|Xander Bogaerts gets more support, this time from a longtime friend, former teammate||07.07.14 at 10:22 pm ET|
John Farrell is not the only one showing a vote of confidence in struggling rookie Xander Bogaerts.
Jonathan Schoop is someone who’s known Bogaerts even longer than the Red Sox manager.
Schoop played with Bogaerts on the Netherlands national team that competed in the 2013 World Baseball Classic and has played in many competitions with him.
When he went 0-for-27 recently and fell into a 2-for-49 slump, the Orioles second baseman sympathized for a player he came to know through international competition.
“He’s a good player, even if you go through tough times,” Schoop told WEEI.com after Sunday’s game, a 7-6 Baltimore win. “Every player goes through tough times but you have to find a way to make adjustments and come back. He’s a competitive guy, he wants to win, he wants to do good and he’s a good guy, a great guy.”
“His confidence. You cannot see in him that he’s 0-for-20, 0-for-25, 0-for-30. He stands in there like he’s 10-for-10, believing in himself.”
Ironic that Schoop made his comments on the very day that Bogaerts actually snapped his 0-for-27 slide, collecting multiple hits for the first time since June 7. That day Bogaerts was hitting .299 with a .387 OBP and an .839 OPS.
Between then and Sunday, his average plummeted 61 points and there was serious talk about whether he would be better off making adjustments at Triple-A Pawtucket. Farrell said before Monday’s game with the White Sox that there is no such plan in the works. Schoop is no general manager or field skipper but he does agree that leaving Bogaerts up in the majors to learn, even at the tender age of 21, is a good thing.
“I think so,” Schoop said. “You see how he learns from experience. The more experience, the better you get. You have to learn from experience. I think he’s doing a good job. Just keep grinding. Just keep fighting.”
|Nelson Cruz on John Lackey: ‘People can say whatever they want’||07.06.14 at 12:53 pm ET|
Lackey was in classic passive aggressive form after Saturday night’s 7-4 loss to Cruz and the Orioles. Cruz went 5-for-5, including a laser beam homer to left off Lackey.
“I’m not even going to comment on him,” Lackey said. “I’ve got nothing to say about him. There are things I’d like to say, but I’m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.”
The “stuff” Lackey was accusing reporters of brushing under the carpet was the 50-game suspension for PED violations in connection with the MLB Biogenesis investigation. On Sunday morning, Cruz responded. At first Cruz said he was unaware but after being informed of Lackey’s tone, Cruz seemed unaffected.
“What comments? I don’t know,” Cruz said. “I don’t hear that, anything. I mean, people can say whatever they want. It’s part of being free. I don’t have any comment on that.”
Cruz was a triple shy of the cycle on Saturday night. He is certainly the leading candidate for comeback player of the year, leading the American League in homers (27) and RBIs (70). He’s batting .286 with an OPS of .934. No wonder that David Ortiz aggressively recruited Cruz in the offseason and asked GM Ben Cherington to take a serious look at him.
Speaking of Ortiz, it was the Red Sox slugger Orioles manager Buck Showalter was apparently referencing when he suggested Sunday morning that Lackey “looking in his backyard” before throwing stones. Ortiz was listed in a 2003 report of more than 100 MLB players who tested positive for a banned substance.
Cruz was asked if he has noticed a tone of forgiveness from players around baseball after he served his suspension in 2013.
“I mean for players it’s kind of hard to know because most of the time they don’t talk,” Cruz said. “What I care about is my teammates and what they think about me. I mean, when you go to ballparks and beat other teams they are not going to be happy regardless of what you do or anything. What I care about is what my teammates think about me and what my fans think about me. Like I said before, they aren’t going to be happy when I come in and do good. They want me to strikeout every time and when that doesn’t happen, they are pissed.
“I just play game-by-game. For me the most important thing is winning. I think we accomplished what we could [Saturday night] and that was get a ‘W.’ Also, it feels good go perfect in one game, don’t get any outs so it was one of the best games I’ve ever had in my life.”
|Red Sox-Orioles postponed, day-night DH set for Saturday||07.04.14 at 10:13 am ET|
The team announced that the game would be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader Saturday with games at 1:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m.
|Near no-no before Fenway fans gave Jake Arrieta ‘goosebumps’||06.30.14 at 11:48 pm ET|
Jake Arrieta hasn’t always had great memories of pitching in Fenway but he’s always loved the fans and the environment. On Monday, he nearly made Fenway Park history.
Before giving up a clean single to right field to Stephen Drew on a misplaced 2-2 fastball, Arrieta was a mere four outs away from becoming just the fourth opposing pitcher to no-hit the Red Sox at Fenway since it opened in 1912 and the first since Detroit’s Jim Bunning in 1958.
“The tension kind of builds there as the fifth and sixth innings kind of approach and then it kind of subsides a little bit,” said Arrieta, who brought a perfect game into the seventh last week against the Reds at Wrigley Field. “The space around me [in the dugout] kind of increases, naturally. But yeah, another special night. It’s special to do it in this ballpark, to do something like this last week in Wrigley and then to do it here, in these two parks is pretty special.”
Arrieta finished with a career-high 120 pitches over 7 2/3 innings, picking up the win in a Cubs’ 2-0 blanking of the Red Sox Monday night.
“Most parks will have it somewhere on the board or on the Jumbotron so you sort of know,” Arrieta said. “During each inning, I might glance I have this many more to work with, and I knew the leash was going to be lengthened a little bit because of the situation. It felt like just any other day really as far as the body goes. I didn’t have to hit so I had a little more in the tank.
“We won and that’s obviously the biggest thing from tonight. We can all kind of enjoy. It was fun, a lot of fun.”
Arrieta was given a rousing standing ovation as he came off the mound immediately after losing his no-hitter in the eighth. There was still a game to be won. But that didn’t keep the fans from appreciating the effort of the right-hander.
“Something like that in Fenway is pretty rare for an opposing team so yeah, I got some goosebumps there and that’s kind of why you play this game, for moments like that. I’m just very thankful to be a part of something like that and to get another win feels good.”
|Wednesday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Rubby De La Rosa vs. Wei-Yin Chen||06.11.14 at 8:35 am ET|
The Red Sox conclude their three-game series against the Orioles in Baltimore on Wednesday when they send Rubby De La Rosa to the mound against Wei-Yin Chen.
De La Rosa’s second start in a Red Sox uniform wasn’t nearly as glamorous as the first. After dominating a weak Rays lineup in seven shutout innings May 31, De La Rosa (1-1, 2.84 ERA) gave up four runs, nine hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings in a 6-2 loss to the Tigers on Friday. While the right-hander said he felt similarly to the way he did in his first start, he struggled with location and was done in by back-to-back home runs by Ian Kinsler and Torii Hunter.
“I feel almost 100 percent like last time,” De La Rosa said after the game. “I just missed more pitches.’
Wednesday’s appearance will be the second of De La Rosa’s career against Baltimore. His first came in two-thirds innings of relief in a 7-6 loss at Camden Yards on Sept. 29, 2013. De La Rosa gave up a run and a hit while throwing just 15 pitches in the inning, giving him a wretched 13.50 ERA against the Orioles for his career. One of the three batters he faced was Jonathan Schoop, who is the only current Baltimore hitter he has faced in his career. De La Rosa gave up a single to Schoop in the encounter.
Chen (6-2, 4.13 ERA) has gotten June off to strong start, going 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two starts since the turn of the month. The left-hander took a no-decision in his last start after the Orioles fell to the A’s 4-3 in 11 innings on Friday. Chen gave up two runs on a pair of solo homers in 6 1/3 innings. He allowed five hits and no walks with four strikeouts.
Chen has been especially strong with his control this season. The 28-year-old has walked just 11 batters in 12 starts this season. He’s given up no more than three walks in a start and issued one free pass or fewer in his last seven starts. Read the rest of this entry »
|Monday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Jake Peavy vs. Bud Norris||06.09.14 at 8:31 am ET|
Coming off a dramatic win in Detroit that ended a five-game losing streak, the Red Sox begin a three-game series with the Orioles on Monday in Baltimore when they send Jake Peavy to the mound against Bud Norris.
Peavy (1-3, 4.72 ERA) had yet another disappointing outing last Tuesday in Cleveland, giving up five runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings in a 5-3 loss to the Indians. The right-hander gave up three runs in the first, shut out Cleveland for the next five and surrendered two more in the seventh. Peavy has had just one quality start in his last five, a far cry from his early-season success when six of his first seven outings were quality starts.
On a positive note, Peavy didn’t allow a home run for the second game this season.
“I had made pitches all night,’ Peavy said after the game. “I felt fine. [David Murphy] puts a good at-bat on me and gets on base. If we keep him off base there, Yan Gomes‘ ball is right to the shortstop because we’re not playing double-play depth. It could have been a different inning. Just seems like it’s been the story of my last month. Just can’t quite get the ball to bounce our way. It’s awfully tough losing.”
If Peavy wants to get back in the win column for the first time since April 25, the Orioles may be the team for him to do it against. Peavy is 2-0 with a 4.21 ERA in four career starts against Baltimore, and took a no-decision April 20 in his lone appearance against the O’s this season. He struggled with a five-run, 10-hit, four-walk performance over 5 2/3 innings, but the Sox ultimately prevailed 6-5.
Norris (4-5, 4.41 ERA) had his last start cut short when he a suffered a bruised forearm in Texas last Wednesday. The right-hander was in the midst of a strong start against the Rangers until he was struck with a two-out liner by Mitch Moreland in the fifth inning. Norris finished the inning, but not before giving up a three-run home run to Adrian Beltre. Read the rest of this entry »
|Buster Olney on M&M: ‘Important to temper expectations’ for Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr.||04.30.14 at 1:50 pm ET|
ESPN MLB insider Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about Red Sox rookies Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr., John Lackey and his resurgence, which team in the AL East has the highest ceiling and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Bogaerts and Bradley Jr. haven’t gotten off to the most productive starts in 2014, with Bradley holding a .244 batting average and Bogaerts having committed four errors. Despite some growing pains, Olney notes rookies are doing well when framed in the proper context.
“I think it is important to temper expectations for Xander Bogaerts and for Jackie Bradley Jr. this year because they’re young players and there are going to be times when they go up and down,” Olney said. “But it is worth nothing that early in the year, Xander Bogaerts has a .378 on-base percentage. I mean, my goodness, you take that out of guys in the middle of their careers, let alone someone on the outset of his career.
“And Jackie Bradley Jr. has an on base percentage today of .344 and eventually it looks like he’ll be able to be that guy who’s going to be the leadoff hitter, but I know the Red Sox front office is really intent on letting him ease his way on in rather than have to deal with the pressure.”
One of Bogaerts’ biggest problems hasn’t been at the plate but rather at shortstop. Other teams have even started to question if the 21-year-old ever will develop into a solid defender.
“Rival executives have told me that they have some questions about his range going to his left,” Olney said. “And it’s interesting, it actually reminds me a little bit of what I’ve heard of [Derek] Jeter even in the middle of his career, where people say, ‘Boy, there’s not as much range as some other shortstops, and especially with Derek going to his left.’ But I still think with Xander it’s obviously way too early to make a final assessment on what he’s going to be.”
|Mike Napoli, Clay Buchholz discuss pros, cons of baseball sleepover||04.21.14 at 4:30 pm ET|
There’s very little that can truly scare Mike Napoli.
Sleeping on the bottom bunk of bed that has a grown man and starting pitcher on top qualifies.
Monday was one of those truly bizarre days at Fenway, thanks to the unkind schedule-maker and MLB that had the Red Sox play a nationally televised night game on ESPN hours before the traditional 11:05 a.m. Patriots’ Day contest.
To compensate, and to help Napoli get added treatment on a sore left kneecap, the Red Sox provided a solution. Years ago, when the Red Sox renovated their clubhouse, they put aside a room designed to allow staff, players and coaches to sleep in, if needed.
Sunday night into Monday morning provided just such a scenario.
“There’s two bunk beds in there,” Napoli told reporters after Monday’s 7-6 loss to the Orioles. “Just a dark room, blankets, pillows, all the necessary things to sleep.
“I didn’t want to deal with all the traffic. Just being here was easier. I knew it was going to be an early morning, so just stayed here. We have a sleep room upstairs. It’s convenient.”
Of course, Napoli had a sore kneecap because Orioles reliever Darren O’Day drilled him in the bottom of the ninth.
“I mean, I could move my leg around and run. It was just a little sore,” Napoli said.
There were three Red Sox players who elected to take advantage and avoid Monday’s traffic into the Fens. Napoli, Monday’s starter Clay Buchholz and John Lackey. So that meant someone had to bunk up. With Buchholz starting, Napoli and Lackey decided to split the other.
“I was bottom. Had Lackey above me,” Napoli said, before confessing he was “kind of scared he was going to fall through, to tell you the truth.”
|Red Sox Marathon Monday notes: Mike Napoli, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey have a sleepover, Napoli ‘a little sore’ but ready to go||at 10:25 am ET|
Whenever you can hear an injury from the dugout, you immediately fear the worst.
But John Farrell can breathe a little bit easier after Mike Napoli came downstairs from spending the night in the Red Sox clubhouse and reported he was good to go and bat cleanup for the Red Sox after taking a Darren O’Day pitch to the outside of his left kneecap Sunday night.
“A little sore but ready to go,” Farrell reported Monday morning. “He and a couple other guys spent the night here with the quick turnaround but we’re at full strength, ready to go today. That’s why it’s there. They’re taking advantage of it.
“The way he went down, it didn’t look promising. You could hear it from the dugout. It was clearly on the bone. But once he got some feeling back, while the soreness was there, he was good to continue. We were somewhat anxious to see how he was going to respond this morning. But walking around after the game last night, he was mobile. It remained loose so while there’s some soreness, he’s still ready to go.”
“No, I didn’t. I have my own sleeping room,” Farrell quipped.
Farrell acknowledged Monday morning that the schedule “is what it is” and even showed some humor when one reporter asked if he could judge the mood of the clubhouse after such a short night.
“How do you feel this morning?” Farrell replied. “We’re on short rest but the game goes on and we’ll be there, I can’t say with bells on, but we’ll be raring to go.”
Brock Holt was penciled into the starting lineup as the leadoff hitter Monday, marking the fifth leadoff hitter the Red Sox have used this season.
“He’s had very good at-bats, both [against] lefties and righties,” Farrell said. “We’ve had a number of different guys in that leadoff spot. I recognize that. I think the priority becomes keeping some continuity, 2 through 6, which we’ve been able to do with this alignment. That’s where we are today.”
Buchholz has yet to replicate his early-season magic from 2013, when he looked like a Cy Young candidate. In 2014, the 29-year-old has gone 0-1, posting a 5.51 ERA and a 1.714 WHIP, both above his career averages, a 3.64 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.
The Texas native has shown improvement in his three starts, giving up less hits and putting his team in a position to win. His last start came Wednesday against the White Sox. Buchholz lasted six innings that day, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits, striking out six and walking two.
The Red Sox went on to win the game 6-4 in 14 innings. While Buchholz went six innings, he pitched 51 pitches in the first two innings.
“It was a little bit of a grind there for a couple of innings,” Buchholz said after the game. “It was sort of similar to [Jake Peavy] on [Tuesday] night. I had a long inning and sometimes you’ve got to find a way to pick your team up when things happen in an inning. Tried to battle to get through that first one.
“It’s tough to bounce back from a first inning like that. But this team, everybody knows they like to swing, so I was able to get through a couple of innings later on with a lot fewer pitches than I normally do.”
Buchholz has been successful in his career against the Orioles, posting a 9-3 record with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.276 WHIP in 16 games, 15 of them being starts. Buchholz first faced the Orioles in 2007, appearing twice, once as a starter and once from the bullpen. He combined to pitch 12 innings, allowing one hit and no runs, while striking out 12 and walking five.
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