David Price

David Price

Red Sox ace David Price will look to bounce back on Tuesday night in Atlanta when he takes the mound opposite young righty Matt Wisler and the Braves.

While Price has not yet lost a game this season (his record sits at 2-0 through four starts), his ERA sits at a disappointing 7.06 and he has a 1.38 WHIP. This is due largely in part to his last outing on April 21 at home against the Rays. After the Red Sox offense gave him a five-run lead in the first inning, he lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs on eight hits. He walked two, struck out five and served up two home runs in the outing.

“That’s the best I’ve felt in my four starts here,” Price said after the game. “To me, that’s the most disappointing thing. To feel the way that I felt, [I just didn’t] get the results that I expect.”

In three career starts against the Braves, Price is 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA despite a 1.526 WHIP. Price last faced the Braves on Sept. 16 of last season and led the Blue Jays to a 9-1 win, pitching seven innings of one-run ball, allowing six hits and three walks while striking out nine.

Wisler is 0-1 with a 3.10 ERA and 0.93 WHIP through three starts and one relief appearance this season. In his last start on April 21 against the Dodgers, he lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run (none earned) on four hits. The 23-year-old walked two and struck out six, while the Braves offense could only muster one run of support. Wisler wound up with a no-decision despite an impressive performance, as he came close to outdueling 2014 Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw.

“He matched pitch-for-pitch one of the premier pitchers in our era, arguably, in Kershaw,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said postgame.

Wisler, who has never pitched in a game against the Red Sox, made his major league debut last June 19 and wound up pitching in 20 games (19 starts), going 8-8 with a 4.71 ERA and 1.459 WHIP.

A seventh-round draft pick of the Padres in 2011, Wisler was traded to Atlanta last April in the deal that sent current Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel to San Diego.

Matt Wisler

Matt Wisler

Red Sox vs. Wisler (RHP)

No Red Sox batters have faced Wisler.

Braves vs. Price (LHP)

Nick Markakis (55 plate appearances): .275 AVG/.309 OBP/.353 SLG, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts

Erick Aybar (32): .267/.290/.333, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

A.J. Pierzynski (22): .200/.238/.400, 1 double, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

Kelly Johnson (17): .176/.176/.353, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 5 strikeouts

Jeff Francouer and Drew Stubbs both are 3-for-6. Francouer has a double and two strikeouts, while Stubbs has a triple, one RBI and two strikeouts.

Freddie Freeman has one hit in six plate appearances, with one RBI and three strikeouts.

Tyler Flowers is 0-for-6 with four strikeouts.

Daniel Castro is 1-for-4.

Adonis Garcia is 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Blog Author: 
Travis Upham

David Ortiz once again expressed his frustration with Tom Brady's situation. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

David Ortiz once again expressed his frustration with Tom Brady’s situation. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

ATLANTA — Last May, David Ortiz was animated in his defense of Tom Brady when word came down the NFL had suspended the quarterback for four games.

“I think the decision was very poor,” said the Red Sox DH regarding NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s initial mandate that Tom Brady miss the first four games of the 2015 season. “You’€™re not just talking about any football player. You’€™re talking about probably the best player in the game, so what is the message you’€™re sending? I don’€™t think the message they’€™re sending is good. They want to send a strong message to who? The NFL players? How about the fans. What we think of it doesn’t matter?”

Then, Monday, it happened all over again.

Brady was once again tagged with a four-game suspension after the NFL won its appeal of Judge Berman’s ruling. And, like many New Englanders, Ortiz’s reaction was that of frustration … and exhaustion with the situation.

“It’s crazy,” he said after his team’s 1-0 win over the Braves. “It’s just surprising a year later talking about the same stuff.”

And then Ortiz dropped an apt description of what has unfolded.

“When you fight eggs with a rock, the eggs never win,” said Ortiz, referencing NFL’s stubbornness. “It’s crazy.”

For more on Brady’s situation, go to the “It Is What It Is Blog” by click here.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
Christian Vazquez (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Christian Vazquez (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

The praise has been heaped on Christian Vazquez since he was recalled to the major leagues earlier this month.

But there one bit of punctuation the catcher needed before feeling all the way back from Tommy John surgery — throwing a runner out trying to steal.

Monday night, during the Red Sox’ 1-0 win over the Braves, he got to check that last test off his list.

Atlanta’s Jace Peterson decided to be the second runner trying to steal on the Sox catcher this season, and first to not make it successfully. Vazquez gunned down Peterson, who was just 12-for-22 in steal attempts last season, with ease.

“You saw me excited, right? It was an exciting moment,” Vazquez said. “It was a long time until this moment.”

And now Vazquez feels he can make the ultimate proclamation.

“It’s 100 percent,” he said of his surgically-repaired right elbow. “The more I’m playing, I’m getting stronger and stronger. I feel good, man.”

And just for good measure, Vazquez also has seen some modest improvement offensively, claiming a double to raise his batting average to .200. That’s two straight games he has a hit after three straight contests of going a combined 0-for-10 with six strikeouts.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

ATLANTA — In case you weren’t paying attention, Rick Porcello has been pitching pretty well.

Rick Porcello improved to 4-0 after another solid outing, Monday night. (Dale Zanine/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello improved to 4-0 after another solid outing, Monday night. (Dale Zanine/USA Today Sports)

ATLANTA — In case you weren’t paying attention, Rick Porcello has been pitching pretty well.

The righty was one of the chief contributors in the Red Sox’ 1-0 win over the Braves, Monday night, going 6 1/3 innings without giving up a run. After striking out six and walking two, he now has 30 punch-outs and just five free passes to go along with an ERA of 3.51 and a record of 4-0.

Since he started teaming up with catcher Christian Vazquez, Porcello has a 2.75 ERA in three starts.

The win puts the Red Sox over .500 (10-9) since they were at 6-5 on April 17

The only run the Red Sox would need came off the bat of Sunday night’s hero, Jackie Bradley Jr., who took Atlanta starter Julio Teheran deep over the right field wall in the seventh inning for the outfielder’s first homer of the season.

Teherhan did his best to keep pace against a Red Sox lineup that was without both David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez, giving up the one run over seven innings, striking out eight, walking three and allowing six hits.

The only time the Red Sox were threatened came in the seventh, after Porcello was driven from the game by a Jeff Francoeur double and Freddie Freeman walk. Robbie Ross Jr. came on to get a ground ball to second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who could only get a force out at second.

Ross Jr. ended the Braves’ rally by striking out pinch-hitter Erick Aybar, who came into the game with just one hit in 22 at-bats against left-handed pitching.

Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel closed things out with one scoreless inning apiece.

Closing Time note

Rick Porcello reached base twice for the second time in his career, claiming a hit and a walk. The Sox pitcher did notch a base-hit in his first major league at-bat while with the Tigers, but entered Monday night with just a .174 batting average (4-for-23).

WHAT WENT RIGHT

– Christian Vazquez was able to show his arm off in the fifth, gunning down Jace Peterson. Peterson’s percentage of successful steals hasn’t been stellar, with the second baseman getting thrown out in 10 of his 22 attempts last season.

– The Red Sox were fortunate that the Braves catcher, old friend A.J. Pierzynski, didn’t have quite the impact of his counterpart. After dropping a foul pop, and allowing Xander Bogaerts his third steal of the year, the backstop mishandled a Porcello bunt, putting the pitcher at first with Vazquez at second and one out in the seventh. It was ruled a single for Porcello, who had reached earlier in the game on an error.

– While it should have come as no surprise, but part of the Red Sox’ ability to keep the Braves scoreless was continuing the hosts’ futility when it came to hitting home runs. Atlanta has just three homers on the season, eight fewer than the next team on the list, Pittsburgh.

WHAT WENT WRONG

– The Red Sox squandered a solid scoring opportunity in the fourth inning, getting runners to first and second with one out thanks to a Travis Shaw walk and Josh Rutledge single. But with the count full, Shaw was easily thrown out at third after a swing and miss strikeout from Brock Holt.

– The shift came back to bite the Red Sox in the fifth inning when the big left-handed-hitting Freddie Freeman put down a perfect bunt to the third base side. Neither Porcello or Xander Bogaerts, who was playing at a deep shortstop position with Rutledge, the third baseman, swung over to the other side of the diamond, had a chance.

– The Red Sox couldn’t capitalize on a seventh-inning rally in which they loaded the bases with two outs and Julio Teheran up over 100 pitches. But on the 10th pitch of his at-bat, and the Atlanta starter’s 114, and final, pitch, Xander Bogerts rocket to center field was caught by Mallex Smith to end the threat.

– Ortiz did make an appearance, pinch-hitting in the ninth inning. But despite a rousing round of applause after appearing on the on-deck circle, he ended up striking out to end the frame.

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Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
Chili Davis

Chili Davis

ATLANTA — When Carlos Gomez snapped his bat over his leg Sunday night, having swung and missed at a Henry Owens’ changeup, Chili Davis couldn’t help but smile a bit.

The Red Sox hitting coach is, after all, the guy who started the craze.

While many credit Bo Jackson with first executing the fit of rage, it was actually Davis who many believe was the first to snap a bat (that wasn’t previously broken) over his thigh.

“I remember everything about it,” Davis said of the 1983 incident. “I remember Kevin Gross pitching. I remember he had that big rolling curveball, which he threw in the first at-bat. I was at a point in my career where I read curveballs pretty good. I was the kind of hitter if I saw it and I thought I could hit it, I’m thinking, ‘The next time I see that I’ll be ready for it.’ The next time I went up I saw one, threw it again, took it, strike, and then when two strikes I threw right threw it. The third time up he struck me out again because I kept swinging threw it. I just thought, ‘It had to be this bat, time to die.’ It was a brand new bat. Big handle. Big 36-, 37-ounce bat.

“That was just reaction. It wasn’t planned. I had never done it before.”

It wouldn’t be the last time Davis took his frustrations out on the lumber, either.

One offseason, while vacationing in Hawaii, pitcher Frank Viola threw down the gauntlet while playing golf with the slugger.

“He said, ‘If I ever strike you out twice in a game, will you break your bat over your knee for me.’ I said, ‘Frank, you’re never going to strike me out twice in a game. But if you ever do, I’ll do it,'” Davis remembered. “So during the season he struck me out the second time and after I was walking away I kept hearing a voice yelling, ‘Do it! Do it!’ I turned around and he was on the mound yelling, ‘Do it!’ So I broke it over my knee and he was like, ‘Yeah!’

“You do stupid stuff. When you play sometimes you get angry and you do stupid stuff, and then you get back home and you see it on TV and you’re like, ‘Oh my goodness, how dumb was that.'”

But, as awkward as such a maneuver might seem, Davis totally understand why players like Gomez go that route.

“I understand his frustrations,” the hitting coach said. “He’s a good player and there were a few frustrating at-bats for him. He’s a highly temperamental player. And he’s competitive. You put those two together and sometimes you get frustrated an react in that sort of way.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

ATLANTA — It’s a hole the Red Sox haven’t filled, and really haven’t prioritized, since the season started — a back-up left-handed-hitting outfielder.

Marco Hernandez

Marco Hernandez

ATLANTA — It’s a hole the Red Sox haven’t filled, and really haven’t prioritized, since the season started — a back-up left-handed-hitting outfielder.

But with Brock Holt the only lefty-hitting outfielder on the roster, and Chris Young showing no signs that he will reverse his struggles against right-handed pitching (against which he’s 1-for-12 with eight strikeouts), there is a hole on the roster.

It was a dynamic that forced Red Sox manager John Farrell to pinch-hit for Young with right-handed-hitting Josh Rutledge, Saturday. (Rutledge ripped an RBI double against righty reliever Ken Giles.)

So when David Murphy — who had been with the Red Sox in spring training — opted out of his contract with the Twins Monday, it potentially opened the door for a move. But according to team sources, the Red Sox don’t have any interest in bringing Murphy back.

The plan, for the time being, will be to integrate both the left-hitting Marco Hernandez and Blake Swihart, a switch-hitter into left field with Triple-A Pawtucket. That process began Monday night, with Hernandez playing his first game in left for the PawSox.

Other than Hernandez and Swihart, the Red Sox don’t have any left-handed-hitting outfield options at Triple-A.

Another possibility to see some action in the outfield at some point this season is the hot-hitting Sam Travis. But while the Red Sox have discussed such a move for the future, the organization is committed to keeping Travis at first base for the time being.

– After an uncomfortable season debut with the Red Sox Sunday night, in which he gave up three runs over just 3 1/3 innings, Henry Owens will get another chance.

Sox manager confirmed that Owens will make another start for the Red Sox, with that turn scheduled to take place Friday night at Fenway Park against the Yankees.

– Eduardo Rodriguez will pitch his first official rehab outing Thursday, as planned. But because of the uncertain weather, the venue for the outing might be changing.

Farrell suggested Rodriguez, who is returning from an injured right knee, may have to join Triple-A Pawtucket instead of Single-A Salem due to the threat of rain.

– Hanley Ramirez and David Ortiz both didn’t start the series opener, with Ramirez’s absence coming as more of a surprise. But with the late arrival after the Sox’s 12-inning game in Houston Sunday night, Farrell decided it would be a good time to give Ramirez his first day off of the season.

Ortiz likely won’t play in either of the two games at the Braves’ home stadium.

The Red Sox got to their hotel just after 5:30 a.m., not scheduled a bus to the stadium until 3 p.m. Dustin Pedroia and John Farrell did take matters into their own hands, however, taking a taxi over to Turner Field at about noon.

– With the addition of hard-throwing Heath Hembree, Junichi Tazawa, Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox all of a sudden find themselves with one of the hardest-throwing bullpens in the majors. And Pat Light, who has hit 100 mph, hadn’t pitched prior to Monday night, while Carson Smith is also on the horizon

According to Fangraphs.com, the Sox relievers average fastball velocity of 94.3 mph, second only to Kansas City’s 94.4.

“The last couple of years, we’ve been in the bottom third in terms of average velocity and all of a sudden with Heath’s evolvement, with Matt barnes, with Carson coming to us, with Craig Kimbrel, we’ve now assembled a power bullpen and it’s got the ability to come in and get a key strikeout,” Farrell said. “That is a clear, distinct advantage.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (10-8): L, 5-3, vs. Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello will look to remain perfect when he takes the mound Monday night against the Braves in Atlanta, where he will face off against righty Julio Teheran.

It’s been smooth sailing thus far for Porcello, starting the year 3-0 with a 4.66 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. In his last start Wednesday against the Rays, he went seven innings (his longest outing of the season), allowing three earned runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out nine in the Red Sox’ 7-3 win.

“He’s been very consistent with one, staying out of the middle of the plate,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Porcello. “I think his changeup continues to refine itself. He’s getting some swing and miss. He’s putting away a couple of right-handers tonight with a right-on-right changeup. We stake him to a five-run lead and knowing we needed a deep start he gave us everything we could have asked for, but more importantly, staying in command of the count and using his secondary pitches effectively — curveballs early in the count at times — but the fastball-chanegup combination very good for him.”

In two career starts against the Braves, Porcello is 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA and 1.105 WHIP. He has 10 strikeouts and three walks over 12 2/3 innings.

Teheran, 25, is off to a rocky start in 2016. In four starts he is 0-2 with a 5.64 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. In his last start Wednesday against the Dodgers, however, he was fairly solid. He went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits and no walks with three strikeouts. He left with the lead, but the bullpen could not hold it in Atlanta’s 5-3 loss in 10 innings.

“I felt like Julio had given us all he had,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said after the loss about Teheran, who pitched through an illness.

Teheran has started one game against the Red Sox. It came June 16 of last season , when he was hit hard for six earned runs over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked one in his team’s 9-4 loss.

Julio Teheran

Julio Teheran

Red Sox vs. Teheran (RHP)

Josh Rutledge is 2-for-5 and was hit by a pitch once.

Mookie Betts is 3-for-4 with one double, one triple and one RBI, while Brock Holt is 3-for-4 with one double, one home run and one RBI.

Hanley Ramirez is hitless in four at-bats.

Xander Bogaerts is 2-for-3 with an RBI.

David Ortiz is 0-for-2 with one walk, while Chris Young is 0-for-2 with one strikeout.

Braves vs. Porcello (RHP)

Erick Aybar (33 plate appearances): .185 AVG/.333 OBP/.222 SLG, 1 double, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

Nick Markakis (31): .407/.452/.556, 1 double, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

A.J. Pierzynski (29): .214/.241/.321, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Jeff Francoeur (24): .391/.375/.739, 1 triple, 2 home runs, 6 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

Tyler Flowers (22): .150/.227/.200, 1 double, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts

Kelly Johnson (12): .300/.417/.300, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Drew Stubbs (10): .300/.300/.600, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts

Freddie Freeman (6): .333/.333/.333, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Jace Peterson is 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Blog Author: 
Travis Upham