|05.20.16 at 8:40 am ET|
Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (20-21): L, 7-5, at Buffalo (Blue Jays)
— First baseman Allen Craig hit a three-run homer in his second game back after a stint on the disabled list and finished 2-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored. The home run, Craig’s first of the season, came in the first inning on an 0-2 breaking ball pulled over the left field wall and gave the PawSox a 4-0 lead. The 31-year-old Craig walked and scored in the fourth and singled in the sixth before being removed for a defensive replacement in the eighth.
Acquired by Boston in the summer of 2014 along with RHP Joe Kelly in exchange for John Lackey, Craig missed 30 games this season (over a month in duration) before being reinstated from the DL on May 16. In 2015 Craig slashed .274/.368/.350 with four homers and 14 doubles over 93 games played with Pawtucket,
— Third baseman Chris Dominguez doubled home Craig in the fourth and finished 2-for-4 in his second game back off the DL as well. The 29-year-old Dominguez is 12-for-41 (.293) on the season over 11 games, missing 26 games with a right oblique strain. Signed by Boston as a minor league free agent last December, Dominguez made Cincinnati’s opening day roster last year and played in 14 games in the majors, going 6-for-23 with a homer, triple and double.
— Right fielder Bryce Brentz (Boston’s No. 30 prospect at MLB.com) had the other PawSox RBI, with a run-scoring single in the first to plate second baseman Mike Miller. Brentz, 27, has a six-game hit streak and over 10 games in Triple-A this year is 10-for-33 (.303) with three doubles.
— RHP Mike McCarthy took the loss with a final line of: 3 1/3 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO (66 pitches, 37 strikes). Reliever Mitch Atkins, just called up from Double-A Portland, was sensational in relief of McCarthy as he walked the first batter he faced and then retired 14 straight, with six via strikeout. Atkins, 30, appeared in 10 games in the majors from 2009-12 with the Cubs and Orioles before pitching in the Chinese Professional League last season. In nine games (two starts) this year with Portland, Atkins has struck out 30 over 23 innings of work.
|05.20.16 at 8:33 am ET|
In the first game of a three-game series vs. the Indians, the Red Sox will send Clay Buchholz to the mound Friday night to square off against 2014 Cy Young winner Corey Kluber.
In eight starts this season, Buchholz is 2-3 with a disappointing 6.11 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. He also has walked 20 batters this year, the 10th-most walks by a pitcher in the American League. In his last start, a no-decision, the right-hander allowed five earned runs and seven hits to the Astros in a 6-5 Red Sox win. Buchholz also let up two home runs in the game, one of them being a grand slam to George Springer.
In his nine-year career, Buchholz is 2-1 against the Indians with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. He last faced Cleveland on April 6 in his first start of the 2016 season. The Texas native lasted four innings and surrendered five earned runs, six hits and three walks.
|05.19.16 at 11:52 am ET|
The Red Sox shouldn’t just look at that Players Tribune video and start planning the ceremonies.
They have to at least make an effort to change David Ortiz’s mind. John Henry and Co. are simply not doing their due diligence if they don’t offer to tear up the designated hitter’s current vesting option for 2017 and offer him $25 million to play in 2017.
This wouldn’t be exactly the kind of shot in the dark former Celtics boss M.L. Carr took when reportedly offering the Bulls a first-round draft pick just for the right to talk to a retired Michael Jordan.
But it would certainly be an outside-the-box — albeit very necessary — last gasp attempt.
Some believe Ortiz opened the door for such a conversation when talking to Yahoo! Sports recently, saying …
“I’m happy with the decision that I made. And my feet are happy with the decision that I made, and my wife is happy with the decision that I made. I’ve got to wait until next year when I ain’t doing [expletive] to see how it’s gonna hit home. Because I’m not gonna lie to you, I don’t know. I think I played enough baseball.
“Hopefully nobody comes to me and offers $25 million, either. I don’t even want to talk about it,” Ortiz said. “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.”
I don’t necessarily believe he was trying to send the Red Sox some hidden message, but it did open an interesting discussion.
|05.19.16 at 11:31 am ET|
1. There will be a lot of questions next offseason with the Red Sox’ big league club.
If David Ortiz does indeed retire, Hanley Ramirez likely will move from first base to designated hitter. Then, with Travis Shaw’s outstanding start to the year at third base and plenty of questions with Pablo Sandoval, it would seem Shaw will stay at third base.
This leaves first base open and the Red Sox may not need to look outside the organization, as prospect Sam Travis is proving he deserves a lot of consideration for the job.
Travis was drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft out of Indiana University and he’s performed well at every level he’s played.
In 40 games with short-season, Single-A Lowell after being drafted he batted .333 and was promoted to Single-A Greenville to end the 2014 season where he hit .290 with a slugging percentage of .495.
The first baseman started last season with Salem before being promoted to Portland at the All-Star break, after being named to the High-A All-Star Game. Between the two teams, the right-handed hitter batted .307 with nine home runs and 78 RBIs.
Now, 38 games into his Triple-A career, he’s batting .281 with five homers and 23 RBIs. He’s been the PawSox’ most consistent hitter to this point in the season despite being one of the youngest players on the team.
“You just get better playing every day and learning through experience, against better competition and getting your practice in,” Travis said. “Trusting the process, you’ll gradually get better.”
|05.19.16 at 11:23 am ET|
Here is a look at what happened in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (20-20): W, 3-2, vs. Norfolk (Orioles)
— Starting pitcher Roenis Elias fanned 13 batters, which is the most strikeouts by a Pawtucket pitcher in the 21st century and made him the seventh pitcher in Pawtucket history to strike out at least 13 in one game. The last PawSox pitcher to sit down at least 13 was Jin Ho Cho, who struck out 15 in 1999. Elias ended up going 7 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits with no walks in picking up his first win of the season.
“I’ve worked with pitching coach [Bob Kipper] a lot,” the 27-year-old Cuban said through teammate William Cuevas after the game. “I’m really happy that I threw strikes and didn’t walk anybody because that’s what I was working on.”
Added manager Kevin Boles: “He was aggressive to the zone and had great fastball command. Terrific mix of pitches, he threw strikes and was very efficient — just a terrific performance today.”
In six games with the PawSox this season Elias has gone 1-3 with a 4.96 ERA and a 1.84 WHIP. Acquired from the Mariners in the offseason, Elias has appeared in one game with Boston this season.
— Chris Marrero got Pawtucket on the scoreboard in the second inning with a solo home run. Marrero’s bat stayed hot in the sixth inning with a two-out double to right field. Marrero has hit five home runs in the month of May and his seven home runs this season are third most in the league. He is hitting .289/.340/.516.
— Bryce Brentz went 2-for-2 with a walk, a double and two runs scored. In nine games with the PawSox since his call-up from Double-A, Brentz is hitting .310/.355/.414.
— Anthony Varvaro picked up his first save of the season in his third opportunity. Varvaro retired the last four batters of the game, striking out three of them. He is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 11 appearances and 16 2/3 innings.
— The PawSox won the final two games of the three-game series against Norfolk to complete the team’s first winning homestand of 2016. Over the series Pawtucket pitchers struck out 41 batters.
|05.19.16 at 9:50 am ET|
Join WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford for a live chat, starting at noon Thursday, talking all things Red Sox, MLB, and anything else …
|05.18.16 at 11:21 pm ET|
The developments in Game 2 might not have come as a surprise, but they were notable, nonetheless.
The Red Sox left Kansas City with a split in their Wednesday doubleheader with the Royals, claiming a 5-2 win in Game 2 at Kauffman Stadium. That gave John Farrell’s club its 25th win.
But it was what David Price and Jackie Bradley Jr. did within the win that truly highlighted the victory.
For Price, it marked his second straight standout start, this time allowing just two runs over 7 1/3 innings. The starter mixed in all his pitches while managing five strikeouts (and one walk), with his fastball living between 92-95 mph. He finished throwing 108 pitches.
According to BrooksBaseball.net, Price threw his fastball and cutter both 34 times, while managing to toss 15 of his 19 changeups for strikes. He got eight swings and misses on his cutter, and just one on the heater.
Price has now allowed three runs over 14 innings in his last two starts, dropping his ERA to 5.53.
Offensively, it was Jackie Bradley Jr. who jump-started things with a second-inning home run. The two-out, solo blast also extended the outfielder’s hit streak to 24 games, the longest of any Red Sox hitter since David Ortiz’s 2013 run of 27 in a row.
|05.18.16 at 9:20 pm ET|
It didn’t take long for Jackie Bradley Jr. to end the suspense in Game 2 of the Red Sox’ doubleheader with the Royals on Wednesday night.
The Red Sox center fielder extended his hit streak to 24 games with a two-out solo home run in the second inning, launching a high changeup from Kansas City starter Edison Volquez over the left-center field fence.
Bradley had kept his streak going in Game 1, waiting until the ninth inning to rifle a single into right field in the Red Sox’ 3-2 loss.
The last Red Sox player to claim a hit streak as long as Bradley’s was David Ortiz, who managed to hit safely in 27 straight in 2013.
Bradley, who started his streak on April 24, came into Game 2 hitting .398 with a 1.198 OPS during the stretch. It is the highest OPS in baseball during that time period, with David Ortiz coming in second.
|05.18.16 at 6:00 pm ET|
KANSAS CITY — Science long ago determined that running straight through the first base bag is faster than diving for it, but that hasn’t stopped countless players from dirtying their uniforms in an attempt to reach base.
Xander Bogaerts knows better, but in the heat of the moment, instinct gets in the way.
Bogaerts was thrown out at first for one of the key outs of the game in the fifth when Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar dove to snare his grounder and then fired across the diamond from his knees.
Bogaerts sprawled for the bag, but the relay clearly beat him.
“I know I shouldn’t be doing that,” Bogaerts said. “It’s just, some of the instincts take over. I don’t know why. As soon as I see a close play, my body tends to go down, but I’ll definitely start working on not doing that as much.”
Manager John Farrell would like to see him be smarter around the bag as a means of self-preservation.
“You can debate whether it’s faster by staying up,” Farrell said. “I hold my breath every time he dives into a bag. And trying to get him to stay on his feet, I’m not going to fault him for the aggressive nature in which he plays, the aggressiveness he gives us every time down the line. But I’m fearful when you dive headfirst, particularly into first base, you’ve got a chance for a finger, a wrist, a hand, or whatever it might be. That’s something that we continue to talk about. But it’s an instinctual play for him. And we’re trying to give him a reason as to why staying on his feet might be better.”
Bogaerts needn’t look far for a cautionary tale. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia played the entire 2013 season with an injured thumb after diving into first on Opening Day in Yankee Stadium. He acknowledged that the Red Sox have talked to him.
“A little bit, yeah,” he said. “It protects me as a player, being able to stay on the field as long as possible.”
|05.18.16 at 4:40 pm ET|
KANSAS CITY — The Red Sox have seen this aspect of the knuckleball, too.
During Tim Wakefield’s storied career, the 200-game winner took a loss or no-decision 54 times despite pitching at least seven innings and allowing no more than three earned runs.
Steven Wright is getting a taste of Wakefield frequent frustrations this season, with Wednesday’s doubleheader opening against the Royals the latest example.
Despite controlling large chunks one of his most efficient outings of the season, Wright had nothing to show for it in a 3-2 loss. He went eight innings, allowing five hits and three runs, but served up a two-run homer to Eric Hosmer in the first and a tie-breaking sacrifice fly to Lorenzo Cain after Jarrod Dyson’s leadoff triple in the sixth, and that was that.
“He was outstanding once again,” said manager John Farrell. “He settles in after the first inning. Hosmer gets the knuckleball for the two-run dinger. He retired a number of guys consecutively. The 2-1 pitch to Dyson, I think in the sixth inning there, it catches the middle of the plate. The eight innings of work, three runs allowed, he’s been very steady for us all year long, very good.”
On an afternoon when neither team did much offensively, the Royals separated themselves with superior defense. Shortstop Alcides Escobar erased Xander Bogaerts from his knees after making a diving stop to snuff out one rally, and Dyson extinguished another one by throwing out Bogaerts from right field trying to go first-to-third on an Ortiz single.
“He made a perfect throw,” Bogaerts said. “Going in there, I thought I had it. Looking back at the video, because I can’t look back, looking at the video, a little bit to the right, a little bit to the left, I’m there, [Travis] Shaw hits a sac fly and we’re tied. He’s one of the toughest relievers in the game, so getting an extra base off of him, I thought it was huge.”
Also, whereas the Red Sox stranded a runner on third with no outs, the Royals drove in Dyson in a similar situation to account for the winning run.
Wright drops to 3-4 on the season, despite a 2.52 ERA.
The teams get right back at it in the nightcap at 8 p.m.
As Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal noted, Bogaerts had only made three outs on the bases all season until this series, when he was caught stealing on Tuesday and gunned down at third on Wednesday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
— Hard to fault Wright for this one. He tossed his second complete game of the season in a losing effort, but at least saved the bullpen for the nightcap.
“Yeah, that’s every starting pitcher’s goal, to go as deep into the game as I can,” he said. “It’s more crucial to do that today, knowing we had a doubleheader. I felt like I threw the ball well. It’s just the one pitch to Hosmer, I thought he did a really good job, it was a pretty good pitch, and he went down and got it. Same thing with Dyson — it was a fastball, I thought I could get him to roll it over, and he did a good job staying on top of it.”
— Ageless DH David Ortiz continues to amaze. He went 3-for-4 to lift his average to .324.
— Left fielder Chris Young blasted his first homer of the season, against a right-hander no less.
— Outfielder Jackie Bradley extended his hitting streak to a career-high 23 games with a single in the ninth.
WHAT WENT WRONG
— Bogaerts made an out at third and also made an ill-advised dive into first on Escobar’s great throw from his knees.
“I know I shouldn’t be doing that,” Bogaerts said. “It’s just some of the instincts take over. I don’t know why. As soon as I see a close play, my body tends to go down, but I’ll definitely start working on not doing that as much.”
— Brock Holt pinch hit in the ninth and grounded out, dropping his average .248.
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