|Shane Victorino (left calf) to disabled list, Red Sox looking to get durability more consistent||05.24.15 at 11:49 am ET|
Victorino missed two games this week with general soreness, focused around the left calf, but returned Saturday night. The return didn’t go as planned as he had to leave the game before his at-bat in the bottom of the third as he went back awkwardly on a fly ball in the top of the third and felt some tightness in the calf.
This is Victorino’s second trip to the disabled list this season, as he missed over two weeks with a hamstring injury last month. Since the start of the 2014 season, Victorino has played in just 50 games.
“He didn’t acknowledge it, that’s just the competitor he is, and I’m not saying he fought this, but at the same time he’s disappointed,” manager John Farrell said of Victorino accepting being placed on the DL. “He’s frustrated. But, in defense of Vic it’s kind of hard to plan inning-to-inning rather than game-to-game.”
Farrell said he admires the determination of Victorino and his value to the team when fully healthy. The issue is not being able to depend on him every day, and having to constantly have a backup plan ready to go on days he does play, as well as coming to the ballpark unsure of his playing status.
“When you look at the performance when he came back to us this year after all that he’s been through, you give him a tremendous amount of credit for the work he’s put in,” said Farrell. “I think any athlete who is taken out of competition because of injury, it’s taxing mentally. A number of times that Vic has either been on the DL or has missed anywhere from 3-5 games it wears on him. I don’t know that there’s a stronger competitor in our clubhouse and a guy who means a lot to this team when he’s active feels like he can speak his mind — it’s hard for a player to speak his mind when they are not active and in the mix and Vic is a vocal guy in our clubhouse.
“He’s a guy that impacts the game as we’ve seen this year when he’s on the field in a number of ways. He’ll be missed. That’s why you believe in a player as strong as you do with Vic, not for what he did just in 2013, but what we does every time he’s on the field and near 100 percent health. We’ve got to get him back to where the durability is a little bit more consistent.”
Bianchi has played in 162 career games with the Brewers, but when he does get into a game with the Red Sox it will be his first appearance at the big league level with them. He’s an infielder who can play third base, second base and shortstop. The Red Sox signed him to a minor league deal this past January.
“What we saw in spring training was a lot of dependability, particularly on the defensive side,” said Farrell. “His addition allows us to be a little bit more versatile with Brock to use in the outfield with a matchup that might be to our liking. The ability to play all three infield positions. Played all three with a lot of dependability in camp.”
|Closing Time: Mike Napoli homers twice, Steven Wright outstanding in Red Sox win||05.23.15 at 10:25 pm ET|
Losing two straight and four of five, the Red Sox offense, which came in averaging 2.45 runs per game in May, and team in general needed a spark — someone to insert some life into the group.
Mike Napoli to the rescue.
The first baseman hit two monster home runs, as the Red Sox beat the Angels 8-3 Saturday night at Fenway Park.
His second home run came in the sixth inning with two outs and Hanley Ramirez on first base as he took a C.J. Wilson offering and crushed it over everything in left, snapping a 2-2 tie at the time.
Napoli owns the Angels as he entered the game with the best all-time slugging percentage (.679) and OPS (1.120) against them. He has reached base in 14 straight games against them.
“I feel pretty good,” Napoli said. “This is a time that we’re out to maintain what I’m doing right now in the cage and my BP. I know where my hands have to get and it’s a good feeling to go in there and compete and not try to think what’s going wrong with my swing or anything. So I’m going to try to keep that muscle memory and be able to go in the game and compete.”
The Red Sox added to their lead in the seventh inning when Xander Bogaerts delivered a two-out, two-run single to right with the bases loaded. They struck for two more in the eighth when Blake Swihart and Brock Holt perfectly executed a hit-and-run where Holt scored from first on a ball that died in the outfield grass, and then Mookie Betts added a two-out RBI single.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright was terrific for the Red Sox, as after allowing two first inning runs he retired 18 of the next 19 hitters before walking Matt Joyce with one out in the seventh inning and manager John Farrell took him out of the game. Alexi Ogando retired the next two batters to get out of the inning with no damage.
Wright finished the night going 6 1/3 innings, allowing the two first inning runs on four hits, while walking one and striking out two to pick up his second win of the season. It was his first career win as a major league starter.
“For me, it’s just another day,” Wright said. “If you try and put too much pressure on yourself you’re just going to disappoint and you’re going to try and over do things, over work. For me, I am going to try and go in there and throw quality knuckleballs in the strike zone. They are going to put it in play, it’s a contact pitch. Today we were fortunate to get balls right at some guys, guys made some good plays. I went as deep as I could.”
After trailing 2-0, the Red Sox scored once in the third and once in the fourth. They got on the board in the third inning on a rocket of a homer by Napoli into the Monster seats. They then scored the following inning on an RBI single to left from Betts, who was pinch-hitting for Shane Victorino (more on that later).
Things didn’t start so well for Wright and the Red Sox as the Angels scored twice in the first inning on back-to-back doubles by Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun. The Red Sox have now been outscored 32-14 in the first inning this year.
Victorino, after missing the last two games, returned to the lineup, but left prior to his at-bat in the bottom of third inning with left calf tightness. That was part of what has kept him out the last two days.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Napoli. He put the team on his back with the two homers. He now has four home runs in his last five games and was his 14th career multi-homer game. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:
|Shane Victorino day-to-day after leaving game in third inning with left calf tightness||at 8:12 pm ET|
Shane Victorino just can’t seem to stay 100 percent healthy.
After going back awkwardly on a fly ball in the top of the third inning of Saturday’s game against the Angels, the right fielder was removed from the game prior to his at-bat the next half-inning. The team announced it as left calf tightness.
Following the game, manager John Farrell said he is day-to-day and will be reevaluated Sunday morning.
“If there’s anything more to that we’ll know in the morning when we check him out,” Farrell said.
He had missed the previous two games with “general soreness” centered around the left calf.
Since the start of the 2014 season, Victorino has played in just 50 games.
The Red Sox will face another left-handed pitcher Saturday in the Angels’ C.J. Wilson. For the season as a team, the Red Sox are batting .197 against lefties, with some individual players even worse as Pablo Sandoval is just 2-for-41 (.049).
Because of that, Sandoval is out of the lineup, as manager John Farrell said he is over the knee issue after missing the last three games following being hit by a pitch Tuesday night.
“He’s available inside of tonight,” Farrell said. “If there was a right-handed starter on the mound, he would be in the lineup, but with Wilson going it was a chance to get him another day down.”
There were more changes with Dustin Pedroia sliding into the leadoff spot, Shane Victorino hitting second, and Hanley Ramirez and David Ortiz flip-flopping so Ramirez will hit third, and Ortiz fourth.
Farrell said this was based on their performances against lefties.
“That’s the reason you have Pedey (Pedroia) in the leadoff spot with Vic hitting second,” he said. “The two guys that have handled left-handed pitching the best on our club so far. Give Mookie [Betts] a down day as well.”
When asked if Pedroia might stay in the leadoff spot past tonight, the manager didn’t rule that out.
“We’ll see it how it unfolds,” Farrell said. “Hopefully today is a day we handle Wilson who is off to a decent start, we get another left-handed starter tomorrow. Depending on who is available tomorrow to be in the lineup, we’ll address that at that time.”
Entering the season, hitting left-handed pitching was likely on the bottom of the list of potential concerns with a lineup featuring Ramirez, Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino. But, after 42 games, it’s one of the biggest — although general manager Ben Cherington thinks it will naturally improve.
“Certainly coming into the season we didn’t foresee that would be an issue and it has been to this point,” Cherington said. “Looking in hindsight at the first 42 games or wherever we are, you can see certain areas of performance and be like, ‘Oh, that’s why they are struggling against lefties.’ We didn’t expect that to be a challenge and I think that is something that can just improve naturally with the guys that are here and get guys into some established roles.”
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
|Red Sox lineup: Major batting order shakeup with Dustin Pedroia leading off; Pablo Sandoval out again||at 3:26 pm ET|
The Red Sox have officially shaken up the batting order.
Dustin Pedroia will leadoff for the Red Sox against Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson Saturday night. Mookie Betts gets a day off in centerfield, as Rusney Castillo will get his second straight start in the outfield after being called up Friday.
Pablo Sandoval will miss his fourth straight game after taking a fastball off the knee Tuesday night. Hanley Ramirez is in the lineup after being hit in the hand by a pitch Friday night.
Blake Swihart will catch knuckleballer Steven Wright.
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
Here’s the complete Red Sox lineup:
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Shane Victorino, RF
Hanley Ramirez, LF
David Ortiz, DH
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Mike Napoli, 1B
Rusney Castillo, CF
Brock Holt, 3B
Blake Swihart, C
Steven Wright, RHP
|Red Sox injury updates: Shane Victorino still day-to-day; Pablo Sandoval remains out with limitations||05.22.15 at 5:50 pm ET|
After being a late scratch with “general soreness” mostly in the left calf Thursday, Victorino remains out of the lineup Friday. He went 2-for-2 as a pinch-hitter Tuesday.
“He’s day-to-day, that’s the best I can tell you right now,” manager John Farrell said.
“We don’t anticipate this being a long-term situation,” Farrell added. “Hopefully he’s back to us soon because he was swinging the bat well.”
Also on Friday the Red Sox added outfielder Rusney Castillo and sent down Jackie Bradley. Even prior to the injury this week, Farrell said he sat down with Victorino to explain he would now be at least partially sharing right field with Castillo as well as Daniel Nava and Brock Holt.
“There’s a scenario that I have already sat and met with [Victorino] prior to the calf injury with Rusney’s arrival there was going to be a rotation with Rusney between both right field and center field,” said Farrell. “That wasn’t going to put [Victorino] on the bench by any means. When [Victorino] is fully capable that will take place, that rotation.”
Sandoval (knee) was expected back at third base Friday, but after pregame work taking ground balls, running, etc. it was determined he would miss his third straight game after being hit by a pitch in the knee Tuesday night.
“He doesn’t feel like he’s ready to go,” said Farrell. “There’s limitation to the range, there’s limitation to him being able to plant that left leg to execute a strong throw. Baserunning was going to be limited. All that added up to him needing more time.”
Brock Holt will take the place of Sandoval once again at third.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|Red Sox injury updates: Shane Victorino out with ‘general soreness'; Pablo Sandoval ‘much improved’||05.21.15 at 5:10 pm ET|
Shane Victorino was in the original lineup posted shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday, but just a few minutes later a revised one was sent out with Victorino scratched and Daniel Nava inserted to make his third straight start in right field.
“[Victorino] is held out tonight with some soreness,” said manager John Farrell. “It’s more centralized around the left calf. Not anything related to the lower back or hamstring that he’s dealt with in the past. Precautionary he’s held out tonight.”
The right fielder was inserted as a pinch-hitter for Nava Wednesday and went 2-for-2. He is hitting .421 since returning from the disabled list on May 11 following a hamstring injury suffered on April 25.
“Not anything inside of last night’s game that caused anything,” said Farrell of the late scratch. “Just general soreness. Like I said, general soreness overall, but somewhat localized in the calf.”
Farrell is hopeful he will be available over the weekend.
Over the past two seasons, Victorino has missed a total of 153 games with a variety of injuries, mostly to his back and hamstring. Given the 34 year old’s injury history, Farrell said it wasn’t totally unexpected to have to scratch him without much advance notice.
“Not unexpected to a certain extent,” Farrell said. “You know you’re going to have to run him out there a few days, back off on days even if he feels he’s capable. Almost to protect him against himself. This is a little bit unforeseen, but like I said, you walk in the clubhouse everyday knowing there are 25 guys at your disposal and that is not always the case.”
The news is better for third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who is out of the lineup again after missing Wednesday’s game following taking a 97 mph fastball off the knee Tuesday night.
“Pablo is much improved today,” said Farrell. “There is still some soreness there. Giving him another day, particularly with a left-handed starter on the mound and we anticipate him back in the lineup tomorrow.”
Brock Holt starts at third base in Sandoval’s absence.
It’s also worth noting Rusney Castillo will return to the PawSox lineup Thursday and hit second following being out the last two days on paternity leave. It shouldn’t be long before the outfielder is in Boston.
After taking a fastball off the knee Tuesday night and missing Wednesday, Pablo Sandoval is out of the lineup once again Thursday in the series finale against the Rangers.
Shane Victorino went 2-for-2 as a pinch-hitter Wednesday, and was originally in the lineup, but was scratched just 20 minutes after the original lineup was posted. No reason was given.
Sandy Leon will catch Red Sox starter Clay Buchhholz, as their own lineup goes up against left-hander Wandy Rodriguez.
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
Here is the complete lineup:
|Red Sox-Rangers series preview||05.19.15 at 10:45 am ET|
In their first series back from a 10-game road stint, the Red Sox welcome the Rangers to Fenway Park for the next three days. The Sox return home with a 5-5 record against the Blue Jays, A’s and Mariners and are seated third in the AL East, 3 1/2 games back of the first-place Yankees.
The Rangers are fourth in their division, 8 1/2 games behind the Astros, who have the best record in the American League at 25-14. Texas, with its 16-22 mark on the year, is 4-6 in its last 10 games. Most recently, the Rangers nabbed a 5-1 victory over the struggling Indians on Sunday, though they had lost the three games prior.
The biggest problem for the Rangers this season has been, like the Sox until recently, subpar pitching. With a staff ERA, starters and relievers alike, of 4.23, Texas has give up 178 runs, eighth most in the majors. There is a discrepancy between the rotation and the bullpen, though, which is what the team has the most trouble with.
Texas starters have a 3.98 ERA, smack dab in the middle of the league. While that’s not particularly good, there are still teams that have it much worse. The relief arms, on the other hand, have a fourth-worst ERA of 4.68. In addition, Rangers relievers have given up a league-worst 73 runs on 137 hits. They also get the most work of any bullpen staff in the majors, logging 134 2/3 innings. Red Sox relievers are third in that category as they have tossed 131.
To rectify at least part of this issue, some changes were made to the Rangers roster Sunday, including moving starting lefty Ross Detwiler, who is 0-5 on the year with a 6.95 ERA, to the 15-day DL. Detwiler was originally scheduled to get the ball against the Sox on Wednesday, but now Phil Klein is expected to start in his place.
“I think certain guys have put themselves in positions where we’re better when they’re in more high-leverage spots,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said on Sunday after the moves. “With other guys, it’s still up in the air. I think [manager Jeff Banister is] going to utilize them as needed based on who’s throwing well and the matchup and who’s coming up.”
|Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz sits, Shane Victorino moves up in order vs. Mariners||05.17.15 at 1:06 pm ET|
Fresh off their 4-2 win over Mariners ace Felix Hernandez Saturday night, the Red Sox will look to end their 10-game road trip in style as they take on Seattle Sunday afternoon.
After not starting Saturday, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino are back Sunday against Mariners left-hander James Paxton. Victorino slides up to the No. 2 spot in the order, as Dustin Pedroia moves back to hitting third with Ortiz getting the day off.
No one in the Red Sox‘ lineup has faced Paxton before.
Blake Swihart will catch knuckleballer Steven Wright, who is making his first start of the season, starting in place of Justin Masterson, who was placed on the disabled list last Thursday.
For a complete look at the matchups, click here.
Here’s the full Red Sox lineup:
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