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David Ortiz becomes 27th member of 500 home run club

09.12.15 at 7:48 pm ET
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David Ortiz wasn’t stuck at 499 for long. Four innings after pulling within one of the 500 home run club, Ortiz became the 27th member when he launched a Matt Moore curveball into the right field seats at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field.

No. 500 was a solo home run, while No. 499 was a three-run shot that got the Red Sox off and running Saturday night. Ortiz’s historic blast in the fifth inning extended the Sox’ lead to 8-0.

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David Ortiz hits career home run No. 499 in 1st inning of Saturday’s game vs. Rays

09.12.15 at 6:56 pm ET
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Now the watch really begins. David Ortiz moved one home run away from becoming the 27th player in major league history to join the 500 home run club.

Ortiz blasted No. 499 — a three-run shot — in the first inning of Saturday’s game against the Rays, depositing a Matt Moore fastball into Tropicana Field‘s right field seats.

It was Ortiz’s 33rd home run of the season and his seventh off a left-hander.

Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia makes return

09.12.15 at 2:33 pm ET
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The plan to ease Dustin Pedroia back from his hamstring injury has him playing his first road game since late July 22.

After sitting out Game 1 of the Sox’ three-game set with the Rays, Pedroia will start against Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore Saturday night at Tropicana Field.

Making Pedroia’s availability even more important is the absence of Brock Holt, who was forced to leave Friday night’s contest with back spasms.

Here is the rest of the Red Sox lineup with Rick Porcello taking the hill for the visitors:

Mookie Betts CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Travis Shaw 1B
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Rusney Castillo LF
Blake Swihart C
Jackie Bradley Jr. RF

For a recap of Friday night’s game, click here.

Closing Time: Junichi Tazawa, Red Sox bullpen implode again in loss to Rays

09.11.15 at 10:38 pm ET
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Pablo Sandoval couldn't catch up to this Chris Archer offering. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Pablo Sandoval couldn’t catch up to this Chris Archer offering. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Remember when Junichi Tazawa was good? It’s becoming a distant memory.

As the Red Sox assess areas in need of improvement for 2016, the bullpen belongs atop the list. On Friday night in Tampa, Tazawa continued a horrid stretch by blowing a save in the eighth inning as part of an implosion that turned a potential 4-3 Red Sox victory into a demoralizing 6-4 loss.

This one was on Tazawa, whose struggles date to the start of the second half. He took a 5.40 ERA since the All-Star break into his appearance, and that was before submitting the following horror show: double, single, wild pitch, homer, single, wild pitch, steal, strikeout, mercifully lifted.

When Noe Ramirez allowed another homer, that closed the book on Tazawa, who ended up allowing four hits and four runs in just one-third of an inning.

He now owns a 6.95 ERA in the second half and has allowed opposing batters to compile an OPS of over 1.000. Interim manager Torey Lovullo told reporters in Florida that the club has no plans to shut down Tazawa.

“I don’t think so, no,” he said. “We know he’s had 71 outings back-to-back years, he’s into the 60s now. I really don’t think so. He’s a guy that’s in tremendous shape. He wants to be in that moment. I just think fastball command right now is a little bit inconsistent. They hit a couple good pitches tonight. I want to give them a little bit of credit.”

It’s too bad, because Tazawa’s implosion ruined what had the look of another encouraging victory. The Red Sox overcame an immediate 3-1 hole against overpowering Rays starter Chris Archer to knock him out of the game after five-plus innings. The Sox then rallied for three runs in that frame and appeared to be in line for the win until Tazawa decided otherwise.

Left-hander Wade Miley delivered one of his grittier efforts of the season, overcoming Tampa’s three-run first to silence the Rays until Tazawa took over in the eighth. Miley allowed seven hits and three runs in seven innings, striking out five and walking none.

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Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia on bench as Red Sox face Rays with David Ortiz going for 500 homers

09.11.15 at 3:33 pm ET
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The Red Sox released their lineup for Friday night’s matchup against the Rays, and it’s missing a familiar face — Dustin Pedroia.

The second baseman, who just returned from a six-week absence due to a hamstring injury, will sit out this one despite Thursday’s off day. He played on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Blue Jays, going 2-for-9 with a double and a run in his first game action since July 22.

There’s no word yet on the cause of Pedroia’s absence, though interim manager Torey Lovullo should address the media later in the day.

The night’s other main storyline is designated hitter David Ortiz, who has 498 career home runs and needs just two more to become the 27th player in history to hit 500.

Here’s the rest of the lineup:

Mookie Betts CF
Brock Holt 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Travis Shaw 1B
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Rusney Castillo LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Jackie Bradley Jr. RF

Wade Miley takes the mound for the Red Sox. Here are the matchups as the Red Sox battle Rays ace Chris Archer.

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Friday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Wade Miley vs. Chris Archer

09.11.15 at 3:21 pm ET
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley

In the opener of a weekend series in St. Petersburg, Fla. — and a nine-game road trip for the Red Sox — lefty Wade Miley goes up against Rays ace Chris Archer.

Miley (11-10, 4.43 ERA) will look to continue the success from his dominant performance on Saturday, when he pitched a complete game, allowing two earned runs on five hits to pick up his 11th win of the year in the Red Sox‘ 9-2 victory over the Phillies.

“He was just on the attack from the first inning on,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “A little bit of a hiccup after we had the eight-run inning. There was a little bit of a pause there. But all in all, that was the only time he got nicked up. He was in control of all of his innings, pitch count-wise. A complete effort by him.”

Miley has done a solid job against the Rays this year, standing at 1-1 in three starts with an ERA of 1.93. His win came against Archer on April 21. Overall against Tampa Bay, Miley is 3-1 with a 1.41 ERA in five starts. He’s 2-1 with a 0.98 ERA in three games at the Tropicana Dome.

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Red Sox claim Ramon Mendez off waivers, 5 years after trading him for Jarrod Saltalamacchia

09.11.15 at 2:35 pm ET
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Roman Mendez

Roman Mendez

The Red Sox on Friday claimed right-handed pitcher Roman Mendez off waivers from the Rangers and expect to add him to the roster for their game in Tampa.

To make room for Mendez on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox transferred closer Koji Uehara to the 60-day disabled list.

The acquisition marks a homecoming for Mendez, whom the Red Sox signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican in 2007, before trading him to the Rangers three years later as part of a four-player trade that brought catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to Boston at the 2010 trade deadline.

Mendez, 25, is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 11 2/3 innings with the Rangers this season. He has split the year between Texas and Triple-A Round Rock. Mendez is 0-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 44 2/3 lifetime big league innings, with 31 strikeouts. He has some closing experience in the minors.


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Red Sox Minor League Notebook: 2015 end of year power rankings, No.’s 6-10

09.10.15 at 9:33 am ET
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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. This week’s list is No.’s 6-10 and next Thursday will be No.’s 1-5 in the final installment of this year’s Red Sox Minor League Notebook.

Javier Guerra

Javier Guerra

6. Javier Guerra

Guerra, 19, made arguably the biggest jump in the Red Sox‘ system this season, as he’s now considered one of the top 100 prospects in all of minor league baseball ranked by MLB.com. There was a time during the spring where him even making the initial Single-A Greenville roster was in doubt.

“This is a very smart kid,” Greenville manager Darren Fenster said. “He has incredible instincts and the fact he was able to take so much into what we were trying to hammer home to him from all aspects of the game — for him to put together the type of year that he had. I mean offensively, he’s always been known for his glove and nobody could have predicted what he did with the bat.

“That started in spring training where I don’t think it was a sure fire bet he would break with us at the beginning of camp, but he had such a productive spring with the bat that he forced our hand. We had five guys for three spots when we broke camp and he was on a steady rise the whole way and it stemmed from his ability to be more disciplined with the strike zone.”

Coming into the season, the shortstop was most known for his defense, even drawing comparisons to Jose Iglesias. Not many people expected him to hit the way he did, as he hit .279 with 15 home runs and 68 RBIs.

“It was outstanding,” Fenster said. “He was a huge part of what we were able to do as a team. He basically hit anywhere from five to seven in our lineup. That’s incredible production out of any spot in the lineup, yet alone the bottom half of the lineup. We didn’t have any player make more progress from an approach standpoint than Javier did over the course of the year.

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Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘I got suspended because the rules of the company I work for I broke’

09.10.15 at 9:17 am ET
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ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning touching on a number of different subjects, including the Red Sox on his suspension from ESPN. To listen to the audio of the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Schilling has been suspended by ESPN for the rest of the regular season and the Wild Card round of the playoffs because of a recent tweet. The tweet featured a graphic with a photo of Adolf Hitler saluting. The text read: IT’€™S SAID ONLY 5-10% OF MUSLIMS ARE EXTREMISTS. IN 1940, ONLY 7% OF GERMANS WERE NAZIS. HOW’€™D THAT GO?

“I got suspended because the rules of the company I work for I broke,” Schilling said. “I don’t have a problem with that. It wasn’t the content, it was the act. I’m not racist. I don’t have a racist bone in my body. That’s not who I am.”

“It’s part of what in a sense of what they hired me for, is what I got suspended for,” he added. “I am comfortable expressing my opinions about things, whether they are right or wrong — I don’t try and be wrong. The only thing about the entire thing that bothered me was the people that took the racist angle, which is confusing to me because I’m not sure how you got there, number one, if you read the tweet. It stunned me because I would assume when you’re a racist you’re expecting responses and reports and opposition to things that you say. When you’re not someone who says things like that, it kind of caught me off guard.”

The Red Sox have won 14 of 21 games. The biggest different has been the starting pitching, as Sox starters are 13-4 with a 2.80 ERA in the club’€™s last 21 games. He said their recent play has no impact on John Farrell‘s future.

“First things first, they are pitching better,” Schilling said. “Their bullpen is struggling, but when you get better starting pitching you win more games and that’s the number one reason why they’ve won 14 of 21. Number two, I don’t care how it relates to John Farrell. I don’t think it relates in any way shape or form. All these games have down is make other teams look at Torey Lovullo as a potential managing candidate. John Farrell is undergoing something that I don’t wish on anybody. I want him to get healthy and come back and whatever he does when he comes back I don’t care, as long as he comes back.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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Closing Time: David Ortiz (home run No. 498), Joe Kelly lead Red Sox in rout of Blue Jays

09.09.15 at 10:43 pm ET
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David Ortiz hit career home run No. 498 in Wednesday's win over the Blue Jays. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

David Ortiz hit career home run No. 498 in Wednesday’s win over the Blue Jays. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Red Sox are doing their best to play spoilers.

As the Blue Jays entered the night 1 1/2 games up over the Yankees in the AL East, the Red Sox, led by the home run ball and starter Joe Kelly, took down the Blue Jays 10-4 Wednesday night at Fenway Park. The Red Sox took two-of-three in the series.

Overall, the team has won 14 of its last 21 games.

“I’m very proud of these guys going 6-3 against some tough teams — the Yankees and the Blue Jays are in a race, they are not letting down, and anytime you come out on top and have that type of homestand, you know you’re doing something right,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “These guys, like I’ve been saying, are very engaged. They’re very in the moment. They’re ready for this challenge as we are moving forward to the end of the season. There’s no letup on them. There’s a lot of excitement. It’s fun to watch.”

David Ortiz led the offensive charge with career home run No. 498 in the third inning. It was a three-run home run to dead center field, which gave the Red Sox a 4-0 lead at the time. Mookie Betts homered earlier in the inning for the first Red Sox run of the game.

Ortiz is now two home runs shy of No. 500 and with the team set to depart for nine games on the road, it’s likely the milestone happens away from Fenway.

“I know David has a very special bond with the city,” Lovullo said. “I know it would mean a lot to him to have it done here. But he’s just so professional and just so locked in, it might happen on the road. It’s going to be a great accomplishment no matter where it happens. We’re all behind him, we’re all excited by what he’s done. But the best part about him is you don’t hear him talk about it at all. He just wants to make it about the team and the direction we’re going in right now. It’s honest. We’re watching closely and we’re all pulling for him.”

With the homer, Betts extended his hit streak to a career-long 15 games. In the stretch he’s batting .393 with 10 extra-base hits.

The offense was more than enough for starter Joe Kelly, who won his eighth straight start. The right-hander went 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits while walking two and striking out five.

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