|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.
|Dan Duquette on MFB: ‘There aren’t many sellers’ in baseball at this point in the season||06.09.14 at 1:17 pm ET|
Former Red Sox general manager and current Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette joined Middays with MFB on Monday to discuss the current state of his club and the status of the MLB trade market. To listen to the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Red Sox will open up a three-game series against the Orioles at Camden Yards on Monday night, with Jake Peavy facing off against Bud Norris. Despite players such as first baseman Chris Davis and third baseman Manny Machado struggling this season, the Orioles are second in the American League East with a 31-30 record.
“It’s a tough league and it’s a tough division. We’ve been holding our own,” Duquette said. “Recently, our top-two pitchers haven’t pitched very well — [Chris] Tillman and [Ubaldo] Jimenez – and for us to continue to compete, we’ve got to get those guys straightened out. … I think all in all, we’re still hanging in there. I think we’re a legit contender for the playoffs.”
While teams such as the Red Sox and Orioles likely will scour the trade market, Duquette acknowledged that many teams have not become sellers at this point in the season, mostly due to the inclusion of a second wild card in each league.
“There’s a lot of teams still in the hunt that have hope, really, because of that second wild card,” Duquette said. “There aren’t many sellers, from what I can tell. Usually after the draft, which was just completed, teams will start calling around, but I only know that there’s just a couple of sellers right now. … It’s going to be challenging to add to the team. … I think it’s a lot more predictable if you’ve got someone in the minors that can come up and help you.”
The general manager of the Red Sox from 1994 to 2002, Duquette stayed out of MLB for almost a decade before joining the Orioles in November 2011. The Dalton native has since built the Orioles into a formidable threat, further cementing the AL East as one of the premier divisions in baseball.
“The Red Sox have a great organization. They had a great year last year. I really enjoy the American League East,” Duquette said. “It’s a tough division, but if you’re going to be in it, this is the place to be. Baltimore has given me the opportunity to help build a competitive team here. … It’s a great rivalry and I’m glad that baseball’s back in Baltimore and we got a competitive team that can compete against the Red Sox and Yankees and all the other teams in the East.”
|Closing Time: Brock Holt, Felix Doubront lead the way in Red Sox win over Orioles||04.19.14 at 4:24 pm ET|
It’s just been two games, but Brock Holt is certainly making his presence felt.
The newly-promoted third baseman followed up an impressive Friday night with the biggest hit of Saturday’s tilt between the Red Sox and Orioles at Fenway Park. Holt rifled a one-out triple into the right-center field gap in the seventh inning, scoring Mike Carp with the go-ahead run from second.
Holt proceeded to race in for the Red Sox’ fourth run on a perfectly executed bunt single down the first base line, getting in under the tag of Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters.
The end result was a 4-2 win for the Red Sox.
Earlier in the seventh, there was some spice added to the day when the benches cleared after David Ross took exception with Orioles pitcher Bud Norris coming close to his head on three bunt attempts. Neither collection of players got near each other, with Ross ultimately striking out two pitches later. The next batter up, Holt, however, offered the ultimate payback for the Red Sox.
Felix Doubront bounced back and gave the Red Sox a solid start, allowing two runs on five hits over 6 2/3 innings. Doubront threw 106 pitches after tossing 33 in the first inning in the seven-strikeout, two-walk outing.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ eighth win of the season:
WHAT WENT RIGHT
- The Red Sox knotted the game at 1-1 thanks in part to the Jonathan Schoop mishandling a grounder off the bat of Mike Napoli. If fielded cleanly, the Orioles might have been able to execute a 5-4-3, inning-ending double play. Instead, Dustin Pedroia — who drew his fourth walk in the last four games — came across to score.
-Holt continued to play stellar defense, this time charging and short-hopping a slow roller off the bat of Steve Lombardozzi to end the second inning.
- David Ortiz launched his third home run of the season in the fourth inning, giving the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. The blast curled around the right field foul pole and marked the designated hitter’s second hit of the day, having singled off the left field wall in the first.
- Pedroia reached base three times via a single, double and walk. It marked the third time this season the second baseman has reached that many occasions.
- The bullpen came through again for the Red Sox, with Junichi Tazawa holding the Orioles hitless through 1 1/3 innings and Koji Uehara picking up the save, striking out the side.
WHAT WENT WRONG
- Doubront allowed his first first-inning run of the season, giving up a two-out RBI single to Nelson Cruz, scoring Nick Markakis. After reaching via a leadoff singled, Doubront has allowed the leadoff hitter to face seven of 10 times.
- Doubront was cruising after the first until the sixth inning when the Orioles knotted the game at 2-2. Initially it appeared as though the lefty might escape his bases-loaded, two-out jam. But Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter was successful in his first challenge of the season, disputing Nelson Cruz initially being called out on a close play at first after his grounder down the third base line. It was the second RBI of the day for Cruz.
|Getting ready for Red Sox’ opener with some Opening Day notes||03.30.14 at 10:46 am ET|
BALTIMORE ‘ To get you ready for Opening Day, here are some pertinent notes courtesy the crack Red Sox media relations staff:
- With his fourth Opening Day start, Jon Lester will become the first Red Sox lefty to total more than three, surpassing Babe Ruth and Mel Parnell.
- Lester 15-3 in 25 starts for his career against Baltimore. His 2.94 ERA vs. the Orioles is the best of any active pitcher (with min. of 115 innings) vs. the O’s. He is 8-1 with a 2.99 ERA at Camden Yards, the best ERA for any opposing pitcher in the history of the stadium.
- The Red Sox have lost their last three Opening Day matchups against the Orioles, with the most recent tilt coming in 2004 when Martinez got the loss.
- The Red Sox are 55-57-1 in openers, having claimed victories in four of their last six. It is also the fourth year in a row they have opened on the road. In fact, the Sox have begun their regular season away from Fenway Park in 16 of the last 19 seasons.
- This will be David Ortiz‘ 10th Opening Day start for the Red Sox, tying him with Wade Boggs and Dom DiMaggio for eighth on the team’s all-time list. He will also match the most Opening Day starts with one team by a designated hitter in baseball history, tying Hal McRae and Edgar Martinez. The 12 starts in openers for his career also allows Ortiz to equal Don Baylor’s record.
- Dustin Pedroia has hit safely in each of his seven openers, tying a team record. In the last 100 years, no Red Sox has hit safely in eight straight Opening Day games.
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