|05.17.15 at 8:19 am ET|
The Red Sox conclude a 10-game road trip and four-game set in Seattle with a matchup against the Mariners on Sunday afternoon. The Sox will send Steven Wright to the hill for his first start of the season.
Wright has made two appearances out of the bullpen in 2015, owning a 4.22 ERA and 1-0 record thus far.
The knuckleballer has allowed five runs on 12 hits over a combined 10 2/3 innings pitched, while striking out five and walking six.
Wright gets the call in place of Justin Masterson, whom the Red Sox placed on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis Thursday. Masterson allowed six runs and lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his last start as his ERA climbed to 6.37 on the year.
Wright allowed three runs over 5 2/3 innings in relief of Masterson Tuesday, his most recent outing. After an up-and-down start to the year that included multiple trips to and from Triple-A Pawtucket, Wright now has his first opportunity of the season to get a start.
“Well, even when we broke spring training, he was in consideration for a spot if needed,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Wright in advance of his start against the Mariners. “He’s done nothing but continue to support that.”
Wright, 30, will be making his third career start, and only his 13th appearance overall. Back in 2013, Wright recorded his first two major league wins against these same Mariners. Both came in appearances as a relief pitcher, not as a starter.
In those two previous appearances vs. the Mariners, Wright has not allowed a run across 8 2/3 innings pitched. He has struck out five and owns an impressive .923 WHIP against Seattle.
|05.16.15 at 11:59 pm ET|
If you’re going to try to make people notice a trend, beating the best isn’t a bad way to go.
Rick Porcello was the latest Red Sox starter to excel, allowing just two runs (a pair of solo home runs by Brad Miller) over 6 2/3 innings. The end result was win for the righty, besting Mariners ace Felix Hernandez in the Red Sox‘ 4-2 victory over Seattle on Saturday night at Safeco Park.
In the last four outings, Red Sox starters have totaled a 1.32 ERA, allowing just four runs over 27 2/3 innings.
For Hernandez, it was his first loss of the season in seven decisions. He came into the contest with a 1.84 ERA.
Doing the initial damage against the big righty were David Ortiz and Pablo Sandoval, who each went deep.
But, thanks to Miller’s homers, the Red Sox couldn’t break things open for Porcello until the sixth inning. The two-run frame might have been aided by Hernandez seemingly tweaking his already injured ankle while going after a Sandoval foul ball.
After the Sandoval at-bat, Hernandez didn’t seem the same, walking both Xander Bogaerts and Daniel Nava. (The starter came into the game with just eight walks and 50 strikeouts.) Blake Swihart then supplied the eventual game-winner with his second hit of the night, a double into center field.
Brock Holt added an insurance run with a run-scoring ground out down the first base line.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Porcello. The starter lowered his ERA to 4.26, totaling a 2.88 ERA in his last five starts.
|05.16.15 at 5:35 pm ET|
Starting on the bench will be both Mookie Betts and Shane Victorino. Betts is just 1-for-16 in his last four games, dropping the outfielder’s on-base percentage to .294. Victorino has been perhaps the Red Sox hottest hitter since arriving at Safeco Field — going 4-for-7 with a walk — but will give way to Holt in right against the righty.
Daniel Nava also gets the start at first base over Mike Napoli, who is just 8-for-39 (.205) against Hernandez and his currently hitting .168.
Here is the Red Sox lineup with Rick Porcello starting for the visitors:
|05.16.15 at 10:52 am ET|
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — It seems Rusney Castillo is getting closer and closer to getting back to full strength.
The outfielder has now played 12 games since injuring his shoulder the first weekend of the season. He started 0-for-11 in his return, but he’s starting to hit his stride.
Castillo is 11 for his last 35 (.314), including his best game of the year Friday night when he hit two home runs, ripped a double and walked — going 3-for-5 overall in a 13-inning PawSox loss to the Columbus Clippers.
“He played a great game,” manager Kevin Boles said afterwards. “Obviously [hitting] the ball to both left and right field. Playing center field, yeah, he put a show on tonight. That was a really quality performance and he also took his walk. That was pretty good. Got to see him impact the ball, but also show some discipline at the plate.”
Castillo came to the plate in the first and launched a double off the 400-foot sign in center field on an effortless swing. He then came to the plate in the third with two runners on and lifted a towering fly ball to right field that kept carrying and landed in the PawSox bullpen for a three-run home run.
He wasn’t done there as in his next at-bat he lined a home run to left field, that got out of the park in a hurry. Those were his first two home runs of the year. He also drew a four-pitch walk in the 12th inning with runners on second and third.
The center fielder also made a tremendous diving catch coming in on a ball in the sixth inning with runners on base, which preserved a shutout for PawSox starter Henry Owens.
Boles said with all the time Castillo has missed, both in spring training and to open the year, this is still considered spring training for him.
“This is kind of his spring training,” he said. “We’ve talked about this before, because he’s missed some time, but he’s slowly but surely settling in. He’s getting into the game speed. Tonight he made an impact on the game. Tonight he was was one of the best players on the field.”
|05.16.15 at 9:35 am ET|
After allowing just four runs in his last 19 innings over three starts, Porcello’s ERA has dropped to 4.50, the best among Red Sox starters. He also leads Boston starters with a 1.32 WHIP and is second with a .269 batting average against. He has 38 strikeouts and just 11 walks. He was plagued by the long ball at the beginning of the season, but Porcello has gone three games without allowing a home run.
In his last start, the 26-year-old went five innings, allowing three runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out three. He struggled to find the form that he had in his previous two outings, but Porcello was able to spread out baserunners enough and work out of jams to limit the damage. The Red Sox won the game, 5-4, but Porcello received a no-decision, which held his record at 3-2. It was the fourth straight Boston win in games that Porcello has started.
In eight career starts against the Mariners, Porcello is 4-3 with a 3.96 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP, 42 walks and 10 strikeouts. He has made two starts at Safeco Field and has a 2-0 record with a 1.32 ERA and a 0.73 WHIP at the home of the Mariners.
|05.16.15 at 2:14 am ET|
Farrell chose not to walk Nelson Cruz with a base open and the game-winning run at second in the form of Brad Miller. Instead Junichi Tazawa pitched to Cruz – he of the .361 batting average, 1.158 OPS and 15 home runs – with the result proving disastrous for the Sox.
Cruz rifled a split-fingered fastball from Tazawa into deep left field, allowing for the Mariners‘ walkoff win.
“Before you even ask a question, that’s a terrible decision on my part,” Farrell told reporters, opening his post-game media briefing. “I own that one. We had a base open. But the way, saw Cruz’s first three at-bats, he was chasing some offspeed below the zone. He was 1-for-8 against Taz previously. Didn’t work out. That’s a terrible decision on my part.”
Making the end result even more frustrating for Farrell and the Red Sox was the outstanding pitching performance of starter Clay Buchholz. The righty struck out 11 while not walking a batter, allowing just one run on three hits.
It set the stage for the ninth inning, where reliever Tommy Layne allowed an infield hit to Miller before Robinson Cano moved the runner to second. Then came the showdown with Cruz, who was hitless in his previous three at-bats, and would have been followed by Kyle Seager.
“We’ve got it set up, two outs, easily take the bat out of his hand, walk him, then you get a left on left with Layne and Seager,” Farrell told reporters. “As we sit here in this moment after the walkoff, that’s the move to make. Like I said, terrible decision on my part. Clay pitches an outstanding eight innings of baseball tonight. Four pitches for strikes. A dominating performance in his own right. We had a couple of opportunities offensively. But still, the decision in that ninth inning was the story in this one.”
After the game, the Red Sox players weren’t willing to place blame on their manager.
“I knew that I had to get into that at-bat with a lot of strong emotions,” Tazawa told reporters through a translator. “I was sort of caught in between walking him and trying to get him out. It’s all my responsibility.”
“Even as a pitcher, you get paid to pitch,” Buchholz told reporters. “Just sometimes it happens. Can’t be too hard on yourself about it. It’s a game. That’s why we’re going to play tomorrow. Got these guys in 2-1 games, it’s a part of it that’s hard to take sometimes whenever you know you don’t want to do something and it just happens.”
|05.16.15 at 12:49 am ET|
After a masterful eight innings from Buchholz, Tommy Layne allowed an infield single to Brad Miller with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Robinson Cano grounded out to advance Miller to second, at which point Junichi Tazawa relieved Layne. Tazawa allowed the game-winning hit to Nelson Cruz to give Seattle the victory and drop the Sox to 17-19 on the season.
Buchholz was dominant, as he retired 15 batters in a row after a double from Cano in the bottom of the first inning. Buchholz struck out a season-high 11 batters and walked none. The second hit he allowed tied the game, however, as a Seth Smith solo shot broke up Buchholz’ string of consecutive batters retired.
The Sox had taken the lead in the bottom of the second when Xander Bogaerts tripled off J.A. Happ to score Shane Victorino from second base. Victorino had singled with one out and stolen second after Pablo Sandoval had lined out.
That would prove to be the extent of Boston’s offense on the night, however.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Clay Buchholz. The importance of starting pitching was stressed even more entering this series with the Mariners, and Buchholz was able to follow Joe Kelly’s strong performance Thursday with one of his own. Boston’s hitters could have stood to reward his performance better.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– The Red Sox have now scored two runs or less in four straight games. Fortunately for them, they’ve managed to go 2-2 in that stretch with barely any offense. Unfortunately for them, that “The Red Sox have now scored two runs or less in four straight games” part.
– Buchholz has struck out 10 or more batters twice this season and has zero wins to show for it. He also received a no-decision when he fanned 10 Rays on April 23, a game that saw him allow one run and get one run of support.
– Mike Napoli made it to third base after singling and being advanced twice in the fourth inning, but he was thrown out to end the inning during a pickle that registered as a 1-3-6-2-5 caught stealing. Read the rest of this entry »
|05.15.15 at 6:30 pm ET|
Sandoval, who didn’t start in the series’ first game, is hitting 2-for-34 from the right side.
Here is the Red Sox lineup:
|05.15.15 at 12:33 pm ET|
Riding back-to-back wins, the Red Sox head into the second game against the Mariners having won four of their last five. Clay Buchholz is set to take the mound for the Sox while J.A. Happ is good to go for Seattle on Friday night.
Buchholz is coming off a strong start against the Blue Jays, piecing together a three-run, 6 1/3-inning effort that lowered his season ERA from 6.03 to 5.73 and improved his record to 2-4. The righty gave up seven hits and struck out three in the win as the Boston bats collected six runs of support before he left the hill. However, Buchholz’s outing didn’t begin as well as he might have liked. All three walks he issued to Toronto came in the first inning, but even so, he was able to keep the Jays off the board.
“That’s how it’s supposed to work,” Buchholz said of getting out of the first. “It doesn’t always work that way, but when it does, it just gives the team a little bit of a boost.”
With just four career starts and 26 2/3 innings against the Mariners, Buchholz has a 3.71 ERA and a 2-1 record. He most recently saw them last season when he pitched 7 1/3 innings and allowed four earned runs. Despite surrendering three home runs that day, he had a 0.955 WHIP and was awarded with the win as the Sox put five runs on the board.
Before that, Buchholz faced Seattle three times, once in 2008, once in 2010 and once in 2012. He has just once pitched fewer than seven innings against the Mariners (2008) and has never allowed more than four earned runs. Opposing batters have hit .259/.259/.593 when at the plate and Buchholz has given up 24 hits, seven for extra bases, in 106 plate appearances. He has 23 strikeouts and six walks opposite the Mariners as well.
|05.15.15 at 1:02 am ET|
The Red Sox are over .500 on their current 10-game road trip, improving to 4-3 with their second straight win. They now reside 3 1/2 games in back of first-place New York.
The Red Sox were able to seal the victory in the ninth inning when Mookie Betts’ fly ball to deep left field was dropped by Rickie Weeks, allowing Brock Holt to score the game-winner from third. Holt, who led off the frame with a double to left-center and was sacrificed to third, would have scored easily even without the drop.
The decisive run came against Seattle closer Fernando Rodney, who entered the game with a 6.47 ERA against the Sox.
Before the game-winner, Kelly served as the highlight for the Red Sox, turning in one of his best outings of the season.
The starter prioritized pitching to contact, needing 91 pitches to get through 6 1/3 innings, while managing all but one of his outs via the ground ball. When it was all said and done Kelly had lowered his ERA to 5.58, allowing one run on five hits, striking out two and walking three.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Joe Kelly. The Red Sox desperately needed the kind of outing the righty gave them considering their offensive struggles. 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 FOR THE RED SOX
— Shane Victorino showed some signs of life, giving the Red Sox an early lead with his first homer of the season. The righty hitter, who came into the game hitting .459 with a 1.419 OPS against the Mariners, reached safely in his first three plate appearances (single, HR, walk).
— Hanley Ramirez finished with four hits. It was the 20th time in Ramirez’s career he has notched that many hits, with his teams now going 19-1 in such games.
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