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Xander Bogaerts can’t get over Red Sox’ terrible luck: ‘Are you kidding me? It’s weird’ 05.21.15 at 11:41 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts and the Red Sox are desperately searching for answers. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts and the Red Sox are desperately searching for answers. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The way things are going for the Red Sox they can’t win for losing, even when they try to do the right thing to end their misery with runners on base.

If there’s one play that sums up the perfect storm of bad luck and bad execution of the Red Sox with runners in scoring position this season it’s what happened to Xander Bogaerts in the fifth inning of Thursday’s latest anemic loss, 3-1, to the Rangers at Fenway.

With one out, Xander Bogaerts worked a walk. Then with Daniel Nava up, he took off for second base. Nava swung and hit it right into the hole vacated by the second baseman covering the bag. One problem: The right foot of Bogaerts. Namely, the bottom of his cleat. The ball grazed it just enough to change direction and by rule, instead of first and third with one out, Bogaerts was immediately out and Nava given credit for a single.

Sandy Leon struck out swinging to end the inning and the Red Sox still trailed, 3-1.

When things go bad.

“I guess you could say that,” Bogaerts lamented. “Again another tough loss tonight. Probably the play there when I tried to steal and that ball hit me. That was probably the game-changer. I never was aware that ball even touched me until when I came back down [in dugout tunnel] and I saw it on the video monitor. It just scratched the bottom of my cleat or something like that. I didn’t know that ball hit me at all.

“I could’ve bet anything I never felt that ball touched me at all. I was pretty surprised they called me out because I didn’t feel anything. But when you look at the video, you see the deflection of the ball but I had no clue that ball touched me at all.”

Bogaerts at least maintained his sense of humor and perspective when asked how for answers to how the Red Sox can break out of a 5-for-53 slump with runners in scoring position.

“If the ball stops hitting us,” Bogaerts said. “That was first and third right there. The baseball field is so big. What are the chances the ball is going to hit me on the bottom of my cleat? Are you kidding me? It’s weird.”

The Red Sox are now batting a measly .234 with runners on. Only Seattle (.232) and Cincinnati (.228) are worse in MLB. Put runners on and it’s even worse. The Red Sox are batting .199 in such cases and only the hapless Reds are worse at .189. Certainly, no one could’ve imagined this for a team that had such an offensive overhaul in the offseason. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, xander bogaerts,
Joe Kelly takes one for the team while showing signs of turnaround at 9:34 am ET
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Joe Kelly gave the Red Sox another strong performance Wednesday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Joe Kelly gave the Red Sox another strong performance Wednesday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

If there was one person inside Fenway Park Wednesday who deserved a better fate Wednesday night, it was Joe Kelly.

On a night when he wasn’t feeling well to begin with, the Red Sox righty starter took to the mound and dug deep for seven quality innings, allowing just two runs on seven hits, working his way out of trouble and giving his team a chance.

All he got for his troubles was a bruise on the fleshy outside part of his right hand on a Shin-Soo Choo grounder back to the mound in the third inning and his third loss in four decisions this season in Boston’s 2-1 defeat to Texas.

“It’s a little bit sore but it didn’t affect the way I pitched out there,” said Kelly, who wore a white bandage over his wrist and hand after the game. “I’m definitely going to ice it and keep trying to get the swelling down. It feels fine.”

After his 108-pitch effort, manager John Farrell recognized what Kelly was able to accomplish after allowing solo runs in the second and third innings.

“After the third inning, he settled in. He used his curveball a little bit more,” Farrell said of his hard-throwing starter. “He started to elevate his fastball for some strikeouts. And on a night when he wasn’t completely healthy in terms of an illness he was dealing with. He threw the ball exceptionally well. He takes the one-hopper off the hand that really, after the initial sting went away, didn’t affect the way he threw the baseball. He got a couple of big strikeouts with men in scoring position. A well-pitched game.”

It was a well-pitched game using mostly his two-seam and four-seam fastballs, his two best pitches. Of Kelly’s 108 pitches, 79 were fastballs. He velocity improved as the night wore on, reaching 99 on his final pitch of the night to end the seventh with a strikeout of Thomas Field. As a matter of fact, Kelly was able to fan Chirinos and Field back to back after Leonys Martin doubled with one out.

“My fastball was working for me,” Kelly said. “My offspeed, I was giving up a lot of hits on those. My slider wasn’t breaking like it normally does. I couldn’t really throw a changeup over the plate but I made some pitches when I had to and commanded my heater.”

In the last two starts, Kelly has been not only been overpowering, he’s been in command for the most part. Heading into his start last Thursday in Seattle, he allowed 21 runs and 26 hits over a stretch of four straight starts. Last Thursday, he yielded just one run on five hits over 6 1/3 innings in a 2-1 win. Ironically, Wednesday night, he was on the wrong end of a 2-1 score.

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, Joe Kelly, John Farrell,
Closing Time: Steven Wright solid, but Red Sox’ struggles against lefties continue in loss 05.17.15 at 6:41 pm ET
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Steven Wright took the loss Sunday, despite allowing just two earned runs over five innings. (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

Steven Wright took the loss Sunday, despite allowing just two earned runs over five innings. (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

The theme of solid pitching, but below average hitting, specifically against left-handed pitching, continued for the Red Sox Sunday in their series finale with the Mariners.

The Red Sox fell 5-0, despite receiving a good start from Steven Wright, starting in place of Justin Masterson, but the offense finished with just five hits. The teams split the four-game weekend series.

In the four games the Red Sox faced three left-handed starters and managed just two total runs against them. As a team they are hitting just .193 against left-handers this season, by far the worst in the majors.

Seattle got on the board with two runs in the second — the first when Kyle Seager scored on a passed ball, and then another on an RBI single by Mike Zunino. The Mariners added another run in the fifth when Brad Miller ripped a solo home run.

Seager crushed a two-run home run off Craig Breslow in the eighth to end any hope of a Red Sox comeback.

All things considered it was an average 10-game road trip, as the team finished .500, but things didn’t look promising at the start of the trip when they fired pitching coach Juan Nieves before departing to Toronto. New pitching coach Carl Willis seems to have gotten the staff back on track as the last turn through the rotation, starters have had an ERA of 1.65.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: James Paxton. The Mariners‘ left-handed starter shut the Red Sox offense down, going eight shutout innings, while allowing just five hits. 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 wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, James Paxton, Pablo Sandoval, Seattle Mariners
Just how poorly have the Red Sox played at home in the last year-plus? 05.05.15 at 1:20 pm ET
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Once again, the Red Sox are off to a slow start to the season — 12-14 after 26 games, the same record as they were last season when they finished 71-91 and in last place in the AL East.

A major issue for last year’s team was their poor play at home, going 34-47. This year hasn’t been much better, going 6-8, including being swept last weekend by the Yankees.

That got us to thinking, just how poor have the Red Sox been at home in the last year-plus?

Since the start of 2014 season, the Red Sox have been swept nine times at home in series’ lasting three or more games. This is compared to Terry Francona‘s eight seasons from 2004-11, where those teams were only swept at home six times in such series’ — twice in 2010, once in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2011 and zero times in 2004 and 2007.

After not losing more than three games in a row in any park in 2013, John Farrell has seen nine home sweeps in 95 total home games (going into Tuesday), while Francona saw a total of six home sweeps in 567 total home games, spanning eight seasons.

For what it’s worth, the 2012 Red Sox, led by Bobby Valentine, were swept at home in series’ lasting three or more games five times.

Bottom line, for the Red Sox to get back to winning, they need to be better at home.

“You like to think your home ballpark is going to be friendly to you and give yourself a chance for some late-inning push,” Farrell said Sunday night after being swept by the Yankees. “What we’ve had a couple times this year. Still, makes it awful difficult to go out and expect to win more games on the road. So yeah, playing at Fenway and taking advantage of the wall or taking advantage of just a comfortable place for us, that’s got to be more the norm.”

Read More: Boston Red Sox, John Farrell, Terry Francona,
Closing Time: Red Sox lose Hanley Ramirez, bats go silent in loss to Rays 05.04.15 at 10:21 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez left Monday's game with the Rays in the first inning with a left shoulder sprain. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Hanley Ramirez left Monday’s game with the Rays in the first inning with a left shoulder sprain. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Things just aren’t going the Red Sox‘ way right now.

On a night where Clay Buchholz overcame a tough first two innings where he allowed four runs, the right-hander settled down going 6 1/3 innings and allowing five runs, but the Red Sox‘ bats couldn’t come through as they fell to the Rays 5-1.

It was the second straight series opening loss for the team, who opened the year winning seven straight. The result wasn’t even the worst news of the night, as Hanley Ramirez left the game in the first inning after running into the wall with what the team called a left shoulder sprain.

With two outs in the top of the first James Loney lofted a ball down the left field line, which Ramirez ran hard after and simultaneously caught the ball and hit the padded wall jarring the ball out. The play went for a double and Ramirez immediately left the game. Evan Longoria followed with a double of his own, and then David DeJesus singled to give the Rays a 2-0 lead.

“I felt good,” said Buchholz. “I felt good the first two innings. Left a change up up, it’s unfortunately with Hanley out there. Definitely don’t want to lose him for an extended period of time. Whenever things aren’t going good you don’t get breaks. We’re scuffling a little bit right now, but we have a lot of good players in here. Pretty confident we’ll bounce back.”

Joey Butler hit his first major league home run in the second inning, a two-run shot, putting the Rays up 4-0. Buchholz did settle down after that, as he went 6 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits, while walking two and striking out seven. In hindsight, if Ramirez could have held onto the ball, it would have saved Buchholz two runs.

“I felt like I settled in fairly decent,” said Buchholz. “There were a lot of pitches I didn’t feel like I got the benefit of the doubt on on the strike zone, but you can’t let that affect you. There’s going to be a lot of times thats the way you feel about it. For the most part I felt like I threw the ball well, the line doesn’t show for it and the loss is not good either.”

The Red Sox scored their lone run of the game in the second inning on back-to-back triples by Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts. Both were to right field, where Steven Souza Jr. had difficulty playing the ball.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Rays starter Jake Odorizzi. The right-hander went seven innings allowing one run on seven hits, while not walking a batter and striking out six. 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 wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, hanley ramirez, tampa bay rays
Jacoby Ellsbury fires back at Edward Mujica, Red Sox after HBP: ‘I didn’t even feel it. … He’s just lucky I didn’t steal 2 bases off him’ at 1:30 am ET
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Jacoby Ellsbury stares out at Edward Mujica after getting drilled Sunday night in the 8th inning. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Jacoby Ellsbury stares out at Edward Mujica after getting drilled Sunday night in the eighth inning. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Jacoby Ellsbury didn’t charge the mound or incite a fight after getting hit on the right butt cheek in apparent retaliation for the drilling of Hanley Ramirez in the sixth inning of Sunday night’s 8-5 Yankees’ win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Ellsbury, instead, chose a postgame jab session with reporters to fire back at Ramirez, Edward Mujica and the Red Sox.

“We’re definitely [not] trying to throw at Hanley,” Ellsbury said of the two-out beaning of Ramirez on the left hip in the sixth, with the Yankees leading 8-1. “I don’t know why he got all riled up in the first place.”

Ramirez dropped his bat and stared at Yankee starter Adam Warren before slowly taking his base. Mujica would exact a measure of revenge in the top of the eighth, drilling Ellsbury in the backside, after coming up and in on two of the three pitches.

“You throw one up and in and then 3-0, you come at me,” Ellsbury said. “I don’t really care what they’re trying to do over there but [just what] we’re trying to do, so I just took my base and let them know I didn’t appreciate it.

“I don’t need to get thrown out. I don’t need to miss any games. I realize my importance to my team. It didn’t hurt anyway. If it hurt … I didn’t even feel it. He’s just lucky I didn’t steal two bases off him.”

Said Yankees manager Joe Girardi: “I thought it was a little bit fishy. But only Mujica knows for sure.”

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, Edward Mujica, hanley ramirez, Jacoby Ellsbury
Closing Time: Wade Miley goes 7 strong innings, but Red Sox offense goes quiet in loss to Yankees 05.02.15 at 4:19 pm ET
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Wade Miley allowed three runs over seven innings Sunday, his best start of the year. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Wade Miley allowed three runs over seven innings Sunday, his best start of the year. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

On most days Wade Miley’s start would be good enough with the Red Sox‘ powerful lineup behind him.

Unfortunately for him, the Red Sox‘ hitters couldn’t get anything going in their 4-2 loss to the Yankees Saturday afternoon. The Yankees have now taken both games to open the series.

Coming into the game with a 8.62 ERA and going 2 1/3 innings in two of his four starts, Miley threw his best game of the year tossing seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, while not walking a batter and striking out three.

Prior to the game he had walked at least two batters in every start this season, and had walked a total of 11 batters in his 15 2/3 innings to open the season.

“Obviously the last couple outings haven’t been the best, but I wanted to get deep in the game and give them a chance,” said Miley. “I was able to get through the seventh. Something good to build off of, for sure.”

It was his longest outing of the year, and going back to last season he had gone seven starts without pitching in the seventh inning. The outing could’ve been even better if one pitch was different in the fifth inning.

The Yankees snapped a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning with two outs. Miley was one strike away from getting out of the inning, but Brett Gardner lined a two RBI single to left. They added an insurance run in the eighth on a Chris Young solo homer.

“Much improved,” manager John Farrell said of Miley. “I think Wade today delivered what we anticipated and will anticipate going forward. I thought he did a much better job with keeping the pace that he works at a little bit more under control. Threw a number of breaking balls for strikes and a lot of strikes overall. The fifth inning, 2-2 breaking ball to Gardner is pretty much the difference in this one.”

Dustin Pedroia had the first Red Sox run — a solo home run in the fourth inning. They got their second in the seventh inning on a Mookie Betts RBI double off the wall scoring Blake Swihart, but Pedroia left the tying run in scoring position grounding out to short.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Miley. Despite the loss, the Red Sox left-hander posted his best start to the season and bounced back in a big way after Sunday’s terrible performance in Baltimore. He got back to his old habits of getting ground balls, proving effective. 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 wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia, New York Yankees, wade miley
Red Sox lineup: Allen Craig starting in right field vs. CC Sabathia, Yankees 05.01.15 at 3:12 pm ET
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Allen Craig

Allen Craig

With the Red Sox going up against Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia, Allen Craig will get the start in right field in the series opener Friday night.

Daniel Nava is hitting exclusively from the left side this year, and the other option would be left-handed hitting Brock Holt, so manager John Farrell is going with the righty in Craig with Shane Victorino on the DL.

Otherwise it’s a standard lineup for the Red Sox with Mike Napoli fully recovered from his illness and starting at first base.

Ryan Hanigan will catch Red Sox starter Justin Masterson

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

1. Mookie Betts, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Hanley Ramirez, LF
5. Mike Napoli, 1B
6. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
7. Allen Craig, RF
8. Xander Bogaerts, SS
9. Ryan Hanigan, C
Justin Masterson, RHP

Read More: Allen Craig, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees,
Closing Time: Red Sox can’t overcome dismal Clay Buchholz start, fall to Blue Jays 04.28.15 at 10:12 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz was yanked after just 2 2/3 innings in Tuesday's loss to the Blue Jays. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz was yanked after just 2 2/3 innings in Tuesday’s loss to the Blue Jays. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

If you thought the Red Sox‘ starting rotation had problems going into Tuesday, they just became a whole lot worse.

Handed a four-run lead going into the top of the third, Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz imploded, allowing five runs (four earned) in the frame and was removed after recording just two outs with the Red Sox trailing 5-4.

Edward Mujica came on to allow three more runs in the fourth inning, all on the way to a 11-8 Red Sox loss to the Blue Jays.

“I mean, whenever the team gives you a four-run lead you’re supposed to come out a lot better than that,” Buchholz said. “Went out there with a game plan of throwing strikes, let them put the ball in play and get outs. Walked the first guy. All the contact that they made — they hit the ball hard and it wasn’t at any of our players in the field. I have to do a lot better job than that.”

Buchholz now has an ERA of 5.76 and Red Sox starters now have an ERA of 6.03, the worst in the majors. It’€™s the eighth time in 21 games the Red Sox’€™ starter has failed to make it out of the fifth inning. He is the third Red Sox starter to allow five earned runs in fewer than three innings this season. This after they had three such outings all of last season.

Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchinson wasn’t much better than Buchholz, as he allowed six runs in four innings on nine hits, while walking five.

The Red Sox did make a game of it late, as Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run home run just inside Pesky’s Pole in the eighth inning making it a two-run game at the time, but that would be as close as they would get. It was Ramirez’s 200th career homer.

“In our dugout, regardless of the score, there’€™s always a thought that ‘€” even tonight ‘€” we feel like we can comeback,” manager John Farrell said. “We did comeback, we answered. It felt like we still had an opportunity to win this game even though you’€™re down three-four runs in the middle innings. We’€™ve got to find a way to gain some consistency and, more importantly, maintain to momentum with a shut down inning.”

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: The entire Blue Jays lineup. Every starter recorded a hit, as they finished with 17 in the game. Six of their nine starters had multiple hits.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, Edward Mujica, Toronto Blue Jays
Closing Time: Mookie Betts’ walkoff single leads Red Sox to come-from-behind win over Blue Jays 04.27.15 at 9:33 pm ET
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Monday night’s Red Sox game might be a glimpse into what most games will be like for the rest of the season.

The Red Sox got an average start from Joe Kelly but were bailed out by their offense, as they rallied to beat the Blue Jays, 6-5.

After tying the game at 5 in the eighth inning following deficits of 3-0 and 5-2, the Red Sox capped the rally in the ninth with a walkoff base hit by Mookie Betts.

With one out, Xander Bogaerts and Ryan Hanigan singled back-to-back, and moved up a base on a wild pitch. Bogaerts then scored the game-winning run on Betts’ hit.

“Once again, aided by a couple of wild pitches to advance 90 feet, Mookie with a key base hit late,” manager John Farrell said. “There were so many things inside of this game. Bogey [Bogaerts] makes a great play with two outs in the hole on [Devon] Travis when [Alexi] Ogando was on the mound. Two big innings from Ogando. Much more spark from Koji [Uehara] tonight. A number of key contributors here.”

Toronto scored quickly against Kelly with three first inning runs, and forced the Red Sox right-hander to work hard early on.

Despite allowing three first inning runs on 33 pitches, Kelly settled down and made it through six innings. He allowed five runs on five hits while walking three and striking out 10. The 10 strikeouts were a career-high.

“The positive is you’re not going to find better arm strength, better velocity,” Farrell said. “At times he may over throw occasionally and mis-locate such as the 0-2 pitch to [Devon] Travis. It’s electric stuff and as he begins to harness it and understand when he’s most effective and that is when he’s using his secondary pitches as well. He’s got big time stuff.”

Pablo Sandoval paced the Red Sox offense, going 2-for-2 with three RBIs, but was forced from the game in the top of the sixth inning with neck soreness, which likely occurred after making a diving catch on a pop up bunt in the fourth.

It was the Red Sox’ seventh straight series opening win to begin the year and it’s the third time in franchise history it’s been done (1917, 2013).

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Betts. He gave the Red Sox their second walkoff win of the year. It was his first career walkoff hit. He finished the game 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. It was his fourth multi-hit game of the year.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Joe Kelly, Pablo Sandoval, Toronto Blue Jays
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