Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez

As the Red Sox are in the midst of a 43 games in 44 days grind, they will look to give some players an occasional down day.

Wednesday it will be Hanley Ramirez as he is out against the Tigers as the Red Sox look to avoid the sweep.

Travis Shaw will play first base in his absence, while Aaron Hill will play third. Brock Holt is in left field as the Red Sox go up against rookie right-hander Michael Fulmer.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Aaron Hill, 3B
Travis Shaw, 1B
Sandy Leon, C
Brock Holt, LF
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Red Sox will send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound Wednesday afternoon to wrap up a nine-game homestand and three-game series against the Tigers. Rodriguez will start opposite 23-year-old rookie right-hander Michael Fulmer.

In eight major league starts this season, Rodriguez is 2-4 with a 6.70 ERA and 1.54 WHIP. The 23-year-old southpaw has struggled mightily at times but has shown signs of improvement as of late. Most recently, Rodriguez let up two runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings in a 2-1 loss to the Twins last Friday. He struck out eight and walked just one, but could not avoid picking up the loss.

Rodriguez has faced Detroit just once in his career, in an 11-1 Red Sox win on July 26 of last season. He allowed only one run on three hits in seven innings, striking out six and walking just one in the outing.

Fulmer will take the mound Wednesday with a 9-2 record to go along with a 2.41 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. The rookie has quietly had a strong season, and he’s 8-1 in his last 13 starts. He last pitched Friday in a 7-5 win over the White Sox, when he surrendered four earned runs on six hits in five innings.

Fulmer credited his offense and the bullpen for coming through after he had a tough fifth frame.

“That’s why I love this team,” Fulmer said. “They never give up. Obviously I had a three-run lead going into the fifth and I gave up four runs. It’s easy to kind of shut down from there, but this team, they always fight, and the bullpen did a fantastic job putting up zeros the rest of the game. Ultimately, this offense is going to come through.”

Wednesday’s game will be Fulmer’s first against the Red Sox. He is 4-0 in five starts against American League East teams this season.

Tigers vs. Rodriguez (LHP)

James McCann is 1-for-3 with 1 double and 1 strikeout.

Nick Castellanos is 1-for-3 with 1 home run, 1 RBI and 1 strikeout.

Mike Aviles is 1-f0r-3.

J.D. Martinez is 1-for-3.

Ian Kinsler is 0-for-3.

Victor Martinez is 0-for-2 with 1 walk.

Jose Iglesias is 0-for-2.

Red Sox vs. Fulmer (RHP)

No Red Sox batters have faced Fulmer.

Blog Author: 
Nicholas Frazier
Steven Wright isn't having a great month. (David Butler/USA Today Images)

Steven Wright isn’t having a great month. (David Butler/USA Today Images)

Steven Wright will head into his last start of July with a 12-5 record and 3.12 ERA. The outing before Tuesday night was a classic lock-down performance for the knuckleballer, allowing just two runs over eight innings.

Yet, after the Red Sox’ 9-8 loss to the Tigers, there seems to be some uneasiness when it comes to the pitcher who entered this week as this team’s ace.

Wright turned in one of his worst performances of the season in his most rent appearance, giving up eight runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings. In short, the wheels just fell off the wagon for Sox starter in this one.

“Tonight was probably the toughest out of all the outings. That’s baseball,” he said. “You’re going to have good days, you’re going to have bad days. This was definitely a bad day.”

It certainly seemed like Wright’s downfall could be attributed to the same sort of factors found in his other bumps in the road. After a rocky first two innings — giving up a pair of runs in each frame — he had seemingly settled down until the fifth. That’s when the Tigers managed four runs, driving Wright from the game.

That sudden loss of effectiveness seemed to coincide with Wright constantly wiping off his forearms, which were becoming increasingly wet due to the hot Fenway Park night. And it had been that kind of moisture which had previously done in Wright.

It was why he had heeded the advice of former knuckleballer Steve Sparks and started using a concoction of glycerin and rosewater to help keep his hands dry. (The rosin bag has an unwanted effect due to the stickiness it provides.)

But, despite the constant wiping in between the three singles and two walks in the fifth, Wright insisted the moisture wasn’t the issue this time around.

“It makes it move a little bit more but I don’t think that really affected me today,” Wright said. “I felt like the ball was moving. I thought the ball was coming out of my hand really good. Definitely had a little bit of a hard time getting called strikes and they were taking. They had a good approach, especially that last inning. … They put the ball in play and just found holes. When you walk two guys, that’s where the damage comes because that’s where they can hit their way on. All of a sudden you get a few passes and now a single all of a sudden is a single with an RBI instead of just a single. That’s when the floodgates just opened.”

So without the elements as the issue, it leads to some more raised eyebrows heading into the final two months. The 6.37 ERA Wright owns in July will also lead to some concerns.

But if this the one that really just reeked of the knuckleball not going the right way, than there will be an acceptance that those things happen with this type of pitch. Fans around here have lived through the uncertainty with Tim Wakefield, and predicted Wright’s run couldn’t possibly go uninterrupted.

So now all eyes turn to California, where he will make starts in Anaheim and then Los Angeles. The good news is that at least rain won’t be one of his problems.

“This is a tough loss for me because I feel like you can get eight runs, you should get the team a win,” he said. “You can’t keep asking the offense to score eight, nine runs eveyr night. That’s tough to do for any team.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Within the Red Sox’ 9-8 loss to the Tigers Tuesday night at Fenway Park were a few decisions made by manager John Farrell with the pitching staff worth debating.

The first was with Steven Wright in the fifth inning.

John Farrell

John Farrell

Within the Red Sox’ 9-8 loss to the Tigers Tuesday night at Fenway Park were a few decisions made by manager John Farrell with the pitching staff worth debating.

The first was with Steven Wright in the fifth inning.

Wright clearly didn’t have his best stuff as he had allowed four runs going into the inning. After the Red Sox had given him a 5-4 lead, the knuckleballer walked the first two batters of the inning, which were followed by two straight singles. An RBI ground out made it a 6-4 game with runners on second and third with one out.

Wright was able to get the next batter to pop out, but then with left-hander Robbie Ross Jr. seemingly ready in the bullpen, Farrell stuck with Wright who allowed a two-out, two-run single to Jarrod Saltalamacchia to give the Tigers a 8-4 lead.

With two relievers unavailable, it seemed Farrell wanted to do anything in his power to get Wright through the fifth inning.

“On a night when [Clay] Buchholz is unavailable, [Matt] Barnes is unavailable, trying to get him as deep as possible to get us in those middle innings and possibility beyond,” Farrell said. “Unfortunately, can’t get through the fifth.”

Buchholz has pitched four times in the last six days, but Barnes being unavailable is puzzling considering he worked 1/3 of an inning Sunday after throwing three innings last Wednesday.

Then in the seventh inning, Ross Jr. was still in the game with the game tied at eight. It was his second full inning of work and after retiring the first two batters of the inning, things started to fall apart.

Ross Jr. hit a batter, allowed a single and then walked two, including the second with the bases loaded to allow the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run to score. Right-hander Joe Kelly was warming and entered following the walks to Saltalamacchia and No. 9 batter, lefty Tyler Collins. Kelly retired Ian Kinlser on one pitch to get out of the inning without further damage.

Farrell defended sticking with Ross Jr. against Saltalamacchia and Collins.

“Well, Joe is in the game against right-handers,” he said. “Felt like with Saltalamacchia, wanted to keep him on the right side of the plate and with a left-hander coming behind him. Robbie has been 40-plus pitches before. He was the one guy who had the most rest down there and needed to stay with him.”

Ross Jr. finished the game logging two innings, allowing the one run, while throwing an even 40 pitches.

The Red Sox’ last five losses have been one or two-run games and they are now 21-22 on the season in those games overall.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Robbie Ross Jr.

Robbie Ross Jr.

Robbie Ross Jr. thought he had things under control.

With the scored tied heading into the seventh inning, the Red Sox reliever started the frame by getting Victor Martinez to strikeout and then Nick Castellanos on a ground out. But then came a pitch that hit Justin Upton, Mike Aviles’ single and a walk to Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

That brought up Tyler Collins with the bases loaded.

In nine at-bats against left-handers this season, Collins had reached base just one time. Ross, conversely, was holding lefty hitters to a .156 batting average, the best mark in the American League.

It didn’t work out as planned.

On a 3-2 pitch, Ross chose to use a slider, but missed badly. The walk forced in what would ultimately be the winning run in the Tigers’ 9-8 win over the Red Sox.

After the loss, Ross explained his thought process:

“I felt great. I just couldn’t command the zone right at the end. I was battling to find the strike zone. I felt good. It was surprising, actually. It was the feeling of, ‘OK, I’m right here. This is a make or break kind of thing. Let’s try and get out of it.’ Then it was like, ball here, ball here, ball here. And I felt myself every now and then pulling off the ball instead of staying through it.

“I felt it was the one pitch I was staying through and I was staying down through the ball. I felt myself drop under it instead of staying through it. It was just laziness right there at the last second. It’s frustrating because I was throwing my slider good so I was like, ‘Dude, if I can just spot this up he might be swinging. Hopefully he’s geared up for a fastball, or he rolls over to [Dustin Pedroia] Pedey or to [Hanley Ramirez] Hanley or he’s out in front of it and hits a pop fly.’ I just didn’t feel my fastball right there. My fastball is one of my best pitches right now, but I just felt myself coming off the ball so I thought if I come off a slider it might still stay in the zone. But it came way off.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Even though the Red Sox offense showed plenty of fight coming back from four and three-run deficits in the game, it still wasn’t enough to beat the Tigers.

Detroit scored a run in the seventh inning off left-hander Robbie Ross Jr. to break a 8-8 tie and it was able to hold on for a 9-8 win over the Red Sox Wednesday night at Fenway Park.

Steven Wright didn't have it Tuesday as he allowed eight runs in taking a no-decision. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Steven Wright didn’t have it Tuesday as he allowed eight runs in taking a no-decision. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Even though the Red Sox offense showed plenty of fight coming back from four and three-run deficits in the game, it still wasn’t enough to beat the Tigers.

Detroit scored a run in the seventh inning off left-hander Robbie Ross Jr. to break a 8-8 tie and it was able to hold on for a 9-8 win over the Red Sox Wednesday night at Fenway Park.

Ross was able to record the first two outs of the seventh inning with no issues, but allowed a hit-by-pitch, a single and back-to-back walks to walk in the eventual game-winning run.

The Red Sox had the tying run on the ninth, but Ortiz hit into a game-ending double play.

The seventh inning wasted a valiant comeback effort by the Red Sox, which included two home runs. They now have 31 since July 4, which leads the majors in that span.

Trailing 8-5 going into the sixth, the Red Sox scored three times in the inning to tie the game at eight. Jackie Bradley Jr. got the scoring going with a solo homer to lead the inning off, then later Dustin Pedroia had an RBI single and Xander Bogaerts beat out a potential double-play ball to plate the tying run.

It was the worst start of the year for knuckleballer Steven Wright, but because of the Red Sox offense took a no-decision. He allowed eight runs on nine hits in just 4 2/3 innings of work, while walking three and striking out two. His eight earned runs were a career-high.

The most frustrating thing for Wright was the Red Sox had rallied to take a 5-4 lead after the fourth inning, but Wright walked two batters to open the fifth and would go on to allow four runs in the frame.

Trailing 4-0 after two innings, the Red Sox rallied with three in the third courtesy of David Ortiz’s 25th home run of the season and then scored two more in the fourth to grab a 5-4 lead at the time.

Closing Time note

Ross Jr. has stranded his last 10 inherited runners.

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

WHAT WENT WRONG

— Wright just didn’t have it. The knuckleballer saw his ERA climb from a league-leading 2.67 to 3.12. He may have been kept in a batter too late too, as Ross Jr. was warming when he allowed a two-out, two-run single to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. His ERA over his last six starts is 6.29.

— Ross was looking good after retiring the first two batters of the seventh, but couldn’t get out of the inning. After allowing the go-ahead run to score he was replaced by Joe Kelly, who needed just one pitch to get out of the inning.

— The reigning American League Player of the Week Hanley Ramirez went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— After returning from his knee injury going 0-for-6 in his first six at-bats, Mookie Betts has seemed to get back into the flow of things. He reached base in each of his next three at-bats, including two doubles and a walk before lining out in the eighth.

— With his homer, Ortiz became the ninth player in MLB history with at least 25 home runs at age 40 or older. He also has 61 extra-base hits, which are one shy of the record for a player who is at least 40 years old.

— Bradley Jr. reached base three times as besides the home run he singled and walked.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Chris Sale talk figures to last all the way through Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline. But that certainly doesn’t mean all the smoke will ultimately lead to any kind of fire.

Chris Sale

Chris Sale

The Chris Sale talk figures to last all the way through Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline. But that certainly doesn’t mean all the smoke will ultimately lead to any kind of fire.

According to multiple major league executives who have been in communication with the White Sox, the chances of Chicago dealing Sale remain ‘highly unlikely,’ unless White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is ‘absolutely blown away’ by an offer for the 27-year-old lefty.

This, of course, doesn’t mean Sale absolutely doesn’t get traded before Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline, with one executive with an interested team saying they think ‘there’s a chance’ a blockbuster deal gets done.

Late last week sources told WEEI.com following Sale’s meltdown Saturday, in which he cut up his team’s throwback uniform in protest of having to wear them during his start, the White Sox were still not inclined to trade the ace or his rotation-mate, Jose Quintana.

One of the more interesting names surfaced in rumors involving Sale is pitcher Julio Urias, who the New York Post reported the Dodgers would be willing to include in a deal for the White Sox pitcher. The 19-year-old is considered one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, and has a 4.69 ERA over his nine starts, having struck out 48 in 40 1/3 innings.

Sale is under team control through 2019, while scheduled to not make more than $13.5 million in any season. The final two years of his deal are team options.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford