|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.
|08.28.15 at 1:55 pm ET|
Injuries caused by foul balls and bats have become a major issue in baseball this year, especially after the Red Sox had two scary incidents earlier this season that led to fans being hospitalized.
Now a woman who was stuck by a ball last year at Fenway is suing owner John Henry for negligence.
Stephanie Taubin, a 46-year-old from Brookline, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court, The Boston Globe reported in Friday’s editions.
Citing court records, the Globe reports that Taubin said she was in the EMC Club in the area above home plate on June 17, 2014, and protective glass had been removed for renovations, leaving fans at greater risk. She was struck by a foul ball and suffered facial fractures and neurological damage, the complaint states.
She claims to have incurred medical expenses, lost wages and diminished earning capacity.
The Red Sox said in a statement to the Globe that the team “is unaware of the specifics [of the lawsuit] and generally does not comment on pending legal matters. But the safety of Red Sox fans and providing a quality ballpark experience are essential to the Red Sox, and to Mr. Henry, and are goals for which we strive as an organization to deliver.”
In an incident on June 5 of this season, a woman from Paxton seated near the visitors dugout was hit in the face by a piece of a bat that broke during a swing. Tonya Carpenter, 44, suffered sever injuries that required a week-long stay at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and additional treatment at a rehabilitation facility.
On July 10, a Connecticut woman seated on the third-base side was struck in the forehead by a hard-hit foul ball. Stephanie Wapenski, 36, received more than 30 stitches and spent the night in the hospital for examination.
|08.28.15 at 12:34 pm ET|
The Red Sox enter the weekend set in last place in the AL East with a record of 58-69. The Sox are 13 games behind division-leading Toronto but have played improved baseball as of late. The team is 6-4 in its last 10 games as the offense has heated up.
After the recent stretch of run production, the Sox rank third in the AL in runs scored on the season. It would stand to reason that so many runs would equate to more wins, but for the fact that the Sox rank dead last in the American League with a 4.54 ERA. The team still owns a minus-41 run differential despite the solid offensive output.
The only team that has matched Boston’s recent offensive production resides in Queens. The Mets have scored more runs (155) in the month of August than any other team in baseball. Teamed with their impressive pitching staff, the Mets have leaped to a solid 6 1/2 game lead over the Nationals in the NL East. In August the Mets have a record of 18-6. The team owns a 71-56 record overall, having won eight of its past 10 games, including seven straight.
New York is coming off a four-game series sweep of the Phillies, including a 9-5 victory in 13 innings on Thursday night that featured a memorable defensive play (in above video). Third baseman and captain David Wright came off the 60-day DL on Monday and has played well in his first four games back on a big-league diamond.
|08.28.15 at 9:48 am ET|
For their penultimate interleague series of the season, the Red Sox head to Citi Field to play the National League East-leading Mets. For the opening game, Henry Owens will represent Boston on the mound while Matt Harvey hurls for New York.
Now with four starts under his belt, Owens has shown improvement at the major league level. His first two outings yielded just four earned runs on eight hits over 10 total innings for a 3.60 ERA. The following start against the Mariners wasn’t as successful. It lasted six innings with 10 strikeouts but had seven earned runs accompany it, bumping his ERA up to 6.19.
But last Friday was the lefty’s best start yet. Owens pitched eight innings and gave up just one earned run on four hits with as many strikeouts and one walk. Earning the win, the 23-year-old improved his season ERA to 4.50 and his record to 2-1.
“Quality outing by Henry. What’s not to say about what he did?” interim manager Torey Lovullo said after Owens’ start. “A two-pitch, at times three-pitch mix. It just seemed really all clicked for him. He got into a great flow, great rhythm. We wanted him to touch the eighth inning. Those were some of the conversations we were having in the dugout, but he was so efficient, he worked through the eighth. It was a special night.”
Owens hasn’t faced the Mets before, and Friday will be his first major league start against a National League team.
|08.28.15 at 9:30 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (53-80): W, 1-0, at Buffalo (Blue Jays)
— LHP Rich Hill pitched six shutout innings to pick up the victory in his third quality start with Pawtucket since being signed out of the independent Atlantic League. The 35-year-old’s final line: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 SO (93 pitches, 62 strikes). Hill (2-1, 0.93 ERA) walked the leadoff batter in both the first and third innings, erasing the former of those runners on a pickoff move and watching the later get eliminated as catcher Sandy Leon executed a snap throw to first after a strikeout. Hill also stranded two runners in the second with an inning ending strikeout, and after perfect fourth and fifth innings induced an inning-ending double play on his final pitch in the sixth.
The 6-foot-5 Hill was released by the Nationals on June 24 after making 25 appearances in Triple-A out of the bullpen, where he had a 2.91 ERA over 21 2/3 innings, with 32 strikeouts and 21 walks. These last three starts with Pawtucket are Hill’s first game-openers in affiliated ball since 2012. In all, Hill has 10 seasons of MLB experience, including three seasons with Boston from 2010 through 2012, with a career big league record of 24-22 with a 4.72 ERA and 451 strikeouts in 197 games (70 starts).
— Relievers Jonathan Aro and Ryan Cook combined with Hill on the complete-game shutout, with Aro pitching two scoreless innings and allowing just one single, while Cook earned his first PawSox save as he stranded two runners (one reaching via error) in the ninth on a game-ending double play.
Aro, 24, just completed his third stint with Boston and is now 3-3 with a 2.97 ERA for Pawtucket over 32 appearances, with 70 strikeouts and 18 walks. A 6-foot righty, Aro has held opponents to just a .210 batting average against in 2015.
Cook, 28, has not allowed a run in six appearances with the PawSox and has allowed only two total hits while striking out 10 and walking two over 8 1/3 innings. The 6-foot-2 righty had one stint with Boston this year, allowing nine runs and 10 hits in two innings of work after being acquired this year from Oakland for a player to be named later or cash.
— Second baseman Marco Hernandez (Boston’s No. 23 prospect at MLB.com) drove in the only run of the game, a two-out single in the fourth that brought home DH Allen Craig. The 22-year-old Hernandez, a lefty stick, reached out and pulled and outside breaking ball to right on the RBI single and finished 1-for-4 to put his Triple-A slash line at .226/.246/.358 through 35 games. At the time of his promotion on July 16 Hernandez was leading the Double-A Eastern League with a .326 average.
— Craig, 31, had doubled off the wall in right earlier in the fourth inning to set up the game’s lone run. Craig finished 2-for-4 and has reached safely in eight straight, with a 13-game surge of .327 (18-for-55) including five walks, five doubles, nine RBIs and four runs scored. On the season, since being optioned to Triple-A on May 10, Craig is slashing .275/.370/.353 with four home runs and 30 RBIs over 90 games.
|08.27.15 at 4:51 pm ET|
This week in Chicago saw Hanley Ramirez begin to learn the fundamentals of playing first base from infield and third base coach Brian Butterfield.
Although the team would likely want to see what they have in him at the position, there is no rush.
“There’s no timetable,” Butterfield said to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford regarding putting Ramirez in an actual game at the position. “If he’s not ready, he’s not ready. That was very clear right from the get-go.”
If he doesn’t play at all this season then he would get even more time to work at it next spring training, which Butterfield says is the ideal place to learn a new position.
“The benefits of spring training are priceless,” Butterfield explained. “You go out there three times a day at different segments of the day and work on different things and you can go at a slow pace. It’s a little bit different time scale now. There are a lot of people involved, needing time. Now there isn’t that time you have in spring training, where some guys get full day of work without playing a game. We have to play a game today. We have to scale back a little bit because we need a fresh player at 7 o’clock.
“This is the first time he and I have been one-one-one. Everything has been in a team setting, with baserunning. The stuff he’s done with me has been baserunning and that has been as a group. I’ve never worked with him. There will be a feeling-out process. I don’t want to rush, but at the same token I don’t want to take too long.”
Regardless of when or if it happens, hard work won’t be an issue.
“We’re going to get after it,” Butterfield said. “That I know.”
Click here to read Bradford’s complete column detailing the challenges ahead for Ramirez.
|08.27.15 at 12:15 pm ET|
As the Red Sox arguably have the best farm system in all of baseball, their prospect with the most intrigue may be at the lowest level — the Florida Gulf Coast League and 17-year-old right-hander Anderson Espinoza.
Espinoza, out of Venezuela, was signed as an International free agent last year as a 16-year-old to a $1.7 million bonus. He dominated the Dominican League earlier in the year with a 1.20 ERA and is continuing his success in the Gulf Coast League.
Standing only 6-foot, 170 pounds, Espinoza has a 0.68 ERA over 10 games this season. He’s pitched only four innings in each of his starts, as the organization monitors his innings. He has 40 strikeouts in 40 innings.
Even more impressive is the 17-year-old Venezuelan has already picked up a good amount of the English language.
“I feel happy to be a part of the Boston Red Sox,” Espinoza said this week.
Espinoza’s stuff is very impressive, but even more impressive may be his maturity, as watching him from afar it would be hard to tell he could still be in high school.
“It still blows me away he’s only 17 years old,” Nick Green, one of the pitching coaches said. “You see him and his makeup and how mature he is, his mannerisms — it goes a long way and that really stands out.”
Green said Espinoza’s fastball has touched 101 mph on their radar gun a few times this season, but said he’s consistently in the high-90s.
“He’s a huge competitor,” he added. “This guy wants to go nine [innings] every time he gets the ball. I think from an organizational standpoint we’ve been advised to make sure he’s on a strict pitch count limit, which is important for his future.”
Being on an innings limit and coming out after the fourth inning in each game has been an adjustment for Espinoza because of how competitive he is. In his 10 games he’s allowed only five runs (three earned), while walking just nine.
“It’s difficult because I can’t get the win,” he said.
|08.27.15 at 11:06 am ET|
Former Red Sox play-by-play man and current ESPN broadcaster Sean McDonough joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Thursday morning to talk about Don Orsillo’s contract not being renewed by NESN. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
McDonough was also let go by NESN before Orsillo ended up replacing him completely in 2005. He said it was really difficult for him when he first found out back then, so he knows how upset Orsillo is now.
“It was heartbreaking, and it took me a long time to stop being emotional about it,” McDonough said. “I remember Kevin Dupont called me a day or two later and I basically sobbed on the phone. As soon as I heard the news the other day, I guess it broke on your show, I left Don a message and got a very nice text back from him, and I know he’s devastated and it is devastating. When you are a guy like Don who this is, since you knew you wanted to be a sports broadcaster, the job you wanted to have, and you put your heart and soul into it, and you think you’re good at it, and you don’t see this coming at all and all of a sudden you’re gone, it’s a really difficult thing.”
“I’m sure he won’t have any trouble finding a job because he’s a terrific guy, and he’s a talented guy,” he added.
There’s been a tremendous amount of support from Red Sox fans who want Orsillo to stay on with announcing partner Jerry Remy, including a petition circulating around social media. McDonough said he experienced a similar kind of support, but the way the business is formatted caused him to be grateful for his opportunity, although it took him awhile to be able to put things in perspective.
“When I left, I was really appreciative of the nice things people said, and I’m sure Don is too,” he said. “But eventually that goes away and you’re left with the reality that you’re not going to do this job anymore than you grew up dreaming about doing and I just, with hindsight, came to appreciate I was very fortunate to do that for 17 years. Very few people are blessed to do what they always wanted to do, and I had the opportunity for 17 years for a job that most people in broadcasting would die to do, so I hope with the passage of time, Don comes to appreciate that he was blessed.
|08.27.15 at 9:18 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (52-80): W, 4-3 in 10 innings, vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees)
— Centerfielder Jonathan Roof lined a two-out single to right-center field in the bottom of the 10th inning to bring home first baseman Allen Craig and gave Pawtucket a walkoff win and a three-game sweep of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Roof, 26, finished 2-for-3 with a double and two walks for his fourth multi-hit game in his last nine contests, as he’s raised his average from .189 to .215 over that span. In 36 games in Triple-A this year, Roof is slashing .215/.260/.273 after starting the year with Double-A Portland where he slashed .234/.333/.313 over 47 games.
It was the first sweep of any series in more than three months for the PawSox, since winning all three games in Toledo from May 5-7 and only their third sweep on the year. It is also the first three-game winning streak for Pawtucket since winning four straight from June 10-13.
— Craig, 31, hit the ball hard all night as he finished 2-for-5 with a home run, two lineouts to center and a leadoff single in the 10th inning that was blistered back up the middle. Craig’s homer, his fourth of the year in Triple-A and first since June 17, came in the fifth inning on a 3-1 pitch, pulled deep to left to tie the game at three. Through 89 games in Triple-A, Craig is slashing .272/.369/.349 with 30 RBIs and 28 runs scored. He is now hitting .290 in August with 12 RBIs in 25 games this month.
— Pawtucket’s offense had 11 hits on the night with other multi-hit games from shortstop Deven Marrero (Boston’s No. 10 prospect at MLB.com, 2-for-4, walk, RBI) and second baseman Mike Miller (2-for-4, RBI).
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