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Jon Lester named to All-Star team as only Red Sox representative

07.06.14 at 7:28 pm ET
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Red Sox ace Jon Lester was named to the American League All-Star team as a manager’s selection. He is the only Red Sox representative — for now.

Closer Koji Uehara appears likely to be named to the team by AL manager John Farrell later this week as an injury replacement for a pitcher should one be needed.

This is the third time Lester has been named to the All-Star team. Lester previously was named to the All-Star team in 2010 and ’11.

If Uehara is named to the All-Star team, it will be his first selection. Uehara was an eight time All-Star selection in Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan.

“Obviously it’s a big honor to represent the Red Sox and go to the All-Star Game and play a game with a lot of the great players in this game,” Lester said. “I am fortunate to be a part of it. … I think we as kids dream about it. This what you want to do as a kid. You watch All-Star Games, you watch the playoffs on TV and you dream about one day hopefully being in that position. To live that dream and have that opportunity to go to three All-Star Games, and two World Series rings — I don’t want to say it’s a dream come true, because hopefully I have a few more World Series in me and all the other stuff to go along with it. Everyone in this room dreams about it as a kid.”

In 18 starts in 2014 Lester has a 2.73 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP, a .242 opponent batting average, 122 strikeouts, 29 walks and a 9-7 win-loss record in 122 innings pitched. The 30-year-old ranks 17th in baseball among pitchers with a 2.0 WAR (according to BaseballReference.com).

Uehara has continued his dominance from 2013 this season. In 40 appearances Uehara has a 1.30 ERA, a 0.74 WHIP, 18 saves, one blown save, 52 strikeouts, six walks and 25 hits allowed in 41 2/3 innings pitched. Uehara is tied with Lester for the 17th best WAR among pitchers in the American League at 2.0 (according to BaseballReference.com).

Jon Lester and Koji have pitched All-Star-caliber baseball this entire first half of the season,” Farrell said. “When you look at what Jon has been able to do in terms of where he stacks with other starters — in the top five or top six in most pitching categories — he has earned the selection.”

American League starters voted in by the fans are: Jose Bautista (OF), Mike Trout (OF), Adam Jones (OF), Miguel Cabrera (1B), Robinson Cano (2B), Josh Donaldson (3B), Derek Jeter (SS), Matt Wieters (C) and Nelson Cruz (DH). Salvador Perez will replace the injured Wieters.

AL pitchers will be: Yu Darvish, Max Scherzer, Felix Hernandez, Masahiro Tanaka, David Price, Scott Kazmir, Mark Buehrle, Sean Doolittle, Greg Holland, Dellin Betances and Glen Perkins.

Voted in as National League starters are: Troy Tulowitzki (SS), Paul Goldschmidt (1B), Chase Utley (2B), Aramis Ramirez (3B), Andrew McCutchen (OF), Carlos Gomez (OF), Yasiel Puig (OF) and Yadier Molina (C).

The game will take place July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Read More: Jon Lester, Koji Uehara,

Closing time: Red Sox bullpen allows 5 runs in loss, spoiling 5-run comeback against Orioles

07.06.14 at 6:42 pm ET
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Heading into Sunday the Red Sox bullpen was one of the team’s strong suits this season, as its 3.24 ERA was fourth-best in the American League.

Edward Mujica

Edward Mujica

Uncharacteristically, the group allowed a total of five runs in the Red Sox‘€™ wild, 7-6, extra-innings loss to the Orioles on Sunday afternoon.

Burke Badenhop and Junichi Tazawa allowed four runs on six hits in the seventh inning to allow the Orioles to take a 6-1 lead — this following another shaky but quality outing from Jake Peavy.

“They strung some hits together,” Farrell said of the top of the seventh. “This is a very good hitting lineup that we’€™re going up against. That same part of the order, once again as it was the case last night, they’€™re able to string some base hits. They use the whole field. Combination we tried to throw at them didn’€™t slow them down.”

Following a dramatic rally to force extra-innings, the Red Sox eventually fell in the 12th inning when Edward Mujica allowed a run in his second inning of work. David Lough tripled to lead off the inning and then was driven in by J.J. Hardy on a single to left for the game-winning run.

This put a damper on a terrific seventh-inning rally, as the Sox scored five runs to tie the game at 6 at the time. David Ross started things by clubbing his fifth homer of the season to the triangle in right-center. Then the Sox had a string of five straight hits off Orioles relievers as Xander Bogaerts, Daniel Nava, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli all collected RBI singles in the inning.

“I thought our guys did a tremendous job in that seventh inning to come back and erase a five-run deficit,” Farrell said. “We get five consecutive base hits, strung some hits together finally to mount that inning.”

The Red Sox dropped two of three to the Orioles over the weekend and fell to 39-49, 10 games below .500.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox‘ loss.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– After recording his first hit in 27 at-bats in the bottom half of the third inning, Bogaerts didn’t carry over any momentum to the field as his throwing error allowed the first Orioles run to score in the top of the fourth.

Nelson Cruz led the inning off with a double, and then Delmon Young hit a grounder to third. Bogaerts double-pumped and airmailed his throw into the Red Sox dugout, allowing Cruz to score from second base.

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Read More: Burke Badenhop, Edward Mujica, junichi tazawa, Red Sox

Red Sox notes: John Farrell on All-Star Game: ‘Overall record in Interleague play should determine home-field advantage’

07.06.14 at 1:00 pm ET
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Not many teams have benefitted from the All-Star Game more than the Red Sox in the last decade.

The Sox have made the World Series three times since 2004 and have been awarded home-field advantage in each occasion thanks to the American League‘s victory in the Midsummer Classic in those seasons.

The All-Star Game has determined home-field advantage since 2003, but not all are pleased that the game still counts for something, including Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Farrell, whose team celebrated a world championship at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918 thanks to the AL’s 3-0 win at Citi Field last season, said he would prefer overall record in Interleague play determining home-field advantage in the World Series.

“My preference, personal opinion, I think the overall record in Interleague play would be more representative of who deserves home-field advantage,” Farrell said. “There are so many different factors. Having gone through this in ’08 and watched [Terry Francona] deal with a number of different things to balance, knowing the outcome does have an affect on, obviously, the home field in October.

“That’s a one-game showcase. It’s not necessarily — I don’t want to say it’s not a competitive game, because it is. But I just think a whole body of Interleague play is more representative of who’s more deserving of home-field advantage.”

Farrell will manage the AL squad this season after the Sox’ World Series win last fall, which means he had the challenge of putting together the roster that will be announced Sunday night.

“There’s a number of things that are kind of in place in terms of the fan voting, the player voting, it really guides your final selections,” Farrell said. “There’s so many deserving players, that’s when it really begins to get difficult. There’s going to be deserving players that are going to be omitted because of making sure that every team is represented and there’s a limit to the amount on the roster.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: All-Star Game, John Farrell,

Nelson Cruz on John Lackey: ‘People can say whatever they want’

07.06.14 at 12:53 pm ET
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Nelson Cruz has been swinging a torrid and powerful bat for the Orioles this year. (AP)

Nelson Cruz has been swinging a torrid and powerful bat for the Orioles this year. (AP)

Sticks and stones may break his bones but John Lackey‘s words won’t incite Nelson Cruz.

Lackey was in classic passive aggressive form after Saturday night’s 7-4 loss to Cruz and the Orioles. Cruz went 5-for-5, including a laser beam homer to left off Lackey.

“I’€™m not even going to comment on him,” Lackey said. “€œI’€™ve got nothing to say about him. There are things I’€™d like to say, but I’€™m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.”

The “stuff” Lackey was accusing reporters of brushing under the carpet was the 50-game suspension for PED violations in connection with the MLB Biogenesis investigation. On Sunday morning, Cruz responded. At first Cruz said he was unaware but after being informed of Lackey’s tone, Cruz seemed unaffected.

“What comments? I don’€™t know,” Cruz said. “I don’€™t hear that, anything. I mean, people can say whatever they want. It’€™s part of being free. I don’t have any comment on that.”

Cruz was a triple shy of the cycle on Saturday night. He is certainly the leading candidate for comeback player of the year, leading the American League in homers (27) and RBIs (70). He’s batting .286 with an OPS of .934. No wonder that David Ortiz aggressively recruited Cruz in the offseason and asked GM Ben Cherington to take a serious look at him.

Speaking of Ortiz, it was the Red Sox slugger Orioles manager Buck Showalter was apparently referencing when he suggested Sunday morning that Lackey “looking in his backyard” before throwing stones. Ortiz was listed in a 2003 report of more than 100 MLB players who tested positive for a banned substance.

Cruz was asked if he has noticed a tone of forgiveness from players around baseball after he served his suspension in 2013.

“I mean for players it’€™s kind of hard to know because most of the time they don’€™t talk,” Cruz said. “What I care about is my teammates and what they think about me. I mean, when you go to ballparks and beat other teams they are not going to be happy regardless of what you do or anything. What I care about is what my teammates think about me and what my fans think about me. Like I said before, they aren’€™t going to be happy when I come in and do good. They want me to strikeout every time and when that doesn’€™t happen, they are pissed.

“€œI just play game-by-game. For me the most important thing is winning. I think we accomplished what we could [Saturday night] and that was get a ‘W.’ Also, it feels good go perfect in one game, don’€™t get any outs so it was one of the best games I’€™ve ever had in my life.”

Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Biogenesis, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz

Sunday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Jake Peavy vs. Kevin Gausman

07.06.14 at 12:39 pm ET
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The Red Sox will close out a three-game series against the Orioles Sunday, sending Jake Peavy to the mound against Kevin Gausman.

The 2014 season has been a miserable campaign for Peavy (1-7, 4.82 ERA), who is winless in his last 12 starts.

While Peavy may not have pitched his way to win since April 25, his subpar record is not a direct result of his performance on the mound.

Of Peavy’€™s 17 starts this year, the Red Sox have been shut out in three of them, while scoring two runs or fewer in 13 games in which he’€™s pitched.

Peavy turned in one of his finer performances this year in his last start Monday against the Cubs, allowing five hits and two earned runs over six innings while striking out seven.

However, in what has been a recurring theme this year, the opposing pitcher was even better, as Chicago’€™s Jake Arrieta carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning en route to a 2-0 Chicago win.

“You just go out and try to give your team the best chance that you can give them on that night to win,” Peavy said after the game. “And I’ve got to do a better job of that. It’s going to change. This isn’t going to keep happening. I promise you, I’ve got my head down and working. It’ll change. There’s going to be games where we score five, six, seven runs on the day I start. I’m not going to believe that this is how it’s going to be for the next 16 or 17 starts.”

Peavy took the loss in his last outing against Baltimore on June 9, surrendering four earned runs over seven innings while striking out seven. In five career starts against the Orioles, Peavy is 2-1 with a 4.41 ERA.

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Read More: jake peavy, Kevin Gausman, Orioles, Red Sox

Nelson Cruz: ‘No doubt it’s always special when (David Ortiz) tries to get you’

07.06.14 at 12:08 pm ET
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Nelson Cruz was all smiles when he signed with the Orioles this winter. (AP)

Nelson Cruz was all smiles when he signed with the Orioles this winter, but he confirmed Sunday David Ortiz reached out to him on the possibility of signing with Boston. (AP)

There was some speculation this past offseason the Red Sox were giving some consideration in signing free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz. The Orioles slugger is having a terrific first half of the season, hitting .286 with 27 home runs (first in the American League), to go along with 70 RBI (also leading the AL) entering play Sunday.

The Red Sox could use some more right-handed power in their lineup this year, especially in the outfield, as their .233 batting average among outfielders is second-to-last in the AL and their slugging percentage of .333, as well as OPS of .639 rank dead last.

Cruz confirmed Sunday, David Ortiz in fact, reached out to him during the offseason on the possibility of signing with the Red Sox.

“I had a chance to talk to David (Ortiz) in person about it,” said Cruz. “He knows how I go about business, how much I like to win and I like being apart of good teams. It’€™s special. He is one of the faces of MLB and one of the greatest hitters. There’€™s no doubt it’€™s always special when he tries to get you for your team.”

In 24 career games at Fenway Park, Cruz has a batting line of .400/.457/.726 with six homers, 18 extra-base hits and 22 RBI.

General manager Ben Cherington was asked about his thought process on not going after Cruz during the offseason this week prior to Baltimore coming to town on the Dennis and Callahan Show.

“It’€™s a good question and we can certainly go back to that,” he said. “Go back to the offseason and we look at what we projected our outfield to be. We had (Shane) Victorino coming off a very good season and a guy we felt was really important to our team in a number of ways, with particularly his defense in right field. There was an inclination to keep him in right field even though he’€™s played some center before. We felt like he’€™s almost a weapon in right field and we wanted to keep him there. We felt right field was covered.

“Center field, we didn’€™t think Cruz was a center fielder and that leaves left or DH and obviously DH is covered. In left field we have coming off last year a combination of (Jonny) Gomes and (Daniel) Nava, which delivered some of the best left field production in baseball last year in aggregate. In fact their combined performance was better than Nelson Cruz’€™s was in 2013. Then on top of that, you have to give up a draft pick, a first-round pick to sign him, and the balance of need and what we’€™d have to give up, we just felt didn’€™t match up.

“In hindsight you can look at it and say, ‘€˜Wow, we could really use that power,’€™ but I can’t really look back that one and think we’€™d have done it differently, but give the Orioles credit and give Nelson Cruz credit, he’€™s having a great year.”

Read More: ben cherington, David Ortiz, Nelson Cruz, Red Sox

Red Sox minor league roundup: Sean Coyle, Rafael Devers keep mashing; Javier Guerra’s big ceiling

07.06.14 at 12:04 pm ET
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Sean Coyle hit his 11th homer of the year on Saturday. (Salem Red Sox)

Sean Coyle hit his 11th homer of the year on Saturday. (Salem Red Sox)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-6 LOSS AT SYRACUSE (NATIONALS)

(BOX)

– Making his way back to the Red Sox after suffering a broken right foot, Mike Carp went 2-for-4 with a home run on Saturday. Prior to the multi-hit performance, Carp had been just 1-for-13 in five rehab games with the PawSox. Carp played left field and stayed in the game for a full nine innings. His progress will be reevaluated after the weekend to determine when he’ll be ready to return to the major league club. Carp has been sidelined since June 2.

Will Middlebrooks is also making progress in his return from a fractured finger, but had an ugly day at the plate, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He’s 3-for-12 since beginning a new rehab assignment after some discomfort in his fractured finger forced him to take a week off.

Travis Shaw smacked his second home run in his last four games, going 1-for-3 with a walk and a solo shot to right, the first baseman’s sixth home run in Triple-A and 17th overall. Shaw is 6-for-17 in his last five games with five RBIs and two walks after drawing just six free passes in 27 games last month. Shaw isn’t quite showing the power he displayed earlier this season in Double-A, where he posted a .548 slugging percentage in 47 games, and has seen his strikeouts go up quite a bit (he fanned just 11 percent of the time with Portland this season, a number that’s jumped to 27 percent in 38 Triple-A contests). But Shaw is still hitting .269 with a .455 slugging percentage since being promoted.

Anthony Ranaudo has been pretty dominant since late April, but faltered on Saturday, allowing five runs (which ties a season high — he also allowed five runs in back-to-back outings in April) on seven hits and a walk in six innings of work. He did manage to rack up six strikeouts, the sixth time he’s had that many or more in an outing. It was just the third time this season Ranaudo allowed seven or more hits. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: javier guerra, pat light, rafael devers, sean coyle
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