Wade Miley was a picture of perfection early on against the Angels Sunday. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Wade Miley was a picture of perfection early on against the Angels Sunday. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Red Sox can only hope they copy the stunningly resurgent turnaround of Wade Miley.

The lefty has suddenly turned into the most reliable and consistent pitcher on staff. On Sunday, that encouraging trend continued when he allowed just four hits and one run over eight stellar innings in a 6-1 win over the Angels at a sun-splashed Fenway Park.

It was a perfect day for a game and Miley gave fans a perfect start to their Sunday afternoon, retiring the first 14 batters he faced before walking Chris Iannetta on five pitches in the fifth. That was followed up by a single from C.J. Cron, who had been called back to hit after a pitch was ruled to have struck his bat by the umpiring crew.

Miley (4-4) has won each of his last three starts and is 3-2 with a 2.60 ERA in May. Sunday, he took just 45 minutes to race through four perfect innings. He needed just 48 pitches to get through five innings. Where did Miley learn his fast pace?

“Probably college, my college coach was huge on that,” Miley said, referring to Southeastern Louisiana pitching coach Daniel Latham. “It’s kind of stuck with me.”

The Angels, who had never faced him before, were aiding the cause of Miley and catcher Sandy Leon by swinging early and often.

“They’re a pretty aggressive team and we kind of used that to our advantage and it worked out,” Miley said. “That’s the biggest thing, being able to throw the fastball. And what Sandy did, it felt like every time he put down a finger, it’s what I wanted to do. We were on the same page from the first inning on.”

“It comes down to fastball command. Even he when he’s gotten a couple of guys on base, he hasn’t overthrown as we saw maybe back in April,” skipper John Farrell added. “He’s turned things around personally this month. That’s pretty clear. He’s back to a quick pace but a comfortable one for him, and he’s commanding his pitches.”

As the game progressed, and Miley was working to protect a 3-1 lead, he got some Gold Glove defense from Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt in the seventh. Pedroia robbed David Freese on a spinorama move up the middle while Holt robbed Iannetta on the next pitch. It was Holt who also took a vicious grounder off the left forearm in the eighth.

“It was good. The defense was unbelievable. Some of those plays that Brock and Pedey made were pretty incredible. I was able to throw strikes, move the ball back and forth and just got some outs,” Miley said. “I didn’t there was any chance Pedroia was getting to that ball up the middle and he makes the acrobatic play. Next play, Brock lays out and makes a play. It’s good to know those guys are back there. Obviously, I knew coming over here they were unbelievable in defense.”

Miley didn’t get the complete game but could savor the all-around effort the Red Sox showed in all phases, including another monstrous homer from Mike Napoli.

“It was a good game, fun game to be a part of and Nap’s seeing the ball right now,” Miley said. “It’s fun to watch him up there hitting. We’re moving guys [on bases] and getting guys in. It’s definitely fun.”

As for overcoming his 1-4 start, Miley said he’s not worried about what he can’t change.

“It is what it is. The beginning of the season is over and behind me,” Miley said. “You just have to look to the future. You can’t do nothing about the past, correct some things and move on. I think we’re always ready [for a roll]. Anytime you get on a roll is good. I think everybody looks forward to that. Definitely, we’re playing a lot better right now.”

“It was well executed in every phase,” Farrell added. “We played outstanding infield defense. Wade Miley, in combination with good defense, he works so quick. He was efficient. He threw 48 pitches through first five innings.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Mike Napoli hit five home runs in six games this past homestand. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Mike Napoli hit five home runs in six games this past homestand. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

By now everyone knows about Mike Napoli’s monster homestand — batting .429 (9-for-21), with six runs scored, five home runs and 10 RBIs — but what many might not know is the story behind the bat he used.

Prior to Thursday’s game with the Rangers, the Red Sox first baseman had a fan who was on the field sign his bat — the same bat he used to go on a tear over the weekend.

“Sometimes there are kids in the dugout and I go up and have them sign my bat,” Napoli said. “It was kind of crazy, the first home run I hit the other day was where he actually signed it. It was pretty cool. I appreciate where he signed it.”

“It’s pretty cool,” he added. “Everyone is always asking for my autograph so I think it’s pretty cool to go up to a kid and say, ‘Hey, give me your autograph.’ They love that and they write their name on the bat in squiggle.”

After homering on Tuesday against the Rangers, Napoli really picked it up over the weekend against the Angels — the team that drafted him in 2000. He went 5-for-9 over the three games with four home runs and eight RBIs. With hitting a home run in three consecutive home games he became the first player to do so since David Ortiz did in June of 2012 and no one had done it in three straight days at home since Jason Bay in 2009.

The first baseman owns the Angels, as prior to Sunday’s game Napoli had the all-time best slugging percentage (.716) and OPS (1.163) against them.

“I think there’s always a personal incentive when you go up against your original organization regardless of how things play out over time,” manager John Farrell said. “That’s pretty common for most players.”

What was even more impressive was Napoli’s hot streak came out of no where.

Prior to Tuesday’s game with the Rangers, Napoli was hitting just .162/.269/.282 on the season. After the six-game homestand, Napoli is now hitting .203/.304/.420 — a pretty incredible feat to raise his slugging percentage .138 points in just six games. His .203 average is also the first time he’s been over .200 all season.

“I’ve been there before and I’ve been in slumps in my career,” Napoli said. “I know I am just swing, one at-bat away from feeling good. I kept grinding. I wasn’t going to give up. I knew I was struggling, but I kept at it and worked with Chili. Got some good info from [Dustin Pedroia] and things have been going good since then.”

The team now travels to Minnesota for three games before going to Texas for three more. While Napoli admits he’d rather keep playing at home, he’s just hoping the team can continue the good baseball they played over the weekend.

“I hate leaving here. I love hitting in this park,” Napoli said. “It’s going to be nice to get on the road. We’re going to try and keep it going. Have a good road trip, get back here and keep it going.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Joe Castiglione talked to the Sox lefty, who allowed one run in eight innings as the Sox beat the Angels at Fenway.

[0:00:44] ... we noted there with a double play included this. Twelve outs on ground ball so that's pretty much your game and yes lieutenant you on the ground you know there's always good I can't. To keep in the ballpark you know and apparently it's got to stay until that's close to do. And they keep my child to one performer right sort of sets the tone for the day doesn't mean you can do that that's true like Griffiths and did a great job back there and actually. Question today changeup to third at trial when now. General Thomas if you're probably shouldn't have this good again you've fallen enough left an overflow Lyndon Johnson. We're daughters really fell off. He did do it they were and what a series of Mike Napoli can you believe half four home runs eight RBIs in there whenever it's goma itself. And he looked like he gets it ...
[0:02:02] ... himself to go out there and and when he did this the series as it is a little. Ray congratulations lot of fun to watch you pitch and people love to for hours and thirty cent ...




Joe Castiglione talked to the Sox lefty, who allowed one run in eight innings as the Sox beat the Angels at Fenway.

[0:00:44] ... we noticed there with a double play included this. Twelve outs on ground ball so that's pretty much your game and yes lieutenant you on the ground you know there's always good I can't. To keep in the ballpark you know and apparently it's gonna stay until that's close to do. And they keep my chapter one performer wrecked sort of sets the tone for the day doesn't mean you can do that that's true like players that sandy did a great job back there and actually. Question today changeup to third a trial when now. Similar to how much if you're probably shouldn't have this good again you've fallen off the left an overflow Lyndon Johnson. We're better is merely fell off. He did do it they were and what a series of Mike Napoli conceivably have four home runs and eight RBIs in there whenever it's goma itself. And he looked like he gets it pitches ...
[0:02:02] ... himself to go out there and and when he did this the series as it is a little. Ray congratulations lot of fun to watch you pitch and people love to for hours and thirty cent ...




Dare we say the Red Sox have turned a corner?

Following an unimpressive start to the homestand, dropping three of the first four games with barely any life, the Red Sox won the last two games of the series against the Angels, capping it off with a 6-1 win Sunday.

Mike Napoli hit his fifth home run of the homestand in the Red Sox win. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Mike Napoli hit his fifth home run of the homestand in the Red Sox win. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Dare we say the Red Sox have turned a corner?

Following an unimpressive start to the homestand, dropping three of the first four games with barely any life, the Red Sox won the last two games of the series against the Angels, capping it off with a 6-1 win Sunday.

Wade Miley gave the Red Sox their second exceptional start in as many games, as the left-hander went eight innings, allowing one run on four hits, while walking one and striking out two.

He didn’t allow a baserunner until two outs in the fifth when he walked Chris Iannetta and then the next batter, C.J. Cron singled to left following a review of whether a pitch was a hit by pitch or foul ball that hit the knob of the bat.

Miley ended his outing in style, getting a double play to end the eighth inning, with Mike Trout standing on deck.

Mike Napoli continued his monster homestand as the first baseman crushed a two-run home run in the second inning to dead centerfield. It traveled 451 feet. Napoli finished the homestand 9-for-21 with five homers and 7 RBIs, and for his career has owned the Angels as coming in to the game he had the best all-time slugging percentage (.716) and OPS (1.163).

The Red Sox added another run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Dustin Pedroia, bringing in Brock Holt, who hit a ground rule double to open the inning. Sandy Leon had a perfect sacrifice bunt getting him to third.

They added three more insurance runs in the eighth when Napoli ripped a two-RBI double off the Green Monster and the next batter, pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval delivered an RBI single.

Koji Uehara pitched a 1-2-3 ninth in a non-save situation.

As a team the Red Sox have now hit home runs in 18 of their 22 home games, which ties the Astros for most in the American League.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Miley. The left-hander was exceptional, as he gave the Red Sox their second straight outstanding start. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

Here’s what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— Napoli has found his swung following a tough start to the season, as he hit his fifth home run of the homestand. He entered play Tuesday with three through the first 33 games of the season.

— Bogaerts extended his hit streak to seven games with an outstanding game going 4-for-4 and is hitting .444 (11-for-25) during the streak — his longest of the season.

— Pedroia went 1-for-2 to extend his own hit streak to four games. Once again he hit out of the leadoff spot, as the Red Sox continue to look for a spark offensively. He reached base twice, as besides a first inning single in the third, he walked in the seventh. The second baseman also added the sac fly in the fifth.

— The Red Sox made two great defensive plays in the seventh inning. First, Pedroia made a great play up the middle diving for a ball and getting Kole Calhoun at first and then Holt robbed the next batter, David Freese of a hit with a diving play at third base.

WHAT WENT WRONG

David Ortiz continues to struggle against lefties as he finished 0-for-4 overall, and 0-for-3 against starter Hector Gonzalez. For the season he is now down to .109 against lefties. He’s also in the midst of a 0-for-12 slump.

— Mookie Betts went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, ending a five-game hit streak.

— Holt was pinch-hit for by Sandoval in the eighth as he took a liner off the arm and shoulder in the top half of the inning.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Mike Napoli went deep twice in the Red Sox' win Saturday over the Angels. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Mike Napoli went deep twice in the Red Sox‘ win Saturday over the Angels. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Sometimes bad luck can lead to good things.

In the case of the Red Sox, Shane Victorino leaving Saturday’s game against the Angels (and subsequently landing on the disabled list) opened a new opportunity for John Farrell and Mookie Betts. Specificially, it allowed Farrell to see what Betts looks like hitting behind Dustin Pedroia and it gave Betts a chance to hit between Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez in the order. Sunday marked just the second time this season Betts has batted in the No. 2 hole.

Betts went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs in Saturday’s 8-3 win.

“I think it’s one of those things where hey, it worked, I’m not going to change it [with] as much change as we’ve been going through,” Farrell said. “Mookie put three swings on balls [Saturday] night as we’ve seen in a number of other games. He was given a little bit of heads up before the game started, be on-call here because you don’t know how far or how deep in the game he might be needed. It was unfortunately quick in this case. He put up three quality at-bats in the meantime. Credit to him.”

Then there’s the scorching hot Mike Napoli. He obliterated another pitch Sunday afternoon, launching a pitch from lefty Hector Santiago five rows deep to the bleachers in straightaway center for his fourth homer in three games and fifth homer on the six-game homestand. Saturday, he crushed a pair of homers of nemesis C.J. Wilson, including a two-run bomb to left that cleared the Monster and traveled an estimated 450 feet.

“It’s more timing,” Farrell said of Napoli‘s resurgence. “It’s not so much trying to take an approach to one side of the diamond because when the timing is accurate, they’re seeing pitches more clearly and they’re able to react to where pitches are on the plate. You see [Saturday] where in a 3-2 count, Nap gets a fastball on the inside part of the plate that he turns on. When they’re in a good hitting position, there’s a great ability to react to where balls are located in the zone.

“I can’t say there’s a different effort level in the swing. He’s a guy that’s going to impact the baseball and drive the baseball. That’s his calling card as a hitter his whole major league career. So in those [hitter’s] advantage counts, now that his timing is more consistent and more what he’s been accustomed to. He’s just in a better position to drive the baseball. Sometimes, whether it’s a pitcher or hitter, body mechanics can get disrupted by thoughts. More than anything, he’s hitting with a clear mind right now.”

With Victorino going on the disabled list Sunday, the Red Sox brought up infielder Jeff Bianchi from Triple-A Pawtucket. Farrell said there was no consideration to bring up Jackie Bradley Jr. since the organization felt he needed more regular playing time.

“At this point, he needed to get some regular at-bats,” Farrell said of Bradley, who was expected to travel to Louisville and be ready to play Sunday evening against the Bats, the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate.

Farrell also said righty Justin Masterson continues to make good progress after being disabled with right shoulder fatigue/tendinitis on May 14.

“He threw a bullpen [Friday],” Farrell said. “A pretty intense bullpen. He’ll have at least one more and we’ll probably get a total of three bullpens before we send him out on a rehab assignment but he’s making strong progress in terms of the intensity of the throws, the volume of throws. We don’t have a targeted date for his first rehab assignment but that’s coming in the near future.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Reliever Anthony Varvaro is back with the Red Sox.

Anthony Varvaro

Anthony Varvaro

Reliever Anthony Varvaro is back with the Red Sox.

After being designated for assignment by the team on April 29, and then claimed by the Cubs, it was found out the right-hander has a right flexor strain. The severity of the injury was unknown to the Red Sox at the time of the assignment, so both clubs agreed it would be appropriate to return Varvaro to the Red Sox for placement on the disabled list in accordance with major league rules.

Varvaro has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, but it looks like he will likely be transferred to the 60-day DL, as a report from SILive.com has him quoted saying he will have surgery and will be unable to pitch again this season.

“The tendon is partially torn off the bone, but the elbow is stable otherwise,” Varvaro said. “I’ll begin my rehab here on [Staten] Island and then go to the team’s camp in Florida.”

Varvaro made nine relief appearances for the Red Sox this season.The right-hander was 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA, allowing 14 hits and recording eight strikeouts against six walks.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

On Sunday the Red Sox placed rightfielder Shane Victorino (left calf) on the 15-day disabled list and selected infielder Jeff Bianchi from Triple-A Pawtucket.