Rusney Castillo will either stay with Double-A Portland or move to Triple-A Pawtucket this week. (Getty Images)

Rusney Castillo will either stay with Double-A Portland or move to Triple-A Pawtucket this week. (Getty Images)

What’s next for Rusney Castillo?

The recently signed outfielder is currently with Double-A Portland. After an 0-for-3 game on Saturday, he’s 4-for-14 with two walks, two doubles and a strikeout in his first five minor league games since joining the Sox system. Red Sox manager John Farrell said that if Double-A Portland wins its win-or-go-home Game 5 in the first round of the Eastern League playoffs, Castillo will remain with Portland for the championship series. If Portland loses, Castillo will join Triple-A Pawtucket. Either way, the Sox will try to get him as many plate appearances as possible as a prelude to a call-up later this month.

“It’s a matter of him getting his timing down,” said Farrell. “The reports have been favorable, just with the overall explosiveness, the speed, the bat speed, but still, we’re looking at roughly 14, 15 at-bats.”

Farrell said that he’s simply been following reports on Castillo rather than spending time looking at video footage of the 27-year-old.

“I don’t want to make too much out of the number of at-bats that he’s had already,” said Farrell. “But, just talking to those who have been there in the ballpark during games played, he looks to be an exciting player.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

Mookie Betts has shown improved comfort in center field in this callup as opposed to his previous ones, showing better jumps on the ball and more direct routes. He has looked better in center — where he’d spent part of his amateur career and had most of his minor league experience this year — than in right. Jackie Bradley Jr., on the other hand, has looked tremendous in every outfield position.

That being the case, it was worth noting that Farrell elected to have Bradley enter Saturday night’s game in the ninth inning in center, with Betts moving to right. On Sunday, with both in the lineup, Bradley is in center and Betts in right.

“I still go by the higher number of balls are going to be in center field, and I think we’d be hard-pressed to find a better defender than Jackie Bradley in center field, whether it’s in our uniform or in anyone else’s uniform, in the major leagues,” said Farrell. “I think he’s the best center fielder in the game. That’s a position that he’s comfortable with. Mookie, while he has just a handful of games in right field, I feel like he’s athletic enough to move over to right field for a short stint, or at least today.”

More goes into Gold Glove voting than defensive performance alone, of course. Reputation matters, and part of reputation derives from offense (with Bradley’s line of .216/.288/.290 entering Sunday representing one of the worst lines in the big leagues). Bradley has also played in just 113 games, with 102 starts, and his recent two-week demotion to Triple-A, coupled with his uncertain role down the stretch, could impact his standing with voters.

“As someone who votes on those, I don’t know how others might look at the break in service time,” said Farrell, who does have a vote but cannot vote for his own players for the Gold Glove. “He’d get my vote based on what we’ve seen.”

– Both Mike Napoli and Brock Holt remain out of the lineup while dealing with flu-like symptoms. David Ortiz is out on Sunday both because he’s been dealing with some pain management after fouling a ball off his foot a couple of weeks ago and because the Sox are amidst a stretch of 17 games in as many days.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

The Portland Sea Dogs face a winner-take-all Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against Binghamton after suffering a home loss on Saturday. That was the lone game in the Sox’ system, with Pawtucket’s opener of the Governor’s Cup Finals set for Tuesday.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 11-4 LOSS VS. BINGHAMTON (METS); TIED IN BEST-OF-FIVE SERIES, 2-2

(BOX)

– Second baseman Sean Coyle continued his recent resumption of mashing, going 1-for-2 with a double. He has a seven-game hitting streak that spans the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason during which he is 8-for-20 with three doubles and three homers while amassing a robust .320/.370/1.000 line. However, he left the game after being hit by a pitch on the wrist and did not return. He is not in the Portland lineup on Sunday.

Rusney Castillo went 0-for-3 with a pair of flyouts (one to right, one to center) and a comebacker while playing six innings in center. He’s now 4-for-14 with two walks and a strikeout in his five minor league contests. Thus far, he’s remained true to — Catcher Carson Blair went 1-for-4 with a homer to improve to 5-for-15 with a walk in the series. He now has 12 homers in 88 games this year — one fewer than the 24-year-old had in parts of six seasons spanning 189 games entering the year.

– Right-hander Madison Younginer, promoted to Portland following High-A Salem’s elimination on Friday, tossed three scoreless innings of relief in his first Double-A appearance. He allowed one hit and struck out a batter. The 23-year-old, who will pitch in the Arizona Fall League this winter, had a 4.08 ERA with 55 strikeouts and 25 walks in 57 1/3 innings for Salem this year.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier
Rubby De La Rosa

Rubby De La Rosa

The Red Sox conclude their three-game home series against the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon, as Ruby De La Rosa will battle with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

De La Rosa (4-5, 3.89 ERA), who started off the year in Triple-A Pawtucket, has found a spot in the major league rotation. Boston fell in his last start against the Rays last Monday, but De La Rosa delivered a quality performance. He went 5 1/3 innings, struck out four and walked none while allowing three runs. Manager John Farrell said after the game that De La Rosa’€™s good start could be attributed to good offspeed pitches.

“He’s powerful, he had better secondary stuff than last time out,”€ Farrell said. “I thought he made a number of quality pitches. So many foul balls, which is a product of very good stuff. That ran the pitch count up and we’re not at the point where we’re looking to extend him too far. I thought he kept composure. I thought he repeated his delivery well. That was a solid 5 1/3 innings of work today.”

Previously, De La Rosa pitched against the Blue Jays on Aug. 27. De La Rosa was bailed out by the Boston bats in that one, as he pitched just 4 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits. Jose Reyes was one of Toronto’€™s top performers in that game against De La Rosa with two hits in as many at-bats. Reyes also had one hit against De La Rosa in a July 24 start in Toronto. In that game, De La Rosa was charged with seven runs on nine hits in the loss.

Most of the 25-year-old right-hander’s issues have come on the road, while he’€™s pitched well in the confines on Fenway Park. At home, De La Rosa has pitched to the tune of a 3.16 ERA and 1.36 WHIP, while on the road his ERA and WHIP are 4.57 and 1.50, respectively.

R.A. Dickey

R.A. Dickey

Like his signature pitch, Dickey (11-12, 3.94 ERA) has been unpredictable over the last two seasons with Toronto. However, his last two outings, including one against the Red Sox, have been solid. He beat Tampa Bay last Tuesday with seven innings and six strikeouts while allowing two runs, and on Aug. 26, Dickey struck out six and allowed just one run in a six-inning no decision against the Red Sox in Toronto.

While Dickey got off to a good start to the year, he hasn’t pitched as well since the All-Star break, carrying an ERA over four since the Midsummer Classic. He especially struggled in August with a 1.47 WHIP, his highest mark this season in a month where he started at least five games.

Slugger David Ortiz has some of the most success against Dickey out of any Red Sox. He carries a .333 average and two home runs into Sunday afternoon’€™s contest. Will Middlebrooks also has two homers against the knuckleballer. Dustin Pedroia, on the other hand, has only four hits in 25 career plate appearances against Dickey.

Blue Jays vs. De La Rosa (RHP)

Jose Bautista (10 career plate appearances): .286 average/.500 OBP/.286 SLG, 2 walks

Jose Reyes (10): .400/.400/.500, 1 double

Melky Cabrera (9): .375/.444/.500, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 double

Juan Francisco (7): .667/.714/1.667, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 triple, 1 double

Munenori Kawasaki (7): .500/.500/.500, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Dioner Navarro (6): .400/.500/.400, 1 walk

Ryan Goins (5): .400/.400/.600, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Anthony Gose (5): .250/.250/.500, 2 RBIs, 1 double

Danny Valencia (4): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Edwin Encarnacion (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 RBI

Dan Johnson (3): .333/.333/.333

Adam Lind (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double

Colby Rasmus (3): .667/.667/1.667, 1 home run, 1 RBI

Kevin Pillar is 0-for-2 and Josh Thole has one walk in two plate appearances against De La Rosa.

Red Sox vs. Dickey (RHP)

Dustin Pedroia (25): .167/.200/.292, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Mike Napoli (20): .333/.400/.444, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 3 RBIs, 2 doubles

David Ortiz (20): .300/.400/.444, 2 home runs, 2 doubles, 6 RBIs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts

Yoenis Cespedes (16): .250/.250/.625, 5 strikeouts, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 triple, 1 double

Daniel Nava (15): .214/.200/.286, 2 strikeouts, 1 RBI, 1 double

Will Middlebrooks (12): .364/.417/1.091, 2 home runs, 4 RBIs, 2 strikeouts, 2 doubles

Jackie Bradley (11): .200/.273/.500, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk

David Ross (9): .125/.222/.125, 2 strikeouts, 1 walk

Xander Bogaerts (8): .500/.500/.750, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Brock Holt (7): .143/.143/.143, 2 strikeouts

Christian Vazquez (5): .400/.400/.400, 2 strikeouts

Allen Craig (4): .000/.250/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Jemile Weeks (4): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts

Mookie Betts (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano


[0:00:03] ... but. We were -- that while are we -- your your first Major League home run what you think to me and I hit those votes and so Wellman. Did that you know the wind wasn't none of ...



Joe & Dave talked to the Sox rookie catcher, who caught five different pitchers and knocked an RBI double high off the Monster in the 4-3 win.

[0:00:03] ... but. We were -- that while are we -- your your first Major League home run what you think to me and I hit those votes and so will Ohman. Did that you know the wind wasn't none of you know. A global RB take -- that's right -- got to be ...
[0:00:51] ... -- attracted what that he do so well tonight. Yeah attack the strike zone and you know through this letter. In the zone and -- and I'm struck out you know. Rest -- this letter this ...




(For the final month of the regular season, ‘€˜€˜€˜Closing Time’€™€™€™ will now be called ‘€˜€˜€˜Why You Should Have Cared,’€™€™€™ looking beyond the final score ‘€˜€” at a time when losses are arguably more valuable to the Sox than wins (for draft and waiver position) ‘€˜€” for either meaningful signs for 2015 or simple aesthetic considerations.)

(For the final month of the regular season, ‘€˜€˜€˜Closing Time’€™€™€™ will now be called ‘€˜€˜€˜Why You Should Have Cared,’€™€™€™ looking beyond the final score ‘€˜€” at a time when losses are arguably more valuable to the Sox than wins (for draft and waiver position) ‘€˜€” for either meaningful signs for 2015 or simple aesthetic considerations.)

Clay Buchholz delivered his third straight quality start on Saturday. (Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz delivered his third straight quality start on Saturday. (Getty Images)

Given the unsettled state of the Red Sox rotation, a case can be made that no player’s performance down the stretch is more important to the team than that of Clay Buchholz. And so, it is significant that finally, Buchholz looks like a pitcher who has turned a corner on a year of misery.

On Saturday night, Buchholz sailed efficiently and effectively through the Blue Jays lineup. In 6 1/3 innings, he permitted just two runs (one of which scored after he left the game) on four hits while walking two and striking out five. The outing marked the third straight quality start for the right-hander, the first time this year that the 30-year-old has bunched three such performances together.

In the last month, he’s made six starts, logging at least six innings in all of them and permitting three or fewer runs five times. He has walked two or fewer batters in all of them, with 37 strikeouts and 10 walks spanning 44 2/3 innings.

It is the look of a pitcher who gives the Sox at least one relatively reliable option heading into 2015, a significant consideration as the team tries to decide who to target in the winter.

OTHER REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE CARED ABOUT THE RED SOX GAME

Edward Mujica recorded his first save since assuming the closer’s role from Koji Uehara, recording a pair of outs (sandwiched around a walk to Jose Bautista).

Will Middlebrooks had a host of quality at-bats against left-hander J.A. Happ, pulling an RBI single to left, negotiating a walk and then hammering a ball to the warning track in right field, where Jose Bautista robbed him of an extra-base hit (perhaps a homer) with a leaping catch on the warning track. He also had a hard grounder up the middle on a 99 mph fastball from reliever Brandon Morrow, but was denied a hit by a well-positioned Toronto second baseman.Middlebrooks has a great deal at stake this month as he looks to earn the team’s trust for a role on its 2015 big league roster.

– Though he went 0-for-4, Xander Bogaerts showed range to both his left and right and had one of his better double-play pivots, standing in with Edwin Encarnacion bearing down on him to make a strong throw that beat Adam Lind at first base. Over the last couple of weeks, Bogaerts has looked like he’s successfully recalibrated his clock at shortstop to convert plays with greater efficiency and fluidity.

Mookie Betts demolished a full-count fastball leading off the game for his first career triple. However, he went on to strike out a pair of times in his 1-for-4 day, giving him three multi-strikeout games in the big leagues, including two in his last four contests. As opposing teams zero in more on Betts, his strikeout rate will be an interesting gauge of his ability to keep pace with the adjustments that other teams are making against him.

– Left-hander Drake Britton pitched for the second consecutive day for the first time in 2014. He followed his two-up, two-down effort on Friday with a scoreless 1 1/3 innings in which he gave up a hit and a walk while striking out a batter. Britton, who will be out of options next year, has a chance to use this month to make his case to remain on the 40-man roster after struggling for most of the year in Pawtucket.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli exited Saturday night’s game after just two innings. He was seen leaving the dugout with a team trainer.

Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli exited Saturday night’s game after just two innings. He was seen leaving the dugout with a team trainer. In his absence, Allen Craig moved from right field to first base while Daniel Nava entered the game in right.

Napoli singled to lead off the second inning, advanced to third on a single and then scored on a single by Will Middlebrooks prior to his removal from the contest. More on the cause of his removal as it becomes available.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Prior to 2014, Rubby De La Rosa had never thrown more than 110 1/3 innings in a season. In 2013, his first full year back from Tommy John surgery, he totaled 91 2/3 frames.