|Just how poorly have the Red Sox played at home in the last year-plus?||05.05.15 at 1:20 pm ET|
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.
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.”
|Closing Time: Red Sox lose Hanley Ramirez, bats go silent in loss to Rays||05.04.15 at 10:21 pm ET|
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:
|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|
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.”
|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|
On most days Wade Miley’s start would be good enough with the Red Sox‘ powerful lineup behind him.
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:
|Red Sox lineup: Allen Craig starting in right field vs. CC Sabathia, Yankees||05.01.15 at 3:12 pm ET|
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
|Closing Time: Red Sox can’t overcome dismal Clay Buchholz start, fall to Blue Jays||04.28.15 at 10:12 pm ET|
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:
|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|
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:
|Closing Time: Inconsistency continues for Red Sox in latest loss||04.26.15 at 4:50 pm ET|
The Red Sox‘ starting pitching roller coaster keeps on rolling.
This time the group’s downturn came in the form of Wade Miley’s 2 1/3-inning horror show. This time the lefty second sub-three-inning outing of the season led to a 18-7 Orioles rout of the Red Sox.
Miley was forced from the start in the third inning, in which the hosts put up a six-spot on the scoreboard. The Sox starter was ultimately charged with seven runs (six earned) on five hits and two walks. His ERA now stands at 8.62, having not pitched past 5 2/3 innings in any of his four starts.
It marks the sixth time in 19 games the Red Sox starting pitcher has allowed five or more runs. The rotation carries a 5.94 ERA, worst in the major leagues, with Joe Kelly leading the way with a 4.08 ERA, followed by Clay Buchholz (4.84), Justin Masterson (5.16) and Rick Porcello (6.48).
The loss hands the Red Sox a 2-4 road trip, having won the first game of both their series against the Rays and Orioles before dropping the final two. The Red Sox starters finished the two-series swing with a 5.31 ERA, coming away with three quality starts.
The Red Sox head home out of first-place, standing at 10-9, as Tampa Bay (11-8) holds that top stop, which has won five straight after losing its season opener to the Sox.
Not helping matters was the ineffective work of the bullpen after Miley, with newly-recalled Heath Hembree taking the brunt of the damage, giving up 11 runs in 6 2/3 innings. The righty let the game get out of hand, giving up six runs in 1 1/3 frames.
It marked the fifth straight game the bullpen gave up at least one run. For the road trip, Sox relievers pitched 20 2/3 innings and allowed 17 runs on 31 hits.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: The entire Orioles lineup. The group batted around twice, with every starter but one coming away with a multiple hit day.
Here’s what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ latest loss:
|Closing Time: Brock Holt’s 3-run homer snaps tie, leads Red Sox over Orioles||04.24.15 at 10:39 pm ET|
Through the first 16 games of the season, the Red Sox have made it a habit to capitalize on their opponents mistakes.
Friday was no different, as the Red Sox were given an extra out on a Manny Machado error with two outs in the eighth inning and the next batter, Brock Holt, made him pay with a three-run home run. The homer snapped a 4-4 tie and gave the Red Sox an eventual 7-5 win over the Orioles.
Pablo Sandoval worked a two-out walk and then pinch-hitter Allen Craig’s grounder got by Machado at third, which was ruled an error. Holt then stepped in and belted a three-run home run over the wall in right. It was his first homer of the season.
With a three-run lead, Junichi Tazawa allowed a solo home run to Chris Davis in the eighth, but fortunately it was just a solo home run and then Koji Uehara came on for a scoreless ninth to pick up the save.
It was an up-and-down outing for Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, who made it into the seventh inning, but couldn’t record an out. He allowed the first two batters to reach and was pulled in favor of Craig Breslow. Breslow allowed one of the inherited runners to score, which tied the game at four.
Porcello went six-plus innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits. He walked two and struck out seven. For the first time this season he didn’t eclipse the 100-pitch mark, as he was removed after throwing 91 pitches. He was given a two-run lead going into the fifth, but allowed single runs in the fifth and seventh innings to take a no-decision.
The Red Sox have now won all six series openers this season.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Holt. His home run snapped the four-all tie in the eighth inning. He finished the game 2-for-4 and is now hitting .424 on the year.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox win:
|Mookie Betts, John Farrell can feel the worm beginning to turn back in his favor||04.20.15 at 11:08 pm ET|
Little by little, Mookie Betts can feel things turning back in his direction. And so, too, can his manager.
Statistically, it was a pretty rough first homestand for the young outfielder, collecting five hits in 25 official at-bats. This after he started like a house on fire in both the season opener and the home openers. Betts homered in Philadelphia on April 6 and against the Nationals on April 13.
On Monday against the Orioles, he singled to right field in his first at-bat. The impact on the rest of the team was immediate and positive. He stole second, advanced to third on a Ryan Lavarnway bad throw and scored on a David Ortiz sacrifice fly to right. His run, unearned, was what the Red Sox envisioned when they put him at the top of the order.
“It’s good. I feel like it’s not just the top,” Betts said. “A couple of games ago, it was the bottom that scored the runs. There’s no difference between the top and the bottom. It’s just a matter of who does it on any given day.”
On Sunday, he drove a ball hard to deep right field, only to have it caught just shy of the warning track. The balls to the opposite field are always a good sign but especially so when you consider teams have made an adjustment after getting burned on fastballs inside to Betts. On Sunday and Monday, it appeared Betts was the one making the adjustment.
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