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Red Sox lineup: Mookie Betts bats leadoff in series finale vs. Rays 09.01.14 at 10:44 am ET
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Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts continues his climb up the Red Sox batting order, as the rookie will bat leadoff in the finale of a four-game series against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Monday afternoon.

Betts batted seventh in the first two games, then was in the No. 2 slot behind Brock Holt on Sunday, when he collected a double and an RBI single in a 3-0 victory. He’s 4-for-11 with five RBIs in the series and now is batting .259/.344/.424 on the season (85 at-bats).

Holt, who leads the American League with a .364 average in day games (43-for-118), will bat second.

In the Labor Day matinee the Sox will attempt to slow down left-hander Drew Smyly (9-10, 3.31 ERA). Smyly, acquired from the Tigers in the David Price deal at the trade deadline, has won three straight with a 0.88 ERA over that span. In his last outing, Smyly allowed one run on two hits in a 3-1 victory at division-leading Baltimore on Wednesday. That was preceded by a complete-game two-hitter in an 8-0 win over the Blue Jays.

“This is probably one of the better stretches I’ve had as a starter,” he told MLB.com.

Smyly is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four career appearances (two starts) against the Red Sox. David Ortiz is 4-for-7 against him.

On the hill for Boston is Rubby De La Rosa (4-5, 3.81 ERA), who allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings in the Red Sox‘ 11-7 victory in 11 innings over the Blue Jays last Tuesday. The right-hander has a 6.46 ERA over his last three starts.

RED SOX LINEUP

Mookie Betts, CF

Brock Holt, 2B

Yoenis Cespedes, LF

Mike Napoli, DH

Allen Craig, 1B

Daniel Nava, RF

Will Middlebrooks, 3B

Xander Bogaerts SS

Christian Vazquez, C

Read More: Drew Smyly, mookie betts, rubby de la rosa,
Rubby untarnished: De La Rosa ‘strong’ in face of career-high workload 08.22.14 at 12:52 am ET
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Rubby De La Rosa didn’t try to hide the frustration of Thursday’s end result.

Rubby De La Rosa

Rubby De La Rosa

The right-hander gave the Red Sox a solid 6 2/3 innings, holding the Angels to two runs on eight hits and three walks on 111 pitches. But he took the 2-0 loss after being outdueled by Angels starter Matt Shoemaker, who tossed a one-hit shutout over 7 2/3 innings against an anemic and shorthanded Red Sox offense. There was only so much De La Rosa could do.

“I tried to do my best,” De La Rosa said. “I tried to push myself.”

All disappointment aside, it was another significant night for De La Rosa, who threw over 110 pitches for the third time in his last five starts.

This August has been unlike most for De La Rosa. This August, he said, he feels strong, maybe stronger than he’s ever been in his major league career. His 6 2/3 innings Thursday puts him at 78 innings pitched for the season, more than he’s ever tossed in his first three years combined. Add that to the 60 innings he’s thrown in Triple-A Pawtucket and he’s at 138 for the year, after never having surpassed 110 1/3 in his pro career entering 2014.

The closest he’s come to this year’s big league workload came in 2011, when he pitched 60 2/3 innings for the Dodgers — he pitched 40 innings in the minor leagues that season — before suffering a partially torn ligament in his elbow that required Tommy John surgery, which he underwent on Aug. 9, 2011. De La Rosa blew opponents away that season with his 100 mile-per-hour fastball, going 4-5 with a 3.71 ERA for the Dodgers and looking like a star on the rise.

All of that potential was seemingly in jeopardy.

“I have to make it back,” De La Rosa, then 22, said at the timeRead the rest of this entry »

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Thursday’s Red Sox-Angels matchups: Rubby De La Rosa vs. Matt Shoemaker 08.21.14 at 8:00 am ET
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The Red Sox finish their four-game series against the Angels at Fenway Park on Thursday night when they send Rubby De La Rosa to the mound against Matt Shoemaker.

Rubby De La Rosa

Rubby De La Rosa

De La Rosa (4-4, 3.79 ERA) showed signs of consistency in recent outings, tossing three straight quality starts, two of which came on the road. But Saturday was a setback. The right-hander was tagged for six runs on nine hits over four innings, and took a no-decision in a Red Sox win over the Astros. He walked four and struck out two on 89 pitches. It was De La Rosa’s worst outing since a seven-run meltdown in Toronto on July 24 and his most walks allowed since June 19.

“It was a struggle for him tonight,” Farrell said after the game. “He struggled with his command, struggled with any type of put-away pitch.”

One of De La Rosa’s best starts this season came in his Aug. 10 outing against the Angels. He pitched into the eighth inning for his first road win of the year, giving up one run on five hits and three walks with eight strikeouts. De La Rosa is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in two career starts against the Angels.

Shoemaker (11-4, 3.84 ERA) has been a surprising success for the Angels this season. An undrafted pitcher out of Eastern Michigan University, the righty maintained a professional career by pitching well in Triple-A the last two years.

The 27-year-old got his big league chance this year after a combination of injuries and struggles from normally reliable starters left a hole in the rotation. And he’s taken advantage of that opportunity. He’s third on the team in wins and ERA over 96 innings this season.

“I definitely thought it was a possibility,” Shoemaker said of attaining this kind of success in 2014. “Did I think it was going to happen? Not necessarily. But my competitiveness tells me, ‘Hey, it’s possible. Anything is possible.’ “

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Saturday’s Red Sox-Astros matchups: Rubby De La Rosa vs. Brad Peacock 08.16.14 at 3:05 pm ET
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Rubby De La Rosa

Rubby De La Rosa

The Red Sox play the third game of their four-game series against the Astros on Saturday night when they send Rubby De La Rosa to the mound against Brad Peacock.

De La Rosa (4-4, 3.21 ERA) is on a streak of three straight quality starts after an exceptional performance against the Angels last Sunday. The right-hander pitched into the eighth inning the day after the Sox exhausted their bullpen in a 19-inning marathon, and remained strong deep into the game. De La Rosa’s only run allowed came on a leadoff home run by Mike Trout that ended his outing. He scattered five hits, walked three and struck out eight for the win.

“We needed Rubby to go deep, and he did,” manager John Farrell said after the game. “He pitched with a lot of poise. He threw three pitches for strikes.” 

After getting torched for seven runs over four innings in Toronto on July 24, De La Rosa appears to have turned the corner, allowing five runs in his last 19 innings. Most importantly, he’s finally shown he can pitch away from Fenway, posting a 1.38 ERA in his last two starts on the road.

De La Rosa should enjoy being back at home, however. The 25-year-old is 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA in five starts at Fenway this season. He hasn’t faced the Astros since a scoreless inning of relief in Houston last season in which he struck out two. De La Rosa is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three appearances (one start) against the Astros, with the first two appearances coming in 2011.

After giving up 15 combined runs in consecutive starts, Peacock (3-8, 5.25 ERA) bounced back nicely in his start against the Twins on Monday. The righty gave up two runs (one earned) on seven hits over five innings in a no-decision. He walked one and struck out five.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox-Astros series preview 08.14.14 at 7:12 pm ET
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For seemingly the first time all season, the Red Sox will return to Fenway Park riding the momentum of a successful road trip.

After posting a 5-3 record during an eight-game stretch away from home, Boston will open up an 11-game homestand with a four-game series against the Houston Astros.

The Red Sox have found themselves on a bit of a roll, winning four out of their last five games.

“Yeah, it was nice, a winning road trip,” said first baseman Mike Napoli, who clobbered a two-run homer in the fifth helped Boston to a 5-4 victory over the Reds Wednesday. “We’re playing better baseball. I feel like there were a couple games we could’ve came away with, too. We’re playing better baseball, the young guys are learning and we’re playing the game the right way. That’s what we need.”

The Astros -€“- sitting at 50 wins on the year — will be looking to match their victory total from last season during their series against Boston. Houston finished the 2013 campaign with a 51-101 record.

Houston will be getting some reinforcements in the outfield, as center fielder Dexter Fowler played his first game in six weeks Wednesday after suffering a back injury June 26.

“Whenever you are athletic and have three guys in the outfield capable of playing center field, we’re improved — cutting balls off, getting to them in the air,” said Houston manager Bo Porter after Houston’€™s 3-1 loss to the Twins Wednesday. “You got a glimpse of that today.”

The Astros are 4-6 over their last 10 games and 1-2 against Boston this season.

Here are the probable pitchers for the four-game series.

Thursday: Allen Webster (2-1, 4.91 ERA) vs. Scott Feldman (6-8, 4.14 ERA)

Friday: Clay Buchholz (5-7, 5.99 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (10-8, 3.07 ERA)

Saturday: Rubby De La Rosa (4-4, 3.21 ERA) vs. Brad Peacock (3-8, 5.25 ERA)

Sunday: Joe Kelly (0-0, 2.08 ERA) vs. Colin McHugh (5-9, 3.08 ERA)

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Astros, Chris Carter, Red Sox, rubby de la rosa
Closing Time: Rubby De La Rosa dominant as Sox take series finale over Angels 08.10.14 at 6:40 pm ET
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After using eight relievers in a 19-inning marathon Saturday night, the Red Sox needed as many innings as they could get from starter Rubby De La Rosa in Sunday’s series finale against the Angels.

De La Rosa not only gave them the innings, but was impressive in doing so.

The right-hander gave up one run on five hits in seven solid innings Sunday afternoon to lead the Sox to a 3-1 win over the Angels. It was the Red Sox‘ first series win since a three-game sweep of the Royals July 18-20.

Caught in a pitcher’s duel with Angels starter Hector Santiago, De La Rosa put together a dominant performance. He walked three and struck out eight in a 110-pitch effort for his first win since July 19.

Sunday’s performance was perfect end to a strong road trip for De La Rosa, who picked up his first win away from Fenway Park this season. He posted a 6.04 ERA in his first four road starts with the Sox this year, but has allowed just two runs in his last 14 innings on the road.

Here’s what went right (and wrong) for the Red Sox as they improved to 52-65 for the season.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

– De La Rosa gave the exhausted Red Sox staff exactly what it needed on Sunday: quality innings. The 25-year-old was nearly unbeatable for most of his outing until a leadoff home run by Mike Trout in the eighth inning chased him from the game.

De La Rosa played with fire early in his outing. He allowed multiple runners to reach base with one or no outs in three of the first four innings, but escaped without any damage. He settled down from there, retiring 11 of the last 13 batters he faced. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sunday’s Red Sox-Angels matchups: Rubby De La Rosa vs. Hector Santiago at 12:24 pm ET
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The Red Sox will close out a three-game set against the Angels Sunday, sending Rubby De La Rosa to the mound against Hector Santiago in the series finale.

De La Rosa (3-4, 3.43 ERA) finally appeared to solve his road woes in his last start Tuesday against the Cardinals, holding St. Louis to six hits and just one earned run over six innings of work. Entering the game, De La Rosa had an ERA of 6.04 in four starts away from Fenway Park.

“I feel good,” De La Rosa said after the game. “I feel everything worked. I had a couple of walks. I missed a couple of pitches.”

Despite his struggles in opposing ballparks, De La Rosa has been one of Boston’€™s most consistent starters this season, allowing three runs or less in six of his last seven starts.

In his only career start against the Angels on June 24, 2011, De La Rosa gave up nine hits and five earned runs over six innings.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Angels, Hector Santiago, Red Sox, rubby de la rosa
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