|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.”
|Closing Time: Red Sox offense (3 home runs), Steven Wright lead Sox over Twins in 13-2 rout||07.21.16 at 9:54 pm ET|
When the Red Sox put a heap of runs on the Giants on Wednesday, it ended up being integral those runs were scored with way their pitching went.
The monsoon of runs continued Thursday, but the pitching followed this time on the way to the Red Sox’ 13-2 win over the Twins.
Steven Wright took a perfect game 4 1/3 innings before Max Kepler singled to left field just over the outstretched arm of Travis Shaw at third base in the fifth. Wright threw just 51 pitches in that stretch before surrendering a pair of runs (only one of which being earned) in the frame.
The 31-year-old knuckleballer ultimately went eight innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. The nine strikeouts matched Wright’s career high.
“My goal is just to go as deep as I can until they tell me I’m done. Today I was lucky enough to eight, but it makes it easy when guys score 11 runs, 12 runs,” Wright said.
The Red Sox found a way to score early yet again — even earlier than Wednesday, in fact — with Mookie Betts taking Twins starter Tyler Duffy 410 feet into the Monster Seats on the first pitch of the bottom half of the first. The dinger turned out to be a sign of what was to come, as the Red Sox put two more runs on the board in the inning, adding another trio in the third.
“That’s the first time I’ve swung at the first pitch this year,” Betts said. “[Wright] had a quick inning and I figured I might as well just ride the momentum going into our first at-bat.”
Betts noted he swung at the first pitch of the game six times last year and was 0-for-6, but Travis Shaw convinced him to try it again this year.
|Closing Time: Hanley Ramirez (3 home runs) tees off, Drew Pomeranz implodes, and Red Sox beat Giants in wildest game of year||07.20.16 at 10:57 pm ET|
Hanley Ramirez gave the Red Sox a night to remember on an evening Drew Pomeranz hopes to forget.
Ramirez delivered the first three-homer game of his career and made a trio of outstanding defensive plays to overcome an absolute implosion by Pomeranz in his debut as the Red Sox claimed a wild 11-7 victory over the Giants in a possible World Series preview.
With the victory, the Red Sox also moved into sole possession of first place in the American League East for the first time since June 4.
“The crowd, that was probably the most electric atmosphere we’ve had this year, and since I got called up,” said third baseman Travis Shaw. “The crowd was into it, they were loud, you could feel the energy tonight. It was different than any other game we’ve played.”
Ramirez put a charge in the place by hitting homers to right, center, and left while driving in six runs. His final homer came two innings after he appeared to vow, “I’ll get you back,” to Giants reliever Albert Suarez, who had drilled him in the fourth. He also made the defensive play of the game, starting a 3-2 double play with the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth inning of an 8-7 game.
“I never expected this, but it’s a great feeling, it’s a great feeling, especially to end up with a W,” Ramirez said. “This team doesn’t give up. They keep adding runs and runs. We’ve got to continue to score more runs than them.”
This one had a little bit of everything. The Red Sox raced to an 8-0 lead on Ramirez’s first two homers and a monstrous two-run blast by Shaw.
Pomeranz, who was clean through the first three innings, fell apart in the fourth. He failed to retire any of the seven batters he faced and was lifted after allowing a three-run homer to Mac Williamson and a two-run shot to Trevor Brown. His final line read three innings, 8 eight hits, five runs and four strikeouts.
“By tonight, I’ll flush everything,” Pomeranz said. “That’s not me out there.”
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