|Monday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. J.A. Happ||08.25.14 at 3:40 pm ET|
After posting back-to-back solid outings on Aug. 9 and 15, Buchholz (5-8, 5.94 ERA) took a step back in his last start Wednesday against the Angels. The right-hander started off strong, retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced, but fell apart in the fifth, giving up five runs en route to 8-3 Red Sox loss.
“The difference between everything going on this year and last year is a lot of balls finding holes or are home runs or doubles, they were hit at somebody last year and I got a lot of double plays that way,” Buchholz said after the game. “Sometimes that’s the way it goes. You don’t ever want it to be a full season but that’s the way it is sometimes, and I’ve got to keep grinding.”
Inconsistency has been the name of the game for Buchholz this season, as the right-hander has given up at least six earned runs in three of his last five starts.
Buchholz took the loss in his last outing against the Blue Jays on July 23, giving up four earned runs in six innings. In 22 career appearances (21 starts) against Toronto, Buchholz is 10-8 with 3.22 ERA.
Happ (8-8, 4.39 ERA) also struggled in his last start Tuesday against the Brewers, giving up six hits and four runs in just 3 1/3 innings of work.
“I don’t know,” Happ said after the game. “We’ve got to … I don’t know, just find a way. It starts with pitching. It started with me tonight. We got outplayed and it started with me, I guess. In a hole behind early and that’s tough against anybody, let alone a first-place team. Everybody’s gotta do their part and I came up short tonight.”
|Red Sox-Blue Jays series preview||at 1:11 pm ET|
What began with a promising 2-1 start on an 11-game homestand quickly was scuttled thanks to an eight-game losing streak that resulted in a massively disappointing 2-9 mark against the Astros, Angels and Mariners during their season-long stretch at Fenway.
Boston’s last three games were especially deflating, as the Red Sox blew 3-0 leads in consecutive games and left 15 runners on base Sunday en route to a three-game sweep by the Mariners — Seattle’s first sweep at Fenway since the franchise’s inception in 1977.
“That’s just the game. So many things you can’t control,” said third baseman Will Middlebrooks after Sunday’s game, adding: “What are you going to do?”
The remainder of the 2014 season will see the Red Sox mostly taking on their familiar foes in the AL East, as 25 of Boston’s final 32 games will be against division opponents, starting with a three-game set against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays have slumped as of late, posting a 3-7 record over their last 10 games — including a series loss against the Rays that culminated in a 2-1 extra-innings defeat Sunday.
The Red Sox will be looking for a different outcome from the last time they faced off against Toronto on July 28-30, as the Blue Jays outscored Boston 24-4 during a three-game sweep.
Here are the probable pitchers for the three-game series.
Monday: Clay Buchholz (5-8, 5.94 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ (8-8, 4.39 ERA)
Tuesday: Rubby De La Rosa (4-5, 3.69 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (10-12, 4.08 ERA)
Wednesday: Joe Kelly (0-1, 4.09 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman (7-5, 4.11 ERA)
WHO’S HOT: RED SOX
– Yoenis Cespedes was acquired by Boston at the July 31 trade deadline to drive in runs. So far, he’s been doing a great job of it. Since his first game with the Red Sox on Aug. 2, Cespedes has driven in 18 of Boston’s 79 runs — 23 percent of the team’s total scoring output. Despite his aggressive approach at the plate, the Cuban left fielder has more RBIs than strikeouts (16) in his 21 games in Boston.
|Sunday’s Red Sox-Mariners matchups: Allen Webster vs. Hisashi Iwakuma||08.24.14 at 10:12 am ET|
Webster (3-1, 4.73 ERA) has turned in three straight quality starts for Boston, compiling a 3.86 ERA with a .239/.333/.388 line during that stretch.
In his last start Tuesday against the Angels, Webster gave up seven hits and three runs with three strikeouts over six innings of work in what was eventually a 4-3 Los Angeles win.
“When he’s right like for the vast majority of tonight, put the ball on the ground, ground balls,” manager John Farrell said. “It’s good to see him continue to back up outings in a positive way and build some momentum and I’m sure some confidence in his own right.”
While Webster has settled down after his shaky debut this season, the third inning has continued to be a thorn in the side of the 24-year-old. Twelve of the 15 earned runs that Webster has allowed this season have come during the third.
Webster was rocked in his only career appearance against the Mariners on July 9, 2013, surrendering six hits and seven earned runs over just 2 1/3 innings.
Iwakuma (12-6, 2.57 ERA) has been extremely effective as of late, posting a 7-2 record with a 1.63 ERA over his last 10 starts.
In his last outing Tuesday, the 33-year-old shut down the Phillies for eight innings, holding his opponents to just four hits and no runs while racking up 11 strikeouts.
|Brandon Workman’s latest struggle raises questions about rotation future||08.23.14 at 11:43 pm ET|
Although his time in the majors has been brief, Red Sox starter Brandon Workman already has seen his career marked by two vastly different stretches of play.
Through his first eight big league starts, Workman looked like he belonged in the Red Sox rotation, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.91 ERA. He became the first Red Sox pitcher to make eight straight starts of five or more innings and three or fewer runs allowed since World War II.
Unfortunately for the 6-foot-5 righty, the last eight outings have been a far cry from his stellar debut, with an 0-8 record and a 6.75 ERA bloating his career numbers during the second half of the 2014 season. He now has achieved history of another sort, becoming the first Sox pitcher since Red Ruffing in 1929 to absorb a loss in eight or more consecutive appearances.
Workman’s latest outing fit his current trend of ineffectiveness, as the 26-year-old was torched for 10 hits and seven earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings against the Mariners on Saturday in what eventually resulted in a 7-3 Red Sox defeat.
Despite his discouraging box score, Workman began the game on a good foot, holding Seattle scoreless through the first three innings, including a 1-2-3 inning in the third.
“It was a quick inning,”Workman said. “I threw strikes, made some good pitches, got ground balls. … I didn’t execute like that in the fourth.”
|Closing Time: Brandon Workman’s implosion extends Red Sox losing streak to seven games||at 5:03 pm ET|
However, this collapse came much earlier than the ninth inning.
The culprit Saturday was Red Sox starter Brandon Workman, who was tagged for 10 hits and seven earned runs in a nightmare of a fourth inning that proved to be the difference maker in a 7-3 Mariners win.
The Red Sox have now lost seven games in a row, marking the second-longest losing streak for the club this year, behind only 10 straight contests from May 15 to May 25.
Boston got off to a promising start Saturday afternoon against Seattle, scoring a run off of Mariners southpaw starter Chris Young in each of the first three innings to build up a 3-0 cushion for Workman. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox pregame notes: Xander Bogaerts continues to be evaluated for possible concussion; Joe Kelly feels ‘no ill effects’ after exiting early from Friday start||at 1:50 pm ET|
Xander Bogaerts‘ status going forward with Boston is uncertain in the wake of the 21-year-old taking a Felix Hernandez pitch off the helmet in Friday’s loss to the Mariners.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said that Bogaerts — who is not in the lineup for Saturday’s game against Seattle — still needs to undergo additional evaluations to rule out the potential for a concussion.
“Anytime you get hit in the head like he did last night and get removed from the game, he’s got to go through a protocol, which he’s going through today, just to see if there’s any concussion symptoms,” Farrell said. “So that’s what’s taking place this morning.”
While it appeared that Bogaerts was healthy enough to remain in the game after being struck in the head by the 89 mph changeup, it became apparent to Farrell that his shortstop was beginning to lose focus as the game dragged on, leading to his removal from the game.
“The eye tests, the walking in a straight line, having him stand there with his eyes closed, all those were negative results, so it was determined at that point that he continue, based on his response to questions and all that our trainers put him through in the moment,” Farrell said. “But it’s not uncommon, as time goes on, that you start to feel the onset of symptoms and that was the case last night and that’s when he was removed.”
Even though no results have been released in terms of Bogaerts’ latest series of tests, he told WEEI.com’s Alex Speier Saturday morning that he felt better and hopes to play Sunday in the series finale against Seattle.
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
– Another Red Sox player was removed early from Friday’s game, as starter Joe Kelly was lifted after five innings despite only throwing 86 pitches. Kelly said after the game that he felt a slight sensation in his shoulder after delivering a curveball in the fifth inning, but that his exit was merely precautionary.
Farrell agreed with Kelly’s claims, adding that he expects no limitations for the right-hander going forward.
“Joe came in and felt no ill effects from last night after a battery of tests that he went through after the game that didn’t reproduce any of the symptoms,” Farrell said. “It was followed up with him feeling well this morning and he’s on target to start in five days.”
|Koji Uehara suffers through worse relief outing of career||at 12:50 am ET|
What no one really expected was the culprit behind the collapse.
Red Sox closer Koji Uehara entered the ninth as perhaps the closest thing that Boston has had to a sure bet this year, compiling a 1.53 ERA and .080 WHIP with 26 saves on the season.
Uehara seemed to be in prime position to put Seattle away, forcing Endy Chavez into an 1-2 count with two outs and Logan Morrison on first. Chavez would eventually battle back and work the walk to put runners on first and second.
Pinch hitter Chris Denorfia would then single on a soft line drive to right field to load the bases for Austin Jackson, who doubled on a sharp line drive to left that drove in two, cutting Boston’s lead to just one run. Seattle quickly grabbed their first lead of the night in the next at-bat, as Dustin Ackley forced a bloop single into left field between shortstop Brock Holt and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, driving in two more runs to give the Mariners a 4-3 lead.
Robinson Cano would tack on an additional run with an RBI single before Red Sox manager John Farrell emerged from the dugout to take the ball away from Uehara - but the damage was already irrevocably done. Uehara was charged with five hits and five earned runs in just 2/3 of an inning as the Red Sox fell to the Mariners, 5-3.
“To me, the key at-bat in the ninth inning was the Chavez walk,” Farrell said after the game. “We’ve got two outs, a man at first base and a 1-2 count, and he battles his way back into the count and works out a walk and then the 0-2 pitch to Denorfia, he pushes a base hit to right field, 0-2 pitch to Jackson for the double and unfortunately, Ackley finds kind of the Bermuda Triangle out there to drive in the two go-ahead runs. Maybe a lack of finish to Koji’s splitter was the difference tonight.”
Friday night made for one of Uehara’s worst outings in his MLB career. It was the most runs that the 39-year-old has allowed in an outing since surrendering six runs with the Orioles during a start against the Rays on May 5, 2009.
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