|Ben Cherington on D&C: Red Sox starting rotation has to ‘execute a little better’||04.16.15 at 9:38 am ET|
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington checked in with Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to discuss the first nine games of the season, particularly the starting rotation, which has struggled the second time through. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The first time through the rotation went very well, but it’s been almost the opposite the second time around. In four games through the second turn through, Red Sox starters have allowed 28 runs in 18 1/3 innings. Cherington isn’t concerned, but acknowledges the starters need to go deeper into games.
“The first time through the rotation went well. Everyone threw well,” Cherington said. “The second time through the rotation has not gone as well, aside from [Rick] Porcello’s outing on Monday. Watching the games, I don’t see anything in the stuff — the raw stuff — that is any different than the first time through the order. It’s really just been a matter of execution, command, that hasn’t been as good the second time through. That has to be better. The key for our group is to get deeper in the season. I know as a group the guys feel good physically, confident and just have to execute a little better.
“I think with our team one of the things that helps us win is we’re not going to have perfect outings, perfect innings all the time, but minimizing damage and being able to get through those dirty innings get deeper into games — that is something Porcello did well on Monday and we did very well the first time through the order. That lines up our bullpen, gives our bullpen a chance to line up, gives our offense a chance to click and leads to wins.”
Outfielder Rusney Castillo opened the year in Pawtucket and injured his shoulder making a diving catch in the third game of the year. He’s expected to be sidelined for a bit, but the prognosis is “really good.” Cherington expects him to have an impact with the big league club at some point this season.
“Once [he gets healthy] I think clearly given the investment, and more importantly given what we’ve seen from him since we’ve signed him, over the summer, last winter and into spring training we feel like this guy is going to be a very good major league player,” said Cherington. “So it is just a matter of opportunity and we don’t know exactly when that opportunity is going to open up, but inevitably it will. It is the way it works in the game. Good players get an opportunity sooner or later and inevitably that will happen. Assuming he’s healthy and on the field he’s going to make a contribution this year, but I don’t know when.”
|Closing Time: Red Sox can’t overcome Wade Miley’s poor start, Nationals avoid sweep||04.15.15 at 4:47 pm ET|
One turn through the Red Sox‘ rotation couldn’t have gone much better. As for the second one — not so much.
The first time through the rotation Sox starters allowed eight runs over 31 1/3 innings. Through four games the second time around they’ve allowed 28 runs in just 18 1/3 innings.
Wade Miley was the latest to fall, allowing seven runs in just 2 1/3 innings, leading to the Red Sox‘ 10-5 loss to the Nationals Wednesday afternoon. Washington avoided a three-game sweep with the win.
“Things unraveled pretty quick on him,” manager John Farrell said after the game. “As sharp as he was in New York, he was almost the flip side of it, as was the whole turn through the rotation this time through. They squared up some fast balls to the opposite field. A couple of sliders that didn’t get to the spot. One to [Ian] Desmond, one to [Wilson] Ramos. As quick as he works, that third inning kind of sped up on him and sped up on us.”
The Red Sox scored five runs against Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez, but the hole they were put in was too big to overcome. But, even down by six runs in the third inning, the Red Sox offense did show they will rarely be out of any game this season, as they have the ability to score runs in bunches at any time.
After seeing their lead fall to 8-5, Tyler Moore belted a two-run home run in the seventh inning to extend the Nationals lead to 10-5, thus putting the game out of reach.
Despite the loss, the Red Sox have won the first three series’ of the season for the first time since 1952.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Wilson Ramos. The Nationals catcher went 2-for-5 with three RBIs, while also scoring two runs. It was his best game of the season, as he came into the game batting just .167 on the year.
Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox loss:
Wednesday afternoon, on a perfect sun-splashed day at Fenway, he and everyone else at Fenway Park will take time to recall one of the tragic lows. At 2:49 p.m., the Red Sox and Nationals will stop what they’re doing and pay tribute to the exact moment two years ago when hundreds of lives were permanently altered and devastated by the Boston Marathon bombings.
“We’re fortunate that we play in front of a fan base that is so in tune with every team,” Farrell said. “The way they not only pay attention but react positive or negative. They’re passionate. We as Red Sox are so fortunate to be a part of the fabric of this city and the connection that was even galvanized further two years ago, I think it’s an extremely worthy pause in today’s game, whatever that will be. Whether it’s in the midst of an at-bat or between innings, wherever 2:49 falls on, I think we’ll all pause at that moment and recall where we were at that specific moment.”
It is ironic that the same passion for unity and community will also share the stage with Major League Baseball‘s annual tribute to the day 68 years ago that Jackie Robinson broke the sport’s color barrier. The effort today, according to Farrell is to expose more of the African-American community to the sport.
“I think there are some initiatives being taken,” Farrell said. “That’s through the RBI program, for one. But I think we all recognize there are a tremendous amount of athletics that are migrating towards football and basketball. To create more space in the inner city is one possible way to do it. I think we have to continue to find ways to make our game appeal to young people across all walks of life. Read the rest of this entry »
|Matt Williams sick to his stomach over Nationals terrible start: ‘It doesn’t taste very good’||at 2:32 am ET|
Give Matt Williams this much. He sure knows how to weave a metaphor.
The Nationals manager has watched his team – picked by many experts to represent the National League in the World Series – self-destruct in the opening week. The first two games at Fenway Park this week represent a glaring example of all that has gone wrong in Washington’s start.
They allowed two high, lazy fly balls to drop on the outfield grass in a four-run third inning for the Red Sox. They committed one fielding error in the infield, allowed a passed ball and watched as Jordan Zimmerman plunked Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval in back-to-back at-bats. They were humiliated 9-4 in the Red Sox home opener.
Their ace pitcher was on the mound Tuesday to try and stem the tide. Stephen Strasburg instead allowed 10 hits and five runs and lasted just 5.1 innings. Still, he left with the lead after his team scored six in the fifth. But then the National League powerhouse turned into little leaguers in the seventh, committing three errors on routine plays and allowing the Red Sox to steal an 8-7 win.
It’s only eight games in but these Nationals are 2-6 and national nightmare to watch, for fans and manager alike.
“It’s the same recipe,” lamented Williams. “If you put all the ingredients the same way every time, you’re going to get the same meal,” That’s what we’ve been getting. There’s nothing to be said that hasn’t already been said. We got the pitches we wanted to get and didn’t make the plays. That’s the same recipe. That’s all I’ve got for you.” Read the rest of this entry »
The irony of the situation Tuesday was not lost on Brock Holt.
When he came to the ball park on Tuesday, he was informed that he was the starting shortstop because Xander Bogaerts was getting the day off to rest his knee, tweaked rounding third base in the home opener Monday.
“Xander gets taken out of the lineup, it’s going to be me playing short,” Holt said. “I just got ready to go. I come to the field every day ready to go. I check the lineup, if I’m in, great. If I’m not, just be ready. Saw that I was playing short and got ready to go. My job is to be ready to play every day and wherever that might be, it’s fine with me. Just be ready to play, play the game. I saw I was in there today and was ready to go.”
But midway through Tuesday’s 8-7 win over the Nationals, third baseman Pablo Sandoval left with a left foot bruise after getting hit by a Stephen Strasburg breaking ball. Hanley Ramirez was called upon to return to his natural position of shortstop. But Ramirez, watching Holt all spring and seeing how comfortable he looked at short, actually deferred to Holt and chose instead to play third.
“It’s huge, especially a guy with his tenure and his stature,” Holt said, with a tone of appreciation. “He could’ve easily said, ‘Nah, I don’t want to do that.’ But he did because we needed it and I think that speaks volumes to the guys we have in this clubhouse. I think everyone is rooting for each other and pulling for each other and everyone wants to win, and that showed tonight.
“I’ve kind of gotten comfortable at all the positions. If I were to have to move over, I don’t think it would’ve been too big of an adjustment. Just move over to third and try to make the plays over there.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Closing Time: Late Red Sox rally leads to wild come-from-behind win over Nationals||04.14.15 at 9:33 pm ET|
Five hit batters, four errors, and four lead changes made for a crazy night at Fenway Park.
In the end, the Red Sox were able to come away with a 8-7, come-from-behind win over the Nationals. They’ve now won both games in the series.
The win did come with a cost, as already without Xander Bogaerts (knee), the Red Sox lost Pablo Sandoval in the game after being hit by a pitch on his foot (left foot contusion).
Trailing 7-5 in the seventh inning, the Red Sox were able to load the bases against Nationals relievers. No. 8 hitter Ryan Hanigan hit a slow roller in front of the mound and Nationals pitcher Blake Treinen misplayed it trying to get the out at home. Then, making matters worse he threw the ball into the stands allowing another run to score and the Red Sox to tie the game at seven. He was charged with two errors on the play.
The next batter, Brock Holt recorded an RBI groundout to short, scoring pinch-hitter Allen Craig for the eventual game-winning run.
“Well we got some extra outs,” manager John Farrell said. “We talked about this yesterday. When you give a Major League team an extra out or two, it may end up leading to multiple runs inside of an inning. I thought offensively we did a very good job from start to finish tonight. We didn’t give in. Took advantage of some miscues in that seventh inning. Koji [Uehara] comes out and done what he’s done so many times for us. Just a good team win here tonight. Clearly, coming back multiple times, it was a sea-saw game, hard-fought, but I like the way our guys responded to challenges.”
Leading 5-1 going into the fifth inning, Red Sox starter Justin Masterson fell apart allowing six runs in the inning, as the Nationals sent 10 batters to the plate. Clint Robinson and Ian Desmond each had two RBI singles, while Wilson Ramos added an RBI ground out and Michael A. Taylor ripped a two-RBI triple.
Masterson was pulled in the inning in favor of reliever Alexi Ogando.
The fifth inning spoiled an impressive first few innings for Red Sox hitters against Washington starter Stephen Strasburg. Through the first two times through the order, eight of the nine Red Sox starters recorded a hit — a pretty impressive feat against a pitcher of Strasburg’s caliber.
But, as good pitchers do, Strasburg battled and despite throwing 41 pitches in the first two innings, grinded out 5 1/3 innings, allowing the five runs, while not walking a batter and striking out five.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox win:
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Dustin Pedroia. The second baseman seems to have found his stroke again. He lined a solo home run into the Monster seats in the fourth inning — his third homer of the year after hitting two on Opening Day. He finished 3-for-4 in the game, and now has three multi-hit games through the first eight of the season.
|Closing Time: Mookie Betts, Rick Porcello power Red Sox over Nationals in home opener||04.13.15 at 6:14 pm ET|
Mookie Betts is quickly becoming a Boston fan favorite.
The Red Sox‘ center fielder achieved for what for some may take the entire season in the first two innings in the Red Sox‘ 9-4 win over the Nationals in the home opener. The Red Sox have now won nine of their last 10 home openers.
In the top of the first inning he robbed Bryce Harper of a home run to right center field. Then, after leading off the bottom half of the inning with a walk, he stole second base and with the Nationals shifting David Ortiz, alertly swiped third base too with no one covering the bag on the same play.
Washington challenged both, but Betts was ruled safe at both second and third. He scored on the next pitch — an RBI single to left by Ortiz.
Betts wasn’t done there as when he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the second with two runners on and lined a three-run homer into the Monster seats. It was his second home run of the season.
Jordan Zimmermann struggled for the Nationals allowing eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits while walking one, hitting two and not recording a strikeout in just 2 1/3 innings. He was the victim of some horrid defense behind him as the visitors committed an error, but allowed two fly balls to fall between two outfielders and another misplayed ball in the infield.
The offense also gave Porcello plenty of support, belting out 13 hits in the win.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Betts. He finished 2-for-4 with a home run, four RBI and two stolen bases. He became the first Red Sox leadoff hitter to record at least a home run, four RBI, and two stolen bases in a game.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox win:
|Closing Time: Clay Buchholz’s poor outing dooms Red Sox in blowout loss to Yankees||04.12.15 at 11:32 pm ET|
Maybe thinking Clay Buchholz is back to his 2013 pre-injury form was a little premature.
After dominating the Phillies on Opening Day, the Red Sox‘ right-hander struggled out of the gates allowing seven first inning runs (six earned) en route to allowing a career-high 10 runs in the Yankees’ 14-4 win Sunday night to avoid a series sweep.
The Yankees batted around in the first inning as Buchholz allowed a lead off walk to Jacoby Ellsbury, followed by a perfectly executed hit-and-run single by Brett Gardner with Ellsbury advancing to third. Carlos Beltran then hit into a fielders choice for the Yankees’ first run. Then, following a Mark Teixeira walk, Brian McCann reached on a Mike Napoli error, as he bobbled the ball on a play going to his right, which loaded the bases.
Alex Rodriguez would clear the bases with a double to left center field, giving the Yankees a 4-0 lead, and things would only get worse for Buchholz.
He then allowed back-to-back home runs to Chase Headley and Stephen Drew to close out the first inning scoring.
In a normal situation, without a depleted bullpen following Friday’s 19-inning game and the inability to recall a pitcher, Buchholz may have been removed from the game, but he needed to take some heat off the bullpen. He actually settled down retiring seven of the next eight batters after the first, but struggled again in the fourth, allowing three more runs and thus being removed from the game in the inning.
Buchholz finished by going 3 1/3 innings, allowing 10 runs (nine earned) on nine hits, while walking two and striking out three. It was his shortest outing since going just three innings May 26 in Atlanta last season, and he went on the disabled list after the start. It’s also worth mentioning the right-hander failed to back up the bases on a few occasions in the fourth inning.
Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka breezed through the first three innings, but had trouble in the fourth, throwing 38 pitches and allowing three runs. He finished the night going five innings, allowing four runs on four hits, which was enough to earn the win.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: The Yankees’ bats broke out in a big way by totaling 16 hits and were led by Headley, who went 3-for-5 with 3 RBI, including the first inning home run.
Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ second loss of the season:
|Larry Lucchino on D&C: Rick Porcello’s contract extension shouldn’t come as surprise||04.09.15 at 9:34 am ET|
Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to discuss the open of the 2015 season, and also the recent contract extension of pitcher Rick Porcello. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Porcello inked a four-year extension for $82.5 million on Monday. The right-hander is 26 years old, and a major reason for the organization extending him now was to get a pitcher in his prime years, as opposed to signing a pitcher closer to age 30.
“I think it shouldn’t surprise you, we’ve been talking for really for years of the prime time [of] pitchers in their 20s,” Lucchino said. “There are a lot of very good reasons for this contract. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out, as there are no guarantees in this game, but Rick has the right stuff in both personality and character and pitching. He has a track record. He’s a guy that our pitching evaluators and our health evaluators are very strong opinionated about. He is 26 years old. I would also say you might have to step back a little bit and look at the entire portfolio of contracts that we have.
“We don’t have many long-term contracts and with this four-year extension we will have Rick for five years and we gave up a very good player to get him in [Yoenis] Cespedes. We will have Rick Porcello around for some time and that will give us a longer term contract that balances out the portfolio of contracts so you just don’t have all short-term contracts or too many long-term contracts. We have a pretty healthy balance in our player contract portfolio.”
As part of announcing his extension on The Players’ Tribune website, Porcello had a number of positive things to say of the Red Sox organization, including their Winter Weekend at Foxwoods in January.
“I did read that and I did think that was a very thoughtful and positive piece,” said Lucchino. “In fact I made sure it was distributed to folks in our front office to get a sense of it because there was a lot about it that was positive — his general view of how much we care about winning, the steps we take to make sure our players can be at their best. It was one little footnote to it that we enjoyed — we had our Winter Weekend for the first time this year and it was at that Winter Weekend that Rick got to know some of his teammates and he made specific reference to it as a way that he saw how this organization is set up and the personalities of his teammates and got a sense of both comfort and confidence from that Winter Weekend. For us that Winter Weekend was an experiment in late January to bring some baseball fever to our fans and it was enormously successful. It had a very important team building element to it.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
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