|Red Sox notes: John Farrell says bullpen not auditioning for playoff roles||09.16.16 at 6:20 pm ET|
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
|Ben Cherington is ‘going to make a great contribution’ in Toronto according to John Farrell||09.14.16 at 6:46 pm ET|
Now that former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington is gainfully employed once again in baseball, John Farrell discussed the administrator that the Blue Jays just landed.
“He was great in understanding what his vision was. For those who worked most closely with him, he was always able to articulate what he wanted to see from not only the organization, but individual departments that would be an integral piece to that overall organization,” Farrell said. “So from that standpoint, he was great.”
Cherington was hired by the Jays as their Vice President of Baseball Operations on Tuesday afternoon, putting an end to his hiatus as a baseball operations individual that began when him and the Red Sox parted ways last season.
Farrell was hired by Cherington as the Red Sox manager entering the 2013 season, and the Sox skipper noted that he and Cherington have spoken since his departure, but merely an occasional text message and nothing at length. While with the Red Sox, however, Farrell worked with Cherington exceptionally close, giving him one of the best assessments available of the new Jays’ vice president’s abilities.
“He was very even-keeled,” Farrell said. “One of Ben’s traits was — he would get excited, don’t get me wrong, and he’s a tremendous competitor — but still at the same time very even-keeled. Very thoughtful in his comments, and you always knew where you stood with him. And no matter who he works for, obviously now it’s Toronto, he’s going to make a great contribution, there’s no doubt.”
Cherington, a New Hampshire native, built the World Series-winning team in 2013 after his promotion to general manager following the 2011 season. And though oft-criticized for making deals with players that did not work out, the current team that sits 18 games above .500 also has multiple traces of Cherington in it.
“His legacy is left here, there’s imprints all over this current team,” Farrell said.
While away from baseball, Cherington was an instructor at Columbia University in New York, a role that Farrell noted was a seamless fit for him.
“For all of us that got to know Ben, the fact that he went and served as an instructor at Columbia was not a surprise. He’s got a tremendous amount of introspect and looks at things differently. I think he’s a teacher and a builder at heart, and to be involved in a leadership course that he was at Columbia, it kind of fit what’s important to him.”
And now that Cherington is back in baseball, it ends not only his absence from the game, but also an era in which his name was often thrown around with open administrative positions around the league.
“You hear his name talked about with vacancies around the game, and it’s not a surprise. He’s got a pretty wide range of experiences as a front office guy, and I think Toronto’s added a quality person and a guy with a tremendous amount of experience.”
|John Farrell on D&H: Clay Buchholz’s resurgence ‘couldn’t come at a better time’||09.07.16 at 3:57 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell made his weekly appearance on Dale & Holley with Thornton on Wednesday to discuss the team — Clay Buchholz and Yoan Moncada in particular. To hear the full interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Buchholz exited to a standing ovation from a San Diego crowd littered with Red Sox fans on Tuesday night after allowing one run on eight hits with six strikeouts and a walk over 6 2/3 innings. Since slowly reentering the rotation, Buchholz has been one of the Red Sox’ most reliable starters.
“It’s not an easy task to go back and forth, but I think what it speaks to is … Clay’s willingness to do what’s asked,” Farrell said. “And let’s face it, early on he makes 13 starts or thereabouts and the performance kind of put him in the bullpen. But to his credit, he’s made some subtle adjustments. I think pitching out of the stretch exclusively has helped with his consistency. But given where we are right now this time of year he’s pitching at his best this season and it couldn’t come at a better time.”
Suffice to say that the past handful of seasons have been forgettable at times for 32-year-old, but just when all hope seemingly had been lost, Buchholz found his way back into the Red Sox’ good graces.
“He’s never pitched or consistently pitched over 200 innings as you would expect of a top of a top of the rotation guy,” Farrell said. “I can tell you this, he give you what you have, or he gives you what he has. So when he’s been healthy, when he’s performed as he’s doing now and he’s got the ability to spin the baseball and manipulate multiple types of pitches. And because there’s a creative side in there, and I think it was on display again last night, where a hitter can never really sit in one count on one particular pitch.
“So that creativeness, the touch and feel that he has to execute different types of pitches, there are large stretches of individual seasons where he goes out and pitches like he is. And that is like a top of the rotation type of guy. Sure we’d all love it to be 200, 220 innings every single year. But you know what? I think we’re all glad we didn’t part ways at some point earlier in the season.”
|Closing Time: Hanley Ramirez, Aaron Hill rescue Red Sox in win over Rays after Steven Wright, bullpen, falter||08.31.16 at 4:51 pm ET|
With one swing, Hanley Ramirez seemingly sent the Red Sox to the West Coast on a high, at least until the bullpen struck again in the eighth inning.
But Aaron Hill picked a good time to snap an 0-for-20 slump with a tie-breaking single in the eighth as the Red Sox overcame blowing a 6-4 lead to pull out an 8-6 victory over the Rays.
In danger of losing for the fourth time in sixth games before embarking on a lengthy road trip, the Red Sox erased a 4-1 deficit on Ramirez’s fifth-inning grand slam. They appeared ready to cruise to victory before Fernando Abad loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth and manager John Farrell opened himself to a massive second guess by turning to Junichi Tazawa for the final out of the frame instead of closer Craig Kimbrel for a four-out save.
Tazawa allowed the tying two-run single to Logan Forsythe, but the Red Sox rallied in the bottom of the frame on a Hanley Ramirez walk, Sandy Leon sacrifice, and Brock Holt single before Hill untied the game with a sharp single to left.
Kimbrel blew away the Rays in the ninth for his 24th save.
Ramirez’s blast came off of Rays starter Drew Smyly, who cruised into the fifth before faltering. Jackie Bradley led off with a single. Red-hot Dustin Pedroia followed with another single, and after Xander Bogaerts (strikeout) and David Ortiz (fly-out) left Smyly on the verge of avoiding damage, Mookie Betts worked a long walk before Ramirez jumped on a first-pitch fastball and blasted it into the Monster seats.
|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.
|John Farrell on D&H: It ‘looks like Clay [Buchholz] by default’ for return to bullpen once Steven Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez are healthy||08.24.16 at 4:08 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell made his regular appearance on the Dale & Holley show with Thornton on Wednesday to discuss the starting rotation and other team news. To hear the interview, visit the D&H audio on demand page.
Clay Buchholz has made three spot starts for the Red Sox with both Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez out with injuries, and he has performed well enough to put himself in the running for a permanent spot in the rotation. Farrell said “it probably looks like Clay by default” will return to the bullpen, however, once Wright and Rodriguez are healthy enough to start.
“Setting aside the decision, he’s done a heck of a job in the three starts he’s made for us,” Farrell said. “He seemingly is getting deeper into games, looks stronger as he goes. Steven Wright is going to come off of the DL Friday to make that first start against Kansas City. I think until we get to the bullpen tomorrow with Rodriguez, that will give us a better read on when he slides back in.”
Added Farrell: “The one thing we do have to contend with is with Wright coming back, we’re going to have to make room for him on the roster. If that looks as a reliever going out, then obviously there’s going to be a need in that bullpen. Those are the things that are being factored in, but nonetheless, Clay has done a heck of a job at giving us a boost, and when you look at the way the rotation has gone the last two or three times through, it’s been extremely encouraging.”
Farrell said Buchholz has been much more consistent throwing quality strikes, which has helped spark his turnaround on the mound.
“Obviously, going out of the stretch exclusively has minimized some of the movement in his delivery when he’s in the windup,” Farrell said. “It’s allowed him to make adjustments from one pitch to the next. I think just some subtle adjustments have really added to the depth to his cutter. Last night it was probably the best cutter he’s had I would say in a couple of years time. In addition to staying behind his arm and you saw the power and the velocity, he held 94 pretty much throughout. Those are the reasons why he’s been so consistent in really these three starts.”
Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Wednesday morning to discuss the Red Sox’ playoff chances, Clay Buchholz’s resurgence, John Farrell’s job security and more. To hear the full conversation, go to to the D&C audio on demand page.
Through nine games of the Red Sox’ 11-game road trip, the Sox have posted a 7-2 record, which is something Schilling said is a good omen.
“I think by the end of this month you are going to know if they are in the playoffs,” he said. “I thought that this road trip, the amount of travel that they were going to have to do, the pitching had to be the thing carrying them and for the most part that is exactly what has happened. They are playing a good stretch of games on a nightmarish stretch of schedule. I like their chances, very much like their chances. If I was betting today, I would bet on them being in, but my issue gets back to you are going to play that Monday play-in game. Are you battling up to the last day of the season to get in, and if so, who is pitching that game for you? Listen, we are 5 1/2 weeks away, so anybody right now could get hot and you could say that is who I am giving the ball to, but who are you giving the ball to win that one game?
Buchholz pitched in his third spot start on Tuesday night and picked up his first win in almost a month after going 6 1/3 innings and allowing one run on five hits and two walks with nine strikeouts in a 2-1 victory over the Rays.
“The reason I think it feels like such a huge relief or a huge bump is he went into these last two starts, no one was expecting anything, right?” Schilling said of Buchholz. “We talk about seven innings and one run against Tampa as if he threw a no-no. … What happens in the postseason? How is that going to play itself out in the postseason? Is he going to be one of your three or four guys?”
|Red Sox notebook: E-Rod’s status, Clay Buchholz from stretch, Jonathan Papelbon’s old number||08.21.16 at 1:03 pm ET|
DETROIT — Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez remains day-to-day with a sore left hamstring, and manager John Farrell hopes he’s able to avoid the disabled list.
Speaking before Sunday’s series finale in Detroit, Farrell said the team will progress cautiously with Rodriguez, who reported last-minute discomfort at 5:45 p.m. on Saturday, just hours in advance of his scheduled start.
“We have to get him through a simulated game at this point, and hopefully that’s over the next couple of days while we’re in Tampa, just to test his hamstring more than the normal in-between side bullpens, which he threw with his normal intensity, for a side day,” Farrell said. “But where he had reluctance was thinking about and envisioning trying to be 100 percent and not having complete confidence or conviction with those pitches. With that mindset, took it out of his hands and made the adjustment for Henry [Owens] today.”
Owens had a whirlwind Saturday. The Red Sox informed him around 6 p.m. that he needed to get to Detroit. There were no late flights, so he drove to Philadelphia and flew into Detroit on Sunday morning at 6:30.
“Short notice, quick travel, 1:10 start,” Farrell said.
|Red Sox owner John Henry, in Boston Herald, supports John Farrell, discusses likelihood of David Ortiz playing in ’17||08.20.16 at 11:35 pm ET|
Red Sox owner John Henry has been the silent partner this year, but he gave an interview to the Boston Herald’s Mike Silverman via e-mail that includes a number of interesting tidbits. Here are some highlights:
— Henry gave manager John Farrell a vote of confidence.
“Managers are always overly blamed and John knows that comes with the territory,” Henry said. “So do I. It’s mainly a radio and internet thing. If you watch enough managers over 162 games you know what’s important and a lot of it is how a manager manages the clubhouse. Is he doing everything he can to help his players be successful on the field for 162 games? Do they feel he has their backs? Are they willing to sacrifice personal goals for team goals? You often see the focus either on the field or off the field. That makes all the difference.”
— Henry admitted he’d love to convince David Ortiz to unretire, but he doesn’t see it happening.
“There’s going to be a big hole in that lineup if he doesn’t return and I know he would return if he thought he could,” Henry said. “But it’s a struggle for him. That’s why he announced. If at some point he seriously considers coming back, it would be a great day for the organization. But, unfortunately, I don’t think that is in the cards.”
— Henry believes NESN should use a three-man broadcast booth more often.
For more, including Henry’s thoughts on Pablo Sandoval, David Price, and the biggest impediment to the Red Sox making the playoffs, check out the rest of the story.
|Steven Wright doesn’t anticipate making start on Tuesday, but Red Sox manager John Farrell isn’t ruling it out||at 7:07 pm ET|
DETROIT — Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright does not expect to start on Tuesday when he’s eligible to come off the disabled list, but manager John Farrell isn’t closing the door.
Speaking to WEEI.com before Saturday’s game against the Tigers, Wright said he wants to be careful with his shoulder. He threw on flat ground without pain and is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Sunday.
“No, I don’t think I’ll be back Tuesday,” Wright said. “It’s one of those things, I just found out about it a couple of days ago. I know that’s the first day I’m eligible to come off the DL, but for me, because it’s my shoulder, I’m not going to rush. The last thing I want to do is try to go out there and pitch and have something really bad go wrong. Today was my second day throwing with pretty much no pain, which is great.”
Wright said his biggest test will be how he recovers on Monday. In a perfect world, he’d throw another side session on Tuesday, see how he feels on Wednesday and Thursday, and then slot back into the rotation.
Farrell isn’t ruling out a Tuesday start, however.
“I think that’ll be determined after we get through [Sunday],” Farrell said. “Might be one [bullpen], maybe two. If it is two, then we would obviously slot him in and build in another day of rest for the rotation, maybe buy an added day of rest for each guy as we’re into this consecutive stretch. If that were to be the case, we’ve also got a chance to break up the left-handers if it fits. And then look at the schedule to see what the best matchups will be along the way.”
Wright is behind on his between-starts workouts. He said he lifted upper body for the first time in two weeks on Friday.
“The biggest test is, how does it feel Monday after throwing off the mound,” Wright said. “I haven’t thrown off the mound in two weeks.”
Wright injured his shoulder diving back into second as a pinch runner in Los Angeles on Aug. 7. He has not received any shots, instead attempting to heal through rest. He said the injury is to his bursa sac, and not the more serious labrum or rotator cuff.
“I try to avoid needles in my shoulder,” Wright said.
Making a slower return more palatable for Wright is the success of right-hander Clay Buchholz, who limited the Tigers to one run in six innings on Thursday. Wright noted that Buccholz, “is throwing the hell out of the ball.”
“When you’re talking about your throwing arm, it could be the smallest thing, but if you’re not mentally confident, it’s going to affect you whether you are physically OK or not,” he said. “The two go hand in hand.”
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