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Wednesday Red Sox Farm Report: Roenis Elias struggles in PawSox loss; Yoan Moncada hits 3-run homer for Portland

08.24.16 at 12:47 pm ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday.

Roenis Elias

Roenis Elias

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (67-62): L, 9-0, vs. Syracuse (Nationals)

— Left-hander Roenis Elias got roughed up, surrendering a Triple-A high seven runs on nine hits through six innings. His runs allowed came in spurts, as he let up three runs in the opening frame, two in the third, and another two in the sixth. He struck out four and walked one. Elias had been dealt just one loss over his previous 13 appearances. The 28-year-old, who has had three major league outings this season, now is 9-5 with a 3.98 ERA in the minors.

— Bryce Brentz went 2-for-4 with his 17th double of the season. He is 5-for-19 in his six games since returning to Pawtucket from Boston. Brentz, 27, is slashing .261/.312/.414 in 53 games with the PawSox.

— Jose Vinicio also collected two hits for his third multi-hit performance in nine games. The 23-year-old infielder is batting .258/.284/.324 with seven stolen bases in 65 games.

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Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘I would bet’ on Red Sox being in playoffs

08.24.16 at 12:12 pm ET
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Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Wednesday morning to discuss the Red Sox’ playoff chances, Clay Buchholz’s resurgence, John Farrell’s job security and more. To hear the full conversation, go to to the D&C audio on demand page.

Through nine games of the Red Sox’ 11-game road trip, the Sox have posted a 7-2 record, which is something Schilling said is a good omen.

“I think by the end of this month you are going to know if they are in the playoffs,” he said. “I thought that this road trip, the amount of travel that they were going to have to do, the pitching had to be the thing carrying them and for the most part that is exactly what has happened. They are playing a good stretch of games on a nightmarish stretch of schedule. I like their chances, very much like their chances. If I was betting today, I would bet on them being in, but my issue gets back to you are going to play that Monday play-in game. Are you battling up to the last day of the season to get in, and if so, who is pitching that game for you? Listen, we are 5 1/2 weeks away, so anybody right now could get hot and you could say that is who I am giving the ball to, but who are you giving the ball to win that one game?

Buchholz pitched in his third spot start on Tuesday night and picked up his first win in almost a month after going 6 1/3 innings and allowing one run on five hits and two walks with nine strikeouts in a 2-1 victory over the Rays.

“The reason I think it feels like such a huge relief or a huge bump is he went into these last two starts, no one was expecting anything, right?” Schilling said of Buchholz. “We talk about seven innings and one run against Tampa as if he threw a no-no. … What happens in the postseason? How is that going to play itself out in the postseason? Is he going to be one of your three or four guys?”

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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Matt Andriese

08.24.16 at 8:31 am ET
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The steady Rick Porcello will take the mound for the Red Sox on Wednesday in the third game of a four-game series with the Rays, who will send out right-hander Matt Andriese.

Porcello leads the American League with 17 wins, accompanied by a 3.22 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. He has pitched at least seven innings in his last five starts, his most recent coming in a 10-2 win over Detroit on Friday. The 27-year-old right-hander held the Tigers to one earned run on four hits in seven innings, striking out eight and walking just two.

“It was weird being on the other side,” said Porcello, who was a Tiger for six seasons. “But it helped a lot that I pitched against them last year [in Boston] and that we came here last year. Today didn’t feel quite as strange, so I was able to settle in and enjoy it.”

In 14 career starts against the Rays, Porcello is 8-4 with a 2.85 ERA. His last game vs. Tampa came on July 9 of this season, when he held the Rays to one run on six hits in seven innings in a 4-1 Red Sox victory.

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Read More: Matt Andriese, rick porcello,

Why Clay Buchholz should head back to Red Sox bullpen

08.24.16 at 3:07 am ET
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A big decision about Clay Buchholz's role is coming up for the Red Sox. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

A big decision about Clay Buchholz’s role is coming up for the Red Sox. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Clay Buchholz has become one of the Red Sox’ most important pitchers. So why shouldn’t he be put in what has become this team’s most unsettled spot?

After the Red Sox’ 2-1 win over the Rays Tuesday night, John Farrell wasn’t tipping his hand. Would the guy who just rattled off a 6 2/3-inning, one-run gem stay in the starting rotation or be pushed back to the bullpen due to the return of Steven Wright?

“As far as Clay goes, this will be more conversation within,” Farrell said. “But setting that aside, he’s throwing the ball exceptionally well right now.”

He sure is. A 1.96 ERA since July 27 backs that up. And so does his 2.70 ERA in the three starts Buchholz has turned in since filling in for Wright. Watch him over the past two outings, and it’s easy to envision the righty qualified to start a postseason game.

So it would only make sense to let Buchholz keep rolling along in the starting rotation, right? Wrong.

This isn’t about whether or not he could keep having success in the starting rotation. Considering Buchholz’s history, he would seem to be primed for one of those runs he has previously executed. The track record is that when the pitcher gets going like this, he is only derailed by one thing — injuries.

The priority here is finding a lock-down eighth-inning guy, and Buchholz is the best candidate for that position.

“Yeah,” Buchholz said when asked if he would embrace such a challenge. “I like competition. I like being in spots where everybody is betting against you.”

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Clay Buchholz thought he would be gone from Red Sox, but Dave Dombrowski had other ideas

08.24.16 at 2:09 am ET
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Clay Buchholz has been on quite a roll. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz has been on quite a roll. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It was a good moment for Clay Buchholz.

The Red Sox starter not only could revel in his 6 1/3-inning, one-run outing against the Rays Tuesday night, but he could do so while passing on the good news to his family, which was back home in Texas. (Buchholz’s daughter had just started kindergarten the day before.) And he was living this life while sitting at the familiar Tropicana Field visiting clubhouse locker, one he had inhabited for the majority of his time visiting as a Red Sox.

Considering his success at the home of the Rays (3-0 with a 0.54 ERA in his last five Tropicana Field starts), the scene was a familiar one for Buchholz.

Yet, as he admitted after the Red Sox’ 2-1 win, it was a moment he didn’t think would be presenting itself by the time Aug. 23 game around. At least not in a Boston uniform.

“No. I don’t think so,” Buchholz said when asked if he thought he would be pitching in a Red Sox uniform by the time Aug. 23 came around. “I wasn’t really worried about it because I know what I can do on a baseball field. I’ve done it for a long time. Sometimes you struggle and the game forces you to make adjustments that you didn’t necessarily know you needed to make. There were a couple of adjustments I needed to make. The bullpen scenario, that actually helped me out with it. Just sort of dumb it down and not overthink things I was overthinking at the time. Just try and have fun with it again rather it be a chore every time you step out there.”

But there was Buchholz, still wearing the gray and reds. For that, he could the approach taken by Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski heading into the non-waiver trade deadline.

“We just felt his stuff was good enough to pitch at the big league level and be successful,” Dombrowski said. “It’s hard to find good big league pitchers, and he has that type of stuff. We knew we needed protection in case we had an injury. We didn’t have anybody else to protect us. So that combination was important. He’s been successful at the big league level, and our guys here had seen him be successful. We just felt he could do it again.

“We weren’t really looking to move him. You listen on anybody, but we weren’t looking to move him.”

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David Ortiz on Mookie Betts’ throw: ‘One of the best I’ve ever seen’

08.23.16 at 11:32 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — One out. Eighth inning. Tying run at the plate. Red Sox outfielder saves the day with a spectacular play. Sound familiar?

One night after Andrew Benintendi’s catch robbed Steven Souza Jr. of a home run, and the Rays the chance to draw within a run in the eighth, it was Mookie Betts’ turn to make his mark.

With the Red Sox clinging to a one-run lead, reliever Brad Ziegler allowed Kevin Kiermaier to rip a line drive down the first-base line and into the right-field corner. With Kiermaier, one of the game’s fastest players, racing around the bases, Betts calmly took the carom off the padding, scooped up the ball and fired it toward third baseman Travis Shaw.

“Wow. That was unbelievable. One of the best I’ve ever seen,” Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz said after his team’s 2-1 win Tuesday night at Tropicana Field. “And you might think it was probably a bad [baserunning] play, but if that throw wasn’t that perfect he would have been safe. I think he did that right thing. I didn’t know he was that fast. Wow, that kid can fly. But that throw was perfect. It was unbelievable.”

Said Kiermaier: “Just kind of shock over there at third base how I got thrown out. I watched the video after the game, and saw he made an absolutely perfect throw. … I always want to put the pressure on defense, and it’s going to take a perfect throw to throw me out. In this moment, he made an absolutely perfect throw. I would not change anything. I’d do it again. I tip my hat to him.”

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Closing Time: Clay Buchholz continues resurgence in Red Sox’ win over Rays

08.23.16 at 10:19 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz turned in a gem against the Rays Tuesday night. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz turned in a gem against the Rays on Tuesday night. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Wondering why the Red Sox have won 10 of their last 12, while going 7-2 on the current road trip? Clay Buchholz offered a pretty powerful explanation Tuesday night.

The fill-in starter kept his good times going, this time holding the Rays to just a run over 6 1/3 innings in leading the Red Sox to a 2-1 win at Tropicana Field. Since July 27, Buchholz has totaled a 1.96 ERA, this time managing nine strikeouts along the way.

But this isn’t anything out of the norm for this team while plowing through four cities in the last nine days. The Red Sox starters have now managed a 2.45 ERA on the current trip, and that’s with Henry Owens’ eight-run misstep Sunday. In fact, just two times on the swing Sox starters have given up more than one run.

As for Buchholz, he officially has become one of the Red Sox’ most important pitchers. In his three starts filling in for the injured Steven Wright, the righty has managed a 2.70 ERA.

This time, the Sox starter finished with 94 pitches, the most he’s thrown since June 26. It put Buchholz’s record at 3-0 with an 0.54 ERA in his last five starts at Tropicana Field.

“I was always told the worm turns at some point,” the starter said. “Everybody that’s playing at this level is a good ballplayer and is here for a reason. I take pride in what I do. Good or bad, I try to know what’s going on. In this organization, doing a little bit bad is doing really bad because you hear about it from everywhere. I’ve learned to deal with that. I know I’m going to have some good outings and some bad outings, but I feel like these last two starts, I’m going forward now instead of staying in the same spot or moving backwards.”

With the win the Red Sox remain in a first-place tie with Toronto, which claimed a 7-2 win over the Angels. The Sox improved to a season-high 17 games over .500, their highest point since ending the 2013 season at 97-65.

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The Tropicana Field table that saved Andrew Benintendi

08.23.16 at 8:50 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Much of the talk in and around the Red Sox clubhouse Monday night and Tuesday involved the great catch made by Andrew Benintendi. In case you aren’t familiar, take a look …

But, as Benintendi explained after the Red Sox win, the only reason he was able to brace himself and bounce back onto the playing surface was due to a well-placed table.

Here is that table:

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Red Sox notes: Steven Wright ready to go for Friday’s start; Eduardo Rodriguez aces simulated game; Koji Uehara surprisingly ‘aggressive’

08.23.16 at 6:50 pm ET
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Steven Wright

Steven Wright

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The last we saw Steven Wright on the mound (and not the basepaths), he was pitching a complete-game shutout Aug. 5 against the Dodgers.

The bad news for the knuckleballer is that he isn’t expecting the feel of that outing at Dodger Stadium to carry over to his start Friday night at Fenway Park against the Royals.

“It was so long ago there really is no momentum,” Wright said. “Usually you try and use that momentum for your next start, five starts later. But that momentum has kind of come and gone. So for me it’s just going out there and not thinking about that last outing because it’s one of those things where it’s not affecting me good or bad. I just have to concentrate on throwing strike one and taking it pitch by pitch.”

The good news for Wright is that he will be pitching again, with the pain in his right shoulder having diminished.

The righty’s latest, and most important, test prior to hitting the mound again came Tuesday afternoon at Tropicana Field, when he threw a 60-pitch bullpen session that included getting up and down once. It went well enough that Wright was deemed ready to go in the Sox’ series opener vs. Kansas City.

“Obviously see how [Wednesday] goes, but today, to get through that, it’s big,” he said. “It’s still a little achy, but when I get out on the mound it doesn’t really bother me. I think it’s just something from not throwing consistently like I have been. It’s one of those things you have to get through. Kind of like it is at the beginning of spring training. But I don’t think it will take me as long, just because I’ve been throwing.”

With Wright moving back into the starting rotation, the assumption is that Clay Buchholz will slide back to the bullpen. Prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Rays, which Buchholz started, Red Sox manager John Farrell was non-committal regarding the pitcher’s specific role as a reliever.

“When his role ultimately changes, to be determined yet, but he has increased his responsibility and confidence in himself has certainly increased since he’s gone to the bullpen and now with his third start here [Tuesday],” Farrell said.

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Read More: eduardo rodriguez, Koji Uehara, steven wright,

Red Sox lineup vs. Rays: Andrew Benintendi once again in starting lineup after catch of year

08.23.16 at 3:21 pm ET
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The Red Sox look to stay hot vs. the Rays on Tuesday night, with Clay Buchholz on the mound.

The Sox have won six of eight on this potentially season-defining road trip. Monday’s victory over the Rays was made possible in large part by rookie outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who robbed Steven Souza of a two-run homer in the eighth with a tremendous leaping catch, chronicled by Rob Bradford.

Benintendi is once again in the starting lineup, this time in left, batting ninth, against Rays starter Chris Archer, who is attempting to avoid his 17th loss of the season.

Here’s the lineup.

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Travis Shaw 3B
Andrew Benintendi LF

Read More: Andrew Benintendi catch, Chris Archer, Clay Buchholz, Red Sox
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