David Price

David Price

Red Sox ace David Price will get his first taste of the team’s rivalry with the Yankees on Sunday night when he faces off against righty Nathan Eovaldi in the series finale.

Price has had an up-and-down start to the season, but despite some shaky outings he has not suffered a loss. His record sits at 3-0 with a 5.76 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. In his last outing on Tuesday against the Braves he looked sharp, going eight innings and allowing two runs on six hits. He walked two and tied his career high in strikeouts with 14.

“I don’t care about strikeouts,” Price said after the game. “I just want to go out there and pitch as deep as I can into games. … I just executed whenever I was ahead.”

In 31 appearances (30 starts) against the Yankees, Price is 13-7 with a 4.04 ERA and 1.299 WHIP. He has walked 62 and struck out 173 in 191 2/3 innings.

Eovaldi is 1-2 through four starts with a 4.38 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. In his last outing on Monday against the Rangers, however, he was dominant. He went seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits, and even took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning. The 26-year-old Texas native walked two and struck out six as the Yankees went on to win 3-1.

“In the fifth inning. I realized I had [a no-hitter] going on. Once it’s over with, it’s over with,” Eovaldi said following the outing. “And I just want to try to go as deep in the game as I can. … When it was hit, I thought it was an out. But with the shift, the ball made it through.”

Added Mark Teixeira on Eovaldi’s performance: “We saw tonight what we saw toward the end of last year, and we’d love for that to continue. Uncomfortable swings. You can tell how good a guy is and how good his stuff is by the reaction of the hitters. They’re swinging at pitches in the dirt or they’re swinging at pitches over their heads because it’s just an uncomfortable at-bat.”

In three career starts against the Red Sox, Eovaldi is 2-0 with a 4.24 ERA and 1.412 WHIP. He has walked two and struck out seven in 17 innings.

Yankees vs. Price (LHP)

Mark Teixeira (71 plate appearances): .203 AVG/.282 OBP/.391 SLG, 3 doubles, 3 home runs, 8 RBIs, 6 walks, 9 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (67): .333/.373/.508, 4 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts

Alex Rodriguez (65): .237/.308/.390, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 6 walks, 24 strikeouts

Brett Gardner (37): .207/.333/.207, 3 RBIs, 6 walks, 6 strikeouts

Brian McCann (30): .345/.367/.655, 3 home runs, 7 RBIs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Carlos Beltran (25): .250/.280/.333, 1 triple, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Chase Headley (20): .421/.450/.632, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Aaron Hicks (15): .308/.400/.462, 2 doubles, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts

Dustin Ackley (12): .182/.250/.273, 1 double, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Didi Gregorius (12): .273/.333/.273, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Austin Romine is 1-for-2 with an RBI and one walk.

Nathan Eovaldi

Nathan Eovaldi

Red Sox vs. Eovaldi (RHP)

Hanley Ramirez (13 plate appearances): .385 AVG/.385 OBP/.692 SLG, 1 double, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

Mookie Betts (9): .222/.222/.333, 1 double, 2 strikeouts

Xander Bogaerts (8): .125/.125/.125, 1 RBI

Brock Holt is 1-for-6 with two strikeouts.

David Ortiz is 3-for-6 with one strikeout.

Dustin Pedroia is 2-for-6 with a home run and one RBI.

Josh Rutledge is 2-for-4.

Chris Young is 0-for-2 with a walk.

Ryan Hanigan is 1-for-2.

Travis Shaw is 0-for-2.

Blog Author: 
Travis Upham

Rick Porcello has officially changed the conversation.

The pitcher who was viewed as an under-achieving, over-priced starter for much of 2015 is performing along the lines of what the Red Sox had hoped when signing him to a four-year, $80 million extension.

Rick Porcello improved to 5-0 with his win Saturday night. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello improved to 5-0 with his win Saturday night. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello has officially changed the conversation.

The pitcher who was viewed as an under-achieving, over-priced starter for much of 2015 is performing along the lines of what the Red Sox had hoped when signing him to a four-year, $80 million extension.

The latest opportunity for Porcello to prove his worth came Saturday night when the Sox starter went at least six innings for a major league-best (among active pitchers) 13th straight start.

When it was all said and done, the righty had gone seven shutout innings, leading the Red Sox to a 8-0 win over the Yankees, at Fenway Park. The performance improved Porcello to 5-0, while lowering his ERA to 2.76, the lowest it has been as a member of the Red Sox.

It is also the first time Porcello has claimed an ERA below 3.00 after the first month of the season. With his six strikeouts and one walk, he has now fanned 36 while issuing just six free passes. He has also totaled a 2.03 ERA in the four starts the pitcher has teamed up with catcher Christian Vazquez.

With the victory, the Red Sox will go into May at 14-10. The Yankees, conversely, dropped to 8-14, their worst start after 22 games since 1991.

The offensive highlight for the hosts came with the game seemingly locked up, with David Ortiz hitting his fifth homer of the season for the Red Sox’ fifth run, in the seventh inning.

The offensive hero was Jackie Bradley Jr., who went 3-for-3 (double, 2 triples) with three RBI and two runs scored. He finishes off the season’s first month hitting .500 (8-for-16) with runners in scoring position.

The rest of the Red Sox offense came more methodically, with John Farrell’s team getting two in the second inning against New York starter Michael Pineda, and then another pair in the sixth vs. reliever Chasen Shreve.

Closing Time note

With his home run, Ortiz now stands two away from tying Carl Yastrzemski for second-most homers hit in a Red Sox uniform, trailing only Ted Williams.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

– The Red Sox jumped out on the Yankees with two runs thanks to Mookie Betts’ two-run single. The right fielder was one of four Sox hitters to claim multiple-hit nights, joining Ortiz, Travis Shaw and Bradley Jr.

– It was Bradley Jr. who helped the Red Sox start run away in the sixth inning, notching his first triple of the night while scoring a pair. With four triples on the season, he now leads the major leagues.

WHAT WENT WRONG

– Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-4 before leaving for the final two innings, giving Marco Hernandez a chance to man second. For the two games against the Yankees, he is now 0-for-8 after hit .500 (7-for-14) in the three games leading up to the series.

SwensonGranite_RSPoftheW

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Joe Kelly, with help from Red Sox physical therapist guru Dan Dyrek (the man who has helped prolong the careers of both Larry Bird and David Ortiz), has seemingly gotten his shoulder issue under control.

Joe Kelly revealed the origins of his shoulder issue goes back to college. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports0

Joe Kelly revealed the origins of his shoulder issue goes back to college. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports0

Joe Kelly, with help from Red Sox physical therapist guru Dan Dyrek (the man who has helped prolong the careers of both Larry Bird and David Ortiz), has seemingly gotten his shoulder issue under control.

Kelly, who has started throwing off a mound, deciphered that the right shoulder impingement was a product of weakened muscles around his labrum. Now he executes the prescribed strengthening exercises two times a day, a routine he said has already paid off.

“My arm feels really, really good,” said the Red Sox starter, who hasn’t pitched since exiting from his April 19 start in the first inning. “All of the discomfort, and the little bit of pain I had, has pretty much subsided and gone.

“Every time I reached back to throw a pitch, I didn’t have that discomfort. I’m just trying to get that strength back so it doesn’t happen again. Just trying to get all the muscles around the shoulder stronger because they were pretty weak. They were over-compensating and making that impingement.”

But there has been another discovery.

As it turned out, this isn’t the first time Kelly has had to deal with this injury, with his previous approach to dealing with it far less productive.

It was seven years ago, while pitching his final stretch with Cal State-Riverside, that he felt the same sort of sensation. And because of a combination of a lack of information, and the impending Major League Baseball draft, responded in a potentially dangerous manner.

“I had one in college, pretty bad. Same thing,” he said. “I got a bunch of painkillers, and I got a bunch of anti-inflammatories, mixed them together, told my head coach, and told the trainer.”

“We were in a tournament so it was pretty good to hide from the scouts,” Kelly continued. “I had 1 1/2, two weeks off. But there were a bunch of blowouts so there was never a save situation, so when scouts and teams started asking my coach, he said, ‘Look, there wasn’t a save situation and I didn’t want to pitch him.’ Then they asked how I couldn’t pitch for a 1 1/2 weeks, so he said I had been throwing bullpens just to kind of cover for me. But I got shut down for 12 days and then when my pain went away I was only throwing 15-20 pitches. If I threw anything over 20 my coach was yanking because either I blew the save or wasn’t in a good situation. So it was pretty easy to hide, bounce back and recover because there was only 15-20 pitches of straight fastballs.

“It was obvious not the right thing to do because we weren’t fixing the problem, we just masking it. We weren’t trying to get my arm stronger.”

The ailment never completely went away, but, as Kelly pointed out it was, “nothing that painkillers or anti-inflammatories couldn’t fix.”

This time around, with each passing start, the discomfort became more and more of an issue.

“Every time I threw the ball I felt it and it was in the back of my head, thinking about what was going on,” Kelly said. “It kind of got worse and worse and worse and worse. In between starts it would build back up to get pretty close to what I thought was normal and then I would go out and start and it would set me back a little bit. The recovery was longer, longer and longer.”

Now, however, he believes they have found a permanent fix.

“Just knowing in the back of my mind, every time I go back, knowing mentally it’s not there instead of waiting for it to come back was big,” said Kelly of his recent throwing sessions. “I was waiting for the next pitch when it was going to show up, and it didn’t show up.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Henry Owens

Henry Owens

It wasn’t the only problem in Henry Owens’ debut this season, but it certainly didn’t help.

As it turned out, part of the pitcher’s problems when giving up three runs in 3 1/3 innings during his April 24 outing in Houston was due to pitch-tipping.

With runners on second base, Owens was offering an easy view of what pitch he was about to throw. That, in turn, led to the Astros baserunners signaling in what offering was coming to the hitter.

“CY [Chris Young] first saw it, and then mentioned it to [Clay] Buchholz and he brought me in and we saw video,” Owens said. “This was directly after my outing. We just watched and you could say I was better off just showing [the baserunner]. It was that obvious. So I just changed how I came set.”

Owens worked on correcting the problem in the days leading up to his start against the Yankees, Friday night. And while the results (6 innings 2 runs) were certainly more encouraging, he admits there’s still a ways to go.

It’s why he is scheduled to be joining Young before Sunday night’s game to keep work on hiding his pitches.

“[Friday] night we looked at videos to see. Coming set, there are still a couple of things,” said Owens, who explained he had never previously been identified as a pitch-tipper. “It’s something you don’t necessarily want to think about when you’re trying to execute a pitch. I came a long way in the last five days because we looked at video yesterday and it was really hard to see. Just from Houston to there it was better, and we’ll work on it [Sunday].

“These are elite baserunners out there, especially in the AL East. There are a lot of guys who get advantages. It’s something I’ll work on.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello will look to remain perfect on the season when he goes opposite righty Michael Pineda and the rival Yankees at Fenway Park on Saturday night.

Porcello has a sterling 4-0 record through four starts, with a 3.51 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. In his most recent outing Monday against the Braves, he only needed one run of support to get a win for his team. He threw 6 1/3 shutout innings, allowing just four hits. He walked two and struck out six as the Red Sox won the game 1-0. He looked dialed in and comfortable on the mound from the first pitch.

“It feels good that I’m not out there searching for something and trying to make an adjustment during a game,” Porcello said after the win.

In 11 career starts against the Yankees, Porcello is 5-4 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.248 WHIP. He has struck out 48 and walked 16 in 71 1/3 innings pitched.

Pineda is off to a rocky start in 2016, as his record sits at 1-2 through four starts to go with an ugly 6.95 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. His last time out on Sunday against the Rays was his worst start of the season. He allowed seven earned runs on 10 hits, four of which were home runs. He walked one and struck out nine as the Yankees went on to lose 8-1.

“There were some balls that were middle,” Yankees catcher Brian McCann said of Pineda after the game. “He made some pitches, and then he left some out over the plate.”

In seven starts against the Red Sox, Pineda is 4-3 with a 4.86 ERA and 1.081 WHIP. He has 38 strikeouts to go with just three walks in 37 innings of work.

Yankees vs. Porcello (RHP)

Jacoby Ellsbury (26 plate appearances): .480 AVG/.500 OBP/1.040 SLG, 2 doubles, 4 home runs, 4 RBIs, 1 walk, 2 strikeout

Brett Gardner (25): .304/.360/.435, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Mark Teixeira (21): .200/.238/.200, 1 walk

Carlos Beltran (20): .421/.450/.474, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Alex Rodriguez (17): .176/.176/.176, 6 strikeouts

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

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

Chase Headley (15): .286/.333/.571, 1 double, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Brian McCann (11): .091/.091/.091, 1 RBI, 4 strikeouts

Didi Gregorius (8): .167/.375/.167, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Starlin Castro is 1-for-3.

Michael Pineda

Michael Pineda

Red Sox vs. Pineda (RHP)

David Ortiz (15 plate appearances): .200 AVG/.200 OBP/.333 SLG, 2 doubles, 5 strikeouts

Xander Bogaerts (13): .308/.308/.308, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts

Mookie Betts (12): .333/.333/1.250, 1 double, 2 home runs, 2 RBIs, 4 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (10): .300/.300/.300, 1 RBI

Brock Holt (9): .222/.222/.333, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Jackie Bradley (7): .333/.429/.667, 2 doubles, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Travis Shaw is 0-for-5 with one RBI and one strikeout.

Hanley Ramirez is 0-for-3 with one strikeout.

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

Blog Author: 
Travis Upham

David Ortiz (center) celebrates a victory over the Yankees on Friday.</p>
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The narrative coming into the 2016 season, even without Aroldis Chapman, was that if you didn’t have the lead against the Yankees heading into the late innings, you might be in trouble.

The Red Sox evidently didn’t get the message.

David Ortiz. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

The narrative coming into the 2016 season, even without Aroldis Chapman, was that if you didn’t have the lead against the Yankees heading into the late innings, you might be in trouble.

The Red Sox evidently didn’t get the message.

After laying dormant for the first six innings, the Sox tied it with two in the seventh inning on a Jackie Bradley Jr. two-out, two-run double, and then won it thanks to David Ortiz.

Ortiz launched a Dellin Betances first-pitch slider over the left field wall with one out in the eighth inning and Xander Bogaerts aboard. It cemented the Red Sox’ 4-2 win over the Yankees, Friday night at Fenway Park.

Coming into the at-bat, Ortiz was 0-for-7 against Betances, striking out four times. But this time, the Red Sox designated hitter, who now has four home runs, got the last laugh. Ortiz finished with a pair of hits, and is hitting .396 in Sox wins (and just .216 in losses).

The Ortiz heroics was made possible because of Bradley Jr.’s rocket off the left field wall against Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka, who had dominated the Sox through six innings.

But in the seventh, both Travis Shaw and Brock Holt notched opposite field singles, setting up the center fielder’s game-tying hit. The double drove ended the night for the New York starter, who gave up the two runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out five and not walking a batter.

Keeping the Red Sox close was Red Sox starter Henry Owens, who also allowed two runs on six hits in his six innings.

The Red Sox bullpen closed things out while the bats were taking care of business, with Matt Barnes, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel each pitching one perfect inning.

For a complete box score, click here.

Closing Time note

The Red Sox improved to 13-5 when Brock Holt starts.


WHAT WENT RIGHT

– The Red Sox claimed four double plays in the first five innings, including Holt gunning down Starlin Castro at home after catching a Chase Headley fly ball in the second inning.

WHAT WENT WRONG

– The top of the Red Sox order struggled, with leadoff hitter Mookie Betts and No. 2 batter Dustin Pedroia going a combined 0-for-8

SwensonGranite_RSPoftheW

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford