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Monday’s Red Sox-White Sox matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Scott Carroll

07.07.14 at 8:41 am ET
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The Red Sox begin a four-game series with the White Sox on Monday when they send Clay Buchholz to the mound against Scott Carroll.

Buchholz (3-4, 6.22 ERA) was strong once again in his second start since coming off the disabled list on June 25. He allowed just one run on five hits and had no walks over 6 1/3 innings, but lacked enough run support to earn a decision in a 2-1 Cubs win last Tuesday. Whatever issues Buchholz was having earlier in the season seemingly have disappeared. He’s given up just five runs in 13 2/3 innings and hasn’t walked a batter in the two starts since his return to the Red Sox‘ rotation.

Monday will be Buchholz’s second start against the White Sox this season and the eighth of his career. The right-hander took a no-decision in a solid outing in Chicago on April 16. He gave up three runs (two earned), six hits and two walks to go with six strikeouts over six innings in a 6-4 Red Sox win. Buchholz is 2-2 with a 4.10 ERA in his career against the White Sox.

After beginning the year as a starter, Carroll (2-5, 5.05 ERA) settled nicely into his long-relief role with the White Sox. The righty posted a 1.83 ERA in six relief appearances for Chicago and seemed bound to stay in the bullpen until the struggles of starter Andre Rienzo forced the White Sox to make a change to their rotation yet again.

Carroll, however, has struggled in two starts since returning to the rotation. He’s allowed 12 earned runs on 19 hits over 11 innings in a pair of losses, including a clunker against the Angels last Tuesday. Carroll gave up seven runs, 10 hits and three walks over six innings in a 7-5 Chicago loss at home.

“You’re seeing the lineup more times, you’re throwing a lot more pitches and going deeper into games, so I need to be more efficient and make better pitches,” Carroll said after the game. “I’m trying to get to the point to where I’m consistent and translate what I had into the bullpen over.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Scott Carroll,

Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz explain being thrown out on bases in 1-run loss to Orioles

07.06.14 at 9:11 pm ET
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With the Red Sox‘ 7-6, 12-inning loss to the Orioles on Sunday, Boston has lost 19 one-run games this season — the most in the American League.

In close losses, players always look back on a few plays here or there that could have gone differently and changed the outcome in the game. A few of those plays occurred for the Red Sox on Sunday, especially on the bases.

In a 6-6 game with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Dustin Pedroia lined a single to right-center. With David Ortiz up, Pedroia attempted to steal second base and was thrown out on a close play by catcher Caleb Joseph. The Red Sox challenged the call but lost.

“In that situation [Pedroia] probably slid a little bit early,” manager John Farrell said. “I think, in that situation, we’€™re trying to be aggressive, trying to add 90 feet. We had a key on [Brad] Brach, the pitcher on the mound at the time. Unfortunately we came up a half a hand short.”

There were some questions asked after the game if attempting to steal was the right decision, as if Pedroia reaches second base the Orioles could have intentionally walked Ortiz with first base vacant.

“I’€™m trying to score, man,” Pedroia said. “If they walk David, whatever. Trying to get into scoring position to win the game, that’€™s it.”

Farrell also defended the move, noting the club was just trying to get a runner into scoring position for the game-winning run.

“No guarantee of a base hit in that situation, but we’€™re trying to get a man in scoring position when we’€™re in the middle of the order,” Farrell said.

Ortiz then walked and Mike Napoli struck out to end the inning.

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Read More: David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia,

David Ortiz on not being named to All-Star team: ‘There are a couple of guys ahead of me this year at my position’

07.06.14 at 8:21 pm ET
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For the past four summers and nine of the last 10, David Ortiz has had one thing certain — a trip to Major League Baseball‘s All-Star Game. This July will be a little different, as for the first time since 2009, Ortiz will not be making the trip to the Midsummer Classic. But, it’s something the designated hitter accepts and was in favor of.

“All-Star Game is you know, something that you have a lot of choices and there are a lot of guys doing really well,” said Ortiz. “Me and John [Farrell] had a conversation. I’€™m a big fan of guys that have a really, really good first half making the All-Star Game. There are a couple of guys ahead of me this year at my position.

“Me and John had a conversation about it and he asked me how I felt and I was like, ‘€˜I just don’€™t feel like taking those guys’ places.’€™ I don’€™t think it’€™s fair to guys like Nelson Cruz and Victor [Martinez] and [Edwin] Encarnacion having an unbelievable season. They don’€™t have that many All-Star Games that I have. So, you just keep it real. Having a better season than what I am having and they’re well-deserving.”

Ortiz is hitting .261 on the year with 19 home runs and 55 RBI.

Farrell, the AL’s manager this year, also spoke of the conversation the two had and ultimately Ortiz was in favor of the manager’s decision to leave him off the roster.

“There was a couple of conversations that led up to the selection of it,” said Farrell. “When you start to look at those who have been voted in both by the fans and by the players and then you get a stack of guys at each position — and then had a chance to talk to David and felt like the four days of rest might be more advantageous to him. And he was a pro about it, spoke his mind and really had a lot of input into the decision.”

The Red Sox officially only have one representative in pitcher Jon Lester. The game will take place July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Read More: David Ortiz,

Jon Lester named to All-Star team as only Red Sox representative

07.06.14 at 7:28 pm ET
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Red Sox ace Jon Lester was named to the American League All-Star team as a manager’s selection. He is the only Red Sox representative — for now.

Closer Koji Uehara appears likely to be named to the team by AL manager John Farrell later this week as an injury replacement for a pitcher should one be needed.

This is the third time Lester has been named to the All-Star team. Lester previously was named to the All-Star team in 2010 and ’11.

If Uehara is named to the All-Star team, it will be his first selection. Uehara was an eight time All-Star selection in Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan.

“Obviously it’s a big honor to represent the Red Sox and go to the All-Star Game and play a game with a lot of the great players in this game,” Lester said. “I am fortunate to be a part of it. … I think we as kids dream about it. This what you want to do as a kid. You watch All-Star Games, you watch the playoffs on TV and you dream about one day hopefully being in that position. To live that dream and have that opportunity to go to three All-Star Games, and two World Series rings — I don’t want to say it’s a dream come true, because hopefully I have a few more World Series in me and all the other stuff to go along with it. Everyone in this room dreams about it as a kid.”

In 18 starts in 2014 Lester has a 2.73 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP, a .242 opponent batting average, 122 strikeouts, 29 walks and a 9-7 win-loss record in 122 innings pitched. The 30-year-old ranks 17th in baseball among pitchers with a 2.0 WAR (according to BaseballReference.com).

Uehara has continued his dominance from 2013 this season. In 40 appearances Uehara has a 1.30 ERA, a 0.74 WHIP, 18 saves, one blown save, 52 strikeouts, six walks and 25 hits allowed in 41 2/3 innings pitched. Uehara is tied with Lester for the 17th best WAR among pitchers in the American League at 2.0 (according to BaseballReference.com).

Jon Lester and Koji have pitched All-Star-caliber baseball this entire first half of the season,” Farrell said. “When you look at what Jon has been able to do in terms of where he stacks with other starters — in the top five or top six in most pitching categories — he has earned the selection.”

American League starters voted in by the fans are: Jose Bautista (OF), Mike Trout (OF), Adam Jones (OF), Miguel Cabrera (1B), Robinson Cano (2B), Josh Donaldson (3B), Derek Jeter (SS), Matt Wieters (C) and Nelson Cruz (DH). Salvador Perez will replace the injured Wieters.

AL pitchers will be: Yu Darvish, Max Scherzer, Felix Hernandez, Masahiro Tanaka, David Price, Scott Kazmir, Mark Buehrle, Sean Doolittle, Greg Holland, Dellin Betances and Glen Perkins.

Voted in as National League starters are: Troy Tulowitzki (SS), Paul Goldschmidt (1B), Chase Utley (2B), Aramis Ramirez (3B), Andrew McCutchen (OF), Carlos Gomez (OF), Yasiel Puig (OF) and Yadier Molina (C).

The game will take place July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Read More: Jon Lester, Koji Uehara,

Closing time: Red Sox bullpen allows 5 runs in loss, spoiling 5-run comeback against Orioles

07.06.14 at 6:42 pm ET
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Heading into Sunday the Red Sox bullpen was one of the team’s strong suits this season, as its 3.24 ERA was fourth-best in the American League.

Edward Mujica

Edward Mujica

Uncharacteristically, the group allowed a total of five runs in the Red Sox‘€™ wild, 7-6, extra-innings loss to the Orioles on Sunday afternoon.

Burke Badenhop and Junichi Tazawa allowed four runs on six hits in the seventh inning to allow the Orioles to take a 6-1 lead — this following another shaky but quality outing from Jake Peavy.

“They strung some hits together,” Farrell said of the top of the seventh. “This is a very good hitting lineup that we’€™re going up against. That same part of the order, once again as it was the case last night, they’€™re able to string some base hits. They use the whole field. Combination we tried to throw at them didn’€™t slow them down.”

Following a dramatic rally to force extra-innings, the Red Sox eventually fell in the 12th inning when Edward Mujica allowed a run in his second inning of work. David Lough tripled to lead off the inning and then was driven in by J.J. Hardy on a single to left for the game-winning run.

This put a damper on a terrific seventh-inning rally, as the Sox scored five runs to tie the game at 6 at the time. David Ross started things by clubbing his fifth homer of the season to the triangle in right-center. Then the Sox had a string of five straight hits off Orioles relievers as Xander Bogaerts, Daniel Nava, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli all collected RBI singles in the inning.

“I thought our guys did a tremendous job in that seventh inning to come back and erase a five-run deficit,” Farrell said. “We get five consecutive base hits, strung some hits together finally to mount that inning.”

The Red Sox dropped two of three to the Orioles over the weekend and fell to 39-49, 10 games below .500.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox‘ loss.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– After recording his first hit in 27 at-bats in the bottom half of the third inning, Bogaerts didn’t carry over any momentum to the field as his throwing error allowed the first Orioles run to score in the top of the fourth.

Nelson Cruz led the inning off with a double, and then Delmon Young hit a grounder to third. Bogaerts double-pumped and airmailed his throw into the Red Sox dugout, allowing Cruz to score from second base.

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Read More: Burke Badenhop, Edward Mujica, junichi tazawa, Red Sox

Red Sox notes: John Farrell on All-Star Game: ‘Overall record in Interleague play should determine home-field advantage’

07.06.14 at 1:00 pm ET
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Not many teams have benefitted from the All-Star Game more than the Red Sox in the last decade.

The Sox have made the World Series three times since 2004 and have been awarded home-field advantage in each occasion thanks to the American League‘s victory in the Midsummer Classic in those seasons.

The All-Star Game has determined home-field advantage since 2003, but not all are pleased that the game still counts for something, including Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Farrell, whose team celebrated a world championship at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918 thanks to the AL’s 3-0 win at Citi Field last season, said he would prefer overall record in Interleague play determining home-field advantage in the World Series.

“My preference, personal opinion, I think the overall record in Interleague play would be more representative of who deserves home-field advantage,” Farrell said. “There are so many different factors. Having gone through this in ’08 and watched [Terry Francona] deal with a number of different things to balance, knowing the outcome does have an affect on, obviously, the home field in October.

“That’s a one-game showcase. It’s not necessarily — I don’t want to say it’s not a competitive game, because it is. But I just think a whole body of Interleague play is more representative of who’s more deserving of home-field advantage.”

Farrell will manage the AL squad this season after the Sox’ World Series win last fall, which means he had the challenge of putting together the roster that will be announced Sunday night.

“There’s a number of things that are kind of in place in terms of the fan voting, the player voting, it really guides your final selections,” Farrell said. “There’s so many deserving players, that’s when it really begins to get difficult. There’s going to be deserving players that are going to be omitted because of making sure that every team is represented and there’s a limit to the amount on the roster.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: All-Star Game, John Farrell,

Nelson Cruz on John Lackey: ‘People can say whatever they want’

07.06.14 at 12:53 pm ET
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Nelson Cruz has been swinging a torrid and powerful bat for the Orioles this year. (AP)

Nelson Cruz has been swinging a torrid and powerful bat for the Orioles this year. (AP)

Sticks and stones may break his bones but John Lackey‘s words won’t incite Nelson Cruz.

Lackey was in classic passive aggressive form after Saturday night’s 7-4 loss to Cruz and the Orioles. Cruz went 5-for-5, including a laser beam homer to left off Lackey.

“I’€™m not even going to comment on him,” Lackey said. “€œI’€™ve got nothing to say about him. There are things I’€™d like to say, but I’€™m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.”

The “stuff” Lackey was accusing reporters of brushing under the carpet was the 50-game suspension for PED violations in connection with the MLB Biogenesis investigation. On Sunday morning, Cruz responded. At first Cruz said he was unaware but after being informed of Lackey’s tone, Cruz seemed unaffected.

“What comments? I don’€™t know,” Cruz said. “I don’€™t hear that, anything. I mean, people can say whatever they want. It’€™s part of being free. I don’t have any comment on that.”

Cruz was a triple shy of the cycle on Saturday night. He is certainly the leading candidate for comeback player of the year, leading the American League in homers (27) and RBIs (70). He’s batting .286 with an OPS of .934. No wonder that David Ortiz aggressively recruited Cruz in the offseason and asked GM Ben Cherington to take a serious look at him.

Speaking of Ortiz, it was the Red Sox slugger Orioles manager Buck Showalter was apparently referencing when he suggested Sunday morning that Lackey “looking in his backyard” before throwing stones. Ortiz was listed in a 2003 report of more than 100 MLB players who tested positive for a banned substance.

Cruz was asked if he has noticed a tone of forgiveness from players around baseball after he served his suspension in 2013.

“I mean for players it’€™s kind of hard to know because most of the time they don’€™t talk,” Cruz said. “What I care about is my teammates and what they think about me. I mean, when you go to ballparks and beat other teams they are not going to be happy regardless of what you do or anything. What I care about is what my teammates think about me and what my fans think about me. Like I said before, they aren’€™t going to be happy when I come in and do good. They want me to strikeout every time and when that doesn’€™t happen, they are pissed.

“€œI just play game-by-game. For me the most important thing is winning. I think we accomplished what we could [Saturday night] and that was get a ‘W.’ Also, it feels good go perfect in one game, don’€™t get any outs so it was one of the best games I’€™ve ever had in my life.”

Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Biogenesis, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz
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