|10.07.16 at 1:08 pm ET|
The rookie has been moved up to the Red Sox’ No. 7 spot in the batting order for Game 2, with Jackie Bradley Jr. sliding to No. 9. Besides that switch, the rest of the Red Sox’ lineup remains intact against Cleveland starter Corey Kluber.
Here is the Red Sox’ lineup with David Price on the mound for the visitors:
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Brock Holt 3B
Mookie Betts RF
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Andrew Benintendi LF
Sandy Leon C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
|10.07.16 at 3:35 am ET|
CLEVELAND — It was business as usual for David Ortiz following his team’s 5-4 loss to the Indians Thursday night. Talking on the phone. Some postgame treatment. A quick visit from physical therapist Dan Dyrek. And then off to the team bus.
You would have never known he might actually be two games away from the end of his career.
“Hey, listen, this is not over yet. We’ve got plenty of games to play,” Ortiz said after the first game of the American League Division Series against the Indians. “I’m going to bring my best [Friday]. That’s how I am. And I’m pretty sure my teammates will, too, so see you manana.”
For much of the night, Ortiz was left with frustration.
After his first two at-bats resulted in a foul out and a ground out, the designated hitter was put on the spot in the fifth inning. With runners on first and second, two outs and the Red Sox trailing by a run, Ortiz faced off with Andrew Miller. The result would be an inning-ending strikeout.
“It’s so frustrating facing Miller because it seems like every pitch is a strike,” said Ortiz, who came into the at-bat having gone 1-for-7 against the lefty. “I got two strikes – not one of those pitches was a strike. They were down in the zone. That’s the second time it happened to me with him. But anyway, he’s very filthy and you just pray to God for him to make a mistake.”
|10.07.16 at 1:53 am ET|
CLEVELAND — The second the ball bounded in front of home plate, Hanley Ramirez waved for Marco Hernandez to take third. The rookie pinch runner instead retreated to second.
It was the eighth inning of a one-run game, and after the Red Sox failed to score, Hernandez found himself in the dugout alongside David Ortiz, who draped an arm over the youngster and spoke to him at length as the TV cameras rolled.
So what exactly did Ortiz say?
“He said to me, ‘You only have one decision. If you go, you go. But if you stay, make sure you do it the right way,’ ” Hernandez told WEEI.com. “I’m confident that was the right read. That run is the most important run of the game. If I get out on that play, the next hitter would have to hit a bomb to tie the game.”
There were no bombs. The Red Sox instead failed to score en route to a 5-4 loss to the Indians in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
Ortiz was a bit more pointed in his rendering of the conversation.
“We were just talking about baserunning situations, just give him some ideas,” he said. “He’s got to be a little more aggressive and be aware of things a little better next time.”
Hernandez pinch ran for Ortiz after the slugger doubled with one out in the eighth and the Red Sox trailing 5-4. Cody Allen bounced a curveball that kicked a few feet in front of the plate. Ramirez waved Hernandez, but the rookie stayed put. Those extra 90 feet loomed large when Ramirez grounded out. Xander Bogaerts then struck out to end the inning.
“Marco, his read at second base, we’ve got a chance to advance 90 feet,” manager John Farrell noted.
|10.06.16 at 11:42 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — The Red Sox will not roll into the American League Championship Series after all. They officially have a fight on their hands.
Expected to romp through the undermanned Indians, the Sox instead watched the hosts feed off the energy of their home crowd, drill three home runs off Cy Young candidate Rick Porcello, and gut out four-plus innings of relief to deal the Red Sox a 5-4 loss in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
Game 2 is Friday afternoon, with David Price taking on Corey Kluber in a battle of former Cy Young winners.
“Hey, listen, this is not over yet,” said DH David Ortiz. “We’ve got plenty of games to play. I’m going to bring my best tomorrow. That’s how I am. And I’m pretty sure my teammates will, too, so see you mañana.”
The Indians didn’t win 94 games because they’re pushovers, and they pushed back against the supposed inevitability of a Red Sox sweep in a big way on Thursday night.
Roberto Perez, Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor blasted solo homers in the span of four batters in the third inning, turning a 2-1 Red Sox lead into a 4-2 deficit as the sellout crowd at Progressive Field erupted.
The Red Sox, who got homers from Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon, rallied within a run, but drew no closer. Andrew Miller and the Indians bullpen combined to limit the Red Sox to a run over the final four-plus innings.
|10.06.16 at 4:14 pm ET|
It turns out Brock Holt will get that honor.
After experimenting with sliding Xander Bogaerts down in the batting order in the final week of the season, Red Sox manager John Farrell has chosen to keep the alignment against Cleveland righty Trevor Bauer, putting Holt right behind leadoff man Dustin Pedroia.
Also of note is the presence of rookie Andrew Benintendi, who gets the start in left field while hitting ninth.
Here is the Red Sox lineup with Rick Porcello on the mound for the visitors:
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Brock Holt 3B
Mookie Betts RF
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Andrew Benintendi LF
|10.06.16 at 12:10 pm ET|
Hanley Ramirez is ready for the playoffs. And he knows you are too.
In “A Message to Red Sox Nation,” published in The Players’ Tribune on Thursday, Ramirez explains his long-standing love for the Red Sox, Boston and David Ortiz.
“I know exactly how you feel right now,” Ramirez writes, “You wanna know something? Before I was a Red Sox player, I was a Red Sox fan. For real.”
He explains his fandom began when the Red Sox signed him in 2000. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Ramirez was unfamiliar with Boston but that didn’t matter.
“I had never been to Boston. I didn’t really know where Boston was,” Ramirez writes. “It looked cold. But it didn’t matter. For real, from the day I signed it was like the Red Sox were Tigres del Licey, my hometown team.”
“When the Sox came back on the Yankees in the 2004 playoffs, I was playing Double A ball in Portland, Maine. I watched every game.”
Ramirez goes on to detail the special bond he shares with Ortiz.
He says Ortiz is like a brother, not just to Ramirez, but to everyone and truly cares about his teammates.
“David brought me a whole cheesecake one day just because he thought I needed it. Randomly. Like he really walked in The Cheesecake Factory and got it on the way to the park.
“Not his assistant. Not his homeboy. David did it, just because.”
Playing postseason baseball with the Red Sox is special for Ramirez personally, but the team has a collective motivation to go deep into the playoffs.
“It took me 12 years, but I’m finally getting a chance to play playoff baseball at Fenway … You know, in spring training this year, we all got together and set one goal: Get David a ring in his final season.”
Read the full piece in The Players’ Tribune here.
|10.06.16 at 11:03 am ET|
As was the case for all three postseason rounds in 2013, the Red Sox have chosen to carry 11 pitchers. That left one position player to serve as the primary pinch-runner, with infielder Marco Hernandez getting the opportunity this time around.
Perhaps the only other question about the make-up of the roster was regarding the backup catching spot. That position will be manned by Christian Vazquez, who had managed one major league plate appearance between July 2 and Sept. 25. But with Vazquez’s arm coming back into form (carrying a team-best 1.8 second pop time of late), the Red Sox viewed him as the best option to shut down the Indians’ running game if needed.
Here is the Red Sox roster in their best-of-five series against the Indians, which kicks off Thursday night at 8:08:
PITCHERS (11): Matt Barnes, Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, Craig Kimbrel, Drew Pomeranz, Rick Porcello, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, Robbie Ross Jr., Koji Uehara, Brad Ziegler.
CATCHERS (2): Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez.
INFIELDERS (8): Xander Bogaerts, Marco Hernandez, Aaron Hill, Brock Holt, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Travis Shaw.
OUTFIELDERS (4): Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Chris Young.
|10.05.16 at 4:35 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — The question prior to the Red Sox’ workout at Progressive Field Wednesday seemed innocuous enough.
“You were snowed out here on Opening Day. Do you remember some of the questions maybe you had on that day about this team as you started that journey, and what has been answered the most?”
Before the query could be finished, Farrell had what was a more pointed answer than anyone anticipated.
“Yeah, I think Jonny’s first question was, ‘Hey, you going to get fired?’ Well, here we are,” the manager said, referencing WBZ’s Jonny Miller. (The question was actually asked on April 3 prior to the Red Sox’ workout day.)
Farrell went on to say, “We’ve answered a lot of challenges along the way, we’ve answered a lot of questions. How our rotation was going to build. How we were going to get past Eddie, who was injured in spring training. I think as you go through 162 games, the beauty of the journey is the potential distractions that are thrown at you, where the schedule have you going. I think our guys have done a great job of not only being prepared, but as I talked about in New York, this is a tough group, they’re smart, they care for one another and those traits are what has allowed us to get to this point, in addition to being a very talented team. I think we’ve come together with an offense that we’ve felt good about in spring training, but that has grown to a point of being maybe a unique one. I love the fact our rotation has answered some of the potential questions about them.”
– It sure looks like Marco Hernandez is going to make the roster for the Red Sox’ American League Division Series against the Indians.
There was some question if the Red Sox were going to go with 11 pitchers, which had been the case in all three rounds of their postseason run in 2013. With no designated pinch-runner, such as Quintin Berry, and the need to matchup against the Indians’ lefty batters, the idea that relievers Fernando Abad or Heath Hembree might be added as a 12th pitcher wasn’t far-fetched.
But listening to Farrell, it certainly seems the Red Sox are leaning toward once again going with the extra position player when rosters are turned in Thursday morning at 10.
“Given the potential need with two spots in our lineup where we’ve shown I think a pretty consistent approach to pinch-run. If the game situation dictates that, that will weight heavily if we go with a 14th position player, or not,” the manager said. “Then you look at the five-game series with an off-day in between. If there are no interruption with weather, you have some recovery time for relievers that you may use. Just looking at rosters in the past, we’ve typically stayed with 11 pitchers, as well. That will all shake out tomorrow morning.”
– In terms of in-game strategy, Farrell insinuated he had no plans to use a defensive replacement for first baseman Hanley Ramirez, or use Koji Uehara more than one inning (as was the case in 2013).
|10.04.16 at 5:19 pm ET|
As the Red Sox packed their bags in the Fenway Park clubhouse, getting ready for their Tuesday flight to Cleveland, Wright would have had every right to be a little upset. If he just didn’t injure that right shoulder while pinch-running in Los Angeles Aug. 5, Wright would most likely be one of the starters pitching in the upcoming best-of-five American League Division Series against the Indians.
But, instead, he is relegated to throwing bullpens Wednesday and Saturday, with the potential opportunity to face hitters in Fort Myers, Fla. after that. Not exactly how anybody envisioned after the season’s first four months.
Wright, however, isn’t mad. Instead the knuckleballer is almost unbelievably understanding.
“I try not be angry about anything because to me I feel like everything in your life happens for a reason, whether we know what the reason is or not,” Wright told WEEI.com. “I think with the whole injury thing, I think it just taught me to be patient. It’s one of those things where it’s a freak accident regardless of what people are saying with me being out there or not, if I should have been or if I shouldn’t have been. It was something that happened and I feel like it made me a better person. People were expecting me to get mad. People were mad. People were mad for me. But the thing is that if it wasn’t going to happen that way, it was going to happen another way.
“I’m blessed it wasn’t anything serious. Even though I’ve missed a lot of time for it, it’s still, in the big scheme of my career, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s one of those things where it happened and I just have to move on. I’m more angry that I wasn’t able to get out there and play, perform and help this team get to where we’re at. But we obviously have a good enough team. It’s not like they didn’t need me, but they were able to step up and get the job done.”
The hope for Wright now is that the Red Sox advance and he ultimately gets his chance to contribute, one way or another. And because of the possibility of pitching in still exists, watching the upcoming games at Progressive Field is simply viewed as part of the process.
“Right now it’s one of those things where I obviously want to help the team compete and win, but I feel like it’s a little bit easier to watch and cheer on because physically i’m not there yet, but I’m getting closer,” Wright said. “My goal is to make sure that when the next round comes and they have to make another roster decision, ti’s based on what the team needs versus me not being available because I’m not healthy. That’s my goal. Whether I make the next round roster or not, it’s obviously not my decision, I just want to be in that conversation of being put not the roster. That’s my goal. That’s what I’m going to work for. When that time comes and they have to make another decision on roster, I just want to be in the conversation.”
|10.04.16 at 4:46 pm ET|
It appears because of Drew Pomeranz’s strong performance Sunday out of the bullpen he will be on the Red Sox’ playoff roster and thus left-hander Robby Scott will not.
After being skipped in the rotation at the end of the season because of forearm soreness and a career-high in innings, Pomeranz came out of the bullpen Sunday against the Blue Jays and was very impressive.
Pomeranz went 1 1/3 innings with two strikeouts. The only base runner he allowed was because of an error, but even more impressive was his velocity.
In 13 starts with the Red Sox, according to Brooks Baseball his highest velocity was 94.46 mph, which was one of only five pitches higher than 94 mph. On Sunday, he threw nine fastballs at 94 mph, with the fastest being 95.4 mph.
Manager John Farrell announced on Tuesday Scott has been sent back to Fort Myers and the move was because of Pomeranz’s outing on Sunday.
“Yes, completely,” he said. “And how he responded physically yesterday, those were all encouraging. His ability to go multiple innings. His ability to throw the stuff that he showed the other night — as I mentioned post game, that was very encouraging. The physical stuff he had, in addition to his strike-throwing. The fact that Drew came out of that outing in a favorable way, the decision was made yesterday on Robby.”
The Red Sox will now have Robbie Ross Jr., Fernando Abad and Pomanerz as lefties available out of the bullpen, with likely Abad not being on the playoff roster.
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