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Closing Time: Red Sox offense blanked in nightcap of doubleheader, spoiling Rick Porcello bounceback

06.03.15 at 9:26 pm ET
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Rick Porcello settled down nicely, but still suffered the loss Wednesday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Rick Porcello settled down nicely, but he still suffered the loss Wednesday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

What a difference a few hours make.

After the Red Sox tied a season-high with 13 hits and took Game 1 of the day-night doubleheader, 6-3, they came out in the nightcap and managed just two hits as they were shutout by the Twins, 2-0.

“Well, certainly what we didn’t expect I can tell you that going into the game,” manager John Farrell said. “But, that’s not taking anything away from [Trevor] May. He stayed to the corners, he was down, he had good stuff, three pitches for strikes. We capitalized on some pitches up in the strike zone in Game 1, we didn’t get those tonight in the nightcap.”

Red Sox starter Rick Porcello struggled in the early going, needing 42 pitches to get through the first two innings and allowing two runs, but then settled down retiring 11 in a row from the second to the end of the fifth inning.

He also faced the minimum batters from the third to the eighth inning, aided by a double play in the sixth. In total he retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced.

The right-hander went eight innings allowing two runs on five hits while striking out five and not walking a batter. It was his second start of the year going eight or more innings. He came into the game allowing 13 earned runs in his last 11 1/3 innings.

“He got better as the night went along,” Farrell said. “Eight quality innings of work. In the second inning he left a couple of pitches up that they were able bunch together with a walk for their two runs and then like I said, became much more efficient as he went. The most encouraging thing I thought was in the middle innings and later inning his two-seamer was in the right part of the zone down. Put the ball on the ground a number of times. We just couldn’t get anything going offensively. but Rick certainly gave us an opportunity tonight.”

Twins right-hander Trevor May shut the Red Sox down, going seven innings allowing no runs on two hits, while not walking a batter and striking out nine. The seven innings and nine strikeouts both tied career-highs.

As a team, the final 19 Red Sox batters were retired in succession and with the loss they have now not won three games in a row since the fifth game of the season.

“Every loss is tough,” Porcello said. “We had an opportunity to take two from them today and sweep them and you never want to let that slip through your fingers, but we have another one tomorrow.”

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: May. The righty completely took the Red Sox offense out of the game following their 13-hit performance in Game 1. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

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Read More: David Ortiz, mike napoli, rick porcello,

Eduardo Rodriguez earning high praise from John Farrell following second dominant start: ‘It’s a special kid’

06.03.15 at 6:14 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez has allowed just one run in his first 14 2/3 major league innings. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Eduardo Rodriguez has allowed just one run in his first 14 2/3 major league innings. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

While one player can never save a season, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez is doing everything he can to turnaround the Red Sox.

The 22-year-old Venezuelan threw 7 2/3 shutout innings in his major league debut last Thursday to earn his first win and followed that up with seven innings of one-run ball Wednesday to earn his second major league win in as many starts in the Red Sox‘ 6-3 win over the Twins in Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader.

Per Elias, Rodriguez is the first pitcher since 1900 with seven or more innings pitched, three or fewer hits allowed and one run or less allowed in his first two big league starts.

Putting up numbers like that, he has the chance to become something special.

“He does,” manager John Farrell said. “And I think anybody in the game who’s watched any pitch whether it’s been previously with Baltimore or since coming over here. We have the vantage point of getting to know the person in addition to the pitcher. He’s got great aptitude, he’s intelligent, in addition to the physical abilities that he demonstrates. It is, it’s a special kid.”

The only blemish to Rodriguez’s name in his first two starts is a solo home run to Brian Dozier in the third inning of Wednesday’s game. He’s held opponents to a .102 batting average and has 14 strikeouts and four walks in 14 2/3 big league innings.

Prior to getting the call to the majors last week, Rodriguez was 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts with the PawSox this year. So did he think he would ever do this well in the big leagues?

“No. I didn’t think it would be like that,” Rodriguez said. “I just want to keep going. If they give me one more, I’ll do one more.”

While when he was called up it was said he would get just one start, but with his two performances to date there is no question he will get another start, and likely many more. His next start is in line to be in Baltimore against the Orioles early next week.

“If he goes to Pawtucket it’s only on the way to Baltimore,” Farrell joked afterwards.

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Red Sox acquire OF Alejandro De Aza, cash from Orioles in exchange for minor league RHP Joe Gunkel

06.03.15 at 5:54 pm ET
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Joe Gunkel

Joe Gunkel

The Red Sox officially acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza and cash considerations from the Orioles in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Joe Gunkel on Wednesday. To make room on the 40-man roster Brandon Workman was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

De Aza is expected to join the team Thursday where he would need to be added to the 25-man roster. The obvious move seems to be to DFA outfielder Carlos Peguero, who they just acquired last week.

The 31-year-old De Aza was acquired by the Orioles on Aug. 30, 2014 in exchange for two minor leaguers. The lefty hitter .293 with a .877 OPS over 20 games in the final month of that season, while totaling a .214 average and .636 OPS in 30 games with Baltimore this year.

Manager John Farrell gave insight onto how the team expects to use the outfielder on the Red Sox Radio pregame show prior to Wednesday afternoon’s game.

“He gave them a little over a year of really good production for them in Baltimore,” the manager said to Joe Castiglione. “Given our reserve group of players, with Daniel Nava being down, De Aza has been in that role a little bit in Baltimore where he has come off the bench. He’€™€™s been a little bit of a platoon player. I’€™€™m not saying De Aza is going to come in here and platoon in left with Hanley. But at the same time we’€™€™ve got a veteran, a guy who can run, a guy that can play all three outfield positions. He’€™€™s en route for most of today from the Dominican so it’€™€™s unlikely he’€™€™ll be here for any of the day-night doubleheader today. We were able to acquire a veteran guy who has some success and track record.”

Gunkel has split time this season between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland, combining to go 3-2 with two saves, a 2.90 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 12 outings, including five starts. He was selected in the 18th round of the 2013 June Draft.

Workman was on the 15-day DL with a right elbow strain suffered at the end of spring training. He visited with Dr. James Andrews and received a PRP injection back in the middle of April.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Read More: Alejandro De Aza, Brandon Workman, joe gunkel,

Red Sox lineup: Mookie Betts slides down in order for Game 2

06.03.15 at 5:11 pm ET
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Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

The Red Sox will go for a sweep in Wednesday’s day-night doubleheader with the Twins following a 6-3 win in the afternoon.

The biggest thing that stands out in the Game 2 lineup is Mookie Betts sliding down to the No. 7 spot. The center fielder went 0-for-4 in Game 1 and his average is down to .242 this season.

After sitting this afternoon, Pablo Sandoval is back at third base, while Brock Holt remains in the lineup playing right field. Hanley Ramirez gets the night off as Carlos Peguero will man left field, as the team goes up against Twins right-hander Trevor May.

Blake Swihart will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Brock Holt, RF
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Mookie Betts, CF
Blake Swihart, C
Carlos Peguero, LF
Rick Porcello, RHP

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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Twins Game 2 matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Trevor May

06.03.15 at 4:20 pm ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

The Red Sox will send the struggling Rick Porcello to the mound Wednesday evening against Trevor May and the Twins for the back end of the teams’ day-night doubleheader.

Porcello enters Wednesday’s contest riding one of the worst two-start stretches of his career. In his last 11 1/3 innings, the right-hander has given up 13 runs on 14 hits and five walks. He has allowed three home runs in these two outings and opponents have whacked 21 percent of balls in play for line drives, leading to two losses.

In his latest outing against Phil Hughes and the Twins last Saturday, Porcello went seven innings and proved economical, throwing just 93 pitches, 66 of them for strikes. However, he gave up seven hits and six earned runs, while striking out just two batters. After the 6-4 loss, Porcello identified his mistakes.

“I got beat by two walks and two home runs. That was it,” he said. “The walks were big. Both of those walks ended up scoring and then two pitches in the middle of the plate.”

Porcello’s season numbers corroborate his assertion. The 26-year-old owns a 4-4 record and a 5.37 ERA. While his strikeouts per nine are up 1.6 from last year, his hits per nine (0.3) and home runs per nine (0.8) are up as well.

In five starts at Fenway this season, Porcello has posted a 5.46 ERA.

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Closing Time: Red Sox offense comes alive, Eduardo Rodriguez impresses again in win over Twins

06.03.15 at 4:08 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts led the Red Sox offense Wednesday in their Game 1 win over the Twins. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts led the Red Sox offense Wednesday in their Game 1 win over the Twins. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

For the first time in what has seemed like months, the Red Sox offense actually looked like the offense that was expected going into the season.

The Red Sox rattled off 13 hits, including having four players record multi-hit games, as the offense along with the second straight great start from Eduardo Rodriguez, was more than enough to beat the Twins, 6-3 in the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Fenway Park.

The 13 hits tied a season-high for a fifth time.

Rodriguez went seven complete innings allowing one run (a home run) on just two hits, while walking two and striking out seven. He threw 103 pitches (77 strikes) in his Fenway Park debut, after going 7 2/3 shutout innings in his first major league start against the Rangers last Thursday.

The left-hander is the first pitcher to go seven or more innings and allow no more than three hits or one run in each of his first two MLB outings since 1916.

The Red Sox broke the game open in the fifth when they scored twice to take a commanding 5-1 lead and chased Twins starter Phil Hughes from the game. Xander Bogaerts’ two-RBI single chased Hughes from the game after just 4 2/3 innings. It was his third hit off Hughes of the game, as the shortstop now has hits in nine straight home games.

Dustin Pedroia scored the Red Sox’ first two runs of the game, scoring in the first and again in the third. Pedroia owns Hughes, as for his career the second baseman is hitting .390 with 15 RBI.

The Red Sox got on the board early, scoring their 16th first inning run of the season when Pedroia scored from first on an David Ortiz double off the base of the wall in left center. The ball appeared catchable, but center fielder Aaron Hicks misjudged it. Even with the run, the Red Sox have still been outscored 37-16 in the first inning this year.

Wednesday afternoon marked just the ninth time in the Red Sox’ last 31 games that they scored five runs or more.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Bogaerts. The shortstop went 3-for-4 and is now hitting .515 (17-for-33) at home in his last nine games and looks more confident than ever both at the plate and in the field. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:

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Read More: David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, eduardo rodriguez, mike napoli

Buster Olney on MFB: Red Sox ‘deeper than anybody’ in AL East

06.03.15 at 1:40 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon to discuss how the Red Sox can play to David Ortiz‘s struggles, Eduardo Rodriguez’s bright future and more. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

As it stands, the Red Sox are last in the American League East, but Olney said that they are more than equipped to fix that with what they have on hand. They are only 4 1/2 games out of first in the division, and what gives them the best chance to turn the year around is the extent of their roster.

“The one thing about the Red Sox, their big advantage, I personally think, over any other American League team is that in their group of position players on their 40-man roster, they’re deeper than anybody,” Olney said. “In fact, the only team in the big leagues that might be deeper might be the Los Angeles Dodgers when you’re talking about position players one through 18. But, of course, the way that that’s used is by going through matchups, mixing and matching on a given day.”

One of those mixes and matches that might spring up for Boston is when and how to use David Ortiz. With a .224 batting average on the year and a .129 batting average opposite left-handed pitching, Ortiz’s usage going forward might need to be adjusted.

“You wonder how much longer we are away from that conversation where they bring David Ortiz in the office and say, ‘Look, you know what, we’ll start you against right-handers every time because your production against righties is excellent, but your production against lefties is not, and think about what a weapon you would be sitting on our bench for the opposing manager, opposing catcher, to think about as someone who could pinch hit for a right-handed hitter if a reliever comes in.’ ” Olney said. “And you’ve got to believe that as they make some of these changes, that’s one of the things they’re going to be talking about.”

How Ortiz responds to a discussion of that nature will have to be taken into account, as Olney notes the DH is very proud and not one to bottle up his emotions. But Olney said that at some point, “If the Red Sox believe that he’s not going to get better against left-handed pitching and it’s become an acute problem, then in the name of winning, they probably need to have that conversation with him at least about picking and choosing his spots against certain left-handers because they’re at a critical point in their season, there’s no question about it.”

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Read More: buster olney, David Ortiz, eduardo rodriguez,

Larry Lucchino on MFB: ‘We all share’ responsibility for Red Sox’ woes

06.03.15 at 1:28 pm ET
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Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss the Red Sox and who bears responsibility for the team’€™s struggles. To hear to the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

On Tuesday, principal owner John Henry held a press conference to reinforce his confidence in manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington and accept some responsibility for the team’s struggles. Lucchino echoed those sentiments of support and accountability.

“When it comes to free agency, payroll-setting, we all have a hand in this, so we all share it. I’ve worked with a lot of general managers in my lifetime and Ben is right at the top of the list in terms of his work ethic, his insight, his judgment and his knowledge of the game,” Lucchino said. “I don’t think it is fair to mention the last couple of years without mentioning the extraordinary job he did in 2013.”

Lucchino was equally effusive in his praise of Farrell’s qualifications and abilities as a manager.

“He has a track record with this organization. We know him. When I say track record I don’t just mean wins and losses, I mean years of experience, years of relationships, years of data that we can look at and say, ‘We know this guy.’ We have a sense of his intelligence, his judgment, his people skills,” Lucchino said.

Lucchino acknowledged that some players have not performed as well as expected. He attributes this at least in part to the unpredictability of baseball, and that it is impossible to accurately anticipate performances.

“It’s very hard to understand and to measure beforehand. The performances of some of these players have been utterly surprising. We’re not smart enough year in and year out to guess who those guys are going to be,” he said.

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Read More: John Henry, Larry Lucchino,

John Farrell explains thinking behind Alejandro De Aza deal

06.03.15 at 1:23 pm ET
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Alejandro De Aza

Alejandro De Aza

While the Red Sox hadn’t officially announced the trade for outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the Orioles (for cash) John Farrell explained to Joe Castiglione on the Red Sox Radio Pregame Show the thinking behind the acquisition.

“He gave them a little over a year of really good production for them in Baltimore,” the Red Sox manager said. “Given our reserve group of players, with Daniel Nava being down, De Aza has been in that role a little bit in Baltimore where he has come off the bench. He’€™s been a little bit of a platoon player. I’€™m not saying De Aza is going to come in here and platoon in left with Hanley. But at the same time we’€™ve got a veteran, a guy who can run, a guy that can play all three outfield positions. He’€™s en route for most of today from the Dominican so it’€™s unlikely he’€™ll be here for any of the day-night doubleheader today. We were able to acquire a veteran guy who has some success and track record.”

The 31-year-old was acquired by the Orioles on Aug. 30, 2014 in exchange for two minor leaguers. The lefty hitter .293 with a .877 OPS over 20 games in the final month of that season, while totaling a .214 average and .636 OPS in 30 games with Baltimore this year.

De Aza’s best season came in 2012 when he played in 131 games for the White Sox, hitting .281 with a .760 OPS, stealing 26 bases. He has been an everyday player for the last five seasons, carrying a career .272 batting average against righty pitching (and .239 vs. lefties).

Red Sox pregame notes: Brian Johnson not on his way up despite skipped start Wednesday; Daniel Nava injury update

06.03.15 at 12:12 pm ET
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Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

There was some buzz Wednesday morning when the PawSox lineup card was released and scheduled starter Brian Johnson was not on it and Miguel Celestino was starting in his place.

With Eduardo Rodriguez called up and making his major league debut last week, there was speculation it could be Johnson’s turn this week, but manager John Farrell poured cold water over that thought.

“There’s a typical approach taken with all starters there where they ail skip a start at some point in time the year and it wasn’t to bring him up or anything other than kind of a normal cycle guys go through,” Farrell said.

Farrell anticipates Johnson to make his next scheduled start with Pawtucket five days from now.

Johnson is 6-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 10 starts with the PawSox this season. This is following a 2014 season which saw him go 13-3 with a 2.13 ERA in 25 starts between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland.

— Daniel Nava was placed on the 15-day disabled list last Thursday with a left thumb strain. Following an MRI, there’s no timetable for his return.

“Has not swung a bat yet,” Farrell said. “The MRI confirmed that there is a contusion in the muscle in the left hand that’s up from the thumb towards the palm. There’s inflammation that is going on there that they are still trying to calm down and heel. So, he’s going through treatment, some strengthening and I don’t have a date that he will put a bat back in his hand yet.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

— There was a report early Wednesday morning that the Red Sox had acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the Orioles. Farrell wouldn’t confirm or deny the report, but did say if they were to add an outfielder, he wouldn’t be added to the roster for Game 2.

“I’m aware of the report that is out there on acquiring another outfielder,” Farrell said. “There’s no move to announce right now. The best thing I can say is Ben [Cherington] is always looking for ways to improve the roster and look at every opportunity to do that.”

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Read More: brian johnson, daniel nava, John Farrell,
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