|07.01.14 at 5:27 am ET|
When the Red Sox needed a starting pitcher at the trade deadline in 2013, Astros pitcher Bud Norris was one of the top pitchers on the trade market. So Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington asked about the cost to acquire Norris.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow wanted Xander Bogaerts, one of the top prospects in all of baseball.
According to the leaked contents of the Astros’ online database acquired by Deadspin, the Astros eyed Bogaerts when the Sox inquired about what it would take to acquire Norris. According to the transcripts, Luhnow texted Cherington that it would take Bogaerts, Allen Webster, Jackie Bradley Jr. or Garin Cecchini to “get in the conversation” for a deal to deliver Norris to Boston.
Cherington countered by offering Ryan Lavarnway or Deven Marrero, which represented a rather significant drop-off in prospect quality. Cherington told Luhnow that he would not consider trading Bogaerts, Webster, Bradley or Cecchini but would let him know if the circumstances changed.
As hindsight shows, nothing changed from Boston’s perspective. Cherington told Luhnow on July 29 that he believed that the team had enough depth to make an appealing package for Norris. Luhnow then inquired about lefty Henry Owens and Matt Barnes. According to the documents, Cherington did not reply to the message, and Norris became an Oriole.
The Red Sox soon thereafter traded for Jake Peavy, giving up Jose Iglesias and Francellis Montas.
|07.01.14 at 5:23 am ET|
The count was 3-2 and Jake Peavy was just one strike away from striking out the side in the fourth inning. To that point in the game, Peavy had regained some velocity on his fastball that was not present in his past couple of outings. Peavy felt good on the mound, confident that he would turn in a start that would give the Red Sox a chance to win.
Peavy pumped a 91 mph fastball to Cubs batter Welington Castillo right on the outside corner, over the white of the plate, and most importantly, right where Peavy and catcher David Ross wanted the pitch. Peavy waited for home plate umpire Chris Conroy to punch out Castillo.
He waited and waited.
The punch-out from Conroy never came and Castillo walked down to first base. Peavy walked around the mound, frustrated with the call on what he thought should have been strike three.
Eight pitches later, Peavy left a cutter over the heart of the plate and Nate Schierholtz deposited the ball into the Red Sox bullpen in right field to swing the game 2-0 in favor of the Cubs. Considering how Cubs starter Jake Arrieta was throwing and how much the Red Sox offense has struggled to generate runs, Schierholtz’s home run was all the offense Chicago needed.
Schierholtz’s blast marked the 17th home run this season off Peavy, who is tied for most home runs allowed in the American League with David Price of the Rays. The righty has allowed home runs in all but three of his 17 starts in 2014. Peavy said that the high home run total is inherent with his desire to have an aggressive game plan with each start.
“I’m going to be aggressive and throw the ball over the plate,” Peavy said. “I shouldn’t say that I don’t mind giving up home runs. You don’t ever want to. Not many of them have been like the [Kyle] Seager [three-run home run in Seattle]. If you give up one or two, as long as they are solo shots, no more than a two-run home run, you have a good chance of keeping your team in the game. It’s frustrating, and I relive the pitch [to Schierholtz] over and over. I wish that I had thrown something different and wish I had located it and things could have been different.”
|06.30.14 at 11:48 pm ET|
Jake Arrieta hasn’t always had great memories of pitching in Fenway but he’s always loved the fans and the environment. On Monday, he nearly made Fenway Park history.
Before giving up a clean single to right field to Stephen Drew on a misplaced 2-2 fastball, Arrieta was a mere four outs away from becoming just the fourth opposing pitcher to no-hit the Red Sox at Fenway since it opened in 1912 and the first since Detroit’s Jim Bunning in 1958.
“The tension kind of builds there as the fifth and sixth innings kind of approach and then it kind of subsides a little bit,” said Arrieta, who brought a perfect game into the seventh last week against the Reds at Wrigley Field. “The space around me [in the dugout] kind of increases, naturally. But yeah, another special night. It’s special to do it in this ballpark, to do something like this last week in Wrigley and then to do it here, in these two parks is pretty special.”
Arrieta finished with a career-high 120 pitches over 7 2/3 innings, picking up the win in a Cubs’ 2-0 blanking of the Red Sox Monday night.
“Most parks will have it somewhere on the board or on the Jumbotron so you sort of know,” Arrieta said. “During each inning, I might glance I have this many more to work with, and I knew the leash was going to be lengthened a little bit because of the situation. It felt like just any other day really as far as the body goes. I didn’t have to hit so I had a little more in the tank.
“We won and that’s obviously the biggest thing from tonight. We can all kind of enjoy. It was fun, a lot of fun.”
Arrieta was given a rousing standing ovation as he came off the mound immediately after losing his no-hitter in the eighth. There was still a game to be won. But that didn’t keep the fans from appreciating the effort of the right-hander.
“Something like that in Fenway is pretty rare for an opposing team so yeah, I got some goosebumps there and that’s kind of why you play this game, for moments like that. I’m just very thankful to be a part of something like that and to get another win feels good.”
|06.30.14 at 10:10 pm ET|
The month of June has mercifully come to an end for the Red Sox.
It was a month which saw the team go 12-16 and average just three runs per game (84 runs in 28 games), by far the worst in the American League. The trend continued Monday night as it took until the eighth inning for the Red Sox to get their first hit against Cubs starter Jake Arrieta in a 2-0 loss to Chicago.
It was the eighth time the Red Sox were shut out this season and the 11th time in the last 16 games when the team failed to score more than two runs.
“There’s a combination of factors to that,” manager John Farrell said when talking about his team’s inability to put together a string of good offensive games. “Acknowledging [Jake] Arrieta tonight, but yeah, anytime we seemingly start to put together quality performances back to back it’s been difficult to extend. You can’t pinpoint any one reason, it is a little frustrating particularly where we are with our record and our status or place in the division trying to get some momentum going. Credit a solid performance tonight.”
Arrieta entered the game with a 0-3 record and a 5.90 ERA in six career appearances against the Red Sox, but he dominated them from the outset. No stranger to flirting with history, the Cubs right-hander also took a perfect game into the seventh inning of his last start against the Reds.
This time the no-hitter was spoiled by Stephen Drew, whose single to right with two outs in the eighth did the job. It came on Arietta’s 120th pitch. Arrieta tossed 7 2/3 innings, allowing just two baserunners (a hit and a walk) while striking out 10.
The loss spoiled what was a solid outing from Red Sox starter Jake Peavy, who allowed two runs over six innings (a two-run homer), which normally would put the Red Sox in a good position to win if not for Arrieta’s brilliance. Peavy is 1-7 on the year with a 4.82 ERA and has only left the game with a lead in two of his starts.
“It’s frustrating losing,” said Peavy. “You don’t want to lose, and when you made the mistake to cost your team to win, it hurts. Little things like we talked about, we talked about with a number of guys. Little things, you get that called third strike [on a 3-2 pitch in the fourth inning] and you’re in the dugout, the game could have played out differently. The way it’s been going on my day, obviously you don’t get the call, then on the next pitch you give up a two-run home run that decides the game. You just have to clean that up.”
Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– The Red Sox continued their month-long struggles at the plate as it took them until one out in the fifth inning to get their first baserunner, a one-out walk from Mike Napoli, and two outs in the eighth inning for their first hit when Drew lined a sharp single to right. They scored three runs or less in 19 games in the month of June.
|06.30.14 at 9:02 pm ET|
With Mookie Betts skyrocketing to the majors, another hot hitter, Sea Dogs second baseman Sean Coyle, will take Betts’ roster spot on the United States team for the Futures Game, the annual showcase for minor league talent that precedes the All-Star Game.
It’s been a good week for Coyle, who was also named the Eastern League Player of the Week on Monday.
His six-game hitting streak, over which he’s gone 11-for-21 with five extra-base hits, earned him the weekly honor. The 22-year-old is hitting .363 with a .444 OBP and a .615 slugging mark (16 doubles, a triple and nine home runs) through 52 games in his first Double-A season. Coyle missed a chunk of time early in the season with a hamstring injury, but has been outstanding for the Sea Dogs since returning. Though he doesn’t not have enough at-bats to qualify, if he did, he’d be leading the Eastern League in batting average and OPS. The infielder owns a .263/.351/.466 line through four full professional seasons, and put together an unremarkable, injury-plagued campaign in 2013, spending his second straight year with High-A Salem.
The Futures Game will take place on July 14 at Target Field in Minnesota. Coyle will join left-hander Henry Owens, who was previously named to the team as one of Boston’s two representatives.
|06.30.14 at 8:58 pm ET|
As he makes his second trip to Fenway Park, Anthony Rizzo remembers the tough times. In May 2008, Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The 2007 sixth-round pick of the Red Sox was scared. At the young age of 18, Rizzo faced a monster bigger than anything he had faced in his life before. Rizzo did not know what to do or what to feel.
Then playing at Single-A Greenville, Rizzo cut his season short after just 21 games and began to undergo chemotherapy. At a time when Rizzo needed all of the support in the world, the Red Sox organization was there for him.
“They did everything,” Rizzo said. “They paid for all of my bills. They made sure I was OK. Treated me first-class. I’m forever grateful.”
After Rizzo was successfully treated, he made his return in ’09 to Greenville and was promoted to High-A Salem. Rizzo worked his way up to Double-A Portland before he was traded to the Padres as part of the package that landed the Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
At the time of the trade, Rizzo did not know how to feel.
“You think you’re untouchable,” Rizzo said. “That was tough, being traded while I still had a lot of friends in the Red Sox organization. When you get traded once, you realize the business of things, but you don’t know it until you go through it.”
For Rizzo, getting traded by the organization that drafted him was a tough mental hurdle.
“They drafted me,” Rizzo said. “They shaped me into the player that I’m still becoming, and a lot of instructors and coaches along the way have helped out, and also in San Diego. That’s kind of fresh when you first get drafted, that’s kind of shaped me into how I am now.”
|06.30.14 at 8:54 pm ET|
Shane Victorino was very nearly back. The outfielder just needed to complete his rehab assignment before making his much-needed return to the Red Sox outfield corps. After going on the disabled list on May 24 with a hamstring injury, Victorino was close to being able to make a contribution to the outfield, both at the plate and in the field.
Things quickly changed when Victorino felt a twinge in his back while tagging up from second base on a Will Middlebrooks fly ball on June 24 against the Norfolk Tides.
Victorino, who has hit .242/.276/.352 with one home run, 10 RBIs, five doubles and one triple in 21 games in 2014, said he felt a “click” in his back before pregame but did not think much of it.
“I thought that it was because I was feeling good and the muscles were relaxing,” Victorino said. “Once in a while, I’ll usually get a click in there where you can hear the disc kind of popping. I felt that, but it was a little different than the normal, but I thought it was OK.”
In reaction to the slipped disc in his back, Victorino received an epidural shot, further delaying the 33-year-old’s return to the big leagues. Victorino, who experienced lower back tightness during the Red Sox’s World Series run in 2013, says the current soreness in his back is related any previous injuries. While the injury is in the same general vicinity as the back soreness he experienced during the playoff run, Victorino says he is not concerned about the back soreness becoming a recurring injury.
“This one was different. Last year, it wasn’t my disc slipping out,” he said. “It was just a muscle spasm and it was a bad situation so we decided to take the shot to calm that area down once the disc was back in place. Everything feels good.”
Right now, the Red Sox and Victorino are taking a slightly more cautious approach in the treatment of his injury.
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