Joe & Dave talked to the outgoing MLB Commissioner during Saturday's 8-run 2nd inning.
Joe & Dave talked to the outgoing MLB Commissioner during Saturday's 8-run 2nd inning.

The main event is Derek Jeter. All else represents a sideshow in the final weekend of the season, albeit a sideshow of intriguing relevance.

Derek Jeter had an infield single in two plate appearances on Saturday. (Getty Images)

Derek Jeter had an infield single in two plate appearances on Saturday. (Getty Images)

The main event is Derek Jeter. All else represents a sideshow in the final weekend of the season, albeit a sideshow of intriguing relevance.

Jeter, in the lineup as the designated hitter, batted twice on Saturday before being pulled, punching out on a 99 mph fastball from Red Sox starter Joe Kelly and then beating out a chopper just to the left of second base for an infield hit, his 164th career safety at Fenway Park. The sight of Jeter pouring everything he had into a sprint from home to first represented a fitting emblem of the player, who now has just one remaining game in his career.

While many who were in attendance will take one of their last opportunities to see Jeter on the field as their lasting memory of the game, there were a number of elements beyond the retiring Yankees shortstop that held more lasting significance for the Red Sox in a 10-4 blowout win over the Yankees. Among them:

– Arguably the most significant development was the image of a thoroughly pounded Masahiro Tanaka exiting the field after pitching a season-low 1 2/3 innings and yielding a season-high seven runs (five earned) on seven hits while throwing just 25 of 50 pitches for strikes. As the Yankees try to make a decision about whether he’s healthy enough to avoid Tommy John surgery, and thus whether he’ll be ready to pitch in 2015, Saturday’s struggle represented a billowing red flag for the pitcher’s status entering next year, and hence the state of the Yankees rotation for next season.

– Tanaka’s counterpart, Joe Kelly, concluded his promising first two months with the Red Sox by delivering arguably his best start with the Sox. He featured a 99 mph fastball in his first inning of work, and was still working at that velocity in the seventh. He also showed a changeup that elicited swings and misses from left-handed hitters while once again getting plenty of outs (eight) on the ground. The net result was dominance through seven innings — in which Kelly allowed one run on five hits — before an eighth-inning falter in which he yielded three additional runs on four straight singles, a stretch aided by a couple of groundballs that found holes. His 7 1/3 innings represented a career high.

Overall, the body of work by Kelly was impressive enough to provide the Sox with a sense of comfort with the idea of having him in the 2015 rotation. In 10 starts following his trade from the Cardinals to the Sox, Kelly went 4-2 with a 4.11 ERA.

– Rusney Castillo continues to impress in his initial exposure to the big leagues. He reached base in all four plate appearances on Saturday, going 3-for-3 with three singles, a walk and stealing his third base in as many chances. Since incorporating a leg kick prior to Thursday’s game, he’s 7-for-10 with two homers, a double and a walk. Saturday marked his first career three-hit game.

– Garin Cecchini lined a pair of opposite-field doubles off the Green Monster and once again made some strong defensive plays at third base, most notably one in which he dove to his left, recovered and made an accurate throw to first to clip Austin Romine at first base. He doesn’t show the consistent polish of a major league everyday third baseman (his throws and footwork are still inconsistent), but he’s also looked like someone for whom it would be premature to dismiss such a possibility. Meanwhile, in a limited offensive exposure to the big leagues, Cecchini has held his own, driving the ball from line to line, his ability to drive the ball to left field particularly noteworthy given the possibility that such an approach could play particularly well at Fenway Park.

– Daniel Nava is hitting like someone who should have a role on the 2015 Red Sox, particularly given the team’s need for greater lineup balance. He reached in his first four plate appearances against righties, going 3-for-4 and getting hit by a pitch. For the year, he is now hitting .296 with a .777 OPS against right-handed pitchers.

– Yoenis Cespedes drove in a pair of runs to reach 100 RBIs for the year, the first time he’s arrived at the milestone. Though hitting .262 with a .756 OPS on the year, he has marks of .311 and .883 with runners in scoring position.

– Rubby De La Rosa, in his first relief appearance of the year, recorded four of his five outs by strikeout.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

It comes as little surprise to hear someone who grew up in the Jeter Generation once aspired to be like Derek Jeter.

Deven Marrero

Deven Marrero

It comes as little surprise to hear someone who grew up in the Jeter Generation once aspired to be like Derek Jeter. But some haven’t given up the dream of emulating the Yankees shortstop.

Deven Marrero, whom the Red Sox recognized on Sunday as their Defensive Player of the Year, was elated to be at Fenway Park on Saturday to witness the penultimate game of Jeter’s career. Marrero, a 24-year-old who was the Sox’ first-round selection in the 2012 draft and who concluded the year in Triple-A Pawtucket, suggested the proximity to the Yankees captain was little short of an inspiration.

“It’s awesome. That’s someone who I want to be. I want to be the Derek Jeter of the Red Sox. That’s my goal. He does everything right. He plays the game hard. He’s a champion. That’s all I want to be. To see him finish out like this is so cool. I really wish I could have played with him on the same field, but I just want to continue his legacy. I hope I can continue that in Boston,” said Marrero, who elaborated that his desire to be the Red Sox’ Jeter suggested an ambition “to be a champion. That’s what he is for the Yankees, a champion. He won all those championships and he was the captain. He set a good example for those who will come up behind him.”

Of course, Jeter’s legacy was forged on the basis of his all-around production and steadying defensive influence from a premium position. While Marrero has Gold Glove potential as a defender, his offense has lagged behind his glove. He enjoyed a spectacular start to the year in Double-A Portland, hitting .291 with a .371 OBP and .433 slugging mark, but after a solid start following a mid-season promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket, he slumped severely, hitting .210 with a .260 OBP and .285 slugging mark in 50 Triple-A games. He did experience some recovery during a solid PawSox postseason run, but the exposure to Triple-A pitching represented, more than anything, a lesson in adversity.

“I learned from that because I’m going to struggle in my career. I learned how to handle it. I went through a time where I felt really well, really comfortable, then I went through a time where I had no idea what was going on and then a time when I felt comfortable again. That’s baseball, man. I just grinded it out and then I learned so that next time it happens to me when I hit that spell, it’s a lot shorter,” said Marrero. “I was rushing my at-bats, trying to do everything in just one swing, one at-bat and you can’t do that. That’s what I learned. I learned to be patient and let the game come to me instead of going out there and trying to force it. That’s something I learned and something I’m going to work on for the coming-up year.”

Marrero represents the Red Sox’ top defensive shortstop in their upper levels. But for now, Xander Bogaerts occupies that position, while other middle infielders such as Brock Holt and Mookie Betts have been moved elsewhere in order to accommodate their ascent to the majors. That raises a question about where Marrero might fit and what his big league timetable might be, but as he prepares to head to the Arizona Fall League, the shortstop declined to try to imagine the front office outlook.

“That’s a good problem to have for the Red Sox. That just shows you how talented our minor leagues is,” said Marrero. “Look at all these guys coming up here and performing. That just says a lot about the front office of the Red Sox. They’re going out and getting the right players. Us as players, we don’t worry about that. We just worry about what we can control and that’s out here, playing the game hard and getting better each day. Our time will come when it comes. You have to be ready for it. That’s what the Red Sox minor league system is for. It’s there to get you developmentally ready so that when you get up here you hit the floor running like Mookie has, like Garin [Cecchini] has, like Bryce [Brentz].”

Yet with all the callups of former teammates has come a reminder for Marrero. He is not far from the big leagues, from the opportunity to compete at the highest level.

“[Mookie Betts is like] my little brother. To see him out here doing his thing, he’s showing the world how great he is. He’s such a great kid and a great person. I couldn’t be happier. Yesterday I was here at the game and I had a smile on my face all game watching him and Garin go out there and have fun, play the game in front of a lot of these people,” said Marrero. “It was truly special to watch and hopefully I’m a part of it one day.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

The Red Sox will play the second game of their series with the Yankees on Saturday afternoon, sending out Joe Kelly to face Masahiro Tanaka.

Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

After not winning a single game with the Red Sox in the month of August, Kelly (5-4, 4.15 ERA) has won three of his four starts in September. He struck out five and allowed two runs in his latest victory against the Orioles last Sunday. Both runs came against him in a tough sixth inning, but Kelly recovered to pitch into the seventh inning.

Manager John Farrell said after the game that the right-hander’€™s perseverance during the sixth frame has been emblematic of Kelly’€™s latest starts.

“There’s been times in recent starts here where there’s a moment inside the game where there’s a real competitiveness that comes out of him,” Farrell said. “The last out he recorded in Kansas City against [Omar] Infante; today after it looked like we turned a double play and we don’t get it, he settles right back in to get the next hitter out. He’s able to rise to the moment and execute quality pitches.”

One of Kelly’€™s wins in this recent stretch came against the Yankees in the Bronx. He threw 6 2/3 innings and allowed five hits and three runs. Martin Prado’€™s solo home run was one of the few mistakes Kelly made in an otherwise good outing. Prado is the only Yankees hitter with an extra-base hit against Kelly.

Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka

Tanaka (13-4, 2.47 ERA) dominated the American League in the early stages of this season this year after a successful career in Japan. But in early July, Tanaka suffered an elbow injuring, making many believe he would need Tommy John Surgery. The right-hander opted for a rehab assignment, which has allowed him to pitch at the end of September.

He made his return last Sunday against the Blue Jays, allowing one hit and one run in 5 1/3 innings — his shortest start this season. Overall, though, Tanaka said he was happy with the way things went after a 10-week stint on the disabled list.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been back out there, but overall I’m pretty satisfied with how I pitched today,” Tanaka said with the help of an interpreter. “I felt like I was able to do all the things I wanted to do on the mound.”

Tanaka is 1-1 against the Red Sox. At Fenway Park in late April, he struck out seven and gave up two runs in a victory. At Yankee Stadium in June, the right-hander suffered a rare complete-game loss. He pitched into the ninth of a tie game and then served up a home run to Mike Napoli.

“The fact that I gave up a home run — it was the worst thing that I could have possibly done,” Tanaka said through his interpreter.

Napoli, in a small sample size, has hit Tanaka well. The first baseman is 3-for-6 with two home runs and two RBIs in seven plate appearances.

Yankees vs. Kelly (RHP)

Brian McCann (9 career plate appearances): .333 average/.333 OBP/.333 SLG

Carlos Beltran (3): .500/.667/.500, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Francisco Cervelli (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk, 1 RBI

Stephen Drew (3): .333/.333/1.000, 1 triple, 1 strikeout

Jacoby Ellsbury (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Brett Gardner (3): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts

Chase Headley (3): .000/.667/.000, 2 walks

Derek Jeter (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 RBI

Mark Teixeira (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Red Sox vs. Tanaka (RHP)

Brock Holt (7): .286/.286/.429, 1 double

Mike Napoli (7): .500/.571/.1.667, 2 home runs, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 1 double

David Ortiz (7): .286/.286/.857, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Xander Bogaerts (6): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts

Jackie Bradley (6): .167/.167/.167

Daniel Nava (4): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Yoenis Cespedes (3): .333/.333/.333

David Ross (3): .333/.333/1.333, 1 home run, 1 RBI

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano

Jon Lester turned in perhaps the best regular season of his career in 2014. (Getty Images)Another regular season down. But for Jon Lester, this wasn't any other regular season.



ROB BRADFORD

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No one can say with any certainty what kind of return the Red Sox will receive on their investment in Rusney Castillo. But one conclusion is beyond doubt: The first $100,000 of their $72.5 million investment has been money well spent. 



It becomes a bit harder to write this on a night where the Red Sox owner wrote this:

Have you ever seen anything like this? pic.twitter.com/Qgogv0IhIM