|08.14.16 at 9:28 am ET|
In the Red Sox-Diamondbacks series finale on Sunday afternoon, Boston will send its most consistent starter, Rick Porcello, to the mound opposite veteran right-hander Zack Greinke.
Porcello is 15-3 in 23 starts with 3.40 ERA and a 1.079 WHIP. The 27-year-old is looking to become the first Red Sox pitcher to start the season 12-0 at home since Dave Ferriss went 13-0 in 1946. The right-hander is 7-1 with a 2.53 ERA since June 28. Porcello has allowed more than two walks only once this season. In his last start last Tuesday, Porcello pitched eight innings, allowing two runs, seven hits and one walk with six strikeouts in a 5-3 win over the Yankees. It was Porcello’s 100th career win.
“It was a big win for us,” Porcello said (via MLB.com). “We came off a long, tough road trip, so we definitely needed to start the homestand off the right way. It was a good way to start the series.”
Porcello is 0-1 in two career starts against the Diamondbacks with a 5.11 ERA and a 1.135 WHIP. Porcello last faced the Diamondbacks in 2014 as a member of the Tigers. In that start, Porcello went seven innings, allowing three runs, five hits and no walks with five strikeouts.
|08.14.16 at 9:03 am ET|
Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (64-55): Postponed, at Buffalo (Blue Jays)
Following Saturday’s rainout, the teams will play a doubleheader Sunday starting at 12:05 p.m.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (45-72): Postponed, at Akron (Indians)
Saturday’s game was postponed by rain and will be made up as part of a doubleheader Sunday starting at 1:05 p.m.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (70-47): W, 5-2, vs. Wilmington (Royals)
— Hard-throwing right-hander Michael Kopech started the game by striking out the first six batters, and through five innings he had allowed just one hit and one walk while fanning a career-high 11. However, in the sixth the 20-year-old loaded the bases with no outs on a walk, a hit batsman and a bunt single. Reliever Bobby Poyner then induced three ground outs, but two runs scored in the process, tying the game. In eight starts with Salem, Kopech is 2-1 with a 1.41 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. In his three starts this month, he’s struck out 28 batters in 16 innings.
— Poyner was charged with a blown save despite not allowing a hit, but the left-hander also picked up the win after pitching three scoreless innings with no hits, walks or strikeouts. He’s 3-1 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 18 appearances with Salem following his midseason promotion from Greenville.
— Right-hander Jamie Callahan pitched a scoreless, hitless ninth inning with one strikeout for his fifth save in eight opportunities.
— Center fielder Joseph Monge, batting leadoff, went 3-for-4 with a double to raise his batting line to .289/.346/.426 with three home runs and 29 RBIs in 60 games with Salem after starting the season in Greenville.
— Designated hitter Danny Mars went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Shortstop Deiner Lopez went 2-for-4 with the go-ahead RBI single in the bottom of the sixth.
|08.13.16 at 11:29 pm ET|
Steven Wright is optimistic, but with an asterisk.
Following the Red Sox’ 6-3 win over the Diamondbacks, the injured starter took time to explain exactly where he’s at in regards to coming back from a right shoulder injury that forced Clay Buchholz to take his spot in the rotation this week.
One of the more telling aspects of where Wright finds himself is that the knuckleballer is still feeling some discomfort, but it’s a pain he believes can be managed.
“It’s one of those things where it still hurts when I throw, but the ball is still coming out the same,” Wright said. “With there being no structural damage, it’s bursitis, so it’s a little inflamed. If the pain doesn’t go away, it’s just about if it’s tolerable enough to pitch through. Right now, I don’t know. I right now, it’s 50-50. It all depends on how I feel when I get off the mound.
“[The pain] stays the same. It doesn’t get worse, it doesn’t get better. The work we’ve done from yesterday to today is huge. That’s kind of why we’re holding off on doing any kind of quick fix because if it continues to progress the way it is progressing … If I have to get a cortisone shot or anything like that, that’s DL time for sure. Right now, it’s going in a good direction.”
The key day for Wright will be Monday. That’s when the righty is slated to throw off the mound for the first time since being sidelined with the baserunning-induced injury.
If Wright feels he can manage the pain in that setting, and the results in the bullpen are acceptable, he will likely make start in the Red Sox’ series opener in Detroit Thursday.
“Every day has been getting better and better. I still have some things to work through, but so far I’ve been able to avoid the DL, which is huge for right now,” he said.” I threw yesterday for the first time in four days. I threw a little bit more [Saturday], I’m going to threw more [Sunday], and if everything progresses the same way I’ll get off the mound Monday.
“Monday will be pivotal. Throwing off flat ground is a little bit different than throwing off the mound, obviously. If everything goes like it did [Saturday], [Sunday], then we’ll look to Monday. That will be the most pivotal day.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the latest Red Sox win that if Wright isn’t able to start Thursday then Buchholz likely will get another turn in the rotation.
|08.13.16 at 10:22 pm ET|
This one seemed necessary for the Red Sox.
They were facing a starting pitcher in Archie Corbin who came into Saturday night with an ERA of 4.80, who was pitching for a team, Arizona, that was 19 games under .500. And Sunday, there would certainly be no guarantees of victory, with the Diamondbacks’ $206 million pitcher, Zack Greinke, going in the series finale.
And, on top of it all, the Red Sox are just hours away from embarking on what might be a make-or-break, 11-day, four-city road trip.
Fortunately for John Farrell’s crew, it did what it needed to do.
The Red Sox got just enough from reliever-turned-starter Clay Buchholz. The offense managed to finally get to Corbin in the fifth and sixth innings. And the bullpen finally didn’t catch fire. It all added to the Sox’ second straight win over Arizona, this time a 6-3 win at Fenway Park.
The story coming into the game was Buchholz, who was making his first start since July 2. But, in the end, the righty’s performance was just a small part of the story, having been charged with three runs over 4 1/3 innings. Overall, the 71-pitch effort could be classified as good enough.
“They did what they told me to do. I got a start, so I went out there and started,” Buchholz said. “I would have liked to not be on a pitch count, but given the fact I hadn’t thrown an extended number of pitches in a game for a while now, it’s in the best interest of myself and the team looking out for their guys. Hopefully if I get another one it will be stretched out a little bit more and go from there.”
|08.13.16 at 8:13 pm ET|
There’s been other times folks have tried to fit Jonathan Papelbon back on the Red Sox roster since he left town after the 2011 season. Because of a variety of reasons, those were never realistic.
This time, a reunion could very well be real.
Papelbon is currently a free agent, having been given his release by the Nationals. He is free and clear to sign with any team, with the price tag still being picked up by the Nationals and Phillies. That was not the dynamic when the reliever was in the midst of trade rumors during his time in Philadelphia, which had signed him to a four-year, $50 million contract.
According to an industry source, the 36-year-old would welcome a return to Boston, but is still going to prioritize the best spot to win, and contribute to winning. With the current landscape, the Red Sox might fit the bill as much as anybody.
Every time Papelbon’s name came up in previous years, Red Sox executive cited the diminishing of his stuff, and a reluctance to revisit the glory years during his six seasons as Sox closer. But things are a bit different this time around.
Make no mistake about it, Papelbon’s stuff isn’t near what it used to be, with his fastball dropping 5 mph from where it was when he was last wearing a Red Sox uniform. And his numbers of late were the reason for the Nationals’ decision to first trade for Mark Melancon and then cut him loose, with his last five outings resulting in nine runs over 3 1/3 innings.
And Papelbon’s reputation as being a difficult clubhouse presence will scare off some teams who might be in the market for veteran relief help down the stretch.
But there are reasons why the idea of Papelbon returning has some support in corners of the Red Sox clubhouse.
|08.13.16 at 7:24 pm ET|
Yoan Moncada’s future is becoming somewhat clearer.
Prior to Saturday night’s game, Red Sox manager John Farrell offered some insight as to what the offseason plans might be for the top prospect, and what he position he will be spending those months at.
It sounds like Moncada is headed to Arizona in October and November to continue to play third base, where he has spent his most recent game with Double-A Portland.
“I know last night is the first time he’s been over there,” Farrell said. “I think there was probably 7-10 days prior to the ankle injury that he’s done early work, ground balls, that type of thing. First game. Kind of see where it goes. I think everything points to him going in that position in the Arizona Fall League. Trying to get him some further exposure at third base.”
Moncada has recently been reintroduced to third base, a position he played for two years in Cuba. The organization also plans on getting the 21-year-old some work in the outfield. He had been slated to play in the AFL and Puerto Rico last season before injuring his wrist.
As for the possibility that Moncada might see some time with the big league club before the regular season is over, Farrell was noncommittal. The infielder isn’t currently on the 40-man roster.
“That I don’t know. We haven’t really talked about September call-ups,” he said. “So, roster consideration is always going to factor into that. I think we’re at 39 currently. Who is earmarked as far as joining us on the first and then at the end of the Pawtucket season, we have yet to discuss all that.”
|08.13.16 at 3:28 pm ET|
Bring back Pap?
The Nationals on Saturday afternoon released former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, making him a free agent. Papelbon, 35, is 2-4 with a 4.37 ERA. He recently lost his job as National closer following the acquisition of another former Red Sox hurler, All-Star Mark Melancon, and hasn’t pitched since allowing a homer in 1 1/3 innings of mop-up duty against the Giants last Saturday.
A source told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that Papelbon would welcome a return to Boston, but is prioritizing which spot will give him the best chance to succeed for the rest of the season.
The Washington Post reported that the Nationals initially intended to designate Papelbon for assignment, but he requested his release so he wouldn’t have to wait 10 days to find a new team.
Papelbon is in the midst of his worst season as a pro. He’s averaging 3.6 walks and 8.0 strikeouts per nine innings, both well off his career averages of 2.3 and 10.0, respectively.
Papelbon has had a rocky go of things in Washington. He brawled with superstar Bryce Harper in the dugout last year, and pitched poorly enough to necessitate the acquisition of Melancon from the Pirates on July 30.
There’s no word yet on whether the Red Sox would be interested in reacquiring their former closer, but Papelbon has made no secret of his desire to return.
He saved a franchise-record 219 games in seven seasons here, and was on the mound when the Red Sox clinched the 2007 World Series.
|08.13.16 at 11:53 am ET|
Alex Rodriguez has officially been released by the Yankees, with top prospect Aaron Judge having been promoted. But before all of that went down the 41-year-old was honored by the organization at Yankee Stadium.
The night was complete with Rodriguez both hitting a double and getting an inning in at third base. But, as has been the case with the infielder’s career, something was just a bit off. This time the curveball came courtesy Mother Nature.
— New York Post (@nypost) August 13, 2016
|08.13.16 at 8:22 am ET|
The middle game of the Red Sox-Diamondbacks weekend series will feature Clay Buchholz against right-hander Archie Bradley.
Buchholz, getting a spot start due to Steven Wright’s injury, is 4-9 in 26 games (13 starts) with a 5.64 ERA and a 1.407 WHIP. Buchholz made his last start on July 2, going 4 1/3 innings and allowing six runs (three earned), seven hits and one walk with one strikeout in an embarrassing 21-2 loss to the Angels.
After the loss, he understood he might have cost himself his spot in the rotation.
“You’ve got to earn that right, I understand that,” Buchholz said (via MLB.com). “It’s not my first go-round. I’ve had some ups and downs in my career, too, so that’s the game. Have to earn the right to stay out there in those situations and I guess I haven’t earned it.”
In 13 relief appearances this year, Buchholz is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.017 WHIP.
Buchholz last pitched against the Yankees on Wednesday, coming on in the sixth inning with two batters on base and inducing a double play to get out of the inning. He was credited with a hold after protecting Boston’s one-run lead, although his bullpen mates eventually imploded in a discouraging 9-4 loss.
Buchholz has faced the Diamondbacks once, in 2010. In that outing, the 31-year-old righty picked up the win after going 5 2/3 innings and allowing three runs, seven hits and one walk with eight strikeouts in a 6-3 victory.
|08.12.16 at 11:26 pm ET|
When Hanley Ramirez gets hot, he gets hot.
Since his deluge of homers against the Giants on July 20 in which he parked three homers, the Red Sox first baseman has only added three more to his tally. But that was up until Friday night when he drilled two 400-plus-foot three-run home runs to help the Red Sox to a 9-4 win and climb to 16 home runs this season.
“I’ve been working a lot in the cage, and talking a lot with [Red Sox hitting coach] Chili [Davis] and [Red Sox assistant hitting coach] Victor [Rodriguez] and he keeps telling me, ‘Pick one side of the plate,’ and you know you can’t cover the whole thing before you get two strikes on you,” Ramirez said.
The work with Davis and Rodriguez is noticeable, too. Ramirez has had significantly more success when he keeps his swing short and over the center of the plate in lieu of swinging for the fences.
“The best way to describe it is if he stays short with his swing. He’s best when he stays with a compact swing,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. There’s times where he can get a little bit long, and that’s where you see the contact point be a little deeper in the zone or you see some balls pushed to the side. But when he’s got a compact, aggressive swing, that’s when he’s at his best. And those first two at-bats [Friday] was an example of both.”
With that in mind, Ramirez often cites that he’s not a home run hitter, even though he’s hit at least 20 home runs in six of his previous 10 seasons. According to David Ortiz, that theory is for good reason.
“He probably said that because he’s not a guy that every season he comes in and hits 30 homers. We all know he’s got pop and we all know what he’s capable of. Sometimes it’s even better when you call yourself not a home run hitter so you’re not thinking about hitting homers every time you step up to the plate. That’s some tricky trivia.“
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