|09.18.15 at 9:40 pm ET|
The Blue Jays have something to play for and the Red Sox do not. Those opposing circumstances were made clear in Toronto’s 6-1 victory on Friday night.
With the opportunistic Jays exploiting errors and misplays, the Red Sox went quietly as they play out the string on 2015.
“Dana [LeVangie] and I were talking in the seventh inning that had we played our typical baseball, the score could have been 3-1,” interim manager Torey Lovullo told reporters in Toronto. “That’s just how this game is and that’s what makes it so great. We were down 6-1 and we needed to make up some ground and we couldn’t do it. You have to give [Marcus] Stroman a little bit of credit. He came in, he was very, very effective. He was aggressive with several pitches and he kept a very offensive team in check.”
This one was basically over in the fourth, when a Brock Holt error at third opened the floodgates on a three-run inning against starter and loser Rick Porcello.
Justin Smoak followed with a laser of a two-run double to left-center, and Ryan Goins hammered a hanging changeup off the right field wall for an RBI triple. Goins’ hit sailed over the head of Mookie Betts, making his season debut in right, giving the Jays a commanding 4-0 lead.
That was more than enough for Stroman, making just his second start of the season after a surprising recovery from a torn ACL suffered in March. Stroman was expected to miss the season, but he’s back for the stretch run and the diminutive right-hander looked like his old self, mixing low-90s heat with an effective slider.
|09.18.15 at 4:01 pm ET|
The Red Sox just released their lineup for Friday’s series opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto, which pits right-hander Rick Porcello vs. gutsy Jays righty Marcus Stroman, who is making his second start of the season since completing a surprise return from a torn ACL suffered in March.
In the outfield, Mookie Betts makes his season debut in right after 127 games (124 starts) in center. Jackie Bradley Jr., a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder, gets the start in center.
With Rusney Castillo in left, the Red Sox are trying to determine their ideal starting outfield alignment for next season. While Bradley’s arm profiles in right, his overall coverage makes him an ideal center fielder. Either way, the Red Sox boast an impressively athletic outfield.
Dustin Pedroia, fresh off Wednesday’s two-homer game against the Orioles, will receive the night off. The Red Sox have advanced cautiously with him since he returned from a hamstring injury, playing him no more than two days in a row.
Here are tonight’s matchups.
Mookie Betts RF
Brock Holt 3B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Travis Shaw 1B
Rusney Castillo LF
Blake Swihart C
Josh Rutledge 2B
Jackie Bradley CF
|09.18.15 at 2:57 pm ET|
The Red Sox head to Toronto on Friday for a matchup with the AL East-leading Blue Jays, and they’ll send Rick Porcello to the mound opposite Marcus Stroman in the opener of a three-game series.
Porcello (8-12, 5.06 ERA) is 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA in four starts since returning from a stint on the disabled list (strained right triceps). In his last outing on Saturday against the Rays — best known as the night David Ortiz hit his 500th home run — Porcello pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks with eight strikeouts. He picked up the win as the Sox cruised to a 10-4 victory.
Porcello last faced the Jays on Sept. 7 and recorded the win after allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits and two walks in 7 1/3 innings as the Sox rolled to an 11-4 victory. In his last start in Toronto on July 1, an 11-2 Red Sox loss, Porcello allowed seven runs in two innings on seven hits and a hit batsman.
In four career starts north of the border, Porcello is 1-3 with a 7.65 ERA.
|09.17.15 at 11:51 pm ET|
According to a major league source, the examination conducted by the Red Sox medial team in Boston Thursday revealed that there was no serious issues with Joe Kelly’s right shoulder.
It was determined the pitcher is simply dealing with some inflammation in the shoulder, which had stiffened up on him during his start against the Orioles Tuesday night.
Kelly exited his start in Baltimore in the third inning, explaining after the game that he was having difficulty getting loose. The starter’s fastball to start the game was sitting at just 89-90 mph, well below his average.
Red Sox interim manager suggested Wednesday that Kelly would not be pitching the rest of the season due to the ailment.
Coming into his last start, Kelly had turned his season around, winning eight starts in a row. During that stretch he totaled a 2.59 ERA.
|09.17.15 at 10:12 am ET|
The official announcement of the games will take place on a Friday conference call, with Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, Blue Jays president Paul Beeston, Jays general manager Alex Anthopolous and Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy participating on the call.
The games will be the final exhibition contests for the Red Sox, who are slated to open the 2016 regular season in Cleveland on April 4.
|09.17.15 at 9:09 am ET|
With the 2015 Red Sox minor league season coming to a close, we’ll take a look at the top prospects who have yet to appear in a major league game. Last week we unveiled No.’s 6-10 and this week is No.’s 1-5, as this is the final Red Sox Minor League Notebook of the season.
1. Yoan Moncada
The Red Sox knew they had a special talent when they inked Moncada to a contract with a signing bonus of $31.5 million on March 12. The Cuban second baseman came over to the states and spent an extra month at extended spring training before getting the call up to Single-A Greenville in the middle of May.
He struggled at first, as prior to the All-Star break he batted .200 with just one home run. Greenville manager Darren Fenster and the rest of the organization remained patient with the 19-year-old and didn’t panic.
“You take into account, throw out baseball, and you take into account a kid that gets taken out of his upbringing in Cuba and has to learn a completely different culture and he is away from his family and away from his friends — that’s not an easy thing to handle,” Fenster said recently. “Just in life in general. You throw that on top of a kid who had obviously unrealistic expectations that just came with the number that he signed for. I think some people that with what he signed for thought he was a major league player out of the gate, and he was in Greenville for the same exact reason everyone else was in Greenville.
“He was in Greenville because he had work to do to get better. Everything that we introduced to this kid was different from everyone else because it was his first year in the organization, it was all brand new. To his credit, during that first month and a half of his struggles he never wavered from trying to get into that routine like everyone else. The 24 other guys in that clubhouse, those guys were used to the expectation that our staff held to everyone everyday and to Yoan’s credit he fell in line with everyone else.”
Once getting acclimated to the states and his new team, Moncada caught fire in the second half where he hit .310 with seven home runs. He was named to the South Atlantic League All-Star team and named the Most Outstanding South Atlantic League MLB prospect.
Fenster described him as being one of, if not the most athletic players in all of minor league baseball.
“He stands out as an elite athlete,” he said. “I don’t know if we have a better athlete in the entire organization, which I’m sure is saying a lot. It would be hard pressed to find a player in all of minor league baseball who is a better pure athlete. With that being said, for athletic as he is, there are aspects of his game for when he signed were incredibly raw. We had to build a foundation defensively for example just staying consistent with fielding routine ground balls.
|09.16.15 at 10:56 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — Dustin Pedroia is feeling good about himself, and his alma mater.
Thanks to a smooth double play with Red Sox shortstop Deven Marrero, Pedroia got a chance to put the pair’s alma mater — Arizona State University – on a pedestal it might not have been on prior to the Red Sox‘ 10-1 win over the Orioles Wednesday night.
“That was pro,” said Pedroia of Marrero’s work in turning the 6-4-3 double play. “There’s only a select few of us that get a chance to go [to Arizona State], so it’s pretty cool. He played great. He’s a great player. Defensively, he knows what he’s doing, and his at-bats have been really good. He’s picking and choosing when to drive the ball. It was pretty cool to watch.”
Marrero — who notched three hits — was in the lineup to give shortstop Xander Bogaerts a rest. Pedroia was in just because he’s back to feeling like his old self.
The Sox second baseman continued to exhibit the kind of offensive prowess he had prior to injuring his hamstring June 24.
After launching his 11th and 12th homers of the season, Pedroia is now hitting .379 (11-for-29) with a 1.212 OPS since coming off the 15-day disabled list.
“I feel good. I just feel strong, I feel healthy,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting back to the rhythm of the game and stuff like that.
“I’m just feeling normal. That’s how I felt before I got hurt. That’s the frustrating part, sometimes you get hurt and miss some time. The biggest thing for me is just being out there, feeling good and being able to help us win.”
While the right hamstring was the thing holding Pedroia back for much of this year, perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the 32-year-old’s game is the ability to generate power with his hands.
“Shoot, ‘13? I think I was sixth in the MVP voting so that was a pretty good year,” said Pedroia when asked about overcoming his issues of two seasons ago. “I’m over the hand stuff. I got that fixed. It just felt good to be out there and help us win, just helping out.”
|09.16.15 at 9:58 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — Henry Owens is making things interesting for the Red Sox.
Once considered a pitcher with potential, but one who might not have enough of a fastball and too much wildness, has left quite a mark over his eight games with the big league club. And it was his latest outing — a 7 2/3-inning gem in which he didn’t allow a run or walk while striking out four — that might have been his best resume-builder.
Owens’ 113-pitch gem led the Red Sox to a 10-1 win over the Orioles Wednesday night at Camden Yards, and put him in an even more interesting position heading into the offseason.
“I think so,” said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo when asked if he thought this was Owens’ best big league effort. “No runs, no walks. Seven and two-thirds. I think he scattered six hits. Nothing was really driven. He just didn’t look like he was in trouble. And on a night like tonight, as I just said, those are tough times for pitchers to pitch. They get distracted by the score. They get distracted by the silliness that starts to take place in the dugout. I can remember turning around several times seeing him very focused, ready to go out and throw up another zero.”
The lefty now owns a 4.33 ERA, having allowed three runs or less in all but two of his starts.
“I had a couple outings where I had to learn some lessons and I’m trying got roll into each out and learn as much as I possibly can for the time I’m here,” said the 23-year-old, who is now 2-1 with a 1.99 ERA in his four road starts this season. “I’m pleased with tonight and I’m just going to work harder tomorrow and try and bring it into the next outing.”
Helping the rookie feel at ease in the series finale was a Red Sox offense that was all over Baltimore starter Michael Wright.
Thanks in large part to a pair of home runs by Dustin Pedroia, along with David Ortiz‘ 35th blast of the year, the Sox jumped out to a 9-0 lead after four innings and never looked back. Pedroia finished with five RBI.
|09.16.15 at 6:20 pm ET|
The team sent the pitcher back to Boston Wednesday in order to have his pitching shoulder examined after Kelly was forced to exit his start Tuesday in the third inning due to his discomfort.
“He flew back this morning so he’s probably getting examined right now as we speak,” said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo prior to his team’s series finale against the Orioles at Camden Yards.
When asked about Kelly consistently flexing his arm throughout his recent run of starts, Lovullo noted. “He’s been doing that now for probably two or three starts. It’s just a way of him to get loose, his back back gets tight. He’s a very wiry athlete, so anything he’s doing to relax a muscle — we’re not exactly sure what that meant. We saw a little bit more of that yesterday and then the comments during the second inning raised some red flags.”
Kelly, who has also sporadically battled the biceps soreness that sidelined him at the start of the season, had been on one of the best runs of his young career. Entering Tuesday night, he was 8-0 with a 2.59 ERA since Aug. 1.
“We just want to make sure we find out if anything is happening there,” Lovullo said. “Obviously he left the game [Tuesday] and was unable to get loose completely. It made a lot of sense to get him up there and out of there.”
– The Red Sox are going to be trying a little something different with Mookie Betts, who will start in right field when the Red Sox play the Blue Jays in Toronto over the coming weekend.
It will be the first time this season Betts has player another position other than center field, having played right field 12 times in 2014.
Jackie Bradley Jr. will play center field, with Rusney Castillo starting in left field, in the new alignment.
“We all know Jackie is comfortable in center,” Lovullo said. “Jackie is comfortable no matter where you put him. We’re probably looking at Mookie’s first steps, Mookie’s coverage. His reads. It’s more about Mookie in the situation of being a right fielder than it is Jackie being a center fielder. We feel fine about arm strength. Everybody is concerned about the right fielder’s arm strength. We know that Mookie has really improved in that area. That’s not really going to be an issue for me. I think it’s mostly about his first-step reads and gaining ground on the ball. And you can see what he’s doing in center field. We look for that to be the same in right field.”
– Instead of flying to Toronto immediately after Wednesday night’s game, the Red Sox were scheduled to stay over int the Charm City and fly out midday Thursday.
|09.16.15 at 3:19 pm ET|
Fresh off Tuesday night’s marathon 13-inning loss to the Orioles, the Red Sox are giving a couple of regulars a day of rest.
Center fielder Mookie Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts will take a seat, with Jackie Bradley sliding over to center field. Rookie Deven Marrero will make the third start of his career at shortstop in place of Bogaerts.
Bogaerts has played in all but five games this season, while Betts has appeared in 128 of 144 games this year.
Here’s the rest of the lineup, in support of young left-hander Henry Owens:
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