The schedule is still subject to change, but the original blueprint for the 2017 Red Sox regular season should be a conversation-starter.

According to Major League Baseball sources, the Red Sox are slated to kick off next season at home against the Pirates. They would then head to Detroit for the second series of the year.

It would be the first time the Red Sox began their season at home since 2010, when they played the Yankees in an April 4 meeting. It would mark just the fourth time since 1996 the Red Sox have kicked off the schedule at Fenway Park.

The meeting with the Pirates would mark the Sox’ second National League Opening Day opponent, having played the Phillies in Philadelphia in 2015.

While the 2017 schedules have been presented to the teams in MLB, the plans could change, particularly with time of games and scheduling being a focal point for the players in the upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

David Price looked like a Cy Young candidate. Dustin Pedroia looked like an MVP.

The Kansas City Royals didn’t have a chance.

Dustin Pedroia remained on fire against the Royals on Saturday. (Bob DeChiara-USA Today Sports)

Dustin Pedroia remained on fire against the Royals on Saturday. (Bob DeChiara-USA Today Sports)

David Price looked like a Cy Young candidate. Dustin Pedroia looked like an MVP.

The Kansas City Royals didn’t have a chance.

With Price delivering one of his most encouraging outings of the season and Pedroia extending his consecutive-hit streak to 11 with his second straight four-hit night, the Red Sox cruised to an 8-3 victory that ended their modest losing streak at three games and dealt the Royals just their fourth loss in 20 games.

Staked to an immediate 2-0 lead against Royals starter Danny Duffy, Price gave it back in the second on a homer by Salvador Perez and an RBI double by Alcides Escobar. But the Royals advanced no further, because Price locked in.

Featuring perhaps his best fastball of the season, Price didn’t need to fool the Royals so much as overpower them. His final pitch — a 95 mph fastball at the knees over the outside corner — froze Alex Gordon looking as Price’s seventh strikeout victim.

Meanwhile, the offense teed off on Duffy, who had won 10 straight decisions dating back to June 11. The American League’s ERA leader was tagged for seven runs on nine hits in five innings, including home runs by Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez that prompted Duffy to mouth, “No way,” on the mound. His ERA climbed from 2.66 to 3.01.

The offensive star was once again Pedroia. He recorded three singles and a double while lifting his average to a team-high .321. He reached base in 12 straight plate appearances (11 hits, one walk) before grounding into a double play to end the eighth.

Closing Time note

The record for most consecutive plate appearances reaching base via a hit or walk belongs to Hall of Famer Ted Williams, who did so in 16 straight in 1957.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— Price may have given back the initial 2-0 lead, but he locked things down from there, allowing five hits and two runs in six innings and dropping his ERA below 4.00 (3.96) for the first time since Opening Day.

— Pedroia ran his consecutive hits streak to 11 before finally grounding into a double play in the eighth. He reached base in 12 straight plate appearances.

— Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, mired in a slump for most of August, followed a three-hit night by going 2-for-4 with his 16th home run.

— Perhaps the nine-hole suits Jackie Bradley Jr., who ripped an RBI ground-rule double to right. He entered the game hitting .167 in August.

— First baseman Hanley Ramirez ripped his 17th homer over the Monster to help chase Duffy.

WHAT WENT WRONG

— Nuthin’.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Steven Wright’s first hurdle was returning to the mound, which he did in Friday’s 6-3 loss to the Royals. He cleared his second hurdle on Saturday.

Pitching is one thing, but recovering is another, and Wright sounded cautiously optimistic after making his first start in three weeks following a stint on the disabled list with a sore shoulder.

Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright felt good a day after his return to the mound. (David Butler/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright felt good a day after his return to the mound. (David Butler/USA Today Sports)

Steven Wright’s first hurdle was returning to the mound, which he did in Friday’s 6-3 loss to the Royals. He cleared his second hurdle on Saturday.

Pitching is one thing, but recovering is another, and Wright sounded cautiously optimistic after making his first start in three weeks following a stint on the disabled list with a sore shoulder.

“Obviously I can’t go too crazy, I still had my first game in three weeks, I don’t want to go too crazy thinking I’m out of the woods just yet, but with inflammation, it can come and go,” Wright said. “But today, normal soreness, a little bit more than I’ve had, but I hadn’t thrown in three weeks, so it was kind of expected.”

Wright’s outing didn’t go as planned. He allowed five runs in the first inning before finding his groove and shutting out the Royals on three hits over his final five innings. At that point, the damage had been done.

“The issue with the first inning was that I felt so good, and it was the first time I had felt good in three weeks, first time I threw with no pain,” Wright said. “Bullpens I threw with pain, but just a matter of trying to get through it. So the first time throwing with no pain, plus first time facing live hitters in three weeks — first a lot of things in three weeks — I just got a little antsy, little too much adrenaline, overthrowing a little bit.

“The thing that hurt me were the walks. The home run that [Eric] Hosmer hit, anywhere else it’s a pop fly out. [Alex] Gordon probably the same thing, but the walks killed me. After that, man, I was able to just concentrate more on pitching, because there’s a part of me that’s like golly, finally feels good to throw with no pain.”

Wright (13-6, 3.18) believes his next start will be Wednesday at home against the Rays.

“We’ll see how tomorrow goes in my bullpen, just try to get ready for Wednesday,” he said. “It’s just normal soreness, just more sore because I didn’t have the reps. I felt pretty good for taking that much time off.”

(Rob Bradford contributed to this report)

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Jackie Bradley Jr. isn’t getting the night off, but he is being dropped in the lineup.

The Red Sox center fielder is hitting ninth against Royals’ lefty Danny Duffy Saturday, having been mired in a fairly vicious slump. Bradley Jr. has seen his batting average drop to .269, having hit .167 with a .557 OPS in August.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr. isn’t getting the night off, but he is being dropped in the lineup.

The Red Sox center fielder is hitting ninth against Royals’ lefty Danny Duffy Saturday, having been mired in a fairly vicious slump. Bradley Jr. has seen his batting average drop to .269, having hit .167 with a .557 OPS in August.

Of late, Bradley Jr. has gone 3-for-34 in his last nine games with 14 strikeouts.

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup with David Price on the mound for the hosts:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Sandy Leon C
Chris Young LF
Aaron Hill 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

For all the matchups, click here.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
Clay Buchholz is ready to transition back to the bullpen. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz is ready to transition back to the bullpen. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz didn’t believe a situation existed that he hadn’t seen as a starter. Then he moved to the bullpen and realized he was missing a big one — learning how to enter a game with runners on base.

Through conversations with his fellow relievers, Buchholz has grown to appreciate the art of stranding runners who aren’t of his making.

And as he transitions back to the bullpen with the potential of becoming a factor in the eighth inning, Buchholz believes this knowledge will be pivotal.

“You start talking more baseball stuff from the bullpen’s perspective, rather than the starting perspective,” Buchholz said. “It actually allows you to learn a little more about what you’re doing in different situations. With runners on, you come into a game, what you have to do to keep that runner form scoring, and it’s not like going into a clean inning as a starter and setting up hitters for their second, third, and fourth at-bats. You’re going in to get them out at that point in time, and you can use all your stuff to do that. It’s a side of the game that I thought I knew a little bit about, but I never really did, because I was never really in the bullpen.”

As fellow reliever Brad Ziegler noted, entering a game with a runner on first is very different from walking the leadoff hitter.

“I’ve spent my whole career getting double play balls with guys on base,” he said. “That’s a lot easier to do whenever I’ve got into the feel of the inning a little bit. I let the guy on base, but I’ve already thrown four or five pitches at that point. It’s hard to go in and try to get a ground ball on the very first pitch.”
Buchholz has a better feel for this now, and is looking forward to pitching meaningful innings after being buried during his first stint in the pen.

“It’s all role-based in the bullpen,” he said. “I didn’t really have a role down there for an extended period of time. That’s probably harder than pitching in close games. If it’s a blowout game, [Craig] Kimbrel knows he’s probably not going into that game unless he hasn’t pitched in five or six games. But in the situation I was in, I’d probably be pitching in those games. It’s hard to pitch to major league hitters when you’re down a whole lot or up a whole lot, because one, two, three runs doesn’t really mean a whole lot, but you have to treat it as if they do. It’s easy to let down.

“But pitching in situations as far as having a role, you know when you need to be ready, and you can start preparing in the innings leading up to that. It’s fun to pitch when the game’s on the line. Everybody in here is a competitor, and everybody likes going out and having some situations that it’s going to help the team win a game.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Saturday’s middle game of the Red Sox-Royals three-game series will feature David Price against left-hander Danny Duffy.

Price is 12-8 with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.227 WHIP in 27 starts, tied for the most starts in the majors. Price has been inconsistent this year, but in his last outing Monday against the Rays he delivered one of his best starts of the season. Against his original team, the southpaw threw eight innings, allowing no runs, two hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in a 6-2 Sox win.

“It felt good, for sure,” Price said (via MLB.com). “I made some good pitches. It’s a tough team for me to pitch against. Doesn’t matter if it’s here or on the road. It’s just tough.”

The 31-year-old is 3-0 in seven games (six starts) with a 2.01 ERA and a 0.873 WHIP against the Royals. Price last faced the Royals on May 18, pitching 7 1/3 innings and giving up two runs, five hits and one walk with five strikeouts in Boston’s 5-2 victory.

Duffy is 11-1 in 35 games (19 starts) with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.010 WHIP, both of which are among the best in the American League. Since rejoining the starting rotation in May, Duffy has posted a 11-1 record in 19 starts with a 2.61 ERA and a 0.978 WHIP. Against the Twins on Sunday, the southpaw pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run, eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts in a 2-1 Royals win. It was Duffy’s sixth consecutive quality start and his 10th straight win.

“There was a lot of traffic out there,” Duffy said (via MLB.com). “But we made pitches when we had to. Drew [Butera] called a great game. When you don’t have your best stuff, you just battle. That was kind of how I felt today. Just get through as many outs as you can and let your defense play behind you. And goodness, didn’t they? They killed it out there today.”

The 27-year-old is 0-3 in five starts with a 5.61 ERA and a 1.792 WHIP against the Sox. Duffy faced Boston in August of last season. In that outing, he threw five innings, allowing four runs, seven hits and two walks and three strikeouts.

Royals vs. Price (LHP)

Kendrys Morales (25 plate appearances): .250 AVG./.280 OBP/.292 SLG, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Lorenzo Cain (14): .286/.286/.500, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Alex Gordon (14): .214/.214/.286, 1 double, 2 RBIs

Eric Hosmer (14): .143/.143/.143, 3 strikeouts

Salvador Perez (12): .333/.333/.833, 2 home runs, 3 RBIs

Alcides Escobar (11): .273/.273/.364, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Paulo Orlando (9): .125/.222/.125, 1 walk

Christian Colon is 3-for-6 with 1 RBI.

Drew Butera is 2-for-5.

Billy Burns is 1-for-3.

Cheslor Cuthbert is 0-for-3.

Chien-Ming Wang is 0-for-1 with 1 strikeout.

Red Sox vs. Duffy (LHP)

David Ortiz (11 plate appearances): .300 AVG./.364 OBP/.600 SLG, 3 doubles, 3 RBIs, 1 walk and 1 strikeout

Dustin Pedroia (11): .300/.364/.600, 1 double, 1 triple, 3 RBIs, 1 walk

Bryan Holaday is 0-for-8 with 3 strikeouts.

Xander Bogaerts is 1-for-6 with 1 strikeout.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is 2-for-5 with 1 triple, 1 RBI and 1 strikeout.

Aaron Hill is 1-for-4.

Brock Holt is 1-for-4.

Mookie Betts is 1-for-3 with 1 strikeout.

Hanley Ramirez is 0-for-3 with 1 strikeout.

Travis Shaw is 1-for-2 with 1 double, 1 RBI and 1 walk.

Chris Young is 0-for-3 with 1 strikeout.

Blog Author: 
John Hand

Eric Hosmer and the Royals have had plenty of reasons to smile over the last 22 games.</p>
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