|08.18.15 at 11:01 pm ET|
Dave Dombrowski has already traded Rick Porcello once. Thanks to the contract Porcello signed after that trade which sent him to the Red Sox this past offseason, Dombrowski probably won’t be able to do it again any time soon.
Porcello is something of a symbolic figure regarding the entrance of Dombrowksi and the exit of Ben Cherington.
The 26-year-old right-hander was the guy Dombrowski sold high on, moving him to Boston following a career-best 3.43 ERA last season in Detroit. He was the guy Cherington bought high on, and, in keeping with the Sox’ philosophy to not spend big money on pitchers in their 30s, overpaid in the form of a four-year, $82.5 million contract that will begin next season.
Now, Dombrowski inherits a player who was once his chip (a player on whom he spent a first-round pick in 2007) and is now his team’s problem. Dombrowski was named Boston’s president of baseball operations Tuesday night, with the team also announcing that Cherington had declined to stay on as general manager. It’s Dombrowski’s show, and Porcello will be a part of it.
Following Tuesday night’s game, the injured Porcello declined to discuss Boston’s front office shakeup.
“I really don’t have any comment right now,” Porcello said. “This just kind of broke to us, so I kind of need a day to digest everything and go from there, but I will say that I had a great time playing for Dave in Detroit and am looking forward to that opportunity again.”
In 20 starts for the Red Sox this season, Porcello has a 5.81 ERA, which is worst in the American League among pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings. He is currently on the disabled list with a right triceps strain.
|08.18.15 at 10:08 pm ET|
After getting crushed in his last outing, Eduardo Rodriguez spent his time between eight strong innings Tuesday watching his teammates rough up Cleveland’s various pitchers.
Rodriguez, who allowed eight earned runs on nine hits last week against the Marlins, was dominant on Tuesday in a 9-1 win over the Indians. The rookie left-hander gave up six hits and struck out five batters, walking none over 114 pitches. His eight innings pitched were a career high.
“I think he was pounding the strike zone with an aggressive fastball, getting ahead of hitters,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said after the game. “There’s no secret to having success on a given night from a pitching standpoint. It’s getting ahead of the batter and staying in the strike zone. He got in a great run for several innings. He was comfortable, free and easy. His worst inning he threw 19 pitches prior to the eighth inning. We wanted to send him back out there and get the last inning he really deserved. A great effort by him tonight.”
(Rodriguez’ performance proved to be overshadowed by the news of Boston’s hiring of Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations. For more on that and Ben Cherington’s decision to step down as Red Sox general manager, click here.)
Cleveland’s lone run off Rodriguez came on solo homer from Michael Brantley in the top of the seventh inning. That was followed by a single from Carlos Santana, though Rodriguez escaped further damage by inducing a Ryan Raburn double play and an inning-ending groundout from Abraham Almonte.
While the strong performance proved to be a bounce-back effort, it also continued a nice run of success for Rodriguez when pitching at home. Tuesday’s game made it five straight starts at Fenway in which Rodriguez has allowed three earned runs or fewer (3-0).
|08.18.15 at 9:59 pm ET|
Shocking news from Fenway Park on Tuesday night, where the Red Sox announced that Dave Dombrowski has been hired as president of baseball operations and that general manager Ben Cherington will step down.
Dombrowski, who worked for Red Sox owner John Henry with the Marlins, was recently let go by the Tigers after 14 years as their president. Henry lauded Dombrowski’s arrival in a press release.
“I have known Dave very well for a long time,” Henry said. “Tom [Werner} and I have no doubts that Dave is the right person to strengthen our baseball operations group going forward. He is one of the most highly regarded executives in all of baseball, and had options to go with other clubs. We feel very fortunate that he wanted to come to Boston, and wanted to further his career’now with the Red Sox’as one of the great architects of winning baseball clubs.”
Dombrowski, 59, built the 1997 World Series champion Marlins, and also played a large role in their 2003 championship. He led the Tigers to five playoff appearances, including World Series losses in 2006 and 2012. Now he comes to one of the game’s most storied franchises.
“Although I did have other potential options within baseball, there was no option that stood out as clearly as the chance to come to Boston and win with the Red Sox,” Dombrowski said in the release. “Boston is a baseball city like no other and its history and traditions are unique in our game. I expressed to John and Tom that Boston would be my absolute top choice.”
He added that he’s excited to start the job immediately. Cherington will assist with the transition.
“One of the advantages of joining the club now is that I get the opportunity to get a head start on the important job of roster construction for 2016,” Dombrowski said. ” The Red Sox baseball operations group and Ben Cherington deserve extraordinary credit for the young, talented players that have broken through at the major league level, and I see outstanding potential in the talent still developing in our minor leagues.”
|08.18.15 at 5:35 pm ET|
With the season Hanley Ramirez is having in left field and another misplay on Monday night, there’s been more talk of potentially moving him to another position like first base.
Despite the criticism, interim manager Torey Lovullo was very strong the team’s commitment to Ramirez in left field.
“We’re not hiding anything and we want to be as transparent as possible. No, he’s not getting any type of work at first base at this point. Hanley Ramirez is our left fielder and I think we’re going to stay with that,” Lovullo said. “We’re going to try and get him the necessary work and necessary reps and necessary innings out there to get him to the point he feels comfortable and we become a championship defense in the outfield. It takes time. He’s a converted infielder and it’s a tough process. He’s further from the ball and moving and traveling at different angles and I feel comfortable saying Hanley is doing the right thing, working as hard as he can to make it happen as fast as he can.”
Lovullo pointed to some of the struggles he’s had in left field to being an infielder for all of his 10 seasons prior to this one.
“I think maybe he has some infield instincts in the outfield still,” he said. “I know he wants to come in on balls. I think we’re trying to get him to sit down as long as possible. I think he’s becoming a little bit more comfortable with the spacing around the wall. I just think there’s a general feel that he needs to develop here at Fenway Park. I think on the road he does OK defensively. I think at Fenway Park it’s a very confined area and he’s still adjusting. It’s going to take a little bit of time.”
Despite all the issues, Lovullo feels Ramirez is making promising strides since the beginning of the season.
“I think he’s on a good path right now,” he said. “I think there has been improvement since April. I think there has been improvement each and every day. He’s making some nice plays. We want to see everybody improve to a certain standard and make sure that we go out there and help him as a collective group to win baseball games.”
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
|08.18.15 at 5:31 pm ET|
Terry Francona considers himself fortunate that the Indians’ only trip to Boston this season came when it did.
“Sometimes things happen in weird ways,” he said. “I feel really grateful for whatever reason that we were here.”
Francona showed up to Massachusetts General hospital bright and early Tuesday morning, as he and Indians bench coach Brad Mills joined John Farrell for the Red Sox manager’s first chemotherapy treatment.
Speaking prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Red Sox, Francona reflected on his morning, but politely declined to go into detail on Farrell’s status.
“I don’t think I need to be the John Farrell medical update person; I don’t think that’s fair to him,” Francona said. “Millsy and I went over there together, which [for] anybody who knows Millsy, not surprising.
“I’m glad we went. I’m really glad we went over. I think [Indians general manager] Chris Antonetti went over after we left. I’d rather let John say what he wants to about his stuff because that’s his business, but we went over and spent a lot of time telling stories, most of them probably not true.”
When asked about Farrell’s spirits, Francona said it wouldn’t be fair to him to answer the question, though he said he felt being there was ‘probably good for all of us.’
“It didn’t feel good because of the circumstances, but I didn’t really think about it. He’s just my friend,” Francona said. “I didn’t really give it much thought. Millsy was there too, and Millsy’s every bit the friend to everybody, and I appreciated Millsy doing that. He didn’t have to do that, and I think John was pleased to see him.”
In addition to being there for Farrell, the Indians being in town this week allows Francona to participate in the Jimmy Fund radio telethon, an event he enjoyed each year as Red Sox manager.
“The Jimmy Fund is incredible.” he said. “I mean, the people there at Dana Farber and the work that they do and the way they handle it, I’ve seen it first hand. It’s incredible. When I was in town for those eight years, I always went out and would go on radio for 10 or 15 minutes and make a donation. I’m guessing tomorrow, my donation will probably be a little bit more because it probably needs to be.”
|08.18.15 at 3:31 pm ET|
Despite swinging the hottest bat on the team, Jackie Bradley Jr. will get the night off as the Red Sox go up against right-hander Trevor Bauer in Game 2 of a three-game series with the Indians.
Blake Swihart will catch Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez.
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
Here is a complete look at the Red Sox’ lineup:
|08.18.15 at 1:25 pm ET|
Red Sox utility player and Jimmy Fund co-captain Brock Holt checked in with Merloni & Fauria, along with Tom Caron during the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to talk about what the Jimmy Fund does and also to discuss manager John Farrell‘s recent cancer announcement. To hear the interview, go to the Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.
Farrell told the team last Friday during an unexpected meeting he has stage 1 lymphoma. Holt said it shocked everyone and felt like the team was going through it with its manager.
“When he told us we all kind of sat there and jaws were dropped, like what do we do, what do we say? You’re not really ready for something like that to be told to you,” Holt said. “It was a difficult day for everyone I think, but part of our job is to go out there and play every night and fortunately we were able to do that put some runs on the board and play a good game.”
Farrell’s first day of chemotherapy is Tuesday and Indians manager and close friend Terry Francona accompanied him to Mass General Hospital for his treatment.
“That kind of shows the kind of man that Terry is,” Holt said. “I have never met him, but obviously he was the manager here for a long time and Dustin played for him and Dustin says nothing but good things about him. It just kind of shows what kind of man he is and that is a pretty cool thing that he’s doing.”
Despite the team being 14 games below .500, Holt has seen some positives, although he did admit it’s been a disappointing year for everyone.
“I think our job is to come out and play regardless of how things have gone in the past,” Holt said. “The season obviously hasn’t gone the way we wanted it to go, or anyone else for that matter. We’ve done some good things. Younger guys are starting to play. Obviously [Xander Bogaerts] has had a tremendous year for us. He plays one of the main positions on the field for us, shortstop, so that’s been big for us. Our pitching has been better of late. We’ve been banged up, man — [Clay] Buchholz, [Rick] Porcello now, but Porcello is coming back. I think we have a good group. We just have to keep going on the path we’ve been on of late.”
Personally, Holt struggled a bit following the All-Star break, which he attributed to possibly fatigue coming out of the break. He’s performed better of late, as he’s batting .276 in August. He attributed the better performance to using a lighter bat.
“I think so. I was tired there for awhile,” he said. “I wasn’t getting to some pitches I usually get to and I was confused — I wasn’t doing anything different, my swing is pretty simple. I wasn’t able to square anything up. I was fouling pitches off or just missing them — pitches I usually get to. That’s part of the learning process of playing so many games. I didn’t get the All-Star break this year, but I think I’m starting to catch a second wind and I’ve started to switch to a lighter bat too, which has probably helped. I think I was just tied for awhile. It’s a long season. It’s a grind.”
|08.18.15 at 8:53 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (48-76): W, 6-1, vs. Syracuse (Nationals)
— LHP Edwin Escobar (Boston’s No. 26 prospect at MLB.com) pitched five scoreless innings to pick up the win (1-2, 5.51 ERA) in his third start of the season, with a final line of: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO (87 pitches, 53 strikes). Escobar, 23, loaded the bases in the third and fell behind the Syracuse cleanup hitter with a 3-1 count, but recovered for his first strikeout of the game on a fastball to escape the jam. The 6-foot-2 Venezuelan allowed leadoff singles in the second, third, and fourth, but was able to navigate the action as he stranded seven total runners in the outing.
Acquired by Boston in July of 2014 from San Francisco along with RHP Heath Hembree in exchange for RHP Jake Peavy, Escobar has started three of his last four games and in his last three appearances has allowed just one run over 13 innings of work, with nine strikeouts and seven walks. Escobar began the season on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation, and allowed at least a run in nine of his first 14 appearances after coming off the DL on June 18.
— RHP Jorge Marban pitched 2 1/3 innings of relief in his second PawSox appearance since his promotion from Double-A, allowing a run on an RBI-double in the seventh inning but getting a strikeout on a breaking ball to limit further damage and strand a runner at third.
Marban was replaced by RHP Pat Light (Boston’s No. 22 prospect at MLB.com) with one out and a man aboard in the eighth, and Light struck out the next two batters to end the frame, one on a 97 mph fastball and another on a split-finger fastball. The 6-foot-5 Light stayed on and worked a perfect ninth, getting three groundouts to end the ballgame.
Selected by Boston in the first round of the 2012 draft (37th overall) out of Monmouth University, the 24-year-old Light has allowed just one earned run over his last six appearances, a span of 12 1/3 innings with just five hits allowed. Over that span, Light has struck out 17 and walked 11. Light’s last seven outings have been of the multi-inning variety.
— Five different Pawtucket batters had multi-hit games, with first baseman Allen Craig, third baseman Carlos Rivero, left fielder Chris Marrero, catcher Sandy Leon, and right fielder Jonathan Roof all collecting two hits. Leon and Roof also walked, while center fielder Quintin Berry reached base twice with a hit and a walk.
|08.18.15 at 8:37 am ET|
With another rough start in the books, Eduardo Rodriguez will still get the nod from acting manager Torey Lovullo on Tuesday. He’ll face a similarly struggling Trevor Bauer and the Indians.
To say Rodriguez has had an up-and-down year is cliche at this point. However, it’s still applicable.
After compiling a 2.84 ERA in his previous three starts, Rodriguez fell apart last Wednesday against the Marlins. He was tagged with nine hits and eight runs in five innings. Dee Gordon got the onslaught started with a leadoff home run in the first inning, setting the tone for the rest of the outing, which ended in a 14-6 Marlins victory and a fifth loss for Rodriguez on his ledger.
For Rodriguez, Wednesday marked his fourth start in which he’s allowed six earned runs or more, tied for most on the team with Wade Miley and Rick Porcello, both of whom have logged at least 10 more starts. His bout with the Marlins raised his ERA from 4.17 to 4.83 and it recirculated speculation that he could still be tipping his pitches. Manager John Farrell was quick to address this charge after the game, arguing that Rodriguez’s troubles harken back to his command.
“I thought today when they show a replay after a base hit, he pulled some pitches across the plate. Missed to his arm side on a couple of occasions,” Farrell said. “To say this is all the result of tipping, I’m not going there. And I know that becomes kind of the common theme that everybody will look to seek out. But to me it was more he got behind in some counts, fastballs found some of the plate and they squared them up.”
On the season, Rodriguez owns a 6-5 record and a 4.83 ERA, along with a 1.29 WHIP. The rookie southpaw has pitched better than his standard numbers indicate, though. He sports a 4.31 FIP and an even better 4.12 xFIP, a version of FIP that assigns each pitcher the league average HR/FB ratio. Rodriguez shouldn’t have to worry about the long ball against the Tribe, a team that has generated just 93 all season, the second-worst mark in the AL.
|08.17.15 at 10:23 pm ET|
The Hanley Ramirez experience continues to disappoint.
When the Red Sox signed Ramirez to play left field this offseason, it was considered a coup. Only four years and $88 million for a middle-of-the-order thumper who projected to get a $150 million deal in free agency prior to the 2014 season? What a steal.
But as Monday night reminded us yet again, Hanley hasn’t worked out at all.
With rookie right-hander Matt Barnes trying to escape his first real jam in the fourth inning against the Indians, he induced Lonnie Chisenhall to hit a medium line drive to left.
Off the bat, the ball looked like no worse than a running catch at the base of the left field wall, but Ramirez froze, then couldn’t get back on the ball in time. It sailed over his head for a two-run double. The Indians added two more runs as part of a five-run frame.
Instead of potentially being out of the inning down 2-1, Barnes saw the Tribe grab a 5-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish in an 8-2 victory that once again called into question what exactly the Red Sox plan to do with Ramirez not so much this year, because it’s already over, but in 2016 and beyond.
“Hanley is a work in progress,” said interim manager Torey Lovullo. “He’s made improvements in the outfield. That was a tough play tonight. As we continue moving forward with Hanley, I think that’s going to be a play he’ll feel comfortable making. We have to understand where he’s come from and where he’s at right now. He’s missed a number of games. I think all things being said, it was a tough play.”
We’ve heard the “work in progress” refrain all season, and as much as fans might want Lovullo to tee off on another lackluster play, the interim manager probably isn’t in a position to be ripping his players publicly, at least not this early in his tenure.
The real question is what the Red Sox do next year. Is Ramirez going to remain in left field? Does he move to first base? Could the Red Sox somehow find a taker and move him, a la Edgar Renteria after the 2005 season?
It’s a question without an easy answer. Making matters worse, the Red Sox boast four above-average defensive outfielders in Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Alejandro De Aza, and Rusney Castillo.
“We do have three really talented gifted outfielders, but we wanted Hanley in that lineup tonight,” Lovullo said. “He was a guy that was going to potentially change the game for us. That was the decision and unfortunately it didn’t work out.
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