|Buster Olney on M&M: ‘Going to be a crusher’ for Jacoby Ellsbury if he heads into free agency like this||05.15.13 at 1:16 pm ET|
ESPN baseball writer Buster Olney joined the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to talk about the Red Sox and news from around the majors.
The slumping Sox lost to the Rays on Tuesday night, with the winning run scoring on a popup at Tropicana Field that first baseman Mike Napoli couldn’t handle. That revived the debate about the oft-criticized domed building. Olney said the Rays would love to get out of their lease, but they have no easy way out.
“The bottom line is that they’ve got this terrible lease with the city of St. Petersburg,” Olney said. “Baseball would love for them to move out of St. Petersburg and out of the Trop. The Rays would love to move out of there. And people all around baseball would love for them to move out of there. But until the city of St. Petersburg signs off on this thing, they’re kind of stuck. And it stinks. Because that organization clearly has a lot of promise; it’s as well-run an organization as there is in baseball. They’ve done a phenomenal job of competing despite the limitations that they have within that park.
“And until it changes, it is going to feel like they’re playing in their grandmother’s basement, let’s face it. The ball hitting the ceiling, and the different rules, and how many rings and all that stuff — it’s a completely different type of baseball than there is in any other park.”
Jacoby Ellsbury, who becomes a free agent at the end of the season, is having a disappointing year at .256/.321/.363 with one home run and 13 RBIs.
“He just doesn’t look nearly as comfortable at the plate, he’s not being as efficient at the plate as he’s been in the past,” Olney said. “Let’s face it, he’s not a big guy, so he’s got to have his swing right to do the type of damage he did in 2011. And it’s having a huge impact, without a doubt, on the perception of him as a player. If he had had the type of year this year — and he’s still got three-quarters of the season to do it, he could still make a ton of money, he could theoretically be a $100 million player.
“But if he continues on this same trajectory for the entire year, it’s going to be a crusher for him in terms of how much money you would lose, to the point that you’d almost think that he’d want a mulligan and go back into free agency and come back and play for one year before he hits the market. Because you take these type of numbers into the marketplace with the current skepticism about players on long-term deals, you’re not going to get that much money.”
It’ll be a battle of ace left-handers on Wednesday night in St. Petersburg, Fla., with Jon Lester taking the hill for the Red Sox against reigning Cy Young winner David Price.
The undefeated Lester threw a complete-game gem last time out, blanking the Blue Jays and allowing only one hit on the day. The lefty struck out five without walking a batter, bringing his strikeout-to-walk ratio to an even 3-1. He threw 118 pitches in the nine-inning performance, his highest total of the year so far. Lester made only one mistake on the day, allowing a double to Maicer Izturis, the only blemish in what would have otherwise been a perfect game.
The one-hitter clearly was Lester’s most dominant start of the season, but he’s been impressive all year long. Lester heads into his ninth start with a 5-0 record, 2.73 ERA and 0.987 WHIP. He’s finished at least six innings in six of his eight starts, while striking out five or more in every outing.
Lester has taken on the Rays 23 times in his career, facing only the Blue Jays more times. Over those 23 games, he’s 10-8 with a 4.14 ERA while striking out 143 Rays over 139 innings. Tampa Bay gave the Sox lefty some trouble last year, limiting him to only 10 innings over two outings, and scoring 10 runs on 10 hits and five home runs.
Price, who finished 2012 with 20 wins, a league-low 2.56 ERA and an American League Cy Young trophy, has struggled somewhat in his eight starts thus far in 2013, going 1-3 with a 4.78 ERA. Price has allowed five or more runs three times on the year, including his penultimate start in which he gave up nine runs (though only four were earned) on 10 hits and three walks to the Rockies. Apparently, Price has been dealing with some severe allergy issues that have impaired his vision on the mound, and he is being treated with eye drops to curb the symptoms. “All the trainers, they knew that I couldn’t see and that my vision was extremely blurry,” Price said Tuesday about his earlier starts.
Price has had success against the Red Sox in the past, owning an 8-4 record and ERA just south of three in 16 career games. Lester and Price have already met once this year, engaging in a pitchers’ duel at Fenway back on April 13. Both starters allowed only one earned run but neither would get the win; the contest remained knotted at 1-1 until Shane Victorino singled in Jacoby Ellsbury in the bottom of the 10th inning.
|Saturday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Jon Lester vs. David Price||04.13.13 at 8:22 am ET|
Jon Lester will pitch before the Fenway crowd for the first time this year on Saturday, taking on the Rays at 1:05 p.m. in search of his third win of the season. The Rays will send 2012 AL Cy Young winner David Price to the mound against him.
Lester is coming off an excellent start against the Blue Jays in his last outing. He threw seven shutout innings with six strikeouts and no walks as the Sox offense rolled to a 13-0 win. That was an improvement on a solid first appearance, in which he gave up two runs in five innings against the Yankees on Opening Day.
Price was rocked in his last start, on April 7 against the Indians. He gave up eight runs on 10 hits over five innings, including two home runs, and the Rays were shut out, 13-0. He was closer to his usual self in his first start, allowing two runs in seven innings as the Rays lost to the Orioles on April 2.
Against the Red Sox in his career, Price has generally lived up to his spot at the top of the Rays’ rotation. He has a 3.08 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 15 starts against the Sox, and Boston hitters have a .236/.303/.400 line against him.
Last year, Price faced the Sox five times and struck out 36 batters in 33 2/3 innings, earning a 2.94 ERA.
The last time Lester saw the Rays, he went six innings but gave up home runs to Carlos Pena and Ben Francisco in his penultimate start of 2012, on Sept. 26. He has a 4.30 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP in 132 career innings against the Rays.
Evan Longoria has a .353 OBP against Lester in 51 PAs, with two homers, two doubles and 8 RBI. Yunel Escobar also has hit Lester well, if not for much power, with a .304/.393/.304 line in 29 PAs.
Jacoby Ellsbury has singled, doubled, tripled and homered against Price (though not all in the same game), with a .286/.348/.667 line in 23 PAs. Dustin Pedroia has also enjoyed success against the Rays’ ace, hitting .323/.417/.516 with a home run against him in 36 appearances.
|Hot Stove: Rays, David Price avoid arbitration with 1-year deal||01.02.13 at 9:40 am ET|
According to multiple reports, the Rays and left-hander David Price — the 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner — avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the deal will pay Price $10.1 million in 2013. Price, who is arbitration eligible for the second time but remains three years from free agency, more than doubled his 2012 salary of $4.35 million. The 27-year-old went 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA and 205 strikeouts in 211 innings, leading the American League in wins and ERA.
|Tuesday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. David Price||09.25.12 at 6:46 pm ET|
In a rematch of last Thursday’s pitching matchup, Clay Buchholz will take on the Rays’ David Price as the Red Sox try to avenge a 7-4 loss in that game.
In the Sept. 20 matchup, Buchholz (11-6, 4.16 ERA) was brilliant, throwing seven scoreless innings but receiving no decision after the bullpen lost the lead in the ninth inning. The start was the best of a recent string of solid outings for Buchholz, who has pitched at least seven innings in his last five appearances. Buchholz has not recorded a win since Aug. 16 but did post a 2.95 ERA during that five-game stretch and has not surrendered a home run in his past four outings.
Tuesday’s game will mark the sixth time this season that Buchholz will make a start against the Rays, whom he has faced more than any other opponent this season. Despite a 1-2 record, Buchholz has pitched well against Tampa Bay this season, putting up a 3.62 ERA, giving up one home run and notching 28 strikeouts compared to just eight walks. Buchholz’s one win against the Rays this season came in his first start against them, on April 14, when he gave up five earned runs in a 13-5 Red Sox win. The victory was part of a lucky month for Buchholz, who had an 8.69 ERA but still managed to go 2-1.
Even more impressive than Buchholz’s numbers against Tampa Bay his season are his stats against the Rays over his career: 5-4 with 2.52 ERA, his second-lowest mark against an AL opponent. Against the lineup he will see Tuesday night, Buchholz has been dominant, posting a .222 batting average against with a .656 OPS against. Buchholz has been particularly effective against the Rays who have the longest history with him, posting a .201 batting average against vs. Rays hitters who have at least 20 plate appearances against him.
Just like last week, Price enters Tuesday night’s game as the MLB’s leader in ERA at 2.58. However, Price, who gave up three runs over 7 1/3 innings, was outpitched in his previous outing by Buchholz. While still a solid start, Price’s performance last Thursday was just the second time since the beginning of August that he’s surrendered three or more runs. Price’s ERA has actually risen during that stretch, largely in part to his outing on Aug. 27, when he gave up six runs in four innings, his worst start of the season.
In four starts against the Red Sox this season, Price has gone 1-1 with a 3.28 ERA, with the one loss coming back on April 13 in his second start of the season. Price struggled in the start, giving up three runs and completing just three innings, his shortest outing of the season. Over his career, though, Price has flourished at Fenway, going 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA in six starts. Strangely, Price has had disappointing strikeout and walk numbers at Fenway, striking out 21 while walking 18, his worst strikeout-to-walk ratio of any stadium he’s appeared in more than once.
The current Red Sox lineup is batting .278 against Price, whose career batting average against sits at .227. A large part of that mark against Price is due to the efforts of Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, who have OPS totals of .888 and 1.024 against him, respectively. They also have the only two home runs against him.
|Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. David Price||09.20.12 at 10:12 am ET|
The Red Sox and Rays close out the series at Tropicana Field by sending their aces to the mound, as Clay Buchholz and David Price square off Thursday night.
After allowing at least three runs in four straight starts, Buchholz (11-6, 4.33 ERA) shut down the Blue Jays in his last outing, notching the win after giving up one earned run over seven innings. Save for an awful showing against the Angels on Aug. 22 (5 2/3 innings, seven earned runs), Buchholz has been hittable but effective enough to go deep into games, going at least seven innings in all but that one start since July 19.
In 12 career starts against the Rays, the 28-year-old Buchholz has a 5-4 record with a 2.76 ERA, but he has had varying degrees of success against them this season. The last time Buchholz faced Tampa Bay resulted in a loss in one of his shorter outings this season: 6 1/3 innings, four earned runs. Before that, Buchholz shut down the Rays on May 27, giving up two earned runs over seven innings but taking a no-decision as the Rays won 4-3. In his first two starts against the Rays this season, Buchholz didn’t fare well, giving up seven runs over 12 innings, picking up a win and a loss over the two outings.
Buchholz’ career marks against the lineup that he’ll see Thursday night are encouraging, as he has limited the current Rays to a .231 batting average against with a .676 OPS against. The two Rays who have done the most damage against Buchholz are the unlikely combo of Matthew Joyce and Jose Molina, who have OPS numbers of 1.000 and .929 against him, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox will be facing off against the Rays’ Cy Young candidate and the MLB’s current ERA leader in Price (18-5, 2.54 ERA). As good as his season numbers look, Price has been even more impressive as of late, putting up a 2.13 second-half ERA.He is coming off of a win against the Yankees on Sept. 14 in which he gave up two runs over seven innings. Price hasn’t been his usual workhorse self as of late due to shoulder soreness, which led to the Rays skipping his spot in the rotation prior to the game against New York.
Over the course of his career, the 27-year-old Price has a 7-4 record with 3.16 ERA in 13 starts against the Red Sox. Against just the lineup he will see on Thursday, Price has posted a .231 batting average against with a .751 OPS against. Much of the Red Sox production in that sample comes from the two Red Sox who have appeared against Price the most: Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, who have OPS totals of 1.030 and 1.118 against Price, respectively.
In three starts against the Red Sox this season, Price is 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA, with his last two starts being the most effective. Price got the win against the Red Sox on July 14 when he gave up two earned runs over 7 1/3 innings. He did not get a decision when he gave up just one run against the Sox on May 26. On April 13 against the Red Sox, Price produced his shortest outing of the season, giving up three runs over three innings as the Red Sox won 12-2.
|Saturday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. David Price||07.14.12 at 8:26 am ET|
The Red Sox continue their three-game set against the Rays at Tropicana Field with Clay Buchholz starting Saturday night.
Buchholz has not started since June 19 due to a gastrointestinal problem that forced him to the 15-day DL. Before the problem developed it seemed that Buchholz was finding his groove. He allowed 10 runs in his five previous starts over a total of 37 innings. Overall, the righty is 8-2 despite a terrible 5.53 ERA.
In his final start before his stint on the 15-day DL, Buchholz went six innings and allowed five runs on nine hits to earn the win against the Marlins on June 19.
The 27-year-old is 5-3 with a 2.49 ERA over 11 starts against the Rays in his career. This season he’s 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA against the Rays in three outings. The Rays know Buchholz well, with seven batters having double-digit at-bats vs. him in their careers. B.J Upton and Hideki Matsui have been the most successful against him, at 6-for-19 and 6-for-17, respectively.
If Buchholz wants to earn his ninth win of the season he must out duel Rays All-Star ace David Price.
Price has been tremendous this season with a sparkling 2.82 ERA and 11 wins, which ties him for second in the majors. He has pitched at least seven innings 11 times, including a complete-game shutout on April 24 against the Angels.
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