|04.22.16 at 8:25 am ET|
Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (9-6): L, 5-0, at Rochester (Twins)
— LHP Brian Johnson (Boston’s No. 6 prospect at MLB.com) took the loss with a final line of: 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 5 SO (95 pitches, 54 strikes). The 25-year-old Johnson (1-2, 2.51 ERA) battled control problems early, walking three in the second inning alone although keeping the game scoreless into the third.
Two PawSox errors then led to two unearned third-inning runs. First, third baseman Jantzen Witte bounced a throw home on a first-and-third ground ball induced from Johnson. Later in the inning, shortstop Marco Hernandez airmailed a throw to third after recording a pop-out as he tried to catch the lead runner at the bag.
A fourth-inning triple and ensuing sacrifice fly finished the damage against Johnson. On the season, through three starts, the 6-foot-4 southpaw has allowed four earned runs over 14 1/3 innings with 14 strikeouts and eight walks.
— RHP Pat Light (Boston’s No. 15 prospect at MLB.com) entered with one out and a runner on second in the seventh, cleaning up the frame with a ground out and a strikeout via his split-finger fastball. However, Light was touched up in the eighth as he allowed a deep shot on a first-pitch fastball pulled over the left-center fence. It was the first homer allowed by Light this season. In five outings so far in 2016 Light has allowed three earned runs in 6 2/3 innings with 10 strikeouts and three walks.
— Twins top prospect Jose Berrios limited the PawSox offense to just three baserunners over the first seven innings, taking a no-hitter into the sixth. Pawtucket managed just a walk (Swihart) and two singles (Witte and second baseman Sean Coyle) against the 21-year-old righty, striking out seven times.
Pawtucket scratched out three more singles (catcher Sandy Leon, Hernandez and center fielder Rusney Castillo) against the Rochester bullpen but could not manage a run. Swihart hit into a double play with two runners on to end the game, and through five games with Pawtucket since his demotion he is just 3-for-21 (.143) with a double.
|04.21.16 at 8:23 pm ET|
Nobody could have envisioned it unfolding like this.
With the Red Sox trailing by a run, starter David Price already gone from the game for the last 2 1/3 innings, and the Rays offense having put up an eight-spot, William Cuevas was brought on by John Farrell to make his major league debut.
Cuevas got out of the seventh inning after issuing just a walk. That allowed the Red Sox to knot things up with a run later in the frame, giving the rookie reliever an opportunity to pitch in a tie game to start the eighth.
Normally, more experienced members of the Red Sox bullpen would have been called on to navigate through the late innings with a tie game. But Red Sox manager John Farrell left Cuevas in.
The result wasn’t what Farrell was looking for, with the 25-year-old ultimately giving the lead back with two outs in the eighth on a Steven Souza Jr. RBI double. Then, after getting out of the inning, Cuevas remained in the game and started ninth.
Tampa Bay left-handed batter Kevin Kiermaier immediately greeted Cuevas with a leadoff double in the ninth, getting the ball rolling on the visitors’ three-run inning. (Noe Ramirez came on after a sacrifice bunt and would be charged with two runs over 2/3 innings.)
“I thought [Cuevas] handled the environment well,” Farrell said. “He threw his offspeed pitches for strikes. His first pitch of his major league career is a changeup, which I don’t know you see that very often. So I think it gives you some sense of his presence and fuel for the situation.”
|04.21.16 at 7:48 pm ET|
For the first few weeks of the season, John Farrell had made his approach clear.
With a lefty reliever on the mound in the sixth or seventh inning and Travis Shaw up, the Red Sox manager was usually going to go with righty-hitting Chris Young.
But after subpar success with such a strategy, Farrell altered course, at least during one key spot during the Red Sox’ 12-8 loss to the Rays on Thursday afternoon.
With the Sox trailing by a run heading into the seventh inning, and Rays lefty reliever Xavier Cedeno on the mound, David Ortiz doubled. After a Hanley Ramirez, it came time to make the decision regarding whether or not to left Shaw has his chance.
Farrell left him in, and it paid off.
Shaw rifled a double into the left-center field gap, scoring Ortiz and perhaps cementing his role as a late-inning option, regardless of the pitcher.
Asked if it was encouraging to have the chance to hit against the southpaw, Shaw replied, “It was. I’m pretty confident in myself against lefties. I like being given that opportunity to come through right there, and thankfully he made a mistake, left a ball out of over the plate and I did what I was supposed to do.”
|04.21.16 at 7:21 pm ET|
Few pitchers in baseball know David Price as well as Chris Archer does.
Archer and Price were teammates in Tampa Bay from 2012 until Price was traded at the trade deadline in 2014, and both are among the best pitchers in baseball. Price uncharacteristically struggled Thursday against his former team, allowing eight runs in just 3 2/3 innings.
Archer is confident Price will bounce back in a big way.
“He’ll throw a [complete-game shutout] next game,” Archer told WEEI.com.
“It’s hard to say [why he struggled] because he does a good job of competing even when he doesn’t have his best stuff,” Archer added. “Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the other team and just say, ‘Hey, those guys on the other side of the ball are big leaguers too. They are here for a reason.’ [The Rays] do exceptionally well against left-handed pitching. More so than trying to always find fault in what the starter does, tip your cap, move on and say it was a bad game against a good team.”
With Price opening the year with a 7.06 ERA through four starts, Archer acknowledged Boston fans might have some concerns with their $217 million pitcher, but he said not to worry.
“It’s April,” Archer said. “Every pitcher has ups and down and ebbs and flows, but we make 34, 35 starts for a reason, and at the end of those starts you’ll get your consistent, high-level star pitcher that you expect.”
Within the eight runs he allowed, Price allowed two home runs — one to Evan Longoria and one to No. 9 hitter Curt Casali, who now has three homers off Price in his career. Coming into the at-bat, Longoria had never recorded a hit off his former teammate.
|04.21.16 at 6:52 pm ET|
The Red Sox must have felt pretty good after the first inning with a 5-1 lead and David Price on the mound against the Rays, but the left-hander allowed six runs in the fourth inning and departed before the inning ended in one of the worst starts of his career.
After Price allowed six runs, the Red Sox rallied and eventually tied the game, but in the end fell they to the Rays, 12-8.
“That’s not fun. I know I am better than that,” Price said. “When you get five runs in the bottom half of the first inning, that’s unacceptable.”
After four starts with the Red Sox, Price now has an ERA of 7.06 and his eight earned runs allowed tied a career high. It also was his shortest outing since April 22, 2015, when he went 2 1/3 innings and also allowed eight runs against the Yankees.
Warming up, Price said it was the best he’s felt this season, which made it even that much more difficult to see the end result not be there.
“That’s the best I’ve felt in my four starts here,” Price said. “To me, that is the most disappointing thing, to feel as good as I felt. I wanted to go out there and get the results I expect.”
Added Price: “Strength-wise, everything, my entire body. I felt good. I felt good in the bullpen. That is the best I’ve warmed up in my four starts here. To not have that carry over to the game is frustrating.”
|04.21.16 at 5:51 pm ET|
With the Red Sox leading 5-1 after the first inning, it seemed like everyone could enjoy a beautiful spring afternoon at Fenway Park with David Price on the mound, but that couldn’t have been any more wrong.
Price allowed six runs in the fourth inning, which he didn’t even make it out of, but fortunately for him, the Red Sox offense rallied to tie the game, taking him off the hook.
In the end it was all for naught, as the Rays scored in the eighth and ninth innings to come away with a 12-8 win over the Red Sox in a game that took over four hours to play. The Rays won 2-of-3 games in the series.
With William Cuevas (major league debut) on the mound in an 8-8 game in the eighth, Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out double off the Green Monster scored Desmond Jennings, proving to be the game-winning run. The Rays added three insurance runs in the ninth — two charged to Cuevas and two to Noe Ramirez.
The biggest story of the game was Price, as the left-hander lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs on nine hits, while walking two, hitting two and striking out six. He also allowed two home runs. His ERA is 7.06 after four starts. The eight earned runs tied a career high.
Price didn’t have command of any of his pitches, leaving many up in the zone against his former team. Evan Longoria and No. 9 hitter catcher Curt Casali hit the home runs.
Trailing 8-5 in the sixth, Mookie Betts crushed his second home run in as many days too cut the deficit to 8-7. The Red Sox then added a run in the seventh to tie the score when Travis Shaw doubled home David Ortiz, who led the inning off with a double.
Things were looking good for the Red Sox as they were able to get to Rays starter Jake Odorizzi early. Dustin Pedroia crushed his first home run of the season into the Monster seats to make it 2-0 after only two batters in the bottom of the first. They added three more runs in the frame, including the fifth on a double-steal where Brock Holt stole second and Shaw technically stole home.
It was the shortest start for Price since April 22, 2015, when he went 2 1/3 innings and allowed eight runs against the Yankees.
|04.21.16 at 3:43 pm ET|
David Price was not David Price on Thursday against the Rays.
The left-hander went just 3 2/3 innings allowing eight runs on eight hits, while walking two, hitting two and striking out five. He also allowed two home runs and departed with the Red Sox trailing 8-5.
It was Price’s shortest start since April 22, 2015 when he went 2 1/3 innings and allowed eight runs against the Yankees. It’s also the 11th time Price wasn’t able to make it through four innings.
He entered the game with an 11-1 record since August 1 of last year, by far the best in the American League.
The Red Sox starting rotation isn’t off to a great start to the season as Price has an ERA of 6.65 through four starts. The best pitcher in terms of ERA is Steven Wright, who in two starts has a 2.13 ERA.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|04.21.16 at 1:45 pm ET|
|04.21.16 at 11:55 am ET|
“Yeah, but I didn’t open Twitter the day after I pitched, or the two or three days after I pitched,” Price said on the Bradfo Show podcast. “I don’t want to see that. It’s too easy to be negative.”
As it turns out, Price has started to change his approach toward Twitter.
The lefty pitcher, who was once considered among the most engaging big leaguers on social media, will continue to post to his 1.41 million followers, but evidently isn’t keen on soaking in what’s sent his way via the medium.
“I don’t check it a whole lot, period, anymore,” Price said. “I made a lot of people mad with the decisions that I’ve made for my career over the past year and a half. There are still fans in Detroit that aren’t happy that I was traded from their team to Toronto, and there are a lot of fans in Toronto that I was unhappy that I came here. You can’t please everybody, and I definitely want to please our home fan base and that’s with me going out there and throwing the ball well.
“The numbers of my Twitter followers have increased a lot over the past year and a half. There’s a lot of negativity on Twitter and on social media, and I don’t have time for that.”
Price has also implemented another strategy when it comes to getting back at those sending undesirable messages his way.
“It’s OK. It comes with the territory. I understand that. There are a lot of cyber bullies out there,” he explained. “It will come back to them. It will come back. That’s karma. It will come back to them
“I just block them. You can’t see what I tweet, and you can’t tweet me, and that crushes them. I know it does. They always have their buddies asking me to unblock their friends. No. Get out of here.”
Price also mentions in the podcast that during his brief time as a resident of Boston, he has already made his plans on how to tour the city.
“Duck boat tour in October,” the pitcher said. “That’s what I want to do. I ain’t going to pay on a Duck Tour. It’s going to be when the Red Sox win a World Series.”
Listen to the podcast (below) to hear Price talk about life in Boston after his first few weeks …
|04.21.16 at 11:34 am ET|
The Red Sox could be getting reliever Carson Smith back soon.
Smith will pitch in an extended spring training game Thursday, the first live game action since suffering a flexor strain early in spring training. He will then throw in another extended spring game Saturday before likely joining an affiliate early next week.
Smith was originally scheduled to throw a simulated game Thursday, but because of how well he’s responded, the team adjusted his schedule to an extended spring game.
“He’s advancing pretty good,” manager John Farrell said.
In 2015 with the Mariners, Smith had a 2.31 ERA in 70 innings where he totaled 92 strikeouts.
In other news, Christian Vazquez will catch his second straight game Thursday — a day game after a night game. The team isn’t holding him back any as he returns from Tommy John surgery early in 2015.
“Just looking at some of the matchups coming up and feel like the combinations of pitching-catcher have seemed to work OK so far,” Farrell said when asked what went into the decision. “From a health and physical standpoint, Vazquez is good to go. Day game after a night game, which he accomplished while at Pawtucket, that’s today’s alignment.”
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
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