|Closing Time: David Ortiz plays hero in win over Yankees||04.29.16 at 10:04 pm ET|
The narrative coming into the 2016 season, even without Aroldis Chapman, was that if you didn’t have the lead against the Yankees heading into the late innings, you might be in trouble.
The Red Sox evidently didn’t get the message.
After laying dormant for the first six innings, the Sox tied it with two in the seventh inning on a Jackie Bradley Jr. two-out, two-run double, then won it thanks to David Ortiz.
Ortiz launched a Dellin Betances first-pitch slider over the left field wall with one out in the eighth inning and Xander Bogaerts aboard. It cemented the Red Sox’ 4-2 win over the Yankees on Friday night at Fenway Park.
“Hey, you know that Betances is one of the toughest pitchers in the league right now,” Ortiz said. “I have like seven or eight at-bats against him without success. I was pretty much watching the whole thing and making up my mind and saw him throw a lot of breaking balls to Mookie [Betts] the first batter he faced. He’s got a great breaking ball. The one that I hit stayed up a little longer than usual. He’s a tough guy to hit and finally I got a good hit.”
Coming into the at-bat, Ortiz was 0-for-7 against Betances, striking out four times. But this time, the Red Sox designated hitter, who now has four home runs, got the last laugh. Ortiz finished with a pair of hits, and is hitting .396 in Sox wins (and just .216 in losses).
The Ortiz heroics was made possible because of Bradley Jr.’s rocket off the left field wall against Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka, who had dominated the Sox through six innings.
But in the seventh, both Travis Shaw and Brock Holt notched opposite field singles, setting up the center fielder’s game-tying hit. The double drove ended the night for the New York starter, who gave up the two runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out five and not walking a batter.
“You definitely want to come through in a situation,” Bradley said. “Whatever you can do to help the team win is obviously what you’re trying to do. Like I said, we’ve been fortunate enough to get guys on base in front of me. It’s a team sport. If they weren’t doing their part, I wouldn’t be able to do mine.”
|Brian Butterfield on Bradfo Show podcast: Talking Hanley Ramirez, laying out Roger Goodell, Patriots draft pick predictions||04.29.16 at 12:07 pm ET|
That much was clear when talking to the Red Sox third base/infield coach on the Bradfo Show podcast.
“Hanley knows what he’s doing,” Butterfield said. “He had a great camp. He worked hard. He’s a quiet workman. He has good instincts. And I think he was really looking forward to getting back to the infield and catching the ball on the ground.
“I think it was evident early in camp that he wanted to improve as a defender. His work was consistent. All he needed really was reps in games, and he has gotten his reps in games. He still needs more. I’m sure there are some things he will bump into over the course of the season that he hasn’t seen from that area of the field. But he’s a baseball player and he’s instinctive. When he sees something once he usually corrects things and doesn’t get beat by it a second time. It’s been good. I’ve gotten to know him a lot better. He’s a good man. He’s works hard. He cares about winning, and he loves being a member of the Boston Red Sox. So far, so good. I have my youngest son coming in tomorrow and I told him I definitely wanted him to meet Hanley because he would be meeting a good man.”
Ramirez is one of five American League first basemen to not make an error, to date. But, as Butterfield explained, while it has been a good start, there is still a ways to go, and more things to experience.
“I think one of the toughest things for guys, whether they go from the outfield to the infield, or switch positions, is anchoring that base and taking throws from other infielders, or taking throws from the pitcher on an attempted pick move,” the coach said. “He’s been very diligent at that. He seems to have caught on really quick. He’s been able to adjust all types of throws from the pitchers and the infielders. He knows when to body up the ball when the throw is low. He also knows when to try to go out and scoop it. It’s been good, so far. And I think he’s gained a lot of trust from his teammates on throwing the ball across, and that’s really important. When those guys from the left side know they can let it go and not miss high and not care about if they miss wide or in the dirt because that guy is going to adjust or dig a ball, that makes them a lot better. I think he has done that to the infielders, especially on the left side.”
Butterfield also admits that watching Ramirez play first base has often times been a unique experience, such as the time he tipped his hat to the crowd during the Fenway Park opener after picking a low throw from Xander Bogaerts.
“That’s a first time I’ve seen it to. He’s got a flair about him,” Butterfield said. “If he was sitting here right now, I would say I don’t agree with all of it. But he’s having a good time, and that’s the most important thing. He’s a guy, when he’s having a good time, he’s a productive guy. I think it’s evident to everyone in the clubhouse he’s enjoying himself, he’s trying to help us win ballgames, he has a smile on his face and it seems like he’s enjoying coming to the park every day.”
On the podcast, Butterfield also discusses the defensive status of Travis Shaw, Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia and even the injured Pablo Sandoval.
As an avid Patriots fan, he also offers his prediction as to who Bill Belichick might draft when Friday’s second round comes around. The names surfaced by Butterfield? Offensive tackle Jason Spriggs, wide receiver Leonte Carroo, running back C.J. Prosise and corner back Kendall Fuller.
And, finally, when asked what he would say to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell if he was sitting across from him as the interviewer, Butterfield would only say, “First of all, you’d be laying on your back.”
BRIAN BUTTERFIELD ON THE BRADFO SHOW
|Eduardo Rodriguez has rough rehab outing with PawSox||04.28.16 at 8:38 pm ET|
Starting for Triple-A Pawtucket Thursday night in Syracuse, Rodriguez allowed three runs on six hits and three walks over 3 2/3 innings. The lefty, who threw 75 pitches (45 strikes), also struck out a pair.
Rodriguez gave up a run in the first, and then two more in the second, allowing four straight single to start the frame.
In the third, Rodriguez faced just three batters, negating a walk thanks to the double play ball off the bat of Brendan Ryan.
Keith Couch came on to relieve Rodriguez with one out in the fourth inning.
Also of note in the game was Blake Swihart seeing his first action in left field.
|Red Sox lineup: Chris Young gets start against righty Jhoulys Chacin||04.28.16 at 3:32 pm ET|
Young is 2-for-14 with eight strikeouts against righties, having gone 6-for-21 against Chacin for his career. Besides Pablo Sandoval, the only other Red Sox to have significant at-bats against Chacin is first baseman Hanley Ramirez, who is 1-for-12 against the former Rockie.
Here is the Red Sox lineup in the series finale, with Clay Buchholz on the mound for the hosts:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Christian Vazquez C
|Red Sox still have no weight mandate for Pablo Sandoval, were comfortable with shoulder at time of signing||04.26.16 at 10:24 pm ET|
ATLANTA — The Red Sox should be getting some clarity on the Pablo Sandoval situation in less than a week.
Red Sox manager John Farrell reported before his team’s game against the Braves Tuesday night that Sandoval is slated to return to Dr. James Andrews Monday for a full exam on his ailing right shoulder. The third baseman wasn’t able to conduct the originally scheduled second opinion due to discomfort in the area.
In the meantime, here are some answers to questions surrounding the situation.
THE TEAM WAS AWARE OF SANDOVAL’S SHOULDER HISTORY
Through reviewing Sandoval’s medical history with the Giants, and the physical the Sox conducted at the time signing the free agent, the Red Sox did have what they considered enough information on a shoulder that had given the player problems in 2011. But the nature/severity of the injury wasn’t considered anything more than what many position players deal with.
IT WASN’T BAD ENOUGH TO CONSIDER INSURANCE
When free agents are signed, and there is a part of their body which might be of some concern, teams often take out insurance. In John Lackey’s case, the insurance was a clause in his contract that stated if he missed any significant time due to his injured right elbow his team option would be for the major league minimum salary. In the Jason Bay controversy, the Red Sox asked the player to pay a chunk of the insurance policy due to concerns over his knee. The Marlins couldn’t get insurance on Josh Beckett’s shoulder because of it’s condition prior to the player’s trade to the Sox. With Sandoval’s shoulder, however, going the insurance route wasn’t deemed necessary.
YES, THE REDS SOX DO TAKE OUT INSURANCE
Because of past conflicts with Lloyds of London when it came to insuring players, Red Sox principal owner John Henry had often tried to stay away from insuring injuries. (For more on Henry’s prior approach, click here.) But, according to president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, there has been no such mandate, and the decision to insure players is a “case by case” basis.
THERE HAS BEEN NO WEIGHT MANDATE
Contrary to a Yahoo! Sports report that the team told Sandoval it had “no intention of playing him unless he loses weight,” according to a major league source, there has been no such directive. The Red Sox have been monitoring Sandoval’s progress while on the 15-day disabled list, and have been encouraged by his approach — and results — the last two weeks.
|Revisiting David Price’s batting practice exploits, love for hitting||04.26.16 at 11:32 am ET|
ATLANTA — It wasn’t just one whisper. There were shouts that David Price wanted to sign with a National League team so he could participate in one of his favorite activities, hitting.
When such a notion is brought up now, Price smiles and lets out a quick chuckle.
“Obviously, that didn’t happen,” he said, later adding, “I don’t know if it ever entered the discussion. I enjoyed hitting. I enjoy facing a pitcher more than I enjoy hitting. No, it never came up.”
But it’s undeniable that Price isn’t the norm when it comes to living life as a major league pitcher. He just likes taking batting practice too much.
Price, who hit a home run in his last high school at-bat, has never let the love for swinging the bat go. According to those who have played with the pitcher, it isn’t uncommon to find his way into batting practice groups, even with no interleague action in site.
“It’s fun,” Price said. “I can’t turn down BP in a major league park.”
Is he a good hitter?
“In BP I am,” he responded.
There is proof of that. There was the blast the lefty hitter sent into the second deck at Washigton’s Nationals Park. Or the one that Price hit over the “Belle Tire Blast Zone” in right field at Comerica Park in Detroit.
“Miggy [Miguel Cabrera] said he the only lefty he’d see do that was Prince [Fielder],” Price said.
|David Ortiz offers interesting idiom for Tom Brady’s plight||04.26.16 at 1:01 am ET|
ATLANTA — Last May, David Ortiz was animated in his defense of Tom Brady when word came down the NFL had suspended the quarterback for four games.
“I think the decision was very poor,” the Red Sox DH said regarding NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s initial mandate that Tom Brady miss the first four games of the 2015 season. “You’re not just talking about any football player. You’re talking about probably the best player in the game, so what is the message you’re sending? I don’t think the message they’re sending is good. They want to send a strong message to who? The NFL players? How about the fans. What we think of it doesn’t matter?”
Then on Monday, it happened all over again.
Brady once again was tagged with a four-game suspension after the NFL won its appeal of Judge Richard Berman’s ruling. And, like many New Englanders, Ortiz’s reaction was that of frustration … and exhaustion with the situation.
“It’s crazy,” Ortiz said after his team’s 1-0 win over the Braves. “It’s just surprising a year later talking about the same stuff.”
And then Ortiz dropped an apt description of what has unfolded.
“When you fight eggs with a rock, the eggs never win,” said Ortiz, referencing NFL’s stubbornness. “It’s crazy.”
For more on Brady’s situation, check the It Is What It Is blog.
|Christian Vazquez throws out first runner since 2014, proclaims himself 100 percent||04.26.16 at 12:32 am ET|
The praise has been heaped on Christian Vazquez since he was recalled to the major leagues earlier this month.
But there one bit of punctuation the catcher needed before feeling all the way back from Tommy John surgery — throwing a runner out trying to steal.
Monday night, during the Red Sox’ 1-0 win over the Braves, he got to check that last test off his list.
Atlanta’s Jace Peterson decided to be the second runner trying to steal on the Sox catcher this season, and first to not make it successfully. Vazquez gunned down Peterson, who was just 12-for-22 in steal attempts last season, with ease.
“You saw me excited, right? It was an exciting moment,” Vazquez said. “It was a long time until this moment.”
And now Vazquez feels he can make the ultimate proclamation.
“It’s 100 percent,” he said of his surgically-repaired right elbow. “The more I’m playing, I’m getting stronger and stronger. I feel good, man.”
And just for good measure, Vazquez also has seen some modest improvement offensively, claiming a double to raise his batting average to .200. That’s two straight games he has a hit after three straight contests of going a combined 0-for-10 with six strikeouts.
|Closing Time: Rick Porcello, Jackie Bradley Jr. all Red Sox need in win over Braves||04.25.16 at 10:05 pm ET|
ATLANTA — In case you weren’t paying attention, Rick Porcello has been pitching pretty well.
The righty was one of the chief contributors in the Red Sox’ 1-0 win over the Braves on Monday night, going 6 1/3 innings without giving up a run. After striking out six and walking two, he now has 30 punchouts and just five free passes to go along with an ERA of 3.51 and a record of 4-0.
Since he started teaming up with catcher Christian Vazquez, Porcello has a 2.75 ERA in three starts. Also, it marked the 12th straight start the righty has gone at least six innings, the second-longest active streak (only behind Jake Arrieta).
The win puts the Red Sox over .500 (10-9) for the first time since they were 6-5 on April 17.
The only run the Red Sox would need came off the bat of Sunday night’s hero, Jackie Bradley Jr., who took Atlanta starter Julio Teheran deep over the right-field wall in the seventh inning for the outfielder’s first homer of the season.
Teherhan did his best to keep pace against a Red Sox lineup that was without both David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez, giving up one run over seven innings, striking out eight, walking three and allowing six hits.
The only time the Red Sox were threatened came in the seventh, after Porcello was driven from the game by a Jeff Francoeur double and Freddie Freeman walk. Robbie Ross Jr. came on to get a ground ball to second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who could only get a force out at second.
Ross Jr. ended the Braves’ rally by striking out pinch-hitter Erick Aybar, who came into the game with just one hit in 22 at-bats against left-handed pitching.
|Chili Davis reflects on becoming Godfather of breaking bats over one’s leg||04.25.16 at 8:47 pm ET|
ATLANTA — When Carlos Gomez snapped his bat over his leg Sunday night, having swung and missed at a Henry Owens’ changeup, Chili Davis couldn’t help but smile a bit.
The Red Sox hitting coach is, after all, the guy who started the craze.
While many credit Bo Jackson with first executing the fit of rage, it was actually Davis who many believe was the first to snap a bat (that wasn’t previously broken) over his thigh.
“I remember everything about it,” Davis said of the 1983 incident. “I remember Kevin Gross pitching. I remember he had that big rolling curveball, which he threw in the first at-bat. I was at a point in my career where I read curveballs pretty good. I was the kind of hitter if I saw it and I thought I could hit it, I’m thinking, ‘The next time I see that I’ll be ready for it.’ The next time I went up I saw one, threw it again, took it, strike, and then when two strikes I threw right threw it. The third time up he struck me out again because I kept swinging threw it. I just thought, ‘It had to be this bat, time to die.’ It was a brand new bat. Big handle. Big 36-, 37-ounce bat.
“That was just reaction. It wasn’t planned. I had never done it before.”
It wouldn’t be the last time Davis took his frustrations out on the lumber, either.
One offseason, while vacationing in Hawaii, pitcher Frank Viola threw down the gauntlet while playing golf with the slugger.
“He said, ‘If I ever strike you out twice in a game, will you break your bat over your knee for me.’ I said, ‘Frank, you’re never going to strike me out twice in a game. But if you ever do, I’ll do it,'” Davis remembered. “So during the season he struck me out the second time and after I was walking away I kept hearing a voice yelling, ‘Do it! Do it!’ I turned around and he was on the mound yelling, ‘Do it!’ So I broke it over my knee and he was like, ‘Yeah!’
“You do stupid stuff. When you play sometimes you get angry and you do stupid stuff, and then you get back home and you see it on TV and you’re like, ‘Oh my goodness, how dumb was that.'”
But, as awkward as such a maneuver might seem, Davis totally understand why players like Gomez go that route.
“I understand his frustrations,” the hitting coach said. “He’s a good player and there were a few frustrating at-bats for him. He’s a highly temperamental player. And he’s competitive. You put those two together and sometimes you get frustrated an react in that sort of way.”
Somebody isn't a Celtics fan (or a fan of Henry Owens changeups) pic.twitter.com/vY4dVLhsZS
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) April 25, 2016
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