|Potential DH target Pedro Alvarez grew up loving Red Sox, even though he’s from Bronx||12.05.16 at 11:46 am ET|
The Red Sox have had dalliances with Pedro Alvarez over the years. Could he finally join them?
With the Red Sox in the market for an affordable DH on a one-year deal, and higher-profile performers like Carlos Beltran (Astros) and Matt Holliday (Yankees) leaving the board, someone like Alvarez could be a fit.
That would be a dream come true for the Bronx native, who actually grew up a Red Sox fan. It’s why his college coach, Vanderbilt’s Tim Corbin, worried that Alvarez would spurn him after the Red Sox selected him in the 14th round of the 2005 draft.
“He’s a New York kid, so you would’ve thought the Yankees were his team,” Corbin said in 2014. “But all along the Red Sox were his favorite team. That raised some concerns with me with where his emotions would lead him.”
According to former Red Sox scouting director Jason McLeod, the team was prepared to budge off its $850,000 offer to move closer to Alvarez’s desired $1 million, but in the end he chose school and it worked out, because the Pirates eventually made him the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft, signing him for $6 million.
“It came right down to that morning,” Alvaerz said in 2014. “School was very important to my family, and [signing] just didn’t feel right at the time. Something was telling us to go the school route, and we just held onto faith and hoped that everything worked out. Once I made the decision, there was no turning back.”
When the Red Sox considered ways to fill their hole at third base after the 2014 season, they canvassed the league for players whose arbitration numbers could make them trade targets. Alvarez’s name was on that list, but the Red Sox couldn’t risk acquiring a third baseman who had just committed 25 errors and was certain to move to first base or DH, positions the Red Sox had filled with Mike Napoli and David Ortiz, respectively.
They instead chose Pablo Sandoval, a decision that contributed to GM Ben Cherington losing his job and the Red Sox finishing last in 2015.
Times have changed, however. Alvarez just slugged .504 with 22 homers for the Orioles. He hit 21 homers with an .848 OPS against righties and could give the Red Sox the left-handed half of a potential DH platoon.
They’ve missed out on him twice. Maybe the third time will be the charm.
|Closing Time: Andrew Benintendi homers, Red Sox capitalize on error in win over Orioles||09.21.16 at 10:15 pm ET|
Suddenly, the Magic Number is six. Can anyone stop the Red Sox?
Saving their best baseball for the absolute right time of the year, the Red Sox capitalized on a huge error by Orioles first baseman Chris Davis to score five runs in the sixth, erase a 1-0 deficit, and cruise to a 5-1 victory.
The team’s seventh straight win left it on the cusp of completing its second straight four-game sweep, coming on the heels of four wins over the Yankees at Fenway Park. The seven-game winning streak is a season-high.
This one was in the balance until the sixth, when Sandy Leon grounded to Davis with the bases loaded and two outs. Instead of under-handing to pitcher Brad Brach covering, Davis threw a seed that eluded the pitcher, allowing two runs to score.
One pitch later, rookie Andrew Benintendi drilled a three-run homer over the right field fence to give the Red Sox a comfortable lead they would not relinquish.
Right-hander Clay Buchholz, making a bid for the final spot in the postseason rotation, stymied the O’s for seven innings, allowing three hits and one run, striking out four. The only Orioles run came on an Adam Jones sacrifice fly in the third. Otherwise, Buchholz cruised while improving to 8-10 and lowering his ERA to 5.00.
Coupled with Toronto’s loss in Seattle, the Red Sox opened a five-game lead over the Blue Jays and six games over the Orioles in the AL East. Their magic number now stands at six with 10 games to play, which should allow manager John Farrell to rest regulars down the stretch.
The Red Sox will try to complete the sweep on Thursday.
The Red Sox have won Clay Buchholz’s last five starts. He’s 4-0 with a 3.09 ERA in his last six.
|Red Sox notes: Steven Wright running out of time; why Dustin Pedroia doesn’t take BP anymore||09.12.16 at 5:34 pm ET|
The Red Sox appear to be running out of time with knuckleballer Steven Wright.
Speaking before Monday’s series opener at Fenway Park with the Orioles, manager John Farrell said that Wright hasn’t begun a throwing program since suffering a setback with his injured right shoulder.
“We’re hopeful to get a throwing program initiated,” Farrell said. “I don’t have an exact date when that will take place. He’s showing improvement through the range of motion. The discomfort is diminishing. I also recognize where we are in the calendar, and that’s going to present a challenge here going forward.”
Wright hasn’t even been able to long toss or play catch. With only 20 games remaining in the season, there’s no telling when or if Wright will pitch again this season.
He injured the bursa sac in his right shoulder diving awkwardly into second base as a pinch runner against the Dodgers on Aug. 6. He missed three weeks, made two largely ineffective starts, and was shut down again after allowing four runs in four innings against the Rays on Aug. 31.
“He didn’t play catch on the end of the road trip,” Farrell said. “As we stated the other day, hopefully to get back here, that throwing program would initiate, but that hasn’t begun today.”
NO BP FOR PEDROIA: Second baseman Dustin Pedroia told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that he has stopped taking batting practice for the last two months, because, “I’ve been around long enough to know hitting BP is irrelevant.”
Farrell backed up his second baseman.
“There’s a routine he goes through that’s not on the field,” Farrell said. “It’s not like he’s showing up and just putting his uniform on and walking out for the first pitch. There’s work that goes on that might be condensed, that is condensed. I think he’s confident in his daily work routine that if he doesn’t take X number of swings on the field, he’s not prepared. He’s long past that. He understands his body more than anyone. So while he’s been banged up, he knows where to pick his spots. So the work routine in the cage early in the afternoon and then just prior to the game, he’s more than prepared, and I think his performance has probably reflected that.”
In 29 games since moving to the leadoff spot on Aug. 10, Pedroia is hitting .445. His .329 average ranks second in the American League behind Jose Altuve’s .340.
|Closing Time: Mookie Betts (2 HRs) once again plays hero as Red Sox beat Orioles||08.16.16 at 10:16 pm ET|
Mookie Betts is not of this earth.
He might not even be of this solar system.
The diminutive leadoff hitter, who wouldn’t even stand out at a charity softball game, continued his all-out assault on American League pitching in a 5-3 victory over the Orioles on Tuesday night.
With the Sox desperate to build momentum for the first time since early July, Betts gave them everything they needed with two more home runs, including the go-ahead two-run shot in the eighth, to account for all of the Red Sox runs in a 5-3 victory over the Orioles that lifted the Red Sox to their fifth straight win and gave them a chance to move into a virtual three-way tie for first place in the American League East.
Betts, who was recently named AL Player of the Month for June, provided yet more evidence that he has been even better in August.
Just two days after setting or matching career-highs with three homers and eight RBIs against the Diamondbacks, Betts kept the good times rolling in Camden Yards, where he has recorded a trio of multi-homer games this season.
“Ah, shoot, I have no idea,” said Betts when asked how he generates enough power to hit 28 homers this season. “Somehow it’s going over the fence. Again, I’m going to continue to say I don’t know why, but I’m just trying to put good swings on it and enjoy it.”
His three-run shot into the left-field seats in the fifth broke a scoreless tie. His two-run blast off of All-Star setup man Brad Brach then won it for the Red Sox in the eighth after it briefly appeared they’d blow not only Betts’ first homer, but a combined no-hitter that lasted until Steve Pearce beat out an infield single to third with two outs in the seventh.
“Freakish. That’s unbelievable. It’s unreal,” Red Sox reliever Robbie Ross Jr. said of Betts. “I got to see some guys like Nelson Cruz and I was here actually when Josh Hamilton had those four home runs. That was sweet. But I’ve never seen anything like this where it was like night and day, boom, boom, boom. He’s going to get it going. It was pretty special. He’s as clutch as you can get. When it’s big games he’s coming out on top.”
|Orioles acquire former Red Sox left-hander Wade Miley from Mariners||08.01.16 at 10:10 am ET|
The Orioles on Sunday night bolstered their rotation for the stretch drive by acquiring former Red Sox left-hander Wade Miley from the Mariners for minor-league lefty Ariel Miranda.
Miley, 29, is 7-8 with a 4.98 ERA in 19 starts. He posted a 3.45 ERA in five July starts, including seven one-hit innings in a 4-1 win over the Cubs on Saturday.
The Red Sox sent Miley to the Mariners this winter for setup man Carson Smith and lefty Roenis Elias. Smith underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery and Elias posted a 15.88 ERA in two appearances with the Red Sox.
The appeal to the Orioles is obvious. They’ve received very little from starters beyond ace Chris Tillman and second man Kevin Gausman. As noted by MLBTradeRumors, Baltimore’s primary third-through-fifth starters own a 5.93 ERA in over 300 innings.
If Miley stays in the 4.00 range, that would represent a substantial improvement.
|Closing Time: Mookie Betts power surge continues with 2 HRs, but Joe Kelly, Red Sox kicked around by Orioles||06.01.16 at 11:06 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — There are some things even the best offense in baseball can’t overcome.
On a night when Mookie Betts once again homered in each of the first two innings, Joe Kelly and the Red Sox pitching staff failed to hold up their end of the bargain in an 13-9 loss to the Orioles.
What looked like it would be another coronation for the Red Sox offense instead turned into a slugfest. The Orioles led 8-7 after three and neither side recorded a 1-2-3 inning until the Sox went down quietly in the fifth.
This one was on Kelly, who didn’t even survive the third inning. He allowed seven hits and seven runs in 2 1/3 innings, blowing a 1-0 lead and a 4-4 tie, and departing moments before the Orioles erased a 7-5 deficit in the third.
A handful of relievers then allowed six more runs and that was that.
It’s a shame the pitching staff couldn’t do its part, because the offense once again went off. Fresh off hitting three homers in Tuesday’s 6-2 win, Betts launched two more in his first two at-bats.
His second homer came just moments after Orioles starter Mike Wright threw a pitch over his head, earning warnings for both dugouts. Betts got the best possible revenge by ripping a changeup into the left field seats for his 14th homer of the season.
That briefly tied him with David Ortiz for the team lead, but Ortiz ripped a mammoth homer to right in the third. And sandwiched in there, Chris Young crushed a two-run homer as part of a five-homer night for the Red Sox.
|Closing Time: Mookie Betts blasts 3 homers, backing Eduardo Rodriguez’s return in Red Sox win over Orioles||05.31.16 at 9:55 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — Eduardo Rodriguez is back, but what really matters is Mookie Betts never left.
On a night when Rodriguez should’ve been the story, Betts stole the spotlight by blasting three homers for the first time in his career.
Those shots gave Rodriguez all the offense he’d need in a 6-2 victory over the Orioles in his first start of the season, three months after suffering a spring training knee injury.
Rodriguez went six solid innings, allowing six hits and two runs. He struck out three and walked none, featuring a fastball that sat in the 91-93 mph range and a changeup that kept the Orioles off balance.
“It’s good,” Rodriguez said. “It was just like the first time on the mound. It was just like, don’t force it too much and just try to locate the heater and that’s it.”
He got all the offense he’d need from Betts, who led off the game with his 10th homer of the year, and then followed with a three-run shot in the second and the first opposite-field blast of his career in the seventh, leading manager John Farrell to suggest “Mookie” as a good name for Jackie Bradley’s Jr. soon-t0-be-born child.
All of that power gave Rodriguez some breathing room in his first start since last season. He entered the game with some concerns over the stability of his right knee, as well as his velocity. On the first count, he certainly looked comfortable while pitching with a brace on his right knee. On the latter count, he spent the first inning at 92 mph, the second at 93, and the rest in the low-90s. That’s down from the 94-95 he averaged last year, but he compensated by commanding his changeup.
|Wednesday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Ubaldo Jimenez||04.13.16 at 9:01 am ET|
Red Sox right-hander Joe Kelly will look to rebound Wednesday night against the Orioles after a rough first start of the season. He will face off against Orioles righty Ubaldo Jimenez, who will attempt to keep his team perfect through eight games.
Kelly’s initial outing against the Blue Jays on Friday was both disastrous and short-lived. He lasted just three innings, giving up seven runs on six hits, including a grand slam off the bat of Josh Donaldson. He walked three and struck out four while throwing 80 pitches. The Red Sox rallied offensively and wound up winning the game, 8-7, thanks to some late-game heroics.
“Obviously I didn’t perform the way I wanted to perform, but that was a really really fun win for the team. Pretty incredible to see,” Kelly said after the game. “I’m obviously going up against another good pitcher. Our guys battled back. We tried to do it the game before, but it was pretty fun to watch, the bullpen came in and did a great job, the defense played great, guys hit the ball extremely well. … That was pretty fun to watch, he thought it was going to be a double, he told me, and it ended up going out of the ballpark. To see a team win like that, and obviously I didn’t pitch like I’m capable of, to come together and pick me up when I wasn’t at my best was pretty fun to watch. And easily a game like that last year we would have lost but guys picking each other up and playing great baseball like that, I obviously didn’t perform well and I didn’t like anything about what I did, but watching from in here and watching from the video room, it was definitely fun to be a part of that and see that.”
In five career starts against the Orioles, Kelly is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA, 20 strikeouts and 11 walks.
|Tuesday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Mike Wright||04.12.16 at 7:36 am ET|
Clay Buchholz will make his second start of the season on Tuesday at Fenway Park. He is set to square off against young Orioles righty Mike Wright.
In his first start of the season last Wednesday, Buchholz was hit hard by the Indians. He lasted only four-plus innings, allowing five earned runs (four in the first frame) on six hits. He struck out four and walked three in a game the Red Sox would go on to lose 7-6.
“I think most of it was fastball location,” Buchholz said after the game. “I threw some really good offspeed pitches for first pitches and they had some good takes. With a team that you think is going to go out there swinging early, you try to get them to mis-hit some balls with the changeups and curveballs early in the count. The pitches that I threw where I wanted to that were balls, you usually get a lot of swings and misses or weak contact off, they didn’t offer at them. It left me behind in the count for the most part and having to throw strikes with the fastball when you’re not commanding it all that well. That’s how it goes.”
In 18 career starts against the Orioles, Buchholz is 10-5 with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.359 WHIP, recording 85 strikeouts and 46 walks.
Wright will be making his 2016 debut Tuesday, after the game he was scheduled to start on Saturday was postponed due to bad weather. He got his first taste of major league hitting last season, making nine starts and going 3-5 with a 6.04 ERA and a 1.567 WHIP, recording 26 strikeouts and 18 walks. He started out by going 2-0 with 1.40 ERA, including a stretch of 14 1/3 scoreless innings, but went 0-5 with a 10.88 ERA over his last six starts (he also made three relief appearances).
He now has a spot in the crowded and unclear back end of the Orioles rotation, which still is being sorted out. Wright had to earn his place with the pitching staff throughout spring training.
“Usually, the guys that are working on stuff, they have a spot,” Wright said after a solid spring training outing. “I don’t have a guaranteed spot, so to get the results is huge, because even though you’re doing your part — you’re making your pitches — if you’re giving up runs, it doesn’t look good to put you on the roster. To get the results is good for confidence and it makes me feel better going home tonight.”
Wright lost his only career start against the Red Sox, allowing six runs on six hits and one walk and striking out one in a 10-1 loss on Sept. 16 at Camden Yards. He lasted just three innings during the outing.
|Monday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: David Price vs. Yovani Gallardo||04.11.16 at 9:10 am ET|
Red Sox ace David Price will look to move to 2-0 on the young season in Monday’s home opener at Fenway Park. He is set to face off against Orioles righty Yovani Gallardo.
Price started off his Red Sox career on the right foot last Tuesday, throwing six strong innings against the Indians on a cold day in Cleveland. He finished with two earned runs on five hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts. Outside of a rocky fourth inning, it was smooth sailing from the get-go.
“We had our ace out there, showing up, doing his job, holding the other offense down. That’s him,” Sox slugger David Ortiz said after the win. “That’s what Price always brings to the table. That’s why we got him this offseason. Happy to watch him do what he does out there. That’s what we always see from him.”
Price will be eager to face an Orioles team that he has enjoyed much success against in his career. In 19 starts vs. Baltimore he has a record of 8-4 with an ERA of 2.65 and 120 strikeouts.
Gallardo, signed to a three-year, $35 million deal as a free agent in the offseason, got off to a solid start with his new team as well, getting a win after allowing just two hits and one earned run over five innings of work in Wednesday’s 4-2 victory over the Twins. He walked three and struck out four.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter credited Gallardo with finding a way to win on a night when he didn’t have his best command.
“He’s a guy who’s going to add and subtract. I think he’s a guy who’s kind of evolved and knows who he is and who he isn’t,” Showalter said. “A guy who keeps you in the ball game and gives you a chance to win it if you catch it and score some runs. On a given night, he’s carrying a little extra stuff, get a little deeper in the game. He’s a pitcher and he doesn’t give in in counts and knows when to pitch backward.”
After spending his first eight big league seasons with the Brewers, Gallardo played the 2015 season with the Rangers. The 30-year-old from Mexico finished with a record of 13-11, a career-best 3.42 ERA and 121 strikeouts.
In four career starts against the Red Sox, Gallardo is 2-2 with a 4.35 ERA and 14 strikeouts.
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