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Red Sox lineup: Grady Sizemore leads off, Mike Carp in left field 04.23.14 at 3:57 pm ET
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With Daniel Nava having been sent down by the Red Sox on Wednesday, Mike Carp will get a start in left field against Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda. Grady Sizemore will hit leadoff — a responsibility that he is likely to part with starting Thursday, with the anticipated return of Shane Victorino from the disabled list.

Nava went 1-for-3 with a homer against Pineda earlier this year; Carp has yet to face him, while Sizemore is 0-for-3 against the hulking righty. Pineda will face off against John Lackey, who will be looking to improve upon his prior start against the Yankees in which he allowed a career-high four homers.

For complete batter vs. pitcher matchup histories, click here.

RED SOX LINEUP

Grady Sizemore, RF

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

David Ortiz, DH

Mike Napoli, 1B

Mike Carp, LF

A.J. Pierzynski, C

Xander Bogaerts, SS

Brock Holt, 3B

Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

John Lackey, RHP

John Farrell on Dale & Holley: Red Sox’ search for lineup stability may subside with return of Shane Victorino 04.23.14 at 3:25 pm ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell , in his weekly interview on WEEI’s Dale & Holley show, confirmed that the Sox informed Nava last night that he was being optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. To listen to the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

After hitting .303 with a .385 OBP last year, Nava has struggled to a .149 average and .240 OBP.

“That’s never a fun conversation. I think he was certainly disappointed by the news he was going to be optioned back. He was a big part of this offense last year, particularly as a left-handed hitter. But we’ve got to get him back on track. The at-bats and the consistency of at-bats is not there right now as it was a year ago. There’s a need for a little bit more of a consistent two-strike approach, and he needs to go back and continue to get reps as a right-handed hitter,” said Farrell. “We feel like he’s going to contribute to this offense before the year is out. We’ve just got to get him back hitting with confidence and just the overall game played with more confidence.”

Nava will be replaced on the roster by right-hander Alex Wilson on Wednesday, but Shane Victorino is expected to return as soon as Thursday. While the 33-year-old has struggled during his minor league rehab assignment (1-for-11, an infield hit), Farrell believes that Victorino will immediately change the team’s dynamic.

“He will have an impact I think the day he walks onto the field for us. One, physically, he feels good. That’s the biggest question that we had to answer, just the ability to go back-to-back days. The durability, that is there,” said Farrell. “His defense impacts every game he plays in right field. So, first and foremost, where we’ve had some balls that have come back to bite us a little bit in right field, that will be the impact on the defensive side.

“Timing-wise at the plate, we know that will continue as he gets at-bats here at the big league level,” he added. “Saying that he’s going to step back in and he’ll be a .400 on-base guy, that’s not the expectation. But I think we miss the defense. We miss the energy that he brings, and the overall attitude he adds to the edge of this club once we take the field.”

Victorino’s return could help bring the Sox a measure of lineup stability that has been absent. The loss of Victorino — the primary occupant of the second spot in the Red Sox batting order last year — and the departure of leadoff constant Jacoby Ellsbury in free agency has left the Sox in a state of some lineup disorientation, with five different leadoff hitters and 19 different lineups — none of which has been featured more than twice.  (The lineup featured by Farrell on Wednesday will be the Sox’ 20th of the year.) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Clay Buchholz, daniel nava, Dustin Pedroia, John Farrell
Red Sox to call up right-hander Alex Wilson, option Daniel Nava 04.23.14 at 12:48 pm ET
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An industry source confirmed a report by WEEI’s Lou Merloni that, with the Red Sox pitching staff taxed by a combined 11 innings of work on Monday and Tuesday, the team will call up right-hander Alex Wilson from Triple-A Pawtucket for Wednesday night’s game. In order to make room on the roster for Wilson, Daniel Nava will be optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Shane Victorino will thus wait until at least Thursday for his activation from the disabled list.

Nava, a key contributor to the Red Sox‘ title run in 2013 when he hit .303 with a .385 OBP and .445 slugging mark while playing four positions, never enjoyed consistent production in the season’s first three-plus weeks this year. He hit .149 with a .240 OBP and .269 slugging mark.

‘€œWe’€™re trying to get him going offensively,’€ Sox manager John Farrell said on Tuesday. ‘€œHe’€™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.’€

Wilson, who made his big league debut last year, has made eight scoreless appearances in Pawtucket this year, most recently when he recorded a season-high four outs on Monday. He’s struck out nine and walked five while showing an ability to get a considerable number of outs on the ground, effectively employing the two-seamer he developed last year while favoring his injured thumb that denied him his typical power on his four-seam fastball.

Victorino completed his third rehab game on Tuesday in Triple-A Pawtucket, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He has gone 1-for-11 with an infield single during his rehab assignment.

Read More: alex wilson, daniel nava, Shane Victorino,
Red Sox minor league roundup: Rubby De La Rosa overpowering, Mookie Betts unstoppable, Manuel Margot mashes, Aaron Kurcz returns 04.23.14 at 10:55 am ET
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-5 LOSS VS. BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)

(BOX)

— Dominance remained routine for Rubby De La Rosa. The right-hander fired another six dazzling innings, allowing one run on just three hits (all singles) while punching out seven and walking one. His control wasn’t as precise as it had been — just 53 of his 89 pitches (60 percent) found the strike zone — but he still managed to overmatch Buffalo, which couldn’t make any decent contact against him. He recorded eight outs on the ground, with a pair of double plays in the mix, and through his first four starts of the year, his performance has been the most impressive of any pitcher in the Red Sox system this year.

De La Rosa has logged at least five innings in each of his starts and has yielded no more than one run in an outing. He has walked two or fewer in all four of his starts, and now has 21 strikeouts (8.3 per nine innings) and just four walks (1.6 per nine innings) in 22 1/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .151 against him, with left-handed hitters experiencing only slightly less misery (.194/.256/.250) than their right-handed compatriots (.108/.150/.135). He has yet to give up a homer. Indeed, he’s given up only three extra-base hits — all doubles. He’s now recorded 56 of his 68 outs this year (82.4 percent) by strikeout or groundball.

He hasn’t just been beating his opponents. He hasn’t given them a chance. He’s shown a tremendous three-pitch mix (fastball, change, slider) that he can use to throw strikes. His pace, sometimes lethargic last year in a fashion so extreme that it raised questions about his focus, has picked up considerably this year, a sign of his growing confidence.

And so, at 25, he has made the most compelling case imaginable that he deserves a shot to start in the big leagues. He only needs to wait for the opportunity to present itself.

Shane Victorino, in the third and perhaps last game of his rehab assignment, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, and he’s 1-for-11 with an infield single in Pawtucket. However, he got tested by a number of plays in right field on Tuesday. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: aaron kurcz, manuel margot, mookie betts, rubby de la rosa
Red Sox likely to promote a pitcher, wait to activate Shane Victorino 04.23.14 at 12:07 am ET
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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 blowout over sloppy Red Sox 04.22.14 at 10:28 pm ET
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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
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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

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