The Red Sox will be going for their fourth straight win Wednesday afternoon in Toronto on Canada Day. Rick Porcello will be opposed by left-hander Mark Buehrle with Hanley Ramirez back in the Red Sox lineup.

Follow all the action from Toronto here:

Live Blog Red Sox vs. Blue Jays — July 1, 2015
 

Blog Author: 
WEEI

ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning

ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about Eduardo Rodriguez, Clay Buchholz and the Red Sox. To listen to the audio of the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

As the Red Sox, particularly the team’s starting pitchers, have struggled this season, many fans have looked to the minor leagues and eyed the various pitching prospects the organization owns, including Brian Johnson and Henry Owens.

Schilling has been impressed with the young arms in the team’s farm system.

“I look at this organization from a pitching perspective like you can kind of look at the Cubs from a player perspective,” Schilling said. “I think they’re stacked. A lot of power arms. … I love the arms, I really do think that they’ve got a ton of development happening and this is just an unfortunate year.”

Rodriguez has made the leap from a prospect to a major league starter and Schilling has been very impressed with what he’s seen.

“Eddie, clearly, is ready,” he said. “He had a bad outing, he was tipping his pitches, he made adjustments, he fixed it. This is your one. When you get back to the postseason, this is the guy you’re going to hand the ball to game one.”

Rodriguez did struggle with tipping his pitches in a June 25 game against Baltimore, but the team was able to diagnose the problem and fix it in advance of his Tuesday start in Toronto.

“When you see the swings you saw two starts ago for a guy that throws the way he throws, that’s when you know,” Schilling said. “When guys are comfortably in the box and hacking from their heels against a guy who throws that well, generally somebody has something.”

Schilling sees holes in the Red Sox as currently constitute and doesn’t think this roster is good enough to contend. That opinion dates back to the team’s signings of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, of which Schilling was not enamored partly, because they didn’t fill the team’s pitching needs.

“I don’t know that this is the club to hoist a pennant, they still have some pieces missing. … I was kind of a pariah at the winter meetings because I wasn’t a fan of either signing,” Schilling said. “It’s a staff full of maybe three’s, and one one, and the one is the youngest guy on the staff [Rodriguez].”

Along with a recent improvement in production on the mound, Buchholz has become the topic in a few trade speculations. Some have suggested the Red Sox should trade the right-hander while his value is high. Schilling said that he would trade Buchholz if the return were a “Eduardo Rodriguez-type,” but didn’t think the actual return of any potential trade would be so worthwhile.

“If I could get myself a big-league-caliber talent and a top-tier prospect, that’s something to look at,” Schilling said. “It depends on what are the needs of this roster. You’re trading [Buchholz] to get a guy that the guy you’re trading is supposed to be. Not a lot of teams are going to do that. You’re not going to get somebody to give you a one back for a guy that you’re selling as a one.”

Buchholz has team options on his contract for $13 million in 2016 and $13.5 million in 2017. While that is a great value by today’s standards, Schilling doesn’t think that impacts Buchholz’ trade value.

“It’s ridiculously priced if you look at the market. The game is flushed with cash. People aren’t making a lot of deals based on clearing payroll,” Schilling said. “If you can trade a salary, great, there’s a lot more teams that can take on salary.”

Blog Author: 
Josh Slavin

After missing six games with a left wrist injury, Hanley Ramirez returns to the Red Sox lineup in Game 3 of a four-game set against the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon. The Red Sox have taken the first two games of the series.

After missing six games with a left wrist injury, Hanley Ramirez returns to the Red Sox lineup in Game 3 of a four-game set against the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon. The Red Sox have taken the first two games of the series.

Going against left-hander Mark Buehrle, lefties Brock Holt and Jackie Bradley Jr. get the day off with Deven Marrero getting his first major league start at second base and Alejandro De Aza starting in right field.

Sandy Leon will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Here is a complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, CF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, LF
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Alejandro De Aza, RF
Deven Marrero, 2B
Sandy Leon, C
Rick Porcello, RHP

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (38-42): L, 1-0, at Rochester (Twins)

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:

Henry Owens

Henry Owens

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (38-42): L, 1-0, at Rochester (Twins)

— LHP Henry Owens (Boston’€™s No. 2 prospect at MLB.com) pitched into the eighth inning and allowed just two hits, but got no run support and took the loss (2-6, 3.28 ERA) with a final line of: 7 1/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO (98 pitches, 60 strikes). Owens was perfect through four before walking the leadoff batter in the fifth. He continued with a no-hitter into the seventh before allowing a leadoff double. A ground out and sacrifice fly would bring that runner home and provide the difference on the scoreboard.

It was the fourth straight quality start for Owens, who was selected by Boston in the first-round of the 2011 draft (36th overall). However, Owens has not won a game since May 5, a span of 12 starts. The 22-year-old finished June with an 0-3 mark in six outings with a 3.47 ERA, compiling 27 strikeouts to 13 walks in 36 1/3 innings.

— RHP Pat Light (Boston’€™s No. 26 prospect at MLB.com) replaced Owens in the eighth after a leadoff double and a strikeout. Light, 24, allowed a single, but stranded two runners as he came back with a strikeout of his own on a split-finger fastball, followed by a pop-out to end the inning. A 2012 first-round draft choice and this year converted to a reliever, Light has now rebounded with two straight scoreless appearances since blowing back-to-back saves on June 21 and June 24.

— Big leaguer Ervin Santana held the Pawtucket offense in check, giving up just five hits while walking not walking a batter over eight scoreless innings. Santana completed his three-game Triple-A build up to rejoining Minnesota after his 80-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. The PawSox had two aboard in only one inning, the eighth, but second baseman Sean Coyle (Boston’€™s No. 13 prospect at MLB.com) popped out to end the chance.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (28-50): L, 7-4, vs. New Hampshire (Blue Jays)

— Right fielder Shane Victorino had his rehab assignment (calf) transferred to Double-A Portland where the 34-year-old played a full nine innings going 1-for-3 with an RBI double in the fifth as well as a run scored. Victorino’€™s double looped down the right field line and evaded the diving New Hampshire right fielder who was breaking in. The next batter, second baseman Carlos Asuaje, sent a deep fly ball to the warning track in center that was caught by the tumbling New Hampshire center fielder, allowing a hustling Victorino to score all the way from second on a sacrifice fly.

“€œNo reason for me to be cautious,” Victorino told the Portland Press Herald after the game. “I’€™m going to have to do it at some point. I had to test it. It’€™s the way you play the game. You don’€™t change the way you play just because you’€™re rehabbing.”

Victorino, who was also hit by a pitch on the forearm but stayed in the game, has now played five rehab games between Triple-A Pawtucket and Double-A Portland, going 5-for-14 (.357) with two doubles and two runs scored.

— RHP Justin Haley gave up a grand slam in the third and took the loss (2-9, 5.29 ERA), allowing his most runs in game since April as Haley was tagged for five earned over just three innings plus. The 24-year-old was coming off of back-to-back six-inning shutout starts but was pulled in favor of Mike McCarthy after a leadoff walk to start the fourth. The 6-foot-5 Haley was Boston’€™s sixth-round draft pick in 2012 out of Fresno State University.

— Center fielder Manuel Margot (Boston’€™s No. 5 prospect at MLB.com) extended his modest hit streak to six games with a single in the second inning, finishing 1-for-4 in the game. In nine games since his promotion to Portland, the 20-year-old is 11-for-35 (.314) with a homer, three doubles, five RBIs, and four runs scored.

Aaron Wilkerson

Aaron Wilkerson

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (30-28): L, 11-4, vs. Lynchburg (Indians)

— RHP Aaron Wilkerson suffered his first loss (4-1, 2.86 ERA) with Salem and his worst start of the season as he allowed six earned runs and did not make it out of the fourth inning. Lynchburg already led 1-0 entering the fourth and then strung together five hits, including a triple and a double with both batters coming around to score. The 26-year-old Wilkerson, who had allowed three earned or less in each of his last seven starts, did strike out six in 3 2/3 innings, but also walked two.

— Second baseman Wendell Rijo doubled home two runs in the third inning to give Salem a short-lived 2-1 lead. Rijo, 19, finished 2-for-4 and compiled his third two-hit game in his last four, raising his average 12 points over that span to .249.

— Center fielder Derek Miller, shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin, and DH Zach Kapstein all had two-hit games as well in the losing effort. Miller scored twice, while Lin also walked, scored a run and also stole a base, his 11th. The 21-year-old Lin completed another solid month at the plate, as he hit .295 over 22 games in June after hitting .306 in May.

Mike Meyers

Mike Meyers

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (41-35): L, 8-1, at Hickory (Rangers)

— Left fielder Mike Meyers got Greenville out to a 1-0 lead as he tripled in the first and scored on a wild pitch. Meyers, 21, finished 1-for-3 with a walk, raising his season-long average to .289. Drafted by Boston in round 12 of the 2012 draft out of high school in Nevada, Meyers now has a five-game hit streak and over his last nine contests is hitting 13-for-35 (.371) with four extra base hits and four runs scored. In 23 games played in June, Meyers had a terrific slash line of .321/.400/.476.

— The Greenville offense was held to just three total hits and threatened in just one more inning after the first, as the Drive loaded the bases in the seventh inning on walks by DH Rafael Devers and shortstop Javier Guerra, sandwiched around catcher Danny Bethea being hit by a pitch. However, first baseman Cisco Tellez, center fielder Bryan Hudson, and right fielder Carlos Mesa all struck out to end the frame.

— RHP Jeffry Fernandez took the loss (2-6, 5.51 ERA) and was roughed up in the second inning as he allowed six runs, all earned, including two home runs. Fernandez, 22, was coming off of back-to-back quality outings but has now allowed six homers over his last four starts. The Dominican did come back to pitch three scoreless innings and get through five frames.

Luis Alexander Basabe

Luis Alexander Basabe

SHORT SEASON LOWELL SPINNERS (10-2): W, 7-6 in 10 innings, at Vermont (Athletics)

— Center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe hit two home runs, one from each side of the plate — his second a go-ahead shot in the top of the 10th inning that gave Lowell the 7-6 lead and eventually the victory. An 18-year-old Venezuelan, Basabe also hit a three-run dinger in the third inning, taking a 2-2 pitch over the left-center wall to get Lowell out to a 3-1 lead. Basabe, who only hit one homer over 32 games last year with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, now has hits in 8 of his past 9 games with the two homers hit Tuesday as well as two triples.

— Second baseman Chad De La Guerra also homered, his first as a professional, a two-run shot that extended the Lowell lead to 5-1 in the fourth inning. De La Guerra finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs, giving him a four-game stretch of 7-for-14 (.500) hitting with five RBIs, five doubles, and six runs scored. A 22-year-old lefty batter, De La Guerra was Boston’€™s round 17 selection in the 2015 draft out of Grand Canyon University where this past season he hit .344 with 11 homers.

ROOKIE GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX (8-0): W, 5-2, at GCL Orioles

— RHP Anderson Espinoza (Boston’€™s No. 25 prospect at MLB.com) started and threw another four scoreless innings, giving up three hit, while allowing a walk while striking out five. The 17-year-old Espinoza now has pitched eight innings, all scoreless, in the Gulf Coast League since his promotion from the Dominican Summer League. Combining Espinoza’€™s DSL and GCL statistics on the season through six starts, Espinoza’€™s collective line reads: 23 IP, 19 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 27 SO.

Espinoza was signed for $1.8 million out of Venezuela last summer, and was one of the highest ranked prospects in that 2014 international signing period.

— Left fielder Henry Ramos (Boston’€™s No. 18 prospect at MLB.com) reached base three times, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored, as the 23-year-old continued his rehab assignment (knee). In seven Gulf Coast League games Ramos is 7-for 20 (.350) with four walks, four runs scored, and two stolen bases. All of Ramos’€™ hits have gone for singles. Last year in Double-A Portland the switch-hitting Ramos hit .326 over 48-games with two homers, two triples, and nine doubles.

— Right fielder Tyler Hill doubled and went 2-for-5 with an RBI, run scored, and stolen base. Hill, who was back in the lineup after a game off, has a five-game hitting streak and has gone 8-for-21 (.380) over that span with three RBIs and four runs scored. The 19-year-old Hill played in only four games in 2014 after being drafted by Boston in round 19 out of Delaware Military Academy.

Check out the weekly WEEI Farm Report podcast hosted by Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable.

Blog Author: 
Ken Laird
Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

The Red Sox will open July on the back of Rick Porcello as he takes the bump against Mark Buehrle and the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon at Rogers Centre.

Porcello heads into Wednesday’s start saddled with a 4-8 record and a 5.54 ERA, the fourth-worst mark for a qualified starter in the AL. All season long, Porcello has wilted under the weight of his $82.5 million contract, posting career worsts in HR/9 (1.3), ground ball-fly ball ratio (0.80) and line drive percentage (27 percent). Hitters have squared up Porcello for the seventh-highest hard contact percentage in the AL (32 percent).

Somehow, Porcello has gotten worse of late. In his last four outings, the right-hander has gone 0-3 with a 7.15 ERA, touched up for 33 hits in 22 2/3 innings. Porcello has not been helped by a .408 BABIP, nor a 59 percent strand rate, a figure well below the league average of 72 percent.

Not all of Porcello’s issues during this stretch can be traced back to bad luck, though. The 26-year-old has proven time and time again his inability to miss bats. Over his last four starts, Porcello sports a meager 8.2 swinging strike percentage. Furthermore, in two of these four outings, Porcello has allowed contact on more than 95 percent of his pitches in the strike zone.

“I would be lying to you if I wasn’t frustrated and thinking in my head. … You look at the results and you think I’€™m not putting my best foot forward, but then you break everything down and I know how hard I work and I know I’€™m doing the right things. But the results just aren’t there yet. It’€™s just a battle, Porcello said.

“I want to go out there and throw eight zeroes. I want to go on a five-, six-game win streak. You do everything in your power to make that happen, and when it doesn’t happen it kind of beats you down a little bit more. But that’€™s the game. I don’€™t know why this stretch has happened. I don’€™t know what’€™s going to happen the next month. All I can control is my preparation, my work and my thought process on the mound and delivering the pitch.”

Opposing Porcello will be Buehrle, the poster man for longevity in the major leagues. The 36-year-old has won 10-plus games for an astounding 14 consecutive years. He shows no sign of ending his streak in 2015, as he’s gone 8-4 with a 3.81 ERA.

Aided by a .278 BABIP, Buehrle has stayed strong in 2015 by working a 47.3 ground ball percentage, his best since 2008. As he has throughout his career, the wily southpaw has been especially strong with runners on base, leaving 75.6 percent of runners stranded this year.

Buehrle has turned it up during the month of June, tossing 36 innings and posting a 1.75 ERA to go along with a .216/.252/.348 opponents’ slash line. Additionally, Buehrle has walked just six batters over this period, helping him to a 0.97 WHIP, a career-low for June.

“You get 10-plus runs scored for you it makes it lot easier,” Buehrle said after his latest start, a 12-2 drubbing issued by the Blue Jays onto the Rangers. “I joke around with these guys and told them I’ve never lost with 10-plus runs scored for me, so every time we get to seven or eight I say, ‘€˜Hey, I’ve never lost with 10, so score a couple more.’ ”

For his career, Buehrle has had average success against the Red Sox. He is 10-10 with a 4.34 ERA and has accumulated a 1.44 WHIP.

Red Sox vs. Buehrle (LHP)

David Ortiz (84 plate appearances): .316 AVG/.357 OBP/.582 SLG, 9 doubles, 4 HR, 14 RBIs

Mike Napoli (28): .292/.357/.500, 1 HR, 2 RBIs

Xander Bogaerts (11): .273/.273/.727, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 1 RBI

Jackie Bradley (9): .250/.333/.625, 1 double, 1 triple

Hanley Ramirez (9): .222/.222/.222, 1 RBI

Brock Holt (6): .333/.333/.500, 1 double

Alejandro De Aza (4): .333/.500/.333, 1 walk

No other Red Sox have faced Buehrle.

Blue Jays vs. Porcello (RHP)

Jose Bautista (19): .471/.526/.471, 3 RBIs, 2 walks

Danny Valencia (17): .267/.353/.333, 1 double, 2 walks

Edwin Encarnacion (15): .400/.400/.667, 4 doubles, 3 RBIs

Russell Martin (13): .091/.231/.091, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Justin Smoak (12): .273/.333/.545, 1 HR, 4 RBIs

Jose Reyes (11): .400/.400/.600, 1 triple

Josh Donaldson (8): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts

Ezequiel Carrera (7): .286/.286/.714, 1 double, 1 triple, 2 RBIs

Chris Colabello is 0-for-2 with a strikeout against Porcello.

Dioner Navarro is 0-for-1 with a strikeout in two plate appearances against Porcello.

No other Blue Jays have faced Porcello.

Blog Author: 
Justin Pallenik

Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

TORONTO — Koji Uehara is cruising.

With his third save in as many days, Tuesday, the Red Sox closer is 18 for 20 in save opportunities this season with a 2.89 ERA. In his last five outings, Uehara has allowed just one baserunner, averaging just 12.6 pitches per inning.

So, what keeps him up at night? Having to pitch early in the day.

“I think the games that I have pitched well are night games, not day games,” Uehara said through a translator when asked what has been key in his recent run. “I think that’€™s the only difference. I think my ERA shows I pitch better in night games.”

The logical follow-up: Why?

“Because I’m old,” he said. “Older guys need to sleep in.”

All joking aside, the difference in results has been of some concern for the 40 year old. He has allowed 10 runs on 13 hits over 8 2/3 innings during his 10 appearances in day games, compared to just three runs on nine hits over 19 1/3 frames at night.

“What I’€™m figuring could be in the sunlight can see better and that’€™s why I’€™m getting hit a little bit more in day games. That’€™s the only reasoning I can think of,” Uehara surmised. “Also the fact that my body is not awakened as night games.”

It’s an issue that isn’t lost on Uehara’s pitching coach, Carl Willis.

“That’s where the communication comes in, and the trust factor,” Willis noted. “It’s good to hear him say that because you don’t want that false positivity when you’re not 100 percent, or you are dragging that day. We need to know those things.

“It’s more difficult [when you’re older]. But I think in his case he does everything he can to combat that. He’s very routine oriented and understands what he needs to do. But there are times you can’t avoid it, either.”

The Red Sox and Uehara almost certainly won’t get a chance to see if the trend can be reversed during Wednesday’s day game considering he has worked three straight days.

But perhaps the reliever can find his payoff this weekend at Fenway, when the Red Sox play back-to-back day games.

“There are a couple of things that I’ve tried,” Uehara said.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

TORONTO — John Henry has been in town for some Major League Baseball-related meetings. Seemingly, there is no reason to sound the alarm in regards to linking his presence and the Red Sox‘ lot in life.