For most in attendance, including those on the field, the reason to care about the 162nd game of a very, very long season boiled down to this:

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For most in attendance, including those on the field, the reason to care about the 162nd game of a very, very long season boiled down to this:

Beyond the final at-bat of the magnificent career of Derek Jeter, however, there were other important final notes to the season in the Sox’ 9-5 loss to the Yankees that dropped the curtain on a 71-91 last-place campaign. Among them:

– Aside from the four-run third inning that included the last hit of Jeter’s career (an infield chopper to third), Clay Buchholz pitched adequately through six innings, allowing five hits and walking one while punching out four. But his season ends with a cover-your-eyes 5.34 ERA. Among the 395 pitchers in Red Sox history who have had enough innings in a season to qualify for an ERA title, Buchholz’s mark ranks 388th. The Sox saw enough down the stretch, and they have enough holes ahead of him in the rotation, that a combination of belief and necessity will dictate that they rely on Buchholz to be a solid No. 3 or No. 4 starter for them next year. Perhaps with the benefit of a fully healthy offseason, he will be able to claim such a role. And it’s worth noting that he’s responded to adversity at other points in his career, including recovering from a horrific rookie year (6.75 ERA) in 2008 to become a rotation staple by the second half of the following year. Still, there’s a considerable amount of uncertainty about who he is going forward.

– Left-hander Craig Breslow, whose season seemingly represented a case study in the toll of the workload to win a 2013 title, allowed five runs on five hits in what could have been his final appearance with the Sox. The Sox hold a 2015 option for $4 million on his services, but given his struggles this year (5.96 ERA, .319 opponents’ batting average), it seems unlikely that the team would pick it up. That should not diminish the essential role he played in winning a championship, serving as the primary setup man for Koji Uehara in a 2013 season when he served as arguably the only reliable bridge to the Sox closer.

David Ross likewise appeared in what may have been his final game for the Sox, going 0-for-2. He hit .184 with a .628 OPS this year, after a 2013 season that saw him emerge as the Sox’ postseason anchor behind the plate. His two-year, $6.2 million deal has reached its conclusion, and the Sox appear to seek a more natural complement for Christian Vazquez than Ross, who hits right-handed (like Vazquez) and who has struggled to deliver consistently reliable offense.

– Burke Badenhop made his career-high 70th appearance of the year, pitching a scoreless inning that included a strikeout. His 2.29 ERA was the best by any member of the Sox with at least 30 innings. He’s a free agent. Manager John Farrell has said that the team would like to retain him, and Badenhop has said he’d like to be back.

– Mookie Betts punctuated an extremely impressive rookie run, going 2-for-4 with a double and stealing a base. The steal was his seventh of the year in the majors and his 40th overall between Double-A, Triple-A and the big leagues. He was one of two players in all of professional baseball this year (joining Chad Hinshaw) with at least 15 homers (Betts had 16 across three levels) and 40 steals this year. The Sox now view him as virtually untouchable, a top-of-the-order hitter with dynamism matched by few in the game.

– Rusney Castillo reached base two more times, going 1-for-3 with a single and getting hit by a pitch. He hit .333 with a .928 OPS in his first exposure to the big leagues. The combination of his multi-faceted skill set with that of Betts offers the potential to transform a Red Sox lineup that lacked dynamism or positive results in 2014.

– Catcher Dan Butler drove in a pair of runs with a bases-loaded double, the first RBIs of his career. (A third run scored on the play on an error.)

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier
Brian Butterfield

Brian Butterfield

As former and current Red Sox players honored Derek Jeter at Fenway Park prior to the final game of his 20-year career, it was the presence of Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield that had special significance.

Butterfield has an interesting history with the Yankees superstar. He first coached Jeter in the instructional league after Jeter was taken in the first round of the 1992 draft. He worked closely with Jeter on his defense after the shortstop committed 56 errors in his first full professional season, and Jeter has given Butterfield credit for helping him become a major league shortstop.

The Red Sox third base coach says that even though they’re not as close anymore, it’s been meaningful to be a part of Jeter’s final season.

“There’€™s been a lot of distance between Derek and I. I was blessed to have crossed paths with him, it was a long time ago,” Butterfield said. “I don’€™t have his phone number, he doesn’t have mine, we don’€™t stay in touch in the offseason, but when we do cross paths, because he’€™s such a respectful guy, he had a tremendous upbringing, he always makes a point to say something or come over and get on me about something from shortstop when I’€™m over at third base. I think we’ve always had a good relationship, I’€™m very thankful for that.”

Though it’s been more than 20 years since Butterfield first worked with Jeter in the minors, he still has fond memories of working with the shortstop.

 “I’€™d be so excited, telling my wife and my young son at the time [about] this kid that I had an opportunity to work with,” Butterfield said. “I couldn’t wait to get to wake up the next morning and watch him work and hear what he had to say and watch what he did. It really was a lot of fun, it was a great experience, a much greater experience for me than him.”

It’s only fitting that Butterfield, who was present for Jeter’s first game as a major leaguer, was also able to participate in Jeter’s finale. He says while he doesn’t remember everything about the 40-year-old’s early career, he recalls his debut.

“I do remember him as a young guy,” said Butterfield. “I remember his major league debut in Seattle, and his dad sitting right behind me. It was the first time I’€™d ever seen his dad a little bit uneasy, he was kind of leaning in at the edge of his seat. I yelled over at him and I said, ‘Would you relax?’€ He started laughing. There are some flashes of when he was young.”

Rather than asking the superstar for his autograph, Butterfield left a personal gift of his own for Jeter.

“[I had a] baseball I’€™d taken over that I signed for him, I thought I’€™d write something humorous on it,” Butterfield said on Friday, when the Yankees came to town. “When he gets here, there will be a ball in a sanitary sock in his locker that’€™s from me. I think it’€™ll make him laugh.”

Butterfield had a small part in the ceremony, with the Maine native presenting Jeter with a pair of L.L. Bean boots (made in Maine, fittingly) with the Yankee emblem. But aside from the participation in the festivities, Butterfield said he just wanted to watch Jeter play for one last time — making him very similar to the sold-out crowd at Fenway Park.

Blog Author: 
Katie Morrison

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As the 2014 season comes to a close, the Red Sox had the opportunity to honor and celebrate the career of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, whose 20-year career comes to a close on Sunday at Fenway Park.

Batting second and serving as the designated hitter in his final game, Jeter lined out to Jemile Weeks at shortstop in his first at-bat of the day. But he went out on a positive note, driving in a run on an infield hit off Clay Buchholz in his second plate appearance of the day.  Jeter was lifted for a pinch runner and shook the hand of Buchholz on his way off the field, with the crowd chanting his name as he headed to the dugout for the final time.

Jeter’s day began with a moving ceremony that honored his illustrious career. The festivities began with Jeter trotting out to the shortstop position, receiving a rousing ovation from the Fenway crowd, with Yankees fans making up a significant portion of the packed house.

All three living former Red Sox captains, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice and Jason Varitek, as well as former Sox Luis Tiant, Fred Lynn and Tim Wakefield made an appearance to honor Jeter. Boston sports legends Bobby Orr, Troy Brown, and Paul Pierce were also included as part of the ceremony

The entire 2014 Red Sox squad went out to shake hands with Jeter as he stood at shortstop, as a way to congratulate him for the 153 games he played as a visitor at Fenway Park, the most by any Yankee. Joe Kelly, who was the last pitcher to ever strike out Jeter, even snapped a selfie with the man of the hour. Brian Butterfield, who served as a minor league coach in the Yankees system and was instrumental in turning Jeter into a major league-caliber shortstop, was also included as part of the festivities, presenting Jeter with a pair of boots. Last in the line of Red Sox players, Dustin Pedroia  presented a pinstriped base with Jeter’s number two in navy blue.

Among the other gifts Jeter was presented with was a check worth $22,222.22 for his Turn 2 Foundation, as well as a scoreboard sign that said “RE2PECT,” presented to him by David Ortiz and Xander Bogaerts.

To wrap up what had been billed as a “low-key ceremony” (but what was actually a a rather extravagant affair), Michelle Brooks Thompson, a native of Massachusetts who appeared on the singing competition “The Voice,” serenaded Jeter with Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.”



Blog Author: 
Katie Morrison

The Red Sox conclude their 2014 season at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon against the rival Yankees. Clay Buchholz will pitch against Michael Pineda during Derek Jeter‘s last-ever game in the major leagues.

Buchholz (8-10, 5.31 ERA) has been resurgent of late, and is looking to gear up for next season. For seven innings last Tuesday against the Rays, the right-hander kept Tampa Bay off the board in a great outing. But in the eighth inning, things fell apart. He was charged with five runs and the loss.

“When you get that deep into a game, not giving up a run yet, it’s tough to swallow giving up five in one inning,” Buchholz said after the game. “But like I said before, it is what it is.”

Save for his start against the Pirates on Sept. 17, Buchholz pitched into the sixth inning in all of his previous nine starts. In three of those outings, he made it into the eighth inning. But one of the worst appearances over a stretch since August happened to come against the Yankees. Buchholz threw 114 pitches by the fifth inning on Aug. 3 against New York, allowing seven runs, eight hits and five walks. Three of the runs were plated by former Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew.

The only other appearance Buchholz has against the Yankees this year came back on April 10 at Yankee Stadium. He took the loss in that one, although he was charged with just two earned runs in six innings.

Jeter has solid numbers against Buchholz in his career. The shortstop has eight hits and two RBIs in 29 career at-bats.

Pineda’s career was derailed for a few seasons after battling injuries. After a promising rookie campaign in 2011, Pineda (4-5, 1.93 ERA) missed all of 2012 and 2013. He made his Yankees debut in April of this year and shined early on. But during on start at the end of the month in Boston, he was caught with a foreign substance on his neck and was ejected from the game after 1 2/3 innings.

“I felt like it was a necessity to say something,” Farrell said. “You know, I fully respect on a cold night you’re trying to get a little bit of a grip. But when it’s that obvious, something has got to be said.”

The 25-year-old actually went down with another injury after that infamous start and did not take the mound in a major league game until early August. Pineda has not shown any rust at all since returning to the team, though, pitching at least five innings every time he’s started since coming back from the disabled list.

Pineda’s previous start last Monday against the Orioles was one of the finest of the year for him. In 7 1/3 innings, he struck out eight and allowed one hit and no runs.

The Red Sox have two extra-base hits against Pineda, a double from David Ortiz and a home run courtesy of Daniel Nava.

Yankees vs. Buchholz (RHP)

Derek Jeter (33 career plate appearances): .276 average/.364 OBP/.310 SLG, 2 RBIs, 1 double, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

Mark Teixeira (25): .174/.210/.435, 7 strikeouts, 2 walks, 5 RBIs, 2 home runs

Brett Gardner (24): .227/.261/.273, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Ichiro Suzuki (15): .214/.267/.214, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Carlos Beltran (6): .500/.500/.667, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Francisco Cervelli (6): .500/.500/.500, 3 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Stephen Drew (6): .500/.500/.667, 1 double, 4 RBIs

Jacoby Ellsbury (6): .167/.167/.167, 1 strikeout, 1 RBI

Brian McCann (6): .500/.667/.750, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Brendan Ryan (5): .000/.200/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Chase Headley (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Chris Young (3): .333/.333/.333, 2 strikeouts

Austin Romine is 1-for-1 against Buchholz.

Red Sox vs. Pineda (RHP)

Mike Napoli (7): .200/.429/.200, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

David Ortiz (6): .333/.333/.500, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Jemile Weeks (6): .167/.167/.167

Xander Bogaerts (4): .500/.500/.500, 1 strikeout

Jackie Bradley (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Daniel Nava (3): .333/.333/1.333, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Brock Holt is 0-for-1 against Pineda in one plate appearance.

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano
Mut and Rob discuss the "kids" and the variety of young bodies the Red Sox called upon this season. Specifically, they look at Bogaerts and Bradley, Jr. and where things went wrong. They give their opinions on which one will right the ship next season.

[0:01:12] ... here here's the thing -- in in listen I was wrong about Stephen Drew but I looked at it as if you got back Stephen Drew. You go back the guy that a lot of most people thought you were getting you're gonna get better defensively at two ...
[0:08:39] ... defined in this day and age of certainly reduced use of steroids Major League Baseball -- -- it completely out of the game but reduced because the way to test. Guys like -- but it's absolutely there ...
[0:09:15] ... fans from New York. Doesn't change the fact that this feels like Yankee Stadium. Well you know I feel like -- the state and that's not hyperbole. This. The the percentage outrage at the ratio is about you would see Yankee Stadium where you have with this day 75%. Yankee. Fans and 25% -- expert and I think fans but in -- that year. That people are aware let's get to break up the outlook of package -- a lot of this means that -- games as well 617. 7797937. Is your phone number -- TT tech line. Is 37937. -- up until Red Sox pregame. Final game of the year my game a career Derek Jeter we're talking about of these Sports Radio WB yeah. ...

Description: Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett looks back at the 2014 Red Sox prospect season by answering listener questions about a number of Red Sox prospects as well as broader issues and themes in the farm system.
Torey Lovullo sits down with the boys to give his final assessment and analysis on a tough year for the Red Sox.
Mut and Bradford are live from Fenway on the final day of the season to recap what went wrong in 2014 and what the future looks like for the Boston Red Sox.