|Closing Time: David Price falters, Red Sox bats go silent in loss to Yankees||07.17.16 at 11:39 pm ET|
NEW YORK — If David Price is planning to embark on a dominant second-half run, as he suggested to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford recently, it didn’t start Sunday night.
Once again tasked with protecting a slim lead, Price once again faltered against the Yankees. He allowed three runs in the fourth and generally struggling to put away one of the more pedestrian offenses in the American League in a 3-1 loss that snapped Boston’s six-game winning streak.
“The finishing pitch might not have been there as it was the last few times out for him but still, despite the combination of hits in that one inning, he kept the game very much under control,” manager John Farrell said. “He might not have been as sharp or as powerful as recent times out, but they string together 11 hits, got to go to the bullpen to shut things down and we did.”
Price needed to be perfect to outduel Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka. After Dustin Pedroia gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the first, Price struggled right from the start, allowing a line drive to left by leadoff Brett Gardner that Brock Holt snared with a diving catch.
The Yankees peppered Price for 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings, including two each from Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran atop the order.
That said, the Red Sox carried a 1-0 lead into the fourth before Price faltered. Didi Gregorius started things with a one-out single and scored on Starlin Castro’s double to left. Price had a chance to keep the game tied, but after striking out Rob Refsnyder, he allowed RBI singles to Austin Romine and Ellsbury.
Price was lifted with two outs in the sixth after allowing singles to Gardner and Ellsbury, leaving the mound after a disappointing performance that left his ERA at 4.36 and at least temporarily dashed hopes that he’d start the second half the same way he finished the first, with eight strong innings against the Rays.
|Closing Time: Eduardo Rodriguez, Sandy Leon lift surging Red Sox past reeling Yankees||07.16.16 at 7:07 pm ET|
NEW YORK — Eduardo Rodriguez was lost for the entire first half of the season. Might he finally be found?
He certainly looked that way on Saturday in a 5-2 victory over the Yankees, pitching seven effective innings and riding a three-run homer from Sandy Leon to a win his best start of the season.
His timing couldn’t have been any better, because he delivered seven innings of one-run ball with his future in the rotation on the line.
“It’s good because they gave me the chance to get back here and do what I do,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve got to say thanks to them to believe in myself.”
The Red Sox ran their winning streak to a season-high six games, while the Yankees dropped their second straight to open the second half, falling two games below .500 this late in the season for the first time since 1995.
This one was about the Red Sox battery. Rodriguez had struggled since injuring his knee in spring training, taking an 8.59 ERA out to the mound in his first start since June 27. His previous start might’ve been his worst, and featured a very public tongue-lashing from second baseman Dustin Pedroia on the mound in Tampa.
Rodriguez was supposed to spend a considerable chunk of time in Triple-A figuring out what plagued his delivery, but he rejoined the Red Sox after just one and a half rehab starts.
He delivered, in part by exhuming the slider he had abandoned for most of the season. He allowed four hits and one run, striking out one and walking two. He also featured a modified delivery out of the stretch with his hands starting higher in an effort not to tip pitches. It seemed to work.
“It was good, because now I’m not thinking about the tipping stuff,” Rodriguez said. “I just throw the ball right where I wanted.”
His only mistake came in the third on a solo homer to Brett Gardner. Otherwise, he controlled the game, inducing grounders and weak fly balls while outdueling former Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia.
|John Farrell will not get credit for managerial moves that helped beat Yankees on Friday||at 12:50 am ET|
NEW YORK — We crush John Farrell when he gets something wrong, and conveniently ignore the decisions he gets right. Take Friday’s 5-3 victory over the Yankees.
With Steven Wright showing signs of fatigue after a three-run sixth, Farrell summoned Brad Ziegler for the seventh. Ziegler needed only seven pitches to escape the frame, leading to an obvious question — why not just send him back out for the eighth?
Farrell had no such plans, however. He instead called upon Robbie Ross and opened himself to a second-guess when switch-hitter Chase Headley led off with a single. There was nothing to fear, as it turned out, because Ross set down Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, and then handed the ball to closer Koji Uehara for a 1-2-3 ninth.
“Given the performance of guys over a long period of time, where they’re best suited, it felt like that was the best combination we had available,” Farrell said.
So why did the moves make sense? A couple of reasons.
For one, the 36-year-old Ziegler spent the first half closing in one-inning stints for the Diamondbacks. He had pitched multiple innings just four times in 37 previous appearances, and those outings take a toll.
“It doesn’t affect me a whole lot in that instance, I can do it, but tomorrow I would feel more sore,” Ziegler said. “I haven’t done it a lot while closing. I’ve done it a couple of times, but I know that’s probably going to come up more here with the role that I’m in, so I’ll do what I can to prepare myself for it.”
Ziegler has also performed better against right-handed batters (.644 OPS) than lefties (.777 OPS) not just this year, but over the course of his career (.556 vs. .763). So giving him right-handers Alex Rodriguez and Starlin Castro made sense. The numbers even supported the matchup with lefty Didi Gregorius, who exhibits reverse splits — he’s hitting nearly 90 points higher (.360) vs. lefties this season.
In the eighth, the numbers were even more pronounced. Ross has dominated lefties (.162 average, .462 OPS, 1 extra-base hit). The eighth featured two lefties (Gardner, Ellsbury) and what turned out to be two switch hitters (Headley, Beltran).
Headley is a better hitter from the left side, so turning him around to bat righty (.646 OPS) favored Ross. Beltran represented the one trouble spot, since he has hammered lefties (.330-1.017), but Farrell trusted Ross, who delivered. The alternative was to call a righty like Matt Barnes, but Beltran is slugging over .500 against them, too.
In any event, Farrell played the matchups perfectly on Friday. Feels like something worth noting, given the scrutiny his moves often face.
|Closing Time: Red Sox open 2nd half on Wright foot with victory over Yankees||07.15.16 at 10:14 pm ET|
NEW YORK — Steven Wright is determined to prove he’s no flash in the pan.
The Red Sox knuckleballer took a no-hitter into the fifth and a shutout into the sixth to lead the Red Sox to a 5-3 victory over the Yankees in the first game of the second half.
Wright dazzled the Yankees until running into trouble in the sixth, but by that point the Sox had opened a 5-0 lead on homers by catcher Ryan Hanigan, third baseman Travis Shaw, and shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
“What’s so important to that, you come off of a stretch of days where you’ve been inactive, and the ability to keep a game under control, put up zeroes until we can get an opportunity to score some runs, that’s invaluable,” said manager John Farrell.
The game pitted two teams headed in opposite directions. The Red Sox just acquired left-hander Drew Pomeranz from the Padres in a major deal that bolsters their rotation for the second half. The Yankees, meanwhile, are reportedly holding internal deliberations over whether they should be buyers or sellers come the Aug. 1 trade deadline.
They dropped to 44-45, the first time they’ve been below .500 in the second half since 1995.
The Red Sox looked like the better team on Friday night. Fresh off not pitching in the All-Star Game, Wright set down the first 14 Yankees he faced before Alex Rodriguez beat out a chopper toward third that died on the infield grass with Wright unable to make the barehanded play.
“I felt really good going out there,” Wright said. “I worked a lot with [Tim] Wake[field] before the break on trying to simplify and get my timing back and my rhythm and I felt like today we were able to do that. Hanigan helped me out a lot to make sure I stayed in that rhythm.”
|Red Sox lineup vs. Yankees, plus a candid assessment of left-hander Henry Owens from manager John Farrell||05.06.16 at 6:21 pm ET|
The Red Sox visit the Yankees on Friday to open a three-game series with their reeling rivals. The weather, which the forecast projected could cancel the game, appears to have held off and we’re expected to get this one in.
The first place Red Sox will run their regular lineup out there, with Christian Vazquez catching Rick Porcello as the latter attempts to improve to 6-0.
Before the game, manager John Farrell discussed the demotion of left-hander Henry Owens and the summoning of right-hander Sean O’Sullivan to replace him.
Owens, who walked six in just three innings against the White Sox on Thursday, will head to Pawtucket with a mandate to improve his command and control. He walked 13 in 12 1/3 innings with the Red Sox.
“Henry needs to go back and look to command his fastball with more consistency,” said manager John Farrell. “He’s got an outstanding changeup to get back into some counts and get him away from some damage. The strike-throwing is the priority here.”
Owens has struggled to crack 90 mph with his fastball, but Farrell ruled out the possibility of injury.
“There’s no health issues at play here,” he said. “I think when a pitchers delivery is not in sync, yeah, he’s not maybe getting the most power out of it. And then with the strike throwing, there becomes a confidence factor where I don’t want to say he was tentative or there was a lack of aggressiveness, but I think when you’re feeling for pitches, to try to get the ball in the strike zone a little more, there might be that tentativeness that takes over.”
Farrell was asked if it’s fair to say Owens hasn’t done enough with his opportunity.
“Based on what he showed at this level last year, yes,” Farrell said.
The Red Sox replaced him with O’Sullivan, a journeyman who has discovered the ability to put hitters away in the minors. The 28-year-old owns a 32-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in Triple-A, where he’s 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA. Farrell said he’s a candidate to start on Tuesday, but for now represents bullpen insurance.
O’Sullivan nearly didn’t get the news of his arrival.
“I’m super excited to be here, to be able to put the jersey on for real, instead of just spring training,” O’Sullivan. “It was 1 in the morning and I missed the first 12 phone calls they made to me. We finally got my daughter to sleep, so we were stone-cold out, and I just happened to hear my phone vibrating on the ground for the 13th time, and rolled over and said, ‘Whoa, I’d better pick it up, because my manager has been trying to call me for 20 minutes.'”
Here’s the lineup:
RF Mookie Betts
2B Dustin Pedroia
SS Xander Bogaerts
DH David Ortiz
1B Hanley Ramirez
3B Travis Shaw
LF Brock Holt
CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
C Christian Vazquez
|Sunday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: David Price vs. Nathan Eovaldi||05.01.16 at 7:55 am ET|
Red Sox ace David Price will get his first taste of the team’s rivalry with the Yankees on Sunday night when he faces off against righty Nathan Eovaldi in the series finale.
Price has had an up-and-down start to the season, but despite some shaky outings he has not suffered a loss. His record sits at 3-0 with a 5.76 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. In his last outing on Tuesday against the Braves he looked sharp, going eight innings and allowing two runs on six hits. He walked two and tied his career high in strikeouts with 14.
“I don’t care about strikeouts,” Price said after the game. “I just want to go out there and pitch as deep as I can into games. … I just executed whenever I was ahead.”
In 31 appearances (30 starts) against the Yankees, Price is 13-7 with a 4.04 ERA and 1.299 WHIP. He has walked 62 and struck out 173 in 191 2/3 innings.
Eovaldi is 1-2 through four starts with a 4.38 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. In his last outing on Monday against the Rangers, however, he was dominant. He went seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits, and even took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning. The 26-year-old Texas native walked two and struck out six as the Yankees went on to win 3-1.
“In the fifth inning. I realized I had [a no-hitter] going on. Once it’s over with, it’s over with,” Eovaldi said following the outing. “And I just want to try to go as deep in the game as I can. … When it was hit, I thought it was an out. But with the shift, the ball made it through.”
Added Mark Teixeira on Eovaldi’s performance: “We saw tonight what we saw toward the end of last year, and we’d love for that to continue. Uncomfortable swings. You can tell how good a guy is and how good his stuff is by the reaction of the hitters. They’re swinging at pitches in the dirt or they’re swinging at pitches over their heads because it’s just an uncomfortable at-bat.”
In three career starts against the Red Sox, Eovaldi is 2-0 with a 4.24 ERA and 1.412 WHIP. He has walked two and struck out seven in 17 innings.
|Saturday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Michael Pineda||04.30.16 at 8:00 am ET|
Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello will look to remain perfect on the season when he goes opposite righty Michael Pineda and the rival Yankees at Fenway Park on Saturday night.
Porcello has a sterling 4-0 record through four starts, with a 3.51 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. In his most recent outing Monday against the Braves, he only needed one run of support to get a win for his team. He threw 6 1/3 shutout innings, allowing just four hits. He walked two and struck out six as the Red Sox won the game 1-0. He looked dialed in and comfortable on the mound from the first pitch.
“It feels good that I’m not out there searching for something and trying to make an adjustment during a game,” Porcello said after the win.
In 11 career starts against the Yankees, Porcello is 5-4 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.248 WHIP. He has struck out 48 and walked 16 in 71 1/3 innings pitched.
Pineda is off to a rocky start in 2016, as his record sits at 1-2 through four starts to go with an ugly 6.95 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. His last time out on Sunday against the Rays was his worst start of the season. He allowed seven earned runs on 10 hits, four of which were home runs. He walked one and struck out nine as the Yankees went on to lose 8-1.
“There were some balls that were middle,” Yankees catcher Brian McCann said of Pineda after the game. “He made some pitches, and then he left some out over the plate.”
In seven starts against the Red Sox, Pineda is 4-3 with a 4.86 ERA and 1.081 WHIP. He has 38 strikeouts to go with just three walks in 37 innings of work.
|Friday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Henry Owens vs. Masahiro Tanaka||04.29.16 at 9:24 am ET|
The Red Sox will send young lefty Henry Owens to the hill on Friday as they open a three-game series against the Yankees. He will be opposed by Masahiro Tanaka.
Owens will look to rebound after struggling through his first start of the season with the Red Sox on Sunday against the Astros. After his call-up from the minors, he lasted just 3 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits. The biggest issue he ran into was issuing free passes, something that plagued him in his previous big league stint last year as well. He had four walks to go with four strikeouts and did not factor into the decision. The Red Sox would go onto win 7-5 in 12 innings.
In two career starts against the Yankees, Owens is 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA and 2.100 WHIP. He has struck out seven and walked three in 6 2/3 innings pitched. Coincidentally, both times Owens faced the Yankees, Tanaka was the opposing pitcher. Owens is looking forward to the third matchup.
“It should be fun,” he said. “It’s a rematch. It’s Tanaka again, so that should be good. Hopefully, I get a little redemption.”
Tanaka is off to a solid start in 2016, as he is 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA and 0.97 WHIP through four starts. In his last outing Sunday against the Rays, he went seven strong innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits and one walk with strikeouts. He did not factor into the decision, but the Yankees wound up victorious, 3-2.
One interesting note on the 27-year-old Tanaka is that after surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow last season, he has not thrown his four-seam fastball nearly as often. He feels it is still a part of his pitching arsenal moving forward, however.
“Obviously, my four-seam fastball will be used,” Tanaka said recently. “For me, I don’t look at it so differently. There’s not that much velocity difference from the four-seam and the two-seam. But I’m moving the ball with the two-seamer and getting better results, so that’s why I’m leaning toward that way.”
In seven starts against the Red Sox, Tanaka is 4-2 with a 5.13 ERA and 1.240 WHIP. He has walked nine and struck out 32 in 40 1/3 innings of work.
|Alex Rodriguez to retire after 2017 season||03.23.16 at 2:48 pm ET|
According to ESPNNewYork.com, Alex Rodriguez will retire after the 2017 season. The completion of that campaign will mark the end of his current contract, a 10-year, $275 million deal.
The controversial 40-year-old is coming off a solid season with the Yankees, totaling 33 home runs and an .842 OPS while serving as New York’s designated hitter.
In his 21-year major league career, Rodriguez has hit the fourth-most homers (687) in big league history. Rodriguez resides just 27 homers behind Babe Ruth, 68 in back of Hank Aaron, and trails the all-time HR champ, Barry Bonds, by 75.
For his career, Rodriguez boasts a .297 batting average, and .937 OPS. He has won three American League Most Valuable Player awards.
|Takeaways from Red Sox Grapefruit League game No. 14: David Price finding his groove, Hanley Ramirez passes another test||03.16.16 at 1:31 am ET|
FORT MYERS — Curt Schilling hated pitching to American League East rivals in spring training. Why give opposing hitters more looks than they need?
David Price, however, has spent virtually his entire career in the division. He’s a mystery to no one.
Might as well remind everyone what they’re in for.
Price certainly did that on Tuesday night in a 6-3 loss to the Yankees. He allowed one run on two hits in four innings. He walked none and struck out six, despite throwing mainly fastballs.
“I don’t really care who I’m facing whenever I’m out there,” Price said. “A lot of the time, I don’t even know who’s on deck. I don’t look at the hitters on deck next. Sometimes I might not be able to tell you who I’m facing while they’re in there. I don’t look at that stuff. If I can go out there and execute my game, I feel like I can record outs.”
Price had success against a Yankees lineup that included Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, as well as Aaron Hicks, who homered in the third. Price struck out A-Rod twice and Teixeira once. In addition to fastballs, he worked on a changeup and cutter.
“It’s part of the process, continuing to go out there, command my fastball the way that I did today,” Price said. “If I can do that, it just opens up everything that I want to do with all my secondary stuff. That’s always a big emphasis on me, just making sure I’m hitting spots with that fastball — two-seam, four-seam, both sides of the plate, moving it in, up, down. A fastball can turn into a lot of pitches for you — a fastball away looks slower than a fastball in to hitters. Using the knowledge that I have, pitching off my fastball.”
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