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Blake Swihart takes blame for passed balls: ‘Next time I’ll do a better job with it’

07.25.15 at 8:27 pm ET
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Blake Swihart allowed four passed balls in Saturday's loss.  (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Blake Swihart allowed four passed balls in Saturday’s loss. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Catching knuckleballs isn’t an easy thing to do.

Even some of the best catchers ever to play the game simply can’t do it (i.e. Jason Varitek) and while Blake Swihart had no major issues leading into Saturday’s start, things didn’t go well this particular day.

Swihart allowed four passed balls in 4 1/3 innings with Steven Wright on the mound, leading to two unearned runs and ultimately a 5-1 Red Sox loss to the Tigers.

“It was just one of those days I guess,” Swihart said. “I’ve done a pretty good job I thought beforehand in his last starts and this one just got me.”

“There’s been times I’ve missed a lot but they’ve never gone back to the backstop,” he added. “I might drop them and they’ll go off to the right a little bit or right in front of me. I’ve gotten hit in the mask twice not even getting the glove on the ball when he’s throwing it. That’s what comes with the knuckleball. Next time I’ll do a better job with it.”

After leading off the second inning with a walk, J.D. Martinez advanced to second base on a passed ball and was able to score on a James McCann fielder’s choice for the first unearned run. Then in the fourth, with runners on first and second, Swihart allowed another passed ball, allowing the runners to move up a base. It came back to hurt when both runners scored on a Nick Castellanos ground rule double. If not for the passed ball, Martinez would have been at first and forced to stop at third.

Wright said the knuckleball was moving the most it had all season.

Even though that may be a good thing against hitters, it’s not for his catcher. Wright went 4 1/3 innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits, while walking two and striking out four. Manager John Farrell admitted afterwards Swihart’s troubles was part of the reason for taking Wright out after just 74 pitches.

“I thought it was moving a lot more than it has all year,” Wright said. “It’s a good problem to have but it can be a problem, and today with the passed balls it’s just the fact that it was moving too much it makes it hard to catch. That’s part of the knuckleball. Sometimes it works good and sometimes it moves too much where it makes it tough. But today we were able to grind out and get to the fifth inning and the bullpen was able to come in and finish the game.”

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Dustin Pedroia back on disabled list after hamstring was ‘black and blue’

07.25.15 at 7:57 pm ET
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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia landed back on the 15-day disabled list prior to Saturday’s game after reaggravating his right hamstring injury.

Pedroia missed nearly three weeks from the end of June until following the All-Star break before returning last Friday against the Angels. He played in seven games, going 1-for-22, before missing Thursday’€™s game in Houston and Friday’€™s series opener with the Tigers.

“There wasn’€™t one [instance],” Pedroia said of a play to reaggravate the injury to reporters. “I played, we had the rain out. So I played a few games and had the day off, you know I came out after the second Houston game and said, ‘€˜Hey I might need a game off just to get my legs underneath me.’ And the next day I came in and it was black and blue. So the training staff was like, ‘Hey let’€™s go get a follow up, look at it.’ That’€™s what I did this morning. So, that’€™s basically where we’€™re at.”

Pedroia had an MRI Saturday morning and it was then determined another DL stint would be needed. He said he will get a PRP injection on Monday. He, like manager John Farrell, didn’t have a timetable for his return.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I mean, can’t put dates on anything because if you do that, then you get in a situation like we’re in now. If you say, ‘Oh, I’m going to be back first day after the break,’ then you play five games and here we are. Whenever I’m healed, I’m going to come back and play. Sometimes you’ve got to use your brain instead of your heart a little bit, which I’m not used to doing that.”

The second baseman said there’s nothing new from the first time. It is the first time during his entire playing career he has had to deal with a hamstring injury.

“It’€™s kinda the same things as before,” he said. “It takes a long time for these things to heal. I think we’€™re all trying to take the quickest time possible and come back and give us a boost. Tried that, played for a little bit, got black and blue so we did the smart thing and got it looked at and go from there.”

As competitive as Pedroia is, it’s hard for him to have to miss so much time.

“That’€™s why I’€™m upset. I feel a lot better, which is a great sign, so that means it’€™s healing,” he said. “It just needs a little more time.”

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Closing Time: Rough day from mound as Red Sox fall to Tigers, 5-1

07.25.15 at 7:02 pm ET
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Steven Wright allowed four runs (two earned) in 4 1/3 innings in Saturday's loss to the Tigers. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Steven Wright allowed four runs (two earned) in 4 1/3 innings in Saturday’s loss to the Tigers. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Time and time again manager John Farrell speaks of the team’s success starting from the mound and after one of the best starts in quite some time Friday from Rick Porcello, things returned to the norm Saturday.

Red Sox starter Steven Wright dug the team a 4-0 hole and the offense couldn’t come close to picking up the slack as the Sox fell to the Tigers 5-1 Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park. It was their 10th loss in the last 12 games.

The dependable Wright had his second-to-worst start of the season, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits, while walking two and striking out four in just 4 1/3 innings. The biggest issue was he couldn’t control his knuckleball, leading to four passed balls for catcher Blake Swihart.

Wright allowed a solo home run to Yoenis Cespedes in the first inning, which gave the Tigers a quick 1-0 lead followed by another run in the second and adding two more in the fourth.

“I thought he had some decent violence to the pitch,” Farrell said of Wright. “Then there were a few that he left up in the strike zone, particularly to Cespedes and [Jose] Iglesias for two of the extra base hits. Where Blake has handled him relatively cleanly in his previous starts, he had difficulty with receiving him clean today, which allowed [runners] to advance 90 feet on a couple of occasions. Felt like where we were in the order in the fifth inning, needed to try and get a ground ball double play and Ramirez gets out of the inning with no further damage, but probably not as consistent of a knuckleball we’ve seen from Steven previously.”

The Red Sox offense couldn’t do much against Tigers starter Alfredo Simon, as the right-hander went 6+ innings, allowing one run on seven hits before leaving with an injury during the first at-bat of the seventh inning. It was his first quality start in seven starts.

Mookie Betts got the Red Sox on the board with an RBI groundout in the fifth inning, scoring Swihart, who had tripled.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:

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Read More: blake swihart, David Ortiz, steven wright,

Red Sox lineup: Hanley Ramirez starts in left field, Alejandro De Aza in right vs. Tigers

07.25.15 at 1:55 pm ET
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After serving as the designated hitter Friday night, Hanley Ramirez is back in left field as the Red Sox go for two straight wins Saturday afternoon against the Tigers.

Alejandro De Aza, who played left Friday, will play right field Saturday, giving Shane Victorino a day off as the Red Sox go up against Alfredo Simon, who has gone seven outings without a quality start.

Brock Holt will play second base as Dustin Pedroia is back on the disabled list, while Blake Swihart will catch knuckleballer Steven Wright.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, CF
Brock Holt, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, LF
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Alejandro De Aza, RF
Blake Swihart, C
Steven Wright, RHP

Read More: Alejandro De Aza, hanley ramirez,

Dustin Pedroia back on 15-day disabled list after reaggravating hamstring

07.25.15 at 1:47 pm ET
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Dustin Pedroia is back on the 15-day disabled list.

After missing just over three weeks with a hamstring injury in early July and playing seven games since returning last Friday, the second baseman was placed back on the DL prior to Saturday’s game.

“Yesterday, him being down was because of some soreness,” manager John Farrell said. “He went through a MRI here this morning. While the injury or the strain to the hamstring doesn’t show any enlargement, still he’s aggravated by the symptoms and feel like he needs some shutdown period to get back over it.”

The second baseman went 1-for-22 in those seven games before missing Thursday’s game in Houston and Friday’s series opener with the Tigers. Farrell said it wasn’t a specific play that caused the aggravation.

“The play in-game obviously build back up on him to the point of the aggravation,” he said. “Can’t say there was a singular event that caused what he’s feeling. As he was going at it each and every day, the symptoms continued to persist and after the further imaging and further consultation between the medical staff, it was determined the best course of action was putting him on the DL.”

Pedroia didn’t go on a rehab assignment prior to returning, but Farrell said it likely wouldn’t have made a difference.

“I don’t know that a rehab assignment would have changed the course of anything,” he said. “He was cleared to play. Pedey wanted to get back on the field, as we all know, when he was first available. Pedey was part of process along the way as well, but more than anything it was determined he wasn’t going to risk further injury, not that the injury has intensified, it’s still persisting. He needs some down time.”

There is no timetable for his return. He missed just over three weeks the first time, but Farrell didn’t know if it would be more or less this time.

Saturday’s starter Steven Wright will take Pedroia’s spot on the 25-man roster, as he was never officially added to the roster as he was the 26th player in Monday’s doubleheader. Farrell said the team will likely need to add an infielder in the coming days — presumably Deven Marrero.

“Yes, we will,” Farrell said. “We’re trying to get through a heavily overworked bullpen to get to that point, so we’d like to readjust in the coming days.”

Read More: Dustin Pedroia,

Saturday Red Sox Farm Report: Yoan Moncada hits 5th homer; Mariano Rivera Jr. closes game vs. Spinners

07.25.15 at 12:08 pm ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday:

Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (41-59): L, 2-1, vs. Buffalo (Blue Jays)

— Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the ninth, the PawSox got leadoff singles from Rusney Castillo and Travis Shaw and scored a run on a Garin Cecchini sacrifice fly, but stranded the potential tying run at second base and fell by a final score of 2-1. The PawSox have lost six games in a row and are just 3-17 in July.

Shortstop Marco Hernandez was the final batter of the game, striking out on a 3-2 fastball as Pawtucket batters finished 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Hernandez, 22, singled in the game but finished 1-for-4 with three strikeouts and has whiffed 10 times in the seven games since his promotion from Double-A on July 16. The 6-foot lefty bat led the Eastern League with a .326 average at the time of his call-up, with just 49 strikeouts in 68 Double-A games.

— Castillo, 28, returned to the lineup for the first time since July 19 as he sat out four games in Norfolk. Castillo scored Pawtucket’€™s only run of the game and reached base twice, putting his season long slash line at .282/.337/.389 through 38 games in Triple-A with three homers and seven doubles.

— Allen Craig, in the DH spot on Friday, and second baseman Jemile Weeks both reached base twice for Pawtucket. Weeks led off the sixth inning with a double, but was stranded at third as Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out with one gone in the inning and Castillo grounded out to end the frame.

— LHP Edwin Escobar (Boston’€™s No. 15 prospect at MLB.com) pitched two scoreless innings, allowing a bunt single and a walk but retiring six batters on balls put in play. It was the first action for Escobar since July 19 when he pitched the final three innings with one run allowed. Acquired last summer from the San Francisco Giants in the Jake Peavy trade, the 6-foot-2 Venezuelan has lowered his ERA from 12.54 to 8.40 over his last three outings after allowing runs in a stretch or five out of six appearances. Escobar’€™s season began on June 9 after starting the year on the DL with elbow inflammation.

— RHP Heath Hembree made his third straight scoreless appearance, striking out one while also hitting his first batter of the year as he worked the top of the ninth. Hembree, 26, was the other return piece in the Peavy trade from last July and is currently on a rehab assignment (shoulder inflammation). In 24 2/3 innings with the PawSox this year, Hembree has struck out 24 while walking just four with just five earned runs allowed.

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, edwin escobar, jake cosart, Rusney Castillo

Saturday’s Red Sox-Tigers matchups: Steven Wright vs. Alfredo Simon

07.25.15 at 8:30 am ET
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Steven Wright

Steven Wright

After snapping their eight-game losing streak with Friday’s 2-1 win in 11 innings, the Red Sox will trot Steven Wright to the hill Saturday to take on Alfredo Simon and the Tigers.

Wright enters the day with a 3-3 record and 4.84 ERA on the season. The knuckleballer has a 5.42 FIP and 1.303 WHIP.

Wright has had a roller coaster of a season, making multiple trips to and from Triple-A Pawtucket and pitching as both a starter and reliever for the big league Red Sox. He has made 12 appearances in the majors this season and started five of them.

Due to the elbow injury of Clay Buchholz and the struggles of other pitchers like Justin Masterson and Joe Kelly, the Red Sox rotation has become muddled and disorganized. That has created an opportunity for Wright to rejoin the Sox as a starter.

After being sent to Pawtucket in late June, Wright was called back up to start against the Angels in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader against the Angels. His reintroduction to major league hitters was not a great one.

Wright lasted five innings and allowed six runs on six hits and three walks. He gave up a pair of homers to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols and the Sox ended up taking a 7-3 loss.

“I felt like I was maybe I was overthrowing (the knuckleball) just a little bit, but it was definitely moving more than it has in a while,” Wright said after the loss. “So it definitely gets frustrating, because when you can’t throw it for strikes, it does limit your options.”

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New year, new player: Xander Bogaerts continues to perform in clutch

07.25.15 at 12:25 am ET
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Xander Bogaerts' second career walkoff hit gave the Red Sox a 2-1 win over the Tigers Friday night. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts’ second career walkoff hit gave the Red Sox a 2-1 win over the Tigers Friday night. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

What a difference a year makes for Xander Bogaerts.

Maybe the last player the Red Sox would want up in a key situation last year, he’s now the player they want up the most this year.

Bogaerts continued his impressive season with a walkoff single in the 11th inning in the Red Sox’ 2-1 win over the Tigers, which snapped an eight-game losing streak.

After batting just .153 with runners in scoring position last year, Bogaerts is hitting .410 with runners in scoring position this year, which leads the American League. Furthermore, since June 7 he’s hitting .513.

“He’s grown up a lot,” manager John Farrell said. “He’s learning from the challenges of a year ago, he’s learned about himself and the confidence has certainly come back to allow him to be the player that maybe some lofty expectations last year held over his head. He’s playing a very good game right now.”

Bogaerts stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 11th inning with Mookie Betts at second base and one out with the struggling Pablo Sandoval on deck against Tigers reliever Blaine Hardy.

With the count 2-2, Bogaerts got a changeup that he was able to send up the middle and into center field to score Betts. It was the previous pitch (a changeup) and Bogaerts’ development as a hitter which played a part in the second walkoff hit of his career.

“I thought he wasn’t going to throw me any good pitches,” Bogaerts said. “I was a bit aggressive early on in the count swinging at bad pitches. I mean, with that 2-1 pitch, he told me what he was going to do with the next pitch. I was ready for it.”

Overall for the season, he’s batting .310 with three home runs and 47 RBis.

The 22-year-old has come into his own this season and has some of his teammates marveling.

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Closing Time: Xander Bogaerts’ walkoff single snaps Red Sox’ 8-game losing streak

07.24.15 at 10:51 pm ET
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Rick Porcello gave the Red Sox his best start in quite some time Friday night. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Rick Porcello gave the Red Sox his best start in quite some time Friday night. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Finally.

After eight straight losses and nine of 10, the Red Sox were able to snap the skid with a 2-1 walkoff win over the Tigers in 11 innings Friday night at Fenway Park.

Mookie Betts led the inning off with a walk, Brock Holt bunted him over to second and he scored on Xander Bogaerts’ single up the middle on a close play at the plate, which needed a long review to confirm Betts was indeed safe.

It was the Red Sox‘ third walkoff win of the year.

“The replay even took extra innings, seemingly,” manager John Farrell said. “We put together a very good game from the mound. The fact coming off a road trip that was a bad road trip, to come back home, walkoff a win. Bogey again, right man in the right spot. A big relief for guys who continue to grind away.”

The rally was keyed by a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play to end the top of the 11th when Justin Masterson struck out Victor Martinez and Ryan Hanigan threw out Ian Kinsler trying to steal third.

The Tigers threatened in the eighth against reliever Junichi Tazawa as Kinsler tripled and was the go-ahead run at third, but after a long battle, Tazawa struck Yoenis Cespedes out swinging to end the threat.

“That might be the at-bat of the game,” Farrell said. “[Cespedes] is such a good RBI guy and trying to elevate some fastballs. I think it was an eight or nine pitch at-bat, which they were tied up in. Stayed up with some velocity, couple of foul balls, finally got a swing and miss. Taz has been in so many games with his back against the wall and continues to do a great job for us.”

The Red Sox had their chance to win it in the ninth inning as they had the winning run on second and Mike Napoli smoked one right back up the middle, but it went right into Al Alburquerque’s glove to end the inning.

Red Sox starter Rick Porcello had his best start in quite some time, as the right-hander went seven innings, allowing one run on five hits, while striking out six. He didn’t walk a batter and it was his longest start since going eight innings on June 3 against the Twins.

His six strikeouts were the most since May 16 against the Mariners and his 105 pitches were the most since his second start of the season. The one earned run was the fewest he’s allowed since he shutout the Rays over seven innings back on May 5.

“A lot of strikes by both starters and I thought tonight from the fourth inning on, Rick’s fastball was one of the best he’s had on the entire year,” Farrell said. “He was really good with his extension. I think it showed up with some swing and miss to his changeup. He was down in the strike zone, got a key double play in the fourth inning. He was very good. Even the couple of opportunities where they had runners in scoring position he was able to get a key strikeout. He and [Hanigan] was again went out and matched up and executed well.”

Detroit scored its only run against Porcello in the third inning when Kinsler singled home former Red Sox Jose Iglesias, who had doubled to leadoff in the inning.

The Red Sox responded in the bottom of the third inning when Brock Holt came through with a two-out RBI single up the middle, plating Shane Victorino who had singled earlier in the frame.

Tigers starter Justin Verlander allowed one run over eight innings and was as impressive as Porcello, if not more.

David Ortiz (scheduled off day) and Dustin Pedroia (hamstring) both missed the game.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:

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Read More: Brock Holt, rick porcello, Shane Victorino,

Report: Red Sox among teams asking on Indians starters

07.24.15 at 7:57 pm ET
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It’s becoming clear the Red Sox will be after top-of-the-line starters at the trade deadline, and one of the teams with some of the best young starters in the game is the Indians.

So it should be no surprise that according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox are one of the teams who have asked the Indians about their starters. Rosenthal says the Indians “aren’t motivated to act” and it would need to be a “very compelling deal.”

One of the starters the Indians would be most likely to deal is Carlos Carrasco. He also fits what the Red Sox want as he is 28 years old and under team control until 2018 with team options for 2019 and 2020. The right-hander is 10-7 with a 3.94 ERA this season.

The Indians also have Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer — all under team control — but it would seem Carrasco would be the player the Indians would be most likely to give up.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Read More: 2015 Trade Deadline, Carlos Carrasco,
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