|Closing Time: Rolling Red Sox tee off on Yankees in 11th behind Mookie Betts, Travis Shaw, win sixth straight||09.30.15 at 11:21 pm ET|
The quest for .500 lives. If only there was more season to go along with it.
The winning run came off the bat of rookie Deven Marrero, who sliced a hit-and-run single up the middle to score Travis Shaw from third. Outfielder Mookie Betts later added his second homer of the game, and 18th of the season, to put it away.
The Red Sox improved to 78-80 with four games remaining. If they can win three more, they’ll finish 81-81, an impressive feat for a club that was 14 games under .500 as recently as Aug. 17.
For the second game in a row, a youngster gave the Red Sox an immediate lead. On Tuesday night, it was Blake Swihart mashing a three-run homer. On Wednesday, Shaw turned the trick, ripping a Masahiro Tanaka offering deep into the first section of right field bleachers for a three-run shot of his own.
That looked like it would be more than enough for Wade Miley until the fifth, when the left-hander allowed three runs that tied the game at 4-4, with Carlos Beltran‘s RBI double the big blow.
The game stayed knotted until the sixth, when Alex Rodriguez homered to left off of reliever Matt Barnes to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead. But Mookie Betts got the run right back in the top of the seventh with a two-out solo homer of his own, an impressive blast to left against a 96 mph fastball from indomitable Yankees reliever Delin Betances.
Offensive standouts for the Red Sox included DH David Ortiz, who went 2-for-2 with a double, run, and RBI before being lifted for a pinch runner in the sixth, as well as Swihart and Shaw, who recorded two hits apiece.
But the biggest bat once again belonged to Betts, who has smacked three homers in his last two games and four in his last five. He became the youngest player in Red Sox history (22) to hit two homers in a game at Yankee Stadium. With two more homers, he could become the 16th player in history to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases in a season before age 23 (5 players — Mike Trout, Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones, Cesar Cedeno, and Vada Pinson — did it twice).
As for Miley, his final start of 2015 pretty much summed up his season. Staked to leads of 3-0 and 4-1, he couldn’t make them stand and left after five innings. He allowed nine hits and four runs, striking out three and walking four, including three in New York’s three-run fifth.
|Closing Time: David Ortiz hits career home run No. 495, Mookie Betts also goes deep to lift Red Sox past Yankees||08.31.15 at 10:55 pm ET|
With the season over from a standings perspective, the Red Sox are left with three reasons to play out the schedule ‘ seeing how young players develop, determining who should be here in 2016, and watching David Ortiz‘s chase for 500 home runs.
Monday night’s 4-3 victory over the Yankees hit on all three categories.
Youngsters Mookie Betts (2-run homer), Jackie Bradley (3 hits, runner thrown out at plate), and even starter Eduardo Rodriguez (5-plus 2-run innings despite subpar command) gave the Red Sox something to feel good about for the present and future. Beleaguered reliever Junichi Tazawa started a beautiful 1-6-3 double play to end the eighth. And Ortiz blasted career homer No. 495.
Add it all together, and not a bad night for a team going nowhere.
Let’s actually start with Ortiz. Forget about 500. At this rate, three years from now we’re going to be talking about homer No. 600.
Continuing a second-half surge that has restored his place among the most feared sluggers in the game, Ortiz’s solo homer to left proved the winner and left him just five long balls shy of becoming the 27th player in history to reach 500. His 29th homer of 2015 also left him one shy of his ninth 30-homer season, which would break a tie with Ted Williams for most in Red Sox history.
“It’s exciting for every once of us,” said interim manager Torey Lovullo. “He’s downplaying it in his typical David humble way to not make a distraction. He doesn’t want to make it about himself. He wants to make it about the team and how we’re playing right now, but it’s exciting for all of us to walk in every day. It’s bigger than a lot of things that are happening right now, and it’ll be fun if he gets that 500th.”
Ortiz’s homer made a winner of Rodriguez, who was lifted after allowing a leadoff single in the sixth. He allowed seven hits and three walks in his five innings, but he continually managed to avoid massive innings.
It helps that he erased one run at the plate on a comebacker, and that Bradley cut down another with yet another tremendous throw, this time from left field on a would-be sacrifice fly to erase Greg Bird at home.
|Dustin Pedroia continues to provide spark in Red Sox lineup||08.04.14 at 8:09 am ET|
Even after putting together a strong performance at the plate Sunday night against the Yankees, Dustin Pedroia — always looking at the big picture — was more focused on the pitch he wasn’t able to capitalize on.
Down by one run with two outs in the ninth, Pedroia stepped up to the dish to face off against Yankee closer David Robertson. After a lengthy battle, Pedroia drove the eighth pitch of the at-bat deep into left field, only for it to hook left of the foul pole before clearing the Green Monster.
“It started out fair and then it kind of hooked foul, it’s just one of those things, and it was kind of up and in, so I hooked it a little bit,” Pedroia said.
Pedroia grounded out on the next pitch to seal the 8-7 Yankees win, giving New York its third series win of the year against Boston.
Despite his frustrating final at-bat, Pedroia compiled another great batting line against New York, finishing the night 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs. It was the fifth multi-hit game in a row for the Red Sox second baseman, tying a career-high mark that Pedroia has already reached seven times in his career.
“I think over the last seven, eight days, you’re seeing much better bat speed, he misses another one there in the ninth inning, just foul,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Just better bat speed and more freedom in the swing.”
“I feel good. I’ve got to build on it and continue to work and try to get better,” Pedroia said.
While the Red Sox‘ chances of continuing their season in October are essentially null at this point, Pedroia has done his part to keep his team in games over the last two weeks, energizing a lineup that has underwhelmed for most of the 2014 campaign.
|Closing Time: Clay Buchholz fails to deliver once again as Yankees take 2 of 3 at Fenway||08.03.14 at 11:51 pm ET|
It was an ideal scenario for Clay Buchholz.
Taking the hill Sunday against the Yankees for the first time as the new de-facto leader of a gutted Red Sox rotation, Buchholz was given seven runs of support from a normally listless Red Sox lineup.
And yet — as its been for most of the 2014 season — Buchholz found a way to hand a win to an opposing team, surrendering seven runs on eight hits while walking five in five innings en route to an 8-7 Yankees victory at Fenway Park.
Buchholz labored throughout his outing, repeatedly failing to hold leads. After Boston jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in the first inning, Buchholz responded by giving up three runs of his own in the second to knot the game at 3-3.
A similar scenario occurred in the top of the fifth inning. After the Red Sox tacked on an additional two runs in the bottom of the fourth to push the score to 7-4 in favor of Boston, Buchholz allowed three runs in the next frame to once again tie the score at seven runs apiece.
Buchholz has allowed 14 earned runs over his last 10 innings while his usual strong command has withered — walking 13 batters over his last three outings.
“I think there’s maybe a little bit of a tendency to pitch a little bit too fine that’s caused him to fall behind in the count,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game. “Mechanically, he may be running away from his arm a little bit where it’s causing some pitches to be missed up to the arm side, but still, it’s the overall pitch mix and command to each.”
Buchholz spoiled an impressive showing from a Boston lineup that scored at least seven runs for the first time since the team doled out 14 runs against the Blue Jays on July 21.
“We swung the bats pretty good the last few days, so we’ve got to build on that, we’ve just got to find a way to score more than the other team,” Pedroia said.
While the score tied entering the top of the sixth inning, Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner crushed an offering from Craig Breslow into the seats behind the Red Sox bullpen, giving New York a one-run lead that it would not relinquish.
With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 49-62 on the season and have lost 10 of their last 12 games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
— Buchholz did little to instill confidence in those doubting his ability to take over as ace of the Red Sox rotation going forward, allowing seven earned runs for the second start in a row while walking five batters. After allowing just five runs over 22 1/3 innings from July 1-13, Buchholz has surrendered 23 runs over his last 22 innings of work.
The Red Sox will look to come away with a series win Sunday when they once again play host to the Yankees at Fenway Park. Boston will send Clay Buchholz to the mound against David Phelps in the final game of the three-game set.
Buchholz (5-7, 5.87 ERA) is the lone wolf remaining in a decimated Red Sox rotation that has seen four of its five season-opening starters shipped off over a span of five days.
“It is an opportunity for him to grow into being more of a leader. One of the greatest ways to do that is to go out and do your job first and foremost,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Clay has shown since the DL stint that he can do that. He also does provide a lot of experience — especially against teams in this division. He can lend first-hand experience to some of the younger guys. I think he’ll relish that role.”
Buchholz has done little to build off an impressive three-hit shutout against the Astros on July 13, posting an ERA of 7.94 (16 runs in 17 innings) and a .903 OPS over his last three starts.
Buchholz surrendered a season-high seven earned runs while walking four over five innings in his last start against the Blue Jays Monday en route to a disheartening 14-1 Red Sox loss.It was the fifth time this season that Buchholz has allowed at least five earned runs in a start. He only allowed more than three earned runs in a start once in 2013. In his five starts after coming off the disabled list June 25, Buchholz walked just one batter. However, Buchholz has walked eight batters over his last 11 innings.
“No, mechanics were fine,” Buchholz said after the game. “Just missed some pitches.”
Buchholz’s last appearance against New York was on April 10, when he allowed four runs (two earned) in six innings of work. In 13 career starts against the Yankees, Buchholz is 5-6 with a 5.12 ERA.
|Friday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Anthony Ranaudo vs. Chris Capuano||08.01.14 at 8:18 am ET|
Just a day removed from a memorable trade deadline that saw the Red Sox part ways with ace Jon Lester and four other players, Boston will look to get on back on track when it hosts the Yankees for a three-game set at Fenway Park.
Anthony Ranaudo will make his first major league start in the series opener Friday, facing off against former Boston reliever Chris Capuano.
Ranaudo will be looking to help bolster a depleted Boston rotation that lost four of its five season-opening starters over the past five days.
Taken by the Red Sox with the 39th pick of the 2010 draft after a stellar career at LSU, Ranaudo has overcome a series of setbacks and injuries on his way to posting one of the strongest seasons of his career in 2014.
Ranaudo has been on the top pitchers in the International League this season with Triple-A Pawtucket, leading the league in wins (12) while ranking second in ERA (2.41) and third in WHIP (1.15).
Ranaudo is in the midst of one of the strongest stretches of his career, as the 6-foot-7 righty has compiled an ERA of 1.94 since June, striking out 46 and walking 17.
|Sleeping with the enemy: Red Sox send Stephen Drew to Yankees for Kelly Johnson||07.31.14 at 3:55 pm ET|
According to multiple industry sources, the Red Sox have traded shortstop Stephen Drew to the Yankees in exchange for Kelly Johnson. The deal is most stunning for the participants — the Red Sox and Yankees hadn’t consummated a trade since 1997, when the team acquired Tony Armas Jr. in exchange for Mike Stanley — with Armas, a pitcher, getting dealt that offseason to the Montreal Expos as the second piece in a deal for Pedro Martinez.
Johnson, 32, is hitting .219/.304/.373 in 77 games this year while playing first, second, third and both outfield corners. He is playing on a one-year, $3 million deal.
Drew, playing on a prorated one-year, $14.1 million deal, is hitting .176/.255/.328 in 39 games, and has seen a considerable offensive upswing in his last 14 games, hitting .255/.386/.489.
The departure of Drew will clear the way for the Sox to have Xander Bogaerts play shortstop and to have Will Middlebrooks play third base.
|Sunday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: John Lackey vs. Chase Whitley||06.29.14 at 8:01 am ET|
Lackey (8-5, 3.45 ERA) will look to rebound from his last start against the Mariners Monday, as the usually consistent right-hander turned in his worst start in years.
Lackey lasted just 3 2/3 innings, surrendering seven hits and seven earned runs en route to a 12-3 Mariners blowout victory. He was solid through the first three innings of the contest, his lone blemish being a solo home run from Mariners first baseman Logan Morrison in the second inning.
However, the same could not be said in the fourth inning, as Lackey was roughed up for six runs before being pulled by Sox manager John Farrell.
“I felt pretty good in the first couple of innings,” Lackey said after the game. “Struggled obviously in the fourth inning, but wasn’t able to make a pitch to get out of there. Started going downhill and couldn’t stop it.”
The loss snapped Lackey’s career-best streak of 39 consecutive starts in which he has thrown at least five innings. The streak was the third longest in the AL, behind Detroit’s Justin Verlander (42 games) and Anaheim’s Jared Weaver (41 games).
Lackey was dominant in his last start against the Yankees on April 23, holding the Bronx Bombers to just one run over eight innings while striking out a season-high 11 batters. In 29 career starts against the Yankees, Lackey is 11-11 with a 4.82 ERA.
Whitley (3-1, 4.07 ERA) took the first loss of his major league career during his last start Monday against the Blue Jays, allowing 11 hits and eight earned runs in 3 2/3 innings.
“If they made adjustments, I have to make adjustments. That’s on me,” Whitley said after the game. “I couldn’t command the ball at all like I have in the past. I got away from the game plan, and couldn’t execute the pitches I wanted to throw. They’re a good hitting club.”
|After latest loss, David Ortiz not pleased with schedule, Red Sox performance||06.27.14 at 10:52 pm ET|
NEW YORK — David Ortiz wasn’t happy.
He wasn’t happy with the way the Red Sox played in their 6-0 loss to the Yankees. The designated hitter wasn’t happy with how his team got to the point of playing the first of three games in New York. And he isn’t happy with what the Sox are presenting offensively on a regular basis.
First, the performance, which included being shutout for 5 2/3 innings by a pitcher (Vidal Nuno) with an ERA of 5.88.
“No energy,” he said. When asked to elaborate, Ortiz responded. “It just seemed like we weren’t there. We just have to figure it out.’
Then came the issue with the Red Sox schedule.
Even though the team is coming off an off-day, Ortiz cited the Sox’ schedule as a road block toward finding success.
The Red Sox had played 20 straight days prior to Thursday’s day off. They will have also spent 21 days on the road in June, currently finding themselves in the middle of a 10-game road trip that included seven West Coast games (including a night contest in Seattle Wednesday night before arriving in New York early Thursday morning).
“The schedule we have is just unbelievable,” Ortiz said. “It’s pretty bad, man. It’s pretty bad. I’m not using that as an excuse, but we’re human and we go everywhere to play, right? In my 18-year career I’ve never seen that. The schedule is we had to play the last game on the West Coast in a night game and then have to travel. It’s pretty bad. You have to do something about that at some point. It doesn’t help.”
Ortiz was also asked if the front office needed to make a move in order to help fix an offense that has scored a major league-low 32 runs over the last 13 games.
“I don’t know, man,” he said. ‘Our GM [Ben Cherington] is somewhere right here, ask that question to him. I’m just a player.”
The weekend series in the Bronx will be the first meeting between the clubs since the Yankees took two out of three games on April 22-24. Boston holds a 2-5 record against New York this season.
Workman (1-0, 2.88 ERA) will be making his first start since June 15, as the right-hander served a six-game suspension for throwing behind Rays third baseman Evan Longoria in a May 30 game.
In his last start against the Indians on June 15, Workman put his team in a good position to win, holding Cleveland to two earned runs while striking out seven over six innings of work. Despite Workman’s solid performance, the Red Sox were defeated by a score of 3-2.
“He’s growing. He feels more comfortable throwing his curveball, and he throws it in bigger situations,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said after the game. “He can bounce it, he can throw it for a strike, move it around and change speeds on you. So it’s nice if you have more than one weapon to get guys out with.”
While Workman has been a pleasant surprise for the Red Sox out of the starting rotation, the team has not capitalized on his performances this season, posting a 2-3 record in his five starts. The average margin of victory in those games has just been 1.8 runs.
Workman last faced off against the Yankees on Sept. 13, 2013, in a brief relief appearance, getting one out in the seventh inning before being pulled from the game. In four career appearances (zero starts) against the Yankees, Workman is 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA.
Nuno (1-4, 5.88 ERA) has not had much luck recently, as the southpaw has yet to earn a win since May 7. Nuno, who started the season in the bullpen before bumped up to the rotation on April 20, has struggled as of late, posting a 6.86 ERA in four starts this month.
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