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Monday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. R.A. Dickey

06.29.15 at 8:18 am ET
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In the first game of their series at Rogers Centre, the Red Sox send Clay Buchholz to the mound to face knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

Buccholz’s last start came Wednesday night when the Orioles were at Fenway Park. He tossed seven innings and gave up just one earned run on eight hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. The outing was his third straight lasting six or more innings and his second consecutive one allowing fewer than two earned runs.

“[I] was able to throw some changeups in some big spots and was able to use the cutter on both sides of the plate,” Buchholz said Wednesday. “They hit some balls pretty hard right at some guys and defense made the plays on them, so that always helps, too.”

Over his last nine starts, Buchholz has a 2.48 ERA in 61 2/3 innings, holding opponents to a .246/.291/.336 slash line. Of those nine outings, the righty has only surrendered more than three earned runs twice, when he conceded four in consecutive starts on June 7 and June 13. Buchholz’s recent success has helped improve his season record to 5-6 and his ERA to 3.68.

The Blue Jays are one team that Buchholz is very familiar with, especially on the road in Toronto. With 26 career starts against the Jays, and 27 total appearances, Buchholz has been on the hill at the Rogers Centre 14 times. Overall, he has a 3.51 ERA and a 12-9 record through 166 2/3 innings vs. the Blue Jays, and that improves to a 2.30 ERA with a 9-3 mark over 94 innings in Toronto. Opposing Jays batters slash .233/.309/.320 against Buchholz, and he manages an even more impressive .208/.286/.270 when away from home. Out of teams that he’s made at least six starts against, Buchholz’s 1.138 WHIP at Toronto’s field is his second best. Only his 0.952 mark at Tropicana Field is better.

In three starts vs. the Jays this season, Buchholz is 1-1 with a 6.60 ERA, though two of those outings were at home. In his one start at the Rogers Centre, he pitched 6 1/3 innings while giving up just three earned runs with as many walks and strikeouts. At Fenway, he pitched 2 2/3 innings on April 28 and 4 2/3 innings on June 13 against Toronto, allowing four earned runs in each abbreviated start.

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, R.A. Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays,

Mike Napoli ejected for not doing bat boy’s job

06.28.15 at 6:42 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Mike Napoli’s overall relationship with the umpires this year has not been good. Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field, it hit it’s boiling point.

Napoli was tossed from what would ultimately turn into a 5-3 Red Sox win over the Rays in the second inning for what appeared to be for arguing a called third strike on Chris Archer’s 3-2 slider.

But, according to the first baseman, the actual ejection by home plate umpire Tripp Gibson was only in part due to the initial disagreement.

“I mean, first of all, it was a ball,” Napoli said. “And I thought I walked, so that’s why I dropped my bat. I had a conversation with him and told him I thought it was a ball and he said it was a good pitch. Started taking off my batting gloves, starting walking back to the dugout, and he told me I forgot my bat. I kind of stopped a little bit, and he told me to come pick up my bat. I pointed to the bat boy who picks up our bats, and he tossed me. So when he tossed me, I told him how I felt.”

He then added, “I mean, I was walking away, I was going back to the dugout, and he was telling me to come back and pick up my bat when it was over. It’s kind of embarrassing. I don’t know how you can throw someone out for that. I’m not trying to get thrown out in the second inning. We’ve got a short bench. Enough’s enough. I’ve been getting pitches that have been called off the plate. It’s frustrating. I’m the type of hitter that sees a lot of pitches, and that’s the way I hit. I’m not going to change the style of how I came up and the player I became because they keep calling pitches off the plate. It’s frustrating, and I’m going to keep battling, but something’s got to give.”

The ejection clearly was not what Napoli, or the Red Sox, were banking on with just two position players (catcher Sandy Leon and infielder Deven Marrero) on the bench.

Once he was tossed, Napoli would be replaced at first base by Brock Holt, whose second base position would be occupied by Marrero.

“I wasn’t saying anything,” he noted. “I’m not just going to sit there and keep taking it. I’m going to let them know how I feel, but I don’t do it in a way where I’m going to get tossed. I didn’t do anything wrong to get tossed there. Maybe it’s a rookie mistake, young-guy mistake, but for me to get thrown out in that situation for him telling me to pick up my bat, it’s embarrassing.”

The dispute was just the latest issue Napoli has had with umpires and their strike zones. The righty hitter has been extremely vocal in his displeasure with how he views a widening zone.

“I’m waiting for the borderline call to be called a ball one time,” he said. “But that’s where my frustration’s coming from. I try to get into hitters’ counts, and people want to say it’s just one pitch. But it swings an at-bat, and people don’t understand that. With the stuff guys have today – Archer’s throwing 98 with a 90 mph slider – I mean, I can’t do nothing with the slider off the plate. He’s too good to be able to get those pitches. I don’t know. I mean, I’d like to get those pitches. It seems like I haven’t really all year.”

Closing Time: Red Sox, Justin Masterson get better of Rays, Chris Archer

06.28.15 at 4:13 pm ET
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David Ortiz and Pablo Sandoval celebrate the DH's fourth-inning home run Sunday. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

David Ortiz and Pablo Sandoval celebrate the DH’s fourth-inning home run Sunday. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As far as wins go, this had to be classified as one of the better ones of the season for the Red Sox.

Playing first-place team (Rays). Facing one of best pitchers in the American League (Chris Archer). Unknown entity going for you on the mound (Justin Masterson).

The Red Sox, however, flipped the script in the series finale at Tropicana Field, claiming a 5-3 win over the Rays and Archer Sunday afternoon.

While Archer did show why his stuff is considered among the best in the majors — striking out 10 in his six innings. (He entered the game with third-most punch-outs in the AL.) But in the end, the righty would tie his season-high for most runs allowed, giving up five before exiting.

Since allowing five runs to Texas on May 7, Archer had gone 6-1 with a 1.61 ERA in nine starts.

But the saving grace for the Red Sox coming into the game was that Archer carried a 1-5 mark with a 5.18 ERA against the Sox in his previous eight starts. Thanks in large part to home runs by Alejandro De Aza, Pablo Sandoval and David Ortiz, that trend continued.

The Red Sox initially jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to solo, two-out home runs from Sandoval and De Aza. The Sox increased their lead to 4-0 in the fourth when Ortiz launched his 12th homer of the season into the right field seats, plating Xander Bogaerts.

Bogaerts and Sandoval were in the middle of the Red Sox’ third run, as well, with the shortstop ripping a one-out double in the sixth inning and ultimately coming in via Sandoval’s sacrifice fly.

While the Red Sox were getting to Archer, Masterson was holding off the Rays.

The Sox starter, who was making his first big league appearance since allowing six runs in 2 1/3 innings in Oakland on May 12, gave up just one run on five hits over five innings. Masterson struck out six while not walking a batter for the first time this season.

(For a complete box score, click here.)

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Hanley Ramirez headed back to Boston for tests

06.28.15 at 2:30 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez is still dealing with soreness in his left hand (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Hanley Ramirez is still dealing with soreness in his left hand (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The healing wasn’t coming fast enough for the Red Sox or Hanley Ramirez.

Ramirez, who has been sidelined since June 24 when he took a line-drive off his left hand while running to second base, is being sent back to Boston for more tests on the injury.

The outfielder wasn’t initially placed on the 15-day disabled list after it was determined there was no fracture in the hand. But Ramirez continues to be unable to swing a bat, leading to the further examination.

“He’s still feeling some discomfort in the hand where he got hit,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said before his team’s series finale at Tropicana Field. “He’s actually going to return to Boston today to get further studies performed. At this time tomorrow, we’ll get a better read on his roster status and if there’s anything in addition to what was determined with the CT scan and the X-ray. Unfortunately, he’s not progressing as we anticipated, particularly over the last 24-48 hours.”

In other injury news, Daniel Nava (thumb/wrist) continues to take batting practice with the team after receiving a cortisone shot last week. If all goes well the outfielder would go out on a rehab assignment when the team gets home from its current road trip.

Farrell also noted that the Red Sox could possibly bring catcher Ryan Hanigan back off the 60-day disabled list to play in Wednesday’s day game in Toronto.

Red Sox lineup: Blake Swihart catching Justin Masterson

06.28.15 at 11:05 am ET
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Chris Archer

Chris Archer

With one of the American League‘s best pitchers, Chris Archer, on the mound for the Rays Sunday, John Farrell starts catcher Blake Swihart, while keeping Jackie Bradley Jr. in right field for a fourth straight game.

Alejandro De Aza is also once again starting in left field, with Hanley Ramirez headed back to Boston for additional tests on his injured left hand.

Here is the Red Sox‘ lineup with Justin Masterson on the mound:

Mookie Betts CF
Brock Holt 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Mike Napoli 1B
Alejandro De Aza LF
Blake Swihart C
Jackie Bradley Jr. RF

For all the matchups, click here.

Sunday Red Sox Farm Report: Sean Coyle homers to lead PawSox; Manuel Margot blasts first Double-A HR; Trey Ball, Michael Kopech rising prospects

06.28.15 at 10:05 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday:

Sean Coyle

Sean Coyle

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (37-39): W, 7-3, vs. Gwinnett (Braves)

— Second baseman Sean Coyle (Boston’€™s No. 13 prospect at MLB.com) broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning with a three-run home run to left, unloading on a 3-2 pitch. It was the fifth blast of the year for Coyle, 23, who had missed 23 games with time on the DL (left elbow inflammation) from May 15 through June 7. Coyle had struggled at the plate since his return, hitting just 7-for-45 (.156) over 13 games in June before Saturday night’€™s game-changer. Coyle, a third-round selection by Boston in the 2010 draft, was a Double-A Eastern League All-Star in 2014 as he hit .295 with 16 homers in 96 games, while also appearing in the MLB All-Star Futures Game at Target Field in Minnesota.

In addition to the homer on Saturday, Coyle also was part of a heads-up play defensively to end the Gwinnett fourth inning. After a single to left with two aboard, Coyle snuck behind an overzealous baserunner and applied the tag before the lead runner could cross the plate. Left fielder Quintin Berry supplied the throw.

— The PawSox made several excellent defensive plays on the night. Right fielder Shane Victorino‘€™s calf looked fine as he executed a feet-first slide to grab a sinking liner in the third. One batter later, Berry made a fine running backhand over-the-shoulder catch on the warning track. In the fifth, center fielder Rusney Castillo ended the inning with a charging shoe-top snag of his own. Then in the sixth, Castillo displayed his arm strength as he nailed a runner at the plate trying to score from second on a slow-rolling single up the middle.

— Victorino played seven innings and finished 1-for-4 in his third rehab game with Pawtucket. He is 3-for-9 with a double.

— Castillo was 2-for-3 with a walk, double and two runs scored. Castillo also stole a base, his eighth. It was the Cuban’€™s third multi-hit game out of four since his demotion from Boston.

— RHP Pat Light pitched a perfect ninth to close the game out in a non-save situation. Light, a converted starter and 2012 first-round draft pick, had blown saves in his last two outings but looked smooth on Saturday as his fastball peaked at 97 mph on the McCoy Stadium radar gun.

— Outfielder Carlos Peguero was hit by a pitch on the elbow in the first inning and had to leave the game. Catcher Humberto Quintero was a late scratch due to a lower back injury.

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Read More: Chad De La Guerra, manuel margot, michael kopech, sam travis

Sunday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Justin Masterson vs. Chris Archer

06.28.15 at 8:05 am ET
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Justin Masterson will make his first major league start since May 12 on Sunday, facing one of the AL’s best in Chris Archer as the Red Sox take on the Rays at Tropicana Field to close out their three-game set.

With Joe Kelly sent down to Triple-A, the Red Sox chose Masterson to take his place in the rotation over right-handed knuckleballer Steven Wright. On Kelly’s demotion, Red Sox manager John Farrell deemed it a matter of fine-tuning his pitch command.

“The options would have been put him in the bullpen or send him down to start,” Farrell said. “This centers around consistent command with the baseball and his pitches. It’s certainly not stuff, it’s not athleticism. The frustrating part for Joe and for all involved is that when you see an athlete with his ability and it doesn’t translate to the consistent command of his pitches, that’s what is continually being addressed.”

Masterson will make his return to the big leagues on the heels of a long stint on the disabled list for right shoulder tendinitis. Although that issue was cited as the cause for his 2-2 record and bloated 6.37 ERA, many pundits have speculated that injury is not the reason for Masterson’s early season woes. More practically, one need not look further than his 57 percent strike rate to locate the cause of his problems: command. The 6-foot-6 righty has lost much of the control that earned him a bid to the 2013 All-Star team.

Opponents have slashed a whopping .286/.388/.479 against Masterson this year, comparable numbers to 2013 NL MVP Andrew McCutchen, who’s slashed .295/.382/.490. Masterson’s 1.05 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio is his worst since his age-24 season mark of 1.04, a definitive red flag for a sinkerballer. Meanwhile, the former Indian is allowing career-highs in extra-base hits (10.3 percent) and line drives (29 percent), while striking out a career-low 14.6 percent of batters.

Masterson will begin the road to recovery Sunday against a Rays team that has tagged him for a 6.93 ERA in 15 career meetings.

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Closing Time: Red Sox done in by unexpected group of Rays

06.27.15 at 6:31 pm ET
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Matt Andriese, Jake Elmore and Rene Rivera.

These are the guys who stopped the Red Sox‘ momentum, pushing John Farrell‘s team to nine games in back of the first-place Rays after Saturday’s 4-1 Tampa Bay win at Tropicana Field.

(For the box score of the 2-hour, 21-minute game, click here.)

Elmore, whose big league claim to fame was catching and pitching in the same game, supplied what would ultimately be the game-winning hit, a two-run homer off Red Sox starter Wade Miley in the fifth inning.

“I was just trying to get ahead with the fastball and go from there,” Miley said. “In that situation, man on third [Asdrubal Cabrera] and one out, if I walk him, I walk him and go after the next guy. But I thought I had him in a pretty good situation and just didn’t execute the pitch.”

The homer, which snaked around the left-field foul pole, was the fourth home run of Elmore’s five-year big league career and shortest of the year hit at Tropicana Field (344 feet). Three of the 28-year-old’s homers have come against the Red Sox, with Miley joining Drake Britton and Edward Mujica the 5-foot-9 righty hitter’s victims.

“When I hit it, I didn’t even think home run,” Elmore said. “All I thought was, ‘Please stay fair,’ because I knew it was at least getting down and then I was like, ‘Oh man, that might get out of here.’ So I was not worried about that. I was just worried it was going foul. I thought I kept it fair, and thankfully I did.”

Tampa Bay managed some insurance off Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes, who allowed a solo homer to light-hitting catcher Rene Rivera in the seventh. Rivera came into the afternoon hitting just .162 with three home runs.

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Red Sox lineup: Sandy Leon catching Wade Miley; Jackie Bradley still starting

06.27.15 at 12:11 pm ET
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Sandy Leon

Sandy Leon

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — With Matt Andriese on the mound for the Rays, John Farrell sends out a similar lineup as he did in the Red Sox‘ series opener with the exception of Sandy Leon serving as the visitors’ catcher.

Here is the Red Sox lineup with Wade Miley on the mound for the Red Sox:

Mookie Betts CF
Brock Holt 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Mike Napoli 1B
Alejandro De Aza LF
Sandy Leon C
Jackie Bradley RF

For all the matchups, click here.

Saturday Red Sox Farm Report: PawSox’ Steven Wright tosses 4-hitter but loses; Chad De La Guerra lifts Lowell with 3 doubles

06.27.15 at 11:19 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday:

Steven Wright

Steven Wright

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (36-39): L, 1-0, vs. Gwinnett (Braves)

— Steven Wright suffered the loss in a full nine-inning effort. The knuckleballer allowed just two hits and three total baserunners through eight innings before giving up a leadoff single in the top of the ninth. After a sacrifice bunt and a ground out moved the runner to third, Wright gave up a double to right that scored the game’€™s only run. Wright fell to 2-2 in five starts for Pawtucket this season but lowered his ERA to 2.65.

— Gwinnett pitchers Alex White (7 IP), Peter Moylan (1 IP) and David Carpenter (1 IP) held Pawtucket to just one hit, a single to left off the bat of catcher Matt Spring in the fifth inning. The PawSox did draw four walks Friday, including back-to-back free passes in the bottom of the second, but were unable to capitalize.

— Ryan Hanigan continued his rehab assignment, going 0-for-3 with a walk as the designated hitter. Hanigan was placed on the 60-day DL after suffering a displaced fracture in his right hand May 1.

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Read More: Chad De La Guerra, Kyle Kraus, steven wright, Ty Buttrey
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