|Friday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Jon Lester vs. David Price||07.25.14 at 10:05 am ET|
The Red Sox will kick off a crucial three-game series against the Rays Friday at Tropicana Field, as both teams look to claw their way back up the division standings. Boston will send ace Jon Lester to the mound against David Price in the series opener.
Lester (10-7, 2.50 ERA) has been on another level for almost two months now, posting a 4-0 record with a minuscule 0.85 ERA over his last seven starts while not allowing an earned run in three of his last four starts.
In his last outing Sunday against the Royals, Lester was once again in control from the first pitch, holding the Kansas City lineup to just four hits over eight innings while striking out eight en route to a 6-0 Red Sox win.
“He’s been a model for others to witness as players get to that stage in their career,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell after the game. “I think in a professional manner, he’s been very forthright in not wanting [his contract negotiations] to be a distraction to his teammates or to us as a team. And he’s been able to go out and maintain that high level of focus.”
Lester was stellar in his last outing against the Rays on June 1, surrendering four hits and no runs over seven innings while striking out 12. In 27 career starts against the Rays, Lester is 13-9 with a 4.12 ERA.
Not to be outdone, Price (10-7, 3.06 ERA) has turned in yet another dominant campaign in 2014, leading the majors in both strikeouts (173) and innings pitched (155 2/3).
In his last outing Saturday against the Twins, Price allowed just four hits and no runs over eight innings, earning his fifth consecutive win in a 5-1 Rays victory.
|Buster Olney on MFB: ‘I think [Jake Peavy] is going to wind up going to St. Louis’||07.09.14 at 1:30 pm ET|
It’s looking more inevitable each day that Jake Peavy will be traded before the trade deadline. Some reports have the Cardinals as the most likely landing spot for the right-hander.
“I think he’s going to wind up going to St. Louis,” Olney said. “Probably there’s a situation where the Red Sox might be trying to extract some value out of this as opposed to just a pure salary dump where they’re eating some dollars and moving them out to essentially create some spots for the younger pitchers.”
Reports suggest the Cardinals could use struggling outfielder Allen Craig as a piece to acquire Peavy in a trade.
“If the Cardinals were pushing this at all like, ‘Yeah, we’ll give up Craig for Jake Peavy,’ then if I’m the Red Sox, I’m going, ‘Why would that be?,’ ” Olney said. “I know he’s not having a good year this year and you guys remember the foot problem he had in the postseason last year and there’s some thought among the scouts that this was an issue early in the year.
“You’re talking about a guy who’s had back-to-back-to-back .300 seasons coming into this season. He was an All-Star last year. In his contract, given that history, he’s really good. So if the Cardinals are really interested in doing that type of deal, and again, I have no information that they are, that would scare me and would make me ask questions about what’s really going on with Allen Craig.”
Jon Lester‘s contract situation continues to be a story for the Red Sox this season. Olney said the Red Sox have tried to re-engage in contract discussions with the lefty.
“I think they’d like to re-engage him on some deal,” Lester said. “I’ve spoken with officials and they’re watching very closely because if Lester becomes a free agent, he’s going to become one of the two primary guys out there along with Max Scherzer on the whole market.
“So teams are wondering if there’s going to be an opportunity with Lester. And they think that once we get deep into this season and the Red Sox are kind of out of the race, we get into October and they’re not in the postseason, that would probably be the time the Red Sox try to get back into it with Lester, and it’s going to cost them because he’s going to be only a month away from free agency.”
|David Ortiz on ‘bigger than the game’ comments: ‘Who’s David Price?’||06.04.14 at 8:31 pm ET|
Following the incident in which Price hit Ortiz with a first-inning fastball, the Tampa Bay ace went on the Fox television broadcast and said, “Nobody is bigger than the game of baseball, and sometimes the way he acts out there, he kind of looks like he’s bigger than the game of baseball. That’s not the way it is, that’s not the way it goes.”
It was a claim Ortiz continues to take particular issue with. (To listen to the audio, click here.)
“That ain’t me. I never overlook the game, you know? There’s never going to be a player bigger than the game,” the DH told WEEI.com prior to the Red Sox‘ series finale against the Indians. “It doesn’t matter if you act like it, if you think you are or if people think that you are. It’s not true. Bigger than the game, nobody’s ever going to be. Know why? Because you come in, you play, you leave and the game continues.
“The one thing I can tell you about when he says that is he’s just trying to look for an excuse to get out of it. That’s a dumb-ass excuse, because whoever knows me knows I never act like I’m bigger than the game ever. He just doesn’t understand that he’s not going to win all the time. He’s carried that since last year when we whupped his ass. … It’s too bad that MLB sees the way he talked the day that he hit me and the way that he talked the next day and they still haven’t followed up with the rules. He basically said that he hit me on purpose, but I’m over that. I don’t really care about what he said. Who gives a [expletive]? Who is David Price? I don’t really care. I’m going to continue with what I do. Like it or not, it is what it is.
“I respect the game. I don’t think there’s a player in the game that can ever be bigger than the game. We’ve got guys that have done a lot of good things for the game, have put up crazy numbers, but we don’t give life to the game; the game gives us life. That’s why you’re never going to be bigger than the game.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell joined Dale & Holley on Wednesday to discuss the fallout from the Rays-Red Sox series this past weekend, the suspension of Brandon Workman, and the state of the Red Sox outfield. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
MLB has announced its disciplinary rulings in regards to Friday’s game. Workman was suspended six games for throwing behind Tampa Bay slugger Evan Longoria, while David Price, who hit both David Ortiz and Mike Carp in the game, received no sentence.
“We presented our case on everything that took place inside that Friday night game, and once all the information is turned over, you wait for the judgment to be handed down,” Farrell said. “I know that there weren’t suspensions, Brandon is obviously the only one suspended. There might have been some fines levied on both sides of this, but you go by the process that’s in place. … I think at the time at the ejection and following the game, my thoughts were expressed.”
Added Farrell: “Unfortunately, we’ve got a guy that we’re going to miss for, right now, six games, even though he has appealed.”
Tensions were high on Friday, as the Red Sox utilized four managers because Farrell, bench coach Torey Lovullo and third base coach Brian Butterfield were ejected during the course of the game.
“An explanation was had, but still a differing of opinion. Anytime you get ejected, you have thoughts in a certain way,” Farrell said. “[Umpire] Dan Bellino took exception to those thoughts and obviously the ejection did take place. But there were no warnings issued prior to Saturday’s game, there was an awareness or a heads-up given prior to the series beginning. … You’re going to have different sides of it, and our side was certainly different than what the umpires and certainly what Tampa thinks.”
Farrell continued: “I understand that they want to protect people and not put guys at risk for potential injury, but still, David Ortiz didn’t get injured, no one else got injured, yet we had three guys hit by pitches that night. We’re the only team getting ejections coming out of the Friday night game, so when you add it all up, it doesn’t make sense.”
While the Rays and Red Sox had engaged in a bench-clearing incident just five days prior to the start of last weekend’s series, Farrell didn’t expect more drama going into Friday.
“Nope, I didn’t anticipate anything, actually,” Farrell said. “A lot of people want to refer to the Sunday game in Tampa five days prior. We thought that was pretty much a done deal at the time. By their comments afterwards, David Ortiz being hit was not a result of Sunday’s game, but last postseason. You don’t go into a game thinking someone is going to get drilled in the first inning.”
Despite posting a 7-3 record over their last 10 games, the Red Sox have yet to get much offensive production from their outfield. Jonny Gomes currently has the best batting average amongst the group with a subpar .235 line.
“We’re not at full strength,” Farrell said. “We’ve got challenges in certain areas and we’re trying to find ways to make the best of a situation. We need Shane Victorino back in time, and we don’t have a return date yet. … Getting on base is there, it’s the follow through and capitalizing on opportunities that we do create.”
|Buster Olney on MFB: ‘I haven’t understood’ Red Sox’ decision to move Xander Bogaerts’ position||at 1:58 pm ET|
ESPN baseball insider Buster Olney joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss the drama surrounding David Price and the Red Sox, the switch from shortstop to third base for Xander Bogaerts and the struggles of the Boston outfield. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Punishments have been levied in regards to Friday’s game between the Red Sox and Rays. Sox starter Brandon Workman was suspended six games for throwing behind Rays third baseman Evan Longoria while Price, who hit David Ortiz and Mike Carp, received no discipline.
“It didn’t surprise me, because of how the umpires handled the game,” Olney said, adding: “The umpires in the field didn’t eject David Price, and they didn’t eject him after the fourth-inning incident in which he hit Carp, so based on that information, it doesn’t surprise me that they didn’t suspend him.
“I think that if they really want to be aggressive and vigilant and try to curb some of this stuff, I agree with what John Farrell said the other day after the game, that, ‘Hey, the umpires clearly read intent into what Price did, why not eject him at the beginning?’ I think that would be a stop to a lot of stuff.”
The Red Sox outfield has struggled all season long, as the unit has a combined .214 batting average on the year. Despite the lack of production, Olney said that a potential addition via the trade market might not provide much of a boost for the club.
“They’re going to have to wait in all likelihood, because the market is going to take a while to declare itself,” Olney said, continuing: “Even if the Red Sox at some point decide the answers are not in-house and they want to go out on the market, it’s going to take a while for the interest to come up, and they’re probably not going to be very good ones.”
The return of Stephen Drew has had a big effect on Bogaerts, who is making the switch from shortstop to third base — a move Olney does not necessarily agree with.
“If they feel like, internally, that he’s the shortstop, and that’s basically what we heard from January, February, March on forward, to be honest, I don’t know why they didn’t leave him there in the first place.
“I know that he hasn’t necessarily been at his best defensively and he’s been a work in progress, but since you pretty much know that Stephen Drew is going to be a temp, why not just leave Xander Bogarts and make Drew make the adjustments? I haven’t understood that from the beginning.”
|David Ortiz on David Price: ‘I guess the rules are not for everyone’||06.03.14 at 4:47 pm ET|
Predictably, David Ortiz was not happy to learn that Brandon Workman was suspended for throwing at Evan Longoria while David Price skated after starting last Friday’s fracas with what the Boston designated hitter called “some punk-ass [expletive].”
After Price, who has a history with Ortiz dating back to last season’s ALDS, plunked Ortiz in the first inning and hit Mike Carp in the fourth, warnings were issued to both teams. Workman missed behind the head of Longoria in the sixth inning, resulting in his ejection.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Ortiz was heated at the lack of discipline for Price.
“I don’t even know what to say, you know? I mean, he started everything up and we’ve got to pay for it, basically,” Ortiz said. “That’s the message that I’m getting, right? I don’t have any answer about that, but it’s like I say, way too much evidence now that he hit me on purpose, and the funny thing is that we are the ones that are getting fines, suspensions, all kind of stuff. I guess the rules are not for everyone.”
Price said prior to Saturday’s game that Ortiz acts like he’s “bigger than the game of baseball.” Ortiz disagreed with that, and he also was irritated that Price still harbored animosity toward him over Game 2 of the ALDS, in which Price felt Ortiz looked at one of his home runs a little too long.
“He says I think I’m bigger than the game? Who around the league can say that about myself? It’s basically what happens every time the pitcher screws up,” Ortiz said. ‘They’re always looking for excuses. You’re never going to see a pitcher coming out and saying, ‘Yeah, I hit him on purpose.’ ‘Oh, I was trying to establish my fastball in.’ Bro, you’ve given eight walks in 80 innings. You know what you’re doing out there.
“In my case, when he hit me I was a little confused because everything, the way it went down the year before and stuff. Basically, first inning, but as the game goes by I start thinking about things and seeing things different, and that’s why I was so angry after the game. … I don’t think what they’re doing is fair. I think the rules should be for everybody.”
While the fact that the benches cleared between the two teams twice in less than a week would suggest things could remain heated between the two clubs going forward, Ortiz said Price will not hit him again.
“In my case, I made my point clear. I’m not going to get hit again, not by him. I’m not going to get hit again my him,” Ortiz said. ‘He did it on purpose, he punked me and that’s very disrespectful. I’m a grown-ass man, I’ve been around the league for a long time and I know how to take care of business on my own.”
|Tom Verducci on D&C: ‘David Price brought his personal grudge to that game’ Friday||06.02.14 at 11:39 am ET|
Emotions once again reached a fever pitch last Friday between the Red Sox and Rays, as Price hit both Ortiz and Mike Carp, which resulted in the benches clearing in the fourth inning. Then Sox starter Brandon Workman was ejected in the sixth inning for throwing behind Evan Longoria.
After the game, Ortiz blasted Price, stating that the Tampa lefty “better bring the gloves” if he hits him again.
“I understand what Price was doing there,” Verducci said. “In my mind, he was definitely throwing it at David Ortiz. I did not think he deserved to be thrown out of the game, so I think the Red Sox were wrong about that, but David Price brought his personal grudge to that game and he actually put Evan Longoria in a terrible position, because he knew at the time that they were going to go after Longoria in retribution.
“If Longoria gets hit by a pitch and breaks his wrist, that’s the end of Tampa Bay season if it hasn’t ended already. It’s a dumb thing to do to try to settle a personal grudge that was four or five months old.”
While Drew is scheduled to join the team on Monday, some have raised the point that the Sox may not need him after all, as Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts are hitting .375 and .367, respectively, over the last seven games.
Regardless, Verducci believes that Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington would still sign Drew if given another opportunity.
“I think he still does [feel that way],” Verducci said. “They’re adding a very good player that has to make the team better. … I never have an issue with adding more talent, and that’s what they did. … In the long run, in four months, if I’m in the Red Sox, I’d rather have Drew than not have him.”
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