|John Farrell knows do-or-die time is upon his Red Sox: ‘Each [game] has increasing signficance’||07.17.14 at 9:32 pm ET|
John Farrell can read the standings just like everyone else. He knows his team stands 43-52 heading into the final 67 games, 9 1/2 games behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East. He can also read a schedule. He knows full well that after this three-game series this weekend with Kansas City, the Red Sox have 13 straight games against three of the four teams ahead of them in the division.
It’s do-or-die time.
“Given where we are right now, yes,” Farrell said, confirming the characterization of this as the make-or-break part of the season. “That’s not to add pressure. That’s to say there’s some additional significance when you play the teams ahead of you. After we get through Kansas City, we’ve got the next 13 [games] or four consecutive series of teams ahead of us. Sixty-seven games remaining, each one has increasing significance as we go.”
After three with the Royals, the Red Sox have four in Toronto, followed by three on the road against the Rays. They come home for three against the Jays and three against the Yankees, overlapping the July 31 trade deadline. Did Farrell feel like he got a break to mentally prepare for the upcoming grind?
“Yeah for about a day-and-a-half, and now I’m ready to get going for [Friday],” Farrell said of his shortened All-Star break due to managing the AL All-Stars to a 5-3 win in Minneapolis.
“I think the four days gives guys a chance to mentally and physically take a break and get away from the game a little bit. [Xander Bogaerts] has been going at it pretty hard, not only in terms of what he’s been working on pregame but with every focus to be brought into the game, and he’s played regularly as well. We’ve given him a couple of days here and there, but I think the break mentally and physically was needed for him, and quite frankly, for a number of guys.”
|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 pregame notes: Tommy Layne added for Game 2; Shane Victorino, Will Middlebrooks and Mike Carp see progress in rehab||07.05.14 at 12:13 pm ET|
With the Red Sox set to take part in their second doubleheader of the season, the team added reinforcements before their day-long tilt against the Orioles.
Red Sox manager John Farrell announced that PawSox reliever Tommy Layne will be added to the roster as the team’s 26th player for Game 2 of the doubleheader (per MLB rules on day-night doubleheaders), giving Boston some needed depth in the bullpen.
Layne will be available to pitch in the second game of Saturday’s set at Fenway Park.
Layne, who signed a minor-league deal with Boston on November 15, 2013, has been one of the most reliable arms out of the bullpen for Pawtucket this season, posting a 5-1 record with a 1.51 ERA in 30 appearances.
The 29-year-old southpaw has been dominant this season against left-handed hitters, holding them to a minuscule .138 average, with 23 strikeouts in 17 innings.
Despite his stellar numbers against lefty batters, Farrell said that Layne has been more than just a left-handed specialist this season.
“He’s continued what he did in spring training, and that has been [being] very successful against left handers, he’s had decent ability to get good right-handed hitters out, so he’s not solely a situational type of lefty reliever,” Farrell said. “But the performance has been very consistent.”
|Red Sox notes Friday: Shane Victorino starts to ‘ramp up’ while John Farrell considers Brock Holt for All-Star Game||07.04.14 at 12:41 pm ET|
“Everyone was here and there was certainly enough talk, even throughout the day [Thursday] as I reached out to a few guys that this was a possibility today,” Farrell said. “But everyone was here. Guys got their throwing in that needed to. It was a quick turnaround [home].”
Most immediate is what to do with the pitching staff. Farrell said Jon Lester will start Saturday, likely Game 1 of the day-night doubleheader in the afternoon, while John Lackey will get the nod in the night cap.
“We’re caught up,” Farrell said of his entire pitching staff. “We’ll stay on [schedule] for right now.”
With Lester starting on Saturday, he won’t be able to make the start on Wednesday against the White Sox at Fenway, meaning the Red Sox will have to find a spot starter, possibly Felix Doubront, but Farrell wasn’t ready to commit Friday morning.
“I haven’t even looked at who the candidates would be,” Farrell said. “We haven’t taken a look at everything. We’ll need an additional pitcher even if we choose to spot start someone. We’ll figure that out as we get through the weekend.”
The Red Sox and Orioles will each get an additional player for Game 2 Saturday night. Farrell said he hasn’t decided who that would be or at what position the club would choose to fill. The Orioles will actually go from 24 eligible players to 26 because they will get infielder Manny Machado back from his five-game suspension following Game 1.
Farrell also provided updates on several rehabbing players, including Will Middlebrooks (finger), Shane Victorino (hamstring, back) and Mike Carp (right foot).
“Will is with Pawtucket right now,” Farrell said. “With the weather [Thursday], there’s been some change. Mike Carp will join Portland today. He wasn’t able to get out on a flight [Thursday] night. Will is with Pawtucket in Syracuse.
Farrell said Middlebrooks is being held out of playing in the field as he and the organization continue to monitor his finger. The team would like to see Middlebrooks get some reps in the outfield as well as third base but that has been put on hold.
“Still DHing,” Farrell said. “While the throwing is improving, as are the reps at third base pre-game, we’re not at that point yet.”
Victorino took advantage of a wide open Fenway Park Friday morning during light rain to get in some intense rehab training, with trainer Rick Jameyson and physical therapist Dan Dyrek looking on. Victorino spent nearly 30 minutes backpedaling around the outfield warning track, jogging and then sprinting in right field.
“Shane’s baseball activities continue to ramp up, particularly with the running and agility work,” Farrell said.
Victorino has been out since May 24 and has played in just 21 games, batting .242 with one homer and 10 RBIs. He went on the DL with a hamstring injury before tweaking his back during rehab, causing a further setback.
|Red Sox-Orioles postponed, day-night DH set for Saturday||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.”
|Red Sox pregame notes: Xander Bogaerts on off day: ‘Something I needed and my body needed,’ Clay Buchholz, Will Middlebrooks, Shane Victorino set to begin rehab assignments||06.12.14 at 6:08 pm ET|
While Xander Bogaerts does not know for sure that he has ever played in a span of games as strenuous as the Red Sox‘ current 38 games in 39 day stretch, the shortstop knows that the a string of rain delays, long games and tough travel schedule have put a toll on his body. For that reason exactly, Red Sox manager John Farrell decided to give Bogaerts a day off during Thursday’s series opener vs. the Indians.
Bogaerts, who has gone hitless in his last 16 at-bats, will take Thursday as an opportunity to refuel, both physically and mentally.
“Try to get my body some good rest and maybe depending on the situation, coming in late in the game, but I don’t know,” Bogaerts said. “It’s part of the game or else I’ll just be ready for tomorrow.”
Farrell has noticed some moments of frustration for the rookie shortstop in recent days.
“When things don’t go great, as evident the other night where he grounds into an inning ending double play with the bases loaded, there might have been a little bit of frustration at that moment because of what we’re living a little bit as a team,” Farrell said. “To say that there are certain situations that you can visibly see it or he comes out of his swing or out of his mechanics in some way, no that’s not fair.”
Bogaerts believes that his swing and approach have not been as sharp in the last couple of games as they were prior to the road trip. The 21-year-old hopes that the off day will allow him reset and get back into a groove at the plate.
|‘Frustrated’ Stephen Drew to undergo tests on right oblique strain, Sox eye weekend return if cleared||at 5:09 pm ET|
The daily saga of Stephen Drew took another twist Thursday with the news that the shortstop will be undergoing several tests before the weekend to determine the extent of his aggravated right oblique.
After Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Indians, manager John Farrell said there’s a chance Drew could return to action over the weekend against the Indians.
“At this point, there was an ultrasound done. An MRI is still a possibility if the increased baseball activities [Friday] warrant it. The plan is for him not to have it right now,” Farrell said. “He’ll ramp up the activities. If there’s any kind of reproducing of the symptoms, then it would be administered at that point. Hopefully, he gets through [Friday] and then we’re looking for game activity on the weekend.”
Thursday’s ultrasound was administered to determine if Drew did any further damage during a batting practice session before Wednesday’s series finale in Baltimore. Before Thursday’s game, Farrell said Drew, who signed a $10 million pro-rated deal on May 21, was day-to-day with the oblique strain.
“[Wednesday] in the second round of BP he felt the right oblique kind of grab him again,” Farrell said. “So, whether or not the MRI is needed [Friday] — and even if there’s any question — we’ll get it to get all the information possible.
“He’s frustrated by it, but at the same time we can’t risk any longer-term situation here.”
Since signing with the Red Sox, Drew has played in just four games, collecting just one hit in 14 at-bats (.071).
Farrell was asked if an MRI Friday could reveal further injury beyond the oblique.
“I don’t know where,” Farrell said. “I just think the MRI is going to indicate to what extent there’s inflammation. If the MRI is deemed necessary, then the information derived from it will have a better read on the prognosis going forward.”
|Joe Maddon on Friday’s tensions: ‘I thought it was handled great’||05.31.14 at 3:39 am ET|
Red Sox skipper John Farrell might have thought home plate umpire Dan Bellino and crew chief Jeff Kellogg let Friday night’s game get out of control. Naturally, his counterpart in the Tampa Bay dugout saw things much differently.
“That was obvious that you’re not trying to hit Carp right there,” Maddon said of Price drilling the Red Sox first baseman in the fourth inning. “I thought the umpires utilized really good baseball judgment regarding how they handled it after Ortiz, they handled the rest of that really well. Of course, the ball at somebody’s head is no fun to see that happened. Again, you have to get their side of the whole thing. I’m just saying from our side of things, it was not precipitated by what happened last week.
“You know what? You let the players play. I’m a big believer in the players do a great job of policing one another. I try not to interfere with that kind of stuff. We’ll see how it plays out [Saturday]. There’s going to be no animosity from us to their side. Beginning of the game, we’ll just see how it plays. Again, the umpires did a great job tonight.”
Maddon and Farrell were not warned formally before the game, to the surprise of some, including Price. But once the game start, Maddon had no issue with Price clearly hitting Ortiz in the middle of the back as retribution for Ortiz slow trot around the bases on two home runs off Price in last fall’s ALDS Game 2.
“For me, you let the players play, and you really try to not get involved in that, whether it’s me as the manager or the umpires, let the players play,” Maddon said. “I’m a big believer in the players’ ability to police the game on their own. I really am. I thought the players did well tonight. I thought the umpires did well tonight. I thought it went well and I thought everything was handled properly.”
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