|Red Sox minor league roundup: Time to start thinking about Garin Cecchini in Portland; Allen Webster’s yin and yang; Michael Almanzar’s ride continues; Mookie enters the Matrix||05.25.13 at 12:19 pm ET|
In the same way that Jackie Bradley Jr. forced an expectation and presumption of his mid-year promotion in 2012, Garin Cecchini is starting to do the same this year. The situations aren’t precisely analogous, since a) as an outfielder, Bradley didn’t face the same kind of positional bottlenecks that will confront Cecchini and b) Bradley had the experience of being a top college performer, making it easier to put him on a fast track.
Still, Cecchini has now been a metronome for almost all of two months. He can’t be kept off base. On Friday, he went 1-for-2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch. In his last six games, he’s stepped to the plate 26 times and reached in 16 of those. Through 40 games, he’s hitting .376/.485/.638 with 23 extra-base hits. With runners in scoring position, his numbers are a joke: .474/.608/.763.
Cecchini is 22 — so not young for his level. He is, in fact, the same age as Almanzar. Because he was drafted as a 19-year-old, the Sox will have to decide whether or not to add him to the 40-man roster this offseason for the purposes of protecting him from the Rule 5 draft — though, of course, that will be no decision at all, since he now joins Bradley and Bogaerts as the top position prospects in the organization.
In short, barring an injury or what would seem a wildly unlikely prolonged tailspin, the clock will likely start ticking on his time in Salem. Bradley went up after the All-Star break, and if he sustains anything like what he’s done, Cecchini, too, would appear in line for a similar promotion a few weeks down the road.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-3 WIN AT LOUISVILLE
– Jackie Bradley Jr. continues to offer reminders of why he captivated the Sox during spring training. He went 2-for-4 with a double and walk, and he now has an eight-game hitting streak (three games prior to his stint on the DL for biceps tendinitis and five since coming back), during which he’s 14-for-32 with a line of .438/.526/.688. With Shane Victorino now on the DL and Bradley representing the only healthy Sox minor league outfielder on the 40-man roster, both his roster status and recent performance suggests that he likely will be called up to the big leagues in the coming days, particularly since the Red Sox could use an outfielder capable of playing both right field (where Daniel Nava is currently the only viable option) and center (Jacoby Ellsbury has no real backup right now). Read the rest of this entry »
|Closing Time: John Lackey dominates as Red Sox trounce Tribe||05.24.13 at 10:50 pm ET|
The Red Sox entered the year hoping that a healthy John Lackey might offer a reliable source of solid, competitive innings. But the veteran has given them something far different than that. Right now, he’s in a stretch where he’s been little short of dominant.
That continued on Friday, when Lackey overpowered the Indians through seven innings of an 8-1 Red Sox win. Lackey allowed just one unearned run on two hits, struck out eight and walked three, on a night when his fastball touched an eye-catching 95 mph. A few things about his season stand out:
– In his last two starts, he’s allowed no earned runs and just three hits in 13 innings while striking out 13 and walking three.
– On the year, he now has three games of eight strikeouts — matching the total number of such contests he had in his first three years of employment with the Red Sox.
– He’s struck out 40 batters in 39 2/3 innings, a rate of 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings that would represent a new career high (surpassing the 8.6 Ks/9 he had in 2005 with the Angels — when he was 26 years old).
– His ERA for the year is 2.72 and his WHIP is 1.13, both of which would represent — easily — the best such marks of his career.
Right now, Lackey doesn’t resemble the pitcher that the Sox thought they’d have coming back from Tommy John surgery or even the one whom they thought they were signing as a free agent after the 2009 season. He’s been better than either of those standards, with his potential to join Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz as a somewhat reliable source of strength in the rotation representing one of the season’s biggest surprises for the Sox.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox-Indians game expected to start at 7:50 p.m.||05.24.13 at 7:12 pm ET|
The start of the Red Sox’ Friday night contest against the Indians has been delayed by rain. The tarp remained on the field at the time of the scheduled first pitch, but was removed shortly thereafter with the torrential rains having moved on from the stadium. The Red Sox have announced an expected start time of 7:50 p.m.
|As the roster churns: Why the Red Sox made six roster moves with more to come||05.24.13 at 6:03 pm ET|
It is the busiest transaction day of the year for the Red Sox, who made six roster moves with more to come in the coming days. Here’s a look at the moves that were made and the moves that likely will be made, with a brief explanation for each:
SHANE VICTORINO PLACED ON 15-DAY DL (LEFT HAMSTRING STRAIN), RETROACTIVE TO MAY 21
Victorino had been unable to play for the last three games. The Red Sox roster is currently running thin, given that the bullpen was nearly emptied in Thursday’s 12-3 blowout loss to the Indians and that Victorino and Will Middlebrooks both faced injuries. While the Sox had planned to wait until closer to the one-week mark of Victorino’s stretch of being unable to play before making a decision on him, the need to summon reinforcements from the minors somewhat forced the Sox’ hands. So, too, did the fitful progress he’d made since suffering the injury. It hadn’t been a straight-line improvement, but instead an up-and-down trajectory. Given that, the Sox, according to manager John Farrell, felt that Victorino was “in need of this extended time and treatment.”
Victorino is hitting .283/.343/.362 while playing dazzling right field defense in 34 games this year. He’s missed 14 games due to back injuries and the hamstring. This is his first stint on the DL this year.
WILL MIDDLEBROOKS PLACED ON 15-DAY DL (LOWER BACK STRAIN) Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Sean Coyle goes deep; Jackie Bradley is (perhaps) ready; Mookie Betts is (still) unstoppable; Cody Kukuk’s struggles deepen||05.24.13 at 2:08 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 10-0 LOSS AT LOUISVILLE (REDS)
– The PawSox, after a Wednesday off-day, endured a brutal day of travel en route to Louisville on Thursday morning, when their connecting flight out of Philadelphia was canceled. PawSox play-by-play man Jeff Levering offered the following doleful account:
The PawSox convened at their home ballpark for a 5 a.m. bus to T.F. Green Airport. Scheduled to arrive in Louisville by way of Philadelphia in late morning, their connecting flight was cancelled, they were rerouted through Charlotte and didn’t touch down in Kentucky until less than an hour before the scheduled first pitch.
With the game time then pushed back more than an hour, Louisville lefty Tony Cingrani offered his first pitch to Jackie Bradley Jr. at 7:44 p.m. Much like most of the evening still to unfold, it went the home club’s way.
Cingrani (W, 1-0), who wound up striking out Bradley on three pitches, had not allowed a run in his first 14 1/3 innings at Triple-A this season. Nor would he in five more innings against the PawSox.
– Though Bradley went down in three pitches in his first at-bat, he went 2-for-5, continuing what has been an impressive burst out of the gates since returning from the DL. PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina described Bradley as being ready to contribute at the major league level, though he offered an asterisk to the characterization based on his utility while working his way back from his stint on the DL due to a biceps strain. More on Bradley’s situation here.
– Brock Holt continued his recent offensive uptick, going 1-for-2 with a pair of walks. He’s reached base in each of his last seven goes, going 9-for-22 with a .409/.500/.545. His strong recent performance comes at an opportune time, given the possibility that the Sox’ depth could be tested by the back injury to Will Middlebrooks. Holt was on call to join the big league roster as a utility backup option (with Pedro Ciriaco starting at third base in that scenario), though Jose Iglesias has also been groomed recently to provide a versatile backup option. Still, he has yet to play second base in the pro ranks, while Holt has played short, second and third.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 8-4 WIN VS. NEW HAMPSHIRE (BLUE JAYS) Read the rest of this entry »
|Closing Time: Dempster, Red Sox continue home pitching woes in blowout loss to Indians||05.23.13 at 10:46 pm ET|
Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona and his Indians team looked very much at home at Fenway Park while the current Red Sox squad looked completely out of sorts in a lopsided 12-3 contest.
Cleveland teed off against Sox starter Ryan Dempster and relievers Clayton Mortensen and Alex Wilson. With the 12 run (11 earned) yield, the Sox now have a 4.33 ERA at Fenway Park — a mark that ranks 10th among the 15 American League clubs, and that represents a stark departure from the team’s AL-best 3.45 road ERA. The result has been felt in wins and losses: The Sox are a somewhat modest 13-11 at home and 15-9 on the road. They’ve lost six of their last seven at Fenway, and for the first time since 2006, yielded 12 or more runs in consecutive home games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– Starter Ryan Dempster turned in his third straight poor start and his second straight in which he a) struggled to find the strike zone and b) failed to go as many as five innings. Indeed, the 35-year-old logged a season-worst three innings while permitting four runs on five hits (one double, four singles) and four walks. He did strike out four.
In his last two starts, Dempster has now walked 10 batters in just 7 2/3 innings. This marks his first back-to-back outings of four-plus walks since 2011. Over his last three starts, he’s permitted 15 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings (10.66 ERA), with his ERA climbing from 2.93 to 4.69 in that time. Read the rest of this entry »
|Will Middlebrooks leaves game with lower back spasms||05.23.13 at 9:17 pm ET|
Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks was replaced by Pedro Ciriaco prior to the top of the fifth inning with what the Red Sox described as lower back spasms. Middlebrooks had been 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts on Thursday.
The 24-year-old has been dealing with discomfort as a result of a separation of his ribs from the cartilage connecting them to the sternum earlier this month as a result of a collision with catcher David Ross, but the suggestion of back spasms represents a new malady. In his last three games (including Thursday), he’s 0-for-10 with one walk and five strikeouts, bringing his line for the season to a .201 average, .234 OBP and .408 slugging mark.
More on the situation as information becomes available.
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