|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.”
|Red Sox notes: Clay Buchholz rehab timetable lengthened; searching for Daniel Nava||06.02.14 at 8:23 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — Though right-hander Clay Buchholz was scheduled to throw a simulated game against Red Sox hitters on Monday, the Red Sox have pushed that back by several days — to Saturday –in order to first give the pitcher more time to work on his delivery while he resides on the disabled list for a hyperextended left knee.
“We’ve adjusted the plan that we originally set out to take advantage of the time right now to keep working on the delivery items that have been identified,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “There was some work down in the bullpen today. There will be another bullpen on Wednesday with that sim game being pushed back to Saturday now.”
The Sox will wait until after the simulated game before determining what kind of rehab assignment Buchholz might need before returning to the rotation. Given that Saturday will mark Buchholz’s 12th day on the disabled list, it seems that his stay on the D.L. will go beyond the 15-day minimum while he works on his delivery. Read the rest of this entry »
|Shane Victorino (hamstring) heads to DL, Daniel Nava recalled||05.24.14 at 1:48 pm ET|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Shane Victorino’s stay on the active roster with the Red Sox lasted just four weeks.
After coming back from a right hamstring injury in April, the outfielder aggravated the same injury Friday night while running out a ground ball in the ninth inning of a 1-0 loss to the Rays. He was replaced by Jonny Gomes. Victorino was 0-for-4 Friday and is hitting .242 with one home run and 10 RBI in 91 at-bats.
Taking his spot on the roster is Daniel Nava, who was impressive his four-week stay at Triple-A Pawucket.
Nava, 31, rejoins the Red Sox for his second stint in the majors this season. He appeared in 17 games for Boston this year before being optioned to Pawtucket on April 22. With the PawSox, Nava has hit .253 (21-for-83) with three doubles, three home runs, and 14 RBI in 24 games.
In the majors in 2014, Nava has batted .149 (10-for-67) with two doubles, two home runs, and three RBI. Defensively this season with Boston, he has played 15 games in right field (14 starts), three games in left field (1 start), and two at first base (both starts).
|Red Sox minor league roundup: The Other Henry in Portland; Daniel Nava’s strikeout woes; William Cuevas dazzles; Manuel Margot maturing||05.08.14 at 11:44 am ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-0 LOSS VS. TOLEDO (TIGERS)
— On the one hand, Brandon Workman allowed only four hits and five baserunners in a season-high seven innings of work while striking out five. He blitzed through those seven frames in just 87 pitches (57 strikes — 65 percent). On the other hand, all four of those hits were solo homers. Workman had retired 19 of 21 batters (permitting only one solo homer) through 6 1/3 innings before giving up solo homers to three of the next five batters he faced.
Of course, Workman and the Sox accept that hard contact and homers are an inevitable, occasional byproduct of his aggressive strike-throwing nature. In his minor league career, he’s averaged 0.9 homers per nine innings in part because he is relentless of his usage of the fastball in the zone, resulting in days such as Wednesday where he works deep but does permit some runs. (The four-homer yield was the second of his career.) In five starts in Pawtucket, he has a 5.00 ERA with 8.7 strikeouts and 2.3 walks per nine innings.
— Infielder Ryan Roberts went 2-for-4 with a double for his fourth multi-hit game in his last five games with a plate appearance. He’s 8-for-20 with three doubles in that time, and he’s gone six games without striking out to improve his line to .286/.333/.381.
— Daniel Nava went 0-for-4 with three punchouts, making him 0-for-7 in his last two games. Though his return to the minors had started well, he’s recently hit a bit of a dry spell in which he’s been swinging and missing with notable frequency. He has struck out 15 times in his 11 games in Triple-A — or one out of every three plate appearances.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 8-3 LOSS AT READING (PHILLIES)
— Outfielder Henry Ramos is amidst a torrid stretch. He went 3-for-3 with a pair of homers, his second career multi-homer contest, and also added a walk. In his last five games, he’s 11-for-19 with two homers, two doubles and a walk, good for a gaudy .579/.600/1.000 line. The eruption has improved the switch-hitter’s line for the year to .327 with a .361 OBP and .460 slugging mark. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Daniel Nava returns to form; time for scorching Travis Shaw to move up?; Carlos Asuaje dominating||05.03.14 at 11:09 am ET|
The natural reaction might have been to sulk for a bit. But that would have been a waste of time.
Daniel Nava didn’t lament his surroundings when he was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket just over a week ago. Instead, he took the feedback that he received from the Red Sox — a need to improve his two-strike approach, to rediscover the swing that made him such a critical offensive contributor in 2013, to work on his defensive versatility — and went about applying it.
“With him, knowing his character and makeup, obviously there’s going to be some disappointment there, but he’s handled it beautifully. He’s worked hard,” said Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles. “He’s jumped right into our routines. And the workouts he’s done, the way he’s played the game, he’s staying aggressive at the plate, he’s working counts, and the versatility in the outfield, he’s working hard to make sure he keeps that up. He’s had a great attitude.”
In the early paces of his time in Triple-A, he’s also delivered a compelling performance. On Friday night, he went 1-for-3 with a grand slam and a walk. In seven games back in Triple-A, Nava is hitting .333 with a .414 OBP, .625 slugging mark and two homers. The reports for the Sox have been encouraging, suggesting a player who will be in position to help should the need arise sooner rather than later.
“He’s back to an approach we saw here last year,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “Defensively, he’s played all three outfield positions, including DH, but the disappointment of going down has been short-lived or hasn’t filtered into his work between the lines, and he’s swinging the bat well.”
For now, with Jackie Bradley Jr. having laid claim to the everyday job in centerfield, Nava wouldn’t be summoned back to the big leagues unless an injury necessitated his call-up. But depending on what direction Grady Sizemore‘s performance takes, it appears that the Sox will be able to take comfort with the idea of a summons to the big leagues for Nava, given his resemblance to the player who broke out for them last year as opposed to the one who could not find his way against big league pitching this year.
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Daniel Nava begins the road back; Matt Barnes starts the road forward; Brian Johnson dominating||04.26.14 at 12:56 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday . . .
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 6-2 WIN VS. ROCHESTER (TWINS)
— Right-hander Matt Barnes, who joined the PawSox after opening the year in extended spring training after early spring shoulder tenderness resulted in a gradual buildup pace, tossed five innings in his first start of the season in Pawtucket, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits (five singles and a double) while walking two and striking out two. He struggled with his control, throwing just 44 of 81 pitches for strikes (54 percent) and, according to the MiLB.com’s Gameday tracker, he elicited just four swings and misses. Still, he showed good arm strength for his first outing, as Brendan McGair of the Pawtucket Times reported that Barnes touched 96 mph and sat at 93-94 on the stadium scoreboard.
— Daniel Nava, in his first game in Triple-A since being optioned, went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and a steal. (He was also credited with a caught stealing at the plate while trying to advance during a Cecchini rundown.) Two of that plate appearances came against lefties, with Nava reaching on a hit and walk in those two plate appearances.
Nava suggested that even though he hadn’t anticipated being sent down, he wasn’t shocked once he was shipped to the minors.
‘It was something that I definitely wasn’t expecting, but at the same time, when it was brought to my attention, I understood why,” Nava, who was hitting .149 with a .240 OBP and .269 slugging mark, told the Pawtucket Times. “I just want to go out and play better, and this is an opportunity to do that.
“I feel that there’s no one to blame or get mad at them for anything. It also doesn’t matter if I view (getting sent down) as this or that,” he added. “The whole goal for everyone in that clubhouse is to get up or back to Boston. For me, this is an opportunity to get back on track, which is the best way I can really look at it.” Read the rest of this entry »
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