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It was not the birthday Craig Kimbrel was hoping for.

On the day he turned 28 years old, the closer fell apart in the ninth inning Saturday, allowing the Blue Jays to come back with two runs with two outs to claim a 10-9 win over the Red Sox at Rogers Centre.

It was not the birthday Craig Kimbrel was hoping for.

On the day he turned 28 years old, the closer fell apart in the ninth inning Saturday, allowing the Blue Jays to come back with two runs with two outs to claim a 10-9 win over the Red Sox at Rogers Centre.

Kimbrel had gotten the first two outs in the ninth after David Ortiz’s ninth-inning home run gave the visitors a one-run lead. But a single from Justin Smoak, stolen base by pinch-runner Ezequiel Carrera, an advancement to third on catcher Christian Vazquez’s throwing error put things in doubt.

Russell Martin would tie things up on a two-strike double, leading to Devon Travis’ grounder down the third base line. Travis Shaw managed to reach the ball and get off a throw, but first baseman Hanley Ramirez wasn’t able to handle what appeared to be a slight short hop, allowing for the walk-off Blue Jays win.

Kimbrel, who had pitched just once over the previous week, totaled a season-high 39 pitches.

Before the bottom of the ninth, it appeared as though Ortiz had provided all the heroics the Red Sox needed with his 40th career Rogers Centre home run. But the designated hitter’s solo shot wouldn’t prove enough to prevent the Sox from losing their third straight.

Kimbrel’s issues were just part of the bullpen’s problems.

It didn’t appear as though the Red Sox would need any sort of drama entering the eighth inning. But, mostly due to the continued struggles of Junichi Tazawa in Toronto, the Sox allowed the hosts to tie things up with four runs.

The combination of Tommy Layne and Tazawa were charged with the four runs, although it was Kimbrel who gave up the game-tying run on Jose Bautista’s two-out single.

Kimbrel, who came on with one out and the potential tying run at third base, almost escaped with the lead, striking out Kevin Pillar. But Bautista’s single necessitated Ortiz’s homer.
For a complete box score, click here.

Closing Time note

The loss hands the Red Sox their third three-game losing streak of the season, still not having lost as many as four in a row.


– Tazawa, who had pitched a pair of scoreless innings in his only two outings at Rogers Centre this season, reverted to his struggles North of the Border. The reliever now has a career 6.75 ERA in 13 appearances at Rogers Centre.

– Christian Vazquez had a rough time behind the plate in the ninth inning, first with the throwing error on Carrera’s stolen base, and then allowing Martin to reach third after not being able to find Kimbrel’s pitch in the dirt.


– Rick Porcello pitched well enough to get a win, which was taken away from him thanks to the Blue Jays’ four-run eighth inning. The righty allowed four runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out five while throwing 106 pitches.

– Of note was the Red Sox ability to start turning the tide when it came to putting up runs on on the road. Coming into the game, the Red Sox had far and away the best OPS (.883) at home of any team in the majors, but 104 points lower on the road.

Highlighting the Red Sox attack was once again Xander Bogaerts, who extended his hitting streak to 21 games with some panache. The shortstop managed three hits, including a fourth-inning solo home run, to boost his average to .353. Bogaerts would also score three runs.

Two of the other Red Sox’ offensive standouts were Travis Shaw and Hanley Ramirez. Shaw blasted his seventh homer of the season for a two-run homer in the sixth. Ramirez accounted for three RBI with a pair of singles.

– Dustin Pedroia and Vazquez also had two hits apiece, with Pedroia doubling in Vazquez during the Red Sox’ four-run fourth inning.

– The Red Sox now have given Toronto stater Marcus Stroman two of his worst outings of his season. After the righty allowed six runs over five innings in his first meeting with the Sox, Stroman allowed seven runs on 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings.


Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

With Toronto ace Marcus Stroman on the mound for the Blue Jays Saturday, David Ortiz returns to the Red Sox lineup after getting the series opener off.

Stroman struggled in his previous outing against the Red Sox this season, allowing five runs over 5 1/3 innings. He is, however, coming off his best start of the year, giving up just one run over 7 2/3 innings against the Twins.

Marcus Stroman

Marcus Stroman

With Toronto ace Marcus Stroman on the mound for the Blue Jays Saturday, David Ortiz returns to the Red Sox lineup after getting the series opener off.

Stroman struggled in his previous outing against the Red Sox this season, allowing five runs over 5 1/3 innings. He is, however, coming off his best start of the year, giving up just one run over 7 2/3 innings against the Twins.

Another change in the Sox lineup will be Chris Young getting the start in left field. Young is hitting just .161 against righties this season (5-for-34), while totaling a .370 average vs. left-handers.

Here is the Red Sox lineup with Rick Porcello on the mound for the visitors:

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young LF
Christian Vazquez C

For all the matchups, click here.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Clay Buchholz still potentially has come value for the Red Sox.  (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz still potentially has come value for the Red Sox. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Friday was the day we officially learned Clay Buchholz would be headed to the bullpen.

It was also the day we were reminded why this might not be the last we hear of the pitcher.

While Buchholz’s move to life as a reliever was inevitable — having the second-worst ERA of any major league starter — there are very real scenarios for the Red Sox where he presence will be called upon to save the day somewhere down the line.

This reality bubbled up during the Red Sox’ 7-5 loss to the Blue Jays.

Joe Kelly gives up five runs over 4 2/3 innings, and Koji Uehara allows the Blue Jays to break a 5-5 tie in the eighth with Josh Donaldson’s two-run homer. Starting. Relieving. While most everybody got what they wanted when it came to juggling the roster pieces, this team is far from secure.

If something does happen to one of the Red Sox starters, either because of injury or performance, there isn’t much proven reliability sitting behind them.

Perhaps the best option, right now, is Roenis Elias, who has turned things around in his last two starts with Triple-A Pawtucket. In his last two outings, the lefty has allowed a combined three earned runs in 15 innings, striking out 21 and walking just two.

William Cuevas has been the PawSox’s most consistent starter, with the 25-year-old managing a 3.14 ERA while allowing more than three earned runs just once this season. This after managing a 2.63 ERA in his seven starts with Pawtucket last season.

Still, relying on either when it counts for any extended period of time will be a tough call considering there is always the chance for a healthy Buchholz to find of his runs.

But perhaps the more intriguing potential holes resides in that eighth inning the Red Sox struggled through Friday night.

Uehara seems to still be a reliable late-inning option. But we can’t ignore that he has now allowed at least one hit in eight of his last nine outings, totaling a 5.19 ERA and .901 OPS against in May. Also of note, the 41-year-old has already thrown 305 pitches, 80 more than at this time last year

The Carson Smith injury was more damaging than many are realizing, with the righty have been slotted in as the one to take some of the pressure off of Uehara.

It would be a pretty big leap to suggest Buchholz would emerge into the next Wade Davis and start locking down high-leverage relief innings, particularly considering he has served as a reliever for two games throughout his entire career. But, at the same time, stranger things have happened.

Perhaps the more realistic scenario is Buchholz filling in the innings left behind if the Red Sox choose to start leaning more on Matt Barnes. Barnes has started to show enough production, and velocity, to suggest that will emerge as an option.

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Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday.

TRIPLE-A PATWUCKET RED SOX (23-25): L, 4-2, at Indianapolis (Indians)

Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday.

William Cuevas

William Cuevas

TRIPLE-A PATWUCKET RED SOX (23-25): L, 4-2, at Indianapolis (Indians)

— The PawSox allowed three unanswered runs in the late innings to allow Indianapolis to come away with a one-run win. Starter Williams Cuevas took the loss, although he didn’t pitch all that bad. The right-hander went five innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits while walking three and striking out six.

— Anthony Varvaro had a solid outing in relief as he tossed two scoreless innings allowing just one hit.

— Bryce Brentz paced the offense in the loss as the left fielder went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. He’s now hitting .304 with Pawtucket.

— In the lead off spot, Rusney Castillo went 1-for-4 with a double. He’s batting .254 on the season.

— The struggles continue for shortstop Deven Marrero as he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts to see his average dip to .188 on the year.

Teddy Stankiewicz

Teddy Stankiewicz

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (16-31): L, 3-2, vs. Hartford (Rockies)

— It was another tough-luck loss for starter Teddy Stankiewicz. The right-hander went six innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits while walking three and striking out three. His record now sits at 1-4, but has an ERA of 3.25.

— Williams Jerez tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief of Stankiewicz. He has struggled a bit this season as his ERA sits at 4.05.

— Nos. 1 and 2 hitters Henry Ramos and Sean Coyle paced the offense as they each went 2-for-4. Coyle ripped a double and scored a run in the loss.

— Center fielder Andrew Benintendi went 1-for-4 with an RBI. In his short time with Portland he’s batting .172.

— As a team, the Sea Dogs went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position as they couldn’t get the big hit when they needed in the loss.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (31-17): L, 6-1, at Lynchburg (Indians)

— Salem starter Trey Ball took the loss and didn’t have the best of lines as he allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits while walking three and striking out five over five innings. He wasn’t helped by the fact Salem made three errors. Ball is now 2-1 on the year with a 2.12 ERA.

— At the plate, Salem managed just five hits as a team. Yoan Moncada went 1-for-4 and is now hitting .301 on the year, but he did make two out of the team’s three errors.

— Mauricio Dubon went 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored. The shortstop is hitting .312 this season.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (23-24): W, 3-1, at Rome (Braves)

— Starter Jose Almonte threw six no-hit innings to pick up the win. He walked two and struck out five, but was pulled after throwing 82 pitches. The 20-year-old was making his third start of the year and has allowed just four earned runs in 16 innings. He got a late start to the year because of a groin injury.

— Rome got their first hit and run in the seventh inning off Greenville reliever Anyelo Leclerc.

— Bobby Poyner earned his 10th save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. He has a minuscule 0.38 ERA this season.

— Right fielder Tate Matheny paced the offense as he went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored in the win. For the year he’s batting .287.

— Lead off man Luis Alejandro Basabe also had a nice night offensively going 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run scored. The shortstop is now batting an even .300 this year.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Red Sox will look to snap a two-game losing streak Saturday afternoon when Rick Porcello takes the mound opposite fellow right-hander Marcus Stroman in the middle game of the Red Sox-Blue Jays weekend series in Toronto.

Porcello has been one of the Red Sox’ most consistent starters this year. He is 7-2 with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. In his last start, Sunday against the Indians, he ran into some trouble in the second inning when Jason Kipnis singled to score two runs. After that, however, Porcello settled down and picked up his seventh win of the season. He ended up lasting 5 2/3 innings and allowing two runs on five hits and one walk with five strikeouts.

“They pressed [Porcello] on a day when he might not have had his best sink,” manager John Farrell said after the game. “But to keep to two runs in that [second] inning and then we come back and take a lead, so the big inning was the shutdown inning in the third. … Rick, on a day where it was a blue collar outing for him, did a very good job.”

The 27-year-old’s first two starts this season were against the Blue Jays, and both resulted in wins for Porcello. On April 9 in Toronto, Porcello went six innings and allowed four runs on seven hits (two home runs) and a walk with seven strikeouts in an 8-4 win. Then on April 15 at Fenway Park he pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on just two hits — both home runs — and one walk with eight strikeouts as the Sox took a 5-3 victory. In his career Porcello is 6-7 against the Blue Jays with a 5.26 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.

Stroman, who only made four September starts last season after tearing his left ACL in spring training, is 5-1 in 10 starts this year with a 3.89 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP. The 25-year-old is coming off of a strong start Monday against the Twins. He threw 7 2/3 innings and allowed one run on three hits and two walks with three strikeouts in Toronto’s 3-1 win. He had allowed just one hit through seven innings.

“I felt great today. I felt like I was commanding all day and I was able to get that depth early on,” Stroman said after the start. “I was able to locate it all day long.”

Stroman, the 22nd pick in the 2012 draft, is 4-0 in five career starts against the Red Sox with a 2.38 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. In his last start against the Sox on April 8, Stroman lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks with four strikeouts in his team’s 8-7 loss.

Red Sox vs. Stroman (RHP)

David Ortiz (15 plate appearances): .231 AVG./.333 OBP/.308 SLG, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Xander Bogaerts (11): .364/.364/.455, 1 double, 3 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (10): .400/.400/.500, 1 double, 2 strikeouts

Mookie Betts (9): .111/.111/.111, 4 strikeouts

Jackie Bradley Jr. is 0-for-8 with 1 walk and 4 strikeouts.

Travis Shaw is 2-for-4 with 1 double and 2 walks.

Christian Vazquez is 0-for-5 with 1 strikeout.

Hanley Ramirez is 1-for-3.

Blake Swihart is 1-for-3.

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

Ryan Hanigan is 0-for-1 with a walk.

Josh Rutledge is 1-for-2 with 1 RBI.

Blue Jays vs. Rick Porcello (RHP)

Jose Bautista (36 plate appearances): .433 AVG./.528 OBP/.733 SLG, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 6 walks, 4 strikeouts

Edwin Encarnacion (32): .375/.375/.781, 4 doubles, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 5 strikeouts

Josh Donaldson (26): .269/.269/.423, 1 double, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 5 strikeouts

Justin Smoak (21): .389/.476/.944, 1 double, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts

Russell Martin (20): .118/.250/.118, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Kevin Pillar (16): .267/.313/.467, 3 doubles, 2 strikeouts

Ryan Goins (14): .143/.143/.286, 1 triple, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts

Josh Thole (14): .143/.143/.357, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 3 strikeouts

Troy Tulowitzki (14): .167/.286/.167, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Ezequiel Carrera (11): .182/.182/.455, 1 double, 1 triple, 2 RBIs, 3 strikeouts

Jimmy Paredes (10): .400/.400/.700, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

Michael Saunders is 0-for-10 with 1 walk and 4 strikeouts.

Darwin Barney is 3-for-5.

Devon Travis is 0-for-2 with 1 walk and 1 strikeout.

Blog Author: 
John Hand
Who is to blame for the Red Sox 10-9 loss to the Blue Jays? Danny points the finger.

[0:00:09] ... nice there at the plate. And it when you look at the Red Sox offense in this game. You score five runs added. A 40 lead going into eight that you did. And what transpired from ...
[0:01:56] ... bases loaded. At the time a run came in on that play. David Ortiz he's in his foot. It's that he's one it was a show up like it was a wacky game the plate umpire ...
[0:05:25] ... committed a five outs Dave Boucher but not committed to win because David Ortiz with a home run on the ninth you backed up. I was okay and would stick it would Kimbrel. And when you ...
[0:06:29] ... yeah studio wondered what the hell is going on in this game. Red Sox lose and walk off fashion and Toronto. And there's so many places the point the finger or high point of the most is what happened in the eight inning you have eight default me you need. You need somebody out there and our bullpen that can get outs to get the ball close in the ninth but the normal save in that situation and they could do. I kicked it over that eighth inning. And I at all at the end of the day Kimbrel was part of it because he got up that it Batista but I can get it. And even when David Ortiz hit a home run pick and 98 lead Kimbrel could get the job done and I there was some things that I ...

Concerns might be shifting from the starting rotation to the bullpen.

On the day Red Sox manager John Farrell announced Clay Buchholz would be joining the relievers, the continued possibility that the Sox may need late-inning help as the season unfolds emerged.