It turns out the Red Sox didn’t need to beat the Yankees after all.

The Red Sox clinched the American League East on Wednesday when the Orioles rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the ninth inning to beat the Blue Jays, 3-2, in Toronto.

It returns the Sox to the postseason as division champs for the first time since 2013, when they also went worst-to-first before winning the World Series.

The Orioles trailed 2-0 in the eighth in 2-1 in the ninth, but a pinch-hit two-run homer from Hyun Soo Kim off of Jays closer Roberto Osuna made the Orioles 3-2 winners. The game went final with the Red Sox still in the ninth inning against the Yankees.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

NEW YORK — Drew Pomeranz is still hopeful he can help.

The Red Sox lefty won’t be starting again this season, but there is a chance he could reprise his role as a reliever. That will be dependent in large part on how his sore left forearm feels when throwing a bullpen session Thursday, and a possible relief outing against the Blue Jays over the weekend.

Drew Pomeranz

Drew Pomeranz

NEW YORK — Drew Pomeranz is still hopeful he can help.

The Red Sox lefty won’t be starting again this season, but there is a chance he could reprise his role as a reliever. That will be dependent in large part on how his sore left forearm feels when throwing a bullpen session Thursday, and a possible relief outing against the Blue Jays over the weekend.

“It’s alright,” said Pomeranz of his forearm. “We sat down and kind of talked about the rest of the year. I’ve had some soreness here late in the year. I’ve thrown more innings than I have, ever. So we sat down and talked about the best course of action the rest of the way out. We talked about maybe trying to get ready for a spot in the bullpen. I don’t know how everything was playing out, but that’s what we decided on, so we decided to not make this last start.”

When asked exactly what he was feeling in the arm, Pomeranz said, “Just soreness. I don’t know what specifically. Just some soreness in there probably from not recovering this time of year in a spot I’ve never been in before. We just kind of sat down and said that was the best thing to do is not make this last start and maybe slide into the bullpen.”

Pomeranz, of course, last plenty of experience as a reliever, having thrown 58 of his 137 major league games as a relief pitcher.

When asked if the current ailment had any connection to the controversy surrounding the Padres hiding medical information — for which San Diego general manager A.J. Preller was suspended one month — Pomeranz gave what has been a consistent response.

“I really can’t comment on that because I had nothing to do with any of that stuff that happens,” he said. “I don’t know what the two teams talked about. I don’t know who got mad over what. I’m just the guy who got traded from one place to another. So I really don’t know much of what happened.”

Pomeranz could very well bounce back from the forearm issue and be a viable left-handed option out of the bullpen in the postseason. But he also would have to prove he’s healthy enough to be better than fellow lefty relievers Robby Scott or Fernando Abad.

“I’m not nervous about the soreness,” Pomeranz said. “At this point in the year everybody is dealing with a little something, somewhere. I’m disappointed obviously because I want to keep throwing. I want to keep starting. I don’t know if it’s something where the other four guys are throwing really well so they were looking at me sliding into the bullpen anyway. So we kind of decided not to make that last one.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Tim Tebow’s professional baseball career is certainly trending in the right direction.

The former Broncos and Patriots quarterback, who has signed a minor-league contract with the Mets, hit a home run on the very first professional pitch he saw. The 29-year-old Tebow is playing for the Mets’ Instructional League team in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Brad Ziegler is on the verge of hitting major league free agency for the first time. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Brad Ziegler is on the verge of hitting major league free agency for the first time. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

NEW YORK — Brad Ziegler has pitched in the postseason before, appearing in two games for Arizona during the 2011 National League Division Series against Milwaukee. So when that opportunity arises next week, it will be somewhat old hat for the reliever.

What he hasn’t done is live life a major league free agent. He’ll get his crack at that this year, as well.

Ziegler is on the verge of entering the offseason as a free agent for the first time in his 14-year professional baseball career. He could have previous attained the status before, but decided to agree to at two-year, $10.5 million extension with the Diamondbacks with a $5.5 million option that was picked up for the 2016 season.

He has had some choices. After being released by the Phillies in 2003, Ziegler got to pick with Independent League team he would play for. And once the majors came calling again the next season, there were a few options.

Seattle and Milwaukee each were offering spots on their low Single-A teams as a reliever, while the A’s came in with the chance to pitch as a starter in high Single-A. Ziegler found the right path.

“We thought it would a good fit for me anyway because I wasn’t a big power arm, but I knew how to pitch and knew how to get guys out,” he remembered. “Oakland was a good fit with their philosophy and developing pitchers throughout the minors. We hoped that opportunity would present itself and when it did we jumped on it.

“I’ve already given away two years of possible free agency to get a little security. It’s a chance to just see what’s out there,” he said. “Other than when I got released by the Phillies in the minors, I never really got a chance to decide where I was going to play. I had three options coming out of Independent Leagueball and that was the extent of my decision-making. There was no signing bonus attached. It was just what do you think the best situation is. Now to get to do it at the big league level will be a lot of fun. It’s something I feel I worked pretty hard to get to, and I hope the process will be enjoyable.”

The 36-year-old has certainly set himself up for some kind of pay day. Since joining the Red Sox, he has totaled a 1.33 ERA in 30 appearances, putting his ERA for the season at 2.20 for the season. His bread and butter, getting ground balls, hasn’t left him either, with the ground ball percentage remaining at 65 percent in both Arizona and Boston.

Add in the fact that Ziegler has saved 30 and 22 games the last two seasons, respectively, and it is safe to say this round of decisions for the sidewinder might be a bit more appetizing than when he escaped independent baseball 12 years ago.

“There’s been a lot of talking with my wife,” Ziegler said. “We’ve been apart for this whole second half of the season, so it’s a decision we want to make together, for sure. It will be good for our whole family to experience, because this may be my only shot to do it.

“There’s a lot of big leaguers that haven’t even made it this far in their career. There’s a lot of people who didn’t think I would make it this far. I always looked at it like, if this is my last season and no offer presented itself I wanted to go out and enjoy myself. I felt that every single year. I never knew what the future would hold. Anything could happen. An injury could happen, or something off the field could happen that changes everything. So I wanted to enjoy every moment of being a big leaguer that I could. If there is opportunity after this year, great. There are always things that could happen. I don’t go through life walking on egg shells by any means, but at the same time I want to be realistic and understand baseball is not the most important thing in my life. I thoroughly enjoy my time, and hopefully there’s some more time left after this year.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

In case you were wondering if anyone in Boston would not recognize David Ortiz, the ride-sharing company Lyft found a few such people. The retiring Red Sox slugger went undercover — actually, he just wore a wig — and drove some people around the city before revealing his true identity.

In case you were wondering if anyone in Boston would not recognize David Ortiz, the ride-sharing company Lyft found a few such people. The retiring Red Sox slugger went undercover — actually, he just wore a wig — and drove some people around the city before revealing his true identity.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

You probably won't see David Ortiz without his Hamsa necklace. (USA Today Sports)

You probably won’t see David Ortiz without his Hamsa necklace. (USA Today Sports)

He has worn the necklace virtually everywhere. Every game. Every appearance. Every time he walks out his front door.

You know the one, because it can’t be missed. That gold outstretched hand with the eye in the middle flailing around with each swing.

So, what is it? It turns out it’s called “Hamsa.”

“It’s for protection and good luck,” Ortiz said. “It’s for real. And when the eye comes out, it’s protecting me from something.”

Ortiz was turned on to the symbology earlier this year and took it to heart. Not only does he wear the necklace without fail, but since receiving the amulet as a gift, the Red Sox designated hitter has added a bracelet to the mix, along with a tattoo of the symbol on the back of his right hand.

The Middle Eastern tradition represents the hand of God, and even has it’s own prayer: “Let no sadness come to this heart; Let no trouble come to these arms; Let no conflict come to these eyes; Let my soul be filled with the blessing of joy of peace.”

So far, it’s worked for Ortiz.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

The Red Sox will take a second shot at clinching the AL East when they send Clay Buchholz out against Yankees right-hander Bryan Mitchell on Wednesday night in the Bronx.

Buchholz is 8-10 with a 5.00 ERA and a 1.365 WHIP in 36 games (20 starts). On Wednesday, the 32-year-old right-hander went seven strong innings, giving up just one run, three hits and two walks with four strikeouts in a 5-1 win over the Orioles.

“I’ve been here before,” Buchholz said (via MLB.com). “I knew I wasn’t going to be bad all year. It was a stretch that I didn’t really know what was going on. I didn’t know how to fix it. I was trying too hard and overdoing a lot of things, overanalyzing. Yeah, it takes a couple of games to get some confidence going in the right direction. It’s fun pitching when everything is going good, especially when you’re winning.”

Against the Yankees, Buchholz is 6-9 with a 5.99 ERA and a 1.637 WHIP in 19 games (18 starts). In two games (one start) against New York this season, he is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.350 WHIP. His lone start vs. the Yankees came on Sept. 16, when he pitched six innings, allowing two runs, seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts in a 7-4 Sox win.

Brian Mitchell

Brian Mitchell

Mitchell is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA and 1.722 WHIP in four starts. The 25-year-old was supposed to be on the Yankees’ Opening Day roster, but he injured his left big toe in his final spring training appearance and was placed on the DL. He came off the DL in August, rehabbed in the minors for a month, and rejoined the Yankees in early September. In his most recent start on Friday, Mitchell threw six innings, allowing three runs (one earned), six hits and four walks with two strikeouts in a 9-0 loss to Toronto.

“It’s not what you want, I mean, it’s frustrating,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said (via MLB.com). “I thought Mitch pitched a pretty good game and probably should have given up just one run over the six innings. I thought he settled down after the first two innings pretty well, but we just couldn’t get anything going.”

Mitchell has posted a 6.00 ERA and a 1.583 WHIP in five games (one start) against the Red Sox, but he has yet to record a decision. His only start against the Sox came on Sept. 17 when he pitched just 4 2/3 innings, giving up four runs (three earned runs), five hits and one walk with three strikeouts.

Red Sox vs. Mitchell (RHP)

Xander Bogaerts is 3-for-6 with 2 doubles, 1 home run and 3 RBIs.

Mookie Betts is 1-for-4.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is 2-for-3 with 1 RBI, 1 walk and 1 strikeout.

Dustin Pedroia is 0-for-3 with 1 walk.

Travis Shaw is 1-for-4 with 2 strikeouts.

Andrew Benintendi is 1-for-2 with 1 double.

Brock Holt is 0-for-1 with 1 walk.

Sandy Leon is 0-for-2.

Deven Marrero is 0-for-2.

David Ortiz is 0-for-2 with 1 RBI and 1 strikeout.

Hanley Ramirez is 1-for-2.

Ryan Hanigan is 0-for-1 with 1 strikeout.

Bryan Holaday is 0-for-1.

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

Yankees vs. Buchholz (RHP)

Mark Teixeira (26 plate appearances): .161 AVG./.222 OBP/.355 SLG, 2 home runs, 7 RBIs, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts

Brett Gardner (35): .250/.294/.313, 2 doubles, 4 RBIs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts

Billy Butler (22): .222/.318/.222, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Aaron Hicks (15): .154/.267/.231, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Jacoby Ellsbury (14): .167/.286/.167, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Brian McCann (13): .364/.462/.545, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Chase Headley (11): .400/.455/.900, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

Starlin Castro is 1-for-7 with 2 strikeouts.

Did Gregorius is 3-for-7 with 1 double.

Gary Sanchez is 1-for-3 with 1 double and 2 RBIs.

Mason Williams is 2-for-2.

Austin Romine is 1-for-1.

Blog Author: 
John Hand

David Price took a step in the wrong direction Tuesday night.</p>
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