Saturday’s middle game of the Red Sox-Royals three-game series will feature David Price against left-hander Danny Duffy.

Price is 12-8 with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.227 WHIP in 27 starts, tied for the most starts in the majors. Price has been inconsistent this year, but in his last outing Monday against the Rays he delivered one of his best starts of the season. Against his original team, the southpaw threw eight innings, allowing no runs, two hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in a 6-2 Sox win.

“It felt good, for sure,” Price said (via MLB.com). “I made some good pitches. It’s a tough team for me to pitch against. Doesn’t matter if it’s here or on the road. It’s just tough.”

The 31-year-old is 3-0 in seven games (six starts) with a 2.01 ERA and a 0.873 WHIP against the Royals. Price last faced the Royals on May 18, pitching 7 1/3 innings and giving up two runs, five hits and one walk with five strikeouts in Boston’s 5-2 victory.

Duffy is 11-1 in 35 games (19 starts) with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.010 WHIP, both of which are among the best in the American League. Since rejoining the starting rotation in May, Duffy has posted a 11-1 record in 19 starts with a 2.61 ERA and a 0.978 WHIP. Against the Twins on Sunday, the southpaw pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run, eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts in a 2-1 Royals win. It was Duffy’s sixth consecutive quality start and his 10th straight win.

“There was a lot of traffic out there,” Duffy said (via MLB.com). “But we made pitches when we had to. Drew [Butera] called a great game. When you don’t have your best stuff, you just battle. That was kind of how I felt today. Just get through as many outs as you can and let your defense play behind you. And goodness, didn’t they? They killed it out there today.”

The 27-year-old is 0-3 in five starts with a 5.61 ERA and a 1.792 WHIP against the Sox. Duffy faced Boston in August of last season. In that outing, he threw five innings, allowing four runs, seven hits and two walks and three strikeouts.

Royals vs. Price (LHP)

Kendrys Morales (25 plate appearances): .250 AVG./.280 OBP/.292 SLG, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Lorenzo Cain (14): .286/.286/.500, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Alex Gordon (14): .214/.214/.286, 1 double, 2 RBIs

Eric Hosmer (14): .143/.143/.143, 3 strikeouts

Salvador Perez (12): .333/.333/.833, 2 home runs, 3 RBIs

Alcides Escobar (11): .273/.273/.364, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Paulo Orlando (9): .125/.222/.125, 1 walk

Christian Colon is 3-for-6 with 1 RBI.

Drew Butera is 2-for-5.

Billy Burns is 1-for-3.

Cheslor Cuthbert is 0-for-3.

Chien-Ming Wang is 0-for-1 with 1 strikeout.

Red Sox vs. Duffy (LHP)

David Ortiz (11 plate appearances): .300 AVG./.364 OBP/.600 SLG, 3 doubles, 3 RBIs, 1 walk and 1 strikeout

Dustin Pedroia (11): .300/.364/.600, 1 double, 1 triple, 3 RBIs, 1 walk

Bryan Holaday is 0-for-8 with 3 strikeouts.

Xander Bogaerts is 1-for-6 with 1 strikeout.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is 2-for-5 with 1 triple, 1 RBI and 1 strikeout.

Aaron Hill is 1-for-4.

Brock Holt is 1-for-4.

Mookie Betts is 1-for-3 with 1 strikeout.

Hanley Ramirez is 0-for-3 with 1 strikeout.

Travis Shaw is 1-for-2 with 1 double, 1 RBI and 1 walk.

Chris Young is 0-for-3 with 1 strikeout.

Blog Author: 
John Hand

Eric Hosmer and the Royals have had plenty of reasons to smile over the last 22 games.</p>
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The biggest issue for the Red Sox of late hasn’t been their pitching staff, rather their lack of timely hits.

The trend continued Friday night in the Red Sox’ 6-3 loss to the Royals where they went 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left a total of 12 men on base.

The Red Sox have struggled with men on base of late, but manager John Farrell believes that will change. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

The Red Sox have struggled with men on base of late, but manager John Farrell believes that will change. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

The biggest issue for the Red Sox of late hasn’t been their pitching staff, rather their lack of timely hits.

The trend continued Friday night in the Red Sox’ 6-3 loss to the Royals where they went 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left a total of 12 men on base.

The top four spots in the order went 13-for-19, including Mookie Betts going 5-for-5, but the No. 5-9 spots went just 2-for-21 with 10 strikeouts.

“We continually do a great job of creating opportunities and I am confident this will turn,” manager John Farrell said. “I can’t say that we expanded the strike zone with men in scoring position or the bases loaded. [Ian] Kennedy challenged us and we came up empty with a number of scoring opportunities.”

With the loss, the Red Sox have now lost three straight games for the first time since July 27. They’ve also  dropped four out of their last six games, overall.

In those six games, the allusive key hit just hasn’t been there. In those games, the team is batting just .233 with runners in scoring position. Overall, going into Friday, they were batting .286 for the season.

Friday was also a good example of how players at the bottom of the order are hurting them as the top of the order has been getting on base (evident by Betts and Dustin Pedroia going 9-for-9), but some of the players in the bottom half haven’t been producing to drive them in.

Travis Shaw went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts on Friday. In the month of August he’s now hitting just .148 with four extra-base hits, five RBIs and has 18 strikeouts. Another player in a funk of late is Jackie Bradley Jr. The center fielder went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Friday night and in the month of August he’s batting .166 with just six extra-base hits and 32 strikeouts.

It’s possible these players, particularly Shaw, are fatigued by their first full major league seasons, but then again they are in their mid-20s. One of the biggest reasons why the Red Sox were on such a roll early on in the season was because of the depth throughout the lineup, but that has been missing of late.

It’s also no surprise the hitters at the top of the lineup are the Red Sox’ best hitters with runners in scoring position. Going into Friday, David Ortiz led the team at .367, Betts was next at .350, followed by Pedroia at .390.

Even with some of the issues of late, Farrell remains confident things will turn.

“I’m fully confident in this group and I think that will turn,” he said. “There has been times where maybe we have expanded the strike zone. That wasn’t the case tonight. Give credit where it’s due, [Ian Kennedy] challenged us, particularly with less than two outs and men in scoring position. He got a number of key strikeouts. Still, we continue to put up quality at-bats.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Joe and Tim are joined by US Olympic Medalist and captain of the US Women's Gymnastics team Aly Raisman, as she was at Fenway to throw out the first pitch before the game.

The return of the Red Sox to Fenway Park and the return of Steven Wright to the mound didn’t go as either would have liked.

Wright allowed five runs in the first inning and the Red Sox struggled with runners in scoring position once again, as they fell to the Royals, 6-3 Friday night at Fenway Park.

Steven Wright didn't have his best stuff early on, but got it together. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Steven Wright didn’t have his best stuff early on, but got it together. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

The return of the Red Sox to Fenway Park and the return of Steven Wright to the mound didn’t go as either would have liked.

Wright allowed five runs in the first inning and the Red Sox struggled with runners in scoring position once again, as they fell to the Royals, 6-3 Friday night at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox have now lost three straight games for the first time since July 27.

The knuckleballer allowed two homers in the first to account for the five runs. Eric Hosmer took him over the Monster for a three-run shot, and then after a single, Alex Gordon also hit one into the Monster seats to give the Royals a 5-0 lead with only one out recorded in the game. Wright ended up by throwing 40 pitches in the inning.

To Wright’s credit, the knuckleballer settled in and didn’t allow a run after the first and just three more hits. He finished the game going six innings, allowing the five runs on seven hits, while walking three and striking out one. He threw a total of 95 pitches.

Junichi Tazawa allowed a home run to Lorenzo Cain in his second inning of work in relief for the sixth Royals run. Fernando Abad pitched the final two innings following Tazawa.

Once again, the Red Sox couldn’t do much with their chances as they left the bases loaded in the first, and first and third in both the third and fifth innings. They also had first and second with no outs in the ninth with David Ortiz up, but he hit into a double play. The Red Sox ended the game with runners on second and third.

The Red Sox’ first run came in the first inning when Mookie Betts drove in Dustin Pedroia with a single to left. They added another in the sixth when Pedroia singled home Brock Holt and another in the ninth when Betts had an RBI single.

Overall, they were 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

Betts led the offense with a 5-for-5 performance with five singles. The five hits were a career high.

Closing Time note

Ortiz’s double was the 625th of his career, which allowed him to pass Hank Aaron for 10th all-time.

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

WHAT WENT WRONG

— The first inning obviously wasn’t what Wright had in mind. It might need t be considered it was his first outing back from the disabled list and first start since Aug. 8. The Red Sox are now 24-32 this season when their opponent scores first.

— Aside from the No. 1-4 hitters in the lineup, the Red Sox went 1-for-20 with 10 strikeouts.

— Tazawa got his first 1-2-3 inning since June 22 in the seventh, but couldn’t carry it over into the eighth where he’s struggled all year long. Going into the game he had a 6.60 ERA and opponents were hitting .306 off him.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— Betts now has 55 multi-hit games, which leads the majors. The right fielder also leads the majors in total bases.

— Pedroia did one better as he reached base five times as he went 4-for-4 with a walk. It was his second straight game with three or more hits. It was his 22nd career four-hit game.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Two superstars in their respective sports were together Friday night at Fenway Park as USA gymnast Aly Raisman threw out the first pitch to David Ortiz.

Raisman, a Needham, Massachusetts native, helped the U.S. team win gold with impressive performances on the vault, balance beam and floor routine. Raisman won a silver medal in the individual all-around competition, while also winning silver again in the individual floor exercise.

Before throwing out the first pitch she let Ortiz wear all three of her medals.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Things didn’t look good for Andrew Benintendi when he walked off the field Wednesday night in Tampa.

The Red Sox outfielder got his knee/ankle awkwardly caught in the turf trying to get back to second base on a ground ball to the infield in a game against the Rays.

The Red Sox may have dodged a bullet with Andrew Benintendi's left knee. (Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox may have dodged a bullet with Andrew Benintendi’s left knee. (Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports)

Things didn’t look good for Andrew Benintendi when he walked off the field Wednesday night in Tampa.

The Red Sox outfielder got his knee/ankle awkwardly caught in the turf trying to get back to second base on a ground ball to the infield in a game against the Rays.

It looked like it could potentially be a season-ending injury, but after a series of tests on Friday, it was learned he just has a knee sprain and the team is optimistic he can return this season.

“I am definitely fortunate,” Benintendi said Friday. “It looked a lot worse than it actually was. I feel pretty lucky.”

Benintendi is walking without the aid of crutches and just has a small brace to stabilize the knee.

“The more I walked on it, the better it’s felt over the last few days,” he said. “I am pretty positive about how it’s gone so far.”

Drafted No. 7 overall in last June’s draft, this is the first major injury he’s had to deal with as a professional and he admitted it’s hard not being on the field with his teammates.

“It’s tough,” Benintendi said. “I’ve only been up here for three weeks and I’d rather be out there playing obviously, taking fly balls during BP and playing, but it’s part of the game and unfortunate that it happened.”

In his first 21 games as a professional, the left-handed batter is hitting .324/.365/.485 with a home run and 10 RBIs.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable