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Red Sox contemplate dealing John Lackey and potential of drastic change

07.29.14 at 11:05 am ET
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The Jon Lester rumors seemed self-explanatory: Command a trade ransom for an elite pitcher who will be a free agent for the next two months, and for whom another dozen starts have virtually no value to a spiraling Red Sox team but plenty of worth to a contending team trying to find the discover the difference between contention and the possibility of winning the World Series. Given where the Red Sox are in the standings, they *have* to listen to offers to Lester and any other free agent.

But the suggestion that the Red Sox are listening on veteran right-hander John Lackey represented a more surprising dimension in the rumor mill. After all, as Monday’s brutal outing by Clay Buchholz underscored, the Red Sox have exactly one pitcher under team control beyond this season who offers some measure of reliability.

Here’s what Lackey has done the last two years:

2013: 189 1/3 IP, 3.52 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9

2014: 137 1/3 IP (on pace for 210 IP), 3.60 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9

That’s a reliable rotation anchor. Lackey’s not an ace, but right now, he represents a solid No. 2 guy in the rotation, and thanks to the unique vesting option at the major league minimum for next year, he is under team control for next to nothing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tuesday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Rubby De La Rosa vs. Marcus Stroman

07.29.14 at 8:36 am ET
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The Red Sox will look to bounce back from Monday’s disheartening 14-1 loss when they take on the Blue Jays in the second game of a three-game series Tuesday at Fenway Park. Rubby De La Rosa will get the nod for Boston, facing off against fellow youngster Marcus Stroman.

De La Rosa (3-3, 3.54 ERA) has seen his season marked by one deciding variable: location. It is not a matter of the 25-year-old pitcher finding his command with his pitches, but rather where he is playing.

De La Rosa has looked like two different pitchers when taking the hill at Fenway Park or away from it this season. At home, De La Rosa has pitched like an ace, compiling a 3-0 record with a 1.38 ERA. On the road, De La Rosa is 0-3 with a 6.04 ERA.

De La Rosa’s last start Thursday against the Blue Jays — at Rogers Centre — was his worst outing of the season, as the righty allowed nine hits and seven runs (six earned) over just four innings of work.

“Clearly, he feels comfortable on the mound at Fenway and is able to channel the emotion and adrenaline inside Fenway Park,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “We’ve got to do something to try and even out the splits as they stand.”

In three career games (one start) against the Blue Jays, De La Rosa is 0-1 with a 11.57 ERA.

Stroman (6-2, 3.21 ERA) may be the youngest member of Toronto’s starting rotation, but he certainly hasn’t shown any rookie nerves on the mound this season. Stroman is 6-2 with a 2.21 ERA in 10 starts this year, leading his club in WHIP (1.10) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.93).

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Clay Buchholz: Sox hurt by loss of some key players from last season

07.29.14 at 7:30 am ET
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A year ago on July 28, the Red Sox were 20 games above .500. They maintained a slim half-game lead in the AL East.

Fast forward to this season, and they occupy the cellar of the division and were just handed one of their worst defeats of the season, falling 14-1 to the Blue Jays.

It’s perplexing to try to account for what has gone wrong this season. But starter Clay Buchholz, who was tagged for seven runs in Monday night’s drubbing (the most he’s allowed this season), tried to offer up an explanation after the loss.

“[We] lost a handful of good players last year that contributed a lot,” Buchholz said. “Having [Jacoby] Ellsbury in center field, a threat to hit 30 home runs in a season, and [who] can obviously run when he gets on base, we don’t have every single factor that we had last year to go into our team.”

Buchholz assured that he wasn’t attempting to slight anyone on the current roster, however.

“I’m not saying anybody that’s on the field right now that wasn’t here last year or wasn’t starting last year isn’t as good, but when you take a couple of guys out of the middle of the lineup and the middle of the field, and try to rely on different people to do different things, it might not happen right away, and I think that’s what we’re dealing with,” Buchholz said.

“Even with that being said and going into spring training, even after the first half, I think everybody was still pretty confident that this team’s definitely good enough to play in October and through October.”

It’s become a reality that the Red Sox are very unlikely to reach October, as are 48-58, sitting 11 games back in the East. They trail the fourth-place Rays by four games.

The Red Sox have taken the position of sellers at the impending trading deadline, with rumors circulating about a number of players, including ace Jon Lester. Buchholz maintains that despite the uneasiness this time of year brings, it’s inevitable.

“I think when it comes to that, everybody thinks of it as a business,” Buchholz said. “There’s nothing you could do if you expressed your feelings any differently rather than just come to the field and try and win that day. Everybody hears about it, it’s everywhere that we’re at so obviously we know, but there’s nothing you can do about it.”

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David Ross on Felix Doubront: ‘You have to … prove yourself on a nightly basis’

07.29.14 at 1:10 am ET
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Felix Doubront stood on the pitcher’s mound with his hands on his hip, glove on his right hand and ball barely hanging onto the tip of his left hand. Slowly, the boos began to make their way around Fenway Park as the crowd at hand for Monday’s 14-1 loss to the Blue Jays expressed its displeasure for Doubront’s six-run, six-hit, two-walk, no-strikeout performance in just two-thirds of an inning.

Manager John Farrell made his way up the dugout steps, signaling to the bullpen for righty Burke Badenhop to take Doubront’s spot on the mound and follow up on a performance that would not present itself as a challenge to top. As Farrell emphatically took the ball away from Doubront, the southpaw looked away, seemingly avoiding eye contact with the skipper while leaving behind the wreckage of a 13-0 deficit for his team in the sixth inning.

It was only when Doubront no longer had the ability to affect the outcome of the game that the Fenway crowd cheered.

The feeble performance came only a day after Doubront, who declined to comment after Monday’s game, told Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com that he wouldn’t mind a trade from the Red Sox.

“€œThe thing is, if the [Red Sox] say I have to prove myself, I already did, man. €It’€™€™s [messed] up,” Doubront said. “So if these guys say I have to pitch to prove whatever, no, they already know what I have. I showed them what I have, as a reliever and as a starter.

“€œFor me, they don’€™€™t see the numbers, they don’€™€™t care what I’€™ve done in the past. It’€™€™s hard to be happy like that with these guys.”€

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Read More: David Ross, felix doubront, John Farrell,

Royals one of multiple teams showing interest in Andrew Miller

07.28.14 at 11:56 pm ET
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According to major league sources, the Royals are one of multiple teams interested in the services of Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller. Kansas City, however, isn’t currently eyeing Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes, who had reportedly drawn interest from the club a few weeks back.

Miller will be eligible for free agency at the conclusion of the 2014 campaign, finishing up a deal that pays the lefty $1,903,125 this season.

“Just showing up to the park ready to play every day,” Miller said after the Red Sox‘ 14-1 loss to the Blue Jays on Monday night. “I can’t avoid the rumors. They’re inevitable. Whether something happens, I don’t know. It seems like there’s been years I’ve been on teams and everybody swears half the team is going to be traded and nothing ends up happening. Other times you think nothing is going to happen and it doesn’t. I guess it’s good to be wanted. It’s out of my control. I don’t have a no-trade to evoke. Whenever they tell me to pitch I’m ready to go. Right now my focus is on the Boston Red Sox and getting out some Toronto Blue Jays.”

The 29 year old has pitched in 48 games this year, totaling a 2.45 ERA while striking out 65 and walking 13 in 40 1/3 innings.

Miller explained that if he is dealt, there will be no ill will toward the Red Sox, who traded Dustin Richardson for the former first-round draft pick following the ’10 season.

“I completely understand the way the game works. It’s not a grudge,” he said. “I’ve loved my time here and I sincerely hope it doesn’t come to an end in the next couple of days, but if it does it won’t spoil it for me. If it does I’m certainly not going to burn a bridge on the way out of town. There’s value to us for both of us, so by no means will I close out that angle.”

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Closing time: Felix Doubront, Clay Buchholz shelled as Red Sox endure rout at hands of Blue Jays

07.28.14 at 10:26 pm ET
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A week ago, the Red Sox dished out a 14-1 thrashing against the Blue Jays in Toronto. On Monday night, the Jays returned the favor.

There weren’t many bright spots for the Red Sox in Monday night’s 14-1 defeat. In fact, as Felix Doubront was giving up hard-hit balls left and right in the sixth inning with a shower of boos raining upon him after each hit, it felt a lot like a new rock bottom.

Doubront, who has made his desire to either move back to the rotation or to be traded quite clear over the past couple of days, didn’t do much to improve his stock on Monday. He relieved starter Clay Buchholz with two on and nobody out in the sixth. At that point, the score was 5-0. By the time Doubront was pulled after recording just two outs, the Red Sox were in a 13-0 hole.

The left-hander has reiterated that he believes he’s a starter and doesn’t belong in the bullpen. Coming into the game, he had posted a 5.40 ERA in six relief appearances this season. His numbers between the bullpen and rotation didn’t differ all that much, despite the tiny sample size as a reliever. Those numbers look more skewed now, thanks to Doubront’s six-hit, six-run performance in just two-thirds of an inning. He now sports an even 11.00 ERA out of the pen.

Doubront issued a walk and induced a sac fly upon entering the game, but things went south after a home run to Melky Cabrera (his second of the evening). Doubront went on to give up a couple of long doubles and hard-hit singles before being lifted.

Doubront’s performance was a disaster, but Buchholz’s wasn’t much better. Buchholz put the Red Sox in a hole right off the bat; the Blue Jays took a 2-0 lead just six pitches into the game thanks to a leadoff walk and first-pitch home run off of the bat of Cabrera. Though Buchholz settled down for a few innings following the long ball, he was far from sharp. The bottom of a significantly weakened Jays lineup (one that featured the likes of Munenori KawasakiJosh TholeRyan Goins and Anthony Gose) did most of the damage as the Jays tacked on two in the fourth against Buchholz. He was responsible for three of the nine runs in the debacle of a sixth inning, and finished with seven runs allowed on the evening. The bottom four of the Blue Jays order went a combined 8-for-12 against Buchholz and Doubront.

On the offensive side, it was a familiar story. The Red Sox couldn’t get much going against Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey, who allowed just one run on three hits through seven innings of labor.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– For a while after Buchholz came off the disabled list, he looked like his old self. During a stretch of four starts, he compiled a 2.73 ERA and walked just one batter over 29 2/3 innings. But things have unraveled for Buchholz lately. His seven earned runs on Monday night represented a season high, and he’s issued four free passes in each of his last two outings. He’s allowed 23 hits over his last 17 innings.

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Chris Archer, David Price fire back at David Ortiz (again)

07.28.14 at 9:45 pm ET
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You didn’t expect the feud between David Ortiz and the Rays to die down just because the Red Sox left Florida, did you?

Ortiz had responded to Chris Archer‘s criticism of the designated hitter flipping his bat after hitting a home run Sunday afternoon, saying the pitcher was, “not the right guy to be saying that. I don’t think, you know, you got two days in the league, you can’t be just [whining] and complaining about [things] like that.”

On Monday, both Archer and his teammate (and fellow Ortiz nemesis) David Price fired back when talking to reporters.

First, Archer:

“I mean, I’ve gotten excited before, and they blow that out of proportion, too, saying that I kissed my bicep. Man, but honestly, I was in the infant stages of my career there — that was literally, like, my fifth start of my career. People say, ‘You should act like you’ve been there before.’ At that time in my career, I had never been there.

“I think we all know that’s how he plays the game. I don’t take back what I said, but what I said was true. I never saw Hank Aaron flip his bat — I’m not comparing the two, but they’re obviously in the same class of player as far as what they’ve accomplished. But I guess different people have different ways of reacting, and that’s just who he is, how he plays the game. I’m not mad, just speaking the truth.

“It’s just a game, man. All this is completely blown out of proportion. I just said the truth, man. You can ask anybody. If they’re going to be honest, they’re going to tell you how they feel. If they want to say the politically correct thing, they may not say exactly how they feel.”

Also responding to reporters Monday was Price, who had a dust-up with Ortiz earlier in the season.

“[Archer] said what he needed to say,” the pitcher said. “He handled it extremely well — I wish I would have handled it that well.

“Everybody sees the same thing. Like Archer said, him and Big Papi’s conversations have been great. Same with me. Whenever you have conversations the way that [Ortiz] has them with people, you think he has respect for you. Doesn’t look that way.”

Price added regarding Ortiz, “That’s how he is, though. If anything ever happens, he wants to be on everybody’s good side. That’s why he does what he does — and everybody knows that. We’re not worried about that.”

The Tampa Bay ace also reiterated the support Archer received from others. “Not just in here — that’s around baseball,” Price said. “I’m sure he’s got texts.”

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