|08.31.15 at 8:31 am ET|
Though at opposite ends of the division standings, the Red Sox and Yankees have both seen the momentum shift their way in the past week and will clash at Fenway Park for a three-game set starting Monday.
The Red Sox are 60-70, good for last place in the overachieving AL East. However, since July 24 and their post-All-Star break hangover, they’ve turned in a respectable 18-16 record. And in their last 12, they’ve gone 8-4.
The Sox are fresh off a series win against the first-place Mets, who own the fourth-best team ERA in baseball (3.31). While the lineup couldn’t get it going early in games, the Sox showed resiliency late in taking two games after the sixth inning. In the first game of the series, Matt Harvey held Sox batters scoreless through six, but Boston snagged three runs in the seventh and three in the 10th off the bullpen to earn the 6-4 win. In the second game it took five innings, but the Sox finally figured out Jacob DeGrom when Pablo Sandoval doubled home Mookie Betts. They would tack on two more runs and emerge victorious by a 3-1 score.
“All around we’re playing good baseball,” Joe Kelly said after holding the Mets offense to one run over 7 1/3 innings in Saturday’s squeaker. “Defensively, offensively, guys are making good swings and staying with their approaches and, like I said, top to bottom we’re playing good baseball. It’s fun to watch coming to the ballpark winning more than losing, obviously. We’re not in it right now, but watching the way everyone is playing, it’s pretty fun.”
In 12 meetings this year, the Sox have gone 4-8 against the Yankees. Their most recent encounter left the Red Sox reeling. After getting pounded 13-3 by the Bronx Bombers in the opener of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 4, the Sox turned around a stole a 2-1 victory from their rivals the next day, beating rookie phenom Luis Severino in his major league debut. However, the last game of the series proved the most damaging. With one out in the seventh in a 1-1 deadlock, Jacoby Ellsbury laced a home run down the right-field line off lefty Eduardo Rodriguez. That would be all the offense the Yankees would need as their top-notch bullpen shut down the Sox lineup the rest of the way.
|08.31.15 at 7:45 am ET|
Rodriguez’s last start came more than the usual five or six days prior. Instead, the Sox pushed his next outing until Monday to keep his arm from being overworked. Interim manager Torey Lovullo said Wednesday that he and the team don’t want to “ramp [Rodriguez] up to 200 innings,” though he could probably handle it. With 48 1/3 innings pitched in Triple-A this season and 92 1/3 up with the big club, Rodriguez has logged 140 2/3 innings total this year.
“We’re trying to manage his time and his workload, and this is a way to give him a couple extra days. It makes sense for us,” Lovullo said Tuesday.
The lefty pitched opposite the Royals on Aug. 23, lasting six innings and giving up just two earned runs, though four were scored with him on the mound. He allowed seven hits and struck out just one batter. With a no-decision his reward in the start, Rodriguez’s season record remains 7-5, though his ERA improved to 4.39.
This season Rodriguez has seen the Yankees twice, recording a 1-1 mark in those two outings with a 2.70 ERA in 13 1/3 innings. Conceding four earned runs to New York in total, two per start, on 11 hits, he has struck out seven as well and walked three for a WHIP of 1.050. With Rodriguez on the mound, the Yankees slash .234/.294/.447 with three home runs and a double.
|08.30.15 at 11:12 pm ET|
While the Cubs are paying Jon Lester to be their ace, another starter has emerged as their true No. 1. On Sunday night Arrieta punctuated the notion that he was the top dog in the Chicago rotation, and perhaps the best pitcher in baseball right now.
The righty threw his first career no-hitter in the Cubs’ 2-0 win over the Dodgers, striking out 12 and walking just one while throwing 116 pitches.
The 29-year-old Arrieta struck out the side to complete the feat, fanning Joc Pederson to end the game.
The former Orioles hurler lowered his ERA to 2.11 with the effort, and carries an 11-1 mark with a 1.07 ERA in his last 14 starts.
Arrieta was acquired by the Cubs on July 2, 2013, along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger.
|08.30.15 at 11:06 pm ET|
Over the last few days much has been made of NESN’s decision not to renew Don Orsillo’s contract for the 2016 season. The network announced ESPN and WEEI’s Dave O’Brien would take over.
There has been strong support of Orsillo from Red Sox fans who are disappointed by the decision and even have started an online petition that already has thousands of signatures.
“I understand it has created some controversy,” Werner said to Buckley. “And I also understand that Don is a great broadcaster, but we felt that starting next year it was worth going in a different direction reenergizing the broadcast. And when the opportunity presented itself to bring Dave O’Brien to NESN, we just felt after a great deal of thought and consideration that was the right decision to make.”
“I think when the opportunity to bring Dave aboard came to us, after a lot of thought we decided, you know what, he’s one of the premier broadcasters in the country and we thought he’d be a great addition to the team,” Werner said.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|08.30.15 at 4:09 pm ET|
Six to go.
Ortiz blasted No. 494 — a two-run shot off Noah Syndergaard that gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the sixth — to move within six homers of the magic 500 mark for his career.
In the process, he broke a tie for 27th on the all-time list with Yankees Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig and former All-Star slugger Fred McGriff, who are at 493.
Ortiz’s 28th homer of the year left him two shy of his ninth 30-homer season. He is bidding to become the 27th member of the 500 club, joining contemporaries like Gary Sheffield, Albert Pujols, and Manny Ramirez. The next name on the list for him is Hall of Famer Eddie Murray (504).
Sunday’s homer actually meant something within the context of the game, too, because it represented the first damage the Red Sox could manage against Syndergaard, who mowed them down for five innings before Ortiz ripped a low 97 mph pitch into the right-field seats on a line.
The lead proved short-lived, however, because Juan Uribe responded in the bottom of the frame with a two-run double to dead center off of starter Wade Miley (6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 6 Ks), who had virtually matched Syndergaard pitch for pitch until that moment.
|08.30.15 at 8:36 am ET|
The Red Sox will look to get the sweep of the first-place Mets on Sunday afternoon when they send Wade Miley to the mound against rookie phenom Noah Syndergaard.
Miley is coming off his 10th loss of the season against the White Sox on Tuesday. The southpaw went 6 2/3 innings in the outing but was whacked around for 13 hits and five runs in the 5-4 Red Sox defeat. He could not find his swing-and-miss stuff as White Sox hitters whiffed on just nine of his 110 pitches, his lowest mark since an Aug. 8 loss to the Tigers. To make matters worse, Chicago’s lineup squared him up for nine line drives, a season high.
The good news for the Red Sox is that each time Miley has been tagged with five earned runs or more, he has responded with a start of three earned runs or less. His record is 4-1 in these games and his ERA sits at a robust 2.12.
After the early August loss to Detroit, Miley returned against the Mariners to toss seven innings of two-run ball in a 22-10 drubbing on Aug. 15. Five days later, he did the same vs. the Royals, going 7 1/3 with just one run on the docket before exiting for the W. After the Royals start, Miley highlighted his renewed control as the key to his success.
“I’m just commanding the ball a little bit better,” Miley said. “When you’re commanding better, you get some swings and early contact, and get deeper into ball games.”
For the season, Miley owns a 10-10 record and a 4.51 ERA to go along with a 1.39 WHIP. In two career starts at Citi Field, Miley sports a 3.09 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings of work.
|08.30.15 at 8:25 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (54-81): L, 5-1, at Rochester (Twins)
— LHP Edwin Escobar (Boston’s No. 26 prospect at MLB.com) lasted just four innings, allowing solo home runs to lead off the first and third frames and surrendering three more runs in the fourth for a final line of: 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 1 SO (83 pitches, 44 strikes). With the loss, Escobar fell to 2-2 with a 4.13 ERA in his new role as a starter over five August outings since transitioning from the bullpen. The 23-year-old had allowed just two earned runs over his last three starts, a total of 17 innings, before Saturday’s setback. On the season, which for Escobar began in June after starting the year on the DL with shoulder inflammation, the southpaw has thrown 44 2/3 innings over 19 games with 22 strikeouts and 21 walks.
— RHP Jorge Marban pitched three perfect innings in relief of Escobar, retiring all nine batters he faced on 31 pitches, 22 of which were strikes. Marban, 26, struck out one and lowered his ERA to 0.79 (11 1/3 IP, 1 ER) in his fifth Triple-A appearance since being promoted from Double-A Portland, now totaling 11 strikeouts and four walks with the PawSox over that span. Signed by Boston out of the Australian Baseball League in November of 2014, the 6-foot-1 Marban has held opposing batters to a collective .201 average this year over 60 1/3 innings combined between High-A Salem, Double-A Portland and now Triple-A Pawtucket.
— RHP Pat Light (Boston’s No. 22 prospect at MLB.com) pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out one batter on a split-finger fastball and finishing with 10 pitches, nine for strikes. Light, 24, now has back-to-back scoreless outings after walking three batters and allowing two runs in an inning on Aug. 23. Selected by Boston in the first round (37th overall) of the 2012 draft out of Monmouth University, the 6-foot-5 Light has made 24 appearances with the PawSox, compiling a 4.88 ERA over 31 1/3 innings with 35 strikeouts and 26 walks while holding batters to a .233 average.
— The Pawtucket offense managed just one run on the night, a sixth-inning marker on an RBI double from third baseman Carlos Rivero that scored shortstop Deven Marrero (Boston’s No. 10 prospect at MLB.com). Rivero, 27, finished 2-for-4 to bring his slash line to .256/.299/.329 over 19 games since being acquired by Boston from Seattle for cash considerations on Aug. 9.
— Second baseman Marco Hernandez (Boston’s No. 23 prospect at MLB.com) also went 2-for-4 to give himself five hits over his last three games. Catcher Sandy Leon went 1-for-4 with a double.
|08.29.15 at 7:12 pm ET|
Joe Kelly’s run of excellence continues.
Facing the National League‘s highest-scoring team in August, Kelly silenced the Mets over 7 1/3 innings on Saturday, allowing just one run in a 3-1 victory.
“Joe Kelly set the tone for us,” interim manager Torey Lovullo told reporters in New York. “Sixth straight win. I can’t say enough about what he did to give us a chance to win today’s ballgame.”
The right-hander, who had pitched his way right out of the big leagues earlier this season, submitted his fifth straight excellent start and earned his sixth straight victory.
Over his last five starts, Kelly is 5-0 with a 1.69 ERA. In the process, he has dropped his ERA to 4.94, the first time it has been below 5.00 since April 27.
“It’s just something I try not to let mentally break me when I was struggling,” Kelly told reporters in New York. “Just go out there and keep pitching. I knew it was going to turn around sometime, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. It definitely feels a lot better than struggling, but it’s out of my hands. I’m just trying to take the ball every five days for the rest of the year, No. 1, be healthy and make all my starts and make quality pitches and see what happens.”
Kelly outdueled Mets standout Jacob deGrom, a Cy Young candidate who dazzled the Red Sox for six innings, allowing four hits and striking out 10. He also allowed two runs in the sixth, however, breaking a scoreless tie.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who had already struck out twice and looked bad doing it, broke the tie with an RBI double to right-center. Brock Holt drove in Sandoval with a forceout, and Mookie Betts added a solo homer in the seventh to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.
The Mets tried to make a game of it, striking for a run in the seventh on Juan Uribe’s RBI double and bidding for more, but Sandoval dove to stop Wilmer Flores’ chopper with two outs and a runner on third, gunning across the diamond to end the inning.
Jean Machi recorded a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his third save.
The story of this one was Kelly, who allowed the leadoff runner to reach in each of the first three innings before settling into a groove. Starting with a Yoenis Cespedes double play in the third, Kelly retired 12 of 13, allowing only a walk to Michael Conforto, who was promptly erased by a double play.
The Red Sox have now won three straight, four of five, and eight of 11.
“All around we’re playing good baseball,” Kelly said. “Defensively, offensively, guys are making good swings and staying with their approaches and, like I said, top to bottom we’re playing good baseball. It’s fun to watch coming to the ballpark winning more than losing, obviously. We’re not in it right now, but watching the way everyone is playing, it’s pretty fun.”
|08.29.15 at 9:04 am ET|
Kelly enters the contest the owner of a 5.18 ERA and 7-6 record on the season. The right-hander has made 21 starts, sandwiched around a stay on the disabled list and subsequent stint with Triple-A Pawtucket.
At the beginning of the year, Kelly was nothing short of awful, compiling a record of 2-6 and a 5.94 ERA through his first 16 starts through the end of July. The month of August, however, has come with a welcome change in performance for the 27-year-old. Kelly enters Saturday’s game riding a five-game winning streak, winning each of his five starts this month. In his four most recent outings, Kelly has compiled an impressive 1.82 ERA while striking out 20 in 24 2/3 innings.
Kelly’s last start came on Monday against the White Sox in Chicago. He tossed a season-high 7 1/3 innings and allowed just two runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out four White Sox hitters. After arriving before the deadline a year ago in a trade that sent John Lackey to St. Louis, Kelly finally is seeing results to match his talent level and potential.
“I would have done what we’re doing now, mix pitches no matter who the hitter is, not just keep serving up heaters. I get a little heater happy,” Kelly explained when asked what he would have changed in his approach prior to the recent win streak. “If you’re not throwing off-speed for strikes it doesn’t matter. But I’ve been able to get it over for strikes.”
|08.28.15 at 11:11 pm ET|
The disappointment that came with blowing a one-run lead in the eighth inning would be erased for the Sox thanks in large part to a most unusual play — Blake Swihart’s 10th-inning inside-the-park home run.
Swihart managed the feat — the first Red Sox’ inside-the-park homer since Jacoby Ellsbury‘s race around the bases in 2011 — by launching a drive off the center field wall. The ball took what appeared to be an enormous ricochet off the padding, forcing Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada to venture out to retrieve the carom. By the time he reached it, however, the catcher was trucking around third and on his way to scoring fairly easily.
Replays showed, however, that the ball may have hit the wall just behind the padding, forcing the aggressive bounce back toward the infield. There would be no review, leaving it in the books as an inside-the-park job.
It was the first inside-the-park home run by a Red Sox catcher since Hal Wagner’s in 1946.
The Red Sox went on to score two more runs on a sacrifice fly from Josh Rutledge and Xander Bogaerts’ RBI single. They would need them.
Junichi Tazawa once again struggle trying to close out the game, this time failing to get out of the 12th after walking in the Mets’ fourth run with his fourth free pass of the inning. He would be lifted after throwing 28 pitches (11 strikes) and getting his only two outs on a 1-6-3 double play.
Craig Breslow would come on to get Yoenis Cespedes on a fly ball to center field for the save. Breslow was the last Red Sox’ reliever available, with the Sox also out of position players.
The Red Sox had been able to negate a stellar outing by Mets starter Matt Harvey, who allowed just two hits and not a single run over his six innings, striking out eight.
The first pitch thrown by a Mets reliever was turned into the Red Sox’ first run, with David Ortiz taking Logan Verrett over the center field wall to kick off the seventh inning for the designated hitter’s 493rd career home run.
Ortiz’ homer (his 27th of the season) closed the visitors’ deficit to a run. That would quickly become a one-run lead for the Sox thanks to Jackie Bradley Jr.’s two-run homer. The blast also cleared the center field wall and scored Swihart.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, the lead wouldn’t last long thanks to Alexi Ogando’s wildness. The righty came on, retired just one batter while giving up a hit and walking three, including Travis d’Arnaud to force in the game-tying run.
Red Sox starter Henry Owens kept things close, but lasted just five innings. The lefty finished surrendering two runs on five hits, striking out six and walking four.
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