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Brandon Snyder caps memorable week with key role in Red Sox victory 06.30.13 at 8:59 pm ET
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Third baseman Brandon Snyder delivered a pair of key hits on Sunday. (AP)

Third baseman Brandon Snyder delivered a pair of key hits on Sunday. (AP)

When Brandon Snyder stepped to the plate with one out and the bases empty in the ninth inning of a 4-4 game Sunday afternoon, he felt good about facing Blue Jays reliever Juan Perez.

The two have matched up a number of times in the minors in recent seasons, according to the Red Sox third baseman, and Snyder most recently watched Perez when the left-hander threw 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for Triple-A Buffalo against Snyder’s PawSox on April 23.

So Sunday at Fenway Park, a 5-4 Red Sox victory, Snyder had a pretty good idea of what he wanted to do when he initiated the eventual game-winning rally with a 1-1 single through the right side.

“I kind of knew what he was going to try to do, and then once he threw me a slider [for a called strike to make it 1-1] I pretty much knew, ‘All right, he’s going to try to get another strike here,’ ” Snyder said. “So kind of just bear down and not try to do too much.

“I’m looking for a fastball because he throws upper 90s — he’s a good pitcher, so you can’t sit there and try to guess — but you have to sit on the fastball.”

It was a sinker, not a four-seam fastball, and it was only 93 mph, not high 90s, but the result was about as much as Snyder could ask for. Read the rest of this entry »

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Clay Buchholz, David Ross to DL; Red Sox call up Ryan Lavarnway, Alex Wilson 06.18.13 at 8:25 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz landed on the disabled list. (AP)

Clay Buchholz landed on the disabled list. (AP)

The Red Sox placed right-hander Clay Buchholz on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to June 9) due to what the team described as a neck strain, while also placing catcher David Ross on the 7-day disabled list for the recurrence of his concussion-like symptoms. In their places, the team called up catcher Ryan Lavarnway (in place of Buchholz) from Pawtucket and right-hander Alex Wilson (in Ross’ spot.

According to a team source, there has not yet been a decision about whether — with Buchholz sidelined — Allen Webster or Rubby De La Rosa will be called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to start this weekend. Still, barring another player getting placed on the DL, it would have to be Webster who starts, given that De La Rosa needs to remain in the minors for at least 10 days after being optioned (unless he is returned to the big leagues in place of a player who goes on the DL).

Buchholz threw a bullpen session off a mound prior to the night game of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader, his first bullpen session since he suffered what was described as a sore trapezius muscle in his June 8 start. It was after that throwing session that news of his placement on the DL was announced. With his retroactive date, he could be activated as soon as June 24 (an off-day, followed by a game against the Rockies at Fenway on June 25).

The Sox announced that both Lavarnway and Wilson were expected to be available for the 8:05 game. However, Jarrod Saltalamacchia started the night game of the doubleheader after also starting the day game. Meanwhile, Wilson’s availability will be something of a question given that he threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings (punching out three) on Monday.

From the Red Sox press release: Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox minor league roundup: Impressive tune-up for Rubby De La Rosa; Bryce Brentz mashing; Sergio Gomez dominates at 2:09 pm ET
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A brief look at the limited action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-0 WIN AT COLUMBUS (INDIANS)

(BOX)

Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa earned his first win of 2013 on Monday. (AP)

Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa earned his first win of 2013 on Monday. (AP)

– Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa, back in Pawtucket after a one-day stint in the big leagues on Saturday, earned his first victory of the year, logging 5 1/3 shutout innings while giving up just two hits (one double, one single), striking out five and walking five. Both the five walks and the 5 1/3 innings represented season highs, as did De La Rosa’s 87 pitches (49 strikes; 56 percent).

In his last nine outings, De La Rosa — a candidate to start for the Red Sox in the big leagues on Saturday if Clay Buchholz lands on the DL — now has a 0.97 ERA with opponents in possession of a feeble .163/.283/.236 line against him. In that stretch, De La Rosa has 36 strikeouts and 19 walks in 37 innings.

Bryce Brentz continues to mash. He launched his fourth homer in six games on Monday while going 1-for-3 with his 14th roundtripper; he also got hit by a pitch. The 24-year-old is tied for fourth in the International League in homers and fifth with 49 RBI.

– In his first appearance since a brief big league callup, right-hander Alex Wilson was dominant, allowing no runs on one hit while striking out three in 1 1/3 shutout innings. Wilson now has 12 strikeouts and three walks in 10 2/3 minor league innings.

Brock Huntzinger, in his second appearance since a promotion to the PawSox, retired all six batters he faced, punching out one. The 24-year-old has delivered three perfect innings thus far in Pawtucket. Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox calling up Rubby De La Rosa, optioning Alex Wilson 06.14.13 at 11:47 am ET
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Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa will join the Sox in Baltimore on Friday. (AP)

Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa will join the Sox in Baltimore on Friday. (AP)

With the Red Sox bullpen depleted once again following Thursday night’s 13-inning, 5-4 loss to the Orioles, the Red Sox are summoning Rubby De La Rosa from Triple-A Pawtucket. De La Rosa, who has been starting all year in Triple-A, will be available to the Sox out of the bullpen, according to a major league source. To clear a spot, right-hander Alex Wilson — who took the loss despite pitching well, allowing one run in 2 2/3 innings — was optioned back to Pawtucket after Thursday’s loss.

De La Rosa is 0-1 with a 3.29 ERA in 11 starts (38 1/3 innings) with the PawSox this year. Most of those outings have been with restricted workloads, as the Sox have been proceeding carefully with the 24-year-old given that a) he is pitching his first full, healthy season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2011 and b) he has never thrown more than 111 innings in a minor league season. Still, he’s been making steady progress within those strictures, working a season-high five innings in just 70 pitches in his most recent outing.

In his last eight outings dating to April 23, De La Rosa has a 1.14 ERA with 31 strikeouts and 14 walks in 31 2/3 innings. His ability to garner strikeouts in volume has fluctuated — Saturday marked the second time in three outings that he had just one punchout — but in an interesting suggestion that, in contrast to his early-season struggles, the 24-year-old is now showing the ability to execute consistently, he has allowed no more than two earned runs in any of his last eight starts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Closing Time: Felix Doubront’s short outing sets up Red Sox for extra-innings failure in loss to Orioles 06.13.13 at 11:45 pm ET
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Felix Doubront got a no-decision after pitching just 4 2/3 innings. (AP)

Felix Doubront got a no-decision after pitching just 4 2/3 innings. (AP)

On a night when Felix Doubront lasted only 4 2/3 innings and left with the Sox in a 4-2 hole, the Red Sox nonetheless rallied to tie the game and send it into extras against the Orioles thanks in no small part to the outstanding performances of an assembly line of relievers. Franklin Morales (1 1/3 innings), Andrew Miller (2 scoreless frames), Junichi Tazawa (1 1/3 shutout innings) and Craig Breslow (two outs) all came on and kept Baltimore in check, buying time for the Sox to push across a pair of runs to knot the game, 4-4.

But after Alex Wilson — summoned from Pawtucket earlier on Thursday — delivered scoreless frames in both the 11th and 12th innings, the Orioles rallied for a two-out run in the 13th to claim a 5-4 walkoff victory. The game-winning hit came when Orioles slugger Chris Davis blooped a jam-shot — a 93 mph fastball located exactly where Wilson wanted it, on Davis’ hands — into shallow left.

The loss went to Wilson and the bullpen, but the fault lay with Doubront’s inability to offer reliable innings. After all, big league teams entered Thursday with a 64-240 record this year (.211 winning percentage) in games when their starters failed to log five complete innings. The Sox now are 1-8 in such bullpen-battering contests.

To highlight the impact of such short outings: The Sox are 40-19 (.678 winning percentage) when their starters go at least five innings, while their winning percentage drops to just .111 when their starters fail to deliver that modest innings total.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– Doubront saw his streak of four straight starts of six innings snapped, on a night when he was hit relatively hard. He labored to a 103-pitch count in just 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits — a homer, two doubles and four singles. Though he issued just one walk and struck out five, and got six ground ball outs, Doubront remained winless against Baltimore.

Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-for-5 and saw a number of streaks get halted. His 11-game hitting streak is no more. So, too, is a five-game streak in which he had a hit, scored a run and stole a base — the longest such streak by a Red Sox since Tommy Harper accomplished the feat in 1974. And when Matt Wieters delivered a low-flying laser to second base, Ellsbury had his streak of 18 straight successful stolen base attempts end.

Read the rest of this entry »

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For Daniel Bard, a new beginning — and an opportunity 04.25.13 at 11:15 pm ET
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Daniel Bard tossed a scoreless inning on Thursday (AP)

So, about that notion that Daniel Bard‘s stay in the big leagues is likely short-lived …

Not so fast. At least not yet.

The Red Sox called up the right-hander from Double-A Portland on Wednesday, at a time when he’d started to get locked into his delivery. In his first big league appearance of 2013, in a lopsided 7-2 Red Sox victory against an Astros team that owns the worst record in the American League, Bard showed the kind of stuff that suggests that he could assert himself as a piece of the Sox bullpen beyond the coming days.

Summoned to pitch the ninth inning with the Red Sox up by five runs, Bard featured a 93-96 mph fastball that had late life, as evidenced by a pair of swings and misses (one a check-swing) en route to a strikeout of Chris Carter and a game-ending comebacker by Matt Dominguez. In one inning of work, he gave up a hit (a single on a fastball) and got one punchout while throwing 10 of 18 pitches for strikes, though that number is slightly misleading due to the tight strike zone exhibited by home plate ump Tim McClelland. His fastball was consistently in or around the zone, and Bard wasn’t shy about using it.

“Aggressive. Attacked the strike zone,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “He looked free and easy, looked confident, and that was a good inning of work and a very encouraging one. We continue to get consistency out of him, what it can add to the overall depth of those guys in the pen — that was a good inning of work tonight.”

While nothing is set in stone going forward, Farrell’s enthusiasm suggested that Bard has a chance to kick the door open for a lengthier big league stint than was initially anticipated when news of his call-up circulated. After all, the numbers game is already shifting in his favor. Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox minor league roundup: Bryce Brentz, Will Middlebrooks and the possibility of a career-changing hot start 04.05.13 at 11:12 am ET
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Bryce Brentz had a pair of doubles among his three hits on Thursday. (Jim Allen / Portland Sea Dogs)

A year ago, outfielder Bryce Brentz was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket at the end of the season. Then manager Arnie Beyeler immediately flashed back to the previous year, when third baseman Will Middlebrooks was promoted at season’s end from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Pawtucket.

“The tools are off the charts. It’s just fun to watch him play. The ball comes off his bat very easy and very loud, and he can drive the baseball. It’s a really live bat. He’s definitely a guy who can impact the middle of the lineup with his bat,” Beyeler said last September. “The ball comes off the bat with the same velocity, the same trajectory, that same two-iron look to it [as Middlebrooks].”

Brentz struggled initially in Triple-A (just as Middlebrooks had struggled in a year-ending PawSox stint in 2011) but then had a strong finish in the postseason. This spring, though he lost an opportunity to perform in big league camp when he suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound, he recovered in time to make a favorable impression in front of the Sox coaching staff when he went 3-for-9 with a homer, double and walk in Grapefruit League action.

The 24-year-old built upon his spring training performance in Pawtucket’s Opening Day victory. He went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a single while striking out once. The ability to make an immediate impact stands in some contrast to what he did a year ago in Portland, when his first game with multiple extra-base hits didn’t come until April 27.

Brentz has been a streaky hitter throughout his minor league career, with his hot streaks rivaling those of anyone in the system. He possesses as much raw power as any Red Sox minor leaguer, with a long-established ability to drive the ball out to all fields. Read the rest of this entry »

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