|Closing Time: Astros plate 4 runs in 10th inning to beat Red Sox in back-and-forth affair||07.03.15 at 11:34 pm ET|
While it wasn’t quite the Fourth of July (just yet), the Red Sox and Astros provided some fireworks in a wild game, which saw two lead changes and the game tied another three times, along with some bizarre plays over the four- hour and 23 minute affair.
In the tenth inning with Noe Ramirez making his major league debut, he allowed four runs (two unearned courtesy of Mike Napoli‘s error) as the Astros were able to get the last laugh in a back-and-forth game, winning 12-8 Friday night at Fenway Park.
In the eighth inning, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa hit a towering solo home run off Craig Breslow to leadoff the frame giving the Astros an 8-7 lead, but that was short-lived as the Red Sox would again tie the game in the bottom half of the inning on a David Ortiz opposite field double. The double could have given the Red Sox the lead, but Mookie Betts was thrown out trying to steal third base for the second out of the inning.
“Our offense did a great job tonight,” manager John Farrell said. “Three times we battled back by being down. A number of good swings. David obviously with a big one, the eighth inning to tie it. We continue to battle back. Our offense is swinging the bat well, we’re scoring a good number of runs. The larger concern is just getting deeper into the games that are starting out the ballgame.”
In the top of the seventh inning, Matt Barnes loaded the bases, but struck out Alex Presley for the second out of the inning, but the next batter, Jose Altuve, singled up the middle, giving the Astros a 7-5 lead.
Once again, the Red Sox would come right back in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at seven. Pablo Sandoval singled with the bases loaded scoring a run and then Alejandro De Aza’s fielders choice plated the tying run at the time.
Trailing 5-2 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Red Sox scored three times to tie the game at five. Ortiz singled home Brock Holt and then Xander Bogaerts scored on a fielder choice when Ortiz broke up a potential double play by taking the ball off the helmet sliding into second base. Hanley Ramirez advanced to second on the play and then scored on a two-out RBI single by Sandoval, against lefty reliever Tony Sipp.
Red Sox starter Justin Masterson allowed five runs on seven hits in the fourth inning, not even finishing the inning as he was removed after 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander didn’t allow a hit the first time through the Astros order, but Houston lit him up the second time around.
“First three innings he was solid and then in the matter of 13 pitches there’s three runs on the board and seven hits in the fourth inning, so they went early in the count,” Farrell said. “When he did try and alternate with a first pitch slider was a ball and they would fight back in the count, but they were aggressive and took him the other way. I thought he came out early, I thought he had good life to his stuff, but to close out the fourth inning, couldn’t happen.”
The Red Sox did play some spotty defense in the fourth, particularly in the left field as Ramirez appeared to have some trouble fielding two balls hit off the wall and getting the ball back in to the infield.
Ramirez gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead with a towering homer in the second inning and then the Sox scored another on a Betts single.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:
|Friday Red Sox Farm Report: Garin Cecchini hits 2 HRs; Matt Barnes fans all 5 batters he faces; Pat Light proves human||06.19.15 at 8:32 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday:
— Garin Cecchini (Boston’s No. 7 prospect at MLB.com) broke out with two home runs and his first four-hit game of the season, going 4-for-5 with three runs scored as he hit out of the six-hole in the PawSox lineup. Both long balls came on 3-2 counts as the leadoff batter of an inning, with Cecchini’s blast in the second frame an opposite-field shot over the left-center wall, and his fourth-inning dinger pulled over the right-field fence on a pitch that was down and in. Cecchini, 24, also had a line-drive single up the middle on a 3-1 pitch in the eighth, as well as a broken-bat bloop single in the ninth.
It has been a very tough season for Cecchini, as the four hits brought his batting average just over the .200 line for the first time since May 22. Cecchini went 36 games between home runs and between RBIs from April 13 through June 6, although he did miss eight games in April with left shoulder inflammation. On the year Cecchini has five homers and 10 RBIs in 51 games played. In 2014 over 114 games in Triple-A Cecchini hit .263 with a .341 on-base percentage to go with seven homers and 57 RBIs.
— Shortstop Deven Marrero (Boston’s No. 9 prospect at MLB.com) also had a multi-hit night, going 3-for-5 with a double. Marrero now has three multi-hit games in his last five, on an 8-for-21 (.380) stretch with two doubles to bring his average up to .249.
— Recently demoted bullpen RHP Matt Barnes (Boston’s No. 8 prospect at MLB.com) was electric in his relief work, striking out all five batters he faced. That’s now seven strikeouts over Barnes’ two appearances in 2 2/3 innings with Pawtucket, with just one hit allowed. On Thursday Barnes’ fastball sat at 94-95 mph on the BB&T Stadium radar gun, with his sharp curveball at 82-84 giving batters trouble, and a change-up showing arm-side fade at 86-88.
— Other than Barnes, PawSox pitching was hit hard by Charlotte as the Knights piled up 15 hits and completed a three-game sweep. Damaged in the carnage were relievers Dalier Hinojosa (3 1/3 IP, 3 ER), Edwin Escobar (1 IP, 5 ER), and Pat Light (1 1/3 IP, 2 ER), who gave up his first Triple-A runs after three perfect appearances since his promotion from Double-A Portland.
Escobar (Boston’s No. 17 prospect at MLB.com) allowed five earned runs on four hits and two walks in an inning plus, making just his third appearance of the season as he came off of the DL on June 9 (left elbow inflammation). The 23-year-old lefty did not retire a batter in the sixth as he walked the leadoff man and was then greeted with consecutive doubles and a three-run home run from Charlotte catcher George Kottaras to make it a 13-2 game.
Light (Boston’s No. 26 prospect at MLB.com) made his first multi-inning appearance for the PawSox, getting the final out of the seventh before running into trouble in the eighth. The right-hander allowed three singles and walked a batter, leading to the two marks against, just the third time in Light’s last 21 appearances that he’s allowed a run. Light threw 22 pitches, with only 12 for strikes, and his normally high-90s fastball peaked at just 94 mph on the radar gun.
|Red Sox pregame notes: Travis Shaw promoted, Matt Barnes optioned; Multiple injury updates||06.14.15 at 12:18 pm ET|
There was an unfamiliar face in the Red Sox clubhouse Sunday morning when first/third baseman Travis Shaw walked through the door. Shaw has appeared in just one major league game, an early May game in Toronto.
The corresponding move for Shaw was optioning reliever Matt Barnes back to Triple-A Pawtucket.
“Given the physical situation with a couple of our position players, we needed some depth at a corner position, so Travis is here today,” manager John Farrell said.
Barnes suffered the loss Saturday, allowing a towering home run to Jays catcher Russell Martin in the 11th inning. Following a string of five straight scoreless appearances, Barnes has allowed runs in his last three outings, including three Friday night without recording an out. For the year, the right-hander is 2-2 with a 4.24 ERA.
A starter turned reliever, he will remain a reliever with Pawtucket.
“It’s been more in hitter counts where the mislocated pitches have cost him,” Farrell said. “Yesterday [Saturday] was a prime example of that. The one thing about Matt is if you look back at his progression to get to the big leagues, there’s been obviously a learning curve at each of the levels he’s advanced through. If you combine that with a change of role, this is part of his continued learning and the required consistency at this level. He’s got all the ingredients to be a very good late inning reliever. There’s a lot of trust in him. You look at the three-pitch mix that he has and yet we’re striding for consistency.”
“Second day down,” Farrell said. “Much like we did with David and with Pablo. A couple of days to regroup. Fully expect him back in the lineup tomorrow.”
— Pablo Sandoval is starting after leaving the game Saturday with right quad tightness. The third baseman went through a full workout before the game and came through it with no issues. Shaw was brought up in case it did flare up within the game.
— After crashing into the Red Sox bullpen wall Friday night, Mookie Betts is out once again, but will taking batting practice on the field prior to the game. “Improved throughout the night. We’ll know more coming out of BP,” Farrell said.
|Closing Time: Joe Kelly roughed up in Red Sox’ loss to Twins||05.25.15 at 5:05 pm ET|
MINNEAPOLIS — Unfortunately for the Red Sox, it seemed like old times.
After a run of solid starting pitching, and two straight wins, the Sox fell into some old habits with starter Joe Kelly lasting just 1 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs. It put John Farrell‘s team in a hole they couldn’t dig out from, losing its series opener against the Twins, 7-2, Monday afternoon at Target Field.
Kelly, whose ERA jumped to 6.24, has given up five or more runs five times in his nine starts this season.
“It’s not ideal, but I’ve just got to keep pitching,” the Sox starter said when asked about the inconsistencies.
Kelly allowed one run in the first before giving way to Matt Barnes after surrendering six in the second.
“A number of pitches found their way to the middle of the plate, and whether it was hard contact or soft contact, a high number of base hits,” Farrell noted. “They put up six in the first inning, and you’ve got to go to the bullpen at that point in that second inning. A short day, and unfortunately we get a hole dug pretty darn deep here [Monday].”
The dagger for Kelly was Trevor Plouffe’s three-run homer in the second, building the hosts’ lead to seven runs.
“Full count. I threw a lot of pitches that inning and I really didn’t want to give into him or walk him,” Kelly said after turning the shortest outing of his career (in 57 starts). “I threw a strike, breaking ball that kind of backed up on me a little bit. He put a good swing on it and hit a three-run homer.”
|Closing Time: Red Sox allow 9 runs in 5th inning as Angels roll to blowout win||05.22.15 at 10:46 pm ET|
How about some consistency?
After the Red Sox scored one run or less in four of their last six games and came in averaging 2.34 runs per game in the month of May, they finally had a good offensive night, scoring five runs, but it wasn’t enough as they couldn’t continue their string of strong games from the mound, as the Angels took the first game of the weekend series, 12-5.
Red Sox starter Rick Porcello just didn’t have it. He couldn’t control any of his pitches and the Angels made him pay, especially in the fifth — a half inning that lasted over 37 minutes, and saw three pitchers combine for 46 pitches and nine runs.
Porcello walked the first two batters, and then Mike Trout singled to short left on a ball that barely got by Brock Holt at third, but a second run scored when Xander Bogaerts tried to get Johnny Giavotella at third base and the throw went against the Angels dugout. Albert Pujols then grounded out, but Trout would steal third on a tremendous slide, eluding Holt’s tag (he was ruled safe after a video review). Kole Calhoun then singled to score Trout and David Freese doubled scoring the fourth run of the inning, which was Porcello’s departure.
Matt Barnes came in relief and was even worse. He walked the first batter he faced and then allowed a three-run homer to Chris Iannetta. Marc Krauss then hit a routine fly ball to right field that Rusney Castillo, in his first major league game of the season, dropped. Two batters later Erick Aybar hit a two-run homer sending Barnes to the showers.
Robbie Ross Jr. then came on and after a harmless Trout single retired the next two batters to mercifully end the inning. It was their worst inning of the season as their previous high in an inning was seven — when Clay Buchholz allowed seven in the first against the Yankees on April 12.
Adding insult to injury (literally), Hanley Ramirez left the game in the sixth, two innings after taking a pitch off the hand. The Red Sox announced he left because of left hand soreness. Every Red Sox starter recorded a hit, besides Ramirez.
For Porcello it was his shortest outing of the season, as his fine line was 4 1/3 innings, seven runs on seven hits, while walking three and striking out four.
Trailing 11-3 going into the seventh, the Red Sox showed some fight scoring two runs, forcing Angels starter Garrett Richards from the game, and could have scored even more if it weren’t for Daniel Nava hitting into a double play with the bases loaded to end the inning.
The Red Sox have now lost four of their last five games and fall to 8-12 at home this year.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Trout. The centerfielder put on a show, as besides going 3-for-6 at the plate, he made a tremendous throw from deep left center field to throw out Napoli trying to score from first in the fourth and had a great slide to avoid a tag at third on a stolen base attempt in the fifth. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
Here’s what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:
|Closing Time: Pablo Sandoval homer lifts Red Sox over A’s in 11 innings||05.12.15 at 2:11 am ET|
Pablo Sandoval is like Two-Face in the Batman movies. From the left side of the plate, he represents goodness. From the right side, he is grotesque.
On Monday night in Oakland, he needed only one swing from the left side to make his mark, lining an Angel Castro offering over the right field fence in the 11th inning to give the Red Sox a 5-4 victory over the A’s in a game that didn’t look like it was being played by last-place teams.
The respective offenses grinded out rallies, matching runs in the fourth, fifth, and seventh. And both managers treated the game like a playoff affair, with Red Sox skipper John Farrell summoning closer Koji Uehara to keep a tie game that way in the ninth, while A’s counterpart Bob Melvin utilized five relief pitchers.
But the two sides might still be playing if not for Sandoval, who hit the type of home run that is becoming his trademark ‘ the low-trajectory line drive that leaves the park in a hurry.
Prior to the homer, Sandoval had had another rough night from the right side. He grounded into a double play, struck out, and grounded out against A’s starter Scott Kazmir. Sandoval began the night hitting just .071 (2 for 28) from the right side, vs. .386 with a 1.017 OPS from the left.
Those numbers only skewed even further on Monday.
Right-hander Rick Porcello struggled for the Red Sox, allowing nine hits and a walk in just five innings. Porcello, who was coming off two very good seven-inning starts, struggled with his location in this one, often missing the zone badly, particularly with his changeup.
It was hard to miss the impact of youth in the seventh inning. In successive at-bats, 22-year-old shortstop Xander Bogaerts, 23-year-old catcher Blake Swihart, and 22-year-old center fielder Mookie Betts all singled to plate a run and erase a 3-2 deficit. When Betts then took out shortstop Marcus Semien with a tough, legal slide on Dustin Pedroia‘s groundout, the Red Sox had a 4-3 lead.
It proves short-lived, though, because reliever Craig Breslow gave it right back.
This was a matchup of two of the colder teams in baseball. The A’s had lost five straight, while the Sox had dropped seven of nine.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Pablo Sandoval erased a tough start at the plate by drilling the game-winning home run in the 11th. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
|Red Sox Minor League Notebook: Year after playing high school ball, 2014 first-round picks reflect on turning pro||05.08.15 at 4:33 pm ET|
Last year at this time, Michael Chavis and Michael Kopech were spending their days in high school classrooms, and playing baseball for their high school teams after school.
Now, after both being drafted in the first round by the Red Sox in the 2014 draft, they are professional baseball players getting paid to play the game they love. Both are with Single-A Greenville after spending last summer in the Florida Gulf Coast League.
“We do talk about how crazy it is that this time last year we were playing high school baseball,” Chavis said via phone. “During the summer, my birthday is August 11 and I was talking to him [last summer], and it’s funny we were playing down in Fort Myers together and I was saying last year we were playing in the All-American game against each other when he was on the West squad and I was on the East squad. It’s just crazy looking back at that and we’ve both gone through the travel ball circuit playing against each other. Now it’s a great experience and opportunity for us to play together.”
“It’s a great experience. I am glad I got to come to Greenville, as it’s close to home,” he added. “It’s kind of cool because we had a few days off a couple days ago and I got to go to my high school and play a high school game. It was crazy watching all my buddies playing high school ball and thinking that I am at the professional level. Just a few months ago I was playing high school baseball. It’s hard to wrap my mind around.”
Chavis, an infielder, was drafted No. 26 overall, while Kopech, a right-handed pitcher, was drafted No. 33 overall.
Kopech said being a professional is much different than playing high school and travel ball, but it’s something he’s always wanted to do and had his mind focused on.
“Yeah, it’s a little different,” said Kopech via phone. “Honestly, it’s what I always wanted. It’s what I always expected. It’s fallen into place. That’s how I think of it. It’s a dream come true, don’t get me wrong. It’s exactly what I expected. It’s fun though. I like going out there with good competition and trying to compete. It’s a lot of fun.”
The biggest difference for him now that he’s a professional, is he can’t just step on the mound and throw. He has to have a plan.
“You just always have to have an approach,” Kopech said. “High school hitters you could throw three fastballs, or some you could grow three breaking pitches. You can’t do that in professional baseball. You have to have an approach. Everybody can adjust. If you’re trying to compete and challenge a hitter, you have to be smarter than them.”
Both are having successful starts to their seasons, particularly Kopech. The 6-foot-3 hard-throwing righty is 1-2 with a 3.76 ERA. He’s struck out 17 hitters in 18 2/3 innings. He was also named the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week earlier in the year.
Kopech has received a great deal of attention of late for his velocity, as he’s hit 100 mph on the radar gun. The 19-year-old feels the best he’s ever felt.
“Right now is the hardest I’ve ever thrown,” he said. “I am sitting 95-98, 95-99. Really physically I feel better on the mound. Mentally as far as confidence wise, I’ve always kind of had the same approach. I feel just as confident last year as I do this year. That is doing me well right now.”
|Source: Edward Mujica designated for assignment||05.07.15 at 10:23 am ET|
According to a major league source, the Red Sox have designated reliever Edward Mujica for assignment after a year and just over a month with the team.
While the corresponding move isn’t yet clear, it’s worth noting Matt Barnes was scratched from his start on Wednesday with Triple-A Pawtucket and pitched out of the bullpen instead.
He is eligible to be recalled, as he’s been in the minors 10 days after being sent optioned.
Mujica has a 4.61 ERA in 13 2/3 innings this season. When acquired from St. Louis before last year, he was expected to be the backup closer for Koji Uehara, but this season he was often the first reliever out of the bullpen looking to eat up innings.
Alex Speier of the Boston Globe was first to report the news.
|Red Sox recall reliever Heath Hembree, option Matt Barnes to Triple-A Pawtucket||04.26.15 at 12:01 pm ET|
It was a short stay in the majors for right-hander Matt Barnes.
Needing an extra arm in the bullpen to give the group a rest, the team called Barnes up for Saturday’s game against the Orioles, as he was scheduled to start with Triple-A Pawtucket earlier in the day. Barnes went two scoreless innings, while surrendering just two hits.
Following the game, the team sent Barnes back to Pawtucket and called up reliever Health Hembree. Hembree was acquired from the Giants in the Jake Peavy trade last summer. The right-hander pitched in six games with the Red Sox last season, allowing five runs over 10 innings (4.50 ERA).
Barnes will go back to Pawtucket and be inserted back into their starting rotation.
The team still has only three players available off the bench as they have 13 pitchers, and 12 position players.
|Observations from Red Sox’ 9-6 win over Rays: Steven Wright, Matt Barnes shine, Hanley Ramirez (2 RBI), Mike Napoli (HR)||03.28.15 at 5:44 pm ET|
Hanley Ramirez, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli also made big contributions in the win as the Red Sox try to build some momentum at the end of spring training and get over the sting of losing catcher Christian Vazquez indefinitely with a problematic right elbow.
Wright no-hit the Rays over the first three innings and appeared ready to get out of the fourth with another scoreless frame before Xander Bogaerts bobbled a routine two-out grounder in the fourth, opening the floodgates for five unearned runs off Wright.
The knuckleballing Wright still earned the win, improving to 3-0 this spring. He has an impressive 1.32 ERA, allowing just two earned runs in 13 2/3 innings.
“I thought he really established a release point from the second inning on,” manager John Farrell said. “There’s a two-out error, you’d like to see the ability to pick up your teammate a little bit. I’m not saying he lost the strike zone. They swung the bat and got their base hits. Up until that point, he’s gaining touch and feel to off-speed knuckleball. He got a strikeout of [James] Loney on it. I’m a fan of the knuckleball because of the contrast of style.”
“They got a little [more] aggressive than they were at the beginning,” Wright said. “I felt like that they were making me show them I could throw it for a strike. I don’t feel like they really got good wood on any of them but they were aggressive and they just started finding the holes. They’re a good-hitting team and some of these guys I’ve faced in the past. They’re able to put good wood on it, when you do that, put the ball in play, you start making things happen. Unfortunately, that’s what happened today.” Read the rest of this entry »
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