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Sunday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Allen Webster vs. Chris Archer

07.27.14 at 10:11 am ET
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Allen Webster

Allen Webster

The Red Sox will look to salvage what has been a disappointing three-game set against the Rays on Sunday, sending Allen Webster to the hill against Chris Archer in the series finale.

Webster will make his first appearance with Boston this season — starting in place of Jake Peavy, who was traded to the Giants on Saturday.

Acquired from the Dodgers in the August 2012 deal that saw Boston part ways with Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto, Webster has been solid down at Triple-A Pawtucket this year with a 4-4 record and a 3.10 ERA in 21 games (20 starts).

Amongst International League leaders, Webster entered Sunday eighth in ERA, fourth in strikeouts (100) and fifth in innings pitched (122). The Greensboro, N.C., native has been a reliable presence in the Pawtucket rotation, allowing three runs or fewer in 19 of his 21 appearances this season.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said that Webster’€™s experience and consistency were the prime reasons why he was the one to get the call-up to the major leagues.

“At the time when [Rubby De La Rosa] came up, it was either Allen or Rubby, take your pick. So he has been able to maintain the overall command of stuff [better] than a year ago,” Farrell said. “€œAnd he’s got another 20-plus starts under his belt at the Triple-A level, which when you take back last year, when you look back last year, his year at Triple-A was a very good one for us. In the process of transitioning to our level here.”

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Read More: allen webster, Chris Archer, Rays, Red Sox

David Ortiz, John Lackey vexed by Red Sox decision not to challenge close play

07.27.14 at 12:17 am ET
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David Ortiz said he felt umpires ruled incorrectly on a review of what could have been a home run. (AP)

David Ortiz said he felt umpires ruled incorrectly on a review of what could have been a home run. (AP)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Ultimately, the Red Sox lost because they did not hit on Saturday night. The team’s 3-0 loss to the Rays suggested that preventing Tampa Bay’s second run likely would not have meant the difference between victory and defeat.

Still, Sox players expressed a degree of dual confusion about one play in the game. In the bottom of the fourth inning, with Yunel Escobar on second base and one out, catcher Christian Vazquez snared a breaking ball in the dirt and fired a missile to second base. His throw appeared to beat Escobar to the bag by plenty, with shortstop Stephen Drew slapping on a tag. Yet Escobar was ruled safe.

Manager John Farrell made the slow stroll to second base umpire Marcus Pattillo, and once there, he awaited word from the dugout as to whether or not to challenge the ruling on the field. Farrell elected not to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: David Ortiz, instant replay, John Farrell, john lackey

Mike Carp explains why he requested a trade from Red Sox

07.26.14 at 11:47 pm ET
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Mike Carp said that he has requested a trade from the Red Sox. (AP)

Mike Carp said that he has requested a trade from the Red Sox. (AP)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Mike Carp didn’t want to be in a position to ask for a trade. The 28-year-old showed up in spring training and said that, to the contrary, he’d rather remain in the role that he relished — and in which he thrived — with the Red Sox in 2013 than be traded to another team that might afford him greater playing time.

Yet the role that he enjoyed, and in which he became in many ways a symbol of the team’s depth-driven formula to achieve a title, was not the one he perceived himself as occupying this season. In 2013, he played in 86 games and had 243 plate appearances in the regular season en route to a .296/.362/.523 line. At the All-Star break this year, through 95 team games, he’d appeared in 38 contests with just 91 plate appearances, hitting .221/.330/.312.

And so, Carp arrived at a point that he did not relish. Coming out of the All-Star break, in conversations that included his agent and team officials, he requested a trade, making clear his desire to find a greater opportunity to play.

“To ask to be off a world championship team? It’s pretty tough. I felt like I’ve gone my last leg at this point. It’s going backwards from where we were before,” said Carp. “Nothing was guaranteed last year. We understood that, coming off an injury and the way I was picked up. But you had to feel with the run we put together last year, key parts of how that happened, you can’t lose sight of that. I just feel like this year, the way this has gone, it hasn’t turned out that way. Read the rest of this entry »

Closing Time: Red Sox shut out again, fall to 10 under .500

07.26.14 at 10:34 pm ET
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John Lackey got no run support en route to a loss. (AP)

John Lackey got no run support en route to a loss. (AP)

On a day when general manager Ben Cherington alluded to shifting the focus to next season, the Red Sox didn’t do much to prove that they’re still competitive in 2014.

The Red Sox caught a couple of bad breaks on Saturday night, but the rough luck isn’t entirely to blame for the 3-0 defeat in St. Petersburg. They were unable to generate any offense against the Rays staff and slipped further in the AL East standings, falling to 47-57 on the year.

Things looked promising in the top of the first, as David Ortiz smashed a 3-1 fastball from starter Jeremy Hellickson to the wall in right field. But what had the potential to be a home run was ruled a ground rule double as a fan reached over and snagged the line drive before it reached the wall. Ortiz was stranded at second as Mike Napoli struck out to end the inning.

With the Red Sox shipping Jake Peavy to San Francisco earlier in the day, John Lackey apparently took over the role of starter who gets no run support. It wasn’t Lackey’s smoothest outing, but he was effective enough, allowing three runs through seven innings of work. It was a struggle at times for Lackey, who allowed eight hits on the evening while walking two and fanning four. But he received a couple of bad breaks throughout the night, two of which led to the Rays’ first two runs.

The night started poorly right off the bat for Lackey, as Christian Vazquez sailed a throw off the glove of Mike Napoli on a leadoff bunt, allowing Desmond Jennings to scoot all the way to third. He’d come around to score the game’s first run.

With one out in the fourth, Vazquez looked to have Yunel Escobar picked off second base. But Escobar was called safe, and he scored the Rays’ second run on a Kevin Kiermaier single just two pitches later.

Lackey appeared to settle in during the later innings, retiring nine in a row until he allowed a solo home run to Ben Zobrist in the seventh. Read the rest of this entry »

Allen Webster to start for Red Sox on Sunday

07.26.14 at 7:41 pm ET
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Right-hander Allen Webster's consistency -- and availability -- earned him a call-up. (AP)

Right-hander Allen Webster’s consistency — and availability — earned him a call-up. (AP)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The pitching staff in Triple-A Pawtucket has been performing at a tremendous level across the board. The Red Sox could have made a case for any number of starters to join the rotation with right-hander Jake Peavy having been dealt to the Giants on Saturday, something that will necessitate a replacement on Sunday.

Right-hander Anthony Ranaudo is 12-4 with a 2.41 ERA, and complete dominance over a two-month stretch. Brandon Workman has long commanded the trust and confidence of the big league staff; he’s 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA in three starts since being sent down earlier this month. Knuckleballer Steven Wright has been arguably the most dominant of all the hurlers in Pawtucket, having gone 5-1 with a 2.37 ERA in his 10 starts since coming off the DL.

But in the end, the call for a Sunday call-up was obvious. Wright pitched on Wednesday, Workman on Thursday and Ranaudo on Friday. And so, another well-qualified candidate — Allen Webster — will get the ball on his normal day to start, at a time when he’s achieved a form of consistency that eluded him in 2013 in his first year in Triple-A (and the big leagues). Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: allen webster, anthony ranaudo, Brandon Workman, steven wright

Red Sox say no additional trades imminent

07.26.14 at 6:29 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Both Red Sox GM Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell said that, in the aftermath of the trade that sent Jake Peavy to the Giants, the team does not anticipate another deal in the immediate future. (That notion of immediacy, of course, is wildly subjective.)

Asked if Peavy signaled another shoe being ready to drop, Farrell disputed the claim.

“I don’€™t know if I’€™d put in that type of description,” said Farrell. “There’€™s nothing imminent, I can tell you that, or even remotely close, to any other deals to be made. But their work and their efforts continue on as everyone in baseball now.”

Cherington said that the team continues to explore whether there might be additional trades, but is not yet at the point of another deal (or deals).

“We’re listening. We’re gathering information as we have been over really the last month or so, and as we get closer to the deadline, it starts to become more clear as to what teams are the most motivated to add in different areas, whether it’s starting pitching or bullpen or position players or whatever. And so we’ll start to get more clarity on exactly what opportunities might be out there for us,” said Cherington. “But we’re not there yet. We’re not closing in on anything yet, but we’re listening and we’ll just see how the rest of the week goes.”

Ben Cherington: Sox trade moves focused on ‘building as quickly as possible for April of 2015′

07.26.14 at 6:18 pm ET
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Red Sox GM Ben Cherington (AP)

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington (AP)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It’s been a tough time for a Red Sox team and front office that had bold visions of defending their 2013 championship. Just over 100 games into the 2014 season, all parties around the team have been forced to recalibrate their view of the world, to wonder what’s been missing en route to a season-long stumble that has the club nine games under .500 with just five games remaining before Thursday’s traded deadline, in a position where the team must contemplate selling off pieces of the club in hopes of putting itself in a better position for next year.

“It’s not the most fun,” GM Ben Cherington said in a conference call. “I much prefer the alternative.”

Yet the alternative no longer appears a choice. The team dealt right-hander Jake Peavy on Saturday to the Giants in exchange for two prospects. That deal wasn’t necessarily a reflection of a seller’s mentality, as the Sox have thought for weeks that parting with Peavy and turning his rotation spot to the team’s young starters did not necessarily represent a step back in 2014.

“He was a guy we were willing to listen on simply because as we looked at the team, we felt like there was some opportunity and value in giving some innings to one of the younger starters, and we thought that we could be just as competitive as a team in doing that,” said Cherington — who noted that the move to acquire Peavy at last year’s trade deadline was one he would make again without hesitation given the protection he offered to the rotation at a time when Clay Buchholz‘s outlook was uncertain. “And we knew that there would be enough interest in Jake to possibly get something back that we like and would help us down the road. He was one player on the team that we were willing to talk about earlier and it just so happened that it came together this week.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: ben cherington, jake peavy, Jon Lester,
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