|Closing Time: Red Sox offense silenced to spoil another strong Clay Buchholz start in loss to Twins||05.27.15 at 12:07 am ET|
The Red Sox remain stuck in the mud.
While they make progress in getting out, they then seemingly fall right back in.
After winning the final two games over the weekend against the Angels, the Red Sox have lost their first two games of a seven-game road trip, falling to the Twins 2-1 Tuesday night in Minneapolis. The was delayed at the start by 81 minutes due to rain.
Their latest defeat came at the hands of Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who entered with a career ERA just under 4.50. Pelfrey limited the Red Sox to one run on five hits over seven innings. Between the third and seventh inning, he limited the Red Sox to only two hits.
The visitors had a chance to tie, or take the lead in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and two outs for Hanley Ramirez, but the left fielder flew out to right field to end the threat. Over the first 24 games in May, the Red Sox are averaging just 2.75 runs per game.
Mike Napoli drove in the Red Sox’ only run of the game, a single up the middle in the second inning.
“Not much to get going. A lot of early outs, put the ball on the ground, a couple of ground-ball double plays,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “I’d like to think our approach can be a little bit more concerted, a little bit more concentrated. You never want to take away credit from a guy that’s throwing the ball well this year in Pelfrey. But still, I think we’re capable of more than we showed here tonight.”
Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz continued his season-long trend of starting slow, but settling in. After allowing two first inning runs, and not having his best overall stuff, Buchholz went 7 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, while walking one and striking out four. Over his last four starts his ERA is 2.17, but the Red Sox are 1-3 in those games.
Buchholz continues to struggle in the first inning, as he allowed two runs once again. For the season he’s allowed 13 first inning runs in 10 starts. It hasn’t just been Buchholz, the Red Sox as a team struggle in the first inning, being outscored 35-14 in the opening frame.
“Yeah, I didn’t have much tonight,” Buchholz said. “I didn’t have command of any one pitch. As the game went on, I found a couple pitches and was able to throw a couple strikes and make some big pitches in some big situations. As far as stuff goes, I feel like that’s the worst that I’ve had. To be able to go out there and have the first inning and pitch out of some jams against a team that’s swinging as well as they are right now, I feel like I did a pretty good job. It seems like we’re running into a lot of guys throwing the ball well right now.”
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Buchholz. The right-hander delivered his fourth straight quality start, but the offense couldn’t help him out, as his record dropped to 2-6. He’s thrown three straight starts of at least seven innings. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:
|Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia back in leadoff spot||05.25.15 at 11:44 am ET|
Dustin Pedroia will bat leadoff for the third straight day as the Red Sox open a three-game series against the Twins in Minneapolis with an afternoon tilt. Pedroia is 2-for-6 with a walk in the past two games, both Red Sox wins. Mookie Betts will bat second for the Sox.
Here is the lineup that will face Twins righty Ricky Nolasco, as Joe Kelly starts for the Sox.
For the detailed pitching matchups, click here.
|Closing Time: Mike Napoli homers again, Wade Miley throws gem as Red Sox take series over Angels||05.24.15 at 4:13 pm ET|
Dare we say the Red Sox have turned a corner?
Following an unimpressive start to the homestand, dropping three of the first four games with barely any life, the Red Sox won the last two games of the series against the Angels, capping it off with a 6-1 win Sunday.
Wade Miley gave the Red Sox their second exceptional start in as many games, as the left-hander went eight innings, allowing one run on four hits, while walking one and striking out two.
He didn’t allow a baserunner until two outs in the fifth when he walked Chris Iannetta and then the next batter, C.J. Cron singled to left following a review of whether a pitch was a hit by pitch or foul ball that hit the knob of the bat.
Miley ended his outing in style, getting a double play to end the eighth inning, with Mike Trout standing on deck.
“It comes down to fastball command,” manager John Farrell said. “Even when he’s got a couple of guys on base. He hasn’t overthrown as we saw maybe back in April. He’s turned things around personally this month, that’s pretty clear. But he’s back to a quick pace but a comfortable one for him and he’s commanded his pitches.”
Mike Napoli continued his monster homestand as the first baseman crushed a two-run home run in the second inning to dead centerfield. It traveled 451 feet. Napoli finished the homestand 9-for-21 with five homers and 7 RBIs, and for his career has owned the Angels as coming in to the game he had the best all-time slugging percentage (.716) and OPS (1.163).
The Red Sox added another run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Dustin Pedroia, bringing in Brock Holt, who hit a ground rule double to open the inning. Sandy Leon had a perfect sacrifice bunt getting him to third.
They added three more insurance runs in the eighth when Napoli ripped a two-RBI double off the Green Monster and the next batter, pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval, delivered an RBI single.
“Having people on base when you’re hitting and feeling good, it’s a good feeling driving in runs and [being able to] contribute,” Napoli said.
Koji Uehara pitched a 1-2-3 ninth in a non-save situation.
As a team the Red Sox have now hit home runs in 18 of their 22 home games, which ties the Astros for most in the American League.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Miley. The left-hander was exceptional, as he gave the Red Sox their second straight outstanding start. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
|Red Sox notes: Mookie Betts gets second look, Mike Napoli hitting with ‘clear mind right now’||at 2:15 pm ET|
Sometimes bad luck can lead to good things.
In the case of the Red Sox, Shane Victorino leaving Saturday’s game against the Angels (and subsequently landing on the disabled list) opened a new opportunity for John Farrell and Mookie Betts. Specificially, it allowed Farrell to see what Betts looks like hitting behind Dustin Pedroia and it gave Betts a chance to hit between Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez in the order. Sunday marked just the second time this season Betts has batted in the No. 2 hole.
Betts went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs in Saturday’s 8-3 win.
“I think it’s one of those things where hey, it worked, I’m not going to change it [with] as much change as we’ve been going through,” Farrell said. “Mookie put three swings on balls [Saturday] night as we’ve seen in a number of other games. He was given a little bit of heads up before the game started, be on-call here because you don’t know how far or how deep in the game he might be needed. It was unfortunately quick in this case. He put up three quality at-bats in the meantime. Credit to him.”
Then there’s the scorching hot Mike Napoli. He obliterated another pitch Sunday afternoon, launching a pitch from lefty Hector Santiago five rows deep to the bleachers in straightaway center for his fourth homer in three games and fifth homer on the six-game homestand. Saturday, he crushed a pair of homers of nemesis C.J. Wilson, including a two-run bomb to left that cleared the Monster and traveled an estimated 450 feet.
“It’s more timing,” Farrell said of Napoli‘s resurgence. “It’s not so much trying to take an approach to one side of the diamond because when the timing is accurate, they’re seeing pitches more clearly and they’re able to react to where pitches are on the plate. You see [Saturday] where in a 3-2 count, Nap gets a fastball on the inside part of the plate that he turns on. When they’re in a good hitting position, there’s a great ability to react to where balls are located in the zone.
“I can’t say there’s a different effort level in the swing. He’s a guy that’s going to impact the baseball and drive the baseball. That’s his calling card as a hitter his whole major league career. So in those [hitter’s] advantage counts, now that his timing is more consistent and more what he’s been accustomed to. He’s just in a better position to drive the baseball. Sometimes, whether it’s a pitcher or hitter, body mechanics can get disrupted by thoughts. More than anything, he’s hitting with a clear mind right now.”
With Victorino going on the disabled list Sunday, the Red Sox brought up infielder Jeff Bianchi from Triple-A Pawtucket. Farrell said there was no consideration to bring up Jackie Bradley Jr. since the organization felt he needed more regular playing time.
“At this point, he needed to get some regular at-bats,” Farrell said of Bradley, who was expected to travel to Louisville and be ready to play Sunday evening against the Bats, the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate.
Farrell also said righty Justin Masterson continues to make good progress after being disabled with right shoulder fatigue/tendinitis on May 14.
“He threw a bullpen [Friday],” Farrell said. “A pretty intense bullpen. He’ll have at least one more and we’ll probably get a total of three bullpens before we send him out on a rehab assignment but he’s making strong progress in terms of the intensity of the throws, the volume of throws. We don’t have a targeted date for his first rehab assignment but that’s coming in the near future.”
|Red Sox lineup: Major batting order shakeup with Dustin Pedroia leading off; Pablo Sandoval out again||05.23.15 at 3:26 pm ET|
The Red Sox have officially shaken up the batting order.
Dustin Pedroia will leadoff for the Red Sox against Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson Saturday night. Mookie Betts gets a day off in centerfield, as Rusney Castillo will get his second straight start in the outfield after being called up Friday.
Pablo Sandoval will miss his fourth straight game after taking a fastball off the knee Tuesday night. Hanley Ramirez is in the lineup after being hit in the hand by a pitch Friday night.
Blake Swihart will catch knuckleballer Steven Wright.
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
Here’s the complete Red Sox lineup:
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Shane Victorino, RF
Hanley Ramirez, LF
David Ortiz, DH
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Mike Napoli, 1B
Rusney Castillo, CF
Brock Holt, 3B
Blake Swihart, C
Steven Wright, RHP
There were no chairs thrown, no yelling or screaming, but the message was clear, the Red Sox not happy with the way things are going.
They are now 8-12 at home, and even with the five runs scored, they are only averaging 2.45 runs per game in May with 13 of the 20 games scoring two runs or fewer.
“Everybody’s pissed. Obviously not playing well,” Dustin Pedroia said.
Overall the Red Sox are 19-23 on the year, 7-13 in the month of May and 10-18 over their last 28 games. They’ve have had a few team meetings over the past few weeks with Pedroia speaking at least one of them. The second baseman seemed like it was past the point of holding another meeting.
“Less talk more play,” he said.
“We’ve all been around long enough to know that doesn’t work,” he added. “You have to show up day in and day out and have the right process. If everybody plays together then we’re winning. Right now all aspects of our game aren’t together and when they aren’t together you’re not going to win.”
On a night where the Red Sox scored more runs than they had in their previous nine games, they didn’t get the performance from the mound they had been accustomed to from Rick Porcello, who allowed seven runs in just 4 1/3 innings after the team had won his last five starts. Red Sox starters had a string of eight straight games going at least five innings and allowing two earned runs or less.
“There’s definite frustration,” manager John Farrell said. “That’s shared by all in our clubhouse and who work day in and day out. We all know and we expect more from ourselves — that is a given, that’s repeatedly discussed and talked about and in the moment we have to go out and execute more consistently and do a better job all the way around.”
|Dustin Pedroia on runners in scoring position struggles: ‘That [expletive] will change’||05.07.15 at 12:15 am ET|
The Red Sox have lost five of their last six games, and went 3-6 on their most recent homestand, finishing with a 5-3 loss to the Rays Wednesday night.
You don’t have to search far for a common theme. No, it’s not just the starting pitching, it’s the inability to get a clutch hit. The Red Sox were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position Wednesday, and they are 4-for-45 (.080) in their last six games.
“Yeah, well it’s 28 games over 162, that [expletive] will change,” Dustin Pedroia said.
The Red Sox had plenty of chances Wednesday.
First, in the eighth inning after Mookie Betts crushed a solo homer to lead the inning off cutting the deficit to 4-3, the Red Sox then loaded the bases with one out against Rays reliever Kevin Jepsen. Daniel Nava, who pinch-hit for Allen Craig, grounded out to first and then Brock Holt also grounded out to first, ending the threat.
Second, even though Alexi Ogando allowed a solo homer to Evan Longoria in the ninth, the Red Sox still had a chance against Brad Boxberger in the ninth trailing by two runs. Xander Bogaerts led the inning off with a single to center and then Blake Swihart popped up to the catcher, but Bogaerts was able to advance to second on a wild pitch. Betts then walked to set up runners on first and second with one out.
But, once again the Red Sox couldn’t do anything with it as Dustin Pedroia struck out swinging and Luis Jimenez (who was inserted as a pinch-runner for Ortiz in the eighth) grounded out to end the game.
Farrell obviously would have liked to have Ortiz up in that situation, but he made the decision to insert Jimenez in the eighth. In hindsight it was the wrong move.
“With his run being the tying run, if we get a base hit there and we don’t pinch-run and he gets thrown out at home plate, you’re either damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” manager John Farrell said. “The way this one worked out there’s his spot and the final out. In the eighth inning, we’ve got multiple opportunities with the bases loaded there and didn’t cash in.”
|Closing Time: Red Sox comeback bid from 8-0 deficit falls short as Yankees complete weekend sweep||05.04.15 at 12:00 am ET|
With how powerful the Red Sox‘ offense is, they rarely are out of any given game, but when they have to make up an 8-run difference, that’s asking too much.
Red Sox starter Joe Kelly couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning as he allowed five runs before being removed with two outs in the fifth, as the Yankees beat the Red Sox 8-5 Sunday night.
The Yankees swept the weekend series — it was their first series sweep of three or more games at Fenway Park since August 21, 2006.
The right-hander went 4 2/3 innings allowing five runs on nine hits, while not walking a batter and striking out three. It was the second time over his five starts where he didn’t make it out of the fifth inning, and now four out of the five Red Sox starters can say the same.
“Tonight, once again Joe [Kelly] had very good stuff,” manager John Farrell said. “They fought off a number of pitches that were quality pitches within the strike zone. Anytime he made a mistake on the plate he paid for it with the two-run homer, two-run double. Once he got his curveball into the mix there were some seemingly easier innings for him and slowed them down quite a bit. But through the first three innings he had a hard time getting any secondary pitches over for strikes to get a hitter, their timing a little disrupted.”
Trailing 8-0, the Red Sox scored five times in the sixth inning to make it interesting, capped by a three-run home run by Mike Napoli. The homer cut the deficit to three at 8-5, and snapped a 1-for-11 slump, but that was the closest the Red Sox could get, although they did load the bases against Andrew Miller in the ninth.
The Red Sox couldn’t get much going off Yankees starter Adam Warren until the five-run fifth. Warren finished going 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on four hits. It was his third straight going 5 2/3 inning, the longest he’s gone in a start in his career.
“But I felt we showed tremendous fight, tremendous comeback,” Farrell said. “We scored five in the bottom of the inning after we’re down 8-0, right down to the final swing of the night. Load the bases against Miller and we kept battling back all the way through. We didn’t give any at-bats away. There’s still a strong competitive spirit in that room.”
Warnings were issued to both benches in the top of the eighth after Edward Mujica hit Jacoby Ellsbury with a pitch. This comes after Hanley Ramirez was hit in the top of the sixth. Ramirez took exception, walking slowly to first base with home plate umpire Jeff Nelson and firing his bat against the wall.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Ellsbury. The former Red Sox reached base six times as he went 4-for-4 with a walk and was hit by a pitch, while scoring two runs. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:
|Closing Time: Wade Miley goes 7 strong innings, but Red Sox offense goes quiet in loss to Yankees||05.02.15 at 4:19 pm ET|
On most days Wade Miley’s start would be good enough with the Red Sox‘ powerful lineup behind him.
Coming into the game with a 8.62 ERA and going 2 1/3 innings in two of his four starts, Miley threw his best game of the year tossing seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, while not walking a batter and striking out three.
Prior to the game he had walked at least two batters in every start this season, and had walked a total of 11 batters in his 15 2/3 innings to open the season.
“Obviously the last couple outings haven’t been the best, but I wanted to get deep in the game and give them a chance,” said Miley. “I was able to get through the seventh. Something good to build off of, for sure.”
It was his longest outing of the year, and going back to last season he had gone seven starts without pitching in the seventh inning. The outing could’ve been even better if one pitch was different in the fifth inning.
The Yankees snapped a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning with two outs. Miley was one strike away from getting out of the inning, but Brett Gardner lined a two RBI single to left. They added an insurance run in the eighth on a Chris Young solo homer.
“Much improved,” manager John Farrell said of Miley. “I think Wade today delivered what we anticipated and will anticipate going forward. I thought he did a much better job with keeping the pace that he works at a little bit more under control. Threw a number of breaking balls for strikes and a lot of strikes overall. The fifth inning, 2-2 breaking ball to Gardner is pretty much the difference in this one.”
Dustin Pedroia had the first Red Sox run — a solo home run in the fourth inning. They got their second in the seventh inning on a Mookie Betts RBI double off the wall scoring Blake Swihart, but Pedroia left the tying run in scoring position grounding out to short.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Miley. Despite the loss, the Red Sox left-hander posted his best start to the season and bounced back in a big way after Sunday’s terrible performance in Baltimore. He got back to his old habits of getting ground balls, proving effective. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:
|Red Sox lineup: Shane Victorino returns, Dustin Pedroia gets ‘planned’ day off||04.19.15 at 11:20 am ET|
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
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