Red Sox GM Ben Cherington's patience will be put to the test when looking to compete in this year's AL East.</p>
<div class=



It was perhaps one of the more worrisome early-season signs for the Red Sox.

Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

It was perhaps one of the more worrisome early-season signs for the Red Sox.

Not only the image of Koji Uehara blowing the save in Baltimore Saturday night, but doing so with an 85 mph fastball that he clearly didn’t feel comfortable throwing. The result was an ineffective primary pitch (split) and outing.

Monday night, Uehara doused some of the concerns.

The Red Sox closer needed 16 pitches to turn in a perfect ninth inning, which included a pair of strikeouts.

But beyond just the result, Uehara’s optimism stemmed from the actual pitches he was presenting. This time there were four fastballs (3 strikes) which lived in the 88 mph area, allowing for significantly different reaction from the Blue Jays’ hitters.

“With the pitch selection, I told Hani [catcher Ryan Hanigan] that I wanted to throw a lot more fastballs in this outing,” Uehara said through a translator after the Red Sox’ 6-5 walk-off win.

The reliever added, “I recognize the importance of the fastball after the last outing. That’€™s what I took out of that outing.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell, for one, took notice of the difference in the two appearances.

“Second night in Baltimore was first time he’€™s gone back to back all year so hopefully he’€™s gaining some arm strength,” Farrell said. “A couple of days off seemed to be a little bit rejuvenated. Better finish to not only the fastball but to the split. Encoruaging night from him as well.”

Uehara knows there is more to prove, having still thrown his fastball just 17 percent of the time compared to the 40-plus-percent he had totaled the last two seasons.

“I still don’€™t know if it’€™s good or not because I haven’€™t thrown a lot of the fastballs this season,” he noted. “I think I still need to work on it.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
Xander Bogaerts has helped Mookie Betts get through the first three weeks of his first full big league season. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts has helped Mookie Betts get through the first three weeks of his first full big league season. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts entered Monday 0 for his last 10, and hitting just .171 after going 2-for-4 on Opening Day.

For a 21-year-old outfielder in his first full big league season, this might be reason to get frustrated and continue to scuffle.

But not Betts, as he went 3-for-4, including a walkoff single, giving the Red Sox a 6-5 comeback win over the Blue Jays Monday night.

Fortunately for Betts, he has a teammate and good friend Xander Bogaerts to help guide him through his first full season in the league, and help him when things get tough.

Bogaerts had many ups and downs in his first year last year, so he knows first-hand what Betts is going through.

“I talk a lot to Mookie,” Bogaerts said. “I’ve kind of been through whatever he’s going through now, and probably a bit more. So I really just pass on my advice and my experience to him for sure.”

“Just a lot of the struggles I’ve been through,” he added on what he’s said to Betts. “It’s a long season. No matter what just keep your head up and don’t lose your confidence.”

Monday’s walkoff hit was the first of Betts’ career, as he lined a Miguel Castro offering up the middle, which scored Bogaerts (evidently) capping the come-from-behind win, snapping a two-game losing streak in the process.

“€œIt was short-lived. It was fun,” said Betts. “I kind of knew how to process it. It was fun.”

In the Red Sox‘ 18-7 loss to the Orioles Sunday, Betts had one of his worst games of the season committing an error in center field and going 0-for-5 at the plate. Instead of hanging his head Monday, he went out and had one of his best games of the season, something that drew the attention of manager John Farrell.

“The one thing we’re seeing in the early going here is after a tough day he’s able to put it behind him,” he said. “Even after getting thrown out in the first inning, which [Russell] Martin makes a great throw on, he’s able to put it behind him and put up quality at-bats.”

Just like his ability to put the previous game behind him like a major league veteran, Betts also spoke like one after the walkoff win, knowing it’s just another win in the standings.

“A win is a win. Anytime we win it’€™s important, especially with this division,” he said.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Joe and Lou Merloni talk with the hero of the night, Mookie Betts after the Red Sox come back to beat the Toronto Blue Jays in walk-off fashion in the first game of the series

[0:00:00] ... I'm working congratulations. You score the tying run to start that rally in the end that way they were we thinking we became mop. First of always runners at first ...
[0:01:37] ... attitude and you know hope for the best. And how about this Santa Claus he appeared to be okay after that great play in the point. Yeah I I would assume he's okay me it was ...




Red Sox starter Joe Kelly hit 100 MPH with his fastball a few times in Monday’s game against the Blue Jays.

With most pitchers that would be their go-to pitch, but not Kelly on Monday.

Joe Kelly allowed five runs in six innings, while striking out 10 in a no-decision against the Blue Jays Monday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Joe Kelly allowed five runs in six innings, while striking out 10 in a no-decision against the Blue Jays Monday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Red Sox starter Joe Kelly hit 100 MPH with his fastball a few times in Monday’s game against the Blue Jays.

With most pitchers that would be their go-to pitch, but not Kelly on Monday.

The Blue Jays hitters pounced on Kelly’s fastball and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the fourth. Kelly’s big mistake was to rookie Devon Travis in the second inning when he took a Kelly offering into the Monster seats for his sixth home run of the year.

Kelly managed to settle down (despite 33 first inning pitches) and went six innings, allowing five runs on five hits, while walking three and striking out a career-high 10 batters. He’s recorded at least seven strikeouts in three of his first four starts this season. This comes after not striking out more than six in a game prior to coming to the Red Sox last year.

‘€œI was shaky the whole night with my fastball command,” Kelly said. “It’€™s something that we’€™d call fastball away down and away to righty and it was something that I was missing over the middle or missing in. So from then on out I basically had to go to my offspeed, which is the only thing that kept me in that ballgame.”

According to Brooksbaseball.net, Kelly relied on his slider after seeing his fastball wasn’t getting the results he was looking for. He threw the slider 27 times (24 strikes) in the game. This comes after throwing the slider 18, 15, and 12 times respectively in his first three starts of the year.

Even with the up-and-down outing, Kelly drew some praise from his manager afterwards, as through his first four starts of the season, the right-hander has shown he has the “stuff” to be the pitcher the Red Sox need to lead their rotation.

“The positive is you’re not going to find better arm strength, better velocity,” manager John Farrell said. “At times he may over throw occasionally and mis-locate such as the 0-2 pitch to [Devon] Travis (home run). It’s electric stuff and as he begins to harness it and understand when he’s most effective. And that is when he’s using his secondary pitches as well, he’s got big-time stuff.”

With the Red Sox coming in with the worst starters ERA in baseball, things weren’t looking good for Kelly as he allowed three first inning runs, including one after the second batter of the game.

But, with the powerful Red Sox offense behind him, Kelly knew his team wasn’t out of it and that helped him remain focused and get through the six innings.

“When you’re on the mound, you’re never out of the game,” said Kelly. “These guys can put up 13 [runs] in an inning in a heartbeat, especially with how good our hitters are. I don’t want to do it, but if you give up five runs in an inning you have to go out there and keep battling. Try to pitch as deep into the game as you can. Give these guys a chance to chip away and that is what they did.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Monday night’s Red Sox game might be a glimpse into what most games will be like for the rest of the season.

Pablo Sandoval went 2-for-2 with 3 RBI before leaving the game with neck soreness. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Pablo Sandoval went 2-for-2 with 3 RBI before leaving the game with neck soreness. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Monday night’s Red Sox game might be a glimpse into what most games will be like for the rest of the season.

The Red Sox got an average start from Joe Kelly, but were bailed out by their offense, as they rallied to come from behind and beat the Blue Jays 6-5.

After tying the game at five in the eighth inning after being down 3-0 and 5-2, the Red Sox capped the rally in the ninth with a walkoff base hit by Mookie Betts.

With one out Xander Bogaerts and Ryan Hanigan singled back-to-back, and moved up a base on a wild pitch. Bogaerts scored the game-winning run on Betts’ hit.

Toronto scored quickly against Kelly with three first inning runs, and forced the Red Sox right-hander to work hard early on.

Despite allowing three first inning runs on 33 pitches, Kelly settled down and made it through six innings. He allowed five runs on five hits while walking three and striking out 10. The 10 strikeouts were a career-high.

Pablo Sandoval paced the Red Sox offense going 2-for-2 with 3 RBI, but was forced from the game in the top of the sixth inning with neck soreness, which likely occurred after making a diving catch on a pop up bunt in the fourth.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Betts. He gave the Red Sox their second walkoff win of the year. It was his first career walkoff hit.

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

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— Sandoval was the catalyst for the Red Sox offense. He lined a two-RBI single in the first and lined a solo homer over the wall in right in the fourth inning. Sandoval finished 2-for-2 and is now batting .388 against right-handers this season. He came into the game fourth in the AL in that category.

The third baseman also made a terrific diving catch on a Dalton Pompey pop up bunt in the fourth inning. Unfortunately, he left the game in the top of the sixth inning with neck soreness.

Dustin Pedroia reached base three times (a walk and two singles) and scored a run. He came into the game hitting .335 in his last 40 games against the Blue Jays.

— Alexi Ugando gave the Red Sox two scoreless innings of relief of Kelly.

WHAT WENT WRONG

— Kelly struggled in the first inning as the Blue Jays scored a run with the second batter of the game at the plate. Jose Reyes singled to open the game, stole second and then scored on an RBI single from Devon Travis. The Jays added two more runs and Kelly needed 33 pitches in the frame.

— Daniel Nava went 0-for-4 in the game. He is hitless in his last 12 at-bats. It wasn’t a good night for Brock Holt either, as he finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Hanley Ramirez went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, but did tie the game with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.

— Allen Craig struck out looking in the eighth inning with the go-ahead run at second base.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval was having his best game of the season, going 2-for-2 with a single, a home run and three RBI, but was forced to leave the game in the top of the sixth inning.

The team announced he left the game with neck soreness.