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PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina hired as Angels third base coach 11.05.13 at 2:11 pm ET
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Multiple industry sources have confirmed a report by Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com that the Angels have hired Gary DiSarcina — who spent 2013 as the manager of the Red Sox’ Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket — as their third base coach.

DiSarcina, 45, led the PawSox to an 80-53 record, a first-place finish in the International League’s North division and a spot in the Governor’s Cup championship series. But more significantly from the Red Sox perspective, in tandem with pitching coach Rich Sauveur and hitting coach Dave Joppie, he proved a critical contributor to the development of a number of key prospects during the season.

“DiSar is a really loose and upbeat personality, one who connects with a lot of different types of people well. That was absolutely one of his strengths throughout the year, especially coming in and not having managed at that level,” Sox farm director Ben Crockett recently noted. “It was impressive the way he took charge, got guys’ respect quickly but also managed different egos — both older players and younger prospects.  He really did a nice job of dealing with challenges as they appeared.”

His imprint may have been most dramatic with infielder Jose Iglesias, who was admittedly disappointed after being sent to Triple-A following a strong start in early April, at a time when Stephen Drew was on the DL. Iglesias struggled not just offensively but also with his effort level in Triple-A, failing to run out grounders on multiple occasions.

DiSarcina pulled Iglesias in the middle of a game after one such incident, and the shortstop sat out of the next three games. But DiSarcina presented the approach not as a benching or a punishment, but instead an opportunity for Iglesias to catch his breath, to return to playing with the energy and joy that are often associated with the 23-year-old. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: gary disarcina, jose iglesias, Will Middlebrooks, xander bogaerts
Jose Iglesias suggests no ill-will towards Shane Victorino 10.17.13 at 1:23 am ET
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DETROIT — How to interpret the brief exchange between Jose Iglesias and Shane Victorino in the bottom of the eighth inning?

Iglesias lined a single to right, on which Victorino — playing shallow — charged the ball and fired somewhat wildly towards first base, with the ball getting past first baseman Mike Napoli after Iglesias had crossed the bag. Iglesias seemed to wave his arm somewhat defiantly towards Victorino — it was unclear at the time whether it was in jest or in contempt for Victorino’s unusual (but not unprecedented — Victorino had also tried to throw out Miguel Cabrera at first from right field during a June Red Sox-Tigers series) attempt to cut him down.

After the fact, Iglesias said that he knew that Victorino might try to gun him down at first, and so he’d hustled through the bag to ensure that he would not be caught.

“I keep my eyes to the players, where they’re at when I’m hitting, and I saw Shane playing shallow and I know he’s an unbelievable right fielder, and I hit the ball really hard and I knew right away he was going to throw to first,” said Iglesias. “So I sprinted all the way down.”

Iglesias insisted that his gesture was not one of antipathy towards his former teammate.

“No, it’s Shane, he’s an unbelievable teammate,” said Iglesias. “He’s an amazing right fielder. He tried to make a play for the team. That’s awesome.”

That play came two innings after Iglesias slid hard into second baseman Dustin Pedroia in an unsuccessful attempt to break up a double play. Yet the Tigers shortstop — whom the Sox dealt to Detroit as part of the three-way deal that landed Jake Peavy in Boston — suggested that nothing but hard-nosed fun was taking place.

“Playing against Boston is always fun,” said Iglesias. “Unbelievable organization, unbelievable team, and it’s a great series so far.”

Read More: jose iglesias, Shane Victorino,
Wednesday’s Red Sox-Tigers ALCS matchups: Jake Peavy vs. Doug Fister 10.16.13 at 12:19 pm ET
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Jake Peavy

Jake Peavy

Jake Peavy has been a major leaguer for 12 years, during which time he’s won 132 games, pitched nearly 2,000 innings, struck out nearly 2,000 batters and posted a career 3.51 ERA.

But for as much success as Peavy has experienced in his career, he only has three postseason starts under his belt, and for the first time, he’ll make a start in a championship series round when he faces off against Doug Fister and the Tigers in Game 4 of the ALCS at Comerica Park on Wednesday. Boston leads the best of seven series 2-1.

Peavy’s third career postseason start came on Oct. 8 in the Red Sox’s Game 4 ALDS win against the Rays. He lasted 5 2/3 innings and allowed just one run on five hits and struck out three at Tropicana Field. Peavy (12-5, 4.17 ERA) exited the game with Boston trailing 1-0, and his pitch count at just 74, but the Red Sox came back to win, and clinch the series.

“Jake, on a normal situation, we’re probably having a fist fight on the mound right there,” manager John Farrell said after the game about pulling Peavy during the sixth inning. “Our starters recognize the time of the year it is, the importance of every out, the importance of every matchup.”

Boston acquired Peavy from the White Sox on July 30 in a three-team trade that sent shortstop Jose Iglesias to Detroit. Peavy improved his ERA from 4.28 with Chicago to 4.04 with Boston, where he recorded a 4-1 record in 10 starts.

Peavy previously started a pair of postseason games in 2005 and 2006 as a member of the Padres. He had immense success in his eight years with San Diego, but not in the postseason. In two starts and 9 2/3 innings (both against the Cardinals, in the divisional series round), he allowed 13 earned runs and 23 hits plus walks.

Peavy faced the Tigers once this season, in his last outing as a member of the White Sox. He earned a win in Chicago’s 7-4 victory on July 25. Peavy allowed four runs in seven innings, and struck out seven batters.

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Read More: Anibal Sanchez, Doug Fister, jake peavy, Jed Lowrie
Tale of the tape: Red Sox-Tigers ALCS preview 10.12.13 at 8:23 am ET
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The ALCS opens on Saturday night with Red Sox starter Jon Lester taking on Tigers right-hander (and former Sox prospect) Anibal Sanchez. (AP)

The ALCS opens on Saturday night with Red Sox starter Jon Lester taking on Tigers right-hander (and former Sox prospect) Anibal Sanchez. (AP)

After making relatively quick work of the Rays in the American League Division Series, the Red Sox will take on the Tigers in their first ALCS since 2008, a stage that Detroit now has reached for three consecutive seasons.

The Red Sox wrapped up the ALDS on Tuesday with a 3-1 victory over the Rays, taking the series in four games. The Athletics forced the Tigers to play a Game 5 on Thursday, but for the second year in a row, the Tigers sent the A’s home.

The two teams are evenly matched in many ways, especially when it comes to what they can do with the bats. These two clubs fielded the best lineups in baseball this season, with both finishing in the top two of many offensive categories. Here’s how the offensive numbers break down:

BOSTON

DETROIT

Batting average

.277 (2nd)

.283 (1st)

On-base percentage

.349 (1st)

.346 (2nd)

On-base plus slugging (OPS)

.795 (1st)

.780 (2nd)

Home runs

178 (5th)

176 (t-6th)

Runs per game (average)

5.27 (1st)

4.91 (2nd)

Total runs scored

853 (1st)

796 (2nd)

The clubs are comparable when it comes to pitching as well. The Tigers rotation owns the lowest ERA in baseball at 3.44, while the Red Sox finished fourth at 3.84. Both teams’ weak links are the bullpens; Red Sox relievers rank 10th in the majors with a 3.70 ERA, while the Tigers bullpen ERA is 12th at 4.04. One clear advantage that the Red Sox have, however, is speed. Jacoby Ellsbury, who leads the majors in stolen bases, has swiped 17 more bags than the entire Tigers club, which ranked dead last in the majors with 35 stolen bases. The Red Sox rank fourth with 123.

Though the Tigers were early favorites to win the AL Central, they ended up finishing just one game ahead of the Indians, wrapping up the year with a 93-69 record. The Sox and Tigers met seven times in the regular season, with the Tigers taking four of the contests, including three out of four at Comerica Park in June. The Red Sox outscored the Tigers 43 to 35 in the season series, but the Red Sox’ 20-run offensive outburst against the Tigers in the last game of the season series between the two skewed things.

Here are the pitching matchups for the ALCS:

Game 1, Saturday: Jon Lester (15-8, 3.75) vs. Anibal Sanchez (14-8, 2.57)
Game 2, Sunday: Clay Buchholz (12-1, 1.74) vs. Max Scherzer (21-3, 2.90)
Game 3, Tuesday: John Lackey (10-13, 3.52) vs. Justin Verlander (13-21, 3.46)
Game 4, Wednesday: Jake Peavy (12-5, 4.17) vs. Doug Fister (14-9, 3.67)
Game 5, Thursday*: Lester vs. Sanchez
Game 6, Saturday*: Buchholz vs. Scherzer
Game 7, Sunday*: Lackey vs. Verlander

* = if necessary

WHO’S HOT: RED SOX

• One of the concerns coming into the playoffs for the Red Sox was relief pitching in the late innings. Closer Koji Uehara has been lights-out all season, but the bridge from the starter to Uehara was a shaky one. But Craig Breslow has been impressive, and continued his dominance in the ALDS, tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings and allowing two hits and a walk while also hitting a batter. Junichi Tazawa has been shaky at times, but he gave up just one hit over 2 1/3 innings, striking out two. Both set-up men have pitched well against the Tigers in 2013 as well as over the course of their career; Breslow threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings against Detroit this season and has a 0.90 ERA in 20 innings lifetime, while Tazawa accumulated two scoreless innings in 2013 and has posted a 1.08 ERA in 8 1/3 innings vs. the Tigers. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: jake peavy, Jhonny Peralta, jose iglesias, justin verlander
Jose Iglesias shines in return to Fenway 09.02.13 at 8:12 pm ET
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Jose Iglesias had a strong showing at the plate and in the field Monday. (AP)

Jose Iglesias had a strong showing at the plate and in the field Monday. (AP)

Jose Iglesias returned to Fenway Park Monday for the first time since being traded away to Detroit. Iglesias hit ninth for the Tigers and finished the day 1-for-3, smacking a double in the top of the third. Along with the base hit, Iglesias provided his trademark sensational defense all afternoon, stymieing the Red Sox by putting together three different double plays on a bittersweet occasion.

“I love those guys over there, it’s nothing personal,” said Iglesias. “It’s a business at the end of the day, but it was fun to come here today and get the W. The fans here are great, it’s a really fun place to be. Red Sox always been my first organization, but I’m getting used to it.”

Iglesias turned in the finest defensive play of the game. Shane Victorino delivered a single to lead off the sixth, and Dustin Pedroia hit a ground ball to the right of second base. Iglesias turned what should have been a fielder’s choice into an unassisted double play, running over from short, tagging out Victorino, then spinning and unloading a bullet to first base.

“I switched it up,” said Iglesias, “I covered the base. As soon as he read the ball, I just try to get the ball and I was able to make a good double play for the team. I knew I got time on first, so I try to tag him.”

“You can’t practice plays like that,” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland, “so that’s just athleticism, flexibility, agility, whatever you want to call it. You just can’t practice a play like that. Someone tells me they practiced a play like that, I’ll tell them they’re lying.”

Iglesias’ slick fielding buttressed the work of starting pitcher Doug Fister, a groundball pitcher who likes to keep the ball low and is especially dependent on his shortstop.

“That kid’s got great hands and moves all over the diamond and gets things done,” said Fister. “It’s such a blessing to have him. The things he brings to this team are astounding.”

Leyland noted that the Tigers are very confident about making a playoff push with Iglesias entrenched at short.

“He’s made about three already that I’ve never seen before. He’s going to make some of those acrobatic plays. We’re very fortunate to have him.”

“He’s unbelievable with his glove,” said Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson. “He definitely keeps some base hits that would have been up the middle or in the hole, he’s good at getting glove on it. For him to make some of the plays he makes, it’s unbelievable. It makes you just wait for a second to applaud him.”

Leyland admitted that, while he is not overly familiar with the 23-year-old from Havana, Cuba, he is happy to have him on the club.

“When you hear that many people talking about a guy, as a shortstop, you know it’s got to be true,” explained Leyland. “Offensively, he’s very aggressive. He’s a tough out for a young guy. He swings a little bit too much, probably like a big guy, at times, but he’s very smart. He knows how to shoot the ball to hit the hole, how to bunt for a base hit. I think he’s going to be a very good offensive player. I don’t want to take his aggressiveness away from him. He probably swings a little bit too much like a big guy in certain situations, but he’s very bright and very instinctive, so he’ll figure it out. He’s got baseball sense.

“Every once and a while, you get mixed reviews on some players. On him, there are no mixed reviews. Everyone that I’ve ever talked to say this guy’s a fantastic shortstop. When you get split reviews, somebody’s wrong. When you get a dominant positive, that means a guy’s good. Nobody has ever said this guy would not be, or could not be, or isn’t a fantastic shortstop.”

Though the Red Sox clearly saw him as being expendable enough to part with in the Jake Peavy trade, Iglesias is glad with the situation he has found.

“I’m doing what I’m supposed to do,” said Iglesias. “Playing short, that’s what I’m doing and I feel comfortable.”

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Red Sox-Tigers series preview at 11:28 am ET
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With the calendar flipped and the final month of the MLB season upon us, the Red Sox have an opportunity to flex their muscles and build on their American League East lead with a three-game series vs. the Tigers.

Former Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez has been swinging a hot bat for the Tigers. (AP)

Former Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez has been swinging a hot bat for the Tigers, carrying a 15-game hitting streak into Monday’s series opener at Fenway. (AP)

The best teams in the AL record-wise kick off the series Monday at 1:35 at Fenway Park. The Red Sox (82-56) lead the AL East by 5½ games, while Detroit (80-57) leads the AL Central by 7½ games.

Boston earned its lead with a three-game sweep of the White Sox. The second-place Rays, who entered a three-game series with the Athletics just 2½ games behind the Red Sox, dropped all three games in Oakland.

After tying Boston with a win over the Yankees on Aug. 24, the Rays have lost seven of their last eight games, while Boston has claimed eight of its last nine. The Red Sox’ 5½-game AL East lead is their largest since July 5.

The Tigers find themselves in a familiar position at the start of September. They’re well on their way to winning their third straight AL Central title. With 25 games remaining, Detroit leads Cleveland by 7½ games.

One potential determinant of the series will be the health of the Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera. The reigning AL MVP and Triple Crown winner missed the last two games with due to issues with his groin and abdomen.

Cabrera is threatening to claim the Triple Crown again, as he leads MLB in batting average (.358) and RBIs (130). His 43 home runs puts him four behind the Orioles’ Chris Davis.

Team president/CEO/general manager Dave Dombrowski, during an interview on Monday’s Dennis & Callahan show, expressed optimism that Cabrera will play at some point in this series, although he was not listed in the team’s starting lineup for the opener.

Two series ago, the Red Sox lucked out in missing Dodgers starters Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke on its West Coast trip.

The Red Sox receive a similar stroke of luck this series in not facing former AL MVP Justin Verlander and current AL ERA leader Anibal Sanchez. Instead, Boston will see a formidable trio in Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello.

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Read More: David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, jose iglesias, Koji Uehara
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski on D&C: ‘Tremendous’ Jose Iglesias ‘going to be our shortstop for years to come’ at 10:51 am ET
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Dave Dombrowski

Dave Dombrowski

With the Tigers set to open a three-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Monday, Tigers president/ CEO/general manager Dave Dombrowski joined Dennis & Callahan guest hosts Butch Stearns and Gordon Edes to discuss his team’s success and the recent three-team trade that landed him shortstop Jose Iglesias from Boston.

Iglesias was sent to Detroit in the deal that brought Jake Peavy to Boston from the White Sox, and the defensive standout has continued to swing a hot bat, with a .292/.344/.360 line through 28 games with his new team.

“Jose’s been tremendous for us. He really changes our ball club, as you know, over here,” Dombrowski said. “He’s an outstanding defensive shortstop. He really changes the middle of the diamond. We have a lot of good pitchers, and some of them live with the ground ball, and so his range helps us appreciably — so quick out there.

“He’s also hit well enough. He’s continued to hit over .300 for us, and has gone through a little bit of a downtime period, but he’s come back and done well. He does a lot of little things for us as far as bunting, he can move the ball around, he can steal a base — he did steal a base the other day for us. He’s still working on those skills, but he can really run the bases well. So, for us, we really like what he brings for us. He’s going to be our shortstop for years to come.”

Miguel Cabrera was held out of the Tigers’ last two games with a groin injury, but Dombrowski is hopeful the reigning American League MVP will be able to play in this matchup of the top two teams in the AL.

“They’re working on it, he felt appreciably better yesterday,” Dombrowski said. “I think the one thing we’re going to do with him this time is we want to make sure from even his own perspective that when he gets back out there, that he’s running better than what he has in the past. We would think that he’ll most likely play in this series here at some point. I’m not sure if it will be today, but I would think that would be the case.

“He’s coming along well, but we want to make sure that he is healthy and ready to go the rest of the season without any setbacks that are unanticipated.”

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Read More: Dave Dombrowski, jose iglesias, miguel cabrera,
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