|08.21.15 at 8:15 am ET|
Following Thursday night’s victory over the Royals, the Red Sox will look to win their fourth game in a row when they send Henry Owens out to pitch in the second game of the series against Johnny Cueto.
Owens last took the mound on Sunday, tossing six innings and allowing seven earned runs on 10 hits. Though he gave up three home runs, the rookie struck out 10, bringing his total for the year up to 17 through 16 innings of work. Owens struggled in the beginning of his outing and gave up all seven of the runs he was responsible for within the first three innings of his start. After that, he hunkered down and gave the Sox three scoreless frames, during which they were able to begin their comeback, though they ultimately lost in 10-8 in 12 innings.
“I honestly feel like giving up seven runs in the first three innings, it would’ve been easy for a young pitcher to collapse,” acting manager Torey Lovullo said. “But he composed himself. He wanted to go back out there for the sixth inning and executed a good game plan. For a young pitcher to do that, for a young pitcher to go back out there and complete that sixth inning as easily as he did says a lot about Henry Owens.”
The 23-year-old has only faced three teams in his very young career and none of them have been the Royals, though he held their division rival Tigers to one earned run and three hits over five innings on Aug. 9. That performance, plus his first outing that lasted five frames with three earned runs on five hits with as many strikeouts, give him a 1-1 record this season and a 6.19 ERA.
|08.21.15 at 2:41 am ET|
It wouldn’t seem important that Los Angeles dropped an 8-2 decision to the White Sox Thursday night. But, if you’re in the same mindset at what Hanley Ramirez professed to be after his team’s victory over Kansas City, allowing the Red Sox to gain a game in the wild card standings actually meant something.
Despite the Red Sox sitting at 55-66 and eight games out of the wild card, with eight teams standing in their way, Ramirez remains a believer.
“I never worry about myself, I worry about the team,” Ramirez said. “I’m just looking forward to seeing what we’re going to do. Not just me, as a team. Keep the momentum into next year. And anything can happen. The season’s not over. This is baseball. Anything can happen, so we have to keep playing. We can shock some people. Season’s not over.”
Ramirez, who spent Thursday’s pre-game working on his left field defense with outfield coach Arnie Beyeler, has joined the rest of the Red Sox in an uneasy existence.
While he insists the focus is on going on the Sox going on some sort of run, currently riding just the sixth three-game win streak of the season, Ramirez is also trying to thrive during this Dave Dombrowski evaluation period.
“I’ve never been in this situation, so we just try and control what we can control,” he said. “Go out there and compete every day and everything else is going to take care of itself.”
Individually, Ramirez would need an uptick both offensively and defensively to garner the kind of optimism he’s seeking.
While much attention has been put on the outfielder’s play in left field, his offensive struggles have led to some uneasiness in the Red Sox’ organization. Ramirez is hitting just .259 with an OPS of .742.
The righty hitter hasn’t hit a home run since July 11, making it 24 games he’s played in since going deep. During that stretch Ramirez has totaled a .211 batting average and .492 OPS.
There has been some thought that his lingering shoulder injury was the cause for the lack of punch. But, according to Ramirez, a better explanation for the struggles resides with the bruised left hand suffered on June 24.
“Not really,” he said when asked if the banged up shoulder had curtailed his production. “It’s more my hand form the line-drive.
“I was out for nine days, so it’s just finding my timing. I have to try and see more pitches to get my timing back and get going.”
|08.20.15 at 11:31 pm ET|
If there is one thing to be said about his style, it is he’s not afraid to trade anyone and he is willing to make as many trades as it takes.
“I don’t think you have untradeable players,” Dombrowski said Thursday on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show. “There’s players that are more difficult to trade depending how your club sets up, but I think you’re very open-minded to anything because you need to have an open mind in order to make deals happen.”
Here are some of Dombrowski’s biggest trades from his time in Detroit since 2007 (in all he’s made 48 trades in that time frame):
— December 2007: Tigers get Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from Marlins for outfielder Cameron Maybin, pitcher Andrew Miller, catcher Mike Rabelo and minor league pitchers Eulogio De La Cruz, Dallas Trahern and Burke Badenhop.
— July 2009: Tigers get pitcher Jarrod Washburn from Mariners for left-hander Luke French and minor league prospect Mauricio Robles.
— December 2009: Tigers get Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth, Phil Coke and Austin Jackson in three-team deal for Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.
— November 2012: Tigers get second baseman Omar Infante and right-hander Anibal Sanchez from Miami in exchange for pitchers Brian Flynn and Jacob Turner and catcher Rob Brantly.
— July 2013: Tigers get reliever Jose Veras from Astros for minor leaguers David Paulino and Danry Vazquez.
— November 2013: Tigers Ian Kinsler from Rangers for Prince Fielder.
— December 2013: Tigers get infielder Steve Lombardozzi, left-hander Ian Krol and minor league lefty Robbie Ray from Nationals for Doug Fister.
— July 2014: Tigers get David Price in three-team deal while giving up center fielder Austin Jackson, Drew Smyly and minor league shortstop Willy Adames.
— July 2014: Tigers get reliever Joakim Soria from Rangers for RHP Corey Knebel and minor league RHP Jake Thompson.
— December 2014: Tigers get Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson, pitching prospect Gabe Speier from Red Sox for Rick Porcello.
* These don’t include the trades he made during this year’s deadline, as he left the Tigers less than a week after the July 31 trade deadline.
It is evident Dombrowski won’t shy away from any deal, as he has made seemingly every deal possible: proven veteran for prospects, prospects for proven veteran, proven player for proven player, etc. It would also seem no Red Sox player is untouchable this offseason.
|08.20.15 at 9:59 pm ET|
Maybe the Red Sox play up to their competition.
They are now 5-2 since Torey Lovullo took over as manager.
Once again, the Red Sox offense was paced by Jackie Bradley Jr. and Travis Shaw. Shaw went 2-for-3, while Bradley Jr. went 1-for-4. Of the last nine hits for Bradley Jr., all of them have gone for extra bases and his on-base streak is now 12 games where he’s batting .413.
Shaw got the scoring started, as he drew a bases loaded walk in the first inning. The Sox would then go on to score three runs in the third inning to take a 4-0 lead at the time. Shaw doubled off the Green Monster with two outs to set up second and third for Ryan Hanigan who came through with a two-RBI single. Bradley Jr. then followed with a RBI-triple to account for the fourth run.
For Shaw, he’s now reached base twice in five straight games. In 24 major league games, he’s hitting .382 with nine extra-base hits.
“I heard him say the other day that things are just clicking and things are moving in a good direction for him,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “He feels like he’s seeing the ball very, very well and those are little runs that every player wants to get on.”
“Yeah and getting regular at-bats obviously helps too,” Shaw added of his confidence. “Coming to the field with a pretty good idea that I’m going to be in the lineup helps your confidence and helps you[ get in a good rhythm with those regular at-bats.”
The Red Sox were able to get to Royals left-hander Danny Duffy for four runs. Going into the game they were batting a MLB-best .305 against lefties since May 23. Before that date they were batting an MLB-worst .197.
Red Sox starter Wade Miley was on his game, as he was able to pick up his second straight win and second straight dominant start. The left-hander went 7 1/3 innings allowing one run on six hits, while striking out six and not walking a batter. It was his 14th quality start of the season, which leads the team.
His only mistake was a solo home run to Mike Moustakas in the fifth inning.
“Great outing for Wade,” Lovullo said. “Just an easy three-pitch mix. Quick, easy outs and for me he deserved the right to go back out there for the eighth inning. Just keep him on a short-leash. Didn’t want to extend him too far. I know his last outing he was [extended a little bit.] He has earned that right to go out there and get those extra outs and tonight was a good night for him.”
Alexi Ogando got the second out of the eighth inning before giving way to Robbie Ross Jr. who struck out Eric Hosmer, who was the tying run.
Junichi Tazawa pitched the ninth to pick up his second save in as many nights.
|08.20.15 at 9:22 pm ET|
It didn’t take long for the welcome wagon to arrive.
Moments after stepping on the Fenway Park field for the first time, Johnny Cueto was greeted by Red Sox outfielder Hanley Ramirez, who had just finished his workout on the same side of the field as the visitors’ dugout.
After some joking with Cueto and a few of his Royals teammates, Ramirez offered up his services to translate for the starting pitching. A preview of 2016? It’s something that the ace has at least thought about.
“It depends,” said Cueto on if he would sign with the Red Sox after this season. “Because I’m a free agent, and I’m just going to pick the best choice to go. The main thing — I would like to come here because it’s a championship-caliber team.”
The 29-year-old Cueto has totaled a 2.46 ERA in a combined 23 starts with Cincinnati and Kansas City this season, with the righty entering his first Fenway Park start Friday night with a 1.80 ERA in four starts as a Royal.
For the Royals, the non-waiver trade deadline deal that sent for pitcher Brandon Finnegan and two minor leaguers to the Reds has worked out. It was a trade, as it turned out, Cueto actually thought at one time might land him in Boston.
“Yeah, that’s what I think,” he said when he believed the Red Sox might be a landing spot when trade rumors started swirling prior to this season. “I think, ‘I’ll wait for Boston.'”
Despite the comparisons to Red Sox legends Luis Tiant and Pedro Martinez (whom Cueto met at the last World Baseball Classic), prior to the trade rumblings, the idea of calling Fenway his home wasn’t at the forefront of his mind.
“I never thought in my career to play here, but people like it,” he said. “This is baseball and anything can happen.”
Will Ramirez be his chief recruiter?
“It’s not my job to do that, but he’s a good pitcher,” the outfielder said. “He’s my friend.”
|08.20.15 at 6:04 pm ET|
Of the top 100 prospects rated by MLB.com, the Red Sox have seven of them, including four currently with Single-A Greenville. While the team may not have many prospects major league ready, the future looks bright with the number of young, talented players at the lower levels of the organization.
With new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski coming aboard, he could use some of these prospects to acquire proven major league talent, or he could hold on to them and see them rise through the organization and eventually reach the major leagues.
Here is a closer look at the four top 100 prospects currently with Single-A Greenville:
Yoan Moncada (Rated No. 9 by MLB.com)
The 19-year old was signed to a record $31.5 million deal this spring after coming over from Cuba. The second baseman spent an extra month and a half down in Fort Myers at extended spring training to get acclimated to playing in America before getting the call up to Greenville in mid May.
Things didn’t get off to the best of starts, as he batted .208 over his first 20 games, but even though the numbers weren’t there, the Red Sox organization was never concerned.
“Even when he was struggling you saw flashes of that potential,” Red Sox minor league hitting coordinator Tim Hyers said. “Dealing with young players you see a lot of different players. It was just get your work in, go through the process, develop your routines. If you put the work in it’s going to show up on the field. The athletic ability, strength, size, quickness, it was easy to see. It was putting that together and it would show up at game time.”
After getting settled in with his new team in Greenville and putting in the work pregame, the results are now starting to show. In the second half of the season, Moncada is slashing .344/.433/.558.
“You just have to put yourself in his shoes and there’s a lot of things going on his his life and changes were made,” Hyers said. “Just getting conformable with professional baseball — the routines and what is expected of you. He’s learning how to be a professional, how to prepare every day and when he started to feel comfortable I think that’s when the numbers started to turn around. He’s definitely a special athlete and special player.”
|08.20.15 at 5:31 pm ET|
Pedroia had an MRI Thursday and it said more strengthening is needed and the team is now setting a target return date of Sept. 10. The Red Sox are off on Sept. 10, but will play the Rays in Tampa Sept. 11.
“Imaging is saying he needs to continuing strengthening for another 10 days, which will get him right around the end of the month where he’ll begin some running activity and ramp up for 10-14 days and sometime around Sept. 10 we’re looking for his return,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “Now, inside of that first set of strengthening will also include some hitting, some really light ground balls, nothing too strenuous — all along the lines of continuing to strengthen that area behind the knee and get him ready for some running activity to ramp him up.”
“At least it’s healing up good,” Pedroia said. “It’s healing good but they would like to do strengthening for another 10 days and let that gap heal up a little bit more and then start my running progression. I feel a lot better than when I played before.”
He added while it’s disappointing to have him miss even more time, there’s no need to rush him back.
“It’s one of those things where we are a little disappointed, but we understand when you have an injured player like that it takes time to recuperate,” Lovullo said. “You can’t force a player to get in there too quickly. We don’t want to put any of our guys in harms way. Here’s one of our best players, one of our leaders who we’ve been missing for awhile, but it’s given some other players a chance to play. We need Dustin. We want Dustin and we know he will be back as soon as possible.”
“That’s what my concern was at first, safety of playing,” Pedroia said of possibly re-injuring the ailment. “Now I’m in a situation where I’m going to wait until it’s healed completely and then I can ramp everything up.”
Steven Wright is still on the 7-day concussion disabled list and the team will get more information on his status Friday. There was a chance he could have started Saturday earlier in the week, but Matt Barnes will continue on in the rotation and get the start Saturday.
“He’s going to have an evaluation tomorrow and we’ll be able to find out a little bit more information of where he’s at and start to hopefully move in a direction to get some baseball activity,” Lovullo said of Wright. “We won’t know anything until tomorrow.”
|08.20.15 at 3:26 pm ET|
Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo is shaking things up with his lineup Thursday night in the series opener against the Royals as third baseman Pablo Sandoval will bat second for the first time since 2012.
Hanley Ramirez will be back in left field after getting Wednesday night off and Rusney Castillo will be the odd man out in the outfield against Royals left-hander Danny Duffy. Brock Holt will also get the night off.
Ryan Hanigan will catch Red Sox starter Wade Miley.
Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:
Mookie Betts, CF
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, LF
Travis Shaw, 1B
Ryan Hanigan, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., RF
Josh Rudledge, 2B
Wade Miley, LHP
|08.20.15 at 12:14 pm ET|
It offered a perfect example of how everybody is going to viewing things around the Red Sox for the next 1 1/2 months.
Fresh off his introductory press conference, new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was roaming the Fenway Park field Wednesday afternoon, shaking the hands of all the uniformed personnel he could find.
Upon arriving in the home side’s dugout, Dombrowski was greeted by a group that included third base coach Brian Butterfield, second baseman Dustin Pedroia, catcher Blake Swihart and first baseman Travis Shaw.
Going down the line, Dombrowski offered greetings to each, finishing with Shaw. But with the rookie, he paused and added, “You’ve been swinging the bat well lately. Keep it up.”
It didn’t seem like much, but when you’re in the midst of an entire organization trying to make a good first impression, it did seem notable.
“That meant a lot,” said Shaw after the Red Sox‘ win over the Indians, in which he hit his sixth homer of the season and raised his Fenway Park batting average to .543. “You always wonder what people see, but when a guy that hasn’t been here at all ‘ I’ve never met the guy in my entire life ‘ comes up and says something, that gives me that confidence and just shows that people are watching and people are noticing. I’m just going to continue what I’m doing.
“Obviously, it’s a new guy and you want to impress your new boss, but you can’t really change what you do. You just try and help the team win any way you can. You obviously want to impress, but you can’t think to much about it.”
During the game, Dombrowski could be seen watching things up in the owners box. While most of the images presented of the president of baseball ops by the NESN cameras offered seemingly innocuous conversation, there was one instance that reminded how powerful a first impression can be.
In the first inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. raced back on a Francisco Lindor line-drive and made a spectacular catch. Along with pitcher Joe Kelly’s approval, the cameras also picked up Dombrowski mouthing what seemed to be a “Wow” in response to the grab.
|08.20.15 at 10:47 am ET|
New Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to talk about his new job and the team as a whole. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Dombrowski was officially named to his position Wednesday afternoon, and while he’s not been quick to make clear-cut statements, he has offered general statements when it comes to the team and his philosophy.
When asked about Hanley Ramirez, for example, Dombrowski said it’s not true any athlete can play any position.
“I haven’t seen Hanley play at left field very much because of course I haven’t watched him play,” he said. “But it’s a situation where, realistically, when I look at other people, I have seen good players, good athletes not be able to play a certain position. I have seen that happen, so I never really draw the assumption that anybody can play anywhere because I’ve had the experience of a guy that’s a good athlete all of a sudden can’t make the move to the outfield, or can’t even make the move to first base where a lot of people say, ‘Well anybody can go over and play first base,’ that’s not true. I think there’s a lot more than just assuming that any good player can move to another position. Some guys can do it and some guys can’t.”
He also didn’t confirm or deny whether John Farrell would return as manager next year, citing his health as what’s most important right now.
“I think the first thing with John is, and I don’t know John real well, I have a respect for him from across the diamond, we know each other but not real well, I know he’s very passionate, and a very regarded baseball man,” he said. “I think the first thing with John. We need to be in a position he takes care of his health, that’s first and foremost. We’ll sit down and visit over the next week time period, probably by the end of this homestand, but John’s under contract for next year. That’s the thought process at this time, but we need to be in a position where we look at his situation from a health perspective. He needs to take care of that first and foremost and again, he’s very highly regarded.”
Dombrowski has a bit of a reputation for trading prospects for proven veteran players and has had a fair amount of success doing so. He noted that he has “never considered any player untouchable,” whether he’s young or an established veteran.
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