|Red Sox-Angels series preview||05.22.15 at 2:05 pm ET|
After hosting the Rangers at Fenway, the Red Sox wrap up a six-game homestand with a series against the Angels this weekend. The Sox have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games and lost the series to the Rangers. While the Red Sox starters have started to improve recently, the offense has continued to sputter.
In their past nine games, the Red Sox have scored more than two runs only once. The Sox sit at 19-22, in fourth place in the AL East. They are 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Rays.
Meanwhile, the Angels are second in the AL West, sitting 5 1/2 games behind the surprise Astros. Los Angeles has a 21-20 record after winning seven of its last 10 games.
The Angels lost Thursday night by an 8-4 score to the Blue Jays but won the series by way of victories in the first two games.
While the Red Sox offense certainly hasn’t been good as of late, it has produced more runs than the Angels. The Angels have scored just 151 runs, ranking 14th in the American League and 27th in the majors. The team batting average of .233 is the third worst in baseball.
The team’s pitching has allowed the Angels to get above .500 despite such an anemic offense. The pitching staff has a 3.57 ERA overall, good for fourth in the American League. With a .232 batting average against, the Angels rank third in the majors. The Red Sox, meanwhile, have a .259 batting average against, ranking 21st in baseball. On the season, the Angels have allowed one more run than they have scored, as they have played lots of close games.
“It’s better to win them than lose them, but we’re playing an incredible amount of one- and two-run games and holding our own,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of his team’s performance in close games. “It points to the job our starting pitchers have done keeping us in games while pitching with their backs against the wall, and what Joe Smith and Huston Street have done.”
|Dave Magadan knows better than most how David Ortiz can start hitting lefties again||05.21.15 at 12:59 pm ET|
This might be the worst stretch against left-handers David Ortiz has ever endured.
The Red Sox designated hitter has just six hits in 44 at-bats against lefties (.136), with not a single walk.
Not even at was perceived to be his low point against southpaws, throughout the 2009 and ’10 seasons, was it this bad. In ’09, when he finished the year with a career-worst .212 clip against left-handers, Ortiz only dipped below .200 for two games the entire season. And a year later, when the troubles led left his average vs. lefties at .222, his low point was .175 in early June.
As former Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan remembered Wednesday, those were the days of panic for some predicting the downturn as the beginning of Ortiz’s end.
“If you remember, there was a clamoring of should we release him, is he done,” the current Rangers hitting coach said. “There was a lot of talk about that. They were talking about his bat speed and all that. But I remember distinctly telling him, ‘David, you take BP with guys throwing 50 mph. If you didn’t have bat speed you couldn’t hit balls where you do in BP and we’re going to look back at this moment and we’re going to laugh. We’re going to use it to make you better down the line because this is going to make you a better hitter, a better player. As tough as you are, it’s going to make you’re tougher.’ He ended up proving all the doubters wrong.”
Ortiz evidently took the pep talk to heart, going on to hit a combined .293 with a .889 OPS over the last four seasons.
But the first 40 games of this season has offered an uncomfortable reminder of what happens when the production against left-handers comes to a halt.
Now Ortiz finds himself searching for the same kind of solution Magadan helped the DH uncover five years ago.
“It was showing old video. Showing him what he did against left-handers, how he used the field,” Magadan said. “A lot of his troubles back then was that he was using half the field. And it was more trouble with the relievers than it was the starters. Lefty starters he was still getting his hits, but it was the guys coming out of the pen who are paid to get lefties out he had a little too much of a pull approach. Then it was when he started opening up the left side of the field is when he got going.
“You can say it about any lefty hitter, these guys coming out of the pen who are paid to get lefties out usually have really good breaking balls. And if you’re up there worried about getting the head out and pulling the ball ‘¦ Most of the time they’ll flash you inside to get you going away, so that flash got him leaning away and then they would come with the breaking ball.”
Ortiz has seemingly made a conscious effort of returning to an opposite field approach against left-handers, at least when elevating the ball.
But one noticeable trend this season has been an inability to hit the ball on the ground to the left side, as is evidenced by not a single ball hit on the ground to the left of second base against a lefty hurler.
There might be a reason: unlike five years ago, the balls he is putting in play are coming on pitches on the inside part of the plate.
Here are the 13 hits Ortiz had managed against lefties by the time May 20, 2011 rolled around …
“When he started hitting the ball the other way, taking his base hit over there, it changed the way they were pitching him,” Magadan remembered. “They started throwing more fastballs on the inner-half. But he needed the pay back of hitting balls over to the left side, keeping the defense and the pitchers honest for it to flow from there.”
Evidently, it’s time for another adjustment from Ortiz.
|Video: David Ortiz serves customers at Dunkin’ Donuts||05.20.15 at 8:57 am ET|
In an effort to raise awareness for Dunkin’ Donuts charitable promotion that raises money for New England children’s hospitals, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz donned an apron and served customers at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Salem, New Hampshire, on Tuesday.
Ortiz, sporting a “Big Papi” name tag, made an iced coffee for a drive-through customer and greeted other surprised patrons.
|Closing Time: David Ortiz, Mike Napoli homer as Red Sox take series opener over Rangers||05.19.15 at 10:01 pm ET|
Maybe all the Red Sox needed was to come home.
After struggling on their 10-game road trip, averaging 2.3 runs a game, including scoring just seven overall in four games in Seattle over the weekend, the Red Sox‘ bats awoke with 13 hits, including two home runs in their 4-3 win at Fenway Park over the Rangers Tuesday night.
Mike Napoli led the fourth inning off with a laser that hit the AAA sign over the Monster in left for his third home run of the season. Ortiz then ripped a solo homer into the Red Sox bullpen the next inning. It was his first home run at Fenway Park since the home opener. Napoli added an infield RBI single later in the inning to give the Red Sox a 4-0 lead at the time.
“Yeah, I thought we had a number of really good at-bats tonight,” manager John Farrell said. “Created multiple opportunities. We left a decent amount of guys on base tonight but it was good to see Nap timing his swing a little more consistent with what we’ve known Mike to be. David [Ortiz] with three well-hit balls tonight. Gets us on the board first with a base-hit in the first, a home run, lines out sharply to center field. Hanley [Ramirez] obviously with a number of base hits tonight. But just a good overall offensive approach up and down the lineup.”
Red Sox starter Wade Miley delivered his fourth straight solid start, as the left-hander went seven innings allowing two runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out seven. It marked the sixth straight start where the Red Sox starter allowed two runs or less.
Texas got to Miley in the sixth for two runs, but the defense behind him didn’t do him any favors. Thomas Field singled to left with two outs and Hanley Ramirez casually went after the ball and then over threw the cut off man when Kyle Blanks scored. The next batter Robinson Chirinos hit a deep fly to right where Daniel Nava took a poor route on it before it landed on the warning track for a RBI triple.
“I think Blake [Swihart] did a really good job of going over that lineup and getting a plan and we were able to execute it,” Miley said. “I didn’t throw a lot of breaking balls, just stuck with the fastball and it worked out good.”
Junichi Tazawa threw a 1-2-3 eighth, and despite allowing a lead-off home run in the ninth, Koji Uehara earned his 10th save of the season. The homer was the first base runner Uehara had allowed at Fenway all season, as he came into the game retiring all 15 hitters he faced.
Hitting two home runs Tuesday night means the Red Sox have now homered in 14 of their last 17 games at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox are now 10-3 in series openers to start the season, although it wasn’t all good news as Pablo Sandoval left the game in the seventh inning after being hit by a pitch in his left knee.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Napoli. The first baseman needed a breakout game and he got one going 2-for-4 with two RBI. It was his first multi-hit game since April 25 and his third overall this year. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:
|Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz sits, Shane Victorino moves up in order vs. Mariners||05.17.15 at 1:06 pm ET|
Fresh off their 4-2 win over Mariners ace Felix Hernandez Saturday night, the Red Sox will look to end their 10-game road trip in style as they take on Seattle Sunday afternoon.
After not starting Saturday, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino are back Sunday against Mariners left-hander James Paxton. Victorino slides up to the No. 2 spot in the order, as Dustin Pedroia moves back to hitting third with Ortiz getting the day off.
No one in the Red Sox‘ lineup has faced Paxton before.
Blake Swihart will catch knuckleballer Steven Wright, who is making his first start of the season, starting in place of Justin Masterson, who was placed on the disabled list last Thursday.
For a complete look at the matchups, click here.
Here’s the full Red Sox lineup:
|David Ortiz on NFL’s punishment of Tom Brady: ‘I think it’s ridiculous’||05.12.15 at 10:33 pm ET|
OAKLAND — David Ortiz isn’t unlike any other Patriots fan — he’s pretty upset over the NFL’s decision to suspend his quarterback.
“I think the decision was very poor,” said the Red Sox DH regarding NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s mandate that Tom Brady miss the first four games of the 2015 season. “You’re not just talking about any football player. You’re talking about probably the best player in the game, so what is the message you’re sending? I don’t think the message they’re sending is good. They want to send a strong message to who? The NFL players? How about the fans. What we think of it doesn’t matter?”
Ortiz (who says he knows Brady a little) couldn’t get his head around the NFL’s choice to penalize Brady for his role in Deflategate.
Speaking before his team’s game against the A’s Tuesday night, the DH made the point that such an approach wouldn’t seem to be in the best interest of anybody.
“I don’t really like the whole thing,” Ortiz said. “They are going to do some damage to their sport, believe it or not. We’re talking about the world champion and the face of the franchise, face of the NFL. Doing that to him? That’s critical. I don’t think you’re going to make too many people happy.”
Ortiz, like others unhappy with the outcome, is also quick to point to perceived inconsistencies by the NFL.
“I think the NFL has been very poor in making some decisions,” he said. “I don’t think they have been strong enough putting up with [domestic violence]. I’m not talking about now, but I’m talking about through the years. You see all the cases popping out and I’m pretty sure somebody knew about it before. You have to wait for it to happen for people to know about it? That’s sort of weird.
“And now this Tom Brady thing, I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s ridiculous. I don’t know if the commissioner is trying to send a big message. Then to who? To the players? I’m a football fan and when I don’t see Brady on the field I’m going to have questions. And then the answer is he deflated some freaking balls? Prove that. Prove it.”
Asked what it will be like to watch that first Patriots game next season without Brady involved, Ortiz matter-of-factly responded, “It’s going to be [expletive] up.”
He added, “I don’t think it will do anything to his legacy. Brady is on another level, you know? What I think is going to happen is the sport, in general, is probably going to lose some fans. I’m a football fan. Next year, when I don’t see Brady playing out there, I’m going to have questions. And the answer you’re going to give me is that ball thing. That’s the reason he ain’t playing? It don’t make no sense. I think the best way to deal with that was, let’s have some regulation for now, and whoever violates it, we go from there. But it’s just like that. I don’t see it right.”
|Source: David Ortiz suspension appeal ruling will take ‘a day or two’||05.04.15 at 3:12 pm ET|
The fate of David Ortiz‘s appeal will have to wait a couple more days.
According to a major league source, Ortiz had his hearing Monday, but the ruling from Major League Baseball will come in a couple more days.
The hearing lasted almost two hours, and surprisingly also included an incident from two seasons ago. The other topic broached by the representatives from Major League Baseball was when Ortiz smashed the dugout phone at Camden Yards in late July, 2013. The DH appealed the the fine of $5,000 at the time, a case that evidently wasn’t broached until Monday.
The designated hitter doesn’t remember exactly what happened.
“I have to watch that video to see what point I touched him because I don’t remember, to be honest with you,” Ortiz told WEEI.com. “I don’t really remember. And I wasn’t even arguing with him. I was talking with the third base umpire. If it happened, I don’t know when it happened and I didn’t try that because trust me, I know. It might be one move that I made or whatever. But I don’t know.”
|David Ortiz on his autograph being offered for Alex Rodriguez HR ball: ‘That is not OK with me at all’||at 1:04 pm ET|
After Alex Rodriguez tied Willie Mays for fourth on MLB’s all-time list with his 660th home run, which went over the Green Monster on Friday, the Red Sox fan who caught it was offered memorabilia signed by David Ortiz in exchange for the ball.
Not only was the trade turned down, but on Saturday, Ortiz expressed his disappointment that his autograph was offered without his permission.
“That is not OK with me at all,” Ortiz said. “That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. They’re supposed to ask me before any of my [expletive] get offered to anyone.”
Ortiz has reason to hesitate in helping out A-Rod, as Rodriguez’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, appeared to allude to Big Papi when defending his client’s use of performance-enhancing drugs in an interview last year by implying steroid use was more widespread, saying: “I’m not going to start naming all the other players, but some of them are god-like in Boston right now, and people seem to forget that.” Ortiz and Rodriguez used to be friends but, according to Ortiz, have not spoken since that incident.
However, Ortiz said that he is not concerned with the exchange itself, but with the fact that his signature was offered without permission at all.
“It’s not because they were doing this for A-Rod‘s ball,” Ortiz said. “It’s because they’re supposed to ask for my [expletive] before they do something like that.”
|David Ortiz: ‘I think our pitching will be fine’||at 1:06 am ET|
The Red Sox were swept at home by the Yankees in a series lasting three games or more for the first time since August of 2006. The team is in a bit of a funk, losing 10 of their last 15 games to fall under .500 for the first time all season.
The biggest issue is the pitching, specifically the starting rotation. The starters had a collective ERA of 5.52 going into play Sunday, the worst in baseball, and got even worse with Joe Kelly allowing five runs in just 4 2/3 innings.
Slugger David Ortiz isn’t worried.
“I think our pitching will be fine,” Ortiz said. “It’s just a matter of time. We have a lot of young talented pitchers and for a lot of them this is a new division. They are pitching against guys that they probably haven’t seen before. I’m pretty sure they will make adjustments at some point.”
Despite the struggles on the mound, the Red Sox’ offense has been able to keep them in many games. Through the first 25 games the team is averaging 4.88 runs a game. Their grit was on display Sunday night when they rallied from a 8-0 deficit with a five-run sixth inning, and then loaded the bases in the ninth, before ultimately falling 8-5.
“Yeah. I mean, you never check out until the game is over,” said Ortiz. “We’ve always been able to do that and that’s the game. You have to be able to fight through it all the way until the end of the game.”
With the team now four games behind the Yankees for first place in the AL East and in fourth place overall, Ortiz said the team just needs to get back to how they were playing to open the year.
“We got to back to start playing better,” he said. “That’s the only way you can bounce back and go back to the old days just like the beginning of the season.”
|Closing Time: Red Sox comeback bid from 8-0 deficit falls short as Yankees complete weekend sweep||at 12:00 am ET|
With how powerful the Red Sox‘ offense is, they rarely are out of any given game, but when they have to make up an 8-run difference, that’s asking too much.
Red Sox starter Joe Kelly couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning as he allowed five runs before being removed with two outs in the fifth, as the Yankees beat the Red Sox 8-5 Sunday night.
The Yankees swept the weekend series — it was their first series sweep of three or more games at Fenway Park since August 21, 2006.
The right-hander went 4 2/3 innings allowing five runs on nine hits, while not walking a batter and striking out three. It was the second time over his five starts where he didn’t make it out of the fifth inning, and now four out of the five Red Sox starters can say the same.
“Tonight, once again Joe [Kelly] had very good stuff,” manager John Farrell said. “They fought off a number of pitches that were quality pitches within the strike zone. Anytime he made a mistake on the plate he paid for it with the two-run homer, two-run double. Once he got his curveball into the mix there were some seemingly easier innings for him and slowed them down quite a bit. But through the first three innings he had a hard time getting any secondary pitches over for strikes to get a hitter, their timing a little disrupted.”
Trailing 8-0, the Red Sox scored five times in the sixth inning to make it interesting, capped by a three-run home run by Mike Napoli. The homer cut the deficit to three at 8-5, and snapped a 1-for-11 slump, but that was the closest the Red Sox could get, although they did load the bases against Andrew Miller in the ninth.
The Red Sox couldn’t get much going off Yankees starter Adam Warren until the five-run fifth. Warren finished going 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on four hits. It was his third straight going 5 2/3 inning, the longest he’s gone in a start in his career.
“But I felt we showed tremendous fight, tremendous comeback,” Farrell said. “We scored five in the bottom of the inning after we’re down 8-0, right down to the final swing of the night. Load the bases against Miller and we kept battling back all the way through. We didn’t give any at-bats away. There’s still a strong competitive spirit in that room.”
Warnings were issued to both benches in the top of the eighth after Edward Mujica hit Jacoby Ellsbury with a pitch. This comes after Hanley Ramirez was hit in the top of the sixth. Ramirez took exception, walking slowly to first base with home plate umpire Jeff Nelson and firing his bat against the wall.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Ellsbury. The former Red Sox reached base six times as he went 4-for-4 with a walk and was hit by a pitch, while scoring two runs. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:
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