|Closing Time: Red Sox can’t complete late rally, fall to Royals ending 4-game win streak||08.22.15 at 10:39 pm ET|
A night after scoring seven runs off Johnny Cueto, the Red Sox couldn’t keep the offensive momentum going.
Royals starter Yordano Ventura was able to keep the Red Sox in check as he limited the Sox to one run over six innings, as the Royals topped the Red Sox, 6-3.
The loss snapped the Red Sox’ season-high four-game win streak.
The Sox’ offense finally was able to get on the board in the sixth on a Travis Shaw fielder’s choice, which scored Xander Bogaerts. Mookie Betts added a solo home run in the seventh inning, which cleared everything in left field and then Bogaerts added an RBI-single in the ninth.
Although they finished with just three runs, they had their chances.
In the first inning Shaw flew out to left field with runners on first and second with two outs. Then in the fourth, Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out with runners on first and second to end the frame. Also, in the eighth Blake Swihart popped out to second base with runners on second and third to end the threat. Finally, Shaw ended the game with the bases loaded and the tying run at first base. The team left 11 runners in base.
Matt Barnes pitched well until he got to the sixth inning when he allowed a three-run home run to Salvador Perez to break the game open and give the Royals a 5-0 lead. Barnes finished the game going 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits, while walking a batter and striking out two.
Barnes allowed the other two runs in the first inning on a two-run double by Kendrys Morales.
Kansas City added another run in the eighth, which was charged to Heath Hembree.
Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:
|Red Sox-Royals series preview||08.20.15 at 9:15 am ET|
With Wednesday’s victory over the Indians, the Red Sox have won three of their last four series and scored an overwhelming 8.36 runs per game in that time. However, that doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing, as the Sox have given up 5.81 runs per game in that same period.
The roster isn’t fixed by any means, and there’s no one suggesting that it might be. But changes are being made in Fenway Park, namely the ushering in of the Dave Dombrowski era and the end of the Ben Cherington era. The newly named president of baseball operations was released by the Tigers on Aug. 4 and officially introduced as a member of the Red Sox organization on Wednesday afternoon.
“You look at the ball club, it’s a situation where there’s a lot of great young talent breaking in at the major league level at this time,” Dombrowski said during his introduction. “The minor league system has a lot of talent also. When you start looking at opportunities that come around, there aren’t many opportunities like this that exist. … It’s a great opportunity.”
When the Royals roll into Boston for a four-game series beginning Thursday, the Sox will have a tougher test than what they faced against their most recent opponents in the Indians, Mariners, Marlins and Tigers. Among those four teams, none have records above .500. Kansas City, on the other hand, has the best record in the American League and second only to the Cardinals in all of the majors.
Riding a five-game winning streak, the longest active streak in the majors, the Royals are just all-around good. They’re a top-five club in terms of team batting average (.269, third), hits (1094, fifth), doubles (214, fourth), triples (31, fifth), stolen bases (82, fifth), team ERA (3.51, fifth), hits allowed (974, fourth), runs allowed (440, fourth) and earned runs allowed (415, fifth).
|David Ortiz: Ben Cherington did ‘remarkable job,’ but understands why shakeup was needed||08.18.15 at 11:47 pm ET|
With the Red Sox headed towards their second last place finish in the AL East in as many years and third in the last four, it’s not surprising a shakeup took place with the team hiring long-time executive Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations Tuesday night.
Current general manager Ben Cherington will not return after the transition process.
“Like I said, you see this happening in baseball over and over and over,” Ortiz said following Tuesday’s game. “When organizations struggle or whatever they just shake it up. I’m not saying that this is the best way to go and do things because like I said even in a couple of years, the way we had been, Ben won a World Series as a GM. So you don’t forget about that that quick.”
Playing for an organization like the Red Sox, winning is what is most important, so although the move was surprising, it isn’t all that surprising at the same time.
“Like I said, it’s always moves in an organization like this one,” Ortiz said. “We weren’t expecting it to happen, but it happened. Now we have to move on and continue trying to be an organization, team that can compete next year and I guess that’s what they’re looking for.”
A few of the players who spoke in the clubhouse following the game said it wasn’t Cherington’s fault for the poor performances in recent years and ultimately it came down to them as players on the field.
Ortiz was posed the same question and after a bit of hesitation said the same thing.
|Torey Lovullo details emotional day, how he will communicate with John Farrell||08.15.15 at 12:10 am ET|
It was a difficult game for everyone in the Red Sox organization.
Although the Red Sox blew out the Mariners 15-1 Friday night, that wasn’t the story — the story was their manager John Farrell announcing to the team and the world that he has stage one lymphoma and he will not manage the rest of the season.
Bench coach Torey Lovullo will take over.
Lovullo, one of Farrell’s closest friends, was misty-eyed when he spoke for the first time following the game.
“We as group have been walking around with a heavy heart today,” Lovullo said. “Our leader, our friend and our manager shared some pretty devastating news with us today. We had just about every emotion you possibly can. It was capped off with a lot of excitement in the dugout. These guys did that for John. They went out played hard and with a ton of energy for John.”
The 50-year-old said Farrell told him Thursday night and was able to help him process the news. Lovullo said he didn’t sleep much Thursday night and then Farrell told the team on Friday. His overriding message was he will take care of his business and the team should take care of theirs on the field.
“Something that I’ll never forget. You hear those words — those three words and they shock you for a moment,” Lovullo said. “Seem to put everything in perspective. You set aside the wins and losses. Like I said, my friend, our manager, our leader is struggling. You can never get used to hearing those words. He stood up before the guys, composed himself and said, ‘This is my story. I don’t want to be the story. I don’t want to be a distraction.’ That’s just a classic John Farrell moment — make it about the guys.
“That’s kind of what his message was today. You got and do this — I’ll take care of my business, you take care of your’s. That was the basic idea.”
|Closing Time: Red Sox offense catches fire in rout of Mariners||08.14.15 at 10:43 pm ET|
After averaging 5.9 runs a game during their last homestand, the Red Sox offense picked up where they left off — and then some.
Led by the middle of their order, the Red Sox rolled to a 15-1 win over the Mariners. The win snapped a two-game losing streak and the 15 runs were a season-high.
The Red Sox scored early and often, led by a six-run third inning to take a 9-1 lead at the time.
Rusney Castillo hit a two-run home run in the first inning and Travis Shaw hit a two-run home run in the third inning as the two big hits to get things started.
Shaw would later add a solo homer to lead off the eighth for his second multi-homer game of the season — his last coming August 1.
Brock Holt had a two-run triple in the third plating the eighth and ninth runs, while Mookie Betts added an RBI triple in the fifth. As a team they had 11 extra-base hits and 21 hits overall, which are also a season-high.
Jackie Bradley Jr. had three hits and has now hit safely in four straight games. Pablo Sandoval also had a three-hit night, including two doubles.
Red Sox starter Joe Kelly struggled early on, allowing a run while throwing 31 pitches in the first inning, but settled down nicely and even made it through six innings.
The right-hander went six innings allowing one run on four hits, while walking two and striking out six. He’s now won three games in a row for the first time since the very end of last season.
Craig Breslow tossed a scoreless seventh and eighth before Jean Machi threw a scoreless ninth.
Betts also made a tremendous leaping catch against the Green Monster in left-center to end the third inning robbing Robinson Cano of extra bases.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:
|David Ortiz on Red Sox manager John Farrell being diagnosed with lymphoma: ‘We’re going to ride through this with him’||at 5:18 pm ET|
Ortiz said on Friday the clubhouse was in shock with the news that Farrell has been diagnosed with stage 1 lymphoma. And he also vowed the players’ support.
“I’ve been around John for a long time,” Ortiz said. “He first was a pitching coach, and the past couple of years he’s been our manager. John is an incredible human being. In our situation, you’ve got 25 men in the room, and he’s got to put up with each one of us, every situation. I think it’s time for us to give him back that support and that much love that he gives to all of us. We’re going to ride through this with him. We’re going to always ask God for a blessing, you know, and make sure he comes through this in the best way possible.”
As Farrell noted, Ortiz believes his manager got extremely lucky. Had he not undergone surgery to repair a hernia in Detroit earlier this week, doctors wouldn’t have found the cancer.
“In his case, one out of a million times, the cancer that he has, it gives you no sickness until it’s pretty much all over the place, from what I heard,” Ortiz said. “He got very, very lucky that he went to get that hernia taken care of and all of a sudden they find out about this.
“It’s not the news you want to hear about, but when it comes down to what it was and the way they found out, I think we should all be happy about it, because now he knows. Otherwise, if he doesn’t get that surgery, then the news would’ve been different. Like he said, he had no symptoms. There’s no way he can tell about that cancer without having that surgery. It seems to me like pretty much everything worked for the best in this case, and hopefully he gets through it. Like I said, we’re going to give him all the support like he gives to us, always.”
Ortiz said he heard the news from a crying Hanley Ramirez, who came to him in the training room.
“Pretty much all of us were in shock,” Ortiz said. “When they mention the word cancer, it’s something that doesn’t matter what it comes from, it’s going to impact you. We’re going to give John the support that we can give him so he can get through this and be back next year, back to normal.
“Hopefully everything goes well for him. We’ve got a big family around here and definitely when it comes down to health issues, you want to make sure that everything goes OK. The organization has taken a lot of responsibility on that, to make sure that John gets through it, the way it’s supposed to be.”
|Red Sox-Mariners series preview||at 11:40 am ET|
The Sox remain in the cellar of the American League East and the entire AL, owning a 50-64 record and .439 win percentage. The Blue Jays are winners of 11 straight and are new division leaders, sitting 13 games ahead of the Sox.
The Red Sox have been better while playing in the friendly confines of Fenway, where the team owns a more mediocre 27-28 record. On the season in full, the Sox have a minus-75 run differential, which is the worst in the AL and third worst in all of baseball.
The Red Sox are not the only team to yield disappointing on-field results this season. The signing of slugger Nelson Cruz (among other offseason moves) looked to put the Mariners in a position to contend. Instead, the tea M’s have fallen flat in a manner not unlike the team on Yawkey Way.
Seattle has a 54-61 record, placing it fourth in the AL West. The Mariners are eight games behind the division-leading Astros and have won seven of their last 10 contests, including a Hisashi Iwakuma no-hitter on Wednesday.
Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon was cautiously optimistic about the team’s momentum and the rest of the Mariners’ season after Iwakuma’s no-no.
“If you look at this club since the All-Star Break we’re playing real good baseball,” McClendon said. “Probably should have won three out of four in Minnesota. Took the series in Colorado and we won our last three series in a row. So we’re starting to pick it up. This type of game only helps.”
|Closing Time: Junichi Tazawa’s troubles continue in Red Sox’ loss to Tigers||08.08.15 at 10:19 pm ET|
With all the talk about how the Red Sox need to fix their starting rotation for next season, an equally as daunting task may be rebuilding the team’s bullpen.
The latest example of how far the Red Sox relievers have fallen came with two outs in the seventh inning Saturday night, with Junichi Tazawa facing Detroit’s Victor Martinez while trying to preserve a one-run lead.
As has been the case of late, the outcome was not good for Tazawa or the Red Sox.
The Red Sox reliever hung a split-fingered fastball to Martinez, who launched a go-ahead two-run blast into the right field seats. The hit would be the decisive blow in the Tigers’ 7-6 win over the Sox.
With the home run, Red Sox relievers had allowed opponents a .623 slugging percentage for August. Tazawa continues to exemplify the bullpen’s downturn, coming into the game having allowed a .382 batting average and 1.059 OPS against since the All-Star break.
Heading into Saturday, Red Sox relievers’ batting average against was .308 in August, with the bullpen’s ERA standing at 5.40 for the month.
The loss was made even more frustrating for the Red Sox considering they had come from behind earlier in the seventh, with David Ortiz‘s two-run single giving the visitors a lead. It was Ortiz’s third hit of the night, as he doubled in the first inning and hit his 23rd homer in the sixth.
|Closing Time: Pleasure, pain for Red Sox in win over Tigers||08.07.15 at 11:03 pm ET|
Up until the last out of the Red Sox‘ 7-2 road win over the Tigers on Friday night, everything was going the visitors’ way.
David Ortiz hit another home run, this one coming off Tigers lefty starter Daniel Norris. Both Rusney Castillo and Xander Bogaerts notched three-hit games, helping the Sox offense total 13 hits for the night. And Red Sox starter Joe Kelly turned in one of his best outings in quite a while.
But with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning, Ian Kinsler hit a line drive back up the middle that struck Koji Uehara in the right forearm. While the closer managed to pick up the ball and fire it to first for the game’s final out, Uehara looked in excruciating pain while being escorted off the field by trainer Brad Pearson.
Following the game, Uehara confirmed to reporters he hadn’t suffered a break in his injured arm.
“I consider that my whole body is a glove once I release the ball. That happens,” Uehara told reporters through a translator. In regards to managing a throw for the final out, he said, “Once I released the ball, I didn’t have too much strength in my hand. It sort of caught me when I didn’t put too much muscle or too much strength in it. It wasn’t too much of pain.”
Earning the win was Kelly, who allowed two runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking two. The righty’s first six outs all came on strikeouts.
|David Ortiz closing in on $11 million 2016 vesting option: ‘I earned it’||08.06.15 at 10:01 am ET|
After 10 more plate appearances, David Ortiz will guarantee himself another season in a Red Sox uniform.
While it it’s unlikely the Red Sox wouldn’t pick up his $10 million team option, he’s now just 10 plate appearances shy of the 425 needed to guarantee his $11 million vesting option for 2016. He could hit escalators that push next year’s salary to $16 million if he gets up to 600 plate appearances.
“I earned it,” he said to WEEI.com’s John Tomase Wednesday. “That’s why I’m playing next year. Because I earned it.”
“That’s the way we pretty much agreed to do things,” he said of Red Sox management. “You know me, I get greedy when it comes down to performance. I want to put up numbers. I agreed to do it that way, because if I don’t put up numbers, what would be the reason to continue playing?”
On June 9, Ortiz was batting just .219 with six home runs. But, he’s straightened things out and is now back to his career norm numbers. Going into play Thursday he’s batting .244 with 21 home runs and 60 RBIs.
“You know how it is with myself,” Ortiz said. “Whenever I have a slow start, or things aren’t going my way, people start criticizing and saying things. But I guess that’s how it’s going to be. I can put up with that.
“I know what I’m capable of doing. Could we end up a different way? People always think when you talk about contracts you’re getting greedy about it, but I’m the guy that’s always carried this ballclub and put up numbers, you know what I’m saying?
“I work hard. I get ready. Pitchers, they know that my jersey says ‘Ortiz’ on my back. People need to sit down before they start talking and just watch the game a little more closely. Pitchers don’t put them on a tee for me. I’ve got to go get it.”
Ortiz will turn 40 in November and he doesn’t see the end of the road for him coming any time soon.
“I’m confident in myself, because I have put a lot of dedication into it,” Ortiz said. “I try to stay in good shape. It’s all up in your mind. That’s what I say. If you take care of yourself and do what you have to do, you can play at the age of 50. Just ask Julio Franco.”
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