The Red Sox begin a four-game series against the Angels at Fenway Park on Monday when they send Brandon Workman to the mound against C.J. Wilson.

Brandon Workman

Brandon Workman

The losses have been piling up for Workman as of late. The right-hander lost twice in a matter of three days from Aug. 7-9 to make it six defeats in his last six appearances.

Workman (1-6, 4.45 ERA) allowed three runs in the first inning Aug. 7 against the Cardinals and never recovered as the Sox suffered a 5-2 loss in St. Louis. Workman gave up four runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out five.

“I just didn’t come out sharp in the first inning,” Workman said after the game. “That got me today. I put up a three-spot in the first and put the team behind the 8-ball against a good pitcher. I got it going after that, but the first inning was enough.”

Workman’s appearance two days later was much shorter, but it may have stung more. The 25-year-old lasted just one batter after he gave up leadoff home run to Albert Pujols to give the Angels a walkoff win in the bottom of the 19th inning.

Workman is 0-6 with a 6.35 ERA since June 27, prompting Farrell to skip the righty’s turn in the rotation. Monday will be his first appearance in nine days and his first start in 11.

“It was an opportunity to give him extended rest, which we prioritized,” Farrell said Saturday.

The six-pitch appearance Aug. 9 is the only for Workman against the Angels in his career.

Wilson (9-8, 4.71 ERA) hasn’t had much to feel good about the last couple of months. Prior to his start last Tuesday, the lefty had posted an 11.03 ERA in his last six starts and hadn’t earned a win since June 24. That stretch also included a three-week injury absence in between.

Tuesday’s start against the Phillies, however, was much more encouraging. Wilson allowed just two runs — his lowest total in an outing since June 19 — on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings to lead the Angels to a 7-2 win. He walked two and struck out two on 105 pitches.

“It’s still not there,” Wilson said after the game. “I was just trying to control the rhythm of the game and not overthrow it.”

Monday will be Wilson’s first start against the Sox this season. He lost both of his outings against the Red Sox in 2013, giving up seven runs (four earned) over a combined 11 2/3 innings. Wilson is 5-3 with a 2.70 ERA in 21 games (nine starts) against the Sox in his career.

Angels vs. Workman (RHP)

Albert Pujols homered in his lone plate appearance.

Red Sox vs. Wilson (LHP)

Mike Napoli (34 plate appearances): .207 AVG/.324 OBP/.379 SLG, 1 HR, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (24): .429/.500/.714, 1 HR, 3 doubles, 6 RBIs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

Yoenis Cespedes (20): .400/.550/.950, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts

David Ortiz (16): .125/.125/.188, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 5 strikeouts

Daniel Nava (9): .333/.556/.333, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

Kelly Johnson (7): .167/.286/.167, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Blog Author: 
Nick Canelas
Garin Cecchini is in the middle of an eight-game hitting streak. (WEEI.com)

Garin Cecchini is in the middle of an eight-game hitting streak. (WEEI.com)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 6-5 LOSS VS. SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE (YANKEES)

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– Feats of Mookie: Another triumphant triumvirate. Mookie Betts went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, the 14th time in 99 minor league games and the seventh time in 45 contests in Pawtucket that he’s had at least three hits, and the fifth time (and third this month) that he’s had two doubles in a game this year. In 45 games in Pawtucket, he’s hitting .335/.417/.503 with 19 extra-base hits, 26 walks and 30 strikeouts; over the full minor league season, the 21-year-old is hitting .346/.431/.529 with 61 walks, 50 strikeouts, 33 steals and 46 extra-base hits.

– Outfielder Bryce Brentz went 2-for-4 with a homer, giving him 10 longballs in just 51 games this year in Pawtucket. The 25-year-old has been producing since his return to Pawtucket following roughly two and a half months on the sidelines (and rehab assignments) while rehabbing a hamstring injury. In 12 August games, he’s hitting .286/.345/.571 with four homers. That uptick in production has coincided with a somewhat more aggressive approach at the plate that has been characteristic of Brentz throughout his career; Brentz has walked 7.3 percent of the time since returning from the DL, after walking in 12.7 percent of plate appearances prior to the injury. Of course, he was also struggling to a .230/.335/.430 line in April and May.

– The good news for Garin Cecchini: He launched his seventh homer of the year, matching (in 101 games) his home run output from 2013 (from 129 games between High-A and Double-A). The bad news: He struck out twice and now has 86 strikeouts, matching his total from a year ago.

Those season numbers aside, Cecchini looks like he’s amidst his best offensive run of the year. He has an eight-game hitting streak in which he’s hitting .394/.429/.697 with two homers, four doubles, two walks and seven strikeouts. In the process, he’s lifted his season line to .250/.323/.354.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 7-1 WIN VS. RICHMOND (GIANTS)

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– On a day when he recorded an uncharacteristically low number of groundball outs (2), sinkerballer Mike Augliera nonetheless navigated effectively through six innings, allowing one run on six hits (a solo homer and five singles — four of the groundball variety) while walking two and punching out six. The 24-year-old has pitched six or more innings in seven straight outings.

– DH David Chester mashed his sixth homer in 51 games in Portland but his first since July 28. The 25-year-old is hitting .241/.316/.406 in 73 minor league games between Salem and Portland this year.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 9-1 WIN VS. MYRTLE BEACH (RANGERS)

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– Center fielder Manuel Margot went 3-for-4 with an electrifying inside-the-park home run, making the 19-year-old 6-for-9 with two homers (one of the over-the-fence variety) and seven runs batted in over his last two games, his second and third contests following a promotion. After entering the year with five career homers and 32 extra-base hits in 117 minor league games, the teenager has seen his power translate with increased frequency in games. He now has 12 homers and 37 extra-base hits through 102 contests this year. He’s hitting .292/.358/.465 in Greenville and Salem this year, up from a .270/.346/.351 line last year in Lowell.

– Corner infielder Jantzen Witte went 2-for-3 with a walk and his second homer in as many days, giving him 12 homers among his 58 extra-base hits in 115 games this year.

Matty Johnson went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 17 games, a run during which the 26-year-old is hitting .391/.447/.580 with two homers and eight extra-base hits.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 3-2 LOSS AT SAVANNAH (METS)

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– Though his ceiling may not match that of others in the lower levels like Cody Kukuk and Trey Ball, right-hander Teddy Stankiewicz may be the best bet to emerge as a big league starter in the Red Sox system below the Double-A level.

The 20-year-old has shown an ability to repeat his delivery and throw strikes with a four-pitch arsenal (fastball, curve, slider, change) while featuring the sort of frame (6-foot-4 and 200 pounds) and power (he’s touched 96-97 mph, while working comfortably in the 92-94 mph range in the rotation) to suggest an opportunity to advance. And, notably, both his stuff and results have held up over the course of his first full pro season.

The 2013 second-rounder tossed six innings on Sunday in which he allowed three runs on seven hits in which he walked none and punched out six. It was his sixth straight outing in which he worked at least six innings, his fifth straight with one or no walks, and his 14th straight with two or fewer walks. His strikeout rate continues to tick up steadily as the year progresses, from 4.5 per nine innings in April to 7.2 in May, 7.3 per nine in June, a brief dip to 6.6 per nine in July and now, to date this month, 7.9 per nine innings. So far in August, he’s 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA, 22 strikeouts and three walks in 25 innings while holding opponents to a .189 average.

He carries himself like someone who has the conviction that he will make it to the big leagues, with that makeup described as being a separator from a number of players at that level.

Danny Bethea, serving as DH, went 3-for-3 with a homer, his first longball in 18 games this year and the second of his 63-game minor league career.

SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 9-1 WIN AT HUDSON VALLEY (RAYS)

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– Outfielder Joseph Monge went 5-for-5 with a double, with the five hits representing a career-high for the 19-year-old. Monge, a 2013 17th-round pick out of high school in Puerto Rico, is now hitting .328/.373/.393 in 18 games with Lowell following his promotion from the GCL, where he hit .266/.390/.453.

– Shortstop Mauricio Dubon entered the All-Star “break” (which lasts one day) with his fourth multi-hit game in nine contests, going 3-for-4 with a double to push his average above .300. The 20-year-old is now hitting .305/.327/.389, including .383/.375/.447 in August. Clearly, the fact that he has no walks in 15 games this month suggests an area for refinement, but he’s struck out just six times in that stretch, suggesting a player with the hand-eye coordination to get the bat on the ball with enough frequency to permit him to go on hot streaks.

– Right-hander Aaron Wilkerson tossed six shutout innings in which he scattered seven hits, walked one and punched out four. The 25-year-old has given up one or no runs in five of his six starts since the Sox purchased his contract from an independent league. He’s 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA, 37 strikeouts and eight walks in 35 innings.

– Right-hander Williams Jerez, making his second appearance since moving up from the GCL to Lowell following his conversion from the outfield to the mound this year, tossed a scoreless inning, walking a batter and punching out two while not giving up any hits. So far, New York-Penn League opponents are 1-for-10 with four strikeouts against the 22-year-old.

ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: OFF DAY

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: OFF DAY

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

The Red Sox‘€™ 11-game homestand continues Monday as they host the Angels for a four-game series at Fenway Park.

Boston is coming off of a disappointing four-game split with the Astros, who managed to cross the plate 15 times over the final two games.

The Red Sox lost in disappointing fashion Sunday, as Joe Kelly gave up seven earned runs in his Fenway debut en route to an 8-1 Astros win.

“Plenty of stuff. Plenty of power. Plenty of action to his secondary pitches,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell when speaking about Kelly. “Just his command was not as its been in the first two outings for him.”

In their last meeting with the Angels, the Red Sox took two of three games in Anaheim from Aug. 8-10.

A four-game set at Fenway comes at a crucial time for Mike Scioscia‘€™s Angels, as the club enters Monday’€™s game percentage points ahead of Oakland for first place in the American League West.

Los Angeles is coming off of a series win against the Rangers that almost ended in an Angels sweep. However, Texas scored two runs off closer Huston Street in the ninth inning Sunday for a 3-2 walkoff win.

“It’s always a strange feeling when you don’t get your job done,” Street said after the game. “It’s not really strange so much as it is frustrating, but it happens. It’s the game; that’s why we play them. I didn’t make very good pitches out there. That’s the bottom line.”

The Angels have had the upper hand against Boston over the last few seasons, winning six of their last eight games at Fenway Park and 12 of their last 17 games overall against the Red Sox.

Here are the probable pitchers for the four-game series.

Monday: Brandon Workman (1-6, 4.45 ERA) vs. C.J. Wilson (9-8, 4.71 ERA)
Tuesday: Allen Webster (3-1, 4.79 ERA) vs. Jered Weaver (14-7, 3.66 ERA)
Wednesday: Clay Buchholz (5-7, 5.79 ERA) vs. Garrett Richards (13-4, 2.53 ERA)
Thursday: Rubby De La Rosa (4-4, 3.79 ERA) vs. Matt Shoemaker (11-4, 3.84 ERA)

WHO’€™S HOT: RED SOX

Daniel Nava was the lone source of offense for the Red Sox Sunday, driving in the team’€™s only run of the game thanks to an RBI double in the third inning. The 31-year-old outfielder is hitting at a blistering .500 (9-for-18) clip over his last five games with five doubles and four RBIs. Since being recalled from Pawtucket on June 2, Nava ranks fourth in the American League in on-base percentage (.399) while compiling a .331 batting average.

– After surrendering seven earned runs in back-to-back outings from July 28-Aug. 3, Clay Buchholz has made a big rebound, posting two quality starts in a row against the Angels and Astros. Buchholz, who has mixed in his curveball at a much higher frequency over his last two starts, has compiled a 3.00 ERA during that stretch with 17 strikeouts in 15 innings of work. Despite his improved performance on the mound, Buchholz has not received a win since July 18.

Dustin Pedroia, who sat out Sunday’€™s game with flu-like symptoms, has been a spark plug for the Red Sox offense. The second baseman has gotten on base via a hit in 13 of his last 16 games, batting .358 (24-for-67) during that stretch.

WHO’€™S HOT: ANGELS

– Southpaw Garrett Richards has been a revelation for the Angels this season, posting a 13-4 record with a 2.53 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP in 25 starts. Richards has only gotten better as the summer has progressed, posting a 1.79 ERA since the start of June while only surrendering five home runs in 167 innings of work.

– While some of L.A.’€™s biggest stars have slumped over the past few games, outfielder Kole Calhoun has helped with shouldering the load on offense, batting .409 over his last seven games with two home runs and eight RBIs. Calhoun has been a steady presence in the Angels lineup for most of the season, as the 26-year-old has not recorded an OPS below .800 in any month since May.

WHO’€™S NOT: RED SOX

While his lackluster play at shortstop has proven to be costly over the last few games, Xander Bogaerts has not done much at the plate, either. Bogaerts is stuck in an 0-for-12 slump dating back to Wednesday. He’s batting .115 with just two extra-base hits this month.

Will Middlebrooks may have collected two hits Sunday, but the third baseman still is hitting just .171 (7-for-41) with no home runs and 10 strikeouts in August.

WHO’€™S NOT: ANGELS

Josh Hamilton has not been the run-producer that the Angels have expected him to be this year, as the talented outfielder is only hitting .266 with eight home runs and 35 RBIs in just 72 games. The five-time All-Star is batting just .189 in August and has been every worse as of late — striking out seven times in his last two games. He asked for and received a day off Sunday.

– Another star player in the Angels lineup has been struggling as of late, as Mike Trout has slowed down this month, hitting just .053 (1-for-19) over his last seven games with no extra-base hits. While Trout is only batting .217 in 60 at-bats this month, he has still been a solid contributor on offense, crushing three home runs and driving in 10 runs.

Blog Author: 
Conor Ryan

David Ortiz's home runs represent more than milestones. 



Much was made after the Red Sox‘ 8-1 loss to the Astros Sunday over a single ruling at second base that proved to be a game-changer.

Much was made after the Red Sox‘ 8-1 loss to the Astros Sunday over a single ruling at second base that proved to be a game-changer.

Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

With two on and one out in the top of the second inning, Marwin Gonzalez hit a ground ball that was fielded by Xander Bogaerts at short for what appeared to be a routine double play.

Bogaerts ran to second, threw to first and jogged with the rest of the team into the dugout with the inning seemingly over.

But it wasn’t.

Astros manager Bo Porter challenged that the ball left Bogaerts’ hand before firing to first, which the replay proved to be true, giving Houston life in the second. Two batters later Jose Altuve lifted his first-career grand slam to give the Astros a commanding 6-0 lead.

The result didn’t sit well with Red Sox manager John Farrell, who argued that teams are not allowed the review the front end of a double play at second base. The umpires told Farrell the play, which the skipper referred to as “the neighborhood play,” was a reviewable play after receiving confirmation from replay officials in New York prior to Houston’s challenge.

Farrell disagreed and was ejected for his response.

However, none of it would’ve mattered had Bogaerts made the play to begin with.

The rookie capped a troublesome weekend with his second fielding blunder in the last three days, amplifying questions about whether he has the instincts and feel for the game to be a major league shortstop.

On Friday, Bogaerts went to second base too late on a grounder his way instead of making an easy throw to first. His failure to record an out allowed the game-tying run to score in an eventual Red Sox loss.

Sunday’s gaffe proved even more costly. Bogaerts said he knew right away that he stepped on the bag after the throw, but hoped it was something the umpires couldn’t review. He said he was trying to make the play quickly in order to avoid Marc Krauss running into him at second to try to break up the play, which he affected the way he approached the play.

“It’s kind of something I knew I messed up right there,” Bogaerts said.

The blow worsened for Bogaerts after the Astros added four more runs as a result.

“After Altuve got up and hit that grand slam, there’s no worse feeling than that,” he said.

When asked to describe what the last three days have been like for him, Bogaerts said, “You guys have no clue. Sometimes I hide it on the outside, but inside it’s just tough.”

Bogaerts’ misplay epitomized more than just a forgettable weekend for him. The play outlined what has been a frustrating rookie season for the 21-year-old. Bogaerts has committed a team-high 17 errors, although only seven of them have come at shortstop. While his defense was expected to be a work in progress this year, his offensive numbers (.228/.296/.342) have been well below expectations.

Offensive production aside, Bogaerts’ biggest challenge has been learning to become a major league shortstop. However, his coaches are confident in him and said they can see him progressing as an infielder.

“Some guys pick it up a little bit quicker than others, but the thing is he’s getting repetitions,” said third base coach Brian Butterfield, who coaches the infielders. “Repetitions are key. Every player in this clubhouse has learned through repetitions. Unfortunately, at times, Bogey is learning it at 21 at the major league level. That’s tough. He’s under the microscope, he’s playing a very important position and things like that happen. But he’ll be fine.”

Butterfield said Bogaerts’ struggles go beyond the physical aspects of the game. He said the two discuss mental elements such as body language and battling adversity on a regular basis. All he needs is more experience.

“We’re all very pleased as a coaching staff on how far he has come in a short period of time from spring training to this point,” Butterfield said. “He’s worked real hard at his shortstop play. He worked very hard at third base before we moved him back. There’s so much that goes into it. It’s not just the physical preparation but it’s also the mental stress that is involved during the course of the year. It’s a tough position, there’s a lot of failure involved.

“He’s playing a very demanding position. Most young shortstops early in their career, whether it’s in the minor leagues or the big leagues, struggle. He’s going through a lot of things but he’s also a very intelligent guy, he’s got tough skin. He shows that he cares, he shows that he’s very accountable and shoulders the burden when things go wrong. He’ll get better for it.”

Farrell echoed those sentiments, saying Bogaerts is “not going to get the experience at any other level. While he’s been challenged at times, he’s also been very good at times. Through these experiences I’m very confident he’ll be better off for them.”

Blog Author: 
Nick Canelas

Something seemed amiss as the play unfolded.

Red Sox starter Joe Kelly issued a career-high six walks. (Getty Images)

Red Sox starter Joe Kelly issued a career-high six walks. (Getty Images)

Joe Kelly could have blamed the misplay by Xander Bogaerts that prolonged an inning that he had appeared to escape. He could have blamed the lengthy delay that arose from an umpiring review of whether Bogaerts stepped on second before firing to first to complete what had seemed — but proved not to be — an inning-ending double play. He did neither.

Instead, the right-hander, making his third start with the Red Sox and his first at Fenway Park, suggested that even though Bogaerts’ failure to step on second for the lead out of a double play and the subsequent review resulted in a prolonged inning (which he’d initially been ruled to have escaped with a 2-0 lead), the pitcher was responsible for the walk and grand slam that followed the extra out.

“Wouldn’t say it’s tough. You’ve got to find a way to just lock back in. You think you have a double play, and then you have to be ready for the next guy. That’s what this whole replay thing has brought on. I think pitchers are learning maybe not thinking the inning is over. That’s why we stay out there,” Kelly said of the difficulty of staying focused during a replay challenge. “[The home run by Jose Altuve] was probably a pitch I could’ve hit a homer on. It was a terrible slider. That’s something, going into the game plan, not throwing him any get-me-over sliders and it was one of those get-me-over-sliders and he put a good swing on it and hit a grand slam on it.”

That pitch was one of many that Kelly regretted. He matched a career-worst by permitting seven runs and set a new career standard with six walks in his four innings of work.

“Wasn’t very good. Just found myself nibbling in the beginning when I shouldn’t have, instead of pounding the zone. I just started missing. When I made a good pitch, it was hard for the umpire to call it a strike, because I was throwing so many balls. I had six walks, which is absolutely horrible. It’s just one of those games. I wasn’t very good today,” said Kelly. “I threw better offspeed pitches than my fastball. You can’t just go out there throwing offspeed. You’ve got to be able to command the fastbll against any team to be successful. Today was just one of those days where I couldn’t command my fastball and they made me pay for it.”

While Kelly’s first start in his new home park offered a hint of unfamiliarity, the pitcher made clear that the occasion was not responsible for his first decision (and loss) in a Red Sox uniform.

“I wasn’t nervous,” he said. “Just a terrible game.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Something seemed amiss as the play unfolded.

With one out in the top of the second inning, the Astros had taken a 2-0 lead over the Red Sox and were threatening to add on, but Marwin Gonzalez grounded a ball back up the middle that deflected off the glove of pitcher Joe Kelly and right to shortstop Xander Bogaerts. It was a tailor made double play, with Bogaerts only having to cross the bag and then fire to first.

The 21-year-old did just that, but he released the ball about a half step before he arrived at second base. On the field, the play was ruled a double play, though Bogaerts seemed uncertain, turning back towards second initially before making another half-turn and jogging off the field with his teammates.

“I knew right away once I let that ball go I stepped after,” said Bogaerts. “It’€™s something I knew I messed up right there but hopefully the umpires would not do the replay and we would’€™ve got the double play. I knew right away.”

Yet even as Houston manager Bo Porter jogged on the field to consult with the umpiring crew, it was unclear whether the call could be overturned. The “neighborhood play,” in which a middle infielder at second base on a double play pivot comes off the bag early to avoid an onrushing runner, was deemed something that was not subject to review while replay was implemented this spring. The umpiring crew wasn’t certain. 

“Actually, we have not had that play per se where the shortstop or the second baseman go right to the bag on their own,” umpiring crew chief Jim Joyce told a pool reporter. “So, just to make everything clear, I explained to Bo that I was going to ask New York, the replay center, if it was in fact reviewable because a neighborhood play is not. New York came back to me and said, ‘Yes, that play is reviewable,’ and I came back to them and said, ‘OK, Houston is challenging that play,’ and that was the outcome.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell was not pleased by that determination, which led to an inevitable outcome of Marc Krauss being safe at second, and the inning proceeding with runners on second and third and two outs. That prolonged the frame for Kelly to issue a walk to Robbie Grossman in front of a grand slam by Jose Altuve.

“My initial explanation on the field was that the front end of a double play was a non-reviewable play and my interpretation is that the neighborhood play should not be dependent on the feed throw or not. A neighborhood play is not a reviewable play,” said Farrell. “Unfortunately, [Bogaerts] releases the ball right prior to touching the bag. But to me, he’s releasing the ball at a time to avoid the runner that’s bearing down on him, which, again, the rule is in place to protect the middle infielder, the neighborhood play.

“We forced a couple of extra outs in the inning. Any time you do that, you’re asking for trouble,” added Farrell. “On a day when Joe scuffled with his command, the walks contributed and then fastball that leaked back to the inside half to Altuve, who had a great day. It compounds things. After that, I went too far with my reaction.”

Farrell endured his third ejection of the year while letting the umpires know what he thought of the decision to review the play, while Bogaerts was deflated while watching the Astros jump up 6-0 en route to their 8-1 win.

“You can’€™t be able to review the neighborhood play right? But they did and that call was made on their side,” said Bogaerts. “After, Altuve came up and hit it, and it’€™s the worst feeling there.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

The Red Sox have found just about every way possible to lose this season. But the way they fell Sunday is as frustrating for a team as it gets.