|Closing Time: Clay Buchholz makes case for Red Sox not to trade him in win over Blue Jays||06.29.15 at 9:37 pm ET|
Trade Clay Buchholz? Not the way he’s pitching right now.
Clay Buchholz earned the Opening Day start for the Red Sox, and then endured some of the same ups and downs to afflict the rest of the rotation. Unlike starters such as Rick Porcello and Joe Kelly (and Wade Miley and Justin Masterson, for that matter), Buchholz has clearly righted the ship.
Needing a big outing from their best starter to open an all-important four-game series in Toronto, the Red Sox got one on Monday night. Buchholz dominated one of baseball’s best offenses en route to a 3-1 victory.
“He’s been on a really strong run through the entire month, and tonight tops off the month that he’s had,” said manager John Farrell. “Eight very strong innings for us. On a night we needed a starter to go deep, he provided it. But he was outstanding. He threw four pitches for strikes. He threw some quality two-seamers in to their big right-handers to keep them honest. It was a constant mix, staying out of the middle of the plate. He was outstanding tonight.”
This one was all Buchholz, who lowered his team-leading ERA to 3.48 while improving to 6-6. He scattered five hits over eight innings, efficiently dispatching the Jays on just 96 pitches to give the Red Sox their seventh victory in 11 games.
The timing couldn’t have been better from a personal standpoint as well. Buchholz’s name is share to come up in trade rumors next month, one year after Jon Lester and John Lackey got shipped out at the trade deadline.
“I never even thought of that,” Buchholz said. “I don’t know. It is what it is. I understand the business side of it. But like I said before, this is the only place I’ve ever been, but I’d like to be here as long as I can. That’s my job. If they’ve got to make decisions, I’ve got to make it tough on them. First start in the big leagues to now.”
Buchholz struck out Jose Reyes and Josh Donaldson leading off the game to set the tone, and then got some help from his defense in the second when left fielder Alejandro De Aza chased down a Kevin Pillar double and fired to relay man Xander Bogaerts, who threw behind Russell Martin at third, which led to third baseman Pablo Sandoval winning the footrace and chasing down Martin from behind to apply the inning-ending tag.
“It was a huge pickoff for us,” Buchholz said. “I pitched against him for the last six or seven years on different teams and know what kind of player he is. He’s got pop, he can hit homers if you just lay one in there. He can run, plays the outfield as good as anybody, and is a threat on the bags, just all around player.”
The Red Sox gave Buchholz all the offense he would need in the top of the third when Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt sandwiched walks around a Mookie Betts single. The Red Sox have consistently found ways not to score in such situations, but this time Bogaerts delivered, plating two runs with a double.
It’s a good thing he did, too, because the next three hitters popped up, but Buchholz had all the support he’d need.
The Red Sox added an insurance run in the fifth when Betts led off with a triple and scored on a Holt single.
The Blue Jays rarely threatened from there, with Sandoval starting a key 5-4-3 double play to end the seventh and keep Buchholz’s pitch count manageable enough to pitch the eighth.
Closer Koji Uehara then closed things out in the ninth for his third save of the road trip, making a winner of a pitcher the Red Sox need more than ever.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: This one’s not even a question. Clay Buchholz continued an outstanding run with one of his best outings of the season, silencing the Jays over eight five-hit innings.
|Closing Time: Mookie Betts, Brock Holt team up to give Red Sox extra-inning win over Rays||06.26.15 at 10:34 pm ET|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — This sure felt like a must-win for the Red Sox.
As strange as it is to say on June 26, the swing of not beating the first-place Rays Friday night not only would meant a 10-game deficit in the standings but another truly demoralizing defeat at Tropicana Field. (The Red Sox had lost nine of their last 13 games at the Trop.)
But thanks to Mookie Betts and Brock Holt, the Red Sox managed to keep their flicker of hope alive.
Holt’s 10th-inning RBI single plated Betts, who led off the frame with a double down the left field line. And when Koji Uehara closed things out for the visitors with a 10-pitch perfect inning (2 strikeouts), the Red Sox walked away with a series-opening, 4-3 win over the division’s top dog.
For Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, it was a good news/bad news kind of night. The positive for the righty was that he was able to snap his losing streak at six starts. The negative? Porcello hasn’t won in seven appearances.
This time around, Porcello — whose last outing at Tropicana Field resulted in a three-hit, complete game shutout for the Tigers — allowed three runs on nine hits over six innings. He also struck out five while walking one, lowering his ERA to 5.54.
The Red Sox have won four of their last five road games and are 10-10 in one-run games. They have scored four runs or more in eight straight games, their longest streak since going 11 straight in 2011.
|Red Sox lineup: Jackie Bradley Jr. starts in right field after call up; Xander Bogaerts hitting third||06.25.15 at 1:21 pm ET|
After the Red Sox made a number of roster moves Thursday morning and are dealing with multiple injuries, the team is doing what it can with its lineup in the series finale against the Orioles.
Jackie Bradley Jr. is starting in right field after being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket earlier in the day. After appearing to injure his hand Wednesday night, Alejandro De Aza is back in the lineup playing left field as Hanley Ramirez is out after being hit on the hand with a line drive Wednesday night.
The Red Sox lineup will be going up against Miguel Gonzalez, as Blake Swihart will return and catch Eduardo Rodriguez.
For a complete look at the matchups, click here.
Here is a complete look at the lineup:
|Red Sox lineup: Mike Napoli out after 4 strikeout game; Brock Holt playing first base||06.24.15 at 3:24 pm ET|
After going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts Tuesday, Mike Napoli is out of the lineup Wednesday against the Orioles and right-handed starter Bud Norris. The Red Sox will look to take Game 2 of the three-game set at Fenway Park.
Brock Holt will take Napoli’s place at first base and hit in the No. 2 spot in the order. Alejandro De Aza will get the start in right field with Mookie Betts in center and Hanley Ramirez in left.
Sandy Leon will once again catch Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:
|John Farrell on D&H: Work ethic, energy, effort not ‘primary culprit’ of Sox’ struggles||06.17.15 at 4:04 pm ET|
Embattled manager John Farrell made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show on Wednesday before the third game of the Red Sox‘ home-and-home series with the Braves to talk about the team’s rough season. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Now that the Red Sox are shifting over to National League play with their trip down to Atlanta, the DH position will not be an option . For Wednesday’s game, Mike Napoli will get the start at first since Atlanta is trotting out a left-handed pitcher in Alex Wood, while David Ortiz will man first Thursday against righty Shelby Miller.
Farrell reflected on utility man Brock Holt’s feat of hitting for the cycle in Tuesday’s win, saying that the unlikelihood of doing so not only highlights the accomplishment itself but also Holt’s play.
“I think it’s got to be right there, from an offensive side, with a guy that hits three home runs in a game,” he said. “How it might compare to maybe a one-hit shutout, you just look at the uniqueness and how rarely it happens. I think that speaks for itself, but as it relates to Brock and what we’ve seen, how he’s improved as a player both the versatility — which, again, he’s played seven positions this year for us — and how he’s driving the ball more consistently, it’s been really fun to see his progress on an individual level come to the forefront.”
Holt has been heating up recently, excelling in the two-spot behind Pedroia with a .357/.438/.607 slash line in his past seven games and hits in 11 of his last 13 contests.
“Brock’s going to get regular at-bats, if not everyday at-bats,” Farrell said. “And particularly in the American League with our DH slot, he gives us such flexibility to rest guys, and under the current alignment with David being our everyday DH, it really allows us to spell other guys more frequently.”
Utility man Brock Holt joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to talk about the Red Sox and the experience of hitting for the cycle Tuesday. To listen to the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
With regard to the season as a whole, Holt expressed some disappointment and frustration with the way the team has played. However, he said Tuesday’s victory over the Braves provided a step in the right direction.
“It’s one of those things, whenever things are going wrong, it feels like everything goes wrong. When it rains, it pours. It’s our job to not think about that and try to stay as positive as we can. If something bad happens, put it past us and keep playing the game,” Holt said. “That’s what we’re going to try to do.
“I think yesterday was a good step for us, especially offensively, putting together some good at-bats from pitch one to the last inning. And then obviously Wade [Miley] went out and did what he was supposed to do. I think yesterday was a good day for us overall.”
Holt was definitive in his proclamation that the team is still capable of making a run and qualifying for the playoffs.
“Absolutely. I feel like everyone in our clubhouse feels like we’ve still got a shot. The season’s not over for us. We’re going to continue to play. Like I said, hopefully at the end of the day, we do our job and all those things will kind of take care of themselves.”
|Red Sox offense gets jolt from Brock Holt as utility man hits for cycle in win||06.16.15 at 8:32 pm ET|
Wheaties is normally the Breakfast of Champions, but Tuesday for Brock Holt it was Frosted Mini Wheats.
Going against the norm, Holt had Frosted Mini Wheats for breakfast and it paid off as the utility man hit for the first Red Sox cycle in almost 20 years, as the Red Sox beat the Braves, 9-4, at Fenway Park, snapping a seven-game losing streak.
For Holt it was his first career cycle at any level and the first Red Sox cycle since John Valentin on June 6, 1996. It was the 20th in Red Sox history.
Holt came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth, with the Sox leading 8-2, needing a triple for the cycle. The lefty drove a Sugar Ray Marimon offering over center fielder Cameron Maybin’s head and kept on running before he stopped standing on third base with the entire Red Sox dugout on the top step pumped for what their teammate just did.
“Obviously I knew that I needed a triple,” Holt said. “Didn’t expect to hit one, but as soon as barrel hit ball, I was, ‘Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my god,’ cause once it gets in the triangle anything is possible. Just running, on my horses and it worked out.”
With the Red Sox leading 9-2, Holt was able to soak in the moment with third base coach Brian Butterfield.
“I was like, ‘This is pretty cool,’ ” Holt said. “[Butterfield] kind of came up to me and said, ‘This is pretty cool.’ I tried to soak it all in. Looked in my dugout and my teammates were all pretty pumped at the top step. Like I said, pretty special to do this and to get the win is the biggest thing. Something I’ll remember for awhile.”
“That was a goosebump moment for me,” Butterfield added. “He’s so humble and he kept his poise. I just looked up and said, ‘That was really cool.’ He looked over and said, ‘That was cool.’ ”
|Closing Time: Brock Holt hits for cycle in Red Sox win over Braves to snap 7-game losing streak||at 6:43 pm ET|
So, that’s what winning feels like.
After losing seven straight games with their last win coming nine days ago, the Red Sox finally were able to get back in the win column with a 9-4 win over the Braves at Fenway Park Tuesday afternoon.
The offense was led by Brock Holt who hit for the cycle, the first Red Sox cycle since John Valentin on June 6, 1996.
“Yeah, big day at the plate,” manager John Farrell said. “He’s been in a good run here of late in the two-hole and today obviously in the leadoff spot where he’s getting on-base multiple times. Really squared up some balls today. It goes without saying, anytime a guy hits for the cycle he’s had a stellar day, and that was a day for Brock.”
The Red Sox have now won six of their last seven games against the Braves. Their 18 hits were by far a season high (nine-inning game). The 18 hits tied what they totaled in the 18-inning win over the Yankees.
With the game knotted at two in the bottom of the sixth, the Red Sox scored three times to break the game open and snap the losing skid.
Mookie Betts started the inning off with a triple to left-center. After David Ortiz lined out sharply to second, Xander Bogaerts’ chopper over the mound was barely enough to get Betts home, although he was thrown out trying to advance to second on the throw home. They scored two more in the inning, as Pablo Sandoval lined a single off the Monster and Mike Napoli doubled, setting up second and third with two outs for Alejandro De Aza, who lined an opposite field double to give the Red Sox two insurance runs.
Following his blowup in the dugout during his last start in Baltimore, Wade Miley responded with a quality start, going 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits while walking two and striking out a season-high eight batters.
Miley has now won four straight starts at Fenway Park and evened up his record at 6-6.
The left-hander was removed from the game after 111 pitches and with runners on first and second in the seventh inning. Junichi Tazawa entered and retired the next two batters in order to get out of the jam.
“Like I said, I put it behind me,” Miley said of the dugout incident. “So not necessarily going to motivate me or anything like that. My goal going into today is to just give the team a chance to win and every start that’s what I try to do. I try to go out there and keep them from scoring more runs than we do. So that was the goal.”
Koji Uehara allowed two runs on the ninth inning. He’s allowed runs in four of his 24 outings this year.
The Red Sox wasted no time scoring, as they scored their first run of the game on the fifth pitch they saw from Braves starter Julio Teheran, as Holt and Betts hit back-to-back doubles. They scored their second run with the bases loaded and no outs when Pablo Sandoval hit into a double play, scoring Betts.
Teheran finished allowing six runs on 13 hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Holt also homered in the seventh inning, which extended the Red Sox’ streak of hitting a home run in seven straight games. De Aza added another RBI with a triple in the eighth, scoring Sandoval. Rusney Castillo snapped an 0-for-11 skid with an RBI single later in the inning and Holt then ripped a triple to finish off the cycle scoring another.
|Red Sox lineup: Brock Holt in for Pablo Sandoval||06.03.15 at 11:39 am ET|
The offensively challenged Red Sox look for another stellar outing from left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez on Wednesday afternoon when they play the first game of a day-night doubleheader against the Twins.
Coming off Tuesday’s 1-0 win, the Sox will insert Brock Holt into the lineup for Pablo Sandoval as they go up against Twins right-hander Phil Hughes. Sandy Leon, who caught Clay Buchholz‘s shutout on Tuesday, returns to the lineup to catch Rodriguez in his second career start.
|Jack of all trades: An in-depth look at Red Sox players’ versatility||05.27.15 at 12:16 pm ET|
Versatility is becoming more and more important to a team’s success.
Of the 13 position players on the Red Sox‘ 25-man roster, six have played multiple positions this year, and over the course of their careers 10 have played more than one position.
This movement goes down to the Triple-A level as well. Of the 12 position players on the active Pawtucket roster, nine have played multiple positions this year, many three positions.
“The benefit is the more options the manager has. At the major league level with good players, the better chance the manager has to fill out a deep lineup 162 times a year,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. “If you have a bunch of guys on your roster that are more bound to one position or two, it just gets harder to get through the season and create deep lineups, good matchups, and then it’s also a huge advantage in terms of managing players’ health throughout the season.
“Brock Holt could play seven, eight places on the field theoretically. If there is a time when a player is dragging for whatever reason you can play Holt one day and still give yourself a chance to get good production and not get a drop-off. It might help the team, but also helps the player who gets the day off. There are all sorts of things for a potential benefit.”
The most notable versatile player in the organization is Holt, who has played six positions this year and last year played every position in the field besides catcher and pitcher.
There are others like Mookie Betts who was an infielder until early in the season last year when he was switched to center field, Xander Bogaerts, who added third base to his repertoire in 2013 and played both positions last year, and Hanley Ramirez, who is playing left field after spending his whole career on the left side of the infield.
“It’s huge,” Betts said of being able to play multiple positions. “You get to get in the lineup every day and, like I said, you create value for yourself and the team as well. That’s huge.”
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