|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.
|Closing Time: David Price struggles, Red Sox rally but ultimately fall to Rays||04.21.16 at 5:51 pm ET|
With the Red Sox leading 5-1 after the first inning, it seemed like everyone could enjoy a beautiful spring afternoon at Fenway Park with David Price on the mound, but that couldn’t have been any more wrong.
Price allowed six runs in the fourth inning, which he didn’t even make it out of, but fortunately for him, the Red Sox offense rallied to tie the game, taking him off the hook.
In the end it was all for naught, as the Rays scored in the eighth and ninth innings to come away with a 12-8 win over the Red Sox in a game that took over four hours to play. The Rays won 2-of-3 games in the series.
With William Cuevas (major league debut) on the mound in an 8-8 game in the eighth, Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out double off the Green Monster scored Desmond Jennings, proving to be the game-winning run. The Rays added three insurance runs in the ninth — two charged to Cuevas and two to Noe Ramirez.
The biggest story of the game was Price, as the left-hander lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs on nine hits, while walking two, hitting two and striking out six. He also allowed two home runs. His ERA is 7.06 after four starts. The eight earned runs tied a career high.
Price didn’t have command of any of his pitches, leaving many up in the zone against his former team. Evan Longoria and No. 9 hitter catcher Curt Casali hit the home runs.
Trailing 8-5 in the sixth, Mookie Betts crushed his second home run in as many days too cut the deficit to 8-7. The Red Sox then added a run in the seventh to tie the score when Travis Shaw doubled home David Ortiz, who led the inning off with a double.
Things were looking good for the Red Sox as they were able to get to Rays starter Jake Odorizzi early. Dustin Pedroia crushed his first home run of the season into the Monster seats to make it 2-0 after only two batters in the bottom of the first. They added three more runs in the frame, including the fifth on a double-steal where Brock Holt stole second and Shaw technically stole home.
It was the shortest start for Price since April 22, 2015, when he went 2 1/3 innings and allowed eight runs against the Yankees.
|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 lineup: Dustin Pedroia, Brock Holt out against Blue Jays||04.17.16 at 10:12 am ET|
Two of the Red Sox’ main players will rest on Sunday against the Blue Jays in Game 3 of the four-game series.
Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt are out of the lineup on Sunday with Chris Young getting the start in left field and and Marco Hernandez, who was recalled on Friday, getting the start at second base.
It is Hernandez’s major league debut. He came to the Red Sox as the player to be named later in the Felix Doubront trade in 2014.
With Pedroia out, Xander Bogaerts with hit second, David Ortiz third and Hanley Ramirez fourth against Blue Jays stater Aaron Sanchez.
Ryan Hanigan will catch Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright.
Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:
Mookie Betts, RF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Travis Shaw, 3B
Chris Young, LF
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Ryan Hanigan, C
Marco Hernandez, 2B
Steven Wright, RHP
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
|Closing Time: Rick Porcello, Christian Vazquez lead Red Sox over Blue Jays||04.15.16 at 10:13 pm ET|
Whether it was the presence of Christian Vazquez or not, it seems like the Red Sox are gaining some momentum.
For the second straight game, the Red Sox got a decent start from their starting pitcher as Friday it was Rick Porcello who went 6 1/3 innings to earn the win in the Red Sox’ 5-3 win over the Blue Jays. It was the second straight win for the Red Sox.
Porcello finished the game going 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on two hits (both Edwin Encarnacion home runs), while walking one, hitting two and striking out eight.
The Red Sox scored early allowing Porcello to settle in with a lead. They scored three times in the first inning starting with a David Ortiz RBI double off the top of the wall in dead-center. After Hanley Ramirez reached via a passed ball on a strikeout, Travis Shaw drove in both Ortiz and Ramirez with a two-RBI double of his own.
They tacked on another run in the second inning on a Mookie Betts RBI single.
Porcello gave up his second home run of the game to Encarnacion in the seventh with a runner on. He struck out the next batter and then was lifted at 100 pitches.
Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel (save) in a shaky ninth closed the game out for the Red Sox in relief of Porcello.
The Red Sox have now not been shutout at home in 60 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the majors. It dates back to June 4 of last year.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:
|Closing Time: Steven Wright pitches well, but punchless Red Sox shut out by Blue Jays||04.10.16 at 5:19 pm ET|
Not even David Price could’ve saved them.
The controversy all week over the Red Sox’ choice of starter for Sunday’s finale in Toronto was rendered irrelevant by Jays right-hander Marco Estrada, who combined with two relievers to shut out the Red Sox in Toronto’s 3-0 victory.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright got the start on Price’s regularly scheduled day to pitch, with the Red Sox opting to hold Price back a day for Monday’s home opener at Fenway Park. Wright certainly did his part, limiting the high-octane Blue Jays to six hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings, striking out five, but the Red Sox could do nothing with the crafty Estrada, who went seven shutout innings, striking out eight.
“Outstanding job on his part,” manager John Farrell said of Wright. “Kept us in the game into the seventh inning. He minimized the damage as much as possible in the first, but after that first inning, he settled in and controlled and commanded the knuckleball very well. He used his fastball at times to get ahead in the count, to get back into counts. But we ran into an outstanding pitching performance by Estrada today.”
The Jays basically won this one by the time they recorded their first out on offense. Singles by Kevin Pillar and Josh Donaldson leading off, followed by a walk to Jose Bautista, loaded the bases with one out. Edwin Encarnacion hit a double-play grounder to short, but Dustin Pedroia threw away Xander Bogaerts’ relay, allowing Encarnacion to reach and two runs to score.
Wright escaped further damage and kept the Jays off the board the rest of the way, their only other run coming on a mammoth solo homer by Donaldson off of reliever Noe Ramirez in the eighth.
The Red Sox return to Fenway 3-2 after a successful season-opening road trip, however, having taken two of three from the Jays.
Until Ramirez allowed Donaldson’s homer, Red Sox relief pitchers had held opponents to a .100 average (5-for-50), the lowest mark among big league bullpens.
|Dustin Pedroia doesn’t want to hear about desperation for Red Sox to start strong||03.30.16 at 3:43 pm ET|
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Call it desperation. Call it urgency. Call it whatever you want.
This spring training, the Red Sox have seemingly put more of an importance on getting off to a good start than in years past. Not worrying about the contracts. Giving the hottest players coming out of Fort Myers preferential treatment when it comes to playing time. Simply suggesting a tone has to be set.
Dustin Pedroia, however, isn’t buying the whole “have to start strong or else” mantra.
“It’s hard around here because people’s expectations are results based,” the Red Sox second baseman said prior to his team’s game against the Rays Wednesday. “Somebody has a bad game you guys say he stinks. So people try to change. I don’t really give a [expletive] what you say, so I’m going to do what I do and over 162 games. I’m going to be a great player. Whatever people say about me is irrelevant to me. That’s the kind of mindset you have to have.
“I don’t read anything. It’s not having thick skin. It’s sticking to your approach and being stubborn to that. Everybody wants you to be something. You have to know who you are and try to be who you are.”
Pedroia has been part of some brutal starts, both personally and team-wise, that have ended far from how they started.
|David Murphy describes ‘surreal’ return to Red Sox, nearly 10 years after leaving||03.01.16 at 10:08 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — David Murphy can come home again.
The former Red Sox outfielder, drafted with the first pick of Theo Epstein’s GM career, officially joined Red Sox camp on Tuesday after signing a minor league deal.
Murphy, 34, was the team’s first-round pick (No. 17 overall) in the 2003 draft out of Baylor and has gone on to a productive 10-year career since being traded to the Rangers for reliever Eric Gagne in 2007. He entered a clubhouse that included a couple of minor league teammates (Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez), as well as veteran slugger David Ortiz.
“It’s really surreal,” Murphy said. “When we first had contact with the Red Sox, there was just a lot of good feelings. There’s a lot of sentimental feelings, even if I didn’t spend a whole lot of time with the Red Sox at the big league level — all my minor league memories through just random things.
“My oldest daughter was born in Boston when I was playing in Pawtucket. Being down here, my wife and I got engaged during spring training in Fort Myers in 2004. Just a lot of great on-field memories with the guys. Dustin’s still here. Hanley. Two guys I played with through the minor leagues. David Ortiz is still here. Various members of the training staff, coaching staff. In a lot of ways, it’s sort of a homecoming. Happy to be back.”
Murphy was surprised to remain unsigned this late in camp. The Angels declined his $7 million option after he hit .283 with a .739 OPS last year. For his career, the left-handed hitter owns a .795 OPS against right-handed pitching and is capable of playing both corner outfield spots, as well as center in a pinch.
“It was kind of the perfect storm,” Murphy said. “I know that I’m getting older. I know that the game is being analyzed differently now in terms of numbers and sabermetrics. I don’t know if that played into it. I know that there was a lot of good free agents out there on the market this year. I don’t know if I’m going to point to one thing.
“I’ve thought it over, because when my option got turned down by the Angels in early November, first of all I thought there might be a decent chance that I would go back, and then after it got turned down, there wasn’t one bit of thought in my head that said I might have to accept a minor league deal late in the offseason. I wasn’t expecting to get a multi-year deal, but I was expecting to get a major league deal somewhere in the one-year at, I didn’t know exactly what [the money] was going to be.”
As was the case a decade ago when he made his big league debut, Murphy just hopes the Red Sox give him a chance.
“They said there could be opportunity,” Murphy said. “A lot of it is going to be on my end, working hard and showing them I’m in shape, having a good spring, and we’ll see what happens.”
|Dustin Pedroia on D&C: ‘It’s time to get back to trying to be the best at everything’||02.25.16 at 8:56 am ET|
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia joined Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Thursday morning from spring training in Fort Myers, Florida, as he and the team prepare to bounce back from a disappointing 2015. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Pedroia is coming off an injury-plagued season in which the team finished in last place in the American League East for the second straight year. He said he’s inspired to have a big year, but not just because of how 2015 went.
“I’m always motivated,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if someone’s on me or whatnot. I think winning’s driving me every year. The last couple of years have been tough for the wins and losses, so I think it’s time to get back to trying to be the best at everything. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing. If it’s a drill, just try to be the best at it. If it’s a workout, you’re competing against your teammate or what, that’s the way I look at it.”
Pedroia will have a new target on his throws to first base, as Hanley Ramirez is moving over from left field. Ramirez took a lot of heat last season for his apparent lack of effort in left, where he relocated after mainly playing shortstop in his career.
“Left field at Fenway Park is the toughest spot in the outfield of any place in the major leagues,” Pedroia said. “I think some of the criticism — yeah, he didn’t play good in left field, I get it. I understand. Not a lot of people would, moving positions. So I gave him credit to giving it a shot. That’s a tough place to play out there.”
Pedroia dismissed criticisms that Ramirez is not working hard enough at his latest transition.
“He’s working hard,” Pedroia said. “You’ve got to understand, guys, it was the first day of spring training. He was here early, just trying to get his feet underneath him. But no, he’s working hard. Yesterday we did our bunt defenses, game speed. He didn’t throw that much, which is normal. You can’t come out here and burn it out. We don’t want to get him hurt. We don’t want to get anybody hurt. But he’s doing everything game speed and moving his feet. His feet are great.”
|Dustin Pedroia checks into camp, discusses Hanley’s work ethic, wearing long pants, David Ortiz in Italy||02.22.16 at 11:02 am ET|
“I don’t show up when we wear shorts,” he said. “This isn’t softball. We wear pants. I’ll come when we wear pants and go to work.”
Sporting a full beard and checking in for the start of his 11th season in Boston, Pedroia held court on a number of topics. A summary:
— Pedroia is confident that Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, two targets of fan ire, will bounce back.
“Listen, this is a tough place to come in and hit .330. The expectations, sometimes you can’t live up to them. You just have to be yourself. They will. It takes time. They’ve got to realize that we’re all in this together and we’re trying to win the World Series. That’s all we can do is have each other’s backs, go out there and work hard every day and try to get better every day.”
— He expects Ramirez to work hard in his transition to first base.
“Every position on the field is important defensively. This is the Major Leagues. If you have a hole out there, everyone is trying to find it. I think it’s our responsibility, Hanley, it’s first pretty tough to change positions. He went from shortstop to left, and left field now to first base. You’ve got to put the work in and we’re all here to help him and do what we can to make him as comfortable as possible but he’ll be fine. He’s going to put the time in and put the work in and we’ll be fine.”
— Pedroia has no physical limitations after missing most of the second half with a bad hamstring. “I’m ready to go out and do whatever I’m asked.”
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