The Red Sox earned shutout wins on back-to-back days for the first time since April 23-24, 2011.
Craig Breslow got the start and went four innings, allowing just one hit, while walking two and striking out two. He threw 55 pitches and went beyond the one time through the order interim manager Torey Lovullo wanted prior to the game.
“He stepped up at a moment’s notice, gave us four quality innings, scored a run, we started to play a little bit of downhill baseball. Just a great team effort, highlighted by [Breslow],” he said. “Timely hitting, solid defense. Not one thing stand out offensively. Just a solid team effort. One of those special moments for Bres. First career start, he gives us four scoreless.”
In starting the game, Breslow made his first start in 523 major league games, becoming the first pitcher to make his first start that late in a career in games played since Troy Percival in his 639th game in 2007. He also passed Scott Atchison as the oldest ever Red Sox pitcher at the time of his first major league start.
“It was (fun) — now that it’s done and went pretty well. It was a lot of fun,” Breslow said. “At the time, I was consumed by some other thoughts. It was a lot of fun. 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.”
“I was pretty nervous,” he added. “I had no idea — kind of stupid things you don’t think about like where am I supposed to play catch before I go into the bullpen, what do I do during the national anthem? Those kinds of things that I’ve never faced before. Like I said, I drew on some of the other starters and followed the crowd. Like I said, it worked out.”
Health Hembree (win, one inning), Matt Barnes (two innings), Alexi Ogando (1/3 inning), Tommy Layne (1/3 inning), Noe Ramirez (1/3 inning) and Jonathan Aro (one inning) all followed Breslow to combine for the shutout win.
|09.26.15 at 5:24 pm ET|
When the Red Sox signed 20-year-old Yoan Moncada to a total contract worth $63 million this past spring, they did it with the intent of him one day being a significant piece to the major league team.
In a way, Saturday at Fenway Park offered a first glimpse towards what that will one day be like.
Moncada was named the Red Sox minor league base runner of the year and was honored on the field with the other minor league award winners prior to Saturday’s game with the Orioles.
“I’m extremely excited,” Moncada said through a translator. “This is big league ground that we’re on right now. It’s obviously a very exciting time and a very emotional time. I am extremely happy.”
“I’m extremely excited and happy to be here,” he added. “It’s my first time here, obviously, and to see these guys, hopefully these will be some of my teammates in two or three years, but being here makes me extremely happy. It’s quite a feeling.”
The second baseman led the organization with 49 steals in 81 games with Single-A Greenville and was good for third-most in the South Atlantic League. Moncada was successful in 94.2 percent of his stolen base attempts (49-for-52), which was the best in the South Atlantic League (minimum 15 attempts).
“I’m very happy and excited to receive this honor,” Moncada said. “It’s something from the outset of the season, I just wanted to get incorporated with my team and help the team play well. To get this individual achievement is something I am very happy about.”
|09.26.15 at 2:07 pm ET|
Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval hasn’t played in a game since last Sunday in Toronto and then was diagnosed with pneumonia earlier this week. He will be re-evaulated Saturday at the park to see exactly where he’s at.
“I have seen bits and pieces of him and he’s looking better, but he’s still ill,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “He’s working through that.”
There’s been no determination on whether or not he will play in a game the rest of the season.
Lovullo said it’s “very fair to say” Monday will be Rodriguez’s last start of the year, as he’s reached his innings limit. Henry Owens is expected to get one more start following Sunday and it’s possible the team will need another bullpen game next weekend in Cleveland.
— There’s nothing new with Hanley Ramirez, as he continues to work on strengthening his right shoulder, which has shut him down for the season.
“Hanley is in the process of continued treatment, continued therapy on his shoulder, but all baseball activities have been shut down,” Lovullo said. “He’s behind the scenes conditioning, doing all his stuff here, spending time with the trainers just to assist that shoulder. That’s really the hindrance, the right shoulder.”
— Clay Buchholz “felt good,” according to Lovullo after throwing a light, front-toss bullpen on Friday. He will throw a 20-25 pitch full bullpen either Sunday or Monday, as the next step to getting back to full strength. There is still a slim chance he throws an inning next weekend in Cleveland.
|09.26.15 at 1:28 pm ET|
Veteran left-hander Craig Breslow will make the first start of his career Saturday afternoon as the Red Sox take on Wei-Yin Chen and the Orioles in the middle game of a three-game series at Fenway Park.
Breslow (0-3, 4.53 ERA), who has made 43 relief appearances this season and 522 in his career, is not expected to hang around very long in a fill-in start.
“In the 40-pitch range would be a safe assumption,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “We just don’t want to stretch him out too far where we blow him out.”
The 35-year-old has struggled of late, posting an 0-2 record and 8.36 ERA since Aug. 4. In his last appearance on Tuesday against the Rays, he pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, allowing a leadoff hit but then recording a strikeout and a double play. He threw 23 pitches. He has not been used very much this month, with just four appearances and seven innings to his credit.
Although he has a solid 2.01 ERA in 38 career appearances vs. the Orioles, Breslow’s ERA is 4.22 in his last seven games against the O’s.
|09.26.15 at 12:45 pm ET|
The Red Sox announced their minor league players of the year, which included Yoan Moncada as the base runner of the year and Sam Travis as offensive player of the year.
Here is the complete list:
— Offensive: Sam Travis
— Pitcher: Williams Jerez
— Defensive: Javier Guerra
— Base runner: Yoan Moncada
— Latin Program player: Lorenzo Cedrola
— Latin Program pitcher: Denyi Reyes
— Lou Gorman Award: Jonathan Aro
All the players will be honored on the field prior to Saturday’s game against the Orioles.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
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