|Red Sox pregame notes: John Farrell wants to get back to 5-man rotation; Batting order shuffle||06.04.15 at 2:11 pm ET|
Currently the Red Sox are going with six starting pitchers, but following this weekend’s series with the Athletics, it would appear it will be going back to the standard five.
“Our plan is not to [stick with six guys],” manager John Farrell said. “We’ll get through this weekend where we need all six starters, but coming out of the off day (Monday), it’s our intent to get back to five starters. We have the remainder of this next series to work through that.”
The manager announced Eduardo Rodriguez will slide in between Clay Buchholz and Rick Porcello in the rotation, so the lefty will start Tuesday in Baltimore. It would appear the last spot in the rotation will come down to Joe Kelly (Saturday’s starter) and Steven Wright (Thursday’s starter).
Both have bullpen experience, so it would seem whoever doesn’t stay in the rotation will be sent to the bullpen. Kelly is 1-4 with a 5.83 ERA in 10 starts this year and hasn’t won since his first start of the season in New York. Wright is 2-2 with a 3.90 ERA in five appearances (three starts) this year. As a starter he’s gone at least five innings and allowed three runs or less in all three of his starts.
— The Red Sox shook up their lineup again Thursday with Hanley Ramirez moved up to the No. 2 hole, Mookie Betts hitting seventh and Xander Bogaerts hitting fifth.
Farrell explained the decision that went into both, first Ramirez hitting second.
“A guy that has swung the bat well against left-handed pitching,” he said. “I don’t want to say this is a left-handed hitting lineup. But, to get our veterans in the top portion of the order, to give them the most number of at-bats, looking to get a little bit of a spark and continue to find combinations that could potentially jump start.”
As for Betts, Farrell indicated the move down in the order is only temporary.
“In Mookie’s case he’s gotten pitched to over the last three weeks where there seems to be a clear cut approach or pattern that pitchers are using against him,” Farrell said. “Moving him down to the No. 7 hole is just to give him a little bit of a breather. We fully see him as a top of the order type of guy. Confident he will get to that. This is a little bit of a breather right now.”
|Red Sox lineup: Hanley Ramirez batting second, Xander Bogaerts fifth||06.04.15 at 12:52 pm ET|
It is an interesting Red Sox lineup for their series finale with the Twins Thursday afternoon.
Hanley Ramirez slides up to the No. 2 hole as the lineup goes up against left-hander Tommy Milone. Pablo Sandoval gets the start at third base and it will be worth monitoring if he continues to bat left-on-left against Milone.
Mookie Betts will hit seventh, like he did in Game 2 of Wednesday’s doubleheader and Xander Bogaerts slides up to the No. 5 spot.
Blake Swihart will catch Red Sox starter Steven Wright.
Here’s the complete Red Sox lineup:
|Red Sox Minor League Notebook: A look at scouting process for No. 7 pick; Rafael Devers like Robinson Cano?||06.04.15 at 10:51 am ET|
For the second time in three years, the Red Sox have the No. 7 overall pick in the MLB draft, which kicks off Monday. While it’s nearly impossible to project who the team will select, there’s no doubt they will have done extensive research and a lot of background work on that particular player.
In 2013 the Red Sox selected tall, lanky left-hander pitcher Trey Ball out of New Castle High School in New Castle, Indiana. Ball was a two-way player in high school, but became exclusively a pitcher once drafted by the organization.
“Very thorough,” Ball said of the Red Sox’ scouting process. “They knew what they wanted and when they asked me if I wanted to be a hitter or a pitcher and I always said I would do either or — whatever would make the team happy. They chose pitcher and I was on board 100 percent with that. They knew what they wanted.”
Ball had a number of scouts at every one of his games from the beginning of his senior season, but the Red Sox seemed to be the team that consistently was there the most and did more than any other team.
“It was just amazing because it didn’t matter if we were at home or on the road, there were always 20-25 scouts there and not all of those guys approached me,” Ball’s high school coach Brad King said. “The Red Sox actually talked to my assistant coaches, they talked to administration. They did their research. Postgame they talked to talked to me about what his demeanor was like after the game or during the game. I thought they did their homework.”
He added: “They did their work. They did everything that was needed and I can’t say that about every other team. Some guys just approached me and asked about him as an outfielder, they didn’t even look at him as a pitcher, but the Red Sox did both aspects. They did strictly as a pitcher, strictly as an outfielder, they did everything. Talking to assistant coaches was important as well and I can’t say that about other teams. They left no stone unturned.”
Ball recalled the Red Sox standing out just by the amount of time they spent focused on him, which included numerous cross-checkers.
“They did just by how many people they sent out to meet with me and watch my games,” he said. “That really stood out.”
The Red Sox met twice with Ball’s family for extensive meetings, once in December before his senior year and again right before the season started. Although he never personally met with general manager Ben Cherington before he signed his professional contract, Cherington did check out one of his starts late in his senior year.
“Questions of what did I prefer — pitcher or hitter,” Ball said of what was asked. “They asked about how I was as a person, as a teammate and just stuff like that. Trying to get to know me for what type of person I am.”
The questions weren’t just about on field stuff, as the organization seemed to care a great deal about things off the field and what type of person Ball was.
|Closing Time: Red Sox offense blanked in nightcap of doubleheader, spoiling Rick Porcello bounceback||06.03.15 at 9:26 pm ET|
What a difference a few hours make.
After the Red Sox tied a season-high with 13 hits and took Game 1 of the day-night doubleheader, 6-3, they came out in the nightcap and managed just two hits as they were shutout by the Twins, 2-0.
“Well, certainly what we didn’t expect I can tell you that going into the game,” manager John Farrell said. “But, that’s not taking anything away from [Trevor] May. He stayed to the corners, he was down, he had good stuff, three pitches for strikes. We capitalized on some pitches up in the strike zone in Game 1, we didn’t get those tonight in the nightcap.”
Red Sox starter Rick Porcello struggled in the early going, needing 42 pitches to get through the first two innings and allowing two runs, but then settled down retiring 11 in a row from the second to the end of the fifth inning.
He also faced the minimum batters from the third to the eighth inning, aided by a double play in the sixth. In total he retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced.
The right-hander went eight innings allowing two runs on five hits while striking out five and not walking a batter. It was his second start of the year going eight or more innings. He came into the game allowing 13 earned runs in his last 11 1/3 innings.
“He got better as the night went along,” Farrell said. “Eight quality innings of work. In the second inning he left a couple of pitches up that they were able bunch together with a walk for their two runs and then like I said, became much more efficient as he went. The most encouraging thing I thought was in the middle innings and later inning his two-seamer was in the right part of the zone down. Put the ball on the ground a number of times. We just couldn’t get anything going offensively. but Rick certainly gave us an opportunity tonight.”
Twins right-hander Trevor May shut the Red Sox down, going seven innings allowing no runs on two hits, while not walking a batter and striking out nine. The seven innings and nine strikeouts both tied career-highs.
As a team, the final 19 Red Sox batters were retired in succession and with the loss they have now not won three games in a row since the fifth game of the season.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: May. The righty completely took the Red Sox offense out of the game following their 13-hit performance in Game 1. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
|Eduardo Rodriguez earning high praise from John Farrell following second dominant start: ‘It’s a special kid’||06.03.15 at 6:14 pm ET|
While one player can never save a season, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez is doing everything he can to turnaround the Red Sox.
The 22-year-old Venezuelan threw 7 2/3 shutout innings in his major league debut last Thursday to earn his first win and followed that up with seven innings of one-run ball Wednesday to earn his second major league win in as many starts in the Red Sox‘ 6-3 win over the Twins in Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader.
Per Elias, Rodriguez is the first pitcher since 1900 with seven or more innings pitched, three or fewer hits allowed and one run or less allowed in his first two big league starts.
Putting up numbers like that, he has the chance to become something special.
“He does,” manager John Farrell said. “And I think anybody in the game who’s watched any pitch whether it’s been previously with Baltimore or since coming over here. We have the vantage point of getting to know the person in addition to the pitcher. He’s got great aptitude, he’s intelligent, in addition to the physical abilities that he demonstrates. It is, it’s a special kid.”
The only blemish to Rodriguez’s name in his first two starts is a solo home run to Brian Dozier in the third inning of Wednesday’s game. He’s held opponents to a .102 batting average and has 14 strikeouts and four walks in 14 2/3 big league innings.
Prior to getting the call to the majors last week, Rodriguez was 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts with the PawSox this year. So did he think he would ever do this well in the big leagues?
“No. I didn’t think it would be like that,” Rodriguez said. “I just want to keep going. If they give me one more, I’ll do one more.”
While when he was called up it was said he would get just one start, but with his two performances to date there is no question he will get another start, and likely many more. His next start is in line to be in Baltimore against the Orioles early next week.
“If he goes to Pawtucket it’s only on the way to Baltimore,” Farrell joked afterwards.
|Red Sox acquire OF Alejandro De Aza, cash from Orioles in exchange for minor league RHP Joe Gunkel||06.03.15 at 5:54 pm ET|
The Red Sox officially acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza and cash considerations from the Orioles in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Joe Gunkel on Wednesday. To make room on the 40-man roster Brandon Workman was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
De Aza is expected to join the team Thursday where he would need to be added to the 25-man roster. The obvious move seems to be to DFA outfielder Carlos Peguero, who they just acquired last week.
The 31-year-old De Aza was acquired by the Orioles on Aug. 30, 2014 in exchange for two minor leaguers. The lefty hitter .293 with a .877 OPS over 20 games in the final month of that season, while totaling a .214 average and .636 OPS in 30 games with Baltimore this year.
Manager John Farrell gave insight onto how the team expects to use the outfielder on the Red Sox Radio pregame show prior to Wednesday afternoon’s game.
“He gave them a little over a year of really good production for them in Baltimore,” the manager said to Joe Castiglione. “Given our reserve group of players, with Daniel Nava being down, De Aza has been in that role a little bit in Baltimore where he has come off the bench. He’s been a little bit of a platoon player. I’m not saying De Aza is going to come in here and platoon in left with Hanley. But at the same time we’ve got a veteran, a guy who can run, a guy that can play all three outfield positions. He’s en route for most of today from the Dominican so it’s unlikely he’ll be here for any of the day-night doubleheader today. We were able to acquire a veteran guy who has some success and track record.”
Gunkel has split time this season between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland, combining to go 3-2 with two saves, a 2.90 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 12 outings, including five starts. He was selected in the 18th round of the 2013 June Draft.
Workman was on the 15-day DL with a right elbow strain suffered at the end of spring training. He visited with Dr. James Andrews and received a PRP injection back in the middle of April.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|Red Sox lineup: Mookie Betts slides down in order for Game 2||06.03.15 at 5:11 pm ET|
The Red Sox will go for a sweep in Wednesday’s day-night doubleheader with the Twins following a 6-3 win in the afternoon.
The biggest thing that stands out in the Game 2 lineup is Mookie Betts sliding down to the No. 7 spot. The center fielder went 0-for-4 in Game 1 and his average is down to .242 this season.
After sitting this afternoon, Pablo Sandoval is back at third base, while Brock Holt remains in the lineup playing right field. Hanley Ramirez gets the night off as Carlos Peguero will man left field, as the team goes up against Twins right-hander Trevor May.
Blake Swihart will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello.
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
|Closing Time: Red Sox offense comes alive, Eduardo Rodriguez impresses again in win over Twins||06.03.15 at 4:08 pm ET|
For the first time in what has seemed like months, the Red Sox offense actually looked like the offense that was expected going into the season.
The Red Sox rattled off 13 hits, including having four players record multi-hit games, as the offense along with the second straight great start from Eduardo Rodriguez, was more than enough to beat the Twins, 6-3 in the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Fenway Park.
The 13 hits tied a season-high for a fifth time.
Rodriguez went seven complete innings allowing one run (a home run) on just two hits, while walking two and striking out seven. He threw 103 pitches (77 strikes) in his Fenway Park debut, after going 7 2/3 shutout innings in his first major league start against the Rangers last Thursday.
The Red Sox broke the game open in the fifth when they scored twice to take a commanding 5-1 lead and chased Twins starter Phil Hughes from the game. Xander Bogaerts’ two-RBI single chased Hughes from the game after just 4 2/3 innings. It was his third hit off Hughes of the game, as the shortstop now has hits in nine straight home games.
Dustin Pedroia scored the Red Sox’ first two runs of the game, scoring in the first and again in the third. Pedroia owns Hughes, as for his career the second baseman is hitting .390 with 15 RBI.
The Red Sox got on the board early, scoring their 16th first inning run of the season when Pedroia scored from first on an David Ortiz double off the base of the wall in left center. The ball appeared catchable, but center fielder Aaron Hicks misjudged it. Even with the run, the Red Sox have still been outscored 37-16 in the first inning this year.
Wednesday afternoon marked just the ninth time in the Red Sox’ last 31 games that they scored five runs or more.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Bogaerts. The shortstop went 3-for-4 and is now hitting .515 (17-for-33) at home in his last nine games and looks more confident than ever both at the plate and in the field. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:
|Red Sox pregame notes: Brian Johnson not on his way up despite skipped start Wednesday; Daniel Nava injury update||06.03.15 at 12:12 pm ET|
There was some buzz Wednesday morning when the PawSox lineup card was released and scheduled starter Brian Johnson was not on it and Miguel Celestino was starting in his place.
With Eduardo Rodriguez called up and making his major league debut last week, there was speculation it could be Johnson’s turn this week, but manager John Farrell poured cold water over that thought.
“There’s a typical approach taken with all starters there where they ail skip a start at some point in time the year and it wasn’t to bring him up or anything other than kind of a normal cycle guys go through,” Farrell said.
Farrell anticipates Johnson to make his next scheduled start with Pawtucket five days from now.
Johnson is 6-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 10 starts with the PawSox this season. This is following a 2014 season which saw him go 13-3 with a 2.13 ERA in 25 starts between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland.
— Daniel Nava was placed on the 15-day disabled list last Thursday with a left thumb strain. Following an MRI, there’s no timetable for his return.
“Has not swung a bat yet,” Farrell said. “The MRI confirmed that there is a contusion in the muscle in the left hand that’s up from the thumb towards the palm. There’s inflammation that is going on there that they are still trying to calm down and heel. So, he’s going through treatment, some strengthening and I don’t have a date that he will put a bat back in his hand yet.”
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
— There was a report early Wednesday morning that the Red Sox had acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the Orioles. Farrell wouldn’t confirm or deny the report, but did say if they were to add an outfielder, he wouldn’t be added to the roster for Game 2.
“I’m aware of the report that is out there on acquiring another outfielder,” Farrell said. “There’s no move to announce right now. The best thing I can say is Ben [Cherington] is always looking for ways to improve the roster and look at every opportunity to do that.”
|Xander Bogaerts on Tuesday’s 1-0 Red Sox win: ‘Probably the biggest win of the year’||06.02.15 at 11:02 pm ET|
The Red Sox needed Tuesday’s win as bad as any win this season.
Entering Tuesday losers of three straight and nine of their last 12 games, coming off a brutal 1-6 road trip, their owner John Henry speaking before the game calling the first 51 games of the year “unacceptable” and the team opening a seven-game homestand, a place they have gone just 10-12 on the year — those were all ingredients calling for as big of a game a team could have on June 2 in a season.
Fortunately for the Red Sox they pulled out a 1-0 win over the Twins, led by Clay Buchholz going eight shutout innings and Rusney Castillo delivering a two-out, two-strike RBI single in the seventh inning proving to be the difference.
“Much needed. Probably the biggest win of the year coming off a tough road trip,” shortstop Xander Bogaerts said. “Starting off the homestand on a positive note. Tomorrow we have two games. Just coming here with the same excitement and ready to go tomorrow again.”
It’s no secret the Red Sox’ hitters have struggled with runners in scoring position this year, as coming into play Tuesday they were hitting just .221 on the year as a team. The trend was continuing Tuesday when they started 0-for-6, including having first and second with no outs in the sixth inning with David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez coming up and not scoring a run.
With starter Clay Buchholz in the midst of one of his best games of the season, the Red Sox desperately needed a run.
Bogaerts stepped to the plate with two outs and no one on base in the seventh inning, and with two strikes the shortstop ripped a hanging splitter off the center field wall for a double. Then, after a walk to Sandy Leon, Castillo came through with a two-strike single up the middle, breaking the scoreless tie and proving to be the game-winning hit.
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