|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.
|Red Sox send LHP Andrew Miller to Orioles for LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, stockpile potential rotation members and trade chips||07.31.14 at 3:26 pm ET|
Rodriguez, 21, is viewed as perhaps the Orioles’ fourth-best pitching prospect, behind largely untouchable young starters Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey. The 21-year-old out of Venezuela was rated by Baseball America as the No. 65 overall prospect in the game and the No. 3 Orioles prospect entering the year. He struggled this year in Double-A Bowie, going 3-7 with a 4.79 ERA with 7.5 strikeouts and 3.2 walks per nine innings in 82 2/3 frames, but Baseball America described the 6-foot-2 southpaw as a pitcher who sits at 92-93 mph and can touch 95 mph with a slider and changeup that give him a back-end starter projection.
He contributes to the Sox’ massive stockpiling of young starting pitching prospects in the upper minors and big leagues. The Sox now have:
Rubby De La Rosa (majors)
Allen Webster (majors)
Brandon Workman (majors)
Anthony Ranaudo (Triple-A, but likely to be called up by Friday)
Matt Barnes (Triple-A)
Steven Wright (Triple-A)
Eduardo Escobar (Triple-A)
Henry Owens (top pitching prospect, now in Double-A)
Brian Johnson (Double-A)
Eduardo Rodriguez (Double-A) Read the rest of this entry »
|Sunday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Jake Peavy vs. Kevin Gausman||07.06.14 at 12:39 pm ET|
The 2014 season has been a miserable campaign for Peavy (1-7, 4.82 ERA), who is winless in his last 12 starts.
While Peavy may not have pitched his way to win since April 25, his subpar record is not a direct result of his performance on the mound.
Of Peavy’s 17 starts this year, the Red Sox have been shut out in three of them, while scoring two runs or fewer in 13 games in which he’s pitched.
Peavy turned in one of his finer performances this year in his last start Monday against the Cubs, allowing five hits and two earned runs over six innings while striking out seven.
However, in what has been a recurring theme this year, the opposing pitcher was even better, as Chicago’s Jake Arrieta carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning en route to a 2-0 Chicago win.
“You just go out and try to give your team the best chance that you can give them on that night to win,” Peavy said after the game. “And I’ve got to do a better job of that. It’s going to change. This isn’t going to keep happening. I promise you, I’ve got my head down and working. It’ll change. There’s going to be games where we score five, six, seven runs on the day I start. I’m not going to believe that this is how it’s going to be for the next 16 or 17 starts.”
Peavy took the loss in his last outing against Baltimore on June 9, surrendering four earned runs over seven innings while striking out seven. In five career starts against the Orioles, Peavy is 2-1 with a 4.41 ERA.
|Friday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Jon Lester vs. Miguel Gonzalez||07.04.14 at 9:50 am ET|
Lester (9-7, 2.92 ERA) was dominant in his last outing against the Yankees on Saturday, allowing an unearned run over eight innings while striking out six. Lester, who faced off against New York ace Masahiro Tanaka in a pitchers’ duel that lived up to the hype, earned the win in Boston’s 2-1 victory.
“I knew yesterday that Tanaka was pitching,” Lester said after the game. “I try not to pay attention to that. I’ve got to worry about how I’m going to go out and execute my game. Obviously, if you have a chance to hit, that’s a little bit of a different story. But I can’t worry about who I’m facing or anything like that. You’ve got to go out and worry about the nine guys who are in the lineup, not anything like that.”
Pitching in the last year of his contract with the Red Sox, Lester has posted a 2.92 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and a 3.97 K/BB ration – all career bests for the 30-year-old lefty.
Lester last faced off against the Orioles on March 31 during the 2014 season opener, holding Baltimore to two runs over seven innings while striking out eight. In 26 career starts against the Orioles, Lester is 15-4 with a 2.92 ERA.
Gonzalez (4-5, 4.56 ERA) struggled in his last start Sunday against the Rays, allowing eights hits and three earned runs while walking four over 4 2/3 innings.
Gonzalez, who recorded four quality starts in a row before being placed on the disabled list June 6 with strained right oblique, has yet to regain his form since his return. Over his last three starts, Gonzalez has given up 25 hits and 10 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings.
“It’s a little frustrating,” Gonzalez said after the game. “It’s frustrating to come back and not able to have that success. But it’s a grind. The first half, we’ve got to keep working and hopefully finish strong.”
|Red Sox closer Koji Uehara examines his future: ‘Every year I consider my last year’||06.11.14 at 12:15 am ET|
BALTIMORE — How long will Koji Uehara be doing this for the Red Sox?
When the reliever signed a one-year, $4.25 million deal (with a vesting option for 2014), it was thought that the acquisition wouldn’t mean anything more than seeing a solid veteran pitch for a couple of years with the Red Sox before leaving town as a 39 year old on the edge of retirement.
A complete calendar year of closing dominance has altered the conversation.
Uehara is pitching in the final year of his current deal, and the way he’s pitching living life without the Red Sox closer is difficult to fathom. Since becoming the team’s closer (including postseason), Uehara has converted 39 of 41 save opportunities while limiting opponents to a .131 batting average. He’s struck out 111 batters, walked six and still hasn’t allowed any hitter in the majors more than three hits.
Now he’s cruising through life as a potential free-agent-to-be, the second time in his Major League Baseball career the reliever has experienced such a distinction.
“I never think ahead,” Uehara said through translator C.J. Matsumoto prior to his latest outing during the Red Sox‘ 1-0 win over the Orioles at Camden Yards. “It doesn’t really affect me. If I could change how I perform based on my free agent year, I would. But I can’t so I’m just going to pitch how I can pitch.
“It doesn’t really affect me because I’m an older player. Every year I consider my last year.”
The conversation could get even more interesting when introducing the possibility of extending the righty a qualifying offer (which figures to be in the vicinity of $15 million). While taking the risk of paying a soon-to-be 40 year old reliever that kind of money for one year is unprecedented, so is this sort of scenario.
If the offer is extended, it would be difficult to imagine, A. Uehara not accepting it; B. a team sacrificing a draft pick in order to ink the righty if he chooses not to agree to the one-year deal.
And while it would seem like a huge overpay on the Red Sox‘ behalf to allocate that much money for any closer, the options to replace what Uehara would represent would seem to be uncomfortable. The argument that you could get two high-leverage relievers with that money might be true, but also offers no certainty (as the performance of a player like Edward Mujica might suggest).
Other than Jon Lester, the Red Sox also wouldn’t seem to be in line to offer any other player a qualifying offer, making such a chunk manageable for what promises to be an already very manageable ’15 payroll.
But how about the age?
Uehara had a bit of a shoulder hiccup earlier this season, but has bounced back to at least come close to his dominance of a year ago. The closer notched his 13th save in as many chances Tuesday night, having allowed just two runs in 27 2/3 innings.
He has obviously taken his prioritizing health to heart, as was evidenced when he immediately heading into the visitors’ weight room after his team’s Tuesday night win.
And then there is the continued quest for what some think might be unattainable — improvement.
“I don’t feel like I’m pitching up to my capabilities,” he said. “I know how the numbers look, but I think I can be better mechanically. I don’t feel like I’m mechanically there. There are certain mechanics I’m trying to achieve. Mechanically, I feel different every day, but there’s a mechanically fit way to pitch and I’m just searching for that. Then again, I’ve been trying to find the perfect mechanics for the past 16 years
“Jon Lester has simple mechanics that he can repeat. For me, mechanic-wise I’m adjusting every day and I’m constantly searching. Last year wasn’t perfect. I’m always striving for more.”
|Tuesday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Brandon Workman vs. Chris Tillman||06.10.14 at 9:15 am ET|
Workman (0-0, 3.74 ERA) was solid in his third start of the season on June 4, allowing four hits and three runs over five innings of work against the Indians. The Texas native likely could have pitched deeper into the game, but he was pulled in the sixth just 85 pitches in after walking Asdrubal Cabrera and giving up a single to Michael Brantley.
“I felt pretty good. Obviously the lead-off walk in the sixth wasn’t the way I wanted to start that inning, but overall, I felt pretty good,” Workman said after the game.
While opponents are hitting .228 against Workman over his three starts in 2014, he has yet to pitch more than 5 1/3 innings in any start this season.
In his last career appearance against the Orioles on April 3, Workman allowed one hit and one walk over two-thirds of an inning in relief. In four career appearances against Baltimore, all out of the bullpen, Workman has allowed three hits while surrendering zero earned runs.
Tillman (5-2, 5.20 ERA) had a rough outing in his start on June 5 against the Rangers, surrendering six hits and five earned runs in just one inning. It was the second time this season that Tillman failed to record an out in the second inning, as the righty was rocked on May 21 against Pittsburgh, giving up seven hits and eight earned runs in one inning of work.
“It’s just one of those ones you can’t take anything from,” Tillman said after the game. “You learn what you need to do better next time. But it’s been a constant battle. It’s evident. I know what needs to be done. Just got to do it.”
Tillman earned his second win of the season in his last start against Boston on April 18, allowing seven hits and three earned runs in five innings of work. In 13 career starts against Boston, Tillman is 5-2 with a 2.86 ERA.
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