|Xander Bogaerts looking beyond home run total, eyeing 200 hits||09.26.15 at 12:04 am ET|
With an RBI double to left field and a pair of infield singles in a 7-0 Red Sox win over the Orioles at Fenway Park Friday night, Xander Bogaerts notched his 55th multi-hit game of 2015 and sits just 12 hits away from 200 on the year.
Throughout the season, Bogaerts has expressed disappointment after being robbed of home runs by the wall in left and has discussed his desire to add to his home run total, but with just nine games left on the schedule, the shortstop is content with shifting his focus to his overall offensive performance.
“I mean I’m three home runs away from ten, but I had a nice comment the guys made today: there’s not too many guys that get 200 hits,” Bogaerts said. “So it’s kinda like, ‘OK, you know, you’re right.’ So let me just stop worrying about that home run and just try to get my hits in. Hopefully try to reach close to [200 hits].”
Friday also marked the 17th time this season the shortstop has recorded three or more hits in a game. He has now reached base safely in 23 consecutive games and his .325 average ranks second in the American League behind Miguel Cabrera‘s .334.
“I’m pretty happy, I didn’t expect it,” Bogaerts said of his average. “I’m very happy the way things have been. I’m very excited for next year for the whole team.”
Bogaerts also said earlier this season that he hopes to steal 15 bases. He did not record a steal Friday night, but still showed off his speed on a wild play at the plate in the sixth inning.
After Dustin Pedroia drew a leadoff walk, Bogaerts reached on a soft grounder to third for the first of his two infield hits.
David Ortiz then doubled on a fly ball to right field and Bogaerts took off, but Pedroia was holding at second, preparing to tag up, and the pair ended up rounding third just strides apart.
“That was a tough one, I read the ball well,” Bogaerts said. “If [Orioles right fielder Dariel Alvarez] caught it he would have doubled me up either way, so I just followed my instincts right there… I just went because I knew how far I was from second base at the time the ball fell.”
|Closing Time: Rich Hill’s complete game shutout leads Red Sox over Orioles||09.25.15 at 9:54 pm ET|
Two months ago Rich Hill was pitching in the Independent League and now the left-hander is pitching like the ace of a major league stuff.
Yes, the ace of a major league staff is a bit sarcastic, but the 35-year-old has been dominant in his three major league starts with the Red Sox this month. The latest came Friday night when he led the Red Sox to a 7-0 win over the Orioles.
Hill tossed a complete game, two-hit shutout to pick up his second win of the year. It was his second career complete game shutout, as his first came Sept. 16, 2006 against the Reds when he was with the Cubs.
“That was probably right up there,” Hill said if it was the most fun he’s had on a baseball field. “I can’t put a number on it, but that was a lot of fun. That was great.”
After allowing a leadoff single to open the game, Hill retired 16 straight batters before No. 9 batter Dariel Alvarez reached on an error by Hill when he overthrew first base on a grounder in front of the plate in the sixth. The second hit he allowed came to leadoff the ninth.
The left-hander also struck out 10, the third time in three starts he has done so this season. He has now allowed just three runs in 23 innings pitched this year. For his career he has a career ERA of 1.15 with the Red Sox, the lowest in club history (min. 25 IP).
He is the only AL pitcher in the last 100 years to record at least 10 strikeouts in each of his first three starts with a team. The only other Red Sox pitcher in the last 100 years to record 10 or more strikeouts and one or fewer walks in three straight starts at any point is Pedro Martinez in 1999.
“I’m older and I’ve been able to hone my skills I guess in the last five years and get stronger — get into a good lifting program and it’s a whole, big each piece of the pie kind of fits together and as I’ve gotten older I’ve been able to figure out the most efficient way that works for me to pitch,” Hill said. “This summer all the things fell into place and for me just really stay in that moment and make the pitch the best that I can.
Overall, when I was younger and starting, I don’t think I was as apt to understanding pitching as much as I thought I was. Now, as I’ve gotten older more of that has come along.”
Mookie Betts robbed Chris Davis of a home run to end the game with a leaping catch against the wall of the Red Sox bullpen.
The Red Sox gave Hill more than enough offense as they scored a run in the third on Xander Bogaerts’ double to left, which scored Betts, although Dustin Pedroia was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first to end the inning.
The Sox added another run in the fifth. Brock Holt led off with a walk. Sandy Leon sacrificed him over to second base and then he advanced to third on a groundout by Jackie Bradley Jr. and was able to score on a wild pitch.
|Scott Boras won’t rule out extension talks for Xander Bogaerts||09.23.15 at 8:31 am ET|
The agent joined his Boras Corporation colleagues Mike Fiore and Alex Ochoa in swinging by Fenway Park Tuesday to touch base with both his clients — such as the Red Sox‘ Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr., along with Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore. Boras also took some time to meet up with new Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.
And while the conversations with Boras of the usual wide-ranging variety — ranging from changes in the draft to stem cell research — perhaps the most intriguing topic revolved around Bogaerts.
With the 22-year-old’s runaway success this season, would Boras ever entertain a contract extension for the shortstop? While such a payday might seem tempting for Bogaerts considering he’s still four years away from free agency, it isn’t the agent’s modus operandi to lead his clients down such a path.
But, as Boras explained, you never say never.
“Look, I always tell every team and every player, we’re an open door,” the agent said. “Anything they want to look at and offer, and then the player just has to make his judgments, so we evaluate that.
Boras added, “So I did all of these studies of him and even a great player like [Derek] Jeter, he was more home runs, more RBIs, and he’s made more playing time in the big leagues at 22 than Jeter had. So when you’re talking about a player at that level, that great, to be ahead of him in many ways, you can really see where Xander and the organization in combination have worked hard to get him to that level, so it’s nice to see.”
And there would certainly be some impetus for the Red Sox to at least approach Bogaerts with an extension considering his development.
The second-year starter has the second highest batting average in the American League (.325), while having evolved into a top defender at his position.
According to Boras, the breakout year shouldn’t have come as a surprise.
“From an evaluation standpoint, two years, three years ago, four years ago, when we first saw Xander play when he was just an entry-level player, we felt he was going to be a superstar,” the agent noted. “He had the ability. Then the question was getting the durability, the strength, and then getting the performance acumen that you can only learn at the major league level.
“This year, what the coaching staff has done, is Xander himself in the offseason, his core strength and leg strength hit him. His feet were under him. He was ready to take steps, particularly defensively and offensively and really being able to understand barrel control better, also understand the footwork that coaches were teaching him. When I saw him come to L.A. to play the Angels, I called Butter [Brian Butterfield] over and I said, ‘Look, you guys have done a remarkable job,’ because now his feet were in the right place. He was there on time. He was getting around baseballs and doing all the things, and his throws were relaxed, because he was in position to make the throws. And he was waiting on the slider. He was not early. His experience. All of the things that it takes to be an adept major leaguer, and so it was really thrilling to see. And remember, he’s 22 years old.”
|Closing Time: Red Sox youth has ups and downs in loss to Rays||09.22.15 at 9:54 pm ET|
Tuesday night showcased the young talent the Red Sox have to look forward to next season, but also served as a reminder they still have some work to do.
The Rays were able to pull out a 5-2 win over the Red Sox, courtesy of a throwing error by Mookie Betts in the sixth inning. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Sox.
With the Red Sox leading 2-1 and the bases loaded in the sixth against starter Henry Owens, Evan Longoria lifted a routine fly ball to right. Betts, making his second career Fenway Park start in right field, attempted to get the runner from third at home, but his throw airmailed everything and went into the crowd, which allowed the runner from second to also score, which proved to be the game-winning run.
Mikie Mahtook would hit a two-run home run off Owens in the eighth for two insurance runs, as the fourth time through the order proved one time too many with three of the four batters Owens faced picking up hits.
“His pitch count was down, that was the big reason. He didn’t very tough innings,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “I don’t think he threw more than 14 or 15 pitches in any of those early innings and I felt like he pitched well enough to go back out there. He deserved the opportunity to step out there, come back in and have a chance to win the game.
“If you dissect it, the one inning I don’t think we played very fundamental baseball. We made a mistake in right field with a throwing error and that put them ahead by a run and then he just got clipped for a two-run home run that broke the game open.”
Owens was rolling early on as he took a perfect game into the fifth inning before allowing a leadoff double, but struggled at times after that. Owens finished going 7 1/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits, while walking two and striking out five.
The 23-year-old left-hander has 20 swing and misses, a very high number.
“I’m not too sure. I was just trying to keep them off balance and they were late on a few fastballs, maybe sitting changeup — sitting fastball and missing a few changeups,” Owens said. “Threw a few good curveballs. It’s good to see swing and misses, but at the same time it’s good to get early contact.”
The Rays threatened in the seventh after the bases were loaded with no outs thanks to a Shaw error at first, but Owens was able to get out of it. Shaw forced out a runner at home on a grounder and then No. 9 hitter Luke Maile ripped one back up the middle, but Owens gloved it and went home to get the force and catcher Blake Swihart fired to first for the double play to end the threat.
|Closing Time: Xander Bogaerts’ grand slam leads Red Sox past Rays||09.21.15 at 11:09 pm ET|
It ended with a player 17 years his junior capping the evening.
On a night Ortiz was recognized by the Red Sox for hitting his 500th career home run, 22-year-old Xander Bogaerts hit perhaps the most notable homer of his young career. The shortstop drove a Brandon Gomes pitch over the left field wall with two outs in the eighth inning for his first career grand slam.
The blast completed the Red Sox‘ comeback, giving them an 8-7 win over Tampa Bay Monday night at Fenway Park. It allowed the Sox to crawl out of last-place in the American League East for the first time since June 9.
“I mean I faced him a couple of times,” said Bogaerts of Gomes. “I know he likes his slider. He has a slider, a cutter. He threw me the first two. I was kind of aggressive. Then he threw me the 2-0 fastball and I really wasn’t ready for it. I fouled one off and then I hit a home run. But if he threw me a fastball right there, I probably wouldn’t have known what to do with it.”
It was the first go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning or later by a Red Sox hitter since Rico Brogna’s walk off against the Rays on Aug. 18, 2000.
Bogaerts had already made his presence felt earlier in the game, playing a key role in the three-run seventh inning that had initially gave the Sox a late-inning lead. In that frame, the shortstop not only played fellow 22-year-old with an RBI double, but scored the go-ahead score on Travis Shaw’s sacrifice fly.
The two-hit, five RBI game from Bogaerts put his season hit total at 182 hits. He is vying to become just the 22nd player in big league history to claim 200 hits while no older than 22. The last player to accomplish the feat was the Cubs’ Starlin Castro in 2011.
Helping keep the Red Sox in the game was starter Eduardo Rodriguez, who allowed three hits over six innings to put his ERA at 3.97 with one start left. The lefty has now pitched a combined 164 innings between the minors and majors, resulting in the plan to make just one more appearance due to a team-mandated innings limit.
Rodriguez settled down after not getting off to a very good start, allowing a homer to Tampa Bay’s Brandon Guyer on just the second pitch of the game.
The Rays did make a late run thanks to Grady Sizemore‘s two-run double in the eighth inning, highlighting a three-run eighth that gave the visitors a two-run lead heading into the home half of the frame.
The Red Sox are now five games under .500 for the first time since entering the All-Star break. They now carry a plus-58 run differential since July 26, totaling an MLB-best 305 runs during that span.
Just in case you want another look at that slam by Bogaerts. pic.twitter.com/L44gxChkcO
— Ian Browne (@IanMBrowne) September 22, 2015
|Red Sox lineup: Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts get night off, Jackie Bradley to play center||09.16.15 at 3:19 pm ET|
Fresh off Tuesday night’s marathon 13-inning loss to the Orioles, the Red Sox are giving a couple of regulars a day of rest.
Center fielder Mookie Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts will take a seat, with Jackie Bradley sliding over to center field. Rookie Deven Marrero will make the third start of his career at shortstop in place of Bogaerts.
Bogaerts has played in all but five games this season, while Betts has appeared in 128 of 144 games this year.
Here’s the rest of the lineup, in support of young left-hander Henry Owens:
|Torey Lovullo: Xander Bogaerts’ slide into home ‘the key play that broke open the game’||09.05.15 at 9:06 pm ET|
It was more than just the slide into home plate itself. It was everything that went into the decision to do it.
When Xander Bogaerts doubled to right field with the bases loaded in the fourth inning of the Red Sox‘ win over the Phillies on Saturday, he made a choice that didn’t come from his coaches.
He wasn’t being waved around by third base coach Brian Butterfield, who had his hands on his knees as the shortstop charged in towards home. Bogaerts paused for the briefest of moments by the plate, read the situation and acted accordingly.
Second baseman Cesar Hernandez had thrown the ball to catcher Carlos Ruiz to try and stop any more runs from scoring, but he made an error on the play and left Ruiz scrambling to grab hold of the ball.
“I saw Ruiz kind of looking for the ball like he didn’t know where it was and just kind of I knew I was going to go home,” Bogaerts said.
Bogaerts continued on his trip around the bases in an attempt to wipe them completely clean, diving headlong down the line. He said he knew if he had gone in feet first, there was only one way he could have maneuvered himself — headfirst gave him options though.
The 22-year-old put two hands out over the clay and swung his right arm so that it was out of the way of Ruiz’s tag, extending his left one to touch the plate. He swung his legs away from home as well and ended up rolling over onto his back, waving his arms to notify home plate umpire CB Bucknor that he was safe.
Bucknor mimicked the gesture a moment later to confirm what Bogaerts had thought. He made it all the way around.
The play scored four runs, adding onto the three that the Sox had already scored that inning. David Ortiz‘s 496th career home run capped off the eight-run frame that helped Boston ultimately win by a score of 9-2.
“We’ve done a number of heads-up things on the bases …” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “Xander turns, finds the ball and that’s what we talked about, make a decision on your own. You can’t rely on your base coach. You have to trust your instincts. He found the ball, did a great job. It was the key play that broke open the game. It was a heads-up play by Xander to make it more exciting.”
Lovullo added that Bogaerts is moving around the bases “as good this year as [he’s] seen him in the three years since [he’s] known him.”
|Closing Time: Eight-run fourth inning, complete game for Wade Miley power Red Sox past Phillies||at 6:46 pm ET|
David Ortiz moved within four homers of history, Xander Bogaerts delivered what might have been the slide of the season, and Wade Miley worked at his breakneck best pace to carry the Red Sox to a 9-2 victory over the Phillies on Saturday.
Ortiz blasted career homer No. 496 as part of an eight-run fourth, an inning Bogaerts had already highlighted with a picture-perfect slide to complete a Little League-style inside-the-park grand slam (technically a three-run double and an error), and Miley made it stand from there en route to the complete-game victory.
Five Red Sox hitters recorded at least two hits, led by leadoff man Mookie Betts, who went 3-for-4 with a walk. Ortiz, Blake Swihart, Josh Rutledge, and Jackie Bradley Jr. contributed two hits apiece.
Miley, meanwhile, took a perfect game into the fifth before allowing two runs. He improved to 11-10 with the first complete game of his career, allowing five hits, walking none, and striking out eight. He threw 110 pitches in a game completed in a tidy 2:24.
This game effectively ended in the fourth. Ortiz started things with a single and Travis Shaw flied out to center field before the next six batters reached. Swihart plated Ortiz with an RBI single, and Bradley added a two-run double. But the real fun came when Bogaerts inside-outed a fastball into the right field corner to clear the bases. When the relay to the plate got away, Bogaerts just kept running, contorting himself to slide around the tag of veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz.
The 22-year-old had wiped the bases clean, and after starter Alec Asher was pulled for reliever Jerome Williams, Ortiz followed suit, turning a 1-1 count into career home run No. 496 for the eighth Boston run of the inning.
Shaw flied out to left field for the final out of the frame and was the only member of the team to not record a hit.
The Red Sox will attempt to complete the sweep on Sunday, when left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez takes on righty Jerad Eickhoff in a battle of rookies.
|Closing Time: Red Sox offense catches fire late in win over Phillies||09.04.15 at 10:34 pm ET|
Although it took a little while longer than they would have liked, the Red Sox offense finally got to Phillies rookie starter Adam Morgan.
After only scoring one run over the first four innings, the Red Sox scored six runs following the fourth inning, including four in the seventh in their 7-5 win over the Phillies.
Trailing 2-1 going into the bottom of the fifth, the Sox scored twice. The first two men reached and Mookie Betts drove home Ryan Hanigan with an RBI double and then Brock Holt’s sacrifice fly brought home Jackie Bradley Jr.
The Sox then scored four times in the seventh inning, led by Bradley Jr.’s solo homer to dead center. David Ortiz just missed career home run No. 496 as it went for a double off the wall in center field, but it scored a run. Holt also contributed an RBI single in the inning.
Morgan allowed six runs over 6 1/3 innings to take the loss.
The Phillies scored twice in the fourth inning off Red Sox starter Joe Kelly — one run on an RBI groundout and the second on a Darin Ruf RBI single, which would be all they would get.
Although Kelly didn’t have his best stuff, the right-hander went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits, while walking three and striking out five. He’s now won seven straight starts.
The bullpen did its job as they had four relievers combine for two scoreless innings — Alexi Ogando, Tommy Layne, Noe Ramirez and Junichi Tazawa. But that strong effort went almost for not, as Jean Machi allowed a two-run homer and another run in the ninth in a non-save situation. Robbie Ross Jr. needed to come on to get the final out as the tying run was at the plate in Ryan Howard.
Bogaert continued his impressive season, as he finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBIs, which increases his team-leading multi-hit games to 46. Betts went 2-for-3 with a walk to extend his hit streak to 10 games.
|Closing Time: Henry Owens, Red Sox bullpen struggle in loss to Yankees||09.02.15 at 7:39 pm ET|
Facing a team currently in the postseason for the fourth time in six big league starts, Henry Owens was due for a stinker.
Owens breezed through the first inning — a 1-2-3 inning on 12 pitches, but then blew up in the second. He started out the inning by striking out Carlos Beltran, but then the next eight hitters reached, leading to his departure.
Greg Bird and John Ryan Murphy hit back-to-back home runs to put the Yankees on top 3-1 at the time and the Yankees would then add two hits, a walk and two singles, as following Alex Rodriguez‘s RBI single Owens’ day was over.
“I felt when I was mechanically sound I could command the fastball on both sides of the plate the first inning and a little bit of the second,” Owens said.” There were some counts I fell into where maybe not going to an off speed pitch to get my back on track mechanically I tried to stick with the fastball. Mental lapse on my part and I’ve learned from it.
Ryan Cook entered the game in relief and the first batter he faced — Beltran — greeted him with a two-run homer, giving the Yankees a 8-1 lead after two innings.
Owens finished the game going 1 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs on six hits, while walking two and striking out two. He threw 41 pitches in the second inning and recorded just two outs.
“It wasn’t his best day, we all know that,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “Started off very strong and then I think he got a little erratic with his fastball. He started to spray it around, fell behind in counts. It happened pretty quick where they jumped on it.”
The short start snapped a string of 30 games where Sox starters went at least five innings. It was the team’s longest stretch since Aug. 31, 2004.
Cook wasn’t much better as he allowed four runs in just 1 1/3 innings of work, including two home runs. His ERA on the year is now 21.13. Heath Hembree allowed a run over two innings of relief and then Craig Craig Breslow allowed a run over 2 1/3 innings. Alexi Ogando finished the game tossing a scoreless 1 1/3 innings.
The Red Sox offense was highlighted by Xander Bogaerts’ solo home run in the sixth inning, his fifth of the season. He finished the game 3-for-5 and since May 31, he leads the majors in hitting as he’s batting .346. He also leads the team with 45 multi-hit games this year.
Trailing 12-2 at one point, the Red Sox scored two runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to make it a more respectable outcome. It also forced the Yankees to call upon Dellin Betances to get out of a bases loaded jam in the eighth. The Sox added another run in the ninth before closer Andrew Miller shut the door.
For the Yankees, Stephen Drew was the star as he finished the game 3-for-4, a triple shy of the cycle.
Masahiro Tanaka started and went 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits, while walking a batter and striking out five to pick up his 11th win of the year.
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