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Closing Time: Henry Owens pummeled as Tigers salvage split with Red Sox

08.21.16 at 4:19 pm ET
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Henry Owens didn't have it for the Red Sox on Sunday in Detroit. (Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

Henry Owens didn’t have it for the Red Sox on Sunday in Detroit. (Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

DETROIT — Henry Owens had quite a travel odyssey to reach Comerica Park in time for Sunday’s start against the Tigers. Notified at 6 p.m. on Saturday, he was immediately scratched from his start with Triple-A Pawtucket in Scranton Wilkes-Barre and drove to Philadelphia, where he caught a 6:30 a.m. flight to Detroit.

If only the journey had been worth the effort.

Owens wasn’t ready for prime time in his return to the Red Sox rotation. Filling in for Eduardo Rodriguez (hamstring), Owens delivered the type of outing typical for his frustrating Red Sox career. He walked five, struck out six, and allowed a pair of mammoth home runs to Justin Upton.

All of that damage accounted for eight runs and the Red Sox never recovered in a 10-5 defeat.

“This one came down to base on balls and Justin Upton,” manager John Farrell said.

The Red Sox now head to Tampa for four games after a 5-2 start to this road trip. They lost for just the second time in their last 10 games.

This one was over early. Owens navigated the first two innings on five strikeouts and two walks, but fell apart with two outs in the third. The pivotal moment came when manager John Farrell intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera in order to face the scorching J.D. Martinez, who poked an outside offering into the right field corner for a two-run double.

Upton followed with the first of his two three-run homers and that was the end of that.

“It’s a pick your poison situation with Cabrera and J.D. Martinez,” Farrell said. “Load the bases, he’s working through the at-bat with Martinez in pretty good shape, he gets in a 1-2 count. Martinez ends up putting the bat on the ball on a changeup that was off the plate away, and pokes it inside the first base bag. We’re sitting there in a two-run ballgame, and then all of a sudden it’s the Upton show at that point.”

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi home run, henry owens, justin upton, Red Sox

Red Sox notebook: E-Rod’s status, Clay Buchholz from stretch, Jonathan Papelbon’s old number

08.21.16 at 1:03 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

DETROIT — Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez remains day-to-day with a sore left hamstring, and manager John Farrell hopes he’s able to avoid the disabled list.

Speaking before Sunday’s series finale in Detroit, Farrell said the team will progress cautiously with Rodriguez, who reported last-minute discomfort at 5:45 p.m. on Saturday, just hours in advance of his scheduled start.

“We have to get him through a simulated game at this point, and hopefully that’s over the next couple of days while we’re in Tampa, just to test his hamstring more than the normal in-between side bullpens, which he threw with his normal intensity, for a side day,” Farrell said. “But where he had reluctance was thinking about and envisioning trying to be 100 percent and not having complete confidence or conviction with those pitches. With that mindset, took it out of his hands and made the adjustment for Henry [Owens] today.”

Owens had a whirlwind Saturday. The Red Sox informed him around 6 p.m. that he needed to get to Detroit. There were no late flights, so he drove to Philadelphia and flew into Detroit on Sunday morning at 6:30.

“Short notice, quick travel, 1:10 start,” Farrell said.

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, eduardo rodriguez, John Farrell, Jonathan Papelbon

Sunday’s Red Sox-Tigers matchups: Henry Owens vs. Justin Verlander

08.21.16 at 8:17 am ET
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Henry Owens

Henry Owens

The Red Sox will send Henry Owens to the mound Sunday afternoon to face Tigers veteran Justin Verlander as they conclude their four-game series in Detroit.

Owens was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket, where he had been scheduled to start Saturday night, as an emergency fill-in for Eduardo Rodriguez (hamstring tightness).

Owens started the season with the PawSox, joined Boston on April 24, then returned to Triple-A on May 6. With Boston he started three games and went 0-0 with a 5.11 ERA and 2.11 WHIP. Although his overall numbers in Triple-A aren’t eye-catching — 8-6, 3.70 ERA, 1.40 WHIP — he’s pitched well of late, allowing just four earned runs over his last five appearances, spanning 23 innings. In his most recent start, Aug. 15 against Lehigh Valley, Owens went seven innings and allowed one run on five hits and one walk with two hit batsmen while striking out six.

Owens has faced the Tigers once, last Aug. 9. It was his second game in the majors and turned out to be his first major league win. He went five-plus innings, allowing one run on three hits and four walks with two strikeouts as Boston took a 7-2 decision in Detroit.

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Read More: eduardo rodriguez, justin verlander,

Sunday Red Sox Farm Report: Mauricio Dubon 4-for-5 in Portland win; RHP Josh Pennington goes 6 strong for Lowell

08.21.16 at 8:04 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system Saturday.

Chandler Shepherd

Chandler Shepherd

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (66-61): L, 4-0, at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees)

— With Henry Owens a late scratch due to his call-up to Boston, right-hander Chandler Shepherd made a spot start — his first start this season and just the second of his three-year professional career — and threw a season-high 56 pitches (45 for strikes). The 23-year-old from Kentucky pitched well through three innings, striking out three batters in the first and recording a 1-2-3 third. In the fourth he allowed singles to three of the first four batters, loading the bases, and was removed. Right-hander Noe Ramirez proceeded to allow a bases-clearing double, with all three runs charged to Shepherd. Ramirez also gave up an RBI single in that frame, with that run charged to him.

— After Ramirez’s 1 2/3-inning stint, right-hander Kyle Martin pitched three scoreless innings, allowing four hits while fanning three. The 25-year-old Martin, who has allowed one run in nine innings pitched this month, is second among International League relievers with 11.15 strikeouts per nine innings, and he carries a 3.23 ERA.

— Chris Young, continuing his rehab stint, played all nine innings in left field for the second consecutive game and went 1-for-4. He’s 5-for-23 in seven games with the PawSox.

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Read More: Chandler Shepherd, josh pennington, mauricio dubon,

Eduardo Rodriguez scratched from Sunday’s start with sore hamstring, replaced by Henry Owens

08.21.16 at 1:27 am ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

DETROIT — The Red Sox will push back left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez for at least one day after he reported lingering soreness in his sore left hamstring. With Rodriguez scratched, left-hander Henry Owens will start Sunday’s finale against the Tigers.

“I feel it’s still a little bit tight,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t want to get in the game tomorrow and do something wrong and get that crazy or get in the game and not focus on throwing strikes and focus on whether I can still feel that. I had that feeling before with my knee. I know it’s going to be something wrong. It doesn’t make the pitch where I want it or give up a lot of runs. That was the decision that was made.”

Manager John Farrell said there are no plans to put Rodriguez on the disabled list, nor is there a corresponding roster move for Owens.

Rodriguez left his last start against the Orioles after only four innings with the sore hamstring. He threw a bullpen on Friday and hoped he’d be ready to go on Sunday, but after throwing Saturday, brought his concerns to Farrell.

“After his bullpen here today, he continued to feel some uncertainty in the hamstring,” Farrell said. “He didn’t feel like he could make the pitches necessary with the conviction required. When he talked about it, I didn’t want to put him out there with that frame of mind.”

Rodriguez is 2-5 with a 5.11 ERA. Owens is 0-0 with a 5.11 ERA in three big league starts. He has walked 13 in 12 1/3 innings.

Read More: eduardo rodriguez, henry owens, Red Sox,

Closing Time: David Ortiz, Red Sox outlast Tigers, elements for 8th win in 9 games

08.21.16 at 12:18 am ET
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David Ortiz is congratulated after blasting a two-run homer against the Tigers on Saturday. (Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

David Ortiz is congratulated after blasting a two-run homer against the Tigers on Saturday. (Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

DETROIT — The Red Sox suddenly look like one of the best teams in baseball again.

They continued what is turning into a season-defining road trip with their eighth victory in nine games, beating the Tigers 3-2 despite a pair of lengthy rain delays that entrusted the final four innings to their beleaguered bullpen, which delivered.

The star of this one was once again David Ortiz. Honored before the game with framed photos of his appearance at the 2005 All-Star Game in Comerica Park, Ortiz once again proved a discourteous guest by blasting a two-run homer in the fifth as part of a three-hit night.

The homer, his 29th of the season, made a winner of left-hander Drew Pomeranz, who delivered five effective innings before a 72-minute rain delay ended his evening prematurely after just 51 pitches (39 strikes).

“Once again, he’s the difference in this one offensively,” manager John Farrell said of Ortiz.

The Red Sox remained a half-game behind the Blue Jays, who rallied to beat the Indians. They moved two games ahead of the Orioles for the first AL wild card spot, and dropped the Tigers 5 1/2 games behind; not even two weeks ago, the Tigers led the Red Sox by a game.

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Read More: David Ortiz, Drew Pomeranz, Red Sox, tigers

Red Sox owner John Henry, in Boston Herald, supports John Farrell, discusses likelihood of David Ortiz playing in ’17

08.20.16 at 11:35 pm ET
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John Henry

John Henry

Red Sox owner John Henry has been the silent partner this year, but he gave an interview to the Boston Herald’s Mike Silverman via e-mail that includes a number of interesting tidbits. Here are some highlights:

— Henry gave manager John Farrell a vote of confidence.

Managers are always overly blamed and John knows that comes with the territory,” Henry said. “So do I. It’s mainly a radio and internet thing. If you watch enough managers over 162 games you know what’s important and a lot of it is how a manager manages the clubhouse. Is he doing everything he can to help his players be successful on the field for 162 games? Do they feel he has their backs? Are they willing to sacrifice personal goals for team goals? You often see the focus either on the field or off the field. That makes all the difference.”

— Henry admitted he’d love to convince David Ortiz to unretire, but he doesn’t see it happening.

“There’s going to be a big hole in that lineup if he doesn’t return and I know he would return if he thought he could,” Henry said. “But it’s a struggle for him. That’s why he announced. If at some point he seriously considers coming back, it would be a great day for the organization. But, unfortunately, I don’t think that is in the cards.”

— Henry believes NESN should use a three-man broadcast booth more often.

For more, including Henry’s thoughts on Pablo Sandoval, David Price, and the biggest impediment to the Red Sox making the playoffs, check out the rest of the story.

Read More: John Farrell, John Henry, Red Sox,

Red Sox and Tigers scheduled for 8:30 p.m. start after rain delay

08.20.16 at 7:57 pm ET
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Showers in Detroit have let up and the tarp is being removed from the field. First pitch has been pushed back to 8:30 p.m.

The Red Sox and Tigers are playing the third game in their four-game set, with Drew Pomeranz on the mound. The forecast calls for showers throughout the night, but the hope is they remain light enough to get the game in.

 

Read More: Red Sox, tigers,

Steven Wright doesn’t anticipate making start on Tuesday, but Red Sox manager John Farrell isn’t ruling it out

08.20.16 at 7:07 pm ET
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Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright doesn't want to pitch until he's sure his shoulder is healed. (David Butler/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright doesn’t want to pitch until he’s sure his shoulder is healed. (David Butler/USA Today Sports)

DETROIT — Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright does not expect to start on Tuesday when he’s eligible to come off the disabled list, but manager John Farrell isn’t closing the door.

Speaking to WEEI.com before Saturday’s game against the Tigers, Wright said he wants to be careful with his shoulder. He threw on flat ground without pain and is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Sunday.

“No, I don’t think I’ll be back Tuesday,” Wright said. “It’s one of those things, I just found out about it a couple of days ago. I know that’s the first day I’m eligible to come off the DL, but for me, because it’s my shoulder, I’m not going to rush. The last thing I want to do is try to go out there and pitch and have something really bad go wrong. Today was my second day throwing with pretty much no pain, which is great.”

Wright said his biggest test will be how he recovers on Monday. In a perfect world, he’d throw another side session on Tuesday, see how he feels on Wednesday and Thursday, and then slot back into the rotation.

Farrell isn’t ruling out a Tuesday start, however.

“I think that’ll be determined after we get through [Sunday],” Farrell said. “Might be one [bullpen], maybe two. If it is two, then we would obviously slot him in and build in another day of rest for the rotation, maybe buy an added day of rest for each guy as we’re into this consecutive stretch. If that were to be the case, we’ve also got a chance to break up the left-handers if it fits. And then look at the schedule to see what the best matchups will be along the way.”

Wright is behind on his between-starts workouts. He said he lifted upper body for the first time in two weeks on Friday.

“The biggest test is, how does it feel Monday after throwing off the mound,” Wright said. “I haven’t thrown off the mound in two weeks.”

Wright injured his shoulder diving back into second as a pinch runner in Los Angeles on Aug. 7. He has not received any shots, instead attempting to heal through rest. He said the injury is to his bursa sac, and not the more serious labrum or rotator cuff.

“I try to avoid needles in my shoulder,” Wright said.

Making a slower return more palatable for Wright is the success of right-hander Clay Buchholz, who limited the Tigers to one run in six innings on Thursday. Wright noted that Buccholz, “is throwing the hell out of the ball.”

“When you’re talking about your throwing arm, it could be the smallest thing, but if you’re not mentally confident, it’s going to affect you whether you are physically OK or not,” he said. “The two go hand in hand.”

Read More: Clay Buchholz, John Farrell, Red Sox, steven wright

David Ortiz leaves game with sore back, expected to play Saturday

08.20.16 at 10:34 am ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

DETROIT — The management of David Ortiz continues.

The Red Sox slugger may appear ageless on the field — he slammed his 28th homer in the first inning of Friday’s victory over the Tigers — but his body offers frequent reminders that he’s in fact every one of his 40 years as he guts out his final season.

Case in point: he left Friday’s 10-2 win with what manager John Farrell described as a sore upper back, but he’s expected to rejoin the lineup on Saturday night.

“Little stiffness in the upper back, but nothing significant,” Farrell said. “He should be good to go.”

Ortiz left the clubhouse on Friday before reporters arrived, so he was unavailable for comment, but Farrell saluted the All-Star slugger, who continues to amaze during his farewell tour. He’s hitting .317 with 28 homers and 95 RBIs, and he leads the league in doubles (38), slugging percentage (.628), and OPS (1.038).

“I guess you could say he’s defying the odds when you look at the age,” Farrell said. “But he’s been such a good performer for so many years. We kind of felt early in the season, after he made the announcement, he was even that much more free of mind to go out and enjoy the game, play it as it unfolds in front of him. As well as David does to balance all the requests and all the potential distractions some other players might succumb to, he handles it all in stride and continues to be a main cog in this offense.”

Read More: David Ortiz, Red Sox,
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