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Red Sox 11, Rangers 6: More proof that the formula for winning baseball isn’t complicated

05.23.17 at 10:34 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

It’s really not that hard to figure out.

You get a just good enough outing from your starting pitcher. You drive out the opposing starter out of the game after five innings, having tagged him with five runs. And you stay aggressive at the plate and on the basepaths, resulting in eight runs without a single home run.

That’s how you win, even against a team like the Rangers, who had won 11 of their last 11. It has nothing to do with the good and bad of John Farrell. It just has to do with playing to the level of execution and production that one would expect.

Dave Dombrowski and the rest of his front office met with Farrell for two hours Monday to try and figure out exactly what this team had and how it can put .500 in the rearview mirror for good. That meeting also had nothing to do with the Red Sox’ 11-6 win over the Rangers.

Players have to start playing. And Tuesday night they did that against what has been a really good team.

On most nights Rick Porcello wouldn’t have been good enough. He gave up five runs on 11 hits over 6 2/3 innings, pushing his ERA to 4.35. That has to be better. But that’s something the Red Sox really don’t have whole lot of flexibility with. Either you can rely on your Cy Young Award winner, or you can’t. And if you can’t, that will be trouble.

The Red Sox simply have to be better than .500 when Porcello pitches, and right now they stand at 5-5.

But, fortunately for Farrell’s team, others did live up to expectations, winning for just the second time in the last 11 games in which the opponent had scored as many as five runs.

Against Texas starter Andrew Cashner, who came into the contest with a 2.45 ERA over seven starts, the Red Sox put the kind of pressure on most had expected from this team on semi-warm nights at Fenway Park. Specifically, the top four guys — the ones who, yes, the Red Sox will be living and dying with — did the trick.

Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts scored seven of their team’s 11 runs, with Andrew Benintendi returning to his productive ways back in the cleanup spot, getting on base in four of his five plate appearances.

With apologies to everybody who wanted have something to talk about other than the Celtics, Farrell’s moves on this night were really inconsequential.

He pulled Porcello after giving up his 11th hit on his 111th pitch, replacing him with the guy who has sort of been designated as the guy who pitches in such seventh-inning situations, Heath Hembree.

In the eighth, Robby Scott was brought on to face potentially three out of four lefties. It just so happened he did have to take on that final left-handed bat, Jared Hoying, because lefty slugger Joey Gallo hit a mammoth homer to right field. (It was the first time in Scott’s career he gave up a homer to a lefty hitter.)

And then, in the ninth, with the Red Sox having built their lead to five runs with a two-run eighth, Craig Kimbrel stopped warming up and let Matt Barnes close things out.

All in all, the night offered a perfect example of what the Red Sox’ reality is. If they have indeed bet on the right roster, than it’s up to those to do enough to prove their worth. This time, just enough of them did.

Shattering Perceptions Game Note Image

The Red Sox have scored a major league-best 6.5 runs per game since May 6 and have won 32 of their last 33 games when scoring six runs or more.

Dave Dombrowski preaching patience, not putting John Farrell in crosshairs

05.23.17 at 8:12 pm ET
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Dave Dombrowski

Dave Dombrowski

Appearing on the NESN pregame show prior to the Red Sox’ series opener against the Rangers Tuesday night, Dave Dombrowski certainly didn’t sound like someone who was ready to fire his manager.

In a five-minute interview with NESN’s Tom Caron, Dombrowski answered questions about both where he viewed his team — which came into Tuesday one game over .500 — and where his support of Farrell stood.


“Well, probably not as much as you normally would in most seasons. Because the reality is when you look at our ball club, it really hasn’t been together at all at any point during the year for me. So I think when you look at it, you say, ‘OK, well we need to improve our fourth and fifth starters.’ Well, David Price comes back next week — we think he’ll be back next week. So that’s a pretty big addition, that’s like making a major trade. I still think Drew Pomeranz, although he has scuffled at times, should be a fourth-, fifth-type starter on a good club. … We need to straighten him out. I think he’s capable of doing that. When you talk about bullpen, our bullpen’s been good but I still think we’re going to get Carson Smith in a short time period, so that’s another addition that we have.

“Third base, you know has been a hole for us where Pablo Sandoval could be back very soon. I’m not sure where Brock Holt fits into that whole equation. So we’re really on our fifth third baseman right now when you look at it. Pablo is there, and then Brock Holt was there. Marco Hernandez is going to have surgery, we’re going to miss him for the rest of the year. Josh Rutledge has been over there.

“In Hanley [Ramirez’s] case, not playing first base, people don’t realize at times how much that changes the mix of your club. Because at some time, we are going to have Chris Young get at-bats and DH at that point. So we sat down yesterday for over a couple hours. I sat down with John Farrell, with [assistant general managers] Eddie Romero, Brian O’Halloran, Zack Scott. I already talked to some of our scouts and just kind of go over our club to try to get it to fit together a little bit. Because some of those things, the injuries, and even the guys that are playing, like in Hanley’s case, it does affect what you’re trying to do. So normally at this time of year, I think you have a better pulse. But I think we need a little bit more time. We just really haven’t flowed as a club. We haven’t played as well as I think we’re capable of and I think we need to give ourselves that opportunity.”


“Well, we won a divisional crown last year. He managed very well for us at the time. I think that John as well as everybody else is frustrated by our performance and that we haven’t taken off, but we’re not buried either. I mean we’re four games out of first place and we really haven’t been in a flow. And when you look at it, it’s like, OK last week Thursday we won two great games in St. Louis. I wasn’t with the team, I was in Salem.

“Well, I looked at the match-up on Thursday, and I’m thinking, well if Gray throws like he’s capable, I’m not sure what we’re going to get out of Velazquez at that particular time. And of course, [Hector] Velazquez didn’t have a very good outing. So you lose that ball game. Is that John’s fault? I can’t put that on John. Friday night, you have Chris Sale, he threw the ball very well. Well the play that Trevor Plouffe made on Hanley Ramirez, I don’t know if he’s made a play like that all year long. Mookie Betts, in the ninth inning gets a line drive right at the third baseman. Well you have a chance to score five or six runs, didn’t happen, no excuses, but it’s one of those where I think to pin those things on John Farrell are just not fair. I think we’re in a position where he’s managed well, he’s managed divisional champions. I think we’re in a position, we have a good club. We just need to get in a better flow of things.”

NESN introduces live-streaming for Red Sox games on NESNgo

05.23.17 at 7:21 pm ET
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NESN has announced the launch of NESNgo, an in-market streaming service for NESN cable subscribers to watch NESN live at no additional cost. It is available throughout New England, except for Fairfield County, Connecticut.

The streaming can be accessed at NESNgo.com and the NESNgo app and includes regular season Red Sox games, including pre- and post-game coverage, and “other NESN programming” on phones and tablets.

Red Sox call up first baseman Sam Travis from Pawtucket

05.23.17 at 3:22 pm ET
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The Red Sox called up Sam Travis on Tuesday. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox called up Sam Travis on Tuesday. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)

One of the Red Sox’ top prospects is on his way to Boston. The team announced Tuesday afternoon that they have called up first baseman Sam Travis from Pawtucket and optioned pitcher Hector Velazquez to make room on the roster.

After a slow start to his Triple-A season, Travis has been on fire in 23 games since April 22, hitting .344 (31-for-90) with a .909 OPS, six doubles, three home runs and eight walks against only 10 strikeouts.

A 2014 second-round pick, Travis was named the Red Sox’ Minor League Offensive Player of the Year in 2015 before missing much of the 2016 season due to a season-ending knee injury. WEEI.com’s Ryan Hannable had Travis, who’s 23 years old, ranked as the organization’s No. 3 prospect entering this season.

It remains to be seen how the Red Sox will use Travis given that first baseman Mitch Moreland and designated hitter Hanley Ramirez have been everyday staples in the lineup, but it’s probably safe to assume John Farrell will want to at least get him in against lefties. Travis has crushed left-handed pitching throughout his professional career, hitting .358 overall and .414 this season.

Tuesday Red Sox Farm Report: Michael Chavis goes 3-for-5, currently leads Carolina League in hitting

05.23.17 at 10:10 am ET
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Michael Chavis

Michael Chavis

Here is what happened in the Red Sox farm system on Monday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (16-23): Scheduled off-day. 

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (20-18): Game postponed due to wet grounds and rescheduled to Tuesday.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (28-16): W, 10-5 vs. Myrtle Beach

— After going scoreless in the first five innings, the Red Sox scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 5-4 lead in front of a crowd made up of Roanoke City students on education day.

— The Pelicans scored one run in the top of the seventh, but Josh Ockimey answered with a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to take back the lead. The Red Sox maintained the lead for the rest of the game.

— At the plate, Michael Chavis went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. It was his 14th multi-hit game of the season. His .346 average leads the Carolina League.

— Lefty reliever Bobby Poyner pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowing one hit and recorded one strikeout to close the game. In May, Poyner has a .194 ERA.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (27-15): L, 4-3 at Kannapolis

— The Drive didn’t allow a run after the first inning, but Kannapolis’ four runs were enough to take down Greenville.

— Lefty pitcher Robby Sexton (0-4) took the loss after he allowed four runs on seven hits, but did tally five strikeouts in three innings of work. Sexton has a 5.67 ERA on the season.

— Stephen Nogosek replaced Pat Goetze in the bottom of the seventh. He allowed no hits and recorded three strikeouts to give the Drive an opportunity to come back. However, Kannapolis’ Mike Morrison pitched two innings and tallied three strikeouts to close the game.

— At the plate, Lorenzo Cedrola was 2-for-4 with one RBI, which raises his average to .273 this season.

— It’s worth mentioning, former Drive infielder Carlos Asuaje got called up to the Padres on Monday. During his time with Greenville in 2014, Asuaje was 99-for-325 with 11 home runs and a .305 batting average. He was included in the Craig Kimbrel trade.

Read More: Bobby Poyner, michael chavis, Robby Sexton,

David Ortiz on Dale & Holley with Keefe: Yankees leaked 2003 failed drug test

05.22.17 at 2:28 pm ET
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David Ortiz continues to insist he didn't test positive for performance enhancung-drugs in 2003. : (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

David Ortiz continues to insist he didn’t test positive for performance enhancing-drugs in 2003.  (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

David Ortiz still seems bitter about his failed drug test getting leaked to the New York Times eight years ago.

In 2009, the Times identified Ortiz as one of 104 players who tested positive for performance enhancing-drugs during a preliminary round of testing in Spring Training 2003. The results were supposed to remain anonymous, but they were never destroyed.

Since then, Ortiz has been a crusade to dispute the results. He claims to not know what he tested positive for, saying nobody has helped him identify the substance. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred backed up those questions during a visit to Fenway Park last October, when he said it’s “entirely possible” Ortiz didn’t test positive for steroids in 2003.

During an interview with WEEI’s Dale & Holley with Keefe Friday, when the conversation turned to the infamous failed test, Ortiz accused the Yankees of leaking his name to the press.

“What was the reason for them to come out with something like that?” he asked. “The only thing that I can think of, to be honest with you, a lot of big guys from the Yankees were being caught. And no one from Boston. This was just something that leaked out of New York, and they had zero explanation about it.”

While Alex Rodriguez was the only Yankee whose name on the 2009 test was revealed –– though he was playing for the Rangers at the time –– a number of Bronx Bombers were on the 2007 Mitchell Report, a study on steroid use in MLB that was spearheaded by former Sen. George Mitchell. Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch were all on the list. (Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield were both tied to BALCO, the Bay Area-based company that supplied Barry Bonds and other athletes with PEDs.)

Gene Orza, the former MLB Players Associating Chief Operating Officer, told the New York Daily News there’s no way the Yankees unmasked Ortiz’s name, since clubs didn’t have access to the list. Manny Ramirez, who wound up getting suspended twice for failed drug tests, was also named in the bombshell Times report.

In a 2015 Players’ Tribune essay, Ortiz said he passed more than 80 drug tests from 2004 until his penultimate season. But as NBC Sports’ Craig Calcaterra pointed out at the time, Ortiz may have inadvertently admitted to a positive drug test –– if he was being truthful. Only players who have previously tested positive for PEDs are checked that frequently. When the program was implemented, players weren’t suspended for first-time offenses or amphetamines.

Regardless, Ortiz continues to insist he’s innocent of any wrongdoing.

Nobody came to me after, nobody came to me before, nobody came to me ever to tell me that I test positive for any kind of steroids,” he told Dale & Holley with Keefe. “This was just something that leaked out of New York. They have still no explanation about it. It was just, ‘You’re name was there.’ I was like, ‘Oh, ok. See how that works.’ It’s not up to me anymore, about the Hall of Fame. I think I did what I was supposed to. I worked extremely hard to represent (Boston) the way I did.”

Read More: David Ortiz,

Monday Red Sox Farm Report: Brock Holt homers in PawSox loss

05.22.17 at 11:01 am ET
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Brock Holt

Brock Holt

Here is what happened in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (16-23): L, 2-1 at Buffalo

— Playing in left field, Brock Holt blasted a solo shot in the fourth inning, which was his second since beginning a rehab assignment with Pawtucket for vertigo on April 21. He went 1-for-4 in the game.

— Henry Owens (3-3) took the loss on the mound as he tossed six innings and allowed two runs (both earned) on six hits, while striking out seven and walking three. His ERA is now 3.19 this season.

— Blaine Boyer pitched two innings out of the bullpen and allowed two hits and struck out two.

At the plate, center fielder Rusney Castillo, right fielder Steve Selsky and shortstop Ryan Court all hit safely in the loss.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (20-18): W, 1-0 at Trenton

Teddy Stankiewicz (2-1) allowed just five hits in seven innings to earn a shutout win. It was the seventh shutout from Portland’s pitching staff this season. Stankiewicz struck out three and walked two.

— Yankory Pimentel pitched the final two innings to earn the save. He allowed one hit, walked one and struck out two.

First baseman Nick Longhi had the lone RBI for the Sea Dogs, while center fielder Tzu-Wei Lin, shortstop Deiner Lopez, and catcher Jake Depew each added hits.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (27-16): L, 5-1 vs. Myrtle Beach

Starter Shaun Anderson pitched six shutout innings, walking just one batter, striking out four and allowing just two hits.

Out of the bullpen, reliever Austin Glorius struggled as he allowed five earned runs in just one inning of work, while Mitchell Osnowitz pitched the final two innings.

At the plate, shortstop Chad De La Guerra homered in the fourth inning off of Myrtle Beach’s Adbert Alzolay for Salem’s only run.

Left fielder Mike Myers had the only other hit in the game.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (27-14): Postponed due to rain.

Read More: Brock Holt, Shaun Anderson, teddy stankiewicz,

Red Sox 12, Athletics 3: Bats come alive for much-needed win

05.21.17 at 8:13 pm ET
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Mitch Moreland homered for the third straight game. (Neville E. Guard/USA Today Sports)

Mitch Moreland homered for the third straight game. (Neville E. Guard/USA Today Sports)

After scoring eight runs in the first three games of the series, the Red Sox bats came alive for 12 runs in the series finale against the Athletics for a much needed 12-3 win on Sunday to avoid a sweep.

It was a 6-3 game until the Red Sox combined for six runs in the last two innings to turn a relatively close game into a blow out win.

Even though the offense scored 12 runs, the star of the game was starter Eduardo Rodriguez.

The left-hander pitched his sixth straight quality start to pick up the win. Rodriguez went eight innings and allowed three runs on six hits, while walking one and striking out eight.

The most encouraging thing for him was his command, as he hadn’t gone more than six innings in a start this season. The left-hander is now 3-1 with a 3.10 ERA on the year.

Every member of the Red Sox lineup had a hit with Hanley Ramirez and Christian Vazquez leading the way as both recorded three hits. Dustin Pedroia and Jackie Bradley Jr. also had multi-hit games.

Leading 2-1, Mitch Moreland gave the Sox some breathing room with a two-run home run in the fifth inning. It was his fifth homer of the season.

Also, every member of the lineup recorded at least one RBI except for Xander Bogaerts.

The Red Sox finished the road trip 3-3 and are now 22-21 on the season.

Shattering Perceptions Game Note Image

Moreland homered for the third straight game, the first time he’s been able to do that in his career.

Read More: eduardo rodriguez, Mitch Moreland,

A’s 8, Red Sox 3: It’s time to start rethinking Drew Pomeranz’s role

05.20.17 at 7:30 pm ET
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Drew Pomeranz (Kelley L. Cox/USA Today Sports)

Drew Pomeranz (Kelley L. Cox/USA Today Sports)

Drew Pomeranz has had his chance. It’s time to switch things up.

The story of the the lefty getting his crack at living life as a starting pitcher is well-documented. He pleads his then-manager, San Diego skipper Andy Green to compete for a starting spot with the Padres. Pomeranz earns the opportunity, makes the National League All-Star team which leads to the Red Sox giving up their top pitching prospect, Anderson Espinoza, for the southpaw’s services.

But that’s really where the feel-good story has come to an end.

After managing to pitch just four innings in a 97-pitch outing against the A’s Saturday, Pomeranz has now made 21 starts for the Red Sox. Just twice has he managed to get an out in the seventh inning. That’s a trend that was on full display in the Sox’ 8-3 loss to Oakland.

Like many of his outings, Pomeranz did manage to keep his team close, having now allowed two runs or less in six of his eight starts this season. But, also like many of his outings, getting to the finish line was a tractor pull. He entered the latest start having totaled 18.4 pitches per inning, almost two more than a year ago.

It’s frustrating for everybody, which was also evident in watching John Farrell and Pomeranz exchange words in the dugout following the pitcher’s exit.

The Red Sox most likely won’t make the move of changing Pomeranz to the bullpen, citing the lack of options to replace him. They would point out what the former All-Star can deliver is something the depth starting options simply can’t deliver right now. And then there is the thinking that the organization surely doesn’t want to devalue the guy they got for Espinoza.

But here’s the thing: As we sit here right now, Pomeranz’s value to the team is greater in high-leverage spots as a reliever.

While the Red Sox have pieced together the bullpen well enough to have some success leading into Craig Kimbrel. And Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg could ultimately help as well. But, judging by what Pomeranz flashed while living life out there during the final days of 2016, he could actually fill somewhat of need.

Yes, it will leave the Red Sox with some more rotation uncertainty. Even if David Price comes back without incident, that is unavoidable.

Maybe it’s time, however, to use the next month or so to figure out if Brian Johnson can actually be a reliable major league starter. In seven starts with Triple-A Pawtucket this season, Johnson has managed a 2.82 ERA. It is also his third season with the PawSox and time to figure out if he can become a consistent big league starter.

With Price still easing his way back, Pomeranz will almost certainly keep doing what he has been doing for another few times through the rotation. And maybe, after 21 starts, the lefty will find a way to give the Red Sox the kind of innings expected from any starter.

Yet after watching the latest effort, it just seems like it might be worth rethinking Pomeranz’s lot in life. It might be best for all involved.

Shattering Perceptions Game Note Image

Hanley Ramirez got things going for the Red Sox with his sixth homer of the season, coming in the second inning and giving the visitors a 1-0 lead. Also, with the loss, the Sox fall to .500, having dropped three games in a row for the first time this season.

Drew Pomeranz, John Farrell argue in dugout after starter is pulled

05.20.17 at 6:27 pm ET
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Drew Pomeranz’s season isn’t going as he had hoped. And some of that frustration might have manifested itself in a pointed discussion with John Farrell during the Red Sox’ game against the A’s Saturday afternoon.

Once again, Pomeranz failed to pitch deep into his start, this time lasting just four innings. With the Red Sox carrying a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth, Farrell ended the lefty’s afternoon after 97 pitches, bringing in reliever Ben Taylor.

The decision led to what appeared to be Pomeranz confronting Farrell with his displeasure.

Pomeranz has yet to get past six innings this season, having gone four, three and four innings, respectively, in his last three outings. Since joining the Red Sox, he has gotten an out in the seventh inning just twicw in 21 starts.

Taylor ran into problems after replacing Pomeranz, allowing four runs on three hits while not recording an out before being replaced by Noe Ramirez.

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