|Closing Time: Hanley Ramirez continues hot streak, Clay Buchholz picks up win as Red Sox beat Yankees||09.16.16 at 10:24 pm ET|
The Red Sox appear to be in a good position for the final 15 games of the season.
Led by Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate, and Clay Buchholz on the mound, the Red Sox beat Yankees 7-4 Friday night at Fenway Park.
They now lead the Yankees by six games in the AL East and Orioles by two games as they came from behind to beat the Rays. The Blue Jays are playing the Angels late on the West Coast.
The Red Sox carried over their momentum from Thursday night into the first inning on Friday as they scored two runs. David Ortiz had an RBI single off the Green Monster, but was thrown out at second base and then Ramirez singled up the middle to make it a 2-0 game.
Ramirez kept his hot streak going as he crushed a solo homer in the fourth inning to almost the exact same spot as his walk-off on Thursday to put the Red Sox in front 3-0 at the time. Travis Shaw and Sandy Leon each added RBIs before Bradley Jr. hit a solo homer in the seventh.
Buchholz wasn’t perfect by any means, but was able to make key pitches when he needed to as he escaped a few jams. The right-hander went six innings and allowed two runs on seven hits, while walking two and striking out two. It was his seventh win of the year.
He’s given the team two outstanding starts in his last three outings with Steven Wright down and possibly out for the year.
The Yankees went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Robbie Ross Jr. (2/3 of an inning), Brad Zieger (1/3 of an inning), Koji Uehara (one inning) were excellent in relief as they didn’t allow a run in two innings of work, but Fernando Abad had issues in the ninth as he allowed a two-run homer to Billy Butler forcing Craig Kimbrel to come on for the final two outs.
Ramirez has six home runs in his last nine games, nine in his last 16, and 10 in his last 19.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox win.
With there only being 16 games left in the regular season and the Red Sox with a good chance of making the postseason, it’s never too early to start thinking about a potential playoff roster and who will be on it.
The Red Sox bullpen has a 0.74 ERA in the month of September — the best in baseball — with a number of players stepping up to deliver strong performances.
Given the number of great individual outings and players performing better than earlier in the year, there will be a lot of competition for the final bullpen spots, but manager John Farrell said the remaining games will not be considered an audition.
“No, it’s about what to we need to do to win tonight,” Farrell said. “Not to short-circuit the answer, but I don’t anyone is looking beyond today. And honestly, that’s the mentally we have to maintain until the last out is made whenever and wherever that is.”
One of the pitchers who has made a name for himself is left-hander Robby Scott, who was added to the roster when rosters expanded on Sept. 1.
In two appearances, Scott hasn’t allowed an earned run over four innings, which included a three inning appearance Thursday night against the Yankees, which proved key to keep the Red Sox within striking distance prior to Hanley Ramirez’s walk-off home run.
Scott made his major league debut this month as the 27-year-old has had a long journey to the big leagues.
“It was, but yet the other day in that sim game we had him throw an inning just to tune him up, sharpen him up, just to get him on the mound,” Farrell said when asked if the team took an inning-by-inning approach on Thursday with him. “As he was going through that game last night — and even if you set aside the final outcome — those three innings were key just to preserve staying away from certain guys when you’re down on the scoreboard.
“Just an incredible personal story on his part from where he’s come from, the way he’s made adjustments this year to make himself even that much more unique — all credit to him for the work that he’s put in, but I think the thing that stands out is maybe that he’s starting in Yuma, Arizona and the Independent League trail that he’s followed, there’s no fear on his part. Just a good strike-thrower with maybe not the most overpowering stuff, but the change of angles and the fearlessness certainly plays out.”
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
|John Farrell ‘confident’ Red Sox’ recent struggles with men on base will change||08.26.16 at 11:40 pm ET|
The biggest issue for the Red Sox of late hasn’t been their pitching staff, rather their lack of timely hits.
The trend continued Friday night in the Red Sox’ 6-3 loss to the Royals where they went 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left a total of 12 men on base.
The top four spots in the order went 13-for-19, including Mookie Betts going 5-for-5, but the No. 5-9 spots went just 2-for-21 with 10 strikeouts.
“We continually do a great job of creating opportunities and I am confident this will turn,” manager John Farrell said. “I can’t say that we expanded the strike zone with men in scoring position or the bases loaded. [Ian] Kennedy challenged us and we came up empty with a number of scoring opportunities.”
With the loss, the Red Sox have now lost three straight games for the first time since July 27. They’ve also dropped four out of their last six games, overall.
In those six games, the allusive key hit just hasn’t been there. In those games, the team is batting just .233 with runners in scoring position. Overall, going into Friday, they were batting .286 for the season.
Friday was also a good example of how players at the bottom of the order are hurting them as the top of the order has been getting on base (evident by Betts and Dustin Pedroia going 9-for-9), but some of the players in the bottom half haven’t been producing to drive them in.
Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon and his .369 batting average keep moving up the lineup.
Leon is batting sixth Friday night, which is ahead of Jackie Bradley Jr. as the Red Sox go up against Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy in the first of a three-game series.
Other than that, it’s a standard Red Sox lineup against a right-hander with Travis Shaw at third base and Brock Holt in left field.
Leon will catch Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright, who is making his first start since Aug. 5.
Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Mookie Betts, RF
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Sandy Leon, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Travis Shaw, 3B
Brock Holt, LF
Steven Wright, RHP
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
|Closing Time: Rick Porcello a winner in return to Detroit as Red Sox pummel Tigers||08.19.16 at 9:56 pm ET|
DETROIT — It’s not as if Rick Porcello can say he was out to prove the Tigers wrong, since the man who traded him away now runs the Red Sox.
But there’s no question Porcello took a little extra pleasure in beating his former team on Friday night as the Red Sox bounced back from one of their worst losses of the season with an overwhelming 10-2 victory.
The Sox tagged standout rookie starter Michael Fulmer with a career-worst six runs, and that was more than enough for Porcello, who allowed a two-run homer in the second and then silenced the Tigers en route to his 17th win of the season.
At 17-3 with a 3.22 ERA, Porcello strengthened his dark-horse candidacy for the American League Cy Young Award in a wide-open field. He allowed 2 runs (1 ER) on four hits in seven innings, lowering his ERA from 3.30 and joining Toronto’s J.A. Happ as the only 17-game winners in the big leagues.
“He’s putting himself in the conversation, there’s no doubt,” manager John Farrell said of the Cy Young race before the game. “Innings per start, efficiency, all that. He’s been our stopper, and has had one heck of a year for us.”
The Red Sox needed it on Friday after Thursday’s bullpen meltdown turned a 3-1 lead into a 4-3 loss.
|Jackie Bradley on hitting home run No. 20: ‘That’s the most I’ve ever hit at any level’||08.18.16 at 1:08 am ET|
Jackie Bradley’s dream season continues with a first he didn’t even achieve in Little League — 20 home runs.
Bradley blasted No. 20 in the third inning against the the Orioles on Wednesday night, breaking a 1-1 tie and propelling the Red Sox to an 8-1 victory.
“Twenty home runs,” Bradley said. “That’s the most I’ve ever had at any level, and what better than to do it at the top level.”
Bradley’s two-run shot to center off of Orioles starter Dylan Bundy opened the floodgates for the Red Sox, who got another homer from Sandy Leon in the fifth to put the game out of reach.
“I just try to attack the baseball, hit it hard,” said Bradley, who totaled 14 homers in his first three seasons. “I don’t try to put any I guess trajectory on it. I just try to square it up and let it do what it wants.”
|Closing Time: David Ortiz’s 2-run blast helps Drew Pomeranz to first win with Red Sox||08.15.16 at 4:16 pm ET|
As he’s done for years, David Ortiz put the Red Sox on his back, with the heroics this time resulting in a 3-2 win over the Indians in Cleveland on Monday afternoon.
The Red Sox offense couldn’t find any answers through the first two-thirds of the makeup game from April 7. But in the sixth inning Ortiz delivered a one-out, no-doubter home run into the right-field bleachers, giving the Red Sox a lead they would never relinquish.
The dinger brought Ortiz into a tie for 10th in the league for home runs with 27.
Two batters later, Jackie Bradley Jr. drilled his 19th homer of the year into right-center field.
The sixth-inning power surge helped starter Drew Pomeranz earn his first win in a Red Sox uniform. Aside from a fourth inning solo shot to Rajai Davis, the lefty was impressive, going 7 2/3 innings and allowing a pair of runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
By and large, Pomeranz showed ability to get himself out of potentially volatile situations, most notably forcing Carlos Santana into a 5-4-3 double play after walking Mike Napoli to start the seventh inning.
He did put himself in trouble in the eighth, however, allowing a double to Chris Gimenez, who later scored on a Davis double to let the Tribe climb within one. Fernando Abad came in to relieve Pomeranz, getting Jose Ramirez to fly out to left.
After allowing a leadoff double to Francisco Lindor then a walk to Mike Napoli to start the ninth, Craig Kimbrel struck out Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis and Jose Almonte to fly out to earn his 20th save of the year.
|Jackie Bradley Jr. gets revenge on Hanley Ramirez by video bombing his hit on MLB Network||07.26.16 at 5:44 pm ET|
Jackie Bradley Jr. got his revenge.
Back in May when Bradley Jr. appeared on MLB Network after winning the American League Player of the Week, Hanley Ramirez appeared in the background distracting Bradley Jr.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) May 16, 2016
Tuesday, Bradley Jr. got his revenge by doing the same when Ramirez was on MLB Network after winning the most recent AL Player of the Week.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) July 26, 2016
|Closing Time: Drew Pomeranz much better in 2nd start, but Red Sox offense fails to come through in loss to Tigers||07.25.16 at 10:38 pm ET|
Drew Pomeranz deserved better.
After the left-hander allowed five runs in just three innings during his Red Sox debut last week, Pomeranz bounced back nicely, but the offense was silenced by Justin Verlander and couldn’t come through late as the Red Sox fell to the Tigers, 4-2.
Pomeranz went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out seven. He only made one mistake the entire night when he allowed a two-run homer well over the Monster seats to Jose Iglesias in the sixth inning.
“I had a good curveball tonight,” Pomeranz said. “I was locating my fastball a lot better. I was in a lot better counts all night and really, one bad pitch that hurt us.”
Pomeranz has allowed four or fewer hits in 12 of his 18 starts this season, which leads the majors.
Joe Kelly made his relief debut as a member of the Red Sox in the seventh and allowed a run on two hits. Kelly allowed a lead off triple to Justin Upton, who then scored on a RBI single up the middle by James McCann.
“He was powerful. A lot of power,” manager John Farrell said. “A lot of velocity. Some inconsistent command getting behind in the count — 2-1 to Upton, fastball out over the plate that he’s able to drive one the other way. Still, the first look, I thought he threw enough strikes. He threw a breaking ball for strikes on occasion. First look on his part.”
Another starter turned reliever, Clay Buchholz pitched the eighth and he allowed a run on two hits. Iglesias led the inning off with a bloop single and advanced to second on a passed ball, got to third on a sacrifice fly and then scored on a Victor Martinez single.
Buchholz would then throw a 1-2-3 ninth.
|Closing Time: Red Sox squander lead, fall for 2nd straight night to Twins||07.23.16 at 11:22 pm ET|
At multiple points in Saturday night’s game, it seemed like nothing could top how topsy-turvy the windy weather was. What transpired on the field during Red Sox’ 4-hour, 11-minute, 11-9 loss to the Twins proved otherwise.
And it was all highlighted by one of the most frustrating innings of the Red Sox’ season.
Carrying an uncomfortable, 8-5 lead the seventh, the Red Sox squandered their advantage in a big way, starting with a misread fly ball by Michael Martinez in deep right field that resulted in an RBI triple for Max Kepler. Brock Holt followed up with a misread fly ball of his own in left field, sliding to early to try to make the catch with the ball instead deflecting off his glove for an RBI double.
“Our guys have been in that spot where they’ve converged on that ball numerous times. Brock [Holt] tries to make a sliding catch, it goes off the heel of his glove, I can’t say whether the ball was jumping around on him in pursuit.” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “I thought Clay deserved better in that spot.”
Things started looking up as Jackie Bradley Jr. appeared to throw out Kennys Vargas at the plate to end the inning, however a review of the play showed otherwise, tying the game.
Eduardo Nunez then provided a pivotal two-run single to put the Twins up by what would be the final margin.
The Red Sox utilized Clay Buchholz, Tommy Layne and Heath Hembree in the seventh inning alone.
“We try to space out the work as best possible, but on a night when Barnes is unavailable, that’s a guy that’s missed on a night like this,” Farrell said. “And with Junichi [Tazawa] coming off the DL, you have to be careful with his overall usage, but in a situation where both Tommy [Layne] and Robbie [Ross Jr.] are going four out of five days, yeah, that goes back to the depth of the … rotation and being able to work deeper into games.”
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