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Closing Time: Rick Porcello, Red Sox keep on sliding with another loss to White Sox 07.29.15 at 11:03 pm ET
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Rick Porcello gave the Red Sox his best start in quite some time Friday night. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Rick Porcello struggled mightily Wednesday, making just 68 pitches before getting pulled. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

First innings have become the Red Sox‘ worst nightmare of late. For the third consecutive game, they gave up at least two runs in the initial frame, harpooning their chances the rest of the way.

The misery may have begun in the first, but it didn’t end until just after 11 p.m. Wednesday when the White Sox sealed their 9-2 victory. The Red Sox now have dropped the first three games of their four-game set with Chicago, and 13 of their last 16 dating back to July 10.

It didn’t take long for the White Sox to get started, as Adam Eaton planted his fourth leadoff home run of the season just inside the Pesky Pole on the sixth pitch of the game. Four batters later, Adam LaRoche lined a shot off the Monster sending Melky Cabrera to third and resigning Red Sox starter Rick Porcello to a troublesome, but manageable scoring threat. However, on the throw in to second from left fielder Hanley Ramirez, super-utility man Brock Holt missed the short hop and with no backup to be found, allowed Cabrera to cross home plate easily, spotting the White Sox a 2-0 advantage right from the get-go.

A 2-0 deficit quickly ballooned to 5-0 in the second inning. After retiring two of the first three batters he faced during the frame, Porcello allowed three consecutive base-knocks, leading to two more Chicago runs. By the end of the inning, the right-hander had loaded the bases with a walk and hit LaRoche, sending the game further out of reach.

“Some of the mechanical issues that I’ve had in the past this year kind of came back tonight,” Porcello said. “You get out there in the heat of the moment and all you’re thinking about is competing and doing whatever you can do to get out of that situation.”

Leading off the next inning, Alexei Ramirez mashed a shot over the wall in left after falling behind on an 0-2 count to Porcello. A double and a single later, and Red Sox manager John Farrell indulged the crowd, yanking his starter.

Following 4-0 and 5-0 first-inning deficits overseen by Joe Kelly and Wade Miley, respectively, the Red Sox certainly hoped for a better showing from Porcello. Coming into the game with a 2.50 ERA and a .641 opponent OPS over his last three starts, he was knocked around early and often in his 200th career start. Holt’s error started his night off on a sour note and he never bounced back.

“I had a bad game,” Porcello said. “I elevated some pitches, fell behind some guys, [had] a couple walks, put some runners on base [which] put me in some tough spots and I didn’t recover.”

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John Farrell: ‘Guys are fully aware that the deadline is fast approaching’ 07.28.15 at 5:31 pm ET
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It’s no secret there will be more Red Sox players traded in the coming days.

With the Red Sox 13 games back of the Yankees in the AL East and 12 games below .500, there will be some movement as the team begins to shift its focus towards 2016.

Manager John Farrell noted there is a little different feel than last year, as there were many names rumored in trade talks — notably Jon Lester. There isn’t that one premier player or rumor this year.

“The difference between this year and last year is I think you see a lot of rumors surrounding individual names, precipitating in trades,” Farrell said. “That rumor hasn’t been nearly as strong surrounding guys last year. It is that time of year. Guys are fully aware that the deadline is fast approaching. I don’t think it’s as prevalent in the minds of the guys here and the lack of that rumor. If there’s anything that is kind of leaning that way, we try and give guys a heads up as best possible, but that’s not the case.”

One player who has been rumored in trades after Shane Victorino was dealt yesterday is Mike Napoli. After struggling much of the season, the first baseman has turned it around of late. Over his last 10 games he’s hitting .355.

“It’€™s something that’€™s out of my control,” Napoli said of possibly being dealt. “I come here, work hard every day to get myself better. Go out there, play hard and try to help us win that day. It’€™s something I don’€™t really think about. I come here and get my work in and do what I can.”

The Red Sox first baseman did speak of how much he loves Boston, but didn’t want to get into much about how sad he would be if traded.

“I don’€™t know. I guess I’€™ll answer that if it happens,” he said. “I love this place. I bought a place here, I live here. Love this city, love the people here. I’€™ve really enjoyed it. If that time comes, I’€™ll touch on my thoughts then.”

With the Victorino trade on Monday, Farrell himself admitted it says the team is focusing now on the future. The manager didn’t want to get into what that would mean for the team overall until after Friday’s deadline has passed.

“I think it’s probably best we get through these next few days,” Farrell said. “It’s kind of a mark on the calendar that you — I think there are some things that are obvious and if it affects an individual then that’s when a sit down 1-on-1 comes down a little more regularly.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

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Read More: 2015 Trade Deadline, John Farrell, mike napoli, Shane Victorino
Mike Napoli ejected in 1st inning after striking out 07.27.15 at 7:45 pm ET
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Mike Napoli‘s games as a Red Sox are likely numbered and one of his last few will only last one inning.

The first baseman was ejected after striking out looking in the first inning by home plate umpire Toby Basner.

Napoli dropped his bat and helmet and the helmet bounced and hit Basner, likely unintentionally, and it was then Basner ejected the Red Sox first baseman.

Prior to Monday, he had reached base in nine straight games, while hitting .367 in those contests.

Napoli has been rumored in trade talks as Friday’s deadline nears.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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MLB Trade Deadline: Pirates reportedly ending hunt for first baseman, out on Mike Napoli at 5:55 pm ET
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Following a report Sunday that the Pirates were interested in Red Sox veterans Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino, it would appear they are no longer interested in Napoli.

According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Pirates are telling teams they’re likely to keep Pedro Alvarez, which would effectively end their hunt for other first baseman upgrades. So connecting the dots it would mean they are no longer interested in Napoli.

The Pirates are currently six games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central, but lead the NL Wild Card.

Napoli has reached base in nine straight games, while hitting .367 in those contests.

For more trade deadline and Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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Report: Pirates have shown interest in Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino 07.26.15 at 7:16 pm ET
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After it was reported last week there hadn’t been much interest in Red Sox veterans Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino, it appears that has changed.

According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Pirates have “looked into” both Napoli and Victorino.

The Pirates are currently six games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central, but lead the NL Wild Card.

For more trade deadline and Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Read More: 2015 Trade Deadline, mike napoli, Shane Victorino,
Red Sox lineup: Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino starting vs. Tigers 07.24.15 at 4:25 pm ET
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After his first three-hit game since April, Mike Napoli is back in the Red Sox‘ lineup Friday night for the series opener against the Tigers against right-hander Justin Verlander.

The Red Sox will look to snap an eight-game losing streak, coming off there winless seven-game road trip out of the All-Star break.

Ryan Hanigan will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here. For a series preview, click here.

Here is a complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, CF
Brock Holt, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Hanley Ramirez, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Alejandra De Aza, LF
Shane Victorino, RF
Ryan Hanigan, C
Rick Porcello, RHP

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Closing Time: Jose Altuve’s walkoff homer stretches Red Sox losing streak to 8 games 07.23.15 at 11:49 pm ET
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HOUSTON — There was seemingly no other way to punctuate this road trip.

Seven games. Seven losses. Outscored 39-13. Eight-game losing streak. Twelve games out of first place. Twelve games under .500.

It was a stretch that saw the Red Sox hit .204 with just three home runs, striking out 51 times and drawing 13 walks. Their ERA was 5.37 (6.29 for the starters), with Sox pitchers giving up 16 homers.

And then there was the finale.

The latest loss would come courtesy a walkoff, solo homer from Jose Altuve in the ninth inning against Craig Breslow, giving the Astros a 5-4 win over the Red Sox on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park.

“It was a fastball down,” Breslow said. “Probably got a lot of plate. But in a 3-1 count, I wanted to throw the ball over the plate, didn’t want to give him a chance to get on base via the walk. He’s obviously a fast guy, base-stealer, so that presented a different host of problems. But once I fell behind, I needed to make sure the ball was in the strike zone.”

“It’s crazy, man. It’s crazy,” said Red Sox DH David Ortiz of the losing streak. “Just come back tomorrow and keep on playing. That’s all you can do, right?”

Altuve’s blast just cleared the left-field fence (coming in Breslow’s second inning of work), and spoiled the Sox’ eighth-inning comeback, which had been led by Mike Napoli.

The Red Sox first baseman notched three hits, including a solo home run and a line-drive RBI double in the eighth that tied the game at 4. The last hit — coming with two outs — plated Hanley Ramirez, who had followed Ortiz‘ leadoff homer with a single and stolen base.

In the end, however, the latest defeat came courtesy an overall bullpen meltdown, with the combination of Alexi Ogando and Junichi Tazawa proving unable to protect another gem from Wade Miley. The pair of relievers allowed three seventh-inning runs to the Astros, blowing the win for the starter.

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Read More: Craig Breslow, jose altuve, mike napoli, wade miley
Red Sox lineup: Mike Napoli, rest of regulars back in for Game 2 of doubleheader 07.20.15 at 8:45 pm ET
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After falling 11-1 to the Angels in Game 1 of the doubleheader, the Red Sox are going with their regulars once again for Game 2. The Red Sox are currently 8 1/2 games behind the first place Yankees in the AL East.

After going 1-for-4 with three strikeouts in Game 1, Mike Napoli is back at first base as the Red Sox go up against Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney.

After being activated early in the day on Monday, Blake Swihart will catch knuckleballer Steven Wright.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, LF
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Shane Victorino, RF
Mike Napoli, 1B
Blake Swihart, C
Steven Wright, RHP

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Red Sox lineup: Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino back for Game 1 of doubleheader at 2:31 pm ET
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The Red Sox and Angels will face off twice on Monday, making up Sunday’s rain out and then play Monday’s originally scheduled contest. The Red Sox will need to take both games to split the four-game series.

The Angels will go with left-hander Hector Santiago for the first game, like was the case Sunday night, so the Red Sox will go with the exact same righty-heavy lineup for Game 1 as they had posted Sunday night.

Ryan Hanigan will catch Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez LF
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Mike Napoli 1B
Shane Victorino RF
Ryan Hanigan C

Read More: mike napoli, Shane Victorino,
Buster Olney on MFB: ‘The American League has maybe zero or one [seller] at this point’ 07.15.15 at 1:20 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon to talk about where the Red Sox stand coming out of the All-Star break and entering the second half of the season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

They went into the break on a bit of a tear, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Red Sox dropped two of three to the division-leading Yankees and lost arguably their best pitcher in Clay Buchholz to injury for the near future. New York’s second-half schedule also doesn’t do the Sox any favors, as Olney noted that the Yankees play just 18 of their remaining 74 games against teams with records over .500.

“I think the big question’s obviously going to be about Buchholz and what exactly is his status, and how healthy is he,” Olney said. “You have pitchers in that situation where they feel something, and then they say they’re OK, and then they get shut down, and then they wind up missing a lot of starts. … If for whatever reason Buchholz is not able to carry the load that they need him to carry in the second half, and you’re going to have a rotation with Brian Johnson and Eduardo Rodriguez, that feels like a pretty heavy load for some young pitchers, especially since it really appears as if the Yankees are gaining momentum.”

Olney added that while teams like the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles are sort of in limbo and don’t know exactly where they’ll stand when the trade deadline rolls around, the Yankees are in a prime position to do what they have in recent years.

“They’re going to be sitting there in the last 72 hours before the trade deadline basically telling teams, ‘Look, if you have a contract you want to dump for a good player, we are willing to talk about it,’ ” Olney said.

Based on where the Sox are in the standings, still basement dwellers but 6 1/2 games out of first and six games back of the wild card spot, Olney said Boston could be looking to add someone who is more of a long-term acquisition rather than an expensive rental like a Johnny Cueto. The problem is there aren’t really a lot of players like that on the market right now.

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Read More: 2015 Trade Deadline, buster olney, Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz
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