Similar to many wins last season, the Red Sox worked the count against the opposing starter in the Orioles’ Ubaldo Jimenez, eventually forcing him from the game in the middle of the sixth inning after throwing 107 pitches. Once the bullpen was called on, the Red Sox rallied for three runs against the bullpen, overcoming a 5-0 deficit to eventually come away with a 6-5 walk off win Sunday night at Fenway Park.

For the most part Jimenez shut the Red Sox offense down, only allowing four hits in 5 2/3 innings, but once he was tiring in the sixth inning Jonny Gomes took advantage belting a three-run homer into the Monster seats cutting the deficit to 5-3.

The Red Sox scored twice (both unearned) in the seventh on bad Orioles defense as they committed two errors in the frame to tie the game at five. With the bases loaded Ortiz delivered a RBI single to right and then Mike Napoli‘s grounder to third was thrown home by Jonathan Schoop, but couldn’t be handled by Matt Wieters allowing Grady Sizemore to score. Sizemore reached earlier in the inning when shortstop Ryan Flaherty dropped the ball on a transfer when attempting to turn a double play and with the new rule this season the runner is ruled safe.

That set the stage for ninth inning when Dustin Pedroia ripped one off the Monster that needed to be reviewed for a potential homer, but was ruled inconclusive and the call of a double on the field stood. Pedroia then took third on a wild pitch, and the O’s then intentionally walked David Ortiz and calling on a new pitcher Darren O’Day. O’Day then hit Mike Napoli, which led to Mike Carp’s pinch-hit appearance and a walk off error. Carp’s fly ball to left was caught, but the throw went over Wieters’ head and then Pedroia, who fake tagged on the play was able to scamper home.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in their win Sunday night:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

- On top of recording the first hit for the Red Sox coming in the fourth inning, Gomes also delivered the first Red Sox runs with a three-run homer into the Monster seats in the sixth inning. It was his second homer of the season and third career home run off Jimenez as he 7-for-18 lifetime against the right-hander.

- Scoring runs in the seventh is nothing new for the Red Sox as they entered the game scoring 11 times already in the inning, the most of any other inning. Sunday’s win also marked the second time in eight games they won a game in which they trailed after six innings. It was the first walk-off win of the year, this coming off a record number of walk offs last year.

- Chris Capuano gave the Red Sox another strong relief outing as the left-hander went 1 2/3 innings allowing just one it. He hasn’t allowed a run this season in 10 1/3 innings of work this season and aside from Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa he’s been the most dependable reliever. Overall, the Red Sox bullpen threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.

- Since his recall on Friday, Brock Holt has made the most of it as he went 1-for-3 with a run scored. In three games he’s gone 4-for-10 including his game-winning triple on Saturday.

WHAT WENT WRONG

- Red Sox starter Jake Peavy got off to a rough start allowing three runs in the first inning. Four straight Orioles reached as Nelson Cruz took Peavy over the Monster on the first pitch and then he allowed a walk and two straight singles with Matt Wieters’€™ giving the O’€™s a quick 2-0 lead. J.J. Hardy added a sacrifice fly for the third run of the inning. It was the first time Peavy has allowed a first inning run this season. Peavy finished going 5 2/3 innings allowing five runs on ten hits, in arguably his worst outing of the season.

- Grady Sizemore continues to struggle of late, especially in the lead off spot. Sizemore went 0-for-4 in the game with a walk and is now 1 for his last 22. When batting first this season, Sizemore entered the game with a line of: .115/.148/.115.

- Daniel Nava is also struggling, going 0-for-4 in the game with two strikeouts. He is currently 1 for his last 18.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
The scene at Fenway Park during the National Anthem following their pregame ceremony paying tribute to last year's Boston Marathon. (WEEI.com)

The scene at Fenway Park during the National Anthem following the Red Sox‘ pregame ceremony paying tribute to last year’s Boston Marathon. (WEEI.com)

On the eve of the 118th Boston Marathon, prior to their game with the Baltimore Orioles, the Red Sox paid tribute to the events of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings in a moving and emotional pregame ceremony.

Following a video montage showing how far many of the survivors have come and how much support the city has received, the UMass marching band played “Highland Cathedral” to remember Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu, and Officer Sean Collier as well as to honor the first responders and medical personnel with police, doctors and nurses joining the band on the field.

Following them onto the field were some of the victims led by Jeff Bauman and Carlos Arrendondo appearing from left field all wearing “Boston” jerseys. Finally, led by Dick and Rick Hoyt, runners ran towards the infield from center field, joining the half circle formed along the infield.

Lining the outfield warning track during the ceremony were canvases bearing inscriptions of good will from all 50 United States, along with all Major League Baseball teams and members of Congress.

The first pitch was thrown by One Fund President Jim Gallagher to David Ortiz, as prominent government officials including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and former Boston Mayor Tom Menino stood behind.

The ceremony concluded with both the Red Sox and Orioles lining the first and third base lines, joining the marching band and the Boston Pipers Society as well as the fans at Fenway Park in the singing of the National Anthem together as one.

It was just the latest in what the Red Sox have done in wake of last year’s tragic event.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Win or lose Sunday night, it is unlikely that the Red Sox get a good night’€™s sleep.

With Sunday’€™s game starting at 7 p.m. and Marathon Monday’€™s beginning at 11:05 a.m., there will not be much of a turnaround between games. Farrell insisted that the team will not be looking ahead to Monday heading into Sunday night’€™s game, but he did not hide that the schedule is an inconvenience to the team.

“[Pre-game warmups] will be abbreviated tomorrow,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Any work that we would do hitting-wise will be done in the cage.

“Marathon Monday is the traditional start time, but this is the first time coming off a night game. We are thankful for ESPN on most occasions, but we have to deal with the schedule given to us.”

The game before the 11 a.m. start is typically a day game in which the Red Sox have done well in recent years, as they have won eight out of their last nine pre-Marathon Monday contests. Boston has not lost the game before Marathon Monday since 2010, when it fell 7-1 to the Rays.

This year’€™s short break between games represents a new challenge though, and it is one that comes at a bad time early in the season. After all, the Red Sox have struggled out of the gate and are currently last in the AL East. The minimal rest comes right before nine games in 10 days against more division opponents, including the Yankees starting Tuesday.

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

- Shane Victorino will be making at two more rehab appearances before the team reassesses his availability on Tuesday. During those two games, Farrell said the team is looking for him to get four at-bats Monday and play nine innings on Tuesday. Victorino went 0-for-3 Saturday, in his first rehab game.

As for the corresponding roster move with his return, that remains a discussion in the works.

“€œ[Conversations about a roster move] have been ongoing,” Farrell said. “They are not going to initiate once he is getting ready to come back. We have looked at every available combination of outfielders.”€

-  Will Middlebrooks will be on a rehab assignment Monday as he works toward his return from the DL. His tentative schedule is to be playing Monday, Wednesday and Thursday before the team re-evaluates him.

- One of Mike Napoli‘€™s biggest focuses during the spring was to adjust his plate approach with two strikes, therefore reducing his strikeout totals. Napoli struck out 187 times in 578 plate appearances last season, so he increased his focus on making contact with the ball with two strikes this season.

The approach seems to have had some positive effects for him, as he is batting .262/.367/.357 this season with two strikes, compared to a .193/.288/.334 line in the same situation last season.

“When he has been up there, there has been a number of times where we have seen him cut down his swing and stay in the middle of the field a little bit more,’€ Farrell said. ‘€œMaybe he sacrifices a little bit of power for contact and I think he is carrying out what he set out to do.”

Blog Author: 
Kevin Dillon

Win or lose Sunday night, it is unlikely that the Red Sox get a good night’€™s sleep.

With Sunday’€™s game starting at 7 p.m. and Marathon Monday’€™s beginning at 11:05 a.m., there will not be much of a turnaround between games. Farrell insisted that the team will not be looking ahead to Monday heading into Sunday night’€™s game, but he did not hide that the schedule is an inconvenience to the team.

“[Pre-game warmups] will be abbreviated tomorrow,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Any work that we would do hitting-wise will be done in the cage.

“Marathon Monday is the traditional start time, but this is the first time coming off a night game. We are thankful for ESPN on most occasions, but we have to deal with the schedule given to us.”

The game before the 11 a.m. start is typically a day game in which the Red Sox have done well in recent years, as they have won eight out of their last nine pre-Marathon Monday contests. Boston has not lost the game before Marathon Monday since 2010, when it fell 7-1 to the Rays.

This year’€™s short break between games represents a new challenge though, and it is one that comes at a bad time early in the season. After all, the Red Sox have struggled out of the gate and are currently last in the AL East. The minimal rest comes right before nine games in 10 days against more division opponents, including the Yankees starting Tuesday.

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

- Shane Victorino (hamstring) will be making at two more rehab appearances with Pawtucket before the team reassesses his status on Tuesday. During those two games, Farrell said the team is looking for him to get four at-bats Monday and play nine innings on Tuesday. Victorino went 0-for-3 Saturday in his first rehab game.

As for the corresponding roster move when he returns, that remains a discussion in the works.

“€œ[Conversations about a roster move] have been ongoing,” Farrell said. “They are not going to initiate once he is getting ready to come back. We have looked at every available combination of outfielders.”€

- Will Middlebrooks (calf) will be joining Victorino in Pawtucket Monday as he works toward his return from the DL. His tentative schedule is to be playing Monday, Wednesday and Thursday before the team re-evaluates his status.

- One of Mike Napoli‘€™s biggest focuses during the spring was to adjust his plate approach with two strikes, therefore reducing his strikeout totals. Napoli struck out 187 times in 578 plate appearances last season, so he increased his focus on making contact with the ball with two strikes this season.

The approach seems to have had some positive effects for him, as he is batting .262/.367/.357 this season with two strikes, compared to a .193/.288/.334 line in the same situation last season.

“When he has been up there, there has been a number of times where we have seen him cut down his swing and stay in the middle of the field a little bit more,’€ Farrell said. ‘€œMaybe he sacrifices a little bit of power for contact and I think he is carrying out what he set out to do.”

Blog Author: 
Kevin Dillon

Grady Sizemore will do something Sunday night he hasn’t done all season long — start three straight games in three straight days.

Grady Sizemore will make his third straight start for first time this season. (AP)

Grady Sizemore will make his third straight start for first time this season. (AP)

Grady Sizemore will do something Sunday night he hasn’t done all season long — start three straight consecutive days.

The Red Sox outfielder had played in three straight games until this point, but never started in all three on three consecutive days as the outfielder comes back from missing two full seasons. He will hit lead off against the Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. When hitting first this season, Sizemore has a line of: .115/.148/.115.

After getting ten straight starts in center field Jackie Bradley Jr. will get the night off as the Sox will go with Sizemore in center, Jonny Gomes in left and Daniel Nava in right. Xander Bogaerts also returns to the lineup after sitting out his first game of the season on Saturday.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Grady Sizemore, CF

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

David Ortiz, DH

Mike Napoli, 1B

Jonny Gomes, LF

Daniel Nava, RF

Xander Bogaerts, SS

A.J. Pierzynski, C

Brock Holt, 3B

Jake Peavy, P

For a complete look at the matchups, click here.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Grady Sizemore will make his third straight start for first time this season. (AP)

Grady Sizemore will make his third straight start on three straight days for first time this season. (AP)

Grady Sizemore will do something Sunday night he hasn’t done all season long — start three straight games in three straight days.

The Red Sox outfielder had played in three straight games until this point, but never started in all three on three consecutive days as the outfielder comes back from missing two full seasons. He will hit lead off against the Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. When hitting first this season, Sizemore has a line of: .115/.148/.115.

After getting ten straight starts in center field Jackie Bradley Jr. will get the night off as the Sox will go with Sizemore in center, Jonny Gomes in left and Daniel Nava in right. Xander Bogaerts also returns to the lineup after sitting out his first game of the season on Saturday.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Grady Sizemore, CF

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

David Ortiz, DH

Mike Napoli, 1B

Jonny Gomes, LF

Daniel Nava, RF

Xander Bogaerts, SS

A.J. Pierzynski, C

Brock Holt, 3B

Jake Peavy, P

For a complete look at the matchups, click here.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Red Sox will host the Orioles on Sunday night looking to take a win from their divisional rivals by sending Jake Peavy to the mound against Ubaldo Jimenez.

Peavy is the only Red Sox starting pitcher without a win or loss, despite pitching well. In his three starts this season, Peavy has posted a 1.93 ERA and a 1.179 WHIP while striking out 20 and walking 10.

The 32-year-old’€™s last start came on April 15 against his former team, the White Sox. Peavy went six innings that day, giving up one run on a home run. The Red Sox lost the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, 2-1. The game was noted for being particularly cold, averaging around 40 degrees throughout.

“We battled through six, gave us a chance to win,”€ Peavy said after the game. “€œThat’s what I’m trying to do on my fifth day”

Peavy has made three starts against the Orioles, going 2-0 in those games. His first start against them came in 2007, when he pitched six innings and gave up three runs on six hits, striking out seven and walking two. It wouldn’t be until 2012 when Peavy faced the Orioles again, this time pitching seven innings and allowing one run on four hits. Both games were wins. His last start against the Orioles came in 2013 when he went seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits, striking out eight and walking one.

Jimenez has struggled in 2014, going 0-3 with a 7.31 ERA and a 2.063 WHIP. His last start came against the Blue Jays on April 13, when he went 5 1/3 innings and surrendered five runs on 10 hits and two home runs while walking two and striking out three.

The 30-year-old has struggled against the Red Sox in five career starts, going 1-3 with a 10.27 ERA. His worst game came last year when he only last 1 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs and five walks. Jimenez faced the Red Sox this year, his season debut on April 2, pitching six innings and allowing four runs on five hits and two home runs.

Orioles vs. Peavy (RHP)

J.J. Hardy (20 plate appearances): .059 AVG/.200 OBP/.118 SLG, 1 double, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts

Delmon Young (15): .231/.333/.538, 1 double, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Nick Markakis (9): .375/.444/.375, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Nelson Cruz (8): .286/.375/.571, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Adam Jones (6): .200/.333/.400, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Matt Wieters (6): .333/.333/.667, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

David Lough (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 RBI

Chris Davis has two strikeouts in five plate appearances vs. Peavy.

Steve Clevenger has two strikeouts in four plate appearances.

Ryan Flaherty, Steve Lombardozzi, Steve Pearce and Jonathan Schoop have not faced Peavy.

Red Sox vs. Jimenez (RHP)

A.J. Pierzynski (20): .200/.200/.450, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 3 strikeouts

Jonny Gomes (17): .333/.412/.733, 2 home runs, 5 RBIs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (14): .538/.571/.615, 1 double, 4 RBIs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Daniel Nava (10): .375/.500/.750, 3 doubles, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

David Ortiz (9): .143/.333/.571, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Mike Napoli (7): .571/.571/1.571, 1 double, 2 home runs, 3 RBIs

David Ross (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 RBI, 1 walk

Xander Bogaerts has a single and two walks in three plate appearances vs. Jimenez

Grady Sizemore has a strikeout in three plate appearances

Jackie Bradley, Mike Carp, Jonathan Herrera and Brock Holt have not faced Jimenez.

Blog Author: 
Arjuna Ramgopal
Mookie Betts leads all of the minors in batting average with a .453 mark. (John Corneau/Lowell Spinners)

Mookie Betts leads all of the minors in batting average with a .453 mark. (John Corneau/Lowell Spinners)

Feats of Mookie: Defying superlatives.

Mookie Betts recovered from his two-game slump — a doubleheader on Friday in which he went 1-for-4 in both contests — by reasserting himself as an unstoppable force for Double-A Portland. The 21-year-old went 4-for-5, launching his second homer of the season in his final at-bat of the night, for his second four-hit game of the year and his sixth in his professional career (all of which have come in the last 12 months). In the process, he reclaimed the minor league lead in batting average (.453). He also leads the Eastern League in OBP (.492) and ranks third in slugging (.717).

Entering this season, there was some question as to whether Betts’ extraordinary breakout season of 2013 was real or a mirage. The contrast between his first two pro seasons — a 2012 campaign where he spent all year in Short-Season Lowell, hitting .267/.352/.307 with no homers and nine extra-base hits in 71 games, compared to a 2013 season where he tore through Single-A Greenville and earned a promotion to High-A Salem, getting better along the way en route to a combined .314/.417/.506 line with 15 homers, 55 extra-base hits and 38 steals in 127 games — created some pause about how highly he should be regarded in the Red Sox prospect rankings. Plenty of tools — bat speed, excellent plate discipline and hand-eye coordination, some power, quick-twitch athleticism that lent itself to both strong defensive range and great jumps as a baserunner — were on display, but it was hard to ignore the idea that his year might, just might, be a one-hit wonder that he might never match.

His start to the 2014 season, against a higher level of competition in Double-A, suggests that his performance of a year ago was no mere illusion. Obviously, his willingness to conjure a couple weeks of Nintendo numbers is unsustainable, particularly given his obscenely high batting average on balls in play (though it is worth noting that Betts may well be in possession of The Force, permitting him to bend the wills of weaker-minded opponents in a fashion that permits him to steer opposing defenders away from anything with which he makes contact and thus to sustain unusually high BABIPs). Nonetheless, the tools that proved so fascinating last year remain on full display this year, as Betts continues to show the ability to transform games in numerous ways.

And so, it is worth asking: Where does Betts rank right now among Red Sox prospects, at a time when he is laying waste to a league in which he is one of the youngest position players, someone who would be amidst his junior year of college had he not signed with the Sox out of high school?

Xander Bogaerts, the obvious top prospect in the Sox system, will soon have enough big league at-bats to graduate from prospect status. The same almost certainly is true of Jackie Bradley Jr. — though certainly, a case could now be made for Betts as a better prospect than Bradley, given that he appears to have the greater ability to hit for average and power, is the superior baserunner and seems a good candidate for at least comparable on-base numbers. (Bradley has an unquestioned defensive/positional advantage. It’s close between the two of them.)

Henry Owens and Betts are in a similar place as far as dominating older competition as 21-year-olds. Owens is probably still ahead of Betts based on a longer track record — though Betts is the player with the tools and athleticism to suggest even more upside. Given that Owens has sustained his dominance this year, it would be hard to suggest that Betts is the better prospect than him right now. But Betts’ performance over the last 12 months, since he began his assault on the game in Single-A Greenville last May, now has been sustained over enough time and across enough levels that he’s likely leapfrogged the other players who were ahead of him in the Sox’ prospect rankings entering the year (Allen Webster was No. 4 in Baseball America, Blake Swihart was No. 5 and Garin Cecchini was No. 6, with Betts checking in at No. 7) given the diversity of his skill set and what now appears to be a more established track record of translating tools into outrageous performance.

– Webster’s ongoing control struggles have reduced the likelihood that he’ll reach his considerable ceiling.

– Swihart has been outstanding in Portland, but there’s still a leap of projection faith with him that he’ll develop power and sustain high OBPs given that he has one homer, four extra-base hits and just one walk as compared to seven strikeouts so far.

– Betts has furthered his case as someone capable of hitting for average and getting on base at a Cecchini-like clip, while displaying superior power as well as defensive and baserunning skills and tools. A number of evaluators who saw Cecchini and Betts playing on the same team in the Arizona Fall League came away viewing Betts as the superior talent, but with some hesitancy based on track record; the track record argument is falling by the wayside, however, particularly given that Betts has been more dominant against Double-A competition as a 21-year-old this year than Cecchini — still an excellent prospect, by the way, and a virtual lock to be an everyday big leaguer — was as a 22-year-old last year.

Right now, Betts looks an awful lot like the best Red Sox position playing prospect once Bogaerts gets enough at-bats to move beyond prospect status, and if someone wanted to make the argument for him as the best prospect in the Red Sox system, the logic of such a position could not be dismissed outright.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 1-0 WIN (9 INNINGS), 3-2 LOSS (7 INNINGS) VS. BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)

(BOX GAME 1, BOX GAME 2)

– Outfielder Shane Victorino went 0-for-3 in his first rehab start, fouling out to first, grounding out to third and flying out to left  before getting lifted after six innings. He did not have any defensive chances in right field. Victorino is slated to start again on Monday and Tuesday for Pawtucket before being reassessed as to his readiness to return to the majors.

– Right-hander Anthony Ranaudo turned in his best outing of the season, firing six shutout innings and permitting just two hits (both singles) and two walks while striking out five. He threw 62 of 92 pitches (67 percent) for strikes, working down in the zone with better velocity (93-95 mph) than he’d shown through his first three starts, through which he’d more often topped out at 93 mph (while sitting around 89-91) than sitting at that mark that characterized a baseline for most of his outings in 2013. The right-hander entered the day having allowed 14 runs (10 earned) in 14 1/3 innings; with his outing on Saturday, his ERA dropped from 6.28 to 4.35.

– Catcher Christian Vazquez had his second straight multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a double and delivering a ninth-inning walkoff single in the 1-0 victory in the first game. Vazquez is hitting .283/.320/.413 in 12 games. He also threw out yet another attempted base thief, and he’s caught seven of 12 would-be base stealers (58 percent).

– Right-hander Alex Wilson tossed a scoreless inning in the second game, and he has yet to permit a run in seven games (6 2/3 innings) this year. He’s punched out eight and walked five. Interestingly, whereas Wilson had been a four-seam/slider pitcher who generated primarily flyball contact prior to 2013, last year, in part because of how a thumb injury that ultimately required surgery impacted his grip of his four-seamer, he became more reliant on a two-seam fastball that allowed him to generate groundballs as never before. That’s carried over into this year for the 27-year-old, who has recorded 16 of his 20 outs this year by either strikeout or groundout.

– First baseman/outfielder Alex Hassan went 1-for-3 with his first homer of the season and a walk in the second game of the double header. The 26-year-old is posting a line that is largely in keeping with his Triple-A track record dating to 2012, hitting .271 with a .368 OBP and .424 slugging mark, showing reliable on-base skills with less consistent power. Right now, if a need were to arise for a right-handed hitting outfielder, Hassan might be the logical choice over a more highly regarded prospect such as Bryce Brentz based on the consistency and reliability of his offensive approach.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 6-1 WIN AT NEW BRITAIN (TWINS)

(BOX)

Blake Swihart continued to rake, going 2-for-4 (though with a pair of strikeouts) to improve his line to .349/.364/.512. The 22-year-old has gotten on base in all 11 of his games this year.

– Right-hander Mike Augliera, 23, tossed six shutout innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out two and recording nine outs via groundball. While Saturday was his best outing of the young season, Augliera’s strike-throwing ability and willingness to pitch to contact and get groundballs has made him the most consistent provider of innings in Portland. He’s pitched at least six frames in each of his three starts so far.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 2-0 WIN AT WINSTON-SALEM (WHITE SOX)

(BOX)

– A year ago, right-hander Justin Haley struggled to find the strike zone (5.3 walks per nine), resulting in considerable inconsistency in Single-A Greenville despite the fact that he featured strikeout-an-inning stuff and held opponents to a .219 average. Through three starts this year, Haley has been one of the more interesting performers in the Red Sox system with the 2012 sixth-rounder’s latest excellent outing — six shutout innings with six punchouts and one walk — adding to a strong start. Haley, 22, has a 2.57 ERA in three starts spanning 14 innings, with 14 strikeouts, just four walks and 33 of his 42 outs coming by groundball or strikeout.

Kevin Heller/Howdy Grosskloss Watch: Salem outfielder Kevin Heller went 1-for-3 with a double. The 24-year-old has reached in all 13 games, hitting .366/.480/.634 with nine extra-base hits in 13 games.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 3-3 SUSPENDED GAME (6 INNINGS) AT SAVANNAH (METS)

(BOX)

– Second baseman Wendell Rijo went 2-for-3 with a double. The 18-year-old is now carrying an impressive .333/.469/.513 line through 12 games (if one includes his stats from Saturday’s suspended contest, which is scheduled to be completed next month).

– Catcher Jake Romanski, 23, went 2-for-3, and he now has hit in all 11 games he’s played in this year. He also stole his third base in as many attempts. The San Diego State product is hitting .326/.380/.435 in the early going.

– Hard-throwing right-hander Mario Alcantara lasted just three innings, allowing three runs on five hits and five walks while striking out three. He has 13 walks and five strikeouts in 11 innings. He threw fewer than half his pitches (38 of 78) for strikes.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier
Xander Bogaerts. (AP)

Xander Bogaerts. (AP)

It was another first for Xander Bogaerts: a day off.

The Red Sox shortstop wasn’t in the lineup for the Red Sox’ 4-2 win over the Orioles Saturday afternoon. While it was an understandable respite, Bogaerts hinted at an ailment that might have finally pushed him to the bench.

“I felt fine. I was starting to swing the bat pretty good lately. The day off is just to get some rest and let my body recover,” he said. “I mean I got hit twice in Chicago.”

What Bogaerts was referring to were two separate occasions in Chicago, when he was plunked in both the left and right calves.

While he wouldn’t use the injuries as an excuse, the sore legs might have contributed to the shortstop’s defensive issues of late.

“I like to play every day. I really don’t like days off. But especially with those two hit by pitches, it’s been tough,” Bogaerts said. “Hopefully I’ll be in there tomorrow.

“I wouldn’t blame (defensive issues) on that, but a bit, a little bit. You get sore down there and your legs are your most important part. I should have reached some of the balls I would have reached if I had everything set.”

Bogaerts said of the two hit-by-pitches, the first, coming in the Red Sox’ series opener against the Whit Sox, was the worst, hitting just above his left ankle.

“Really during the game you don’t feel it that much,” he explained, “but after the game, that’s when it starts kick in.”

Offensively, Bogaerts has been one of the Red Sox’ most consistent performers, carrying a team-best .411 on-base percentage while claiming hits in all but five of his 17 games. Starting in his place Saturday was Jonathan Herrera, who came through in the seventh inning with a run-scoring bunt single.

“All the games are really important, especially with how we started so far,” he said. “We need to pick back up and get back on the right track. It’s good to watch the game and get a win.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford