|Red Sox pregame notes: Making sense of Yoenis Cespedes; Daniel Nava navigating back to himself||08.19.14 at 6:35 pm ET|
When it comes to evaluating players during these last couple months of the season, the Red Sox aren’t just concerned with taking stock of rookie performances. It’s been a chance to see how newly acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes fits into the lineup as well.
Cespedes’ approach at the plate is a little different than the two players he’s sandwiched between in the lineup, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli. While Napoli and Ortiz are accustomed to drawing a lot of walks (Napoli has walked at a 16 percent rate this season), Cespedes embodies a much more aggressive approach and doesn’t work many free passes (less than six percent of plate appearances this season).
“With it will come some quick outs, but at the same time the ability to impact the baseball is a result of the aggressiveness as well,” Farrell said of Cespedes’ plate approach, which has yielded a .251 average, .294 OBP and .456 slugging mark on the season, including a .219/.231/.406 line with one walk and 11 strikeouts with the Red Sox. “He hasn’t become more aggressive since coming over here. This is the player we were well aware of and pursued heavily. We’re fully accepting of the style of player he is.”
Batting in between Ortiz and Napoli, Cespedes provides some contrast in the lineup. Farrell says that the outfielder may be shifted in the order to find what combination works best.
“He’s been accustomed to hitting in the four hole. [We're trying] to transition him in here with as much comfort as possible. That doesn’t mean that going forward there won’t be an alignment that flips him and Napoli,” Farrell said. “I’m not saying that’s going to be tomorrow, but we’ll take a look at every combination that’s available to us.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox-Angels series preview||08.18.14 at 12:37 pm ET|
Boston is coming off of a disappointing four-game split with the Astros, who managed to cross the plate 15 times over the final two games.
The Red Sox lost in disappointing fashion Sunday, as Joe Kelly gave up seven earned runs in his Fenway debut en route to an 8-1 Astros win.
“Plenty of stuff. Plenty of power. Plenty of action to his secondary pitches,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell when speaking about Kelly. “Just his command was not as its been in the first two outings for him.”
In their last meeting with the Angels, the Red Sox took two of three games in Anaheim from Aug. 8-10.
Los Angeles is coming off of a series win against the Rangers that almost ended in an Angels sweep. However, Texas scored two runs off closer Huston Street in the ninth inning Sunday for a 3-2 walkoff win.
“It’s always a strange feeling when you don’t get your job done,” Street said after the game. “It’s not really strange so much as it is frustrating, but it happens. It’s the game; that’s why we play them. I didn’t make very good pitches out there. That’s the bottom line.”
The Angels have had the upper hand against Boston over the last few seasons, winning six of their last eight games at Fenway Park and 12 of their last 17 games overall against the Red Sox.
Here are the probable pitchers for the four-game series.
Monday: Brandon Workman (1-6, 4.45 ERA) vs. C.J. Wilson (9-8, 4.71 ERA)
Tuesday: Allen Webster (3-1, 4.79 ERA) vs. Jered Weaver (14-7, 3.66 ERA)
Wednesday: Clay Buchholz (5-7, 5.79 ERA) vs. Garrett Richards (13-4, 2.53 ERA)
Thursday: Rubby De La Rosa (4-4, 3.79 ERA) vs. Matt Shoemaker (11-4, 3.84 ERA)
WHO’S HOT: RED SOX
— Daniel Nava was the lone source of offense for the Red Sox Sunday, driving in the team’s only run of the game thanks to an RBI double in the third inning. The 31-year-old outfielder is hitting at a blistering .500 (9-for-18) clip over his last five games with five doubles and four RBIs. Since being recalled from Pawtucket on June 2, Nava ranks fourth in the American League in on-base percentage (.399) while compiling a .331 batting average.
|Red Sox-Blue Jays series preview||07.21.14 at 1:54 pm ET|
With just 10 days until the trade deadline, things are getting interesting for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox have won six of their last seven games, curtailing (at least temporarily) discussions of the team waving the white flag on 2014 and adopting the role of “seller” at the end of the month. Boston is firing on all cylinders, hitting .291 while posting a 2.25 team ERA over its last eight games.
Toronto, third in the AL East standings and four games ahead of Boston in the loss column, took two out of three from the lowly Rangers over the weekend and is 4-6 over its last 10 games.
After an impressive May, the Jays have scored the second-fewest runs in the AL since then. Part of the reason for the offensive woes is the injury big, as Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie and Adam Lind are on the 15-day disabled list.
“Since June 1, we’d scored fewer runs than anybody except for the Red Sox in the AL,” Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos told reporters Sunday. “Clearly offensively we haven’t played as well as we can. I’m optimistic that our [injured] guys have a chance to come back sooner than we all think. I got an update last night that Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion are really progressing well. Lind is out of his boot. They’re swinging off a tee. Lind is going to swing with a little more authority today, but again, after everything he’s done he’s got no symptoms at all, no pain. It’s obviously a great sign.”
Here are the pitching matchups for the four-game series.
Monday: John Lackey (10-6, 3.79 ERA) vs. Drew Hutchison (6-8, 4.16 ERA)
Tuesday: Jake Peavy (1-8, 4.59 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ (7-5, 4.91 ERA)
Wednesday: Clay Buchholz (5-5, 5.46 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (7-10, 3.95 ERA)
Thursday: Rubby De La Rosa (3-2, 2.64 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman (5-2, 3.58 ERA)
WHO’S HOT: RED SOX
— Daniel Nava is coming off of one of his strongest games of the season, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs in Sunday’s 6-0 win over the Royals. Nava, who posted a line of .130/.221/.234 over his first 22 games of the season, has hit .337 (33-for-98) while compiling a .421 OBP since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on June 2. The 31-year-old outfielder has been even better this month, hitting .382 (13-for-34) since the start of July.
— Rubby De La Rosa has been one of the best surprises of the 2014 season for Boston, as the young righty is 3-2 with a 2.64 ERA on the year. De La Rosa has now allowed one run or less over seven innings in four of his seven starts this season. While De La Rosa has excelled at home this season (3-0, 1.38 ERA), the same can’t be said on the road, as he owns a 4.42 ERA away from the friendly confines of Fenway.
|Brock Holt again dons cape in Red Sox’ walkoff win||07.10.14 at 2:02 am ET|
It was baseball’s version of poetic justice.
Out of anyone to deliver the game-winning hit in Boston’s thrilling 5-4 comeback win over the White Sox Wednesday, it was only fitting that it was carried out by the player who has served as one of the few bright spots in an otherwise miserable campaign in 2014: Brock Holt.
With the game knotted at four runs apiece, Holt stepped into the batter’s box, looking to turn around an 0-for-4 showing and drive in an energized Daniel Nava anxiously holding at second base.
Facing a 1-2 count against White Sox reliever Javy Guerra, Holt delivered, sending a 95 mph fastball into right field, allowing Nava to cross the plate and complete a comeback that served as a refreshing reminder of the tenacious and resilient 2013 Red Sox squad.
It was the first walkoff hit of Holt’s major league career, as well as the first time that the 26-year-old infielder/outfielder drove in a go-ahead RBI in the eighth inning or later.
“Mookie [Betts] gets hits by the pitch, gets on base, Nava comes in — huge pinch-hit double, drives in the tying run, so my job was the easy one I guess,” Holt said. “I think Nava had the tough one. I got a fastball to hit and put a good swing on it and scorched it to get it into the outfield there and Nava scored.”
|Baseball card features pieces of Daniel Nava’s beard||07.09.14 at 9:35 am ET|
Strands of Nava’s 2013 playoff beard can now be collected as Topps’ Allen & Ginter “Oddity” line released 25 Nava cards with pieces of facial hair included in it.
‘ darren rovell (@darrenrovell) July 7, 2014
One of the cards has already made it to eBay. The highest of 26 bids was at $202.50 as of Wednesday morning.
It is not known whether any other Red Sox had similar cards made.
|Red Sox notes: As Shane Victorino nears return, Grady Sizemore’s roster spot in jeopardy||06.16.14 at 7:14 pm ET|
Shane Victorino is appearing in the second game of his Triple-A rehab assignment on Monday night in Rochester. The Sox anticipate that he will be ready to rejoin the club during the West Coast trip through Oakland and Seattle, though given the early stage of Victorino’s rehab assignment in Pawtucket (he’s played one game, going 0-for-2), a specific date hasn’t been established. Both Victorino and Will Middlebrooks are expected to play back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday for the PawSox, sit Wednesday, then play three straight days, at which point they’ll be re-evaluated.
When Victorino does return, the Sox will face a crowd in their outfield. The team has Jackie Bradley Jr. as its everyday center fielder, with Victorino expected to be the primary right fielder. Brock Holt has carved out a flexible everyday role with Victorino sidelined, and he’s become a critical contributor as the leadoff man who has shown the ability to play third, second, short, first, left and right — with Farrell saying he’d be open to having Holt play center as well. Daniel Nava has started to heat up; Farrell would like to see the effective left field platoon of Nava and Jonny Gomes return to its 2013 levels of production.
Grady Sizemore (batting .216 with a .288 OBP and .324 slugging mark) has seen his playing time dwindle, and he would appear in danger of getting further squeezed — perhaps out of a roster spot — when Victorino returns.
“With [Victorino's] progression taking place, provided there are no setbacks, there’s going to be the need for a roster decision upon his return,” said Farrell. “Brock’s emergence in the outfield has definitely taken away from Grady and the at-bats there, particularly with the way Daniel Nava has come on of late. Grady has lost some at-bats. We’ve sat and we’ve talked about it. He recognizes the guys he’s in competition with here. He’s a little bit of a victim of the performance of other guys.”
When Victorino returned from his season-opening stint on the DL in April, Nava was the victim of the numbers game (and the fact that he had minor league options), getting sent down at a time when he was hitting .149/.240/.269. But in his last eight games, the switch-hitter has a .417/.517/.500 line in 29 plate appearances, and so the Sox seem unlikely to remove Nava from the lineup.
“That’s not just with what he’s done of late. We also don’t forget what he did last year, and that combination between he and Jonny was an extremely productive one,” said Farrell. “We need that production to return for us to sustain success.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Daniel Nava on The Bradfo Show: ‘I like to think that I would’ve gotten things going in the right direction’||06.05.14 at 4:41 pm ET|
Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava joined Rob Bradford on The Bradfo Show podcast to discuss what has been a trying 2014 season so far for both himself and the club. To listen to the interview, go to The Bradfo Show audio on demand page.
Nava has struggled to re-create the success he had last year, when the now 31-year-old posted a .303/.385/.445 line and helped the Red Sox clinch their eighth World Series title. In 23 games this season, Nava is hitting a paltry .136 with three RBIs.
Nava got off to a slow start in spring training, hitting .205 with just four extra-base hits in 17 games. Nava’s slump extended into the season with a .149/.240/.269 line over the first three weeks. On April 23, Nava was sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket.
While Nava acknowledged that he got off to a slow start, he also believes that he would have been able to adjust before being sent down to the minor leagues.
“I’ve learned enough through the road I’ve taken to get here what works for me and what doesn’t and the type of swing and the type of approach that I was going to stick with,” Nava said. “I wasn’t going to change from that because I know what works for me and I would be foolish to try and change that.
“I wasn’t as comfortable as I wanted to be [in spring training], but sometimes you just aren’t. It was just unfortunate then that that’s how things started in the season. I like to think that I would’ve got things going in the right direction on a personal note, but … I don’t think the team expected things to start the way that they did.”
Nava continued: “Last year, during the first month, everything was clicking, and so a lot of comparisons were made about last year to this year already. It was understandable; it’s always going to be like that. But at the same time, I think there should be some grace and understanding that no two years are the same.”
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