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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.

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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.

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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.

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Rick Porcello mum on Dave Dombrowski move as Red Sox hire man who traded him 08.18.15 at 11:01 pm ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

Dave Dombrowski has already traded Rick Porcello once. Thanks to the contract Porcello signed after that trade which sent him to the Red Sox this past offseason, Dombrowski probably won’€™t be able to do it again any time soon.

Porcello is something of a symbolic figure regarding the entrance of Dombrowksi and the exit of Ben Cherington.

The 26-year-old right-hander was the guy Dombrowski sold high on, moving him to Boston following a career-best 3.43 ERA last season in Detroit. He was the guy Cherington bought high on, and, in keeping with the Sox’€™ philosophy to not spend big money on pitchers in their 30s, overpaid in the form of a four-year, $82.5 million contract that will begin next season.

Now, Dombrowski inherits a player who was once his chip (a player on whom he spent a first-round pick in 2007) and is now his team’€™s problem. Dombrowski was named Boston’€™s president of baseball operations Tuesday night, with the team also announcing that Cherington had declined to stay on as general manager. It’€™s Dombrowski’€™s show, and Porcello will be a part of it.

Following Tuesday night’€™s game, the injured Porcello declined to discuss Boston’€™s front office shakeup.

“I really don’€™t have any comment right now,” Porcello said. “This just kind of broke to us, so I kind of need a day to digest everything and go from there, but I will say that I had a great time playing for Dave in Detroit and am looking forward to that opportunity again.”

In 20 starts for the Red Sox this season, Porcello has a 5.81 ERA, which is worst in the American League among pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings. He is currently on the disabled list with a right triceps strain.

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Closing Time: Eduardo Rodriguez dominant on night Red Sox hire Dave Dombrowski 08.18.15 at 10:08 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez was dominant Tuesday night against the Indians. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Eduardo Rodriguez was dominant Tuesday night against the Indians. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

After getting crushed in his last outing, Eduardo Rodriguez spent his time between eight strong innings Tuesday watching his teammates rough up Cleveland’€™s various pitchers.

Rodriguez, who allowed eight earned runs on nine hits last week against the Marlins, was dominant on Tuesday in a 9-1 win over the Indians. The rookie left-hander gave up six hits and struck out five batters, walking none over 114 pitches. His eight innings pitched were a career high.

“I think he was pounding the strike zone with an aggressive fastball, getting ahead of hitters,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said after the game. “There’s no secret to having success on a given night from a pitching standpoint. It’s getting ahead of the batter and staying in the strike zone. He got in a great run for several innings. He was comfortable, free and easy. His worst inning he threw 19 pitches prior to the eighth inning. We wanted to send him back out there and get the last inning he really deserved. A great effort by him tonight.”

(Rodriguez’ performance proved to be overshadowed by the news of Boston’s hiring of Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations. For more on that and Ben Cherington’s decision to step down as Red Sox general manager, click here.)

Cleveland’€™s lone run off Rodriguez came on solo homer from Michael Brantley in the top of the seventh inning. That was followed by a single from Carlos Santana, though Rodriguez escaped further damage by inducing a Ryan Raburn double play and an inning-ending groundout from Abraham Almonte.

While the strong performance proved to be a bounce-back effort, it also continued a nice run of success for Rodriguez when pitching at home. Tuesday’€™s game made it five straight starts at Fenway in which Rodriguez has allowed three earned runs or fewer (3-0).

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Terry Francona glad he was present for John Farrell’s treatment 08.18.15 at 5:31 pm ET
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Terry Francona and John Farrell were Major League teammates in addition to coaching together. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Terry Francona and John Farrell were Major League teammates in addition to coaching together. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Terry Francona considers himself fortunate that the Indians’ only trip to Boston this season came when it did.

“Sometimes things happen in weird ways,” he said. “I feel really grateful for whatever reason that we were here.”

Francona showed up to Massachusetts General hospital bright and early Tuesday morning, as he and Indians bench coach Brad Mills joined John Farrell for the Red Sox manager’€™s first chemotherapy treatment.

Speaking prior to Tuesday night’€™s game against the Red Sox, Francona reflected on his morning, but politely declined to go into detail on Farrell’s status.

“I don’€™t think I need to be the John Farrell medical update person; I don’€™t think that’€™s fair to him,” Francona said. “Millsy and I went over there together, which [for] anybody who knows Millsy, not surprising.

“I’€™m glad we went. I’€™m really glad we went over. I think [Indians general manager] Chris Antonetti went over after we left. I’€™d rather let John say what he wants to about his stuff because that’€™s his business, but we went over and spent a lot of time telling stories, most of them probably not true.”

When asked about Farrell’€™s spirits, Francona said it wouldn’€™t be fair to him to answer the question, though he said he felt being there was ‘€œprobably good for all of us.’€

“It didn’€™t feel good because of the circumstances, but I didn’€™t really think about it. He’€™s just my friend,” Francona said. “I didn’€™t really give it much thought. Millsy was there too, and Millsy’€™s every bit the friend to everybody, and I appreciated Millsy doing that. He didn’€™t have to do that, and I think John was pleased to see him.”

In addition to being there for Farrell, the Indians being in town this week allows Francona to participate in the Jimmy Fund radio telethon, an event he enjoyed each year as Red Sox manager.

“The Jimmy Fund is incredible.” he said. “I mean, the people there at Dana Farber and the work that they do and the way they handle it, I’€™ve seen it first hand. It’€™s incredible. When I was in town for those eight years, I always went out and would go on radio for 10 or 15 minutes and make a donation. I’€™m guessing tomorrow, my donation will probably be a little bit more because it probably needs to be.”

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.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– 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).

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

– 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.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– 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 »

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