According to FOX4, Red Sox minor league pitcher Kevin Steen was critically injured in a car crash on Wednesday night near Fort Myers just before midnight.

Kevin Steen

Kevin Steen

According to FOX4, Red Sox minor league pitcher Kevin Steen was critically injured in a car crash on Wednesday night near Fort Myers just before midnight.

A Dodge car was headed eastbound on Lee Boulevard when the driver veered off the road to the right, then veered left and crossed the median. The car went airborne before crashing into the front of a westbound SUV driven by Steen, which then caught on fire.

The driver of the other car passed away and Steen was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital in critical condition.

Steen, who is just 20 years old, was a ninth-round pick in the 2014 draft. The right-hander has pitched for the short-season, Single-A Lowell Spinners each of the last two seasons. Last year he went 3-5 with a 5.37 ERA.

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Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Here is what happened in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (7-9): Postponed due to rain

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (9-6): Postponed due to rain 

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (12-8): L, 13-7 vs. Lynchburg 

Chris Sale (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Chris Sale (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Chris Sale walked out of the Red Sox’ clubhouse at 10:45 p.m. Wednesday. That was his official entrance into what was the best example of why he is so important.

This is why you need an ace, and Sale fits the bill perfectly.

For context, let’s remember what former Miami general manager Dan Jennings once told WEEI.com when asking about the importance of an ace.

“They affect three games,” Jennings said. “Obviously the day they pitch. They affect the day before they pitch because the manager can empty the bullpen. And then the day after they pitch your bullpen should be fresh if they get you into the seventh or eighth inning, which is what you want an ace to do. I think you affect three days in a rotation, truly, if you are that guy. There are just so few of them out there. There’s a lot of guys who think they are and want to be paid like they are, but show me the production.”

Hence, the proclamation of Sale’s importance.

The Red Sox are down their eighth inning guy due to Matt Barnes’ suspension. One of the relievers who would be counted on in a late-inning role, Joe Kelly, might have limited availability due to his 1 1/3-inning, 22 pitch outing Wednesday night. Also, their lead lefty, Robby Scott, threw a season-high 21 pitches in the loss to New York.

Then there is the actual game Sale is to pitch, Thursday night at Fenway Park against the Yankees.

The Red Sox really could use this win. Not only have they lost three of their last four to the teams in front of them in the American League East (Baltimore, New York), but find themselves in the kind of offensive slump that promises to make things uncomfortable in the upcoming stretch against the Cubs and Orioles. They are just 5-for-42 (.119) with runners in scoring position over the last six games.

Fortunately for John Farrell’s team, there is literally nobody in baseball who is better suited to get the Red Sox a win Thursday night than Sale.

Sure, the lefty is the kind of role any pitcher would dream of. He has allowed three runs over 29 2/3 innings (0.91 ERA), striking out 42 and walking six. Sale is also coming off the best of the bunch in his historic 80-strike, eight-inning outing in Toronto.

But it is the team which he is facing that ties it all together.

No pitcher with more than four starts against the Yankees has ever had a lower ERA against New York than Sale, who has allowed just seven earned runs in 53 2/3 innings (1.17 ERA).

Sale’s most recent start against the Yankees came last May 13, when he allowed one run over nine innings, striking out six and not walking a batter.

“He’s been amazing,” said Red Sox outfielder Chris Young, who faced Sale as a member of the Yankees, and is 1-for-11 against the starter for his career. “It’s been fun to watch simply just as a fan of the game. I’ve had the opportunity to face him a few times and haven’t had much success off of him. You know what he’s bringing to the table every game. He’s just a bulldog on the game, and is a pleasure to watch.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Here is what happened in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (7-9): Postponed due to rain

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (9-6): Postponed due to rain 

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (12-8): L, 13-7 vs. Lynchburg 

— Salem put together two three-run rallies but were unable to come up with the win. Starter Dedgar Jimenez gave up six runs, five earned, and nine hits in four innings.

— Jordan Weems got the loss after giving up three runs. Gerson Bautista followed Weems in relief and surrendered four runs to Lynchburg.

— Chad De La Guerra went 2-for-3 with two runs scored in the loss.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (13-7): W, 7-4, at Greensboro

— Greenville gave up two runs in both the eighth and ninth innings, but pulled off the win thanks to a seven-run rally in the seventh inning.

— Drive starter Robby Sexton threw six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and just one hit.

— The highlight of Greenville’s rally was a three-run homer from Mitchell Gunsolus to bump the lead to 7-0. Lorenzo Cedrola, Chris Madera, Tyler Hill and Tucker Tubbs also hit RBI singles.

Blog Author: 
Lucy Burdge

You can’t win any games when you don’t get any run support and that has been the case for Rick Porcello of late.

For the third consecutive start, Porcello left the game with the Red Sox not scoring any runs for him.

On Wednesday, the Red Sox tried to rally late, but fell 3-1 to the Yankees at Fenway Park.

Rick Porcello allowed three runs (two earned) in 6 2/3 innings. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello allowed three runs (two earned) in 6 2/3 innings. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

You can’t win any games when you don’t get any run support and that has been the case for Rick Porcello of late.

For the third consecutive start, Porcello left the game with the Red Sox not scoring any runs for him.

On Wednesday, the Red Sox tried to rally late, but fell 3-1 to the Yankees at Fenway Park.

The right-hander went 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits, while walking four and striking out nine. The nine strikeouts were a season-high and the most he’s recorded at Fenway Park since April 20 of last year.

Porcello’s fastball was working well, especially with getting the Yankees to swing-and-miss. The right-hander set a career-high with 20 swing-and-misses overall.

“I felt good with it,” he said. “I think sinker and four-seam, the combination of both, was pretty solid today. So I’ve got to keep building off that. The walks, they’ll come back to hurt you.”

The Yankees scored two runs in the second inning on an Aaron Judge two-run homer (one run was unearned due to a Xander Bogaerts error), and added another in the sixth following a two-out walk and a Greg Bird single off the Monster.

That was all the damage Porcello allowed, but he knew the walks and the pitch to Judge were mistakes.

“Fastball middle-in, he put a good swing on it,” Porcello said. “Other than that really, I felt pretty good. Couple walks I didn’t care for but other than that, kept the game under control and gave us a chance.”

After a shaky start to the season, Porcello has posted back-to-back good outings, as he allowed three runs (none earned) over seven innings in his last start against the Blue Jays.

“Just getting back under control, that’s the biggest thing,” he said of what’s been working. “When I get in trouble game speeds up, get out of whack a little bit and I end up overthrowing so just keeping that mind frame of staying relaxed and executing pitches.”

With the rest of the rotation a little rocky to open the year, and still waiting on David Price, the Red Sox need Porcello to be close to what he was last year and the last two outings have shown he can be.

“He’s looking good, man. He’s looking like the Rick we know,” Bogaerts said.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

While everybody was worrying about suspensions, clubhouse rifts and Twitter updates, the Yankees came to town. It proved unfortunate for the Red Sox.

Aaron Judge celebrates his seventh homer of the season (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Aaron Judge celebrates his seventh homer of the season (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

While everybody was worrying about suspensions, clubhouse rifts and Twitter updates, the Yankees came to town. It proved unfortunate for the Red Sox.

This New York club, which many discounted coming to 2017 because of no significant starting pitching upgrades, offered the Fenway Park faithful a taste of why it might make life uncomfortable for the Red Sox. It was just one, 3-1 win for the Yankees Wednesday night, but it was enough to highlight what may becoming an American League East reality.

If Luis Severino pitches like he did on what was admittedly a less-than-perfect hitters night — not giving up a run over seven innings — that’s a problem for John Farrell’s club.

The Yankees’ weakness still isn’t exactly a no-holds-barred strength, with their starters coming into the two-game series carrying a middle-of-the-road 4.05 ERA. But really what would put them in the conversation for the top tier in American League East would be to find some top of the rotation talent.

That’s what Severino offered the impression of on this dreary night.

Perhaps the results were more a product of an anemic Red Sox attack. That would be a fair take considering how punch-less they have been too many times this season. Seven of the Sox’ 20 games has seen them score two runs or less. They are now hitting just .119 with runners in scoring position over the last six games.

But even if a couple of the Yankees’ starters step in the manner that Severino did, all the pieces are in place for Brian Cashman’s club. As was evident in Aaron Judge’s seventh homer of the season — a two-run blast off Rick Porcello — there should be enough offense to keep up appearances. The did have the third-best OPS in baseball coming into the night.

And then you have the game-enders, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman, whose existence works if they can actually pitch with leads. That blueprint was available for viewing Wednesday night, although Chapman did allow a run in the ninth before ultimately stranding the tying run at first. (The lefty fireballer ended his uncomfortable night throwing 33 pitches.)

The narrative could very well change in a hurry thanks to Chris Sale’s start Thursday night. He does, after all, hold the best-ever ERA of any pitcher in baseball against the Yankees.

Still, this one offered a glimpse of what might be. And that should be a wake-up call for those just looking forward to next week’s latest showdown with the division-leading Orioles.

Shattering Perceptions Game Note Image

Porcello pitched well, but not well enough. The righty starter allowed three runs over 6 2/3 innings, striking out nine and walking four. The 118-pitch outing put his ERA at 4.75.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford