|John Farrell says ‘time will tell’ if Xander Bogaerts has earned his way onto A.L. All-Star team||07.04.15 at 5:55 pm ET|
Is Xander Bogaerts All-Star worthy?
It’s a question that may not have seemed very likely in the first two months of the season but as the game approaches July 14 in Cincinnati, the Red Sox shortstop has certainly put himself in the conversation when the reserves are announced on Monday evening.
Bogaerts, hitting again in the No. 3 hole in the order in front of David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez, went 2-for-4 Saturday in a 6-1 win over the Astros. He is 9-for-18 with four RBIs in a modest four-game hitting streak. He is also batting .351 with 21 RBIs in 32 games since the end of May.
But perhaps most importantly, he’s been the most consistent offensive player in a batting order that desperately needed consistent and productive parts. It’s why John Farrell felt comfortable moving him up from seventh to fifth to eventually third in the order, when Dustin Pedroia went down with his hamstring injury.
Bogaerts is hitting .302 this season, with respectable slugging (.416) and on-base (.340) numbers. He’s also looked much more steady at shortstop, which was no small feat considering his struggles in 2014 that played a role in moving to third base to take over for Will Middlebrooks when Stephen Drew landed back on the scene in Boston.
“I would hope that he gets some recognition for the first half that he’s had,” Farrell said after Saturday’s game. “He’s been a very consistent performer for us and has grown a lot from a year ago, both defensively and offensively. Whether or not that reflects or is acknowledged through an All-Star appearance, time will tell that one.”
“Absolutely I think Xander’s going to make the All-Star team,” added outfielder and teammate Mookie Betts. “He’s been playing great from the beginning of the season. I wasn’t there to see him develop. All I know is this Xander. This is all I’ve seen. For him to continue to do this for so long, I don’t know why he wouldn’t be in the All-Star Game.”
|John Farrell reminds Mookie Betts that ‘overaggressive’ baseball is not sound baseball||at 12:57 am ET|
Mookie Betts has shown more often than not, in his first full season with the team, that he is not just a highly-skilled player with multiple tools, but a smart one as well. Friday night, he did not show those qualities in a brutal 12-8 loss in 10 innings to Houston at Fenway Park.
Down a run with one out in the bottom of the eighth and the Red Sox threatening against Astros reliever Pat Neshek, Betts thought he had a good enough lead from second base to take off for third on his own.
Astros catcher Jason Castro fired a bullet to Luis Valbuena that caused Valbuena to lose balance over the bag. But not before the Houston third baseman caught the ball and snapped his glove down to easily nab Betts for the second out. Xander Bogaerts walked and David Ortiz put a perfect swing on a tailing outside fastball from Neshek to drive it off the Monster for a game-tying double. But it should have been the go-ahead and eventual game-winning double.
With Xander Bogaerts at the plate, why in the world was Betts stealing?
“I had a sign, it was a tough at-bat for a righty, I was trying to force something and I shouldn’t have,” Betts admitted. “I was trying to put points together pretty much and didn’t have the right points. In hindsight you can always make the right decision. If I’m safe it’s a great play, since I’m out it’s terrible, so you just have to live and learn from it.
‘Obviously, I know I messed up. The game continues. You’ve got to cheer on Bogey, have to forget it.”
“Overaggressive,” Red Sox manager John Farrell lamented. “Ill-advised. Overaggressive. We sacrifice him to get into scoring position because Neshek is under is under 1.15 seconds in his unloading times [to the plate]. Overaggressive decision on his part to attempt to steal.”
|John Farrell not pleased after another Red Sox outfielder forgets number of outs||07.01.15 at 5:45 pm ET|
TORONTO — If losing 11-2 to the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon wasn’t bad enough, along came the punctuation for the Red Sox‘ blowout loss.
With two outs in the sixth inning and Josh Donaldson at third base, Edwin Encarnacion lofted a fly ball to center field, which Mookie Betts camped under. But instead of simply catching the ball and running into the dugout Betts launched a throw home.
Betts had become the second Red Sox outfielder in the last four games to lose track of the number of outs, this time thinking Donaldson was tagging up from third.
“I just lost focus for a second,” Betts explained. “At least I caught it, so that’s three outs.” When asked about the miscue again, the center fielder said, “It was three outs. Sometimes you have mental breakdowns, especially after a long game. I messed up.”
“There’s no excuse for that,” said Farrell of Betts’ mistake. “Losing track of the outs in the inning is not something – it can’t be accepted.”
|Dustin Pedroia to 15-day disabled list, Joe Kelly optioned to Triple-A in flurry of Red Sox roster moves||06.25.15 at 11:54 am ET|
— Dustin Pedroia was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain. The degree of strain is unknown. He injured it rounding first base in Wednesday’s win, on an RBI single in the sixth inning.
— Joe Kelly has been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket with Justin Masterson taking his spot in the rotation. He will start Sunday in Tampa Bay. Kelly will start Sunday in Pawtucket.
— Infielder Deven Marrero has been added to the 40-man roster and called up, as well as right-handed pitcher Jonathan Aro to pitch out of the bullpen.
— Catcher Erik Kratz, who the Red Sox claimed off waivers Sunday, has been DFA’d. The Red Sox’ 40-man was at 39, so only needed to open one spot to add Aro and Marrero.
Manager John Farrell said Brock Holt would fill in mostly at second base with Marrero possibly starting against left-handers.
“He’s the heart and soul of our team in the short description of it,” Farrell said of Pedroia. “The way he plays, what he means in the clubhouse, what he means on the field with his performance, probably having a career year to date. Hopefully this is on the order end on the time missed. In other words, after the 15 days hopefully he comes back to us. But, there is no projected date on his return, he’ll be back to us as soon as he’s capable.”
In sending Kelly to Triple-A, the Red Sox are hoping to get more consistency from the right-hander who has just one win over his last 13 starts.
“The options would have been put him in the bullpen or send him down to start,” Farrell said. “This centers around consistent command with the baseball and his pitches. It’s certainly not stuff, it’s not athleticism. The frustrating part for Joe and for all involved is that when you see an athlete with his ability and it doesn’t translate to the consistent command of his pitches, that’s what is continually being addressed. Felt like the uncertainty of pitching schedule coming out of the bullpen, best served to achieve this through consistent work in between starts starting in Pawtucket.”
In some positive news, after being hit with a line drive running the bases Wednesday night, Hanley Ramirez is day-to-day. There is no fracture to his hand, although Ramirez said he was concerned Wednesday night. He won’t play Thursday, but will be back in the lineup as soon as he can grip a bat.
“It’s day-to-day, I can’t give an exact time on his return,” Farrell said.
|Red Sox pregame notes: Mike Napoli’s struggles ‘surprising'; No decision made on Joe Kelly||06.24.15 at 5:18 pm ET|
It hasn’t been the contract year many expected from Mike Napoli.
With an 0-for-4, four strikeout performance Tuesday, Napoli’s average has dipped down below .200 to .199 and in the month of June he’s batting .179 with 23 strikeouts and four walks in 72 plate appearances.
With the type of spring Napoli had, hitting six home runs and having sleep apnea surgery in the offseason, the issues he’s had have come as a bit of a surprise.
“I think we’re all a little surprised,” manager John Farrell said. “That’s not to say that Mike’s not working at it because he is. Coming off the spring, he looked free, he was getting some balls in the inside part of the plate where he was getting ahead out to the pull side and was driving the ball into right center field, which is where he true power is when you see him going well. With the exception of a smaller stint of time that’s really when he’s been in that approach.
“This is surprising. There’s going to be swing and miss, we know that with Mike. That’s part of his make up as a player, as a performer, with the power you’re going to get. You could also look to four years ago, there was a year similar to what is unfolding right now and that’s been a lower average, but a high number of home runs. We’re certainly not turning away from Mike, we’re here to help him get through it.”
In his first two seasons in Boston, Napoli hit .259 and .248 respectively. Farrell doesn’t see a change in his swing, more so he’s fouling off pitches he should be hitting.
“No. There’s a big swing there, which again goes hand and hand with the power that you’re going to get from him,” he said. “I thought last year there was a little bit more of a pronounced two-strike approach where he shortened up and not to say we’re always looking to sacrifice an at-bat, but Mike’s here to drive the baseball and he’s certainly capable of that. But, to say that there is a fundamental change where the bat head is in and out of the strike zone quicker than what we’ve seen in the past, I certainly don’t see that. Like I said, there’s a pitch in the at-bat right now that he’s fouling off and then after that they are kind of forcing him to chase on the periphery.”
|John Farrell on D&H: ‘No one is more conscious and aware of [Mike Napoli’s struggles] than Mike Napoli’||at 5:06 pm ET|
Manager John Farrell made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday before the second game of the Red Sox‘ three-game series with the Orioles. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
The Sox’ lineup for the middle game of the series remains largely the same as it was Tuesday evening with two exceptions. Alejandro De Aza will be in right field while Brock Holt takes over Mike Napoli‘s spot at first base. Napoli finished Tuesday’s game with four strikeouts in as many at-bats, prolonging his recent slump. Farrell said it’s definitely not for lack of trying.
“[Tuesday] there was some swing and miss to some fastballs that ended up and in in a pitcher’s count,” he said. “There was the ability by [Ubaldo] Jimenez last night to expand with some split-finger, some sliders down and away that resulted in some chase and some swing and miss.
“No one is more conscious and aware of it than Mike Napoli. If you saw the number of workouts, the number of trips to the cage, the number of sit-down meetings with, whether it’s with [hitting coach Chili Davis], [assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez], others on the staff, to try to work through this, he’s seeking the answer. And with the exception of that one stretch when the Angels were in town where he pretty much carried us for a 7-10-day stretch, it’s been a grind for him.
“And after a very strong spring training, Mike would probably be the one to tell you this isn’t what he anticipated, but then if you look back probably four years ago, he had a year very similar to the one he’s having now where there’s power there, the high number of strikeouts come with that power, but we’re trying to gain some consistency with him as well.”
The Red Sox also are looking for consistency in the rotation. While some pitchers have continued to improve as the season goes along, others have continued to run into trouble, which makes it difficult for Boston to really get going even with the offense excelling recently.
“When you point to where we are as a team right now, and to get onto a sustained roll, it’s going to require some consistency out of those five guys just to give our offense a chance to get on a roll each and every night,” Farrell said. “We’re swinging the bat much better this month. I believe we’re leading the American League in extra-base hits, and I do believe hits in general, but still we’ve had some turns through the rotation where it’s been consistent, and yet for one or two of those slots another turn through, it’s been a little bit of a rocky road.”
|Joe Kelly’s spot in starting rotation may be tenuous with 1 win in last 13 starts||06.23.15 at 11:37 pm ET|
Things are not going well for Red Sox starter Joe Kelly.
Following another loss, a 6-4 decision to the Orioles Tuesday night, the right-hander’s record is now 2-5 on the season, but has just one win in his last 13 starts.
Tuesday he lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits, while walking two and striking out two. It was his second-shortest start of the season.
Additionally, it was his sixth start of five or fewer innings and sixth start allowing at least five runs this season, which is tied for the most in the majors.
While manager John Farrell said it was too soon to comment on whether or not Kelly would make his next start, he did indicate that may be up for discussion.
“Yeah, you know, we haven’t had a chance to review all that, but we’re certainly well aware of some of the up and down path that’s been for Joe to this point,” Farrell said.
Kelly does have options remaining, so he could be optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket if the team feels that would be better than having him pitch out of the bullpen. With Brian Johnson 8-4 with a 2.80 ERA this season, he would be a possibility to take Kelly’s spot in the rotation if he were to be taken out, as he is the next pitcher in line to make the jump to the majors from the minors.
The biggest issue for Kelly Tuesday was allowing four runs in the second inning, highlighted by a three-run home run from No. 9 hitter David Lough. Kelly’s ERA is now 5.26 on the season, which is the third-highest in the American League (minimum of 60 innings).
In what has been consistent with the entire season, the Red Sox cannot get any momentum going.
After taking two of three from the best team in the American League over the weekend in the Royals, the Red Sox struggled early, as starter Joe Kelly allowed five runs in the first four innings as the Sox fell to the Orioles, 6-4, Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
Since June 7, the Red Sox have won back-to-back games only once. They now are 3-8 against the Orioles and 10-22 against the AL East this season.
Kelly once again couldn’t make it through five innings, this time only lasting 3 2/3 innings and allowing five runs. It was the sixth start of five or fewer innings and sixth start allowing at least five runs this season, which is tied for the most in the majors.
A four-run second inning was the big downfall for Kelly, which included allowing a three-run homer to No. 9 hitter David Lough. He allowed another in the fourth, an inherited runner Robbie Ross Jr. allowed to score.
“Yeah, just inconsistent command overall,” manager John Farrell said of Kelly. “There’s no questioning the stuff, it’s just the ability to stay with a consistent game plan because of the mislocated pitches. He had missed off the plate and when he’d mislocate in the zone it was a good pitch for them to square up. The high number of base hits indicates that.”
Ross Jr. finished going two innings, allowing a run — an RBI double to Manny Machado in the sixth.
The Red Sox offense did what they could to mount a comeback, scoring single runs in the third through fifth innings and the ninth, but couldn’t get anymore than that, as they went 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position leaving nine runners on base.
Farrell was ejected following the sixth inning by home plate umpire Tim Timmons following a called third strike to Brock Holt. It was his third ejection of the year.
“We’re fighting back in it. We had two men on, two outs, Brock has swung the bat well of late. Gets rung up on a pitch that’s probably a couple baseballs off the plate away, and disagreed with it,” Farrell said.
|Closing Time: Red Sox return to losing ways, drop another to Braves||06.17.15 at 10:20 pm ET|
So much for a winning streak.
The Red Sox fell back to 11 games under .500 once again with a 5-2 loss to the Braves, Wednesday night. The Sox have now lost eight of their last nine games, and two of three against Atlanta in its home and home set. They also find themselves nine back in the American League East.
This time the Red Sox fell victim to a methodical Braves attack on the scorching hot night, with Atlanta ultimately pulling away thanks to a two-run seventh inning.
In the seventh, Junichi Tazawa fell victim to a one-out, infield hit by Cameron Maybin, who would move to third on rookie Daniel Castro’s hit-and-run grounder into right field. Nick Markakis managed the eventual game-winner, placing a single into left.
Making the inning more frustrating for the Red Sox was that Maybin’s hit should have probably been an out, with Mike Napoli unable to catch a toss from Xander Bogaerts, who raced in and fielded the ball bare-handed. The throw appeared to hit off of the first baseman’s wrist on the fly and symbolized the inability by the Red Sox to make key plays when it counted the most.
“I was just trying to stretch as far as I could,” Napoli told reporters. “He’s a quick runner.”
More unforgivable for the Red Sox was how the Braves scored their second run in the seventh, with Tommy Layne coming on and walking the seemingly unwalkable A.J. Pierzynski. It was the first time the catcher has walked twice in a game since 2012, and just the second occasion in the past five seasons. It also marked the third time Pierzynski has walked with the bases loaded for his career.
Red Sox manager John Farrell wasn’t able to stick around for the entirety of the game, getting tossed by umpire Larry Vanover after arguing a Pedro Ciriaco checked swing with two outs in the seventh inning. Earlier in the game Farrell had come out on the field to argue with Vanover on a play at first base involving Mookie Betts, with the manager having already used his challenge.
|John Farrell on D&H: Work ethic, energy, effort not ‘primary culprit’ of Sox’ struggles||at 4:04 pm ET|
Embattled manager John Farrell made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show on Wednesday before the third game of the Red Sox‘ home-and-home series with the Braves to talk about the team’s rough season. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Now that the Red Sox are shifting over to National League play with their trip down to Atlanta, the DH position will not be an option . For Wednesday’s game, Mike Napoli will get the start at first since Atlanta is trotting out a left-handed pitcher in Alex Wood, while David Ortiz will man first Thursday against righty Shelby Miller.
Farrell reflected on utility man Brock Holt’s feat of hitting for the cycle in Tuesday’s win, saying that the unlikelihood of doing so not only highlights the accomplishment itself but also Holt’s play.
“I think it’s got to be right there, from an offensive side, with a guy that hits three home runs in a game,” he said. “How it might compare to maybe a one-hit shutout, you just look at the uniqueness and how rarely it happens. I think that speaks for itself, but as it relates to Brock and what we’ve seen, how he’s improved as a player both the versatility — which, again, he’s played seven positions this year for us — and how he’s driving the ball more consistently, it’s been really fun to see his progress on an individual level come to the forefront.”
Holt has been heating up recently, excelling in the two-spot behind Pedroia with a .357/.438/.607 slash line in his past seven games and hits in 11 of his last 13 contests.
“Brock’s going to get regular at-bats, if not everyday at-bats,” Farrell said. “And particularly in the American League with our DH slot, he gives us such flexibility to rest guys, and under the current alignment with David being our everyday DH, it really allows us to spell other guys more frequently.”
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