|07.22.15 at 12:26 am ET|
HOUSTON — It was not only the signature play in the Red Sox‘ 8-3 loss to the Astros Tuesday night, but perhaps also helped define the misery of the Sox’ season.
With the Red Sox seemingly in somewhat good shape — leading 3-1 with one out in the fifth inning — rookie pitcher Brian Johnson was faced with runners on first and third and one out.
With the count 0-1 to Houston hitter Jose Altuve, catcher Ryan Hanigan called for a high fastball, sensing the runner at first, speedy Jake Marisnick, was going to attempt a steal. Sure enough, Marisnick took off, with Hanigan gathering in the 83 mph offering from Johnson.
With the slow-footed Chris Carter on third, Hanigan threw what appeared to be a strike to shortstop Xander Bogaerts. But before Bogaerts could receive the ball, it ricocheted off of Marisnick’s left forearm, flying into shallow left field.
Not only did Carter score, but Marisnick — whom Statcast measured as going a top speed of 20.4 mph on the play — had sprung up, raced around third (at third base coach Gary Pettis’ urging) and scored the game-tying run.
“It matters who’s on third,” said Hanigan in regards to why he threw through. “Marisnick’s real fast, so it’s going to be a bang-bang play at second. We were trying to get him. If it was probably a foot to the left, I would’ve got him, I think. I think the ball might’ve beat him there. He got a decent jump. We had a chance at him. It’s unfortunate they got both those runs there. They didn’t have to drive them in. Turned the game around for them. Kind of momentum shift.”
Left fielder Hanley Ramirez couldn’t gather in the errant throw and toss it home in time for a close play to be had at the plate.
“I was playing down near the line,” Ramirez explained when asked about the play. “That’s what happens when you’re not playing good. Things don’t go your way. We’re not going to give up. Come to the field. Keep working hard. Hopefully it turns around quick. Nobody in here is a loser. Everybody here knows how to win, and everybody wants to win. When things are going this way you have to just keep fighting and keep playing hard.”
Ramirez then went on to further elaborate on the last-place Red Sox‘ current lot in life, saying, “Talent doesn’t mean anything. You have to do work on the field. You don’t need talent to see what happened on that play. It doesn’t mean anything. You just have to come in with positive thoughts and try and turn things around.”
The Astros went on to score two more runs in the fifth, taking the lead for good while driving Johnson from the game.
|07.21.15 at 11:13 pm ET|
At this point in the season, it seems the Red Sox are inventing new ways to lose each night.
Things were looking promising for the Red Sox leading 3-1 in the fifth, but the Astros tied the game without even putting the ball in play, as they went onto win the game, 8-3 and in the process handed the Red Sox their sixth straight loss.
After not pitching in 15 days, Brian Johnson didn’t pitch poorly, but showed some rust in his big league debut. The 24-year-old left-hander went 4 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on three hits, while striking out three and walking four. He settled down after allowing a run in the first, retiring eight in a row at one point before things unraveled in the fifth.
The Red Sox led 3-1, but the Astros tied the game without even putting the ball in play and then scored two more runs to take a 5-3 lead after five innings.
With runners on first and third, Jake Marisnick stole second and the throw hit him on the shoulder and shot into left field, allowing him to come around to score the tying run. It was a freak play as Ryan Hanigan’s throw wasn’t a bad one, it was just the way the ball hit off Marisnick and how deep left fielder Hanley Ramirez was playing, which allowed the two runs to score on the play.
After a walk, Johnson was lifted from the game and Justin Masterson entered, but allowed an RBI double to Carlos Correa (the run was charged to Johnson) and then an RBI groundout, which allowed the Astros to take the 5-3 lead.
Masterson allowed a two-run homer the following inning to Chris Carter, his 16th of the year. The Astros added another run in the eighth off Junichi Tazawa.
After scoring only four runs in four games against the Angels, the Red Sox scored three runs in the third inning. Mookie Betts’ check-swing flare down the first base line that went for a double scored two runs and then Xander Bogaerts’ single up the middle plated the third run. Betts’ double snapped an 0-for-20 skid.
Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:
|07.21.15 at 8:49 pm ET|
Nava, who had been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left thumb sprain May 26, arrived at the visitors clubhouse even before the rest of the Red Sox Tuesday, getting ready for his latest stint with the big club.
The 32-year-old, who took the place of infielder Deven Marrero (sent to Triple-A Pawutcket) on the 25-man roster, feels he’s made significant progress from the injury that had limited how he swung the bat prior to going on the DL.
“I couldn’t really hit off a tee very well. I couldn’t control the bat with my top hand so I was predominantly swinging with my bottom hand left-handed and when you can’t control the bat with your top hand it just loses it,” he said. “I was just hoping when I went into the box that I would take a good swing. Just rolling dice. Sometimes I would take a decent swing, sometimes I wouldn’t take a decent swing. But then it got me into a habit of not trusting myself because I didnt know what was going to happen.
“I’m getting there. I’m close. We were working a lot with Geddy [Pawtucket hitting coach Rich Gedman] down there on simplifying some stuff because I did things wrong for a long time, it’s amazing how much creatures of habit we are to teach ourselves the wrong things kind of quickly which is not very encouraging. But on the flip side you can turn it around and teach yourself the right thing, hopefully quicker.”
Because his rehab assignment clock was running out. Nava had to be either activated or designated for assignment, not possessing any options.
While with the PawSox, the switch-hitter (yes, he has gone back to switch-hitting) went 9-for-36 (.250) with a home run. From July 10-16, Nava recorded three straight multi-hit games, going 7-for-12 (.583) in that span.
“I’m glad I don’t have three more weeks. The hand and body feels good,” he said. “It took a long time but we were trying to balance the line of, you come back soon, do I do what I did the last month before I went on the DL and play terrible or do we wait it out. We decided to wait it out because the other option wasn’t too good.”
As for Nava’s role, that remains to be seen, with more at-bats potentially coming at first base than in the outfield. Alejandro De Aza is currently filling the role of extra left-handed-hitting outfield.
“He’ll serve in a reserve role, obviously at the same positions previous,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Nava, who hit .159 with a .440 OPS in 27 games with the Red Sox this season. “We get a left-handed, experienced bat back to us and he’s actually been swinging the bat pretty frequently from the right side as well. He comes back to us and he’ll work off the bench.”
|07.21.15 at 6:48 pm ET|
HOUSTON — Joe Kelly is getting another chance.
The righty pitcher has been summoned by the Red Sox to start Wednesday against the Astros, with Wade Miley going in the series finale Thursday. The maneuvering will allow the rest of the rotation — Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright — to get an extra day of rest.
Kelly has made four starts for Triple-A Pawtucket, totaling a 2.84 ERA. With the PawSox he has held opponents to a .206 batting average, striking out 18 and walking six.
His most recent start came last Friday, allowing two runs on four hits over five innings.
“The power is there. There has been, last time out, almost the tale of two performances inside of one game where he was dominant the first couple of innings and then some foul balls, high pitch counts after that,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Kelly. “There’s been more of an effort and emphasis on throwing the ball in to right-handers and using both sides of the plate.”
The start was necessitated by the Red Sox‘ needing to bump Rodriguez back a day due to Sunday’s rainout. Farrell, however, wouldn’t commit to keeping Kelly in the rotation beyond Wednesday’s start.
Kelly last pitched for the Red Sox June 23, giving up five runs on eight hits over 3 2/3 innings against Baltimore. In his 14 big league starts this season, he has a 2-5 record and 5.67 ERA.
|07.21.15 at 1:42 pm ET|
The Red Sox head into the last three games of their seven-game road trip following the All-Star break with nothing but bad feelings and a growing suspicion that October baseball may be pipe dream.
Fresh off a four-game sweep at the hands of the Angels, the Sox are in disarray. For the series, they were outscored 22-4 as Angels starters put up a 0.93 ERA. Meanwhile their own starters could only muster a 7.23 mark. The Red Sox never led in the series and the top two in their batting order, Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia, were utterly silenced, combining to go 0-for-30 in the four games.
The Red Sox now sit at 42-51, which ties them with the Mariners for the worst record in the AL and puts them nine games back of the AL East-leading Yankees. Since their four-game winning streak earlier this month, they have dropped two consecutive series and six of seven games overall.
Designated hitter David Ortiz‘ only explanation for the disappearance of he and his teammates’ bats harkens back to the days off supplied by the All-Star break.
“We’ve been having those times where it doesn’t matter what you do, it doesn’t work out,” Ortiz said after a 3-0 loss Saturday. “We finished the first half good, and hopefully we can blame things to the four days off. We’ll see how it goes but hitting is something it’s a continuation of what you do the day before, you know what I’m saying? That’s only way you can stay consistent.”
Consistency has eluded the Red Sox all season long and the road back to .500 won’t get any easier Tuesday when they take on the Astros.
The Astros, who have spent most of the season atop the AL West, have fallen prey of late to the midseason bug, watching the Angels win 15-of-18 to overtake them as they have dropped nine of their last 12 contests en route to a 51-43 record. An ultra young squad full to the brim with potential, the Astros never expected to be in contention this late into the season, yet here they are.
|07.21.15 at 1:25 pm ET|
What do you think of this one compared to the other two?
|07.21.15 at 9:56 am ET|
It was just seven games ago where the Red Sox were preparing to host the Yankees for a three-game series at Fenway Park prior to the All-Star break and were just five games back of the Yankees in the American League East — winning four straight and eight of 10.
Monday might have been the lowest point, as the Sox were swept in a doubleheader by the Angels, 11-1 and 7-3, as the Angels completed a four-game sweep. In arguably the biggest two series’ of the season with the trade deadline looming, the team has played their worst baseball in well over a month.
It isn’t just one area either, all aspects of the team aren’t getting it done and the numbers are staggering:
— In the four game series with the Angels, the Red Sox were outscored 22-4, including being shutout in the first two games of the series. They hit one home run, compared to the Angels’ nine.
— The team’s five-game losing streak is currently the longest streak in the majors.
— In the their last seven games, Red Sox starters have an ERA of 6.32.
— Over the last seven games, the Red Sox are hitting .180 with runners in scoring position (9-for-50). Overall for the season, the team is hitting .245.
— Since coming back from the disabled list last Friday, Dustin Pedroia is 0-for-14.
— Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez and Pedroia went a combined 0-for-44 in the four games against the Angels. Overall, in the last seven games, the three are hitting a combined .114 (8-for-70).
— In the four games against the Angels, the Red Sox’ lone All-Star representative Brock Holt started only once.
The team will now finish their seven-game road trip with three games in Houston and fortunately for them will miss American League All-Star starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel, but being nine games back and almost a week away from the trade deadline, does it even matter?
|07.21.15 at 9:40 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (41-55): L, 7-3, at Norfolk (Orioles)
— Jackie Bradley Jr. carried the Pawtucket offense with a pair of home runs. The center fielder hit a two-run shot to right in the first inning and a solo home run to right-center in the third. He finished the day 2-for-4. Bradley is hitting .315 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs in 64 games in a PawSox uniform this year.
— Including Bradley’s home runs, the PawSox offense combined for seven hits. Catcher Humberto Quintero went 2-for-4 with a double and Travis Shaw, Garin Cecchini and Marco Hernandez each added singles.
— Right-hander Jess Todd took the loss, yielding all seven Norfolk runs — five earned — on 10 hits, including two home runs, and one walk. He also recorded two strikeouts. Todd is now 3-4 wth a 5.35 ERA in 11 starts and nine relief appearances for Pawtucket this season.
— The PawSox have just three wins in the month of July.
|07.21.15 at 8:33 am ET|
The anticpated major league debut of Brian Johnson will happen Tuesday for the Red Sox as the left-hander toes the rubber in Houston against fellow rookie Vincent Velasquez and the Astros.
“Just the way things are falling,” Farrell said Friday of the decision. “Brian’s on that extended rest at this point, he threw an extended bullpen [Thursday] in advance of Tuesday, probably get in a light one on Sunday before Tuesday’s start.”
Johnson, 24, gets the call after tearing up the minors during his three-year stint in the Red Sox organization. Having spent the season in Triple-A Pawtucket, he has racked up an 8-6 record, a 2.73 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 85 2/3 innings pitched. In 2014, he moved up from High-A Salem to Double-A Portland after five starts, going 10-2 the rest of the way with a 1.75 ERA and just 78 hits allowed in 118 innings.
Known primarily as a finesse pitcher, Johnson does not have overpowering stuff but has solid command over his pitches, according to scouts. His fastball sits in the 89-93 mph range and he uses it to work both sides of the plate. A sweeping curveball is his best secondary offering. The 6-foot-4 southpaw uses the curve to backdoor right-handed hitters on the outside part of the plate and to work the inner half down and in. He also utilizes a changeup in the 83-86 mph range which he throws to keep hitters off balance.
The Red Sox drafted Johnson out of the University of Florida with the 31st overall pick in the 2012 draft. Originally, he was taken by the Dodgers in the 27th round of the 2009 draft, but instead of signing he chose to go to college to refine his skills at the Division 1 level. His successful career as a Gator indicates he made the right decision. He left school as a junior with 22 career wins in hand and a 3.85 ERA. He also earned the 2012 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, the first-ever Gator to earn the accolade.
|07.21.15 at 12:41 am ET|
It was a four-game series to forget for the Red Sox.
Capped off by Monday night’s 7-3 loss in the nightcap of the doubleheader, the Red Sox were swept in the four-game series by the Angels and were outscored 22-4 in the four games. The Red Sox have now dropped five straight games overall and have fallen nine games behind the Yankees in the AL East.
Also over the four games, the Angels hit nine homers compared to the Red Sox’ one and the Angels starters had a collective ERA of 0.93, compared to the Red Sox’ 7.23.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright got the start for the Red Sox and couldn’t shutdown the red-hot Angels offense.
Albert Pujols and Mike Trout led the Angels attack with Pujols homering twice and Trout adding one of his own. Overall, the pair finished 3-for-6 with three home runs and five runs scored in the game.
The Angels scored four runs in the third inning against Wright, which was the biggest difference in the game and all the runs came with two outs. Wright finished the night going five innings, allowing six runs on six hits, while walking three and striking out three.
Thanks to David Ortiz, the Red Sox wouldn’t get shutout for the third game of the series.
Ortiz crushed a two-run home run in the sixth inning to get the Red Sox on the board. The Sox added another in the eighth on a Xander Bogaerts sacrifice fly and threatened for more, but Hanley Ramirez grounded into a fielder’s choice with runners on first and third to end the inning.
Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia struggled at the top of the order in the series, as the pair went a combined 0-for-30 over the four games.
Angels prospect Andrew Heaney kept the Red Sox offense in check, as the lefty went seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits, while not walking a batter and striking out four.
Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:
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