|Red Sox-Blue Jays series preview||07.21.14 at 1:54 pm ET|
With just 10 days until the trade deadline, things are getting interesting for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox have won six of their last seven games, curtailing (at least temporarily) discussions of the team waving the white flag on 2014 and adopting the role of “seller” at the end of the month. Boston is firing on all cylinders, hitting .291 while posting a 2.25 team ERA over its last eight games.
Toronto, third in the AL East standings and four games ahead of Boston in the loss column, took two out of three from the lowly Rangers over the weekend and is 4-6 over its last 10 games.
After an impressive May, the Jays have scored the second-fewest runs in the AL since then. Part of the reason for the offensive woes is the injury big, as Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie and Adam Lind are on the 15-day disabled list.
“Since June 1, we’d scored fewer runs than anybody except for the Red Sox in the AL,” Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos told reporters Sunday. “Clearly offensively we haven’t played as well as we can. I’m optimistic that our [injured] guys have a chance to come back sooner than we all think. I got an update last night that Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion are really progressing well. Lind is out of his boot. They’re swinging off a tee. Lind is going to swing with a little more authority today, but again, after everything he’s done he’s got no symptoms at all, no pain. It’s obviously a great sign.”
Here are the pitching matchups for the four-game series.
Monday: John Lackey (10-6, 3.79 ERA) vs. Drew Hutchison (6-8, 4.16 ERA)
Tuesday: Jake Peavy (1-8, 4.59 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ (7-5, 4.91 ERA)
Wednesday: Clay Buchholz (5-5, 5.46 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (7-10, 3.95 ERA)
Thursday: Rubby De La Rosa (3-2, 2.64 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman (5-2, 3.58 ERA)
WHO’S HOT: RED SOX
– Daniel Nava is coming off of one of his strongest games of the season, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs in Sunday’s 6-0 win over the Royals. Nava, who posted a line of .130/.221/.234 over his first 22 games of the season, has hit .337 (33-for-98) while compiling a .421 OBP since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on June 2. The 31-year-old outfielder has been even better this month, hitting .382 (13-for-34) since the start of July.
– Rubby De La Rosa has been one of the best surprises of the 2014 season for Boston, as the young righty is 3-2 with a 2.64 ERA on the year. De La Rosa has now allowed one run or less over seven innings in four of his seven starts this season. While De La Rosa has excelled at home this season (3-0, 1.38 ERA), the same can’t be said on the road, as he owns a 4.42 ERA away from the friendly confines of Fenway.
|Braves reliever David Carpenter reflects on his strange place in Red Sox history||05.29.14 at 8:17 pm ET|
David Carpenter‘s Red Sox tenure is easy enough to forget. He spent six weeks in the organization and never spent a moment in the team’s uniform. Yet he was an oft-overlooked component of a franchise-changing deal.
When the Red Sox acquired John Farrell from the Blue Jays, they had to part with a player — Mike Aviles — in order to do so because the skipper was in the middle of a three-year contract. But Major League baseball‘s rules required that the Blue Jays could not simply release Farrell from his contract as compensation; Toronto also had to offer a player in return. And so, Carpenter — a pitcher whom the Blue Jays had acquired from the Astros on July 20, 2012, and who occupied a spot on the very fringes of Toronto’s 40-man roster after allowing nine runs in 2 2/3 innings in 2012 — was sent to the Red Sox.
“[The trade was] about as strange as you can get in baseball,” Carpenter said from the Braves clubhouse at Fenway Park on Thursday. “I really didn’t have any contact with the front office. My agent was presented a contract. Talked with Farrell for maybe 10 minutes one day, just kind of asking if I was going to have a chance to compete for a spot in the bullpen and he kind of assured me, yeah, you’re going to come into camp and have a chance to compete.
“I looked at it as the next step and opportunity in my career to find a place to want to call home where I can establish myself if someone is finally going to give me a chance to prove that I belong here.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Thursday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Jon Lester vs. Mark Buehrle||05.22.14 at 8:59 am ET|
Lester (4-5, 2.67 ERA) is coming off his second-shortest start of the season, but not due to a lack of quality. The left-hander gave up a run on four hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in five innings in a 1-0 loss to the Tigers in which he was outdueled by Max Scherzer. Lester threw 94 pitches in the outing but had his rhythm altered by a 47-minute rain delay 3 1/3 innings into the game. He also was a victim of little run support once again, as the offense is averaging just 2.89 runs behind him, good for 12th lowest in the American League.
“I can’t worry about that,” Lester said after the game. “It’s kind of the luck of the draw sometimes, like tonight, you can give up one run, you lose. That’s the nature of playing this game. Sometimes you give up six and get a no-decision or you hold on long enough to get a W. You just have to go out there and keep pounding the strike zone, that’s all you can really do. I can’t control what the other guy across the way is doing. I’ve got to focus on what I’m trying to do from pitch to pitch and not letting anything else affect me.”
Lester is 2-1 in May with a 1.80 ERA, with 30 strikeouts to just eight walks, and looks to continue that trend when he faces the Blue Jays for the second time this season. The 30-year-old took the loss in first start against Toronto on April 27, giving up four runs on five hits and no walks with seven strikeouts in a 7-1 decision.
Lester is 15-8 with a 3.61 ERA in 29 career games against the Blue Jays, and has had success throughout his career against most of the current Toronto lineup, including slugger Jose Bautista, who is hitting .193 with 11 hits and 12 strikeouts in 67 career plate appearances against the lefty.
Buehrle (7-1, 2.11 ERA) has had as strong a start to his second season in Toronto as could have been asked of him. The 35-year-old has allowed two runs or fewer in eight of his nine starts, and although he took his first no-decision of the season in his last start against Texas, he did enough to help the Jays to a 4-2 win, holding the Rangers to two runs on seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Read the rest of this entry »
|Wednesday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Drew Hutchison||05.21.14 at 11:36 am ET|
The Red Sox look to end their five-game losing streak when they continue their three-game series against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Wednesday night, sending Clay Buchholz to the mound against Drew Hutchison.
Buchholz (2-3, 6.17 ERA) tries to get back in the win column for the first time since May 2 in his eighth start of the season Wednesday. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in just 16 2/3 innings in his last three starts, including a no-decision in his most recent outing last Wednesday in Minnesota. Buchholz gave up three runs on 10 hits over six innings with three walks and six strikeouts for a quality start in a 4-3 Sox loss to the Twins in extra innings. It was the second straight game in which Buchholz allowed at least 10 hits and the third time this season.
“It was all right,” Buchholz said after the game. “It wasn’t the best stuff I’ve had all year, but I felt like it was good enough. They hit some good pitches that got through the infield. I’ve been battling that for a couple of starts now. Just have to build off of it.”
Buchholz picked up his first win of the season in his lone start of 2014 in Toronto on April 26. He gave up three runs in the first inning but followed that up with six scoreless innings in a 7-6 Red Sox win, allowing six hits and three walks with three strikeouts.
Buchholz is 10-5 with a 2.52 ERA in 19 career starts against the Blue Jays. His last loss against Toronto came on Sept. 21, 2013, when he gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits, two walks and two strikeouts over six innings in a 4-2 Red Sox letdown at Fenway. Buchholz has especially struggled against Blue Jays sluggers Adam Lind and Jose Bautista, whom he’s faced a combined 86 times. Lind is hitting .326 against the righty with 14 hits, two home runs and five RBIs, while Bautista is hitting .314 against Buchholz with 11 hits and three RBIs.
Hutchison (2-3, 3.64 ERA) will make his first appearance against the Red Sox in nearly two years. The 23-year-old made 11 starts as a rookie in 2012 before his season was cut short by Tommy John surgery. He made 10 appearances in the minor leagues late last season before a full return to the big leagues in 2014, and finally appears to be at full form.
|Tuesday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Felix Doubront vs. J.A. Happ||05.20.14 at 8:46 am ET|
The Red Sox will look to snap their longest losing streak in over a year as they host the Blue Jays for a three-game set at Fenway Park. Felix Doubront will take the mound for Boston and face off against J.A. Happ in Tuesday’s opener.
Boston has lost four games in a row for the first time since the team dropped its final eight contests to close out the 2012 season.
“We’ve got to regroup,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell after the team’s 6-2 loss to the Tigers on Sunday. “We’ve got to be better in all phases. Toronto comes in here, and this is a team that’s playing well. Collectively, we have to be better all the way around.”
Doubront (2-3, 4.54 ERA) has yet to log at least seven innings in any of his starts this season.
Despite his inability to pitch deep into games, Doubront has recorded quality starts in half of his appearances, including his last outing against the Twins last Wednesday.
Doubront earned his second win of the year against Minnesota, allowing just one run, striking out five and walking one batter (a season-low mark) over 6 1/3 innings of work. The victory was the first for Doubront since his first start of the season on April 3 against the Orioles.
“I feel pretty good,” Doubront said after the game. “I limited the damage in those couple of innings. My breaking ball was good, the fastball was efficient — the two-seamer. Everything felt pretty good tonight.”
In three starts in May, Doubront has posted a 2.55 ERA with 13 strikeouts and five walks over 17 2/3 innings.
|Saturday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Mark Buehrle||09.21.13 at 9:11 am ET|
The Red Sox’ final regular-season series at Fenway Park will continue on Saturday night, as Clay Buchholz will get the call for Boston opposite Mark Buehrle and the Blue Jays in the second game of the three-game series.
Buchholz (11-0, 1.51 ERA) will be making his third straight start after missing three months with neck and shoulder issues.
Despite spending almost half of the season on the disabled list, Buchholz has yet to really show any rust, as the right-hander has allowed only one run and five hits over 11 innings since returning to the rotation.
Buchholz was effective in his last start Sunday night against the Yankees, holding New York to two hits and one run over six solid innings.
“It’s fun to play ball when things are going right,” Buchholz said after the game. “That’s how this team’s been all year. To run back out there two starts in a row, that’s what I want to do. That’s where I want to be.”
The last time Buchholz faced off against Toronto was on May. The Texas native put together a great performance in the start, holding the Jays to two runs over eight innings. Despite Buchholz’s effort, the Red Sox would eventually lose the game by a score of 3-2 after Jays first baseman Adam Lind hit a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning off Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa.
In 16 career starts against Toronto, Buchholz is 9-4 with a 2.41 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
Traded from the Marlins to the Blue Jays on Nov. 19 of last year, Buehrle (11-9, 4.17 ERA) has overcome early season struggles (6.35 ERA in April) to become one of Toronto’s most reliable starters for most of the year.
However, the left-hander has struggled in his last few starts, as he has compiled a 7.04 ERA in three September starts.
|Closing Time: Big second inning propels Red Sox past Blue Jays||06.27.13 at 9:45 pm ET|
One inning was all the Red Sox needed Thursday night, as they used a seven-run rally in the second inning to knock Chien-Ming Wang from the game and top the Blue Jays 7-4 Thursday night at Fenway Park.
After being sent down in order quickly in the first, Red Sox hitters were much more patient with Wang to start the second inning as David Ortiz and Mike Carp forced back-to-back walks. Five consecutive hits and a Dustin Pedroia two-run home run later, the Red Sox had a commanding seven-run lead.
Thursday marked the eighth time this season the Red Sox have knocked out an opposing starting pitcher before the third inning, which is more than any other team in the majors.
That run support was more than enough for Jon Lester, who was having a very strong outing before injuring himself in the top of the eighth inning. The lefty left the game with nobody out in the frame, exiting with what appeared to be a leg injury. He showed no semblance of discomfort upon leaving the field.
Here is a look at what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox win.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
- Lester was nearly flawless through the first four innings of the game, only allowing two walks without allowing a hit in the effort. Even when he allowed a baserunner, he forced ground balls that turned into double plays later in the inning both times.
The lefty allowed only four runs on five hits and three walks while striking out five through seven innings pitched. The last time Lester pitched deeper into a start was on May 10, when he pitched a complete game shutout — also against Toronto.
- Pedroia capped off the second-inning rally with a two-run home run over the Green Monster to give the Red Sox a 7-0 lead and knock Wang out of the game early. It was Pedroia’s fifth home run of the season and first since June 5. Four of Pedroia’s five home runs this season have come at Fenway Park.
- Stephen Drew made several nice defensive plays in the game, including a nice one-handed scoop and throw on a Jose Reyes broken bat grounder in the fourth inning. He also was a part of two inning-ending double plays in the game to help Lester keep his pitch count down.
While Jose Iglesias is praised for being one of the top defensive shortstops in the league already, Drew has quietly ranked among the elite defensive shortstops as well. Entering Thursday, Drew was only behind Andrelton Simmons and Pedro Florimon with a 6.9 UZR as the best defensive shortstop in MLB this season.
- Daniel Nava, who hit an RBI single in the middle of the second-inning rally, made an impressive leaping catch to help preserve the Red Sox lead in the top of the eighth inning. Edwin Encarnacion hit a long fly ball that would have hit the bottom of the wall in left field, but Nava sprinted back before catching the ball at the top of his leap to save two runs from scoring.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
- Lester had to leave the game with an apparent injury in the seventh inning with runners on first and second. With Clay Buchholz already shut down for the time being, an injury to Lester would be a blow to Boston’s rotation if the injury is significant.
- The Red Sox could have had an even bigger inning in the second, but Shane Victorino broke up the five consecutive hits off Wang by grounding into a 4-6-3 double play. Victorino was one of only three Red Sox that did not drive in a run in the game.
Mike Carp was the only Red Sox hitter without a hit in the game, going 0-for-3 with a walk in the process. Carp had only been held without a hit once in his last nine games.
- While the Red Sox had no trouble with Wang, they had no answer for left-handed reliever Juan Perez. Perez pitched three hitless innings of relief for the Blue Jays, striking out two batters in the process. The Blue Jays were unable to climb back into the game, but that type of effort was crucial for Toronto in regards to keeping its bullpen rested for the rest of the series.
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