|Umpire Ron Kulpa on final pitch to David Ortiz: ‘I had it in the zone, right down the middle’||05.06.16 at 11:44 pm ET|
NEW YORK — Ron Kulpa has certainly had some history with the Red Sox, most noticeably when he was head-butted by Carl Everett during a game in 2000.
Add another incident to the list.
With the bases loaded, and the Red Sox trailing by a run to the Yankees with one out in the ninth inning Friday night, David Ortiz came to the plate against New York closer Andrew Miller.
Ortiz worked the count to 3-1 when Miller threw a slider that appeared to be right on the edge of the strike zone, but was made to look worse when catcher Brian McCann’s glove took it well outside the zone.
The call infuriated Ortiz, who started engaging Kulpa in a heated conversation, resulting in both Hanley Ramirez (who was on deck) and manager John Farrell to come out to stand between the two (watch the video here).
Farrell would be ejected for arguing balls and strikes. During the argument with the manager and umpire, the Sox skipper gestured as if he was throwing Kulpa out of the game.
“John was just out there. He was arguing balls and strikes. He was just trying to keep Ortiz in the game and he was doing his job as a manager,” Kulpa said. Asked if he had ever had a manager mimic throwing the ump out of the game, he added, “Not in my career, not with myself. I’m sure you can maybe dig something up from back in the old days with Earl Weaver or something like that.”
|David Ortiz continues defying Father Time with decisive home run against White Sox||05.05.16 at 1:44 am ET|
David Ortiz continues to amaze.
The 40-year-old designated hitter has already announced this season will be his last, but at this rate, the Red Sox may refuse to accept his retirement.
On Wednesday, Ortiz blasted the go-ahead homer in a 5-2 victory over the White Sox as part of a 2-for-5 night that raised his average to .311 and his OPS to 1.037. He added an RBI single and now has six homers and 22 RBIs on the season.
The home run, his 451st with the Red Sox, moved him within one of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski for second on the club’s all-time list, trailing only Ted Williams.
“You know what happens when that is happening? You’re getting old,” Ortiz told reporters in Chicago. “Like I say, every time they mention your name right next to those legends, that’s an honor. Those guys did those things through their career and were dedicated. I was just a guy who was trying to have a good career and put your family in a better situation. And all of a sudden all these things are happening. It’s a blessing.”
The Red Sox are counting their blessings that Ortiz returned for another season. With the team trailing 2-1 in the fifth, White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon left a fastball over the plate and Ortiz did not miss it. He crushed it nearly 400 feet to right field, driving in Xander Bogaerts and giving the Red Sox the lead for good.
“I tell you what he does it in such big moments — he gives us a lift,” said manager John Farrell. “He gives us the lead with one swing of the bat. They get two quick outs and a walk to Bogey set it up, but we’re 26, 27 games into this and David is in such a good spot offensively. You kind of marvel at how consistent and powerful he is.”
And he’s not slowing down.
(Rob Bradford contributed to this report)
|Christian Vazquez heeds Chili Davis’ advice, hits longest home run of life||05.02.16 at 1:19 am ET|
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.”
|David Ortiz on improving relationship with Alex Rodriguez: ‘Life is a learning process. … He’s finally getting the memo’||04.29.16 at 5:54 pm ET|
David Ortiz’s feelings toward old friend Alex Rodriguez are finally thawing.
Members of the Mariners organization together more than 20 years ago, the two had a falling out in 2014 when one of Rodriguez’s lawyers suggested a double standard existed between players like A-Rod caught up in PED use and others “who are God-like in Boston right now.”
Ortiz took offense to the sentiment and the fact that A-Rod never disputed it. The two finally spoke this spring at a batting cage in Fort Myers, and on Friday before the Red Sox opened a series with the Yankees, Ortiz opened up about his relationship with his fellow 40-year-old slugger in an interview with WEEI.com.
“I’ve known A-Rod for a long time and I know he’s not a bad person,” Ortiz said. “He’s just surrounded by people that sometimes make him believe that he’s doing the right thing and end up being the wrong thing. But I know he don’t mean anything bad. I saw how he handled his business last year. I think he was honest with himself, finally, and with everything that was going on around him, he finally realized the world doesn’t need him, he needs the world. I’m happy for him.”
The paths of the fun-loving Ortiz and the corporate Rodriguez diverged midway through their respective careers, but Ortiz never lost sight of the Rodriguez he knew as a teen. He believes Rodriguez lost his way en route to superstardom, but Ortiz also believes in forgiveness.
“I’ve known him forever,” Ortiz said. “And like I tell you, people like us, we’ve got to be careful who we have around us, because it can catch us down the road. Everything that has been going on with him, you see that it is somebody else’s fault beside his. Life is a learning process. I’m a huge believer that he’s finally getting the memo.
“I’ve always been a real friend to him, and I’m happy we’re hearing more good things about him than what we normally used to hear. I’m one of the guys, I always look for him getting things done the right way. At the end of the day, I know he’s not a bad person. Just because you make bad decisions does not mean that you’re a bad person. And I know for a fact that’s what’s been happening with him. He’s been poor making decisions, but in the long run, he’s a good guy.”
|Closing Time: Steven Wright, Dustin Pedroia (2 HR) lead Red Sox in rout of Braves||04.27.16 at 10:12 pm ET|
Steven Wright continues to be the most consistent starter in the Red Sox rotation.
The knuckleballer was in control once again Wednesday night, keeping the Red Sox in the driver’s seat in a game they would go on to win 9-4 over the lowly Braves.
The Red Sox have won the first three games of the series and will go for the sweep Thursday night.
In his longest outing of the season, Wright went seven strong innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits. Wright has had a quality start in all four of his outings this season, the only Red Sox pitcher to do so.
“For me, I just try to stay under control,” Wright said following the outing. “I just try to throw quality pitches over the plate. When you’ve got a defense like we have, and we have the potential to keep, it makes it easier for me to just to throw the pitch over the plate, because if they put it in play there’s a pretty good chance it’s going to be an out. So for me, it gives a lot of confidence knowing that those guys are so good behind me, so I can just keep attacking the zone no matter what.”
Wright’s eight strikeouts are a season high, and of his 116 total pitches, 76 were strikes. He walked three batters, which has been the only chink in his armor so far in 2016.
“His dependability, in a word, is what continues to solidify itself,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “We hand him an early lead, and he makes it stand up for seven innings tonight.”
The Red Sox offense provided plenty of support for Wright, pouring on eight runs through the first four innings.
A key moment came early when Dustin Pedroia turned Braves starter Bud Norris’ 93 mph fastball into an opposite-field grand slam, with the ball dinging off Pesky’s Pole. This gave Wright a 6-1 lead in the second inning, and he never looked back.
Because of the Sox’ offensive onslaught, the Braves bullpen was busy quite early. Following Pedroia’s blast, David Ortiz ripped a double off the Green Monster and that was the last straw for Norris, who was removed.
The Red Sox would go scoreless for four straight innings before Pedroia hit his second homer of the game in the eighth. Atlanta plated a run in the ninth off reliever Matt Barnes to round out the scoring.
Pedroia’s grand slam off Pesky’s Pole was just the third home run of his career — out of 121 — hit down the right field line.
After sitting out the two games in Atlanta, David Ortiz will return to the Red Sox lineup Wednesday night.
It is a standard Red Sox lineup against a right-hander with Brock Holt in left field and Travis Shaw at third base. The Braves will send Bud Norris to the mound in the third game of the four-game series.
Ryan Hanigan will catch Red Sox starter Steven Wright.
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
Ryan Hanigan, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Steven Wright, RHP
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
|David Ortiz offers interesting idiom for Tom Brady’s plight||04.26.16 at 1:01 am ET|
ATLANTA — Last May, David Ortiz was animated in his defense of Tom Brady when word came down the NFL had suspended the quarterback for four games.
“I think the decision was very poor,” the Red Sox DH said regarding NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s initial 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?”
Then on Monday, it happened all over again.
Brady once again was tagged with a four-game suspension after the NFL won its appeal of Judge Richard Berman’s ruling. And, like many New Englanders, Ortiz’s reaction was that of frustration … and exhaustion with the situation.
“It’s crazy,” Ortiz said after his team’s 1-0 win over the Braves. “It’s just surprising a year later talking about the same stuff.”
And then Ortiz dropped an apt description of what has unfolded.
“When you fight eggs with a rock, the eggs never win,” said Ortiz, referencing NFL’s stubbornness. “It’s crazy.”
For more on Brady’s situation, check the It Is What It Is blog.
|Closing Time: Mookie Betts, David Ortiz, Rick Porcello lead Red Sox over Rays||04.20.16 at 10:10 pm ET|
A day after finishing with just one hit over 10 innings Tuesday, the Red Sox completely flipped the script.
The Sox scored five runs in the first two innings in their 7-3 win over the Rays on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
After the Red Sox scored three runs in the first inning, two on an RBI double by David Ortiz, Mookie Betts crushed a laser over the Green Monster seats for two more runs in the second inning. It was his third home run of the season.
That would be more than enough offense for Rick Porcello. The right-hander went seven innings and allowed three runs on six hits, while walking a batter and striking out nine. He improved to 3-0.
“He’s been very consistent with one, staying out of the middle of the plate,” manager John Farrell said. “I think his changeup continues to refine itself. He’s getting some swing and miss. He’s putting away a couple of right-hander’s tonight with a right-on-right changeup. We stake him to a five-run lead and knowing we needed a deep start he gave us everything we could have asked for, but more importantly, staying in command of the count and using his secondary pitches effectively — curveballs early in the count at times — but the fastball-chanegup combination very good for him.”
Junichi Tazawa pitched the eighth and Noe Ramirez the ninth to close out the win.
The Red Sox were able to continue to add to the poor start to the year for the Rays’ Chris Archer. The Tampa ace went 4 1/3 innings and allowed six runs on eight hits, while walking three and striking out six. After four starts he has a 7.32 ERA and is 0-4.
Porcello has gone at least six innings in 11 straight starts dating back to Aug. 15, 2015. It’s the longest such streak of his career and the longest active streak in the American League.
|Red Sox hurlers Carson Smith, Eduardo Rodriguez getting closer to returning||04.18.16 at 10:04 am ET|
Two Red Sox pitchers are getting closer to making their 2016 debuts with the big league club.
Reliever Carson Smith, who is dealing with a flexor strain, will pitch simulated games in Fort Myers Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The plan as of now is to have him go on a rehab assignment after that.
Depending on how things go, it would seem the likely target date for him to rejoin the major league team would be April 29 against the Yankees.
Left-hander starter Eduardo Rodriguez, who suffered a knee injury early in spring training, will throw 60-65 pitches in Fort Myers on Monday. The team is hopeful that the next step will be him making a rehab start.
One player not nearing a return is third baseman Pablo Sandoval. He’s currently meeting with Dr. James Andrews about his injured shoulder and will fly back to Boston Monday night. After the meeting the doctors will come up with the next course of action.
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
— Despite being out of the lineup the last two games, manager John Farrell said nothing is wrong with Brock Holt. Chris Young will make his second straight start in left field.
— David Ortiz is out of the lineup on Monday. With it being Patriots Day, the game does have some meaning to Ortiz, but Farrell said he spoke with Ortiz before the series and he made no request to play in Monday’s game.
“Had a chance to talk to David before the series opened up. With the start times, I can understand that there are going to be points in this season that might have a historic perspective to it, but that wasn’t something that David made it a wish or a demand on his part,” Farrell said.
Happy Patriots’ Day.
David Ortiz will get the day off as the Red Sox take on the Blue Jays in their annual Patriots Day morning game as the Red Sox will go up against left-hander J.A. Happ.
Brock Holt is out of the lineup for the second straight day as Chris Young will start in left field and Josh Rutledge will start at third base. With Ortiz being out, Hanley Ramirez will be the DH and Travis Shaw will play first base.
Christian Vazquez will catch Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.
Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:
Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Travis Shaw, 1B
Hanley Ramirez, DH
Chris Young, LF
Josh Rutledge, 3B
Christian Vazquez, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Clay Buchholz, RHP
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
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