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Source: Jonathan Papelbon won’t sign by midnight, eliminating postseason eligibility with Red Sox

08.31.16 at 12:39 pm ET
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Jonathan Papelbon

Jonathan Papelbon

The likelihood of Jonathan Papelbon joining the Red Sox, or really any other team, now seems nonexistent.

According to a major league source, Papelbon won’t be signing with anybody prior to midnight, meaning the reliever wouldn’t be eligible for postseason eligibility if he were to pitch again in 2016.

A player has to be within the organization prior to Sept. 1 in order to be an option for the playoffs.

The 35-year-old reliever had drawn heavy interest from the Red Sox, with manager John Farrell and some players reaching out to Papelbon. But with the combination of not being an option for the postseason, and having not thrown since Aug. 6, he doesn’t figure to be a solution for the club’s eighth-inning relief issues.

When appearing on the Ordway, Merloni and Fauria Show Monday, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski elaborated on the Papelbon situation.
“We had interest in him, and we expressed that to him,” Dombrowski said. “John Farrell spoke with Jonathan Papelbon, and I think a couple of our players spoke to him, too. For his own personal reasons, he’s just decided so far not to sign. I’m not sure if he’s going to sign or not. I know he has a lot of strong feelings about Boston if he decides to sign. It’s just more of a situation where his agent says he’s not ready to make a decision.

“And now it becomes complicated because he hasn’t thrown in a game since Aug. 6. So you’re in a position where you just can’t thrust him out there. I don’t know what he’s been doing as far as throwing is concerned. I would doubt that he’s been throwing a lot. So you would have to go back out there and build up his arm strength and be in a position to face some hitters. It’s not just inserting him like it would be if you signed him right off the bat.”

John Farrell insinuates Yoan Moncada will be playing 3B for Red Sox soon

08.31.16 at 11:47 am ET
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Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

The Yoan Moncada Era seems to be on the immediate horizon.

During his pregame media briefing, John Farrell insinuated the Red Sox are strongly considering calling up the organization’s top prospect when the major league rosters expand.

“We’ve talked about Yoan, and not just as a pinch-runner,” Farrell said. “It’s an exciting young player. Extremely talented guy. There’s all positive reviews and evaluations of him. When that major league experience is going to initiate, time with tell that. But in terms of playing the position of third base, yes, that conversation has been had.”

The plan would be to play Moncada at third base, where he has been manning for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs since earlier this month. The amount of playing time the 21-year-old would get might initially be determined on matchups, with the switch-hitter having significant more success from the left side of the plate (.314 batting average) than the right (.171).

“This is a different scenario if it was July or the first of August, where you’ve got an alternate location to play,” Farrell said. “Minor league season ends, so is there a benefit for him just being here? Yes. Do you weight playing ‘x’ number of games a week vs. what he could be doing in Pawtucket? Well, that goes away. By all accounts there is nothing but positive by the experience here if that was to happen.”

Moncada entered Wednesday hitting .295 with a .935 OPS in 44 games with Portland.

The call-up might be a similar situation to when Xander Bogaerts was recalled in 2013 after playing just two weeks of third base in the minor leagues.

“The one thing for those who have been around this team for a number of years, teams that have had success have always had an injection of young players late in the season that have helped carry the team to the postseason,” Farrell said. “I think Yoan would be in a similar category for when Pedey [Dustin Pedroia] and Jake [Jacoby Ellsbury] came to the big leagues. When Bogey came to the big leagues. And [Andrew] Benintendi is obviously already here. I wouldn’t separate him out from that comparison at all. In fact, he’s a direct comparison.”

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Red Sox lineup: Sandy Leon returns at catcher, Chris Young in left as Red Sox look to avoid losing homestand

08.31.16 at 10:31 am ET
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Steven Wright

Steven Wright

Fresh off a 7-4 road trip, the Red Sox expected to do better than 3-3 on this homestand, but now they’re hoping to avoid a 2-4 swing through Fenway Park when they face the Rays in Wednesday afternoon’s series finale.

The Sox dropped a rough 4-3 decision on Tuesday night when Drew Pomeranz and Clay Buchholz allowed three runs on two homers between the seventh and eighth.

The Sox look to get back on the winning track with their regular lineup in this matchup of knuckleballer Steven Wright vs. Rays left-hander Drew Smyly.

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Sandy Leon C
Chris Young LF
Aaron Hill 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Steven Wright vs. Drew Smyly

08.31.16 at 10:03 am ET
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In the finale of a three-game series against the Rays, Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright will start on the mound opposite southpaw Drew Smyly.

Wright is 13-6 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. He is enjoying an All-Star season, but he got roughed up in his first start since returning from a shoulder injury. The 32-year-old let up five runs on seven hits in six innings of work in a 6-3 loss to the Royals on Friday. He walked three batters and struck out just one for the first time this season.

“I was a little antsy — too much adrenaline that first inning,” Wright said. “The walks killed me. [Royals first baseman Eric] Hosmer gets one that gets up in the air and it gets out, and right there, it’s three runs. If I would have been able to hold it to that, it would’ve been good, but to give up the other home run, start off a five-run spot in the first, that’s a tough deficit to overcome for any offense.”

Wednesday’s game will mark the first time in his four-year career that Wright will face the Rays.

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Despite loss, Drew Pomeranz caps off solid month of August

08.30.16 at 11:44 pm ET
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Drew Pomeranz

Drew Pomeranz

Don’t let the Red Sox’ 3-3 record when he’s on the mound fool you, Drew Pomeranz put together a solid month of August.

After a rocky start to his Red Sox career, Pomeranz has settled in nicely, allowing a pair of runs three times, one run twice and three runs on one occasion this month. In other words, he gave the Red Sox a chance to win all six of his starts.

The latest decent effort — save for his last pitch — came on Tuesday. One out away from closing the seventh with a 3-1 lead, Pomeranz instead allowed a two-run homer to Luke Maile and ended up taking a no-decision the disappointing 4-3 loss.

“I feel like I’ve done pretty well,” Pomeranz said. “But there’s certain points in the game, like tonight, that I can improve on and give us a better chance to win. And that’s what I need to do and what I need to get better at.”

If there’s a disturbing trend, it’s that the southpaw has fallen victim to an inning that lets the game slip from his grasp.

On Tuesday, it was a hanging breaking ball to Maile — whom he had already struck out twice — that he blasted for a two-run shot to knot things up in the seventh inning. The start prior, it was a game-tying double at the hands of the less-than-stellar-hitting Mikie Mahtook — who has since been optioned to Triple-A.

“It’s a tough way to lose,” Pomeranz said. “I was pitching so well, it just really sucks sometimes when that one pitch comes back to bite you.”

Forgettable innings aside, if there is anything lacking from Pomeranz’ starts, it’s run support. During his six August starts, the Red Sox averaged a mere 2.83 runs per game, never amassing more than four runs. Even still, it has been a collaborative effort that has led to the seemingly-incessant dropping of close games.

Moving forward, valid concern has been raised about how long Pomeranz can continue to go deep into games as a starter. Formerly a reliever, the 27-year-old has already tossed 153 innings, nearly 60 more than his 2012 career high of 96 2/3.

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8th Circle of Hell: Clay Buchholz takes blame for latest Red Sox loss at hands of bullpen

08.30.16 at 11:26 pm ET
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Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz (right) can't even watch as Evan Longoria rounds hte bases following his game-winning homer on Tuesday. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz (right) can’t even watch as Evan Longoria rounds hte bases following his game-winning homer on Tuesday. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

This time, it was Clay Buchholz’s turn.

For months, the Red Sox have searched for a reliable arm to pitch the eighth inning and bridge the divide to closer Craig Kimbrel. And for months, applicants have failed.

Koji Uehara got hurt. Junichi Tazawa flamed out. Brad Ziegler walked too many lefties. Matt Barnes and Robbie Ross have intermittently struggled with command.

On Tuesday, with Ziegler sent home because of illness, manager John Farrell handed the ball to Buchholz in the eighth inning of a 3-3 game against the Rays. Buchholz had pitched well recently as a starter and returned to the pen hoping to nail down this most vexing inning.

One mislocated fastball to Evan Longoria later, Buchholz had failed in his audition, too.

Longoria’s massive home run over everything in left lifted the Rays to a 4-3 victory that denied the Red Sox an opportunity to pull within a game of the Blue Jays in the American League East. It was just another crushing late-innings loss from a bullpen that has accounted for far too many of them.

“You can’t let one of their big sticks beat you,” Buchholz said, “and I did.”

Ahead in the count 1-2 after spotting a pair of pitches low and away on the outside corner, Buchholz attempted to go up and away with a fastball. It instead tailed back over the heart of the plate, and Longoria murdered it, smashing it an estimated 434 feet deep into the night.

“It was a fastball, trying to throw it up and away and I pulled it more inner third, and that’s his spot where he hits the ball a long way,” Buchholz said. “He didn’t miss it. I was going to go with the changeup after that, but obviously didn’t get to it.

“You never want to give up home runs to lose the lead. The way our offense has been swinging the bat, I think we were pretty confident we had a run in us in the ninth. It didn’t happen. I guess, it’s hindsight now, but I’d probably throw another changeup in that position.”

And so now the Red Sox go back to the drawing board, searching in vain for the arm that will get them to the ninth unscathed. Uehara could return as soon as Labor Day in San Diego. Otherwise, there’s also Joe Kelly blowing hitters away at Triple-A Pawtucket.

“It comes down to execution of pitches,” Farrell said. “Yeah, it’s difficult when you’ve got a lead going into the last couple of innings. You’re looking to bridge it to Kimbrel, and those are tough ones. You know, we’re putting ourselves in a position to close games out, and yet we’ve found ourselves a pitch or two from finishing off the job.”

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Rays, Red Sox, Red Sox Bullpen

Closing Time: Clay Buchholz allows go-ahead home run in 8th inning of Red Sox loss to Rays

08.30.16 at 10:23 pm ET
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Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) is congratulated by shortstop Matt Duffy (5) after scoring against the Red Sox in the first inning on Tuesday (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) is congratulated by shortstop Matt Duffy (5) after scoring against the Red Sox in the first inning on Tuesday (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

The eighth inning remains a major problem for the Red Sox.

On a night when the Red Sox offense required Drew Pomeranz to produce a solid start, the lefty answered the call.

Clay Buchholz, on the other hand, failed in his first foray into a late-inning pressure situation, serving up Evan Longoria’s go-ahead homer as the Red Sox suffered a 4-3 loss to the Rays on Tuesday.

Mere hours after manager John Farrell said Buchholz would likely become the team’s eighth inning and high-leverage option in many cases, Buchholz failed to maintain a 3-3 tie, surrendering a solo shot to Longoria over everything in left.

“It was a fastball, I was trying to put it up away, [but I] pulled it,” Buchholz said. “He didn’t miss it.”

Added Red Sox manager John Farrell, “Obviously Evan Longoria has done a lot of damage against us, and the last couple of times that we’ve had eighth inning situations he’s come up big. Down there against Porcello hanging breaking ball, today fastball that doesn’t get to the spot is the difference in this one. Other than that I thought Clay was throwing the ball very well in the eighth, but still, that’s part of that job late in games is if you miss, you’ve got to miss to the extreme.”

That ruined what looked like it would be the team’s second straight victory. The Red Sox led 3-1 in the seventh before Pomeranz faltered on his final pitch, a two-run homer by Luke Maile. Pomeranz similarly faltered recently in Tampa, when Mikie Mahtook drilled a go-ahead double.

“The last inning I got two strikes on a guy, I’m trying to bounce a curveball and I just left it up too much and he got it, that’s all there is to say about it,” Pomeranz said. “It’s a tough way to lose. I was pitching so well, it just really sucks sometimes when that one pitch comes back to bite you.”

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Tim Tebow in a Red Sox uniform? ‘I don’t think we’ll be rushing out to make a signing,’ Dombrowski says

08.30.16 at 6:28 pm ET
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Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow

If you were hoping to see Tim Tebow in a Red Sox uniform, it’s time to let that dream go.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, appearing on the NESN pregame show, made it clear that after watching Tebow work out on Tuesday in California, the Red Sox won’t be jumping into those waters.

“I don’t think we’ll be rushing out to make a signing,” Dombrowski said.

The Red Sox had two scouts in attendance at Tebow’s workout, a source told colleague Rob Bradord, which seemed to attract as many media members  as scouts. Tebow reportedly faced former big leaguers David Aardsma and Chad Smith and appeared overmatched, though he showed better bat speed in batting practice.

Scouts in attendance told USA Today that Tebow graded out well defensively from a movement perspective, though his throws lacked bite, which was the same criticism he endured in the NFL as a quarterback.

The 29-year-old hasn’t played baseball since 2004, but is attempting to make it in the sport after his NFL career came to an end.

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Red Sox pregame notes: Red Sox ‘gearing things toward’ Buchholz being frequently utilized in 8th inning

08.30.16 at 5:35 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

It looks as if starter-turned-reliever Clay Buchholz may soon be finding his niche in the Red Sox bullpen.

Though manager John Farrell stopped short of declaring Buchholz his eighth-inning guy, it’s clear he’ll get his opportunities there.

“Against certain lineups, that clearly could be his role,” manager John Farrell said. “If we’re in a heavily right handed-hitting lineup, likely to position [Brad] Ziegler to be in that spot. I want Clay to feel like that’s his place in this bullpen right now. The last couple times he’s pitched out of the bullpen it’s been in the eighth inning.

“We’ve been in games where it hasn’t been as tight as we will see going forward in terms of run margin, but want him to feel comfortable in that spot, because we’re going to lean on him on lineups such as Tampa’s or New York’s or where you’ve got a number of right left combinations in there. We need him to grow into that comfort level of being in that spot.”

In Buchholz’s last two appearances, he pitched in the eighth inning, blanking the Royals with a walk, while allowing one run on two hits on Monday against the Rays. This season, the 32-year-old has a 2.35 ERA in eight eighth-inning appearances, with an opponents batting average of .222.

As a result, the inning appears to be his if there is any fluctuation between left- and right-handed batters due up. But it is still his job to secure.

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Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia returns to the lineup, will continue batting leadoff

08.30.16 at 3:41 pm ET
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Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia

Following a two-game absence for a funeral, Dustin Pedroia is back in the lineup and will continue batting leadoff.

Pedroia has thrived in the leadoff spot this season, hitting .458 in 72 at-bats with 9 RBI. Brock Holt — who took Pedroia’s place in the leadoff spot the past two games — will stay in the lineup, hitting seventh and playing left field.

Sandy Leon will also get the night off, with Bryan Holaday getting the start.

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup with Drew Pomeranz on the mound.

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

David Ortiz DH

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez 1B

Travis Shaw 3B

Brock Holt LF

Bryan Holaday C

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

For a breakdown of the pitching matchup, click here.

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