Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

Coming off of yet another impressive start by Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox will look to win their third consecutive series Sunday afternoon when they send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound against Lance McCullers and the Astros.

After a set of lackluster starts in June, Rodriguez righted the ship in his latest start against the Blue Jays last Tuesday. In that outing he went six innings, giving up four hits and just one earned run to go along with four punchouts. Though he tossed 67 pitches in the previous start en route to a six-run implosion and a Red Sox loss vs. the Orioles on June 25, Rodriguez was on point at the Rogers Center, drawing a season-high 11 swinging strikes.

Suspecting that Rodriguez might have been tipping his pitches against the Orioles, his teammates came to the rescue, helping him rebound for his next start.

“The last time he pitched we all got on him because he was tipping his pitches really bad,” David Ortiz said following the Sox’€™ win over the Blue Jays. “We know he has that great stuff, but when you start tipping pitches hitters start eliminating pitches so it’€™s easier to hit. So in his case [Clay] Buchholz, myself, Panda [Pablo Sandoval], everybody was pretty much trying to him some ideas for his next outing. He executed really well, worked hard on it and he wasn’t tipping at all and that’€™s why he pitched the way he did tonight.”

Rodriguez has showcased dynamite raw stuff throughout his first month or so in the big leagues. He began his Red Sox career with two straight wins and 0.44 ERA through three starts. However, it did not take long for big league hitters to discover his tell, and once they did he spiraled into a horrendous three-start stretch in which opponents slashed .339/.382/.516 against him. Buchholz, no stranger to pitch-tipping himself, pinpointed Rodriguez’s issue and gave him some pointers on how to correct it.

“We watched video and showed him what was going on,” Buchholz said after the Blue Jays game. “He had no idea that he was doing anything wrong or anything different on any one pitch. These last four days that’€™s all he’€™s been talking about is working on it. He’€™s been the hotel room in front of a mirror he’€™s been working on it. He did a good job on it today.”

Rodriguez heads into his matchup with the Astros bearing a laudable 4-2 record and a 3.92 ERA through seven major league starts. Opposing him for the Cinderellas of MLB will be Lance McCullers, a fellow rookie.

Lance McCullers

Lance McCullers

McCullers, 21, is just one of a bevy of top-notch Astros prospects who has either already hit the big leagues or will within the next year or so. McCullers was drafted out of high school in Tampa, Florida, with the 41st overall pick of the 2012 amateur draft. As the son of former MLB pitcher Lance McCullers Sr., the right-hander seemingly has grown into expectations of big league success, and he has not disappointed thus far.

Going into Sunday’s game, McCullers sports a 4-2 record in nine starts with a 2.19 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. He’s no fluke, either, as he also owns a 2.63 FIP and a 9.8 K/9 rate, a result of his plus curveball.

“It was pretty good tonight,’€ McCullers said of the pitch after his latest start, a 6-1 win over the Royals last Monday. “I made an adjustment after the third. When I was getting ahead I was kind of burying it, and they weren’t really taking it. I wanted to get it more in the zone, so I had a lot of two-out contact on the curveball because I wanted to keep the pitch count down.”

McCullers has been downright dominant in his previous two starts, hurling 13 innings while accumulating 12 strikeouts and just two earned runs. His ERA over this stretch is a stingy 1.38 and opponents have been baffled to the tune of a .178/.269/.289 slash line.

Though he has never faced the Red Sox, Boston hitters have smacked right-handed pitching well this season with a .263 team batting average and a league-best 0.49 BB/K ratio.

Astros vs. Rodriguez (LHP)

No Astros have faced Rodriguez.

Red Sox vs. McCullers (RHP)

No Red Sox have faced McCullers.

Blog Author: 
Justin Pallenik

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

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

Carlos Peguero

Carlos Peguero

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (38-46): L, 12-4, at Syracuse (Nationals)

— Left fielder Carlos Peguero homered in each of his first two at-bats, his fifth and six long balls on the season for Pawtucket, as the PawSox took a 4-3 lead in the third inning on Peguero’€™s three-run blast. Both shots were pulled over the right-center wall by the lefty Peguero, for whom 11 of his 21 hits in Triple-A this year have gone for extra bases. The 28-year-old Peguero was acquired by Boston from Texas on May 27 in exchange for cash, then designated for assignment on June 4 after just four games with the Red Sox to make way as Boston acquired Alejandro De Aza. Peguero has played in 103 major league games in his career with Seattle, Kansas City, Texas and Boston, hitting .194 with 13 homers.

— Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. went 2-for-4 to raise his Triple-A average to .324, while also scoring a run. Bradley was erased on a steal attempt in the first on a called third strike to Rusney Castillo, as batter’€™s interference was ruled on the throw to second. Bradley stopped running and was tagged out as he was looking toward the plate in confusion. Castillo took an 0-for-4 with four strikeouts on the evening.

— RHP Pat Light (Boston’€™s No. 26 prospect at struggled in the seventh as he allowed two singles and then walked three straight batters, his last one walking in a run in a 27-pitch outing. The final two walks were four-pitch walks, with several pitches dangerously up and in to the right-handed hitters. After blowing two saves in June, the 24-year-old Light had responded with back-to-back scoreless outings before the rare control problems Saturday. Combined this year between Double-A Portland and Pawtucket, Light had walked 15 batters in 38 innings heading into Saturday’€™s action.

Jantzen Witte

Jantzen Witte

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (29-53): L, 5-2, at Binghamton (Mets)

— Third baseman Jantzen Witte went 2-for-4 with an RBI double, but he committed what turned out to be a costly error in the second. With two aboard and one out, a hard grounder to Witte possibly could have been a double-play ball, but Witte did not field it cleanly and the bases were loaded. Two batters later, Gavin Cecchini, the younger brother of Pawtucket’€™s Garin Cecchini, blasted a grand slam to give the B-Mets a 4-1 lead they would not relinquish.

— The four unearned runs were the only ones given up by starting RHP William Cuevas on the night, as he finished with a line of 5 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO (90 pitches, 54 strikes). Cuevas, a 24-year-old Venezuelan, took the loss to fall to 7-5, although he lowered his ERA from 3.75 to 3.51.

— Center fielder Manuel Margot (Boston’€™s No. 5 prospect at reached base twice and scored a run, going 1-for-3 to raise his average to .294. Margot, 20, has a hit in 11 of 13 games played with Portland since his promotion from Single-A Salem in June. Signed for $800,000 out of the Dominican Republic in the 2011 international signing period, Margot is 15-for-51 with four doubles, seven RBIs, six runs and four stolen bases so far with the Sea Dogs.

— Shortstop Marco Hernandez singled in the eighth inning and now has hit successfully in 14 of his last 15 games, eight of those games multi-hit affairs. The 22-year-old Dominican is hitting .312 on the season, fifth best in the Eastern League, over 60 games played this season. Hernandez came to Boston as the player to be named later in the Felix Doubront trade with the Cubs last July.

Kevin McAvoy

Kevin McAvoy

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (41-39): L, 15-0, at Lynchburg (Indians)

— RHP Kevin McAvoy took the loss, dropping his record to 4-7, as Lynchburg scored three runs in the first and single runs in the third and fifth off McAvoy, with four of the five runs allowed earned. In 4 2/3 innings McAvoy allowed six hits, all singles, to go with four walks and five strikeouts. The 6-foot-4 McAvoy, drafted in the fourth-round in 2014, is 4-7 on the season with a 4.28 ERA in 15 starts.

— Lynchburg racked up 20 hits by the end of the game, tagging relievers German Tavares and Chandler Shepherd for six and four runs, respectively, and finishing 13-for-23 with runners in scoring position.

— It was an all-around ugly night for Salem, as the Sox managed just four hits, all singles, and committed three errors. Center fielder Forrest Allday was the only Salem player to reach base twice, going 1-for 2 with a single and a walk to extend his hitting streak to four games. Third baseman Jose Vinicio also had a hit, and over his last nine games is 12-for-31 (.387), raising his average from .268 to .290.

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (43-37): L, 3-1, vs. Savannah (Mets)

— Second baseman Yoan Moncada (Boston’€™s No. 1 prospect at paced the Greenville offense as he reached based three times, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a looping opposite-field RBI single to left in the eighth. Moncada, 20, also stole a base, his 10th, and made a fine defensive play in the fourth as he dove to his left to come up with a grounder ticketed for right field. Over his last nine games Moncada has gone 11-for-34 (.324) with seven runs scored to raise his average 34 points to .234.

— Center fielder Bryan Hudson scored Greenville’€™s only run, as he led off the eighth inning by ripping a double down the left-field line and then ran home on Moncada’€™s single. The 20-year-old Hudson, drafted by Boston in Round 15 of the 2013 draft out of high school in Georgia, is 9-for-31 (.290) with three doubles through eight games played since his promotion from short-season Single-A Lowell.

— LHP Dedgar Jimenez started and pitched four scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out four, before being pulled with his pitch count at 78. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Venezuelan, inked for $175,000 in the 2013 international signing period, is coming off a strong June when he went 2-2 with a 2.73 ERA over five starts, with a 17-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 29 2/3 innings.

Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS (12-4): W, 6-5, at Tri-City (Astros)

— Center fielder Andrew Benintendi, Boston’€™s first-round draft choice this year, hit his first professional home run and went 2-for-4 in his second game in the Red Sox organization. The two-run homer came in the third inning and gave Lowell a 6-0 lead. The 20-year-old Benintendi, the seventh overall pick out of the University of Arkansas, is off to a 4-for-8 start at the plate and has hit in the three-hole of the Lowell lineup on consecutive days.

— Second baseman Hector Lorenzana also homered for Lowell, a three-run shot in the second inning that was Lorenzana’€™s first in the Red Sox organization. The 23-year-old Lorenzana was taken by Boston in Round 37 of the 2014 draft out of the University of Oklahoma and has played in 52 games in the organization over the last two seasons, getting time at Salem and Greenville in addition to Lowell and the Gulf Coast League.

— LHP Bobby Poyner, selected by Boston in Round 14 in this year’€™s draft, made his professional debut and picked up his first save with a scoreless ninth inning. Poyner allowed a leadoff single, but after a sacrifice bunt he recovered to strike out two batters to end the game. Poyner, 22, played four years of baseball at the University of Florida and struck out 134 batters in 174 innings while walking just 27.

Devon Fisher

Devon Fisher


— Catcher Devon Fisher reached base three times and had one of only three total hits for the GCL Red Sox in the blowout loss. The 19-year-old Fisher, who was drafted in Round 20 in 2014 and signed for $200,000 away from a commitment from the University of Virginia, has reached safely in five of his six games played this season. Fisher is 5-for-18 (.278) with four walks and four RBIs in his six games.

— Outfielder Danny Mars made his 2015 debut, going 0-for-4 as the DH. Mars, Boston’€™s sixth-round draft pick last year, played 44 games in 2014 with short-season Single-A Lowell before getting promoted to Single-A Greenville for 10 contests last August. The 21-year-old Mars signed for $215,000 last year out of Chipola College in Florida.

— Right fielder Chris Madera made his professional debut, going 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Madera, 22, was drafted by the Cubs in 2013 but did not sign and played two years for NAIA Faulkner University in Alabama before signing with Boston as an undrafted free agent. Madera hit .398 this season for Faulkner with nine home runs.

Check out the weekly Farm Report podcast hosted by Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable.

Blog Author: 
Ken Laird

Some would say Mookie Betts had a night to forget on Friday. He'd call it a game worth remembering.

Betts isn't considered a franchise building block on talent alone. His intangibles are every bit as encouraging, particularly his willingness to learn from his mistakes.

Is Xander Bogaerts All-Star worthy?

“He’s been slicing and dicing so we’ll sit back, press play, and watch him go forever.” — Justin Masterson on Clay Buchholz following the Red Sox‘ 12-8 extra-inning loss to the Astros Friday night.

Friday night Justin Masterson said Clay Buchholz would go forever in Saturday’s start, and while he likely didn’t mean he literally would go forever, Buchholz went as long as possible as the right-hander tossed a one-run, complete game to lead the Red Sox to a 6-1 win over the Astros on the Fourth of July at Fenway Park.

Buchholz went all nine innings, allowing one run, which came in the ninth, on six hits while not issuing a walk and striking out eight. He threw 110 pitches, 80 for strikes.

“It’s definitely good especially after a game like last night,” Buchholz said. “Taxed bullpen. Yeah, so first thing in my coming out here today was to get as deep in the game as I could. Complete games don’t always happen. There’s a lot of things that have to go right for things like that to happen, but I could throw just about any pitch I wanted to today. It doesn’t happen like that very often but I was able to locate curveballs and throw changeups in the dirt whenever I needed some swings and misses and threw some cutters off of some heaters.”

Saturday’s performance was just a continuation of the run he’s been on of late. Over his last 10 starts dating back to May 10, he has an ERA of 1.99 and is 5-2. Most recently, he’s gone seven-plus innings and allowed one earned run or less over his last four starts, going a perfect 4-0 with an 0.87 ERA in that span.

While it may not be exactly like his pre-injury stretch of 2013 where he went 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA over his first 12 starts of the year, it’s pretty close.

“Very similar,” Farrell said. “Anytime you’re talking about a guy who is going to go seven or eight innings pretty much each time out with low runs allowed, it’s a very similar run.”

Buchholz was in control from the start, allowing just one hit over the first 16 batters of the game and retired 12 straight hitters between the second and fifth innings. The one run the Astros did score came in the ninth when Luis Valbuena drove in Jose Altuve, who extended his 12-game hit streak earlier in the frame.

The Astros came in to the game riding a five-game win streak and had recorded at least 11 hits and scored at least five runs in their last four games against the Red Sox.

“All of his pitches, there’s nothing straight,” Astros catcher Hank Conger said of Buchholz. “Everything is going away or coming into you. So, you can’t really guess. You have to see it out of the hand. He did an outstanding job today. We’ve been playing good baseball, for him to go out there and throw the way he did right there, hats off.”

Buchholz has now won five straight starts, his longest since his 11-0 mark to open the 2013 season. It’s the longest streak by a Red Sox starter this season and by now there’s no question as to who the Red Sox’ ace of the staff is.

“He’s been on a run the last 10 starts where he’s been in control,” Farrell said. “That was the case again today for the full nine inning of work. A number of pitches with men on base that he was able to execute. He’s in such a good place mentally where he’s completing his delivery, commanding four pitches for strikes. In control today.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox starter, who threw a much-needed complete game win against the Astros at Fenway Park.

[0:00:09] ... fastball in the itself that in and I was able to throw curve balls and the change ups and and counselor award of counseling to throw for striking. You know his Lester team's offense pitch against ...
[0:01:59] ... performance to which did the used in the day before the all star break last year. Yes that was heavily on their own month of August that a gazelle total moron so not nervous. It's good ...

Joe & Dave talked to the Sox starter, who threw a much-needed complete game win against the Astros at Fenway Park.

[0:00:09] ... fastball in the itself that in you know was able to throw curve balls and the change ups and and counselor award of counseling to throw for striking. You know his last two teams and that's ...
[0:01:59] ... performance to which did they used in the day before the all star break last year. Yes that was heavily on their own month of August that a gazelle total moron so not nervous. It's good ...