|05.21.16 at 6:10 pm ET|
At first, it looked like it might not be Jackie Bradley Jr.’s day.
The first two times at-bat against the Indians, Bradley Jr. drew an intentional walk and four-pitch free pass, in which none of the offerings were close from Indians starter Trevor Bauer.
But leading off the sixth inning, against Bauer, Bradley Jr. finally got his chance to hit, and he took advantage of it.
The Red Sox center fielder grounded a 2-2 cutter from Bauer toward the middle, where Indians’ second baseman Jason Kipnis dove and gathered it in. But the subsequent throw from Kipnis drew Carlos Santana off the bag just enough to allow for a Bradley Jr. single.
The hit marked the 26th game Bradley Jr. had collected at least one hit, raising his batting average to .345.
The streak is now just one game shy of David Ortiz’s stretch of 27 straight in 2013. The club record stands at 34, set by Dom DiMaggio in 1949. Second on the list is Nomar Garciaparra’s 30-gamer in ’97.
Others to carry notable hit streaks for the Red Sox include Johnny Damon (29 in 2005), and Manny Ramirez (27 in 2006).
The Red Sox held a 4-0 lead at the time of Bradley Jr.’s single.
|05.21.16 at 4:46 pm ET|
While Eduardo Rodriguez was saddled with some bad news earlier in the week — having to skip his scheduled start with Triple-A Pawtucket Thursday due to knee discomfort — he seemingly has rediscovered some optimism.
After throwing a successful bullpen session Friday, and then participating in pitcher’s fielding practice Saturday, Rodriguez seems on track to make a start for the PawSox on Tuesday.
One of the chief reasons for the turnaround may have been something as simple as wearing a knee brace.
“He had a strong work session today with the PFP that he went through. Feels good coming out of it,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He was fitted for a brace. The confidence that he’s got from that is substantial. There’s evenness to his running gate. He might have favored it a little bit prior. But change of direction, his footwork, all that was very good.”
Rodriguez initially didn’t feel comfortable with the brace on his right knee, but after adjusting the size of the support system he agreed to give it a try.
“He went through a bullpen [Friday] with it and felt very good,” Farrell said. “He had a powerful pen yesterday so I know he’s encouraged, and just the support that it provides gives him a lot more confidence.”
In four rehab outings, Rodriguez has totaled 4.29 ERA over 21 innings. He last pitched May 14, allowing three runs over 5 2/3 innings.
|05.21.16 at 2:14 pm ET|
The Red Sox announced Saturday that Triple-A starting pitcher Brian Johnson was being placed on the club’s temporary inactive list while seeking help for anxiety issues.
The 25-year-old will continue non-baseball activities at the organization’s facility in Fort Myers, Florida.
Johnson last pitched May 14, giving up five runs over five innings to push his ERA with the PawSox to 4.64 in seven starts. The lefty has struggled with his command as of late, issuing five walks in each of his last two outings.
|05.21.16 at 7:32 am ET|
In the middle game of the three-game series between the Red Sox and Indians, the Sox will welcome back Joe Kelly while the Indians will be depending on Trevor Bauer.
Last Monday was a good day for Kelly. In his rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket he struck out 10 Norfolk Tides batters, allowing no runs in 6 1/3 innings.
“He had command of the zone and was explosive tonight,” Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles said after Kelly’s start. “He attacked hitters and it was a good step forward.”
Meanwhile, rain struck in Kansas City where the Red Sox were supposed to take on the Royals, which meant that the big league club would play a doubleheader Wednesday, creating a need for another starter on Saturday. Kelly’s name quickly got tossed in the ring as a possibility to fill that role. On Tuesday, manager John Farrell made Kelly Saturday’s official starter.
Kelly was placed on the 15-day DL back on April 19 with a shoulder impingement. In three starts with Pawtucket while on a rehab assignment Kelly had a 1.26 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 16 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings pitched. Prior to going on the DL the 27-year-old right-hander was 1-0 with a 9.35 ERA and a 2.76 WHIP in three starts with Boston.
Kelly will be trying to regain a permanent spot in the rotation, and luckily for him on Saturday he will be facing a team that he has had success against. In two career starts against the Indians, Kelly has a .082 ERA with a 1.45 WHIP, seven strikeouts and four walks. Kelly’s last start against Cleveland was last Aug. 19, when he went six innings and gave up five hits and one run that was unearned in Boston’s 6-4 victory.
|05.20.16 at 10:18 pm ET|
Clay Buchholz is still searching.
Buchholz took the loss once again, this time living on the wrong end of the Red Sox’ 4-2 defeat to the Indians on Friday night at Fenway Park.
And since he lasted six innings, and gave up three earned runs (four in total), Buchholz was tagged with his second quality start of the season. The problem was that the appearance included much of the discomfort that has accompanied too many of the the righty’s nine starts this season.
Buchholz allowed five hits and four walks, giving him more this season (24) than his entire 2015 campaign.
Yet, even with the methodical pace and lack of command, the narrative would have undoubtedly been different for Buchholz if not for Jason Kipnis’ three-run homer in the third. The blast came with nobody out, and landed deep into the right field seats.
“I’ve been around long enough,” Buchholz said. “There have been times I’ve felt lost and didn’t feel like I could get anybody out and that’s definitely not the case right now. It’s a matter of one at-bat or a couple walks leading up to one at-bat and giving up a big hit in that situation. That’s something I have to find a way to get better at.”
Kipnis’ sixth homer of the season was the ninth given up by Buchholz, who had been staked to a 2-0 lead. The Red Sox starter has now given up nine homers, which have accounted for 22 runs.
“I mean, the home run was a four-seam in,” Buchholz said. “I looked at it. It was a strike fastball. I wasn’t expecting a swing-in. I was thinking he was looking more out of the plate. Obviously he wasn’t. Other than that, I missed, even the first hitter of the game, [Carlos] Santana, tried to throw a fastball up, threw it up and he still hits it, so. It’s just the way it’s been going. All in all it wasn’t a terrible outing but it’s hard to swallow getting beat on home runs every time out. Keep pushing along and find a way to get through it.”
|05.20.16 at 7:51 pm ET|
Jackie Bradley Jr. got the hit streak drama out of the way early Friday night.
Jumping on the second pitch he saw from Cleveland starter Corey Kluber, Bradley Jr. launched a 1-0 slider into the center field bleachers. It marked the 25th straight game the outfielder has collected at least one hit.
“Put a good swing on a pitch low and down the middle and it happened to get into the wind and played the course pretty well today,” Bradley Jr. said.
Bradley Jr. is now nine shy of the Red Sox record, with Dom DiMaggio totaling 34 in a row in 1949.
It was Bradley Jr.’s eighth homer since the streak began on April 24. Coming into Friday night, the stretch had included the lefty hitter managing a .407 batting average and 1.240 OPS.
It was also the 20th straight game the Red Sox have hit at least one home run, snapping the previous club record held by the the 1995 club.
The second-inning homer gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead at the time, with the Sox ultimately dropping a 4-2 decision to the Indians.
Bradley Jr. finished his night going 1-for-2 with two walks, the last coming with two outs in the ninth inning when he worked a 3-2 count against Cleveland closer Cody Allen.
“I just wanted to stay locked in for the last at-bat. I didn’t want to lose,” he said. “In my mind, I was going to give it everything I had. I didn’t want to lose the game. I didn’t want to lose that at-bat.”
|05.20.16 at 6:18 pm ET|
The reliever, who went on the 15-day disabled list Friday with elbow tightness, underwent an MRI prior to the Red Sox’ series opener with the Indians. And while the results weren’t readily available after the Red Sox’ 4-2 loss to Cleveland, the publicized plan going forward can’t be too encouraging.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said that Smith will visit Dr. David Altchek for a second opinion, Monday. The choice to rely on Altchek, and not someone like Dr. James Andrews, is at the player’s discretion.
Before the game Farrell said the ailment is in the same area as when Smith was shut down during spring training, and surmised that the injury — which limited Smith to just three appearances since initially coming off the disabled list — wouldn’t necessitate surgery.
“I would be surprised given what we know right now,” said Farrell of the likelihood of an operation.
Smith, who was feeling the discomfort more when throwing sliders than fastballs, last pitched May 14. Prior to that, he had gone on May 3 and 9.
“I felt healthy my first outing out and felt good for the most part for the first week or so I was back up,” Smith said. “I threw against Oakland and had an extensive outing and a number of warmup pitches to go into that game and since then, there’s been small symptoms of what it was back in spring training.”
The reliever added, “I want to know what’s going on, I want to get it right. I’d rather be broke or just right. It’s frustrating going out there and not being 100 percent every time. I couldn’t do that to the team. That’s when we decided to get another MRI.”
|05.20.16 at 4:06 pm ET|
First, there was the fact that he is third in the majors in OPS, heading into Friday night at 1.044. And then there was the comment to Yahoo! Sports recently, saying, “Hopefully nobody comes to me and offers $25 million, either. I don’t even want to talk about it. Like I said, I’m good with the decision that I made right now. But would you leave $25 million on the table? I don’t want nobody to offer me that.”
When asked Friday by WEEI.com if he would indeed start thinking differently if such an offer was extended, Ortiz simply said, “That is not going on right now. I’m not thinking about that right now.”
But then, he offered a more definitive response.
“Listen, the thing is that people need to understand, in my mind I’m 100 percent sure I’m going to retire,” he said. “There are so many reasons for me that I want to retire. That is what is my mind right now. I don’t want people to get the wrong idea.”
Before heading out for treatment, Ortiz finished one last observation.
“If I wasn’t [doing well] people wouldn’t even be talking about it,” he said.
Ortiz is off to the best start of his career, leading the majors in slugging percentage (.652), while hitting .312 with 10 homers.
|05.20.16 at 3:24 pm ET|
With right-hander Corey Kluber on the mound for the Indians in their series opener against the Red Sox on Friday night, the Sox will begin the Blake Swihart in left field experiment right away.
Swihart, who played in left for 11 games with Triple-A Pawtucket, gets the start against Kluber, who walked the switch-hitter twice in the season opener.
Here is the Red Sox lineup with Clay Buchholz starting for the hosts:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Christian Vazquez C
Blake Swihart LF
|05.20.16 at 12:38 pm ET|
The team announced that reliever Carson Smith has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a right elbow ailment (retroactive to May 15), while Brock Holt will head to the 7-day concussion disabled list (retroactive to May 19).
Noe Ramirez is being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to fill Smith’s spot, while Blake Swihart may be getting his first opportunity as a major league left fielder, also getting the call from the PawSox.
Smith made only three appearances for the Red Sox since originally coming off the disabled list on May 3. In five games with the PawSox, Ramirez allowed four earned runs over nine innings, giving up 12 hits while going 0-3.
Holt had been struggling mightily as of late, hitting .158 (6-for-38) in his last 13 games. He did participate in both ends of Wednesday’s doubleheader, getting four at-bats in Game 2 after pinch-hitting in the first game.
Swihart had been hitting .243 with a .655 OPS and one home run in 29 games with Pawtucket since his demotion. In his last 10 games, however, the switch-hitter managed a .310 batting average. He has also manned left field for 11 games with the PawSox.
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