TORONTO — If losing 11-2 to the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon wasn’t bad enough, along came the punctuation for the Red Sox‘ blowout loss.

Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

TORONTO — If losing 11-2 to the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon wasn’t bad enough, along came the punctuation for the Red Sox‘ blowout loss.

With two outs in the sixth inning and Josh Donaldson at third base, Edwin Encarnacion lofted a fly ball to center field, which Mookie Betts camped under. But instead of simply catching the ball and running into the dugout Betts launched a throw home.

Betts had become the second Red Sox outfielder in the last four games to lose track of the number of outs, this time thinking Donaldson was tagging up from third.

“I just lost focus for a second,” Betts explained. “At least I caught it, so that’s three outs.” When asked about the miscue again, the center fielder said, “It was three outs. Sometimes you have mental breakdowns, especially after a long game. I messed up.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell was a bit more pointed in his analysis of the play, having to watch Jackie Bradley Jr. make a similar mistake on the final out of Sunday’s win over the Rays.

“There’€™s no excuse for that,” said Farrell of Betts’ mistake. “Losing track of the outs in the inning is not something ‘€“ it can’€™t be accepted.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

The Red Sox acquired Rick Porcello this winter in the hopes that he could be a stopper. In a sense he has delivered, except what he’s stopping is any hope of a winning streak.

 Jose Bautista circles the bases with Jose Reyes after homering on Wednesday. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Jose Bautista (left) circles the bases with Jose Reyes after homering on Wednesday. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

The Red Sox acquired Rick Porcello this winter in the hopes that he could be a stopper. In a sense he has delivered, except what he’s stopping is any hope of a winning streak.

In what goes down as his worst start in a season full of them, Porcello didn’t remotely give the Red Sox a chance on Wednesday afternoon in Toronto. The Blue Jays tagged him for seven hits and seven runs in just two innings, including three home runs. Porcello added three walks and a wild pitch for good measure, throwing just 44 pitches before being lifted to start the third in an 11-2 loss.

Porcello saw his ERA rise to 6.08, fourth-worst in baseball among full-time starters. He also halted the momentum the Red Sox had built by winning four of five and pulling within six games of first place in the AL East. He also denied the club its first four-game winning streak of the season.

And make no mistake, even on an afternoon when the offense managed to do nothing against crafty left-hander Mark Buehrle, this one was all on Porcello.

He allowed a line single to Jose Reyes leading off before Josh Donaldson followed with a bunt single leading off the game. Jose Bautista struck out looking, but Edwin Encarnacion didn’t get fooled, launching a three-run homer to left.

Porcello then hit catcher Russell Martin before Justin Smoak launched a two-run homer that made it 5-0. It could’ve been worse, but Porcello picked off Kevin Pillar following a double.

If the Red Sox harbored any illusions that Porcello had settled down, Bautista dispelled them in the second with a two-run homer to left-center.

That was it for Porcello. Robbie Ross replaced him to start the third and promptly allowed Smoak’s second homer of the day.

Offensively, the Red Sox were held in check by the soft tosses of Buehrle, who limited them to four hits and one run in seven innings, strike out seven.

Mookie Betts provided the Red Sox with their only offensive highlight with a solo homer in the eighth that made it 9-2, but by that point the damage had been done, courtesy of Porcello.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Justin Smoak entered the game hitting .261 with seven homers, and he improved on both of those numbers significantly by going 3-for-4 with two homers and three RBIs.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— Outfielder Mookie Betts smacked a solo homer in the seventh.

— Nothing else.

WHAT WENT WRONG

— Porcello.

— Continuing a disturbing trend, Betts lost track of the outs in the outfield, just as Jackie Bradley Jr. had earlier on the trip, Hanley Ramirez did previously on the bases, and Wade Miley did on the mound.

— Reliever Jonathan Aro allowed six hits and three runs, including a two-run homer to Josh Donaldson, in three innings of mopup work.

— The Red Sox did nothing offensively with Buehrle.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the attention drawn to Eduardo Rodriguez tipping pitches and the flexibility of Clay Buchholz‘s cont

Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the attention drawn to Eduardo Rodriguez tipping pitches and the flexibility of Clay Buchholz‘s contract among other things. To hear the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.

Going into Tuesday’s game the talk centered around Eduardo Rodriguez and how he tipped his pitches to opposing batters as to what type of pitch he was going to throw. The Orioles managed to figure it out when they were able to chase him after he allowed six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings last Thursday, but he bounced back Tuesday night, tossing six innings, giving up just one earned run on four hits.

During its broadcast of Tuesday’s game, NESN showed exactly what Rodriguez had been doing. He would tilt his head downward when throwing an off-speed pitch, while his head would stay up when he was about to throw a fastball.

Olney said the segment detailing the issue was useful for him as a member of the media, but that it probably wasn’t what people in the Red Sox organization wanted on air during their broadcast.

“As a reporter, of course, I love it,” he said. “Give me as much information as possible. But if you’re actually working for the team, I wouldn’t want it out there.

“If we broke that down on Baseball Tonight, I’d be excited about it,” Olney added. “If I worked at Major League Baseball Network, you’d be excited about breaking that down, but if you’re within the Red Sox community, you’re probably not thrilled that that’s out there.”

Olney brought up the impression he’s received from other front offices is that the Red Sox will probably look to shed some money during the offseason, most likely via Rusney Castillo and his seven-year, $72.5 million contract.

“Let’s face it, Hanley Ramirez doesn’t have a lot of trade value right now,” he said. “You’d have to eat a lot of money to move Pablo Sandoval given what’s going on there, and there’s not a lot of other ways to do it, which is why people of other teams come back to Castillo. But I still think that it’s early, and even though you look at the standings and it doesn’t look good for the Red Sox, it’s not like there’s some horse running away with the American League, and it doesn’t hurt the Red Sox to wait three weeks.

“If they’re back within four, five games, maybe their perspective changes. If the hole gets deeper then yeah, they could look to do some things, but I think it’s going to be really difficult for them to move some of those pieces that have been written about without eating a lot of money and teams don’t usually do that this early in their contracts.”

Clay Buchholz has turned things around of late, posting a 2.50 ERA since May 10. While his recent success might make him appealing to other teams via trade, Olney said he’s asked other executives in the league whether they think the Sox should deal him or not.

The general consensus from those executives is they don’t believe he’s going anywhere.

“Let’s say he does go through a period [of struggling on the mound] or let’s say he does get hurt, then they can easily walk away from the contract,” Olney said. “Now is the time when they can really take advantage of paying him money up front because of the option years, and they can control the situation, and at $13 million in the current marketplace, to have a player with that kind of experience with options where you can actually walk away, that has a lot of value in itself.

“Again, talking with executives of other teams, and I’ve asked them, ‘What do you think the Red Sox would be going for if they wind up selling before the deadline? What do you think they’re going to do during the winter?’ And the thing they always come back to is they need starting pitching,” Olney continued. “If that’s how the Red Sox feel about it, then I don’t know how you let Clay Buchholz go given how well he’s thrown and given the fact that they have such a need there.”

Even with the Sox’ current record, Olney said with all the other obstacles AL East teams are facing, it’s not totally impossible to think the Red Sox could get back into the thick of things.

“It continues to be the case where when you look at the Yankees and the issues they have there, when you look at the Blue Jays and they’re starving for pitching, the Rays can’t hit now, on and on,” Olney said. “The teams with all the different problems, I don’t think we should be surprised if any one of the teams emerges, including the Red Sox.”

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen

The Red Sox will be going for their fourth straight win Wednesday afternoon in Toronto on Canada Day. Rick Porcello will be opposed by left-hander Mark Buehrle with Hanley Ramirez back in the Red Sox lineup.

Follow all the action from Toronto here:

Live Blog Red Sox vs. Blue Jays — July 1, 2015
 

Blog Author: 
WEEI

ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning

ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about Eduardo Rodriguez, Clay Buchholz and the Red Sox. To listen to the audio of the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

As the Red Sox, particularly the team’s starting pitchers, have struggled this season, many fans have looked to the minor leagues and eyed the various pitching prospects the organization owns, including Brian Johnson and Henry Owens.

Schilling has been impressed with the young arms in the team’s farm system.

“I look at this organization from a pitching perspective like you can kind of look at the Cubs from a player perspective,” Schilling said. “I think they’re stacked. A lot of power arms. … I love the arms, I really do think that they’ve got a ton of development happening and this is just an unfortunate year.”

Rodriguez has made the leap from a prospect to a major league starter and Schilling has been very impressed with what he’s seen.

“Eddie, clearly, is ready,” he said. “He had a bad outing, he was tipping his pitches, he made adjustments, he fixed it. This is your one. When you get back to the postseason, this is the guy you’re going to hand the ball to game one.”

Rodriguez did struggle with tipping his pitches in a June 25 game against Baltimore, but the team was able to diagnose the problem and fix it in advance of his Tuesday start in Toronto.

“When you see the swings you saw two starts ago for a guy that throws the way he throws, that’s when you know,” Schilling said. “When guys are comfortably in the box and hacking from their heels against a guy who throws that well, generally somebody has something.”

Schilling sees holes in the Red Sox as currently constitute and doesn’t think this roster is good enough to contend. That opinion dates back to the team’s signings of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, of which Schilling was not enamored partly, because they didn’t fill the team’s pitching needs.

“I don’t know that this is the club to hoist a pennant, they still have some pieces missing. … I was kind of a pariah at the winter meetings because I wasn’t a fan of either signing,” Schilling said. “It’s a staff full of maybe three’s, and one one, and the one is the youngest guy on the staff [Rodriguez].”

Along with a recent improvement in production on the mound, Buchholz has become the topic in a few trade speculations. Some have suggested the Red Sox should trade the right-hander while his value is high. Schilling said that he would trade Buchholz if the return were a “Eduardo Rodriguez-type,” but didn’t think the actual return of any potential trade would be so worthwhile.

“If I could get myself a big-league-caliber talent and a top-tier prospect, that’s something to look at,” Schilling said. “It depends on what are the needs of this roster. You’re trading [Buchholz] to get a guy that the guy you’re trading is supposed to be. Not a lot of teams are going to do that. You’re not going to get somebody to give you a one back for a guy that you’re selling as a one.”

Buchholz has team options on his contract for $13 million in 2016 and $13.5 million in 2017. While that is a great value by today’s standards, Schilling doesn’t think that impacts Buchholz’ trade value.

“It’s ridiculously priced if you look at the market. The game is flushed with cash. People aren’t making a lot of deals based on clearing payroll,” Schilling said. “If you can trade a salary, great, there’s a lot more teams that can take on salary.”

Blog Author: 
Josh Slavin

After missing six games with a left wrist injury, Hanley Ramirez returns to the Red Sox lineup in Game 3 of a four-game set against the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon. The Red Sox have taken the first two games of the series.