Kyle Kendrick (Benny Sieu/USA Today Sports)

Kyle Kendrick (Benny Sieu/USA Today Sports)

The first two games in Milwaukee didn’t have that make-or-break feel to them for the Red Sox.

Two losses. Two bad starting pitching performances. Not enough timely hits. There you go.

But the 7-4 loss to the Brewers Wednesday night should have made the Red Sox shiver just a bit. It might be just an innocuous loss to a National League club, or it might be the beginning of some uncomfortable times sneaking up on John Farrell’s club. (For a complete recap, click here.)

What happened to Kyle Kendrick and Hanley Ramirez, along with now residing just one game over .500, should have raised some eyebrows.

The first issue that was brought to light was the Red Sox’ lack of starting pitching depth. The organization’s first choice to fill into Steven Wright’s vacated spot, Kendrick, simply isn’t working out. After an outing in which he allowed six runs on 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings, the righty numbers after two major league starts are: 8 1/3 innings, 18 hits, 12 runs.

In the games pitched by the Red Sox’ fifth spot in their rotation — which has been manned by Wright, Brian Johnson and Kendrick — the starters have a combined ERA of 9.33 (38 earned runs, 36 2/3 innings), with the team going 2-6 in those contests.

With the Red Sox needing another reliever, it would seem the Kyle Kendrick Era with the Red Sox might be coming to an end. So, with the off day Monday, the team would probably skip that spot, potentially leaving it with just one or two more fill-in starts before David Price’s return.

Brian Johnson could be pushed back one day to get him on turn for the next opportunity, which, considering his effectiveness with Triple-A Pawtucket (2.64 ERA in five starts) would seem logical. Another option would be Hector Velazquez, who has been really good, not allowing a run in any of his last three starts. The 28 year old would, however, have to be put on the 40-man roster in order to make just one or two starts.

The lesson learned is that if the Red Sox do have any more hiccups in their core members of the starting rotation, Kendrick’s struggles showed it might get a bit more uneasy than the Red Sox previously believed.

Then there was Ramirez.

Finally, he started at first base. But he wouldn’t finish there.

Ramirez left the game with a right trap spasm, which seems a bit too close to his frail right shoulder to be a coincidence. It could have happened when he fell back on it stopping a short-hop throw from Josh Rutledge, or possibly on a swing in his next at-bat. Either way, it’s not good.

What this should do is end any notion that Ramirez can be an option at first base, no matter what league’s rules the Red Sox are playing under. He has two bad shoulders, with the right one damaged enough to keep him off the field for every game leading up to this one.

The Red Sox simply can’t take the chance of losing Ramirez. It’s not worth trying to force Chris Young’s bat in the batting order, or protecting Mitch Moreland. The health of the righty hitter’s shoulders are of the utmost importance, which the team got big old reminder about in what should be his first and last foray into the field of the season.

Shattering Perceptions Game Note Image

Jackie Bradley Jr. highlighted the night for the Red Sox, hitting his second home run of the season while going 2-for-4 after not playing for the past three games. Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts also had a pair of hits, apiece.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
Sox skipper John Farrell checks in with us live from Milwaukee where the Sox continue inter-league play.

[0:01:29] ... is regarding his versatility. That's all the versatility of a guy like Andrew Miller you know very well. Plastered a post season against you guys. I'll personal oversee a reliever is Craig Kimbrel. Well. You know ...
[0:02:11] ... it certainly. The game itself so. Two to compare him directly to Andrew Miller in the post season I don't know that we can go that far all the because. Won a short series yet you ...
[0:04:34] ... while he's gone through these you know look look to those struggles Chris young's swung the bat very well and he took over a few games should jacket projected back in center field and I would ...
[0:07:10] ... they'll use him a little bit more or is is he telling David Ortiz where easier your designated hitter and that's Columbia. Well he's at first base tonight so. Hopefully as soon as he gets back ...






Sox skipper John Farrell checks in with us live from Milwaukee where the Sox continue inter-league play.

[0:01:29] ... is regarding his versatility. That's all the versatility of a guy like Andrew Miller you know very well. Plastered a post season against you guys. I'll personal oversee a reliever is Craig Kimbrel. Well. You know ...
[0:02:11] ... it certainly. The game itself so. Two to compare him directly to Andrew Miller in the post season I don't know that we can go that far all the because. Won a short series yet you ...
[0:04:34] ... while he's gone through these you know look look to those struggles Chris young's swung the bat very well and he took over a few games should jacket projected back in center field and I would ...
[0:07:10] ... they'll use him a little bit more or is is he telling David Ortiz where easier your designated hitter and that's Columbia. Well he's at first base tonight so. Hopefully as soon as he gets back ...






David Price is getting closer.

David Price

David Price

David Price is getting closer.

The Red Sox starter, who hasn’t pitched at all this season due to an injured left elbow, is finally going to face hitters from another organization. Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Milwaukee Wednesday that Price is scheduled to start for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox Sunday, taking on Minnesota’s Triple-A affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings, at McCoy Stadium.

Price has thrown a pair of simulated games, with the most recent one coming Tuesday when he threw four innings. Farrell told the Dale, Holley and Keefe Show Wednesday afternoon that the team was waiting to see how the pitcher came out of that exercise before making a plan going forward.

Evidently, the reports back from Price were positive, leading to what figures to be an outing that will either be five innings or 70 pitches.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

When the Red Sox levied a lifetime ban on a fan last week for using a racial slur, team president Sam Kennedy t

The Red Sox banned a fan for life last week for the first time under John Henry's ownership. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

The Red Sox banned a fan for life last week for the first time under John Henry’s ownership. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

When the Red Sox levied a lifetime ban on a fan last week for using a racial slur, team president Sam Kennedy touted the club’s zero tolerance policy. He said it covers all intolerant behavior, including the use of sexist and homophobic epithets.

Given the wide spectrum of language that falls under those umbrellas, some wonder whether the Red Sox are traveling down a slippery slope. While it’s important to discourage bigotry, stringent zero tolerance policies can also sometimes lead to overreaction.

In an interview on “Two Outs” with Steve Buckley and Alex Reimer, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said he doesn’t share those concerns.

“I don’t worry about it being a slippery slope. It’s the club’s right. We plan on doing it,” he said. “We have an obligation and a responsibility to make sure people who come to Fenway Park, regardless of your religion, your race, your sexual orientation, you feel comfortable at Fenway. That is our job. We need to be held accountable for that. That’s something that’s really important to John Henry, Tom Werner and to me and to the members of our front office. We want our fans to let us know if they feel uncomfortable. Nobody should feel intimidated by coming to a baseball game at Fenway Park. This is a place to come and relax and enjoy and feel comfortable. That’s what I worry about.”

Red Sox spokeswoman Zineb Curran echoed Kennedy’s sentiments to WEEI.com Monday, saying the team intends to enforce the hardline rule. But she also added the organization will use discretion when appropriate.

Fan conduct at Fenway Park has been under scrutiny over the last week, as a result of the Adam Jones incident and lifetime ban. While those two events have brought the team’s zero tolerance policy to the forefront, Kennedy says it’s been in existence since John Henry purchased the franchise in late 2001. Over the last 15 years, the Red Sox have hired fan service ambassadors and representatives, who try to ensure everybody at Fenway Park is comfortable. The ownership group also banned crude anti-Yankees apparel, including shirts with homophobic innuendo.

“I think we all know why intolerance is out there and why it happens –– it’s unfortunate,” Kennedy said. “We recognize that it does happen, and we have a responsibility to address it and make sure that we do our part. And again, this is not about Fenway Park and Boston and New England. This is about society. This is everywhere in our culture. And we have to be honest with ourselves: this is a reflection of intolerance and ignorance that exists in 2017. We have to be honest with ourselves that it does happen in Boston and it does happen at Fenway Park and it happens at other sports venues. Those in leadership have to be accountable and have to address it head on.”

One of the steps the Red Sox have taken towards LGBT inclusion is Pride Night, which is scheduled for June 9 –– one day before the Pride Parade. A portion of the ticket proceeds go back towards Boston Pride, which advocates on behalf of the city’s LGBT community.

“It’s about raising awareness that the LGBT community is part of the Red Sox community,” Kennedy said. “We want to be welcoming. We want to make sure everyone knows that Fenway and the Red Sox are open to everyone coming here to enjoy.”

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Each week, we will be picking the F.W. Webb “Coolest Play of the Week.” This week’s play comes from the Red Sox’ 11-1 win over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday. Looking to get out of an offensive funk, the Sox scored eight two-out runs in the second inning. Dustin Pedroia cleared the bases with a double to make the lead 4-0 and jumpstart the offense. Catch the play below.

F.W._Webb_Company_logo200Enter to win the Coolest VIP Baseball Experience including the chance to watch batting practice and visit the WEEI Broadcast Booth at Fenway! Click here to enter to win.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Coming into Tuesday night, Drew Pomeranz wouldn’t have been listed as a chief concern for the Red Sox. And even after his less-than-stellar outing in the Red Sox’ 11-7 loss to the Brewers, maybe he still isn’t cracking the top tier of issues facing John Farrell’s club.

Drew Pomeranz (USA Today)

Drew Pomeranz (USA Today)

Coming into Tuesday night, Drew Pomeranz wouldn’t have been listed as a chief concern for the Red Sox. And even after his less-than-stellar outing in the Red Sox’ 11-7 loss to the Brewers, maybe he still isn’t cracking the top tier of issues facing John Farrell’s club. (For a complete recap, click here.)

But what Pomeranz’s latest outing highlighted was a disturbing trend for the starter: He has a really hard time giving the bullpen a breather on the nights he pitches.

This time around, Pomeranz’s problems didn’t exactly sneak up on anybody. He gave up five runs in the first inning on the way to his four-inning outing, giving up six runs on seven hits.

In fairness, if not for the need to get a position player in the lineup’s No. 9 spot heading into the fifth inning, Pomeranz may have lasted another frame. He had, after all, thrown just 79 pitches.

But even if the Red Sox weren’t immersed in National League rules, you would still probably looking at a five-inning start for Pomeranz, who still hasn’t gotten an out in the seventh inning this season.

So now, after six starts, Pomeranz owns a 5.23 ERA (having jumped up 1.23 earned runs with Tuesday’s stinker). At this time of year, with two good starts, he can probably bring that down to a more palatable level. It’s the innings per outing, however, that should be cause for concern.

Through six starts Pomeranz has totaled just 31 innings, despite giving up two runs or less in four of those games. And, get this: He has gotten outs in the seventh inning just twice since joining the Red Sox last season

The bullpen had made the lack of length manageable before this debacle, with the relievers only giving up just two runs in 17 2/3 innings, leading to Red Sox wins in four of Pomeranz’s five starts. But having to lean on that group that much is usually going to catch up to you, as was evident this time around.

Perhaps the pitcher who it is most exposing is Heath Hembree, who for much of the season has been blessing for Farrell in the moments leading up to Matt Barnes, Robby Scott and Craig Kimbrel. But now you have a pitcher who has allowed at least one hit in each of his last eight appearances. And this time it was more than just one hit.

After a clean inning from Fernando Abad, Hembree allowed the Brewers to turn back what had been a pretty decent Red Sox comeback (crawling with a pair of runs). The righty reliever would giving up three runs on three hits, getting just one out. That thinned out the Red Sox’ bullpen further, leading to Ben Taylor’s two-run eighth inning.

So why is Pomeranz unable to take some of the heat off his relievers?

This time around, the lefty clearly didn’t have his good fastball, leading to just two strikeouts. This is a guy who has been able to put away his fair share of batters, striking out six or more in all but one of his previous starts.

But despite the strikeouts, Pomeranz isn’t seemingly managing to miss enough bats, only getting swings and misses on about 22 percent of his pitches. Compare that to Chris Sale (35.1 percent), Eduardo Rodriguez (33.8) and even sinkerballer Rick Porcello (24.1) and you get the idea. And for Pomeranz, that’s down two percent from a year ago.

In short, too many foul balls, and too many pitches per inning (up two per frame from last season). That is leading to a pitcher who simply isn’t giving his bullpen a break.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford