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Red Sox 6, Cardinals 3: Mookie Betts does it all in win to open road trip 05.16.17 at 11:36 pm ET
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Mookie Betts homered to leadoff Tuesday's game. (Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports)

Mookie Betts homered to leadoff Tuesday’s game. (Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports)

Many of the Red Sox have been in slumps of late, but not Mookie Betts.

The right fielder took home American League Player of the Week honors last week when he batted .375 with three home runs, and he picked up where he left off Tuesday night in St. Louis when he led the Red Sox to a 6-3 win over the Cardinals.

For a complete game recap, click here.

Betts wasted no time, as he blasted a leadoff home run to start the game. It was his 10th career leadoff home run, which ties the Red Sox’ all-time record (Jacoby Ellsbury).

The right fielder wasn’t done there, as he drove in the tying run at the time (3-3) in the fifth inning on a RBI ground out. The right fielder also made a tremendous play by throwing out Matt Carpenter at second base when he tried to extend a single into a double in the bottom half of the inning.

Carpenter ripped a liner down the line that kicked off the wall halfway out to the fence, Betts tracked it down and fired a strike to get him at second base to end the inning. If Carpenter got to second base he would have been the tying run.

Overall, Betts went 1-for-5 with two RBIs, but he had a much bigger impact on the game than the stat line indicates. With the bulk of the Red Sox lineup in a funk (finishing with only six hits in the game), Betts’ play of late could not have come at a better time.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is one of those players slumping, but he showed signs of coming out of it in the win.

The center fielder went 2-for-3 with a home run, a double and a walk. It’s worth noting both these hits were to the opposite field, a sign he’s much more locked in than he has been in recent weeks.

The Red Sox are only two games over .500 and that is primarily because of some of their top hitters underperforming. After a slow start to the season Betts has picked it up of late, and the Red Sox need some of their other key hitters to follow.

Shattering Perceptions Game Note Image

The Cardinals scored one of their runs on a sacrifice fly caught by Xander Bogaerts off the bat of Carpenter. Thanks to Baseball Reference Play Index, it was 134th sac fly fielded by a shortstop in the MLB since 1970 and Carpenter is the only batter with three of them (h/t @nuggetpalooza).

Read More: jackie bradley jr., mookie betts,
Red Sox lineup: Jackie Bradley Jr. out, Dustin Pedroia back to batting 1st 05.03.17 at 3:21 pm ET
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Dustin Pedroia is back in the lead off spot. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Dustin Pedroia is back in the lead off spot. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox are making a few lineup changes for Game 3 of a four-game set against the Orioles.

Jackie Bradley Jr. will get the night off, which means Andrew Benintendi will play center field and Chris Young left field against Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman.

Dustin Pedroia will move back to the lead off spot with Xander Bogaerts sliding down to fifth.

Christian Vazquez will catch Red Sox left-hander Drew Pomeranz.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup.

Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Andrew Benintendi, CF
Mookie Betts, RF
Hanley Ramirez, DH
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Mitch Moreland, 1B
Chris Young, LF
Marco Hernandez, 3B
Christian Vazquez, C
Drew Pomeranz, LHP

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, jackie bradley jr.,
Thursday Red Sox Farm Report: Jackie Bradley Jr. homers on his birthday; Michael Chavis hits 3 home runs, including walk-off 04.20.17 at 10:16 am ET
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Here is what happened in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (7-6): W, 4-0 at Charlotte 

— The PawSox hit two home runs in their 4-0 win over Charlotte and one came courtesy of Jackie Bradley Jr. on his 27th birthday. Bradley went 1-for-3 in the second game of his rehab assignment with the PawSox for a right knee sprain. Josh Rutledge, also with the team for his rehab assignment after a left hamstring strain, went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Bradley Jr. is expected to rejoin the Red Sox in Baltimore on Friday.

— Brandon Workman and Noe Ramirez pitched a combined three innings in relief. Workman recorded five strikeouts in his two innings of work.

— Yoan Moncada started at second base for Charlotte and struck out three times.

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Read More: jackie bradley jr., michael chavis,
Red Sox notebook: Jackie Bradley Jr. nearing return; Josh Rutledge close, too 04.16.17 at 12:39 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

The Red Sox lineup, starved power, could be getting a 26-homer hit back in the near future.

Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is scheduled to join Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday in Charlotte and start in center field. The plan, manager John Farrell told reporters at Fenway Park before Sunday’s game against the Rays, is for Bradley to play five innings on Tuesday, nine innings on Wednesday, and then rejoin the Red Sox on Friday for the start of their weekend series in Baltimore.

Bradley was placed on the 10-day disabled list last Saturday after spraining a ligament in his right knee vs. the Tigers while rounding the bases.

He’s not the only injured player nearing a return. Infielder Josh Rutledge, who opened the season on the 10-day DL with a hamstring injury, will join Bradley on the Triple-A rehab assignment, though Farrell said that he’ll need a little more time.

“He’ll need more at-bats and more of a progression defensively getting back on the field,” Farrell noted, adding, “so all are making very good strides here of late.”

Bradley, a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder and 2016 All-Star, hit 26 homers last year and the Red Sox could use his power. They currently rank last in the American League with five homers as a team.

Rutledge, meanwhile, potentially gives Farrell a right-handed bat to platoon with struggling third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who’s hitting just .132.

In other Sox news  . . .

— David Price reported no ill effects after Saturday’s bullpen session. Sunday is a scheduled day off.

“I will say this past week is a step in the right direction in terms of the overall volume and intensity, so we’ll get a better read tomorrow on what the next steps are going to be,” Farrell said. “Whether that’s another bullpen, whether that’s BP, that’s all dependent on how he continues to advance.”

— Knuckleballer Steven Wright is working to make sure his ball doesn’t over-rotate after allowing eight runs in just 1 1/3 innings of his last start, against the Orioles.

“The maintenance for a knuckleballer is to try and deaden spin, and that’s where the focus and emphasis has been,” Farrell said. “As I mentioned the other day: any time spin creates on a knuckleballer, it’s going to be a challenge for him, and a tough day. And it was for Steven he last time out.”

Read More: jackie bradley jr., JBJ, Josh Rutledge, Red Sox
Jackie Bradley Jr. could see live at-bats against David Price as both work way back from injuries 04.14.17 at 5:05 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr. could face David Price next week. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

Jackie Bradley Jr. could face David Price next week. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

The earliest Jackie Bradley Jr. (knee) can return from the disabled list is Wednesday, and by all accounts that remains a distinct possibility.

The center fielder did some on-field work Friday afternoon at Fenway Park, including some running with a brace he has been fitted for.

“I think there is [a chance he returns the day he’s eligible],” manager John Farrell said. “I wouldn’t rule it out at this point, particularly with his comments with how he feels coming out of the strength tests that he’s going through and the work they are putting him through. He’s been upbeat. He feels good. I think the brace gives him added confidence and stability as he gets acclimated to it. I wouldn’t rule it out.”

Bradley Jr. suffered the knee injury last weekend in Detroit, but has made progress each day since.

“Good day again today from a rehab and agility standpoint,” Farrell said. “Swung the bat in the cage to determine his on-field ability to take BP, which he will today. He’s wearing a brace and will continue to advance the baseball activities.”

Farrell also said Bradley Jr. might not need a rehab game or two because he could get some live at-bats against David Price.

Price is making steady progress working his way back from an elbow injury and could be ready to face live hitters early next week, which would work out nicely for Bradley Jr. and the team.

“Well, we’re hopeful by the time that comes around, David Price is facing some live hitters at that point so we can get some at-bats in that scenario,” Farrell said.

As for Hanley Ramirez, he’s yet to play a game this year at first base and his throwing program was slowed down because he had the flu last weekend.

According to Farrell, the team isn’t boycotting him playing first base, but know Ramirez prefers to DH.

“I think he does [want to play first base],” Farrell said. “I know for a fact he thrives in the DH slot. That’s probably his preference overall, but in conversations throughout the winter, once we acquired Mitch to the conversations throughout spring training, he understands how our roster is built. He’s not boycotting it, but I know where his preference lies. What is best for our team too has him going over to first base on occasion.”

Read More: David Price, hanley ramirez, jackie bradley jr., John Farrell
Red Sox notes: Jackie Bradley Jr. (knee) sees encouraging signs; Matt Barnes appears to be 8th inning guy 04.11.17 at 5:23 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr. is on the DL with a hyperextended knee. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

Jackie Bradley Jr. is on the DL with a hyperextended knee. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

After hyperextending his knee in Detroit over the weekend, Jackie Bradley Jr. was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday, but things are looking better than they could have been.

While there’s no timetable for his return, manager John Farrell called Tuesday an “encouraging” day for the center fielder. Farrell added he will be fitted for a knee brace.

“I don’t have a timeframe,” Farrell said. “I thought there were some encouraging signs that he went through today with the rehab and the agility work here. I know we’re fitting him for a brace to be worn.

“And just talking with Jackie, he seemed to be upbeat here today. This has been a little bit of an oddity. Those who have watched the replay, it is an ugly position he got himself into with the hyperextension. We feel like we maybe have dodged a bullet a little bit with what potentially could have happened from an injury standpoint. The fact that he walked off under his own power was encouraging. Minimum of 10 days, but we’ll see where we are shortly after that.”

In the clubhouse, Bradley Jr. noted he feels good, but is not going to rush a return.

“I feel great,” he said. “They just want to give it some time — injury that is serious enough. Time is the only thing that’s going to heal it.”

Bradley Jr. added: “Whenever it’s ready. I am not going to rush it. I just want to make sure I am able to make all the same powerful moves I made before with no hesitation.”

The center fielder was off to a good start to the season, going 4-for-14 in his first four games of the season. It appears Andrew Benintendi will get most of the starts in center during his absence.

One of the bigger questions with the roster over the first week of the season is how the bullpen will look leading to Craig Kimbrel in the ninth. Farrell said he has no problem matching up until the ninth, but said as of now Matt Barnes is the primary set-up man.

“Depending on the inning, yeah,” Farrell said of matching up until the ninth. “I think the way Matt Barnes is throwing the baseball, you could say he is going to have the eighth inning provided he has not gone two innings the day before. As best we can and as rapidly as we can to settle into roles we’re moving in that direction.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

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Read More: Carson Smith, David Price, jackie bradley jr., Tyler Thornburg
Red Sox make roster moves in advance of series with Orioles, including Jackie Bradley Jr. to DL at 3:23 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr. was placed on the 10-day disabled list. (Winslow Townsend/USA Today Sports)

Jackie Bradley Jr. was placed on the 10-day disabled list. (Winslow Townsend/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox are getting a few players back, but also losing another. Prior to the series against the Orioles, the Red Sox made a few roster moves.

Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was placed on the 10-day disabled list (retroactive to April 9) with a right knee sprain, Xander Bogaerts was activated off the bereavement list and Drew Pomeranz was activated off the 10-day disabled list.

To make room for these players on the roster, Deven Marrero was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Bogaerts is in the lineup Tuesday night and Drew Pomeranz will make his season debut on the mound.

Without Bradley Jr., it appears Andrew Benintendi will get the majority of the playing time in center field. By all accounts it appears Bradley Jr.’s trip to the disabled list will not be longer than the 10 days.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Read More: jackie bradley jr., xander bogaerts,
Minus David Ortiz, Red Sox plan new approach to beating shift — more bunting 02.15.17 at 2:04 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

FORT MYERS, Fla. — With defensive shifts becoming so common they’re even used against pull-happy No. 9 hitters, the Red Sox plan to alter their offensive approach to beat them by going old-school and bunting.

Per Baseball Info Solutions, the Red Sox faced over 1,300 defensive shifts last year, seventh most in baseball. Almost a quarter of them (408) came against retired slugger David Ortiz, but he wasn’t alone. Jackie Bradley (224) was also shifted frequently, for instance, and manager John Farrell would like to see the team’s approach to such situations evolve.

“One of the things that we’ve really seen is that even with guys coming in the first part of their career, guys are really starting to get shifted against when we’re on offense,” Farrell said. “We’ve got some things that we’ll look to do to hopefully take back some of those lanes that are otherwise shifted away from. That’s just becoming more prevalent around the game. The bat-handlers that can work the ball the other way, or who are the guys that can more readily drop a bunt down to take advantage of that shift, that’s one thing that we’ll look to do more of.”

Before the stats-minded start howling reflexively about the evils of bunting, let’s make one thing clear — Farrell is talking about bunting for hits, not outs. The Red Sox recorded only eight sacrifices last year, and that approach is unlikely to change.

But it only makes sense that if the defense gives a hitter like Bradley the entire left side of the infield, a bunt in the vicinity of third base could equal a baserunner. That’s a shift in philosophy from Ortiz, who generally chose to swing away into the teeth of the shift for fear of costing himself and the team an extra-base possibility.

“The opposition may say, ‘Well, we’re fortunate we got a bunt so it’s working and we’re taking him out of his power swing,'” Farrell said. “But we’re seeing teams shift on guys that aren’t your prototypical power hitters. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit 25 [homers], but that’s kind of a breakthrough year for him. He’s a guy that, to me, we can look to take advantage of and work against the shift to hopefully open things back up for him.

“You’re seeing the shift on the bottom third of the order type hitters as well. So when it makes most sense, leading off an inning, late in a game when we’ve got to get something started, that’s the opportune time.”

Read More: David Ortiz, jackie bradley jr., John Farrell, Red Sox bunting
Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Jackie Bradley Jr. are Red Sox players named finalists for Gold Glove Awards 10.28.16 at 12:33 am ET
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From left, Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, and Jackie Bradley Jr. are Gold Glove finalists. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

From left, Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, and Jackie Bradley Jr. are Gold Glove finalists. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

The Gold Glove finalists were announced in each league on Thursday, and the Red Sox are well-represented.

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., and right fielder Mookie Betts were each among three finalists at their respective positions.

Of the three, Pedroia probably has the best chance to win. The four-time recipient finished second in the AL with a .990 fielding percentage, committing just six errors in 613 chances. His .991 lifetime fielding percentage leads all active second baseman. According to Baseball Info Solutions, Pedroia saved 12 runs at second this year.

His competition for the award is two-time winner Robinson Cano of the Mariners, as well as Tigers standout Ian Kinsler, who seeks his first Gold Glove.

In center field, Bradley took a step back this year, particularly on some wild throws. He was still good enough to be a finalist against division rivals Kevin Kiermaier (Rays) and Kevin Pillar (Jays). Kiermaier won the award last year, but Pillar should win it this year — he graded as the third-best defensive player in baseball, according to FanGraphs, trailing only shortstops Brandon Crawford (Giants) and Francisco Lindor (Indians).

As for Betts, he’s up for the award for the first time. He has the misfortune of being matched up with Chicago’s Adam Eaton, the runaway favorite, as well as Houston’s George Springer. Betts is a solid No. 2 choice, but Eaton was worth 22 runs in right field this season, according to Baseball Info Solutions.

Winners will be announced on Nov. 8. For the complete list of nominees, click here.

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, Gold Glove Awards, jackie bradley jr., mookie betts
John Farrell explains reason for pinch-hitting Chris Young for Andrew Benintendi, not Jackie Bradley Jr. 10.10.16 at 11:29 pm ET
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John Farrell explains why he pinch-hit for Andrew Benintendi, not Jackie Bradley Jr. (Jeff Griffith/USA Today Sports)

John Farrell explains why he pinch-hit for Andrew Benintendi, not Jackie Bradley Jr. (Jeff Griffith/USA Today Sports)

John Farrell hadn’t made any glaring mistakes in-game over the course of the first two games of the ALDS against the Indians, until the seventh inning of Game 3.

The Red Sox trailed 4-2 and left-hander Andrew Miller was on the mound for the Indians. After Xander Bogaerts grounded out, Chris Young pinch-hit for Andrew Benintendi and not Jackie Bradley Jr. two spots after him, who at that point hadn’t recorded a hit in the series and was 0 for his last 19 dating back to the regular season.

Benintendi meanwhile was 1-for-2 with a double and 3-for-9 with a home run in the series.

Young walked and then Sandy Leon lined out and Bradley Jr. struck out.

“We were looking to matchup as best we can. Chris Young was brought in for that very reason against left-handed pitching. We’re looking to matchup to get the best advantage we can,” Farrell said.

The move of not pinch-hitting for Bradley came up again in the ninth inning with right-hander closer Cody Allen on the mound. Instead of potentially having Benintendi-Leon-Young due, it was Young-Leon-Bradley Jr.

Young and Leon were retired before Bradley Jr. singled to right and Dustin Pedroia walked, but Travis Shaw popped up to end the game and the season.

Farrell further expanded on his decision to pinch-hit for Benintendi and not Bradley Jr. back in the seventh.

“The number of pitches he’s thrown, if we wait to get to Jackie in that inning, we may never get there,” he said. “And then they are going to go to [right-hander Bryan] Shaw with the right-handers coming in the next inning. That’s the shot we took with him. He draws the walk, starts with the potential of getting something going. Either Benintendi or Jackie is going to get an at-bat if that inning gets extended. But if it’s not, not going to get left with the pinch-hit starting the next inning, and then they go to Shaw to lead things off.”

The explanation really doesn’t make much sense, but in the end Bradley Jr. did single in the ninth inning, so perhaps the move in the seventh inning didn’t matter in the end. Still, the decision will be something Red Sox fans will remember into the offseason.

Read More: Andrew Benintendi, Chris Young, jackie bradley jr., John Farrell
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