|Time to update your post-Patriots season Red Sox storylines||01.25.16 at 10:04 am ET|
The family of five poured into the Foxwoods Resort and Casino elevator Sunday morning, all of them wearing their Patriots jerseys. The day before, they explained, the garb had been Red Sox-related (due to the team’s “Winter Weekend” event), but it was now time to focus on the task at hand — beating the Broncos.
Monday, Saturday’s shirts were pulled out of the hamper.
WIth the Patriots season now officially over, it might be a good time to offer reminders as to where things stand with the next team up — the Red Sox.
With nearly 6,000 people filing into Foxwoods over the weekend to see virtually the entire Red Sox team (those absent included David Ortiz, Clay Buchholz, David Price, Craig Kimbrel, Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa), there were two days of reminders as to what awaits in a few weeks.
Most of New England might not have been paying attention then, but they probably will start altering their focus now.
Let’s help you catch up with some of this team’s key storylines,and where things stand with each of them …
1. Hanley Ramirez is a friendly first baseman
Ramirez swept through Foxwoods with plenty of smiles, handshakes and good cheer to go around. He received a standing ovation at the Town Hall event Friday night, and was the star of the show when participating in a Saturday game show featuring players, coaches and alumni.
But can he play first base? We still have no idea.
Ramirez has started taking ground balls in South Florida with Red Sox exec Laz Gutierrez, and checked in at 234 pounds. (Although he insisted that that is only three pounds difference from where he finished the season at.)
Ramirez told us on WEEI that this has been his most challenging offseason, referencing how many times he has been checked up on by the organization. He also remains supremely confident that playing first base won’t be a problem.
He remains concerned about the play that involves reaching for throws into the runner due to his left shoulder’s history. And the footwork thing is on his radar.
In the end, everything that has unfolded to this point won’t matter if he doesn’t put the time in once in Fort Myers. The kind of time Mike Napoli put in when trying to pull off the same transformation. If he does that, the skill-set would suggest his history as an infielder will allow him to manage. If not, nobody is going to remember any of the feel-good moments of this offseason.
|Bradfo Show: Dustin Pedroia explains approach toward playing next to new Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez||01.14.16 at 11:38 am ET|
Bradfo Show podast: Motivating Dustin Pedroia
While Dustin Pedroia spent a good chunk of time on the Bradfo Show podcast explaining away defensive metrics, while elaborating how why he has altered his offseason approach, there was another topic the second baseman answered very directly: Hanley Ramirez playing first base.
Here is what the second baseman had to say in regards to Ramirez (starting at 12:20 on podcast):
“I’m going to tell Hanley the same thing I told Nap when he moved over to first base, and I’ve already told him. Going back to the zone rating thing, this is what people don’t understand: when you’re an infielder, outfielder or pitcher, you’re connected to somebody. We’re connected together. We have to communicate every single pitch. I’m playing here. I’m letting him know if an off-speed pitch is coming against a left-handed hitter so he can get to the line a little bit quicker. If you’re a pitcher you’re communicating with your catcher to be on the same page. Outfielders are moving together. Infielders the same way. Hanley, we’re on the same team here. If I throw you a ball and you drop it, no problem. You know what I’m going to tell Hanley? No problem, get the next one. That’s what we do. It’s a unit. We move together. We play together. We all have the same thought process. You have to do that. That’s the only way you can be a great defender and have good team defense, you’re communicating and playing together and have each other’s backs. Guess what, Hanley is going to make an error this year. I’m going to let everybody know right now. I’m going to make an error this year. It’s going to happen. Nobody is perfect. You understand? So the goal is to play together and eliminate mistakes. Those are the things that he can’t have, I can’t have, Pablo [Sandoval], Bogey [Xander Bogaerts], nobody can have. You have to be on the same page. You have to be prepared and pay within our system. If he does that he’s going to be fine.
“That’s the thing, you can’t go into it going, ‘All right, I have to pick every ball.’ No you don’t. You have to take one pitch at a time. Look at me, see where I’m positioned, we’re going to communicate. That’s how you get through this. That’s what Nap turned into being so great at. He was always communicating, moving, putting himself in the right position to make a play. Yeah, there’s going to be times you’re going to miss the ball. Everybody misses the ball. If you’re in the right spot as much as you can be, you’re going to be good.”
|Dustin Pedroia explains exactly what happened with his injury||10.15.15 at 11:25 pm ET|
“It was good to get away,” said Pedroia by phone.
After what he endured for the majority of the ’15 campaign, few would blame the 32-year-old for getting as far away as he could, as fast as he could.
Now Pedroia’s ready to turn the page, starting with what he figures to be a fairly normal offseason. But before moving on to another four or so months at his Arizona home, he took the time to clarify what exactly happened with that injury which limited the nine-year veteran to just 93 games.
Why was his injured right hamstring keep him out of action so long? (There had been a total of just about 73 days of disabled list inactivity sandwiched around an ill-advised six-game return following the All-Star break.) How come he came back in the first place? And what was the exact injury?
The explanations had always been fairly vague.
Thursday afternoon, Pedroia offered some added insight.
“Basically, I slipped and hurt the back part of my hamstring, like the back of my knee. The lower part where it attaches. The biceps femoris,” he said. “I went and got an MRI and it was a 2 ½ [grade tear]. It was black and blue for about 10 days.
“They give you a timeline of how long you’re going to be out. Throughout my career I have obviously healed quick. And with that injury everybody is different. Some people take two months. Some people take six weeks. Some people take longer. I think I came back in about 24 days.
“It was one of those things where I probably should have waited longer, but I was cleared by our guys to go. I think I played six games and it was starting to get black and blue again, so we did another MRI and they shut me down.”
What was of some concern was the identification of the injury being to the biceps femoris, which helps make up the hamstring. Earlier in the season, Cincinnati shortstop Zack Cozart had seen his year end abruptly thanks to an injury involving the same ligament.
Pedroia didn’t go seeking the kind of doom and gloom found within Cozart’s diagnosis (although that also involved a damaged knee ligament). “I didn’t really Google anything,” he noted.
But there was an awareness that something might not be quite right.
“Did it worry me? I can only go with what I’m told by the people,” he said. “That’s basically it. I think looking back we might have gotten ‘¦ I think we were six games out or something after the break. Obviously, I was hitting batting practice. Running was the issue. But I was driving the ball and looked good. They would say, ‘How do you feel?’ And I felt good. Obviously, looking back, we’re six games out and we’re going to Anaheim and Houston for big series and you want to gain some momentum. I think we all looked ahead of ourselves instead of looking at the big picture.
“I kicked myself, and I’m sure everyone else does too. If we waited a week or so after maybe I would have done what I did the second time and we would have had better success.”
What Pedroia did when returning from the injury for a second time was proceed with extreme caution. Playing in 18 of the Red Sox‘ 25 remaining games, he would hit .308 with an .886 OPS.
When it was all said and done, Pedroia boarded the plane for Rome finishing his season carrying a .291 batting average, .797 OPS and, most important, some long-awaited peace of mind.
“I came back with 25 games left and they said, ‘Listen, we know you want to play, we want you to play, but you have to be smart. We’re not going to let this happen again. Let’s get through the rest of the way with you playing, we’ll be smart, manage the days off,’” he said. “In the offseason I have to break down the scar tissue, build back my strength and then I’ll be back to normal.
“Obviously, when I was running at the end, I had an extra gear but I was just a little timid because they told me be smart when you’re running. You’ve come this far, so don’t do anything that will have a setback going into the offseason because that will definitely hamper you next year. So I did whatever they asked.”
|Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz out, Dustin Pedroia DH in bullpen game vs. Orioles||09.26.15 at 12:35 pm ET|
A night after hitting three doubles, David Ortiz will get Saturday off in Game 2 of a weekend series against the Orioles. The Red Sox won in dramatic fashion Friday night when Rich Hill tossed a complete game, two-hit shutout.
Dustin Pedroia will be the designated hitter in his place as the Sox go up against O’s left-hander Wei-Yin Chen.
The Red Sox outfield will have Rusney Castillo in left, Jackie Bradley Jr. in center and Mookie Betts in right.
Blake Swihart will catch the bullpen game, with Craig Breslow getting the start.
Here is the complete lineup:
Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, DH
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Travis Shaw, 1B
Rusney Castillo, LF
Brock Holt, 3B
Josh Rutledge, 2B
Blake Swihart, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Craig Breslow, LHP
With an RBI double to left field and a pair of infield singles in a 7-0 Red Sox win over the Orioles at Fenway Park Friday night, Xander Bogaerts notched his 55th multi-hit game of 2015 and sits just 12 hits away from 200 on the year.
Throughout the season, Bogaerts has expressed disappointment after being robbed of home runs by the wall in left and has discussed his desire to add to his home run total, but with just nine games left on the schedule, the shortstop is content with shifting his focus to his overall offensive performance.
“I mean I’m three home runs away from ten, but I had a nice comment the guys made today: there’s not too many guys that get 200 hits,” Bogaerts said. “So it’s kinda like, ‘OK, you know, you’re right.’ So let me just stop worrying about that home run and just try to get my hits in. Hopefully try to reach close to [200 hits].”
Friday also marked the 17th time this season the shortstop has recorded three or more hits in a game. He has now reached base safely in 23 consecutive games and his .325 average ranks second in the American League behind Miguel Cabrera‘s .334.
“I’m pretty happy, I didn’t expect it,” Bogaerts said of his average. “I’m very happy the way things have been. I’m very excited for next year for the whole team.”
Bogaerts also said earlier this season that he hopes to steal 15 bases. He did not record a steal Friday night, but still showed off his speed on a wild play at the plate in the sixth inning.
After Dustin Pedroia drew a leadoff walk, Bogaerts reached on a soft grounder to third for the first of his two infield hits.
David Ortiz then doubled on a fly ball to right field and Bogaerts took off, but Pedroia was holding at second, preparing to tag up, and the pair ended up rounding third just strides apart.
“That was a tough one, I read the ball well,” Bogaerts said. “If [Orioles right fielder Dariel Alvarez] caught it he would have doubled me up either way, so I just followed my instincts right there… I just went because I knew how far I was from second base at the time the ball fell.”
|Closing Time: Rich Hill’s complete game shutout leads Red Sox over Orioles||09.25.15 at 9:54 pm ET|
Two months ago Rich Hill was pitching in the Independent League and now the left-hander is pitching like the ace of a major league stuff.
Yes, the ace of a major league staff is a bit sarcastic, but the 35-year-old has been dominant in his three major league starts with the Red Sox this month. The latest came Friday night when he led the Red Sox to a 7-0 win over the Orioles.
Hill tossed a complete game, two-hit shutout to pick up his second win of the year. It was his second career complete game shutout, as his first came Sept. 16, 2006 against the Reds when he was with the Cubs.
“That was probably right up there,” Hill said if it was the most fun he’s had on a baseball field. “I can’t put a number on it, but that was a lot of fun. That was great.”
After allowing a leadoff single to open the game, Hill retired 16 straight batters before No. 9 batter Dariel Alvarez reached on an error by Hill when he overthrew first base on a grounder in front of the plate in the sixth. The second hit he allowed came to leadoff the ninth.
The left-hander also struck out 10, the third time in three starts he has done so this season. He has now allowed just three runs in 23 innings pitched this year. For his career he has a career ERA of 1.15 with the Red Sox, the lowest in club history (min. 25 IP).
He is the only AL pitcher in the last 100 years to record at least 10 strikeouts in each of his first three starts with a team. The only other Red Sox pitcher in the last 100 years to record 10 or more strikeouts and one or fewer walks in three straight starts at any point is Pedro Martinez in 1999.
“I’m older and I’ve been able to hone my skills I guess in the last five years and get stronger — get into a good lifting program and it’s a whole, big each piece of the pie kind of fits together and as I’ve gotten older I’ve been able to figure out the most efficient way that works for me to pitch,” Hill said. “This summer all the things fell into place and for me just really stay in that moment and make the pitch the best that I can.
Overall, when I was younger and starting, I don’t think I was as apt to understanding pitching as much as I thought I was. Now, as I’ve gotten older more of that has come along.”
Mookie Betts robbed Chris Davis of a home run to end the game with a leaping catch against the wall of the Red Sox bullpen.
The Red Sox gave Hill more than enough offense as they scored a run in the third on Xander Bogaerts’ double to left, which scored Betts, although Dustin Pedroia was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first to end the inning.
The Sox added another run in the fifth. Brock Holt led off with a walk. Sandy Leon sacrificed him over to second base and then he advanced to third on a groundout by Jackie Bradley Jr. and was able to score on a wild pitch.
|Dustin Pedroia puts pressure on Arizona State admissions, Orioles pitchers||09.16.15 at 10:56 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — Dustin Pedroia is feeling good about himself, and his alma mater.
Thanks to a smooth double play with Red Sox shortstop Deven Marrero, Pedroia got a chance to put the pair’s alma mater — Arizona State University – on a pedestal it might not have been on prior to the Red Sox‘ 10-1 win over the Orioles Wednesday night.
“That was pro,” said Pedroia of Marrero’s work in turning the 6-4-3 double play. “There’s only a select few of us that get a chance to go [to Arizona State], so it’s pretty cool. He played great. He’s a great player. Defensively, he knows what he’s doing, and his at-bats have been really good. He’s picking and choosing when to drive the ball. It was pretty cool to watch.”
Marrero — who notched three hits — was in the lineup to give shortstop Xander Bogaerts a rest. Pedroia was in just because he’s back to feeling like his old self.
The Sox second baseman continued to exhibit the kind of offensive prowess he had prior to injuring his hamstring June 24.
After launching his 11th and 12th homers of the season, Pedroia is now hitting .379 (11-for-29) with a 1.212 OPS since coming off the 15-day disabled list.
“I feel good. I just feel strong, I feel healthy,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting back to the rhythm of the game and stuff like that.
“I’m just feeling normal. That’s how I felt before I got hurt. That’s the frustrating part, sometimes you get hurt and miss some time. The biggest thing for me is just being out there, feeling good and being able to help us win.”
While the right hamstring was the thing holding Pedroia back for much of this year, perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the 32-year-old’s game is the ability to generate power with his hands.
“Shoot, ‘13? I think I was sixth in the MVP voting so that was a pretty good year,” said Pedroia when asked about overcoming his issues of two seasons ago. “I’m over the hand stuff. I got that fixed. It just felt good to be out there and help us win, just helping out.”
|Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia on bench as Red Sox face Rays with David Ortiz going for 500 homers||09.11.15 at 3:33 pm ET|
The second baseman, who just returned from a six-week absence due to a hamstring injury, will sit out this one despite Thursday’s off day. He played on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Blue Jays, going 2-for-9 with a double and a run in his first game action since July 22.
There’s no word yet on the cause of Pedroia’s absence, though interim manager Torey Lovullo should address the media later in the day.
The night’s other main storyline is designated hitter David Ortiz, who has 498 career home runs and needs just two more to become the 27th player in history to hit 500.
Here’s the rest of the lineup:
Mookie Betts CF
Brock Holt 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Travis Shaw 1B
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Rusney Castillo LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Jackie Bradley Jr. RF
|Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia starts at 2B again, Rusney Castillo back in left||09.09.15 at 3:23 pm ET|
Dustin Pedroia is back at second base, a night after returning from the disabled list. He went 1-for-4 last night with a double.
Rusney Castillo will play left field, Mookie Betts center field and Jackie Bradley Jr. right field, as the Sox go up against Jays’ right-hander Drew Hutchison.
Ryan Hanigan will catch Red Sox starter Joe Kelly as he goes for his eighth win in a row.
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:
Mookie Betts, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Travis Shaw, 1B
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Rusney Castillo, LF
Ryan Hanigan, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., RF
Joe Kelly, RHP
|Dustin Pedroia’s hamstring feels ‘great’ after return from DL||09.08.15 at 11:34 pm ET|
Although the team didn’t win, dropping a 5-1, extra-inning game to division-leading Toronto, Pedroia and his previously injured right hamstring came through his nine innings of action fine.
“I felt great,” Pedroia said. “I just wish we had won. We played hard, we just couldn’t find a way to score some more runs. It was great to be out there with the guys.”
The 32-year-old Pedroia, who finished the night 1-for-4 with a wall-ball double, said he feels good about the prospects of playing again on Wednesday in the final game of the three-game series. Interim manager Torey Lovullo said they would re-evaluate Pedroia’s health on Wednesday before making a lineup decision.
“Dustin checked out real good,” Lovullo said after the loss, admitting that he had to convince Pedroia to come out of the game before it finished. “I explained to him that, ‘I know you want to play tomorrow, and there’s only one chance you can play tomorrow, and that’s if you come out of this game right now.’ We have a soft template in place, but it’s all going to be contingent on how he feels tonight and tomorrow morning. But, everything was fine. He saw the ball well, nothing moved to fast for him at the plate. Made some double play turns. Made a couple of overall nice plays on defense. He ran the bases well without any limitations, and that was what we were looking for.”
Pedroia said he surprised himself a little at how comfortable he felt at the plate in his first game back, without the benefit of a rehab assignment.
“I actually felt pretty good,” Pedroia said of his three at-bats against Toronto kunckleballer R.A. Dickey and one against reliever Mark Lowe. “It was kind of tough facing the knuckleball. Especially, [Dickey] was on. But my next at-bat I saw a fastball and a slider, and I felt fine. I didn’t want to come out. But I understand what they’re doing. So I have to do what I’m told.”
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