|07.26.16 at 10:08 am ET|
Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (52-51): W, 7-5, vs. Rochester (Twins)
— Christian Vazquez went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run. He roped an RBI single into right field to give the PawSox a 3-0 lead. It was his second three-hit performance in five games. Since being optioned to Pawtucket from Boston on July 5, Vazquez is slashing .271/.371/.373. He averaged .226 in 51 games with the Red Sox.
— Justin Haley was able to come away with the win, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings. He fanned five batters and walked three while not giving up a run until the fourth inning. The 25-year-old right-hander has pitched at least five innings in his last seven starts. Drafted in 2012 by the Red Sox, Haley is 9-7 with a 3.00 ERA in 20 outings.
— Chris Marrero went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. He drove home the first two runs of the game, with both of his RBI hits coming with two outs in the inning. Marrero, 28, has hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games, and he is batting .291/.345/.518 with the PawSox. He also has 19 home runs, second best in the International League.
— Pat Light, Boston’s No. 13 prospect at MLB.com, came on in the middle of the ninth inning after reliever Chandler Shepherd gave up a run in the frame. Light struck out the next two batters to end the game and earn his seventh save of the year. The 25-year-old right-hander is a perfect 7-for-7 in save opportunities and has struck out 36 in 30 innings. His ERA is 2.10.
|07.26.16 at 8:28 am ET|
In the penultimate game of the Red Sox’ nine-game homestand, knuckleballer Steven Wright will square off against Tigers right-hander Mike Pelfrey on Tuesday night.
The 31-year-old Wright is 12-5 with an AL-best 2.67 ERA. He’s won his last four starts, his most recent win coming in a 13-12 victory over the Twins on Thursday. Wright pitched spectacularly in the outing, letting up just one earned run on four hits in eight innings. He also struck out a career-high nine batters.
“The knuckleballer was good,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Wright. “We just didn’t have a lot of offense to muster up. He had the lead and you knew he was going to ride it out for a while.”
Wright has faced the Tigers just once in his four-year career. On July 25 of last season, the right-hander got the loss after surrendering two earned runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings pitched in a 5-1 Tigers win.
|07.25.16 at 11:40 pm ET|
Joe Kelly’s first relief appearance with the Red Sox didn’t go perfectly according to plan, but then again it was his first relief outing as a member of the team.
Pitching at the major league level for the first time since June 1 and after seven relief appearances between Lowell and Pawtucket, the right-hander allowed one run in his inning of work while throwing 21 pitches.
Kelly entered the game in the seventh with the Red Sox trailing the Tigers 2-1. He allowed a lead off triple to Justin Upton on a 101 mph fastball to the triangle in right-center field. That was followed by a fly out, but then James McCann singled right back up the middle scoring Upton to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead and proved to be the game-winning run.
Of Kelly’s 21 pitches, over half of them were recorded over 100 mph on the Fenway Park radar gun.
“He was powerful. A lot of power,” manager John Farrell said afterwards. “A lot of velocity. Some inconsistent command getting behind in the count. 2-1 to Upton, fastball out over the plate that he’s able to drive one the other way. Still, the first look, I thought he threw enough strikes. He threw a breaking ball for strikes on occasion. First look on his part.”
The right-hander spent some time in the bullpen was he was with the Cardinals, but Monday was his first in a Red Sox uniform.
“I’m sure there was some adrenaline,” Farrell said. “You would hope that every guy takes the mound there is adrenaline there. I can’t say that it took him out of his game. We’re thinking in that spot he is going to give us two innings, but 20-plus pitches, not going to run him up to 40-plus is that is the possibility. I don’t think he was over-throwing to the point he was completely losing the strike zone.”
Given the injury to Koji Uehara, Kelly will likely get more looks in the sixth and seventh innings leading into Brad Ziegler and eventually Craig Kimbrel at the end of games.
|07.25.16 at 10:38 pm ET|
Drew Pomeranz deserved better.
After the left-hander allowed five runs in just three innings during his Red Sox debut last week, Pomeranz bounced back nicely, but the offense was silenced by Justin Verlander and couldn’t come through late as the Red Sox fell to the Tigers, 4-2.
Pomeranz went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out seven. He only made one mistake the entire night when he allowed a two-run homer well over the Monster seats to Jose Iglesias in the sixth inning.
“I had a good curveball tonight,” Pomeranz said. “I was locating my fastball a lot better. I was in a lot better counts all night and really, one bad pitch that hurt us.”
Pomeranz has allowed four or fewer hits in 12 of his 18 starts this season, which leads the majors.
Joe Kelly made his relief debut as a member of the Red Sox in the seventh and allowed a run on two hits. Kelly allowed a lead off triple to Justin Upton, who then scored on a RBI single up the middle by James McCann.
“He was powerful. A lot of power,” manager John Farrell said. “A lot of velocity. Some inconsistent command getting behind in the count — 2-1 to Upton, fastball out over the plate that he’s able to drive one the other way. Still, the first look, I thought he threw enough strikes. He threw a breaking ball for strikes on occasion. First look on his part.”
Another starter turned reliever, Clay Buchholz pitched the eighth and he allowed a run on two hits. Iglesias led the inning off with a bloop single and advanced to second on a passed ball, got to third on a sacrifice fly and then scored on a Victor Martinez single.
Buchholz would then throw a 1-2-3 ninth.
|07.25.16 at 6:34 pm ET|
“I wouldn’t get into specific players,” the Red Sox president of baseball operations said.
So, what does the future hold for the 31-year-old?
“Well, right now he’s in our pen and protecting us as we go forward with the five starters. He’s a real good protection for us,” Dombrowski said. “I thought he threw the ball the other day [Saturday] as well as I’ve seen him throw it all year. I know if you just looked at the stats you’d say, ‘Oh, he didn’t do very well.’ We unfortunately missed a couple balls that were catchable that particular day. I thought his stuff was outstanding. So, he’s got a place now.”
Buchholz last outing, which Dombrowski was referring to, ended up with the righty getting charged with three runs over an inning of work. But, as the Sox’ president referenced, the pitcher’s fastball was up to 95 mph, and most of the damage done of him was a product of misplayed fly balls.
But with the starting rotation set with David Price, Steven Wright, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz, and Red Sox manager John Farrell hesitating to use Buchholz in high leverage situations, the righty’s value to the Sox currently remains as insurance for the starters.
“It’s important. He helps in that regard,” said Dombrowski of Buchholz backing up the current group of starting pitchers. “I know it’s not an ideal scenario for him, but he’s been great about it. He’s a true professional. John communicates well with him and [pitching coach] Carl Willis does. It’s a situation where you understand it that he’s not thrilled, but he handles himself very professionally, keeps himself ready. And like the other day, and I told him afterwards, I said, ‘I thought you threw the ball as well as I’ve seen you’ve thrown it all year.’ He was hitting 95 [mph] and he had good movement and the breaking ball was good. Unfortunately a couple fly balls fell in that probably don’t.”
|07.25.16 at 5:43 pm ET|
The afternoon session with the media started with Dave Dombrowski catching up with Detroit media, but soon transformed into an update regarding where the Red Sox stands heading into the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline.
The takeaway? There’s a lot of talking, but it doesn’t appear teams are loosening the reins on their asking prices.
“That could be a trade right there, I don’t know. It’s that time of year,” joked the Red Sox president of baseball operations after his phone beeped. “That’s what makes it interesting and fun. I can tell you today we’ve received five trade proposals that I hadn’t received before today from other clubs calling me. So that’s why this time of year is very interesting. We also have some real good young players in our organization, so some people are looking for those players. I can say we’re not close to making any trades at this moment.”
When asked if clubs have altered their asking prices, Dombrowski added, “Not really. Not yet. Generally, there’s a week to go, so generally, three or four days beforehand maybe. But you know, it’s an interesting situation. You take risks either way, because you can be there and you can be asking this. But then all of a sudden, if some clubs lose and there are more players in the market that are available, then you don’t get what you were looking for, even close to that. Maybe more clubs all of a sudden are looking for players. So, it’s always an interesting.
“I was talking to somebody last year. Look how the marketplace changed last year when I was with the Tigers. We switched at the time, and all of a sudden we’re not making a commitment to move players and then we did, and all of a sudden David Price and [Yoenis] Cespedes and [Joakim] Soria are out there. They’re three of the best players. That could happen this year, too. If you wait, I remember last year at the very end, I’m not going to say who, but I remember there were a couple clubs that were looking for this and on July 31st they were calling around saying, ‘Would you take this guy?’ That’s why it’s always an interesting market. I think it’s a fun time. It’s something we really need to keep abreast of and our people do a good job of that.”
And even though the Red Sox don’t seemingly have any obvious needs — having traded for starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz July 14 — it certainly appears Dombrowski is open to exploring additional moves.
“I’m not looking to necessarily make something significant because we already added,” he said. “We have five solid starters. I think [Eduardo] Rodriguez is throwing the ball much better, gives us a real solid chance to win. We look for Pomeranz to pitch well for us. We have five solid starters. Could they be better? Sure. Everybody, if we had five All-Star starters, we’re better. But we have five guys we like. I was just talking about our bullpen. Our offense is the best in baseball as far as run production is concerned. Now, can we be better? Sure. Will we be open-minded? Sure. But I don’t see that there’s a driving force. And we are going to get some players back. We have nine guys still on the DL.”
|07.25.16 at 4:54 pm ET|
Craig Kimbrel could be back with the Red Sox sooner than some thought.
The closer suffered a torn medial meniscus, which required surgery back on July 8. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 9 retroactive to July 7. After successful surgery, July 11, he was back on the mound Monday afternoon at Fenway Park for a 25-pitch bullpen.
“Good bullpen,” manager John Farrell said. “He felt good about it. He was aggressive for the 25 pitches he threw. Both his fastball and his curveball. It didn’t look like to the naked eye that he was favoring anything. We had him throw on the main mound so we could get the pitch tracker on him and just make sure that his release point, arm angle, those types of things are consistent with getting back to activity. He would be on tap for another bullpen on Wednesday morning.”
If everything goes according to plan, Kimbrel could pitch in a rehab game this weekend. Farrell said he might need as few as one rehab outing and wouldn’t rule out a return to the team on the next road trip.
This is good news for the Red Sox as they had a timetable of 3-6 weeks from when he suffered the injury. Three weeks would be this coming weekend.
Kimbrel getting back to the Red Sox bullpen would be a big boost, especially with the injury to Koji Uehara. Kimbrel would go back to the closer’s spot with Brad Ziegler as the primary set up man. Options leading into them would be Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes and Junichi Tazawa.
|07.25.16 at 3:41 pm ET|
After missing the last two days with a knee injury, Mookie Betts is back in the lineup and leading off against the Tigers.
Betts left Friday night’s game with right knee soreness.
The Red Sox will have Travis Shaw at third base and Brock Holt in left field as the Sox go up against right-hander Justin Verlander.
Sandy Leon will catch Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz.
Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:
Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Travis Shaw, 3B
Sandy Leon, C
Brock Holt, LF
Drew Pomeranz, LHP
For an extended look at the matchups, click here.
|07.25.16 at 3:32 pm ET|
For his performance last week, Hanley Ramirez has been named American League Player of the Week. It was his first Player of the Week award since 2009.
Ramirez batted .333 (7-for-21) with six runs scored, five home runs and 12 RBIs over the six games. The first baseman finished the week first in home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage (1.048).
His best game was Wednesday night against the Giants at Fenway Park where the right-handed slugger went 3-for-4 with three home runs and six RBIs.
The three home runs tied a Red Sox single-game record, a feat accomplished 28 times by 23 different players. He set career highs in home runs and RBI in the contest, and became only the seventh player in club history with at least three home runs and six RBIs in a game at Fenway Park.
He is the second Red Sox player to win the award this year as Jackie Bradley claimed it back in May.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|07.25.16 at 11:51 am ET|
Maybe the Drew Pomeranz deal wasn’t Dave Dombrowski’s final salvo, after all.
That’s at least the vibe ESPN’s Jayson Stark is getting.
Clubs talking with Red Sox say they're still trying to do "something big." But for what high-end starter? Chris Sale? Sonny Gray? Mystery P?
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 25, 2016
As WEEI.com reported over the weekend, the Red Sox remain pessimistic that the White Sox would loosen the reins on the likes of Chris Sale or Jose Quintana. Chris Archer would still be a longshot for a few reasons, one of which is the Rays’ reluctance to deal within the American League East.
Sonny Gray is intriguing, if for no other reason that the A’s might be altering their approach from the offseason, which had been to keep the starting pitcher in a non-negotiable vice grip. Gray has had a rough season, going 4-9 with a 5.49 ERA. He’s coming off a five-inning, seven-run debacle against Tampa Bay.
So even with Gray’s pre-2016 success, you have to wonder if such an acquisition would be worth the cost for the Red Sox. It would seem to be a pretty big risk at a pretty big cost. The continued better play would be to wait for the price to come down and take a chance that Rich Hill’s blister issues aren’t going to linger.
The Gray/Hill moves don’t make a whole lot of sense right now if the Red Sox actually believe Pomeranz is of value. They could include the newly-acquired lefty in a bigger deal, serving as the often-desired major league piece with some years of control. But if that isn’t the case, why bother.
While there are no certainties, taking chances that Eduardo Rodriguez and Pomeranz are going to emerge as legitimate postseason options appear more palatable than hoping some of the aforementioned pitchers will suddenly do an August about-face.
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