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Jackie Bradley Jr. throws strike to home plate from warning track on bizarre play in bizarre season

08.23.15 at 6:39 pm ET
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In what was one of the most bizarre plays in a bizarre season, Jackie Bradley Jr. misplayed a ball to leadoff the ninth inning which landed on the warning track in left field and then he couldn’t handle it off the bounce, which had Omar Infante thinking inside-the-park home run.

Bradley Jr. picked up the ball and threw a one-hop strike to the plate to get Infante. The Royals challenged the play, but it stayed as called.

“€œIt was hit really well off of the bat,” Bradley Jr. said. “I was playing it like it was going to be off of the wall and got twisted around a little bit. I just wanted to make an accurate throw. The grass was wet. I wanted to give him a chance.”

The play even drew the praise of members of the Royals.

“I thought it was actually a really good send,” third baseman Mike Moustakas said. “It took a phenomenal throw by Jackie out there. He pulled it off. It was an unbelievable throw. A foot to left or a foot to the right, Omar is safe. I thought it was a good send. We ended up being able to cover that up and go out there and win a ball game.”

“You know he’s got a great arm but to do that, that’s something you don’t really see or expect,” he added. “He’s got a cannon. That was probably one of the best throws I’ve seen in a long time, if not ever. Right on the money, throw a guy out at the plate from left-center field.”

The Royals got the last laugh as they scored four ninth inning runs following the play to beat the Red Sox, 8-6.

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Closing Time: Junichi Tazawa blows save, Red Sox fall to Royals

08.23.15 at 5:15 pm ET
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Junichi Tazawa allowed four runs in the ninth inning to take the loss. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Junichi Tazawa allowed four runs in the ninth inning to take the loss. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The adventures of the Red Sox bullpen continue.

With a 6-4 lead in the ninth, Junichi Tazawa blew the save as he allowed four runs in the inning on six hits, as the Royals beat the Red Sox 8-6.

A bases loaded single by Eric Hosmer scored two runs to tie the game and then after a walk, Mike Moustakas hit a two-run double for the last two runs of the inning. Kendrys Morales was thrown out at the plate on the play to end the inning trying to score from first.

The inning started with a very bizarre play as Jackie Bradley Jr. misplayed a ball that landed on the warning track and with Omar Infante trying to extend it to an inside-the-park home run, Bradley Jr. threw a strike to the plate to get Infante for the first out of the ninth. The play was reviewed, but stood.

“They hit some good pitches. It was not a typical [Tazawa] day,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “He has been very consistent for us all year long. We have to give them credit. They are a pretty good team, able to take advantage of mistakes and they did. That’s why they are the best team in the American League right now.”

With the game tied at four in the seventh inning, Ryan Hanigan led off with a single and then came around to score from first on Bradley Jr.’s double down the right field line. Bradley Jr. scored on a Pablo Sandoval two-out dribbler in front of the mound that Royals reliever Franklin Morales over threw first base (although he would have likely beat the throw anyway).

Bradley Jr. finished the game 2-for-4 with two doubles. Before his single in the ninth, he had 11 straight extra-base hits.

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez didn’t have his best stuff and also didn’t get support from his defense in the fourth inning, but despite all that he was able to keep the Sox in the game. Overall, the left-hander went six innings and allowed four runs (two earned) on seven hits, while not walking a batter and only striking out one.

In the fourth inning, Morales hit a ball up the middle which could have been an inning-ending double play, but second baseman Josh Rutledge booted the ball allowing it to go into center field. Mookie Betts’ throw to third base then skipped into the Royals dugout. Morales then scored on a Moustakas double.

Moustakas would later hit a home run in the sixth for the fourth Royals run off Rodriguez.

The Red Sox scored two runs in the second and then tied the game at four in the sixth. David Ortiz had a sacrifice fly to make it 4-3 and then Travis Shaw doubled with two outs and was driven in on a Rusney Castillo single.

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

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Read More: eduardo rodriguez, jackie bradley jr., Ryan Hanigan,

Red Sox pregame notes: Brock Holt available off bench; Matt Barnes optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket

08.23.15 at 12:18 pm ET
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Brock Holt

Brock Holt

Although Brock Holt will miss his fourth straight game, it appears he’s nearing a return.

Holt will miss Sunday’s game after originally being in Saturday’s lineup, but was a late scratch with left oblique tightness. Interim manager Torey Lovullo said he would be available in an emergency situation Sunday.

“Brock’s doing OK,” Lovullo said. “Still a little nicked up. His left oblique has given him problems, but he is available today if needed in an emergency situation. We’re looking to get him in the lineup tomorrow. I had a good discussion with Brock this morning where we just felt like it was best to give him one more day, give him a blow, get ahead of it and see where he’s at tomorrow.”

The utility man has played 99 games this season and this comes after he played a career-high 106 last year. Lovullo said the team is aware of the numbers of games played and him struggling in the second half of last year. He hit .219 after hitting .327 in the first half.

“It’s been on our radar that he’s had a history of wearing down, but I think overall you just have to look at the guy, productivity and what he means to the ball club,” he said. “Whether he is tired or not, he has such great value to this team that we’re going to find a spot for him in the right situation. What can he do? I don’t know if he can work any harder behind the scenes.

“He’s a very caring guy. He understands what he means to this team. He wants to stay healthy — whether he tweaks his offseason program I’m not sure, but I think in time we’re going to find a guy who can be consistent throughout the year health wise.”

— Sunday is just an off-day for Hanley Ramirez.

— Following Saturday’s game and Matt Barnes‘ second major league start, he was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket. With Rick Porcello returning to the rotation this week, the team needed to open up a spot.

Barnes went 5 1/3 innings and allowed five runs. Overall in his two starts, he allowed 11 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings.

Reliever Jonathan Aro was recalled as the corresponding roster move.

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Read More: Brock Holt, matt barnes, steven wright, torey lovullo

Red Sox lineup: Brock Holt still out, Hanley Ramirez sits in series finale vs. Royals

08.23.15 at 10:34 am ET
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A night after snapping a 0-for-16 skid with a double in his final at-bat Saturday, Hanley Ramirez will get the day off as the Red Sox close out their series with the Royals. Despite the loss, the Red Sox have taken two of the first three games of the series.

Jackie Bradley Jr. will take Ramirez’s spot in left, Mookie Betts will play center and Rusney Castillo will play right.

Brock Holt is out once again. He was scratched from Saturday’s with left oblique tightness.

Ryan Hanigan will catch Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, CF
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Travis Shaw, 1B
Rusney Castillo, RF
Ryan Hanigan, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., LF
Josh Rutledge, 2B
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP

Read More: Brock Holt, hanley ramirez,

Sunday’s Red Sox-Royals matchups: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Edinson Volquez

08.23.15 at 9:50 am ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

With a four-game winning streak in the rearview mirror, the Red Sox will go for the four-game series win Sunday against the AL-best Royals when they send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound against Edinson Volquez.

Fresh off one of his most encouraging starts of the season, Rodriguez will look to gain some consistency Sunday at the friendly confines. The southpaw dazzled Tuesday against the Indians, twirling eight innings of one-run ball. Despite hurling a season-high 114 pitches, he did not issue a free pass against the team with the AL’s highest walk rate (8.9 percent).

After the game, a 9-1 victory, interim manager Torey Lovullo said Rodriguez’s command around the strike zone worked wonders.

“I think he was pounding the strike zone with an aggressive fastball, getting ahead of hitters,” Lovullo said. “There’€™s no secret to having success on a given night from a pitching standpoint. It’€™s getting ahead of the batter and staying in the strike zone. He got in a great run for several innings. He was comfortable, free and easy. His worst inning he threw 19 pitches prior to the eighth inning. We wanted to send him back out there and get the last inning he really deserved. A great effort by him tonight.”

Red Sox fans can only hope Tuesday’s gem gives Rodriguez confidence going forward. The 22-year-old has been riddled with a host of issues throughout 2015, and his 7-5 record and his 4.48 ERA are not indicative of his potential. This is a sentiment shared by newly hired president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

“You look at Rodriguez pitch, and I joked with [manager] John Farrell,” Dombrowski said Wednesday. “I told him [Tuesday] night, I said, ‘€˜Gee, it looks like we’€™ll win a lot of games if we pitch Rodriguez 162 [times].’€™ And I don’€™t mean that as anything about any other pitchers, but he’€™s got a chance to be a No. 1-type pitcher.”

Dombrowski has reason to be excited. In high leverage situations, Rodriguez has thrived this year, sporting a .203 opposing batting average in tie games and a .172 mark with two outs and runners in scoring position. Despite all the criticism for his pitch-tipping, he appears so be doing just fine when it matters most.

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Read More: Edinson Volquez, eduardo rodriguez,

Sunday Red Sox Farm Report: Carlos Asuaje has 8-game hit streak in Double-A; Kevin McAvoy wins 4th straight in High-A Salem

08.23.15 at 8:24 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday:

Dayan Diaz

Dayan Diaz

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (49-79): L, 2-0, vs. Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

— LHP Rich Hill, in his second start since being signed out of the independent Atlantic League, pitched seven strong innings but took the tough-luck loss with a final line of: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO (81 pitches, 59 strikes). Hill (3-3. 2.31 ERA) retired the first eight batters of the game, allowing just a single in the third and fourth innings before again finishing the side in order in the fifth and sixth. Finally, in the seventh, Lehigh Valley broke through with three straight hits, plating a run on a double play to make it 2-0.

Hill, a 6-foot-5, 35-year-old lefty, was released by the Nationals this year on June 24 after making 25 appearances in Triple-A out of the bullpen, where he had a 2.91 ERA over 21 2/3 innings, with 32 strikeouts and 21 walks. In 2014, Hill made 16 major league relief appearances split between the Angels and the Yankees.

— RHP Dayan Diaz and RHP Ryan Cook each pitched a scoreless inning of relief, with Diaz striking out two around a double and Cook allowing a walk while whiffing one.

Diaz, 26, is 2-1 with a 2.00 ERA over 25 outings with the PawSox, with 12 earned runs allowed in 54 innings of work. The 5-foot-10 Diaz, a native of Colombia, has struck out 48 while walking 27, and opposing batters are connecting at just a .218 clip against him. Originally signed by Houston during the 2005 international signing period, Diaz spent six years in the Astros system and one with the Chicago Cubs organization before Boston signed him to a minor league contract in December of 2013.

— The Pawtucket offense had just six hits on the night, with perhaps the best chance to score coming in the fifth inning. After leadoff singles by first baseman Allen Craig and DH Humberto Quintero, left fielder Garin Cecchini drove one to the wall in right-center field only to be robbed of extra bases by Lehigh Valley’€™s Tyler Henson, who made a running over-the-shoulder catch for the out.

The PawSox also had two hits in the sixth, with shortstop Marco Hernandez (Boston’€™s No. 23 prospect at MLB.com) hitting a one-out double and catcher Sandy Leon following with a single. However, third baseman Carlos Rivero and Craig flied out to end the inning.

Leon finished 2-for-4 to put his slash line at .310/.388/.394 through 19 games in Triple-A, with a homer, three doubles and 12 RBIs.

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, carlos asuaje, dayan diaz, Jalen Beeks

Learning from mistakes: Matt Barnes will benefit long term following outing vs. Royals

08.22.15 at 11:49 pm ET
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Matt Barnes was chased from the game in the sixth inning after allowing a three-run homer. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Matt Barnes was chased from the game in the sixth inning after allowing a three-run homer. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

As the Red Sox close out the 2015 season, it’s more about the future and having their younger players play and learn from certain types of situations. After all, nothing is more valuable than actual game experience.

That is what happened with Matt Barnes Saturday night against the Royals, as he was making just his second major league start following moving from the bullpen to a starter in Triple-A at the end of July after being a starter for the bulk of his minor league career.

Barnes threw 96 pitches, a season-high between Triple-A and the majors, and it was the final one that was the most costly.

In the sixth inning after walking Kendrys Morales and allowing a single to Mike Moustakas, Salvator Perez crushed a three-run home run into the Royals bullpen, which gave the Royals a 5-0 lead and chased Barnes from the game.

Interim manager Torey Lovullo said the inning was part of the 25-year-old’s growth in becoming a successful major league pitcher, as he didn’t take him out and wanted him to pitch through it.

“He had pitches left and we felt he didn’t reach the number we were looking at,” Lovullo said. “Any time you have a young pitcher that is working though lineups and having success, the last thing you want to do is pull the rug out from under them. You want to let them feel situations, you want to let them work through and have success in certain situations. In this case it works a little bit in the opposite way. I know this is going to sting a little bit and he’s going to remember it and he’s going to grow and learn, and that’s the key for a young pitcher.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with where he’s at pitch-count wise. I know he had something in the tank, I know he had a few extra moments there where he could have got some outs. He just made some mistakes at the wrong time.”

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Closing Time: Red Sox can’t complete late rally, fall to Royals ending 4-game win streak

08.22.15 at 10:39 pm ET
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Matt Barnes allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings as the Red Sox fell to the Royals, snapping their four-game win streak. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Matt Barnes allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings as the Red Sox fell to the Royals, snapping their four-game win streak. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

A night after scoring seven runs off Johnny Cueto, the Red Sox couldn’t keep the offensive momentum going.

Royals starter Yordano Ventura was able to keep the Red Sox in check as he limited the Sox to one run over six innings, as the Royals topped the Red Sox, 6-3.

The loss snapped the Red Sox’ season-high four-game win streak.

The Sox’ offense finally was able to get on the board in the sixth on a Travis Shaw fielder’s choice, which scored Xander Bogaerts. Mookie Betts added a solo home run in the seventh inning, which cleared everything in left field and then Bogaerts added an RBI-single in the ninth.

Although they finished with just three runs, they had their chances.

In the first inning Shaw flew out to left field with runners on first and second with two outs. Then in the fourth, Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out with runners on first and second to end the frame. Also, in the eighth Blake Swihart popped out to second base with runners on second and third to end the threat. Finally, Shaw ended the game with the bases loaded and the tying run at first base. The team left 11 runners in base.

Matt Barnes pitched well until he got to the sixth inning when he allowed a three-run home run to Salvador Perez to break the game open and give the Royals a 5-0 lead. Barnes finished the game going 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits, while walking a batter and striking out two.

Barnes allowed the other two runs in the first inning on a two-run double by Kendrys Morales.

Kansas City added another run in the eighth, which was charged to Heath Hembree.

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

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Read More: David Ortiz, matt barnes, mookie betts, xander bogaerts

Ben Cherington talks Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval at Saberseminar

08.22.15 at 5:57 pm ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

Just because former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington is out of a job at the moment, it didn’t stop him from attending the Saberseminar at Boston University as previously scheduled.

According to those at the event, Cherington joked, it’s “€œa progressive event that even invites the unemployed.”

Conducting a Q&A with those attending, Cherington was asked a number of questions about the Red Sox‘ organization and some of the recent moves that he and the organization made.

Cherington signed Hanley Ramirez to a four-year, $88 million this offseason, as he would make the switch to being an infielder his entire career to the outfield. Although he’s only been charged with four errors, it hasn’t gone as planned in left field.

“Nobody knew. We didn’€™t know what he would be defensively in left field,” Cherington said to those at the event. “He’€™d never done it. So it’€™s impossible to know. We made a bet based on history of what players look like moving from a middle infield position to another position. And there’€™s data that can help us make an educated guess. He wanted to and seemed committed to doing it … It hasn’€™t gone well.”

Also this offseason, the team signed Pablo Sandoval to play third base and help improve the offense. Cherington described the Red Sox‘ third base position as “a black hole” before the signing of Sandoval.

“We actually didn’€™t think that Fenway Park would have as positive an impact on Pablo as it might for some other hitters,” he said. “That was not the driving force behind signing him. The driving force behind signing him is we’€™re trying to build a winning team, we had a black hole at third base for two years, he was the right age and we’€™re trying to improve that position.”

Another third baseman — Josh Donaldson — was traded in the offseason as the Blue Jays were able to strike a deal with the Athletics. Cherington acknowledged the Red Sox inquired about him, but nothing ever came about.

“Yes, called Oakland early in the offseason as we normally would,” Cherington said. “Was told at the beginning of the offseason that they weren’€™t moving him. So give Toronto credit. They persisted.”

With the former general manager currently out of a job as he declined to stay with the team after they hired Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations this week, Cherington was asked what he would do differently in the future.

“I do feel like a couple mistakes we’€™ve made the last few years is when we got in a rush,” he said. “That’€™s the one, I am going to try to not be in a rush. But I don’€™t know what will happen [in the future]. There’€™s lots of hard parts about not being there. And then there’€™s hopefully some good stuff, an opportunity to learn something else, try something new. We’€™ll see. I think in time I’€™ll be able to answer that question.”

Read More: ben cherington, hanley ramirez, Pablo Sandoval,

Red Sox pregame notes: Rick Porcello nearing return; why is team all of a sudden winning games?

08.22.15 at 5:20 pm ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello is nearing a return to the Red Sox‘ starting rotation.

Making his second rehab start Friday night, after throwing 3 2/3 innings (rain-shortened) in his first rehab start with Single-A Lowell, Porcello went 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs, three hits and striking out six on 81 pitches with Triple-A Pawtucket as he works his way back from a triceps strain.

He allowed two runs in the first inning and another in the second, but settled down, retiring the final 13 batters he faced.

“He did well yesterday,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “A little bit more conversation that I had with him — the first couple of innings had trouble finding some rhythm, which is to be expected just getting back into the flow and rhythm. The remaining innings that he threw and up to the final pitch, he said he felt great. He had command of all three pitches. He was throwing them where he wanted to. His two-seam fastball had the action that he wanted.”

Porcello will throw a bullpen Sunday and then a final decision will be made on what’s next for the right-hander.

Lovullo indicated it’s likely he throws on the upcoming road trip and Porcello told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford earlier in the week the expectation is he would start Wednesday in Chicago.

“Anticipating that the bullpen goes well, he will probably throw sometime on this road trip,” Lovullo said.

— Left fielder Hanley Ramirez is batting just .191 with four extra-base hits (no home runs) since the All-Star break. Most recently, he’s 0 for his last 13 and has just one walk in his last 72 plate appearances.

“I think his timing is a little off right now,” Lovullo said. “His timing, his rhythm is a little off. He’s tinkering with his swing trying to find out where his lower half is. As I’ve been saying the past couple days, things ebb and flow when you’re at this level. He’s probably not getting to the pitches that he can get to and maybe missing a couple of pitches and then frustration is building. It’s about the grind. It’s about working through the grind and that’s where he’s at right now.”

Ramirez has slid down to the No. 6 spot in the order.

— Since Lovullo has taken over as interim manager, the Red Sox are 6-2 and have won four straight. What’s even more impressive is their two best hitters — Ramirez and David Ortiz — are a combined 0 for their last 20.

So why has the team been so successful of late?

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Read More: hanley ramirez, rick porcello, torey lovullo,
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