|Jerry Remy on D&C, on David Ortiz’ return from injury: ‘I’ve never seen anything like this in my life’||05.01.13 at 9:42 am ET|
NESN’s Jerry Remy talked with Dennis & Callahan Wednesday about Will Middlebrooks‘ lack of patience at the plate, David Ortiz‘ hitting and what went wrong in the Sox’ 9-7 loss to Toronto on Tuesday.
Jon Lester had his first rough outing of the year Tuesday, allowing six runs (five earned) over six innings, and Remy said it was the first time this season he simply hadn’t looked sharp.
“The thing that was missing mostly was the cut fastball, which is obviously his best pitch, and he didn’t have control of it all night, and they weren’t chasing it down in the zone,” Remy said. “One of those outings that he hasn’t had so far this season, and he had it last night. And I can tell you they’re facing a different lineup up here than they did the first time, because they got [Jose] Bautista in there and they got [Brett] Lawrie in there, so they’re a much better offensive ball club.”
On the positive side, Ortiz continued to hit as he’s done consistently since he returned to the lineup, with a double and a home run on Tuesday. He’s hitting .500 and slugging .917 over nine games.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” Remy said. “This guy goes basically with no spring training, did not play for half of last year, goes down to the minor leagues and has 18 at-bats, and is swinging the bat as good as you’ve ever seen him swing it. He’s on everything. He’s just amazing the way he’s swinging the bat right now. He made the adjustment a couple of years ago of using the opposite field — anytime he goes into a little bit of a dip, he finds left field. He’ll take that fastball away, and instead of trying to pull it through the shift he’ll drive one the other way, and this has been remarkable to watch him hitting it all over the ballpark. … I’ve never seen a guy with so few at-bats coming into the season, especially minor league at-bats, to come up to the big leagues and swing the bat the way he has.”
|Closing Time: Edwin Encarnacion helps Blue Jays get last laugh on Red Sox||04.30.13 at 10:22 pm ET|
TORONTO — Just when it looked like the Red Sox were going to will themselves to another win, Edwin Encarnacion got another at-bat.
Encarnacion gave the Blue Jays the lead for good with a two-run, seventh-inning homer off Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa, propelling Toronto to an 9-7 win over the Red Sox Tuesday night at Rogers Centre. It was Encarnacion’s second homer of the game.
The loss snaps a five-game Red Sox win streak, while also handing starter Jon Lester his first loss of the season. Lester, who drops to 4-1, allowed six runs on six hits over six innings, striking out five and walking two. The lefty’s ERA went from 2.27 to 3.11.
“Edwin is a very good hitter,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell.“Obviously he’s been very productive here the last couple of years. He gets a cutter that doesn’t get to the spot off Lester for the first two-run homer, and then a 2-1 fastball that leaked back towards the middle of the plate after we score the three runs in that seventh inning. I thought we did a great job of fighting back into this. We staked them to a 4-0 lead. We fight back, take the lead with a four-run seventh and then give it right back. But they’ve got a quick-strike offense, and they swung the bat very well tonight.”
Earlier in the seventh, it appeared as though the Red Sox were going to be able to keep their win streak going when David Ortiz ripped a bases-loaded double into the right-center field gap, scoring three and giving the visitors a one-run lead. With the hit off of Blue Jays’ reliever Steve Delebar, Ortiz is now 15-for-25 against right-handed pitching this season.
“It was a good game, everybody did what they were supposed to,” Ortiz said. “They ended up scoring a couple of runs against us at the end of the game. it was a good game. just come back tomorrow and have the same attitude.”
But after retiring his first two batters, Tazawa ran into trouble. The reliever first issued a free pass to Jose Bautista after going to a full-count. He then went to 2-and-1 on Encarnacion before the Jays’ first baseman deposited the pitcher’s 94 mph fastball over the center field fence.
The Jays added an insurance run against newly-activated Joel Hanrahan in the eighth when Colby Rasmus singled in J.P. Arencibia, who had led off the inning with a single of his own.
“It felt good. I felt like I made some decent pitches that got hit,” Hanrahan said. “Any time you get that leadoff guy on, it makes it a little harder. Overall, my health felt good. It’s a step in the right direction. Unfortunately gave up that run right there. Want to keep it to one run. I felt good – obviously it could’ve been better. I’m not going to be down about this outing. For me, it’s a step in the direction.”
Here is what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox in their eighth loss of the season:
WHAT WENT WRONG
With the count 3-and-1 on Encarnacion and the bases-loaded with nobody out, Jarrod Saltalamacchia attempted to pick off Jose Bautista at first. But the throw went well wide of first baseman Mike Napoli, resulting in a pair of runs scoring, giving the Jays a 3-0 lead in the third. The Jays had initially jumped out to a 1-0 lead thanks to Bautista’s RBI double in the first. The throw went awry in part because Saltalamacchia’s throwing hand glanced home plate umpire’s Clint Fagan’s mask.
“It looked like he got tied up with Clint behind the plate,” Farrell said. “He goes to cock his arm, had his hand hits the mask. After conferring with the umpire, he felt like it was after the ball was released. Physically, I don’t know how that could have happened after he released the ball. But in that case, that should have been a dead ball in the situation that it was, but they kept it as it was.”
With two outs and Jacoby Ellsbury representing the potential game-tying run at second, Brandon Morrow caught the outfielder leaning, picking him off to end the inning and the threat.
“Not a real good heads-up play given the game situation, the fact that it looked like Morrow was starting to fatigue a little bit and with Napoli and Ortiz coming behind him,” Farrell said. “Just trying to be aggressive, and it didn’t work out this time.”
After the Red Sox cut their deficit to one run with a score in the fifth, the Blue Jays responded with two more of their own with Encarnacion’s two-run blast, coming on a 3-and-1 offering from Lester. The blast reached Roger Centre’s 500 Level, only the 14th time it has been done.
Napoli struck out four times, the second time he has managed the feat. (The only other occasion came June 11, 2010.)
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Ortiz and Mike Carp helped bring the Red Sox back with two runs with a pair of solo home runs in the fourth inning. Ortiz’ blast, clearing the center field wall, was his third of the season, while improving his average against right-handers to .636 (14-for-22). Carp, meanwhile, had seen eight of his 11 hits go for extra-bases with the homer.
“In 2011 I felt like I got a hit every day between Triple-A and the big leagues. It was a good run. But not like this,” Carp said. “Not when playing time is sporadic, where you’re getting two at-bats or pinch-hitting. It’s definitely something to hold on and try to keep going.”
Stephen Drew finished off an all-round well-executed scoring play for the Sox in the fifth. Dustin Pedroia ripped Brandon Morrow’s 0-2 pitch back up the middle, sending Drew home. The Sox’ shortstop narrowly beat the throw from center fielder Colby Rasmus thanks to a slide that allowed his right hand to just catch the plate. It brought the Red Sox to within a run at the time.
Pedroia momentarily saved a run in the third when he made a nifty back-hand of a Melky Cabrera one-hopper with the infield drawn in. The second baseman was able to bounce up, look Bautista back at third and get the out at first. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, on the next at-bat Arencibia rifled a double down the left field line to make it 4-0 Toronto.
Jonny Gomes made Red Sox manager John Farrell’s move to pinch-hit the right-handed hitter for Carp – who had already homered – look good in the sixth inning. It was the first pinch-hit home run for the Red Sox since Will Middlebrooks’ managed one Aug. 7, 2011 against Ryan Dempster. It also snapped Aaron Loup’s stretch of 44 straight appearances without giving up a home run, the longest such streak by any Blue Jays to start a career.
The Red Sox will head north of the border for the second time already this year to open up a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays will come into Tuesday a startling 9 1/2 games behind the first-place Red Sox, who own the best record in baseball and are looking to set the new club record for wins in April after matching a previous franchise high in concluding a four-game sweep against the Astros. The Sox are coming off a 10-game homestand (their longest of the season) in which they went 7-3.
Many baseball experts picked the Toronto Blue Jays to take the AL East title, with some predicting they’d win the pennant, if not the World Series. But the Blue Jays have not gotten off to the kind of start they would have liked or anticipated, heading into the last game of April in the cellar of the division with a 9-17 record. Toronto is coming home after a 1-6 roadtrip, capped by a four-game sweep in New York at the hands of the Yankees. The Jays have won only one of their series so far this year, taking two from the Royals earlier in the month (the only time they’ve won back-to-back games).
To say the Jays have been disappointing thus far would be an understatement. The roster has been ravaged by injuries both minor and major, from soreness limiting starters like Josh Johnson and R.A. Dickey to the loss of star shortstop Jose Reyes for three months due to a severely sprained ankle. But the biggest problem has been a general lack of performance. At the start of play on Monday, the Jays were as far from first place as the Marlins were in the NL East. The Astros were actually a half a game closer to the division lead than the Jays, trailing the AL West-leading Rangers by nine games.
It’s hard to pinpoint where Toronto’s biggest weaknesses have been. They’re in the bottom third of many offensive categories, including OPS, runs scored and batting average. Their pitching hasn’t been much better; the staff had the fourth highest ERA in the majors at the start of Monday’s games. With that being said, here are the matchups for the upcoming three-game series.
THE MATCHUPS Read the rest of this entry »
|David Ortiz asks for privacy regarding divorce||04.29.13 at 5:47 am ET|
Life for a professional baseball player isn’t always about batting average and home runs. This is something David Ortiz has been reminded of lately.
Amidst early-season success, Ortiz revealed Sunday he has been dealing with a personal issue: The 37-year-old and his wife of nine years, Tiffany, are filing for divorce.
It is a situation he wants the public to treat as a private matter, passing on the message that his personal life and what transpires at the ballpark should be viewed as unrelated matters.
“I’m going to separate things,” Ortiz told WEEI.com and MLB.com. “Whatever is happening to me off the field is happening, but I try not to confuse that and bring that into my job. I know how to separate things. Personal life matters, and hopefully everybody respects that.”
Along with his request for future privacy regarding the issue, Ortiz said he also hopes that the public understands all parties involved are focused on moving forward with no ill will.
The couple raised three children together — daughters Jessica and Alexandra, and son D’Angelo.
“There are some situations in life that work out for a period of time and at some point they don’t work out anymore and you have to move on,” said the designated hitter. “I’m moving on. She’s moving on. Hopefully everybody respects that.”
Since returning from his Achilles tendon/heel injuries, Ortiz has offered superior on-field production. After going 2-for-4 with two RBIs in the Red Sox’ 6-1 win over the Astros Sunday, he is hitting .516 with two home runs, 11 RBIs, and a 1.400 OPS.
|Larry Lucchino on D&C: Red Sox’ success ‘an early vindication’ of front office’s offseason approach||04.25.13 at 10:53 am ET|
Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to discuss Saturday’s emotional pregame ceremony at Fenway Park, the possible closer controversy that lies ahead, and many more important topics from early in the season.
The Sox sit atop the American League East at 14-7, and one of the most memorable victories was on Saturday against the Royals. In that contest, Daniel Nava hit a game-winning home run in the eighth, hours after the ceremony honoring the victims and heroes of the Boston Marathon bombings and manhunt.
“We talk a lot about the importance of Fenway Park as a community meeting place and the importance of a baseball team in bringing a community together, a sense of unity and connection and connectedness,” Lucchino said. “All of that came together last Saturday in a beautifully orchestrated event. I call it a ceremony because I think it was a celebration of those who passed away — at least a recognition of them, a moment when people could remember them and also celebrate the first responders and the action that we all took so much pride in last Thursday and Friday.”
The Sox front office and management focused this past offseason on bringing in good clubhouse players, but also ones who could perform in Boston. This was a sharp contrast to a year earlier, when they brought in highly touted stars Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford who turned out to be awkward fits in Boston.
“It is in some sense an early victory, an early vindication of all of that approach,” Lucchino said. “Just as I said to you guys before, we were never trying to get the coolest guys in the class to form a fraternity in the clubhouse. What we were trying to do is get good teammates who could perform in the crucible that is Boston and make this team likable but also good. Talent is always a part of it. But Ben Cherington and his staff made a concerted effort to consider the personalities — there should be a noun for teamsmanship — the kind of people we were getting. That’s proven to be at least part of the very successful start.”
There have been a number of factors in the team’s early season success. The offense has been led by new acquisitions Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino, new manager John Farrell seems to be succeeding greatly in his return to Boston, and David Ortiz is back and playing well. Lucchino, though, said that the pitchers’ success has been the key.
“For me, it starts with pitching,” Lucchino said. “The key to this team this year was going to be pitching. We knew we had a bulked-up bullpen. We knew we had some depth and some talent in that bullpen, and of course that’s one of the keys to winning baseball in the modern era. … But the revival of the starting rotation is really I think probably [the] most important factor among those that you cited — the leadership that they provide, the sense of momentum that they provide when they take the field and just the quality of their stuff. The stuff may not be contagious, but the winning is contagious and the example that they set at the top of the rotation is contagious, and baseball is, after all, a game about pitching.”
Since Joel Hanrahan‘s hamstring injury, Andrew Bailey has stepped into the closer’s role and pitched very well. With Hanrahan due to come off the disabled list soon, a closer controversy may await the Red Sox.
“I think that there will be a controversy, yes,” Lucchino said. “I think the fans and the media will be fascinated by this question. But as I just said a minute ago, without you posing the question, is that it’s not such a bad thing to have a couple of closers. Hanrahan goes down and Bailey is ready to step in without missing a beat.”
|Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz returns to action in series finale vs. A’s||04.24.13 at 12:43 pm ET|
After taking Tuesday night off, David Ortiz returns to the lineup for Wednesday’s series-ending game vs. the Athletics at Fenway Park (4:05 start). Ortiz is 6-for-12 in three games since returning from an Achilles tendon injury.
Here’s the Red Sox lineup that will face A’s left-hander Brett Anderson.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jonny Gomes, LF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS
David Ross, C
Jon Lester, SP
|Red Sox notes: John Lackey may be ready to rejoin rotation Sunday||04.23.13 at 6:16 pm ET|
John Lackey may make his return to the Red Sox rotation on Sunday, when the team hosts the Astros. Lackey made a start for Double-A Portland on Monday night, hurling 3 2/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits, walking two, and striking out five.
“I felt pretty good. It was pretty cold, so it was a pretty good test to get out there and get through that in the cold, so it was good,” Lackey said when referring to his rehab start.
In Lackey’s first start of 2013 after coming back from Tommy John surgery, he went just 4 1/3 innings, striking out eight, and had to be removed from the game with what looked like a serious arm injury at the time. It ended up being a strained right biceps for the right hander, and it looks like he will be making his return less than a month after the scare.
“Velocity was good and right now [Lackey's] scheduled bullpen would be on Thursday,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Provided he comes out of that, which we fully expect him to come out of that ok, we’ll have an update on where his next start would be and the potential to start here for us is a real one.”
“I definitely probably wasn’t throwing as hard, but location was pretty good,” Lackey said when comparing Monday’s start with his season opener in Toronto. “I felt like I got some swing and misses which is a good sign.”
Additionally, David Ortiz will be sitting for Tuesday night’s game and Jonny Gomes will get the start at designated hitter, hitting eighth. While Ortiz is already 6-for-12 in his four games since returning from the disabled list himself, Farrell said that this is a scheduled off day for Ortiz and there has been no pain for him.
“No, [he's] not hurting,” Farrell said. “Scheduled down day, combination with the weather conditions, this was kind of a logical day in his I don’t want to say rotation, but availability to give him a blow.”
When asked about Ortiz’ scheduled off days, Farrell added: “I think the one thing that we don’t want to do is pin ourselves into an exact number of games played and then a scheduled down day. There’s some flexibility to that. Certainly how he’s feeling, his guide in this and his involvement will go a long way in this. But I think we’ve got to build in an occasional day off for him.”
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