|05.13.16 at 11:50 am ET|
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.”
|05.13.16 at 8:58 am ET|
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.
|05.12.16 at 11:40 pm ET|
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.”
|05.12.16 at 10:06 pm ET|
It doesn’t matter who is on the mound against the Red Sox of late, they are going to get to them.
Thursday night it was 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel, as the Red Sox roughed him up for eight runs in six innings as the Red Sox beat the Astros 11-1.
It was the Red Sox’ fifth straight win, which is their longest win streak of the season. They have scored double-digit runs in four straight games, which is the first time any major league team has done so since the Red Sox in 2007.
As has been the case of late, the Red Sox scored twice in the first inning courtesy of a two-run home run into the Monster seats by Xander Bogaerts. It was his third homer of the season. Since April 11, the Red Sox have outscored opponents 40-11 in the first inning.
After the Astros scored a run in the top of the second, the Red Sox responded with a run of their own in the bottom half on a Jackie Bradley Jr. single up the middle. They scored two more in the third inning on back-to-back doubles by David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez then scored on a wall-ball single from Chris Young.
Mookie Betts added a three-run home run in the sixth inning to put the game out of reach and then the Sox added three more in the late innings.
Putting his new mechanics to work for the first time, David Price seemed to find something. Price was reaching the mid-90s consistently with his fastball and most importantly, was getting late action on all of his pitches.
Although it wasn’t dominant by any means, it was a big step in the right direction for the left-hander. Price went 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run on six hits, while walking a batter and striking out 12. He struck out four straight batters at two different points of the game and also recorded the first six outs of the game via strikeout.
“He obviously struck us out a lot,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “We had a hard time making contact against him, even in situations where contact would have benefited us. He was attacking the strike zone very early. He had his fastball and his changeup going. He didn’t throw a ton of breaking balls, he didn’t have to. He was really the aggressor tonight and threw a good game.”
In relief of Price, Junichi Tazawa went 1 1/3 scoreless innings before handing the ball over to Heath Hembree for the ninth.
The Red Sox are now 13-6 when facing former Cy Young Award winners since the start of last season. Those pitchers are a combined 2-11 with a 5.18 ERA in those games.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:
|05.12.16 at 9:37 pm ET|
Problem (seemingly) solved.
After days of fixing a mechanical issue that had plagued him for at least one full season, David Price got back to his old self, and it paid off handsomely.
The Red Sox starter went 6 2/3 innings against the Astros, giving up six hits and one run while throwing 113 pitches. He struck out 12 while walking one, getting 19 swings and misses.
Price, who gave way to Junichi Tazawa with two outs and nobody on in the seventh inning, left with an 8-1 lead.
After the lefty’s adjustment — which included a noticeable difference in the level of his glove and front leg when through through his delivery — paid off in an uptick in velocity. While Price’s fastball was sitting at 91-92 mph in the first inning, he found himself consistently hitting 95 mph by the third.
According to BrooksBaseball.net, Price threw some variation of his fastball 30 times, maxing out at 96 mph (2 mph faster than his max from the last outing). He also integrated his changeup (27 times), cutter (32) and curveball (13 on a regular basis).
The changeup might have been his best pitch, throwing it for strikes 21 of 27 times, while getting more whiffs (7) than any other offering.
Five of his strikeouts came on fastballs, with Price also showing an ability to control the inside part of the plate with all of his pitches.
The outing lowered Price’s ERA to 6.00, with the Sox ace coming in having totaled an 8.34 ERA in four Fenway Park outings.
|05.12.16 at 5:09 pm ET|
Red Sox starter Joe Kelly made his second rehab start Wednesday night with Triple-A Pawtucket. The right-hander went five innings and allowed one run on five hits, while walking a batter and striking out three.
Given it was his second rehab start and was hitting 98 mph on the radar gun, there’s a chance he could be ready to rejoin the Red Sox rotation, but manager John Farrell wouldn’t say and left the door open for him to make another start in Triple-A.
“He’s with Pawtucket right now. He’ll be back here tomorrow,” Farrell said. “He will go through a full workout and then we’ll have a chance to sit down and talk with him at that point. As I mentioned yesterday, the off days upcoming, that’s going to give us an opportunity to be flexible with the rotation going forward. We don’t have a set date when Joe will make his next start, whether it is here or back at Pawtucket. All that will be discussed with him in person.”
The roster still has 13 pitchers and only 12 position players. Farrell said ideally by the end of the weekend they would like to get back to the standard 12 pitchers and 13 positional players.
“We’re at a point where we’re kind of going day-by-day in terms of if the need for an additional arm is there,” Farrell said. “The goal is will be to get back to four bench players. We’ve been on record a number of times. We’ll look to go day-to-day through the weekend and I would look anticipate something — an adjustment as we get to Kansas City.”
He added the positional player will likely be a left-handed bat, but likely won’t be Blake Swihart as he is still adjusting to left field.
“He’s got to keep playing,” Farrell said. “He’s got to keep swinging the bat too. He’s taking on a new position so that is going to take added concentration on the defensive side. I know he swung the bat a little bit better last night. That still has to come for him.”
|05.12.16 at 3:21 pm ET|
With the Red Sox facing another left-hander, Chris Young gets another start in left field. Young has turned things around at the plate, particularly against lefties as he enters the game hitting .381 against them.
Overall, it’s a standard lineup against a lefty as the Red Sox will go up against Astros ace Dallas Keuchel. The offense will look to continue the momentum it built in the three-game sweep of the A’s when they scored 40 runs over the three games.
Christian Vazquez will catch Red Sox starter David Price.
Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:
Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Chris Young, LF
Travis Shaw, 1B
Christian Vazquez, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
David Price, LHP
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
|05.12.16 at 12:42 pm ET|
According to a source, Red Sox prospect Michael Chavis won’t need surgery on his injured left thumb. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe was first to report this story.
Chavis injured the thumb back on April 23. He had an MRI and surgery was a possibility, but after a few weeks it’s been determined surgery won’t be needed and deemed a left thumb ligament sprain. There is no timetable for his return, as he is just starting a hitting progression in Fort Myers.
The infielder was off to a hot start this season repeating in Single-A Greenville. In 15 games he was hitting .356 with three home runs and 14 RBIs.
Chavis was a first-round pick in the 2014 draft.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|05.12.16 at 12:02 pm ET|
1. When it comes to drafting a player, Andrew Benintendi was the model of how the process is supposed to go.
The Red Sox were well ahead of the industry with their No. 7 overall pick in last year’s draft thanks to former scout and now Red Sox pitching cross-checker Chris Mears.
Mears first spotted the center fielder following his senior season of high school. Benintendi was playing in the Cony Mack World Series in New Mexico and he caught Mears’ eye, especially after Mears learned he would be playing for the University of Arkansas, which was in Mears’ region at the time.
“I thought he could really hit,” Mears said. “At that time he was just finishing high school. He was obviously wasn’t that strong, wasn’t that developed, but I thought he could really hit. He could control his at-bats and had a feel for what he was doing. That’s what stood out to me and he was coming into my area at the University of Arkansas so I knew I had someone to follow.”
This came after the Red Sox looked at him out of Madeira High School in Madeira, Ohio as a senior. Although he wasn’t selected by the Red Sox — he was selected by the Reds, but didn’t sign — he showed the organization enough that the area scout wrote a report on him.
As a true freshman at Arkansas, Benintendi played in 61 games and hit .276 with one home run and 27 RBIs, but really came into his own during his sophomore year and Mears was there the first weekend to get a head start on the rest of the industry.
Mears saw a big difference in what he had seen during Benintendi’s freshman year.
“It was strength,” Mears said. “He was healthy. He had a little bit of a quad injury that was nagging him. He took the summer off and over the course of the summer he put on 15 pounds. The ball was coming off his bat a lot differently. He was a lot stronger. Over the course of the winter he got stronger and better.”
Mears had a gut he had something in Benintendi and notified the cross-checkers and Mike Rikard, the Red Sox’ director of amateur scouting. For the rest of the spring, the Red Sox had a number of people fly down and check out Benintendi and they all liked what they saw.
“We all really liked him, obviously,” Mears said. “He just continued to get better over the course of the spring. It was one of those things where we saw him early and had a really good process with him collectively as a staff. From [Mike Rikard], [cross-checker] Jim Robinson — my cross-checker — to our other national guys, just seeing him over the course of the spring and watching him get better. He just got locked in over the course of the spring.”
Then it was June 8 and the Red Sox had the No. 7 overall pick in the MLB draft and Benintendi was the selection.
Now, almost a full year later, Mears reflected on the entire process, noting it was the ideal way to scout a player and ultimately draft him.
|05.12.16 at 10:14 am ET|
Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (16-17): W, 2-1, at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees)
— Behind Joe Kelly, the PawSox were able to pick up the win. Kelly went five innings and allowed one run on five hits, while walking a batter and striking out three. He threw 77 pitches and perhaps the most encouraging sign was him hitting 98 mph on the radar gun in the final inning. This was his second rehab start and it’s unclear what his next step will be.
— In relief of Kelly, Anthony Varvaro and Pat Light each tossed two scoreless innings to close out the win.
— Catcher Blake Swihart provided Pawtucket all the offense it would need with a two-run home run in the fourth inning. He’s now hitting .222 on the year with the PawSox.
— First baseman Sam Travis went 2-for-4 with a double and designated hitter Chris Marerro also went 2-for-4 in the win.
— Rusney Castillo went 1-for-4 and is hitting just .256 on the year.
— Recently promoted from Double-A Portland, outfielder Bryce Brentz went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
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