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

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (13-13): Postponed vs. Rochester (Twins). Next at home vs. Rochester on Friday night.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (9-18): W, 2-1, vs. Binghamton (Mets)

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

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (13-13): Postponed vs. Rochester (Twins). Next at home vs. Rochester on Friday night.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (9-18): W, 2-1, vs. Binghamton (Mets)

— Rainel Rosario and Tzu-Wei Lin had RBI hits in the seventh inning as the Sea Dogs ended a streak of 14 consecutive losses to Binghamton at Portland’s Hadlock Field that dated back to Sept. 5, 2014.

— Tim Roberson (batting .227) went 3-for-4 and started the winning rally with a leadoff double. Rosario followed with an RBI double, and Lin later hit a single with the bases loaded to score pinch-runner Henry Ramos.

— Starter Aaron Wilkerson pitched six scoreless innings and gave up no runs, two hits and one walk with seven strikeouts. It marked the third time he pitched and did not allow a run, and he lowered his ERA to 2.08.

— Simon Mercedes allowed a run in the seventh but pitched out of jams in the seventh and eighth, stranding a total of three baserunners, and picked up the win. He’s now 2-2 with an 8.56 ERA. Chandler Shepherd (1.88 ERA) pitched a perfect ninth inning for his third save. Of his 13 pitches, only three were balls.

— Portland was named the best road city in minor league baseball in a poll conducted by Baseball America. Portland was named on every ballot from voters in the Eastern League, and it received votes from outside the league as well as it bested bigger cities including Nashville, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Charlotte. “We consistently hear how much players, broadcasters, and executives love coming to Portland,” Sea Dogs executive vice president and general manager Geoff Iacuessa said in a story on the team’s website. “They love the world-class dining, award winning microbrews, Portland’s vibrant night life, and the beautiful seaside community that Portland offers. We also hear how much the players enjoy playing in front of large crowds at Hadlock.”

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (18-8): Postponed at Winston-Salem (White Sox). Next at Winston-Salem on Friday night.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (13-13): W, 7-4, vs. Augusta (Giants)

— Right-hander Anderson Espinoza tied a franchise record with 11 strikeouts in just five innings of work. The 18-year-old Venezuelan allowed one run on five hits a a walk to lead the Greenville effort. Espinoza, ranked the No. 10 right-handed pitching prospect by MLB.com prior to the season, is 2-2 with a 4.00 ERA and 1.19 WHIP.

— Right fielder Tate Matheny (2-for-4) hit a three-run home run as part of Greenville’s five-run third inning. In the eighth inning he hit a leadoff triple that would turn into an insurance run when he scored on a wild pitch. A fourth-round pick of the Sox in 2015 out of Missouri State, Matheny is hitting .296/.381/.426 with a home run and 12 RBIs in 13 games.

— Kyri Washington went 2-for-4, his second straight game with two hits. A 23rd-round pick last year out of Longwood University, Washington is batting .301/.316/.624 with six home runs and 20 RBIs.

— Dioscar Romero (4.61 ERA, 1.46 WHIP) relieved Espinoza and gave up two runs on five hits and a walk with one strikeout in 1 1/3 innings. Kuehl MacEachern (5.06 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) then allowed a solo home run in 1 2/3 innings. Angelo Leclerc closed it out with a scoreless ninth, allowing two walks and recording a strikeout. He picked up his second save to go along with his 2.45 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

The Red Sox open a three-game series in the Bronx by sending Rick Porcello out against fellow right-hander Michael Pineda in a rematch of their game last Saturday at Fenway Park.

Porcello is off to a stellar 5-0 start with a 2.76 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. He stifled the Yankees six days ago, going seven innings and allowing five hits and one walk with six strikeouts as the Sox rolled to an 8-0 win.

“I felt like my sinker was actually a little sporadic the first two innings,” said Porcello, who has not allowed a run in 13 1/3 innings. “I kind of found a groove with it, settled in.”

With Henry Owens only pitching three-plus innings Thursday night in Chicago, forcing the Red Sox to go to their bullpen early and often (four relievers), Boston could use a long outing from Porcello. Based on his recent history, that shouldn’t be a problem, as Porcello has pitched at least six innings in his last 13 starts, dating back to last August when he returned from a stint on the disabled list. That’s the longest active such streak in the majors, and a personal best for the 27-year-old.

In 12 career starts against the Yankees, Porcello has a 6-4 record, 3.33 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. He faced New York twice last season, going 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA and 0.81 WHIP — far better than his full season totals.

Pineda comes in with a 1-3 record, 6.33 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. In Saturday’s game at Fenway he went five innings and surrendered two runs on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts as he lost his third straight decision.

“Michael battled his butt off for five innings,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after the game. “We are not hitting.”

The Wall Street Journal noted that while Pineda is throwing as hard as ever (92.8 mph), his fastball command has dropped to 61 percent strikes (down from 68 percent last year and below the MLB average of 65 percent). His efficiency also is poor, with 40 percent of batters seeing at least five pitches per at-bat (up from 33 percent last year) and Pineda getting outs just 42 percent of the time he falls behind on counts of 2-0, 2-1 or 3-0 (a huge drop from 63 percent last year).

In the game against the Red Sox, it took him 77 pitches to get through the first three innings, and he matched his season high with three walks.

Said Pineda: “I’ll continue grinding and fighting every day, and everything can be better.”

Pineda, 27, has started against the Red Sox eight times in his four-year MLB career, compiling a 4-4 record with a 4.71 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Last season he saw the Sox three times, going 2-1 with a 4.34 ERA and 0.96 WHIP.

Michael Pineda

Michael Pineda

Red Sox vs. Pineda (RHP)

David Ortiz (18 plate appearances): .235 AVG/.278 OBP/.353 SLG, 2 doubles, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Xander Bogaerts (16): .267/.313/.267, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Mookie Betts (15): .333/.333/.867, 2 doubles, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 4 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (13): .231/.231/.231, 1 RBI

Brock Holt (11): .182/.182/.273, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Jackie Bradley Jr. (9): .429/.556/.857, 3 doubles, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Travis Shaw is 1-for-7 with an RBI single and a strikeout.

Hanley Ramirez is 0-for-6 with three strikeouts.

Ryan Hanigan is 0-for-1 with a walk.

Christian Vazquez is 1-for-2.

Yankees vs. Porcello (RHP)

Jacoby Ellsbury (29 plate appearances): .429 AVG/.448 OBP/.929 SLG, 2 doubles, 4 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Brett Gardner (28): .269/.321/.385, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Mark Teixeira (24): .174/.208/.174, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Carlos Beltran (23): .409/.435/.455, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Chase Headley (17): .313/.353/.563, 1 double, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Aaron Hicks (16): .231/.375/.462, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts

Dustin Ackley (15): .357/.400/.643, 1 double, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Brian McCann (14): .214/.214/.214, 1 RBI, 5 strikeouts

Didi Gregorius (11): .125/.364/.125, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Starlin Castro (6): .333/.333/.333

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

CHICAGO — The Red Sox didn’t deem it prudent to go aggressively after Jon Lester. At least not with the vigor the Cubs came in with when inking the lefty to a six-year, $155 million deal.

The Sox figured there would be other options to secure an ace.

Jon Lester

Jon Lester

CHICAGO — The Red Sox didn’t deem it prudent to go aggressively after Jon Lester. At least not with the vigor the Cubs came in with when inking the lefty to a six-year, $155 million deal.

The Sox figured there would be other options to secure an ace.

It took a year, but the Red Sox finally realized that in order to get the kind of certainty Lester represented, a certain financial commitment would be needed. That’s when the inked David Price to a seven-year, $217 million deal.

Lester, who is in the midst of his second season with the Cubs, has no hard feelings.

“I don’t dislike David Price because he got $217 million from the Red Sox,” he said Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field. “I’m happy where I’m at, and we’re happy where we’re at. I don’t second-guess my decision my any means.”

Lester would seemingly be a good resource for Price, who has struggled to a 6.14 ERA after his first six starts with the Red Sox.

He knows what it’s like to top a rotation with the Red Sox, while also having a good grasp on how to handle that first season of being his team’s highest-paid player.

“I think the biggest thing is that first year is a little more difficult than the second year,” said Lester, who went 11-12 with a 3.34 ERA in 2015 with the Cubs. “The first year, the microscope is on you. It’s not on anybody else. The biggest thing is that the quicker you can realize you can’t justify what happened in the offseason, I think the easier it becomes to do your routine, pitch and be you, as opposed to trying to be a number.

“I think it’s a different situation for him, too, because he has David, he has Pedey [Dustin Pedroia], he has Pablo [Sandoval], he has Hanley [Ramirez]. He has all these other guys who have these contracts. Here, it was me last year. Not only did I have the microscope on me for that. I was supposed to turn this whole thing around for the team. So I put a lot of pressure on myself to do that, single-handedly. But as the summer went on you come to realize we have some really good talent. We have guys on this team where I don’t have to do everything. I can do my part, the best I can, and that’s all I can control. Once I started settling in that, I started pitching like myself again.”

Lester, for one, has no doubt Price will be a wise investment for his old team.

“I think David handles himself pretty well,” the Cubs southpaw said. “I’ve been around him a little bit. Played against him for a long time. I think he’ll be fine. We all know that he’s not going to pitch to a 6.00 ERA the whole season.”

(For more comments from Lester on his current existence with the red-hot Cubs, click here.)

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Jon Lester has joined fellow former Red Sox David Ross and John Lackey in playing key roles for the red-hot Cubs (Mark J.</p>
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The Red Sox and White Sox walked each other all night Thursday and it was brutal.

Fortunately for the visitors, however, none of the nine free passes handed out by Boston pitchers led to Chicago runs as the Red Sox took a 7-3 win at U.S. Cellular Field. The game, which saw the teams combine for 16 walks, gave the Red Sox the series victory in their three-game set in Chicago.

Henry Owens lasted 3-plus innings Thursday. (Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports)

Henry Owens lasted 3-plus innings Thursday. (Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox and White Sox walked each other all night Thursday and it was brutal.

Fortunately for the visitors, however, none of the nine free passes handed out by Boston pitchers led to Chicago runs as the Red Sox took a 7-3 win at U.S. Cellular Field. The game, which saw the teams combine for 16 walks, gave the Red Sox the series victory in their three-game set in Chicago.

Hanley Ramirez was one of three Red Sox to homer on the night. Ramirez was back in Boston’s lineup after sitting out Wednesday’s win to flu-like symptoms.

The Sox needed their offense to come through Wednesday, as a short outing from Henry Owens (two runs and six walks over three-plus innings) was aided by steady scoring over the course of the night. After taking a one-run lead into the sixth inning, the Red Sox gained separation thanks to a Jackie Bradley Jr. home run in the sixth and a two-run eighth inning on RBI from Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz.

Closing Time note

The first-place Red Sox improved to 17-11 on the season with the win. They will next head to New York for a three-game series with the Yankees.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

– The White Sox appeared set to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth inning but were saved by Mookie Betts. After Heath Hembree walked in a run and was replaced by Matt Barnes with one out, Betts caught an Austin Jackson fly ball and threw a tagging Brett Lawrie out at the plate to end the inning. The White Sox challenged the play, but the call on the field was upheld.

Betts also made a nice catch against the wall on a deep fly ball from Jose Abreu to open the bottom of the ninth inning. 

– Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hit streak to 11 games by belting a solo shot off Matt Albers in the sixth inning. Bradley also walked in the top of the eighth.

– Speaking solo homers, all three of Boston’s home runs came with the bases empty. That said, Dustin Pedroia’s home run was his fourth of the season. If he can stay healthy and hit them at the rate he has thus far, Pedroia could enjoy his first 20-homer season since 2012.

On the night, Pedroia was 3-for-5, giving him his second three-hit performance in his last four games.

WHAT WENT WRONG

– That Owens got out of the third inning without allowing a run was something of a miracle, so John Farrell was pressing his luck by sending his starter out for the fourth. That luck turned immediately when Avisail Garcia homered off Owens to begin the fourth. Owens was promptly given the hook and replaced by Heath Hembree.

Owens walked the bases loaded in the third inning with one out. After getting Melky Cabrera to foul out, Owens escaped the inning by striking out Brett Laurie.

– While Ramirez had a strong return to the lineup offensively, he didn’t have the best night at firs base. After struggling with a runner (Todd Frazier) in a rundown off a pickoff attempt earlier in the game, Ramirez allowed Cabrera to reach base in the bottom of the fifth on an infield single. Rather than covering first on a short grounder hit down the first base line, Ramirez ran after the ball and tried to tag the runner as he picked it up. Ramirez didn’t successfully scoop the ball, however, so he tagged Cabrera without the ball as the Chicago left fielder safely arrived at first base.

– Travis Shaw had a triple in the bottom of the third and scored on a sacrifice fly from Brock Holt, but the Mayor of Ding Dong City was the Mayor of Strikeout City Thursday night. Shaw struck out swinging three times.

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Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
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