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There goes the neighborhood: Key play in Red Sox loss explained

08.17.14 at 6:05 pm ET
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Something seemed amiss as the play unfolded.

With one out in the top of the second inning, the Astros had taken a 2-0 lead over the Red Sox and were threatening to add on, but Marwin Gonzalez grounded a ball back up the middle that deflected off the glove of pitcher Joe Kelly and right to shortstop Xander Bogaerts. It was a tailor made double play, with Bogaerts only having to cross the bag and then fire to first.

The 21-year-old did just that, but he released the ball about a half step before he arrived at second base. On the field, the play was ruled a double play, though Bogaerts seemed uncertain, turning back towards second initially before making another half-turn and jogging off the field with his teammates.

“I knew right away once I let that ball go I stepped after,” said Bogaerts. “It’€™s something I knew I messed up right there but hopefully the umpires would not do the replay and we would’€™ve got the double play. I knew right away.”

Yet even as Houston manager Bo Porter jogged on the field to consult with the umpiring crew, it was unclear whether the call could be overturned. The “neighborhood play,” in which a middle infielder at second base on a double play pivot comes off the bag early to avoid an onrushing runner, was deemed something that was not subject to review while replay was implemented this spring. The umpiring crew wasn’t certain.  Read the rest of this entry »

Closing Time: Day of misplays as Red Sox get blown out by Astros

08.17.14 at 4:46 pm ET
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Red Sox starter Joe Kelly had his worst start with his new team. (Getty Images)

Red Sox starter Joe Kelly had his worst start with his new team. (Getty Images)

The Red Sox have found just about every way possible to lose this season. But the way they fell Sunday is as frustrating for a team as it gets.

The Sox took an ugly 8-1 loss to the Astros Sunday thanks to a six-run second inning highlighted by a pair of inexcusable fielding gaffes.

Yoenis Cespedes made the first one with two on and no outs. The outfielder failed to read a catchable Carlos Corporan fly ball to left field that instead sailed a couple feet over his head and hit the bottom of the Wall. That gave the Astros a bases loaded situation that resulted in a pair of runs.

Later in the inning, with two on and one out, Xander Bogaerts had seemingly gotten starter Joe Kelly out of the inning with limited damage by turning an inning-ending double play on a routine ground ball to short. However, the replay showed the ball left Bogaerts’ hands on the throw to first a half-step before he stepped on the bag, which kept the inning alive.

It proved to be a major setback for Kelly, who soon after gave up a grand slam to Jose Altuve and had his worst outing in a Red Sox uniform. Kelly allowed seven runs on seven hits in four innings for his first loss with the Red Sox. He walked six, struck out three and threw just 49 of his 91 pitches for strikes.

The loss drops the Sox to 56-67 for the season.

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Red Sox minor league roundup: Mookie Betts getting primed for center; Derrik Gibson’s surprising surge towards big leagues

08.17.14 at 2:48 pm ET
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Mookie Betts is seeing everyday action in center field in Pawtucket. (365DigitalPhotography.com / Portland Sea Dogs)

Mookie Betts is seeing everyday action in center field in Pawtucket. (365DigitalPhotography.com / Portland Sea Dogs)

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



– Feats of Mookie: Getting primed for center field. Mookie Betts went 0-for-4 but walked and stole a base (his 11th in 15 attempts in Triple-A). He also once again started in center, where he’s made nine of his 10 starts — the other came at DH — after being sent down to Triple-A following a week-long callup in early August. The everyday role in center reflects both upon the fact that the Sox have more crowding in Triple-A in the corner outfield spots with Bryce Brentz back in Pawtucket, but more significantly, it underscores the notion that the Red Sox see Betts’ likeliest path to the big leagues with them as that of an everyday center fielder, particularly in light of the struggles of Jackie Bradley Jr.

– At the time of his first big league callup on Memorial Day weekend, Alex Hassan was hitting .217/.318/.303. In 56 games since that first exposure to the big leagues, he’s hitting .328/.414/.529 following a 3-for-5 performance on Saturday that included his seventh homer and 26th extra-base hit in that stretch, boosting the 26-year-old’s overall line to .281/.373/.433.

– Catcher Blake Swihart went 2-for-4 and, for the first time in his nine Triple-A contests, walked. He also stole a base. The 22-year-old is hitting .297/.316/.486 with four extra-base hits, one walk and 10 strikeouts with the PawSox.

Derrik Gibson continues to perform like someone who now has a major league future. The second baseman/center fielder went 2-for-4 with a walk on Saturday. He’s hitting .313/.352/.521 with five extra-base hits, three walks, eight strikeouts and two steals in 13 Triple-A games. He’s a good runner who can play multiple positions and who, despite limited power, can spray the ball around the field, particularly against lefties. In short, after seemingly stalling out in Double-A in 2012 and 2013, Gibson has reasserted himself as a player who has performed his way into a potential big league role at the age of 24, long after he’d disappeared from the Red Sox‘ top prospect lists. Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli sit in finale against Astros

08.17.14 at 12:22 pm ET
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The Red Sox will be without their customary right side of the infield for the final of their four-game series against the Astros, as Dustin Pedroia (flu-like symptoms) and Mike Napoli (scheduled day off) will both sit against the Astros and right-hander Collin McHugh. Brock Holt will play second, while Kelly Johnson will play first.


Brock Holt, 2B

Daniel Nava, RF

David Ortiz, DH

Yoenis Cespedes, LF

Kelly Johnson, 1B

Xander Bogaerts, SS

Will Middlebrooks, 3B

Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Dan Butler, C

Joe Kelly, SP

Red Sox pregame notes: Dustin Pedroia out with flu-like symptoms; Steven Wright called up from Pawtucket

08.17.14 at 11:55 am ET
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It’s not often Dustin Pedroia isn’t well enough to be in the Red Sox lineup.

The second baseman has a reputation of playing through pain and soreness, one he’s maintained throughout this season. Pedroia has played in 119 of the Sox’ first 122 games in 2014, and was in the lineup Saturday despite leaving Friday’s game early after fouling a ball off his foot.

Sunday will be one of those rare occasions where Pedroia can’t go.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said that Pedroia is out of Sunday’s lineup with flu-like symptoms. Brock Holt will play second in his place.

“He felt it during the game last night, it worsened to the point where he can’t go at all today,” Farrell said of Pedroia’s condition.

Farrell said Pedroia showed up to the ballpark Sunday and was given antibiotics by team doctors.

“Hopefully this is a short-lived situation,” he said.

Pedroia’s presence in the lineup will be missed Sunday. The second baseman has five hits, two RBIs and four runs scored in the first three games of the series against the Astros, which concludes Sunday afternoon.


– The Red Sox called up pitcher Steven Wright from Triple-A Pawtucket and designated outfielder Corey Brown for assignment, according to Farrell. Read the rest of this entry »

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David Ortiz reflects on milestone night, career with Red Sox

08.17.14 at 10:10 am ET
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There aren’t many players in major league history that can categorize themselves with Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski. Just the idea of someone doing so would seem blasphemous to most Red Sox fans.

David Ortiz, however, is a rare exception. And he verified that with another landmark night on Saturday.

The slugger launched home runs No. 400 and 401 in a Red Sox uniform in a six RBI showcase against the Astros, becoming just the third player in club history to reach that mark.

The other two players to reach that milestone? Williams (521 home runs) and Yastrzemski (452).

“It’s an honor to be up there mentioned with those legends,” Ortiz said after his 3-for-5 night that led the Sox to a 10-7 win. “You’re not expecting to be mentioned with those guys.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell said what’s most impressive about Ortiz’s accomplishment is the pace in which he did it. Ortiz is in the midst of his 12th season with the Sox and reached the 400 home run mark in the third inning of career game No. 1,630.

Williams reached that plateau in the middle of his 15th season. Yastrzemski in his 19th.

“When you consider how many fewer games he’s done it in is really remarkable,” Farrell said. “He’s in rare company with the two other guys he’s now linked to. To see it in roughly 60 percent of the games with one and almost half the games of the other. It’s amazing what he’s been able to do here.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Sunday’s Red Sox-Astros matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Collin McHugh

08.17.14 at 8:13 am ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

The Red Sox will close out a four-game series at home against the Astros Sunday, sending Joe Kelly to the mound against Collin McHugh.

After pitching on the road during his first two starts with the Red Sox, Kelly (0-0, 2.08 ERA) will be making his first career start at Fenway Park. It will also stand as the first time this season that the 26-year-old righty faces off against an American League opponent.

“I’m excited to pitch in front of the home crowd and see how the mound is and the surroundings,” Kelly said. “I’m definitely excited to get out there for my first start.”

Kelly was solid in his last start Tuesday against the Reds, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out four over six innings of work en route to a 3-2 Red Sox victory.

“I thought he had very good stuff tonight, better stuff tonight than his first start in St. Louis,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell after the game. “He might’ve pitched a little bit fine early on, the two walks came back to haunt him, but I thought he settled in well and really got into a good rhythm. He has three-plus pitches for strikes tonight with very good fastball velocity.”

Kelly has been impressive since being traded to Boston on July 31, allowing just three runs over 13 innings of work in two starts with the Red Sox.

In two career relief appearances against the Astros, Kelly surrendered two hits and no runs while striking out two in 1 1/3 innings.

Read the rest of this entry »

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