|07.04.15 at 5:55 pm ET|
Is Xander Bogaerts All-Star worthy?
It’s a question that may not have seemed very likely in the first two months of the season but as the game approaches July 14 in Cincinnati, the Red Sox shortstop has certainly put himself in the conversation when the reserves are announced on Monday evening.
Bogaerts, hitting again in the No. 3 hole in the order in front of David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez, went 2-for-4 Saturday in a 6-1 win over the Astros. He is 9-for-18 with four RBIs in a modest four-game hitting streak. He is also batting .351 with 21 RBIs in 32 games since the end of May.
But perhaps most importantly, he’s been the most consistent offensive player in a batting order that desperately needed consistent and productive parts. It’s why John Farrell felt comfortable moving him up from seventh to fifth to eventually third in the order, when Dustin Pedroia went down with his hamstring injury.
Bogaerts is hitting .302 this season, with respectable slugging (.416) and on-base (.340) numbers. He’s also looked much more steady at shortstop, which was no small feat considering his struggles in 2014 that played a role in moving to third base to take over for Will Middlebrooks when Stephen Drew landed back on the scene in Boston.
“I would hope that he gets some recognition for the first half that he’s had,” Farrell said after Saturday’s game. “He’s been a very consistent performer for us and has grown a lot from a year ago, both defensively and offensively. Whether or not that reflects or is acknowledged through an All-Star appearance, time will tell that one.”
“Absolutely I think Xander’s going to make the All-Star team,” added outfielder and teammate Mookie Betts. “He’s been playing great from the beginning of the season. I wasn’t there to see him develop. All I know is this Xander. This is all I’ve seen. For him to continue to do this for so long, I don’t know why he wouldn’t be in the All-Star Game.”
|07.04.15 at 4:37 pm ET|
Taking to the mound following a Red Sox loss the game prior for the seventh time in his last nine starts, Buchholz once again delivered, leading the Red Sox to a 6-1 win over the Astros on the Fourth of July at Fenway Park.
Of those seven games, the Red Sox have now won four of them. Overall, Buchholz was won his last four starts and the Red Sox have won six of his last seven.
Saturday, the right-hander tossed a complete game and was completely in control of the Astros hitters, allowing just one run, which came in the ninth. He allowed just six hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out eight while throwing 110 pitches, 80 for strikes.
It was the first complete game for a Red Sox pitcher this season.
“He’s been on a run the last 10 starts where he’s been in control,” manager John Farrell said. “That was the case again today for the full nine inning of work. A number of pitches with men on base that he was able to execute. He’s in such a good place mentally where he’s completing his delivery, commanding four pitches for strikes. In control today.”
The Red Sox gave Buchholz all the offense he would need in the first two innings. Xander Bogaerts drove home Mookie Betts with a sharp, two-strike single to right field in the first inning and then Betts’ sacrifice fly to left field in the second inning brought home Shane Victorino, who singled in his first major league at-bat since May 23.
They would tack on an unearned run in the fifth inning when Brock Holt reached on an error by catcher Hank Conger and then scored on a double by Bogaerts. The Red Sox chased Houston starter Collin McHugh from the game in the sixth when Betts doubled home Sandy Leon, who singled earlier in the inning.
Finally, the Red Sox capped the scoring in the eighth, adding two more runs when Betts laced a double to dead center field scoring Victorino and the Alejandro De Aza, pinch-hitting for Hanley Ramirez, beat out an infield single with the bases loaded on a head first dive into first base.
“The one thing that has been extremely encouraging is the way our young players have continued to grow. The way they’ve continued to perform and produce,” Farrell said. “Mookie and Xander, particularly with men in scoring position, they are taking what the opposing pitcher has given them, put good swings on balls, using the whole field. So when you look at the top three guys and the bottom two today — Vic returning with a couple of base hits and two runs scored, we’re getting production in areas other than the middle of the order.”
With the win, the Red Sox improved to 28-12 when scoring first.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:
|07.04.15 at 11:55 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (38-45): L, 3-0, at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees)
— Joe Kelly suffered the loss, allowing three earned runs on four hits and four walks. The righty struck out seven and now is 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA after two starts in Pawtucket.
— The Pawtucket offense combined for just five hits. Left fielder Carlos Peguero notched the only extra-base hit, doubling to left in the bottom of the second. He finished the day 1-for-4 and now is hitting .259. Jemile Weeks, Quintin Berry, Rusney Castillo and Travis Shaw all recorded singles.
— Daniel Nava, on a rehab assignment, went 0-for-2 with a walk, while Allen Craig went 0-for-4.
— With Friday’s loss, the PawSox have dropped a season-high six consecutive games.
|07.04.15 at 11:47 am ET|
After allowing four runs (two earned) in the 10th inning of Friday’s 12-8 loss to the Astros, Noe Ramirez, who was making his major league debut at the time, was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket and Steven Wright was recalled.
“High number of innings out of the bullpen — we need a fresh arm and someone capable of going multiple innings,” manager John Farrell said before Saturday’s game.
It is Wright’s fourth stint with the Red Sox this season.
Wright started for the PawSox on Wednesday, going five innings and threw 95 pitches so he wasn’t available to pitch Friday, which was the reason he wasn’t called up yesterday. Despite being on two days rest, the knuckleballer is available Saturday.
“He’s available for a couple of innings today,” Farrell said.
With the Red Sox this season, splitting duties between long reliever and a starter, Wright is 3-2 with a 4.15 ERA.
— Dustin Pedroia (hamstring) is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Friday against the Yankees and while he’s progressing, the team is weighing the risk-reward of playing him for three games, or giving him an extra three days off leading into the All-Star break.
“Hit again yesterday in the cage,” Farrell said. “Yesterday was a good day for him where the intensity to his running started to increase more. We will get a clearer view on this as we get through the Miami series. What we’re going to come down to is what is the risk-reward for activating him in the final series later this week on the homestand, or do we take advantage of those four days. We’re not clear — the next few days will give us more clarity on that.”
— With the two off days next week and issues some starters have had of late, Farrell had no update on the rotation as who would start when or who may be skipped. He said he would have that information Sunday.
|07.04.15 at 11:33 am ET|
For the first time since May 23, Shane Victorino will start a game for the Red Sox.
The right fielder (left calf) was activated from the disabled list prior to Friday’s game, but will make his return Saturday against Astros right-hander Collin McHugh.
Other than Victorino, it’s a standard Red Sox lineup with Sandy Leon catching Clay Buchholz.
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:
|07.04.15 at 11:31 am ET|
Buchholz enters Saturday’s game with a record of 6-6 and sporting a 3.48 ERA. He has struck out 96 in 16 starts on the season, and has a WHIP of 1.24.
In his last start, Buchholz dominated the high-octane Blue Jays offense to the tune of eight innings and one run. He scattered five hits in a 3-1 Red Sox victory.
“He’s been on a really strong run through the entire month, and tonight tops off the month that he’s had,” said manager John Farrell of Buchholz. “Eight very strong innings for us. On a night we needed a starter to go deep, he provided it. But he was outstanding. He threw four pitches for strikes. He threw some quality two-seamers in to their big right-handers to keep them honest. It was a constant mix, staying out of the middle of the plate. He was outstanding tonight.”
Buchholz has been far and away the best starter in the Red Sox rotation this season and has in many ways been better than his ERA indicates. In his past nine starts, the 30-year-old has accrued a 2.13 ERA and opposing hitters have hit just .235 against him. He has earned a 1.03 WHIP during that span, dating back to May 15.
|07.04.15 at 12:57 am ET|
Mookie Betts has shown more often than not, in his first full season with the team, that he is not just a highly-skilled player with multiple tools, but a smart one as well. Friday night, he did not show those qualities in a brutal 12-8 loss in 10 innings to Houston at Fenway Park.
Down a run with one out in the bottom of the eighth and the Red Sox threatening against Astros reliever Pat Neshek, Betts thought he had a good enough lead from second base to take off for third on his own.
Astros catcher Jason Castro fired a bullet to Luis Valbuena that caused Valbuena to lose balance over the bag. But not before the Houston third baseman caught the ball and snapped his glove down to easily nab Betts for the second out. Xander Bogaerts walked and David Ortiz put a perfect swing on a tailing outside fastball from Neshek to drive it off the Monster for a game-tying double. But it should have been the go-ahead and eventual game-winning double.
With Xander Bogaerts at the plate, why in the world was Betts stealing?
“I had a sign, it was a tough at-bat for a righty, I was trying to force something and I shouldn’t have,” Betts admitted. “I was trying to put points together pretty much and didn’t have the right points. In hindsight you can always make the right decision. If I’m safe it’s a great play, since I’m out it’s terrible, so you just have to live and learn from it.
‘Obviously, I know I messed up. The game continues. You’ve got to cheer on Bogey, have to forget it.”
“Overaggressive,” Red Sox manager John Farrell lamented. “Ill-advised. Overaggressive. We sacrifice him to get into scoring position because Neshek is under is under 1.15 seconds in his unloading times [to the plate]. Overaggressive decision on his part to attempt to steal.”
|07.04.15 at 12:44 am ET|
After not appearing in a game since June 28 and the Red Sox being in a tie game in both the eighth and 10th innings, it was quite a surprise not to see Tazawa used in a game the Red Sox fell 12-8 to the Astros.
Following the game it was unveiled why.
“He needed the series off in Toronto given how much the work load was in Tampa Bay He threw a bullpen earlier today. After the bullpen he was deemed OK and yet advised not be be used tonight — to not get him warmed up or hot twice in one day,” manager John Farrell said. “He will be available for tomorrow, but that was what the plan laid out to get on the mound today, but not be available tonight. Otherwise he would be in the eighth or the tenth, either of those situations.”
The Astros scored a run in the eighth inning on a leadoff home run by Carlos Correa off Craig Breslow and then tagged Noe Ramirez, who was making his major league debut, for four runs in the 10th inning, as he took the loss.
“It was the coaches’ decision to have some rest. It was all in the coaches’ hands,” Tazawa said through a translator following the game.
Overall, Tazawa is 0-3 with a 2.62 ERA on the year. He hasn’t allowed a run over his last four outings, spanning five innings.
For more Red Sox news, check out weei.com/redsox.
|07.03.15 at 11:34 pm ET|
While it wasn’t quite the Fourth of July (just yet), the Red Sox and Astros provided some fireworks in a wild game, which saw two lead changes and the game tied another three times, along with some bizarre plays over the four- hour and 23 minute affair.
In the tenth inning with Noe Ramirez making his major league debut, he allowed four runs (two unearned courtesy of Mike Napoli‘s error) as the Astros were able to get the last laugh in a back-and-forth game, winning 12-8 Friday night at Fenway Park.
In the eighth inning, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa hit a towering solo home run off Craig Breslow to leadoff the frame giving the Astros an 8-7 lead, but that was short-lived as the Red Sox would again tie the game in the bottom half of the inning on a David Ortiz opposite field double. The double could have given the Red Sox the lead, but Mookie Betts was thrown out trying to steal third base for the second out of the inning.
“Our offense did a great job tonight,” manager John Farrell said. “Three times we battled back by being down. A number of good swings. David obviously with a big one, the eighth inning to tie it. We continue to battle back. Our offense is swinging the bat well, we’re scoring a good number of runs. The larger concern is just getting deeper into the games that are starting out the ballgame.”
In the top of the seventh inning, Matt Barnes loaded the bases, but struck out Alex Presley for the second out of the inning, but the next batter, Jose Altuve, singled up the middle, giving the Astros a 7-5 lead.
Once again, the Red Sox would come right back in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at seven. Pablo Sandoval singled with the bases loaded scoring a run and then Alejandro De Aza’s fielders choice plated the tying run at the time.
Trailing 5-2 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Red Sox scored three times to tie the game at five. Ortiz singled home Brock Holt and then Xander Bogaerts scored on a fielder choice when Ortiz broke up a potential double play by taking the ball off the helmet sliding into second base. Hanley Ramirez advanced to second on the play and then scored on a two-out RBI single by Sandoval, against lefty reliever Tony Sipp.
Red Sox starter Justin Masterson allowed five runs on seven hits in the fourth inning, not even finishing the inning as he was removed after 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander didn’t allow a hit the first time through the Astros order, but Houston lit him up the second time around.
“First three innings he was solid and then in the matter of 13 pitches there’s three runs on the board and seven hits in the fourth inning, so they went early in the count,” Farrell said. “When he did try and alternate with a first pitch slider was a ball and they would fight back in the count, but they were aggressive and took him the other way. I thought he came out early, I thought he had good life to his stuff, but to close out the fourth inning, couldn’t happen.”
The Red Sox did play some spotty defense in the fourth, particularly in the left field as Ramirez appeared to have some trouble fielding two balls hit off the wall and getting the ball back in to the infield.
Ramirez gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead with a towering homer in the second inning and then the Sox scored another on a Betts single.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:
|07.03.15 at 5:46 pm ET|
The Red Sox will have a standard recent lineup Friday night when they host the Astros for the first of three games this weekend.
Even with Shane Victorino activated Friday, Alejandro De Aza gets the start in right field, although manager John Farrell said he would play Saturday. Farrell will stick to Xander Bogaerts, David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez No.’s 3-5 against Astros right-hander Dan Straily.
Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:
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