Full Count
A Furiously Updated Red Sox Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network
Closing Time: Rick Porcello, Christian Vazquez lead Red Sox over Blue Jays 04.15.16 at 10:13 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Closing Time: Rick Porcello, Christian Vazquez lead Red Sox over Blue Jays
Rick Porcello pitched very well Friday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello pitched very well Friday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Whether it was the presence of Christian Vazquez or not, it seems like the Red Sox are gaining some momentum.

For the second straight game, the Red Sox got a decent start from their starting pitcher as Friday it was Rick Porcello who went 6 1/3 innings to earn the win in the Red Sox’ 5-3 win over the Blue Jays. It was the second straight win for the Red Sox.

Porcello finished the game going 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on two hits (both Edwin Encarnacion home runs), while walking one, hitting two and striking out eight.

The Red Sox scored early allowing Porcello to settle in with a lead. They scored three times in the first inning starting with a David Ortiz RBI double off the top of the wall in dead-center. After Hanley Ramirez reached via a passed ball on a strikeout, Travis Shaw drove in both Ortiz and Ramirez with a two-RBI double of his own.

They tacked on another run in the second inning on a Mookie Betts RBI single.

Porcello gave up his second home run of the game to Encarnacion in the seventh with a runner on. He struck out the next batter and then was lifted at 100 pitches.

Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel (save) in a shaky ninth closed the game out for the Red Sox in relief of Porcello.

Closing Time note

The Red Sox have now not been shutout at home in 60 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the majors. It dates back to June 4 of last year.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: christian vazquez, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, rick porcello
Dave Dombrowski details why Red Sox sent Rusney Castillo to minors, his future 04.15.16 at 6:03 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Dave Dombrowski details why Red Sox sent Rusney Castillo to minors, his future
The Red Sox optioned Rusney Castillo to Triple-A on Wednesday. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox optioned Rusney Castillo to Triple-A on Wednesday. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

The entire Rusney Castillo situation this season has been a confusing one.

At the end of spring training, the Red Sox opted to have Castillo on their Opening Day roster over veteran outfielder David Murphy, so Murphy opted out of his contract. There was some skepticism as to why the team went with Castillo as opposed to having him start in Triple-A and getting every day at-bats, which he desperately needs at this stage of his development.

Then, after getting just four at-bats through the first eight games of the season, the Red Sox sent him back down to Triple-A Pawtucket after Wednesday’s game. Why did he even start with the Red Sox in the first place?

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski explained the situation Friday.

“I think really what is difficult — and I have tried to explain without going into, because I am not going to tell you we’re thinking about optioning somebody out because then everyone is going to run to the player and say we’re thinking of optioning him out — you’re roster is a fluid situation and especially your bench guys at times,” Dombrowski said. “For us, we were comfortable with him not starting off playing every single day, but then it was a situation, the more Brock [Holt] played left and has done such a good job, so the combination of Brock and Chris Young out there — and of course we haven’t faced a left-handed starter yet so there’s been no starts available in that role that we just thought that gives us the best chance to win right now and to stay with that. Rusney is sitting there, so let’s get him out and start playing. That is really what it came down to.

“But in the beginning of the year when you think about it, how many games has Pawtucket played? A limited number of games — seven, eight. So we didn’t think it would hurt him to come up here and be part of what we had going on and now we’re in a situation of where we say, ‘OK, let’s have him go out and get some at-bats.'”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dave Dombrowski, Rusney Castillo,
Why Red Sox are adding outfield to Blake Swihart’s skill set 04.15.16 at 5:21 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Why Red Sox are adding outfield to Blake Swihart’s skill set
Blake Swihart can now add the outfield to his list of positions. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Blake Swihart can now add the outfield to his list of positions. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox have two very good young catchers in Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez. But, thinking towards the future, it’s impossible to have both players play every day behind the plate.

This is why on the day Swihart was sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Vazquez’s recall, the Red Sox revealed their long-term plan with their two prized catchers.

“As we look towards the future, and even as time goes on, we would like Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart to both be part of our club,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “They are both not going to be every day catchers with our team. [Swihart] is more athletic. He’s a converted catcher. We think he could make a conversion to another position — even on a part-time basis so we can keep his bat in the lineup.”

Swihart will take fly balls in left field with Pawtucket as the Red Sox would like him to add outfield to his skill set. In addition to taking fly balls in the outfield, he will still play catcher as it was noted they are an injury away of having him come back to Boston as a catcher. It was also revealed between the outfield, catcher and DH, Swihart will play every day in Triple-A.

Vazquez is 25 years old, while Swihart is 24 so both are young and have plenty of room to grow.

This long-term plan didn’t come out of no where as these discussions began towards the end of spring training, with Swihart starting shagging fly balls in the outfield. Some thought Swihart would be better suited for first base, but manager John Farrell said the organization viewed the outfield being the most “viable.”

“His athleticism will take over,” Farrell said of Swihart playing the outfield. “He and I had a couple of conversations in spring training about this. He would shag in left field during BP. Confident that through repetition, much like we have talked about with him behind the plate, which is a much more difficult task then playing a major league caliber left field. That will take time. We’ve come to know Blake as not only an upfront guy, but is a smart athletic player who is going to be committed to the work.”

“Bottom line, we see both (Vazquez and Swihart) coexisting on this roster, really in the same lineup on a given day,” Farrell added. “We know [Swihart is] still going to be catching games.”

With the long-term plan in mind and the Red Sox showing commitment to both players, now is the perfect time to execute it with Vazquez 100 percent healthy, but any time a player changes positions it certainly bears watching.

Stay tuned.

Read More: blake swihart, christian vazquez, Dave Dombrowski, John Farrell
Christian Vazquez feeling ‘100 percent’ going into 2016 big league debut 04.15.16 at 3:56 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Christian Vazquez feeling ‘100 percent’ going into 2016 big league debut
Christian Vazquez will make his 2016 major league debut Friday night. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

Christian Vazquez will make his 2016 major league debut Friday night. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

It’s been a longtime coming for catcher Christian Vazquez.

The catcher missed the entire 2015 season because of Tommy John surgery at the end of the spring last year. Vazquez noted he was 100 percent to end the spring and could have started with the Red Sox, but the team opted to have him start the year in Triple-A Pawtucket.

He played in five games and hit .468 at the plate before being recalled prior to Friday’s game with the Blue Jays. Blake Swihart started the year with the big league team and had a few issues defensively and ultimately was sent back down to Triple-A as the corresponding move for Vazquez being recalled.

“I’m excited. I’m here for a reason to help the team,” Vazquez said prior to Friday’s game. “Like I said, the pitching staff. I’m happy to be back.”

The hope is Vazquez’s game-calling ability will help with a starting rotation that has an ERA of 6.86 entering Friday, the worst in the American League.

“I’m happy. I’m here to help the team win and my pitching staff here,” he said.

During his week with Pawtucket he was able to work on every part of his game and is excited to join the big league team for the first time since 2014. He also added his family will be at Fenway Park Friday night.

“I was doing everything — my at-bats, my arm strength is back,” he said. “Overall, I was working on everything.”

The Red Sox are wasting no time as he will start Friday night and catch starter Rick Porcello.

Read More: christian vazquez,
Red Sox lineup: Christian Vazquez catches Rick Porcello 04.15.16 at 3:22 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Red Sox lineup: Christian Vazquez catches Rick Porcello
Christian Vazquez

Christian Vazquez

The Red Sox are wasting no time getting catcher Christian Vazquez into the lineup.

After being recalled earlier in the day, Vazquez will get the start behind the plate catching Red Sox starter Rick Porcello. He was hitting .462 in five games with the PawSox.

Other than that, it’s a standard lineup with Travis Shaw at third base and Brock Holt in left field as the Red Sox go up against Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Travis Shaw, 3B
Brock Holt, LF
Christian Vazquez, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Rick Porcello, RHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Read More: christian vazquez, rick porcello,
Red Sox option C Blake Swihart to Triple-A Pawtucket, INF Marco Hernandez recalled 04.15.16 at 3:14 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Red Sox option C Blake Swihart to Triple-A Pawtucket, INF Marco Hernandez recalled
Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

The Red Sox made a few moves prior to Friday’s game.

In addition to outfielder Rusney Castillo being optioned to Triple-A Pawticket after Wednesday’s game, catcher Blake Swihart has also been sent down. To take their places on the roster, catcher Christian Vazquez and infielder Marco Hernandez have been recalled.

Vazquez spent the first week of the minor league season with the PawSox working his way back from Tommy John surgery last season. The Red Sox would have had three catchers on their roster if they didn’t send Swihart down. Him being in Pawtucket will give him everyday playing time that he wouldn’t get with the Red Sox, which is the best thing for him at this point as he continues to develop as a catcher.

Swihart was 5-for-18 at the plate in six games this season. Vazquez will start behind the plate Friday night catching Rick Porcello.

Hernandez gives the Red Sox an utility infielder they didn’t have to start the season. He was the player to be named in the Felix Doubront trade with the Cubs in 2014.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Read More: blake swihart, christian vazquez, Marco Hernandez,
Red Sox minor league notebook: Sox have taken lesson from Blue Jays GM Mark Shapiro in player development 04.14.16 at 11:32 am ET
By   |  Comments Off on Red Sox minor league notebook: Sox have taken lesson from Blue Jays GM Mark Shapiro in player development
Current Blue Jays GM Mark Shapiro started player plans when he was with the Indians. (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

Current Blue Jays GM Mark Shapiro started player plans when he was with the Indians. (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

1. The Red Sox can thank Blue Jays general manager Mark Shapiro for a major part of their minor league player development — a thing called player plans. Shapiro implemented this when he was in the Indians’ organization as director of player development in the early 1990s. It stayed in place when he was elevated to the team’s president, which was when current Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen was the Indians’ assistant director of player development and worked directly under John Farrell. When Hazen came to the Red Sox as the director of player development in 2006, so did the player plans.

“It’s a piece of player development that has been very successful for us,” Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo said, who was the PawSox’ manager in 2010.

Player plans are essentially a computer file on each player, which notes his strengths and weakness, although the Red Sox refer to weaknesses as limitations. They are put together once a player comes into the system and updated three times a year by their manager that season (beginning, middle and end of the season). At the end of the year meetings, players see their player plan so they know where they stand and what they need to work on to get to the next level.

“What we talk about here with the Boston Red Sox is being as transparent as possible and have no barriers,” Lovullo said. “This eliminated any type of barrier between the player and the staff.”

2. Player plans are valuable for managers and coaches as well.

For example, when a player gets promoted to the next level and a coach doesn’t know too much about that player, they can pull up his player plan to get a sense of where he’s at in his development, rather than having to wait and see that player play a few games. Although, the managers and coaches do communicate directly about players and don’t depend strictly on the player plans, they are a good starting point.

“It is a great communicative tool that makes everybody on the same page — the front office, the coaching staff and the player where the player knows exactly the things he needs to work on to advance,” Single-A Greenville manager Darren Fenster said.

3. One of the biggest surprises in the first week of the Red Sox minor league season has been the play of Double-A Portland third baseman Jantzen Witte, as through seven games he’s batting .400 with two home runs after hitting just four all of last season. Witte wasn’t all that surprised by the increase in power because of what he did in the offseason.

Witte worked out with Rangers catcher Bryan Holaday in the offseason doing a number of different drills designed to improve power. Holaday hit four home runs in the spring and once Witte saw that, he was confident it would work for him. Witte hit two home runs in the first two games of the season.

Although the extra power is nice, Witte doesn’t want it to take away with who he is as an overall hitter.

“I don’t really want to completely lose who I am and the kind of hitter that I have been,” Witte said. “I think it’s something I can build on and how I mature.”

4. Through six games, second baseman Yoan Moncada is off to a good start with High-A Salem. The athletic 20-year-old is hitting .333, but most surprising thing to manager Joe Oliver has been his quickness on the bases. In six games he’s stolen six bases.

“I didn’t realize how fast he was until I actually saw him steal his first few bases,” Oliver said. “His acceleration rate from the point he starts to his jumps to how he gets to full speed is pretty amazing.”

Last season in Single-A Greenville, Moncada stole 49 bases in 81 games.

5. Some have said Greenville pitcher Anderson Espinoza had a bad start Wednesday night, but it just shows how high the bar is set for him. The right-hander allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits over five innings to take the loss. This comes following his first outing where he threw five shutout innings. Fenster is very impressed with how mature he is just being 18 years old.

“Just a really impressive kid in the respect of knowing how to pitch,” Fenster said. “Obviously, the kid has an incredible arm. He has one of the best arms that you will see at his age — at any age really. It is an easy mid-90s fastball. He has command with it and he used predominately a fastball-changeup mix and what that did (in his first start), it actually made his fastball play up even more. Broke 4-5 bats.

“Everybody sees the stuff and believe me, the stuff is very, very impressive, but his presence on the mound and his ability to know how to pitch is what sets that apart when a kid has stuff that good and has something going on upstairs as well. You can see why the future is so bright for this kid.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: anderson espinoza, jantzen witte, mark shapiro, Red Sox Minor League Notebook
Joe Kelly far from perfect, but gives Red Sox starters something to build on in win over Orioles 04.13.16 at 11:27 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Joe Kelly far from perfect, but gives Red Sox starters something to build on in win over Orioles
Joe Kelly allowed two runs over five innings Wednesday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Joe Kelly allowed two runs over five innings Wednesday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

It wasn’t the greatest of starts, but with the way the Red Sox rotation had been going — entering with the worst starters ERA in baseball — it was much needed.

Joe Kelly went five innings allowing two runs to earn the win in the Red Sox’ 4-2 win over the Orioles Wednesday night.

For Kelly, he set a career-high with his ninth straight win over his last 11 starts since August 1 of last year. He’s just the second Red Sox starter since Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2008 to accomplish this (Clay Buchholz in 2013 was the other).

Although Kelly allowed only two runs, he wasn’t as effective as it appeared. Overall, he went five innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, but he walked five and stuck out six. Kelly faced 26 batters and 10 of them worked him to a three-ball count, while eight of those got to a full count.

The biggest key for Kelly was making big pitches when he needed to, which was something other Red Sox starters couldn’t do in games prior. As a team, Baltimore went 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base.

“Joe made a number of big pitches with men on,” manager John Farrell said. “A high number of pitches, but still, he battled. He got a couple of key strikeouts, particularly to [Caleb] Joseph to end the fifth. … Even when guys were in scoring position, Joe did not give in one bit here tonight. I thought he used his breaking stuff, his changup well tonight. After a full five innings of work we turned it over to the bullpen who did another great job tonight.”

Red Sox starters still have combined to record just two outs after the sixth inning this season.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Joe Kelly, John Farrell,
Red Sox option OF Rusney Castillo to Triple-A Pawtucket 04.13.16 at 10:58 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Red Sox option OF Rusney Castillo to Triple-A Pawtucket
Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo

Following the Red Sox’ 4-2 win over the Orioles Wednesday night, the Red Sox optioned outfielder Rusney Castillo to Triple-A Pawtucket. There was no corresponding move announced and the team doesn’t need to make one until Friday as they are off on Thursday.

“We need to get him out and get him going,” manager John Farrell said. “We need to get him some at-bats and playing everyday.”

“I’m always ready for whatever news that’s being given to me,” said Castillo through a translator. “Just going to keep working hard and we’ll see what happens.”

Castillo had just four at-bats over the first eight games of the season and wasn’t likely to see any in the near future given the current outfield situation with Brock Holt and Chris Young platooning in left field.

“I look at it as an opportunity to play every day and get better,” Castillo said. “I’m excited at the opportunity to start every day, which is what I’ve always wanted to do.”

Farrell noted the corresponding move didn’t need to be an outfielder, so it is possible catcher Christian Vazquez could join the team for the weekend series against the Blue Jays.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Read More: John Farrell, Rusney Castillo,
Red Sox lineup: Ryan Hanigan catches starter Joe Kelly 04.13.16 at 3:14 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Red Sox lineup: Ryan Hanigan catches starter Joe Kelly
Ryan Hanigan

Ryan Hanigan

It will be another standard lineup for the Red Sox in the series finale with the Orioles, but with only one exception.

Ryan Hanigan will catch Red Sox starter Joe Kelly, as Blake Swihart gets the night off. Hanigan caught Kelly’s first start in Toronto last weekend.

Travis Shaw again starts at third base, while Brock Holt gets the start in left field against Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. Pablo Sandoval will sit despite being 14-for-39 with two homeruns vs. Jimenez.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Travis Shaw, 3B
Brock Holt, LF
Ryan Hanigan, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Joe Kelly, RHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Read More: Joe Kelly, Ryan Hanigan,
Red Sox Box Score
Red Sox Schedule
Latest on Twitter
Red Sox Headlines
Red Sox Minor League News
Red Sox Team Leaders
MLB Headlines
Tips & Feedback

Verify