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Red Sox lineup: Shane Victorino returns, Dustin Pedroia gets ‘planned’ day off 04.19.15 at 11:20 am ET
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After being scratched from the lineup Saturday with bruised ribs, Shane Victorino returns to the Red Sox lineup Sunday against the Orioles.

The right fielder spoke in the clubhouse before the game and said he feels fine after running into the right field wall Friday night. He swung in the cage during Saturday’s game and is ready to go Sunday.

Dustin Pedroia will get his first day off of the season. The second baseman is 0 for his last 7 and has committed two errors over the first 11 games.

“Just a day off. One of the benefits of Brock Holt,” manager John Farrell said.

“No, not a reaction,” to Pedroia’s recent struggles he added. “Planned day knowing we have an early morning game tomorrow and a left-hander on the mound. A chance to give him a spell.”

Holt will lead off with Mookie Betts sliding down to the No. 2 spot. Farrell said that was just a way to break up the left-handers in the order.

Sandy Leon will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, as the Red Sox go up against Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez.

For an extensive look at the pitching matchups, click here.

1. Brock Holt, 2B
2. Mookie Betts, CF
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Hanley Ramirez, LF
5. Mike Napoli, 1B
6. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
7. Shane Victorino, RF
8. Xander Bogaerts, SS
9. Sandy Leon, C
Rick Porcello, RHP

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, Shane Victorino,
Closing Time: Red Sox can’t overcome Wade Miley’s poor start, Nationals avoid sweep 04.15.15 at 4:47 pm ET
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Wade Miley allowed seven runs in 2 1/3 innings, the third-shortest outing of his career. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Wade Miley allowed seven runs in 2 1/3 innings, the third-shortest outing of his career. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

One turn through the Red Sox‘ rotation couldn’t have gone much better. As for the second one — not so much.

The first time through the rotation Sox starters allowed eight runs over 31 1/3 innings. Through four games the second time around they’ve allowed 28 runs in just 18 1/3 innings.

Wade Miley was the latest to fall, allowing seven runs in just 2 1/3 innings, leading to the Red Sox‘ 10-5 loss to the Nationals Wednesday afternoon. Washington avoided a three-game sweep with the win.

“Things unraveled pretty quick on him,” manager John Farrell said after the game. “As sharp as he was in New York, he was almost the flip side of it, as was the whole turn through the rotation this time through. They squared up some fast balls to the opposite field. A couple of sliders that didn’t get to the spot. One to [Ian] Desmond, one to [Wilson] Ramos. As quick as he works, that third inning kind of sped up on him and sped up on us.”

The Red Sox scored five runs against Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez, but the hole they were put in was too big to overcome. But, even down by six runs in the third inning, the Red Sox offense did show they will rarely be out of any game this season, as they have the ability to score runs in bunches at any time.

After seeing their lead fall to 8-5, Tyler Moore belted a two-run home run in the seventh inning to extend the Nationals lead to 10-5, thus putting the game out of reach.

Despite the loss, the Red Sox have won the first three series’ of the season for the first time since 1952.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Wilson Ramos. The Nationals catcher went 2-for-5 with three RBIs, while also scoring two runs. It was his best game of the season, as he came into the game batting just .167 on the year.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox loss:

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia, hanley ramirez, wade miley
Closing Time: Late Red Sox rally leads to wild come-from-behind win over Nationals 04.14.15 at 9:33 pm ET
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Justin Masterson was inconsistent in the Red Sox' loss to the Nationals Tuesday night. ((Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Justin Masterson was inconsistent in the Red Sox‘ come-from-behind win over  the Nationals. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Five hit batters, four errors, and four lead changes made for a crazy night at Fenway Park.

In the end, the Red Sox were able to come away with a 8-7, come-from-behind win over the Nationals. They’ve now won both games in the series.

The win did come with a cost, as already without Xander Bogaerts (knee), the Red Sox lost Pablo Sandoval in the game after being hit by a pitch on his foot (left foot contusion).

Trailing 7-5 in the seventh inning, the Red Sox were able to load the bases against Nationals relievers. No. 8 hitter Ryan Hanigan hit a slow roller in front of the mound and Nationals pitcher Blake Treinen misplayed it trying to get the out at home. Then, making matters worse he threw the ball into the stands allowing another run to score and the Red Sox to tie the game at seven. He was charged with two errors on the play.

The next batter, Brock Holt recorded an RBI groundout to short, scoring pinch-hitter Allen Craig for the eventual game-winning run.

“Well we got some extra outs,” manager John Farrell said. “We talked about this yesterday. When you give a Major League team an extra out or two, it may end up leading to multiple runs inside of an inning. I thought offensively we did a very good job from start to finish tonight. We didn’€™t give in. Took advantage of some miscues in that seventh inning. Koji [Uehara] comes out and done what he’€™s done so many times for us. Just a good team win here tonight. Clearly, coming back multiple times, it was a sea-saw game, hard-fought, but I like the way our guys responded to challenges.”

Leading 5-1 going into the fifth inning, Red Sox starter Justin Masterson fell apart allowing six runs in the inning, as the Nationals sent 10 batters to the plate. Clint Robinson and Ian Desmond each had two RBI singles, while Wilson Ramos added an RBI ground out and Michael A. Taylor ripped a two-RBI triple.

Masterson was pulled in the inning in favor of reliever Alexi Ogando.

“Didn’€™t have his best stuff overall,” Farrell said. “I thought he threw enough strikes early on to keep away from a big inning and then it seemed like the stuff kind of ran out of gas a little bit with a couple of walks in that fifth inning where multiple base runners and a pitch up on the plate where they’€™re able to start chipping away. Desmond rifles a ball just inside the bag, the two-strike base hit that obviously spelled the night for Justin. Still, the action to two pitches, the fastball-slider is there. Just the walks in to the base hits created some issues here tonight.”

The fifth inning spoiled an impressive first few innings for Red Sox hitters against Washington starter Stephen Strasburg. Through the first two times through the order, eight of the nine Red Sox starters recorded a hit — a pretty impressive feat against a pitcher of Strasburg’s caliber.

But, as good pitchers do, Strasburg battled and despite throwing 41 pitches in the first two innings, grinded out 5 1/3 innings, allowing the five runs, while not walking a batter and striking out five.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox win:

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Dustin Pedroia. The second baseman seems to have found his stroke again. He lined a solo home run into the Monster seats in the fourth inning — his third homer of the year after hitting two on Opening Day. He finished 3-for-4 in the game, and now has three multi-hit games through the first eight of the season.

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia, hanley ramirez, justin masterson
Buster Olney on MFB: Dustin Pedroia’s power biggest takeaway from Opening Day 04.08.15 at 11:58 am ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN’s Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on with Middays with MFB on Wednesday to talk about the Red Sox after their impressive start to the season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Sox opened the season with an 8-0 victory over the Phillies, hitting five home runs — two each from Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez.

“The fact that Pedroia hit for power to me was the thing that jumped out,” Olney said. “Because I know all of last year — and look, nobody engenders more respect around baseball than Dustin Pedroia does, and people love the way he plays, but I heard it from a lot of people, whether it was scouts or other players, they wondered if Dustin was ever going to get back to being able to hit for any kind of power, because he’s had so many nagging injuries — wrist, hands, the whole thing — and that was a great sign on the first day that he was able to do something.

“When you’re playing the Phillies right now it is a little bit Christians and the lions situation because they are really bad. But that’s a great start for them.”

The much-maligned Clay Buchholz pitched like a No. 1, allowing no runs and just three hits through seven innings.

“We’ve seen it in the past, he’s certainly capable of pitching really well,” Olney said. “And you’re right, it’s a good sign, it doesn’t matter who you’re facing. You can only compete against the guys who are in front of you. … Everything that I saw, he looked in command. Most of the time you liked the tempo, which I always thought was a barometer when you watch Buchholz is how quickly is he working between pitches. The faster he works, the better it seems he is; the slower he works, the more uncertain he seems to be. The other day he seemed like he was very comfortable.

“It’s a great first sign from a team that needs, let’s face it, contributions from all ends of their rotation.”

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Read More: buster olney, Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester
Poll: What was the biggest positive in Monday’s 8-0 Red Sox win? 04.07.15 at 11:12 am ET
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The Red Sox couldn’t have asked for a better start to the 2015 season, beating the Phillies 8-0 and hitting five home runs in the process.

Besides two homers apiece from Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez, Clay Buchholz went seven innings, not allowing a run and struck out nine. Mookie Betts also hit a home run in his first Opening Day start.

What was the biggest positive in Monday's 8-0 Red Sox win?

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, hanley ramirez, mookie betts
Closing Time: Everything goes as planned in opener for Clay Buchholz, Red Sox 04.06.15 at 6:09 pm ET
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PHILADELPHIA — The Red Sox managed to change a few conversations in a hurry.

The pitcher who served as spring training’s hottest topic from beginning to end — Philadelphia starter Cole Hamels — didn’t come as advertised when pitching against the Red Sox in their season-opener at Citizens Bank Park Monday afternoon.

The perception of Clay Buchholz also did an about-face, except in his case it was for the better.

For just the second time in his career, Hamels allowed four home runs, exiting after just five innings and taking the loss in the Red Sox‘ 8-0 win over the Phillies.

Leading the charge against the pitcher so many wanted the Red Sox trade for was Dustin Pedroia, who managed his fourth multi-home run game with a pair of solo shots over the left-field wall, and Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez hit one long ball against Hamels, and another — a grand slam — in the ninth against reliever Jake Diekman.

Also going deep for the visitors against Philly’s ace — who had 23 straight starts of allowing three runs or less to end the 2014 season — was Mookie Betts.

Buchholz, meanwhile, looked far more like the pitcher of early 2013 that the one who muddled through ’14. The Sox starter didn’t allow a hit until Ryan Howard‘s line drive to left with two outs in the fourth inning fell just out of the reach of Ramirez in left.

When it was all said and done, Buchholz turned in a seven-inning gem, giving up just three hits while striking out nine, walking just one and not allowing a run.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Clay Buchholz. The righty became the first Red Sox pitcher to win his initial Opening Day start with the Sox since Pedro Martinez‘s 1998 win over Oakland.

“It was good,” said Buchholz. “There was a lot of building up to this moment. I felt good all spring. It’s just another step, I guess. I was a little more anxious today than I have been for first starts given all the attention to it. After the first couple pitches, it felt like a normal game.”

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, hanley ramirez, mookie betts
Red Sox notes from Disney: John Farrell ‘very comfortable’ with pen, Hanley Ramirez’s ‘great’ attitude, Dustin Pedroia checks in on Mickey Mouse 03.27.15 at 12:54 pm ET
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Jonny Gomes (right) catches up with Dustin Pedroia (left) and Brian Butterfield (center) before Friday's game. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Jonny Gomes (right) catches up with Dustin Pedroia (left) and Brian Butterfield (center) before Friday’s game. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — With Friday’s starter Clay Buchholz in line to be the Opening Day starter in Philadelphia on April 6, the Red Sox still have to figure out his battery mate.

Christian Vazquez caught a minor league game back in Fort Myers on Friday morning and then was scheduled for a full exam, which would include an MRI on his right elbow. Manager John Farrell confirmed the plan while managing the major league team against the Braves in Disney.

“It was still planned to repeat what he did [Thursday],” Farrell said of Vazquez’s throwing program. “We’ll go through a full workup following. Then to determine if further imaging is needed or to answer questions that might be unanswered at this point and hopefully to give a little piece of mind to Christian himself.

“More lingering. There hasn’t been a setback. As a matter of fact, his throwing has increased. But because we’re in the eleventh or twelfth day and not back into game situations yet, just want to answer every possible question.”

Farrell said he still wasn’t ready to project any type of timetable for his return or whether he would be ready for the opener.

“Once we get all the information, we’ll have a better read on everything,” Farrell said. “We’re limiting him right now. He’s been catching. This is the third time he’s caught under the current conditions, just to keep his legs in shape and keep him as game-ready as possible despite the graduated throwing program we’ve got him on.”

If Vazquez isn’t ready to go, then Blake Swihart, Friday’s catcher for Clay Buchholz could certainly have a chance of making the squad when they break camp in a week.

“I think anybody in our uniform is always under consideration,” Farrell said. “We’ll see how things play out over the next eight, nine days.”

Elsewhere, David Ortiz did not make the trip to central Florida but Farrell said he and Mike Napoli made it through Thursday’s return to action without any issues. Farrell said Ortiz is scheduled to play against the Rays Saturday afternoon in Port Charlotte. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 spring training, Alexi Ogando, Boston Red Sox, christian vazquez
Observations on Game 2: Dustin Pedroia backs up his words, Joe Kelly gets rust off, Xander Bogaerts goes deep 03.05.15 at 10:23 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Observations from the Red Sox‘ 9-8 loss to the Twins at the grand reopening of Hammond Stadium.

PEDROIA GOES DEEP: Dustin Pedroia assured us that he was feeling healthy for the first time in years. It showed on his grand slam in the fourth.

“I knew I was back to normal in the offseason,” Pedroia said. “Obviously I told you guys that, but you can only believe me if you see it. So there you go.”

It goes without saying what difference a healthy Pedroia would make atop the Red Sox lineup. The home run against live pitching was good to see, particularly since he hadn’t exhibited tremendous power in early batting practice sessions.

“I don’t know that we’ve seen that type of swing in a good amount of time,” noted manager John Farrell.

“I’m just trying to come out and try to get better,” Pedroia said. “That’s all I’m focused on. I’m not worried about anything else. Every day, try to do something to help the team. That’s what I’m concentrating on.”

Might the grand slam be a sign?

“Just watch,” Pedroia said. “My job is to play. Your job is to watch.”

KELLY LOOSENS UP: Right-hander Joe Kelly wasn’t crisp, allowing a series of rockets in 1 2/3 innings that including seven hits, four runs and two strikeouts. That’s nothing new for the former Cardinal, who traditionally struggles in spring, as his last four Grapefruit League ERAs attest: 6.28, 4.91, 3.60, 9.00.

“My springs aren’t usually good,” Kelly said. “My spring numbers are actually pretty terrible, from what I can remember.”

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Read More: 2015 spring training, Dustin Pedroia,
Finally healthy, Dustin Pedroia proclaims ‘I’m not messing around’ 03.02.15 at 9:45 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia seems pleased these days.

The latest bit of good news was clubhouse manager Tommy McLaughlin presenting the second baseman with the stickers for the handle end of his bats. The excitement was only amped up upon seeing the stickers image that had a silhouette image of Sasquatch with the number “15” in the background.

But the true elation for Pedroia is not having to show up each morning and get treatment, and then actually swinging a baseball bat with a confidence he hasn’t had since 2011.

“I feel normal,” he said. “I can tell just picking up a bat my hand strength is back. That’s the most important part to me. When you grab a bat, how does it feel? Can you manipulate where you want to hit the ball? It’s all back.

“I knew before I got here. You could tell. Balls come off the bat different. It sounds different. If I’m fooled and I’m out in front I had the strength to flip it the other way or still turn on it. Those are the things I couldn’t do. … My swing is normal. My follow through is normal. There’s finish.”

The difference in the physical security was evident from his very first outside batting practice at Fenway South, when he purposely unloaded on the high left field wall on Field 2.

“How did it look? I’m not messing around,” Pedroia said regarding his initial BP salvo.

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Read More: 2015 Red Sox spring training, Dustin Pedroia,
Dustin Pedroia can see where David Ortiz is coming from: ‘Baseball’s not a drive-through’ 02.26.15 at 5:05 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia could only laugh.

When the Red Sox second baseman heard David Ortiz go off on Wednesday about new MLB pace-of-game rules.

“I think it was the first time he heard of it,” Pedroia said Thursday. “The first reaction is always pretty good [from Ortiz]. I just laughed. You never know. That’s his job, though. His job is to hit and, in my mind, I have to go play defense and concentrate on a lot of things. But, when you’re putting a new rule and his main focus is to be in the box, that’s his home. You know what I mean? I can side with him on why he’s upset, but he’ll be fine.

“I’m pretty sure the umpires aren’t going to start yelling at you. They understand. Everybody that’s on that field loves baseball. They don’t want to make it a hurry-up. Baseball’s not a drive-through. We’ve got to play the game and they know that. Obviously, if you get fined, you get fined but we’re trying to play to win and that’s the way I look at it.”

Pedroia was asked if he thought speeding up the game would be good for the game.

“Is it good for the game? We’ll find out. I don’t think we’ve played under the rules yet,” Pedroia said, adding, “I don’t really try to think about it. I don’t know if I get out. I adjust my batting gloves and tighten them. My only thing as a hitter, and obviously the pitchers do it too, we’re trying to think about how and what we’re going to do the next pitch. Obviously, some guys take a little bit longer and some guys don’t. I think that’s the fun part about the game. In our mind, that’s the competition. Him [the pitcher] trying to find a way to get me out and me trying to find a way to get a hit off him. However long that takes, that’s how long it takes. We have a job to do and we’re trying to execute and we know the pitcher has a job to do. I don’t think I take that long.

“I don’t think it’s going to be as bad as everybody’s saying. I’m sure the pitcher and the hitter are going to be ready to play. That’s the way I look at it. I’m sure there’s not going to be a pitch thrown and I’m going to be hanging out in the other on-deck circle. We’re still going to play baseball. That’s the way I look at it.”

Even Red Sox pitchers like Joe Kelly could see where Ortiz was coming from.

“We play a ton of games,” Kelly said. “I understand exactly where he’s coming from. As a hitter, being a professional hitter, it’s probably one of the toughest things to do in all of sports. He’s not taking his time just to take his time. He’s out there and he’s one of the best left-handed hitters in this game. He’s thinking about what the pitcher is trying to do to him, and vice versa. I’m out there on the mound trying to read swings. If I throw a fastball inside and the hitter feels a little bit uncomfortable with his [swinging] motion, I might take a step off the mound and take a breath, ‘All right, is he trying to fool me or is he really going to get beat there today?’ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 spring training, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia
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