It was the singular play that symbolized a horrendous night of baseball for the Red Sox.

Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

It was the singular play that symbolized a horrendous night of baseball for the Red Sox.

Mookie Betts has shown more often than not, in his first full season with the team, that he is not just a highly-skilled player with multiple tools, but a smart one as well. Friday night, he did not show those qualities in a brutal 12-8 loss in 10 innings to Houston at Fenway Park.

Down a run with one out in the bottom of the eighth and the Red Sox threatening against Astros reliever Pat Neshek, Betts thought he had a good enough lead from second base to take off for third on his own.

Astros catcher Jason Castro fired a bullet to Luis Valbuena that caused Valbuena to lose balance over the bag. But not before the Houston third baseman caught the ball and snapped his glove down to easily nab Betts for the second out. Xander Bogaerts walked and David Ortiz put a perfect swing on a tailing outside fastball from Neshek to drive it off the Monster for a game-tying double. But it should have been the go-ahead and eventual game-winning double.

With Xander Bogaerts at the plate, why in the world was Betts stealing?

“I had a sign, it was a tough at-bat for a righty, I was trying to force something and I shouldn’t have,” Betts admitted. “I was trying to put points together pretty much and didn’t have the right points. In hindsight you can always make the right decision. If I’m safe it’s a great play, since I’m out it’s terrible, so you just have to live and learn from it.

‘€œObviously, I know I messed up. The game continues. You’ve got to cheer on Bogey, have to forget it.”

“Overaggressive,” Red Sox manager John Farrell lamented. “Ill-advised. Overaggressive. We sacrifice him to get into scoring position because Neshek is under is under 1.15 seconds in his unloading times [to the plate]. Overaggressive decision on his part to attempt to steal.”

Indeed, Betts opened the inning by getting on base on an error from shortstop Carlos Correa. Brock Holt put down a perfect bunt to move Betts into scoring position with one out with the heart of the order coming up.

But that wasn’t the only visit to bizarro land for the Red Sox. Alejandro De Aza took off for third and was called for the “fourth” out of the inning when Houston first baseman Chris Carter forgot that Ryan Hanigan was the third out of the seventh inning on a ground out. Third base umpire Laz Diaz even made the “fourth out” call.

“He’s going first to third on a continued play,” Farrell said. “The fact is the third out is made at first base, he’s got the play behind him so if anybody lost the outs, the throw was made to third base.”

Then there was Hanley Ramirez hesitating on a pair of run-scoring doubles off the Monster before forgetting to take first base on Ball Four in the the seventh. Did Ramirez forget the count?

“Apparently, he may have,” Farrell said. “It’s Ball Four and he did not take the base until [home plate umpire Cory Blaser] told him it was Ball Four.”

Farrell has watched his team finally gain the scoring touch. They scored eight runs in the first inning Thursday night. They scored eight runs Friday. They have finally showed signs of putting big innings together and fighting back in the late innings. They were down 5-2, 7-5 and 8-7, only to battle back each time to tie the game.

“Our offense did a great job tonight,” Farrell said. “Three times we battled back when being down. A number of good swings. David obviously with a big one in the eighth inning to tie it. We continue to battle back. Our offense is swinging the bat well. We’re scoring a good number of runs. But the larger concern is getting deep into the games by the guys that are starting out the ballgame.”

Justin Masterson was good in the first three scoreless innings Friday. He couldn’t get out of the fourth, allowing five runs and seven hits.

“First three innings he was solid,” Farrell said. “And then in a matter of thirteen pitches there’s three runs on the boards and seven hits in the fourth inning. They went early in the count. When he did try to alternate, get a first-pitch slider in there, it was a ball. He had to fight back in the count. They were aggressive and took him the other way. I thought he came out [strong] early and had good life to his stuff. But to close out the fourth inning, it couldn’t happen.”

But after using Koji Uehara for just 11 pitches in the ninth inning Friday, Farrell decided it was time for Noe Ramirez to make his major league debut, with Junichi Tazawa unavailable. Farrell, who used five relievers, did not even think of using Uehara for the 10th.

“No,” Farrell said. “With knowing this probably has a chance to get into an extended situation. Ramirez and Koji were the last two guys in the bullpen. In a tie game, not going to pitch him two innings.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Red Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa has been used in 36 of the 82 games this season, by far the most on the team and tied for 11th-most in the American League.

Junichi Tazawa

Junichi Tazawa

Red Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa has been used in 36 of the 82 games this season, by far the most on the team and tied for 11th-most in the American League.

After not appearing in a game since June 28 and the Red Sox being in a tie game in both the eighth and 10th innings, it was quite a surprise not to see Tazawa used in a game the Red Sox fell 12-8 to the Astros.

Following the game it was unveiled why.

“He needed the series off in Toronto given how much the work load was in Tampa Bay He threw a bullpen earlier today. After the bullpen he was deemed OK and yet advised not be be used tonight — to not get him warmed up or hot twice in one day,” manager John Farrell said. “He will be available for tomorrow, but that was what the plan laid out to get on the mound today, but not be available tonight. Otherwise he would be in the eighth or the tenth, either of those situations.”

The Astros scored a run in the eighth inning on a leadoff home run by Carlos Correa off Craig Breslow and then tagged Noe Ramirez, who was making his major league debut, for four runs in the 10th inning, as he took the loss.

“It was the coaches’ decision to have some rest. It was all in the coaches’ hands,” Tazawa said through a translator following the game.

Overall, Tazawa is 0-3 with a 2.62 ERA on the year. He hasn’t allowed a run over his last four outings, spanning five innings.

For more Red Sox news, check out

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

While it wasn’t quite the Fourth of July (just yet), the Red Sox and Astros provided some fireworks in a wild game, which saw two lead changes and the game tied another three times, along with some bizarre plays over the four- hour and 23 minute affair.

The Astros got the last laugh in Friday's wild 9-8 win over the Red Sox. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Astros got the last laugh in Friday’s wild 9-8 win over the Red Sox. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

While it isn’t quite the Fourth of July (just yet), the Red Sox and Astros provided some fireworks in a wild game, which saw two lead changes and the game tied another three times, along with some bizarre plays over the four-plus hour affair.

In the tenth inning with Noe Ramirez making his major league debut, he allowed four runs (two unearned courtesy of Mike Napoli‘s error) as the Astros were able to get the last laugh in a back-and-forth game, winning 12-8 Friday night at Fenway Park.

In the eighth inning, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa hit a towering solo home run off Craig Breslow to leadoff the frame giving the Astros an 8-7 lead, but that was short-lived as the Red Sox would again tie the game in the bottom half of the inning on a David Ortiz opposite field double. The double could have given the Red Sox the lead, but Mookie Betts was thrown out trying to steal third base for the second out of the inning.

In the top of the seventh inning, Matt Barnes loaded the bases, but struck out Alex Presley for the second out of the inning. But the next batter, Jose Altuve, singled up the middle, giving the Astros a 7-5 lead.

Once again, the Red Sox would come right back in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at seven. Pablo Sandoval singled with the bases loaded scoring a run and then Alejandro De Aza’s fielders choice plated the tying run at the time.

Trailing 5-2 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Red Sox scored three times to tie the game at five. Ortiz singled home Brock Holt and then Xander Bogaerts scored on a fielder choice when Ortiz broke up a potential double play by taking the ball off the helmet sliding into second base. Hanley Ramirez advanced to second on the play and then scored on a two-out RBI single by Sandoval, against lefty reliever Tony Sipp.

Red Sox starter Justin Masterson allowed five runs on seven hits in the fourth inning, not even finishing the inning as he was removed after 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander didn’t allow a hit the first time through the Astros order, but Houston lit him up the second time around.

The Red Sox did play some spotty defense in the fourth, particularly in the left field as Ramirez appeared to have some trouble fielding two balls hit off the wall and getting the ball back in to the infield.

Ramirez gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead with a towering homer in the second inning and then the Sox scored another on a Betts single.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:


— Masterson struggled the second time through the order as the wheels completely came apart in he fourth inning as the Astros hitters were able to jump on fastballs early in the count.

— For Breslow it was his third home run allowed in two days, as he allowed two in Thursday’s win over the Blue Jays.

— Napoli went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, including a big one with the bases loaded in the seventh inning.

— Ramirez forgot how many outs there were in the seventh inning. He walked, but still was standing at the plate thinking it was only three balls. In the bottom half of the frame the Astros forgot how many outs there were as they thought there were two when there were three.


— Ramirez went 2-for-4. His home run in the second inning was his 17th of the season and the Red Sox estimated it traveled 429 feet. He now has an eight-game hit streak.

— Betts went 2-for-6 to extend his hit streak to five games.

— Tommy Layne did his job in relief of Masterson. The left-hander threw a career-high 30 pitches, going 1 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits, walking one and striking out three.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Red Sox will have a standard recent lineup Friday night when they host the Astros for the first of three games this weekend.

Ryan Hanigan

Ryan Hanigan

The Red Sox will have a standard recent lineup Friday night when they host the Astros for the first of three games this weekend.

Even with Shane Victorino activated Friday, Alejandro De Aza gets the start in right field, although manager John Farrell said he would play Saturday. Farrell will stick to Xander Bogaerts, David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez No.’s 3-5 against Astros right-hander Dan Straily.

Ryan Hanigan will make his first start at Fenway Park since breaking his finger May 1 against the Yankees. He will catch Red Sox starter Justin Masterson.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here. For a series preview, click here.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, CF
Brock Holt, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, LF
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Alejandro De Aza, RF
Ryan Hanigan, C
Justin Masterson, RHP

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Red Sox made a few roster moves prior to their weekend series with the Astros.

Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

The Red Sox made a few roster moves prior to their weekend series with the Astros.

Shane Victorino was taken off the disabled list and added to the active roster, although he won’t start Friday night. He had been on the disabled list with a left calf injury since May 25. In a corresponding move, Blake Swihart (toe) was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

Right-handed reliever Noe Ramirez was selected from Triple-A Pawtucket for the active roster and in turn, outfielder Jackie Bradley was sent back down to Triple-A. To make room on the 40-man roster for Ramirez, reliever Zeke Spruill was designated for assignment.

Swihart had suffered the toe injury a few weeks ago and took a few days off, but wasn’t fully able to recover. He had played just once since Sunday. The 15-day DL stint will be backdated two days.

“With Blake, he had been playing with some pain as we know,” manager John Farrell said. “The injury that he suffered to that small left toe is obviously still there. The symptoms never really subsided to the point where the recommendation at the time with the number of days needed initially, we kind of took a shortcut initially to get him back in the lineup. But we’re afforded the ability to give him so added rest right now.”

Farrell is excited about getting Victorino back on the field as he’s played in just 50 combined games the past two seasons. He will share time in right field with Alejandro De Aza, but Farrell said it wouldn’t be a strict right/left platoon and it is expected Victorino will play Saturday.

“[Victorino] as we all know, brings a tremendous amount of energy,” Farrell said. “He talks the game, he’s always seeing game situations as they unfold on the field and talking it in the dugout. I know Vic feels more comfortable in speaking his mind when he’s active and on the field and contribution. His in-game decisions are outstanding. And defense in this ballpark in right field, he plays it as good as anyone has played it. And we’re looking forward to having that back.”

Bradley goes back to the minors after hitting .211 (4-for-22) in eight games since being recalled for a second time this season in June. Farrell said Bradley is still adjusting to playing in the big leagues.

“The numbers are what they are,” he said. “But, what you do see is a swing path that I think is more consistent than what it was a year ago. That was evident in spring training and he’s carried it through. He hasn’t had the production at the big league level. We know that there is a sizable gap between Triple-A and here and yet Jackie is still working his way to get his feet on the ground and be a consistent performer here.”

Ramirez is a side-arm reliever, drafted in the fourth-round of the 2011 draft by the Red Sox. When he appears in a game it will be his major league debut.

“Right-handed reliever but he’s been a closer throughout the minor league career,” Farrell said. “It’s a different arm slot. There’s some sink to his fastball. And we’ve had a little bit of turnover on that bullpen and some guys pressed into action that we need to get a fresh arm here. So Noe comes to us.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable