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David Price takes blame for ‘unacceptable’ start, blowing 4-run lead

04.21.16 at 6:52 pm ET
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David Price called Thursday's start against the Rays "unacceptable." (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

David Price called Thursday’s start against the Rays “unacceptable.” (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox must have felt pretty good after the first inning with a 5-1 lead and David Price on the mound against the Rays, but the left-hander allowed six runs in the fourth inning and departed before the inning ended in one of the worst starts of his career.

After Price allowed six runs, the Red Sox rallied and eventually tied the game, but in the end fell they to the Rays, 12-8.

“That’s not fun. I know I am better than that,” Price said. “When you get five runs in the bottom half of the first inning, that’s unacceptable.”

After four starts with the Red Sox, Price now has an ERA of 7.06 and his eight earned runs allowed tied a career high. It also was his shortest outing since April 22, 2015, when he went 2 1/3 innings and also allowed eight runs against the Yankees.

Warming up, Price said it was the best he’s felt this season, which made it even that much more difficult to see the end result not be there.

“That’s the best I’ve felt in my four starts here,” Price said. “To me, that is the most disappointing thing, to feel as good as I felt. I wanted to go out there and get the results I expect.”

Added Price: “Strength-wise, everything, my entire body. I felt good. I felt good in the bullpen. That is the best I’ve warmed up in my four starts here. To not have that carry over to the game is frustrating.”

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Closing Time: David Price struggles, Red Sox rally but ultimately fall to Rays

04.21.16 at 5:51 pm ET
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David Price allowed eight runs in 3 2/3 innings to take the loss. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

David Price allowed eight runs in 3 2/3 innings in one of the worst outings of his career. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

With the Red Sox leading 5-1 after the first inning, it seemed like everyone could enjoy a beautiful spring afternoon at Fenway Park with David Price on the mound, but that couldn’t have been any more wrong.

Price allowed six runs in the fourth inning, which he didn’t even make it out of, but fortunately for him, the Red Sox offense rallied to tie the game, taking him off the hook.

In the end it was all for naught, as the Rays scored in the eighth and ninth innings to come away with a 12-8 win over the Red Sox in a game that took over four hours to play. The Rays won 2-of-3 games in the series.

With William Cuevas (major league debut) on the mound in an 8-8 game in the eighth, Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out double off the Green Monster scored Desmond Jennings, proving to be the game-winning run. The Rays added three insurance runs in the ninth — two charged to Cuevas and two to Noe Ramirez.

The biggest story of the game was Price, as the left-hander lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs on nine hits, while walking two, hitting two and striking out six. He also allowed two home runs. His ERA is 7.06 after four starts. The eight earned runs tied a career high.

Price didn’t have command of any of his pitches, leaving many up in the zone against his former team. Evan Longoria and No. 9 hitter catcher Curt Casali hit the home runs.

Trailing 8-5 in the sixth, Mookie Betts crushed his second home run in as many days too cut the deficit to 8-7. The Red Sox then added a run in the seventh to tie the score when Travis Shaw doubled home David Ortiz, who led the inning off with a double.

Things were looking good for the Red Sox as they were able to get to Rays starter Jake Odorizzi early. Dustin Pedroia crushed his first home run of the season into the Monster seats to make it 2-0 after only two batters in the bottom of the first. They added three more runs in the frame, including the fifth on a double-steal where Brock Holt stole second and Shaw technically stole home.

Closing Time note

It was the shortest start for Price since April 22, 2015, when he went 2 1/3 innings and allowed eight runs against the Yankees.

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David Price allows 8 runs in just 3.2 innings against former team

04.21.16 at 3:43 pm ET
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David Price

David Price

David Price was not David Price on Thursday against the Rays.

The left-hander went just 3 2/3 innings allowing eight runs on eight hits, while walking two, hitting two and striking out five. He also allowed two home runs and departed with the Red Sox trailing 8-5.

It was Price’s shortest start since April 22, 2015 when he went 2 1/3 innings and allowed eight runs against the Yankees. It’s also the 11th time Price wasn’t able to make it through four innings.

He entered the game with an 11-1 record since August 1 of last year, by far the best in the American League.

The Red Sox starting rotation isn’t off to a great start to the season as Price has an ERA of 6.65 through four starts. The best pitcher in terms of ERA is Steven Wright, who in two starts has a 2.13 ERA.

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

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Live blog: David Price, Red Sox take on Rays

04.21.16 at 1:45 pm ET
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Live Blog Red Sox vs. Rays
 

David Price on Bradfo Show talking Twitter: ‘I don’t check it a whole lot, period, anymore’

04.21.16 at 11:55 am ET
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David Price

David Price

After his lackluster Fenway Park opener, the one thing David Price wasn’t rushing to do was check social media.

“Yeah, but I didn’t open Twitter the day after I pitched, or the two or three days after I pitched,” Price said on the Bradfo Show podcast. “I don’t want to see that. It’s too easy to be negative.”

As it turns out, Price has started to change his approach toward Twitter.

The lefty pitcher, who was once considered among the most engaging big leaguers on social media, will continue to post to his 1.41 million followers, but evidently isn’t keen on soaking in what’s sent his way via the medium.

“I don’t check it a whole lot, period, anymore,” Price said. “I made a lot of people mad with the decisions that I’ve made for my career over the past year and a half. There are still fans in Detroit that aren’t happy that I was traded from their team to Toronto, and there are a lot of fans in Toronto that I was unhappy that I came here. You can’t please everybody, and I definitely want to please our home fan base and that’s with me going out there and throwing the ball well.

“The numbers of my Twitter followers have increased a lot over the past year and a half. There’s a lot of negativity on Twitter and on social media, and I don’t have time for that.”

Price has also implemented another strategy when it comes to getting back at those sending undesirable messages his way.

“It’s OK. It comes with the territory. I understand that. There are a lot of cyber bullies out there,” he explained. “It will come back to them. It will come back. That’s karma. It will come back to them

“I just block them. You can’t see what I tweet, and you can’t tweet me, and that crushes them. I know it does. They always have their buddies asking me to unblock their friends. No. Get out of here.”

Price also mentions in the podcast that during his brief time as a resident of Boston, he has already made his plans on how to tour the city.

“Duck boat tour in October,” the pitcher said. “That’s what I want to do. I ain’t going to pay on a Duck Tour. It’s going to be when the Red Sox win a World Series.”

Listen to the podcast (below) to hear Price talk about life in Boston after his first few weeks …

Carson Smith getting closer and closer to joining Red Sox

04.21.16 at 11:34 am ET
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Carson Smith

Carson Smith

The Red Sox could be getting reliever Carson Smith back soon.

Smith will pitch in an extended spring training game Thursday, the first live game action since suffering a flexor strain early in spring training. He will then throw in another extended spring game Saturday before likely joining an affiliate early next week.

Smith was originally scheduled to throw a simulated game Thursday, but because of how well he’s responded, the team adjusted his schedule to an extended spring game.

“He’s advancing pretty good,” manager John Farrell said.

In 2015 with the Mariners, Smith had a 2.31 ERA in 70 innings where he totaled 92 strikeouts.

In other news, Christian Vazquez will catch his second straight game Thursday — a day game after a night game. The team isn’t holding him back any as he returns from Tommy John surgery early in 2015.

“Just looking at some of the matchups coming up and feel like the combinations of pitching-catcher have seemed to work OK so far,” Farrell said when asked what went into the decision. “From a health and physical standpoint, Vazquez is good to go. Day game after a night game, which he accomplished while at Pawtucket, that’s today’s alignment.”

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

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Red Sox lineup: Xander Bogaerts starting after leaving Wednesday’s game with left quad tightness

04.21.16 at 10:13 am ET
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Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

It will be a standard Red Sox lineup in the series finale between the Red Sox and Rays Thursday afternoon at Fenway Park.

Brock Holt will start in left field, while Travis Shaw will start at third base as the Rays will send right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the mound. This also means Xander Bogaerts gets the start after leaving Wednesday’s game with left quad tightness.

Christian Vazquez will catch Red Sox starter David Price.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Travis Shaw, 3B
Brock Holt, LF
Christian Vazquez, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
David Price, LHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

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Red Sox minor league notebook: No major differences with Dave Dombrowski compared to Ben Cherington

04.21.16 at 8:54 am ET
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Not much has changed in with Dave Dombrowski leading the way. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Not much has changed in with Dave Dombrowski leading the way in terms of the Red Sox’ minor league system. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

1. When president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was hired last August to take over for general manager Ben Cherington, there was some sense that the Red Sox’ minor league system would change because of Dombrowski’s reputation for never shying away from trading top prospects and Cherington being a former director of player development and sometimes being hesitant to part ways with top prospects.

Roughly nine months later, that hasn’t been the case as the transition from Cherington to Dombrowski from a minor league perspective has been a positive one with not too much change as a lot of what the Red Sox had in place under Cherington and his staff has stayed in place.

“I don’t think that it is significantly different,” Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett said recently. “He has high expectations for everybody. He pushes the players and coaches. He’s a guy that is very competitive and wants players to be successful. He’s had some good ideas and interesting things that we’re able to implement and think about. At the same time, he’s been great to bounce ideas off of and talk about how we do things.”

Dombrowski did make a major trade with the farm system this offseason when the Red Sox traded outfielder Manuel Margot, infielders Javier Guerra and Carlos Asuaje, and left-hander Logan Allen to the Padres for All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel. But a trade like that would have likely happened under anyone as the Red Sox had a number of talented prospects and not all could one day be on the same roster in Boston and the team desperately needed to improve the bullpen.

The one emphasis that has adjusted a bit with Dombrowski is the importance of pitching, especially power pitching throughout the organization.

With Dombrowski being in baseball for roughly 30 years, the Red Sox’ staff is glad to have him on their side now.

“He’s really been good I think for everybody,” minor league pitching coordinator Ralph Treuel said recently. “We were used to Ben and Theo [Epstein] and you look at this guy and his track record with what he’s done. He’s pretty good coming in and getting a guy like that to come in and run your organization along with (general manager) Mike Hazen, we’re very fortunate to have a guy like that.”

2. Center fielder Andrew Benintendi has got off to a fast start with High-A Salem. Through 13 games he is batting .327 with 10 RBIs. Of his 17 hits, 10 have been for extra bases, including six triples. The Red Sox’ first-round pick last season noted he worked on his agility in the offseason and he’s seeing it pay off first-hand with the number of triples through 13 games.

“The parks that we play in are really big. Once you get it in the gap or down the line, it’s all running from there,” Benintendi said. “This offseason I worked on getting fast and it’s definitely paying off.”

The Arkansas product played in 19 games with Single-A Greenville last season following his promotion from short-season, Single-A Lowell. Benintendi noted how that helped build the foundation for what is now great chemistry between all of the top prospects now in Salem, which includes Yoan Moncada, Rafeal Devers and Mauricio Dubon.

“I think it started last year in Greenville. I’ve played with Devers and Moncada [and Dubon] for probably around 40 games. Our chemistry is pretty good — really everybody up and down the lineup,” he said. “We all mesh really well and all hang out together. The bond that we created has just started and hopefully we can continue it for a long time.”

3. After breaking his right hand in an altercation with a teammate in the middle of March, Red Sox right-hander Michael Kopech has begun playing catch in Fort Myers. It is the first step in him returning to game action, as he couldn’t do anything throwing related for roughly a month. There’s no timetable on him joining an affiliate, or which affiliate that would be as his season with Single-A Greenville was shortened last year after being suspended 50 games for testing positive for Oxilofrine, a banned substance.

Kopech is one of the top pitchers in the Red Sox’ minor league system as his fastball reaches the high-to-mid 90s. In 78 2/3 professional innings between the Florida Gulf Coast League and Single-A, he’s struck out 86 batters. The 2014 first-round pick could be an important part of the Red Sox’ future if he can stay out of trouble off the field.

4. The Red Sox’ 2013 first-round pick, left-hander Trey Ball, hasn’t joined a team yet as he is still recovering from a knee injury suffered at the beginning of spring training. Ball threw four innings in a simulated game on Monday in Fort Myers and is getting close to being sent out to an affiliate. It isn’t known which team that will be, although it could be getting a few more starts in High-A Salem where he went 9-13 with a 4.73 ERA last season.

Ball hasn’t been what many expected him to be being the No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 draft, but it’s worth noting he just started exclusively pitching after being drafted three years ago. Each year he’s made strides in learning how to pitch and this could be a breakout season for the 6-foot-5 lefty.

5. The most impressive thing about Moncada’s start with Salem, aside from his .357 average, has been his ability to create havoc on the bases. In 12 games he has 13 stolen bases. This has benefited the entire Salem lineup and drawn the attention of his teammates.

“I’ve never played with anybody like that,” Benintendi said. “Hitting behind him it’s pretty fun because when he gets on, by the time I get up he’s usually in scoring position. When he’s able to do that he applies pressure on the pitcher and the pitcher’s are worried about him stealing and the pitcher isn’t as focused on throwing strikes and spotting up. It’s very beneficial for everybody up and down the lineup. He’s doing a great job.”

Moncada, who is one of the most athletic players in all of minor league baseball, stole 49 bases in 81 games with Single-A Greenville last year.

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Thursday Red Sox Farm Report: Teddy Stankiewicz dominant for 3rd straight start

04.21.16 at 8:41 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday.

Sam Travis

Sam Travis

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (9-5): W, 2-0, at Rochester (Twins)

— The PawSox scored two runs in the seventh inning to beat Rochester. Robbie Scott made a spot start in place of William Cuevas (who was selected to Boston’s active roster) and pitched well, going 4 1/3 innings and allowing no runs on two hits while striking out five.

— Jorge Marban got the win as he pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief. Wesley Wright got the save going two innings and allowing one hit.

— First baseman Sam Travis had another good day at the plate. Travis went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. He is batting .339 on the season.

— Playing center field, Rusney Castillo went 1-for-4, while catcher Blake Swihart went 0-for-3 with a walk.

— Second baseman Sean Coyle had a solid game as well, as he went 2-for-3 with a double. He is looking to bounce back after an injury-plagued 2015.

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Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: David Price vs. Jake Odorizzi

04.21.16 at 8:20 am ET
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David Price

David Price

David Price will face off against the team he played most of his career with on Thursday afternoon, when the Red Sox host the Rays for their series finale. He will be opposed by Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

Price will look to build on the success he had in his last start against the Blue Jays on April 16. He went seven strong innings (his longest outing in three starts this season), allowing two runs on six hits. He walked none and struck out nine in a game the Red Sox would win 4-2. Price improved to 2-0 on the season and lowered his ERA to 4.50. Red Sox fans finally saw their $217 million offseason acquisition live up to expectations after a slow start to the season.

“Absolutely, I hadn’t thrown the ball the way that I know that I can the first two starts,” Price said after the win. “To throw the baseball the way I did today against the Blue Jays, which is an extremely good hitting team, feels good.”

In three career starts against the Rays, Price is 1-2 with a 5.15 ERA and 0.895 WHIP. He’s struck out 19 and walked three in 19 innings of work.

Odorizzi has been relatively solid this season but only has factored into one decision for the Rays. He was a hard-luck loser in his last start on April 15 against the White Sox, as he threw seven shutout innings and let up just four hits. He walked one and struck out six. Despite the dominating performance, the Rays could not muster a run of offense and lost the game 1-0.

“Really happy with the way [Odorizzi] threw the ball tonight,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said after the game. “Big for him and big for us. He had some not-so-good misses early on on, but after about the third or fourth inning he kicked it in second gear. The positive spot of the night is he kind of locked it in.”

Odorizzi is 2-2 against the Red Sox in eight career starts. He has posted a 3.43 ERA and 1.164 WHIP, while walking 12 and striking out 37 in 44 2/3 innings.

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