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Saturday’s Red Sox-Astros matchups: Rubby De La Rosa vs. Brad Peacock

08.16.14 at 3:05 pm ET
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Rubby De La Rosa

Rubby De La Rosa

The Red Sox play the third game of their four-game series against the Astros on Saturday night when they send Rubby De La Rosa to the mound against Brad Peacock.

De La Rosa (4-4, 3.21 ERA) is on a streak of three straight quality starts after an exceptional performance against the Angels last Sunday. The right-hander pitched into the eighth inning the day after the Sox exhausted their bullpen in a 19-inning marathon, and remained strong deep into the game. De La Rosa’s only run allowed came on a leadoff home run by Mike Trout that ended his outing. He scattered five hits, walked three and struck out eight for the win.

“We needed Rubby to go deep, and he did,” manager John Farrell said after the game. “He pitched with a lot of poise. He threw three pitches for strikes.” 

After getting torched for seven runs over four innings in Toronto on July 24, De La Rosa appears to have turned the corner, allowing five runs in his last 19 innings. Most importantly, he’s finally shown he can pitch away from Fenway, posting a 1.38 ERA in his last two starts on the road.

De La Rosa should enjoy being back at home, however. The 25-year-old is 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA in five starts at Fenway this season. He hasn’t faced the Astros since a scoreless inning of relief in Houston last season in which he struck out two. De La Rosa is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three appearances (one start) against the Astros, with the first two appearances coming in 2011.

After giving up 15 combined runs in consecutive starts, Peacock (3-8, 5.25 ERA) bounced back nicely in his start against the Twins on Monday. The righty gave up two runs (one earned) on seven hits over five innings in a no-decision. He walked one and struck out five.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brad Peacock, rubby de la rosa,

Defensive miscues cost Red Sox in frustrating loss

08.16.14 at 2:59 am ET
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It seemed as if everything was in place for a Red Sox victory Friday night.

Clay Buchholz gave his team a chance to win, holding the Astros to just two earned runs over seven innings of work, while Brock Holt‘€™s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh gave Boston a late 3-2 lead.

However, both the lead and the game quickly changed course in the top of the eighth, all due to a head-scratching and bizarre series of defensive mistakes.

With runners on first and second for Houston with two outs, Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez hit a liner that jumped up in front of Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts, looking to end the inning, attempted to get the out at second, but Dexter Fowler beat the force out.

Dustin Pedroia then immediately threw to home in an attempt to nab Gregorio Petit, who was attempting to score on the play. Christian Vazquez caught the ball and attempted to tag out Petit in a rundown, but took an odd angle that allowed Petit to avoid the tag and sneak past the Sox catcher on the basepaths.

“It’€™s a tough play. … [Pedroia] threw the ball to home plate and I was running to the runner to do a rundown and he came on the other side,” Vazquez said.

Vazquez then flipped the ball to reliever Burke Bandenhop at home, who fumbled the throw, allowing Petit to score and tie the game at 3 runs apiece.

“A strange play with two outs,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell after the game. “Fowler, at first base, does a good job of getting to second base in short order, but Dominguez hits a little bit of a humpback liner that Xander’€™s got to lay back on, and if the anticipation might have been where the speed of Fowler doesn’€™t give him a shot at the feed at second base, then does he possibly take the throw across the infield to get Dominguez, who is probably a little bit of a below-average runner.”

“But then I think [Pedroia] makes a heads-up play, even after the safe sign is called, and Christian’€™s aggressiveness to run him back to third base, his momentum takes him inside the third-base line and gives Petit enough room to elude a tag, and unfortunately that’€™s a tie ballgame in that spot.”

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Read More: Astros, christian vazquez, Red Sox, xander bogaerts

Dustin Pedroia leaves game after fouling ball off foot

08.16.14 at 12:05 am ET
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After fouling a ball off his right foot in his second at-bat (third inning), Dustin Pedroia was forced to exit the Red Sox‘€™ Friday night game.

The second baseman left what resulted in the Sox’€™ 5-3 loss after running out a ground ball in the bottom of the eighth inning.

‘€œHe fouled a ball off the right foot. He came out, obviously, he’€™s sore,’€ said Red Sox manager John Farrell. ‘€œWe’€™ll check him in the morning to see, or when he reports tomorrow, to see if he’€™s available. He’€™s a little bit sore after [Saturday night].’€

After the game, Pedroia underwent a Fluoroscan that proved negative. In 2010, he underwent surgery after fouling a ball off his left foot.

Closing Time: Astros snap Red Sox’ four-game win streak in extra innings

08.15.14 at 10:58 pm ET
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David Ortiz and the Red Sox saw their four-game win streak come to an end. (Getty Images)

David Ortiz and the Red Sox saw their four-game win streak come to an end. (Getty Images)

Entering Friday night, the Astros had a career record of 0-8 at Fenway Park, while the Red Sox possessed a bizarre mark of 0-14 on actor Ben Affleck‘s birthday dating back to 1997 – the same year that “Good Will Hunting” was released in theaters.

Something had to give.

In the end, the Astros were able to come away with the win, as Houston right fielder  Jake Marisnick drove in two runs on a ground-rule double in the 10th inning to give the Astros a 5-3 victory at Fenway Park. The loss snaps Boston’s brief four-game win streak.

Starter Clay Buchholz put together another encouraging outing, holding Houston to seven hits, two earned runs and two walks over seven innings while striking out nine Astros batters.

‘€œClay was outstanding once again,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell after the game. “He was crisp, he had a very good curveball to put hitters away with, to lead guys off with strikes. A lot of strikes overall. He was very efficient.’€

Houston starter Dallas Keuchel got off to a good start against the Red Sox lineup, striking out four and only surrendering an infield single through the first three innings.

Boston was finally able to get on the board in the fourth inning, as Yoenis Cespedes laced a slider from Keuchel into the Green Monster seats for a two-run homer, giving Boston a 2-0 lead.

Houston left fielder Robbie Grossman almost single-handedly helped the Astros get back into the game, collecting an RBI single off Buchholz in the fifth before jumping on a first-pitch cutter from the Sox starter in the seventh and driving it into the right-field seats for a solo home run, knotting the game at two runs apiece.

Boston would quickly regain the lead in the bottom of the seventh, as Holt singled home Christian Vazquez to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead, but a bizarre defensive breakdown involving Xander Bogaerts, Vazquez and reliever Burke Badenhop in the eighth allowed the Astros to once again tie the score, 3-3. Vazquez, who was attempting to tag out an advancing Gregorio Petit at home, received a throwing error on the play after botching a throw to Badenhop at home, allowing Petit to cross the plate.

The game would remain tied until the top of the 10th. After Craig Breslow allowed the first three Houston batters to reach base with no outs, the Astros capitalized, as Marisnick lofted a 2-0 fastball from Junichi Tazawa into right field that bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double, scoring two and giving the Astros a lead that they would not renounce.

‘€œYou can’€™t defend a bloop double on the line,’€ Farrell said. ‘€œTazawa comes in, we’€™re trying to stay away from him for the third consecutive day and being forced to use him. ‘€¦ Marisnick dumps a double just inside the line for the difference.’€

With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 55-66 on the year.

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Read More: Astros, Clay Buchholz, Red Sox, Yoenis Cespedes

Red Sox pregame notes: Allen Craig to begin rehab assignment soon; David Ross making ‘adequate progress’ with plantar fascia injury

08.15.14 at 9:23 pm ET
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Allen Craig‘€™s eventual return to the Red Sox lineup draws closer and closer.

The right fielder has only played in one game with Boston after being acquired on July 31 in a trade-deadline deal with the Cardinals that send Craig and Joe Kelly to the Red Sox for John Lackey.

In his debut with the Red Sox on Aug. 1, Craig tweaked his ankle in his final at-bat while attempting to run out a grounder at first. Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Friday’s game against the Astros that he expects Craig to begin an assignment down in the minors within the next few days.

“€œWe’€™re hopeful that he goes out on a rehab assignment early this coming week -€“ possibly as early as Monday,” Farrell said. “€œHe came out of yesterday’€™s work of full BP, some running in the outfield, in good fashion. He’€™ll go through three more days of work prior to heading out.”

— Catcher David Ross, sidelined since Aug. 2 with a plantar fascia tear, continues to improve after taking part in a variety of baseball activities over the last few days.

While Farrell said that it’€™s looking more and more likely that Ross will not need to take part in a rehab assignment, he added the veteran catcher still has some big milestones to reach before he is able to return behind the dish.

“We’€™ve still got to get some steps accomplished with David,” Farrell said. “He’€™s set to catch a bullpen or two today. He started to do a little bit more running yesterday and came out of it feeling OK, so he’€™s making adequate progress as well.”

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Read More: Allen Craig, David Ross, John Farrell, Red Sox

International arms race for an ace: Anderson Espinoza, Christopher Acosta headline eight international amateur signings

08.15.14 at 7:10 pm ET
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The Red Sox announced their first eight official international amateur signings of the year, headlined by a pair of right-handed pitchers who rank among the most impressive in this year’s class. Both Anderson Espinoza and Christopher Acosta represent pitchers with the arsenals to suggest potential big league starters, with the projectability to suggest the possibility of pitchers capable of making a considerable impact in a rotation.

The Sox regard the pair so highly that they were willing to blow past their allocated pool of approximately $1.9 million to do so. The team has signed Espinoza for $1.8 million and Acosta for $1.5 million. Not only will the team pay a 100 percent tax on its overage beyond the recommended bonus pool, but it will likewise punt on the opportunity to sign any international amateurs to bonuses in excess of $300,000 in both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 signing seasons. That decision underscores the high regard in which the Sox hold Espinoza and Acosta, along with other players who have either signed or whose agreements are expected to become official once approved by Major League Baseball in the coming months.

Anderson Espinoza: RHP, Venezuela

16 years old, 6-foot-1, 165 pounds

Considered perhaps the best 16-year-old international amateur in this year’s class, Espinoza is a strike-thrower who works fast, shows good feel for pitching and was ultra-competitive in games. He features an advanced three-pitch mix of a low-90s fastball, curveball and changeup.

Christopher Acosta: RHP, Dominican Republic

16 years old, 6-foot-3, 220 pounds

Acosta was also viewed as one of the top arms in this year’s international amateur class, with a heavy 88-92 mph that has considerable movement from his low three-quarters arm slot. Like Espinoza, he’s a strike-thrower who shows a feel for how to use his three-pitch mix. His changeup grades as above average, while his slider flashes potential.

Roniel Raudes: RHP, Nicaragua

16 years old, 6-foot-1, 160 pounds

Jhosmer Cortez: RHP, Nicaragua

16 years old, 6-foot-0, 160 pounds

Raudes and Cortez are the Sox’ first signings out of Nicaragua in recent years. Both are 16 with lean, projectable frames and quick arms. Raudes has a mid-80s fastball and a very good breaking ball with formidable mound presence. Cortez has a mid-80s fastball with sink from a three-quarters arm slot; hitters simply couldn’t square up the offering.

Nicolo Clemente: RHP, Italy

16 years old, 6-foot-0, 170 pounds

Clemente is believed to represent the Sox’ first signing in Italy. He’s a six-footer with a quick arm.

Luis Colmenares: LHP, Venezuela

16 years old, 6-foot-0, 175 pounds

Colmenares came on late in the signing season, showing an 87-88 mph fastball and athleticism. While he’ll likely enter the system as a starter, his likeliest long-term projection is as a reliever.

Elwin Tejeda: 3B

16 years old, 6-foot-2, 155 pounds

A lean, athletic third baseman who shows an advanced feel for hitting, squaring the ball up and using the whole field. He has an average arm at third, good hands and solid game makeup.

Read More: anderson espinoza, christopher acosta, elwin tejeda, jhosmer cortez

Kevin Millar on MFB: Roger Clemens should be in Hall of Fame

08.15.14 at 1:00 pm ET
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Former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar joined Middays with MFB to discuss Roger Clemens‘ Hall of Fame candidacy and Rob Manfred being elected commissioner. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Red Sox inducted Clemens, Pedro MartinezNomar Garciaparra and Joe Castiglione into the team’s Hall of Fame Thursday. The induction of Clemens sparked debate over whether or not he deserves to be in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame despite his link to performance-enhancing drugs.

Millar is one of those who would like to see Clemens inducted in Cooperstown.

“I think the Hall of Fame is a museum,” Millar said. “At the end of the day I want to take my kids to a museum and show them [Barry Bonds] and Clemens and [Sammy Sosa] and [Mark McGwire].

“Who knows is the ultimate question. We can assume, but at the end of the day nobody knows and it’s one of those places where we’re trying to say, ‘Who morally did right?’ There’s guys in there that drank alcohol, that did other things that are in the Hall of Fame. I don’t know.”

He added: “In my opinion, I just want to take my kids and show them the best players of our generation. That was an era that we lived in and there’s questions. If you want to put an asterisk, fine. But my goodness gracious, there’s some great players there, whether there’s questions or not, it’s a museum and I want to take my kids there to show them.”

Red Sox president Larry Lucchino was hesitant to say whether or not he believes former Sox slugger Manny Ramirez deserves to make the team’s Hall of Fame when asked about it on Dennis & Callahan Friday morning. Millar, on the other hand, thinks Ramirez is deserves to be in both the team Hall of Fame and Cooperstown despite the sour end to his tenure in Boston. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Kevin Millar, Roger Clemens,
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