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Closing Time: Red Sox do everything wrong and get crushed by Angels 07.20.15 at 8:13 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez couldn't escape the second inning Monday. (Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)

Eduardo Rodriguez couldn’t escape the second inning Monday. (Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)

It’€™s easy to get blown out when you don’€™t pitch well, field well or score runs.

The Sox proved that Monday as they dropped the first game of their double-header with the Angels by an 11-1 score. The loss dropped them to 42-50 on the season.

Powered by a seven-run second inning, the Angels took advantage of Boston’€™s mistakes early and chased starter Eduardo Rodriguez before he could record his sixth out. The Red Sox never made a dent offensively, squandering a fourth-inning bases-loaded opportunity in a game (and series) in which they could have used any offense they could get.

The disastrous second inning saw all seven runs charged to Rodriguez, though his collapse was aided by a lapse in left field by Hanley Ramirez. With Los Angeles holding a 1-0 lead with runners on first and second, Ramirez misjudged a ball to left by No. 9 hitter Daniel Robertson. The ball sailed over his head as a result, scoring C.J. Cron. Johnny Giavotella drove in both Chris Iannetta and Robertson on the next pitch, making it 4-0.

The collective lack of execution seemingly got to Rodriguez at that point, as he then served up homers to two of the next three batters before being pulled with two out in the inning.

Monday’€™s game marked the first loss for Rodriguez in nearly a month, as he had earned victories in two of his three starts entering the contest.

Unlike the Sox, the Angels didn’€™t have to worry about their starting pitching (or any pitching, for that matter). Starter Hector Santiago held the Sox to just one run over his five innings of work and was followed up by strong work from Los Angeles’€™ bullpen.

The Sox will try to avoid a series sweep when they send Steven Wright to the mound Monday night against Andrew Heaney.

Player of the game: Sure, he gave up eight hits, but 10 strikeouts and one run (earned) over five innings was a nice way for Santiago to thank his teammates for the run support.


– The Sox have just one run to show for their last 27 innings of work. Mike Napoli was the hero on Monday, singling in the fourth inning to drive in David Ortiz.

– Speaking of that fourth inning, that was the Sox’€™ best shot at making it a game. Down by six at the time, Boston had the bases loaded with one down against Santiago. Nothing would come of it, as Santiago struck out Ryan Hanigan and Mookie Betts in succession to escape the inning.

– Ramirez wasn’€™t the only one who turned in a costly play in the field, as the left side of the field in general was fair game for players trying to reach base. Pablo Sandoval couldn’€™t secure a hard ground ball from Albert Pujols with two out in the bottom of the fourth. That play allowed Kole Calhoun to advance to third. The next two batters drove in runs (Erick Aybar with a one-run single and David Freese with a three-run homer).


– Ben Cherington’€™s phone must be ringing off the hook after Napoli‘€™s RBI, unless the other general managers saw the veteran first baseman’€™s three strikeouts.

– The Sox did manage nine hits on the day, but they didn’t make much out of their eight against Santiago. They had only one hit over the last four innings.

Closing Time: Red Sox waste terrific performance from Clay Buchholz 05.16.15 at 12:49 am ET
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Clay Buchholz struck out 11 batters over eight innings. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz struck out 11 batters over eight innings. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz didn’€™t put the Red Sox in a jam all night. That came once his night was done, and with it came a 2-1 loss Friday in Seattle.

After a masterful eight innings from Buchholz, Tommy Layne allowed an infield single to Brad Miller with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Robinson Cano grounded out to advance Miller to second, at which point Junichi Tazawa relieved Layne. Tazawa allowed the game-winning hit to Nelson Cruz to give Seattle the victory and drop the Sox to 17-19 on the season.

Buchholz was dominant, as he retired 15 batters in a row after a double from Cano in the bottom of the first inning. Buchholz struck out a season-high 11 batters and walked none. The second hit he allowed tied the game, however, as a Seth Smith solo shot broke up Buchholz’€™ string of consecutive batters retired.

The Sox had taken the lead in the bottom of the second when Xander Bogaerts tripled off J.A. Happ to score Shane Victorino from second base. Victorino had singled with one out and stolen second after Pablo Sandoval had lined out.

That would prove to be the extent of Boston’s offense on the night, however.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Clay Buchholz. The importance of starting pitching was stressed even more entering this series with the Mariners, and Buchholz was able to follow Joe Kelly’€™s strong performance Thursday with one of his own. Boston’€™s hitters could have stood to reward his performance better.


– The Red Sox have now scored two runs or less in four straight games. Fortunately for them, they’€™ve managed to go 2-2 in that stretch with barely any offense. Unfortunately for them, that “The Red Sox have now scored two runs or less in four straight games”€ part.

– Buchholz has struck out 10 or more batters twice this season and has zero wins to show for it. He also received a no-decision when he fanned 10 Rays on April 23, a game that saw him allow one run and get one run of support.

Mike Napoli made it to third base after singling and being advanced twice in the fourth inning, but he was thrown out to end the inning during a pickle that registered as a 1-3-6-2-5 caught stealing.  Read the rest of this entry »

Closing Time: Joe Kelly’s walks costly as Red Sox lose to Blue Jays again 05.09.15 at 4:23 pm ET
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Joe Kelly walked seven batters Saturday. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Joe Kelly walked seven batters Saturday. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Believe it or not, the Red Sox got a bad performance out of their starting pitcher and lost.

Joe Kelly walked seven batters and allowed six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings of work as the Sox suffered a 7-1 loss to the Blue Jays Saturday at Rogers Centre. Saturday marked the fourth consecutive start in which Kelly allowed at least five runs.

The extent of the damage came in the bottom of the fourth inning, when, after Kelly walked Devon Travis and Josh Donaldson and then allowed a double-steal, he surrendered a three-run homer to Edwin Encarnacion.

Pitching wasn’€™t perfect for the Blue Jays either, but Boston didn’€™t take advantage. Starter Drew Hutchison gave up seven hits over five innings, but all the Sox had to show for it was a Dustin Pedroia RBI single following a Mookie Betts double in the fifth inning. Hutchison had six strikeouts on the day.

Hanley Ramirez returned for the Sox after missing the previous three games with a shoulder injury.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Toronto first baseman Edwin Encarnacion. The 32-year-old went 2-for-2 with a pair of walks, three RBI and a run scored. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.


– In addition to having difficulty throwing the ball for strikes, Kelly didn’€™t fare much better once the ball was in play, as Kelly was charged with an error in each of the first two innings. Kelly also allowed Jose Bautista to get to second thanks to a wild pitch in the first inning, but he’€™d have gotten there moments later anyway, as Kelly walked the batter he was working on at the time.

– The Red Sox got the leadoff man on base just twice on the day. Ramirez reached on an error to lead off the second, while Xander Bogaerts singled to begin the third. The rest of Boston’€™s hits came with at least one man out, contributing a performance from Hutchinson in which he allowed hits but was not burned.

– Mookie Betts, Pablo Sandoval and Xander Bogaerts were the only Red Sox starters to not strike out, but a couple of their teammates struck out often enough to make up for them. Allen Craig fanned three times, while Mike Napoli struck out twice.


– Betts had a pair of hits on the day, extending his hit streak to seven games.

– Kelly got better as the day went on, but then again he had nowhere to go but up. After turning in a seven-pitch 1-2-3 fifth inning, Kelly quickly retired the first two batters in the sixth and was a strike away from a nine-pitching inning, but an infield single from Josh Donaldson ended his day with two down in the sixth. Donaldson would end up scoring, as Matt Barnes threw a wild pitch to advance him to second before yielding an RBI single to Bautista.

Dustin Pedroia to undergo procedure Thursday 09.10.14 at 5:56 pm ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell said after Wednesday’€™s game that second baseman Dustin Pedroia will undergo a procedure Thursday by hand surgeon Dr. Matthew Leibman.

This news comes a day after Farrell had said that Pedroia “€œcould be” shut down for the season due to inflammation in his left hand/wrist.

“€œHe’€™s going to have a procedure done here tomorrow by Dr. Leibman in Boston that will address what he’€™s dealing with right now,”€ Farrell said Wednesday. “€œI don’€™t know any more specifics than that, but there will certainly be a follow-up after that’€™s completed tomorrow.”

Jemile Weeks remained at second base for the Sox on Wednesday. Farrell had previously said that Brock Holt was likely to be the team’€™s second baseman upon his recovery from a recent illness and stiff neck.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Why you should have cared about Wednesday’s Red Sox game: They kind of made it interesting (and lost) 09.10.14 at 4:59 pm ET
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The Red Sox lost. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The Red Sox lost again on Wednesday, and it wasn’t pretty. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The Red Sox were in danger of being no-hit in a blowout Wednesday. Thanks to a five-run ninth, it just looked like a plain old normal 10-6 loss by the end of the game.

Dan Butler ended Wei-Yin Chen’€™s perfect game bid at 16 batters by belting a one-out double in the sixth inning. Xander Bogaerts followed the next inning with a solo homer to make it 8-1, but it was the Sox’€™ busy ninth after giving up two more runs that made things interesting. Daniel Nava drove in two with a double and Carlos Rivero followed with a three-run homer.

Wednesday marked the second straight day in which Bogaerts homered, bringing his total on the season to 11 dingers.

“I’m just trying to end the season strong and end on a positive note,” Bogaerts said after the game.

Butler doubled again in the bottom of the eighth inning, but as was the case with his previous hit, he was left stranded as the Sox failed to score in the inning.

Now for the bad stuff. Brandon Workman was shelled for the second time in his last three starts as he surrendered six hits and six runs, five of which were earned, over just three innings. He walked three batters and struck out three in tossing 62 pitches in the outing.

Craig Breslow didn’€™t fare much better, as he allowed two earned runs over his two innings of relief work. Tommy Layne showed up both pitchers in the sixth inning by being the first Boston pitcher of the day to not allow a run, and Alex Wilson followed in the seventh by turning in the first 1-2-3 inning by a Sox pitcher.

Junichi Tazawa tossed a clean eighth inning, with Edward Mujica surrendering four hits and two runs in the ninth inning.

Chen ended up going seven innings, allowing three hits, one earned run, striking out four and walking none on 93 pitches.

Why you should have cared about this Red Sox game: Mookie Betts was good in leadoff spot 09.01.14 at 4:44 pm ET
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Mookie Betts had two hits out of the leadoff spot. (Getty Images)

Mookie Betts had two hits out of the leadoff spot. (Getty Images)

(For the final month of the regular season, Closing Time will now be called “Why you should have cared,” taking into consideration the team’s increasing distance from a .500 record.)

Mookie Betts has ascended up the Red Sox batting order in recent days, and his first tango in the leadoff spot suited him well in a 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Rays.

Betts had hit eighth in nine straight games after his mid-August recall and was moved up to seventh for three straight before hitting second on Sunday. He found success in the leadoff spot Monday, going 2-for-5 with an RBI double and a run scored.

The run scored was a key one, as Betts, after singling in the top of the eighth with the Sox trailing down a run, was advanced to second on a groundout by Brock Holt and scored on a Yoenis Cespedes single.

Monday marked Betts’ second straight game with an RBI, as he contributed a run-scoring single in Sunday’s win over the Rays.

Here are some other things to care about as the Sox fell to 60-77:

Mike Napoli hit a solo shot to left-center in the bottom of the fourth to snap an 0-for-13 skid. With his 17th homer of the season, Napoli is closer to becoming the Sox’€™ second player with 20 home runs this season (David Ortiz leads the team with 30). Ortiz and Napoli were the only Sox hitters with 20 homers last season, which was the first time since 1997 that the Sox didn’€™t have at least three players hit 20 or more home runs.

— Though Napoli came through in the fourth, he struck out swinging to end the top of the eighth after Cespedes had tied the game.

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Solo shots, Jon Lester lead Red Sox past Yankees 06.28.14 at 10:03 pm ET
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Mike Napoli hit a solo homer to right field to break a 1-1 tie in the ninth inning and give Jon Lester and the Red Sox a 2-1 victory over the Yankees on Saturday night.

Lester took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowed one run (unearned) over his eight innings of work, but the Sox struggled to generate offense of their own against Masahiro Tanaka, who tossed all nine innings for New York.

Both teams scored a run apiece in the third inning, with David Ross hitting a solo homer off Tanaka in the top of the frame and the Yankees cashing in on a sloppy inning from the Sox that included an error from Stephen Drew and a hit batter.

Lester’€™s no-hit bid was broken up by a Brett Gardner single to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning.

Koji Uehara pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the Red Sox to earn his 17th save of the season.


— Though he was caught attempting to stretch a single into a double (see below), Dustin Pedroia had three hits on the night for the Sox. It was Pedroia’€™s first three-hit game since June 7 against the Tigers.

— Pedroia came through big in the field in the bottom of the eighth inning with a diving stop on a ground ball from Derek Jeter. With Gardner having walked to lead off the eighth, Pedroia dove to get to the ball and flipped it from his glove to Drew to start a 4-6-3 double play.

— It was a good night for Ross, who also threw out Gardner in the bottom of the sixth inning.

— Things went from terrifying to all good for the Sox in the bottom of the eighth, as a throw from Ross to try to catch Jacoby Ellsbury stealing second went into the outfield with two out and two strikes on Mark Teixeira. Though television cameras were on Ellsbury advancing to third and turning for home, home plate umpire Andy Fletcher had called strike three on the play, ending the inning.


— Credit Pedroia for both a gutsy decision and a great slide, but his attempt at stretching a single on a ball hit to shallow left center into a double cost the Sox in the top of the sixth inning. Pedroia challenged the arm of Ellsbury and slid to avoid the tag at second base. He was initially called safe, but a challenge from Joe Girardi yielded the correct call that he was tagged in the thigh before touching the bag.

— In a game reminiscent of John Lackey‘€™s dominant nine scoreless innings that yielded him a no-decision back on the June 18 against the Twins, the Sox saw their staring pitcher turn in a superb performance, only to receive minimal run support. The Red Sox themselves had only five hits through the first eight innings. They finished with seven on the night.

Interestingly enough, Napoli also homered to win that game against the Twins as well.

David Ortiz: ‘The scorekeepers here are always horrible’ 06.18.14 at 5:59 pm ET
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David Ortiz loves playing at Fenway Park, but that doesn’€™t mean he loves the people who score the games.

In the latest show of disagreement with a scorekeeper (and there have been others), the designated hitter yelled up at the press box and gave a thumbs down in the direction of scorekeeper Bob Ellis after Ellis ruled a play on which Ortiz reached an error.

(Click here for Dennis & Callahan’s take on Ortiz’s latest rant.)

The play occurred in the bottom of the seventh, when Ortiz hit a ball toward first base that Joe Mauer was unable to handle. The play was followed up by a Mike Napoli inning-ending double play, but Ortiz was more upset with not being credited with the hit than the Sox failing to capitalize late in a scoreless game.

Even after tying the game with a solo shot in the 10th inning, Ortiz wasn’t done showing his frustration with not getting the hit.

“It’€™s always so hard here, man,” Ortiz said after he and Napoli hit back-to-back shots to win the game. “€œI thought they were supposed to have your back at home, and it never happens. It’€™s always like that. I’ve been here for more than a decade and the scorekeepers here are always horrible. This is home, man.

“What do you want Mauer to do? He dove for the ball and knocked it down. I always look like I am the bad guy, but they always end up changing it. Don’€™t be just checking on Papi, check on the scorekeeper. See what he’€™s doing wrong. It’€™s something that’€™s getting out of control.”

When asked what he was yelling to the scorekeeper, Ortiz responded, “What is he watching? He’€™s not watching the same ball game that everybody’€™s watching, I guess.”

The bigger issue there, of course, was that he showed his disagreement when he did and the way he did. Still, Ortiz said it was necessary to voice his opinion right then and there.

“I’ve got to make it clear,” Ortiz said. “€œIt’€™s not my first rodeo, man.”€

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Felix Doubront ready to go Friday if Red Sox use him in Brandon Workman’s place 06.18.14 at 5:18 pm ET
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Felix Doubront appears a good bet to get Friday’s start in Oakland, a spot that is now vacant with Brandon Workman serving his six-game suspension.

“He’s a definite candidate, Felix is,” John Farrell said Wednesday. “He’s on turn, but we’ll have that announcement by tomorrow.”

Doubront would not say whether he is starting the game for sure, but saying only, “I just heard I have to be ready for Friday.”

The 26-year-old lefty, who was dealing with a shoulder injury, is back in Boston after making three rehab starts between Double A Portland and Triple A Pawtucket.

Doubront last pitched Sunday for Pawtucket, striking out 10 batters over five innings of work.

“I feel good,” Doubront said. “Like I said, I’m ready. Ready to come back and [it’s] good to be here again.”

In nine starts for the Red Sox this season, Doubront is 2-4 with a 5.12 ERA.

Read More: Brandon Workman, felix doubront,
Closing Time: Red Sox return favor to John Lackey with back-to-back homers in walkoff win 06.18.14 at 4:12 pm ET
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John Lackey was masterful in a three-hit, complete game showing Wednesday at Fenway Park, and the Red Sox finally returned the favor in the 10th inning with back-to-back homers from David Ortiz and Mike Napoli for a 2-1 walkoff win. The victory completed a three-game sweep of the Twins.

With Lackey’€™s day done and the Sox with just one hit themselves, Koji Uehara allowed a home run to Chris Parmelee in the top of the 10th inning to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead. The home run was just out of the reach of Brock Holt, who made a play for it but ultimately saw it land in the Boston bullpen.

The Sox, who had been blanked by starter Kyle Gibson and the rest of the Twins to that point, answered back when Ortiz crushed a ball to deep right in the bottom of the 10th and Napoli drilled a shot off Casey Fien to center for the win.

Thanks to the work of Lackey, the Sox were able to survive a dominant performance from Gibson, who held Boston to just one hit over his seven innings of work. Gibson walked nobody and struck out eight, though two Sox did reach on errors.

Daniel Nava broke up Gibson’s no-hit bid in the fifth inning with a ground rule double to right with two out, but Gibson escaped the frame by getting A.J. Pierzynski to ground out to second.

Lackey was extremely efficient in his outing, needing just 105 pitches to get through nine innings. He had nine strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter until the ninth inning, though no further damage was done.

The Sox will next head west for a seven-game road trip that will begin with a four-game series in Oakland.


— Lackey has pitched at least 6 1/3 innings in his last six starts and has given up a total of eight runs in that span.

On Wednesday, the Twins didn’t have a runner advance past first base until Parmelee — who was the only batter to reach base for Minnesota to that point with a pair of singles — went to second on a wild pitch from Lackey in the fifth inning.

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