|Red Sox face decisions on Andrew Bailey, Ryan Kalish and others||12.02.13 at 12:26 pm ET|
A midnight deadline looms for teams to tender contracts to the players on their 40-man roster who, with less than six years of big league service time, remain under team control. In the case of the Red Sox, that means five mostly straightforward decisions on arbitration-eligible players as well as some additional decision regarding players who are not yet arbitration-eligible but whose roster spots are in question at a time when the Red Sox will need to round out their major league roster with additional players.
First, the arbitration-eligible players: left-handed relievers Franklin Morales and Andrew Miller as well as right-hander Junichi Tazawa all project to make less than $2 million through salary arbitration, a modest sum given their abilities. Miller is expected to be healthy in 2013 after he underwent season-ending foot surgery for a torn ligament last July; his stuff was among the most dominant of any left-hander’s in baseball prior to the injury. Tazawa endured some ups and downs but still offers excellent bang for the buck as a late-innings right-hander who attacks the strike zone and gets swings and misses. Morales (2-2, 4.62 ERA in 20 games and 25 1/3 innings) had a disappointing year after his strong showing in 2012, but his upside (a left-hander with three swing-and-miss pitches) is such that he represents a worthwhile investment in his third year of arbitration-eligibility. First baseman/outfielder Mike Carp may assume a growing role with the Red Sox if Mike Napoli leaves in free agency; given his tremendous offensive production against right-handed pitchers in 2013, he’s a lock to get tendered. Newcomer Burke Badenhop will also be tendered. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox lineup will feature Mike Napoli, possibly Jonny Gomes (and no Daniel Nava) against Justin Verlander||10.14.13 at 7:38 pm ET|
DETROIT — The Tigers will feature their third straight starter who racked up 200 or more punchouts this year in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series on Tuesday when Justin Verlander takes the mound. To counter him, the Sox lineup will feature Mike Napoli (who sat in favor of Mike Carp in Game 2 against Max Scherzer) with manager John Farrell opening the door to the possibility of having Jonny Gomes make a second straight start in left, something that would likely relegate Daniel Nava to the bench for a second straight right-handed starter.
“We’ll probably be back to a similar lineup we saw in Game 1,” said Farrell. “The one thing that we can’t fully measure is the intangibles that Jonny Gomes brings. And so the full lineup tomorrow is still yet to be decided. But that’s another thing that’s being factored in here, considered.
“The one thing that might fly under the radar with Jonny is he’s a smart player. Much like we talked about with the will to succeed on [Dustin Pedroia's] part on second base, it’s very similar to Jonny. So he can bring an overall personality to a team when he’s in the lineup versus when he’s in the dugout,” Farrell added. “These are the things at this point in time in the year I think you have to consider strongly with the attitude and the makeup that we present on the field.”
The notion of playing Napoli (a .304/.429/.435 hitter with a homer, five walks and five strikeouts in 28 career plate appearances against Verlander) over Carp (0-for-5, 1 walk, 1 strikeout) is fairly straightforward. The decision with Gomes vs. Nava is more complex, given that Gomes is 0-for-9 with three walks and three strikeouts in 13 career plate appearances against Verlander while Nava is 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a strikeout in four career plate appearances against the right-hander. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox’ Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava likely to sit against Max Scherzer in Game 2||10.13.13 at 2:08 am ET|
The man who spared the Red Sox from the infamy of a no-hitter will not be in the lineup on Sunday for Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.
According to a team source, Daniel Nava, whose ninth-inning single off Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit represented the Sox’ only hit of the game in a 1-0 Game 1 loss to Detroit, is expected to be out of the lineup for Game 2 against Tigers starter Max Scherzer, against whom the Sox switch-hitter is 1-for-9 with a walk and two strikeouts in his career. Likewise, first baseman Mike Napoli — a career 1-for-13 hitter with one walk and five strikeouts against Scherzer, is expected to sit on Sunday. In their places, the Sox are expected to start Jonny Gomes (2-for-6 with two strikeouts against Scherzer) in left field and Mike Carp (2-for-8 with a walk and five strikeouts against the Game 2 starter) at first base.
Though the Sox had contemplated the possibility of having Will Middlebrooks (1-for-6 against Scherzer with four strikeouts) sit in favor of Xander Bogaerts (never faced Scherzer), the team seems inclined to keep Middlebrooks in the lineup for Game 2, with Bogaerts once again available off the bench.
In two regular season starts against the Sox, Scherzer (21-3, 2.90 for the season) had a pair of two-run, seven-inning yields, striking out 14 and walking three in his 14 innings of work. He lost to the Sox on Sept. 3, when Middlebrooks delivered a two-run single to give the Sox and starter Jon Lester a 2-1 win.
|Red Sox-Yankees series preview||09.13.13 at 9:39 am ET|
The Red Sox may not have completed the sweep against the second-place Rays, but they’ll come home to Fenway with an 8½-game lead in the division and a magic number of 8.
It was an impressive road trip for the Sox, who took series in New York (three of four) and St. Petersburg (two of three), and now have won seven straight series. They’ve already accrued more wins in September 2013 (eight) than they did in the last month of either 2012 or 2011. It appears the Red Sox have gotten hot just at the right time.
“We continue to play a very good brand of baseball,” manager John Farrell said after Thursday’s series finale with the Rays. “We’re executing for the most part in key moments and we come ready to get after it every single night.”
The Red Sox are hitting milestones left and right lately. Koji Uehara broke the franchise record for consecutive batters retired on Wednesday night, passing Ellis Kinder (32 in 1952). Uehara now has 34 consecutive outs. Mike Napoli collected his 31st bases-loaded RBI in Wednesday’s contest, which represents the highest total by a Red Sox player since Vern Stephens‘ 32 in 1950. And with their 89th victory of the season, the Red Sox have won 20 more games than they did in all of 2012, good for the largest season-to-season turnaround since the 1967 Impossible Dream team.
With a good amount of distance between them and the second-place Rays in the division standings, the Red Sox look to be a virtual lock for a postseason berth. They also have the ability to make a big impact on the wild card standings. Though the Sox don’t have any remaining regular-season games against the Rays, the team currently occupying the second wild card slot, they’ll come home to face the Yankees, who are hanging on to playoff hopes, staying within a game of Tampa Bay with a win on Thursday. Interestingly enough, the Yankees won their series finale with the Orioles on a wild pitch from Baltimore closer Jim Johnson in the top of the ninth inning, the second time this week they’ve won thanks to a wild pitch.
The Yankees, who have been playing nonstop baseball without an off day since Aug. 29, haven’t been playing bad baseball since the last time the Red Sox saw them (which, albeit, was five days ago). They managed to take three of four from Baltimore, moving ahead of the Orioles and Indians in the race for the second wild card spot. The Yankees just barely eked out the three victories in Baltimore, winning two of them by one run and the other by two runs.
The injury bug still is biting the Yankees. It was decided earlier in the week that shortstop Derek Jeter, who has played only 17 games this season, will return to the disabled list with an ankle injury and will not return this season. To fill the shortstop hole, the Yankees acquired the defensive-minded but light-hitting Brendan Ryan from the Mariners. Although the Yankees pulled out the victory on Thursday night, they lost a key member of their lineup when Brett Gardner was removed from the game and was diagnosed with a left oblique strain, an injury that can take a few weeks to heal. Gardner is scheduled to receive an MRI to determine the severity of the strain, but he will at least miss the series with the Red Sox, if not the remainder of the regular season. Catcher Austin Romine also is sidelined after suffering a concussion earlier in the week.
With the regular season winding down, this will be the last time the Red Sox face the Yankees barring a meeting in the playoffs, which means this weekend will be Mariano Rivera‘s final games at Fenway Park. The Red Sox are set to honor the closer on Sunday night.
Here are the pitching matchups for the weekend set.
Friday: John Lackey (9-12, 3.48) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.99)
Saturday: Jon Lester (13-8, 3.86) vs. C.C. Sabathia (13-12, 4.82)
Sunday: Clay Buchholz (10-0, 1.61) vs. Ivan Nova (8-4, 3.17)
WHO’S HOT: RED SOX
• As noted earlier, Uehara set a new Red Sox record with 34 straight batters retired. He’s been unbelievably dominant since taking over the closer’s role and just continues to get better. Uehara has recorded 26 straight scoreless outings, passing Daniel Bard for the longest streak in team history. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in over two months, not since June 30, which was 30 appearances and 32 2/3 innings ago. Since becoming the closer, Uehara has earned four wins (no losses) and 18 saves in 20 opportunities. His ERA as the closer is an absolutely remarkable 0.25, while his WHIP is an equally mind-boggling 0.3273. Opposing hitters are batting a meager .084/.099/.126 against Uehara in his last 34 games, and he’s walked only two batters while striking out 51. That means his strikeout-to-walk ratio is a staggering 25.5. According to wins above replacement, Uehara has been worth more wins than any other reliever this season, which really is not surprising when looking at his unbelievable numbers.
|Closing time: Mike Carp’s blast propels Red Sox to yet another last at-bat victory||09.11.13 at 11:25 pm ET|
Mike Carp swung the bat only once in Wednesday night’s game, but it was the biggest swing of the night.
With the game knotted at three in the top of the 10th inning and the bases loaded with one out after three walks, Carp delivered the crushing blow to the Rays with a pinch-hit grand slam, the first pinch-hit grand slam for the Red Sox since Kevin Millar did it in 2003, and the first grand slam in extra innings for the Red Sox since Dwight Evans clubbed one in 1989.
The Red Sox now have won a mind-boggling 22 games in their last at-bat, and are 10-5 in extra inning contests.
Carp was pinch-hitting in place of Jonny Gomes, who had pinch-hit the previous time through the order for Daniel Nava. The Red Sox bench has proven to be extraordinarily deep, with different players consistently coming up big in late innings. Carp’s blast was his first home run since June 15 (his ninth long ball of the season), but is just one of the big hits Carp has come up with for the Sox this season. In just 211 plate appearances, Carp has driven in 37 runs and clubbed 25 extra-base hits.
With their 89th win of the season, the Red Sox have improved to 20 games better than their 2012 record, representing the biggest turnaround from season to season since the 1967 Impossible Dream Red Sox, when they went 92-70 after finishing 1966 with a 72-90 record. The victory also clinched the 31st series win for the Red Sox and their seventh series win in a row, their longest streak since 2009. The Sox move to a season-high 9½ games ahead of the Rays in the division, and sit 31 games above .500 for the first time since Aug. 31, 2011.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– Koji Uehara set a new Red Sox record with 33 consecutive batters retired, passing Ellis Kinder‘s 1952 mark of 32. Uehara tossed a perfect ninth inning against the top of the Rays lineup, striking out the first two batters he faced and getting Ben Zobrist to ground out to end the frame, bringing his total to 34 consecutive batters retired.
– Ryan Dempster didn’t factor into the decision, but he quieted the Rays offense, limiting it to only one run on Wednesday night. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Dempster, however, as he gave up only four hits on the evening, but three of those four hits went for doubles. His biggest issue was his command; although he did record seven punch outs (six of them swinging strikeouts) for the second start in a row, he issued five walks, the fourth time this season he’s given out five or more free passes. Some of those walks got Dempster into trouble, and he was forced to work out of bases-loaded jams in both the third and the fifth innings.
The right-hander was also rather inefficient, throwing 106 pitches (58 strikes) on the night through just five innings of work. It was the first time since July 11 that Dempster failed to last into the sixth inning.
Clay Buchholz is back and picking up where he left off in June, and Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jake Peavy look like locks to make the rotation in the playoffs. That leaves Dempster as the odd man out of the rotation — and perhaps the playoff roster — at this point. Dempster has been unable to string together multiple impressive starts on many occasions, and has compiled a 6.05 ERA in seven starts since the beginning of August.
– Mike Napoli continued his scorching month of September with a bases-loaded double in the third inning to drive in two of the Red Sox’ three runs on the evening. Napoli’s double wasn’t necessarily a deep drive; he lined a fastball into right field for what looked like a single, but a misplay from rookie right fielder Wil Myers led to extra bases (Myers looked as though he was trying to decide between making a diving attempt or playing the ball on a hop, and the ball skipped away from him).
The Rays intentionally walked David Ortiz to load the bases for Napoli, an interesting choice for a few reasons. Prior to tonight’s game, the first baseman was 10-for-20 with 29 RBI, three doubles and three home runs in bases-loaded situations this season. Napoli is by far the league leader when it comes to bases-loaded RBI with 31 on the season (Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips ranks second with 24). In fact, his 31 RBI with the bases juiced are the most by a Red Sox player in a single season in over 60 years, since Vern Stephens drove in 32 in 1950.
– Jackie Bradley Jr. laced a two-out double to deep center field for his fourth double of the season and his sixth extra-base hit in 67 major league at-bats. Bradley has exhibited a considerable jump in his power numbers this year with 26 doubles and 10 home runs in 80 Triple-A games this season. Since taking over the center field job in the absence of Jacoby Ellsbury, Bradley is 3-for-9 with two walks and two strikeouts.
– With one run in already, the bases loaded and Dempster struggling with his command after hitting Evan Longoria in the forearm and walking Matt Joyce, Stephen Drew turned in a spectacular diving play to record a 6-4 forceout, end the inning and save at least one run. It’s just more of the same from Drew, who has played an excellent shortstop throughout the entire season. In this case, the run saved proved pivotal, given that the Sox ended up needing extra innings for the win.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– Manager John Farrell has shown faith in rookie Brandon Workman, putting him in high-pressure situations over the past couple weeks. That faith has not been rewarded in Workman’s last two outings, however.
Workman, who inherited a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning, let the Rays get within a run in his first inning of work, issuing a two-out walk to Zobrist and subsequently allowing an RBI double to clean-up hitter Evan Longoria. He escaped the jam without allowing any further damage, striking out Matt Joyce to end the inning. But Workman came back out for the eighth, and could not preserve the lead in his second inning of work. With one out in the inning, James Loney launched a 2-2 curveball from Workman into the right field bleachers, knotting the game at three apiece.
The Red Sox are currently dealing with a vulnerability when it comes to the effectiveness of seventh and eighth inning relief pitching, and Workman looked to be a solid option for late-inning work. The experiment with Workman in a set-up role has gone awry as of late. His rough outing on Wednesday night was not his first; he also received the loss in his last appearance, when his wild pitch in the ninth inning of a tie game in the series finale in New York allowed the Yankees to walk off with the victory. The Red Sox pitching staff has allowed just seven runs in the last three games, with Workman responsible for three of them.
Workman has been effective at times, and even with his recent struggles in the set-up role, his ERA is under 4.00 (3.77) in his last 11 appearances. Workman’s strikeout numbers have also been impressive; with four strikeouts in two innings in his latest outing, he brings his average to over 11 1/2 strikeouts per nine innings when pitching in relief. But Workman has proved to be shaky in late innings. Although the sample size is small (five appearances), Workman’s ERA is over 7.00 in the eighth inning as well as in the seventh inning.
– Facing Alex Cobb for the first time, David Ross had trouble figuring out the righty. Ross killed a rally in the second inning, hitting into a 6-4-3 double play with two on and one out in the second inning and striking out in his second at-bat. Ross finished the evening 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
– Will Middlebrooks went 0-for-5 and left four runners on base. He was almost the victim of a triple play, when he hit a ball on the ground to Longoria, who touched third and threw out the runner going to second. Middlebrooks beat the relay at first by just a step or two. After collecting multiple hits in five straight games last week, Middlebrooks is now 0-for-8 in the series against the Rays, having yet to reach base in the series.
|Red Sox lineup: Mike Carp returns; Xander Bogaerts starts at third||09.01.13 at 10:05 am ET|
Three days after being scratched from the lineup with a sore shoulder, Mike Carp is back in. Manager John Farrell said Carp would’ve been available off the bench on Saturday, but the Red Sox had no need to call on him. He’s batting sixth and playing first, as Mike Napoli will get a day off.
Will Middlebrooks also gets a day off, one day after an 0-for-4 showing. Xander Bogaerts shifts to third in his absence, with Stephen Drew returning to the lineup at shortstop. With right-hander Andre Rienzo getting the start for Chicago, Daniel Nava gets the start in left over Jonny Gomes.
Felix Doubront gets the start for the Red Sox, and he’ll try to make it 12 straight games of Boston holding its opponent to three runs or fewer. For full batter vs. starting pitcher matchups, click here.
RED SOX LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Daniel Nava LF
Mike Carp 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Stephen Drew SS
Xander Bogaerts 3B
|Red Sox pregame notes: Team planning 3-4 initial call-ups; Daniel Bard assigned to Lowell; Mike Carp feeling better||08.31.13 at 5:31 pm ET|
With rosters expanding on Sunday, Red Sox manager John Farrell said the team is planning to call up three or four players initially. He said they’ll be bringing up a catcher, an infielder, a pitcher and possibly one more player, adding that the names attached to those spots would be made available once the moves become official.
Ryan Lavarnway would be the best bet at catcher given that he just spent two months in Boston while David Ross was on the disabled list. The infielder will likely be either Brock Holt or Brandon Snyder (who just started a rehab assignment), as both have spent extended time in the majors this season. For pitchers, Pedro Beato, Rubby De La Rosa and Brayan Villarreal would appear to be the most likely candidates.
Farrell said the Red Sox will make more call-ups once Pawtucket completes its postseason, which is set to begin Wednesday. Farrell said that although the team won’t hesitate to call up anyone who can help, he also thinks there is value in playing in a Triple-A playoff run.
“Given the stage in the career of a number of guys who are there, particularly the younger guys, I think those settings are invaluable,” Farrell said. “To feel a sense of urgency is always a good thing when it comes to making a pitch or a play in key spots.”
As for other potential roster changes, Farrell said he doesn’t think the team needs to make any moves before Saturday night’s waiver trade deadline, noting that the team has been playing well and that he’s comfortable with the current roster.
“We made a couple additions prior to the trading deadline, and we’ve continued to perform well as a team,” Farrell said. “I don’t expect that to be any different going forward.”
Other Red Sox notes:
-Daniel Bard has been assigned to Single-A Lowell, where he’ll get in a couple games before their season ends on Wednesday. Bard is coming off a disastrous Gulf Coast League outing in which he surrendered five walks, threw two wild pitches and failed to make it through one inning.
“Just keep him active and still provide opportunities and see what might unfold,” Farrell said. “He’s willing to do it and wanted to do it, and we don’t want to take that motivation away from him.”
-Mike Carp will be available off the bench Saturday. He was a late scratch on Thursday and was unavailable Friday night while battling a sore shoulder. Farrell said Carp has responded well to treatment and is feeling better, though.
-After Clay Buchholz wrapped up his rehab start in Pawtucket on Friday night, he made it up to Boston in time to catch the last couple innings of the Sox game. Farrell said that’s another sign of how eager Buchholz is to be with the team and be back on the mound, and added that Buchholz is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Buchholz will make one more rehab start with Pawtucket on Wednesday, and Farrell said the plan is for Buchholz to throw about 70 pitches in that start. Farrell said he hasn’t given too much thought to how the rotation will shake out once Buchholz returns – ”We’ll cross that bridge once we get there.”
For more on Buchholz’ latest rehab outing, click here.
-Farrell talked about the fact that Jake Peavy will be facing his former team Saturday night, and noted that if anything, the advantage usually goes to the pitcher in that situation.
“They know what Jake is about, and I know Jake is very well aware of the tendencies and the strengths of the lineup he’ll face tonight,” Farrell said. “But I always think it swings in favor of the pitcher because he’s the one who knows the pitch selection and the location he’s intending to go to. It’ll come down to executing.”
- Preliminary 'New Stars for Young Stars' lineup announced
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Big weeks for Acosta and Welch
- Gary DiSarcina named Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year
- Red Sox non-tender Ryan Kalish, Andrew Bailey
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Jesus Loya solid at the plate in Mexico
- Help Wanted: Staff Editor, Scouts
- SoxProspects.com Podcast #48: The Slow Season
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Attention shifts to Caribbean, Jerez shining in Venezuela
- Luis Ortega traded to Brewers for reliever Burke Badenhop
- Red Sox re-sign infielder Brandon Snyder