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Thursday’s Red Sox-Tigers matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Matt Boyd

08.18.16 at 8:59 am ET
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The Red Sox begin a four-game series at Detroit on Thursday afternoon. The Sox will start the series by sending Clay Buchholz to the mound, while the Tigers will dispatch 25-year-old left-hander Matt Boyd.

Buchholz is 4-9 in 27 games (14 starts) with a 5.66 ERA and 1.406 WHIP. Buchholz made his first start in over a month last Saturday against the Diamondbacks, returning to the starting rotation when knuckleballer Steven Wright injured his shoulder. In the outing, Buchholz went 4 1/3 innings, allowing three runs, three hits and three walks with one strikeout in a 6-3 Red Sox win. Buchholz was pulled after 71 pitches because it was his first start since July 2.

In 13 relief appearances, Buchholz is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.017 WHIP.

Against the Tigers, Buchholz is 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.200 WHIP in 10 games (eight starts). The 32-year old right-hander saw the Tigers in two relief appearances in July of this season. In his first appearance on July 25, he threw two innings, allowing one run, two hits and no walks with one strikeout. In his second appearance two days later on July 27, he pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Buchholz last start against the Tigers came in July of 2012 when he pitched eight innings, allowing three runs (two earned), five hits and two walks with four strikeouts.

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Clay Buchholz’s travel plans don’t go as planned

08.18.16 at 1:52 am ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

BALTIMORE — A complicated travel schedule for the Red Sox was made a bit more uncomfortable Wednesday night.

With the Red Sox’ series opener in Detroit scheduled for a 1:10 p.m. first pitch, the plan was to send their starting pitcher, Clay Buchholz, to the home of the Tigers ahead of his teammates.

Buchholz was slated to take off from Baltimore Washington International Airport at 5:30 p.m., with a car scheduled to pick him up at Detroit Metropolitan Airport at 7:15 p.m.

But his flight was delayed at least three hours, forcing the pitcher to head back to Camden Yards, where he found himself at about 9 p.m., just as the Red Sox were getting ready to start their rain delay. The plan to have Buchholz avoid being subjected to the team’s quick turnaround no longer was an option.

The Red Sox’ plane ultimately took off from BWI just after 1 a.m., with flying time to Detroit just over an hour. Buchholz was scheduled to get to the team hotel just about 10 hours before he was scheduled to take the mound.

Buchholz will be going up against Detroit starter Matt Boyd.

The game time for Thursday’s tilt has come under some scrutiny, with the Red Sox repeatedly trying to push it back considering their travel from Baltimore. For more on that controversy, click here.

David Price, Red Sox starters finding their way at just right time

08.18.16 at 1:13 am ET
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David Price has been part of the Red Sox' starting rotation's resurgene. (Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)

David Price has been part of the Red Sox’ starting rotation’s resurgene. (Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)

BALTIMORE — The sting for David Price, and probably some of the others in the starting rotation, is still there.

For much of the Red Sox’ season, they were perceived as a big part of the problem.

Times are changing.

“I just don’t listen to any of the outside noise, any of the bullcrap that’s said,” said Price after the Red Sox’ rain-shortened, 8-1 win over the Orioles. “I’m just going to continue to plug forward. I don’t care about any of that other stuff.”

The noise Price referenced is shifting out of the equation. That’s what a run like the Red Sox’ starting staff is on will do. All of a sudden, the lefty is looking ace-like, and the Sox’ starters have become the envy of Major League Baseball.

No team in baseball has gotten the kind of performance from their starters this month that the Red Sox have produced. Not even close. After Price’s six-inning, one-run win Wednesday night, the Sox’ starting pitchers have totaled a 2.62 ERA and .203 batting average against in August.

They have now gone 14 straight starts without allowing more than three earned runs, a stretch the team has managed a 9-5 record.

“You always have to be able to do that,” said Price of the starters feeding off each other. “That’s something we’ve definitely done here recently, and that’s something we’ve got to continue to do.”

For Price, he seemingly has found the groove so many expected he would uncover long ago. For the first time since the end of May, he has won back-to-back starts, with his only miscue this time around being a solo home run by Baltimore’s Chris Davis.

“We’re in a good run where our rotation, our starters, are doing a good job of keeping games under control,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “We’ve been able to manage any kind of damage, we’ve been able to put up some low-run outings pretty consistently here. And that’s’ been the biggest key. To give us a chance to win the low-run game, come back if we’ve been down a run or two. It’s not a big whole to dig out of. Our starters have set the tone in this stretch.”

Jackie Bradley on hitting home run No. 20: ‘That’s the most I’ve ever hit at any level’

08.18.16 at 1:08 am ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley’s dream season continues with a first he didn’t even achieve in Little League — 20 home runs.

Bradley blasted No. 20 in the third inning against the the Orioles on Wednesday night, breaking a 1-1 tie and propelling the Red Sox to an 8-1 victory.

“Twenty home runs,” Bradley said. “That’s the most I’ve ever had at any level, and what better than to do it at the top level.”

Bradley’s two-run shot to center off of Orioles starter Dylan Bundy opened the floodgates for the Red Sox, who got another homer from Sandy Leon in the fifth to put the game out of reach.

“I just try to attack the baseball, hit it hard,” said Bradley, who totaled 14 homers in his first three seasons. “I don’t try to put any I guess trajectory on it. I just try to square it up and let it do what it wants.”

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Tigers definitely messing with Red Sox over schedule, and here’s proof

08.18.16 at 12:59 am ET
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Dave Dombrowski

Dave Dombrowski

The Red Sox believe the Tigers manipulated the schedule to gain a competitive advantage on Thursday by playing a 1 p.m. game despite the Red Sox playing at 7 p.m. in Baltimore a night earlier.

Defenders of the Tigers have contorted themselves into nothing-to-see-here pretzels by noting that the team virtually always plays Thursday matinees, which have become a tradition, and thus was under no obligation to shift the start.

The Red Sox privately believe the move is an F-U to former boss Dave Dombrowski, who arrived last August after being fired by the Tigers.

So which is it?

Tigers GM Al Avila told MLB Network radio, “that 1 o’clock start time on Thursdays here is popular.” He also noted that the Lions play a preseason game across the street at 7:30 p.m. and playing in the afternoon will ease congestion.

But here’s where the popularity argument loses all credibility. Three times since 2012, the Tigers have played a road finale on a Wednesday night, and all three times they’ve returned to Detroit to play … night games. In other words, they’re asking the Red Sox to play at a time they wouldn’t schedule for themselves.

To wit:

— Last Aug. 19, the Tigers beat the Cubs at Wrigley Field at 7 p.m. The next night, they shut out the Rangers at home.

— The situation did not present itself in 2014, but it did previously in 2013, and in May the Tigers followed a night win in Cleveland with an 8 p.m. Thursday game at Comerica Park against the Twins, tradition apparently be damned.

— That August, they even followed a 1 p.m. win in Chicago with a 7 p.m. game at home the next night against the Royals.

— In April of 2012, they beat the Royals at 7:10 p.m., and then returned home to lose to the Rangers at 7:07 p.m.

(It should be noted that their one Thursday night game in 2016 wasn’t on the schedule, but was instead the makeup of a rainout against the Yankees. It also came after the Tigers had finished a series in Anaheim on Wednesday at 10 p.m. EST. No reasonable person would expect them to play a day game at home under those conditions.)

In any event, this idea that the Tigers always play Thursday matinees simply isn’t true. And that leaves us to draw the obvious conclusion that by refusing to move Thursday’s start time, Detroit is sticking it to the Red Sox.

Read More: MLB schedule, Red Sox, schedule, tigers

Closing Time: Red Sox keep rolling with 6th straight win, sweep Orioles

08.17.16 at 10:45 pm ET
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David Price only allowed one run over his six innings Wednesday night. (Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)

David Price only allowed one run over his six innings Wednesday night. (Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)

BALTIMORE — As far as potential season-defining road trips go, this one has been pretty good for the Red Sox so far.

First was the win over Cleveland in that one-game series, and now a two-game sweep of the Orioles on their home turf. And, to cap it all off, the Red Sox are heading into their four-game series in Detroit riding a six-game win streak, matching the longest of their season.

The latest victory was a no-doubter, with the Red Sox running away with an 8-1 trouncing of the Orioles. The win keeps the Sox a game in back of first-place Toronto, while vaulting into the top wild card spot.

Perhaps with the possibility of the game getting cut short due to weather looming, the Red Sox struck early and often against Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy, who had been the O’s hottest starting pitcher this month. Filling in for the injured Chris Tillman (shoulder), the righty allowed five runs on nine hits over 4 1/3 innings.

When it was all said and done, the Red Sox came away with 13 hits, two of which were homers and three doubles. Even with the shortened game, every Sox starter notched at least one hit with the exception of Andrew Benintendi.

But while the offense made life easy for Sox starter David Price, the lefty kept the key part of the equation rolling along for the Red Sox. With his six-inning, one-run outing, the Sox starters now have allowed three earned runs or less in each of the team’s last 14 games.

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Mookie Betts recalls day he officially became a home run hitter

08.17.16 at 8:36 pm ET
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Mookie Betts has come a long way since hitting his first-ever home run. (Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)

Mookie Betts has come a long way since hitting his first-ever home run. (Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)

BALTIMORE — Mookie Betts came into Wednesday night with 28 home runs. For his career, the diminutive outfielder totaled 51 round-trippers.

There’s been plenty of stories and analysis of how and why he’s able to hit so many balls over the fence. Of all the aspects of Betts’ game being analyzed during what is evolving into an MVP season, it’s his home run power that has gotten the most attention.

Wednesday, before the Red Sox’ series finale against the Orioles, Betts took a moment to reflect on when this home run thing actually began for him.

As Betts remembered, he was a 9-year-old playing Little League in Nashville. As one of the smaller kids on the Mets, he served as the team’s leadoff hitter, watching his friends already get their introduction into hitting home runs.

Then came that moment.

“I couldn’t believe when it went over the fence,” he said, “but it did.

“I just knew I hit it good. I knew I hit it over his head. They would always tell the outfield to come in when I was up, so my Dad said, ‘Just hit it over their head.'”

So he did, and over the center field fence.

“I think I was sprinting until I got to second, then I started smiling and jumping,” Betts said. “That’s when you had a celebration at home plate with the whole team. It was the only one I hit all year.”

Betts never did get the ball as a keep-sake, with some younger kids shagging anything that went over the fence. But he did get something else to remember the moment by — a car ride home with his Mom, Diana.

“My Mom called everybody on the way home, saying I hit a home run, so I had to talk to everybody,” Betts said. “At the time I thought I was really cool, but now I look back on it and think, ‘Geez.’ She was like, ‘He hit a home run!’ I’m sure people were like ‘Woo hoo.’ We went out for ice cream, but we did that all the time. My parents were the types that even if I went 0-for-4 they were getting me an ice cream.”

Betts went on to hit about 10 home runs the following year, finally taking advantage of the 230-foot fences. And in high school, there was another 10 homers. But it wasn’t until recently that he finally mastered all that went with hitting homers on a regular bases, mastering his home run trot.

“I don’t really know how to do it. I get out the box pretty quick,” he said of his gait around the bases after clearing the fences. “It wasn’t normal until last year, and now I’ve got a pace. I’ve figured it out.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell on D&H: Eduardo Rodriguez ‘looks like he will’ make his start Sunday

08.17.16 at 5:07 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

Red Sox manager John Farrell, making his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley with Thornton show Wednesday, discussed the possibility of adding Jonathan Papelbon and other team news. To hear the interview, go to the D&H audio on demand page.

Farrell said he had no updates on Papelbon, the 35-year-old reliever who became a free agent on Saturday. Farrell talked to the former Red Sox closer personally, but he said he does not know when Papelbon will make his decision on where to play next.

“That’s something I didn’t get into,” Farrell said. “I’m sure him and his agents are well down that path of what their game plan would be, ideally when they would like to make a decision of some kind. That’s on their side. Like I said, I have no other updates as far as that goes.”

It seems the Red Sox front office really wants Papelbon back at Fenway, and Farrell knows what his bullpen will get with him.

“Obviously there’s an accomplished guy here,” Farrell said. “One who’s highly competitive, he’s done it in the city of Boston as we know, he’s been very successful. Like many other players, as time goes on, they have to evolve as the wear and tear of a long and productive career have piled up. That’s probably the best and most succinct way I can tell you.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.

On the latest with Eduardo Rodriguez, who dealt with a tight hamstring in Tuesday’s 5-3 win over the Orioles: “He’s felt better than anticipated [the day after being removed from Tuesday’s game]. Our first thought of him possibly making his start on Sunday at least right now is favorable and looks like he will. He has yet to do any kind of throwing and start to get an lunging off of it, but as far as the way he reported to the training room, the way he’s moved around, the way he feels and his comments relating to that have been encouraging so far today. We’ll get a better sense of this as we go through, he’ll throw bullpen on Friday over in Detroit.”

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Red Sox GM Mike Hazen on OM&F: ‘Sometimes a little crazy goes a long way’ in regard to Jonathan Papelbon

08.17.16 at 2:12 pm ET
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Mike Hazen

Mike Hazen

Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen joined the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show Wednesday to give an update on free agent Jonathan Papelbon and address Eduardo Rodriguez’s injury situation. To hear the interview, visit the OM&F audio on demand page.

Papelbon, who was a dominant closer during his six years with the Red Sox, reportedly has drawn interest from several teams after the Nationals released him on Saturday. Red Sox manager John Farrell reached out personally to the 35-year-old Papelbon, making it clear that the team’s front office is considering adding the six-time All-Star.

At the time of the early afternoon interview on OM&F, Hazen said he did not have any update on the Red Sox’ pursuit of Papelbon.

“I think [president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and Farrell] made it clear on what we’re doing from a strategy standpoint, etc. and what we’re pursuing,” Hazen said. “We’re just kind of in wait-and-see at this point. … I think the value here for us in exploring all these things, Jonathan Papelbon’s name and history here aside, once you get into August, it becomes really tough to continue to build depth on your team. As you go through the first half of the season, you have the ability, whether it’s in Triple-A or whether it’s major league level, to make trades or find different ways to sign free agents that come off the waiver wire, etc. … You still have six weeks to go, and as we know, this is the time of year where the manager has to ride guys in certain cases in the bullpen, that the workload from the first four months of the season really starts to add up for those guys, and you can just never have enough quality, good bullpen guys.”

Papelbon had some issues with the Nationals prior to becoming a free agent, most notably starting a dugout altercation with Bryce Harper late last season that led to a suspension. He was released per his own request. As far as Papelbon’s personality goes, Hazen personally seems to have no issue with it.

“When you look at your bullpen, it’s such an odd duck, the whole group,” Hazen said. “You’re trying to put these pieces together and how they fit and who’s going to pitch in certain roles. When the game starts to ratchet up in intensity … sometimes a little crazy goes a long way.”

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Wednesday Red Sox Farm Report: Brian Johnson has quality start for PawSox; Salem’s Rafael Devers, Greenville’s Michael Chavis deliver walk-off hits

08.17.16 at 9:39 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday.

Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (65-58): L, 1-0, at Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

— Brian Johnson pitched well despite picking up the loss, holding Lehigh Valley to one run on four hits in seven innings. The 25-year-old southpaw had a no-hitter through four innings and struck out two in the effort. Boston’s No. 7 prospect at MLB.com, Johnson saw his three-game winning streak snapped with the loss. He now is 5-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 15 minor league starts.

— Jantzen Witte had three hits for the PawSox, who failed to plate a run despite totaling 10 hits. Witte, 26, has hit safely in five consecutive games. He is slashing .279/.354/.402 with 29 doubles in 98 games with both Pawtucket and Portland.

— Ryan LaMarre 2-for-4 on the night. He has a hit in three straight games after going four games without one. The 27-year-old outfielder is batting .297/.373/.434 with 32 RBIs in 256 minor league at-bats.

— Noe Ramirez pitched a hitless eighth inning, striking out one in the frame. That’s now seven of his last eight outings that Ramirez has not allowed a run. The 26-year-old right-hander been impressive coming out of the bullpen for Pawtucket, totaling a 2-3 record with a 2.04 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 24 appearances. Opponents are batting only .239 against him.

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Read More: brian johnson, dedgar jimenez, jantzen witte, michael chavis
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