|06.27.16 at 10:39 pm ET|
The state of the Red Sox pitching staff has reached DEFCON 1 status.
One night after Clay Buchholz put the Red Sox in an immediate hole in a loss to the Rangers, Eduardo Rodriguez did him one better with a five-run first against the lowly Rays.
The Red Sox never had a chance thereafter against one of the worst offenses in baseball, dropping a 13-7 decision that will be remembered for Dustin Pedroia’s animated mound visit with Rodriguez in the second that saw the former MVP share a number of choice words with his floundering teammate, who was optioned to Triple-A after the game.
Rodriguez looked lost. The Rays sent nine men to the plate in the first en route to five runs. They added four more against him before they were done, chasing him with a pair of homers in the third, ending an 11-game losing streak and sending the reeling Red Sox to their 10th loss in 15 games.
The loss resulted in Red Sox manager John Farrell calling a team meeting following the game, during which even the clubhouse attendants were asked to wait outside.
“The bottom line is he’s capable of more, we’re capable of more, we need to get better, and we had a chance to share that here after the game tonight,” Farrell said. “You know what, we collectively have to get better. To continue to fall behind as much as we are of late, we’re more talented than that. We have the capability of executing pitches at a higher rate. We can’t continue to expect our offense to climb out of holes, as we’ve been. We’ve got to set the tone and lead the way from the mound more than we are.”
This one got ugly in a hurry. Logan Forsythe led off the first with a single and the Rays recorded five more hits from there, including RBI doubles from Taylor Motter and Nick Franklin. Forsythe, Desmond Jennings, and Nick Franklin all homered for the Rays, who entered the game last in the AL in runs (295), but smacked a season-high 18 hits.
Things got interesting in the second when Rodriguez hung his head after allowing an infield single. Pitching coach Carl Willis jogged out to the mound, but Pedroia took control of the meeting, waving his hands in Rodriguez’s face to make his point before yelling what looked like, “Let’s go!” as he left the mound.
The Red Sox tried to rally, but it wasn’t happening. They now sit a season-high 4 1/2 games behind the Orioles in the AL East.
Red Sox pitchers have allowed the opponent to score first in 11 of their last 13 games, including eight times in the first inning. The Sox starters have also combined for a 13.20 ERA on the current road trip.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
— You’re kidding, right? OK, fine — catcher Sandy Leon stayed hot by blasting his first homer of the season.
WHAT WENT WRONG
— Start with Rodriguez. He allowed 11 hits and nine runs in just 2 2/3 innings, lacking confidence in his fastball and allowing the Rays to sit on his offspeed offerings. Just ugly all around. His ERA now stands at 8.59. His minus-five “Game Score” was the lowest by a Red Sox starter since Doug Bird on May 24, 1983.
— Left fielder Bryce Brentz stroked a two-run double in the fourth as part of a three-hit night, but was thrown out trying to take third, ending the frame.
— The Red Sox fell to three games under .500 against the American League East. The Orioles are 22-13, in contrast.
— The Rays entered the game ranked last in the AL in runs (295). They reached 15 hits for just the third time this season.
— Reliever Koji Uehara continues to struggle with his splitter, allowing a mammoth two-run homer in the eighth while getting some work as his ERA climbed to 5.08.
(Rob Bradford contributed to this report from St. Petersburg, Fla.)
|06.27.16 at 9:34 pm ET|
Even before Eduardo Rodriguez allowed nine runs in 2 2/3 innings Monday night against the Rays, it was clear the Red Sox would need to add at least another starter to the rotation by next month’s trade deadline.
They have a loaded farm system with plenty of prospects to trade away, including top prospects Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada. It seems unlikely the organization would be willing to part ways with either player, but they will surely have their names come up in negotiations with other teams.
“The thing you have to remember is that you have two clubs to make a deal, and most clubs, as I’ve said all along and it hasn’t changed whatsoever, really are not prepared to move towards 2017 and be in a position where they’re willing to move,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said to reporters over the weekend. “There are probably five clubs that have been looking at that all year long, and I think those five clubs are the ones that remain.”
It’s likely those five teams are the Twins, Braves, Padres, Phillies and Reds, as those teams had their eyes set on 2017 even when 2016 got started and then the Athletics are now likely added to the mix given their start to the year.
Even though the trade deadline is just over a month away, here are five players the Red Sox could potentially trade for before the July 31 deadline.
Julio Teheran, RHP, Braves
The right-hander’s name has come up more than any other player of late. Despite a 3-7 record, he has a 2.46 ERA and in his last 11 starts has an ERA of just 1.71. He’s 25 years old and under team control until the end of the 2020 season. He’s arguably the best pitcher who will be made available across the league, which means the Braves will certainly get more than they should in return for him. For the Red Sox, it becomes a question of whether or not they would be willing to give up Moncada or Benintendi to get him.
Sonny Gray, RHP, Athletics
With the way the Athletics are playing, it’s likely they are now shifting their focus towards the future and if they really wanted to make a big impact on that, they would deal Gray as that would yield them the most in return. Gray did miss some time this year with a strained right trapezius, but has seemed to turn things around after a rough start as he has a 3.23 ERA in his last five starts. Overall, for the year the 26-year-old is 3-6 with a 5.03 ERA. He too is under contract until the end of the 2020 season.
|06.27.16 at 8:29 pm ET|
The time for niceties is over and it looks like Dustin Pedroia has seen enough.
With Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez imploding vs. the Rays — he allowed five runs in the first inning alone on Monday night — Pedroia decided it was time for some tough love. As the following Vine illustrates, Pedroia did not mince words with Rodriguez during a mound visit in the second.
Dustin Pedroia with some choice words for Eduardo Rodriguez in midst of another meltdown. https://t.co/8STRgXfPeA
— John Tomase (@jtomase) June 28, 2016
The second baseman’s final words after the animated discussion appeared to be, “Let’s go!”
The speech didn’t have its desired effect. Rodriguez came back out for the third and allowed nine runs before being lifted. His entire evening was a disaster against one of the worst offenses in baseball. The Rays scored five in the first by sending nine men to the plate.
They then knocked Rodriguez out in the third with homers by Desmond Jennings and Logan Forsythe. Rodriguez’s line: 2 2/3 innings, 11 hits, nine earned runs, and one tongue-lashing from his All-Star second baseman.
|06.27.16 at 6:45 pm ET|
For the last time before the final voting is announced, Major League Baseball released the leaders in All-Star balloting. And, as it stands, the Red Sox seem well-positioned to boast at least four position players as starters for the American League.
Both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts currently are in the top three in voting for outfielders, only trailing Mike Trout. Betts is just ahead of both Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain and Mark Trumbo of Baltimore.
“It’s definitely cool. You can’t say you never dreamed about,” Betts said. “It’s definitely something I would love to be a part of. We’re kind of struggling right now so my mind is kind of somewhere else right now. But I’m going to do the best I can and in doing that the All-Star voting will take care of itself. Just take care of business, and that business will take care of itself.”
Both shortstop Xander Bogaerts and designated hitter David Ortiz have comfortable leads at their respective positions.
Dustin Pedroia resides in third-place in the race for the second base spot, while Hanley Ramirez is the fifth-highest vote-getter at first base.
Here is the complete voting:
|06.27.16 at 6:23 pm ET|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — We have a Brandon Workman sighting.
The reliever, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, made an appearance at Tropicana Field Monday, throwing a bullpen session in front of Red Sox manager John Farrell. Workman has been participating in games in Fort Myers.
“I’ve been throwing about on a five-day schedule down there, but I just recently took some time off, and now I’m starting to ramp back up and start pushing forward through it,” said Workman, explaining that his time off was an opportunity to fix some mechanical issues.
“I’d just been working full steam ahead for a while there, so it was a breather to catch my breath and get everything back where it needs to be, and now I’m ramping back up again.”
“He threw the ball good,” said Farrell of the bullpen session. “Typical with a Tommy John recovery, there’s going to be some ups and downs with some arm strength as you go through those rehab outings. He’s been in games up to three games while in Fort Myers. We’re hopeful that soon he gets out on a rehab assignment to begin that 30-day clock. To do that, felt like there were some minor adjustments in his delivery work to get past some muscular soreness in the lat area that’s been taking place.”
Workman hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since Sept. 18. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list coming out of spring training in 2015, attempting to avoid surgery with a PRP injection in his right elbow. But after two months, it was determined surgery would be needed.
The 27-year-old is eyeing a rehab assignment in the coming weeks, most likely starting in Single-A Lowell. And if all goes well, Workman is hoping to contribute to the major league’s team run in the final month or two.
“That’s been my goal from the time I got surgery through today,” he said. “I’ve been working, trying to get myself in a position where I can come back sometime this year and be a contributing part.”
|06.27.16 at 4:12 pm ET|
David Ortiz is back in the Red Sox lineup as they open a three-game series with the Rays in Tampa.
Ortiz missed Sunday’s 6-2 loss to the Rangers to rest his aching heels, but manager John Farrell told reporters he should start all three games in Tampa.
The Red Sox have dropped nine of their last 14, including two straight in Texas, but they’re on fire compared to the Rays, who have lost 11 straight to drop a season-high 13 1/2 games out of first place.
Here’s the lineup, in this battle of Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Rays counterpart Blake Snell:
RF Mookie Betts
2B Dustin Pedroia
SS Xander Bogaerts
DH David Ortiz
1B Hanley Ramirez
CF Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
LF Bryce Brentz
C Sandy Leon C
3B Marco Hernandez
|06.27.16 at 1:38 pm ET|
Another day, another small roster move for the Red Sox.
Prior to Monday’s three-game series against the Rays, the team announced it has selected infielder Mike Miller to the active roster and optioned right-hander William Cuevas back to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Miller can play a few infield positions and it is his first big league stint after being selected in the ninth round of the 2012 MLB draft. He has has hit .251 between Pawtucket (46 games) and Double-A Portland (six games) this season, appearing defensively for the PawSox at second base (32 starts), third base (seven starts), and shortstop (six starts). He is a right-handed hitter.
Cuevas has appeared in three games over two stints this season, going 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA. He pitched in two games against the Rangers this past weekend, allowing two hits in 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|06.27.16 at 11:49 am ET|
Perhaps the easiest way to stop slipping in the American League East standings — where the Red Sox are four games out of first-place for the first time since mid-April — is simply by taking the trip to Tropicana Field. There they will find a Rays team that has lost 11 games in a row. That is then followed by third-worst team in the American League, the Angels.
But, what then?
You have to seemingly find another starter who offers the chance of pitching in a postseason game if presented the opportunity. There still needs to be a bullpen arm that would take some of the eighth-inning heat off of 41-year-old Koji Uehara. And then there is the discomfort of not knowing when your left fielders will return, and if the most important bat in your lineup (David Ortiz) can keep his foot/heel in working order for the season’s second half.
When presented the problems by the media following his team’s 6-2 loss the Rangers, Dombrowski offered a dose of reality.
“The thing you have to remember is that you have two clubs to make a deal, and most clubs, as I’ve said all along and it hasn’t changed whatsoever, really are not prepared to move towards 2017 and be in a position where they’re willing to move,” he said. “There are probably five clubs that have been looking at that all year long, and I think those five clubs are the ones that remain.”
Dombrowski added, “It’s still early. I can tell you I’ve done a great deal of work and there’s five clubs that are willing to talk about it, and it’s the same five clubs who have been at it all year. So it’s still a little early for that type of situation. We’ll see what happens.”
If you think the Red Sox president of baseball operations is alone in his thinking, he’s not. Just ask another general manager who finds himself in a similar situation.
“In this market, there’s not a lot of pitching, in general,” said Rangers GM Jon Daniels. “That dove-tails with the free agent market being as weak as it’s going to be. There just aren’t a lot of top guys who are scheduled to have their contract expire this year. We’ll see who ultimately comes available, but from our standpoint we have to get our guys healthy. We’re not going to have anybody than our own guys who are coming back.”
The lesson to be learned is right now there aren’t a lot of teams who are ready to move on from 2016, and those who are don’t have a whole lot to offer.
Last year, there was a bevy of high-end pitching trade targets whose contracts were ready to run out at season’s end. And there were even some, like Cole Hamels, whose contract still had some length but were clearly made available.
Even then the deals made before the last week of July were few and far between.
The trades made in June last year included Alejandro De Aza going to the Red Sox, the Mariners getting Mark Trumbo, reliever David Carpenter joining Washington, and the Braves lockage up Bronson Arroyo.
The first significant starter dealt? Scott Kazmir to the Astros July 23.
“Last year there were a ton of guys, which almost flooded the market where you saw guys not get traded, like Ian Kennedy,” Daniels said. “Supply and demand plays a big role.”
Right now, there’s too much of the latter and simply not enough of the former.
For now, they will have to rely on the Rays and Angels.
|06.27.16 at 11:13 am ET|
Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (39-38): L, 9-3, vs. Scranton (Yankees)
— Brock Holt continued to show signs of improvement on his rehab assignment, going 3-for-4 with a run and a walk. Sunday’s game was his sixth start for Pawtucket and the second time he’s played nine innings in left field in a span of 24 hours. His performance came after going 2-for-3 on Saturday.
“Today was a good day, probably the best so far,” Holt told MiLB.com. “It was good to get out there on a short break after last night’s game and still feel pretty good.”
Holt is slashing .421/.522/.526 in six games with Pawtucket.
— Henry Owens got the start for Pawtucket, lasting just four innings while allowing five runs on six hits. He struck out four and walked five en route to collecting his fourth loss this season. Since being optioned to Pawtucket from Boston on May 6, Owens is 4-3 with a 4.61 ERA. The 23-year-old southpaw has tallied more walks than strikeouts in two of his last three outings.
|06.27.16 at 9:45 am ET|
The Red Sox will continue their road trip Monday when they send Eduardo Rodriguez to the hill in the opening game of a three-game series against American League East rival Tampa Bay. The Rays will give rookie southpaw Blake Snell the start.
Rodriguez heads into Monday’s game with a 1-2 record to go along with a 6.41 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. The 23-year-old has started just five games in 2016 due to a knee injury, which forced him to miss the first couple of months of the season. His most recent appearance came on Wednesday in an 8-6 loss to the White Sox. The left-hander did not receive a decision after letting up three earned runs and four hits in six innings. Rodriguez also struck out a season-high seven batters while only walking two.
“You can see the velocity is back,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Consistency with both sides of the plate is better, so I think everything’s coming back day by day.”
In his short career, Rodriguez has faced the Rays twice with a 4.91 ERA. In his last start vs. Tampa Bay Sept. 21 of last season, he allowed three runs, six hits and struck out four in six innings in an 8-7 Boston win.
Opposite of Rodriguez will be Snell, the Rays’ No. 1 prospect at MLB.com. He is 0-2 in just three career appearances, but his 2.40 ERA is sixth-best among major league rookies, as he has yet to allow more than two earned runs in an outing. He last pitched in a 6-0 loss to the Indians on Tuesday. The 6-foot-4 rookie allowed two earned runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings, but he only fanned three while walking three more.
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