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What did Red Sox do during All-Star break? 07.17.14 at 12:40 am ET
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With Jon Lester and Koji Uehara the lone All-Star representatives in Minnesota for the Red Sox (besides the coaching staff), many members of the team had a chance to relax before the grind of the second half of the season gets underway. Some decided to share their activities on social media.

First baseman Mike Napoli had dinner with some long-time friends in the North End.

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, jackie bradley jr., john lackey, mike napoli
Shane Victorino: Traffic caused rehab schedule adjustment 07.13.14 at 9:29 pm ET
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When Shane Victorino‘s rehab assignment for the Portland Sea Dogs on Saturday was scratched, it seemed reasonable to assume that the outfielder may have suffered another setback, considering how his recent attempts to rehabilitate his injuries have been cut short due to discomfort.

That, however, was not the case. Victorino said that the reason he was scratched on Saturday had to do with the fact that he was stuck in traffic on his car ride from Boston to Portland.

“Yesterday was one of those things where the drive took me almost 2 1/2 hours to get an hour and a half still away,” Victorino said. “It was supposed to be a two-hour drive and it was going to turn into a three-hour-plus drive. They said that being in the car that long and then trying to play in the game was probably not the smartest decision. That was the only thing. I left as early as I could thinking that it wasn’t going to be that bad, but that was my first time ever trying to go down to Portland, Maine, and I understood with all of the beauty of the beaches and the coastline and the beauty of the weekend, it wasn’t the smartest choice.”

According to Victorino, he drove about as far as Salisbury, Massachusetts, before he called Red Sox physical therapist Dan Dyrek regarding his issues with traffic.

Victorino said that the scratch had nothing to do with any physical issues.

“That was the thing that happened yesterday,” Victorino said. “It wasn’t anything due to pulling me back from playing. The thing about at-bats is that’s the part that I’ve still got to get adjusted to. We’ll figure it out. I’m a professional hitter and I should figure it out sooner rather than later so I can’t sit here and worry about trying to get more at-bats. I’ve got to get ready to be physically ready to go and continuously play. Everything is going according to plan.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Closing Time: Clay Buchholz hurls complete-game gem, Red Sox win last game of first half 07.13.14 at 5:30 pm ET
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It looks like Clay Buchholz might have finally figured things out.

Buchholz turned in his best of the start of the season Sunday against the Astros, going nine innings and allowing three hits and no runs with a career-high 12 strikeouts. It led the way in the Red Sox‘ 11-0 win over the host Astros.

It was the first time since Sept. 15, 2013, against the Yankees that Buchholz did not allow an opponent to score. The outing also marked since May 11 against the Blue Jays that Buchholz went more than seven innings. 

Buchholz threw his last complete game on Aug. 10 against the Indians, when he allowed two hits and one run (on a home run), with six strikeouts.

Since coming off the disabled list on June 25 and heading into Sunday, Buchholz posted a 3.92 ERA with an opponent batting average of .230, an opponent on-base percentage of .260, 11 strikeouts, one walk and nine earned runs in 20 2/3 innings pitched.

Also highlighting the Red Sox win was Brock Holt‘s five hits.

The Red Sox capped off the first half of their season with a 43-52 record. Through 95 games in 2013, the Red Sox were 58-37. During the Bobby Valentine-led 2012 season, the Red Sox were 48-47.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

– Holt continues to be the savior of the 2014 Red Sox and adding to his list of conquests. Against Astros starter Brad Peacock, Holt hit a leadoff home run into the upper deck of Minute Maid Park to give the Red Sox a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning. Holt went 5-for-6. Heading into Sunday, Holt was hitting .277/.306/.340 as the first batter of the game.

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Finally: Mike Carp takes advantage of long-awaited opportunity with walkoff 07.10.14 at 11:44 pm ET
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Mike Carp delivered the first walkoff hit of his career on Thursday. (AP)

Mike Carp delivered the first walkoff hit of his career on Thursday. (AP)

For nearly a month, first baseman Mike Carp sat on the couch of the Red Sox clubhouse in pain. The pain was not so much the result of the broken bone in his right foot that left him in a walking boot, but instead from his inability to help the team in situations that normally called for his skill set. There was nothing Carp could do except sit and cheer on his teammates, despite his desire to help the team through its struggles. As the team struggled through the month of June, winning 12 and dropping 16 games, all Carp could do was wait until his foot healed.

“Some of the nights, you almost have to turn the TV off when those situations come because you can’t be there to help,” Carp said. “It hurts so bad to see your brothers struggling and want to be able to contribute and fill your role.”

On Thursday, Carp finally got that opportunity and made the most of it, delivering a walkoff single in the bottom of the 10th that sent the Red Sox to a 4-3 victory.

After Daniel Nava reached on a pinch-hit walk to lead off the 10th, Mookie Betts advanced Nava to second base with a sacrifice bunt. White Sox manager Robin Ventura decided to intentionally walk Stephen Drew, owner of a .128 batting average, with David Ross due to hit next. Instead of Ross, Red Sox manager John Farrell decided to pinch-hit Carp. With the winning run at second base in the form of Nava and the score tied in the 10th inning, Carp felt that he had a feel for how White Sox reliever Ronald Belisario would attack him.

“€œI figured that [Belisario] was going to come in,” Carp said. “€œHe attacked me heavily the whole series. I only got three at-bats, but after he went away on the 1-2 pitch, I assumed something would be out over the plate.”€

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Closing Time: Red Sox claim second straight walkoff win thanks to Mike Carp 07.10.14 at 7:33 pm ET
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Second straight walkoff. Second straight win. With one out in the 10th inning, Mike Carp singled in Daniel Nava from second base, handing the Red Sox a 4-3 win over the White Sox. The heroics helped make up for an uneasy ninth inning from Koji Uehara.

Conor Gillaspie, who came into the four-game series with one home run, hit his third long ball since arriving at Fenway Park this week. This time the two-run, ninth-inning blast off Uehara took a win away from Sox starter Jon Lester, tying the game at 3-3.

Lester continues to build up more reasons why someone, whether it is the Red Sox or not, will give him a massive contract. The lefty turned in one of his strongest starts of the season, going seven innings and allowing seven hits, no walks and one run and striking out 12 while throwing 76 of his 105 pitches for strikes (72.3 percent).

Throughout the outing, Lester displayed strong command of his entire arsenal, mixing in a terrific cutter, changeup and curveball to keep White Sox hitters off balance. The only blemish on Lester’s day came in the first inning when Jose Abreu knocked in Adam Eaton from first base after left fielder Jonny Gomes slightly misplayed a low fly ball while slamming into the Green Monster.

Lester’s stellar performance on Thursday left him with a 2.65 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP, a .243 opponent batting average, 134 strikeouts and 29 walks in 129 innings pitched over 19 starts. The performance marked the 20th double-digit strikeout game of Lester’s career and the third of the 2014 season. After Thursday’s performance, Lester has the third most games of 10 or more strikeouts, trailing Pedro Martinez (72 games) and Roger Clemens (68 games).

The Red Sox are riding a two-game winning streak heading into their last series before the All-Star break against the Astros.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

– Having not collected a hit through five-plus innings, the Red Sox put two runners on base through walks from White Sox starter Jose Quintana. With the Red Sox‘ first opportunity to score their first run of the game, Jackie Bradley Jr. stepped up to the plate and delivered, breaking up the Quintana’s no-hitter and shutout. Bradley has hit well in July thus far, hitting .353/.421/.471 with two doubles and three runs in five games coming into Thursday.

David Ortiz knocked in two runs in the sixth inning to push the Red Sox ahead 3-1. Ortiz has started off the month of July hot, hitting .360/.469/.560 with five doubles, four RBIs, six walks, one strikeout and two runs.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

Mike Napoli extended his recent struggles with an 0-for-4 performance. In the month of July, Napoli is hitting .188/.350/.250 with 12 strikeouts, eight walks and two doubles.

Mookie Betts turned in an 0-for-3 performance. While Betts has provided a spark for the Red Sox, he has hit .217/.258/.379 in eight games in the majors.

Read More: Jon Lester, mike carp,
Red Sox not in talking mood about ‘shared frustration’ of offensive woes 07.08.14 at 12:11 am ET
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The Red Sox must face the reality of where they stand in the playoff race. (AP)

The Red Sox must face the reality of where they stand in the playoff race. (AP)

The Red Sox very clearly know where they stand in the race for the American League East. They know that they stand in last place at 39-50, 10 games behind the first-place Orioles. The Red Sox know that with every loss, with every lackluster performance against a mediocre pitcher, their chances at reaching the postseason to defend their World Series championship look gloomier.

The growing unlikelihood of a playoff berth gets more real by the day. It stares them right in the face every day in the form of the standings on the Green Monster scoreboard.

“We don’t need to think about [the standings],” said outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. “We can see it. Every single day we go on the field, we see it out there in left field. I don’t think it’s something that we’re too much focused on. We’re trying to get back to winning, and if you win, it’ll all kind of take care of itself.”

The only problem? The team is grasping for answers as to why it can only muster one hit off a pitcher by like White Sox hurler Scott Carroll, owner of a 4.52 ERA, 1.52 WHIP and .296 opponent batting average.

“I don’t have any answers,” said utility man Brock Holt. “We’ve got guys up and down the lineup that know what to do and have done it before, but we’re just not getting it done right now. It’s not from lack of work. We’re going out and doing what we’re supposed to do. We’re just not getting the results that we want.”

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Closing Time: Red Sox lineup comes up empty against another little-known foe 07.07.14 at 10:44 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz pitched well aside from a pair of long homers, but received no offensive support in the Red Sox' loss to the White Sox. (AP)

Clay Buchholz pitched well aside from a pair of long homers, but he received no offensive support in the Red Sox‘ loss to the White Sox. (AP)

If Monday night’s 4-0 loss at the hands of Scott Carroll and White Sox proved anything, it’s this: The Red Sox are really good at being really bad at hitting mediocre starting pitchers.

The Red Sox consistently have made back-of-the-rotation starters look like bona fide aces, going into Monday’s game hitting .245 with a .322 OBP and .369 slugging mark while ranked second to last in the American League with 3.8 runs per game.

Here are some of the pitchers the Red Sox have faced since their seven-game winning streak concluded on June 2:

Edwin Jackson (Cubs): 5.05 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, .281 opponent batting average, 5-8 record in 18 starts

Kyle Gibson (Twins): 4.17 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, .249 opponent batting average, 7-7 record in 17 starts

Vidal Nuno (Yankees): 5.42 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, .282 opponent batting average, 2-5 record in 14 starts

Kevin Correia (Twins): 4.95 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, .298 opponent batting average, 4-10 record in 17 starts

T.J. House (Indians): 4.24 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, .307 opponent batting average, 1-2 in seven starts

Drew Smyly (Tigers): 3.89 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, .267 opponent batting average, 4-8 record in 14 starts

Scott Carroll (White Sox): 4.57 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, .298 opponent batting average, 2-5 record in eight starts

Against the Red Sox, these seven pitchers have a 1.32 ERA and a 0.965 WHIP while allowing seven runs, striking out 30 and walking 12 batters in 47 2/3 innings. Good teams beat good pitchers; bad teams lose to bad pitchers. Right now, it’s not difficult to identify into which camp the Red Sox fall.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– Clay Buchholz once again showed flashes that his stint on the disabled list did him well. Although he showed glimpses of what made him one of the top pitchers in baseball during the first half of the 2013 season, Buchholz nonetheless struggled with execution, evidenced by the two mammoth home runs he gave up to Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo.

Dunn hit his first career home run at Fenway Park in the second inning. The homer was the 453rd of Dunn’s career, moving him past Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski for sole possession of 35th place for most home runs all-time. Heading into Monday, Dunn was 0-for-7 in his career against Buchholz.

Viciedo – rumored to be on the trade market — showcased his power at Buchholz’s expense. The at-bat was a prime example of failure to execute pitches when Buchholz needed to. After starting the at-bat 0-2, Viciedo worked the count back to 3-2 and subsequently axed an 89 mph cutter into the deepest part of Fenway Park — the triangle in center field. The three-run, fourth inning home run from the 25-year-old put the White Sox on top 4-0.

– The Red Sox now have been shut out nine times, fourth most in the AL. They were shut out just 11 times in all of 2013.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

– The Sox did not get no-hit, thanks to a third-inning single by A.J. Pierzynski and an eighth-inning single by Jackie Bradley Jr.

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