|Closing Time: John Lackey, Red Sox get beaten up by Yankees||04.12.14 at 4:16 pm ET|
A first-run, two-run homer by Carlos Beltran proved a harbinger. Brian McCann and Alfonso Soriano went deep in the fourth inning, and McCann got to Lackey for another longball — this time, a two-run shot — in the sixth. Though Lackey walked none and struck out six, he yielded 10 hits in his 5 2/3 innings. That ended his bid to open a season with victories in his first three starts for the first time in his career.
Lackey had only one outing in 2013 in which an opponent beat him up for a comparable yield, when the Yankees jumped on him for seven runs in 5 2/3 innings last September 7. Then, the Red Sox offense bailed him out in a 13-9 victory. Lackey received no such reprieve this time, as the Red Sox dropped to 5-7. They will look to salvage a split of the four-game set on Sunday night.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– Hiroki Kuroda weaved out of trouble in the instances in which the Sox appeared to have him on the ropes, as the Sox — in a famliar refrain — went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Manuel Margot keeps putting on a show; Deven Marrero doubling up; Pat Light dominating; Joe Gunkel nasty||04.12.14 at 11:39 am ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system on Friday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-4 LOSS AT BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)
– Brock Holt, who started at shortstop, continued is torrid start to the season, going 4-for-5 with a double and a homer. He’s hitting .481 (second in the International League) with a .548 OBP (third) and .704 slugging mark (7th), with three walks and just one strikeout thus far.
– Though he went 0-for-2 with a strikeout, outfielder Bryce Brentz also walked twice — the first time in his Triple-A career that he’s accepted multiple walks in a game. Though he’s hitting just .179, Brentz has shown an uncharacteristically patient approach in the early stages of the season, with five walks and six strikeouts in his first 33 plate appearances.
– Third baseman Garin Cecchini went 2-for-4 on a day when all of his plate appearances came against right-handed pitchers. He’s hitting righties at a .455/.520/.500 clip, but he’s 0-for-7 with three strikeouts and no walks against lefties.
– Left-hander Rich Hill had his best outing of the season, tossing a pair of scoreless innings in which the lone baserunner he permitted (on a single) was quickly erased by a caught stealing (with catcher Christian Vazquez doing the honors on the throw to second). Hill struck out two.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 11-2 WIN VS. NEW BRITAIN (TWINS) Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Rubby De La Rosa dominating; feats of Mookie Betts; Jamie Callahan strikes out everyone||04.11.14 at 12:10 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system on Friday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-4 WIN AT BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)
– When Rubby De La Rosa opened the 2014 season with five dominating innings in which he yielded neither a run nor a walk, the Red Sox were thrilled, but with a caveat — they wanted to see him do it again. On Thursday, he did just that. De La Rosa logged a strong 5 2/3 innings in which he once again attacked his opponents, allowing just one run while permitting two hits (both singles) and walking two while retiring the last 12 batters he faced. He punched out four. In two starts so far, the 25-year-old has allowed one run in 10 2/3 innings (0.84 ERA) while punching out nine and walking two. He’s given up just four hits, with opponents hitting .111 against him to date this season. And he’s been an absolute groundball machine, with 14 of his 15 outs recorded by strikeout or groundball in his first outing and 15 of his 17 outs recorded by strikeout or groundball on Thursday.
– Brock Holt added to his strong start to the year by going 3-for-5; he’s now 9-for-22 with a .409/.500/.500 line in 26 plate appearances. Holt did strike out for the first time of the season on Thursday. His nine hits in six games are one shy of the number he amassed in 20 games for Pawtucket last April.
– Outfielder Bryce Brentz went 2-for-5 and clubbed his first homer of the year. He’s now 3-for-9 with a double and homer — his first two extra-base hits of the year — in his last two games. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: How long until Henry Owens is in Triple-A?; Manuel Margot breaks out; Salem’s streak ends||04.10.14 at 11:42 am ET|
In a complete letdown from his previous outing, left-hander Henry Owens did not throw a no-hitter.
However, a case can be made that he was better than he was in his Opening Day no-no, as he tossed 6 2/3 shutout innings while allowing six hits (five singles and a double). For the second straight outing, he recorded nine punchouts, but this time, he did not issue a walk. He elicited 13 swings and misses on his changeup alone, and 25 overall among his 83 pitches (59 strikes, a whopping 71 percent rate).
A few milestones and notable takeaways from the performance:
1) The 6 2/3 innings matched his longest outing in Double-A.
2) This marked the fifth start of his career, and first of more than five innings, in which he didn’t permit a walk.
3) The nine strikeouts were tied for the fifth most of his career
Owens’ line in Double-A in his first two starts: 12 2/3 innings, 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 18 strikeouts (12.8 per nine innings), 2 walks (1.4 per nine innings), opponents line of .140/.178/.163.
Owens’ line in 8 total starts in Double-A between this year and last: 43 innings, 5-1, 1.26 ERA, 64 strikeouts (13.4 per nine innings), 17 walks (3.6 per nine innings), opponent’s line of .159/.253/.258.
|Through 17 years, two names and three teams, A.J. Pierzynski has seen this before from David Ortiz||04.09.14 at 8:52 pm ET|
Perhaps it’s overstating it to say A.J. Pierzynski expected David Ortiz to drive a rocket about 100 feet beyond the fence in right field in the eighth inning Wednesday for the game-winning three-run homer in a 4-2 win over the Rangers. But certainly it’s safe to say he wasn’t surprised. After all, Pierzynski has seen this sort of thing for the better part of two decades, dating to when Ortiz — then known as David Arias — was an up-and-coming slugger for the Mariners‘ affiliate in the Single-A Midwest League and Pierzynski opposed him with the Twins’ Midwest League team in Fort Wayne in 1996.
After that season, the M’s traded “Arias” to the Twins as a player to be named for Dave Hollins. After he moved between organizations, Ortiz revealed two things to the Twins — first, that his listed date of birth (February 18, 1975) was inaccurate, and that he had been born on Nov. 18, 1975, and secondly, that despite the fact that his full given name is David Americo Ortiz Arias (with Arias being his mother’s maiden name), he went by the name of David Ortiz.
Pierzynski was unfamiliar with those details. But he knew what he saw immediately in early 1997, when he and Ortiz were teammates with the High-A Fort Myers Miracle.
“My first game I ever played with David, or one of my first, in ’97, when he first came over, we were playing maybe Port Charlotte, the Rangers,” Pierzynski related Wednesday after the fourth win of the season. “Ninth inning, they brought in a lefty, and he hit a walkoff homer to left field. And I had known, playing against him the year before, I was in Fort Wayne and he was in Appleton, and I said, ‘Man, this guy can hit a little bit.’ Then we traded got him and I was like, ‘Man, we got this Arias guy.’ And then we he came over, he was Ortiz, and I said, ‘Man, I think we traded for the wrong guy!’ It was the same guy.”
Indeed it was. And in many ways, Ortiz remains the same guy even now, 17 years later, with Pierzynski reunited in Boston with his former Twins teammate. Not much has changed in the interim.
Wednesday was just another in seemingly countless big moments where the game turned on one of his at-bats late. His three-run homer traveled some 100 feet beyond the Pesky Pole in right and was the 24th career go-ahead homer in the eighth inning or later, his last also coming against the Rangers on June 6 last year.
“David’s special,” Pierzynski said. “He loves the big moment. He lives for the big moment. We saw it again today. Through his ups and downs, whatever it is, David wants to be up there and he’s always wanted that. I’ve known him for 20 years and he’s always wanted to be the guy at bat in those situations.”
|Closing Time: David Ortiz’s late heroics allow Red Sox to salvage series win vs. Rangers||04.09.14 at 7:06 pm ET|
The Red Sox appeared primed for another home contest in which a listless lineup spelled their undoing and spoiled a strong performance by the rotation. But in the bottom of the eighth, the team rallied with a walk by Jackie Bradley Jr. and a single by A.J. Pierzynski that put runners on first and second for the heart of the order.
Dustin Pedroia laced a hard grounder to Elvis Andrus, but the Rangers shortstop rushed it. He still managed to get a force play, but the Sox thus had one out with runners on the corners rather than two outs and a runner on third. In the latter scenario, perhaps the Rangers would have pitched around David Ortiz with an open base. As it was, they brought in left-hander Neal Cotts — against whom Ortiz was 0-for-5 in his career with five strikeouts — to face the Red Sox DH.
Ortiz flipped the script, taking a pair of sliders (one a ball, one a strike) before unloading on an 89 mph meatball down the middle. He crushed it, sending an arcing shot that went well beyond the Pesky Pole, with the only questions being whether the blast was fair or foul. First base ump Jerry Meals gave an emphatic signal that it crossed the pole in play, a three-run homer that gave the Sox a 4-2 victory and allowed them to salvage a series victory over the Rangers. The Sox to head to New York having won two of the three series they’ve played this year.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX Read the rest of this entry »
|Shane Victorino takes first steps back from ‘frustrating’ season-opening stint on the disabled list||04.09.14 at 5:04 pm ET|
The start of the 2014 season has been unkind to Shane Victorino.
The outfielder thought he had timed his recovery from a variety of afflications — offseason thumb surgery, core strengthening, then soreness in his left side — at a pace that had him ready for Opening Day. But then, in the final game of the spring, hours before the Red Sox broke camp from Fort Myers, he suffered a hamstring strain. He flew with the team to Baltimore, but the next day, he had to jump on a subsequent flight to Boston for an MRI that revealed a Grade 1 hamstring strain and an Opening Day placement on the DL. He flew back down to Baltimore in hopes of at least being with the team for the Opening Day introductions and the visit to the White House.
On that return flight, however, Victorino came down with a brutal case of the flu that left him bedridden for most of the week, unable to take part in Opening Day or the White House reception at which President Barack Obama saluted Victorino, his fellow native of Hawaii. He was bedridden and quarantined from his teammates, and didn’t even have the energy to watch the visit on TV.
“I didn’t get to see it. Those first three or four days was awful. Other than the energy to watch the game, that was all I had in me,” Victorino, who dropped 8-12 pounds during the illness, grimaced. “It was brutal. I wish this upon nobody, I’ll put it that way. I don’t want nobody to have the flu I had.” Read the rest of this entry »
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