|Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz returns, Yoenis Cespedes sits||08.27.14 at 4:44 pm ET|
RED SOX LINEUP
Brock Holt, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Allen Craig, RF
Mookie Betts, CF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
David Ross, C
Joe Kelly, RHP
|Closing Time: Red Sox erupt for 7 runs in 11th inning to beat Blue Jays||08.26.14 at 11:42 pm ET|
On Sunday, Mike Napoli talked about the importance of treating the remainder of the schedule as meaningful, of respecting the game in a fashion that maintained the integrity of the team’s who still have something to play for in 2014. The veteran said that the Red Sox were mindful of the teams that had fallen out of the race last year that nonetheless still fought for wins against contenders; the Sox, Napoli hoped, would do the same.
Through the first two games against the Blue Jays in Toronto, the Sox have done just that, delivering a potentially terminal pair of losses on the Jays, the latest an 11-7 victory in 11 innings on Tuesday. The Sox scored seven or more runs in an extra-inning frame for just the second time in at least the last 30 years, the previous such instance coming on August 16, 2005, then held on for dear life as reliever Heath Hembree struggled to secure the final three outs.
Still, secure them he did, as the Red Sox left the Blue Jays reeling, seven games out of the wild card race.
|Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz out again against Blue Jays||08.26.14 at 3:19 pm ET|
RED SOX LINEUP
Brock Holt, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Mike Napoli, DH
Daniel Nava, RF
Allen Craig, 1B
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Mookie Betts, CF
Christian Vazquez, C
Rubby De La Rosa, RHP
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Matt Barnes’ rotation breakthrough; Michael Chavis, Rafael Devers mashing; Mike Meyers, triple threat||08.26.14 at 1:05 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 6-2 WIN AT BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)
– Matt Barnes‘ second-half breakthrough continued, and has now reached the point where it can be called the best sustained stretch he’s had since at least the first eight starts of his pro career, and arguably since he made his pro debut in 2012. The 24-year-old allowed two runs on four hits (three singles and a triple) while walking two and punching out four in 7 1/3 innings. The outing marked the third straight, fourth out of five and fifth out of seven in which he’s pitched into the seventh inning or later, something he’d done only four times in his first 65 minor league starts.
Barnes is now 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA in his seven second-half starts, a span in which he has 7.0 strikeouts and 2.9 walks per nine innings. Whereas he looked like someone who might struggle to stay in the rotation in the first half based on the continuation of his 2013 struggles to work deep into games, averaging just under five innings an outing prior to the All-Star break, in the second half, he’s averaging 6 2/3 innings per start, showing an ability to deliver the sort of consistent innings that the Red Sox want to see from anyone whom they’d consider as a rotation candidate. After he closed out the first half with a 5.06 ERA, Barnes has lowered that mark to 3.80, and on Monday, he crossed the 120-inning plateau for the first time in his pro career. Read the rest of this entry »
|Closing Time: Yoenis Cespedes, Clay Buchholz help Red Sox snap losing streak in 10 innings||08.25.14 at 10:18 pm ET|
A Red Sox team desperate for a single win to restore a shred of dignity instead stood on the cusp of a dismal defeat. Koji Uehara had blown a three-run ninth-inning lead, and the Sox seemed like they were spiraling towards their ninth straight loss.
Instead, the team showed for a night a degree of resilience. Yoenis Cespedes shook off a head-high fastball from rocket-throwing Blue Jays reliever Aaron Sanchez in the top of the 10th inning, singling on a 1-2 curveball to drive in Brock Holt with the go-ahead run in a 4-3 Red Sox victory.
“Some pitchers think when they throw that ball high and tight you’re going to get a flustered and throw you off. That’s not necessarily the case with me,” Cespedes told reporters in Toronto. “I almost get almost upset, not necessarily with the pitcher but more with myself. I’m able to refocus myself and it worked out today.”
Though Cespedes has posted relatively modest offensive totals since joining the Sox from the A’s at the trade deadline, he’s already delivered his share of timely hits. He’s driven in a team-leading 19 runs in 22 games in August, hitting .310/.313/.655 with runners in scoring position.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– And then, Clay Buchholz does *that*.
The Red Sox right-hander, one start removed from a six-run, six-inning abomination that underscored questions about his consistency as a pitcher, rebounded in dazzling fashion, tossing 8 1/3 innings in which he permitted just four hits, walked one, struck out four and recorded 15 outs on the ground in an effort notable for both its tremendous efficiency (103 pitches) and the absence of solid contact against him (all of the hits he allowed were singles, with three having been of the groundball variety).
He left the game with a 3-0 lead after giving up a pair of seeing-eye singles and a walk. While he ended up being charged with all three of the runs, through eight innings, Buchholz was nothing but dominant. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league weekend roundup: Garin Cecchini’s redemption; Brian Johnson keeps riding prospect helium; Trey Ball gets back on track; Steady Teddy Stankiewicz, innings eater; Billy McMillon keeps winning||08.25.14 at 1:45 pm ET|
A not-so-brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday, Saturday and Sunday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX:
7-3 LOSS VS. LEHIGH VALLEY (PHILLIES), 15-2 LOSS AT BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS), 10-6 LOSS (WALKOFF, 12 INNINGS) AT BUFFALO
– Garin Cecchini‘s 4-for-9 weekend, which also featured a pair of walks, continued a season-transforming August stretch. The 23-year-old once again is once again showing the swing and approach that earned him a reputation as one of the top pure hitters in the minors entering this season. In 19 games in August, he’s hitting .329 with a .413 OBP and .529 slugging mark, with his 10 extra-base hits are his most in any month since he had 15 in April 2013 with High-A Salem.
Cecchini’s season totals remain disappointing. After hitting .322 with a minor league-leading .443 OBP and .471 mark with 94 walks and 86 strikeouts last year in High-A Salem and Double-A Portland, he’s hitting .257/.336/.367 with 41 walks and 89 punchouts in Pawtucket this year. Yet evaluators remain largely convinced that his ability to stay back and stay inside the ball hasn’t disappeared, that he fell out of his approach for a longer-than-expected stretch from May through July but that the basis of a successful big league hitter remain in place.
“He’s starting to show better balance, he’s staying back a little more. He was starting to get a little bit out in front when things weren’t going his way. Now we’re starting to see him stay with his legs a little more, stay with his base,” PawSox manager Kevin Boles noted last week. “Watching him, we just have to remember what kind of player we have here. All our guys go through this. It’s not a surprise when the younger players, the league makes the adjustment, and then it’s up to them to make the adjustments to the league whenever that happens. Seeing him get off to the hot start, obviously people are aware of him. When he’s in the lineup, no matter where you put him, they’re going to be aware of him and his ability at the plate. He’s handled it well, he’s starting to come out of it and get back to what we saw early on this year.”
His timetable may have been altered. Had Cecchini been enjoying anything like his 2013 campaign in Pawtucket, he likely would be getting a lengthy look in the big leagues during this Red Sox period of evaluation. Instead, he’s figuring things out in Triple-A, trying to position himself to be a contributor sometime in the middle of 2015.
With Xander Bogaerts on the DL, it’s Carlos Rivero — whose positional skills include the ability to play shortstop as well as third base and left field, as opposed to Cecchini, who just plays third and left for now — who received the big league callup. But Cecchini is in a place this month where he’s starting to put his game back in order, where his big league future is once again coming more prominently into view than his Triple-A struggles.
– Jackie Bradley Jr. went 1-for-6 on Sunday, closing out a 3-for-16 weekend in which he did not walk and struck out four times. So far, since being sent down to Triple-A, he’s 7-for-35 with no walks and 10 strikeouts en route to a .200/.200/.286 line. Read the rest of this entry »
|With Xander Bogaerts to DL for concussion symptoms, Red Sox call up Carlos Rivero||08.24.14 at 5:56 pm ET|
Xander Bogaerts has been placed on the seven-day disabled list due to symptoms that suggest a mild concussion after being hit on the head by a Felix Hernandez pitch on Friday night.
“He still has some symptoms from a mild concussion, so until they subside or clear up, we’ve got to go through the protocol to get him cleared,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “He’ll be inactive for those seven days at a minimum.”
Bogaerts, whose DL stint is retroactive to Saturday, will remain in Boston rather than traveling with the team to Toronto. The 21-year-old, who is hitting .223 with a .293 OBP and .333 slugging mark, said that the head injury and its consequent time on the sidelines represent unfamiliar territory.
“I’ve never been on the DL at all. It will be a long five days without playing baseball, I guess,” said Bogaerts. “It’s been getting better. I feel good, but I think it’s just something to be safe, to make sure I’m fully healthy when I come back.
“I feel good but just listening to the training staff and what their opinion is, because I’ve never been hit with a ball in the head,” he added. “I’ve never had something like this. Just listen to them and we’ll go day-by-day.”
With Bogaerts sidelined, the Red Sox have called up versatile 26-year-old Carlos Rivero. It is Rivero’s first stint in the big leagues.
Rivero, originally signed out of Venezuela by the Indians, has bounced from the Indians system to the Phillies to the Nationals before signing a minor league deal with the Red Sox this offseason. He opened the year with Double-A Portland, hitting .214/.285/.316, but had shown enough in spring training that when Brock Holt moved up to the big leagues, he was promoted to Pawtucket. In 74 games with the PawSox, he’s hitting .286/.341/.407 with five homers and 36 RBIs while playing short, third and left field. He also has some minor league experience at first base and in right field.
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