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Closing Time: Craig Kimbrel allows 2-run double in 10th inning as Red Sox fall to White Sox 06.20.16 at 10:42 pm ET
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Steven Wright was exceptional once again on Monday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Steven Wright was exceptional once again on Monday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

When it mattered most, the Red Sox could not cash in.

A two-run 10th inning for the White Sox off closer Craig Kimbrel sealed the Red Sox’ fate, as they fell 3-1 in the first game of a four-game set against the White Sox on Monday night at Fenway Park.

Multiple elements of the Red Sox’ performance rested on both ends of the good vs. bad spectrum at some point during the game.

Starter Steven Wright was slightly erratic the first two innings, but ultimately turned in a great performance. The defense committed a pair of errors in the first, but was stout the rest of the night. The offense had its moment but ultimately could not produce when needed.

The Red Sox looked most threatening in the ninth inning, starting off with patience at the plate. Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley Jr. worked the count full and walked to put runners on first and second base with no outs. Then Chris Young loaded up the bases on a five-pitch walk of his own.

But after a strikeout from pinch-hitter Dustin Pedroia and fielder’s choice from Christian Vazquez that got Ramirez at the plate with Chicago playing a five-man infield, Ryan LaMarre stepped in to pinch hit for Marco Hernandez. After quickly digging himself an 0-2 hole in his first at-bat in a Red Sox uniform, he struck out against Zach Duke to send the game into extras.

“We created a golden opportunity for ourselves,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Bases loaded via the three walks, you think that where we are with the guys coming up, particularly we get some matchups that are in our favor. Duke, give him credit. He made a couple of pitches to get a couple of key strikeouts.”

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Read More: christian vazquez, steven wright,
Closing Time: Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley power Rick Porcello, Red Sox to victory over Mariners 06.18.16 at 7:00 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts (right) celebrates a homer with David Ortiz Saturday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts (right) celebrates a homer with David Ortiz Saturday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

It was only a matter of time.

The Red Sox offense has struggled at times recently, but Adrian Sampson was only going to keep it down for so long.

Held in check for their first two turns through the order, the Red Sox broke through against Sampson during a three-run fifth, driving the rookie from his first big league start and cruising to a 6-2 victory.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts stroked two more hits, including his ninth home run of the season to give the Red Sox an insurance run and make a winner of right-hander Rick Porcello who scattered eight hits over six innings in a solid performance that bordered on terrific after a rough start.

Slumping catcher Christian Vazquez also contributed a pair of hits, while outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. added his 12th homer of the season.

The game started poorly, with the first three Mariners recording singles before Porcello settled down and coaxed a double play grounder out of the dangerous Nelson Cruz with the bases loaded.

Porcello would repeat that pattern throughout his six innings, weaving in and out of trouble, but ultimately only allowing two runs in six innings.

He gave the offense enough time to get untracked. Consecutive singles by Chris Young, Vazquez, and Mookie Betts tied the game before a Dustin Pedroia double play grounder gave the Red Sox a 3-2 lead. Bogaerts followed with a two-out homer to give the Red Sox some breathing room, and an inning later, Vazquez added an RBI double.

Closing Time note

A year after going 5-7 at Fenway Park, Porcello improved to 6-0 here this season.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— Porcello effectively managed trouble, scattering eight hits over six innings, the only other damage an Adam Lind solo homer. He didn’t walk anyone and induced a pair of double plays.

— Bogaerts just continues to mash. He went 2-for-4 to raise his league-leading average to .352. He also now has two more homers than the seven he managed all of last season.

— Hustlin’ Hanley Ramirez scored from second after an errant throw on a grounder rolled into short left. He ran straight through the stop sign of third base coach Brian Butterfield before sliding home safely and celebrating with a karate pose.

— Vazquez recorded his first two hits since June 10 after extensive work with hitting coach Chili Davis.

WHAT WENT WRONG

— Second baseman Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-4 and grounded into a pair of double plays, giving him 12 on the season.

Read More: christian vazquez, Dustin Pedroia, jackie bradley, Mariners
Red Sox pregame notes: ‘Potential [roster] changes upcoming'; Clay Buchholz still viewed as starter 06.15.16 at 5:32 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

Prior to Wednesday’s game against the Orioles, Red Sox manager John Farrell acknowledged that roster moves are on the horizon and updated the status of Clay Buchholz.

Between a lack of depth on the bench — especially from the left side of the plate — and pitcher Roenis Elias to be called up from Pawtucket on Friday, moves are expected to be made in the coming days that will shake up the look of the roster in Boston.

“We’re trying to get a left-handed compliment, and while Chris Young has done an outstanding job since taking over the everyday duties, we’re looking at how can we best match up if those needs arise late in games. And those alternatives are talked about internally,” said Farrell. “And with Roenis coming to us on Friday, we’ve got a little bit of roster — I don’t want to say shuffling — but some potential changes upcoming.”

Farrell added that while the team waits for the return of Brock Holt (concussion), they are looking at options in Pawtucket to fill their immediate needs on the bench.

He also commented on Buchholz as a reliever, and his progress to eventually find his way back into the starting rotation. Buchholz has appeared four times since being moved to the bullpen, pitching 6 1/3 innings for a 1-1 record with a 4.26 ERA. He has also held batters to a .174 average in that stretch, but did not get the nod for Friday’s start.

“I still view Clay as a starting pitcher, and yet performance is going to dictate that.” Farrell said. “He was disappointed by not being inserted in the rotation this turn through and I can respect that, but the reasons were given as to why. I will say this, since going to the bullpen, there’s every effort on his part being made to how to rectify the situations. … You see the physical abilities, the pitch mix, he’s got the tools to start, and yet the consistency was not there and that’s why he’s in the bullpen.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

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Read More: christian vazquez, Clay Buchholz, eduardo rodriguez, hanley ramirez
John Farrell on D&H: Travis Shaw to start on bench against Madison Bumgarner; Christian Vazquez in ‘learning phase’ regarding pitch-calling 06.08.16 at 2:52 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

Speaking during his weekly appearance on Dale & Holley with Thornton, Red Sox manager John Farrell said Travis Shaw will start Wednesday night’s game on the bench, with Josh Rutledge getting the start at third base against Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. To hear the full interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Shaw has played in all 58 Red Sox games this season. Besides the fact that the lefty Bumgarner will be on the mound, the Sox third baseman has struggled of late, hitting just .182 with a .521 OPS over his last 19 games.

Farrell noted that he had no news on Joe Kelly’s injured groin, pointing out that the pitcher was being evaluated at Fenway Park Wednesday.

Kelly left his start in Pawtucket Tuesday night with two outs in the fifth inning, favoring his right leg while backing up home plate on a sacrifice fly. The starter had given up three runs over 4 2/3 innings.

He also relayed that no decision had been made in regard to who might make the start on June 18, which is thought to be the next time the Red Sox need a No. 5 starter.

“We’re looking at internal candidates, all of them,” Farrell said. “If you look at the matchup against Seattle, you see some strengths against the right-handers, you see maybe some advantages you can take if it’s a left-handed starter. We’re looking at every internal candidate to make that start.”

Asked about Christian Vazquez’s pitch-calling, Farrell noted how that the catcher still is in a “learning phase” when it comes to such execution, particularly with runners on base.

“There’s been times where its been a learning curve for him,” Farrell said. “One of the things that we’ve looked at and looked at internally is the number that he’s caught by bigger innings that we surrendered. That is something that we’ve got to continue to manage a little better and that comes down to maybe at times going less than more. What I mean by that is if you go offspeed vs. just your power, where hitters are maybe geared up a little bit more, try to use that aggressiveness to our advantage. Again, as we talked about with Eddy [Rodriguez], Christian is in that learning phase, and that’s on all of us to continue to work to improve upon.”

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Read More: christian vazquez, Joe Kelly, John Farrell, travis shaw
Red Sox lineup: Blake Swihart back in left field, Christian Vazquez catching David Price 05.29.16 at 9:58 am ET
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Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

It is a standard Red Sox lineup for Sunday’s series finale with the Blue Jays as the visitors look to snap a three-game losing streak overall and avoid a series sweep.

Blake Swihart will be back in left field after Chris Young got the start on Saturday, which was a tough 10-9 walk-off loss.

Christian Vazquez will catch Red Sox starter David Price as the Red Sox lineup will go up against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Travis Shaw, 3B
Christian Vazquez, C
Blake Swihart, LF
David Price, LHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Read More: blake swihart, christian vazquez,
Christian Vazquez heeds Chili Davis’ advice, hits longest home run of life 05.02.16 at 1:19 am ET
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As Jackie Bradley Jr. said after witnessing the event from a few feet away, while waiting in the on-deck circle, “One pitch in, one pitch out.”

It seemed simple. And maybe that’s why Christian Vazquez was able to hit Dellin Betances’ 97 mph fastball onto Landsowne Street to propel the Red Sox to an 8-7 win over the Yankees on Sunday night. It was a ball the catcher proclaimed was the longest home run of his young life.

For Red Sox hitting instructor Chili Davis, it certainly didn’t seem complicated. And that’s why he offered Vazquez some important advice before the youngster went up to face Betances with two outs in the seventh inning and the game tied.

“Just trying to get him aggressive,” Davis said. “Just basically said, ‘Hey, I don’t think this guy is going to respect you. He’s going to come right at you early. Let it go. Let it fire.’ Just trying to get him aggressive early in the at-bat, which he was. He got the first-pitch heater and he jumped on it.”

Two nights before, Ortiz had launched a two-run homer over the left field wall on the first pitch he saw from Betances. But that came on a curveball. This one was the very pitch the reliever threw Sunday night, and wasn’t going to be the same approach with the light-hitting catcher up.

“He’s not going to fool around,” Davis said. “David knew curveball was coming because that’s how he’s pitches David. But for someone like Christian, or someone he doesn’t really know or hasn’t done what David has done, what is he going to do? He’s going to try and get ahead.”

Said Ortiz: “There’s not guessing in this game. Every time I try to guess, I guess wrong. You pick what you think you can hit. If you don’t hit breaking balls you don’t pick breaking balls. If you don’t hit fastballs you don’t pick fastballs. … Let me tell you, whenever you step up to the plate with a bat, you have a chance. That was a 98 mph fastball. That [expletive] ended up on the moon.”

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Read More: chili davis, christian vazquez, David Ortiz,
Carson Smith getting closer and closer to joining Red Sox 04.21.16 at 11:34 am ET
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Carson Smith

Carson Smith

The Red Sox could be getting reliever Carson Smith back soon.

Smith will pitch in an extended spring training game Thursday, the first live game action since suffering a flexor strain early in spring training. He will then throw in another extended spring game Saturday before likely joining an affiliate early next week.

Smith was originally scheduled to throw a simulated game Thursday, but because of how well he’s responded, the team adjusted his schedule to an extended spring game.

“He’s advancing pretty good,” manager John Farrell said.

In 2015 with the Mariners, Smith had a 2.31 ERA in 70 innings where he totaled 92 strikeouts.

In other news, Christian Vazquez will catch his second straight game Thursday — a day game after a night game. The team isn’t holding him back any as he returns from Tommy John surgery early in 2015.

“Just looking at some of the matchups coming up and feel like the combinations of pitching-catcher have seemed to work OK so far,” Farrell said when asked what went into the decision. “From a health and physical standpoint, Vazquez is good to go. Day game after a night game, which he accomplished while at Pawtucket, that’s today’s alignment.”

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Read More: Carson Smith, christian vazquez,
Red Sox lineup: Brock Holt, Christian Vazquez return 04.20.16 at 3:14 pm ET
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Brock Holt

Brock Holt

After being down the last three games, Brock Holt returns to the Red Sox lineup as they go up against right-hander Chris Archer in the second of a three-game series at Fenway Park.

Christian Vazquez, who sat Tuesday, will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello and other than that, it’s a standard lineup.

Travis Shaw will play third base and Hanley Ramirez will play first. The Red Sox will look to bounce back following Tuesday’s 3-0 loss — the first time they were shutout at home in 63 games.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Travis Shaw, 3B
Brock Holt, LF
Christian Vazquez, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Rick Porcello, RHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Read More: Brock Holt, christian vazquez,
Closing Time: Rick Porcello, Christian Vazquez lead Red Sox over Blue Jays 04.15.16 at 10:13 pm ET
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Rick Porcello pitched very well Friday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello pitched very well Friday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Whether it was the presence of Christian Vazquez or not, it seems like the Red Sox are gaining some momentum.

For the second straight game, the Red Sox got a decent start from their starting pitcher as Friday it was Rick Porcello who went 6 1/3 innings to earn the win in the Red Sox’ 5-3 win over the Blue Jays. It was the second straight win for the Red Sox.

Porcello finished the game going 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on two hits (both Edwin Encarnacion home runs), while walking one, hitting two and striking out eight.

The Red Sox scored early allowing Porcello to settle in with a lead. They scored three times in the first inning starting with a David Ortiz RBI double off the top of the wall in dead-center. After Hanley Ramirez reached via a passed ball on a strikeout, Travis Shaw drove in both Ortiz and Ramirez with a two-RBI double of his own.

They tacked on another run in the second inning on a Mookie Betts RBI single.

Porcello gave up his second home run of the game to Encarnacion in the seventh with a runner on. He struck out the next batter and then was lifted at 100 pitches.

Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel (save) in a shaky ninth closed the game out for the Red Sox in relief of Porcello.

Closing Time note

The Red Sox have now not been shutout at home in 60 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the majors. It dates back to June 4 of last year.

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

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Read More: christian vazquez, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, rick porcello
Why Red Sox are adding outfield to Blake Swihart’s skill set at 5:21 pm ET
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Blake Swihart can now add the outfield to his list of positions. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Blake Swihart can now add the outfield to his list of positions. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox have two very good young catchers in Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez. But, thinking towards the future, it’s impossible to have both players play every day behind the plate.

This is why on the day Swihart was sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Vazquez’s recall, the Red Sox revealed their long-term plan with their two prized catchers.

“As we look towards the future, and even as time goes on, we would like Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart to both be part of our club,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “They are both not going to be every day catchers with our team. [Swihart] is more athletic. He’s a converted catcher. We think he could make a conversion to another position — even on a part-time basis so we can keep his bat in the lineup.”

Swihart will take fly balls in left field with Pawtucket as the Red Sox would like him to add outfield to his skill set. In addition to taking fly balls in the outfield, he will still play catcher as it was noted they are an injury away of having him come back to Boston as a catcher. It was also revealed between the outfield, catcher and DH, Swihart will play every day in Triple-A.

Vazquez is 25 years old, while Swihart is 24 so both are young and have plenty of room to grow.

This long-term plan didn’t come out of no where as these discussions began towards the end of spring training, with Swihart starting shagging fly balls in the outfield. Some thought Swihart would be better suited for first base, but manager John Farrell said the organization viewed the outfield being the most “viable.”

“His athleticism will take over,” Farrell said of Swihart playing the outfield. “He and I had a couple of conversations in spring training about this. He would shag in left field during BP. Confident that through repetition, much like we have talked about with him behind the plate, which is a much more difficult task then playing a major league caliber left field. That will take time. We’ve come to know Blake as not only an upfront guy, but is a smart athletic player who is going to be committed to the work.”

“Bottom line, we see both (Vazquez and Swihart) coexisting on this roster, really in the same lineup on a given day,” Farrell added. “We know [Swihart is] still going to be catching games.”

With the long-term plan in mind and the Red Sox showing commitment to both players, now is the perfect time to execute it with Vazquez 100 percent healthy, but any time a player changes positions it certainly bears watching.

Stay tuned.

Read More: blake swihart, christian vazquez, Dave Dombrowski, John Farrell
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