|05.27.16 at 5:17 pm ET|
John Farrell announced to the media in Toronto Friday prior to this team’s series-opener against the Blue Jays that Clay Buchholz would be headed to the bullpen. Taking his place in the Sox rotation will be Eduardo Rodriguez, who is slated to start against the Orioles Tuesday.
Buchholz has only pitched two games in relief throughout his career, with the most recent occasion coming in 2008. Farrell noted he will be used for multiple-inning stints out of the bullpen.
“The bottom line is the results, and there’s been a strong precedent set with that,” Farrell told reporters. “I can tell you that Clay understands the decision but probably doesn’t like it, which I can respect, but at the same time, the most important thing as we stand today is how he embraces this decision, how this change will work itself out, but his attitude toward the move has got to be one where you take this as an opportunity to work through some of the issues that have presented themselves, and that’s been the big innings or that’s been the home runs that have come with men on. Maybe in shorter stints, shorter looks, he begins to gain a little momentum and gets back on track.”
The move comes after Buchholz’s latest struggles, with the righty giving up six runs over five innings. It was the sixth time in his 10 starts this season he had allowed five or more runs. Buchholz’s ERA stands at 6.35, the second-highest of any starter in the majors.
Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis surmised that Buchholz’s struggles weren’t a product of physical or mechanical issues.
“We’ve watched a lot of video,” Willis told reporters. “Again, he feels good. Mechanics, we haven’t been able to really pinpoint anything significant that’s different. It’s just, yeah, execution and balls leaking back at the inappropriate count. I think more than anything else, it’s controlling the count.”
Rodriguez, who hasn’t pitched in the majors this season while recovering from a right knee injury, last pitched Tuesday when he allowed one run over seven innings. In five rehab starts for Triple-A Pawtucket, Rodriguez totaled a 3.54 ERA.
|05.27.16 at 3:53 pm ET|
Despite owning Toronto starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez — managing four hits and three walks in his 11 plate appearances against the righty — Ortiz will start the Red Sox’ series opener at Roger Centre on the bench.
The Sox DH is coming off a homestand in which he hit .500 (11-for-22), with an OPS of 1.638. He has multiple-hits in five of his last six games, currently carrying the best OPS (1.126) in the majors.
“All things considered, he’s still 40 years old, and we’ve got to take care of the days when, physically, it’s recommended,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters before the game. “We’re in one of those days right now. He’s had some success against Sanchez. There’s a number of factors that go into this decision. Preserving his health through the remainder of the year is primary.”
Marco Hernandez plays third base, with Travis Shaw moving over to first base, and Hanley Ramirez sliding into the designated hitter spot. Ramirez is 9-for-18 with a 1.471 OPS as a DH this season.
Here is the Red Sox lineup with Joe Kelly getting the start for the visitors:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts 3B
Travis Shaw 1B
Hanley Ramirez DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Marco Hernandez 3B
Christian Vazquez C
Blake Swihart LF
|05.27.16 at 11:07 am ET|
Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday.
TRIPLE-A PATWUCKET RED SOX (23-24): L, 11-4, vs. Lehigh Valley (Phillies)
— It was a rough day for PawSox starter Henry Owens. In the first inning Owens let up two singles, a double, two walks and a sacrifice fly and he hit a batter before getting out of the inning. Owens was pulled from the game after 3 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on six hits (including a home run) and five walks with two strikeouts, and he hit two batters. Since rejoining Pawtucket after a brief stint with Boston, Owens has had trouble locating the strike zone. In three of his last four starts he has walked five batters. Owens is considered one of the top pitching prospects in the Red Sox farm system, but he has struggled this season. With Pawtucket the 23-year-old-left-hander is 3-2 in seven starts with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP. In three starts with the big league club Owens has not recorded a decision in 12 1/3 innings with a 5.11 ERA and a 2.10 WHIP.
— Rusney Castillo and Ryan LaMarre hit home runs for the PawSox. Castillo finished the day 2-for-5 with a strikeout and two runs scored. He now is hitting .254/.310/.331 in 33 Triple-A games this season. LaMarre went 3-for-4 with a strikeout and now is hitting .313/.358/.434 in 23 games with the PawSox.
— The bullpen was unable to help salvage the game for the PawSox. Robby Scott came on in relief for Owens and lasted 2 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on five hits (two home runs) with three strikeouts. The 26-year-old left-hander has appeared in 11 games for Pawtucket this season, posting a 3.21 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. Wesley Wright followed and allowed two runs on three hits (one home run) with one strikeout in two innings. Noe Ramirez closed things out with a scoreless ninth inning, allowing one hit and recording a strikeout.
|05.27.16 at 8:39 am ET|
On Friday night the Red Sox will be north of the border to start a three-game series with the Blue Jays. Boston will begin the series by sending Joe Kelly to the mound, while Toronto will be depending on the right arm of Aaron Sanchez.
Kelly (2-0) will be making his second start for the Sox after a stint on the DL with a right shoulder impingement. Kelly had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning in his first start back from the DL last Saturday against the Indians. In that start it didn’t appear Kelly needed much time to get used to facing big league hitters again, as he began the contest by retiring 13 straight. Kelly ended up throwing 6 2/3 innings and giving up just one hit, no runs and three walks while striking out seven. Kelly’s stellar comeback outing lowered his ERA from 9.35 to 5.28 to go along with a 1.82 WHIP.
“Overall command of the fastball was very big today,” Kelly said after the start. “I was throwing it to both sides of the plate. I just felt super strong out there. All the work we’ve been putting in since I went on the DL of getting the shoulder stronger in the training room, it’s just good to go out there and not even think about it and get a little more extension on the fastball and all the other pitches with that strong shoulder.”
Kelly currently is enjoying a 10-game winning streak, dating back to last season. It is the 16th time in Red Sox history that a pitcher has a 10-game winning streak, and Kelly’s streak is the longest since 2013 when Clay Buchholz won 11 straight. Over his last eight starts at Fenway, Kelly is 7-0 with a 2.41 ERA. Toronto’s Rogers Centre has been far less accommodating for Kelly, however. Kelly has started three games at Rogers Centre in his career and in those starts he is 0-1 with a whopping 9.20 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP. Kelly has faced the Blue Jays six times in his career, going 1-1 with 6.96 ERA and 1.57 WHIP. The 27-year-old right-hander faced Toronto in his first start of the 2016 season. Kelly didn’t begin the year the way he wanted, as he gave up seven runs, one home run and three walks with four strikeouts in just three innings.
Something to keep an eye on is who will be catching for Kelly. Ryan Hanigan is supposed to get the start, but it is unclear if he is fully healthy after leaving Wednesday’s game with an illness. If Hanigan is unable able to go, Blake Swihart could get the start behind the plate. Swihart came up through the Red Sox system as a catcher, but has been playing left field for the Sox since his call-up from Pawtucket last week.
|05.26.16 at 10:04 pm ET|
It became apparent this wouldn’t be the Red Sox’ night on the first Sox at-bat of the evening.
Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., looking to extend the longest hitting streak in the majors to 30 games, launched a Jon Gray offering deep to right field. What looked like a surefire homer off the bat instead nestled into the glove of Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez.
Bradley would hit another ball to the base of the center field wall later in the game with the same result, bringing to an end one of the most uplifting stretches of baseball in recent Red Sox history and halting his hitting streak at 29 games.
On the flip side, right-hander Clay Buchholz saw a streak of his own continue, and it might cost him his spot in the rotation. Buchholz allowed a trio of two-run homers and got booed off the field, taking the loss in an 8-2 defeat.
The Red Sox didn’t have a chance in this one because Buchholz didn’t give it to them. After David Ortiz gave the Sox a 2-0 lead with his 12th homer of the season in the first, the Rockies tied it on a Carlos Gonzalez homer in the fourth, and then took control with consecutive two-run homers leading off the fifth as Buchholz saw his ERA climb to 6.35.
The only drama thereafter was whether Bradley could extend his streak. He got his last chance leading off the eighth, but grounded out routinely to second on the first pitch. The game ended with Bradley on deck.
Buchholz has now allowed 28 runs on the 12 home runs he has surrendered. Only two of the 12 have been solo shots.
|05.26.16 at 9:17 pm ET|
Say goodbye to Clay Buchholz?
Taking the mound with his spot in the starting rotation on the line, the Red Sox right-hander instead imploded against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday, done in by his nemesis — the long ball.
Buchholz allowed three two-run homers in five-plus innings. His final line, not surprisingly, was ugly: five innings, seven hits, six runs, all earned. He walked none, struck out two and saw his ERA climb to 6.35.
With Eduardo Rodriguez nearing a return, Buchholz is easily the odd man out of the rotation based on performance. His only hope was to pitch well and delay E-Rod’s return. Now, barring any physical setbacks for the young left-hander, there’s no point in saving the veteran’s spot.
Buchholz’s night actually started in encouraging fashion. He retired the first nine batters he faced before Charlie Blackmon led off the fourth with a single. And then things got hairy. With two outs, Carlos Gonzalez blasted a game-tying two-run homer to right.
The fifth brought more of the same. Gerardo Parra led off with a single and Trevor Story launched his 13th homer to center to make it 4-2.
Daniel Descalso followed with a single before scoring on the first homer of Dustin Garneau’s career. In the span of four batters, Buchholz allowed two singles and two homers while boos rained down from the very restless fans in attendance.
Manager John Farrell visited the mound with Heath Hembree warming, but not only let Buchholz finish the inning, he sent him back out for the sixth. When Gonzalez led off with an infield single, that was it for Buchholz, who left to a cascade of boos.
Was it his final start for the Red Sox for a while? We’ll find out soon enough, but at this point, there’s no point in arguing he deserves a spot in the rotation.
|05.26.16 at 7:34 pm ET|
Jackie Bradley just missed a home run that would’ve extended his hitting streak to 30 games leading off the game and then did so again two at-bats later, halting his hitting streak at 29 games.
Xander Bogaerts, however, extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a sharp single to left field off of Colorado Rockies starter Jon Gray. He then came around to score on David Ortiz’s two-run homer into the bullpen.
While all eyes are on Bradley, who was attempting to become the first Red Sox hitter since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997 to record a hit in 30 straight games, Bogaerts has quietly compiled an impressive streak of his own.
His 19-gamer is the second-longest in the game behind Bradley. The hit raised Bogaerts’ AL-leading average to .353.
Bradley nearly extended his streak leading off the game in place of Mookie Betts, who got a night off. He ripped a Gray offering to deep right, but it fell just short of the fence in right field. He later flew out to the center field fence before grounding out in his final at-bat in the eighth.
The game ended with Bradley on deck.
|05.26.16 at 5:33 pm ET|
As we noted today, Clay Buchholz faces a do-or-die start on Thursday against the Rockies. If he pitches well, he likely keeps his spot in the rotation for at least another start. If he doesn’t, get ready for the return of Eduardo Rodriguez.
It really might be that simple, and Rodriguez feels he’s closer than ever to being big league ready, thanks to a change in mechanics inspired by teammate David Price that led to the best start of E-Rod’s rehab on Tuesday in Pawtucket.
Rodriguez went seven innings, allowing four hits and one run, striking out seven and walking none in a win over Lehigh Valley. He didn’t quite have last year’s power, with a 92 mph fastball, but he attributed the Ks to something else.
“I can say it was better command,” Rodriguez said. “Every pitch was where I wanted. I didn’t push too much, force it too much to get more velocity. I was trying to throw the ball exactly where I wanted. Sometimes you need power, but most of the time you need to throw the ball to the right spot.”
Rodriguez has shortened his delivery, a la Price, in an attempt to keep his shoulder in line with home plate. With a longer delivery, he has a tendency to open up, he said, leading to misses high and wide to right-handed hitters.
“A little bit more of a side drop-step versus stepping back towards the shortstop in his case,” manager John Farrell explained. “He feels like it keeps him on line through his intended target with his front shoulder a little bit more consistently. I think if you look at the command of his pitches the last time out, there was some positive effect to that, but it is still kind of new for him. So there’s still, just becoming more second nature for him with that adjustment.”
|05.26.16 at 3:32 pm ET|
For the first time this season, Bradley Jr. will hit in the leadoff spot, with Mookie Betts starting the series finale against the Rockies Thursday on the bench. Bradley Jr. has four plate appearances in the order’s top spot for his career, over three games.
The Red Sox center fielder is leading the American League in hitting with a .350 batting average, having totaled a .415 clip with a 1.271 OPS over the life of what has become the fourth-longest hitting streak in club history.
The Sox also seemingly dodged a few bullets with ailments, with both Dustin Pedroia (hamstring tightness) and Xander Bogaerts (lacerated finger) getting starts after leaving Wednesday night’s game early.
Here is the Red Sox lineup against Colorado righty Jon Gray, with Clay Buchholz going for the hosts:
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young RF
Blake Swihart LF
Christian Vazquez C
|05.26.16 at 11:02 am ET|
Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (23-23): W, 6-2, vs. Lehigh Valley (Phillies)
— Right-hander Roenis Elias made his second straight strong start to help propel the PawSox to victory. Elias pitched 7 1/3 innings, giving up only three hits and one run while walking two and striking out eight. In three of the first four innings Elias set down the Lehigh Valley batters in order. In his last two starts, both wins, Elias has 21 strikeouts.
“His mound presence has improved these past two outings,” said PawSox manager Kevin Boles. “He has more confidence in his fastball and his arm slot has been consistent.”
Elias pitched one inning for the big league club this year. In a relief appearance against the Astros in April, Elias gave up three runs on four hits and two walks with a strikeout in 1 2/3 innings. With Pawtucket the 27-year-old Cuban is 2-3 with 4.28 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP.
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