|05.23.15 at 7:15 pm ET|
With the Red Sox looking to create a spark and rejuvenate the lineup and team, don’t expect a trade to be one of those ways — at least yet.
The Red Sox are 19-23 to open the year and have dropped four of their last five games. They are also 8-12 at home and averaging only 2.45 runs per game in May, with 13 of the 20 games scoring two runs or fewer.
Manager John Farrell shook up the lineup Saturday, moving Dustin Pedroia into the leadoff spot and flip-flopped David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez, but other than lineup changes, don’t expect anything bigger, at least for the time being.
“We’re looking for ways to get better, there’s no doubt about that,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “As I said earlier, bigger impactful trades they just don’t happen this early, so we’re still mostly focusing on finding ways to get better with guys that are here that we have. I think we can do that and improve just with the guys that we have here.
“Not to say that we wouldn’t look for ways to improve too, but it’s just not as common to see trades available this early that are going to be that impactful. We’ll keep working and looking at all those areas.”
The team has a number of players who have under-performed. David Ortiz is hitting .239, Mike Napoli is hitting .182, Mookie Betts is hitting .232 with an on-base percentage of .290 out of the leadoff spot — and the most disturbing stat of them all, as a team the Red Sox are hitting .203 with runners in scoring position — second to last in baseball, as only the Reds are worse at .188.
|05.23.15 at 5:47 pm ET|
The Red Sox will face another left-handed pitcher Saturday in the Angels’ C.J. Wilson. For the season as a team, the Red Sox are batting .197 against lefties, with some individual players even worse as Pablo Sandoval is just 2-for-41 (.049).
Because of that, Sandoval is out of the lineup, as manager John Farrell said he is over the knee issue after missing the last three games following being hit by a pitch Tuesday night.
“He’s available inside of tonight,” Farrell said. “If there was a right-handed starter on the mound, he would be in the lineup, but with Wilson going it was a chance to get him another day down.”
There were more changes with Dustin Pedroia sliding into the leadoff spot, Shane Victorino hitting second, and Hanley Ramirez and David Ortiz flip-flopping so Ramirez will hit third, and Ortiz fourth.
Farrell said this was based on their performances against lefties.
“That’s the reason you have Pedey (Pedroia) in the leadoff spot with Vic hitting second,” he said. “The two guys that have handled left-handed pitching the best on our club so far. Give Mookie [Betts] a down day as well.”
When asked if Pedroia might stay in the leadoff spot past tonight, the manager didn’t rule that out.
“We’ll see it how it unfolds,” Farrell said. “Hopefully today is a day we handle Wilson who is off to a decent start, we get another left-handed starter tomorrow. Depending on who is available tomorrow to be in the lineup, we’ll address that at that time.”
Entering the season, hitting left-handed pitching was likely on the bottom of the list of potential concerns with a lineup featuring Ramirez, Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino. But, after 42 games, it’s one of the biggest — although general manager Ben Cherington thinks it will naturally improve.
“Certainly coming into the season we didn’t foresee that would be an issue and it has been to this point,” Cherington said. “Looking in hindsight at the first 42 games or wherever we are, you can see certain areas of performance and be like, ‘Oh, that’s why they are struggling against lefties.’ We didn’t expect that to be a challenge and I think that is something that can just improve naturally with the guys that are here and get guys into some established roles.”
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
|05.23.15 at 3:26 pm ET|
The Red Sox have officially shaken up the batting order.
Dustin Pedroia will leadoff for the Red Sox against Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson Saturday night. Mookie Betts gets a day off in centerfield, as Rusney Castillo will get his second straight start in the outfield after being called up Friday.
Pablo Sandoval will miss his fourth straight game after taking a fastball off the knee Tuesday night. Hanley Ramirez is in the lineup after being hit in the hand by a pitch Friday night.
Blake Swihart will catch knuckleballer Steven Wright.
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
Here’s the complete Red Sox lineup:
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Shane Victorino, RF
Hanley Ramirez, LF
David Ortiz, DH
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Mike Napoli, 1B
Rusney Castillo, CF
Brock Holt, 3B
Blake Swihart, C
Steven Wright, RHP
|05.23.15 at 10:25 am ET|
Trying to bounce back after a 12-5 blowout Friday night, the Red Sox send knuckleballer Steven Wright to the mound against C.J. Wilson for the second game of Boston’s series with the Angels.
Wright, who will face the Angels for the first time in his career, made his first start of the season when the Sox were in Seattle last week, tossing five innings and allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits, one walk and four strikeouts. Still, the Red Sox were unable to pull out the win Sunday and fell to the Mariners 5-0, providing Wright with no run support in the process.
“I threw about 85 pitches and I’m just ready for whatever [manager John Farrell] wants me to do, whether it’s another start, going to the pen,” Wright said after his start. “For me it doesn’t matter. I just have to go throw good knuckleballs over the plate and just hope for the best.”
Though he was mostly used as a middle-inning, long reliever prior to his start in Seattle, Wright has been filling Justin Masterson‘s spot in the rotation while he’s on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis. Wright has a 4.02 ERA in three appearances for the Sox this season, and has pitched at least five innings in each, recording a 1-1 mark in that time. In each of his three campaigns for Boston this season, Wright has given up no more than three earned runs in any outing and has a 1.53 WHIP on the year. Batters are slashing .274/.348/.468 opposite Wright though 15 2/3 innings, and of the 17 hits he’s allowed, six have been for extra bases.
|05.23.15 at 10:05 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday:
— First baseman Travis Shaw paced the PawSox offense, going 3-for-4 with a double and three runs scored. Shaw has hit safely in 10 of his last 13 games since his major league call-up on May 8. The 25-year-old has recorded multiple hits in his last three games, bringing his average up to .218. Luke Montz, who was the designated hitter Friday, went 2-for-2 with a double, a walk and three RBIs.
— Right-hander Keith Couch pitched a season-high seven innings en route to his second win of 2015, allowing just two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Couch has struggled this season, posting four straight losses after opening the year with a win. He is now 2-5 with a 4.53 ERA in eight starts and one relief appearance.
— John Cornely earned the save in his first appearance with Pawtucket after he was acquired Wednesday from the Atlanta Braves for cash considerations. The righty pitched a perfect two-thirds of an inning, getting one out on a grounder back to the mound before striking out the final batter.
|05.23.15 at 12:06 am ET|
There were no chairs thrown, no yelling or screaming, but the message was clear, the Red Sox not happy with the way things are going.
They are now 8-12 at home, and even with the five runs scored, they are only averaging 2.45 runs per game in May with 13 of the 20 games scoring two runs or fewer.
“Everybody’s pissed. Obviously not playing well,” Dustin Pedroia said.
Overall the Red Sox are 19-23 on the year, 7-13 in the month of May and 10-18 over their last 28 games. They’ve have had a few team meetings over the past few weeks with Pedroia speaking at least one of them. The second baseman seemed like it was past the point of holding another meeting.
“Less talk more play,” he said.
“We’ve all been around long enough to know that doesn’t work,” he added. “You have to show up day in and day out and have the right process. If everybody plays together then we’re winning. Right now all aspects of our game aren’t together and when they aren’t together you’re not going to win.”
On a night where the Red Sox scored more runs than they had in their previous nine games, they didn’t get the performance from the mound they had been accustomed to from Rick Porcello, who allowed seven runs in just 4 1/3 innings after the team had won his last five starts. Red Sox starters had a string of eight straight games going at least five innings and allowing two earned runs or less.
“There’s definite frustration,” manager John Farrell said. “That’s shared by all in our clubhouse and who work day in and day out. We all know and we expect more from ourselves — that is a given, that’s repeatedly discussed and talked about and in the moment we have to go out and execute more consistently and do a better job all the way around.”
|05.22.15 at 10:46 pm ET|
How about some consistency?
After the Red Sox scored one run or less in four of their last six games and came in averaging 2.34 runs per game in the month of May, they finally had a good offensive night, scoring five runs, but it wasn’t enough as they couldn’t continue their string of strong games from the mound, as the Angels took the first game of the weekend series, 12-5.
Red Sox starter Rick Porcello just didn’t have it. He couldn’t control any of his pitches and the Angels made him pay, especially in the fifth — a half inning that lasted over 37 minutes, and saw three pitchers combine for 46 pitches and nine runs.
Porcello walked the first two batters, and then Mike Trout singled to short left on a ball that barely got by Brock Holt at third, but a second run scored when Xander Bogaerts tried to get Johnny Giavotella at third base and the throw went against the Angels dugout. Albert Pujols then grounded out, but Trout would steal third on a tremendous slide, eluding Holt’s tag (he was ruled safe after a video review). Kole Calhoun then singled to score Trout and David Freese doubled scoring the fourth run of the inning, which was Porcello’s departure.
Matt Barnes came in relief and was even worse. He walked the first batter he faced and then allowed a three-run homer to Chris Iannetta. Marc Krauss then hit a routine fly ball to right field that Rusney Castillo, in his first major league game of the season, dropped. Two batters later Erick Aybar hit a two-run homer sending Barnes to the showers.
Robbie Ross Jr. then came on and after a harmless Trout single retired the next two batters to mercifully end the inning. It was their worst inning of the season as their previous high in an inning was seven — when Clay Buchholz allowed seven in the first against the Yankees on April 12.
Adding insult to injury (literally), Hanley Ramirez left the game in the sixth, two innings after taking a pitch off the hand. The Red Sox announced he left because of left hand soreness. Every Red Sox starter recorded a hit, besides Ramirez.
For Porcello it was his shortest outing of the season, as his fine line was 4 1/3 innings, seven runs on seven hits, while walking three and striking out four.
Trailing 11-3 going into the seventh, the Red Sox showed some fight scoring two runs, forcing Angels starter Garrett Richards from the game, and could have scored even more if it weren’t for Daniel Nava hitting into a double play with the bases loaded to end the inning.
The Red Sox have now lost four of their last five games and fall to 8-12 at home this year.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Trout. The centerfielder put on a show, as besides going 3-for-6 at the plate, he made a tremendous throw from deep left center field to throw out Napoli trying to score from first in the fourth and had a great slide to avoid a tag at third on a stolen base attempt in the fifth. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
Here’s what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:
|05.22.15 at 9:23 pm ET|
The Red Sox may have another injury to deal with.
“We’ll check him when he comes in tomorrow,” manager John Farrell said after the game. “After the hit by pitch, had a difficult time gripping the bat and had to get him out of there.”
Farrell said the initial scan was negative.
Ramirez is currently hitting .259 with 10 homers this season.
The left fielder missed three games two weeks ago with a shoulder injury after running into the left field wall at Fenway.
|05.22.15 at 6:04 pm ET|
The Red Sox are looking for a spark offensively as they come into their weekend series with the Angels averaging only 2.32 runs per game in 19 games during the month of May.
Looking to create one, the team has called up outfielder Rusney Castillo, who will play right field and bat eighth. They also moved Xander Bogaerts out of the No. 8 spot in the order up to No. 5.
Pablo Sandoval remains out because of his knee after being hit by a pitch Tuesday and Brock Holt will once again play third base, as the Red Sox go against Angels right-hander Garrett Richards.
Blake Swihart will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello.
Here’s the complete Red Sox lineup:
|05.22.15 at 5:50 pm ET|
After being a late scratch with “general soreness” mostly in the left calf Thursday, Victorino remains out of the lineup Friday. He went 2-for-2 as a pinch-hitter Tuesday.
“He’s day-to-day, that’s the best I can tell you right now,” manager John Farrell said.
“We don’t anticipate this being a long-term situation,” Farrell added. “Hopefully he’s back to us soon because he was swinging the bat well.”
Also on Friday the Red Sox added outfielder Rusney Castillo and sent down Jackie Bradley. Even prior to the injury this week, Farrell said he sat down with Victorino to explain he would now be at least partially sharing right field with Castillo as well as Daniel Nava and Brock Holt.
“There’s a scenario that I have already sat and met with [Victorino] prior to the calf injury with Rusney’s arrival there was going to be a rotation with Rusney between both right field and center field,” said Farrell. “That wasn’t going to put [Victorino] on the bench by any means. When [Victorino] is fully capable that will take place, that rotation.”
Sandoval (knee) was expected back at third base Friday, but after pregame work taking ground balls, running, etc. it was determined he would miss his third straight game after being hit by a pitch in the knee Tuesday night.
“He doesn’t feel like he’s ready to go,” said Farrell. “There’s limitation to the range, there’s limitation to him being able to plant that left leg to execute a strong throw. Baserunning was going to be limited. All that added up to him needing more time.”
Brock Holt will take the place of Sandoval once again at third.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
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