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Saturday Red Sox Farm Report: Justin Haley throws complete game shutout for Portland

05.14.16 at 10:41 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (16-18): Rain out. Doubleheader on Saturday vs. Gwinnett (Braves).

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (112-23): W, 1-0, at vs. Binghamton (Mets)

— The Sea Dogs got a strong performance from starter Justin Haley as the right-hander went all seven innings and didn’t allow a run. He allowed only one hit and walked three, while striking out five. He’s putting together a solid season as in seven starts he is 3-2 with a 1.93 ERA.

— Portland got its only run of the game in the bottom of the seventh for a dramatic walk-off win. Nate Freiman, who had his contract purchased earlier in the week, ripped an RBI single to score lead off man Henry Ramos. Ramos paced the offense with two hits and also made one of the better catches you’ll see in the outfield.

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Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia sits, Jackie Bradley Jr. moves up in order

05.14.16 at 10:16 am ET
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Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia

With Dustin Pedroia getting the afternoon off, Jackie Bradley Jr. and his 19-game hit streak will slide up in the order to the No. 2 spot against the Astros.

Bradley Jr. has started one game in the No. 2 spot in the order, while playing in four with seven at-bats and is 0-for-7.

“Down day for [Pedroia]. He and I had a chance to talk early in the week and picked this day as the logical one — day game after a night game and the way Jackie has been swinging the bat, obviously speaks for its self,” manager John Farrell said. “So split up the two right-handers at the top of the order and gives us some continuity and some balance throughout.”

Josh Rutledge will get the start at second base against Astros right-hander Collin McHugh. Brock Holt gets his second straight start in left field with another righty going. Christian Vazquez will catch Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Travis Shaw, 3B
Josh Rutledge, 2B
Brock Holt, LF
Christian Vazquez, C
Clay Buchholz, RHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

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Saturday’s Red Sox-Astros matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Collin McHugh

05.14.16 at 8:14 am ET
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In a matchup of pitchers who struggled in April but have pitched better in May, Clay Buchholz takes the ball for the Red Sox opposite Astros right-hander Collin McHugh for Saturday’s afternoon game at Fenway Park.

Buchholz (2-3, 5.90 ERA, 1.44 WHIP) went 0-3 with a 6.51 ERA in five April starts — all Boston losses — but he is 2-0 with a 4.26 ERA in two May starts. In his last appearance, Boston’s 14-7 victory over the visiting A’s on Monday, Buchholz pitched five innings, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He surrendered runs in the first three innings before posting zeroes the next two, and he was surprised he didn’t get the chance to start the sixth after throwing just 87 pitches.

“I really didn’t know what was going on,” he said afterward. “I thought I got traded or something. I would have liked to have gone back out.”

He has started against the Astros five times, posting a 3-1 record with a 2.35 ERA and 0.86 WHIP.  He last faced the Astros on April 23, an 8-3 Houston win. He pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. The big blow was a fifth-inning grand slam by Colby Rasmus.

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Joe Kelly to make another start with Triple-A Pawtucket

05.13.16 at 11:40 pm ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly’s return to the Red Sox’ rotation will have to wait.

Following Friday’s loss to the Astros, manager John Farrell said the right-hander will start Monday with Pawtucket. It will be his third rehab start as he comes back from shoulder impingement.

Kelly may have been ready to come back to the big leagues, but with the number of off days coming up, it may have been difficult to find a place for him to slot in to.

In his two rehab starts, Kelly has allowed two runs in eight innings, while striking out six. The most encouraging thing for Kelly was he hit 98 mph in his last start.

He’s made three major league starts this year and is 1-0 with a 9.35 ERA.

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

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Closing Time: Reliever Matt Barnes takes loss as Red Sox’ win streak ends at 5 games

05.13.16 at 10:59 pm ET
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George Springer's two-run home run off Matt Barnes proved to be the game-winner. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

George Springer’s two-run home run off Matt Barnes proved to be the game-winner. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Well, it was going to end sometime.

Coming into the game winners of five straight and scoring double-digit runs in four straight, the Red Sox came back to Earth in a 7-6 defeat to the Astros Friday night.

With the game knotted at five in the sixth, George Springer took his UConn teammate Matt Barnes into the Monster seats for a two-run home run, which proved to be the game-winner.

Barnes allowed two runs in 1 1/3 innings of work to take the loss.

“As strong as he’s been, he’s going through that inning, even with a  man on, in pretty good shape,” manager John Farrell said. “He retires [Jose] Altuve and then Springer. The top of their order did a lot of damage tonight.  He works the count full and a breaking ball doesn’t get to the spot he’s looking to get to, stays up in the middle of the plate, and he covers it pretty good. Matt has been so good for us in those tight spots in the middle innings. He’s been strong. We’ve been in a in a stretch where we haven’t really taxed bullpen. Thought he was fresh. On the 3-2 pitch, it didn’t really work out.”

Travis Shaw hit his fifth home run of the season in the bottom half of the inning, but the Red Sox couldn’t score again.  The Red Sox actually led 5-1 in the game, but the Astros scored six straight runs to take the lead for good.

Astros starter Lance McCullers, who was making his season-debut, walked two straight batters to load the bases with no outs in the second. Ryan Hanigan ripped a two-RBI double to the right-center field gap. Then, Jackie Bradley Jr. had an RBI double of his own to extend his hit streak to 19 games. A wild pitch and a Mookie Betts single played the fourth and fifth runs of the inning.

It was Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright’s worst start of the season as he went a season-low 4 1/3 innings and allowed five runs nine hits, while walking two and striking out three. Four of the five runs came in his last inning — the fifth. He departed with the game tied at five.

The outing snapped Wright’s streak of going at least five innings and allowing two runs or fewer in nine straight starts. The rainy conditions likely didn’t do him any favors.

“Huge factor. Got to a point where I couldn’t keep anything dry and when you’re trying to throw a pitch with your finger tips, it makes it a little slippery, hard to get finger pressure,” he said. “They swung at some good pitches to hit. The ball wasn’t moving much because of the finger pressure issue. We have a five-run lead, I felt like have to be able to hold that and try and get a little deeper into the game and turn it over to the bullpen.”

Added Wright: “It kind of stayed the same. It got to the point I couldn’t keep dry. My pants were wet, my jersey was wet. It was tough to keep anything dry out there. It just makes it a little bit harder to keep feel for the knuckleball.”

Closing Time note

The Red Sox have now homered in 14 straight games, which is their longest streak since August of 1996.

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

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Eduardo Rodriguez’s 4th rehab start pushed back to Saturday

05.13.16 at 4:47 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

With the PawSox game Friday night being rained out, Eduardo Rodriguez’s fourth rehab start will have to wait a day.

Rodriguez will start Game 1 of the PawSox’ doubleheader on Saturday at 4:35 p.m. Even though the game will only be seven innings, he likely will still get the 100 pitches the team would like to see.

In his three previous rehab starts, he has posted a 0-2 record with a 4.70 ERA. His most recent start came Sunday when he allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings of work.

With Joe Kelly making his second rehab start Wednesday night, these are two pitchers getting closer and closer to returning to the Red Sox’ rotation. Manager John Farrell was asked if there is any extra pressure on Clay Buchholz for his start Saturday and the manager said there wasn’t.

“Go out and pitch to his capabilities,” he said. “He had a very good bullpen [Thursday]. We have a couple of guys who are getting closer in their progression to get back to us, so no, it’s just ‘Clay, go take the ball and pitch to your capabilities and everything will work out.'”

As for the Red Sox’ game Friday night, despite rain in the forecast, the team expects to play — although there may be a delay at the start.

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Red Sox lineup: Jackie Bradley Jr. stays in No. 9 spot vs. Astros

05.13.16 at 3:27 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

If it isn’t broke, why fix it?

With the Red Sox scoring double-digit runs in four straight games and Jackie Bradley Jr. on a 18-game hit streak, the center fielder is still batting ninth in the second of a four-game series with the Astros.

Brock Holt is back in left field against right-hander Lance McCullers after sitting the past two games as the Red Sox have gone up against a string of lefties. Ryan Hanigan catches Red Sox starter Steven Wright.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Travis Shaw, 1B
Brock Holt, LF
Ryan Hanigan, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Steven Wright, RHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

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Roger Clemens likes what he sees in David Price, what he heard about Max Scherzer

05.13.16 at 11:50 am ET
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Roger Clemens stopped by Fenway Park Thursday night. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Roger Clemens stopped by Fenway Park Thursday night. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Even with all the controversies involving his career, it is still undeniable that Roger Clemens knows his pitching.

That’s why Clemens was a good source for information when it came to taking a look at David Price and analyzing what the Red Sox have in their latest ace.

“His hands are a little higher, and that can only help,” Clemens told WEEI.com moments after appearing on the Red Sox radio broadcast during the fourth inning of the Sox’ 11-1 win over the Astros. “His mechanics are fantastic. He stays closed up nice, and I love the tilt in the shoulder. His shoulder tilt is fantastic. For me, it takes away a lot of stress over the course of a major league season. I love the angle in his delivery.”

Then there is that matter of handling the responsibility of being the No. 1 guy in Boston, which Clemens managed for 11 seasons.

“It can be tough, but you still have to win some games 5-4. That’s how you become a 20-game winner,” Clemens noted. “Even though he played baseball in the East in Tampa and Toronto, he’ll have to settle into his own routine. He’s got great stuff. He’ll be fine. You win 250 games because you have great stuff. You win 350 because of your heart, your desire, and getting out of second and third and winning games 5-4, games like that. You struggle, but you still win.”

Clemens was also in the news recently after Max Scherzer became one of four pitchers to strikeout 20 batters in a game, with the former Red Sox hurler accomplishing the feat twice.

Like Clemens, Randy Johnson and Kerry Wood before him, Scherzer managed the feat without walking a single batter, a part of the equation that still stands out after the first go-round 30 years ago.

“We were driving from Connecticut and my youngest son, Cody, called to tell me Max had tied the record,” Clemens recalled. “I think it’s just amazing when you throw that rate of speed that he didn’t walk anybody.

“Any time the anniversary happens, when they talk about mine, Bill Fischer, my pitching coach, or Dr. [James] Andrews will text me and that’s the thing they’re most proud of. They always bring up I didn’t walk anybody. That’s incredible. The swings and misses and no walks when you’re throwing that rate of speed.”

Friday’s Red Sox-Astros matchups: Steven Wright vs. Lance McCullers

05.13.16 at 8:58 am ET
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Coming off his best performance of the season, Steven Wright will start for the Red Sox on Friday night against Lance McCullers and the Astros.

Wright has been impressive in six starts this season, earning a 1.52 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP to go with his 3-3 record. The knuckleballer’s ERA is good for third in the American League. His last start was his first complete game in 17 major league starts. He tossed seven strikeouts and allowed only one earned run on three hits in Boston’s 5-1 victory over the Yankees on Sunday night.

“He was really good. He’s been great all year,” Yankees catcher Brian McCann said of Wright’s performance. “I felt like he could do whatever he wanted tonight with the ball.”

In his four-year major league career, the 31-year-old Wright has pitched against the Astros three times, totaling a 1-0 record with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. He last faced Houston on Aug. 17, 2014, when he surrendered one earned run and tallied three strikeouts in four innings in an 8-1 Red Sox loss.

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Going, going, gone: Red Sox hitting home runs at record clip

05.12.16 at 11:40 pm ET
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The Red Sox have hit 29 home runs since April 25, which leads the majors during that span. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox have hit 29 home runs since April 25, which leads the majors during that span. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

It isn’t just scoring runs at a historic clip for the Red Sox of late, it’s also the number of home runs they’ve hit.

Following the Red Sox’ 11-1 win over the Astros Thursday night where they hit two home runs, they have now homered in 13 straight games and have hit a total of 42 home runs in the first 35 games of the season.

The 13 straight games is the longest active streak in the majors and the team’s longest since the end of the 2007 season carrying into 2008, which was also 13 games. The last time the team homered in more than 13 straight games was the end of the 2001 season carrying into 2002 when they hit home runs in 15 straight.

“We’re in a good stretch,” manager John Farrell said. “That goes without saying. It’s just the relentlessness up and down the lineup. And that’s the one word we try to take pride in, that means you’ve prepared, that means you’ve not given at-bats away or innings away from the mound. The more we can make that customary, we’re probably in pretty good shape.”​

Going into Thursday, the Red Sox were fifth in the American League in home runs, but they have 29 home runs in their last 17 games beginning on April 25, which is the most in the majors during that span.

The Red Sox could be on their way to a historic month of May when it comes to home runs.

As of Thursday (May 12), the Red Sox have 23 home runs in the month, which already equals their total for the entire month of May last season. Also, they’ve already surpassed May of 2014’s total of 20. The overall team record for most home runs in a month is July of 2003 when they hit 55, which will be extremely hard to break, but at this current pace who knows what can happen.

Hitting home runs isn’t something the Red Sox have been known for as they haven’t finished in the top five in the American League in homers since 2011 when they were third, but no one is complaining.

“It’s unbelievable, man,” shortstop Xander Bogaerts said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this, to be honest. I wish it could continue, but the chances of that continuing, 10 runs every game, is pretty tough. Hopefully it continues. It’s unbelievable to be part of right now.”

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