|Sunday’s Red Sox-Tigers ALCS matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Max Scherzer||10.13.13 at 11:28 am ET|
In the ALDS, Clay Buchholz, who posted a 1.74 ERA in the regular season, had to wait until Game 3 to take the mound against the Rays.
But Buchholz will start Game 2 of the ALCS vs. Max Scherzer and the Tigers at Fenway Park on Sunday night.
The righty threw six innings Monday in Game 3 and allowed three runs, seven hits and three walks in a 5-4 loss at Tropicana Field. Boston took the series in four games.
Buchholz shut out Tampa Bay through the first four innings of the start. But in the fifth inning, he experienced a significant hiccup when third baseman Evan Longoria launched a three-run home run to tie the game. Buchholz went one more inning and Boston eventually lost on a walk-off home run by Jose Lobaton off Koji Uehara.
“Yeah, he did an awesome job tonight,” Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said of Buchholz after the game. “Longoria is a great hitter and we’ve gotten him on that changeup before in the past, and we got him the at-bat before that. Not that he was sitting on it, I don’t think, but I think the pitch just kind of went right down into his swing and he was able to get it out of the park as well.”
Manager John Farrell opted for John Lackey over Buchholz in Game 2 of the ALDS, mainly because of Lackey’s extreme home/road splits. But Lackey struggled in the Oct. 5 start. He allowed four runs and 10 hits plus walks in just 5 1/3 innings in Boston’s 7-4 Game 2 win at home.
None of Buchholz’s 16 regular-season starts this season came against Detroit.
Scherzer followed a breakout regular season — he won an MLB-high 21 games, and usurped Justin Verlander as the team’s ace — in the Tigers’ five-game ALDS vs. Oakland.
The six-year pro earned two of Detroit’s three wins, one coming in a gutsy relief outing just four days after notching a Game 1 victory.
Facing elimination in Game 4, Scherzer entered a 3-3 game and allowed a run in his first inning of work. The Tigers took the lead back the next inning. Scherzer came out for a second inning and instantly found himself in a massive bind. Oakland loaded the bases with zero outs. Manager Jim Leyland stuck with Scherzer, despite three lefties due up, and Scherzer rewarded him. He struck out Josh Reddick and Stephen Vogt, then got Alberto Callaspo to line out to center field. From that inning on, the Tigers never relinquished the lead.
In Game 1 on Oct. 4, Scherzer dominated the Athletics. He struck out 11 batters in seven innings, and allowed just two runs and three hits.
Scherzer made a pair of starts against Boston this season. He allowed just two runs in seven innings in both starts, as he won a June 22 start at Comerica Park, but took a tough-luck loss on Sept. 3 at Fenway.
|Chris Singleton on M&M: ‘I wasn’t 100 percent’ that Red Sox should have walked Evan Longoria||10.08.13 at 2:47 pm ET|
ESPN MLB analyst Chris Singleton joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the ALDS series between the Red Sox and Rays and and decisions made by Sox manager John Farrell during Monday night’s Game 3 loss.
Singleton said that he wasn’t sure that walking Rays slugger Evan Longoria in the bottom of the fifth inning was the right move at the time for the Sox. Rather than walking Longoria and loading the bases, Sox starter Clay Buchholz pitched to the third baseman and surrendered a three-run home run, tying the game.
“Longoria, obviously, that situation, the three-run home run. I don’t know. A lot of times, I’m so quick to say, ‘Yeah, you got to walk this guy and put him on,’ but Longoria didn’t really have good swings. I mean, Clay, he was throwing that front-door cutter, that sinker in there, and there was some swings that weren’t great,” Singleton said. “I wasn’t 100 percent like, ‘Yeah, you’ve got to walk him here.’ Sometimes there’s certain things within the game that you can kind of feel. … But it’s not always that way.”
Singleton also added that in that situation in the fifth, he would still be worried about having to pitch to Rays rookie Wil Myers with the bases loaded, despite the fact that he has failed to collect a hit in the series so far.
“Yeah, I mean it makes sense [to pitch to Myers over Longoria]. It makes total sense to go that route. But Myers, for me, and Myers hasn’t done anything here in this postseason, but I watch him take BP, and I watch some of the balls he hits right and … I’ve got this feeling that you know what, this guy, he’s one swing away from getting hot in this postseason. You just have that kind of strange feeling,” Singleton said. “I don’t know if that’s a feeling that John Farrell has, I don’t know.”
Farrell also took David Ortiz out of the game in eighth in order to put speedster Quintin Berry on the basepaths. Singleton said he believes that it’s important for a manager to stick with his philosophy and style, even during the high-pressure moments of October baseball.
“Well, yeah, it’s important because it sends a message to the players. It’s very important, because when they see you do something different or out of character, unless that thing works and starts to send a little something to the team, it [shows] a little bit of panic,” Singleton said. “And that’s the last thing that you want in the postseason. … So I think it’s important. These managers, man, I’ve been doing this postseason for awhile now and being at these ballparks … Everything, every move that they make is scrutinized so hard, and there are some that deserve it.”
|Kevin Millar on M&M: ‘Rays are a scary, scary club’||10.04.13 at 12:48 pm ET|
MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to preview the ALDS between the Red Sox and Rays.
Millar said his biggest concern regarding the Red Sox is their four-day layoff, while the Rays have played twice in that span.
“I’d rather be the Rays,” Millar said. “That’s the routine that we’re in — two different countries, four different cities, playing baseball, elimination games, and then they get a chance to throw Matt Moore against them? A 17-game winner? That’s the scary thing. The Rays are a scary, scary club.
“The good news for the Red Sox is that they know each other. They know the strengths, they know the weaknesses. But right now, it’s going to be nice if the Red Sox can get out to a nice two-run lead, the double off the Green Monster by somebody to get this crowd fired up, and know that your timing at the plate is back.”
Jon Lester faces Moore in Game 1 Friday afternoon.
“It’s going to be a good little game, I think,” Millar said. “I don’t think you’re going to see balls flying out of the yard tonight. I think Lester and Moore will throw a nice game. The advantage is Jon Lester. But stay away from Evan Longoria. … If you see Evan Longoria go deep tonight, shame on you, Sox.”
Koji Uehara has had a record-setting season as Red Sox closer. While Uehara usually starts the ninth inning, manager John Farrell has said he won’t hesitate to use the 38-year-old for more than three outs in the postseason, and Millar agrees.
“I think you ride the hot hand,” Millar said. “He’s been unbelievable. Can’t take anything away from him. He’s been unbelievable. … Keep riding him. Throw him five, six outs, whatever it is. Do whatever you can to win the game that night.”
|Buster Olney on M&M: Rays’ schedule, lack of production from star bats could doom them in AL East race||09.04.13 at 2:05 pm ET|
ESPN’s Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday and talked about the uphill battle the Rays face in catching the Red Sox for the AL East title, particularly considering Tampa Bay’s difficult schedule down the stretch.
After a Tampa Bay loss to the Angels combined with a Red Sox win Tuesday night, the Rays dropped 5½ games behind Boston with 25 games remaining.
Those remaining 25 games include the conclusion of a West Coast trip with the Angels and Mariners, followed by a three-game series with the Red Sox, an eight-game homestand vs. the Rangers and the Orioles, and road trips to the Yankees, Twins and Blue Jays.
Of equal concern to Olney was the previous two weeks for the Rays.
“I had the Rays as having the toughest schedule in the majors in the second half among the contenders, but I don’t think I so much focused on the 37 games in 38 days thing like I should have,” Olney said.
On Aug. 23, the Rays started a 38-day stretch of playing 37 games. Those games included and include pivotal AL East series vs. the Red Sox, Yankees and Orioles, a makeup game with the Royals wedged between two home series, and a 10-day West Coast trip.
“The idea that even among their few homestands they had left down the stretch, they had to have the one-game makeup where they play a home game in Tampa Bay, then fly to Kansas City, then fly back and play three games against the Angels, then head out on the West Coast … it’s a meat grinder,” Olney said.
|Rays’ Evan Longoria: ‘Sad day for MLB,’ but ‘a tremendous step in the right direction for the game we love’||08.05.13 at 3:53 pm ET|
Major League Baseball on Monday announced the suspensions of Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (who is appealing) and 12 others (who have accepted their 50-game bans), including Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera and Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
Initial reaction from around the sports world was to condemn the offending players and praise MLB for attempting to clean up the game.
The Taylor Hooton Foundation — a charitable organization founded in memory of a Texas high school pitcher who in 2003 committed suicide, which his parents believed was related to prior use of steroids — issued a statement saying it was cutting ties with Rodriguez. A-Rod had partnered with the foundation in 2009 after admitting that he had used PEDs in the past, although he claimed that he had stopped.
Former major league pitcher Dan Meyer, who was beaten out by Antonio Bastardo for a spot in the Phillies bullpen in 2011, took to Twitter to vent his frustration after Bastardo’s name was on the list of suspended players.
Hey Antonio Bastardo, remember when we competed for a job in 2011. Thx alot. #ahole
— Dan Meyer (@Dmy53) August 5, 2013
Rays third baseman Evan Longoria tried to take an optimistic approach to the announcement.
Today is a sad day for MLB,the fans of this great game, and all players who may have been negatively affected by others selfishness…
— Evan Longoria (@Evan3Longoria) August 5, 2013
Ultimately, although today will be a day of infamy for MLB, it is a tremendous step in the right direction for the game we love.
— Evan Longoria (@Evan3Longoria) August 5, 2013
|Evan Longoria, Dustin Pedroia and extensions for franchise cornerstones||11.26.12 at 8:07 pm ET|
Evan Longoria said at a press conference announcing his six-year, $100 million extension (which will functionally turn his current contract into a 10-year, $136 million pact with the Rays that runs through 2022) that the free agent market never really enticed him, and that he’s hoping to become the first wire-to-wire member of the Rays in franchise history. He was willing to leave potential money on the table in pursuit of that outcome.
Had he concluded his original contract — signed just days after his big league debut in Tampa Bay — in good health while maintaining his career performance to date, then at age 30, the gifted third baseman might well have commanded a contract for nearly double the $100 million he’s been guaranteed by the Rays. But in order to secure a nine-figure deal a full four years before free agency, and to stay with the only franchise he’s ever known, that was a sacrifice Longoria was prepared to make, and one that, from the team’s vantage point, he had to make. There is, after all, considerable risk for a team in making a commitment that does not start until 2017.
The Sox, of course, have their own homegrown franchise cornerstone in Dustin Pedroia, and like Longoria, he jumped in with both feet to sign up long-term with the Red Sox early in his career. The second baseman, shortly after he was announced as the winner of the 2008 AL MVP, agreed to a six-year, $40.5 million deal that runs through 2014 and includes an $11 million (with a $500,000 buyout) for 2015.
Had he passed on the opportunity to sign a long-term deal, Pedroia would have been a free-agent this offseason. Instead the Sox have him under team control (assuming the option is exercised) for three more years at $31 million — an extraordinary value for the club.
As it currently stands, assuming (again) that the Sox would be inclined to exercise their option (a no-brainer), Pedroia is positioned to reach free agency after his age 31 baseball season (he will turn 32 in August 2015). Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, in an interview earlier in November on the Dennis & Callahan show, cited Pedroia’s deal as an example of a successful long-term commitment and hinted that the team would like to retain him beyond its current commitment. Read the rest of this entry »
|Hot Stove: Rays extend Evan Longoria through at least 2022||at 10:40 am ET|
The Rays announced in a press release that they have reached a six-year contract extension with third baseman Evan Longoria that will run through at least the 2022 season, with an option for 2023. He will be paid $100 million from 2017-22 under the extension. The deal includes Longoria’s original salary for the 2013 season while guaranteeing the three option years in his contract that encompass the 2014-16 seasons. As per the terms of the original deal, Longoria will earn $36 million from 2013-16, meaning he will receive $136 million over the next 10 seasons.
Longoria, 27, is a career .276 hitter with a .361 OBP and .516 slugging mark and has won two Gold Gloves in five big league seasons. The 2008 American League Rookie of the Year signed his original deal just days into his big league career at the start of the 2008 season, when he agreed to a six-year, $17.5 million deal that included the three team options.
He was limited to 74 games in 2012 due to a partially torn hamstring that ultimately required surgery this offseason (a procedure, according to the Rays, that won’t affect his availability for the start of spring training). In that limited time, he hit .289 with a .369 OBP, .527 slugging percentage and .896 OPS along with 17 homers. The No. 3 overall pick of the 2006 draft is now locked up through his age 36 season.
“Evan has all of the attributes we seek in a player,” Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in the statement. “His determination and work ethic inspire others around him. He is devoted to his craft and strives to improve himself every year, and he defines success in terms of team performance and achievement. It’s exciting to know that Evan will be manning third base for the Rays for many years to come.”
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