|09.25.15 at 9:54 pm ET|
Two months ago Rich Hill was pitching in the Independent League and now the left-hander is pitching like the ace of a major league stuff.
Yes, the ace of a major league staff is a bit sarcastic, but the 35-year-old has been dominant in his three major league starts with the Red Sox this month. The latest came Friday night when he led the Red Sox to a 7-0 win over the Orioles.
Hill tossed a complete game, two-hit shutout to pick up his second win of the year. It was his second career complete game shutout, as his first came Sept. 16, 2006 against the Reds when he was with the Cubs.
“That was probably right up there,” Hill said if it was the most fun he’s had on a baseball field. “I can’t put a number on it, but that was a lot of fun. That was great.”
After allowing a leadoff single to open the game, Hill retired 16 straight batters before No. 9 batter Dariel Alvarez reached on an error by Hill when he overthrew first base on a grounder in front of the plate in the sixth. The second hit he allowed came to leadoff the ninth.
The left-hander also struck out 10, the third time in three starts he has done so this season. He has now allowed just three runs in 23 innings pitched this year. For his career he has a career ERA of 1.15 with the Red Sox, the lowest in club history (min. 25 IP).
He is the only AL pitcher in the last 100 years to record at least 10 strikeouts in each of his first three starts with a team. The only other Red Sox pitcher in the last 100 years to record 10 or more strikeouts and one or fewer walks in three straight starts at any point is Pedro Martinez in 1999.
“I’m older and I’ve been able to hone my skills I guess in the last five years and get stronger — get into a good lifting program and it’s a whole, big each piece of the pie kind of fits together and as I’ve gotten older I’ve been able to figure out the most efficient way that works for me to pitch,” Hill said. “This summer all the things fell into place and for me just really stay in that moment and make the pitch the best that I can.
Overall, when I was younger and starting, I don’t think I was as apt to understanding pitching as much as I thought I was. Now, as I’ve gotten older more of that has come along.”
Mookie Betts robbed Chris Davis of a home run to end the game with a leaping catch against the wall of the Red Sox bullpen.
The Red Sox gave Hill more than enough offense as they scored a run in the third on Xander Bogaerts’ double to left, which scored Betts, although Dustin Pedroia was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first to end the inning.
The Sox added another run in the fifth. Brock Holt led off with a walk. Sandy Leon sacrificed him over to second base and then he advanced to third on a groundout by Jackie Bradley Jr. and was able to score on a wild pitch.
|09.25.15 at 7:05 pm ET|
Frank Wren has been around the game for a long time, so he wasn’t going to take just any job after being fired by the Braves last year.
When Dave Dombrowski was hired as Red Sox president of baseball operations just over a month ago, the ball started rolling for Wren to join the front office in some capacity as the two had worked together for 11 years between the Expos and Marlins in the early 1990s.
Friday it became official when Wren was hired as senior vice president of baseball operations.
“Well, I think for me, there’s very few places that I would really want to go,” Wren said. “I’ve been in some really good spots, and the last 15 years in Atlanta has been very good for me and for my family. When this opportunity came with Dave, it was pretty much something that I was really excited about and thinking this was an ideal situation and looking at the young talent that’s here. You look at the young talent, this is a special, special franchise. All of us in the game know that. You hope you’re lucky enough one day to work for a franchise like this. All that came together and my familiarity and my respect for Dave made it something that’s pretty easy to accept.”
With so many high profile names being brought into the organization, there is bound to be disagreements on certain decisions. Dombrowski feels this is a good thing and it is his job to sort things out and ultimately make the right call.
“I think it’s important to get those type of people who’ll say Dave I don’t agree with you,” he said. “You can sit down and you can argue over some things and when you leave the room you’re on the same page. But I’ve had those guys many times tell me, well I don’t agree with you. Well, that’s OK. That’s fine. That’s the way it goes. I don’t agree with you all the time either.”
|09.25.15 at 6:09 pm ET|
Although it was just the mound in the bullpen, it was a major step in Buchholz getting back to full strength, as he threw 20 pitches with a catcher standing in front of home plate, in a bullpen session he refers to as a “front toss bullpen.”
The entire starting rotation watched the session and Buchholz came away pleased, according to interim manager Torey Lovullo.
“He felt great. The reports were that there was a lot of energy, a lot of intensity,” Lovullo said. “He’s finishing his pitches. The conversation I had with Clay afterwards, he’s very encouraged. He was pain free and those were the things we were looking for.”
There was some optimism Buchholz would be able to throw an inning in a game this season, but with the regular season coming to a close a week from Sunday, it doesn’t appear likely — although not completely ruled out.
“Considering how long he’s been down, it’s going to be very risky to give him a start,” Lovullo said. “I don’t think that’s in the cards — whether it’s an inning or a start — we’re unsure right now. We just don’t want to put him in harms way. We want to make sure he’s healthy with step one which was today. Step two will be the bullpen. I think the idea is just getting him on the mound, with he slant, feeling the rubber, feeling the dirty in his spikes — there’s a lot to be said for that for a player who is trying to build confidence coming back from an injury.
“Step one is very good, I don’t want to look too far beyond that, but I don’t think a start is in the cards.”
If Buchholz feels well Saturday, a bullpen would be the next step, but the date of that has yet to be determined.
“We just don’t want to stretch him out too far and overwhelm him,” Lovullo said.
|09.25.15 at 5:45 pm ET|
It’s been just over a month since Dave Dombrowski was hired as Red Sox president of baseball operations so he hasn’t had much time to put his stamp on the organization, but one of the first steps to making a change occurred Friday when the team announced the hiring of Frank Wren as senior vice president of baseball operations.
Ultimately, Dombrowski wants to change the professional scouting aspect of the organization and Wren is the first piece in doing that.
“One of the biggest changes I will make that we really haven’t gotten into totally because we haven’t been at that point yet is our professional scouting, our major-league scouting aspect,” Dombrowski said.”Not right or wrong or indifferent how people do it, but it’s something that I want changed. A lot of that change is behind the scenes. We’re getting closer to announcing what those changes will be. But Frank is part of that change with a bit more emphasis on people scouting the major-league strictly, using their evaluation tools there, but also supplemented by another group of individuals that will be very strong in their professional coverage.”
Wren has been around the game a long time, as he has over 30 years of experience working in the front office of baseball organizations. Most recently he was general manager of the Braves from 2008-14. He also worked with Dombrowski for 11 years between the Expos and Marlins from 1987-98.
Wren said he will help out in whatever is best for Dombrowski and will be based from his home in Atlanta.
“I think one of the things Dave and I have talked about over the last few weeks as this all came together is really assisting in a lot of different areas,” Wren said. “I’ve been involved in a lot from the time I played, coaching in minor leagues, to being involved in scouting, running Latin America, to assistant GM and GM. I’ve been involved in a lot of different areas, so wherever I can help out and feel like there’s value for Dave, that’s what I will do.”
While there is a lot of work to done this offseason, both with the talent on the field and within the front office, Dombrowski believes the team has a chance to get back to winning quickly.
“There is a great core of young players here,” Dombrowski said. “I think if we make some wise moves to supplement the talent we have here in addition to some of the veteran players, we have a chance to have a good club pretty quickly.”
|09.25.15 at 3:33 pm ET|
Rusney Castillo will get the night off, as Brock Holt will start in left, Jackie Bradley Jr. in center and Mookie Betts in right against Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman.
Devan Marrero will get the start at third base, with Pablo Sandoval out for the foreseeable future.
Sandy Leon will catch Red Sox starter Rich Hill.
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:
|09.25.15 at 3:24 pm ET|
A day after promoting Mike Hazen to general manager, the team has made another move within their front office.
Former Braves general manager Frank Wren has been hired as senior vice president of baseball operations. Within the press release it says Wren will serve as a talent evaluator and will assist president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in all aspects of baseball operations. He and Dombrowski previously worked together for 11 years between the Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins.
It is unclear where Wren fits in the organization in terms of power, as it relates to Hazen.
The Red Sox also announced a few other moves:
— Athletic trainer Rick Jameyson has decided to leave the organization to pursue other opportunities.
— Jared Banner has been promoted to director of player personnel
— Brad Pearson, MS, ATC, CSCS has been named head athletic trainer
— Paul Buchheit, MS, ATC, CSCS has been named assistant athletic trainer
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|09.25.15 at 10:08 am ET|
Mike Hazen, who on Thursday was promoted to Red Sox senior vice president and general manager, checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning and said he believes the team is not far away from competing for another championship. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Hazen, 39, has been with the organization for a decade, including two World Series titles and two (closing in on three) last-place finishes in the AL East.
“There has been a lot of success. Certainly the last few years are unacceptable and we need to do a better job of what we’re doing at the major league level specifically,” he said. “I think if you look at the farm system — and many consider it to be the No. 1 farm system — you look at the youth on the major league roster, I think there are a lot of good things going on here and I hope that is a reflection of that. Maybe this promotion initially is a reflection of that, because there are a lot of good, hard-working scouts, front-office people, player-development staff that have been here for a long time that have been very successful.”
Hazel said he wasn’t sure what would happen after Dombrowski was brought in last month and Ben Cherington stepped down.
“You never know. These things go in many different directions,” Hazen said. “I didn’t know Dave very well at that point in time. And so at that point you just don’t know. You never know how he’s going to assess the situation. Thankfully for us, a lot of us, I think he’s come in and been open-minded to how the front office could be constructed and how, depending on what he needs, what he needs to make the best decisions. Thankfully for a lot of us he took his time through that. It’s been a month, I’ve had the opportunity to work with him now for a month. We just jumped right in on Day 1, just getting after it. Hopefully that connection was started then and has continued to now.”
|09.25.15 at 8:53 am ET|
Hill (1-0, 1.93 ERA) is making his third start of the year after being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket earlier this month. After having not started a major league game since 2009 with Baltimore, Hill has been stellar in his return to the rotation, shutting down both the Rays and Blue Jays on the road. In the two starts he has allowed eight hits and three runs with 20 strikeouts (10 in each outing) over 14 innings. He is the first Sox pitcher to have 10 strikeouts in his first two starts with the club.
Hill’s last outing was Sunday against the Jays. He went seven innings and allowed three runs while striking out 10 in Boston’s 4-3 win.
“He’s been really special these past two outings,” center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. said following the game. “It’s fun playing behind him, that’s for sure.”
The 35-year-old left-hander is seeing the Orioles for the first time this season, but he has seen them on 10 other occasions in his career, pitching six innings and allowing five hits and one run with six strikeouts.
Hill is making his first home start of the year. He has a 1-0 record with a 2.45 ERA over 18 1/3 innings in his career at Fenway Park.
|09.24.15 at 10:58 pm ET|
With the final days of the regular season dwindling down (with 10 games remaining), Buchholz got the news that he would be able to keep pursuing his goal of pitching in Cleveland.
“Basically we sat down with Dave [Dombrowski], [trainer] Brad [Pearson], [pitching coach] Carl [Willis, and Torey [Lovullo], and tried to map out a little plan,” Buchholz told WEEI.com Thursday. “The first step is going to be tomorrow.”
That first step will be throwing off a mound for the first time since injuring his right elbow July 10.
The clearance was a product of a call from Dr. James Andrews to Red Sox physical therapist Ray Mattfeld on Wednesday. Then Thursday, Buchholz would then talk to Andrews, whom the pitcher had conferred with twice since his injury.
“[Andrews] said he was completely fine with me doing it this way. So that’s how we’re going to do it,” Buchholz said.
Buchholz will throw between 20-25 pitches, at about 50 percent effort level, with the catcher standing on the plate. The next session would allow for around 25-30 pitches, with the catcher in his usual position.
“That’s basically how I’ve thrown my bullpen the last years anyway,” he said. “Just fastballs and maybe a couple of changeups and see how everything responds to that.”
|09.24.15 at 9:50 pm ET|
Through the first five innings Red Sox starter Wade Miley was cruising, but the third time through the order proved to be too much for the left-hander.
With the Red Sox leading 2-0, Miley got two outs in the sixth before Evan Longoria crushed a solo home run over everything in left. Logan Forsythe then singled and was driven in on a Asdrubal Cabrera double. Cabrera then scored as Steven Souza Jr. doubled, which gave the Rays a 3-2 lead.
Miley struggled in the seventh as well, with Kevin Kiermaier leading the inning off with a solo home run to right and then Luke Maile ripping a double, which ended Miley’s night.
The left-hander went 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out three.
The first two times through order Tampa batters went 2-for-17, but the third time they were 6-for-9 with two homers.
“I think tonight Wade was outstanding for the first two times through the order,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “Just started to make some mistakes over the middle of the plate. I’ve seen a couple of replays and he was trying to throw a ball in and missed middle. Trying to throw something soft and ended up in the middle of the plate.
“When you make mistakes like that against some of the good hitters that they have you’re going to pay for it. It was the middle of their lineup that did most of the damage — three, four and five got after us tonight. All in all I thought Wade threw the ball really good. It came down to a couple moments where he missed with those pitches and gave up some runs.”
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