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Story of when Jackie Bradley Jr. sat on curveball for first time this season

07.30.16 at 2:00 am ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Let’s cut to the chase.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is exceeding everyone’s expectations with the bat, particularly when it comes to hitting the ball out of the ballpark. This was once again put on display Friday night when the outfielder went deep for the 17th time this season, during the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels.

“Tonight was almost a snapshot of it,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell of Bradley’s progress as a hitter. “Early on, he’s aggressive first pitch. They’re throwing some curveballs. In the home run at-bat, he stayed a little more patient. He might have been looking for the same pitch but he got it a little bit later in the sequence and was able to sit on it. I think that’s just speaking to what the attack plan against him is becoming. It’s great to see.”

The manager added, “I thought we always viewed him as a mid- to upper-teens home run capability. That’s what he’s shown the last couple of years. We’re glad he’s on the pace that he’s on. I guess that’s the best way to sum it up.”

Amazingly, since Aug. 9, 2015, 78 of Bradley’s 153 hits have gone for extra-bases. During that span he has hit 26 homers, 10 triples, 42 doubles and 75 singles.

But it was that approach in the at-bat that netted his homer against Angels starter Tim Lincecum that told Bradley’s tale. First-pitch curveball, then two straight fastballs, until he finally got the bender one more time.
 
“I was sitting on curveball,” Bradley explained. “He threw me a first-pitch curveball for a ball, then I took two fastballs — one was a strike, one was a ball. That was probably the first time I sat on an offspeed pitch all year. I took a chance, took a gamble, and I was rewarded for it.”

He had a plan, and he executed. That simply wasn’t taking place during his first few runs through big league pitching.
 
“Pretty confident,” he said of waiting for the offspeed pitch. “At that particular point in the game, I had seen a lot of curveballs, a lot of offspeed pitches. The percentages of me getting one were pretty high, especially since they had gotten me out on it in previous at-bats. Usually when they get you out on it, they feel like they can continually throw it to get you out. I took a calculated risk and was able to put a good swing on it.”

(To watch Bradley’s home run, click here.)

Xander Bogaerts says homers just aren’t his thing, even after just hitting one

07.30.16 at 1:38 am ET
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Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Friday night was a pretty good checkpoint for Xander Bogaerts.

With his seventh-inning, two-run homer, the Red Sox shortstop set a career-high for home runs, claiming 13 for the season. (To watch Bogaerts’ homer, click here.)
But for Bogaerts, it evidently isn’t about going deep. He has other priorities.

“Stolen bases, yeah,” he said when asked what he was prioritizing. “Seven more. I need seven more. I’ll get it. I’ll probably do it when David is off because we don’t want him to walk.”

With his swipe of second Thursday night, Bogaerts now has as many steals as he does home runs. But even without any steals during the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels, the homer still didn’t take priority.

What really spun the 23-year-old’s wheels was his third-inning double into the right-center field gap.

“It’s been a few weeks probably that I couldn’t go the other way,” said Bogaerts, who ranks second in the majors in hits with 138. “I’m definitely more happy with that hit to right field. The fly ball [home run] was a pretty good one, but that just means I’m staying on the ball longer instead of pulling off.

“I’m definitely more pleased with the line-drive to right field, I’m going to be honest with you. It was something I probably couldn’t have done two weeks ago. I worked a lot in the cage and got it back. Hopefully I can continue to work on it to not lose that feeling.”

Closing Time: Rick Porcello turns in complete game to lead Red Sox past Angels

07.30.16 at 12:39 am ET
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Rick Porcello notched his 14th win of the season Friday night. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello notched his 14th win of the season Friday night. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports)

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Meet your Red Sox ace, Rick Porcello.

While his ERA won’t necessarily dazzle you, and teams will typically manage their fair share of hits against him, Porcello continues to accomplish something better than any other Red Sox starter — he wins.

The trend continued Friday night at Angel Stadium, with Porcello holding Los Angeles to two runs over nine innings. It resulted in the starter’s 14th win of the season — a 6-2 triumph over the Angels — with the Red Sox now improving to 16-5 when the righty takes the mound.

“We’ve shown a lot of resilience,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “We’ve been able to get some quality pitching. Rick has a been a primary reason for that, not going more than three games until last night. He’s been our stopper and he’s been very consistent, probably the most dependable guy in our rotation when you go back to the opening series of the season. It’s not a fluke. It’s the work, the preparation, the competitiveness that he shows on the mound.”

It was Porcello’s first complete game Aug. 20, 2014. He has also now gone at least five innings in each of his last 28 starts dating back to Aug. 26, 2015, a span in which is tied with Texas’ Cole Hamels for most wins (18).

The performance by Porcello was made even more necessary considering the Red Sox were riding their first four-game losing streak of the season. It also helped the Sox creep within 1 1/2 games out of first-place in the American League East after Toronto pushed to within 1/2 game with its win over Baltimore Friday night.

“I think about us winning a World Series and that’s all I care about,” the starter said when asked about his 14 wins. “Obviously it’s nice from a personal standpoint but it means nothing if we don’t accomplish our goals as a team.”

The only trouble Porcello endured came in the second inning, and that was partly a product of a misplayed Daniel Nava line-drive by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. that put runners on second and third. A ground out and single would give the Angels a quick two-run lead.

“The craziest. It checked,” said Bradley of Nava’s liner. “I haven’t seen that very often. I know Nav can put some spin on some balls. I don’t even know how to explain that ball. It literally took a right turn.”

But with the struggling Tim Lincecum on the mound for the hosts (he of the 8.70 ERA coming into the game), it seemed like just a matter of time before Porcello would get his runs. Sure enough, the Sox scored a pair in the third, took the lead for good on a Mookie Betts’ sacrifice fly in the fourth, and sealed the deal with Bradley’s solo shot in the sixth.

Just for good measure, Xander Bogaerts’ launched his 13th homer of the season over the left field wall in the seventh inning for two more runs.

For a complete box score, click here.

Dustin Pedroia has now reached base in each of his last 32 games, this time getting on via a seventh inning single.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

– Betts made the defensive play of the game, racing back to make a twisting, leaping catch against the right field wall off an Albert Pujols blast. The grab saved a run in what was a two-score game at the time.

“At the time, a big play,” Farrell said. “[Porcello’s] trying to climb the ladder away. He didn’t quite get it to maybe the spot he intended. An 0-2 count, you don’t anticipate a ball being driven as it was. But our outfield play tonight was very good. Jackie made a couple nice running catches. Mookie’s was big in that moment.”

WHAT WENT WRONG

– The Red Sox could never really get to Lincecum like they probably should have, with the righty finishing his five innings giving up four runs.

“Who didn’t watch Tim Lincecum? I did watch him in high school,” Bradley said. “Amazing talent. He was pretty special.”

Yoan Moncada will work out at both 3B, OF

07.29.16 at 10:21 pm ET
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ANAHEIM, Calif — The Red Sox have been subtly introducing Yoan Moncada to the world outside of second base.

Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen confirmed that the organization has been working Moncada at third base prior to Portland Sea Dogs’ road games, with the picture posted from @FlattsM on Twitter from Binghamton serving as the latest example.

Moncada

Hazen said the plan is to continue the pregame work at other positions other than second base, with a likelihood that the Red Sox will introduce outfield into the practice sessions in the near future.

There is still the possibility Moncada will see game action at one of the alternate positions, although if/when a permanent switch is made it will likely take place in ernest during the offseason.

With Double-A Portland, Moncada entered Friday hitting .270 with a .902 OPS.

Red Sox lineup: Aaron Hill gets start against Tim Lincecum

07.29.16 at 6:33 pm ET
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Aaron Hill

Aaron Hill

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Even though right-hander Tim Lincecum is on the mound for the Angels Friday night, Red Sox manager John Farrell is choosing to defer to history, starting Aaron Hill at third base.

Hill comes into Friday 11-for-22 against the former Giants starter, while Travis Shaw has no history against Lincecum.

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup with Rick Porcello starting for the visitors:

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Aaron Hill 3B
Ryan Hanigan C
Brock Holt LF

For all the matchups click here.

David Price responds to criticism and/or struggles using Young Jeezy quote

07.29.16 at 2:02 pm ET
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David Price pitched an ace-like game Thursday night, not allowing a run over eight innings. It was exactly what the doctor ordered when it came to the Red Sox trying to get their No. 1 starter on the right track.

But after the outing, which resulted in a 2-1 loss to the Angels after a Brad Ziegler blown save/Hanley Ramirez game-ending errant throw, Price’s meeting with the media was, let’s say, succinct.

Friday morning, Price took to Twitter to relay his feelings in a somewhat veiled manner:

Just more than 30 minutes later, Price followed up with another post.

It was the first tweet from Price in more than a week, with his last post coming on July 21.

Red Sox aren’t on Jonathan Lucroy’s no-trade list

07.29.16 at 1:22 pm ET
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Jonathan Lucroy

Jonathan Lucroy

It’s not clear the level of interest the Red Sox have in Jonathan Lucroy, but certainly the fewer roadblocks if trade talks heat up, the better it is for Dave Dombrowski.

That’s why the fact that the Red Sox aren’t on Lucroy’s no-trade list is of some note.

According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the list of eight teams the Milwaukee catcher can block trades to include the Twins, Angels, Athletics, Padres, Mariners, Nationals, Indians and Tigers.

Perhaps the most noteworthy of those teams mentioned are Cleveland and Detroit, both of which have reportedly shown interest in the 30-year-old. It doesn’t mean Lucroy can’t be dealt to those teams, just that he must approve any deal.

Some of the other organizations who have been linked to talks for Lucroy, besides the Red Sox, include the Mets and Rangers.

Lucroy is slated to make $5.25 million next season, a number he could possibly renegotiate if a trade to one of the teams on his list are involved.

The catcher is having a stellar year for the struggling Brewers, hitting .300 with an .848 OPS and 13 home runs.

Friday Red Sox Farm Report: Nate Freiman 3-for-5 in Portland rout; Jerry Downs hits walk-off HR for Lowell

07.29.16 at 10:30 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (54-52): L, 13-5, vs. Rochester (Twins)

— Right-hander Sean O’Sullivan, returning from a stint on the 15-day disabled list with left knee tendinitis, pitched a scoreless first and third inning but was touched for six runs in the second inning. He allowed six hits and no walks while fanning four.

— Righty William Cuevas relieved and allowed six runs on eight hits (three home runs) and two walks with five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Right-hander Casey Janssen finished up with two-thirds of an inning, allowing a run on one hit with one strikeout.

— Designated hitter Chris Marrero went 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI single. The 28-year-old now is hitting .289/.343/.511 in 98 games.

— Right fielder Ryan LaMarre went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI singles. Center fielder Rusney Castillo also went 2-for-5.

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Read More: Allen Craig, Andrew Benintendi, Chris Marrero, Jerry Downs

Friday’s Red Sox-Angels matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Tim Lincecum

07.29.16 at 9:32 am ET
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Looking to end their four-game losing streak, the Red Sox will turn to Rick Porcello on Friday night at Angel Stadium. He’ll be opposed by veteran right-hander Tim Lincecum.

Porcello is 13-2 with a 3.57 ERA and a 1.151 WHIP. His 13 wins are one behind the league leaders in that category. Porcello has been especially impressive at Fenway. After defeating the Twins on Sunday, Porcello improved his home record to 10-0, making him the only starting pitcher in the MLB to be unbeaten at home. Against Minnesota, Porcello went 6 2/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned), six hits and one walk, while recording eight strikeouts in the 8-7 win.

“I’ve had quite a few starts at home. I just feel good here,” Porcello said. “I feel comfortable pitching in front of our crowd. We play good baseball here.”

While Porcello has fared well at Fenway, he hasn’t had the same luck at Angel Stadium in his career. In four starts he is 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA. Overall against the Angels, Porcello is 4-6 with a 6.82 ERA and a 1.573 WHIP in 13 starts. Porcello last faced the Angels in July of last season, pitching five innings and allowing three runs (two earned), four hits and three walks with five strikeouts in a 3-0 Sox road loss.

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Read More: rick porcello, Tim Lincecum,

Hanley Ramirez on game-ending error: ‘That can’t happen. I know better than that’

07.29.16 at 2:14 am ET
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — The explanation was simple and succinct. But it didn’t make anything easier to digest for the Red Sox.

“I tried to get two before I got one,” said Hanley Ramirez after the Red Sox’ 2-1, walk-off loss to the Angels on Thursday night. “That can’t happen. I know better than that. I know that I’ve got [Mike] Trout on third and it was a tough ground ball, but I’ve got to make sure of one. I kind of started running before I threw it.”

What Ramirez was talking about was the final, and pivotal, play in the Red Sox’ fourth loss in a row. He had botched what could have been a game-ending, double-play grounder off the bat of pinch-hitter Daniel Nava, sailing the throw home over the head of catcher Sandy Leon after failing to set his feet when releasing the ball.

With the errant toss, both Trout and pinch-runner Ji-Man Choi scored, capping a wild ninth inning the Red Sox could have done without.

“That’s mental right there,” Ramirez said of the throw. “That’s a mental mistake right there. I know what I did wrong and I’ll come back tomorrow and hopefully it won’t happen. But if it happens, it won’t happen again. I rushed it a little bit.”

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