|Video: Red Sox CF Jackie Bradley Jr. makes diving catch against Braves||04.27.16 at 9:45 pm ET|
While the Red Sox got off to a fast start offensively in Tuesday night’s game against the Braves, center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. provided some impressive defense as well, making a diving catch of a Daniel Castro liner to right-center in the first inning.
|Closing Time: Jackie Bradley Jr., Heath Hembree help carry Red Sox to 12-inning win||04.25.16 at 1:12 am ET|
What could have been a disastrous loss became one of the Red Sox’ most satisfying victories.
The Red Sox scored twice in the 12th inning, thanks to a Jackie Bradley Jr. bases-loaded single and a run-scoring wild pitch, giving John Farrell’s team a 7-5 win over the Astros. This after allowing Houston to tie things up with two outs in the ninth inning on a two-run homer from Colby Rasmus off closer Craig Kimbrel.
With Heath Hembree stepping in and mowing down the Astros for the final three innings (throwing 49 pitches, just 8 of which were balls), the Sox rebounded in impressive fashion against Houston reliever Ken Giles in the 12th.
Hanley Ramirez and Travis Shaw led off the frame with a pair of singles, with both runners moved up on a Brock Holt bunt. After Ryan Hanigan’s 13-pitch walk loaded the bases, Bradley rifled the game-winner into right. The Sox center fielder now is 5-for-6 with 11 RBIs with the bases full over the past two seasons.
Hanigan, who caught all 217 of the Red Sox pitches, would add an insurance run by racing on home on Giles’ wild pitch.
Just about an hour before the 12th, it looked like Rasmus had punctured the Sox for a second straight game. With two outs in the ninth inning, his team down by two runs and a runner on third, the Houston outfielder jumped all over a Kimbrel fastball for a game-tying two-run blast.
The Kimbrel pitch was almost in the exact same spot as the fastball Rasmus hit for a grand slam the day before against Clay Buchholz.
It was the first blown save as a Red Sox for Kimbrel, and ruined what had been a stellar outing by the Sox bullpen, who had to pick up the slack for another short outing from the starter.
The bullpen, which has thrown more innings than any other group of American League relievers, was forced to carry the load once again. This time the bullpen had to spring into action with one out in the fourth inning, thanks to just a 3 2/3-inning outing from starter Henry Owens.
But, once again, the relievers managed. Matt Barnes, Junichi Tazawa, and Koji Uehara (who was pitching for the first time since Marathon Monday) did their job until Kimbrel’s issues.
Barnes went two innings, giving up a hit and a walk. Tazawa struck out two in cruising through the seventh. And Uehara needed 14 pitches to strike out two of his three batters. Hembree then closed things out, stretching his string of scoreless innings to 7 2/3 to start his season.
With the promotion of Pat Light before the game, the Red Sox now have featured 11 relievers already this season.
Carlos Gomez was not a big fan of striking out on a Henry Owens changeup.
Somebody isn’t a Celtics fan (or a fan of Henry Owens changeups) pic.twitter.com/vY4dVLhsZS
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) April 25, 2016
|Closing Time: Red Sox get enough from Joe Kelly, bullpen to hand Orioles first loss||04.13.16 at 10:23 pm ET|
It certainly was a step in the right direction for the Red Sox, and their starting pitching rotation.
The team carrying the highest starting pitching ERA in the majors got just enough from Joe Kelly in its 4-2 win over the Orioles on Wednesday night at Fenway Park. Kelly got the win, allowing two runs over five innings while throwing 116 pitches.
While the righty failed to get a single 1-2-3 inning, walking five, his only significant miscue came when he allowed a two-run home run to Chris Davis in third inning. Kelly lowered his ERA to 10.13 after two starts.
Kelly’s counterpart, Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez, experienced similar issues when it came to pitch efficiency, needing 104 pitches to get through five frames.
The Red Sox did just enough to hand Jimenez and the O’s their first losses of the season. In the third inning, immediately after the Orioles took the lead on the Davis homer, Xander Bogaerts knotted things up with a two-run double.
The following inning the Sox took the lead for good, mainly thanks to Jackie Bradley Jr. The Red Sox outfielder tripled in Brock Holt with a blast to the base of the right-field wall. A Betts ground out would score Bradley for the insurance run.
The triple by Bradley was clocked by StatCast at 109 mph, the fastest ever clocked off his bat.
|Closing Time: David Price, Craig Kimbrel struggle in home opener as Red Sox fall to Orioles||04.11.16 at 5:31 pm ET|
Red Sox fans came to Fenway Park excited to see the two big newcomers — David Price and Craig Kimbrel — but they left the park wishing they chose another game to see the new acquisitions for the first time.
With Price and Kimbrel being the major reasons why, the Red Sox fell to the Orioles 9-7 in the home opener Monday afternoon.
With the game knotted at 6 in the top of the ninth inning, Kimbrel walked two batters before allowing a three-run homer to Chris Davis, which was crushed to dead-center field.
Mookie Betts hit a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning and then the Red Sox had the game-winning run at the plate with two runners on in David Ortiz with no outs, but he hit into a double play. The next batter Hanley Ramirez was retired to end the game.
“I can only speak for what went through my head, and it was alike a fate/destiny thing — his last home opener, what a way to end it,” Betts said about when Ortiz stepped to the plate. “I was fully confident in his ability to hit it out of the park as well as hit a base hit. He hit the ball well, but they were able to make a diving play. I was very confident at that time.”
The Orioles are now 6-0 and the only unbeaten team in baseball.
Price didn’t have his A-game either in his first start at Fenway Park as a member of the Red Sox, especially in the third inning when he allowed a three-run homer to Mark Trumbo. The left-hander allowed a two-run single to Davis in the at-bat before, as the Orioles led 5-2 after the inning.
“It’s kind of been my Achilles heel — having that one bad inning,” Price said. “That’s all it takes in this game. It can be one pitch and today it was just that one bad inning.”
The new Red Sox left-hander didn’t have the best command in the game as he threw 104 pitches in five innings of work. Overall, Price went five innings and allowed five earned runs on five hits, while walking two and striking out eight. Despite the lack of command, he did record 20 swing-and-misses.
Before today, Price had allowed 16 earned runs in 74 innings at Fenway Park. Monday, he allowed five earned runs in the first three innings.
|Takeways from Grapefruit League game No. 3: Jackie Bradley Jr. goes deep||03.04.16 at 5:25 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Is Jackie Bradley Jr. setting himself up for yet another standout spring training?
In 2013, the outfielder made the Opening Day roster out of nowhere, hitting .419 with a 1.120 OPS. Last year, he quietly tore up the Grapefruit League again, claiming a .378 batting average and .906 OPS.
So, far, in his two official spring training games, Bradley is at it again.
The Red Sox center fielder highlighted his team’s offensive output in its 7-2 win over the Rays at JetBlue Park Friday. Bradley launched his third career spring training homer over the right field in the third inning, jumping all over a Kyle McPherson first-pitch fastball.
After claiming a single in his only other at-bat, Bradley now is 4-for-4, while executing a revamped approach.
“Absolutely,” he said when asked if it was a conscious effort to be aggressive early in the count. “That way it kind of gives me more opportunities to put the ball in play. That’s my main goal, to make more solid contact. Hopefully that turns into swinging at good pitches I can handle, and hopefully hit.
“I know the strike zone so … You don’t want to be so pinpoint where you don’t get you’re exact pitch, your exact location. Sometimes you might not get that. I, personally, want to be more aggressive in the strike zone, that way if I happen to miss early I can at least get more opportunities later in the at-bat instead of taking pitches down the middle.
“Get a good pitch to hit, that’s the key. If you see something good, I definitely don’t want to let it get by so I’m going to make sure I’m ready to hit every single pitch.”
|Jackie Bradley Jr. unsure about outfield rotation, his future as switch-hitter||02.22.16 at 5:32 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jackie Bradley Jr. hadn’t heard anything regarding how the Red Sox were going to allocate playing time in the outfield. And he certainly hadn’t come across the news that Chris Young was slated to play against every left-hander.
“They haven’t talked to me, so I don’t know,” Bradley said when asked about the potential outfield rotation. “I haven’t had my talk yet. They’ll talk to me, I guess, later.”
It is understandable that the Red Sox would want to get Young in against lefties. This is a guy who hit .327 with a .927 OPS vs. southpaws last season.
But, judging by Bradley’s production when going up against left-handers in 2015, it wouldn’t seem to be as simple as just platooning the pair. Bradley finished last year hitting .306 with a .916 OPS against left-handed pitching.
He has been so successful that the outfielder has holstered a potential very real weapon — switch-hitting.
“I’ve thought about it ever since I stopped,” Bradley said.
The lefty hitter abandoned the practice of switch-hitting as a 12-year-old, not needing to hit from the right side (which he identifies as his natural side of the plate) due to the lack of left-handed pitching he was facing.
“I’ve thought about it, but I never really struggled mightily against lefties so I guess it was almost like what’s the point? I like it,” Bradley said. “I still do it quite a bit.”
|It looks like Jackie Bradley Jr. is on target to be Red Sox’ center fielder||11.25.15 at 9:08 am ET|
There’s still a long way to go in this offseason, but the plan right now appears to have Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field for the Red Sox.
Speaking on the Hot Stove Show Tuesday night, Red Sox manager John Farrell said that if the offensive production from all three outfielders were at an acceptable level, the team would be putting Mookie Betts in right field, Bradley in center and Rusney Castillo in left field.
“I think if you were to just prioritize the defense, Jackie is the best defensive outfielder we have. That’s clear,” Farrell said. “Whether it’s the naked eye, or whether it’s to any kind of measurement you want to put to it, Jackie is the best defender we have. So you could say an alignment would have Jackie in center, Mookie in right and Rusney in left. Who else we add to the outfielder core to give us some balance coming off the bench remains to be seen. But the one thing that Jackie did, particularly in August, is that he swung the bat like we were hopeful of. It was an outstanding month. And I think the key for Jackie is going to be: Hit enough to be an everyday player, and then here’s an everyday center fielder.
“The one thing I will say is that we will continue to strive to get the most consistent defensive team up the middle that we can be. If you combine some of the offensive contributions to this, Mookie had an outstanding year offensively. He’s earned that everyday spot. This is something we’ll go into spring training, we’re going to take a look at both guys in center field and we know what they can do. It is going to come down to who plays and who produces offensively that we’ll give the most reps in center field.”
Betts had been the team’s primary center fielder, having played a team-leading 133 games at the position in 2015 before manning right for 11 games.
Bradley, considered one of the best defenders in the major leagues, forced his way into the conversation with a standout offensive performance throughout most of August. From Aug. 7 until Sept. 7, the outfielder hit .422 with a 1.358 OPS over 27 games.
|Closing Time: Jackie Bradley’s bat awakens in time to lead Red Sox comeback||09.19.15 at 9:16 pm ET|
It wasn’t just the fact that the Red Sox managed to score five runs in the ninth inning on the way to a come-from-behind 7-6 win over the first-place Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. And the fact that it marked the first time in 74 occasions that Toronto lost a game when heading into the ninth inning with the lead.
It was how and where the Red Sox notched the win that should have made this one stand out.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the Sox comeback was that a big chunk of it came courtesy the struggling Jackie Bradley Jr.
Bradley Jr. had entered his seventh inning at-bat in an 0-for-21 slump, having claimed just one hit in his last 32 at-bats. But the outfielder managed to jump-start his game with a game-tying double in the seventh.
And then, after the Blue Jays reclaimed the lead against reliever Noe Ramirez in the eighth inning, it was Bradley Jr. who tied the game again with a two-run blast off of Toronto closer Roberto Osuna.
“It showed signs of maturity that he can put that behind him despite the tough circumstances,” interim Red Sox manager Torey Lovullo told reporters. “I know it was a big day for him and he’s very excited.”
“That double helped a lot,” Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts told reporters regarding Bradley Jr., who has seen 24 of his last 33 hits go for extra bases. “It got that confidence back, and then he went back to the hitter he is.”
It wasn’t just Bradley Jr. who supplied a healthy dose of optimism for the Red Sox heading into their series finale Sunday.
One out after the Bradley Jr. homer, Dustin Pedroia drew a walk to force Osuna from the game and bring on Aaron Sanchez. After Bogaerts greeted Sanchez with a single, David Ortiz gave the visitors the lead for good with his go-ahead, RBI base-hit.
The Sox added two more runs to complete the five-run frame when Bogaerts scored on a wild pitch, and Rusney Castillo plated the Sox’ final score with a run-scoring single.
Robbie Ross Jr. ran into some trouble in trying to close things out, giving up a two-out walk to Josh Donaldson and two-run homer off the bat of Jose Bautista to allow the Jays to draw within a run. And when Matt Hague doubled, things got even more interesting.
But Ross Jr. would ultimately finish things off, getting Justin Smoak to end the threat and the game while cutting the Blue Jays lead over the Yankees to 3 1/2 games.
Considering the environment — another sell-out Rogeres Centre crowd — and what was at stake for the team they were going up against, the early evening was a memorable one for a Red Sox club searching for a 2016 identity.
“This is what it’s all about, playoff baseball and playoff atmosphere and I’m happy we won the game,” Lovullo told reporters.
Red Sox starter Wade Miley received a no-decision, allowing two runs on three hits and five walks over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out seven while throwing 113 pitches.
Bogaerts also helped highlight the Red Sox offense, hitting the visitors’ other home run. He joined Bradley Jr., Travis Shaw and Brock Holt as the only Sox hitters to claim multiple-hit games.
|Red Sox Notebook: Dustin Pedroia is back, admits, ‘Last time, I don’t know if I was ready’||09.08.15 at 6:04 pm ET|
Pedroia, 32, missed 16 games with the same injury from June 25 through July 16, returning for just five games before re-aggravating the hamstring. Finally, with 25 games left in the season, Pedroia is ready to play and will be in the starting lineup against the Blue Jays on Tuesday.
“[I’m] really excited to have him back in the lineup,” said interim manager Torey Lovullo. “It’s been a long road for him. He’s been champing at the bit for a few days, which is a good sign. We were holding him back. He has worked so hard behind the scenes to make this day happen. I’m just really happy for him, happy for the Boston Red Sox, happy for the opportunity that he’s going to give us to watch him play.”
Pedroia has played in 75 games this season, slashing .287/.348/.426 with nine homers and 15 doubles before hitting the disabled list.
“It’s frustrating,” said Pedroia. “It happens, you’ve got to learn from it and come back better. I feel strong. I’m not worried about getting through the game this time, I’m worried about trying to play good. The last time I felt I was trying to do something here and there to help us win, I didn’t feel strong. I don’t know if I was ready. But, you turn the page on that, learn from it, and that’s where we’re at today. I worked real hard with a lot of different people to get to this point and decided to move forward and play with these guys.”
Lovullo denied that the Red Sox pushed Pedroia back too soon in July before the re-aggravation.
“He was being a typical athlete that was put in a situation where he could go out and play,” Lovullo said. “[He was] probably not at 100 percent. And he understood the ramifications of that, but he wanted to play. He wasn’t forced to play, I want to make that perfectly clear. But we could quickly see that things weren’t right through that Anaheim series, and that’s when we had to pull back and make sure that he was doing the best thing for Dustin Pedroia at that point.”
|Adhering to work ethic has helped Jackie Bradley Jr. break through in past month||09.06.15 at 11:48 pm ET|
A month ago, Jackie Bradley Jr. was batting .102 on the season with just one extra-base hit of five total hits, a home run, four RBIs, seven walks and 15 strikeouts. He was 0 for his last 14 and just 1 for his last 19 since the Red Sox called him up from Pawtucket on July 29.
On Aug. 6, Bradley’s season took a significant turn.
As the Sox faced off against the Yankees in New York that Thursday night, the outfielder recorded his first hit in six games, a single to center field in seventh inning, and drew two walks. Only one run crossed the plate for Boston that night, not enough for a win, but from there Bradley got hot fast.
He tacked on another single the following night and, after going hitless in the next contest, rode a six-game hit streak into the middle of August. Within that streak was a 5-for-6, two-home run night in which his seven RBIs accounted for nearly a third of the Red Sox offense in a 22-10 victory over the Mariners.
“It’s been a pretty solid month,” Bradley said. “Just being able to help the team out any way I can and just trying to get better every single day, continuously working and kind of just staying the same person I’ve always been.”
Four of the games yielded multi-hit efforts from the 25-year-old, and of the 14 hits he collected in those six games, 10 were for extra bases. He also raised his batting average by .090 just in that span.
But Bradley’s success continued long after his streak was snapped. Continuing to find his footing offensively really for the first time in his major league career, he’s raised his slash line from .102/.220/.163 to .292/.369/.591 overall in a matter of 27 games. He bolstered his prior stats in other departments too, adding 28 RBIs for a total of 32 and drove 22 of his 35 hits for extra bases.
Of his most recent 26 hits, 19 of them were of the extra-base variety, and in the last 24 games alone, dating back to the beginning of that streak on Aug. 9, Bradley is slashing .418/.465/.899 with 12 doubles, four triples six home runs and seven walks. He’s also in the midst of a seven-game hit streak and has scored at least one run in each of those games as well, going 11-for-22 with a .955 slugging percentage in that time.
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