Allen Webster

Allen Webster

The Red Sox will conclude their series with the Rays on Thursday night, as Allen Webster gets the ball against Jeremy Hellickson at Fenway Park.

Trying to get a rotation spot next season, Webster (4-3, 5.54 ERA) pitched well vs. the Orioles last Friday night at Camden Yards. He pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowed seven hits but just one run in the no decision. The lone Orioles run off Webster came on a Nelson Cruz RBI infield single. Webster said after the game that he wished he had better command of his offspeed pitches early in the contest.

“I wasn’t really locating my offspeed stuff as well as I would have liked,” Webster said. “But later in the game, I started finding it, and me and [catcher Christian Vazquez] just kept pounding the zone.”

The outing in Baltimore was the third quality start of September for Webster. After a 7.28 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in August, the right-hander has rebounded over the final month with a 1-0 record and a 3.18 ERA in three starts. In each outing this month, he’s pitched at least five innings, recorded at least one strikeout and not allowed more than three runs.

The three September starts follow one at the end of August in which the Rays roughed up Webster for six runs on five hits. He lost a little bit of control in that one, as he also hit two batters. James Loney‘s double in the second started a three-run rally, which carried Tampa Bay to victory.

Webster’s other start against the Rays this year came back in July during his first outing of 2015. He allowed two runs and three hits over 5 2/3 innings to earn the win. Both runs scored in the third inning on a Desmond Jennings double. Other than that, Webster limited the damage.

Jeremy Hellickson

Jeremy Hellickson

Hellickson (1-4, 3.96 ERA) was sidelined for the early part of the year because of offseason arthroscopic elbow surgery. He did not make his first start in the majors until early July, and did not pitch more than five innings in a start until Aug. 6 against the A’s.

He did have a successful August, but has not thrown the ball well in September. In four starts, he’s pitched just 19 innings, allowing 13 runs. Against the White Sox last Friday, he was charged for four runs in 4 1/3 innings. His best start of the month came on Sept. 13 when he struck out eight and allowed four runs over six innings against the Blue Jays.

Hellickson last pitched against the Red Sox last September at Tropicana Field. He earned the win after he struck out seven and limited the damage to just three runs in 5 1/3 frames.

Not many Red Sox hitters have had much success against Hellickson, but David Ortiz has four home runs and seven RBIs against him in 33 plate appearances. Daniel Nava is the only other hitter with a home run against Hellickson.

Rays vs. Webster (RHP)

Matt Joyce (6 career plate appearances): .000 average/.167 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 walk 3 strikeouts

Evan Longoria (6): .200/.333/.200, 1 strikeout

Ben Zobrist (6): .250/.500/.250, 2 RBIs, 2 walks

Logan Forsythe (5): .333/.600/.333, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Kevin Kiermaier (4): .500/.750/.500, 1 walk

James Loney (4): .250/.250/.500, 1 double, 1 RBI

Desmond Jennings (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Wil Myers (3): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts

Yunel Escobar and Curt Casali have both walked once in two plate appearances. Nick Franklin, Brandon Guyer and Ryan Hanigan each have a hit in two appearances against the right-hander.

Red Sox vs. Hellickson (RHP)

David Ortiz (33): .385/.515/.885, 4 home runs, 7 RBIs, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 7 walks, 1 strikeout

Daniel Nava (16): .133/.188/.133, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Mike Napoli (14): .077/.143/.077, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts

Will Middlebrooks (12): .083/.083/.083, 8 strikeouts

Jackie Bradley (6): .167/.167/.167, 2 strikeouts

Jemile Weeks (6): .000/.000/.000

Yoenis Cespedes (5): .000/.200/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Xander Bogaerts (4): .250/.250/.250, 3 strikeouts

Brock Holt (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk

Ryan Lavarnway has a walk in two plate appearances against the right-hander and Christian Vazquez is 0-for-2.

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano

When it comes to the 2015 Boston Red Sox, the more clarity we get, the more confusion we get.



Pawtucket still looks better than Durham.

Garin Cecchini launched his first big league homer on Wednesday. (Getty Images)

Garin Cecchini launched his first big league homer on Wednesday. (Getty Images)

Pawtucket still looks better than Durham.

That characterization — noting that the Red Sox‘ Triple-A affiliate beat Tampa Bay’s Triple-A roster in the Governor’s Cup Finals — only slightly misrepresents what occurred at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. But it was the case that a prospect-laden group of Red Sox players, only one of whom (21-year-old Xander Bogaerts) has spent all year on the major league roster, blew out the Rays, 11-3.

The contributions from the young or inexperienced players, many of which marked career milestones, were numerous:

– Garin Cecchini launched his first big league homer, reached base three times (once on a walk, once by getting hit by a pitch) and made three plays that showed range to his left at third base.

– Anthony Ranaudo logged a career-high seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits while walking one and striking out two. For the first time in his seven big league starts, he did not allow a homer. The win improved him to 4-3 in the big leagues and 18-7 on the year.

– Rusney Castillo negotiated his first two career walks while also offering a glimpse of his extra gear on the bases when he scored from second on a passed ball. Granted, the bases were loaded and he was running on a 3-2 count with two outs, but his ability to read the play and then accelerate around third gave some insight into the athleticism that drew the Sox to him. His walk came with the bases loaded, resulting in his first career RBI.

– Bryce Brentz went 2-for-5 and slammed a double highoff the Green Monster in left-center, his first career hits in Fenway Park.

– Xander Bogaerts, back in the lineup after missing most of the last two games with a stiff neck, went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly, driving in three runs — his second highest total of the season.

In short, it was a game that served as something of a showcase of potential for the Red Sox.

OTHER REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE CARED ABOUT WEDNESDAY’S GAME

– The Red Sox missed an opportunity to pull up even with the Twins in the chase for the No. 5 overall draft pick. Though Minnesota won, they remained one game “ahead” of the Sox for the No. 5 pick thanks to Boston’s victory. Meanwhile, the Astros pulled into a tie with the Sox for the No. 6 pick, pending the outcome of their game (which the Astros trailed, 2-0, in the seventh inning). The Cubs, who entered the day 1 1/2 games behind the Sox in the wild card standings, were leading the Cardinals, 3-1, at the conclusion of the game.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Those who anticipated one last chance to see Derek Jeter play at Fenway Park this weekend may have miscalculated.

Those who anticipated one last chance to see Derek Jeter play at Fenway Park this weekend may have miscalculated.

With the Yankees now eliminated from postseason contention following their 9-5 loss to the Orioles on Wednesday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the decision about whether or not Jeter plays in Fenway Park will fall to the shortstop.

“I will leave that up to him, very similar to what I did with [Mariano Rivera],” Girardi told reporters prior to his team’s game. “In my mind, I really thought that Mo would want to play that inning in center field and it never happened. So I’ll leave that up to Derek. I don’t see any reason I wouldn’t do it any different.”

Girardi had given Rivera the option of playing an inning in center field in Houston against the Astros. However, the closer decided that his trip off the mound in Yankee Stadium — when he was pulled by teammates Andy Pettitte and Jeter — would be the last time he set foot on a field in a major league game.

Whether Jeter follows suit remains to be seen. When reporters asked him whether he would play in Boston, he said that the contest was too far away to speculate, and that he was focused solely on his next game. That said, it’s worth noting that Jeter’s scheduled final game in Yankee Stadium on Thursday has the threat of rain hovering over it. Jeter went 0-for-4 on Wednesday.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Will Middlebrooks, who was scratched just prior to the start of Tuesday’s game against the Rays, is once again out of the lineup on Wednesday due to soreness in his left wrist.

Will Middlebrooks is out for a second straight game on Wednesday due to a sprained wrist. (Getty Images)

Will Middlebrooks is out for a second straight game on Wednesday due to a sprained wrist. (Getty Images)

Will Middlebrooks, who was scratched just prior to the start of Tuesday’s game against the Rays, is once again out of the lineup on Wednesday due to soreness in his left wrist. Manager John Farrell suggested that the third baseman is “day to day at this point,” but suggested that the team is hopeful that his season is not over.

We’€™re going to continue to press and push to get him on the field as much as possible in these final five days even though one of them is today and won’€™t be on the field,” said Farrell. Tomorrow, through the weekend, we need to get him on the field as much as possible.”

At a time when there will be just four games beyond Wednesday’s contest, and with Middlebrooks having little remaining opportunity to improve his dreadful season stat line of a .191 average, .256 OBP and .265 slugging mark, Farrell was asked to explain the urgency he expressed for an opportunity to evaluate the 26-year-old further this year.

“More than anything, if a player is capable, we’€™re not just wanting to shut someone down,” Farrell said. “That’€™s not a precedent that we want to set or enable, to be honest with you.”

It has been a year in which Middlebrooks rarely has played at full health. He spent time on the DL with a calf injury. His current wrist sprain is believed to be related to when he got hit by a pitch in May. He lost months to a finger that was fractured by the line drive. The result has been fitful playing time at the big league level, which in turn has contributed to some of Middlebrooks’ struggles to remain in a sustained offensive groove.

That said, Farrell said that it would be a mistake to view Middlebrooks’ struggles as simply the product of injuries. He’s been healthy enough to play. His limited production — particularly the absence of his characteristic home run power (he has hit just two homers in 63 games this year) — is not entirely a function of health, in Farrell’s view.

“I don’€™t think he’€™s been limited any different than other players who deal with nagging ailments over the course of a full season. There’€™s been times when he’€™s been unavailable. To say it’€™s to the extent that he can’€™t go or can’€™t play, we’€™re not at that point,” said Farrell. “He’€™s missed time over the past couple of years as we know. The inconsistent playing time has had some effect. To say that there’€™s something existing here, sure, he’€™s banged up a little bit. Is that the sole reason why the power numbers have dropped? I can’€™t say that it is.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier
We check in with the skipper, Red Sox manager John Farrell as the season winds down. We get his take on the young nature of this team, the offseason moves this team needs to make, Derek Jeter and much more.

The logic is obvious, almost compelling.