Joe & Dave talked to the Sox first baseman, who hit two homers at Fenway tonight in the win against the Angels.
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox first baseman, who hit two homers at Fenway tonight in the win against the Angels.

[0:00:23] ... us the other night that you felt like you're getting your your launch position in line again you weren't Lyon man snuck four home runs on this homestead and you look like you're locked back in again. Yeah I feel good. You know I'm just gonna try to maintain this try to maintain its going in and occasion in my peak season. No go to go out there compete for myself in good position don't fire why you work deep counts you homered data ...
[0:01:19] ... the way the red sex hit situations six for twelve men in scoring position that. The hit and run work was trying hard then post scoring the first not a single little things really have the ...




Losing two straight and four of five, the Red Sox offense, which came in averaging 2.45 runs per game in May, and team in general needed a spark — someone to insert some life into the group.

Mike Napoli to the rescue.

Mike Napoli went deep twice in the Red Sox' win over the Angels. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Mike Napoli went deep twice in the Red Sox‘ win over the Angels. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Losing two straight and four of five, the Red Sox offense, which came in averaging 2.45 runs per game in May, and team in general needed a spark — someone to insert some life into the group.

Mike Napoli to the rescue.

The first baseman hit two monster home runs, as the Red Sox beat the Angels 8-3 Saturday night at Fenway Park.

His second home run came in the sixth inning with two outs and Hanley Ramirez on first base as he took a C.J. Wilson offering and crushed it over everything in left, snapping a 2-2 tie at the time.

Napoli owns the Angels as he entered the game with the best all-time slugging percentage (.679) and OPS (1.120) against them. He has reached base in 14 straight games against them.

The Red Sox added to their lead in the seventh inning when Xander Bogaerts delivered a two-out, two-run single to right with the bases loaded. They struck for two more in the eighth when Blake Swihart and Brock Holt perfectly executed a hit-and-run where Holt scored from first on a ball that died in the outfield grass, and then Mookie Betts added a two-out RBI single.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright was terrific for the Red Sox, as after allowing two first inning runs he retired 18 of the next 19 hitters before walking Matt Joyce with one out in the seventh inning and manager John Farrell took him out of the game. Alexi Ogando retired the next two batters to get out of the inning with no damage.

Wright finished the night going 6 1/3 innings, allowing the two first inning runs on four hits, while walking one and striking out two to pick up his second win of the season. It was his first career win as a major league starter.

After trailing 2-0, the Red Sox scored once in the third and once in the fourth. They got on the board in the third inning on a rocket of a homer by Napoli into the Monster seats. They then scored the following inning on an RBI single to left from Betts, who was pinch-hitting for Shane Victorino (more on that later).

Things didn’t start so well for Wright and the Red Sox as the Angels scored twice in the first inning on back-to-back doubles by Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun. The Red Sox have now been outscored 32-14 in the first inning this year.

Victorino, after missing the last two games, returned to the lineup, but left prior to his at-bat in the bottom of third inning with left calf tightness. That was part of what has kept him out the last two days.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Napoli. He put the team on his back with the two homers. He now has four home runs in his last five games and was his 14th career multi-homer game. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— As a team the Red Sox scored seven runs, which was the most they’ve scored in a game since April 28 and spanned 21 games.

— Wright gave the Red Sox exactly what they needed from their starter following Friday’s poor outing from Rick Porcello. He only needed 75 pitches in his 6 1/3 innings, a very impressive feat.

— Taking the place of Victorino, Betts went 2-for-4, extending his hit streak to five games. He is hitting .348 in that span. He also made a tremendous leaping catch against the wall in center in the ninth.

— Rusney Castillo went 1-for-4 in his second big league game of the season. He looked much better in the outfield than he did Friday when he dropped a routine fly in rightfield. He started the game in center, but switched to right when Victorino was forced from the game.

— Koji Uehara threw a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation, although he did walk two batters. It was his first appearance since Tuesday.

WHAT WENT WRONG

David Ortiz went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and grounded into a double play. He also popped out to shallow left with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. His average is now down to .115 against lefties this season.

— Junichi Tazawa allowed a run in the eighth inning, his only inning of work. The right-hander has appeared in 22 of the first 43 games of the season and it was the first run he’s allowed in his last 10 appearances.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Shane Victorino just can’t seem to stay 100 percent healthy.

Shane Victorino just can’t seem to stay 100 percent healthy.

After going back awkwardly on a fly ball in the top of the third inning of Saturday’s game against the Angels, the rightfielder was removed from the game prior to his at-bat the next half inning. The team announced it as left calf tightness.

He had missed the previous two games with “general soreness” centered around the left calf.

Since the start of the 2014 season, Victorino has played in just 50 games.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

With the Red Sox looking to create a spark and rejuvenate the lineup and team, don’t expect a trade to be one of those ways — at least yet.

Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

With the Red Sox looking to create a spark and rejuvenate the lineup and team, don’t expect a trade to be one of those ways — at least yet.

The Red Sox are 19-23 to open the year and have dropped four of their last five games. They are also 8-12 at home and averaging only 2.45 runs per game in May, with 13 of the 20 games scoring two runs or fewer.

Manager John Farrell shook up the lineup Saturday, moving Dustin Pedroia into the leadoff spot and flip-flopped David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez, but other than lineup changes, don’t expect anything bigger, at least for the time being.

“We’re looking for ways to get better, there’s no doubt about that,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “As I said earlier, bigger impactful trades they just don’t happen this early, so we’re still mostly focusing on finding ways to get better with guys that are here that we have. I think we can do that and improve just with the guys that we have here.

“Not to say that we wouldn’t look for ways to improve too, but it’s just not as common to see trades available this early that are going to be that impactful. We’ll keep working and looking at all those areas.”

The team has a number of players who have under-performed. David Ortiz is hitting .239, Mike Napoli is hitting .182, Mookie Betts is hitting .232 with an on-base percentage of .290 out of the leadoff spot — and the most disturbing stat of them all, as a team the Red Sox are hitting .203 with runners in scoring position — second to last in baseball, as only the Reds are worse at .188.

Cherington believes in the players they have and is confident they will get back to their track records and the team’s performance will in turn change.

“I think you watch how guys react, watch the at-bats, watch the work, listen to what people are saying and try to make a determination on that,” Cherington said. “I think by and large we have guys who either are or will hit in 2015. There’s always going to be adjustments throughout the season, but you look up and down the group of players we have, most of them either have already performed some and shown that they’re capable of performing this year, or we believe they will based on the quality of at-bats or recent trend, or whatever.

“So I believe in the offense, I believe we can be better collectively as a group. Certainly not lack of care or effort or any of that stuff. Just haven’t clicked.”

Despite the Red Sox’ start, the American League East is still there for the taking, as entering Saturday the team was only 4 1/2 games out of first place. While that may be a good thing, it’s only good if the team can act upon it.

“I think we have an opportunity,” Cherington said. “We’ve been given time to try to iron out some of our issues in certain areas. I think the division is pretty much what we thought it was: competitive, flat, flawed, every team has strengths, every team has weaknesses. We’re one of those. I still think we have as good an opportunity as any of the teams in the division to win and be right there at the end. But that doesn’t mean we can just wait for it to happen. We got [to] find ways to get better.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Red Sox will face another left-handed pitcher Saturday in the Angels’ C.J. Wilson.

Pablo Sandoval

Pablo Sandoval

The Red Sox will face another left-handed pitcher Saturday in the Angels’ C.J. Wilson. For the season as a team, the Red Sox are batting .197 against lefties, with some individual players even worse as Pablo Sandoval is just 2-for-41 (.049).

Because of that, Sandoval is out of the lineup, as manager John Farrell said he is over the knee issue after missing the last three games following being hit by a pitch Tuesday night.

“He’s available inside of tonight,” Farrell said. “If there was a right-handed starter on the mound, he would be in the lineup, but with Wilson going it was a chance to get him another day down.”

There were more changes with Dustin Pedroia sliding into the leadoff spot, Shane Victorino hitting second, and Hanley Ramirez and David Ortiz flip-flopping so Ramirez will hit third, and Ortiz fourth.

Farrell said this was based on their performances against lefties.

“That’s the reason you have Pedey (Pedroia) in the leadoff spot with Vic hitting second,” he said. “The two guys that have handled left-handed pitching the best on our club so far. Give Mookie [Betts] a down day as well.”

When asked if Pedroia might stay in the leadoff spot past tonight, the manager didn’t rule that out.

“We’ll see it how it unfolds,” Farrell said. “Hopefully today is a day we handle Wilson who is off to a decent start, we get another left-handed starter tomorrow. Depending on who is available tomorrow to be in the lineup, we’ll address that at that time.”

Entering the season, hitting left-handed pitching was likely on the bottom of the list of potential concerns with a lineup featuring Ramirez, Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino. But, after 42 games, it’s one of the biggest — although general manager Ben Cherington thinks it will naturally improve.

“Certainly coming into the season we didn’t foresee that would be an issue and it has been to this point,” Cherington said. “Looking in hindsight at the first 42 games or wherever we are, you can see certain areas of performance and be like, ‘Oh, that’s why they are struggling against lefties.’ We didn’t expect that to be a challenge and I think that is something that can just improve naturally with the guys that are here and get guys into some established roles.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

– The team optioned reliever Robbie Ross Jr. back to Triple-A Pawtucket following Friday’s game and recalled reliever Heath Hembree.

“We needed another fresh arm in the event we needed to go multiple innings and Hembree was the guy we brought up,” Farrell said.

— Victorino is playing for the first time since pinch-hitting Wednesday night and going 2-for-2. He was held out of Thursday and Friday’s game with “general soreness” focused in the left calf. Farrell admitted his availability is on a day-by-day basis.

“He went through some early running today and I’d say he’s a go for tonight,” Farrell said. “With Vic, I’ll be honest with you, I kind of take a day-to-day approach with him.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable