|Xander Bogaerts shows signs of life at the plate with clutch performance against Kansas City||07.19.14 at 1:51 am ET|
There seemed to be only one emotion conveyed on Xander Bogaerts‘ face as he rounded the bases following his fourth-inning home run Friday night:
After trudging through a miserable 14-for-121 slump that sapped his average from .304 on June 3 down to .235 on July 13, Bogaerts finally broke through his six-week downturn in a major way, blasting a timely two-run home run and reaching base a total of three times en route to a 5-4 Red Sox victory over the Royals.
It seemed as if the Red Sox were on their way to another disappointing defeat Friday night, trailing Kansas City by a score of 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning before Bogaerts stepped to the plate.
With Daniel Nava leading off first base, Bogaerts turned on a 85 mph cutter from Royals starter James Shields, depositing the 1-1 offering into the center field bleachers for his seventh home run of the season, cutting the deficit to just one run.
It was Bogaerts’ first home run since June 13 against the Indians, snapping a career-high 89 at-bat homerless spell. That same home run against Cleveland also marked the last time that Bogaerts had gotten an extra-base hit before Friday’s contest.
“That was pretty good, the inside of the ball,” Bogaerts said after the game. “I was trying to hit something the opposite way, my bat just rolled over a lot of stuff and that’s a bad feeling. But I’ll take that every day.”
Bogaerts, who’s round-tripper helped pull Boston right back into the game , was the first of two home runs in the inning, as Jonny Gomes lofted a sinker from Royals southpaw Scott Downs into the same area of the bleachers for a two-run, pinch-hit home run that would give the Red Sox a 5-4 lead that they would not relinquish.
|Jon Lester continues dominant stretch amid contract drama||07.06.14 at 7:33 am ET|
It’s hard enough to not allow an earned run in a start – let alone over eight innings of work.
It’s even harder to accomplish such a feat two starts in a row.
Another Boston hurler joined that select group after Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 win against the Orioles, as Jon Lester - as he’s done for over a month now – was almost untouchable on the mound.
Facing off against a potent Baltimore lineup, Lester was in complete control, allowing five hits and two runs (none earned) over eight innings while striking out seven and walking zero batters.
Lester threw 118 pitches, firing 83 strikes, his highest total since May 30, 2012 against the Tigers (also 83).
“I felt good,” Lester said after the game. “Fastball command has been pretty good, I feel like I’ve gotten the consistency back with my cutter, which has been helpful at times – just getting in on rightys. All in all, I was just moving the ball around pretty well and keeping it down – keeping the ball on the ground. Base hits today, a couple of them were on the ground, a couple of them just got over the infielders’ heads. I’ll take that all day.”
While the Boston southpaw has been dominant for almost two months now, allowing less than two earned runs in five of his last seven starts (1.64 ERA), he’s been on another level over his last five appearances, surrendering just four earned runs in 37 2/3 innings (0.96 ERA).
|Jonny Gomes refuses to accept ‘seller’ mentality despite dwindling playoff odds||07.05.14 at 3:27 pm ET|
The outlook of the 2014 season looks grim for the Red Sox.
Entering Saturday’s doubleheader with a 38-47 record, Boston sits eight games behind first-place Toronto in the division standings and only have three more victories than the team with the worst record in baseball – the Diamondbacks.
The prospect of October baseball in Boston looks slim at this point. According to Fangraphs, Boston has just a 7.5 percent chance of making the playoffs, with a minuscule 0.8 percent chance of winning the World Series.
As the Red Sox continue to slide in the standings, the possibility of Boston accepting the role of “seller” and trading away veteran players in order to rebuild for future seasons has become a scenario that could easily become a reality in the coming weeks as the July 31 trade deadline draws closer.
Just don’t tell any of that to Jonny Gomes.
While Boston was only one game ahead of the Rays for last place in the AL East heading into Saturday, Gomes said that he’s not ready to jump ship on the 2014 campaign, adding that the main goal for the club is to just get an opportunity to make it to the postseason.
“I think, where we’re at right now, if you think this team and this organization should sell, therefore to throw in the white towel in 2014, you don’t know much about the history of the game,” Gomes said. “If we were to win the division – maybe not win the division – but one of the Wild Cards, we’re going to make history.
“Plenty of teams have done this – plenty, plenty, plenty. Plenty of teams have won the World Series by winning the Wild Card. It’s not about going in the front door, there’s side doors and back doors too now. There’s not one person in there whose goal has changed of winning the division and winning the World Series. Do we have our work cut out for us? Sure. And the people at the top got their work cut out for them too [with] targets on their back.
“Listen, I’m not going to be a seller. I don’t want this team to be a seller. I think, in any situation, the attitude to have is add versus subtract. … Like I said, from my past places and my past years of experience, I’m scarred to be Positive Pete. Granted, the end goal for everyone is to win the World Series, but just getting in is the first goal.”
|‘One of the best catches … that you ever see’: Red Sox react to Holt’s out-of-nowhere catch||06.17.14 at 11:59 pm ET|
It would have been amazing to see Jackie Bradley Jr. make such a play. After all, when Jonny Gomes lost what appeared to be a routine fly ball to left, there appeared little time for anyone to swoop in and save the day, even a Gold Glove-caliber defender like Bradley.
But it wasn’t Bradley who offered Gomes a reprieve from what the left fielder described as “that lonely feeling for about four seconds that I had, kind of like you’re the only one out there.” Instead, it was a player who had all of two innings of baseball experience in center field who furiously closed ground, leaped and made a tumbling catch in left-center, nowhere near where Gomes was playing. (To see the play, click here.)
The degree of difficulty was extreme — not just because of the extension required at the end of the play, with the dive, but also because the first-time center fielder had to track Gomes and, when he saw that Gomes had lost it, follow both the whereabouts of his teammate to avoid a collision and track the path of the ball in flight.
How significant was the degree of difficulty?
“That might be one of the best catches — the whole sequence of what happened — that you ever see, just because of everything that’s involved in it, just to have the wherewithal to start with to even go after the ball,” said Red Sox outfield coach Arnie Beyeler. “That’s kind of a routine ball to the left fielder and then all of a sudden he doesn’t see it in the twilight. Most guys would just stand there watching the play. Infielders usually go out and get those if anybody does. That was just a great instinctual play.”
Here is a breakdown of the play from different vantage points:
“It’s one of those things where you look over and you see Gomes’ arms out and try to do all you can, looking at him, looking at the ball, looking at him — he never picked it up. Fortunately I was able to get over there and make a play on it,” said Holt. “I ran to the wrong spot, that’s why I had to to do that. I thought the ball was going to be somewhere and it ended up somewhere else, that’s why I had to kind of dive backwards for it.”
|Dreams fulfilled, surprises, mistakes, slights: Red Sox players share draft day memories||06.04.14 at 6:21 pm ET|
The 2014 MLB amateur draft begins Thursday. Years after being drafted, members of the Red Sox shared their draft day memories and the excitement of realizing their dreams of playing professionally.
Jonny Gomes: Drafted by Rays in 18th round, 2001
Gomes didn’t have set plans to play baseball in college, let alone expectations of doing it professionally. He had booked a cruise, his first vacation, during the 2001 draft and had no intentions of canceling it following a workout with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
“I don’t even have a college scholarship. What makes you think I’m going to go professional?” he recalled thinking.
When he returned home from the trip two days after the draft, he was surprised to hear a message on his answering machine saying he had been selected by the Devil Rays. Gomes hadn’t hired an agent – he didn’t think he would be in the position to need one — so he called back to negotiate on his own. The Devil Rays offered an $18,000 signing bonus for the 18th round. Gomes countered with $20,000 and they agreed. (He hired an agent following his first season in the instructional league after learning of bigger deals other players had received. “I said, ‘Huh, I’m way off.’”)
Looking back now, Gomes laughed, “(My draft day memory) is probably a little different than other people, but it was zero.”
It sounds like the plot of a fairy tale: Victorino went to bed one night and woke up a professional baseball player.
OK, let’s explain. Victorino grew up in Hawaii, where there was a six-hour time difference from the draft action. He had been sleeping when he received word he had been selected. It was not a typical phone call, but one he gladly welcomed.
“I was honored,” he said. “I was excited getting that kind of news.”
|Jonny Gomes might be a ‘spark plug’ but he admits: ‘Tomorrow is not a guarantee for me’||05.29.14 at 7:51 am ET|
No one needs to remind Jonny Gomes of his value and role on the Red Sox.
The veteran outfielder proved his worth on the club again on Wednesday night, going 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and scoring twice in a 4-0 win over the Braves. After a 10-game skid, the Red Sox are suddenly on a three-game streak in the right direction.
“Obviously not ideal but I’ll tell you what, no one truly had their head in the sand,” Gomes said. “No one was ready to throw in the white towel on the season, by any means. It was just a rough patch but this team does a pretty good job of turning the page and cleaning the slate once we leave these double doors here. Likewise on a win, what we did tonight doesn’t matter tomorrow. So, we just have to clean the slate and get back to work tomorrow.”
Gomes’ numbers this year virtually mirror those for his career across the board – .248/.343/.425/.768 – in 39 games. Gomes is batting .308 with a mighty .950 OPS against lefties this year.
What makes Gomes so valuable is his attitude, given his uncertain role from game to game. Gomes has handled the platoon situation in the outfield flawlessly, understanding that he will not be playing every day as skipper John Farrell tries to maximize his ability to mash left-handed pitching. Wednesday night, however, Gomes got the left field nod against righty Gavin Floyd and Gomes was ready as always to answer the bell.
“Play here, sit here. Sit there, play there. I just go pitch to pitch, at-bat to at-bat,” Gomes said philosophically. “Tomorrow is not a guarantee for me so I just run it out there and any way I can generate a run on the board and take one off with my defense, that’s what I’ll try to do.
“Tomorrow is not a guarantee. It can be exhausting at times but I’ve done it for a while where every pitch, every at-bat is not so much pressure but I put a lot on it and I have a lot of pride in it. If I do play sparingly, I want to affect the game somehow. That’s what I try to do.”
|Jonny Gomes on bench-clearer: ‘I figured a hands-on approach was a little more appropriate’||05.25.14 at 10:52 pm ET|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The fallout from the bench-clearing incident between the Red Sox and Rays was somewhat predictable.
Both sides were unapologetic.
What happened in the seventh inning of an 8-5 Red Sox loss to the Rays was this: Tampa Bay’s Yunel Escobar stole third (later ruled defensive indifference) with two outs and the hosts leading by five runs. He then started hearing it from the nearby Red Sox dugout.
After a few back-and-forths, Escobar left the bag and started walking toward the Sox side, resulting in both benches clearing.
The most notable physical contact came when Sox left fielder Jonny Gomes raced in from his position and pushed Escobar in the face. Gomes, Escobar and Tampa Bay’s Sean Rodriguez were ejected.
Here are what some of the particulars had to say.
– “[Escobar] was yelling at our dugout a whole lot and then kind of kept yelling and then kind of took his helmet off and continued to yell. I don’t know. I don’t have much patience, nor do I have much time right now to be in an arguing match. That’s why it happened.”
– “He can have the bag if he wants the bag. I’m not concerned about the bag at all. I don’t think it is a stolen base. Scorer’s discretion. I wouldn’t have done it, but I don’t have a problem with him taking the bag. He can take the bag all he wants, but yell in my dugout and point in my dugout and take your helmet off and basically challenge our whole dugout, I’ll have a problem with that.”
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