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Jonny Gomes returns to States after short stint in Japan 05.11.16 at 1:09 pm ET
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Jonny Gomes

Jonny Gomes

Apparently the WAR stat just means wins above replacement in Japan.

Per a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, MLB journeyman and 2013 World Series champion Jonny Gomes has left the Rakuten Golden Eagles “by mutual consent” and intends to play in America again.

Gomes, 35, spent last season between the Braves and Royals, though he was not on Kansas City’s roster when the team won the World Series. The outfielder then left for Japan, saying his aim was to “win over there.”

He hit just .169 in 75 plate appearances for the Golden Eagles, however, and said that he didn’t feel comfortable playing in Japan. Known for being a team guy (after winning the World Series with the Red Sox, he knocked the WAR stat by calling himself the type of player teams “want to go to war with”), Gomes told Rosenthal that the language barrier presented a major issue.

“I hated not being able to talk to all my teammates because of the language,” Gomes told Rosenthal. “I would just sit in front of my locker solo and sit in the dugout and couldn’t talk.”

Closing Time: Offense bails out Henry Owens, Red Sox take series vs. White Sox 05.06.16 at 12:10 am ET
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David Ortiz put Thursday's game out of reach with an RBI double. (Tamil Krzaczynski/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz put Thursday’s game out of reach with an RBI double. (Tamil Krzaczynski/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox and White Sox walked each other all night Thursday, and it was brutal.

Fortunately for the visitors, however, none of the nine free passes handed out by Boston pitchers led to Chicago runs as the Red Sox took a 7-3 win at U.S. Cellular Field. The game, which saw the teams combine for 16 walks, gave the Red Sox the series victory in their three-game set in Chicago.

Hanley Ramirez was one of three Red Sox to homer on the night. Ramirez was back in Boston’s lineup after sitting out Wednesday’s win with flu-like symptoms.

The Sox needed their offense to come through Wednesday, as a short outing from Henry Owens (two runs and six walks over three-plus innings) was aided by steady scoring over the course of the night. After taking a one-run lead into the sixth inning, the Red Sox gained separation thanks to a Jackie Bradley Jr. home run in the sixth and a two-run eighth inning on RBI from Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz.

Closing Time note

The first-place Red Sox improved to 17-11 on the season with the win. They next will head to New York for a three-game series with the Yankees.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— The White Sox appeared set to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, but the Red Sox were saved by Mookie Betts. After Heath Hembree walked in a run and was replaced by Matt Barnes with one out, Betts caught an Austin Jackson fly ball and threw a tagging Brett Lawrie out at the plate to end the inning. The White Sox challenged the play, but the call on the field was upheld.

Betts also made a nice catch against the wall on a deep fly ball from Jose Abreu to open the bottom of the ninth inning.  Read the rest of this entry »

Closing Time: Clay Buchholz shines, Red Sox pitching holds White Sox to 3 hits in win 05.04.16 at 10:58 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz recovered from a bumpy start to have his best performance of the season. (Mike Dinovo/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz recovered from a bumpy start to have his best performance of the season. (Mike Dinovo/USA Today Sports)

When Clay Buchholz allowed two runs to the White Sox before recording two outs, it seemed Wednesday would not be the night the struggling starter snapped out of an underwhelming start to his 2016 season.

Yet Buchholz recovered exceptionally from Jose Abreu’s two-run homer in the first inning by allowing just one hit and no runs over the next six innings in a 5-2 Red Sox win. The victory was Buchholz’s first of the season and Boston’s first win in a game started by him in 2016.

Chicago’s other hit off Buchholz came with one out in the second inning, but an inning-ending double play essentially closed the book on any damage the White Sox would do against the Boston starter. He struck out six batters and walked two. Buchholz also retired the last 10 batters he faced as he improved his season record to 1-3.

(For more on Buchholz’s breakout performance — and fans’ frustration with him — check Rob Bradford’s column.)

The win moved the Red Sox back into first place in the AL East, as the Orioles were defeated handily by the Yankees in a 7-0 loss in Baltimore. The Red Sox sit atop the division with a 16-11 record on the season.

Closing Time note

Buchholz’s performance Wednesday was a much-needed departure from an opening month of the season that saw him allow five earned runs in four of his five starts. Wednesday also marked Buchholz’s longest outing of the season, as he pitched into the seventh inning on two prior occasions but never made it out of the inning.

The win for Boston evened this week’s series with the White Sox at a game apiece. The teams will play the rubber game Thursday night, with Henry Owens opposing Erik Johnson.  Read the rest of this entry »

Closing Time: Clay Buchholz struggles as Red Sox drop finale vs. Braves 04.28.16 at 10:33 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz allowed five runs over 6 1/3 innings Thursday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today)

Clay Buchholz allowed five runs over 6 1/3 innings Thursday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today)

When David Price tied his personal record with 14 strikeouts Monday night, many said to consider the opponent. Good pitchers should perform well against the Braves, who entered Thursday ranked 29th in the league with a .224 batting average.

Well, if a great outing against the Braves isn’t that great, a subpar outing against the Braves is bad. Such was Clay Buchholz’s night Thursday at Fenway Park.

Looking for his first win of the season, Buchholz allowed five earned runs on eight hits with four walks and two strikeouts over 6 1/3 inning of work. He struggled out of the gate, allowing one run in the first inning and two more in the third, which proved to be more than Boston’s offense could match.

Buchholz saw his ERA rise to 6.51 and was the losing pitcher in Boston’s 5-2 loss to the Braves. On the season, his record stands at 0-3.

The Sox were quiet offensively through an eight-hit performance. Braves starter Jhoulys Chacin kept the Sox offense in check for five innings (two earned runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts) before giving way to an Atlanta bullpen that allowed two hits over the final four innings.

Closing Time note

Thursday’s loss saw the Red Sox fail to complete a home-and-home sweep of the four games played against the Braves this week. It also ended Boston’s four-game winning streak.

The Red Sox will host the Yankees Friday in the first game of a three-game set at Fenway.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Closing Time: David Price ties career high in strikeouts, Travis Shaw drives in 5 runs as Red Sox crush Braves 04.26.16 at 10:04 pm ET
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Travis Shaw's first inning home run keyed the Red Sox' win over the Braves. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Travis Shaw’s first-inning home run keyed the Red Sox’ win over the Braves. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

One way for David Price to end a thoroughly disappointing first month with the Red Sox: tying his career high in strikeouts in his longest outing in a Boston uniform.

Making his fifth start for the Sox, Price fanned 14 batters over a season-high eight innings and received ample run support in an 11-4 win over the Braves that saw Travis Shaw drive in five runs.

Price settled down from a busy first inning to have what turned out to be a very strong performance against a Braves offense that entered Tuesday 27th in the league with a .227 batting average.

The veteran left-hander loaded the bases in the first inning after allowing an RBI single to Jeff Francoeur, but he escaped without further damage by striking out Drew Stubbs to end the frame.

Price followed up the first by turning in back-to-back 1-2-3 innings with a pair of strikeouts in each. He ran into trouble again in the fourth inning, once again loading the bases and surrendering the Braves’ second run.

From there, Price essentially put the game away by allowing just one hit and walking none over his final four innings. He struck out six of the last seven hitters he faced, all of which he retired. Furthermore, nine of Price’s last nine outs were strikeouts. He finished with a line of six hits and two earned runs allowed over eight innings, striking out 14 and walking two.

Closing Time note

Though runs allowed have been a concern in his early starts (7.06 ERA entering Tuesday), strikeouts have not. Price now has struck out at least eight hitters in four of his first five outings with the Red Sox and leads the league with 46 strikeouts. Price was coming off a season-low five strikeouts in what was his shortest and worst outing of the season, a 3 2/3 inning performance in which he allowed two homers and eight earned runs against the Rays.

With Tuesday’s win, Price is 3-0 on the season with a 5.76 ERA. The Sox improved to 11-9.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Closing Time: Wade Miley eventually falters, Hanley Ramirez messes up again as Red Sox fall to White Sox 08.25.15 at 11:13 pm ET
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley

Wade Miley allowed just two earned runs over six innings Tuesday night against the White Sox.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Wade Miley threw 6 2/3 innings on Tuesday.

The White Sox got to Miley for three runs in the bottom of the seventh, erasing Boston’s two-run lead and jumping ahead on a double from Trayce Thompson that was largely due to Hanley Ramirez‘s latest adventure in left field. Thompson’s double ended Miley’s night and gave him the loss in a 5-4 victory for the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

Ramirez failed to field the line drive into left field, missing the ball and letting it bounce to the wall as Chicago runners advanced. Though he made news earlier Tuesday by doing first-base fielding work prior to the game, Ramirez made no news at the plate Tuesday. He was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Though Miley managed to keep Chicago off the scoreboard for the most part over his first six innings, he surrendered at least one hit to every White Sox starter and 13 — the most he’s allowed in a start in his career — in total. Miley struck out three and walked one.

Thompson did the most damage against Miley on the night, as he was actually the only Chicago hitter to get an extra-base hit on a night that saw Miley allow 11 singles. The 24-year-old led the way for the home team with three RBIs.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Closing Time: Red Sox (including David Ortiz) hit home runs, take series from Indians 08.19.15 at 10:21 pm ET
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The Red Sox didn’t need all of their big bats to beat up on another Cleveland starter. They managed another offensive explosion with Xander Bogaerts, Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts all on the bench Wednesday night.

Boston’s 6-4 win over the Indians Wednesday gave the Sox a series victory and continued what’s been a positive stretch for the team offensively. The Sox had back-to-back homers twice in the game as the team scored at least six runs for the sixth time in the last seven games (4-3).

The Sox held a comfortable lead for much of the game after putting up six runs on Indians starter Corey Kluber in the first four innings while Joe Kelly cruised through six innings, but a three-run homer from Johnny Gomes surrendered by Jean Machi brought the Indians within two in the eighth inning. The Red Sox were able to hold on thanks to a 1-2-3 ninth from Junichi Tazawa, good for his first save of the season.

Leading the way both in the field and at the plate for the Sox was Jackie Bradley Jr., who belted a three-run homer in the fourth after having already turned in a pair of impressive defensive plays.

The most impressive play in the field for Bradley came on a leaping over-the-shoulder catch in the first inning as he snagged a line drive from Francisco Lindor that was going over his head.

“One of the best catches I’ve ever seen,” Kelly said of the play. “I was messing around calling him — you know, [he’s] JBJ, but I was calling him OBJ — Odell Beckham Jr. Pretty fun to watch.”

Bradley also took a good angle on another ball from Lindor that was headed for the triangle in the top of the fourth, holding Lindor to a single.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rusney Castillo channels Trot Nixon, throws ball into crowd after second out 08.19.15 at 9:37 pm ET
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While Jackie Bradley Jr. was sensational defensively Wednesday night, Red Sox fans didn’t need to look far to find someone who wasn’t.

Rusney Castillo turned in the latest absent-minded play of a trying Red Sox season, as the right fielder committed the embarrassing toss-the-ball-to-the-crowd-with-only-two-outs maneuver. With a Abraham Almonte on first base with one out in the top of the seventh, Jose Ramirez flew out to Castillo, who turned and threw the ball into the stands. That allowed Almonte to advance to third.

It’s an error that’s been made before (Trot Nixon back in 2003 among them), but it’s never a good look. Fortunately for the Sox, Alexi Ogando was able to strike out Jason Kipnis to prevent any damage on the scoreboard as a result of Castillo’s gaffe.

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Ben Cherington out with Sox because he felt he couldn’t be all-in 08.19.15 at 5:16 pm ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

As Ben Cherington gave his final press conference as a Red Sox employee, the longtime executive repeatedly circled back to two words: all-in.

Cherington explained Wednesday that because he felt he couldn’€™t be all-in in a role working under new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, he made the decision to leave the organization after 17 years.

“I talked to Dave briefly yesterday on the phone, and we didn’€™t spend a lot of time on it,” Cherington said when asked what his role would have been had he stayed. “He made it clear to me, and I heard this from John [Henry] also, that he was coming in as president of baseball operations, chief baseball officer, whatever you want to call it, and in that position he was being given sole decision-making authority for baseball matters, as I would expect he would.

“So we all know that baseball operations is a big job. There’€™s a lot to do. I’€™ve always felt it’€™s about a team of people; it’€™s not about one person. We didn’€™t get into a detailed conversation about exactly what my role would have been, but I do know that the only way it was going to work for Dave or for me and ultimately the Red Sox [was] if I was all-in and fully committed to that vision. I just came to the determination that I wasn’€™t. It has nothing to do with the individuals involved. I have great respect for Dave and I’€™m sure he’€™ll do really good things.”

While Cherington held himself responsible for the team’€™s struggles the last two seasons, the front-office shakeup did come as something as a surprise. After spending the last several weeks in talks with Henry about how to find what Cherington called “solutions to the problems that exist, particularly at the Major League level,”€ Cherington asked for clarification on what the recent addition of former Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto. He was told that the move was not necessarily part of a bigger plan.

“John and Tom met with Jerry when he was in town, and at that time, having been in a lot of conversations with John over the course of the summer, I asked again about his vision for the structure, the front office structure,” Cherington said. “I felt like in asking Jerry to come in at that time, that I wasn’€™t sure that was going to be appropriate if there was something going on that I didn’€™t know about or some major change. At that time, he said no. He had met with Jerry, liked him. We pursued that, and so that was the path we were going down. I was only focused on trying to find solutions to the problems we’€™ve had, and then Saturday I was told they were pursuing Dave.”

The move was surprising due to recent discussions he’€™d had with ownership following Larry Lucchino‘€™s decision to step down as as president and CEO of the team. Cherington intimated that he expected the next president to be more of an executive than a baseball mind.

“At that time, the information I had was that the president of baseball operations model was not something that they were considering,” Cherington said. “That said, to be clear, I fully understood that they have a right to change their mind for pursue that at any time.”

Cherington regularly praised both Red Sox ownership and Dombrowski throughout the 27-minute press conference, expressing his gratitude to work for the Red Sox in the many roles in which he’s served. While the Sox announced he would stay on temporarily to help in the transition process, Cherington said he didn’€™t expect them to need much from him. He did reveal that he has gotten a couple calls from other teams since word came down that he’€™d be leaving, but said it’€™s too early for him to think about what he’€™d like to do next.

“It’€™s been a great, incredible run,” he said. “I’€™m incredibly grateful for every opportunity I’€™ve been given: some highs, some lows, some in-betweens. I don’€™t think that I should make any decision right now. I think I just need to give this a little space, and we’€™ll see. I love the game. I’€™m 41, so I’€™m going to work. We’€™ll see. We’€™ll just see what comes.”

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Dustin Pedroia sad to see Ben Cherington leave Red Sox as Dave Dombrowski comes aboard 08.18.15 at 11:46 pm ET
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Ben Cherington’€™s time with the Red Sox long predates the arrivals of recent championships (2004, 2007 and 2013) and the team’€™s veteran leaders.

His four-year stint as Boston’s general manager will be remembered for the World Series championship he delivered in 2013 and the treacherous teams the Sox fielded in the other three, yet his time with the Sox goes all the way back to 1999.

Dustin Pedroia, the second-longest tenured Red Sox player behind David Ortiz, was a second-round pick of the Sox in 2004, when Cherington was working in player development. With the news that Cherington will step down as Dave Dombrowski takes over as president of baseball operations, current players will experience a Cherington-less Boston organization for the first time.

“I’€™ve known Ben my whole time with the Red Sox,” Pedroia said after Tuesday’€™s game. “He’€™s been a big part of a lot of things in my career. We’€™ve had a lot of memories. Obviously, this is new. We’€™re going to miss him. I’€™m going to miss him. He has a lot of special relationships with guys. It’€™s tough.”

The Red Sox sit in last place in the AL East after finishing last both last season and in 2012, Cherington’€™s first season as GM. Pedroia, who is on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain, said that he as a player feels responsibility for the shakeup that led to Cherington’€™s impending exit.

“It’€™s on us. They don’€™t play,” Pedroia said of executives. “That’€™s frustrating, but we win as a team and we lose as a team. That’€™s the tough part; it doesn’€™t usually go down like that in the end. That’€™s how we all feel. We’€™re out there playing.”

As for Dombrowski, Pedroia, clearly still a bit stunned to lose Cherington, expressed measured enthusiasm for the addition of the former Marlins and Tigers boss. He also noted that Mike Lowell, whom Dombrowski traded for with the Marlins in 1999, has long sung the praises of the 59-year-old.

“I know that wherever he’€™s been, he’€™s won,” Pedroia said of Dombrowski. “Obviously that speaks for itself. I remember Mike Lowell used to talk about him and couldn’€™t say enough great things. Obviously I don’€™t think they would put somebody in that position that they don’€™t believe in. He’€™s pretty special at what he does. He’€™s done a great job for a long time.”

Pedroia, 32, is in the second season of an eight-year, $110 million contract.

Read More: ben cherington, Dave Dombrowski, Dustin Pedroia,
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