The Red Sox acquired Rick Porcello this winter in the hopes that he could be a stopper. In a sense he has delivered, except what he’s stopping is any hope of a winning streak.

ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the attention drawn to Eduardo Rodriguez tipping pitches and the flexibility of Clay Buchholz‘s cont

Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the attention drawn to Eduardo Rodriguez tipping pitches and the flexibility of Clay Buchholz‘s contract among other things. To hear the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.

Going into Tuesday’s game the talk centered around Eduardo Rodriguez and how he tipped his pitches to opposing batters as to what type of pitch he was going to throw. The Orioles managed to figure it out when they were able to chase him after he allowed six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings last Thursday, but he bounced back Tuesday night, tossing six innings, giving up just one earned run on four hits.

During its broadcast of Tuesday’s game, NESN showed exactly what Rodriguez had been doing. He would tilt his head downward when throwing an off-speed pitch, while his head would stay up when he was about to throw a fastball.

Olney said the segment detailing the issue was useful for him as a member of the media, but that it probably wasn’t what people in the Red Sox organization wanted on air during their broadcast.

“As a reporter, of course, I love it,” he said. “Give me as much information as possible. But if you’re actually working for the team, I wouldn’t want it out there.

“If we broke that down on Baseball Tonight, I’d be excited about it,” Olney added. “If I worked at Major League Baseball Network, you’d be excited about breaking that down, but if you’re within the Red Sox community, you’re probably not thrilled that that’s out there.”

Olney brought up the impression he’s received from other front offices is that the Red Sox will probably look to shed some money during the offseason, most likely via Rusney Castillo and his seven-year, $72.5 million contract.

“Let’s face it, Hanley Ramirez doesn’t have a lot of trade value right now,” he said. “You’d have to eat a lot of money to move Pablo Sandoval given what’s going on there, and there’s not a lot of other ways to do it, which is why people of other teams come back to Castillo. But I still think that it’s early, and even though you look at the standings and it doesn’t look good for the Red Sox, it’s not like there’s some horse running away with the American League, and it doesn’t hurt the Red Sox to wait three weeks.

“If they’re back within four, five games, maybe their perspective changes. If the hole gets deeper then yeah, they could look to do some things, but I think it’s going to be really difficult for them to move some of those pieces that have been written about without eating a lot of money and teams don’t usually do that this early in their contracts.”

Clay Buchholz has turned things around of late, posting a 2.50 ERA since May 10. While his recent success might make him appealing to other teams via trade, Olney said he’s asked other executives in the league whether they think the Sox should deal him or not.

The general consensus from those executives is they don’t believe he’s going anywhere.

“Let’s say he does go through a period [of struggling on the mound] or let’s say he does get hurt, then they can easily walk away from the contract,” Olney said. “Now is the time when they can really take advantage of paying him money up front because of the option years, and they can control the situation, and at $13 million in the current marketplace, to have a player with that kind of experience with options where you can actually walk away, that has a lot of value in itself.

“Again, talking with executives of other teams, and I’ve asked them, ‘What do you think the Red Sox would be going for if they wind up selling before the deadline? What do you think they’re going to do during the winter?’ And the thing they always come back to is they need starting pitching,” Olney continued. “If that’s how the Red Sox feel about it, then I don’t know how you let Clay Buchholz go given how well he’s thrown and given the fact that they have such a need there.”

Even with the Sox’ current record, Olney said with all the other obstacles AL East teams are facing, it’s not totally impossible to think the Red Sox could get back into the thick of things.

“It continues to be the case where when you look at the Yankees and the issues they have there, when you look at the Blue Jays and they’re starving for pitching, the Rays can’t hit now, on and on,” Olney said. “The teams with all the different problems, I don’t think we should be surprised if any one of the teams emerges, including the Red Sox.”

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen

The Red Sox will be going for their fourth straight win Wednesday afternoon in Toronto on Canada Day. Rick Porcello will be opposed by left-hander Mark Buehrle with Hanley Ramirez back in the Red Sox lineup.

Follow all the action from Toronto here:

Live Blog Red Sox vs. Blue Jays — July 1, 2015
 

Blog Author: 
WEEI

ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning

ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about Eduardo Rodriguez, Clay Buchholz and the Red Sox. To listen to the audio of the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

As the Red Sox, particularly the team’s starting pitchers, have struggled this season, many fans have looked to the minor leagues and eyed the various pitching prospects the organization owns, including Brian Johnson and Henry Owens.

Schilling has been impressed with the young arms in the team’s farm system.

“I look at this organization from a pitching perspective like you can kind of look at the Cubs from a player perspective,” Schilling said. “I think they’re stacked. A lot of power arms. … I love the arms, I really do think that they’ve got a ton of development happening and this is just an unfortunate year.”

Rodriguez has made the leap from a prospect to a major league starter and Schilling has been very impressed with what he’s seen.

“Eddie, clearly, is ready,” he said. “He had a bad outing, he was tipping his pitches, he made adjustments, he fixed it. This is your one. When you get back to the postseason, this is the guy you’re going to hand the ball to game one.”

Rodriguez did struggle with tipping his pitches in a June 25 game against Baltimore, but the team was able to diagnose the problem and fix it in advance of his Tuesday start in Toronto.

“When you see the swings you saw two starts ago for a guy that throws the way he throws, that’s when you know,” Schilling said. “When guys are comfortably in the box and hacking from their heels against a guy who throws that well, generally somebody has something.”

Schilling sees holes in the Red Sox as currently constitute and doesn’t think this roster is good enough to contend. That opinion dates back to the team’s signings of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, of which Schilling was not enamored partly, because they didn’t fill the team’s pitching needs.

“I don’t know that this is the club to hoist a pennant, they still have some pieces missing. … I was kind of a pariah at the winter meetings because I wasn’t a fan of either signing,” Schilling said. “It’s a staff full of maybe three’s, and one one, and the one is the youngest guy on the staff [Rodriguez].”

Along with a recent improvement in production on the mound, Buchholz has become the topic in a few trade speculations. Some have suggested the Red Sox should trade the right-hander while his value is high. Schilling said that he would trade Buchholz if the return were a “Eduardo Rodriguez-type,” but didn’t think the actual return of any potential trade would be so worthwhile.

“If I could get myself a big-league-caliber talent and a top-tier prospect, that’s something to look at,” Schilling said. “It depends on what are the needs of this roster. You’re trading [Buchholz] to get a guy that the guy you’re trading is supposed to be. Not a lot of teams are going to do that. You’re not going to get somebody to give you a one back for a guy that you’re selling as a one.”

Buchholz has team options on his contract for $13 million in 2016 and $13.5 million in 2017. While that is a great value by today’s standards, Schilling doesn’t think that impacts Buchholz’ trade value.

“It’s ridiculously priced if you look at the market. The game is flushed with cash. People aren’t making a lot of deals based on clearing payroll,” Schilling said. “If you can trade a salary, great, there’s a lot more teams that can take on salary.”

Blog Author: 
Josh Slavin

After missing six games with a left wrist injury, Hanley Ramirez returns to the Red Sox lineup in Game 3 of a four-game set against the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon. The Red Sox have taken the first two games of the series.

After missing six games with a left wrist injury, Hanley Ramirez returns to the Red Sox lineup in Game 3 of a four-game set against the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon. The Red Sox have taken the first two games of the series.

Going against left-hander Mark Buehrle, lefties Brock Holt and Jackie Bradley Jr. get the day off with Deven Marrero getting his first major league start at second base and Alejandro De Aza starting in right field.

Sandy Leon will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Here is a complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, CF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, LF
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Alejandro De Aza, RF
Deven Marrero, 2B
Sandy Leon, C
Rick Porcello, RHP

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (38-42): L, 1-0, at Rochester (Twins)

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:

Henry Owens

Henry Owens

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (38-42): L, 1-0, at Rochester (Twins)

— LHP Henry Owens (Boston’€™s No. 2 prospect at MLB.com) pitched into the eighth inning and allowed just two hits, but got no run support and took the loss (2-6, 3.28 ERA) with a final line of: 7 1/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO (98 pitches, 60 strikes). Owens was perfect through four before walking the leadoff batter in the fifth. He continued with a no-hitter into the seventh before allowing a leadoff double. A ground out and sacrifice fly would bring that runner home and provide the difference on the scoreboard.

It was the fourth straight quality start for Owens, who was selected by Boston in the first-round of the 2011 draft (36th overall). However, Owens has not won a game since May 5, a span of 12 starts. The 22-year-old finished June with an 0-3 mark in six outings with a 3.47 ERA, compiling 27 strikeouts to 13 walks in 36 1/3 innings.

— RHP Pat Light (Boston’€™s No. 26 prospect at MLB.com) replaced Owens in the eighth after a leadoff double and a strikeout. Light, 24, allowed a single, but stranded two runners as he came back with a strikeout of his own on a split-finger fastball, followed by a pop-out to end the inning. A 2012 first-round draft choice and this year converted to a reliever, Light has now rebounded with two straight scoreless appearances since blowing back-to-back saves on June 21 and June 24.

— Big leaguer Ervin Santana held the Pawtucket offense in check, giving up just five hits while walking not walking a batter over eight scoreless innings. Santana completed his three-game Triple-A build up to rejoining Minnesota after his 80-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. The PawSox had two aboard in only one inning, the eighth, but second baseman Sean Coyle (Boston’€™s No. 13 prospect at MLB.com) popped out to end the chance.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (28-50): L, 7-4, vs. New Hampshire (Blue Jays)

— Right fielder Shane Victorino had his rehab assignment (calf) transferred to Double-A Portland where the 34-year-old played a full nine innings going 1-for-3 with an RBI double in the fifth as well as a run scored. Victorino’€™s double looped down the right field line and evaded the diving New Hampshire right fielder who was breaking in. The next batter, second baseman Carlos Asuaje, sent a deep fly ball to the warning track in center that was caught by the tumbling New Hampshire center fielder, allowing a hustling Victorino to score all the way from second on a sacrifice fly.

“€œNo reason for me to be cautious,” Victorino told the Portland Press Herald after the game. “I’€™m going to have to do it at some point. I had to test it. It’€™s the way you play the game. You don’€™t change the way you play just because you’€™re rehabbing.”

Victorino, who was also hit by a pitch on the forearm but stayed in the game, has now played five rehab games between Triple-A Pawtucket and Double-A Portland, going 5-for-14 (.357) with two doubles and two runs scored.

— RHP Justin Haley gave up a grand slam in the third and took the loss (2-9, 5.29 ERA), allowing his most runs in game since April as Haley was tagged for five earned over just three innings plus. The 24-year-old was coming off of back-to-back six-inning shutout starts but was pulled in favor of Mike McCarthy after a leadoff walk to start the fourth. The 6-foot-5 Haley was Boston’€™s sixth-round draft pick in 2012 out of Fresno State University.

— Center fielder Manuel Margot (Boston’€™s No. 5 prospect at MLB.com) extended his modest hit streak to six games with a single in the second inning, finishing 1-for-4 in the game. In nine games since his promotion to Portland, the 20-year-old is 11-for-35 (.314) with a homer, three doubles, five RBIs, and four runs scored.

Aaron Wilkerson

Aaron Wilkerson

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (30-28): L, 11-4, vs. Lynchburg (Indians)

— RHP Aaron Wilkerson suffered his first loss (4-1, 2.86 ERA) with Salem and his worst start of the season as he allowed six earned runs and did not make it out of the fourth inning. Lynchburg already led 1-0 entering the fourth and then strung together five hits, including a triple and a double with both batters coming around to score. The 26-year-old Wilkerson, who had allowed three earned or less in each of his last seven starts, did strike out six in 3 2/3 innings, but also walked two.

— Second baseman Wendell Rijo doubled home two runs in the third inning to give Salem a short-lived 2-1 lead. Rijo, 19, finished 2-for-4 and compiled his third two-hit game in his last four, raising his average 12 points over that span to .249.

— Center fielder Derek Miller, shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin, and DH Zach Kapstein all had two-hit games as well in the losing effort. Miller scored twice, while Lin also walked, scored a run and also stole a base, his 11th. The 21-year-old Lin completed another solid month at the plate, as he hit .295 over 22 games in June after hitting .306 in May.

Mike Meyers

Mike Meyers

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (41-35): L, 8-1, at Hickory (Rangers)

— Left fielder Mike Meyers got Greenville out to a 1-0 lead as he tripled in the first and scored on a wild pitch. Meyers, 21, finished 1-for-3 with a walk, raising his season-long average to .289. Drafted by Boston in round 12 of the 2012 draft out of high school in Nevada, Meyers now has a five-game hit streak and over his last nine contests is hitting 13-for-35 (.371) with four extra base hits and four runs scored. In 23 games played in June, Meyers had a terrific slash line of .321/.400/.476.

— The Greenville offense was held to just three total hits and threatened in just one more inning after the first, as the Drive loaded the bases in the seventh inning on walks by DH Rafael Devers and shortstop Javier Guerra, sandwiched around catcher Danny Bethea being hit by a pitch. However, first baseman Cisco Tellez, center fielder Bryan Hudson, and right fielder Carlos Mesa all struck out to end the frame.

— RHP Jeffry Fernandez took the loss (2-6, 5.51 ERA) and was roughed up in the second inning as he allowed six runs, all earned, including two home runs. Fernandez, 22, was coming off of back-to-back quality outings but has now allowed six homers over his last four starts. The Dominican did come back to pitch three scoreless innings and get through five frames.

Luis Alexander Basabe

Luis Alexander Basabe

SHORT SEASON LOWELL SPINNERS (10-2): W, 7-6 in 10 innings, at Vermont (Athletics)

— Center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe hit two home runs, one from each side of the plate — his second a go-ahead shot in the top of the 10th inning that gave Lowell the 7-6 lead and eventually the victory. An 18-year-old Venezuelan, Basabe also hit a three-run dinger in the third inning, taking a 2-2 pitch over the left-center wall to get Lowell out to a 3-1 lead. Basabe, who only hit one homer over 32 games last year with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, now has hits in 8 of his past 9 games with the two homers hit Tuesday as well as two triples.

— Second baseman Chad De La Guerra also homered, his first as a professional, a two-run shot that extended the Lowell lead to 5-1 in the fourth inning. De La Guerra finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs, giving him a four-game stretch of 7-for-14 (.500) hitting with five RBIs, five doubles, and six runs scored. A 22-year-old lefty batter, De La Guerra was Boston’€™s round 17 selection in the 2015 draft out of Grand Canyon University where this past season he hit .344 with 11 homers.

ROOKIE GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX (8-0): W, 5-2, at GCL Orioles

— RHP Anderson Espinoza (Boston’€™s No. 25 prospect at MLB.com) started and threw another four scoreless innings, giving up three hit, while allowing a walk while striking out five. The 17-year-old Espinoza now has pitched eight innings, all scoreless, in the Gulf Coast League since his promotion from the Dominican Summer League. Combining Espinoza’€™s DSL and GCL statistics on the season through six starts, Espinoza’€™s collective line reads: 23 IP, 19 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 27 SO.

Espinoza was signed for $1.8 million out of Venezuela last summer, and was one of the highest ranked prospects in that 2014 international signing period.

— Left fielder Henry Ramos (Boston’€™s No. 18 prospect at MLB.com) reached base three times, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored, as the 23-year-old continued his rehab assignment (knee). In seven Gulf Coast League games Ramos is 7-for 20 (.350) with four walks, four runs scored, and two stolen bases. All of Ramos’€™ hits have gone for singles. Last year in Double-A Portland the switch-hitting Ramos hit .326 over 48-games with two homers, two triples, and nine doubles.

— Right fielder Tyler Hill doubled and went 2-for-5 with an RBI, run scored, and stolen base. Hill, who was back in the lineup after a game off, has a five-game hitting streak and has gone 8-for-21 (.380) over that span with three RBIs and four runs scored. The 19-year-old Hill played in only four games in 2014 after being drafted by Boston in round 19 out of Delaware Military Academy.

Check out the weekly WEEI Farm Report podcast hosted by Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable.

Blog Author: 
Ken Laird