The Red Sox will close out both an 11-game homestand and a three-game set with the Mariners Sunday afternoon, sending Allen We

Allen Webster

Allen Webster

With Seattle sending Hisashi Iwakuma to the mound for its series finale against the Red Sox, the hosts will have Brock Holt as their starting shortstop.

With Allen Webster on the mound for the Red Sox, here is the lineup for John Farrell‘s club:

Brock Holt SS

Dustin Pedroia 2B

David Ortiz DH

Yoenis Cespedes LF

Mike Napoli 1B

Allen Craig RF

Will Middlebrooks 3B

Mookie Betts CF

Christian Vazquez C

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
Allen Webster

Allen Webster

The Red Sox will close out both an 11-game homestand and a three-game set with the Mariners Sunday afternoon, sending Allen Webster to the mound against Hisashi Iwakuma in the series finale.

Webster (3-1, 4.73 ERA) has turned in three straight quality starts for Boston, compiling a 3.86 ERA with a .239/.333/.388 line during that stretch.

In his last start Tuesday against the Angels, Webster gave up seven hits, three runs and three strikeouts over six innings of work in what was eventually a 4-3 Los Angeles win.

“When he’s right like for the vast majority of tonight, put the ball on the ground, ground balls,” manager John Farrell said. “It’s good to see him continue to back up outings in a positive way and build some momentum and I’m sure some confidence in his own right.”

While Webster has settled down after his shaky debut this season, the third inning has continued to be a thorn in the side of the 24-year-old. 12 of the 15 earned runs that Webster has allowed this season have come during the third.

Webster was rocked in his only career appearance against the Mariners on July 9, 2013, surrendering six hits and seven earned runs over just 2 1/3 innings.

Iwakuma (12-6, 2.57 ERA) has been extremely effective as of late, posting a 7-2 record with a 1.63 ERA over his last 10 starts.

In his last outing Tuesday, the 33-year-old shut down the Phillies for eight innings, holding his opponents to just four hits and no runs while racking up 11 strikeouts.

“He’s unbelievable,” Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager said after the game. “I looked up in the eighth and he hadn’t even thrown 20 balls yet. He just goes right at hitters, throws strikes with all his pitches, gets swings and misses with all his pitches and he works quick, gets ground balls. He’s everything you could ask for. He’s awesome to play behind.”

One of Iwakuma’€™s biggest strengths this season has been his efficiency and command on the mound. The right-hander has only given up four walks over his last 10 outings and a total of 12 free passes in 147 innings on the year.

Iwakuma struggled in his last start against Boston on June 25, giving up eight hits and five earned runs in just four innings of work. In three career starts against the Red Sox, Iwakuma is 0-1 with a 8.53 ERA.

Mariners vs. Webster (RHP)

Austin Jackson has two singles and one RBI in three plate appearances against Webster.

Brad Miller has one double and three RBIs in two plate appearances against Webster.

Kendrys Morales has two home runs and three RBIs in two plate appearances against Webster.

Kyle Seager has one single in two plate appearances against Webster.

Dustin Ackley has one walk in his only plate appearance against Webster.

Mike Zunino has one strikeout in his only plate appearance against Webster.

Red Sox vs. Iwakuma (RHP)

Yoenis Cespedes (22 plate appearances): .364/.364/.955, 4 doubles, 3 home runs

Brock Holt (8): .429/.375/.571, 3 singles, 1 double

Dustin Pedroia (8): .429/.500/.857, 1 home run, 3 RBIs

David Ortiz (7): .571/.571/1.571, 2 home runs, 4 RBIs

Mike Napoli (5): .250/.400/1.000, 1 home run, 2 RBIs

Daniel Nava (5): .400/.400/.400, 2 singles, 1 RBI

Kelly Johnson (4): .500/.500/.750, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Xander Bogaerts (2): .000/.000/.000

Blog Author: 
Conor Ryan

Why is Rusney Castillo now rich? Why did the Red Sox open the vault to confer $72.5 million upon a center fielder who has never played a single game in the majors and who hasn't been seen in a game of any sort since 2012? 

Although his time in the majors has been brief, Red Sox starter Brandon Workman has already seen his career marked by two vastly different stretches of play.

Brandon Workman

Brandon Workman

Although his time in the majors has been brief, Red Sox starter Brandon Workman has already seen his career marked by two vastly different stretches of play.

Through his first eight big league starts, Workman looked like he belonged in the Red Sox rotation, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.91 ERA. He became the first Red Sox pitcher to make eight straight starts of five or more innings and three or fewer runs allowed since World War II.

Unfortunately for the 6-foot-5 righty, the last eight outings have been a far cry from his stellar debut, with an 0-8 record and a 6.75 ERA bloating his career numbers during the second half of the 2014 season. He has now achieved history of another sort, becoming the first Sox pitcher since Red Ruffing in 1929 to absorb the loss in eight or more consecutive appearances.

Workman’€™s latest outing fit his current trend of ineffectiveness, as the 26-year-old was torched for 10 hits and seven earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings against the Mariners Saturday in what eventually resulted in a 7-3 Red Sox defeat.

Despite his discouraging box score, Workman began the game on a good foot, holding Seattle scoreless through the first three innings, including a 1-2-3 inning in the third.

“It was a quick inning,”Workman said. “€œI threw strikes, made some good pitches, got ground balls. … I didn’€™t execute like that in the fourth.”

Indeed, the fourth inning was a vastly different for Workman. In between a strikeout to Mariners designated hitter Endy Chavez for the first out in the frame, Workman was rocked for five singles and one double, which, coupled with a wild pitch, helped erase Boston’€™s 3-0 lead and give the Mariners a 4-3 advantage.

Seattle left fielder Dustin Ackley would end the Mariners‘€™ scoring outburst with an exclamation point, jumping on a high fastball from Workman and depositing it just past Pesky’€™s Pole to make it a 7-3 contest.

“He gets through the first three innings in good shape, and then in the fourth inning when things started to slip away from him, he still pitched ahead in the count, unfortunately unable to put a number of hitters away in that fourth inning,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell after the game. “On a day when you look down and figure that we’ve got a maximum of five innings available in the bullpen, likely four, we tried to get him through the fourth.”

Workman, who was removed from the game after Ackley’€™s blast, gave up career highs in both hits and earned runs during his outing.

“œIt’€™s really just about executing pitches,” Workman said after the game. “Like I said, the ball was up all day for me. You can’€™t pitch like that. You can’€™t pitch with everything belt-high, and that’€™s what I did today and they took advantage of it.”

While it appeared that Workman’s struggles might be attributed to fatigue, the Arlington, Texas, native chalked up his poor performance to just a lack of sticking to his gameplan.

“I felt good all day,” Workman said. “I thought I could [get out of the jam], but I just wasn’€™t executing is what it came down to. I didn’€™t execute pitches when I had to in the fourth inning.”

Despite Workman’s poor track record as of late, Farrell added that he does not expect to give his starter an extended break or demote him to the bullpen going forward.

“That hasn’t been discussed yet, no, no,” Farrell said. “Today he came out and showed good arm strength and showed decent action to his curveball early, but then he made some mistakes on the plate, particularly ahead in the count with his fastball.”

While the combined effort of Alex Wilson, Junichi Tazawa and Burke Badenhop out of the bullpen posted a line of no hits and no runs over 5 2/3 innings with five strikeouts to close out the game, the damage allowed by Workman was too much for Boston to overcome Saturday afternoon.

“They did a great job,”€ Workman said of the bullpen. “All of them. Wilson threw the ball very well today, same with Taz and [Badenhop]. … It’€™s just that fourth inning. They got all their runs in the fourth and that falls on me.”

Blog Author: 
Conor Ryan

Rusney Castillo is still learning his way around Boston.

But the 27-year-old Cuban native knows enough that playing in Boston is unlike any other city in the majors.

Rusney Castillo is still learning his way around Boston.

But the 27-year-old Cuban native knows enough that playing in Boston is unlike any other city in the majors.

“It really means a lot for me to be a part of such a historic organization. I’m just ecstatic to be here,” Castillo said through Red Sox translator Adrian Lorenzo, answering the first question he was asked during his introductory news conference at Fenway Park after Saturday’s 7-3 loss to the Mariners.

Castillo said there was no debate about coming to America once he talked it over with his family.

“It really wasn’t that difficult of decision to make because I had a lot of support from my family back home,” Castillo said.

Castillo left immediately after the press conference to head back to Miami, where Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said the player will stay while the team works on his work visa in the States. Once the paperwork is finished and cleared, Castillo is expected to make the trek across Florida to Fort Myers, where he will report to the player development complex for work, something that is crucial at this point since he hasn’t played competitively in some 18 months.

Castillo said he has spoken to fellow countryman Yoenis Cespedes about what it will take to adjust to playing in the majors, especially in Boston.

“So actually, I’ve spoken to Cespedes a little bit about this,” Castillo said. “He made me aware that it’s the same game we’ve played in Cuba. Success here will come down to working and grinding on a day-to-day level.”

But Castillo made it clear that he wasn’t in touch with Cespedes, or Jose Abreu or any other Cuban stars while he and his agent were in negotiations with major league clubs over the past several weeks.

“I didn’t really talk to him throughout the process,” Castillo said. “I got to talk to him [Saturday pre-game] for a little while. He’s obviously a player I’ve admired for a long time, and I’m happy to be a member of the Red Sox with him.”

On Saturday, Red Sox manager compared Castillo to Dodgers sensation Yasiel Puig, calling Castillo, at 5-foot-7, a shorter version of the Los Angeles outfielder.

Will Castillo join the list of players like Puig, Cespedes, Jose Abreu and Aroldis Chapman who have made a major splash once signing with an MLB team? The Red Sox think so. Castillo, for now, is just grateful to have been given the chance to prove the Red Sox wise for signing him.

“It’s really been a dream come true to be given this opportunity to play, especially in light of the success of recent Cuban players,” Castillo said. “It’s an honor and a privilege, really.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The search for the center fielder of the future in the Red Sox organization is over.

The search for the center fielder of the future in the Red Sox organization is over.

With this week’s $72.5 million commitment to Cuban star Rusney Castillo, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington is making it clear that the organization feels Castillo, along with help from others, will be the answer to replacing the dynamic Jacoby Ellbsury for the rest of the decade.

“We’ve always felt like in order for us to be good, we need two center fielders on the team [and] he’s a center fielder,” Cherington said at the press conference after Saturday’s 7-3 loss to the Mariners at Fenway. “We have to secure a work visa for him. That process will start here this week, and assuming we can get through that, we’ll get him into workouts and try to get him into games this season — 2014 season — and that would be in center field.

“Obviously, given the commitment, we think he can be a really good player for us for a long time.

Cherington feels Castillo, along with the likes of Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts, can fill the void left with Ellsbury’s departure.

“This is an exciting player,” Cherington said. “He’s got a great combination of skills, defensive ability, speed, solid power. He’s got a really strong track record in Cuba and we’re excited to add him to the organization. We feel like he can be a big part of winning Red Sox teams for a long time.

“He’s a center fielder. He’s got a lot of skills. We think he has the chance to impact the game in a number of different ways. He runs well, has a good solid throwing arm, solid power, good offensive track record in Cuba and international play. We see him as a very good major league player and part of a winning team here in Boston.”

Castillo, 27, hit .319 with 75 doubles, 11 triples, 51 home runs, 99 walks, 256 runs scored, and 76 stolen bases in 360 games over five seasons in Cuba’€™s major league, Serie Nacional. He spent all five seasons with his hometown team, Ciego de Avila, and posted a career .383 on-base percentage, .516 slugging percentage, and .899 OPS while appearing primarily in center and right field.

“This someone who we identified or recognized in Cuba, in international play and things like that,” Cherington said. “So we’ve been evaluating him. We’ve had several scouts see him over a number of years and build some history that way. So you can recognize the bat speed, the swing path, the power — the ball comes off his bat really well, etc. And then we have spent quite a bit of time mining whatever data is available to us out of Cuba — performance data — and we feel like we are getting more and more precise in translating that and figure out what it means. Obviously, there have been recent examples of mature, high-profile guys coming out of Cuba, and we’ve seen what those transitions have looked like.”

The 5-foot-9, 205-pound Castillo last played in Cuba during the 2012-13 season and hit .274 with six doubles, two triples, six homers, and 29 RBI over 68 contests in which he struck out fewer times (29) than he walked (31).

During the 2010-11 season, the right-handed batter set career highs with 22 home runs and 95 RBI. The following season, 2011-12, he hit .342 in 113 games with 60 extra-base hits, including 21 homers, helping Ciego de Avila to the Serie Nacional Championship.

“We’re certainly really excited about this signing,” Cherington said. “We’ve gotten a chance to know Rusney a lot over the last several weeks and then before that, we had seen him play, first in Amsterdam in 2011 and then again in Taiwan in 2012 and of course, over the last several weeks since he’s been in Florida, we’ve got a chance to know him even better.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia