Full Count
A Furiously Updated Red Sox Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network
Red Sox likely to promote a pitcher, wait to activate Shane Victorino 04.23.14 at 12:07 am ET
By   |  No Comments
Right-hander Allen Webster could be brought up by the Red Sox on Wednesday. (AP)

Right-hander Allen Webster could be brought up by the Red Sox on Wednesday. (AP)

The Red Sox thought that they might activate Shane Victorino from the disabled list as soon as Wednesday, following the third game of his rehab assignment in Triple-A Pawtucket (in which the outfielder went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts). But with the Sox having gotten just 2 1/3 innings from Clay Buchholz on Monday and 4 2/3 frames from Jon Lester on Tuesday, the team felt that a taxed bullpen that had worked a combined 11 innings over those two games might require reinforcements. As such, manager John Farrell said that the team might consider a pitcher instead of activating Victorino on Wednesday.

“We’ve got to take a look,” said Farrell. “We may have a pitching move because of how deep we’ve had to go in the bullpen the last couple of days, so Shane is not a given for [Wednesday].”

If the Sox make a move for a pitcher, an obvious choice would right-hander Allen Webster, who is the scheduled starter for Pawtucket on Wednesday. Webster is on the 40-man roster, and he has some experience in the big leagues as a reliever at the end of last year. He could provide the Sox with length if they endure another game that requires the services of the ‘pen. The other option would likely be Alex Wilson, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings on Monday to give him eight scoreless appearances (spanning eight frames) this year in Pawtucket. Wilson would be able to give more than three outs, though he’s unlikely stretched out to the point of being able to provide long relief if needed, at a time when both Chris Capuano and Burke Badenhop likely will be unavailable.

None of the other options on the 40-man roster seem to fit for a one-day callup. Drake Britton pitched on Tuesday, making him a less-than-ideal callup. Brandon Workman started on Monday, so would not be a consideration. Anthony Ranaudo has never pitched in relief, and he’d be pitching on three days’ rest. Rubby De La Rosa — the best pitcher in Pawtucket to date — started on Tuesday night.

As for a move to open a roster spot for a pitcher and then Victorino, the Sox haven’t announced any decisions, but outfielder Daniel Nava met with Farrell behind closed doors following Tuesday’s game. Nava’s endured a season-long struggle, hitting .149/.240/.269, and he’s been out of the starting lineup in two of the last four games, including Tuesday night against right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.

“We’re trying to get him going offensively and [Jonny Gomes] gives us a little bit more of that right now,” Farrell explained before the game of the decision to start Gomes over Nava. “He’s probably swung the bat a little bit more earlier in counts than we’ve seen in the past and that might be maybe some reflection of the current level of confidence. When he’s squared up some balls, he hasn’t seen the fruits of that too much. Like all players, they go through a little bit of a peak and valley and we’re trying to get him out of that right now. Fundamentally I can’t say it’s any one thing that he’s breaking down from a swing mechanic standpoint.”

Nava has two options remaining, and so he can be sent down without exposing him to waivers.

Read More: alex wilson, allen webster, daniel nava, Shane Victorino
Closing Time: Jacoby Ellsbury, Masahiro Tanaka lead Yankees to blow out over sloppy Red Sox 04.22.14 at 10:28 pm ET
By   |  No Comments
Grady Sizemore contributed to a woeful defensive night for the Red Sox. (AP)

Grady Sizemore contributed to a woeful defensive night for the Red Sox. (AP)

The Red Sox did not so much lose to the Yankees as they committed an atrocity.

A number of defensive vulnerabilities were exposed in Boston’s 9-3 loss to New York that underscored the degree to which the team has been destabilized in the field by the departures of Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchia along with the injuries to Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks. While starter Jon Lester was hit hard at times, the unraveling of the game was primarily the fault of the fielders behind him.

Some noteworthy instances:

  • A.J. Pierzynski had a passed ball in the first inning that convinced Derek Jeter to advance to second; Pieryznski’s throw was significantly off line, resulting in an error. The two-base gaffe resulted in an unearned run.
  • Brian Roberts grounded a single to left off the glove of a diving Xander Bogaerts in the top of the second.
  • Mark Teixeira blooped a double down the right field line in the top of the third on which Grady Sizemore wasn’t able to close the ground to get near the catch. On the next play, Brian McCann lined a ball to left-center on which Jonny Gomes didn’t have the range to track it down, resulting in an RBI double.
  • Later in the third, Sizemore got a bad break on a soft liner to right by Roberts and his attempt at a diving catch came up short, clanging off his glove for a single.
  • In the fifth, Mike Napoli failed to glove a liner off his glove, with the ball landing in right for a run-scoring single (with two outs). On that same play, McCann thought the ball had been caught and so started running back to the dugout. Had right fielder Sizemore realized that, he would have been able to force out McCann at second. Instead, Sizemore threw home, allowing McCann to scurry safely to second, as shortstop Xander Bogaerts held his hands on top of his head in observance of the missed opportunity for an inning-ending force. The Yankees tacked on three more runs when the next batter, Jacoby Ellsbury, rocketed a double to left-center and, after a pitching change, Derek Jeter followed with an RBI single up the middle.

The Sox’ defensive limitations played a major role in at least six runs (five of which were unearned), and also hastened Lester’s exit from the game after 4 2/3 innings and 118 pitches, resulting in more work for a bullpen that had been taxed one day earlier by Clay Buchholz lasting just 2 1/3 innings. The Sox, it is worth noting, ranked as the fourth-worst team in the majors in defensive efficiency entering the day, having converted just 68.2 percent of balls in play into outs. The limitations of the left side of their infield and their outfield corners have been felt often, and that remained true on Tuesday.

With the loss, the Red Sox are now 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the AL East. They’ve lost four of five so far to New York.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX Read the rest of this entry »

Red Sox lineup: Grady Sizemore leads off, Jonny Gomes in left, Daniel Nava sits vs. Yankees 04.22.14 at 3:30 pm ET
By   |  No Comments

As the Red Sox prepare to face Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka for the first time, the team will feature Grady Sizemore in the leadoff spot. Sizemore will play right field, with Jonny Gomes in left and Daniel Nava sitting. A.J. Pierzynski will be behind the plate to catch Jon Lester.

RED SOX LINEUP

Grady Sizemore, RF

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

David Ortiz, DH

Mike Napoli, 1B

Jonny Gomes, LF

A.J. Pierzynski, C

Xander Bogaerts, SS

Brock Holt, 3B

Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Jon Lester, SP

Red Sox minor league roundup: Brandon Workman, strike-throwing machine; pivotal performance for Mookie Betts; Cody Kukuk breaking through; Wendell Rijo ahead of his years 04.22.14 at 10:36 am ET
By   |  No Comments
Right-hander Brandon Workman punched out eight in five innings on Monday. (AP)

Right-hander Brandon Workman punched out eight in five innings on Monday. (AP)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-3 WIN VS. BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)

(BOX)

Shane Victorino went 1-for-4 with an infield single and is now 1-for-7 in two rehab games, with a third slated for Tuesday night. Will Middlebrooks was 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts in his first rehab game as he recovers from his right calf injury.

– Right-hander Brandon Workman, in his second start for Pawtucket, punched out eight and walked none in five strong innings. He allowed just four hits, though two of those were home runs, resulting in a three-run yield. Between the big leagues and minors this year, Workman has 17 punchouts and two walks in 14 2/3 innings.

Bryce Brentz went 2-for-3 with a double and and also negotiated his 10th walk of the month, his most walks in any month since he reached Triple-A at the end of 2012. In his last eight games, he’s 10-for-30 with three walks and three extra-base hits, good for a line of .333 with a .394 OBP and .500 slugging mark, boosting his season line to .227/.329/.364.

– Garin Cecchini continued to be an on-base metronome, going 2-for-4 to improve his season line to .317/.377/.397. It is worth noting that there does appear to be an adjustment to Triple-A pitching that the just-turned-23-year-old is experiencing. He’s walked just five times to date, a 7.2 percent walk rate that is just over half of his pre-2014 14.1 percent walk rate and down even further from his 16.9 percent walk rate of a year ago.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 7-4 WIN AT BINGHAMTON (METS)

(BOX)

– Feats of Mookie: Turning the pivot on a triple play. Mookie Betts found himself in the middle of a 5-4-3 triple play in the bottom of the first inning. With runners on first and second and no outs, Sean Coyle fielded a grounder right at the third base bag, stepped on it and fired to second — with the decision to throw to second after stepping on the bag representing a notable prospect development given that it showed impressive game awareness for a player who is playing a new position this season. The throw was described by Portland manager Billy McMillon to the Portland Press-Herald as being low, but Betts handled it and still managed to turn the pivot, throwing to first baseman Travis Shaw to complete the trick. (Here’s the call of the triple play from Sea Dogs play-by-play man Mike Antonellis, courtesy of the U.S. Cellular Sea Dogs Radio Network.) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: blake swihart, Brandon Workman, carlos asuaje, cody kukuk
Shane Victorino collects first hit of rehab assignment, Will Middlebrooks hitless in Pawtucket 04.21.14 at 9:13 pm ET
By   |  No Comments

Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino, in the second game of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket, had an infield single in four plate appearances while playing seven innings. He also popped out twice and grounded into a double play, making the 33-year-old 1-for-7 in his rehab assignment from a hamstring injury. Victorino is also slated to play in Pawtucket one more time on Tuesday before he is re-evaluated for possible activation during the forthcoming Red Sox-Yankees series.

Joining Victorino in Pawtucket on Monday was third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who played in his first rehab game on the 16th day of his stint on the DL due to a Grade 1 calf strain suffered on April 5. Middlebrooks went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts and lined out to right. All three of Middlebrooks’ plate appearances came against highly regarded Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman, a hard-throwing starter. Victorino’s first three plate appearances came against Stroman while his fourth (a pop-out) came against left-hander reliever Rob Rasmussen.

Read More: Shane Victorino, Will Middlebrooks,
Red Sox insist Clay Buchholz’s arm strength, not health, is the issue 04.21.14 at 6:06 pm ET
By   |  No Comments
Clay Buchholz allowed six runs in just 2 1/3 innings as the Red Sox lost to Baltimore, 7-5. (AP)

Clay Buchholz allowed six runs in just 2 1/3 innings as the Red Sox lost to Baltimore, 7-5. (AP)

It wasn’t the worst start of Clay Buchholz‘s career, but it was close. And so, after the right-hander struggled through 2 1/3 innings in which he allowed six runs on seven hits in a 7-6 loss to the Orioles while regularly featuring a fastball that didn’t crack 90 mph, the question had to be asked: Is he dealing with any physical issues that are undermining his performance at the start of the season?

“He doesn’€™t speak of any [physical issues],” said manager John Farrell, who described his starter as featuring stuff that was “a little bit flat” on Monday. “In all the physical testing that we do with all of our pitchers, it doesn’€™t indicate any deficit. Nothing present physically.”

So what is it? Buchholz suggested he’s merely in the stretch of the season where he’s still working to build arm strength. That *could* be interpreted as a red flag, and given that Buchholz has endured significant injuries in two of the past three years (back in 2011, shoulder in 2013), it’s natural to ask whether the pitcher is healthy given the arm strength issues. The Sox acknowledge that reality at a time when he’s struggled to a 7.71 ERA through four starts. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Clay Buchholz,
Closing Time: Concerns mount about Clay Buchholz as Red Sox comeback effort against Orioles comes up short 04.21.14 at 2:27 pm ET
By   |  No Comments
Clay Buchholz allowed six runs in just 2 1/3 innings as the Red Sox lost to Baltimore, 7-5. (AP)

Clay Buchholz allowed six runs in just 2 1/3 innings as the Red Sox lost to Baltimore, 7-5. (AP)

Is Clay Buchholz injured or just struggling? And which would be worse?

Buchholz looked very little like the pitcher who customarily dominated when healthy enough to pitch last year. After two effiicient innings, his outing unraveled in the third, when he permitted six runs on eight hits. A year ago, he didn’t allow more than four runs in any of his 16 starts. Thus far this year, he’s permitted six runs in a pair of his four starts.

Statistically, Buchholz’s results have been atrocious. He is 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA. Opponents are hammering him for a line of .375/.402/.568.

Yet it’s not just a matter of his results being bad. His stuff has also simply been different than in past years. His fastball velocity is down, as he came into the game averaging about 91 mph on his fastballs (four- and two-seam), about 2 mph off of where he threw it over the prior four seasons. His swings and misses on his four- and two-seam fastballs are also down by about half, from about one in every 12 pitches to one in every 25. (He didn’t have a single swing and miss on a fastball on Monday.) With the diminished power and greater vulnerability to his fastball has come a greater reluctance to use it — whereas he threw a fastball (either four- or two-seamer) almost every other pitch last year (a combined 49.4 percent of the time), this year, he’s using those primary offerings just over a third of the time (a combined 34.8 percent).

The Red Sox have not suggested that Buchholz is dealing with any kind of injury. It’s possible that he’s healthy and simply has yet to cut loose with his stuff — not unlike how, at the start of a 2012 season when he was returning from a back injury, he seemed cautious throughout April, with diminished results following, before he turned his year around in mid-May and dominated for most of the remaining 4 1/2 months of the year.

That history can give the Red Sox hope. Unless Buchholz is dealing with an injury, then given what they’ve seen so far in 2014 — particularly on Monday morning, when he got just three swings and misses among his 55 pitches, and put the Sox in a hole so deep that they couldn’t escape in a 7-6 loss to the Orioles — those are the sorts of silver linings to which the Sox must cling with a pitcher who is critical to what they hope to accomplish.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX Read the rest of this entry »

Red Sox Box Score
Red Sox Schedule
Ace Ticket
Baseball Analytics Blog
Red Sox Headlines
Red Sox Minor League News
Red Sox Team Leaders
MLB Headlines
Tips & Feedback

Verify