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Monday Red Sox Farm Report: LHP Brian Johnson loses in return to PawSox; Yoan Moncada strikes out 5 times for Portland

07.25.16 at 9:53 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system Sunday.

Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (51-51): L, 5-2, at Columbus (Indians)

— Making his first start for the PawSox since May 14, Brian Johnson took the loss, allowing four runs on six hits in just three innings. His control wasn’t great, as he fanned just one batter while walking four. Johnson, 25, made four rehab starts with both Lowell and the Gulf Coast League Red Sox as he dealt with an anxiety issue before returning to Pawtucket. The left-hander is 2-5 with a 4.00 ERA in 12 starts this season. He is Boston’s No. 5 prospect and No. 2 pitching prospect at MLB.com

— Pawtucket did not get on the board until the fifth inning, when catcher Dan Butler lined a two-run double to left field, cutting the Clippers’ lead in half. Butler, who finished 1-for-3, is averaging .364 in the month of June. The 29-year-old is slashing .304/.398/.461 with Pawtucket.

— Henry Ramos was one of two Pawtucket batters to record multiple hits, finishing the game 2-for-4 with a run scored. Boston’s No. 20 prospect at MLB.com crossed home plate on Butler’s double in the fifth frame. Ramos, 24, has hit safely in the last four games and is batting .267/.308/.415 in the minors.

— Keith Couch relieved Johnson and lasted 3 1/3 innings, allowing just one run. He gave up five hits and did not strike out a batter. Sunday’s game was the second non-start for the 26-year-old righty, who’s a 7-7 with a 3.79 ERA in 17 outings.

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Read More: Austin Rei, Bobby Poyner, brian johnson, Dan Butler

Monday’s Red Sox-Tigers matchups: Drew Pomeranz vs. Justin Verlander

07.25.16 at 8:23 am ET
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The Red Sox will send recently acquired starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz to the hill Monday to open up a three-game series against the Tigers. Pomeranz will square off against veteran right-hander Justin Verlander.

Pomeranz, who was acquired from the Padres on July 14, is 8-7 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. The 27-year-old southpaw was named a National League All-Star and has not lost a game since June 14. His most recent outing was his Red Sox debut on Wednesday, when the Ole Miss product allowed five runs on eight hits in just three innings in an 11-7 Red Sox win over the Giants. Pomeranz struck out four, walked two and surrendered two home runs facing his old division rivals.

“I’ve faced these guys four times this year,” Pomeranz said. “I was going along pretty good there through the three [innings]. I made some bad fastball location pitches and they made me pay for it.”

Having been a part of a National League team for most of his career, Pomeranz has pitched against the Tigers just once in his six years in the majors. As a reliever, he threw one shutout inning on June 4 of last season as a member of the Athletics.

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Meet Brad Ziegler, this season’s best non-waiver trade deadline pickup (so far)

07.24.16 at 6:25 pm ET
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Brad Ziegler has been a popular addition to the Red Sox. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Images)

Brad Ziegler has been a popular addition to the Red Sox. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Brad Ziegler has faced 20 batters since joining the Red Sox. He has retired 19 of them.

For the Red Sox, who have seen their closer, Craig Kimbrel, sidelined for the past few weeks with a knee injury, and then his replacement, Koji Uehara, also hitting the shelf due to a torn pectoral muscle, Ziegler has been exactly as John Farrell described after his team’s 8-7 win over the Twins Sunday.

“He’s been a godsend, to be honest,” the Red Sox manager said after another 1-2-3 ninth inning from Ziegler. “It’s a comfortable inning. It’s balls on the ground. I think he’s given up one hit in the 20-plus hitters he’s faced. He’s very calm. He’s experienced back there. His addition back there has given us a huge boost in light of the injuries to Koji and Craig.”

Since the Red Sox sent minor leaguers Jose Almonte and Luis Alejandro Basabe to Arizona for Ziegler, things could have not gone better for the 36-year-old or his new team. (And, for what it’s worth, neither prospect has distinguished themselves as of yet for their new team, Single-A Kane County.)

While Sunday marked his first save with the Red Sox (and 82nd for his career), seemingly everyone of Ziegler’s 68 pitches in his new uniform has been spot-on. He has been the kind of anchor that the Sox had to make a priority with August bearing down.

“It’s definitely a different atmosphere,” he said. “It’s fun to be on a team when you show up to the park, you expect to win. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing or what stadium we’re in. My second game here, we’re going into Yankee Stadium right after the All-Star break and I know the rivalry and had never been part of that and we went out and beat them the first two games there. It’s a lot of fun. This is kind of, when you dream about playing as a kid, you dream about being in a pennant race and getting big if you’re a pitcher. Getting big outs in games that matter. I think everybody is just kind of feeding off each other right now. Like I said, we’re playing really good ball.”

And, for now, the guy who idolized Dan Quisenberry and John Smoltz growing up has become the star of the Red Sox bullpen.

“It’s fun,” he said. “It’s fun when the third out happens and we feel the crowd explode a little bit. At the same time, I’m not looking to supplant anyone’s job or anything like that. I hope both those guys are back here in about a week or two and I’ll slot in wherever they need me to and I just want to win games. It’s so much fun to win and to get to go experience the rest of the day and just sit and relax and enjoy what happened here and come back tomorrow ready to go again.”

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Closing Time: Rick Porcello comes away with another Fenway Park win

07.24.16 at 4:50 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez celebrates his third-inning home run Sunday. (Winslow Townsend/USA Today Images)

Hanley Ramirez celebrates his third-inning home run Sunday. (Winslow Townsend/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello pitches, the Red Sox win. The pattern held up Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park.

This time the Sox starter’s didn’t offer mind-blowing statistics, finishing his 6 2/3-inning stint having surrendered four runs. But it was once again plenty good enough, paving the way to the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Twins.

The Sox improve to 15-5 in Porcello’s starts this season, with the righty winning his 13th game. At Fenway, he remains unbeaten, having gone 10-0, with the club winning all 11 of his home starts. He becomes the first Red Sox pitcher to win his first 10 home starts in a season since Curt Schilling managed the feat in 2004.

“I’ve just been in a good groove, and I’ve had really good run support, guys have been swinging the bats really well and played great defense behind me,” Porcello said. “So it’s combination of everything. We’re in a good spot right now.”

It was an afternoon where it did seem Porcello pitched better than his line indicated, having struck out seven and walked one during his 99-pitch performance. After the outing, the righty’s ERA stands at 3.44.

“Much better,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell when asked if Porcello’s final line was deceiving. “They found some holes early on and we probably didn’t execute as we’ve been defensively to give them an extra out early on. Then he gets a fly ball to right field that at that time of day is a tough sun field that unfortunately bounces off of Brock [Holt’s] glove. But once again, he’s keeping the game under control. He had a number of runs to work with here today. We did a great job offensively. But, yeah, Rick is in a very good place here in Fenway.”

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Sunday Red Sox Farm Report: PawSox 1B Chris Marrero blasts 19th HR; 4th-round pick Bobby Dalbec hits 2 doubles in debut with Lowell

07.24.16 at 11:46 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system Saturday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (51-50): L, 10-6, at Columbus (Indians)

— First baseman Chris Marrero had two hits, including his 19th home run, tying him for the International League lead. Marrero, who also had a double, is hitting .289/.344/.516 in 93 Triple-A games this season.

— Second baseman Mike Miller was 2-for-2 with a walk and two RBIs. The 26-year-old is hitting .271/.335/.327 in 59 games with the PawSox after spending the first week of the season with Portland.

— Designated hitter Jantzen Witte went 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and three runs scored. Witte is hitting .253/.332/.372 in 71 games with the PawSox.

— Right-hander William Cuevas allowed 10 runs (eight earned) on 11 hits and three walks with one strikeout. It was the second straight game Cuevas allowed 11 hits. He’s now 6-5 with a 4.17 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 17 Triple-A starts.

— Right-hander Noe Ramirez was impressive in relief, pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings and allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out six batters in a row. Righty Pat Light pitched a scoreless eighth inning, allowing two hits.

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Read More: Bobby Dalbec, Chris Marrero, luis alexander basabe, michael kopech

Sunday’s Red Sox-Twins matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Tommy Milone

07.24.16 at 9:52 am ET
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In the Red Sox-Twins series finale on Sunday afternoon, Rick Porcello will throw for the Sox, while left-hander Tommy Milone will represent the Twins.

Porcello is 12-2 with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.156 WHIP in 19 starts. Porcello is coming off of a stellar performance against the Giants last Tuesday. The 27-year-old right-hander pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing no runs, four hits and two walks with two strikeouts in a 4-0 Sox win.

“He was at his best right after the first couple leadoff base hits,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Great job putting up a zero , with three consecutive strikeouts. Two opportunities for shutout innings, which he converted. As we talked about before the ballgame, very comfortable in this ballpark.”

It was Porcello’s fourth consecutive win. He is also undefeated at Fenway this season, which makes him one of three pitchers in the MLB to be undefeated at home in their first 10 starts this season.

In 26 career starts against the Twins, Porcello is 8-9 with a 3.87 ERA and a 1.370 WHIP. Porcello faced the Twins on June 12 of this year. In that outing, he threw seven innings, allowing four runs (but only one earned), five hits and two walks, while recording five strikeouts.

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How does David Price feel about his season? ‘It’s just awful’

07.24.16 at 1:24 am ET
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David Price finished Saturday night with another disappointing outing. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

David Price finished Saturday night with another disappointing outing. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

It’s becoming less and less of a surprise to see David Price’s outing covered in disappointment.

And he knows it.

“It’s been terrible. This is not fun. It’s just awful” Price said the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins Saturday night.

Since the beginning of the season, the lowest Price’s ERA has reached is 4.24, where it stood on June 19. When he departed with two outs in the fifth inning Saturday it was up to 4.51. That was thanks to an uninspiring 5 2/3-inning outing in which he gave up five runs on 11 hits.

Part of the concern since the All-Star break has been his inability to go deep into games. In both games, he went 5 2/3 with 106 pitches. With the intense and road-heavy schedule the Red Sox have ahead of them on top of their depleted bullpen, that is far from the result the team is looking for from their top starter.

“We try to space out the work as best possible,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “And with Junichi [Tazawa] coming off the DL, you have to be careful with his overall usage, but in a situation where both Tommy [Layne] and Robbie [Ross Jr.] are going four out of five days, yeah, that goes back to the depth of the … rotation and being able to work deeper into games.”

For Price, it is not so much a matter of not feeling good or coming into games ill-prepared, nor is it a health issue. What’s been evident is his ability to execute pitches.

“Honestly I feel good. I feel healthy, I feel good out there on the mound, I feel confident,” he said. “Just not making good pitches and that’s what it boils down to. You can feel bad out there and still go out there and execute pitchers and you’re going to get good results. But it doesn’t matter how good you feel if you don’t go out there and execute, and that’s when things happen.”

With the poor pair of outings to begin the season’s second half, reasonable minds could wonder if there is a confidence issue heading into the final two months. But, according to Price, doubt hasn’t crept into the equation.

“I’m still confident in myself, absolutely,” the lefty said. ” I’d go out there and pitch tomorrow if they’d let me. My confidence is not altered. I don’t listen to the outside noise. I know my teammates and the coaching staff know they have a lot of confidence in me and I haven’t really given them reason to have a lot of confidence in me this year, I’ve just got to pitch better.”

Farrell addressed part of what he perceives to be the problem in Price’s mechanics as well as his time in between games.

“Early on, David, he came off a start in New York where he’s focusing on his in between start work on trying to leverage the ball downhill, trying to get back to the bottom of the strike zone with some consistency. That was inconsistent the first few innings [Saturday],” Farrell said.

Price remains optimistic heading into his next start, which is scheduled for Thursday against the Angels in Anaheim.

“You never relax the four days in between starts whether you’re pitching good or you’re pitching bad,” he said. “You’ve got to go to work, and that’s what I’ll do, that’s what I’ve done and I’ll continue to do that.”

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Joe Kelly to get shot at relieving for Red Sox, taking place of Heath Hembree

07.24.16 at 1:04 am ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

After the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins Saturday night, Red Sox manager John Farrell reported Heath Hembree would be sent to Triple-A Pawtucket after allowing a run on three hits in just 1/3 innings.

“He’s not a confident pitcher right now, and we just did option him to Pawtucket,” said Farrell of Hembree following the loss. “The corresponding move will be announced [Sunday]. As good as Heath has been for the vast majority of this year, really the whole first half, the four times out since the break has been the other side of that. We need to add another reliever, there’s no doubt, and a guy that’s able to go multiple innings. That’ll be the move for [Sunday].”

According to a source, that move will be promoting Joe Kelly.

Kelly will be joining the Red Sox bullpen after making the transition to reliever while with Single-A Lowell and Triple-A Pawtucket. In the minors, the righty made seven outings, only allowing two runs, while striking out 14 and walking two.

While Kelly hasn’t pitched in the majors out of the bullpen since Sept. 29, 2013, he does have extensive experience as a reliever.

After not pitching much at all in high school, he served as Cal-Riverside’s closer for three years before being drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. It was in the St. Louis minor league system Kelly made the transformation into a starter.

Closing Time: Red Sox squander lead, fall for 2nd straight night to Twins

07.23.16 at 11:22 pm ET
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Eddie Rosario sends a message to the Red Sox during the Twins' five-run seventh inning. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Eddie Rosario sends a message to the Red Sox during the Twins’ five-run seventh inning. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

At multiple points in Saturday night’s game, it seemed like nothing could top how topsy-turvy the windy weather was. What transpired on the field during Red Sox’ 4-hour, 11-minute, 11-9 loss to the Twins proved otherwise.

And it was all highlighted by one of the most frustrating innings of the Red Sox’ season.

Carrying an uncomfortable, 8-5 lead the seventh, the Red Sox squandered their advantage in a big way, starting with a misread fly ball by Michael Martinez in deep right field that resulted in an RBI triple for Max Kepler. Brock Holt followed up with a misread fly ball of his own in left field, sliding to early to try to make the catch with the ball instead deflecting off his glove for an RBI double.

“Our guys have been in that spot where they’ve converged on that ball numerous times. Brock [Holt] tries to make a sliding catch, it goes off the heel of his glove, I can’t say whether the ball was jumping around on him in pursuit.” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “I thought Clay deserved better in that spot.”

Things started looking up as Jackie Bradley Jr. appeared to throw out Kennys Vargas at the plate to end the inning, however a review of the play showed otherwise, tying the game.

Eduardo Nunez then provided a pivotal two-run single to put the Twins up by what would be the final margin.

The Red Sox utilized Clay Buchholz, Tommy Layne and Heath Hembree in the seventh inning alone.

“We try to space out the work as best possible, but on a night when Barnes is unavailable, that’s a guy that’s missed on a night like this,” Farrell said. “And with Junichi [Tazawa] coming off the DL, you have to be careful with his overall usage, but in a situation where both Tommy [Layne] and Robbie [Ross Jr.] are going four out of five days, yeah, that goes back to the depth of the … rotation and being able to work deeper into games.”

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Read More: David Price, hanley ramirez, jackie bradley jr.,

Sources: White Sox still showing no inclination to deal key players

07.23.16 at 9:53 pm ET
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Chris Sale

Chris Sale

Even after cutting up his team’s uniforms, don’t count on Chris Sale coming to the Red Sox.

According to multiple major league sources, the White Sox still have shown no inclination to deal some of their key players, such as pitchers Sale or Jose Quintana.

It is a posture the Red Sox have taken into account when planning a strategy heading into the non-waiver trade deadline, and in making the decision to act early with the acquisition of starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz.

The White Sox came into Saturday’s game against Detroit at 46-50, seven games out of the final American League Wild Card spot and 10 1/2 games in back of Cleveland in the A.L Central.

Sale’s availability has been the topic of conversation throughout baseball in recent weeks, and only gained steam after the lefty was scratched from his Saturday start due to a dispute about wearing the White Sox’ throwback uniforms.

But with Sale still under team control through the 2019 season, making no more than $13.5 million per season, there isn’t a strong motivation for the White Sox to deal the 27-year-old old.

Quintana (also 27 years old) is in a similar situation, with the White Sox controlling his contract through the 2020 season. Under the current deal, the most he will be making is $10.5 million for a single season.

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