|Sunday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Allen Webster vs. Chris Archer||07.27.14 at 10:11 am ET|
The Red Sox will look to salvage what has been a disappointing three-game set against the Rays on Sunday, sending Allen Webster to the hill against Chris Archer in the series finale.
Acquired from the Dodgers in the August 2012 deal that saw Boston part ways with Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto, Webster has been solid down at Triple-A Pawtucket this year with a 4-4 record and a 3.10 ERA in 21 games (20 starts).
Amongst International League leaders, Webster entered Sunday eighth in ERA, fourth in strikeouts (100) and fifth in innings pitched (122). The Greensboro, N.C., native has been a reliable presence in the Pawtucket rotation, allowing three runs or fewer in 19 of his 21 appearances this season.
“At the time when [Rubby De La Rosa] came up, it was either Allen or Rubby, take your pick. So he has been able to maintain the overall command of stuff [better] than a year ago,” Farrell said. “And he’s got another 20-plus starts under his belt at the Triple-A level, which when you take back last year, when you look back last year, his year at Triple-A was a very good one for us. In the process of transitioning to our level here.”
|Friday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Jon Lester vs. David Price||07.25.14 at 10:05 am ET|
The Red Sox will kick off a crucial three-game series against the Rays Friday at Tropicana Field, as both teams look to claw their way back up the division standings. Boston will send ace Jon Lester to the mound against David Price in the series opener.
Lester (10-7, 2.50 ERA) has been on another level for almost two months now, posting a 4-0 record with a minuscule 0.85 ERA over his last seven starts while not allowing an earned run in three of his last four starts.
In his last outing Sunday against the Royals, Lester was once again in control from the first pitch, holding the Kansas City lineup to just four hits over eight innings while striking out eight en route to a 6-0 Red Sox win.
“He’s been a model for others to witness as players get to that stage in their career,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell after the game. “I think in a professional manner, he’s been very forthright in not wanting [his contract negotiations] to be a distraction to his teammates or to us as a team. And he’s been able to go out and maintain that high level of focus.”
Lester was stellar in his last outing against the Rays on June 1, surrendering four hits and no runs over seven innings while striking out 12. In 27 career starts against the Rays, Lester is 13-9 with a 4.12 ERA.
Not to be outdone, Price (10-7, 3.06 ERA) has turned in yet another dominant campaign in 2014, leading the majors in both strikeouts (173) and innings pitched (155 2/3).
In his last outing Saturday against the Twins, Price allowed just four hits and no runs over eight innings, earning his fifth consecutive win in a 5-1 Rays victory.
|Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘I do think that we will be active’ leading up to trade deadline||07.24.14 at 10:47 am ET|
Red Sox president Larry Lucchino joined Dennis & Callahan Friday to discuss John Lackey‘s future in Boston and the team’s strategy as the trade deadline nears. To listen to the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
With just one week until the July 31 trade deadline, Lucchino said that the team’s performance over the next seven games — all against AL East opponents — will play a huge factor in determining whether to buy or sell.
“I don’t think it’s a binary process, I don’t think you’re either one or the other, you may see some moves that take place and some other moves that do not take place,” Lucchino said, continuing: “We’ve never been in this position in our 13 years. We have never been in a position where we haven’t been anything but aggressive buyers because we’ve always, even in the catastrophic years of 2011-12, we were well over .500 at this stage of the season, so this is relatively new to us. … I do think that we will be active. … We’re always active.”
Lackey has one more year remaining on his contract, which will pay him the league-minimum sum of $500,000 in 2015 — a far cry from the $15.25 million the righty is earning this year. Lucchino said that the team will negotiate with Lackey after the season in an attempt to keep him with the team beyond next season.
“I think that there will be some contract negotiations with him probably at the end of the year as well and we’ll see what his frame of mind is with respect to longer-term contracts. … We will explore how we can keep John Lackey as a member of the Boston Red Sox.”
The Red Sox front office could lose a vital cog in its machine in the coming days, as assistant general manager Mike Hazen is one of the finalists for the Padres vacant general manager position. The Padres have had a history of plucking officials from the Red Sox organization, as former Boston COO Mike Dee is now the CEO of the Padres, while the last two San Diego general managers – Jed Hoyer and Josh Byrnes – were Sox executives first.
“Mike is an extremely talented, versatile, valuable member of our front office,” Lucchino said. “He is a right hand to Ben Cherington. He has a great future in baseball. He ultimately will be a general manager someday, of that I have no doubt. I just hope it’s not right now. I know that’s a little selfish of us to say, but I hope Mike stays with us. I will say that he’s in the final four in San Diego and they have been known to take some of our front office people in the past, but we want to keep Mike Hazen if it’s at all possible.”
|John Farrell on D&H: Dustin Pedroia ‘playing at 100 percent as far as I know’||07.23.14 at 4:18 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell joined Dale & Holley on Wednesday afternoon to discuss Jake Peavy‘s performance on the mound, Dustin Pedroia‘s health and Christian Vazquez‘s reputation behind the plate. To listen to the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
If anyone would want the opportunity to hit the reset button on the 2014 season, it would have to be Peavy, who is 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA over 20 starts this year. Peavy has lost nine consecutive decisions, tying for the most ever by a former Cy Young Award winner.
Despite his lackluster numbers, Peavy often has been done in by the Red Sox lineup, as the righty is last in the AL in run-support average at 3.15.
“We recognize full where the record stands, but there’s been a number of games in which he’s carried a quality start into the seventh or eighth inning with really not much to show for, and I can’t say it’s just because of a lack of run support,” Farrell said. “Have there been things on a shared responsibly? Without question. But I can tell you that he’s pitched better than the record that he’s showing today.”
Farrell continued: “You look at the last start he made down in Houston where he’s walking out into the eighth inning in a one-run game or 2-2 tie, things don’t happen quite right. We leave 13 men on base. If there’s a base hit somewhere in there, we’re probably not having this same conversation, but that’s the reality of things. I thought through five innings last night, Jake probably had his best breaking ball of the season.”
While ESPN’s Buster Olney noted earlier Wednesday that rival scouts are concerned that Pedroia‘s all-out play could have an negative effect on his career, Farrell said that Pedroia is healthy, despite dealing with an 0-for-17 skid.
“He’s playing at 100 percent as far as I know. I see him every day; every player has got maintenance work that they do in the training room, which he goes through,” Farrell said. “Is his style of play more taxing physically? It might be. But I know that seeing him when he gets to the ballpark here at 1 in the afternoon, the early work that he goes through, that’s tapered off as we get deeper into the season. … Dustin’s got an off day coming up here as well. Even though we’re coming out of the All-Star Break, we’ve still got to be mindful of the number of consecutive days, and that’s part of the balancing act when it gets to this part of the season.”
|Buster Olney on MFB: Dustin Pedroia ‘may wear down faster than other guys’ due to his ‘maximum effort’ play||at 2:10 pm ET|
ESPN baseball reporter Buster Olney joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the latest trade deadline news, Dustin Pedroia‘s struggles and Boston’s upcoming series against the Rays. To listen to the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Red Sox‘ current 8-2 run has complicated matters for Ben Cherington and Co. Boston is 8 1/2 games behind the Orioles in the AL East, but with the next 11 games scheduled against AL East opponents the Red Sox have a great opportunity to quickly gain ground before the July 31 trade deadline.
“I think that they have enough depth where they could serve both interests,” Olney said. “They could say, ‘Look, we’re still trying to compete this year, and at the same time, we can begin to turn over the roster a little bit.’ … We know that Peavy has a past relationship with [Giants manager] Bruce Bochy with the San Diego Padres. He’d be a great fit [in San Francisco.] The Red Sox clearly have internal options where if they traded Peavy, they could have other guys step in.
“The reason why a deal with the Cardinals didn’t happen was because the expectations of the two sides were different. The Cardinals basically were telling them, ‘Look, we’ll take on the salary but we’re not going to give you anything in the way of a prospect,’ where the Red Sox were hoping for something a little bit more. … I think Jonny is kind of in the same boat, depending on what they want to do with their young outfielders. Do they want to use the last two months and ensure the fact that they’re going to give those guys playing time down the stretch and begin to not only try to win this year but focus ahead for next year.”
The Red Sox will travel to Tropicana Field to take on the Rays for a three-game set this weekend, as both teams look to chip away at the division standings with July drawing to a close. Olney said that fighting for a playoff spot likely will remain the main focus for both teams during the series, rather than the personal feud between David Ortiz and David Price, stemming from the last time the teams played on May 30- June 1.
“The Rays right now are in a position where every out in every game means something,” Olney said. “I mean, they’re literally hanging on the fence on what to do in terms of whether or not to trade David Price. … They’re 24-11 since June 10, so I tend to think that this thing will be deferred. Now, are there hard feelings still there? Absolutely. But I don’t think this is going to be the time or place. That said, I didn’t think it was the time or the place for the whole thing to flare up the last time.”
|Tuesday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Jake Peavy vs. J.A. Happ||07.22.14 at 10:58 am ET|
While Peavy (1-8, 4.59 ERA) has been at the forefront of trade rumors over the last few weeks, he hasn’t let the whispers rattle him on the mound, as the righty has posted a 2.84 ERA over his last three starts.
In his last start on July 12 against the Astros, Peavy allowed three earned runs over seven innings while striking out nine, but he got the loss in what was an eventual 3-2 Houston win.
The Sox just can’t seem to put any runs on the board whenever Peavy is on the hill. The Red Sox only averaged 1.5 runs per game in June during Peavy’s outings. Peavy is tired with Seattle’s Chris Young for last in the American League in run support at just 3.16 runs per start.
“It’s not even the run support, it’s just finding a way to win on that day,” Peavy said after his last outing. “I’ve pitched in tight games my whole career and found a way to put us in better situations to win those tight games.”
Peavy earned his only win of the season in his last start against the Blue Jays on April 25, allowing one earned run in seven innings of work. In seven career starts against the Blue Jays, Peavy is 3-1 with a 3.19 ERA.
Happ (7-5, 4.91 ERA) made his last appearance for Toronto out of the bullpen, as the southpaw allowed two earned runs in 2/3 of an inning on July 12 against the Rays.
|Red Sox-Blue Jays series preview||07.21.14 at 1:54 pm ET|
With just 10 days until the trade deadline, things are getting interesting for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox have won six of their last seven games, curtailing (at least temporarily) discussions of the team waving the white flag on 2014 and adopting the role of “seller” at the end of the month. Boston is firing on all cylinders, hitting .291 while posting a 2.25 team ERA over its last eight games.
Toronto, third in the AL East standings and four games ahead of Boston in the loss column, took two out of three from the lowly Rangers over the weekend and is 4-6 over its last 10 games.
After an impressive May, the Jays have scored the second-fewest runs in the AL since then. Part of the reason for the offensive woes is the injury big, as Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie and Adam Lind are on the 15-day disabled list.
“Since June 1, we’d scored fewer runs than anybody except for the Red Sox in the AL,” Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos told reporters Sunday. “Clearly offensively we haven’t played as well as we can. I’m optimistic that our [injured] guys have a chance to come back sooner than we all think. I got an update last night that Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion are really progressing well. Lind is out of his boot. They’re swinging off a tee. Lind is going to swing with a little more authority today, but again, after everything he’s done he’s got no symptoms at all, no pain. It’s obviously a great sign.”
Here are the pitching matchups for the four-game series.
Monday: John Lackey (10-6, 3.79 ERA) vs. Drew Hutchison (6-8, 4.16 ERA)
Tuesday: Jake Peavy (1-8, 4.59 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ (7-5, 4.91 ERA)
Wednesday: Clay Buchholz (5-5, 5.46 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (7-10, 3.95 ERA)
Thursday: Rubby De La Rosa (3-2, 2.64 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman (5-2, 3.58 ERA)
WHO’S HOT: RED SOX
– Daniel Nava is coming off of one of his strongest games of the season, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs in Sunday’s 6-0 win over the Royals. Nava, who posted a line of .130/.221/.234 over his first 22 games of the season, has hit .337 (33-for-98) while compiling a .421 OBP since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on June 2. The 31-year-old outfielder has been even better this month, hitting .382 (13-for-34) since the start of July.
– Rubby De La Rosa has been one of the best surprises of the 2014 season for Boston, as the young righty is 3-2 with a 2.64 ERA on the year. De La Rosa has now allowed one run or less over seven innings in four of his seven starts this season. While De La Rosa has excelled at home this season (3-0, 1.38 ERA), the same can’t be said on the road, as he owns a 4.42 ERA away from the friendly confines of Fenway.
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