|Closing Time: Red Sox routed by Blue Jays, head into road trip reeling||05.12.13 at 4:52 pm ET|
Momentum has left the building for these Red Sox.
With its 12-4 loss to the Blue Jays, the Red Sox have now lost eight of their last 10 games while heading into a nine-game road trip standing at 22-16. They hit the road having turned in a 2-5 homestand.
Since the beginning of their series against the Rangers (May 3), the Red Sox have been outscored 62-33.
This time, both a lack of hitting (primarily against rookie starter Chad Jenkins) and pitching (with starting pitcher Ryan Dempster serving as the chief culprit) did in the Red Sox.
The outing was by far the worst of Dempster’s young Red Sox career, with the righty suffering his first loss ever against a team from his native Canada (6-1). He watched his ERA go from 2.93 to 3.75 after allowing six runs on seven hits over five innings. After escaping the first without giving up a run, Dempster would lead the Sox down a path in which they surrendered at least one run in each of the next five frames.
“I was missing up a lot today — more than I normally do, for whatever reason,” Dempster said. “I couldn’t really pinpoint it. I tried to get the ball back downhill to be consistent. It would be good for a few hitters and then I’d get the ball up. I just tried to work hard, but I just wasn’t good enough today.”
Offensively, the Sox could do nothing with Jenkins, the 20th overall pick in the 2009 draft. In five-plus innings, the hurler gave up just two runs on seven hits. John Farrell‘s club finished the day going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and now is 13-for-79 in such situations since May 3.
“I think we have a number of guys dealing with some frustration right now,” said Farrell. “There’s no question about it. The key for us to maintain our preparation and our work routine. Those are the key things that we can control. We can’t direct the ball after its hit and I know with the attitude of this group, it’s a resilient one and we’re getting tested right now. There’s no doubt about it.”
WHAT WENT WRONG
• Emilio Bonifacio’s two-run homer in the fourth not only gave the Blue Jays a 5-0 lead, but almost resulted in a significant injury for right fielder Shane Victorino. While tracking the blast into the Toronto bullpen, the outfielder smashed his side, on the full run, into the somewhat-unforgiving padding. After lying on the field for a few moments — leading Farrell and the medical staff to run out to analyze the situation — Victorino remained in the game (although he would ultimately come out in the seventh and taken to be examined at Massachusetts General Hospital after the game).
“The way Shane hit the wall, he started to stiffen up as the game went on,” said Farrell, who surmised Victorino would be ready to play Tuesday. “And given what he’s been dealing with, low back-wise, we weren’t going to take any chances further today.”
• Just a half-inning after Mike Napoli had cut his team’s deficit to a run via a solo homer, Dempster gave the run right back when Edwin Encarnacion hit homer over the left field wall to increase the visitors’ lead to 6-1 in the fifth inning. Encarnacion came into the game just 1-for-14 against Dempster and 3-for-31 vs. the Red Sox this season.
• Andrew Miller didn’t have any better luck than Dempster, allowing three runs on two hits (including a Brett Lawrie homer) while getting just one out.
• Red Sox pitching ultimately allowed five home runs (two by Jose Bautista). It was the first time this season the Sox staff has allowed that many homers, having done it five times in 2012.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
• Napoli showed signs of life, launching a solo homer over the center field fence to lead off the fourth. (He would also later double.) For Napoli — who leads the major leagues with 23 extra-base hits — it was his first home run since hitting a pair on May 1. Of the slugger’s seven homers, five have come against the Blue Jays. The Red Sox came into Sunday 4-1 when Napoli hit a homer and 3-9 in games the first baseman (who was serving as designated hitter Sunday) didn’t have a hit.
• The Red Sox were able to get Pedro Ciriaco some playing time at first base, with the utilityman coming on in the seventh after starter Mike Carp was pinch-hit for by Jonny Gomes. Ciriaco highlighted his day by homering in his first at-bat of the game.
|Ryan Lavarnway called up as David Ross put on 7-day disabled list||05.12.13 at 2:53 pm ET|
Prior to the Red Sox’ series finale against the Blue Jays, catcher Ryan Lavarnway was activated to the 25-man roster, with David Ross going on the seven-day concussion disabled list.
While no official word on the cause of the concussion was given, Ross was hit in the facemask via foul balls multiple times during the Red Sox’ Saturday loss to the Jays.
Update: After the Red Sox’ 12-4 loss to the Jays, Ross said that foul balls off the bat of Colby Rasmus and Emilio Bonafacio on Saturday were the cause of the concussion. Ross reported some headaches and fogginess Saturday night. The only other occasion the catcher has experienced a concussion was in 2007, after being run over by Mike Cameron.
“He felt those symptoms come on late last night. and given his position we can’t put him at risk with any additional foul balls or foul-tips to the mask,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after Sunday’s game. “So it’s the seven-day DL that he’s on.”
It is the second time this season Lavarnway has been called up from Triple-A Pawtucket, where he was hitting .313 with an .883 OPS to go along with a pair of home runs. He had totaled multiple-hit performances in three of his last five games.
|Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz out, Mike Napoli at designated hitter||05.12.13 at 10:27 am ET|
David Ortiz will be getting the day off Sunday against right-hander Chad Jenkins, with Mike Napoli filling in at the designated hitter position for the Red Sox’ series finale against the Blue Jays.
Here is the Red Sox’ lineup:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Mike Napoli DH
Daniel Nava LF
Mike Carp 1B
Jarrod Saltalmacchia C
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Stephen Drew SS
Ryan Dempster will take the mound for the Red Sox. To see all the matchups, click here.
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Daniel Bard alarming performance; Rubby De La Rosa, Matt Barnes dominate; Henry Owens roughed up; Garin Cecchini gets a scare; Francellis Montas is striking out everyone (and walking no one)||05.12.13 at 10:15 am ET|
Alarm bells should be sounding in Portland.
Daniel Bard appeared so close to a return to form at times this spring. While there would be moments when he’d lose the strike zone, he showed the ability to make corrections — sometimes after a batter or two, sometimes after a pitch or two — on the fly, and his stuff was considerably better than it had been for almost all of 2012. The same held true when he started the year in Double-A Portland, where Bard’s delivery was getting locked in to the point where the Sox called him up in late-April.
He had one good outing and then one very bad one in the big leagues. No problem, it seemed. Go back down to Double-A, build on the good, taste the big leagues and have that as a reminder of a goal that wasn’t more than an arm’s length away.
But since being sent back down to Portland, it hasn’t worked like that. Instead, Bard has endured a succession of disastrous outings, the latest (and perhaps worst) of which took place on Saturday night.
He entered the game for the start of the sixth and issued four walks while uncorking a pair of wild pitches. He did record two outs, but ultimately had to be pulled after throwing just eight or 29 pitches for strikes. It was Bard’s fourth straight outing since getting sent back down to Portland in which he failed to throw more than 50 percent of his offerings for strikes:
April 30: 2/3 IP, 9 of 18 strikes (50 percent)
May 2: 1/3 IP, 4 of 15 strikes (27 percent)
May 6: 1 IP, 8 of 17 strikes (47 percent)
May 10: 2/3 IP, 8 of 29 strikes (28 percent)
Overall, that’s a 37 percent strike rate since Bard returned to Portland — a horrific number, worse than his control struggles last year in Triple-A. The fact that the Sox opted to promote Jose De La Torre on Friday, rather than considering a reliever already 0n the 40-man roster in Bard, speaks volumes about his uncertain place in the organization.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-0 WIN AT CHARLOTTE (WHITE SOX)
– Rubby De La Rosa is continuing to show flashes of dominance. The right-hander allowed just one hit in four shutout innings while punching out a season-high seven batters and walking two. In his last four games, he’s thrown 14 shutout innings, permitting just eight hits while striking out 19 and walking four. He threw a season-high 71 pitches, with 46 of those (65 percent) yielding strikes and seven resulting in swings and misses. And De La Rosa finished with a flourish, punching out the final four batters he faced. Read the rest of this entry »
|Sunday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Ryan Dempster vs. Chad Jenkins||05.12.13 at 9:25 am ET|
Ryan Dempster will take the hill for the Red Sox in the rubber game of the series with Toronto on Sunday afternoon, looking for his third win of the year. He’ll take on right-hander Chad Jenkins, who will make his first appearance of the season for the Blue Jays.
Dempster has been impressive for the Red Sox this year, bringing a 2-3 record and a 2.93 ERA into Sunday’s game. He’s managed to keep the Sox in the game every time he’s pitched, not allowing more than four runs in any start. What’s been surprising about the 36-year-old starter is the amount of strikeouts he’s been getting. Dempster has struck out an average of 11.5 hitters per nine innings, and owns a 3.06 strikeout to walk ratio. At the beginning of play on Saturday, Dempster was sixth in the American League with 55 punchouts, and is second on the staff behind Clay Buchholz. In his last outing he struck out eight Twins, giving up four runs on five hits. He’s fanned eight or more batters in all but one of his seven starts.
Dempster has enjoyed pitching against the Jays for the most part (except that one time when he missed his start in Toronto because he forgot his passport), coming into the game with a 1-0 record and 4.12 ERA against the divisional rivals in four games (three starts). He earned his second win of 2013 against the Blue Jays back on May 2, going six innings and allowing only one run on four hits while fanning four.
Jenkins, who was just recalled from Double-A New Hampshire and took the roster spot of injured outfielder Rajai Davis, will be making his first major league appearance of 2013 after appearing in 13 games for Toronto in 2012, making three starts and going 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 32 innings. Brandon Morrow was initially slated to take on the Sox for the final game of the series but was pushed to Wednesday due to neck and back spasms that have been ailing him recently.
The 25-year-old Jenkins has made an appearance in only one game this year for the Blue Jays’ Double-A affiliate, giving up three hits and two runs in five innings pitched. He’s never pitched an inning in Triple-A, skipping from Double-A New Hampshire straight to the big leagues in August of last year. The Red Sox got a brief look at the Tennessee native in 2012 when he threw an inning and a third of relief on Sept. 14, allowing two hits and two runs.
The Blue Jays had an array of pitching injuries limit them in 2012, but it could be argued that this year’s staff is even more depleted than last year’s. Jenkins will be the ninth starter the Jays have used in only 39 games, while they used 12 by the end of 2012. Jenkins also represents the 22nd pitcher to appear for Toronto, a total that leads the majors.
|David Ortiz to Dan Shaughnessy: ‘Look who it is’||05.11.13 at 6:03 pm ET|
As David Ortiz prepared to leave the Red Sox clubhouse after the team’s 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays, he did a double-take. The sight of Dan Shaughnessy, the Boston Globe columnist who confronted the slugger directly with suspicions about the possibility of his use of steroids, standing with a group of reporters, caught Ortiz’s attention.
“Look who it is,” Ortiz said.
He paused for a moment, then noted — loudly enough that all in the clubhouse were party to his address — that on the very day on which Shaughnessy interviewed him, he took a test for PEDs. Ortiz said he would be sure to pass along results of that test to the columnist. Ortiz became slightly more animated as he noted that he’d taken 40 tests administered by Major League Baseball.
“I’ve never tested positive,” Ortiz told the columnist, who had referenced the fact that the New York Times discovered in 2009 that the slugger had tested positive for a performance-enhancer in 2003 (at a time when a) there were no penalties for positive tests and b) test results were supposed to be anonymous).
When the report surfaced four years ago, Ortiz disputed that he had ever knowingly used PEDs, something that he mentioned anew to Shaughnessy as he walked towards the clubhouse door.
“By the way,” Ortiz said, “let me know what I tested positive for in 2003.”
As he spoke, while Ortiz was clearly upset, his tone remained relatively measured. He did not seek a response from Shaughnessy, nor did the columnist say anything while Ortiz spoke, though he did position himself to speak to Ortiz if the slugger wanted to do so.
|Closing Time: Slump continues as Red Sox fall to Blue Jays, 3-2||05.11.13 at 5:10 pm ET|
The April feast has yielded to May famine, with the Red Sox currently ensnared in a desperate inability to produce runs even when opportunities stare them in the face. The Sox managed just two runs, the seventh time in 11 games that they’ve plated three or fewer, and with little margin for error, the team met its undoing when Adam Lind slammed a solo homer against closer Junichi Tazawa in the top of the ninth inning that gave the Blue Jays a 3-2 victory.
The Sox have now lost seven of nine, with the team’s struggles with runners in scoring position occupying a prime share of the blame. Against Toronto on Saturday, the Sox (who in one stretch saw Jays starter Mark Buehrle retire 13 straight) were 0-for-11 with two walks. The inability to capitalize on opportunities remains a recurring them in the team’s current skid.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– After the Sox rallied for a pair of runs to tie the game, 2-2, in the bottom of the eighth, newly (and presumably temporarily) anointed closer Junichi Tazawa immediately gave the game back to Toronto. Tazawa gave up a long solo homer to Adam Lind to immediately give the lead back to Toronto. Thus continued Tazawa’s struggles: In his last nine games, he’s allowed five runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings, yielding a pair of homers. He’s permitted baserunners in eight of his nine outings. His struggles, combined with the absence of Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey, have created instability at the back end of the Red Sox bullpen. Read the rest of this entry »
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