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Monday’s Red Sox-Braves matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Williams Perez

06.15.15 at 8:24 am ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

Looking to end a six-game losing streak, the Red Sox open up a four-game, home-and-home series against the Braves by sending Rick Porcello to the mound to pitch opposite Williams Perez.

Porcello, who owns a 4-6 record and 5.26 ERA, has had a roller coaster of a season. Most recently, the right-hander allowed five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings Wednesday in Baltimore, giving up 10 hits and striking out five. Before that, on June 3, Porcello conceded just two earned runs over eight innings on five hits and as many K’s. The two starts prior to that both resulted in six-plus earned runs. Of his 12 starts this season, Porcello has allowed more than three earned runs in five of them, and three of those outings were with Baltimore in the batter’s box.

“I am not looking at the numbers right now,” he said after his outing in Baltimore in regard to his struggles vs. the O’s. “I’m looking at going out there and making the adjustments that I have to do to help us win games. The numbers, they are what they are. I just have to keep working hard and pushing forward.”

Two years have passed since Porcello’s first and only start against the Braves. In a 6 1/3-inning effort, he granted Atlanta three earned runs on five hits and two walks, enough to nab the win for his team. Porcello also managed to fan five in the start and held Braves batters to a .217/.280/.217 slash line with no extra-base hits.

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Xander Bogaerts: ‘No one expected us to be in this situation, but that’s a reality right now’

06.14.15 at 7:15 pm ET
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The Red Sox are a season-high 10 games below .500. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

The Red Sox are a season-high 10 games below .500. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Coming into the 2015 season, after the Red Sox went out and added Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval to bolster their weak 2014 offense and also acquired adequate starting pitchers in the offseason, the good vibes and strong expectations were there to open the year.

And yet, that hasn’t carried over into the actual games as the Red Sox are currently 10 games under .500 at 27-37 and are a season-high eight games out of first place in the AL East. As a comparison, through 64 games last year, a season in which the Red Sox finished last in the AL East, they were 29-35.

“No one expected us to be in this situation, but that’s a reality right now,” Xander Bogaerts said after Sunday’s 13-5 loss to the Blue Jays — a weekend sweep at home.

The toughest thing for Bogaerts and the team is they cannot execute the little things within games to catch a break or two.

In the first inning the Red Sox loaded the bases against Jays starter Marcus Estrada and Bogaerts stepped to the plate with one out. He lined a shot right at third baseman Josh Donaldson who was able to easily double off Hanley Ramirez at second base.

“What to do? I mean, I put a good swing on it and it goes right to the third baseman,” Bogaerts said. “Obviously, it’s definitely frustrating because we could have got on the board right there.”

While manager John Farrell maintains the effort is there, it’s the mental side of things that is coming back to hurt the team, as evident by Ramirez getting doubled off to end the first inning threat.

“That has got to be through some anticipation of the given play,” Farrell said. “We get doubled off in a bases loaded situation in the first inning. Head high line drive, you’re schooled to fight back and do what you can to get back safety. That didn’t happen. When you monitor the preparation, you monitor the at-bats inside of a given game, I don’t see at-bats being given away. I don’t see us dogging it in any way. Things aren’t going our way I know that.”

The mental miscues continued in the fourth and fifth innings when the Blue Jays plated a total of 10 runs. In particular, in the fifth inning there were two outs when Chris Colabello lofted a fly ball into shallow right-center where four Red Sox players converged and Bogaerts settled under it. But, having a better angle and coming in, De Aza called him off, but couldn’t get there in time and the ball dropped in, extending the inning, which the Blue Jays ultimately scored four times.

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Powerful Blue Jays lineup frustrates Eduardo Rodriguez in first career loss

06.14.15 at 6:30 pm ET
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The Blue Jays scored 10 times in the fourth and fifth innings, including nine off Eduardo Rodriguez leading the in their 11th straight win. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

The Blue Jays scored 10 times in the fourth and fifth innings, including nine off Eduardo Rodriguez leading the way in their 11th straight win. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

You could have seen it coming.

Eduardo Rodriguez came into Sunday’s game as the first major league pitcher to go at least six innings and allow no more than one run or three hits in each of his first three major league starts.

But, facing a lineup as powerful as Toronto’s, having a slash line of .308/.366/.498 against lefties this season, his string of exceptional starts was bound to come to an end.

And it did, as the left-hander allowed nine runs on eight hits in just 4 2/3 innings, taking the first loss of his major league career.

“I mean, I just tried to make good pitches, like you saw,” Rodriguez said. “The rest, getting wild a bit, with balls. Stuff like that happens in the game.”

It wasn’t entirely his fault, as his defense behind him played some suspect defense, particularly in the fourth and fifth innings when the Blue Jays scored six and four runs respectively. The only miscue on his part was allowing a three-run homer to No. 9 hitter Ryan Goins in the fourth inning, which gave the Jays a 6-0 lead at the time.

“Early on in the inning, they did a good job of putting the bat on the ball, fighting off some tough pitches,” manager John Farrell said. “They get a break on some balls that fall in and then a big home run.”

The Red Sox saw two balls fall in shallow right field in the fourth, with the defense losing the ball in the sun on both occasions. Also, right fielder Alejandro De Aza took a poor route on a ball down the right field line, which may have been catchable.

The nine earned runs allowed tied for the most allowed by a Red Sox starter this season.

“I don’€™t know if it was an overall lack of command,” Farrell said. “He went up against a hot lineup.”

Farrell isn’t kidding, as the Blue Jays have tied a franchise record with 11 straight wins and in those games they are hitting .312 while slugging .518 with 18 home runs. They’ve also recorded at least 10 hits eight times in the streak.

In the three-game sweep at Fenway, they scored 31 runs on 41 hits, including 11 for extra-bases. Their strong lineup was particularly frustrating for Rodriguez, who came into the fourth inning not allowing a hit with runners in scoring position this year (0-for-12).

“A lot [of frustration],” Rodriguez said. “You try to make the right pitches and they get a lot of base hits.”

No pitcher is going to be exceptional every time they take to the mound, which Rodriguez found out for the first time against a powerful Blue Jays lineup.

Read More: eduardo rodriguez, John Farrell, Toronto Blue Jays,

John Farrell: ‘We’re not in a good place right now’

06.14.15 at 6:07 pm ET
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If John Farrell is concerned about job security, he’s not showing it.

Following another abysmal loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, dropping the Red Sox to a season-low 10 games under .500 at 27-37, the Red Sox manager continued to show support and complete belief in his team that they can turn things around.

The Red Sox sent their most reliable pitcher to the mound in Eduardo Rodriguez hoping to end a five-game skid. But thanks to a pair of shoddy plays in a windy, sun-baked right field and a questionable non-double play call at second base, the Blue Jays exploded for six runs in the fourth and four more in the fifth for a 10-0 lead.

The Red Sox battled back to make it 10-5 on a three-run homer from David Ortiz in a five-run fifth but could get no closer in a 13-5 embarrassment that gave Toronto its 11th straight win.

“Today, we got beat up but looking back at the energy inside the game, the energy is there,” Farrell said. “We didn’t handle every ball cleanly. That goes without saying. We get a ball in the following inning after the six runs that’s an aggressive call-off by [Alejandro] De Aza, coming in from right field, where Xander is camped under it. It opens up the door for a couple more consecutive hits and a four-run inning. So, it’s a ten-run hole we’re in.

“Still, we continue to battle back. David with a big three-run homer to cut [deficit] in half. We kept clawing back into this. Yeah, we’re not in a good place right now as a team. But it’s not because we’re not giving effort. We’re not executing completely.”

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Read More: Alejandro De Aza, Boston Red Sox, hanley ramirez, John Farrell

Closing Time: Poor defense, 6-run fourth inning leads to sixth straight Red Sox loss

06.14.15 at 4:49 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez suffered his first major league loss Sunday against the Blue Jays. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Eduardo Rodriguez suffered his first major league loss Sunday against the Blue Jays. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

The nightmare continued for the Red Sox on Sunday.

This time it was bad defense, allowing six runs in the fourth inning and another four runs in the fifth, as the Blue Jays jumped out to a 10-0 lead, before the Red Sox clawed back to make it a 13-5 final.

The Red Sox have now dropped six straight games and the Blue Jays tied a franchise-high with 11 straight wins.

It was the second straight series the Red Sox have been swept, both by AL East opponents following a mid-week sweep by the Orioles. In the three games this weekend, the Red Sox allowed 31 runs. By way of comparison, it took the first 17 games in the month of May for the Red Sox to score their 31st run of the month.

Toronto sent nine men to the plate in the fourth against Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez. Right fielder Alejandro De Aza took two poor routes to fly balls and Dustin Pedroia lost a ball in the sun, seeing it fall at his feet in shallow right, contributing to the six runs scored.

The big blow came with two outs when No. 9 hitter Ryan Goins lined a three-run home run into the Blue Jays bullpen, making it 6-0. For Rodriguez, the inning marked the first time he allowed a hit with runners in scoring position, as he entered the frame retiring 12 straight betters he faced with runners in scoring position to begin his major league career.

The Blue Jays added four more runs in the fifth, all with two outs. The Red Sox could have got out of the inning on a Chris Colabello pop up to shallow right center, but four Red Sox players converged and saw the ball drop in between them — the sun playing a factor again. Russell Martin then singled ending Rodriguez’s day.

“We get a ball in the following inning after the six runs that’s an aggressive call off by De Aza coming in from right field where Xander is camped under it,” manager John Farrell said. “It opens up the door for a couple more consecutive hits and a four-run inning. It’s a 10-run hole that we’re in.”

In came knuckleballer Steven Wright who was greeted by a towering, two-run home run by Danny Valencia, making it a 10-0 game.

Rodriguez suffered his first major league loss, going 4 2/3 innings, allowing nine runs on eight hits and walking three. Most of the damage was not entirely his fault with the bad defense behind him.

“I don’t know know if it was necessarily an overall lack of command from Eddie,” Farrell said. “He’s going up against a hot lineup right now. Like I said, they fouled off some decent pitches until the big three-run home run.”

Even being down 10-0, the Red Sox didn’t roll over and quit, scoring five times in the fifth inning, led by David Ortiz‘s three-run homer, his second in as many days.

Toronto added three more in the seventh on back-to-back doubles by Goins and Jose Reyes, both against Tommy Layne, who came in for Wright in the middle of the frame.

Sunday marks the 17th straight day the Red Sox have not gained ground in the AL East.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Might as well make it three straight for Martin. He killed the Red Sox this weekend, as he finished Sunday going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ loss:

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Read More: Alejandro De Aza, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, eduardo rodriguez

Red Sox pregame notes: Travis Shaw promoted, Matt Barnes optioned; Multiple injury updates

06.14.15 at 12:18 pm ET
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There was an unfamiliar face in the Red Sox clubhouse Sunday morning when first/third baseman Travis Shaw walked through the door. Shaw has appeared in just one major league game, an early May game in Toronto.

The corresponding move for Shaw was optioning reliever Matt Barnes back to Triple-A Pawtucket.

“Given the physical situation with a couple of our position players, we needed some depth at a corner position, so Travis is here today,” manager John Farrell said.

Barnes suffered the loss Saturday, allowing a towering home run to Jays catcher Russell Martin in the 11th inning. Following a string of five straight scoreless appearances, Barnes has allowed runs in his last three outings, including three Friday night without recording an out. For the year, the right-hander is 2-2 with a 4.24 ERA.

A starter turned reliever, he will remain a reliever with Pawtucket.

“It’s been more in hitter counts where the mislocated pitches have cost him,” Farrell said. “Yesterday [Saturday] was a prime example of that. The one thing about Matt is if you look back at his progression to get to the big leagues, there’s been obviously a learning curve at each of the levels he’s advanced through. If you combine that with a change of role, this is part of his continued learning and the required consistency at this level. He’s got all the ingredients to be a very good late inning reliever. There’s a lot of trust in him. You look at the three-pitch mix that he has and yet we’re striding for consistency.”

Mike Napoli is out of the lineup again Sunday, as he’s in the midst of a 1-for-20 slump, but is expected back Monday against the Braves. Farrell said he would be available to pinch-hit Sunday.

“Second day down,” Farrell said. “Much like we did with David and with Pablo. A couple of days to regroup. Fully expect him back in the lineup tomorrow.”

— Pablo Sandoval is starting after leaving the game Saturday with right quad tightness. The third baseman went through a full workout before the game and came through it with no issues. Shaw was brought up in case it did flare up within the game.

— After crashing into the Red Sox bullpen wall Friday night, Mookie Betts is out once again, but will taking batting practice on the field prior to the game. “Improved throughout the night. We’ll know more coming out of BP,” Farrell said.

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Read More: matt barnes, mookie betts, Pablo Sandoval, Shane Victorino

Red Sox lineup: Pablo Sandoval starting after leaving game Saturday; Mike Napoli out again

06.14.15 at 11:40 am ET
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Pablo Sandoval

Pablo Sandoval

After leaving Saturday’s game with right quad tightness, Pablo Sandoval is in the Red Sox lineup for the series finale against the Blue Jays Sunday afternoon. The Red Sox will be looking to avoid a three-game sweep.

Mike Napoli is out for a second straight day, but manager John Farrell said it is similar to what he did with David Ortiz and Pablo Sandoval — giving him a few days down to clear his head. He said he would be available to pinch-hit, unlike he was on Saturday.

Mookie Betts is out once again after a vicious collision with the right-center field wall Friday, but he is improved and will take batting practice on the field prior to the game.

Blake Swihart will catch Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Brock Holt, 1B
Hanley Ramirez, LF
David Ortiz, DH
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Alejandro De Aza, RF
Rusney Castillo, CF
Blake Swihart, C
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP

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Sunday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Marco Estrada

06.14.15 at 8:34 am ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

Looking to continue his spectacular breakthrough into the majors, Eduardo Rodriguez will toe the bump for the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon as they look to avoid a sweep at the hands of the red-hot Blue Jays.

Rodriguez has been nothing less than magnificent through three big league starts. He has logged 20 2/3 innings with a miniscule 0.44 ERA and an even more impressive 0.73 WHIP. Rodriguez has given up just 3.5 hits per nine, while striking out 21 batters. Opponents are 8-for-69 against him on the campaign, good for a .116 average.

After Rodriguez opened his major league career with two consecutive wins, the Red Sox couldn’t muster enough offense in his latest start against the Orioles last Tuesday, as he took a no-decision in the 1-0 loss, keeping his season record at 2-0. Despite the result, Rodriguez dominated once again, hurling six shutout innings, giving up three hits and striking out seven. Though not as efficient, throwing just 61 of his 102 pitches for strikes, Rodriguez still limited hard contact, one of the biggest keys to his early success. The southpaw gave up just two line drives, a season low.

After Rodriguez took it to his former organization, his ex-teammates lauded his raw pitching ability.

“He’€™s got special stuff, there’€™s no doubt about it,” said Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, who fanned twice against Rodriguez in 1-0 Orioles win. “We loved him when he was over here. He’€™s got a great arm, and for a young kid he has a great idea what he’€™s doing out there on the mound.”

Rodriguez will make his second career start at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon. In his first on June 3, the Venezuelan shut down the Twins for just two hits and one earned run over seven innings of work. This time around, he will be opposed by a Blue Jays offense that has scored the most runs in MLB and a pitcher in Marco Estrada who has thrown well of late.

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Sunday Red Sox Farm Report: Another Pat Light saver in Pawtucket; Ty Buttrey doesn’t miss a beat

06.14.15 at 7:43 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday:

Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (32-31): W, 7-5, vs. Toledo (Tigers)

— It was a strange night for Pawtucket starter Brian Johnson (Boston’s No. 7 prospect at MLB.com) as the lefty came out a winner despite having rare struggles with control, hitting four batters and walking two. Johnson entered the night having no hit batsmen all season (11 starts, 61 innings) and having walked only two in his previous five starts combined. However, Johnson pitched out of a few jams and when all was complete he had earned the victory (7-4) and a final line of: 7 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 SO (93 pitches, 56 strikes).

The four unearned runs against Johnson came in the fifth inning, as shortstop Deven Marrero sailed a throw high that pulled first baseman Allen Craig up off of the bag. Later in the frame, two of Johnson’s hit batters would come in to score on a three-run double deep in the left center gap.

— Craig led the offensive charge to get Johnson off the hook, as Pawtucket scored three runs in both the fifth and seventh to take the lead. In the fifth Craig took the first pitch he saw, a high fastball, and lined it over the right-center wall for an opposite-field three-run homer. It was Craig’s second long ball for the PawSox in 26 games since reporting from Boston. Craig added an RBI single in the seventh, putting his average at .293 and his on-base percentage at a great .386.

— Pat Light earned his second save for Pawtucket and now has retired all six batters he has faced, three via strikeout, since his call-up last week from Double-A Portland. Light peaked at 97 mph on the McCoy Stadium radar gun, getting one whiff on a full-count split-finger fastball, and another K on swing-and-miss at the letters at 96 mph. Nineteen of Light’s 22 appearances in the minors this season have been clean of earned runs.

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Read More: brian johnson, Dave Sappelt, Marco Hernandez, michael kopech

Closing Time: Russell Martin home run off Matt Barnes lifts Blue Jays to 10th straight win against struggling Red Sox

06.13.15 at 5:07 pm ET
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Losses are like snowflakes. No two are alike, but too many of them can be an avalanche.

Unlike a night earlier, the Red Sox didn’t fold against the Blue Jays on Saturday. They overcame a 4-0 deficit to force extra innings, but once there, it was a familiar story, with Russell Martin‘s homer to left-center in the 11th breaking a 4-4 tie, lifting the rampaging Jays to their 10th straight victory, and dropping the Red Sox to their fifth straight loss.

At 27-36, the Red Sox are now nine games under .500 and 7.5 back of the Yankees in the American League East. The lost season continues.

“Everybody in here knows we’re not playing like we want to play,” said starter Clay Buchholz. “We’ve got to find a way to win.”

The Red Sox entered the game not just on a losing streak, but with the last two defeats particularly brutal ‘€“ Wade Miley berated manager John Farrell in the dugout in Baltimore on Thursday, and then Friday’s 8-1 lead turned into a 13-10 defeat.

They featured a revamped lineup on Saturday, with slumping first baseman Mike Napoli getting the day off in favor of Brock Holt, and Mookie Betts sidelined by a bad back after a nasty collision with with the fence in center on Friday.

The lineup got even thinner in the seventh when third baseman Pablo Sandoval departed with right quad tightness, forcing Jeff Bianchi onto the field.

The Red Sox came out of the gates looking like it’d be another long afternoon. They fell behind 3-0 in the second on five singles, including one by Ryan Goins that plated a pair of runs. It had a chance to get worse before Clay Buchholz settled down. The veteran right-hander allowed hits in only two of his six innings, limiting the high-powered Jays to four runs. Not a great line, but good enough to give the offense a chance.

And the Red Sox clawed back with three runs of their own in the fourth, the big blow a two-run single to center by Pablo Sandoval. They had chance to do more damage, but Rusney Castillo and Sandy Leon stranded runners on first and second to end the threat.

The Red Sox finally pulled even in the sixth on David Ortiz‘s mammoth 438-foot home run to right field, and then it was on to extra innings, where Martin made a loser of reliever Matt Barnes.

Another game, another crushing defeat.

“You look at our team on paper, we’re probably one of the best in the game,” said shortstop Xander Bogaerts. “But we haven’t showed that on the field, and that’s what matters.”

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Veteran catcher Russell Martin continued tormenting the Red Sox by going 2 for 5 with the game-winning homer. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— Slugger David Ortiz blasted a no-doubt-about-it 438-foot homer to right in the sixth to tie the game at 4-4. Ortiz’s eighth homer was one of his longest in a while and suggested that his baby steps towards regaining his past form might be leading somewhere after all.

— Left fielder Hanley Ramirez went 2-for-5 with a run.

— Relievers Tommy Layne, Alexi Ogando, and Koji Uehara combined to toss three scoreless innings.

WHAT WENT WRONG

— Third baseman Pablo Sandoval left the game in the seventh with right quad soreness. Sandoval recorded two hits, but also collided with catcher Sandy Leon to let a foul popup fall. Leon was charged with the error.

— The bottom third of the order (Alejandro De Aza, Rusney Castillo, Leon, Blake Swihart) combined to go just 1 for 14.

— About 12 hours after allowing three runs and three hits without retiring a batter in a 13-10 loss, reliever Matt Barnes served up the game-winning homer in extras.

WHAT WENT RIGHT AND WRONG

— Right-hander Clay Buchholz put the club in an immediate hole by allowing three runs in the second, but he at least settled down from there to allow only one further run in six innings.

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