|07.02.15 at 9:12 am ET|
To say it’s been an up-and-down few months for Red Sox third-round pick Austin Rei would be an understatement.
Rei went from the most frustrated he’s ever been back in February, to now fulfilling his dream of being a professional baseball player.
After a 41-17 season during his sophomore year and a trip to the NCAA Regionals, the catcher couldn’t wait for his junior season with the Washington Huskies, especially having two years under his belt in the Pac-12 where he hit .314 overall with two home runs and 28 RBIs as a sophomore.
But, just five games into this past season Rei suffered a UCL injury in his left thumb on Feb. 19 and was limited to just 25 games.
“It was probably the most frustrating thing baseball related, injury related, thing ever,” Rei said in Lowell last weekend before he officially signed Tuesday. “I knew I had good sophomore season. Going into this year I was extremely excited about my opportunities — both for myself and for the University of Washington. It was the end of the fifth game of the season. Just so early. We didn’t know what we had, I personally didn’t know what I had.
“I was out eight weeks. I was in a little cast. Had to use a bag when I was in the shower, but I couldn’t watch batting practice. It was so frustrating for me not being able to hit. Eight long weeks before I could hit and 12 before I could catch. It was some of the longest weeks ever. It was pretty bad.”
With the team not doing as well as the Huskies and Rei would have liked and just how hard it was watching from the sidelines, he returned for the final month of the season, even if it was a little too soon, which he admitted was the case.
“I absolutely did,” he said. “We weren’t doing so well. After my sophomore season, coming off a 40-win season, it was nice to be used to winning. Losing as many as we did and the way that we did, all the one-run losses, it was tough not to be able to contribute. I definitely think I rushed back into it, but I had all the confidence in the world that I was safe in the hands of my trainers, strength coaches and all that. They were really helpful with me.”
|07.02.15 at 8:35 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (38-43): L, 8-4, at Rochester (Twins)
— Knuckleballer Steven Wright allowed six runs, although only three of those runs earned, in five innings of work as Rochester snapped a 3-3 tie with three unearned runs in the fifth inning and rolled to complete a four-game series sweep of the PawSox. Wright’s final line was: 5 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO (95 pitches, 64 strikes). Wright’s flutter ball also caused two wild pitches and two passed balls charged to catcher Matt Spring.
Wright was on the mound in the fifth with a runner aboard with two outs when the game’s pivotal error was charged to first baseman Allen Craig as he ranged towards the foul line a few paces to his left but could not handle a hard-spinning grounder. A run scored and the inning continued, with three hits and two more runs to follow, ending Wright’s evening.
The 30-year-old Wright, who also allowed a home run in the third inning, has made six starts for Pawtucket this year, in addition to having three different stints in Boston. Wright is 2-3 with the PawSox with a 3.00 ERA over 39 innings, striking out 34 while walking 13. In Boston as a starter, Wright allowed three earned runs or less in all four of his starts and he has now done the same in five of his six starts with Pawtucket.
— Center fielder Rusney Castillo reached base three times, going 2-for-4 with two singles and a walk, while also scoring a run on a Travis Shaw single in the third inning. The 27-year-old Castillo now has hits in five of his six games since re-joining Pawtucket on June 24, with four of the six contests being multi-hit games. Castillo’s season-long batting average in Triple-A sits at .310 to go with a .364 on-base percentage.
— Second baseman Jeff Bianchi also reached base three times, as the 28-year-old utility man went 2-for-3 with a triple and a walk. Bianchi’s triple was down the right field line to leadoff the third inning and he came home to score on a Quintin Berry ground out. Over 21 games with the PawSox this year, Bianchi is hitting .311 with a .382 on-base percentage.
|07.02.15 at 7:52 am ET|
In the final game of a four-game set, Wade Miley will take the hill for the Red Sox against rookie left-hander Matt Boyd of the Blue Jays. Winners of the first two games before Wednesday’s loss, the Sox look to clinch a series victory on Thursday.
Miley will take the mound at Rogers Centre the owner of a 7-7 record and 4.38 ERA. He has been solid in the middle of the Red Sox rotation recently and has posted a 3.96 FIP, better than his ERA would indicate.
In his last outing on Saturday against Tampa Bay, Miley did not receive much help from his offense en route to a losing effort. The left-hander hurled 6 1/3 innings and allowed only two runs on five hits. He struck out eight, tying his season high. However, the Sox dropped the game by a score of 4-1 to the Rays.
The two runs allowed by Miley came off the bat of Jake Elmore, who knocked a home run into Tropicana Field‘s 162 Landing and gave the Rays a 2-0 lead they did not relinquish.
“I think we did a good job early and really the whole time,” Miley said following the game. “Me and [catcher] Sandy [Leon] did a good job of mixing up the pitch selection and we were able to execute. It was really just that one slider. I was trying to bounce it, and I just left it up and [Elmore] did a good job.”
After being acquired from Arizona in the offseason, the 28-year-old struggled to get his feet under him in Boston at the beginning of the year. Since then, he has settled in nicely as a mid-rotation starter.
In his last nine starts dating back to May 13, Miley has posted a record of 6-3 and a 3.07 ERA across 55 2/3 innings of work. Miley has been the best of the starting pitchers the Red Sox added this winter, clearing the admittedly low bar set by Justin Masterson (5.58 ERA) and Rick Porcello (5.54 ERA).
|07.01.15 at 5:45 pm ET|
TORONTO — If losing 11-2 to the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon wasn’t bad enough, along came the punctuation for the Red Sox‘ blowout loss.
With two outs in the sixth inning and Josh Donaldson at third base, Edwin Encarnacion lofted a fly ball to center field, which Mookie Betts camped under. But instead of simply catching the ball and running into the dugout Betts launched a throw home.
Betts had become the second Red Sox outfielder in the last four games to lose track of the number of outs, this time thinking Donaldson was tagging up from third.
“I just lost focus for a second,” Betts explained. “At least I caught it, so that’s three outs.” When asked about the miscue again, the center fielder said, “It was three outs. Sometimes you have mental breakdowns, especially after a long game. I messed up.”
“There’s no excuse for that,” said Farrell of Betts’ mistake. “Losing track of the outs in the inning is not something – it can’t be accepted.”
|07.01.15 at 3:36 pm ET|
The Red Sox acquired Rick Porcello this winter in the hopes that he could be a stopper. In a sense he has delivered, except what he’s stopping is any hope of a winning streak.
And now it’s fair to wonder if he’ll even make his next start.
In what goes down as his worst start in a season full of them, Porcello didn’t remotely give the Red Sox a chance on Wednesday afternoon in Toronto. The Blue Jays tagged him for seven hits and seven runs in just two innings, including three home runs. Porcello added three walks and a wild pitch for good measure, throwing just 44 pitches before being lifted to start the third in an 11-2 loss.
“The most disappointing [thing] through all of this, especially this one, is how well we’ve been playing as of late,” Porcello said. “I’m letting my teammates down. That’s it.”
Porcello saw his ERA rise to 6.08, fourth-worst in baseball among full-time starters. He also halted the momentum the Red Sox had built by winning four of five and pulling within six games of first place in the AL East, while simultaneously denying the club its first four-game winning streak of the season.
And make no mistake, even on an afternoon when the offense managed to do nothing against crafty left-hander Mark Buehrle, this one was all on Porcello, who may not get another start for a while. The Red Sox have two off days in the next week and could let Porcello regroup until the All-Star break.
“We haven’t even begun to map out next week,” manager John Farrell said. “Recognize we have two off days on Monday and Thursday, but we haven’t looked at the rotation as we go through to the end of the break. . . . It’s been a tough run for him. It’s been about an eight-start stretch where he continues to battle. His approach in between starts doesn’t change. His preparation doesn’t change and yet the results for the work put in is not there. So we collectively have to work with Rick to improve.”
Porcello let this one get away from him quickly. He allowed a line single to Jose Reyes leading off before Josh Donaldson followed with a bunt single. Jose Bautista struck out looking, but Edwin Encarnacion didn’t get fooled, launching a three-run homer to left.
Porcello then hit catcher Russell Martin before Justin Smoak launched a two-run homer that made it 5-0. It could’ve been worse, but Porcello picked off Kevin Pillar following a double.
If the Red Sox harbored any illusions that Porcello had settled down, Bautista dispelled them in the second with a two-run homer to left-center.
“It was a quick outing,” said Farrell said. “Pitches up in the strike zone against this team on a day when the ball is carrying as it was, that makes for a tough outing. As much as we continually try to simplify his attack plan and become more consistent with fewer pitches the changeup today on two occasions came back to bite him both to Encarnacion and to Smoak. You get five quick runs and that’s a big hole for us to come back to.”
That was it for Porcello. Robbie Ross replaced him to start the third and promptly allowed Smoak’s second homer of the day.
Offensively, the Red Sox were held in check by the soft tosses of Buehrle, who limited them to four hits and one run in seven innings, strike out seven.
Mookie Betts provided the Red Sox with their only offensive highlight with a solo homer in the eighth that made it 9-2, but by that point the damage had been done, courtesy of Porcello.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Justin Smoak entered the game hitting .261 with seven homers, and he improved on both of those numbers significantly by going 3-for-4 with two homers and three RBIs.
|07.01.15 at 1:54 pm ET|
ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the attention drawn to Eduardo Rodriguez tipping pitches and the flexibility of Clay Buchholz‘s contract among other things. To hear the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.
Going into Tuesday’s game the talk centered around Eduardo Rodriguez and how he tipped his pitches to opposing batters as to what type of pitch he was going to throw. The Orioles managed to figure it out when they were able to chase him after he allowed six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings last Thursday, but he bounced back Tuesday night, tossing six innings, giving up just one earned run on four hits.
During its broadcast of Tuesday’s game, NESN showed exactly what Rodriguez had been doing. He would tilt his head downward when throwing an off-speed pitch, while his head would stay up when he was about to throw a fastball.
Olney said the segment detailing the issue was useful for him as a member of the media, but that it probably wasn’t what people in the Red Sox organization wanted on air during their broadcast.
“As a reporter, of course, I love it,” he said. “Give me as much information as possible. But if you’re actually working for the team, I wouldn’t want it out there.”
“If we broke that down on Baseball Tonight, I’d be excited about it,” Olney added. “If I worked at Major League Baseball Network, you’d be excited about breaking that down, but if you’re within the Red Sox community, you’re probably not thrilled that that’s out there.”
Olney brought up the impression he’s received from other front offices is that the Red Sox will probably look to shed some money during the offseason, most likely via Rusney Castillo and his seven-year, $72.5 million contract.
“Let’s face it, Hanley Ramirez doesn’t have a lot of trade value right now,” he said. “You’d have to eat a lot of money to move Pablo Sandoval given what’s going on there, and there’s not a lot of other ways to do it, which is why people of other teams come back to Castillo. But I still think that it’s early, and even though you look at the standings and it doesn’t look good for the Red Sox, it’s not like there’s some horse running away with the American League, and it doesn’t hurt the Red Sox to wait three weeks.
“If they’re back within four, five games, maybe their perspective changes. If the hole gets deeper then yeah, they could look to do some things, but I think it’s going to be really difficult for them to move some of those pieces that have been written about without eating a lot of money and teams don’t usually do that this early in their contracts.”
|07.01.15 at 12:24 pm ET|
The Red Sox will be going for their fourth straight win Wednesday afternoon in Toronto on Canada Day. Rick Porcello will be opposed by left-hander Mark Buehrle with Hanley Ramirez back in the Red Sox lineup.
Follow all the action from Toronto here:
|07.01.15 at 10:10 am ET|
ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about Eduardo Rodriguez, Clay Buchholz and the Red Sox. To listen to the audio of the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
As the Red Sox, particularly the team’s starting pitchers, have struggled this season, many fans have looked to the minor leagues and eyed the various pitching prospects the organization owns, including Brian Johnson and Henry Owens.
Schilling has been impressed with the young arms in the team’s farm system.
“I look at this organization from a pitching perspective like you can kind of look at the Cubs from a player perspective,” Schilling said. “I think they’re stacked. A lot of power arms. … I love the arms, I really do think that they’ve got a ton of development happening and this is just an unfortunate year.”
Rodriguez has made the leap from a prospect to a major league starter and Schilling has been very impressed with what he’s seen.
“Eddie, clearly, is ready,” he said. “He had a bad outing, he was tipping his pitches, he made adjustments, he fixed it. This is your one. When you get back to the postseason, this is the guy you’re going to hand the ball to game one.”
Rodriguez did struggle with tipping his pitches in a June 25 game against Baltimore, but the team was able to diagnose the problem and fix it in advance of his Tuesday start in Toronto.
|07.01.15 at 10:02 am ET|
After missing six games with a left wrist injury, Hanley Ramirez returns to the Red Sox lineup in Game 3 of a four-game set against the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon. The Red Sox have taken the first two games of the series.
Going against left-hander Mark Buehrle, lefties Brock Holt and Jackie Bradley Jr. get the day off with Deven Marrero getting his first major league start at second base and Alejandro De Aza starting in right field.
Sandy Leon will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello.
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
Here is a complete Red Sox lineup:
|07.01.15 at 8:51 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (38-42): L, 1-0, at Rochester (Twins)
— LHP Henry Owens (Boston’s No. 2 prospect at MLB.com) pitched into the eighth inning and allowed just two hits, but got no run support and took the loss (2-6, 3.28 ERA) with a final line of: 7 1/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO (98 pitches, 60 strikes). Owens was perfect through four before walking the leadoff batter in the fifth. He continued with a no-hitter into the seventh before allowing a leadoff double. A ground out and sacrifice fly would bring that runner home and provide the difference on the scoreboard.
It was the fourth straight quality start for Owens, who was selected by Boston in the first-round of the 2011 draft (36th overall). However, Owens has not won a game since May 5, a span of 12 starts. The 22-year-old finished June with an 0-3 mark in six outings with a 3.47 ERA, compiling 27 strikeouts to 13 walks in 36 1/3 innings.
— RHP Pat Light (Boston’s No. 26 prospect at MLB.com) replaced Owens in the eighth after a leadoff double and a strikeout. Light, 24, allowed a single, but stranded two runners as he came back with a strikeout of his own on a split-finger fastball, followed by a pop-out to end the inning. A 2012 first-round draft choice and this year converted to a reliever, Light has now rebounded with two straight scoreless appearances since blowing back-to-back saves on June 21 and June 24.
— Big leaguer Ervin Santana held the Pawtucket offense in check, giving up just five hits while walking not walking a batter over eight scoreless innings. Santana completed his three-game Triple-A build up to rejoining Minnesota after his 80-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. The PawSox had two aboard in only one inning, the eighth, but second baseman Sean Coyle (Boston’s No. 13 prospect at MLB.com) popped out to end the chance.
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