The Portland Sea Dogs face a winner-take-all Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against Binghamton after suffering a home loss on Saturday. That was the lone game in the Sox’ system, with Pawtucket’s opener of the Governor’s Cup Finals set for Tuesday.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 11-4 LOSS VS. BINGHAMTON (METS); TIED IN BEST-OF-FIVE SERIES, 2-2

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– Second baseman Sean Coyle continued his recent resumption of mashing, going 1-for-2 with a double. He has a seven-game hitting streak that spans the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason during which he is 8-for-20 with three doubles and three homers while amassing a robust .320/.370/1.000 line. However, he left the game after being hit by a pitch on the wrist and did not return. He is not in the Portland lineup on Sunday.

Rusney Castillo went 0-for-3 with a pair of flyouts (one to right, one to center) and a comebacker while playing six innings in center. He’s now 4-for-14 with two walks and a strikeout in his five minor league contests. Thus far, he’s remained true to — Catcher Carson Blair went 1-for-4 with a homer to improve to 5-for-15 with a walk in the series. He now has 12 homers in 88 games this year — one fewer than the 24-year-old had in parts of six seasons spanning 189 games entering the year.

– Right-hander Madison Younginer, promoted to Portland following High-A Salem’s elimination on Friday, tossed three scoreless innings of relief in his first Double-A appearance. He allowed one hit and struck out a batter. The 23-year-old, who will pitch in the Arizona Fall League this winter, had a 4.08 ERA with 55 strikeouts and 25 walks in 57 1/3 innings for Salem this year.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier
Rubby De La Rosa

Rubby De La Rosa

The Red Sox conclude their three-game home series against the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon, as Ruby De La Rosa will battle with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

De La Rosa (4-5, 3.89 ERA), who started off the year in Triple-A Pawtucket, has found a spot in the major league rotation. Boston fell in his last start against the Rays last Monday, but De La Rosa delivered a quality performance. He went 5 1/3 innings, struck out four and walked none while allowing three runs. Manager John Farrell said after the game that De La Rosa’€™s good start could be attributed to good offspeed pitches.

“He’s powerful, he had better secondary stuff than last time out,”€ Farrell said. “I thought he made a number of quality pitches. So many foul balls, which is a product of very good stuff. That ran the pitch count up and we’re not at the point where we’re looking to extend him too far. I thought he kept composure. I thought he repeated his delivery well. That was a solid 5 1/3 innings of work today.”

Previously, De La Rosa pitched against the Blue Jays on Aug. 27. De La Rosa was bailed out by the Boston bats in that one, as he pitched just 4 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits. Jose Reyes was one of Toronto’€™s top performers in that game against De La Rosa with two hits in as many at-bats. Reyes also had one hit against De La Rosa in a July 24 start in Toronto. In that game, De La Rosa was charged with seven runs on nine hits in the loss.

Most of the 25-year-old right-hander’s issues have come on the road, while he’€™s pitched well in the confines on Fenway Park. At home, De La Rosa has pitched to the tune of a 3.16 ERA and 1.36 WHIP, while on the road his ERA and WHIP are 4.57 and 1.50, respectively.

R.A. Dickey

R.A. Dickey

Like his signature pitch, Dickey (11-12, 3.94 ERA) has been unpredictable over the last two seasons with Toronto. However, his last two outings, including one against the Red Sox, have been solid. He beat Tampa Bay last Tuesday with seven innings and six strikeouts while allowing two runs, and on Aug. 26, Dickey struck out six and allowed just one run in a six-inning no decision against the Red Sox in Toronto.

While Dickey got off to a good start to the year, he hasn’t pitched as well since the All-Star break, carrying an ERA over four since the Midsummer Classic. He especially struggled in August with a 1.47 WHIP, his highest mark this season in a month where he started at least five games.

Slugger David Ortiz has some of the most success against Dickey out of any Red Sox. He carries a .333 average and two home runs into Sunday afternoon’€™s contest. Will Middlebrooks also has two homers against the knuckleballer. Dustin Pedroia, on the other hand, has only four hits in 25 career plate appearances against Dickey.

Blue Jays vs. De La Rosa (RHP)

Jose Bautista (10 career plate appearances): .286 average/.500 OBP/.286 SLG, 2 walks

Jose Reyes (10): .400/.400/.500, 1 double

Melky Cabrera (9): .375/.444/.500, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 double

Juan Francisco (7): .667/.714/1.667, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 triple, 1 double

Munenori Kawasaki (7): .500/.500/.500, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Dioner Navarro (6): .400/.500/.400, 1 walk

Ryan Goins (5): .400/.400/.600, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Anthony Gose (5): .250/.250/.500, 2 RBIs, 1 double

Danny Valencia (4): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Edwin Encarnacion (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 RBI

Dan Johnson (3): .333/.333/.333

Adam Lind (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double

Colby Rasmus (3): .667/.667/1.667, 1 home run, 1 RBI

Kevin Pillar is 0-for-2 and Josh Thole has one walk in two plate appearances against De La Rosa.

Red Sox vs. Dickey (RHP)

Dustin Pedroia (25): .167/.200/.292, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Mike Napoli (20): .333/.400/.444, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 3 RBIs, 2 doubles

David Ortiz (20): .300/.400/.444, 2 home runs, 2 doubles, 6 RBIs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts

Yoenis Cespedes (16): .250/.250/.625, 5 strikeouts, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 triple, 1 double

Daniel Nava (15): .214/.200/.286, 2 strikeouts, 1 RBI, 1 double

Will Middlebrooks (12): .364/.417/1.091, 2 home runs, 4 RBIs, 2 strikeouts, 2 doubles

Jackie Bradley (11): .200/.273/.500, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk

David Ross (9): .125/.222/.125, 2 strikeouts, 1 walk

Xander Bogaerts (8): .500/.500/.750, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Brock Holt (7): .143/.143/.143, 2 strikeouts

Christian Vazquez (5): .400/.400/.400, 2 strikeouts

Allen Craig (4): .000/.250/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Jemile Weeks (4): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts

Mookie Betts (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano


[0:00:03] ... but. We were -- that while are we -- your your first Major League home run what you think to me and I hit those votes and so Wellman. Did that you know the wind wasn't none of ...



Joe & Dave talked to the Sox rookie catcher, who caught five different pitchers and knocked an RBI double high off the Monster in the 4-3 win.

[0:00:03] ... but. We were -- that while are we -- your your first Major League home run what you think to me and I hit those votes and so will Ohman. Did that you know the wind wasn't none of you know. A global RB take -- that's right -- got to be ...
[0:00:51] ... -- attracted what that he do so well tonight. Yeah attack the strike zone and you know through this letter. In the zone and -- and I'm struck out you know. Rest -- this letter this ...




(For the final month of the regular season, ‘€˜€˜€˜Closing Time’€™€™€™ will now be called ‘€˜€˜€˜Why You Should Have Cared,’€™€™€™ looking beyond the final score ‘€˜€” at a time when losses are arguably more valuable to the Sox than wins (for draft and waiver position) ‘€˜€” for either meaningful signs for 2015 or simple aesthetic considerations.)

(For the final month of the regular season, ‘€˜€˜€˜Closing Time’€™€™€™ will now be called ‘€˜€˜€˜Why You Should Have Cared,’€™€™€™ looking beyond the final score ‘€˜€” at a time when losses are arguably more valuable to the Sox than wins (for draft and waiver position) ‘€˜€” for either meaningful signs for 2015 or simple aesthetic considerations.)

Clay Buchholz delivered his third straight quality start on Saturday. (Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz delivered his third straight quality start on Saturday. (Getty Images)

Given the unsettled state of the Red Sox rotation, a case can be made that no player’s performance down the stretch is more important to the team than that of Clay Buchholz. And so, it is significant that finally, Buchholz looks like a pitcher who has turned a corner on a year of misery.

On Saturday night, Buchholz sailed efficiently and effectively through the Blue Jays lineup. In 6 1/3 innings, he permitted just two runs (one of which scored after he left the game) on four hits while walking two and striking out five. The outing marked the third straight quality start for the right-hander, the first time this year that the 30-year-old has bunched three such performances together.

In the last month, he’s made six starts, logging at least six innings in all of them and permitting three or fewer runs five times. He has walked two or fewer batters in all of them, with 37 strikeouts and 10 walks spanning 44 2/3 innings.

It is the look of a pitcher who gives the Sox at least one relatively reliable option heading into 2015, a significant consideration as the team tries to decide who to target in the winter.

OTHER REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE CARED ABOUT THE RED SOX GAME

Edward Mujica recorded his first save since assuming the closer’s role from Koji Uehara, recording a pair of outs (sandwiched around a walk to Jose Bautista).

Will Middlebrooks had a host of quality at-bats against left-hander J.A. Happ, pulling an RBI single to left, negotiating a walk and then hammering a ball to the warning track in right field, where Jose Bautista robbed him of an extra-base hit (perhaps a homer) with a leaping catch on the warning track. He also had a hard grounder up the middle on a 99 mph fastball from reliever Brandon Morrow, but was denied a hit by a well-positioned Toronto second baseman.Middlebrooks has a great deal at stake this month as he looks to earn the team’s trust for a role on its 2015 big league roster.

– Though he went 0-for-4, Xander Bogaerts showed range to both his left and right and had one of his better double-play pivots, standing in with Edwin Encarnacion bearing down on him to make a strong throw that beat Adam Lind at first base. Over the last couple of weeks, Bogaerts has looked like he’s successfully recalibrated his clock at shortstop to convert plays with greater efficiency and fluidity.

Mookie Betts demolished a full-count fastball leading off the game for his first career triple. However, he went on to strike out a pair of times in his 1-for-4 day, giving him three multi-strikeout games in the big leagues, including two in his last four contests. As opposing teams zero in more on Betts, his strikeout rate will be an interesting gauge of his ability to keep pace with the adjustments that other teams are making against him.

– Left-hander Drake Britton pitched for the second consecutive day for the first time in 2014. He followed his two-up, two-down effort on Friday with a scoreless 1 1/3 innings in which he gave up a hit and a walk while striking out a batter. Britton, who will be out of options next year, has a chance to use this month to make his case to remain on the 40-man roster after struggling for most of the year in Pawtucket.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli exited Saturday night’s game after just two innings. He was seen leaving the dugout with a team trainer.

Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli exited Saturday night’s game after just two innings. He was seen leaving the dugout with a team trainer. In his absence, Allen Craig moved from right field to first base while Daniel Nava entered the game in right.

Napoli singled to lead off the second inning, advanced to third on a single and then scored on a single by Will Middlebrooks prior to his removal from the contest. More on the cause of his removal as it becomes available.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Prior to 2014, Rubby De La Rosa had never thrown more than 110 1/3 innings in a season. In 2013, his first full year back from Tommy John surgery, he totaled 91 2/3 frames.

Rubby De La Rosa

Rubby De La Rosa

Prior to 2014, Rubby De La Rosa had never thrown more than 110 1/3 innings in a season. In 2013, his first full year back from Tommy John surgery, he totaled 91 2/3 frames. And so, entering the year, the Red Sox felt that he was in line for about 140-150 innings as an appropriate goal for the 25-year-old.

On Sunday, De La Rosa seems all but certain to exceed that mark. He’s already accumulated 148 innings (88 in the big leagues and 60 in Triple-A), and as he prepares for his 28th start, he’s navigated not only into uncharted territory but beyond where the Red Sox expected him to be.

And so, the Sox will manage the pitcher’s workload going forward, even as they keep him on a regular turn in their current six-man alignment in order to give De La Rosa the experience of spending a full year in the rotation through the end of September, something he’s never before experienced as a professional.

“We would cut back the innings inside a given start because we want to keep the five day rotation or routine going through the end. … We have a threshold in mind.  As we cut him fairly short last time out, even though I thought he was throwing the ball really well, we’€™re probably going to be a little bit shorter,” said manager John Farrell. “We’€™re not just going to let him go unrestricted or 100-plus pitches. There’€™s a limit in mind that’€™s a little bit shorter than a normal regular season. We’€™ve got a number in mind that is out there as far as total number of innings pitched this year.”

Farrell said that the team ideally tries to limit the innings boost of its young pitchers to 25 percent from one year to the next. De La Rosa already has exceeded that (indeed, he could come close to doubling his 2013 innings total), though given his age (mid-20s) and the fact that a normal progression following that career-high 110-plus innings in 2010 would have had him in position to experience full workloads, getting to this point did not seem unreasonable.

Moreover, De La Rosa hasn’t shown outward signs of fatigue. In his last two starts, against the Blue Jays on Aug. 26 and the Rays on Sept. 1, he’s had his best fastball velocity of the year, with his four-seamer averaging just under 97 mph in both outings.

“He’€™s holding his velocity really well. And last time out compared to the two previous there was better feel and execution of his secondary stuff,” said Farrell. “While he’€™s getting up in innings that he’€™s not been accustomed to, I still think he’€™s staying relatively strong.”

That, in turn, bodes well for De La Rosa going forward, and as he prepares to enter 2015 with the expectation of being capable of assuming a starter’s full-season workload.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier